Tag Archives: felony

In Conclusion

Today is my friend’s birthday. He is a single father  in the middle of a messy custody battle. DCFS is involved. I don’t claim to know anything about his baby mama’s case. But regardless, he felt the need to ask DCFS for permission to have me come over to his house. You know, because I’m a felon and all.

Just now he contacted me to let me know he is not allowed to associate with me. He got a “finger wagging” from the social worker.

Ironic that. Ironic all of it. I’m now too dangerous to associate with children, or even be present in their home. Hurry up and hide them! This midwife is dangerous.

It’s taken me a good couple weeks to write an update because the update I have is so heart-wrenching for me I couldn’t bring myself to write it.

A couple weeks ago on… oh, never mind, I’ve apparently blocked the date from my memory… I signed away my right to: 1. Have my midwifery license in the state of California and 2. Ever defend the Medical Board’s accusations if I attempt to ever obtain a medical license from the state of California for any reason ever again. Read: Never work in the state of CA again… not even if I went back to school and became an MD.

If California was like so many other states and recognized a woman’s right to birth WHERE and WITH WHOM she desired, I would be able to work outside of the megalomaniacal Medical Board.

In exchange, I get to relieve my pro bono attorney who has been tirelessly fighting on my behalf without a penny since the fall of 2010. I also get to know that I will have “surrendered” my license as opposed to having it “revoked”… semantics, really, but one that may make a difference in another state.

If I fought the Medical Board any further, I ran the risk of them back charging me tens of thousands of dollars. And, well, as a single mama with no ability to work in her profession, I really can’t afford that.

And, honestly, my supporters are tired. I watch the responses to my emails dwindle as time goes by. And my local birth community is too busy to care, most of them.

None of this changes even if my felony conviction is overturned after appeal.

The thing I find most ironic about this is that this state has many midwives who have been found guilty or plead guilty to crimes– most after the death of a baby– who are still working here, peaceful as peaches with their licenses intact. And further, let’s not get into the doctors who have continued to work.

So, I claw at the dry earth around me and hope to carve out some essentials as the kids and I attempt to make ends meet while I’m forced to remain in this county by the CA probation department. Without a job.

I clean houses, and babysit and teach classes here and there. I scrub toilets and paste canvasses and run errands for people. Whatever it takes. My friends at least trust me for these things.

And I see my children barely at all.

My daughter has taken on irrational fears ad nauseum and my son is incredibly angry. What do I do about it? Nothing. I don’t have time.

And I dream of the day when probation is done and I can leave this awful, ignorant, assaulting state. When I can burn the bridges I had with the Socialist Republic of California. And I look forward to another life in another state where midwifery laws aren’t so ridiculous.

But I’m ANGRY. I’m oh, so angry. My family’s blood is in this land. Our tears, our sweat. I’m FROM this place. My grandfather and grandmother served here as medical people. Gave their lives to the health and well-being of its citizens. We volunteered and voted and went to church.

And now the taxpayers of this state have seen fit to strip me of all of my life’s work, my family, my friends, my roots. They have seen fit to toss me out and give not a care to whether we live or die. Is a cage worse than being exiled?

Well, I guess I could stay… but then I would continue to work these 10-12 hour days and my children would be missing two parents instead of the one.

The words I want to write here are not suitable for children so I will leave this at that. Image


Phoenix Rising

Well, after all of that work, I dropped off of WordPress for over a month again. This time I just needed some time to sweat, garden, cry, dig, dance, and sweat some more. It’s been a grueling process. But just as I was about to dig myself into a little hole and never venture out with my outside of the box thinking again, I was given a bonfire of encouragement from Pete Eyre and his voluntaryist and libertarian friends.

I was so blown away to hear of all the stories they have to tell. My story is NOT unique. I just happen to have been involved with midwifery. So many other trades have been affected by the prosecution of victimless “criminals.”

Pete’s encouragement came right at a moment that I about cracked from the craziness of it all: the Medical Board of CA sent me a letter asking me to allow them to continue the hearing I must have before them (to decide if I will have my license revoked or be put on probation for eons). This was a request THEY made because they wanted to have the hearing next January 2013, not this June 2012 as scheduled. When my attorney agreed (hey… big deal… I can’t practice anyway, what does it matter to me?) they sent him the stipulation for me to sign.

