A look back at 2009

We have now said goodbye to 2009 – and what a year it was for Open Arms.

I thought I’d share some of the work we did in this past year. Future posts will talk about what we’re looking forward to in 2010 … but for now, we are proud of what we were able to accomplish this past year.

In 2009, we served 172 women. In 2008, we served 123. As you can imagine, need was up this year and funding was down – way down. We could not have done this without the generosity of our friends, supporters and many volunteer doulas who stepped up to serve our population during these challenging times. The significance of this – and our gratitude – will be the topic of a future post.

In 2009, we contracted with 43 birth doulas for paid and volunteer births. Thank you to all of our doulas!

In 2009, our clients had a 94% breastfeeding initiation rate. We’re very pleased about this – breast milk confers all sorts of benefits to mom and baby and increases bonding. However, not all women can – or should – breastfeed, which is why we don’t expect our number here to ever be 100%.

In 2009, we had a 23% c-section rate among our clients, of which 17% were unplanned. Just to give an idea of what that number means in a greater context, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that the c-section rate be under 15%, and the local hospitals in the Seattle area have 38% – 40% c-section rate. We’re pleased when a woman can concentrate on caring for her new baby, rather than recovering from major abdominal surgery!

In 2009, we awarded 15 scholarships to aspiring doulas through our scholarship program.

In 2009, we completed the training program for the community doula program and hired 4 new outreach doulas. We’ll post more about this program and our fabulous new doulas later.

In 2009, we also worked on a pilot project with the Chemically Using Pregnant Women program at Swedish Medical Center/Ballard to provide services to pregnant women in the inpatient treatment program.

And finally, in 2009, we opened our new office in White Center. We now have staff at both our El Centro office for our regional birth doula and scholarship programs, and in the community that we serve for our White Center Early Learning Initiative programs. Being located in the community is a key part of the community doula model and so this was an important step for us.

What a year!

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