Monroe County is recognizing the latest graduates of its Nurse-Family Partnership Program.
The program pairs expectant first-time mothers with registered nurses to guide them through pregnancy and provide education and support when their baby is born.
"My nurse, she was like, the best,” said Regina Simmons. “I just loved it. I just wish every mother would be able to experience this program."
Simmons said she was frightened when she was pregnant with her son, Isaac. Regina had suffered miscarriages in the past. She said her nurse, Jennifer Gregory, was always there for her leading up to Isaac's birth and until he turned two this summer.
"Everything is not in a book; it can't be taught by a teacher because experience is the best teacher. But, I mean, when you have the support of somebody and when you have love around you, you can do the best possible job there is."
Simmons feels she is a more confident mother because of the support Gregory provided.
"She made sure I had my bassinette, my Pack 'n Play, a thermometer for when he had a fever...she taught me how to take it. I mean it was just...it's amazing." Simmons said she has, in turn, passed on advice to family members and friends.
The Nurse-Family Partnership Program started in Monroe County in 2006. Any income-eligible woman who is pregnant with her first child can enroll free of charge. Nationally, the program cites several statistics pointing to its success. They say participants had a 50 percent reduction in language delays by 21 months and a 48 percent reduction in state-verified reports of child abuse and neglect. For mothers, there 35 percent fewer cases of pregnancy-induced hypertension and 31 percent fewer closely spaced (less than 6 months) subsequent pregnancies.
For more information, call the Monroe County Department of Public Health at 585-753-BABY (753-2229).