Can we say MIND BLOWN???? How can it be that as owner of Childbirth Concierge I am still a #birth junkie at heart all these years later?
It was her fault
On March 26 in 1989 I gave birth to my first daughter Kara Ann after 26 hours of a Pitocin induction for pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks gestation. Even though I did it without an epidural and had a forceps delivery, I could not have imagined that her delivery would be responsible for catapulting me into a career of helping women have a positive birth experience. Months after her delivery I kept processing my experience. I was educated, had gone to childbirth classes, had midwives and Obstetricians and yet I was left feeling like what happened to me?
And her fault too
The same year my bestie Beth was pregnant, and her bag of waters ruptured prematurely at 34 weeks. Having only been to one childbirth class, she called me to come help her breath since I had given birth a few months earlier. It was a pretty fast labor, as I stood across from her husband at Cape Canaveral Hospital in Florida encouraging them both. When their daughter, who now has her master’s degree, was born I experienced something I will never forget. I remembered thinking I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I now know that “feeling” is referred to as the “birth high”!
He thought I was crazy
Doula was not a popular word then and only found in the Greek dictionary. For that fact (don’t tell anyone) the internet wasn’t even a thing. But I had to figure out how to keep doing what I had just experience. When I came home from that birth, I certainly was a chatty Kathy. My now ex-husband said “What is that you want to do? Become a nurse? Midwife? Doctor?” I replied “No, I just want to be beside with the momma and do what I did”!
My first training
A year later I wanted some kind of training for what I wanted to do. I called all over and went to the library to look a micro phish. Some of you will need to google to even become familiar with that word. Go ahead, go Google I will wait for you. Needless to say I found an article that mentioned the word doula but it referred only to the postpartum period. I eventually called the Dept. of Professional Regulation and the lady said she would mail me a copy of a brochure she had just received for a training in Tampa Florida for $150. I remember borrowing the money from my mom and mowing her lawn to work it off. That Childbirth Assistant training took weeks for me to process with so much new information and concepts for my mind.
I will pay you to be at your birth
As I set out to gain my experience needed for certification, it was very foreign for someone extra to be at a birth. I practically had to beg mommas to allow me to be there. In time Beth had a son Asher. I was able to support her and Greg again but this time as a “trained” doula. Over time I gained more and more experience and became the first certified Childbirth Assistant in Florida with the former National Associated of Childbirth Assistants out of California. Over time I became an instructor for them and served on their Board of Directors.
Starting new things
In 1992 I borrowed 4 grand from my brother (my first business loan) and hired a top attorney to create the former Childbirth Enhancement Foundation (CEF) a non-profit organization. I developed a training and certification program and set up 14 hospital-based Doula and Internship Programs. In Santa Fe, NM I was contracted to help the hospital foundation write a $350,000 grant and then run the Doula Program. CEF trained hundreds of women and provided services to many communities. I am awe struck when I count how many doulas CEF trained that went on to become midwives. Three own local birth centers in the Greater Central Florida Area. I think last count was 14 midwives that began at a CEF training.
During these growing years I went on to have 4 more children, 2 of which Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM delivered. I was working part time at a hospital in Orlando teaching childbirth education and had become an IBCLC. As with all things life happens and I went through an unexpected divorce, house fire and found myself questioning how to go on. I had come to a place where I was willing to walk away from it all and find a full-time job in corporate America. I took a year off from “birth work” and recharged and refocused. About that time Jennie and I decided to merge the training and certification work together in to her non-profit Commonsense Childbirth, Inc, and so CEF was put to rest. It was a hard but needed action. And in due time Childbirth Concierge was born.
No Time to Slow Down
So here I find myself pinching myself after all these years I still get to support families and now on a larger scale, than just myself. I have been blessed with an incredible team who upholds integrity and the spirit of service that are so important to me. Thank you Kara Ann for your birth that left me feeling empowered that I did it naturally, but yet wondering how I could have been more educated and empowered. Thank you Beth, Greg, and Laura for calling me in to my first experience of being beside with a family. Blessings to all the women who have allowed me to impart knowledge and wisdom and to the families who have trusted Childbirth Concierge to deliver their peace of mind!