Jennifer Clouse, 20, was one of the first moms in our Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) program, a national, evidence-based initiative that improves the health and life course of low-income, first-time mothers and their children.
She delivered Jayden in December 2009 and attributes her healthy pregnancy and growing child to the NFP.
“My nurse Lisa has really helped me be a better mom,” Jennifer said. “She helped me realize how important these years are for Jayden. The way I care for him now will affect him for the rest of his life!”
Early in her pregnancy, each NFP mother is paired with a registered nurse who shares health information and regularly visits the family for wellness check-ups through the child’s second birthday. Guidance is offered on subjects ranging from vitamins and prenatal care to potty training and household safety. Nurses even encourage new moms to continue their education and find employment.
Jennifer followed Lisa’s prenatal care advice to the letter and spends her days reading or interacting with Jayden. Some of their favorite activities are free or low-cost Greenville County development programs, such as Gymboree, and library programs. Jennifer isn’t just a stay-at-home mom.
When fiancé Matthew (Jayden’s dad) returns from work, Jennifer attends college classes. She’s doing all she can to make a great life for her family.
After becoming a stepmom in 2000 to Brandon and Matthew, Hope Lienau wanted to grow the young family she shared with husband Chris. Shortly after their marriage, they started their journey of expanding their family. After suffering two miscarriages, Hope became pregnant and carried to term and delivered a healthy boy, Corbin (now 6), in 2003. Wanting Corbin to have a sibling close to his age, they embarked on what they thought was their last pregnancy. They quickly became pregnant with Collin, due to arrive in December 2005.
At 36 and ½ weeks pregnant, in November 2005, Hope received the unfortunate news that Collin’s heart was no longer beating. After laboring all night, Collin Chamberlain Lienau was born, still. He had died from a double nuchal cord accident, where the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice. Collin’s passing was extremely painful for the family, as their excitement had grown with Hope’s maternal belly. Collin was a part of the family in her heart, and Hope needed a way to remember him and to share that memory with her husband and other children.
The Greenville Health System University Medical Center (GHS) bereavement program along with her Labor and Delivery Nurses helped Hope and her family to create treasured keepsakes.
“We received a beautiful butterfly memory box that contains Collin’s birth hat, an angel birth gown, a soft hand made crocheted blanket, a mini scrapbook, pictures of Collin, a hand/foot print kit, baby hand/foot molds, a baby bracelet with Collin’s name, a sterling silver butterfly charm, a poem, and lock of his hair,” Hope said.
Hope was cautiously optimistic when she conceived again in March 2007. This baby, too, was due Dec. 5, the same due date as Collin. On Nov. 11, while on a shopping trip, Hope’s stomach was accidentally run into by a shopping cart. She immediately went to the hospital and was monitored for 24 hours, and then allowed to return home. One day later she returned to the hospital where she delivered a beautiful healthy baby girl, Addison Faith. The same Labor and Delivery nurses that had delivered Collin in 2005 were scheduled and working when Addison was born on Nov. 13. Not only was this birth healing for Hope and her husband, but also for the nurses who had helped preserve memories of Collin.
Since Collin’s death and birth, Hope has volunteered with Greenville Hospital System to help grieving families. In 2006, Hope and her mother, Betty Pharr, painted a butterfly mural in the Greenville Health System Bereavement room. Hope was recently hired by Pediatrix, a medical group that performs newborn hearing screenings in the GHS mom-baby unit.
Greenville Health System has a bereavement program for unfortunate situations like the one Hope experienced. The program was developed to provide support to families who suffer the death of a child in the hospital. We provide keepsakes and memory boxes for parents and age-appropriate memory bags for siblings along with counsel and support. The program even supports the care staff associated with the family as many times grief is a difficulty they share with patients’ families.
What do you get when you combine a pressing need for prenatal support among Latina women with a passion for serving the community well?
PASOs – the Spanish word for steps.
In June 2009, the Perinatal Awareness for Successful Outcomes program (PASOs) blossomed from the partnership of The Greenville Health System Obstetric Care Center (OB Center), South Carolina Public Health Institute (SC PHI) and The Duke Endowment.
The growing community initiative seeks to fight the high rate of birth defects and pregnancy complications among Latina women by providing education and training services free of charge.
While 2006 data from the South Carolina Department for Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) shows that the birth rate for Latino women is more than double that of other population subgroups, the University of South Carolina Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies found that 74% of Latinos reported having no health insurance.
PASOs participants learn about prenatal care in a group-based environment, community-based health educators train to better sustain healthy practices and partnerships form throughout the non-profit sector, public health care system and Latino communities.
The service operates under the leadership of OB Center Medical Director Amy Picklesimer, MD, MSPH, and the guidance of PASOs Program Coordinator Paola Gutiérrez.
As program coordinator, Pájon says her passion for reaching out to young mothers in need comes from her “love for the female Latina community.”
“This is not like a job for me; it’s more like a hobby,” she said. “I have spent my whole life involved in the community and helping women that really need it.”
By seeking out these women through area groups and through various media outlets, Pájon works to break down barriers of language, transportation and lack of information so that she can establish a sense of compassion and trust between Latinas and resource providers.
The result of these efforts? Healthy babies and healthier communities.
As of July 2010, more than 150 participants have been educated through PASOs, while an additional 15 potential moms seek guidance from the office each day and 10 clinic tours are given each month.