In the stipulation, the wording said that I agreed that I had been found guilty of practicing negligently (something I was never even charged of!), that I agreed to have my license suspended (huh? Don’t I need a hearing before they decide that FOR me?) and that I promise not to be found in any place where “midwifery might be practiced” including employment, other than as a patient or the family member of a patient.

HUH??

So, I asked my attorney to politely decline their continuation request. I may be tarred and feathered, but I’ll be damned if I’ll help them do it.

Oh! And in case you, like me, are wondering why I can’t just send them their silly paper and quit even TRYING to practice in the People’s Republic of California, there’s this regulation that keeps things from being that simple.

So my hearing is in six weeks. I’ll keep y’all updated on what happens, but my hopes aren’t high. Nothing about anything related to this process has produced anything but disillusionment in me. Which is a LOT for an idealist at heart to take. Especially one who was also a statist. Heck. I was basically a socialist until this whole thing started. Now I truly fear for the future of our country. We continue to encourage our publicly funded civil servants to make more and more and more rules and laws and regulations.

Oh, and my book will be out soon. Please order a copy if you haven’t. It is the first and only place that I have told my story. You can pre-order it here. The forward was written by Dr. Stuart Fischbein and the Appendix of action items was compiled with an introduction by Pete Eyre; Like two solid bookends on a very messy, emotional female memoir.

My appeal is also still in process… it’s a bit like watching hair grow and hope it doesn’t become ingrown in the process. I am so grateful to my appeals attorney. She rocks.


It’s Been a While

Life goes on. I’ve moved after finding some work under a rock and pushing it around a bit to make it grow.

I miss midwifery.

I’m planting a real life garden to help me process my philosophical one. There are lots of rocks in it and the weeds are outrageous.

I plan to warm baby chicks and eat their eggs when they are bigger. Happy Spring!

And I’m writing. Writing, writing, writing.

This book is done. Please order it.

And I’m working on another.

I still have three days of CalTrans. Apparently I’m not ready to be done with it. I will get to it during spring break and my kids can be cared for.

In the mean time, I’m still trying to swallow the pill I’ve been dealt. It’s monstrous. But there will be glory when I’m all done. And God is here to guide me.


CalTrans Day 2: 24 Hours Remaining

I took the day off yesterday to visit with a fertility gynecologist. I have been struggling with premature ovarian failure since my arrest. I assumed it was just stress. I mean, being arrested is pretty stressful. Especially when you have NO CLUE they are coming for you.

The doc was very intelligent and mentioned, after unsympathetically mentioning that he sees no follicles anywhere, that only 1% of women with POF do not have premutated x chromosomes.

Say what???

He went on to explain that my daughter’s autism diagnosis is probably fragile x derived. For those, who, like me, are saying “fragile whaaa?”… It’s a chromosomal abnormality on the x chromosome. The good doctor also casually began to rattle off risk factors to me for having these premutated x chromosomes.

He concluded by saying he was 99% certain this was the case for me, but that I can have it confirmed with a blood test. Of course I ran over to my office to have someone draw the massive amount of blood this particular test requires.

Then I spun in circles about it and the fact that my daughter most likely has a 50/50 chance of birthing a child more severely effected than herself. Call me sentimental, but I was looking forward to grandbabies someday. The POF was hard enough to swallow… I mean, who wants to go through menopause and age like a 55 year old before you’re 40? It kinda sucks.

When I was a teenager, I used to say I wanted to be young and then old. I didn’t want to have those awful middle years of adulthood where you aren’t cool at all. Be careful what you ask for.

So, I normally don’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity. I find it to be a huge waste of time. But today I wallowed in self-pity on the side of the freeway.

For the record, CalTrans work ON the freeway is a WHOLE lot harder than CalTrans work off the freeway. I picked up trash. Big deal. But the repetitive motion of doing the same thing the entire day in the heat really messed with my neck, shoulders and right hand (those trash grabber things are tough to squeeze after the fourth hour of repeatedly squeezing it).

The entire of experience was a flashback to jail, only in the sunlight. Same etiquette and rules. Same mannerisms and speech.

