Category Archives: labor and delivery

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Volunteers Matter: Marlita Camacho

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach has been 100% run by volunteers since its inception more than 30 years ago. No one has ever received a salary, which enables CPO to make an even bigger difference in the lives of Tulsa area women. We know that volunteers matter, and to honor them we periodically interview and highlight one of our volunteers. This week we hear from an extremely dedicated volunteer, Marlita Camacho.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: I am a doula (professional labor support) and I assist Cheryl with birthmoms.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: I have been a doula with CPO for 14 years, and an assistant for about 3 years.

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: I’m embarrassed to say it was for selfish reasons, but I was looking for ways to further my doula training by attending births.

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: The neat thing is I started attending births, but quickly realized what an amazing ministry opportunity it was. I get to walk through a really emotional time with these girls, laugh with them, cry with them. I get to be with them when they may not have a good support system.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: I’m passionate about birth, but I’m also passionate about being the hands and feet of Jesus. If these girls feel the love of Jesus through me, then I’m doing my part.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: I’ve learned that there’s always a way to make time. Your schedule may be busy, but if an opportunity comes up to minister to a woman in crisis, there’s always a way.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: Wow. That’s a deep question. I think I’ve got the best volunteer opportunity at CPO, because I get to witness miracles. The miracle of life. The gift of a birth mother choosing life for her child, whether she plans on parenting or she is making an adoption plan. I get the privilege of witnessing families being made through open adoption.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: Do it! Make time to make a difference in someone’s life. Make yourself available to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Choose to love on someone who may never have felt His love.

Parenting Success Story: Alex

Many women who come to CPO during their crisis pregnancies choose to parent their child. We are happy to support them in their efforts with counseling, mentors, parenting classes, and more. From time to time we would like to highlight one of our parenting success stories. This is the third installment in our series, again written by Ashley Ledbetter.

“What am I going to do?”
For Alex, it was the first question of many.  It led her on a journey towards a beautiful and rewarding decision: to parent her son and daughter.
Alex discovered she was pregnant at age 18.  She was living on her own, having graduated high school ahead of schedule. The news was difficult.  “What am I going to do?”  Being an extremely smart girl, she began exploring her options.  She reached out to MEND; they were helpful. Although Alex was initially open to an abortion, MEND offers a video that reveals the abortion process.  After viewing the video, she quickly ruled out abortion as an option.
Moving forward with her decision to protect the tiny baby inside her, Alex started surveying other resources around her.  Since CPO has resources for parenting AND open adoptions, adoption was the next option she chose to explore. Soon, Alex had decided to attend two support groups- one group for parenting mothers and one for those who have chosen to make adoption plans.  When the adoption support group didn’t resonate, she paid close attention to the girls in the parenting group.  She began to observe a simple, yet monumental, truth:  “It is possible!” These girls chose to parent, even though they hadn’t planned on becoming pregnant, and they were doing it.  They were even doing it well.  She started to think “I can do this.”  Her choice to parent was made.
With a plan starting to fall into place, Alex was then able to address issues related to the remainder of her pregnancy and delivery.  This phase of her journey became as critical to her experience as every other part, since it was during this final stretch of pregnancy that she was challenged and cared for by CPO volunteers.  The medical volunteers, Dr. Ross, and one of CPO’s doulas, Marlita, were an incredibly strong support for Alex.  She was prayed for at every prenatal appointment and had some difficult but honest conversations with Dr. Ross.  Through that time, Alex realized how much she was experiencing depression and self neglect.  She had grown up enduring heartbreak and difficulties within her immediate family that had affected her more deeply than she had previously been able to identify.  While she had been aware of these struggles, they were unresolved and painful.  Alex began to see the underlying condition of her heart.  She began to reconsider her deep-rooted approach to life: “just get through it”.  She started to understand that God had more for her than that, maybe even joy and freedom.
Even after all of these victories and blessings on her way to becoming a mother, Alex’s highest praise goes to Marlita.  After all, the delivery of a baby is one of the most personal and valuable moments a woman will experience. Having a skilled and compassionate doula can really create a bond that will endure forever!  Alex remembers, “Marlita was the only person I wanted in the delivery room with me.”
In the end, Alex had rejected abortion, chosen to parent, begun to experience the healing of her own heart, and delivered a baby.  So, one question remained: “What is the best way to do this?”  CPO’s parenting support group offered her plenty of answers.  Through the community of parenting girls, Alex was able to learn the details of government housing as well as general strategies for single moms.  She found community within the parenting mothers, who even handed down clothes and other child related items to each other.
She journeyed from “What am I going to do?” all the way to “It is possible!” For her and her two children, it was a journey worth taking.  image
6 years later, Alex is the beautiful mother of two children, Treten (age 5) and Georgia (age 4). Currently, she serves tables at Chuy’s while attending school for accounting.


