International Cesarean Awareness Network » http://www.ican-online.org Education. Support. Advocacy. Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:40:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ICAN Names Kimberly Hellmuth the February 2015 Volunteer of the Month http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/02/ican-names-kimberly-hellmuth-the-february-2015-volunteer-of-the-month/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/02/ican-names-kimberly-hellmuth-the-february-2015-volunteer-of-the-month/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 01:20:38 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=4242 Continue reading →]]> Kimberly Hellmuth February 2015 Volunteer of the Month

Kimberly Hellmuth
February 2015 Volunteer of the Month

The International Cesarean Awareness Network is powered by the selfless efforts of our numerous volunteers. We cannot thank our dedicated volunteers enough for their cooperation and service in assisting ICAN with accomplishing its mission.

In an effort to acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to offer support, education, and advocacy for the mothers in their area, the International Cesarean Awareness Network is pleased to announce Kimberly Hellmuth as the February 2015 Volunteer of the Month.

Kimberly Hellmuth, this month’s honoree, is a chapter leader with ICAN of North Florida. Kimberly is the graphic artist behind ICAN’s ‘Peace on Earth Begins with Birth’ logo and campaign, and is working on infographics in collaboration with ICAN, ICTC, BirthSwell, Elephant Circle and MANA.

 

Get to know our February 2015 Volunteer of the Month:

 

How long have you been an ICAN member?

I’ve been a member since July of 2010.

 

How did you first find ICAN?

After the unexpected cesarean birth of my first son, my Bradley instructor pointed me to ICAN. The closest chapter at the time was the (now defunct) ICAN of Gainesville. I joined their yahoo group, but that was all. A year and a half later, an acquaintance mentioned that she was starting ICAN of North Florida, and I offered to help. Eventually, she stepped down as Chapter Leader to focus on her career and family, and I took her place.

 

What motivates you as a volunteer?

I’m motivated by every mom who has been told that her body doesn’t work, that she doesn’t have a choice, or that ʺa healthy baby is all that matters.” Knowing that the support of our chapter can help just a few of those women to have better births is life-changing and affirming. Also, I received a ton of support in planning my HBAC, and I know how important it is to give that back.

 

Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?

I’m a stay at home and homeschooling mom to two boys – ages 6 and 2. I’m a voracious reader and spend as much time in the water as I can. My family and I love to boat, bike, and play at the beach. My boys are active and busy and I spend a lot of time chasing them around!

 

What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?

My proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer was when a friend, who I met through ICAN, told me that my support was integral to her VBAC. While there were so many other factors, like her strength, determination, and her amazing doula, hearing that I made such a profound difference in someone’s life was a wonderful feeling.

My hardest moments have been dealing with the frustration as new regulations or insurance requirements have made it harder for women to birth in our area. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle we have little chance of winning, but I try to remind myself of the individuals we are reaching and supporting.

 

Thank you Kimberly for all that you do to support birthing women!

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Overturning a VBAC Ban in Western PA http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/01/overturning-a-vbac-ban-in-western-pa/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/01/overturning-a-vbac-ban-in-western-pa/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 04:39:46 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=4187 Continue reading →]]> By Katy Rank Lev and Lauren McAnallen

Amy had a successful VBAC with her second child and would have faced a coerced cesarean for her third delivery.  She said she is so thankful ICAN helped to get the ban lifted—she had a vaginal delivery with Lydia, supported in the hospital by CNMs.

Amy had a successful VBAC with her second child and would have faced a coerced cesarean for her third delivery. She said she is so thankful ICAN helped to get the ban lifted—she had a vaginal delivery with Lydia, supported in the hospital by CNMs.

In late 2012, ICAN of Southwestern PA started getting calls and emails from women living in Mercer County, PA, about an hour northwest of Pittsburgh. Apparently, one of the hospitals there was instituting a VBAC ban! Some of the women contacting our chapter had already had successful VBACs in the city of Pittsburgh and had been looking forward to birthing closer to home, supported in the local hospital by a CNM, for their next babies. For them, the VBAC ban was upsetting. How could they choose between coerced surgery or driving an hour into the city for each prenatal appointment (with young kids in tow) and driving while in labor?

