A Heartwarming Update Too Good Not to Share

At the CAPPA Destin conference in 2016 I was honored to speak about my work with pregnancy and addiction as a nurse in a speech entitled, “You are not alone-Perinatal Addiction and Neonatal Abstinence”. The first story I originally planned to share at the conference was a story about my client Kelly B, a story of success, or it was when I was preparing my speech. Three weeks before I was to present in Destin, Kelly’s husband and the father of her two children fatally overdosed. I have been working with Kelly again recently but in a much different way…so I decided that this story needs to be shared again, with a heartwarming update and an exciting twist to make this an amazing success that readers need to hear about!

I met Kelly B in August 2013 when she admitted to a medical detox facility I was working at per diem. Kelly was working as a long-term care nurse when her addiction got the best of her. Kelly had a one-year-old daughter in her custody and a four-year-old son that she had previously lost custody of and was working towards reunification.

After a month of residential detox, she admitted to the residential treatment center for mothers and children where I was nurse manager. She stayed there for over 7 months with her daughter, Marlie, and left “successfully”, continuing to work on getting back her son, Jack. She was in the community for a few months and then relapsed. She returned to the residential facility with Marlie for round two and a full year’s stay. When Kelly left this time, she was much more prepared and wrapped with multiple supportive services.

Kelly and I always “clicked”, as she puts it. Kelly remained solid in her sobriety through the loss of her husband and transitioning from a mom in shelter with wraparound support 24/7, to a mom in the community with two kids, a full-time job, an apartment, and all the normal stressors that can be so overwhelming as a single parent, let alone in grief and recovery.

Kelly is now working full time for the local recovery support network. They have created a new position and program that she is running, peer recovery for pregnant and parenting mothers and families. I am beyond thrilled to be working side-by-side with Kelly and planning to train her this April as a labor doula as well as helping her to become a childbirth educator for this population. Together we are taking this to the next level!

We will be working with the state and the large tertiary hospital to implement a volunteer program for “Recovery Doulas”. This will be a continuing education program once they are CAPPA-trained to include more intensive education on domestic violence and sexual abuse, addiction and mental health, department of corrections and departments of children and families, poverty, and a few other pieces that are so prevalent and important in this work.

I may be biased, but I don’t think this could have shifted into a more positive success story, so I had to share it with you all! I am honored to have worked with Kelly and her kids for almost 5 years now and to have been able to watch them grow and blossom. She is a true pioneer and moving mountains here in Vermont! And now she will be a birth worker advocating for women and families in recovery! Thank you, Kelly, for sharing yourself and your children with me and I cannot wait to share the miracle of birth with you and watch the countless families you will support! Blessings on your birthing!

Kelly B has given permission (so has Jack) to publish and release this information and has approved this article. She writes:

“My name is Kelly B and I am a recovery support specialist at the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County, (Vermont). I was asked recently by Jessilyn if I would let her share my story with the CAPPA community, again! Ha, ha! I was more than willing to let her share my experiences with the group, as she has in the past when we first arrived at Lund where she was nurse manager at the time. I believe Jessilyn and I have always shared a different bond beyond nurse and client. I am a former nurse in recovery and having the heart and knowledge of a nurse always made her more of a friend to me. It is very exciting for me now to be building a working relationship with her, and also now we have the opportunity to grow a lasting friendship! I hope my story will share experience, strength, and hope to many. It keeps me going every day knowing the hardships I have overcome and having the ability to share how I overcame may help others. Many Thanks, Kelly B.”

Resources to Share:

Jessilyn Dolan

RN, CLD, Labor Doula Faculty

Jessilyn Dolan has been working with birthing families for over ten years.  She is a registered nurse and certified massage therapist, specializing in maternity and deep tissue massage, acupressure, reiki, and craniosacral therapy.  Jessilyn is a certified Labor Doula, Certified HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator and Certified Infant Massage Instructor.  She is chapter leader of Vermont’s first ICAN.  Jessilyn previously owned and operated a Family Wellness Center for five years, incorporating all of her birthing knowledge and classes and instructing yoga for all ages.  She previously taught Reflexology, Anatomy and Physiology and Traditional Chinese Medicine classes in the massage program at the Community College of Vermont.  Jessilyn has worked at shelters with victims of domestic and sexual violence and families with diverse backgrounds and special needs.  She is a caring, honest, and open woman who wants to help make a difference in the lives of those around her.  Jessilyn lives in the northern woods of Vermont with her family, a house full of boys!

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