Retro CPO: My Story

Each month we will feature a “retro” CPO article, one that is pulled from our archives of quarterly newsletters. Whenever possible we will provide details regarding the author and date of publication.

This month’s Retro CPO article was written by an anonymous birth mother in the Spring of 2005.

I am parenting two girls, who are 8 and 11 years old. I made adoption plans for two girls, who are now 19 months and 7 months. I recently went back to school to become a Dental Assistant. I know that if I had not made adoption plans for the two younger girls, I would not have gone to school.

In December 2002 I discovered I was pregnant. I could not believe the home pregnancy test, so I went to a crisis pregnancy center for another test. I didn’t know what to do, besides cry and be mad! I knew that I was not capable of raising another child on my own. The nurse gave me a list of adoption agencies, told me that CPO did open adoptions, and that I would be able to choose a family. I was so worried about the fact that both the birth father and I are Native Americans. I knew the baby must be placed with a family of the same tribe. [Editor’s Note: Some parts of the law have changed since then, but placing NA babies is still quite regulated.] I was afraid that would make it hard to find a family, but it was not a problem.

I put off calling Cheryl for several days. I felt so ashamed that I did not feel capable of parenting this baby, despite the face that I was taking care of my older girls. When I met with Cheryl, she assured me that I was making the loving choice for all of us, and I felt a lot better.

I met the adoptive family and felt good about placing my baby with them. When I went into labor, I called them, and they arrived in time for her to be born. At first, I felt hurt knowing that I would not be parenting M. I didn’t want to leave the hospital. My biggest concern was that I wanted her to know that I love her. I did not want her to grow up hating me.

Shortly after giving birth, I became pregnant again. I called Cheryl, and began meeting families. I knew instantly that the third family I met was perfect, even though they did not have as much “Indian blood” as I had hoped! The adoptive mother and I talked a lot and she seemed so real. I felt comfortable with the whole family.

While I was in my early stage of pregnancy, I decided to go back to school. It was a real struggle, and I had several obstacles in my way. I honestly believe that if I had not had Cheryl and Mary (the adoptive mom) encouraging me and believing in me, I would not have finished.

Making an adoption plan for my babies was the hardest decision I have ever made, but it was the best decision. I know they are very much loved and are being well taken care of. Placing these two children means I can now be the mom I need to be for my older children. And I am so happy that I can see them, and be an important person in their lives.


He Has a Plan: Inside a CPO Open Adoption, Part Two

This is the second in a series of articles featuring an inside look at one of CPO’s recent adoption success stories. Here’s a link to Part One. Many thanks to Alaina Butler of Inspired Life Photos for the fine photography and conducting the interviews. Also, thanks to the Borg family and their new daughter’s birth mom, Kelly, for being willing to share their story with the world.

