Skip to main content

Doulas Seen As Key To Battling Maternal, Infant Death Among San Diego's Black Community And More Local News

Cover image for podcast episode

As childbirth is riskier for some moms than others, local groups are working to address the threat. Plus, Imperial Beach has banned people from sleeping on its streets in what the city says is an effort to cleanup the neighborhood. But homeless advocates say it’s criminalizing homelessness. Also on today’s podcast, hear how high schools students across San Diego recently got an opportunity to try and solve a diplomatic crisis centering on migration. For many, the realities of international migration struck close to home.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, September 24th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. No more sleeping on the streets and imperial beach and child birth is riskier for some moms more than others.

Speaker 2: 00:15 I'm about to play Russian roulette with Berg right now.

Speaker 1: 00:18 How local groups want to address the threat that more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 3: 00:31 Um,

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. Imperial beach bans people from sleeping on it city streets in an effort to clean up the neighborhood. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman Explains The new ordinance.

Speaker 4: 00:47 We need a regional approach to this issue and imperial beach needs to be a good partner in that homeless advocates like Michael McConnell, say imperial beach, prohibiting people from sleeping on sidewalks and city property is telling, they obviously don't want homeless people in their city. Imperial Beach City manager Andy Hall says that's not true. We don't have a lot of homeless here, but, but we don't chase them off. We don't give them a bus ticket. We don't. We don't just try to chase them out of town. We do try to find them shelter, but how does say the city has seen an increase in trash and human waste from people who are homeless? We're really trying to balance the ability to keep the community safe and sanitary while at the same time being compassionate with the homeless. Before the ordinance was passed, IB already prohibited people from sleeping in parks and beaches. The city might be opening itself up to lawsuits. It says it will deal with them when or if they come. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 01:39 Tens of thousands of babies are born in San Diego county each year, but giving birth is a risk to both mother and child. KPBS health reporter Taryn Minto tells us how San Diego groups are supporting the moms and babies that face the highest rate of death from childbirth. We often ask pregnant women the same questions. When do you do? Is it a boy or a girl? Have you picked names? The one you likely don't ask is are you worried you'll die? But that's all charade. And Johnson could think about sense of pink line told her she was with child.

Speaker 2: 02:14 There was a series of dreams. It was haunting actually. So it was, I wouldn't say dreams of mine, nightmares,

Speaker 1: 02:20 nightmares that she or her child would die. She became especially worried when she saw the data. Black women like her are three times more likely to die from childbirth than white women and their kids are twice as likely.

Speaker 2: 02:33 I'm about to play Russian roulette with Berg right now.

Speaker 1: 02:37 Johnson was so worried about becoming a statistic. She wrote a letter to her unborn child just in case

Speaker 2: 02:43 I did that in my phone

Speaker 1: 02:45 with tears welling in her eyes and one rolling down her face. She remembered the message, not even her wife.

Speaker 2: 02:51 I remember just saying how much I loved him. Um, and that, you know, if anything did happen, I tried my hardest to hold on.

Speaker 1: 03:02 But she did hold on. She and her wife welcomed a Sierra Johnson in July. [inaudible] Johnson says she got there thanks to the help of her Doula Venice, cotton.

Speaker 5: 03:14 They trust us to know what the doctors are saying.

Speaker 1: 03:18 A doula is an informed and experienced aid who advises a woman before, during and after child

Speaker 5: 03:24 birth to know what's going on and what type of complications could arise and they trust us to be able to explain to them what's going on and let them make the right decisions.

Speaker 1: 03:37 Doulas are pricey and not typically covered by insurance. Limited research available shows they can reduce the risk of complications and low birth weights and the local nonprofit for the village once more women to have them, especially black women. The group is working with project concern international to train doulas and provide them for free, but doulas aren't without controversy, they aren't licensed, so training varies and cotton says medical staff may feel doulas get in their way.

Speaker 5: 04:09 We come in with not medical training, but experience and knowledge and a more natural way to do what they do with medicine.

Speaker 1: 04:22 Johnson says cotton support was what she and her wife needed

Speaker 2: 04:26 someone to guide that family member and to tell me what to do and to tell her how to help me. It was. It was comforting

Speaker 1: 04:34 that comfort wasn't just during labor. Johnson had prenatal checkups, but cotton was keeping up with her while she was at home.

