How it all started
I was sitting in my pediatrician’s waiting room watching the snow softly descend. I had finally made it! I was on time for my fourth son’s discharge appointment! It was a feat comparable to birthing. Six hours prior, the morning had started: The baby was breastfed, the diaper bag and formula were packed, the older three boys were showered and dressed, breakfast was eaten and lunch was packed. I think I remembered to eat, brush my teeth, and put on clean underwear (yes!). I breastfed the baby again, got everyone in the car, dropped the boys at their schools, parked the car, and finally checked in for our appointment. My inner celebration was quickly interrupted by our baby’s need to feed. I honestly considered giving him the packed formula, but thankfully my amazing body responded and I felt engorged. Forty minutes later we were back in the car. I had spent an entire morning preparing for forty minutes! At the appointment, the nurse checked his weight, placed a strip on his forehead for a jaundice check, and asked me basic questions about breastfeeding before telling us we could leave. Returning home, my contractor’s simple remark, “didn’t you just give birth?” really hit home.
Yes, I had just given birth! But FOUR days later I was back on the road driving in a snow storm for an appointment that in other countries (Netherlands, Finland, Japan) is done at home, allowing for maternal-infant bonding and healing. In the United States, facilities such as Kaiser, Nurse Partnership, Healthy Starts, and some midwifery groups (to name a small few) do provide some discharge home visits. However, in each facility, you either have to be part of the organization or meet eligibility requirements. Therefore, I did not get this benefit because I was not a Kaiser patient and I delivered at a hospital with a decent income.
Postpartum home visits should be universal. There is a growing body of scientific studies to validate the role of home visits in reducing re-hospitalizations, reducing acute care usage (ER and urgent care), and increasing breastfeeding duration. In our current state of healthcare, like many other healthcare issues, the role of postpartum home visits is ambiguous. And with the ever-changing landscape of medicine, there is no concrete solution in sight.
Placing a value on the maternal-infant dyad, NayaCare recognizes the needs of both parties while entering this new chapter in life. This new chapter occurs with each birth and is not limited to the first child. Each additional baby adds unique challenges. Despite the number of children, each baby deserves to have a protected period of time to form attachments to its mom and other family members. Looking again to the scientific community, research shows that valuing the bond between moms and their babies decreases infant mortality and postpartum depression while enhancing childhood development.
NayaCare was created to support moms and families entering life’s new chapter. NayaCare is continually growing to keep providing comprehensive care prenatally and postnatally. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or suggestions. We look forward to working with you and your family!
MEET THE NAYACARE TEAM
Dr. Sonal Patel
Board Certified Pediatrician
MD (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
I developed my passion for maternal-infant health through my career and individual experiences. Graduating from University of Nebraska, Medical Center (UNMC) in 2003, I pursued Pediatric Residency at Louisiana State University (LSU) followed by additional training in Neonatology at LSU and Tufts. I joined Denver Health as a neonatologist in 2009. Here, I helped develop the NICU Preemie Breastfeeding Program and Co-chaired the Breastfeeding Task Force. I was also involved in breastfeeding education development. I am currently a member of American Breastfeeding Academy and am pursuing Certified Lactation Educator credentialing. My education has been centered on infant nutrition and its impact on infant development.
My own personal experiences have taught me the importance of maternal wellness. My husband and I are blessed with four boys. Each boy had a different birth and feeding journey. My first son was born in 2005 via C-section. During my recovery, I unsuccessfully attempted to breastfeed. I quickly realized how challenging and “un-natural” it was for me. I was able to breast- and formula feed until 9 months and then switched to only formula. For my following three sons, delivered via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I educated myself and was able to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and then use a combination of breast/formula until 1 year. I truly wanted to exclusively breastfeed for the magical one year, but I noticed my body just gave up at 9 months despite all the tricks I tried. With my second son, I developed postpartum depression, which I accepted after he was six months old. I was more vigilant with my third son, and I was diagnosed with postpartum blues. I did reach out for professional help; however, help was back-logged for 3-6 months. Reflecting back, my immediate postpartum challenges in breastfeeding and mental wellness took focus away from bonding, enjoying my infant, and cherishing the family I was creating. I also realized the medical field’s shortcomings in having a post-discharge home visit just days after I was still recovering and the lack of support of postpartum maternal mental wellness.
Motherhood is more than feedings, diaper changes, and sleep deprivation. Motherhood is a lifetime bond. The health and wellness of both mom and infant are important to strengthen this relationship. NayaCare was created to emphasize the maternal-infant dyad and alleviate stressors during this fragile time. Due to my personal experiences, I understand motherhood complexity regardless if it is your first, second, fourth, or sixth child.
Meagan is the administrator for NayaCare. She was first introduced to NayaCare in the spring of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. She was apprehensive about taking her newborn out of the home and to the doctor’s office and then she found NayaCare. After using the service, she immediately saw the value and was 100% behind Dr. Patel’s mission and knew she had to be a part of NayaCare. She provides support administratively to our staff and you may interact with her from time to time through service correspondence or even in our village.
Adrienne is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) in Denver, CO and has been taking care of babies for 18 years. Her nursing career includes 9 years as a bedside RN in the NICU and over 9 years of experience as an NNP. Throughout her career, she has cared for a wide range of neonatal patients, from term well babies to the tiniest NICU patients.
Adrienne earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree at Regis University in Denver, CO and has a special interest in the substance exposed newborn. She is the secretary of the Front Range Association of Neonatal Nurses (FRANN) and is an active member of multiple committees in the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN).
Olivia Pait, LPC, LAC has had the privilege of working with clients therapeutically since 2016. She specializes in working with families across the lifespan, facilitating family sessions, postpartum and perinatal counseling, and supporting parents explore their identities as their children grow older. As a therapist, she is energized by walking with clients as they come desperate for a change and leave often creating a life more beautiful than they ever dreamed possible.
In 2020, right as the world faced a terrifying pandemic, she gave birth to a beautiful baby. In this experience, she came to understand the complexities and paradoxes of having a baby. She had never felt so vulnerable and whole at the same time. Through support from her community and caring professionals, she learned the value in asking for help. Ever since, she has pursued therapeutic relationships with parents grappling with the dramatic life changes parenthood brings.
PT, DPT, NCPT
Ashley Zimmerman, PT, DPT, NCPT is a pelvic health physical therapist, nationally certified Pilates instructor, full-spectrum doula and a BirthFit Professional. Dr. Ashley specializes in providing care for pregnant and postpartum women, women who have pain and/or decreased pleasure with intercourse, balancing the feminine and masculine energy, and assisting women in finding their innate wisdom to support true healing. Dr. Ashley believes that you must look beyond the current physical presentation to fully understand the root of the dysfunction. She believes that each person has a story that deserves to be told, that each person has medicine within themselves, and understands that because this is rarely encouraged there can be fear around finding this connection. Dr. Ashley’s treatment philosophy is that for full physical healing to occur we should also address healing spiritually and emotionally, and that every woman deserves this.
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