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!
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.
Dr. Chanel Heermann
Chanel Heermann, MD, is an integrative psychiatrist who founded SynerGenius to empower individuals to create health and happiness by developing harmony in their lives. Dr. Heermann helps people create a holistic recovery plan for their unique emotional challenges, using the best of conventional and alternative medicine.
Dr. Heermann received her medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and went on to complete her psychiatry residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Dr. Heermann was one of the first 121 physicians in the world certified by the American Board of Integrative Medicine. Graduate of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine's fellowship program, Dr. Heermann is board certified in both Psychiatry and integrative-Holistic Medicine. She serves on the faculty of Saybrook University's College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences and as a guest faculty at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Heermann is an expert in women's mental health, with extensive training in a variety of natural approaches, including the advanced nutrient therapies taught by the Walsh Research Institute and the effective use of multi-nutrient formulas, such as those offered by Truehope and others. She is certified in Mind-Body Medicine and has also completed substantial training in the cutting-edge fields of positive psychology and collaborative communication.
You can contact Dr. Heermann at email@example.com
Paulina Erices is a mother of three children, ages 6 to 15, and a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She is originally from Chile and has lived in the US for 14 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and is currently completing her Masters of Science in Leadership and Organizations from the University of Denver. She has been a La Leche League Leader for 12 years, where she has held different mother and Leader support roles. She participates in the Gold Lactation and Neonatal Professional Advisor Committee, ILCA Executive Professional Development Committee, Early Childhood Colorado Partnership (ECCP) Steering Committee, and Impact on Children of Caregiver Substance Use (ICCSU) Steering Committee in Colorado.
She volunteers on the leadership team for Special Kids, Special Care, Inc. and the NICU Consortium building transition-to-home strategies and community support systems for families with premature and medically fragile infants. She also volunteers for the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition in different capacities, organizing community events and educational opportunities. As a Lactation Consultant, Paulina has received specialized training on SOFFI (Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants) and NCAST programs to support feeding behaviors and maternal-infant relationships for medically fragile infants. She is the co-founder of Every Ounce/ Cada Onza, a grassroots organization dedicated to providing lactation support for families from communities of color.
Tricia Mettler is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) who has been practicing for over 20 years, working with children, families and adults. She received her Master’s degree from Antioch New England Graduate School and is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Level I & II Advanced Training, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dance Movement Therapy. Tricia specializes in working with depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, and life transitions.
Tricia works with the mind-body connection, utilizing mindfulness techniques, breathing work, meditation, and viewing the body as a whole. Tricia is a compassionate therapist who supports her clients in listening to their bodies to promote positive change and healing.
Tricia has worked in a variety of settings, including community and home-based work, residential treatment facilities and group homes, and private practice. As a result, Tricia has collaborated with a wide range of professionals and has worked as both a therapist and a clinical supervisor.
Tricia has two wonderful children of her own who have been her greatest teachers.