Except the head boss guy was kinder to me than the others. He asked me what my crime was since I had not worked there before. I told him and his face softened.

“Midwifery is an honorable profession. I’m so sorry.”

He’s a black fellah in his mid 50s. His age puts him right at the time black babies were still being delivered into the hands of granny midwives. He went on to tell me that he was in the room with his wife when his son was born even though that wasn’t typical. “Jes me and my wife and the doctor. And he’s there tellin me everything he’s doin. I watched a miracle right there. Then two days later, my knees started knockin about how big a miracle that was.”

His words to me were kind after that.

The wind from the vehicles beside us blew clouds of dust into our faces. My eyes, ears, nostrils… black with dirt. My face was smeared with it and sweat from the heat of the sun. My lips were gritty. I don’t mind hard work. If I could have changed the motions of my body occasionally I woulda been alright. It was the repetition that killed me.

Here I am, going to die young of heart disease after aging prematurely and looking like a fat old lady when all my friends are young and fit. Or maybe I will survive the heart disease and live to be old enough to develop fragile x tremors and parkinson’s like symptoms from my mutated chromosomes. Why wouldn’t God have provided me with a partner if I was going to suffer so much? And who would want to marry this fat, saggy, infertile lady now? Why would my children have to go through so much stress now, only to prepare them to have to be left alone or have to take care of a mother who can no longer hold her hands still enough to paint and who yells expletives at them and forgets basic life skills?

As you can see, not a happy place to be there on the freeway. The freeway didn’t make it, my mind did. Sitting there in an emotional cage all my own.

In that moment, I noticed a little lizard in the dirt in front of me. Poor fellah was in shock. His entire home was being hoed and raked and dumped. All he was left with was dirt. He played dead, not knowing what else to do.

I picked him up in my dusty gloved hand. “Poor guy.” I said to him, feeling huge amounts of empathy for such a small little creature that nobody else noticed.

I placed him to the side of my by a tree for shelter.

And then it occurred to me. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” These words, attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the account of Matthew, rang in my ears.

God has infinitely more compassion on me than I have on others. I can trust and believe that. But even as I did, my heart cried out, “I don’t see it at all right now, God!”

I remembered how, on New Year’s Day, a guest speaker at our church spoke about “the God who gives and takes away” and that it is ok to ask Him why He does. And, I did. Finally after this whole crazy journey, I asked Him on New Year’s Day 2012… Why, God?

And I think I am going to start getting answers. At least, I see now why I went through the pain of losing my third pregnancy. And if I think back, that was the moment that everything began for me. The loss of my third pregnancy was the beginning of a long, seven year path through pain.

As I returned to picking up trash, the next item I grabbed was a photograph of a woman. I looked at it in the trash bag for a moment and wondered who she was and then moved on to pick up more trash to toss in over her.

A strange question entered my mind as I did so. “Why did you have compassion on the lizard and not the woman?”

My response was “The woman was only an image. The lizard was alive.”

The point became clear. This body I’m living in is simply an image of me here on earth. The soul is what is alive. God cares far more about my character and soul development than He does about my temporary comfort in a body that will perish with the using.

It’s a hard lesson. Learned in a very hard place. Somehow it’s easy to think I will live forever, stay young forever, wake up tomorrow… but the reality is so very different.


CalTrans Day 1: 32 Hours Remaining

The paperwork I was given for my forty hours of CalTrans says “misdemeanor” on it. If only! But at least this time I am spared the “riding an animal” embarrassment.

I was able to begin this part of my sentence due to the graciousness of a neighbor of a friend of mine. Linda speaks very broken English. She is the mother of three small children and stays home with them while her husband works. When I met her I was enveloped in the joy and warmth and hospitality I remember so well from when I lived in Mexico City. Even though I had a hard time understanding her (my Spanish is as good as her English), her smile lit up the room. She told me that her entire household is crazy. The only sane ones are her dog, her bird and her guinea pig. I felt right at home.

When my friend told her my story she opened her arms and home and offered to care for my children free of charge while I finished my CalTrans work. As I thanked her, her children ran screaming between us with an automatic nerf gun and a nerf rocket launcher, chasing each other with fiery competition. Her dog growled (my friend told me the dog has an aversion to nerf guns). She laughed nervously. I told her there is a reason hispanics will always have their liberty in California.

