I am a mother of six.
My first Son was born when I was only 15 years old and I had 4 children by the time I was 21. With only being a child myself at the time of my first birthing experience, I did not fully comprehend pregnancy or the birthing process.
I was not educated nor was I given choices. Instead I was told what to do and I complied. This led to a very traumatic birthing experience and the same occurred in my following three pregnancies. Simply, because the proper resources and education were not available to women in my community. I was treated like a number and really had no individualized support. With each of my five pregnancies my needs varied and each of my five birthing experiences were all unique.
After nearly losing my life due to preeclampsia/toxemia in my fourth pregnancy, I was told that carrying any future children would kill me and was offered tubal ligation. I respectfully declined. In 2017 I became pregnant with my fifth child decided that I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to have autonomy of my body, my birth and my baby. After researching, my husband and I decided to birth at Hollywood Birthing Center in Hollywood, Florida.
At my first prenatal visit I met Debbie Marin, a woman that would change my life forever in so many ways. At this visit my exams lab results showed that I was hypertensive and thyroid hormones were extremely elevated. These conditions categorized my pregnancy as “high risk” and if not corrected in time, would disqualify me from birthing outside of the hospital. Debbie did not give up on me; instead, her and her team took the time to educate me on the importance of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being especially during pregnancy. Not only was I able to eliminate all my “high risk” factors, but with my fifth pregnancy I was the healthiest that I had ever been in my adult life!
Given the proper tools and resources I was able to give birth to a healthy 8-pound baby boy at the birthing center. I caught my baby boy with my own two hands and during the entire process my doula managed to maintain a magical, calm environment. During my labor, I ate the foods I wanted, drank fluids to remain hydrated, and even danced. After about 5 hours of labor and evaluation at the birthing center, I walked (yes walked) out to our car and my husband drove us home. For the next two weeks, I remained on bed rest and my midwife visited me every other day and supported me in so many ways throughout the postpartum experience. I share my story as evidence that with education, dedication and support we can save lives and prevent traumatic birthing experiences.
I went from being labeled as “high risk” and almost losing my life in childbirth to going vegan and adopting several lifestyle changes during my last pregnancy that allowed me to have a completely natural birth with no medical interventions. During my last birthing experience, I felt more empowered than I had in my entire life. My doula played a large role in that empowerment.
So, in conjunction with my nursing and personal experience I went on to be certified as a Labor/Postpartum Doula and Childbirth Educator. After soon realizing that by myself I could only serve so many women, I developed a training curriculum to educate and empower a tribe of doulas. With many hands we are making a huge impact in supporting and educating expectant families. The purpose of our Tribe is to educate and empower families, to help restore and reclaim the birthing experience and all its majesty.
Now over 600 doulas later, we are reclaiming the pregnancy and postpartum experience. We are the women that support. We are helping to create beautiful birthing outcomes, one birth at a time