When a woman is pregnant for the first time, she has dozens of questions and just as many opinions from friends and family. She’ll receive a lot of well-meaning advice, but how can she know what are the best choices for her and her baby? To help Williamson County’s pregnant women and new mothers through those unfamiliar times, the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) pairs a first-time mother with her very own, personal nurse to guide her through pregnancy and give her expert health advice.
In Central Texas, Nurse-Family Partnership is celebrating a 10-year partnership with Any Baby Can, and is expanding the program to serve more expecting mothers. By the beginning of 2019 three more nurses will join the staff, bringing the team up to 16 nurses. This will be the largest NFP team in Texas. Any Baby Can expects to serve up to 400 expecting and new moms in the coming year.
Nurse-Family Partnership: A True Story
When she was four months pregnant, Rosa Villarreal learned about Nurse-Family Partnership, and although she was insecure about meeting a nurse, she pushed through her shyness and decided to give NFP a try. Rosa soon met with Desiree Rodriguez, RN, MSN, nurse at Any Baby Can at her home.
“It felt weird to talk about my life and my pregnancy, and I didn’t want to say something if it wasn’t appropriate,” shares Rosa. “But Desiree explained that her role in the program is to make me feel comfortable. She also shared that I could ask anything I wanted. I began to feel more confident and enjoy my time with her.”
Rosa describes Desiree’s calm demeanor when discussing difficult or would-be embarrassing topics, and knows Desiree is there to support whatever decision Rosa makes. Expressing feelings or opinions was hard for Rosa. At times, she was very emotional before she gave birth because she never had a mom in her life. Her parents haven’t been there for her and her paternal grandmother has been the one constant person in her life before Desiree.
“Desiree is there for me, sharing information and never judging me,” says Rosa. “And I really was grateful for the time she spent with me. It was valuable. All of my OBGYN appointments were very quick and didn’t feel as if my doctor really had time to talk to me or answer my questions and concerns.” Desiree also monitored her blood pressure in between doctor appointments because it was elevated at times.
After giving birth, Rosa didn’t know why her baby was crying so much. At Desiree’s next visit, Rosa asked her if this much crying was normal. Desiree shared a video about “purple crying,” and shared that parents can put their baby in a safe place if they are crying. Rosa then felt like she could handle the crying, and she then listened closely when Desiree shared information about self-care for moms.
“Self-care is important and I don’t think I’d be as successful in my classes at Austin Community College if I wasn’t taking care of myself,” Rosa shares.
Now 19 years old and studying to become a nurse, Rosa and her baby’s father are married and building a life together. “We want to buy a house in a few years and I want to become a nurse, working in a good job. We want to provide a better future for our daughter,” she says.
Rosa is also trying to build a relationship with her mom because she now has her own daughter and wants to create a bond between the three of them. Desiree is still giving her support and feedback, encouraging “smaller steps” in the relationship when needed.
“This program is a good experience and the nurses are full of knowledge for first-time moms,” says Rosa. “Desiree was never negative. And I always felt supported and loved.”
Pregnant women in Williamson and Travis County who are eligible for these free services can enroll immediately. Once enrolled, a first-time mother connects with her nurse who answers questions about what to expect during her pregnancy, childbirth and taking care of her baby. To find out more, pregnant moms can visit txnfp.org, or call or text 346-201-3730.