But then, our chapter learned that this particular hospital served the local Amish population and that they were transferred to this hospital for cesareans. Many of them felt safer birthing in the hospital for subsequent babies. This became an important factor for many reasons: these women felt called to have many children, however it simply isn’t a safe plan for a woman to have 8 or more cesareans. These women also did not carry health insurance. They would have to pay out of pocket for hospital procedures. Coerced cesarean delivery would mean tens of thousands of dollars per Amish family per child. Some Amish do not drive automobiles, so even though the tertiary hospital in Pittsburgh, where VBAC was supported, was only an hour away by car, this was not a practical option for families whose primary means of transportation is a horse and buggy.

We immediately reached out to the ICAN board of directors for advice. While we waited to hear back, we started a letter writing campaign, addressing our letters of concern to the patient advocate at the hospital as well as the head of obstetrics. We found some letter templates in the chapter leader guidebook and tweaked them to fit our situation.

Soon after, ICAN’s legal counsel got back to us. She felt that since Amish women in particular were being affected, this meant we had solid legal ground to approach the hospital administration persuasively. She began to draft a legal letter to the administrators, outlining how and why a VBAC ban was discriminatory against this religious group.

Meanwhile, we needed to find mothers who were willing to speak up against the VBAC ban. We found a few women who spoke with legal counsel, gave their stories and talked about how the VBAC ban affected their family planning and their own autonomy. A big challenge for us was to find Amish women who would speak to ICAN’s lawyer since our chapter leaders were located in the city, over an hour away, and many of these women could not access Facebook.

Thankfully, a CNM working in the hospital was willing to risk her job to help the cause. She created surveys and asked for community support and gave patients ICAN’s contact information so they could reach out to us for help. And, by winter, some Amish families did! Pregnant Amish women walked miles in the freezing cold to use a payphone and tell their story. One Amish woman pleaded with legal counsel, “My sister had a cesarean, and I saw [everything]. Please don’t let them cut me open like my sister!”

ICAN’s legal counsel developed the letter to be sent to the hospital administrators, which was about ten pages long, and called for an immediate lift of the ban. We were dismayed when they failed to respond.

At this point, ICAN’s legal counsel urged us to begin looking for an attorney who would take the case probono (we certainly didn’t have the funds to pay for a lawyer) to sue the hospital system. Our chapter decided it was important to get an ICAN person on the ground, closer to the women being affected, and so one of the mothers who originally contacted us agreed to start a new chapter: ICAN of Western PA.

Lauren McAnallen found out the day after her daughter’s first birthday that the hospital where she was delivered had instituted a VBAC ban. She says, “I was devastated. I didn’t really know where to start. At this point I was not an ICAN member; I had only attended one in person meeting and a handful of online webinar meetings, but this ban was hitting really close to home. Reaching out to ICAN was the first thought that came to mind.

“I got in contact with Katy and she soon put out a call to action for any mothers affected by the ban to write letters, spread the word, and to speak with ICAN’s legal counsel. Katy supplied some fantastic guidelines for writing my letter to the hospital’s patient advocate – simple but important things – keep it short, share how this directly affects you, quote current medical stance on the safety of trial of labor after cesarean, and encourage the hospital to reverse the decision. I quickly drafted my letter, dropped it in the mail and began to encourage my friends and family to do the same. I signed a petition in one of the local care provider’s office and kept in contact with Katy and ICAN’s legal counsel as we waited to hear if our efforts were making any waves or if they were being heard by the hospital administration.

