Supporting Hands Nurse-Family Partnership

Client Story - Amanda's Story

"Nurse-Family Partnership lays the foundation to put you on the right foot as new parents," said Andrea, a NFP graduate from Henryville, Pennsylvania. "There isn't a class in school that tells you how to raise a kid. Nurse-Family Partnership is like an instruction book that gives you the knowledge and positive encouragement to raise a baby."

Andrea is grateful for her experience in the Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP) program that she and her now husband Eric needed with having their first son, Aiden, in 2003. Aiden will soon celebrate his 10th birthday. He is thriving in school and loves meeting friends. "He is a really smart kid with a kind heart," Andrea said.

Andrea and Eric are also the proud parents of Aiden's three other siblings: 4-year-old Cody, 2-year-old Autumn, and 11-month-old Briella. They own a web-design company that has continued to grow since they started their business in 2005, when Aiden was just 2-years old.

Andrea has become the person she wanted to become since first enrolling in the NFP program over 10 years ago.

"Andrea went from being a quiet, young woman, not working and living in an apartment with two roommates, to being a self-employed, self-assured business owner owning her own home," said Ginny, the NFP nurse home visitor who provided them with home visits throughout Andrea's pregnancy until Aiden's second birthday.

But it wasn't an easy journey, Andrea said. She was just 22, fresh out of school and had only been dating Eric a few months. "I was just figuring out what I wanted to do and I was not expecting to get pregnant."

She had graduated from community college with an associate's degree in interactive media design and small business management. Andrea knew she wanted to go into web design. It was an emerging field, and she was in the first class to graduate from her school's program.

Everything was new for Andrea and Eric, including the expense that comes with a new baby. They felt overwhelmed and needed help.

"The situation we were in could have easily have turned to be something totally different. But we were very lucky to find each other and be the people that we are," said Andrea.

Holly's parenting skills were also a work in progress. "Holly had babysat before, and she knew about how to do certain tasks like diapering and feeding a baby, but she learned more about the 'why' for these things through NFP," says Ann. "For example, Holly loves to play with Tony, but now she also understands that playing with her son has meaning for his future mental and physical development."

When she reflects back on meeting Ginny for the first time, she says, "I couldn't have asked for someone better in that situation. She is such a nice and easy to talk to person. Anytime you are in a situation where someone new comes into your life, especially when you are being asked personal questions, it is hard to open up to someone and not feel judged that you did something wrong. Ginny didn't come in and tell me what to do and how to do it. Ginny was always non-judgmental and informative and always happy. She never had a bad day. I don't know what kind of coffee she drinks, but I want some of that!"

Ann worked with Holly and Alan to help them understand the natural development of their baby, and assuage the many fears that arise among new parents. For example, when Tony was still not sitting up at seven months, Holly grew concerned. Ann explained to her that children develop at different rates and that Tony was still well within the accepted range.

On her home visits, Ginny answered Andrea's questions on pregnancy and later, after Aiden was born, on his health and development. "It's stressful having a kid as it is, and throwing on not knowing what to do makes it more difficult," Andrea said. She had questions, like what should he be eating, that she didn't want to call her pediatrician to answer, but liked having Ginny there to answer and reassure her that she was being a good parent.

Ginny remarked at how engaged Andrea was during their home visits. She took an active role in preparing herself to be a mom and always completed the lessons before the next home visit.

Once Aiden was born, he was going to bed between midnight and 2 a.m. Andrea and Eric would wait to go to bed until after he had fallen asleep, and then were exhausted the next day. Andrea turned to Ginny for help. Ginny showed her how to track Aiden's sleep. She learned to put him down for an earlier afternoon nap at a regular time, which helped to move up his bedtime. "When we talked about parenting information, such as the importance of routines, Andrea made it her own," Ginny remarked. The new sleeping system helped to regulate everyone's sleep schedule and feel better the next day.

Ginny also helped Andrea to set goals to achieve her heart's desire – an essential component of the NFP program. Andrea had studied to be a web designer, because she wanted the flexibility to work from home and "see her kids grow up," she said. She was telecommuting as a web developer for a company in New Jersey, but ultimately wanted to own a web-design business.

When Aiden was two, Ginny helped Andrea and Eric access community resources and make contacts to start their own web design business. Today their company, WebLeaps, is thriving. Andrea and Eric, with Ginny's guidance, also applied for a first-time home buyers program that helped them purchase a home interest-free for a period of time.

"I think they are a family to be admired," said Ginny. Andrea also was ready for the next steps in her family life. She says Ginny's support gave her the foundation and knowledge to know what to expect with her next three children.

Aiden likes being a big brother to his baby sister Briella, sister Autumn and brother Cody. He has excelled at school from the start. Helping kids be prepared to start school is one of the proven outcomes of Nurse-Family Partnership. Aiden now comes home from school lamenting about getting a 90 on a test, and Andrea will reassure him that it's ok if you don't get 100% every time. "He always wants to do his best and get the best grade," she said.

Aiden also is a star athlete on the roller hockey team. He plays goalie and is an outstanding shooter. "It's crazy some of the goals he makes!" Andrea exclaimed.

Andrea says it was NFP that made a difference in her family's lives. "Having the knowledge and support from Ginny, helped give us the best chance to give the best quality of life for Aiden," said Andrea. "Nurse-Family Partnership shows you what is the best thing for your child."

Despite being young and unprepared, Andrea and Eric became successful parents.

Andrea says "the encouragement from Ginny – saying you can do it – you are worth more" is what helped her stay positive, learn essential skills and achieve her dreams.

Andrea was enrolled in 2003 in the Nurse-Family Partnership program through Pocono Health System in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She graduated from the NFP program in 2005.