Do Something Different to Commemorate Mother's Day

by Nurse-Family Partnership
NFP mom Kamilah and son Jeyson
NFP mom Kamilah and son Jeyson

Nurse-Family Partnership moms are inspired by their nurses and the support they receive. After the two and a half years end, many moms have a hard time saying goodbye. That was just the case for Nurse-Family Partnership graduate Kamilah, but she thought of a creative way to express her appreciation to her nurse home visitor. Kamilah wrote the following poem to her nurse and read it at her NFP graduation ceremony:

Learning how to have good goodbyes...

Learning how to say goodbye is difficult to do, especially after spending over two years with you.

For all the things in motherhood I may have lacked, the nurse family partnership had my back.

You held my hand through the most important time of my life, if you didn't come bearing gifts you came with good advice.

I know I will go down in history as your most difficult client, I've been needy, moody and defiant.

I know if someone is giving you a hard time you'll be able to exercise self-restraint, for the ultimate test of your patience you have me to thank.

It was you that jumpstarted my nursing career path, I know success is all you wish for the aftermath.

I wish you touch the hearts of other mothers the way you did mine, I will carry the knowledge you gave me until the end of time.

I'd like to extend a tremendous thank you for all of you involved, you guys that made this program so first-time mothers could grow, mature and evolve.

They say goodbyes are for people you'll never see again, and that you're not supposed to go too long without seeing a good friend.

Thank you for the hand you had in making my child's life that much greater, this isn't a goodbye it's an "I'll see you later."

 

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps make futures possible for thousands of moms across the United States - healthier moms and babies, increased school readiness and increased possibilites for these families - thank you!

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Nurse-Family Partnership moms are faced with so many challenges - like finding a place to live and not having the support of family – and with support of donors like you we are able to help them face these challenges and become strong, self-sufficient parents.  Following is a great video from 'Women in the World' featuring Alyssa, a Nurse-Family Partnership mom, and her child (2 minutes 22 seconds): http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/05/10/new-mom-finds-support-strength-in-relationship-with-visiting-nurse/  - by Jennifer Perry

Alyssa and her son are off to a strong start as a family - thank you for helping to change the lives of families and supporting Nurse-Family Partnership - you are making a difference!

Sam and Izobel
Sam and Izobel

‘I am about to have a baby on my own, I need the help!’” said Sam, an Nurse-Family Partnership mom.

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps thousands of moms every day - like Sam.

Following is more of Sam's story: 

After several failed attempts to reach out to Sam by phone, Karen Mitteness - nurse home visitor for the Supporting Hands Nurse-Family Partnership program in rural Minnesota - thought she may never connect with Sam. Karen was adamant to make this connection, but it was not working out.

It wasn’t until Sam was at her local WIC office in Benson, Minnesota and her nurse there told her to speak with Karen, that a connection was finally made. Karen recalls Sam walked in her office and kindly said, “Hi, I’m the girl who never returns your phone calls.” The relationship grew from there.

Twenty-four-year-old Sam had a lot on her mind and wasn’t sure if enrolling in the Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP)  program was something she could manage. She had recently called off an engagement and knew she could use help since this was her first baby. “I really had no idea what Nurse-Family Partnership would offer. After meeting Karen that first day, she explained the program is there to prepare me to have my baby and we would discuss topics I wanted to learn about. I thought, ‘I am about to have a baby on my own, I need the help!’” said Sam.

In the beginning, Sam was not comfortable opening up to Karen, but after several visits that all changed.  “I am a private person and it was hard sharing with Karen,” said Sam. “I now get excited to share things Izobel  (Sam’s daughter) does and I want to share everything all the time!” said Sam.

The relationship Karen and Sam built has helped Sam learn to take on life’s moments, one thing at a time. “Learning I was pregnant was scary at first. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Sam. “I thought, ‘Oh boy what did I get myself into. I have to bathe her on my own and get up in the middle of the night.’” Sam realized she was beginning a journey that would be both rewarding and difficult, but with Karen’s help she learned to take on each moment as it happened.

“Karen has helped me be more relaxed about things,” said Sam. “Karen says, ‘Do what you can and that is all that matters.’” The support Sam received from Karen helped Sam in the most difficult times. When Sam was 20-weeks pregnant an ultrasound showed her daughter had a swollen kidney. “The doctors continued to monitor Izobel’s kidney, but there was no improvement,” said Sam. Sam’s daughter would need kidney surgery. Karen and Sam discussed what to expect with Izobel’s surgery. “Karen and I went over the surgeon’s plans and orders. I think Karen knew better than I did that the surgery was going to be rough on me. She was right,” said Sam.