“It took a while for my letter to receive a response, and when it came I was shocked by their reply. It seemed to be a copy/paste letter that neither covered any of my concerns nor was any bit empathetic to my personal experience or the impact of the ban on my family planning – they basically told me that there are other hospitals in the area that offer the services I want and that I can just go there. This was not the answer I had expected from a respected hospital and especially not the answer I expected after I put my heart and major concerns into writing a letter – I was furious to have not received a letter with even just the smallest bit of compassion. It was then I recognized how important it was for me to bring ICAN to my community and in March of 2013, I joined ICAN and took the steps to start a local chapter, ICAN of Western Pennsylvania.”

Over the next few months we continued to reach out to friends and family to write letters and did as much networking via social media as we could. The new chapter started holding monthly meetings and hoped to get some local interest in ICAN and fighting the ban. Also during these months news came that a different hospital would be closing their maternity department entirely. Since this time, three other hospitals have closed their maternity departments, funneling birthing mothers to the tertiary hospital an hour away. Options seemed to be diminishing for families in the area – until August 2013 when the almost miraculous news came in that the VBAC ban had been lifted.

There was little word about the ban before it was reversed. Things were really quiet for months before the news came through. It seems that the Amish community did most of the fighting. Two women came to the hospital in labor and quietly but powerfully declined repeat cesareans. They were treated respectfully by all staff, and both had successful VBACs attended by their midwife with the support of an attending physician. Soon after those births, the ban was lifted. Providers, anesthesia and nursing finally worked together to ensure the safest coverage for those desiring VBAC, advocating the lift of the ban at every staff meeting.

Our local ICAN chapters took all the steps we could to bring attention to the ban and did our best to get the community involved, and in the end it worked.

Keeping the ball rolling was the difficult part and ICAN’s board of directors and legal counsel provided the Amish mothers a voice and informed them of their options, because it really appears that they were the ones who fought the hardest.

Because of that fight the women in Western Pennsylvania have their option to birth their babies safely in a supported hospital environment. Although some women were caught unfairly in that painful period, and there’s no good excuse for that, finally common sense and autonomy prevailed!

 

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From the President – January 2015 http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/01/from-the-president-january-2015/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/01/from-the-president-january-2015/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 22:05:22 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=4168 Continue reading →]]> LaQuitha Glass ICAN President

LaQuitha Glass
ICAN President

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Happy new year from ICAN! The new year is a time of fresh beginnings and hope for the future as we march to the beat of collective change. As an organization, we have undergone many changes in the past year, with the intention of increasing our reach in a more cohesive manner in order to fulfill our mission.  I cannot fully express in words how excited we are about 2015 and the years to come.

Did you know that we have chapters available in most of the U.S. as well as chapters in Canada, Asia, Europe, and Mexico? Our chapters are a valuable source of in person support in your local area. We invite you to attend a meeting and connect with your local leaders!

If making it out to a meeting in person proves to be a challenge, many of our chapters provide virtual support through Facebook and email. Be sure to follow us on Facebook as well, as we provide anonymous support for mothers who prefer to keep their identities private.

As an international organization, we recognize the need to pursue our mission to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) in a way that also translates cross-culturally. Along those lines, our ICAN en Español group is another valuable source of support that we offer for our Spanish-speaking mothers.

As we continue into 2015, we look forward to hearing your stories and supporting you during your birthing year and beyond!

 

With Hope,

LaQuitha Glass

ICAN President

 

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ICAN Names Brianna Barker the January 2015 Volunteer of the Month http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/01/ican-names-brianna-barker-the-january-2015-volunteer-of-the-month/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2015/01/ican-names-brianna-barker-the-january-2015-volunteer-of-the-month/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 04:20:18 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=4150 Continue reading →]]> Brianna Barker January 2015 Volunteer of the Month

Brianna Barker
January 2015 Volunteer of the Month

The International Cesarean Awareness Network is powered by the selfless efforts of our numerous volunteers. We cannot thank our dedicated volunteers enough for their cooperation and service in assisting ICAN with accomplishing its mission.

In an effort to acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to offer support, education, and advocacy for the mothers in their area, the International Cesarean Awareness Network is pleased to announce Brianna Barker as the January 2015 Volunteer of the Month.

