Nurse-Family Partnership

Nurse-Family Partnership's mission is to empower first-time mothers living in poverty to successfully change their lives and the lives of their children through evidence-based nurse home visiting. The goals of the Nurse-Family Partnership program are: 1. Improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices, including thorough prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diets, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal substances; 2. Improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care; and 3. Improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision fo...
Jan 8, 2014

"Enrolling in [NFP] is the best thing I ever did"

Kim and Daviontae
Kim and Daviontae

Nurse-Family Partnership is improving the lives of more than 26,000 families right now - through your support - thank you!  Following is one of our newest stories of one of our families:

Kim’s journey with Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) began following a referral from her doctor, and as some may say ‘just in the nick of time.’ “I first met Kim in March 2011 when she enrolled right under the 28 week deadline,” said Rubia Solis, Kim’s nurse home visitor in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Kim was living with her boyfriend at his mother’s house and was hesitant to enroll in the NFP program. She did not feel comfortable bringing a stranger into a home that wasn’t her own. However, her living situation soon changed. Kim and her boyfriend Damien were able to get their own apartment. “I enrolled in the program two days before receiving the keys to our new place,” Kim said.

Kim understood she made the right decision to enroll in the NFP program because she wanted help with her pregnancy, but she was still unsure of what to expect. “I was kind of nervous to ask questions about my body to a stranger, but the first visit actually went well!” said Kim. “Miss Rubia brought a binder with lots of pregnancy information in it. It helped me learn and made me feel comfortable asking Miss Rubia questions.”

Little did Kim know, that just a few weeks after her first home visit, she would become a new mother-far ahead of schedule.

One red flag Rubia saw during their visits was Kim’s blood pressure: it would not go down.

Upon Rubia’s advice, Kim scheduled a doctor’s appointment and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Four weeks later she went to the emergency room for a leaking water bag. Things moved quickly at that point.

“My doctor came in my room and asked me if my water broke,” said Kim. “I wasn’t sure since my water bag was already leaking and this was my first time being pregnant, but I did feel a gush before the doctor came in.” She was later moved to a separate room to prep for an emergency C-section because her fluid levels were low. Her doctor determined for the safety of her baby, the best decision was to deliver the baby that day.

“I was extremely scared. I wasn’t due for two more months and hadn’t had my baby shower, I had too much to still prepare myself for,” said Kim. “I walked in thinking this was nothing major and I could go home.”

Kim’s son was born that day, two months before Kim’s due date. Daivontae was born 3 pounds 7 ounces and was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) right away.

After waking up from her surgery Kim was unsure of what happened. “I asked the doctor, ‘did I actually have this baby?’” said Kim.

She was finally able to see her son in the NICU and when she did she broke down and cried. “It was hard seeing him on the ventilator and I asked, ‘why me, what did I do for my child to go through this?’” Kim said.

Kim and Rubia continued their visits in the NICU and formed a close and caring relationship. “It was a time of real discovery for the both of us and the baby,” said Rubia. “We didn’t have much time in the getting-to-know you phase before the baby was born and meeting in the NICU bonded us so much more.”

After learning she could take her baby boy home, Kim became extremely nervous. Daivontae weighed 4 pounds 11 ounces and his health was in good condition.

Nonetheless, taking care of her baby outside of the hospital still worried Kim. “He looked so fragile in his car seat and I wasn’t sure I was prepared, but I made it through the first night!” said Kim.

Kim did have extra help at home from her boyfriend which made tending to a new baby a little less stressful. “I would take the day shifts and Damien would take the night shifts.” Damien was involved and even attended the home visits when he could before his son was born.

Having Daivontae home was difficult at times, but Kim knew Rubia was a phone call away. “I called Miss Rubia three times a day when Daivontae was transitioning from breastfeeding to formula,” Kim said, “I felt comfortable talking to Miss Rubia; I called her before I even called my mom!”

Rubia will tell you Kim is a strong advocate for her child.  She kept every visit after she was able to take Daivontae home. “Her life was absorbed by getting what her child needed,” Rubia said.

