Preparing for the birth of your first child and bringing home a newborn can be a scary time for some parents. In 1999, Tammy Pregent found she was not alone when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Taylor. Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) and registered nurse Missy Carpenter were there to provide skilled nursing care, advice, compassionate support, and practical help as she navigated being a single, first-time parent.
VNH, in partnership with Strong Families Vermont Nurse Home Visiting Program, helps support healthy decision making and effective parenting from pregnancy until the child celebrates their second birthday. “I cannot express enough how working with Missy changed my life,” said Tammy. Unfortunately, her pregnancy was difficult emotionally, so Missy’s visits each week made a difference for her. The personal connection that Tammy was able to make with Missy was invaluable.
Tammy felt she could talk to Missy about anything, even things she wouldn’t talk to her family about, because she knew there would be confidentiality in what she said. “I love this woman,” Tammy said with tears beginning to form in her eyes. “She opened up and shared personal experiences with me. It made me feel better knowing that somebody else made it through, so I could also make it through.”
Receiving care at home was important to Tammy. “I always feel rushed when I go to the doctor’s office, so I forget to ask questions,” she said. “When you have someone come into your home, you can have a real conversation and not worry that your time is limited.”
Fast forward 21 years and Tammy’s daughter Taylor was pregnant with her first child. Now grandmother Tammy knew just who Taylor should call. “My mom had so many great things to say about Missy, so I specifically requested her from VNH when it came time,” said Taylor. Taylor gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Thomas and Missy is now back in the family’s life to provide care and support.
It was important for Tammy that Taylor have the same experience that she did as a new mom. “A lot of things have changed since Missy would come to see me when Taylor was a baby, so it has been nice to have her here guiding Taylor.”
“Some people say it comes natural, but I think there is a learning curve to figure out what your baby needs,” said Taylor. She went on to explain how nice it was to have Missy visit every week so she could ask questions. “I don’t know all the stuff I should be doing to help Thomas develop emotionally and physically, she said. “The handouts Missy gives me every week are great, I can look at them and say ‘Oh, I’m doing this’ or ‘I need to be doing this’ to help him and better understand what he needs.”
“It’s always a positive experience when Missy comes over!” said Taylor. “Even during the pandemic, she’s wearing lots of personal protective equipment, but her care and attitude are no different.”