In 2009, my sister-in-law asked me if I would be her doula for the birth of her first baby in Portland, Oregon. I excitedly said YES then turned to the trusty www to help me to figure out exactly what I had signed up to do. The birth was transformative on a grand scale for me. After that birth, I felt like I had found exactly what I want to be when I grow up. Since then, I have spent every day delving into all things ‘birthy’. My deep desire is to help new families, and to ease as much suffering as possible. I took an amazing Sacred Doula training with Carrie Kenner, three months after my niece’s “Inspiration Birth”. That put me on the path to become a Certified DONA International Doula. In the process of receiving my certification, I took a Birthing From Within workshop and learned more about becoming a Childbirth Educator. At that class, I came across “The Belly Mapping Workbook” with a beautiful picture of a mama on the cover with her baby drawn on her belly. I flipped through the book and became deeply fascinated about How Kicks and Wiggles Reveal A Baby’s Position. The very next mama that I worked with was a willing guinea pig while I guided her through finding her baby’s position. We were both excited to find that her midwife confirmed our findings the next day. I really felt like I was on to something great with the Belly Mapping Workbook.
THEN, my husband Kevin’s job relocated us temporarily from our sweet home and land in the deep woods of Oregon to the urban center of the Silicon Valley. In my first week at our new place, I discovered that Gail Tully was coming IN PERSON! to do a workshop in my neighborhood…AND the ladies sponsoring the workshop needed a place for her to stay. I jumped right on the opportunity to have THE Gail Tully come hang out in my tiny apartment. We hit it off immediately, and were laughing and deep into many conversations and weaving a rich tapestry of tangents within our first hour together. The next morning at her workshop, I slipped easily into my old Stage Manager habits. I love working with crews doing live theatre and my skill set is in assisting backstage, helping everything flow smoothly. Essentially, a Stage Manager is the Doula to the show…and the Doula is the Stage Manager to the birth. Caring for people in each respective environment has lots of similarities. I’ll have breath mints in each case! Lightheartedness is something I bring to each stage. Things can get serious and bogged down in each and I bring a positive way of saying, “Let’s get on with the show.”
ANYWHOOO, I got busy assisting, arranging props, checking people in, and selling gear. That night, when Gail came back to my apartment, she was winding down in my husband’s big chair, I mentioned to her that she really could use a personal assistant, and I mentioned it again. And again. After she left, I sent her an email offering my services for the time that I am temporarily displaced from my home birth community. I don’t think she really believed me but I volunteered to do meetings, do research and whatever little things she needed done.
She invited me to come to Eugene to attend the Midwifery Today Conference to help. Since that was in Oregon, near my Oregon Home, I jumped on the opportunity. At that conference, not only did I get to meet many world famous midwives, and get to hear Michel Odent speak, I also got to meet Gail’s sister Kathy, her “Director of Practicality”. Meeting Kathy was a super huge added bonus to meeting Gail. What a wonderful soul. She is easy to talk to and such a fantastic lady. The more I get to know her, the more I just love her.
After the Midwifery Today conference, there was some talk about having me go along with Gail to a workshop tour in late April and May to New York, Virginia and Washington DC. I couldn’t believe it, but she asked me to come.
And here I am now. On this amazing adventure.
I started off by joining her at her cozy home and office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There I got to meet her very supportive and good humored hubby Vic and her OUTRAGEOUSLY wonderful Director of Optimism, Kelly.
Eyes and Heart open and learning in every hour of every day. Welcome to my Spinning Odyssey.