The first time Kristy Haynes, RN, BSN, was contacted by SmartStarts, she had been managing a mobile team working at a disaster site. The last thing she wanted was to talk to a SmartStarts nurse about her first pregnancy.
“I had just gotten to my hotel room after one-and-a-half weeks of sleeping in a trailer. I just wanted to take a hot shower. I didn’t want to spend more than five minutes on a call,” Kristy said.
She had enrolled in SmartStarts maternity care to receive an incentive offered through her employee benefits. Kristy had even delivered babies in the Emergency Room in her 17-year career. She never anticipated needing the support that she found with SmartStarts.
In Kristy’s first call with SmartStarts nurse Lorrie Belk, RN, CCM, Kristy forgot how exhausted she was as she responded to Lorrie’s calm voice on the phone.
“I felt like I was talking to a friend I had known all my life. She told me things I would need to do for the next trimester, what to expect, questions to ask the doctor. And tests to be sure I was getting the care I needed. I really enjoyed the conversation.”
Kristy’s first SmartStarts experience was so positive that she promptly enrolled again when she became pregnant with her second daughter. She asked specifically to work again with Lorrie Belk. In ensuing phone conversations during her second pregnancy, Lorrie offered valuable guidance that Kristy wasn’t getting in prenatal visits. Kristy battled persistent nausea and vomiting, with a danger of dehydration.
And when Kristy encountered unexpected issues with her obstetrics practice, Lorrie’s help became even more crucial. Test results were not communicated. Inaccurate data on Kristy’s chart resulted in a prescription for the wrong medicine, actually meant for another patient. After hearing Kristy’s intention to change practices, Lorrie discussed the best ways to make a smooth transition to a new obstetrician. Kristy transferred her care at the end of her first trimester between ultrasounds, before needing more frequent care as her pregnancy progressed.
“I was a little more worried about complications,” said Kristy. This time she knew that the emotional support and education would empower her to make the best decisions for her and her baby. It was a sobering realization that even an experienced nurse couldn’t take care of herself as well as she thought she could.
“When it’s your own pregnancy you’re going through, it’s a little different. Lorrie was so positive, even when I was throwing up 10-15 times a day. She
empowered me to ask the right questions.”
Lorrie treated Kristy as a fellow professional, acknowledging her experience but encouraging Kristy when her nausea felt overwhelming. As delivery approached, Kristy’s second daughter was in a breech position. Lorrie provided information for Kristy during two weeks of bed rest, calming her fears about a Caesarean operation, which occurred successfully at 39 weeks. Today, Kristy is enjoying her two healthy daughters and strongly advocating for the SmartStarts program.
“I have sent the link to enroll in SmartStarts to my friends and coworkers. I tell them: ‘100%, give it a chance.’ SmartStarts is an extra layer of support with amazing knowledge. In today’s world, where a lot of people struggle with finances, this is one of my favorite health benefits.”
And Kristy’s relationship with her SmartStarts nurse is a prime reason why. She counts Lorrie as a friend she’s had forever.
“Lorrie will never fully realize the difference she made in my life. She was a godsend.”