‘I simply couldn’t have done it without her’: How one nurse changed everything
A Georgia mom’s inspiring story how Nurse-Family Partnership was there to help
"Nurse-Family Partnership is backed by over 45 years of research and proven outcomes for both mom and baby." — NFP ."Nurse-Family Partnership has showed a: 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect; 56% reduction in ER visits for accidents and poisonings; 50% reduction in language delays of child age 2; and 82% increase in months employed" — NFP ."Some data across the state of Georgia in 2022 shows that Nurse-Family Partnership families had an 89% Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding initiation rate with 30% continuing with breastfeeding/chestfeeding." — NFP ."Nurse-Family Partnership in GA is hoping to expand into new communities – including Atlanta – to reach more families. We are actively seeking funding and resources to expand to assist more GA families." — NFP ."For those interested in donating or becoming involved through a local Community Advisory Board are invited to contact the National Service Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-864-5226. " — NFP
High school was hard for Meagan. She’s now a single mom with an adorable toddler; her name’s Preslee. But back in 2019, when Meagan was finishing school, things were tough. The move to Macon to live with her father halfway through her junior year presented its own challenges. But it was her first day of her senior year when the terror set in. She was pregnant.
“Absolute terror,” is how the Georgia mom described it.
“I was so scared and so uneasy about the situation,” Meagan, who did not want her last name used, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I never thought I’d become a mother, and everyone says ‘I’m fine. It won’t happen to me,’ until it actually does. The challenges I faced during the first couple months were severe sickness from my pregnancy, as well as severe depression and anxiety. It was a really dark time in my life, which is sad to look back on because — instead of being excited for bringing life into this world — I was a terrified, confused teenager with no idea on what I was doing.”
The road back to normality for the teen Georgia mom started with a visit to her primary care physician, then the local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children office and finally to her “beacon of hope” — a nurse named Rachael.
“I simply couldn’t have done it without her,” Meagan said. “She was my rock. She kept me going on the hard, dark days. I knew I was safe with her.”
The local WIC office had referred Meagan to the Nurse-Family Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to sending specially educated nurses to visit and assist first-time moms in need — all the way to their child’s second birthday. It’s a nonprofit making a big impact in the Peach State.
“Nurse-Family Partnership is backed by over 45 years of research and proven outcomes for both mom and baby,” the nonprofit previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We know from the randomized, controlled trials (considered the gold-standard of scientific studies), Nurse-Family Partnership has showed a 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect, 56% reduction in ER visits for accidents and poisonings, 50% reduction in language delays of child age 2 and 82% increase in months employed.”
From being pregnant in high school to suffering preterm labor complications, hyperemesis gravidarum, a long labor and Preslee’s challenging time in the NICU — during the early days of the pandemic, no less — Meagan was appreciative of any help she could get. Rachael didn’t hesitate.
“Rachael was there every single step of the way without hesitation,” Meagan said. “I genuinely could not have done it without her. She wasn’t just a nurse in the program. She became my rock, my support and genuinely my safe place. I could yell, cry, laugh, scream, anything I wanted and felt zero judgment. She was there to answer any question I had about Preslee’s blood test results or new medications they were putting me on and, of course, the calls at 9:00 p.m. at night that consisted of ‘I’ve been contracting for an hour, should i go to the hospital?’ every couple weeks.”
Rachael, and Nurse-Family Partnership, had quite an impact on the Georgia mom, who has since decided she wants to become a nurse herself. She’s taking a break from nursing school to focus on being a single mom, but the dream is very much alive and thriving.
“I still plan on finishing nursing school and eventually hope to be a labor and delivery or NICU nurse,” she said. “I know I want to help other mothers and babies during that vulnerable time. The strong urge to finish nursing school and further the career path is honest, just the struggles I went through with Preslee when it came to delivering her.... There were some nurses that were amazing, and others weren’t so great. I never want a new mother navigating the NICU and trying to care for herself to feel like a burden or uneducated by a nurse, so I hope to make a different in that aspect. Mrs. Rachael also played such a huge part in that simply because she was the nurse that never left my side and supported me every step of the way. I walked in educated and felt like I knew what i was doing and talking about.”
According to Meagan, there is one other person who deserves some praise for their part in all of it — Preslee.
“Preslee is an outgoing, spunky, sassy toddler that has a mind of her own,” she said. “She is such a smart little girl with a bubbly personality and kind heart. I couldn’t ask for a better child! She loves singing and dancing and playing outside.”
To any single moms who feel like they are alone in their struggles, Meagan said to reach out. Nurse-Family Partnership has multiple Georgia locations from which they can help.
“Even if it’s not to Nurse-Family Partnership, please reach out to someone,” she said. “You aren’t alone, nor do you have to do this alone. I promise someone else somewhere down the line has been in the exact same shoes as you, and it does get so much better. You are loved, no matter what, and you and your child do matter. Nurse-Family Partnership saved me at the time I needed it the most. They can do the same for you if you let them.”
For Rachael and Nurse-Family Partnership, there was nothing but praise.
“Thank you,” Meagan said. “I can’t thank you enough for the endless love and support I felt the whole entire time and even up to this day.
“I’d love to add that being a mother in this current world isn’t easy. Whether your 15, 25 or 45, nothing about it is easy and simple. There are people who love and care about you and can make a difference in your life. Please take care of yourself and never feel like someone else is doing better than you. Nurse-Family Partnership nurses are nothing but kind and nurturing and, overall, a saving grace. If they saved me, they can save you. To Rachael, thank you. Thank you for treating me like a person and not a patient. You truly were the light during my darkest times, and Preslee and I could never thank you enough.”
Hunter Boyce is a writer, digital producer and journalist home grown from a Burke County, Georgia farm. Throughout his career, Hunter has gone on to write sports, entertainment, political and local breaking news for a variety of outlets.