Alaina: Tell us a bit about being in the hospital with an open adoption.
Borg Family: From the adoptive father’s perspective, it was a little awkward at first. After walking with Kelly for 7 months, it was awkward at the delivery. I was torn between protecting the heart of my wife and protecting the heart of the woman that is sacrificing her desire and blessing us with a child. Luckily, Sheri and I both prayed at length and had the desire to ensure that Kelly was as blessed and supported as possible. In our mind there was little doubt that Kelly would proceed with the adoption (and we had given it to God anyway). I will never forget the sound of Kelly holding and talking to Harper for the first time and watching a mother take her heart out of her chest and give it to this child that just came from her womb as a gift that cannot be described. Harper will forever have a piece of Kelly’s heart and spirit inside of her.
The rest of the hospital stay was exhausting, exhilarating, heavy, fun, loving, and sorrowful at different times. Harper stayed with us most of the time but would go into Kelly’s room anytime that Kelly wanted her. There were times where Kelly & I (Sheri) would sit on the hospital bed with Harper between us and just weep. They were tears of sorrow and tears of joy. It really isn’t something that can be explained. It’s something that only God could weave together so beautifully. There was always this heavy cloud of anticipation regarding the uncertainty of how the final day would be and what the rest of the process would hold. There were a lot of tears shed both happy and broken but the overall process was good. We were happy to take home our new daughter and broken for Kelly.

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Alaina: Introduce us to little Harper Elizabeth!
Borg Family: Harper Elizabeth was born on June 4, 2014. She weighed in at 7lbs, 5oz and was 19 ¾ inches long. Harper was a blessing from the start. She was very easy during the hospital time and was the glue that held Kelly and us together. We passed her back and forth between the rooms when family would come and when Kelly needed to breaks. Put simply…she was the perfect gift that only God could produce. She has such a big personality. Her smile is contagious and every time I see it, I am reminded of God’s promises to our family.

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Alaina: Any tips for an adopting family going to the hospital for the birth?
Borg Family: Do not enter with any expectations. Go into it with the heart of Jesus focused on serving and making the birth mom feel loved. She is the one making the sacrifice and being broken through the process. Find ways to swallow your pride or anything else that shows up and put her needs before your own. The simple acts of kindness shown to the birth mom during this process can be the difference between a healed heart and broken heart with great consequences. This is a time for the birth mom, birth family, to bond with the baby. Politely let your family and friends know that you would prefer not to have visitors at the hospital, and they can visit when you get home. We called our parents and a few close friends as we were leaving the hospital and they met us at home to meet Harper. That seemed to work out well. It also allowed us to get a bit of rest right as we arrived at home. I would also add that the hospital stay should definitely be discussed prior to the delivery date. Kelly and I (Sheri) talked about who would hold the baby first, who was going to cut the cord, where she would sleep, etc. Some things changed during the stay and we just went with it. We really learned to trust God with everything during the stay. I know it can probably be scary if birth mom wants the baby in her room a lot of the time but we had complete peace with it and never once worried. We also used that time to rest ourselves.


Be sure to check back next to see the final installment in the incredible journey with Kelly and the Borgs!

Volunteers Matter: Sarah Coffin

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach has been 100% run by volunteers since its inception more than 30 years ago. No one has ever received a salary, which enables CPO to make an even bigger difference in the lives of Tulsa area women. We know that volunteers matter, and to honor them we periodically interview and highlight one of our volunteers.
This week we learn about Sarah Coffin, one of our awesome volunteers!
Q: In what ways do you volunteer at CPO?
A: I began volunteering at CPO as a mentor for birth moms, began working as a birth doula and have since become one of Cheryl’s assistants helping facilitate adoptions.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: Since 2009.
Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: Marlita Camacho, one if the other birth doulas, invited me to attend and I fell in love with the girls and the ministry.
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer at CPO versus other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: I have always had a passion for empowering women and found an ideal ministry that empowers women in the midst of crisis to find their voice and receive the support they need regardless of parenting or making an adoption plan. This ministry goes beyond providing abortion alternatives and walks beside women in their greatest need, loves them and gives them the strength and support to take control of their lives.
Q: What have you learned about yourself since you began volunteering?
A: I have learned that God is a god full of grace. His heart yearns for these women to be loved and shown His grace on earth. We are all desperate for His grace.
Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: His hand is evident every time a woman in crisis smiles, receives a compassionate hug, and is proud of her decisions.
Q: What would you say to anyone who may be considering becoming involved with CPO?
A: This is a wonderful ministry that brings you straight into the direct line of hope for so many people. You become an asset of God working in these precious women’s lives and an option beyond abortion when there seems to be no other way.


A big thanks to Sarah Coffin for being a dedicated volunteer at CPO!