I arrived late because the misdemeanor paper more than one error on it. It also said to arrive at seven am. When I showed up, proud that I was so early, the lot was vacant except for one lone worker who looked at me funny.

“I’m supposed to report here for court ordered CalTrans work…”

“Uhhh. They already left at six. Ju gunna need to talk to the boss. Maybe he’ll let you stay or something.”

The boss had pity on me. I thanked him and apologized for being an hour late.

“Well, according to your paper, you’re right on time… just make sure to arrive before six on your remaining days.”

I was shown to the employee facilities and offices across the street and the mops, brooms and cleaners. I’ve done this before. Only the floors and walls are a heck of a lot cleaner than Skid Row. Eric, the guy I first met, reminded me of the rules which included not having a cell phone on the premises.

“A while back one of the workers called someone in his gang and they had a shooting here.”

He didn’t need to explain further. We were in East L.A. after all.

“You might just work here in the facilities… they normally keep one female behind to clean. If there’s more than one female the rest of them gotta go pick trash, but it’s easy. You don’ gotta do nothing wichyor hands. They give you tools to pick stuff up. Is not hard. You’ll do these five days in jor sleep.”

And this was the part of the sentence the judge said would be really hard for me.

Cleaning the staff offices was easy, simple work.

The boss even came out and chatted with me for a bit about how life in the fifties was better than now. I agreed, even though I wasn’t alive in the fifties.

The men let me sign out first since I was a “female.” I was, actually, the only woman I saw all day. I wonder if a we women would treat a man with the same kind of preference if he ventured into a mostly female profession. Like, if an obstetrician worked with all midwives. Oh, wait a minute… question answered. I hung my head in shame for treating the obstetrician I worked with in a patronizing manner. Need to make amends there.


Wednesday’s Child

The dull ache at the base of my brain is like a relentless lover scorned. It’s giving way to a kind of vertigo that has shifted the real world into a dream as graspable as black smoke. The stench of it chokes me and turns my stomach. My tongue dries out like it’s licked the heart of the desert and been forever changed. I swallow hard to moisten the scar in my throat and soften the fortifying rock below my solar plexus. My heart beats to a random drum in staccato. Faint and without much interest in continuing.

I’m watching the credits roll and I don’t remember most of the movie. I’m too tired.

Every breath carries a thousand griefs. The tears are so stuck I don’t remember what it’s like to cry but I’m afraid if I suddenly recalled how to sob I would cry out every last drop of blood in my body. My flesh carries the marks of this beating and I’m afraid to look at them in fear I’ll find the bullet hole that went straight to my brain.

I remember a time so long ago that it feels like it belongs to someone else and not me.

There was a wide eyed girl with a heart so open she could have swallowed the whole earth with it. She believed in happy endings and prince charmings. Even though her father died tragically when she was four, she held out for the end believing it would justify the loss.

The darker the tunnel the brighter the outlet will be. The deeper the grief the greater the glory in the end. Every fairy tale says so.

Her hope would not be muted. Not by a hundred insults. Not by the false accusations of wagging tongues. Not by jealousy of lazy narcissists. Not by the inconvenience of the cubicles. Not by the misunderstandings of the ignorant.

But in the end she curled herself up in my head and went to sleep. And left me all alone. Her weight pressing in on my spinal cord.

From my quiet, forgotten corner, I watch as lovers unite and ride off into sunsets. I gaze into the eyes of the hopeful who have felt little pain in their pursuits. I inquire about the arrivals of kings and queens, born into the hands of another. I listen to the complaints of those who do not love the liberties I’ve lost.

I fell off the merry go round very early. The boy who pushed me just offered me a piece of rotten candy if I don’t tell anyone it was him. He doesn’t want it to ruin his holiday in the sun, after all.

I look down at the rags and blood and filth I’m wrapped in. I feel the patches of head where hair used to be. I lift the lids that are heavy with wrinkles and blink hard to moisten the eyes that are so dry it hurts to see. I caress the body that sags into the shape of an old woman prematurely.

