When Laurelin was 20 weeks pregnant with her daughter, Norah, she and her husband learned that Norah had spina bifida, a condition in which the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly. “We were anxious about trying to schedule appointments to see specialists that we didn’t even know she needed yet,” Laurelin says. 

Faced with this unexpected diagnosis, the couple turned to the Fetal Care Center at Phoenix Children’s for guidance. The center specializes in providing families with a seamless transition from prenatal to postnatal care, arranging everything from advanced fetal imaging to appointments with specialists. 

Norah returns home after treatment at Phoenix Children's

What Laurelin did not expect was how much she would need the support of the center once Norah arrived. She regularly called the center’s nurse coordinator for assistance navigating the health care system for her baby’s needs and coordinating Norah’s ongoing care. This customized approach to helping Norah and her mom was a lifesaver. And an inspiration. 

Care before and beyond birth

“If a mom this strong is struggling, just think of the parents who don’t have these resources,” says Dr. Kathleen van Leeuwen, co-director of the Fetal Care Center. “We asked ourselves: ‘Are we offering the same level of coordinated care  after the baby is born?’ Parents need a concierge who can lend her expertise to parents. That’s why we created the Life Team.” 

The center’s Life Team launched in August of this year. Of the center’s team of seven care coordinators, two are dedicated to the Life Clinic, shepherding families through the first years of a child’s life with hands-on support.

Life Team employees Abby Campbell and Noelle Hays 

Removing big and small obstacles to care

The obstacles facing parents of a baby with complex issues aren’t always hard, but they can be tedious and require inside knowledge to overcome. The Life Clinic’s team tackles tasks such as doctor referrals, insurance authorizations and medical supply orders. Parents can call the team for help with challenges big and small, or even just to talk. 

“As a parent, you don’t know what to expect,” says van Leeuwen. “But we do. We know what’s next and how to optimize care for your child. The Life Team gives families a road map.” 

The Life Team was made possible by Arizona-founded rooftop solar contractor Titan Solar Power. Insurance companies don’t pay for care coordination, but thanks to Titan Solar Power’s sponsorship, the clinic can offer these services to all families, and with a dedicated staff. 

“At Titan, we strive to provide exceptional experiences, not only to our customers but to our community,” says Titan Solar Chief Financial Officer Kyle Beddome. “Partnering with PCH over the years has gifted us with the ability to bless others in a way that exceeds even our expectations.” 

Adds van Leeuwen: “It’s an honor to be able to take the burden off of families.” 

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