Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Coola Doula

Growing up I always wanted to be a doctor. As I got into my teenage years I narrowed it down to Obstetrics and Gynecology. I entered my freshman year of college in 1992 and chose to go to a small Christian liberal arts college. I was on the pre-med track and took my first huge Biology class. I must admit it was overwhelming. There was so much information to learn. Everyone knows during a pre-med track that the first few classes are created to weed out the weak ones. I wasn't necessarily weak, I was unfocused, young, and thought I knew everything. By the end of my first semester I was put on academic probation.

I don't know what I was thinking . . . well I wasn't thinking. I started to skip classes . . . I was failing. Med school was not looking good.

Fast forward to May 1993, it was the end of my freshman year, my grad point average was 1.8 . . . YES 1.8!!!! Oh and my period was late!!!! It was the week of final exams and I knew something was not right, especially since my menstrual cycle was like clockwork . . . every 27 days no matter what.

I took a pregnancy test in my friend Heather's dorm room. My friend Rebecca was there with me as well. Here I was, 18, not in a committed relationship and failing out of college. If you have ever waited for a pregnancy test to show you the results you know that 3 minutes seems like 3 hours. Well it was POSITIVE, I was pregnant.

My increasingly growing belly coupled with my horrific grade point average put my dreams of becoming a doctor to rest. Miraculously becoming pregnant did wonders for my GPA . . . I enrolled in community college and graduated with a 4.0! I only took one semester off to give birth to Rayne who was born on January 13, 1994. During my pregnancy is when I realized I wanted to become a social worker instead of a doctor. I took a Teen Pregnancy class at our local hospital, it is there I had my first run in with the profession of social work and I fell in love with it. I realized the reason I wanted to become a doctor was to help people . . . and that is what social work is all about.

I eventually graduated with my Bachelors of Social Work and then went on and got my Masters of Social Work. I continued and obtained my License of Clinical Social Work which is the highest level of licesure for social work.

What does this have to do with being a DOULA you might ask???? Everything . . . I love pregnancy and birth, it's why I wanted to go into medicine. It's why I wanted to become a doctor. It's why now I want to become a DOULA . . . a Coola Doula!!!!

Every chance I get I attend a birth. I am calm, cool and collected. I thrive in an emergency, and I don't mind the sight of blood. I was there for my friend Tracey, 11 years ago today when she gave birth to her daughter Julia. I was there for my friend Cheryl, 9 years ago when she gave birth to her daughter Jael. When my sister was a surrogate for her best friend I was there when their son Chance was born.

This year I have decided to seriously become a doula, birthing coach, what ever you want to call it. And guess what???? I had my first clients!!!!!

Mrs. Pilgrim and her husband Dreamboat decided to use me as their Doula! On November 9, 2009 I got the call at 5:30am . . . I was sooooo PUMPED!!!

The result?????

6 Pounds, 2 Ounces
20 Inches Long

The birth ended up being an emergency c-section. I was not allowed in the OR but I stayed at the hosptial the whole time making phone calls to all the friends and family. I was able to help them in their hospital room. Get what ever they needed. Take pictures of everything. And just serve them in any way I could. I spent a total of 14 hours with them and I loved every minute of it!!!

This confirmed it . . . it's my calling. I want to do this as a ministry, to serve God. I'm not interested in money. I want to serve woman who might not have a supportive partner.

Just call me the COOLA DOULA!!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

D-N-A = L-O-V-E?

I have a journal. Not any kind of journal. It's a journal for Autumn and her dad and sadly it's only 5 pages long. It's a journal documenting every time he has had contact with us or visited Autumn. This week I had to put in an entry, first time in 2 years.

Autumn has been communicating with her 18 year old brother, who she has never met, for the past 2 months in letters. Her last letter she wrote, "Do you know where are dad is? Do you see him?" I knew this would mean a phone call would be coming my way.

Kevin called me. I took a deep breath and told him I was willing to work with him so he can see Autumn. He has not seen her in 2 years. This has been my decision. In 10 years he has only seen her 3 times and has only paid $100.00 in child support. With all of Autumn problems I decided that enough is enough, he can not walk in and out of her life anymore so two years when he wanted to see her after not seeing her for a year I said "No". I told him, "If you would like to see your daughter, and you are serious then take me to court". Well . . . he never did.

Today Autumn is much healthier, stronger, and more mature then she has ever been. This is why I decided that Kevin can see her again. And of course he is singing the same song as he always has . . . things will be different, he's sticking around, he's not going to walk out of her life anymore.

Two weeks ago I agreed to meet with Kevin alone, without Autumn. I told him I wanted to get him up to date on Autumn. Up until this point he has been so sporadic in his visitation that he did did not know of any diagnosis' or treatments. We met at Monmouth Mall in the food court. We talked. I gave him print outs of all Autumn's diagnosis' including PDD-NOS, ADHD, and ODD. His response . . . "There's nothing wrong with my baby". I responded by telling him he is going to have a very hard time with her if he doesn't accept that there is something wrong with her. He also asked, "What would happen if she didn't take all her medication?" I told him, "You don't want to find out!"

On Sunday Kevin, Autumn, and I went bowling. Autumn loves bowling so I thought this would be a good start. Kevin began the visit by trying to hug Autumn, which she did not like. We bowled our 1st game and throughout the entire game Kevin tried to touch and hug, and squeeze her shoulders. She was very uncomfortable. His mother called him on his cell phone. He answered and then gave the phone to Autumn to say hello to her grandmother. Of course Autumn did not speak, after several minutes of awkward silence I finally said, "Kevin, she is not going to say hello!".

Autumn was done after one game. She said she wanted to go home. Kevin offered to take us out to eat, to Applebee's, Autumn's favorite resturant. Autumn said, "NO". She was done. We walked out and Kevin tried to hug her, she pulled away. He said, "I love you" and then told Autumn to "Tell me you love me". I laughed under my breath. She of course refused.

When we got home she melted down. She burried her head in the couch. After about an hour she was back to herself. The next day at about 9:30am I recieved a call from her teacher, Autumn was having a hard time at school. She was under her desk, laying on the floor. The child was in pain. I told her teacher that she saw Kevin and right away her teacher put two and two together. I agreed to pick her up. I usually don't pick Autumn up for this type of behavior but this day was different. She was in pain, her heart was broken, again, by her father.

We went out to lunch and Autumn said, "No more mom. I don't want to see him anymore". This girl knows what she wants, or rather, doesn't want. I respect her for that. She has gone through more in 10 years then a lot of people.

Monday night I told Kevin what happened. He told me, "All I know is she is my baby and I love her and I'm willing to take as long as takes for this to happen". I haven't heard from him since.

DNA does not equal LOVE. I know that, Autumn knows that, and I wish for Autumn's sake Kevin would get that.