Everybody has a story. Though it may seem ordinary to some, each person’s story is unique and important in the tapestry of life. We will be bringing you a series of stories from people who care for Veterans across our Nation.

Hello! My name is Lauren Winebrenner and I am a Navy Veteran and a Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center (VAMC). I started my VA career as a Pathways Student Intern, and was fortunate enough to have that internship turn into a full time position after I graduated from college in 2013.


My husband and I moved to Martinsburg, W.Va. with our son in 2011, and I was using my GI Bill to attend Shepherd University. On my first day of class, I met a woman named Heather who is a Marine Veteran (and now my best friend) and she told me I should be seen at our local VA Women Veterans Health Clinic. I had no idea that I would be eligible or that it was so easy to enroll! That seems to be a recurring theme with the younger generation of Veterans and VA. Sometimes, we need to hear firsthand from someone else about the benefits and services that VA offers. That is why I wanted to write this blog, and hopefully help another female Veteran who might not know about everything VA does for our female Veterans.

On February 13, 2014 I got the best Valentine’s Day present ever—I learned I was pregnant with my second child! I immediately knew I had to tell my doctor at the Women’s Health Clinic, Dr. Habte; so I sent her a Secure Message using My HealtheVet, and asked if I could get blood work done to confirm the pregnancy. The nurse told me I could come in first thing and have the blood work done at the lab. Once the results were confirmed, I received a congratulatory secure message from the nurse, as well as a personal phone call from my doctor. They told me the next step was for them to put in the referral to an outside provider which would handle my obstetrics (OB) care. The process and paperwork was handled by the Non-VA Care Coordination Program and was very easy to accomplish. I chose a midwife group based out of Martinsburg, and VA sent me all the paperwork I needed to take to them on my first appointment. It is convenient because I will see the midwives for all my OB care; however I can still have my prescriptions and lab work done at VA.

So I began counting down the days until my first appointment! In the meantime, I had no idea that VA would assign me to the Women Veterans Health Clinic Social Worker, who was so sweet when she called. She will basically call me every once in a while and ask me how I am doing, if I need anything, if I want any educational materials or support and just have someone to talk to if I need it. I thought that was very sweet and a really good benefit to have, because pregnancy can be a very uncomfortable and BUMP-y road (get it?).

All in all, I was very surprised by how involved VA would still  throughout my pregnancy. All of my maternity care and seven days of newborn care will be covered by VA, and I will still have my doctor, care team and the social worker to look after me and be there if I need it. I think it is a great arrangement, and I am very excited to take this journey with my growing family and VA. Will you join me?

About Lauren:

lauren_wLauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. We are all excited to follow her on this healthcare journey!

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Published on Mar. 24, 2014

Estimated reading time is 3.4 min.

Views to date: 60

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