There are few times in a woman’s life as important as the day she gives birth. It is a time of happiness and excitement, but it can also be a time of fear and anxiety. A woman’s relationship with her doctor, with the nurses in the room, helps keep a hectic and potentially dangerous situation under control. When that relationship is not as strong as it should be, however, and a routine delivery becomes the total opposite. Factor in a language barrier and complications can quickly arise.

That was the case for Judith Zambrano.

Like many immigrant women who come to the United States, Zambrano gave birth to her child among individuals who were far removed from her culture, from what she was used to, from any true understanding of her situation. She had been in the country for a few months when her due date approached. Complications from her high blood pressure led hospital staff to hospitalize her for evaluation. When the time came to deliver her baby, a language barrier led to unfathomable consequences.

This is her story.