When new mom, Ansley, was recently asked to be featured on NBC’s Today Show to highlight her experience in the Nurse-Family Partnership® program, she thought, “This is wild!”
Ansley’s nurse, Debbie, from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Nurse-Family Partnership helped coordinate the interview with the Today Show to bring awareness to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Funding for the program is expiring and Congress must act before the end of the year to ensure that families across the country continue to receive essential home visiting services.
Debbie said, “In July, my supervisor put a call out to the nurses and asked if we had a client who would be willing to share their NFP experience on national TV. I knew Ansley’s story would be impactful and compelling, so – after checking with her – I nominated her for the opportunity.” What was more surprising came in August. “I was visiting with Ansley on a Friday afternoon on her porch when my supervisor called. She exclaimed, ‘You both were chosen to be on the Today Show!’” Debbie recalled.
I was visiting with Ansley on a Friday afternoon on her porch when my supervisor called. She exclaimed, ‘You both were chosen to be on the Today Show!’
-NFP Nurse Debbie
Ansley, 27 from Spartanburg, SC, enrolled in Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) last fall when she became pregnant. She said, “My first meeting with Debbie was at Ricky’s (a local restaurant). She didn’t care that I was stuffing my face with lunch and just talked to me while I ate. I didn’t realize how much I needed someone to talk to until I was talking with her.”
Debbie has been a nurse for 25 years and has been serving as an NFP nurse in Spartanburg since 2014. “I love all things that deal with pregnancy and children. NFP knows how important it is for new moms to trust their nurse for education and support. The best part is seeing moms get more confident and feel good about doing all they can for their babies,” she said.
A lot of preparation came before the Today Show filmed Ansley, her 1-month old daughter, Annabelle, and Debbie on August 22 to ensure everyone felt comfortable ahead of the interview. Producers and photographers came to Spartanburg to follow Debbie as she went on a routine home visit with Ansley and Annabelle.
Nurse Debbie recalls, “The producer interviewed me for two hours in my office. I talked about NFP and all the positives of the program. But then the one thing I feared would happen did happen – I cried on national TV!” She continued, “They asked me about a time that was difficult for me as a nurse, and I got emotional thinking about my clients.” In fact, the beginning of the TV segment starts with nurse Debbie tearing up while saying, “You see the struggles. It’s not always easy to be a first-time mom.”
Next, Ansley shared her story as a new mom – in which she credits Nurse-Family Partnership in saving her life during a post-partum health threat.
I know one-hundred-percent that this program saved my life.
-NFP Mom Ansley
The Today Show’s NBC Senior Correspondent, Kate Snow, details Ansley’s experience in the segment. Earlier this summer with the support of her husband, Ansley gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Annabelle. But three weeks later, Ansley started having pain in her chest so severe, she could barely breathe. Home alone, she shrugged it off. Ansley said, “I was wishing and hoping it was something small. Because how was I going to go to the emergency room with a baby?” But when she told nurse Debbie about the pain, Debbie insisted she go to the emergency room.
Doctors gave Ansley a frightening diagnosis. She said, “It wasn’t just one blood clot, but blood clots in both of my lungs.” The blood clots were a complication from pregnancy. Without treatment, that could have been deadly. Ansley says on camera, “I know one-hundred-percent that this program saved my life.” Now, Ansley is on medication to treat and prevent more blood clots and is planning on coming off treatment in late January.
The feature aired on the Today Show during the 8 am EST hour on September 29. Earlier that morning, nurse Debbie’s brother called at 6:30 am to make sure she was awake and had the TV on. She said, “My family was up and had their coffee made and was ready to watch Ansley and me on national TV, it was really sweet.”
In retrospect, Ansley shared, “Nurse Debbie’s sense of humor helped me open up and feel comfortable divulging personal information on National TV. And I am so grateful that Debbie insisted I go to the emergency room when she did.”
Ansley plans to continue home visits with Debbie until Annabelle turns two years old in July 2024. She said, “Annabelle is truly a joy to be around. She’s funny and very curious. I’m her favorite person in the whole world and that means everything to me.”