And I ask her to press harder in sleep so that the credits will end. I can close my eyes and click my heals and finally go home if it’s still there.

I open my eyes to find that re-entry is never what they tell you. It’s awkward. For everyone. Some things can never be the same again. For the war-child, home vanishes in the smoke.

 

 


Day 30: 77.5 Hours Remaining

I had a staff member look me in the eye today and tell me, “You really are something special. You are a good woman.” This made me astoundingly uncomfortable.

I’ve come to believe that the “good-er” a person is, the more in touch with their fail-ability they are. The most pure and beautiful acts come from individuals who are wrung dry of their own ego, pride and sense of self-entitlement. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that people would see the evidence of God in me after this profoundly humbling and heartbreaking year. I could give you a laundry list of all of the evil, wicked, and downright animal things I’m capable of and have conspired to do on occassion. Spend five minutes with my ex-roommate and he will give you a speech about the unworthiness of me. But that isn’t the point of this blog, happily.

My point instead is to maybe eek out a bit of the astounding gratitude I feel for the capacity to love. It is exactly BECAUSE I’ve been so crushed that there is so much room for service. There was this capacity before trial, but I’m finding it expanding outward even more now that I’m a felon. And, yes, I use that word a lot. I’m wearing it like a badge of honor. Because I’ve come to see the humiliation of it as a catalyst to loving others.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it terrifies me. I see no way out of the pain of this crushing time. If I linger in that view I run to old trappings that endeavor to shackle my feet.

But when I lift my gaze and see the eternal perspective that is ultimately molding me I am ok to sit in the fire some more. There is an old Indian saying that if I did not have tears, my soul would not give off rainbows.

I was interested to meditate on the story of the two apostles, Peter and John, who were arrested for healing a man. The judicial folks of their day brought them in to try them and the first thing they asked was, “by whose authority did you do this?” Which… I dunno… kinda sounds like, “Where’s your license?”

In the end they told them to cut it out and let them go.

What is most interesting to me is that they ran straight away to their buddies and they prayed together because they were preplexed, seeing as this was the first real issue this very first church really had. I was floored by their prayer. They prayed three things. First they acknowledged that God is sovereign and supreme, that He is able to do whatever He pleases and that THIS WAS HIS PLAN and not an accident. Second, they realized that they were followers of a Servant who suffered to love others and as such, they didn’t expect to go through anything less. And thirdly, they asked for MORE BOLDNESS to speak the truth.

So, yeah. They were crushed, emptied and scared. And this created a vacuum to continue to love and speak the truth from a place of boldness.

I’m cool if the goodness and love folks see in me is acknowledged as God inspired. I get profoundly uncomfortable when it’s not.

As we walked this morning in the pre-dawn hours, Wendy smiled and acknowledged every Skid Row tennant she knew.

“Hello! Good mornin!” And then under her breath to me, “Thas one of the most notorious dealers. But ain’t none o’ my bizness. Ain’t none o’ mine. She gots her life and I gots mine. But she can be saved same as me. She can. I know it cus I was saved and if I can be saved, anybody can.”

She beams with such light the street lights up when she walks in the dark. Everyone knows her and they seem stupified by her smile pressing up against such despair. But she lives for nothing but service and love. And that service and love comes from God filling up the vacuum created as she empties herself of her own ego.


Day 27: 8 Wasted Hours

Even though I got no credit for anything I did today, I really wanted to write here about how I spent an entire day chasing a piece of paper. It is also of value to express how the government does not seem to know what to do with people who do what they are told.

My original log sheet for community service hours “expired” on November 1. They give log sheets that expire periodically so that you have the option of failing to renew it and then having to pay a duplicate fee for the same volunteer work. Yes, the state charges you to do your community service.

I was told that since I do not yet have a probation officer, I would need to travel to the probation office to get an APPROVAL to continue doing my community service hours. I pointed out the oddity of the premise behind this action, but the teller looked at my blankly, “we don’t have authority to give you an extension here.”

He concluding our conversation by asking about my animal riding charge.

The last time I checked in for probation I went to the central probation office. They told me that since I don’t have an officer yet and since my case is being transferred to Orange County (where I lay my head at night), I should go to the Rio Hondo probation office in Whittier since it is closest to where I am staying.