Speaker 2: 04:40 I would have to send confirming pictures that I was laying in bed

Speaker 1: 04:43 in. The program offers the same support after birth. The other doulas like cotton visit, mom's at home before their first postpartum checkup. The additional attention already helped to black moms get to the hospital for life threatening issues that they didn't even know they had. 3D ultrasound cottons. Continued support also helped Johnson achieve a positive birth experience with Sun sear for her first child. Mckayla Johnson was induced and reluctantly agreed to an epidural. She wanted a drug free delivery at a birthing center for her son, but needed help getting through the final hours of painful contractions.

Speaker 2: 05:22 No, this was getting frustrated. Yes, and so now it's just like, you know what, I'm going to go sit over here and [inaudible] she was being more than stubborn. Okay. She is. They can laugh

Speaker 1: 05:33 now what the situation was tense as Johnson begged to go to a hospital, cotton says Johnson didn't show signs of complications, so she pushed her on and Johnson is grateful.

Speaker 2: 05:44 Allowing my body to do what it's made to do isn't the best thing ever. Definitely I would do it again. I would add, I would, I'd risk it all again.

Speaker 1: 05:56 She now to support other

Speaker 6: 05:58 moms to B Johnson completed doula training at four the village earlier this month. Taryn Mento KPBS news last week, students from high schools across San Diego tried to solve a diplomatic crisis. Centering on migration. KPB As reporter Max were. Adler saw that for many students taking part in the exercise, the realities of international migration struck close to home. Kamiyah Trujillo is a freshman at San Diego high school. On Friday she represented the fictional country of molelle during a diplomatic crisis. Like many students in San Diego, Trujillo is no stranger to the stresses that borders and migration can place on a family.

Speaker 7: 06:37 Deleting. My mom couldn't go to her father's funeral because she wasn't legally documented, so that hurt her a lot and I just really felt bad. So I wanted to help out.

Speaker 6: 06:47 The simulation was put together by the San Diego Diplomacy Council and focused on a fictional refugee crisis created when a religious minority was persecuted and displaced from the made up country of Gilda. Ultimately, students came up with a variety of solutions to the crisis just as in the real world. None of the solutions offered a tidy resolution for migrants caught between borders. Trujillo who has cofounded a club centered on cross border diplomacy wants to put her newly tested diplomatic skills to use in the real world, especially along the San Diego Tijuana border.

Speaker 7: 07:21 It's not a simulation. It affects real people. It affects people like me and it affects many others. Why keep on building bridges?

Speaker 6: 07:29 Max Riverland, Adler, k PBS news,

Speaker 1: 07:31 the state legislature passed some landmark housing bills in 2019 including new protections for renters. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, the fate of a major bill to boost home-building will be decided next year.

Speaker 6: 07:46 SB 50 would require cities and counties to allow denser and Taller apartment buildings in areas near public transit, good jobs, and good schools. It was the most closely watched housing bill and one of the most controversial, but it was put on ice by a state senator earlier this year. Senate president pro tem Tony Atkins says eight. We'll come back and she'll be working on it.

Speaker 1: 08:09 We have in January, February, the ability to let that bill out there will be changes to it, uh, obviously, and I'll be, uh, really involved in helping make that happen.

Speaker 6: 08:19 Governor Gavin Newsome has pledged to get 3.5 million homes built in California by 2025 but the state is nowhere near meeting that goal. In fact, building is down this year compared to last year, Andrew Bowen KPBS news

Speaker 1: 08:34 negotiations between union reps and Kaiser Permanente executives restarted Monday. KPV as is Tom Fudge says, 4,200 Kaiser workers in San Diego are expected to join the strike. If no agreement is found

Speaker 6: 08:49 more than 80,000 workers across six states and Washington d c Say they'll hold a day strike starting October 14th if they're not offered unacceptable contract. Kaiser executives are calling the strike threat. Aggressive and negative union officials say what they're asking for is straight forward as spokesperson for the Union. Local 49 in Portland said they want to make sure they're protecting patients and the middle class jobs that can really support families Monday and Tuesday this week are the only two bargaining days scheduled between workers and Kaiser Permanente. If the strike occurs, union officials say it would be the largest strike in the u s since the teamsters struck against ups more than two decades ago, Tom Fudge, k PBS news,

Speaker 1: 09:35 severe fire weather has Pacific gas and electric bearing to cut power to 21,000 customers in three northern California counties as capitol public radio is Randall White explains the move is to keep its equipment from sparking another wildfire.

