Last night, I spent four hours at the Prematernal Home. 😂😂🤰🏻🤷🏽♀️
First I had dinner with them, which was apparently the joke of the day to all of us because the pot roast tasted like it was made with barbecue sauce. Class went well, they enjoyed the meditation (as all my classes do) and had me cracking up when we discussed self-induction methods of nipple play and other paths of “self-love”. 🤭😏
When I asked about meditation, some said they do it when they need a break from their kids, which I absolutely believe is a thing! When it was massage time, I kinda realized how much help I could use up here. There were 8-9 women waiting and I tried to time each session to 7 minutes, and some wanted both their feet AND back rubbed; which they should, I just know a team would make this go by quicker.
One mom in particular asked me a few times “aren’t you tired?” and I just smiled and said “nope! I come alive doing this. Doing stuff like this gets me going. I forgot I was even at work today.”
And I meant every word of that. Just being able to pamper women who are about to go through a life-changing event, particularly for those whose partner won’t be there, is an honor to me. I’m happy to help someone sleep better cuz her shoulders got worked on or that knot is finally out of her back.
I needed to run to the market anyway for my kale salad ingredients (my appetite is BYKE!🗣) so I picked up some bags of Epsom salt for the moms. I’d also left my headphones at the home 🤦🏽♀️ so a few drop offs and pick ups later, I finally got home to rub the tiger balm they enjoyed so much on my OWN shoulders.
Today was pretty dope. I had a few epiphanies as I made dinner. I also realized how much I miss my family, my loved ones. I know my sisters and I are gonna have a crying festival when we see each other, same as my parents. I’ve only seen my partner since I’ve been over here and that was Valentine’s Weekend. 🤧😭 So my countdown continues, with six weeks left, and I know anything & everything could happen.
I got off work near midnight last night, but decided to check if anyone was in active labor before I left. There was! So I went to introduce myself and see if she needed some support.
Things were off to a slow start but progressed rapidly in the wee hours of the morning. I was just about to go home and nap when her moans intensified.
“Nah, I can’t leave her now.”
After changing positions, massages, the jacuzzi, and a bunch of pep talks, she delivered a fat faced angel in less than ten minutes of pushing. Throughout the night she kept saying “I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you stayed.”
I cut the cord, yall.
I can literally climb Mt. Everest right now. I could dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. I could spend a weekend on Mars.
That’s how elated I am. That’s how birth work makes me feel.
And now I’ll take a nap, not just because I’m exhausted, but because this is overwhelming in the most amazing way!
#AliciatakesAlaska #TundraDoula #Manifestthelifeyouwant #doula #Birthworker #BirthPartner
Today I spent three hours at the Prematernal Home giving back and foot massages. I used Charisma, Lemon Zest Shea Butter, and mango butter for massages. Then I used strawberry-lemon, orange, grapefruit, or lavender oil in the foot soak.
It was truly a gratifying experience. They were all so happy I was there! One even told me when she heard the director announce I’d be coming, she ran out in the hallway and signed up first! I kept the list of their names as a memento.
They told me about their kids and showed me pictures and videos of birthdays and all that. So many chubby faced love bugs! 🥰Some were having their first and others already had 4 or 5 other children. They had me cracking up when they told me about the way people look at them when they’re in Hawaii. The Yu’pik walk around in t-shirts and shorts in 70 degree weather; but Hawaiians are freezing cold! 🤧🥶🤣
Several of them mentioned they’d hoped their husbands could make it in time. They were wondering who else was a doula in town and apparently I’m the only one here. So I’m glad they said they’ll ask their doctors at their upcoming appointments about having one.
The issue, as I’ve begun to understand it, is that Medicare only pays for the mother’s flight. So these women are flown in around week 37 and stay in the Prematernal Home until delivery. In some cases, they’re flown to Anchorage if there are complications. But either way, if they’re here from a village, chances are they’re by themselves.
If Medicare won’t pay for a companion flight, I wonder if they’ll pay for doulas to be there instead? I’ll have to look into the laws and bills and such. Mama Shafia did it in Oregon. I wonder if I’ll do the same here?