Brianna Barker, this month’s honoree, is a chapter leader with ICAN of Huntsville. Although it was started only a little over a year ago, her chapter has already made a significant impact in North Alabama. Brianna’s chapter hosted a successful Mom Prom in the summer of last year, the funds of which they are planning to use in the implementation of an assistance program for mothers seeking professional labor support. In addition to being a chapter leader, Brianna is also in charge of graphics for the larger ICAN organization.

 

Get to know our January 2015 Volunteer of the Month:

 

How long have you been an ICAN member?

I’ve been a member since the summer of 2013.

 

How did you first find ICAN?

I first looked into ICAN when preparing for the birth of my 2nd child in 2010. I was disappointed that there was no chapter in my area and that is about as far as I looked into ICAN at the time. I ended up doing all of my own research; piecing things together here and there where I could from credible sources on the internet to arm myself and advocate for my desire to VBAC.

 

What motivates you as a volunteer?

A big motivator for me is that I vividly remember the feeling of fighting for my VBAC and I remember how alone I felt in that fight. I literally had recurrent pregnancy nightmares that I was in a dark, empty, maze of a hospital laboring all alone and I could find no one to help me.

First off, we should not have to fight like this to birth our babies how we choose. This motivates me to be active in working to change our local birth climate so that there isn’t the need to fight for our rights as childbearing women. But if we must fight for the time being, we should NOT have to do so alone. This is why ICAN is so important to me. Women supporting women, listening, understanding, and empowering. This is a vital need that should not go unmet.

 

Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?

I am a 29 year old wife and stay at home mother to three children ages 9, 4, and almost 2, as well as step-mother to two wonderful children ages 20 and 14. I love to spin yarn, knit, sew, cook, and all sorts of random crafty weird side hobbies. I love babies… If you’ve ever heard of the 5 love languages and they mention a ʺlove tankʺ that needs to be filled,  I’m pretty sure that I have a ʺnewborn love tankʺ that needs to be filled by snuggling little fresh babies. They are just so precious!

 

What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?

My proudest moments are when someone comes up to me or contacts me to say how much ICAN has helped them, whether it be help to achieve their VBAC, getting the courage to leave their provider, or receiving support for their physical or emotional healing from a birth that didn’t go as planned. It makes me feel like the work we put in as leaders is so worth it.

A super proud yet equally hard moment was planning our first large scale fundraiser for ICAN of Huntsville, Huntsville Mom Prom. It was a lot of work, and we learned so much. When it all came to fruition that night I felt very proud that we had done it and it was successful. I was also proud that there were so many women having such a good time!

One of the hardest parts about being an ICAN leader is witnessing heartbreak and loss. Empathy is very important, but it is not always an easy thing, nor is it comfortable; which is why perhaps many women don’t feel that they get the support from their families or friends that they need during their grieving. Although it is hard, I’m honored to sit in the space of pain, grief, anger, and whatever feelings a women has because we shouldn’t have to sit alone.

 

Thank you Brianna for all that you do to support birthing women!

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ICAN Signs Amicus Curiae Briefing on Forced Cesareans http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/12/ican-signs-amicus-curiae-briefing-on-forced-cesareans/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/12/ican-signs-amicus-curiae-briefing-on-forced-cesareans/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 04:52:37 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=4090 Continue reading →]]> ScalesThe International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) recently signed an amicus curiae briefing in support of Plaintiff Rinat Dray in the Rinat Dray v. Staten Island University Hospital, et. al case against forced cesareans. This briefing, which presented 50 stories of mothers who wanted to share their experiences of obstetric abuse within the maternity care system, was curated and submitted by both the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) and Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) to the Kings County Supreme Civil Court in NY.

The International Cesarean Awareness Network is in support of this amicus curiae because it is in alignment with our mission, which is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). We envision a reduction in the cesarean rate driven by women assuming responsibility for their healthcare by making evidence-based, risk appropriate childbirth decisions. This cannot happen if women are being abused in a birthing environment that lacks empathy and access to evidence-based birth options.