CPO’s Doulas: An Amazing Gift

Written by Tim and Amie Vetscher, this is the fourth and final piece in a series of articles about CPO’s recent Waiting Families Workshop. Click here for the first installment, here for the second installment, and here for the third installment.
During the recent Waiting Families Workshop, adoptive couples learned about the important roles doulas serve in the adoption process.  If you’re not familiar with doulas, they are people who assist and coach women during their pregnancy, during labor, as well as after the birth.
You may also not know that Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is the only agency in Tulsa that ensures every woman has a doula, whether they’re parenting their own baby or making an adoption plan.
Doulas aren’t just a convenience, their presence has been shown to dramatically help the birth mom and her new baby.  For example, doula-assisted labors are, on average, 25% shorter.
Women who hire doulas typically require fewer drugs to assist them through labor.  In fact, the presence of a doula drops the odds of a woman requiring an epidural by more than 50 percent.  A recent University of Minnesota study found that hiring a doula can also reduce a woman’s risk of having a c-section by nearly 60 percent.
“If you have some kind of fear, it can actually physically hold you back, so we can help moms work through those fears in the moment,” certified doula Erin Stertz-Follett told KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.
The doulas for CPO are Jenni Anthamatten, Marlita Camacho, and Sarah Coffin. Together, they serve all the women of CPO who except out offer of doula services. They all have different personalities and styles, which means that our pregnant women have a true choice in who will be assisting them in the delivery room.

Jenni Anthamatten


Marlita Camacho

Sarah Coffin

From the standpoint of an adoptive couple, doulas also provide several key benefits.  Doulas assist the adoptive couple by letting them know specific ways they can help their birth mom.  Doulas also arrange and coordinate the presence of the adoptive couple at the birth of their adoptive son or daughter, making it less stressful on the birth mom.
In other words, everybody at CPO benefits from having a doula present at birth.

The CPO Doulas

A huge thanks to Alaina Butler of Inspired Life Photos for getting our busy and beautiful doulas in one place and taking these gorgeous photos of them!

Doulas: Yet Another Way We Minister to Our Girls

This article was originally published in May 2013, by Rhonda Fisher.

S.* is a CPO girl who recently gave birth and placed her daughter for adoption. Even though she had already had 2 children previously, she listened to the advice of others and chose to have a doula during her most recent birth experience. She is very glad she did! She describes her experience with Marlita, one of the doulas provided by CPO, “It was way better than a husband or boyfriend could ever be, hahaha. She got me everything I needed, she walked around with me… she was there with me for like, EIGHT hours! She held my hand, she stayed in the room the whole time. She was just… a good support, the WHOLE time. Even afterward, she made sure I was okay. Basically, she was awesome.”

Marlita has been a volunteer with CPO for ten years, a professional doula for eleven. She also serves as an assistant director of adoption.

When asked to explain the job of a doula, Marlita says: “Doulas provide physical support (massage, ice chips, restroom breaks), emotional support (answering questions, assuring the laboring mother that all is well) and informational support (explaining those ever-present monitor alarms, translating medical jargon).”

CPO has four doulas, three of which actively attend support groups to allow the girls to get to know them. It is good that there are several options because that gives the girls the ability to choose based on several factors, most importantly which personality will put them most at ease in the delivery room. They are available to assist both girls planning for adoption and those intending to parent. Once a girl chooses a doula, they get together at least once to make a plan for the ideal birth, to discuss what to expect at the hospital (especially in adoption situations, where so much is different), and they are encouraged to attend a childbirth class (another of Marlita’s duties). Best of all, the doula becomes available to the girl 24/7. Doulas are on call for middle-of-the-night questions and concerns, and willing to go to any doctor appointments if needed.

S finished her interview with some words that could probably be echoed by all CPO girls who have chosen to embrace the presence of a doula. “Everybody should have a doula. Everybody.”

This is a description of just one of hundreds of doula-attended CPO birthing experiences. It is further proof that CPO is doing everything they can to assist girls, in every way possible. What a wonderful place to volunteer! (Tell your friends.)

*The names of the women CPO helps are always redacted for privacy purposes.