Speaker 8: 09:51 PG and e says it's constantly monitoring the weather conditions in the Sierra foothill communities. Originally, the utility had been planning to turn off power in nine counties.

Speaker 9: 10:00 As weather conditions change or as weather conditions approach, we are able to kind of narrow down even further the customers that will actually be impacted.

Speaker 8: 10:08 P spokeswoman brand name or low says once power is cut, it takes up to two days to get it back on again because each line has to be visually inspected. This will mark the third time that utility has cut power for this purpose. Last November, it had considered this approach in Butte county, but decided weather conditions didn't reach the threshold. Its equipment was later determined to have caused the Campfire California's most deadly and destructive wildfire. In Sacramento. I'm Randall white

Speaker 1: 10:35 on the campus of California State University Los Angeles, a small group of men who spent decades behind bars or working together to navigate life outside. They were students while serving time part of the state's butting prison to school pipeline. Many community colleges now offer classes in side, but cal state La offers more students. Inmates can work toward a BA and they're offered critical support when they get out as part of our California dream collaboration. K QEDs. Vanessa Rancano tells us the relationships ex inmates formed while inside are crucial to success on the outside.

Speaker 10: 11:15 Practically. The first thing Charlie [inaudible] did when he got out of prison was vomit. That car ride was, was not cool. After 22 years inside hurdling down the freeway at 70 miles an hour was overwhelming a feeling he'd have again and again in the coming days and weeks as he learned how to send text messages, use Facebook and reconnect with his family. But the day he got out per patent under knew there was one place he'd be able to get his bearings. So after puking on the side of the road, he headed to the cal state La campus. I went and got my student Id that same day. I mean that was just, that was unreal. I hair was messed, but these things

Speaker 2: 11:53 happen.

Speaker 10: 11:55 Prepotent Honda had never set foot on the campus, but for the last four years he'd been taking cal state La classes in prison. So he knew when he got there, he'd find familiar faces, professors, administrators, and guys. He was in prison with like Jeff Stein. This is our admin building. Stine got out six months ago after serving 10 years per pot. Nanda originally had a life without parole sentence, which got commuted. He had just been out two weeks when I met them, so Stein was still showing them the ropes libraries. You're on the right.

Speaker 2: 12:32 I started my first class yesterday. I'm in class with Jeff and me and Jeff are probably the two oldest students in that class because every time Jeff makes references, the rest of our group is looking at each other like, what is this dude talking about

Speaker 10: 12:49 at 43 per patent, Nanda has lived more of his life in prison than outside. It would be so easy for things to go wrong here. About half of people coming out of California prisons end up getting convicted of another crime, but school is a powerful tool against those odds. Taking classes in prison cuts, the chances of getting locked up again by more than 40% for Stein and per patent under the chance to work toward a four year degree in prison was transformative. That feeling of knowing somebody believes in you and it sees value in your life, it, it's a lot. You know what I mean? And so it's, it's very, um, it's very moving to know that you have that support on campus. Stein and [inaudible] Nanda are trying to encourage others the same way. They're part of a small but tight group of 17 formerly incarcerated students who help each other navigate life post up. The group's office is a small windowless room with inspirational posters on the walls in the basement. So there's nowhere to go but up, there's a little table where they meet with new students. This is where we do our intakes. When people come out of the can we just welcome them home, start filling out paperwork or finding out what we can do for them from a question about where to catch the nearest bus or AA meeting to help getting a birth certificate or a ride to the DMV.

Speaker 2: 14:20 Someone in our network, we'll make it happen. So yeah, Hashtag relentless networking.

Speaker 10: 14:25 So there's a lot of support on campus, but there's also support coming from the prison they just left.

Speaker 2: 14:33 This is all recent correspondence from the guys just riding to congratulate me on a smooth transition or academic requests.

Speaker 10: 14:41 Sometimes they ask him to print out and mail them journal articles without Internet access. They rely on outside help finding sources for their papers. When Stein first got out, one of the guys sent him a $960 check to help cover tuition. So the support goes both ways. In just a couple months. Another former lifer is getting released, Stein and on to say he'll probably puke on the side of the road to and afterward they will be waiting to meet him right here on campus in Los Angeles. I'm Vanessa [inaudible]. Thanks for listening to San Diego News batters. If you'd like the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.