When Izobel was 3-months old, Sam drove three hours in blizzard conditions to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota for Izobel’s kidney surgery. Sam was terrified to drive in a big city and in bad weather conditions. “My home town of Appleton has about 800 people, we don’t have a stop light in our town, so driving in a big city and in the snow was nerve wracking, but my friend and I found our way safely,” Sam said.

Sam’s daughter Izobel didn’t just have one surgery for her kidney - she had three. Her first surgery was unsuccessful and had to be repeated. Izobel was also sent home with a suprapubic catheter. The second surgery was successful and Izobel’s third surgery was to remove the stint placed on her kidney. While Sam was in the hospital she was gracious to the kind nurses who took care of her daughter and gracious to the guidance she received from Karen during that time.

“Izobel’s nurses were amazing,” said Sam. “Izobel’s nurses taught me how to take care of her and my CNA training also made me less nervous about it all. After Izobel’s surgery Karen reassured me that I was taking care of Izobel the way I needed to. It was nice having Karen there to talk about Izobel’s surgery.”

Taking care of Izobel after her surgery sparked more interest in Sam to continue her schooling for nursing. “I thought, ‘These nurses are great.  Why can’t I do that too?’”

Karen will tell you one of Sam’s strengths is when she puts her mind to something and has the support, she gets it done. Sam did exactly that. With Karen’s support and motivation, Sam applied for an online licensed practiced nurse (LPN) program in Watertown, South Dakota and received the news she wasn’t expecting to hear. “Sam was told she needed a letter that would demonstrate she was worthy of admittance,” said Karen.  Sam was determined to get accepted and asked Karen to write her a letter of recommendation. “I wrote a letter for Sam and she was told she was put on a waiting list,” said Karen. 

Being put on the waiting list did not stop Sam. She signed up for online classes with another institution and began taking courses. While attending a doctor’s appointment for her daughter, Sam received a phone call saying she was admitted to the online LPN program in South Dakota and was overwhelmed with joy.

This was great news that would help her reach her goals.Sam would now take on even more classes since she was accepted to the LPN online program. Today, Sam plans to complete the LPN program and continue to go on and become a registered nurse. Sam is currently facing her most difficult semester. “I am taking 16 credits in school, I work part-time and I am Izobel’s mother full time,” said Sam.

Sam lives with her father, who is hearing impaired and divorced her mother when Sam was a young age.  While her dad has been supportive, one of her goals besides obtaining her LPN and becoming a registered nurse is to move out of her father’s house. “My dad is a great support to me and Izobel, but I don’t want to live at home forever,” said Sam.  Sam currently is raising her daughter on her own, but has a good relationship with Izobel’s father.

Little 1-year-old Izobel is the light of Sam’s life. “She is outgoing and not afraid of anyone,” said Karen. “Izobel is a gem!”

Sam shares, Izobel’s unique way her name is spelled comes from a character from one of her favorite television series, but she made her name even more unique by spelling it with a ‘z.’

Sam has learned to focus on her goals and has become a confident mother because of the NFP program. “This program has helped me so much, Karen is always so positive and makes me feel good about school and Izobel,” said Sam. “Karen doesn’t make every meeting only about Izobel, because once you have a baby it is all about the baby. Karen discusses school with me and my future.”

The next challenge Sam faces besides balancing being a mother, school and working a part-time job is her daughter’s vision. Izobel has to wear an eye patch three hours a day and wears glasses all day as well. “Izobel’s gotten a lot better about wearing the eye patch and glasses,” said Sam. “She of course doesn’t like wearing the eye patch and glasses all the time and wants to take them off, but she is learning she has to wear them.”

Izobel wears the eye patch to strengthen the muscles in her eye. “Sam is very good about keeping the eye patch and glasses on Izobel, which you can imagine can be a struggle at times, but she always has the patch and glasses on Izobel when we have visits,” said Karen.

Sam and Karen’s relationship continues to grow. If it wasn’t for Sam making that initial connection that day in Karen’s office, Sam’s life would be different. “I would definitely be more uptight and worried that I was doing something wrong with Izobel. Karen has been great because she never puts me down or makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, so I wouldn't have that positive support either. Karen gave me the push to go back to school. With Karen’s help, I can make good decisions for me and Izobel. It's going to be strange when she (Karen) stops her visits.” said Sam.

Karen will continue to visit Sam until Izobel turns 2-years old. Karen has seen many improvements in Sam and knows Sam will have a bright future. “I give Sam a lot of credit. She has demonstrated so much maturity and made many decisions. She focuses on her strengths and I see things moving in a positive direction for her,” said Karen.

