Scholarship Winner: Jennifer uses her birth story to inspire her future

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In our last Scholarship Winner post we talked about the whirlwind Spring 2017 we had! We had our largest MSP Class EVER, we launched another amazing course with our awesome friend & colleague, Olivia Scobie, the Diverse Families Certification. We are more than halfway through the summer here in Toronto and are excitedly preparing for the arrival of Natasha’s second baby and collectively our third #bebobaby! With  the end of summer nearing it also means we are gearing up for the launch of our MSP Fall 2017 Program and we are so excited to be adding even more new content! 

The early bird registration for MSP Fall 2017 has now closed and that doesn’t mean it’s too late to take advantages of some pretty great registration perks… sign up for one of our Fall 2017 MSP Webinars and find out more about how you can become a doula. Plus, you may leave the workshop knowing tons more about doula work plus a kickass prize 😉 Before we turn our attention over to another one of our amazing Scholarship Winners from the Spring 2017 Class we thought it would be a good time to mention that we’ll be accepting scholarship applications very soon! Keep a close eye on our Facebook Page, or better yet, sign up for our newsletter so you get an email the day it opens… HINT: It’s REALLY, REALLY SOON! Ok, enough about us… Introducing the second Scholarship Winner for our Spring 2017 MSP Class: Jennifer Willprecht Walczak!

Hi!  My name is Jennifer Willprecht Walczak.  I was born and raised in New Brighton, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Currently, my husband, son and I live with my parents while we save up for our own house.  Our son, Robert, is 4-years-old, and loves to dance, run, and play.  We both take dance classes locally, and I (recently) started running in preparation for two half marathons this year.  My husband is wonderful and supportive, and I can’t imagine a better father for my son, or husband for myself.  I currently work for Community Partners with Youth, a non-profit after school and summer program for at-risk youth in the suburbs.  My husband works for Intertek, as a window technician.  Basically, his company throws two-by-fours at windows, and he writes the reports on how they fare during the hurricane simulations.  Though we currently have one son, we are planning on having three more kids in the future.  

My birth story…

My husband and I met when we were 16 working at Target.  We started dating when we were both 21, and in college.  Four months after we started dating, we found out I was pregnant.  Being two broke, college students, this was TERRIFYING, though to be fair, isn’t the prospect of first time parenting always a little daunting?

My pregnancy wasn’t too terrible, lots of morning (and by morning I mean all day, every day) sickness, but I was able to still work, and continue school at the University of Minnesota.  My son was due on Dec. 9, 2012, which just so happened to be the first day of finals for the semester.  Talk about stressful!  Very early on the morning of Dec. 4, 2012 I started having contractions.  My boyfriend had spent the night at his parents’ house, and his basement bedroom had terrible reception.  

I laboured alone at home for six or so hours, hopping in and out of the bath to help alleviate my back labour.

I knew that my placenta was in front of my baby (which means I had an anterior placenta), but I didn’t fully realize what that could mean until I was in labour. I knew that I didn’t feel baby moving, but I didn’t fully realize that it would mean such an awful back labour!  Around 6:00 am, I called my future-in-laws’ house, and they sent him over to me.  We had an appointment that morning with my OB, who said I wasn’t far enough along to be admitted to the hospital.  So we walked.  I swear I walked 27 miles that day!  We finally decided around 9 pm, after 20 or so hours in labour, to go to the hospital.

I was admitted on the condition that I allowed them to strip my membranes, as my labour wasn’t progressing as fast as they would like to see.  

Being inexperienced and having laboured for almost a day already, I said “anything to stay here!”. After they stripped my membranes, we got up and walked some more.  I still wasn’t progressing.  Pitocin was started.  With the Pitocin, I was having such painful contractions, I decided to go against my all-natural birth plan, and requested some pain meds.  I was able to take a short nap, and that helped me dilate to a 9.  By this time, it had been close to 34 hours.  I started walking again to get to that last centimeter.  The nurses upped my Pitocin again, and I then asked for an epidural, again going against my birth plan.  Finally, I was at a 10!  They told me to start pushing.  I was so excited to meet my baby!  I pushed for what felt like forever, but I was assured was more like an hour.  

By this time, it was shift change.  They turned down my Pitocin, and told me to stop pushing while they filled in the new nurses and doctors on my labor.  Once I was able to start pushing again, my whole labor started to get more difficult. With every push, my blood pressure dropped to 80/40, and the baby’s heart rate dropped to the 60s.  I was told I might end up with a c-section.  

This was the exact opposite of everything I had wanted.  

I started having a panic attack because I was told I could only have one person in the room during my surgery. I wanted anted my boyfriend there to witness the birth, of course, but I also wanted my mom.  It was traumatic, and

scary, and I needed her there for me!  The nurses relented, and told me I could have one for the birth, and one for after.  My boyfriend stayed during the birth, and then switched with my mother after the baby came out.  I did not get to see my son immediately following the c-section.  It was 3 hours before I got to see him.  My family got to meet my son before I did.  We had chosen not to find out the gender, and I actually found out from my mom that I had a son.

The whole experience was traumatic for both me and my son, as well as our family that was surrounding us.

Thankfully, I got my healthy, happy baby boy out of the whole process.

Since my birth, I have been thinking about becoming a doula.

We considered one, but ultimately the cost was too much for two broke college kids.  I want to be the doula for women like me.  Young, broke, and feeling alone.  

Thankfully, my now husband and I had a great support system around us.  There are many women who do not.  

My goal is to focus on teen and young women who are pregnant.  I feel like if I can offer support to pregnant teens, we can help stop the cycle of teenage pregnancy, and help young women find the best future for themselves and their babies.  Often, one teenage pregnancy turns into a second within five years.

My ultimate life goal is to start a non-profit to help pregnant and parenting teens through the high school to college transition.  

I want to offer low-cost or free doula services to women who could use the extra support during their labour, especially those women who do not have the support from their families or communities.  I have been thinking of doing this for a long time, almost five years, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to become a doula and help support women through one of the scariest, and most exciting, transitions of their lives!  Without this scholarship from bebo mia inc, there is no way my family would have been able to afford this opportunity.  I can’t wait!

XOXO,

Jennifer

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