Debby Amis, RN, BSN, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE When I went to college in Colorado, I wanted to be an international diplomat and solve the problems of the world. I took Russian, geography, and political science. Then Steve proposed and I realized that nursing or teaching would be more practical for putting him through law school. We both transferred from the University of Colorado to the University of Texas to complete our educations. During nursing school, I worked part-time in Labor and Delivery at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. I was both fascinated with birth and horrified at having to strap down the women who chose Twilight Sleep. When I went home for the holidays, my OB dad would wake me so that I could accompany him to the births of the women who planned natural births. In the early 70s, Dad was featured in a TV news story as one of the few OBs in the Dallas area who would allow fathers into the delivery room. After I spent several years nursing, both in the hospital and in public health, Steve graduated from law school. Six months later our first son, Brian, was born. Teaching childbirth classes seemed like the natural next step. I became certified by Lamaze International and active with a local community-based childbirth group. I had a second son, Ben. The rest, as they say, is history. I volunteered with Lamaze International and have continued to be an active member for many years. I have served as president and as Education Council Chair, and my husband, Steve, also served two terms on the Board of Directors. I have also enjoyed being a member of both ICEA and DONA and attending their conferences for many years. Today, my business partner, Jeanne, and I run the The Family Way, publishing childbirth education materials and training new childbirth educators. I enjoy speaking at conferences around the world. But my greatest joy is my family. As the mother of two boys, I will always be the “mother-in-law.” Before my daughter-in-law became pregnant with our first grandchild, I gave her the book, Pushed, to read. After she finished it, she called to ask how she could have the birth that she wanted. When she did become pregnant, I was delighted that she chose a combined midwifery-OB practice and invited me to be her doula at both her births. To watch and help her and my son experience the joy and the challenge of natural births were high points of my life. And the end result – everything they say about being a grandparent is true. Spending time with Ben and his partner, James, and with Brian, Jordan, and our two grandsons are our greatest joys. We also love traveling, rooting for the University of Texas and Rice, and reading. Life is good.
Jeanne Green, BA, MT, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE I spent my school years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before moving to San Antonio, Texas, to attend Trinity University. I completed a degree in biology and became a registered medical technologist there. Then I took off to work my way around the world, spending a year of that time in Australia. It was there that I first saw a baby born in a small outback hospital. It was an awesome experience and it touched my heart! A few years later in California my husband and I experienced the birth of our first daughter, and life changed. I didn’t realize just how much this birth would affect my life until we moved with our baby from California to Arkansas. The birth culture in those two states was quite different in the early 1970s. In Arkansas there were no childbirth classes, and most mothers were put to sleep for birth. I felt so strongly about the joy I had experienced, being awake and aware of my daughter’s birth, that I set about to find like-minded women who joined me on my journey to bring childbirth education to families in Arkansas. We became certified by what is now Lamaze International. A year later, “prepared” fathers were allowed to be present for the birth of their baby. During that time I had two more babies the way I wanted to do it! We moved on to Texas and I joined with new friends to start a childbirth group called The Family Way… and I was soon once again “in the family way” with baby number four. I am a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE), a Fellow in the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators, and an active member of Lamaze International, the International Childbirth Education Association, and DONA International. Working with Lamaze and InJoy as script writer and class instructor in the DVD, Celebrate Birth! was a new learning experience for me and one that was most rewarding. Being invited to the births of my thirteen grandchildren (three sets of twins) in the past nine years has been an honor. Earning the title of “Nana” is my greatest accomplishment. Our children, Elaine, David, Whitney, and Emily, and their loved ones and children bring us amazing joy. Gordon and I have traveled the world for career and for pleasure. Being with family, attending births, playing with babies, writing books, teaching, practicing yoga, traveling – life just doesn’t get much better than that!