It is our sincerest desire that all women be granted access to maternal care that is both mother and baby-friendly in a nurturing, supportive, and empathetic birth environment.

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ICAN Names Brandy Firth the December 2014 Volunteer of the Month http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/12/ican-names-brandy-firth-the-december-2014-volunteer-of-the-month/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/12/ican-names-brandy-firth-the-december-2014-volunteer-of-the-month/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:47:58 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=4067 Continue reading →]]> Brandy Firth December 2014

Brandy Firth

The International Cesarean Awareness Network is powered by the selfless efforts of our numerous volunteers. We cannot thank our dedicated volunteers enough for their cooperation and service in assisting ICAN with accomplishing its mission.

In an effort to acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to offer support, education, and advocacy for the mothers in their area, the International Cesarean Awareness Network is pleased to announce Brandy Firth as the December 2014 Volunteer of the Month.

Brandy Firth is the chapter leader for ICAN of Hagerstown and Frederick as well as the Northeast Regional Coordinator. Brandy has been invaluable in helping to increase the awareness of placenta accreta, a potentially life-threatening complication of multiple cesareans, throughout our organization. After suffering from and surviving placenta accreta herself, Brandy is passionate about reaching mothers with the information to help them make informed birth choices and also making a difference for mothers currently suffering from accretas through her work with the Red Cross. With her help, ICAN will be participating in the Hope for Accreta Blood Drive in honor of mothers with accretas on April 3, 2015.

 

Get to know our December 2014 Volunteer of the Month:

 

How long have you been an ICAN member?

I have been a member of ICAN since 2012.

 

How did you first find ICAN?

I first found ICAN when I became pregnant after my 3rd cesarean. I began doing a lot of research and was relieved to find ICAN. The support and the knowledge that I received through ICAN helped me to make the best evidence-based decision for me and my baby.

 

What motivates you as a volunteer?

What motivates me as a volunteer is seeing the amazing strength that a mom has when she is given support and respect when it comes to having a voice in her birth choices. I want all moms to be given that.

 

Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?

My passions outside of ICAN are: home schooling my little ones, working with the Red Cross on blood drives and bringing awareness to the possible life-threatening complications that unnecessary cesareans cause.

 

What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?

I have so many proud moments as an ICAN volunteer, it is impossible to just name one! I am so proud to be a part of ICAN every time I hear a mom say that ICAN helped her to heal from a traumatic birth experience or helped her to have an empowered birth. I also am not able to name just one moment that is hard. It is always hard when I see a mom have to fight to find a supportive provider that will truly give her evidence-based care.

 

Thank you Brandy for all that you do to support birthing women!

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Giving Tuesday http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/12/giving-tuesday/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/12/giving-tuesday/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 06:09:44 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=3878 Continue reading →]]> facebook_event_1503995806539470

 

On December 2nd, ICAN will participate in Giving Tuesday in the hopes of raising $10,000 in 24 hours. We take our job of being a  source of support and a gateway to resources for birthing families seriously, and that is why we would so appreciate your help.

Our chapters in the United States and our international chapters around the world give of themselves selflessly to mothers in their areas, some of them supporting mothers in hostile birthing environments that do not offer them viable options for evidence-based care. With a current cesarean rate of 32.7% and a ranking of 60th worldwide when it comes to maternal mortality rates in the U.S., it is imperative that we make the adjustments necessary to stand in the gap for the ever-increasing numbers of women who can benefit from the support that we can and do provide.

Though the mountain may be high, it is not insurmountable.

With each person doing what they can to contribute to the solution to this issue, we can turn this ship around slowly but surely. We, collectively, have the power to impact the lives of birthing women not just in this generation but in the generations to come. Paradigms are being challenged, generational cycles are being broken, and women are awakening to the beauty of their courageous, empowered, sufficient selves, regardless of how their babies arrive…one mother and one birth at a time.

