I came to prison January 15, 2018

Harris, Rojonah



NO TITLE I came to prison January 15, 2018. Four days before coming to prison, I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant. Both bittersweet moments, but for the most part, I had to plan for my stay. I called my probation officer and alerted her. She called the prison to see if they had any reasonable accommodations to ensure that I would be safe in a medium security being pregnant. Now, this may sound crazy. Medium prison, first time offender, nonviolent charge, but okay. I was admitted into prison as a self surrender midnight that night. I had to spend a night in the SHU (Special Housing Unit) where I told the booking officer of my pregnancy. The next day, I had to walk to 12+D and do my inmate Id, and get paperwork on my charge. I was called over to medical to confirm my pregnancy where both tests came back positive. I was given a bottom bunk pass and told to go to my designated unit. I was set to four flights of stairs up, and when I arrived my bunkie was nice, but she was older and also a bottom bunk pass. I went and complained to the officer, but he couldn't do anything. Needless to say I had to wait two days to get moved to a room that had a bottom bunk available. My fourth day I had an OB appointment with the doctor. Everyone at the prison (prisoners) stated that our doctor had an ankle monitor on, and he had been instructed to not give any vaginal exams. So me thinking it was an inmate.com scenario, I went in. The doctor had given me my due date for September 19, 2018. As I began to leave, he called the nurse to have me do a pelvic exam. I left out of one room to go into the other to change. I climbed on the table in nervousness, but I knew I had to do it to complete my physical exam. He had come into the room and began to examine me. He palpated around, and pulled out the kit to rub my cervix, I'm guessing to send cultures to the lab to rate out any STD's, and bam, he pushed in a way too hard. Oops, is what he exclaimed. I'm sorry. I began to moan in pain, as and he came with blood. He stated, you were already bleeding before. I said no, I wasn't. I put my things back on, and was told I would bleed just a little, but not much. To come back if the bleeding had got worse. Now (I'm a mom that has several children) this was odd to me as I have been pregnant many times before. I went back to my room and slept with slight bleeding. I had awaken the next day with a huge brown blood tinge discharge. Went back to medical. He said my cervix was closed, but didn't know where the bleeding was coming from, and would schedule me the next exam for an ultrasound. I bleed all week long. It started getting so bad I wore pads. I was rushed to the hospital. The nurse had received report from my doctor before my arrival. As she begin asking me questions, I told her about the bleeding. She told me that I was a part of the precess, and I had to let my body work it out. Now clearly I knew I'm miscarrying but hadn't had an exam by the emergency room doctor. Afterwards, the doctor came in, ran tests, and noted that I needed bed rest. To not move. I went back to the facility and within a few days had started the grueling process of the large clots coming out. It took 3 days for everything to be completely done. I did a follow up with the doctor who informed me that I miscarried. No sure reason why, but I knew because of that exam. I went to psychology because I was distraught and needed to tell someone, and she shut me down, and had actually taken up for the physician. I was afraid to reach out to anyone because I was afraid of retaliation. I cried for around two months. I actually began feeling as if I were holding a baby at night. My depression was so deep because I had accepted being pregnant, giving birth and now no hope or help. I had to begin to lift myself out of pity and started a vocational course to ease my pain. They let me get into the trauma program, but my pain is still there. It's like a dead silence. It's as if he had given me a quick abortion. I'm hurt. I tried to reach out to someone on the outside for legal help, but in prison you're limited. As my process was going through, we had a news report that showed our facility's medical department was in a class action lawsuit, and then the T.V. was turned. I'm sharing my story because this still hurts me mentally. I fear medical professionals. From being fur flights up, Top bunk for a few days, high risk being over 35, and an unforeseen pain. I also forgot to mention, when I asked for pain meds, I received 10 Tylenol two hundred and fifty milligrams, and when going back to get more, the nurse said the doctor told her I couldn't have any more, but my bunkie who had a tooth pulled got 800 mg of Ibuprofen? It's hurtful. Being confined is one thing, but to experience an emotional breakdown in prison is another. It has to get better. In any event of trauma, please talk to someone or meditate in silence to receive clarity. Thank you, Rojunah Harris

Author: Harris, Rojonah

Author Location: Alabama

Date: August 6, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 7 pages

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