Postscript - Sam completed her first semester with a 4.0 GPA and made the President’s list. She and Izobel are doing well and Sam is looking forward to Izobel growing and learning more every day. 

Sam graduated from the Nurse-Family Partnership program in December 2014. 

Thank you for helping to make a difference in the lives of families through Nurse-Family Partnership.

Baby Joe
Baby Joe

Mother's Day is just over a month away!  Have you thought about how you are going to honor your mom or a mom in your life?

We have said it before, at Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) every day is Mother's Day.  We work with vulnerable new moms - before their baby is even born - to make sure they are going to be the best mom, advocate and provider they can possible be for their baby.

“I was a very young single mom and I didn’t feel prepared,” she said. “Health class in school doesn’t really prepare you.” said a young NFP mom in PA.  You can read more about her story in the March 16, 2015 article from the Times Leader, "'Health class doesn't really prepare you'... but a visiting nurse can" by Mary Therese Biebel

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership moms not only honors and supports them, but it also honors those moms you value in your life - thank you!

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Your support helps to change the lives of moms and babies, but the nurses who form relationships with these families are forever changed as well.  Here is a story about Gail, one of our Nurse-Family Partnership nurses:

When I first came to Guilford Child Development, a Nurse-Family Partnership implementing agency in North Carolina, I never dreamed my work with NFP would become a peak employment experience.

First of all, as a registered nurse, I had not worked in maternal-child health nursing since I completed my bachelor’s degree. Nor had I ever worked with teenagers, pregnant mothers, or infants. Consequently, I knew I had a huge learning curve to overcome. At the time, I would not have described myself as someone comfortable doing an intense home visitation program. Boy, was I wrong!

The Nurse-Family Partnership training represented a paradigm shift in my views of infant development. I have worked in many different areas of nursing, other than the training I received as a surgical intensive care nurse, and none have come close to the depth of preparation I received for NFP. And, after training, the program also had excellent internal supports in place to help new practitioners circumvent failure.

During initial training, I became acutely aware of what a nurse’s visits meant to an inexperienced mother. Throughout the prenatal months, the nurse was a source of support and information that covered the gamut of topics and concerns a new mother might anticipate. One important goal was to convey the messages required by the program’s protocol, in order to give the mother an opportunity to experience a healthy pregnancy. To the mother, it often meant having someone teach her and her family how to make a healthy pregnancy possible— to impart information in order to alleviate fears of the unknown abyss of childbirth, breastfeeding, and the dayto-day care of a newborn.

Once an infant was born, the goals changed. At this juncture, not only was it important to teach the mother how to be an informed parent, but it was also important to facilitate self-efficacy. Assisting the mother in finding solutions for positive outcomes was an integral part in the mother’s development. For this challenge, it was necessary for me to understand the mothers’ dreams for themselves. Some articulate their life’s vision quite easily, while others were in the formative state of goalsetting, and more self-exploration was required. It was this experience that separates Nurse-Family Partnership from other programs designed to improve outcomes for vulnerable new mothers. I felt as if I were teaching these young women to fish.

The transformations I witnessed in the mothers were a constant source of gratification for me. To observe the benefit our relationship had upon their infants’ social and physical development gave me an incredible sense of accomplishment. During the 2+ years I spent with each mother, I witnessed changes that were life-altering. Many
of the mothers I served were from different countries and backgrounds—which meant that on occasion, ideas I suggested were sometimes opposed to traditions and information prevalent in their cultures. I was also exposed to new customs as I listened to understand their thinking and feelings. The sharing of beliefs allowed us to decide what was negotiable, and this strategy created an environment in which both could grow and work toward common goals.

In order for me to facilitate such a major change in their beliefs and practices, a trusting relationship was required.
Having a woman allow me to be part of one of the most important and sacred events of their life sprung from the
strong commitment I had to guard and protect their trust in me.

I had moments of great pleasure throughout my relationship with each family, not just at the end of the time I spent
with them. As a relationship would come to a close, I realized I had a very strong feeling of ownership. I was ecstatic
to see a two-year-old—previously destined to be physically, emotionally, and developmentally delayed—move to
within the normal ranges of infant growth and development. Even more rewarding was to watch them progress into
toddlerhood with flourishing cognitive, motor and language skills.

I was always impressed with the mothers’ commitment to create a nurturing and supportive environment that allowed
their children to meet developmental milestones. After many months together, these women were finally in the
position to teach their own children and others to fish.

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps to make these life altering differences in the lives of families - thank you!


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Organization Information

Nurse-Family Partnership

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.nursefamilypartnership.org
Project Leader:
Michelle Stapleton
Denver, CO United States
$1,196 raised of $50,000 goal
 
29 donations
$48,804 to go
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