“At nine months old they discovered Daivontae was blind in one eye,” said Rubia. “When I made a referral or suggestion, Kim was very proactive and would make phone calls and did her research. She has incredible strength for her son. Kim is a shining star.”

Now at 2 years-old, Daivontae is an active and healthy boy who loves being outside and keeps his mother and father busy. Kim has her certified nursing assistant certificate and plans on continuing her education and obtaining her LPN credentials. She credits her motivation to her nurse home visitor Rubia, the NFP program and her son.

“I stopped putting things off because I am more focused. Nothing is getting in my way,” said Kim.

Daivontae will continue to wear his glasses and if he wants to play sports as he gets older, he’ll wear goggles to protect his eyes. “He’s adjusted and you would never think he has a serious vision problem,” said Kim.

Kim describes motherhood as being loving, challenging and rewarding. Her hopes for the future are to complete her nursing education, happiness for her son, and eventually to purchase a home in the country with her boyfriend. “I love the country life, I grew up in the country and I want my son to have that life, too.”

Despite early obstacles, Kim gained the knowledge she needed to be a good parent from the help of her nurse, Rubia. “Enrolling in the program is the best thing I ever did. Without the program I wouldn’t be this far. Nurse-Family Partnership taught me to be a good parent,” Kim said, “I look at life a different way than I did before I had Daivontae. I now live for my child. He is the spark in my life and he keeps me going.”

_______________________________________________________

Kim graduated from the NFP program in April 2013 and currently lives in Lafayette, Louisiana, with her boyfriend of eight years, Damien, and their son Daivontae.  Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership make successes like this and many others possible.

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Jan 7, 2014

Magic Window of Opportunity

"There is a magic window during pregnancy... it's a time when the desire to be a good mother - and raise a healthy, happy child - creates motivation to overcome incredible obstacles including poverty, instability or abuse with the help of a well-trained nurse." (David Olds, Ph.D., Founder, Nurse-Family Partnership)

Nurse-Family Partnership’s first stated goal is improved pregnancy outcomes: healthier mothers who can deliver healthier babies.

Nurse-Family Partnership is a program of prenatal and infancy home visiting for low-income, first-time mothers and their families. The nurses begin visiting their clients as early in pregnancy as possible, helping the mother-to-be make informed choices for herself and her baby. Nurses and moms discuss a wide range of issues that affect prenatal health — from smoking cessation, to healthy diets, to information on how to access proper healthcare professionals. It’s this trusted, expert guidance that has been proven to lead to healthier pregnancies.

Among the improvements in pregnancy outcomes that have been observed in the randomized, controlled trials of the program are:

  • Decreases in prenatal cigarette smoking
  • Fewer hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
  • Fewer closely-spaced subsequent pregnancies

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps more moms in the United States to embrace this magic window of opportunity and improve both their lives and the lives of their children!  Please read the attached story to get a first-hand account of the impact your support makes!  Thank you!

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Oct 9, 2013

Helping Families with Economic Self-Sufficiency

Lum, Bless and Min
Lum, Bless and Min

One of the many things Nurse-Family Partnership, along with your support, helps families to think about and plan for is economic self-sufficiency.  The following story illustrates this as you learn about the amazing journey of a young refugee family just coming to the United States:

Lum was just beginning her new life in the United States when she found out she was pregnant. She and her boyfriend Min, both refugees from Burma, would have their first child together. It was another great challenge in their young lives.

“I felt so bad,” Lum said. “I didn’t know how I would continue my life. I needed school, and to continue working and I wanted a baby.”

Lum had fled Burma out of fear of the militant groups, and had lost her mom to a violent death in Burma. She was thankful to be in the United States, but she now had only her sister and brother as family to turn to in Des Moines as she and Min started their own family.

Then a local healthcare provider referred her to the Nurse-Family Partnership program at Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.

“As refugees, we really need someone to be a guide for us. I didn’t know how to take care of a baby, and the culture in my home country is different than the culture in this country,” said Lum.