This is why we, and hundreds of our dedicated volunteers around the world, do what we do.

Please stand with us as we take a stand for you.

On December 2nd, please consider partnering with us to make a donation of any amount. No amount is too small as we work to change the reality of birthing mothers around the world.

 

 

 

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ICAN Announces New Board Member http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/11/ican-announces-new-board-member/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/11/ican-announces-new-board-member/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 01:28:29 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=3761 Continue reading →]]> Christa Billings, ICAN President

Christa Billings, ICAN President

We are excited to announce that Megan Nickel-Martin has joined the Board of Directors of ICAN as the incoming Secretary. Megan has been an outstanding chapter leader whom we’ve had an eye on for some time now. She will make a great addition to our Board bringing new and fresh ideas. Megan is also a chapter leader for ICAN of Lee County. She played a key role in helping with the Jennifer Goodall case. She will be replacing LaQuitha as Secretary, as LaQuitha transitions into the President role. You can reach Megan at secretary@ican-online.org.

We are excited to announce that Ruthie Dicken is rejoining us. She has been busy helping with projects behind the scenes since she finished her term on the board, but she is ready to jump back in and devote her time to specific areas. She is joining us as the Education Coordinator. You can reach her at education.coordinator@ican-online.org. She will work on developing new ICAN materials and brochures in keeping with the current trends and research in childbirth. Ruthie will be reading and approving all separate chapter materials before they are issued by chapters to ensure adherence to ICAN philosophies by the chapters. Please send all future materials that need approval to Ruthie at education.coordinator@ican-online.org for approval. Ruthie has a long time history with ICAN and has an eye for adherence to ICAN philosophies. Thank you Ruthie for rejoining in an official capacity.

Jesse Franks has accepted a new role as New Chapter Ambassador. You can reach her at newchapterambassador@ican-online.org. She will be sending all of our new chapters a bag with some ICAN swag to welcome them into the organization This is something the board is excited to be offering to our new chapters. Jesse has been acting as Assistant Chapter Director for many years. As we are redefining roles and adding new members to our team we felt the Assistant Chapter Director is no longer needed at this time. We are happy that Jesse is continuing her role with ICAN on the national level and helping us with this new area. Jesse just gave birth a few weeks ago to her 3rd daughter. Congrats Jesse!

Christa Billings
ICAN President
www.ican-online.org

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ICAN Names Erin Flage the November 2014 Volunteer of the Month http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/11/ican-names-erin-flage-the-november-2014-volunteer-of-the-month/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/11/ican-names-erin-flage-the-november-2014-volunteer-of-the-month/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 00:06:32 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=3752 Continue reading →]]> Erin Flage

Erin Flage

The International Cesarean Awareness Network is powered by the selfless efforts of our numerous volunteers. We cannot thank our dedicated volunteers enough for their cooperation and service in assisting ICAN with accomplishing its mission.

In an effort to acknowledge some of our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to offer support, education, and advocacy for the mothers in their area, the International Cesarean Awareness Network is pleased to announce Erin Flage as the November 2014 Volunteer of the Month.

Erin Flage is currently the chapter leader of ICAN of Northeast Iowa. During her time as a volunteer with this chapter, she has helped to increase the effectiveness of her chapter by implementing the use of technology to increase their reach. Additionally, she has helped with a number of local fundraisers and contributed to the recognition of the chapter by the governor of Iowa.

 

Get to know our November 2014 Volunteer of the Month:

 

How long have you been an ICAN member?

I have been an ICAN member since 2012.

 

How did you first find ICAN?

I first found ICAN online when I was planning a VBAC in 2008, but there was no local chapter. After my local chapter was started, I was encouraged to attend from a fellow mom.

 

What motivates you as a volunteer?

My biggest motivation as a volunteer is finding new ways to use my gifts and talents to help create positive change in the world.

 

Do you have a profession or any other passions outside of ICAN?

