Success in JACKSON County
Apr 25th, 2021 @ 1:14pm CDT
Source: Chipola Healthy Start
Jackson County Healthy Start is devoted to a core value that has set them apart among service providers, “Quality is more important than quantity.” Heidi Crutchfield is a great example of mothers who credit much to Jackson County Healthy Start and her Care Coordinator, Phil Delgado.
Heidi first came to Healthy Start during a pregnancy in 2016. Unfortunately, before she began services, she informed her care coordinator that she had miscarried. Warmly offered grief counseling, she didn’t accept services, stating that she was “just going through too much at the time.” This loss was sadly only one of many for Heidi, but Healthy Start staff reassured her that if she needed them, they would always be there with open arms.
Heidi returned when she became pregnant in 2017, sharing the news that she was having twins, although the father would not be involved due to an abusive relationship. “He moved me away from my family in Florida and was physically and emotionally abusive to me,” she explained.
When Heidi found out she was pregnant, she caught the Greyhound back to Florida to live with her mother and step farther. “My mother and step father are my support. They’re so helpful and provide so much. The boys have so much stuff!” she later added.
Heidi and her twin boys, named Levi and Logan, now have a solid circle of support and love, which includes Healthy Start. “Phil was the one who helped clear my mind about the father not being in the twin’s lives. I was so depressed because I wanted him to be there and he wasn’t. Then one day, I talked with Phil about it at an appointment. He helped me see that if my ex-boyfriend abused me, he could abuse my sons. And I won’t have that for them. We all deserve better than that.”
During the time Heidi has been a Healthy Start participant, she learned a lot about being a mother to twins. Starting prenatally, she gained knowledge about body changes during pregnancy, how to be a nurturing parent, and how babies develop. She also acquired valuable information about relieving stress during pregnancy and how to love her pregnant body. “When I was pregnant, I thought I was huge and I looked like a whale. I was taught to appreciate my growing body. I learned how amazing it was that I was not only growing one baby in my belly, but two. I stopped downing myself about being pregnant.”
Healthy Start made sure Heidi was equipped with the tools she needed to get ready for Logan and Levi. “They helped me with Pack n’ Plays, and I learned about safe sleep and SIDS; babies need to sleep on their backs with nothing in the beds and by themselves... not together.” When Heidi had her twins, Healthy Start continued to make learning fun with the Ages and Stages program.
Heidi understood there was the possibility of a difficult birth due to her pre-existing medical conditions, prior miscarriages, and multiples pregnancies. Still, she treated every appointment as another opportunity to be encouraged and educated. Heidi did unexpectedly go into labor though at only 32 weeks. Some might say that nothing could have prepared Heidi for that bumpy road, but Heidi would say differently. She made it through having an emergency C-section, birthing two stunning twin boys, weighing only 3 lbs. and 2 lbs. each. Before she knew it, the boys were being transferred to Gulf Coast Medical Center’s NICU, where they received the required care.
Logan and Levi spent months at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Panama City. Even though they were a long way from home, all adapted and Healthy Start utilized a special program called, “Level E,” which allows mothers and babies who are out of the area due to hospitalization in another county to continue receiving services. Heidi was able to keep in touch with her care coordinator through weekly phone calls, providing continuous updates. Day by day, Logan and Levi progressed from needing oxygen, although Heidi admitted that she became discouraged at times, but after speaking to Phil, she was able to stay encouraged.
Now home, Heidi is breastfeeding and bottle feeding her sons, and they have made tremendous improvement. Levi is still on oxygen at home, but Heidi says that his medical provider believes he will be off soon. In the meantime, Heidi is enjoying the ups and downs of having twins. “Sometimes it can be difficult, but the good times outweigh the hard times.”
Heidi has grown from that pregnant woman walking timidly into the Healthy Start office. Unsure then about being a good mother, she has blossomed into a confident woman with goals and the dream of opening a daycare center or becoming a teacher one day. Heidi is a huge fan of Batman, who says, “It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me,” and that is what Jackson County Healthy Start helps instill in each mother that walks through their doors.