Because Lum spoke little English, Marcia’s first home visit with Lum was done through a Chin-speaking interpreter. Marcia saw a timid and reserved young woman. “We really needed my nurse Marcia,” said Lum. “She could see how I lived – what I needed. When Marcia comes to my home, I feel more comfortable for talking.”

Lum relied on Marcia to help her fill out her Medicaid enrollment forms, decipher mail from state agencies and call her doctor. Lum was lost in a new country without the knowledge of how to access resources. “I had to help her advocate for herself,” Marcia said.

“Because I didn’t have a parent in the U.S., I felt really lonely,” Lum continued. “I didn’t know anything about being a mother. Marcia was like my sister, parent and my wonderful teacher. I was so happy when I met with Marcia. I could ask her everything I needed. I asked her so many questions.”

As the home visits with Marcia continued, Lum stopped using the interpreter and practiced her English. And, she slowly opened up when Marcia asked one special question: what was Lum’s heart’s desire? Lum said she wanted to have her very own hair salon.

“It was my dream to have my own salon!” Lum recalled.  “I thought when I became pregnant maybe it’s too much to want my own salon. When I told Marcia, she convinced me that I could get my dream. She made me feel more comfortable.”

Marcia encouraged her to follow her dream by taking classes at the Iowa School of Beauty. 

“I saw many strengths in Lum,” Marcia said. “She was industrious and hardworking. And she had a desire to
succeed and the benefit of a wonderful support system.”

Lum was trying to do it all while being pregnant, and it wasn’t easy. She attended school for eight hours a day, and then would continue on to work evenings at a chain store until 11 p.m. Adding to her load, her pregnancy was making her nauseous and tired. As they watched her try to cope, her family and Min decided they would take on
additional responsibilities to help Lum concentrate on graduating and allow her to stop working.

She was determined to graduate from beauty school, but had her final few weeks of pregnancy to go. With her graduation planned just over a week before her due date, Lum knew timing was everything. She had to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy to be able to attend all the classes needed for graduation. With guidance from her nurse Marcia, support from her family and a bit of luck, Lum finished her classes before giving birth to a beautiful, healthy son.  Lum and Min named him Bless – for the blessing he adds to their lives.

Marcia says the Nurse-Family Partnership aims for three main goals for every client: healthy pregnancy and delivery, improved child health and development, and economic self-sufficiency. Lum is achieving all three.

“I’ve gotten to see her inner strengths grow and blossom as I’ve watched her evolve and transform into a strong, confident mom,” said Marcia.

“Marcia gives me strength,” Lum remarked. “She was my guide to become more powerful. Marcia is my light.”

As Bless approaches his second birthday, Lum no longer needs public support from WIC or Medicaid. With her partner Min to do the electrical wiring and her family and Marcia connecting her with resources, Lum has made her dream come true. She is now is the owner of The Amazing Beauty Salon. She even had the self-reliance to develop a business plan and to take out a small business loan. Lum’s salon is attracting customers and she has hired her first employee.

“The Nurse-Family Partnership program really helped her to be self-sufficient,” Marcia said. Just like the name of her
salon, Marcia describes Lum as truly amazing – an excellent mother and skilled business woman. No longer the shy
young woman Marcia first met, Lum now feels empowered to advocate for herself and go after what she wants.

Lum and Min are now expecting the birth of their second child. They feel ready to grow their family and they want
Bless to have a sibling companion in life. Lum says she now has the knowledge, thanks to Marcia, to be a confident mom.

When asked how her life has changed, Lum exclaimed, “I changed a lot. I know myself. I now feel comfortable with my life. Before I thought maybe I can’t get it. Now, I know I can get it and I did it!”

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Nurse-Family Partenership nurses are there with their clients to help them be the best parents they can be, the best advocates for themselves and their children, and to realize their own potential.  Your support helps make these important life steps possible and we thank you!

Bless, Min and Lum with their nurse Marcia
Bless, Min and Lum with their nurse Marcia

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