April 25, 2023
Pregnant and Worried, Faida Finds Help and Encouragement
Faida is a busy young woman. A full-time student, she’s a single mom caring for her infant son, who required brain surgery as a newborn. She’s lining up childcare for her summer class schedule. Faida wants to be a lawyer.
Faida is 15. And EveryStep is right beside her.
Born in Congo, Faida came to the U.S. when she was 8 years old and after several moves, she settled in Iowa in 2018. When Faida learned she was pregnant in August of 2022, she was scared. During a visit to a WIC clinic, she heard about EveryStep and found the support she needed when she was paired with EveryStep RN Audrey Van Kamen.
During her eighth month of pregnancy, Faida learned her baby boy had a large cyst on his brain. Doctors wouldn’t know how much brain tissue was involved until after the birth. Faida turned to Audrey. “She helped me mentally because I really didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was in the dark, a really dark place, but she helped me. She gave me hope.”
Delivery was planned at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics because surgery would be required on her baby right after birth. Faida would have a C-section. “It was scary because I didn’t know what a C-section was in the first place. I wondered what if this happened, what if that happened? There was a 50/50 chance something would go wrong, so I just had to pray, and think about the positive and not the negative.”
Baby Joseph was born and underwent brain surgery immediately. Incredibly, the cyst did not involve any brain tissue, and the surgery was a success. Faida’s mother stayed in Iowa City with her while the baby recovered.
When Faida and her family returned to Des Moines, Audrey was there to help. As an EveryStep Nurse-Family Partnership Program RN, Audrey provides in-home well baby check-ups, assists with needs Faida and her baby have, and is there to support Faida as a new mother. “She’s just the best person ever,” says Faida. “I feel like some people just do something for the money, just doing their job, I guess. But she goes all the way and talks about emotions, talking about how you feel, how to help you emotionally. I want to accomplish so much in life for me and my son.”
Faida’s plans include finishing high school, then attending college. Despite her C-section and baby Joseph’s surgery and recovery, Faida didn’t miss a single day of classes. “Even when she was in the hospital, she attended classes online! She’s so impressive,” says Audrey.
Audrey joined EveryStep in May of 2022 and says working with young moms like Faida makes her position a dream job. “What joy this is to come in and play with Joseph and talk to Faida, and make sure they get the help they need. I mean, look at Joseph — he’s meeting all his benchmarks and Faida is a dream; she does everything she’s asked and needs to do. She’s a fantastic mother.”
During the holidays, Audrey was able to deliver presents for the family through EveryStep’s Spread the Joy (formerly Adopt-a-Family) program. “That was just the biggest joy ever. To walk in with piles of presents and deliver them on a quiet, snowy morning.”
EveryStep’s support of Faida doesn’t stop with baby check-ups and supplies. The EveryStep Foundation stepped in to pay bills that piled up while Faida’s mom was at the hospital in Iowa City, unable to work. The Foundation’s financial assistance also helped Faida when there was no heat in the home, and a hole in the ceiling needed repair.
Faida says she’s learned a lot through her work with Audrey. “I’ve learned not to let my emotions get the best of me and also, to just show love. I would tell any other girls in my position that everything gets better. You can go through anything in life! You can’t really control everything that happens, but you can focus on what you’re going to do about it.”
EveryStep’s Nurse-Family Partnership program pairs specially educated nurses with first-time pregnant people. Regular visits begin early in pregnancy and continue until the child’s second birthday. The nurse provides new parents with the confidence and tools they need to provide a healthy start for their child, as well as continued support for the birthing parent’s health and wellbeing.
The help EveryStep provides to new moms like Faida is just one example of what EveryStep’s staff and programs do every day, all across Iowa. The EveryStep Foundation uses financial gifts and donations to assist during emergencies, as when Faida needed help paying bills and making critical home repairs. As a nonprofit, EveryStep relies on gifts and donations to ensure this work continues. If you would like to be part of EveryStep’s mission, visit everystep.org/donate.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.