Treva L. Weaver thought she had her plans all in line when she became pregnant for the first time in 1998.
The vice president and ATM product manager at Bank One scheduled 12 weeks off and lined up child care.
Then, her twins were born three months early. Six weeks after their birth, she brought them home on oxygen and heart monitors.
The fortunate thing was I did not have a lot of stress because of my job; they said whatever you need to work out, work out, Weaver says.
Home life, on the other hand, wasnt so easy; she was up around the clock with the babies.
Through a recommendation from a co-worker of her husband, Weaver sought the assistance of a local year-old business, Elite Newborn Care Ltd., and its president, Janet Brand.
With 36 years of experience as a nurse in areas including neonatal, oncology and emergency room, Brand provided overnight care and some daytime sitting for the Weavers twins.
She was the only person I felt comfortable leaving the house and leaving the babies. When you have two babies who really fought for their lives when they were born, Weaver says, you dont just leave them with anybody.
Brand says her typical clients are not in such dire medical straits. They often are women who have been to college and have grown up thinking they would be in control of their lives, career, marriage and home then they decided to have their first baby, and they sought help.
I really wanted to teach first-time moms in this category so I could bond them to their babies, Brand says.
Brand acts as a referral agency and has selected and trained about 15 nurses or individuals with extensive experience in caring for babies. They provide services from 24-hour, in-home infant care to newborn instruction and breast-feeding support.
Brand, who specializes in adopted babies and infants with colic, makes it a point to visit her clients personally to choose a nurse who will be a good fit for the family.
She charges a $250 application fee to begin finding a nurse and $1,000 when the contract is signed. Clients pay the nurse an hourly fee ranging from $15 to $25, depending on their needs and the experience and qualifications of the nurse.
What it really allowed me to do is just get some rest, says Weaver, who is working from home until she finds day care for her children. She was wonderful in that she goes above and beyond what you would expect from someone taking care of your baby.
For example, the nurses might make coffee for the family in the morning, write thank-you letters for the new moms or have the baby cleaned and dressed when the parents get up in the morning.
Weaver, whose twins are doing well now, says Brands services are not for those on a tight budget but are well worth the money.
Its hard to justify spending that kind of money, especially if youre in a situation where many people are going to be where theyre taking time off without, probably, a significant paycheck, she says. But plan ahead, create a big budget for Janet, take advantage of the services she offers, get some sleep. It will do a lot for your disposition, and that will do a lot for the baby, especially for first-time moms.
How to reach: Elite Newborn Child Care Ltd., (740) 964-9969
Joan Slattery Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor of SBN Columbus.