I work remotely for Kaplan University as an instructional designer building online courses and instructional multimedia. In addition to working with ICAN, I am also a long time member and State Vice President for the Iowa Junior Chamber, and serve on the state committee for Iowa Phi Beta Lambda, a business student organization for college students.

 

What was your proudest moment as an ICAN volunteer? What about your hardest?

I think my proudest moment was last April when we were delivering cookies to our local L&D units and prenatal clinics for Cesarean Awareness Month. As we were dropping off cookies at one of the local hospitals, the Assistant Nurse Manager proudly shared with us their primary cesarean rate (9%!) and informed us that it was the lowest in their hospital system. That encourages me that we are having an impact and that change is happening!

 

Thank you Erin for all that you do to support birthing women!

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ICAN Announces Changes to Board of Directors http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/10/ican-announces-changes-to-board-of-directors/ http://www.ican-online.org/blog/2014/10/ican-announces-changes-to-board-of-directors/#comments Sat, 11 Oct 2014 20:57:47 +0000 http://www.ican-online.org/?p=3726 Continue reading →]]> Christa Billings, ICAN President

Christa Billings ICAN President

We have some exciting changes to announce regarding our Board of Directors.

I am writing this letter to you today as the outgoing President of ICAN. My term will end Dec. 31, 2014. It has been a huge honor to serve as your President. We have just returned from our annual ICAN Board of Directors meeting. Great things always manifest when ICAN women come together in person, and with that comes the great Board of Director changes listed below.

It took several years, but we have finally turned ICAN around and are in the beginning stages of rebuilding the organization back up to the wonderful organization we all knew it could be, complete with refocusing on all the aspects of ICAN (Education, Support & Advocacy).

However, don’t worry because Christa is not going far. ICAN is near and dear to her heart! She will be moving into the Advocacy Director position as the legal/legislative side of things have always been a strong passion and focus for her. She loves the support of helping individual moms, but even more she loves the idea that ICAN can make changes in the birthing world little by little through advocacy work. She will remain on the Board of Directors as a member at large.

It is with GREAT excitement that we announce to you that LaQuitha Glass will be taking on the role of ICAN President on January 1, 2015. It has been a great joy to work with her and watch her grow. She has been an amazing member of the Board of Directors and I was always impressed by the new ideas, strategic plans and many other things she had her hands in. I am always saying to others, “She should be President.” She recently welcomed her third baby into the world and is excited to take on the position.

Not only will we have a new President, but we have added a Vice President. Lindsey Seger has accepted the Vice President position. She is a great new addition to the Board of Directors. She is a rising star of ICAN, whom we’ve had our eye on for a while. She will make a great addition to the team and adding more support at the top of our organization. Lindsey currently serves as Chapter Leader for ICAN of Nashville. She is a mother to two wonderful children.

Lakeisha Dennis has accepted the role of Chapter Director. She will serve on the Board of Directors as a Member at Large. Lakeisha currently serves as the Northeast Regional Coordinator (RC) and as a Chapter Leader for ICAN of Greater Essex County. She is working to transition the RC role by the end of the year. Chapter Director was always a position we struggled with removing when we downsized the Board several years ago. We want the opinions of our Chapter Leaders that are providing the support in our communities to be heard. Lakeisha will provide that voice to the Board, thus creating the ICAN that we all want together. Lakeisha is one amazing addition to our board. It wasn’t from her own birth experiences that Lakeisha became involved in ICAN, as she hasn’t yet had the privilege of becoming a mother. She does this work because she cares so much about birth and families.

Last but not least that leaves two positions. First is Treasurer. Mychel Hefner has been serving in that role for about a year and will continue to do so. Thank you Mychel for your hard work and time served. You have been an amazing addition to the Board of Directors. We also will have the role of Secretary to fill as LaQuitha moves into the role of President. Keep an eye out for another announcement to be made soon on the Secretary role and other various volunteer roles.

In solidarity,
Christa Billings
ICAN President
www.ican-online.org

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