Kiersten Scott went to a local medical center in 2020 because she felt her hormones were running low.
A few tests later, Scott was told she was pregnant.
“For me, it was like being pregnant for the first time, again, because it was so long,” Scott said. “My children are 14 years apart. At the time, I had no idea that I would be pregnant again.
Due to Scott’s age in his late thirties, one of the nurses at the health center recommended that he see Rhonda Dixon, a certified nurse midwife at CHRISTUS Maternity and Women’s Health Center.
Scott, from Port Arthur, said it was a great decision, describing his time working with Dixon “like going to see a friend”.
“She was really nice, practical and I enjoyed every moment of it,” Scott said. “You felt like they really cared about you. She really took her time. She explained a lot of things that were going on with my body and what they were looking for. She gave me things that I needed to do, things that might help and made adjustments. She wouldn’t let me forget anything.
“They had to refer me to specialists they are connected to, and it was the same thing. Everyone they connected with was amazing.
Scott’s son, Kyler, was born happy and healthy on January 7, 2021.
She said he was “doing amazing,” just starting to walk and getting ready to go to daycare.
CHRISTUS Maternity and Women’s Health
Dixon, who is also an advanced practice registered nurse, said her experiences with Scott were indicative of the care she feels the women of Greater Port Arthur deserve.
No. 1, according to Dixon, midwives don’t just give birth at home. They work in hospitals, neighborhood clinics, birthing centers, etc.
No. 2, she said that midwives have been proven to reduce many health complications in patients, especially pregnant patients.
#3, “We don’t just deliver babies, we do Pap smears, we do breast exams, we treat infections, we order blood work and other tests, we do ultrasounds and help doctors with C-sections,” Dixon said.
The work is important to Dixon, who was born and raised in this community.
“I have a lot in common with my patients,” she says. “I can relate to some of their experiences.”
According to Dixon, word about the women’s health center is growing. She noted that patients, even those who don’t speak English, were driving from Houston, Baytown, Orange, Bridge City, Beaumont and Winnie for care and attention.
The center uses a phone line service via iPad for patients who do not speak English.
“It’s just about making the patient the center of attention in that moment,” Dixon said. “Every patient receives authentic, quality care and a little more.”
Time spent with patients
Patients are not treated as just another number. They are treated like human beings who need to be listened to.
Dixon believes that sentiment is lacking in much of health care. Creating a connection is key.
“It helps the patient open up to me, and I’m able to help her with other issues that she thought maybe we didn’t have time to talk about,” Dixon said. “Maybe she’s too embarrassed to say what’s going on. A lot of times, especially in women’s health, since we’re dealing with parts of the body that most people don’t want to talk about, things can be ignored.
Dixon thinks everyone deserves good treatment, adding there has to be equity in health.
“I know a lot of the people I serve are some of the main people who struggle more because they’re not being listened to,” she said. “People don’t take the time to find out what’s really going on with them.
“Our whole team treats our patients the same way. We all care about our patients. I think the composition of the team is important and helps from the first time a patient calls and schedules her appointment until she leaves. Everyone she spoke to provided her with the same kind of care and attention.
Outside of listening, Dixon said her team can provide resources for people if they’re struggling with depression or any type of anxiety.
“If they lack food, clothing, shelter, we can provide resources for that,” Dixon said. “We don’t just focus on the medical or the physical, but on the whole person.”
CHRISTUS Maternity and Women’s Health Center is located at 8801 9th Avenue, Suite 501 in Port Arthur. Those interested in learning more can call 409-989-5858.
It’s a place that still means a lot to Scott nearly 16 months after the birth of his child.
“They’re an amazing place,” she said. “I tried to send all my friends or anyone I know who might be pregnant there because they took such good care of me and were really nice.”