It’s almost 1:30 in the morning and here I am, typing this up. My work schedule has changed to evening shift, including Saturday. Now anyone who’s worked with me knows how much I loathe those hours. It ain’t that bad up here only because it’s a small town with few places to hang out. Almost all our kickbacks are at someone’s house. Occasionally we’ll do the pool/rec room but for the most part, we alternate hosting. I go to work tomorrow AFTER accompanying a young lady from the pre-maternal home as she gives birth!
It has taken me from mid January until today to finally get to operate as a doula, but in actuality, a companion. There isn’t a volunteer program where I work, so even though there aren’t any doulas as paid staff, I couldn’t volunteer through the hospital either. Insurance and liability reasons are what I thought a hindrance…until I made an executive decision to do it on my own time. I had done my Holistic Prenatal Care class just a few days before, and was in bed like “how on earth am I gonna make this happen if there’s no job for it?!” Then it hit me: Do it yourself. Sacrifice your own time and do it. You cannot wait for a job to be created when there’s already a need for it.”
So now I have a flyer posted at work offering my services to women who are going into labor. I am really amazed at myself. I know I can be hard on myself often and worry about what I could’ve done differently, but I feel like I did it right this time. I also am in contact with a few providers at the hospital who recognize my skills as a great addition to patient care.
I have exactly 9 weeks left here. I almost doesn’t feel like it’s been four months but it has! There are a bunch of other goals I have set for the rest of the year, the first being to pass my ASCP. This will be my 5th time taking this cotdamb exam and I just want to knock it out the park at this point! Next, I want to enjoy some beach and pool time. My sister Hope graduates the same week my contract ends, so I’ll be able to make it. I wouldn’t have missed it even if I was working. I’ll be in Anchorage next month visiting my cousin and her husband, and one of my Bethel Babes is going too. Houston will be my next trip after getting back home since the Bethel squad is spending Memorial Day Weekend together. I’m sooo pumped about that trip cuz I really love those folks! Meeting them was one of the best parts of this whole Alaska experience.
Another thing I enjoyed since being here is skipping town. LOL! I went to Seattle during Valentine’s weekend and had a wonderful time with the Mister. It had snowed earlier that week so it was trippy to see the heavy fog, the water, then snow along the sidewalks. We really found the Pike Market to be our favorite part, especially the guys tossing fish. We bought fruit from the produce stand and looked at all the booths. I got to visit Jade in Everett and we all had dinner. As he and I went to our separate gates, I was slightly relieved that I didn’t cry. It hasn’t been easy having to go longer than before without seeing him, but What’s app and messenger are keeping things solid.
That’s all for now. I have some huge things in progress right now that I’ll speak on when they happen. Just know that ya girl is manifesting greatness up here in the tundra.
(Written Tuesday April 17th, 2018)
If I could, I would bottle today and open it during a shitty one.
• Early for work. Early off.💊💉🔬
• Great hair day. 💁🏽♀️💆🏽♀️🌳☁️
• Happy hour solo date at Aloha (veggie pot stickers, fried salmon sushi, ginger ale)
Today culminated the end of Black Maternal Health Week. I went to a screening of the documentary Death by Delivery at MedChi. Of course I’m ready to book my doula clients now but I know there’s much work to be done first. It was invigorating being around so many awesome women. Yes there are horrible statistics surrounding Black maternal health but I’m one of many people working to change them. In case you’re unaware like I was, Black women are FOUR TIMES as likely to die from pregnancy related causes than White women in the good ole USA; the only industrialized country with such staggering statistics.
I left the seminar floating on oxytocin, but was definitely hungry. Luckily, I stumbled upon a live jazz band playing at Trinacria across from Mt. Vernon Marketplace. Because it was late, I ate light, just a bowl of minestrone and Caesar salad.
I went home satiated and full of positive vibes, then burned some incense and Paolo Santo before bed. 💞🔥✨🌟💫🌬
Departure to St. Thomas is in 8 days and I think I’m finally starting to get my mind in vacation mode…. I think. 🤨🙄😂