So– and I know this entry has been clear as mud so far– I drove to Whittier from downtown where the community service office is. After driving to downtown from Anaheim to begin with.

The Rio Hondo office was cleaner and smaller than the central office. My hopes rose for a split second that this was a sign of life.

I was sorely misstaken.

After checking in at the probation check in machine, I requested to speak to someone about the extension. I was told that since I do not have a probation officer, I would need to wait for the “officer of the day.”

After waiting over 40 minutes, a chubby woman yelled my name from a side door. Relieved, I rushed over at her with all my paperwork in hand. My plan was to get the approval from her and then take it back to downtown to get my new timesheet.

She looked at me like I was from the far end of the galaxy.

“Huuuuh? No. No, no, no, hun. We don’t know you at all. We can’t give you anything. You need to go back to your probation officer.”

I explained that I don’t have one. She looked irritated and had me wait another 15 minutes while she “checked.”

“McCall! Hey, yes. Yes you do have a probation officer. I wrote his name here on the sticky, Mr. Wesley. You need to go to him for an extension.”

And with that she slammed the door in my face. I got a distinct feeling that someone was being lazy.

I jumped back in my car for the trek to Crenshaw and Exposition in the heart of Los Angeles, past downtown this time. But before I did, I made sure to snap this photo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have found the cervix and diagnosed it as incompetent.

Upon arriving 20 miles west in congested traffic, I walked in the central probation office trying not to cry. I walked up to the check in window and explained my dilemma.

“Oh, well, no. He’s not your probation officer. And anyway, he isn’t here today. Let me check and see who can see you.”

I waited 45 minutes. A short, bald man, poked his head out a side door and barked at me. “Why are you still here? You already checked in at the Rio Hondo office.”

Apparently, he hadn’t gotten the memo.

For the fifth (sixth? seventh?) time, I explained my need for an extension to continue doing my community service.

He reviewed the paperwork and suggested I just not do it until later on in my probation. I tried to remain respectful. Finally he said he’d have the officer of the day assist me.

“I was told the officer of the day at Rio Hondo couldn’t help me.”

“Just have a seat.” he grumbled.

Another 20 minutes and an grey haired woman called my name. She allowed me to come back to where he desk was so she could finally help me. This occurred at hour SIX.

She barked directions at me as she walked behind me: “Turn left. Turn right. Stop. Sit.”

It finally occurred to me that every probation officer walked behind me. It also occurred to me that most of the VOA staff walked behind me. It began to dawn on me that it was impossible for me to attack them this way. Better leave my nunchucks at home.

I once again explained my issue. This officer was a little bit slow so I explained it repeatedly. I was at her desk for almost an hour. I finally left with a paper in hand that she wasn’t sure was what they wanted. Good to feel like seven hours of your day was spent on something concrete and well researched. I trembled inside at how I would take the resistence from the community service office if this was the wrong paper.

Fortunately, my fears did not come to fruition and I finally had the paper I needed an hour later. It was a well achieved goal, after all I had spent eight hours trying to acquire it.


Day 26: 97.5 Hours Remaining

Conrad Murray Junior. This is the new nickname I get for being the “hardest working woman at the VOA” today. A client who has been begging me for a phone call (tall white women are his “thing,” he says) asked once again for me to spare some time so he can wine and dine me. I explained, again, that I’m not interested in investing my time in this area right now, which caused him to turn to the staff nearby and complain about how I don’t want to have dinner with a black man.

It’s all about race, even when I don’t make it that way.

Somehow things turned to my conviction and the staff mentioned I was involved with a birth.

“Did you cut the cord?” someone asked.

“Yes.” Duh.

The fellah shrugged. Apparently cutting the cord was proof I’m a felon.

It didn’t dawn on me until afterward that I actually DIDN’T cut this particulary baby’s cord. Se la vie. I had already earned the Conrad Jr. title.

Earlier on this morning, while walking to the shelter, Eric asked me what I thought about the verdict. My response came through shivering lips since the temperatures on skid row have now plummeted into the forties.

“I don’t know. The whole thing is complicated. But I do know that the video of the judge reading the verdict and the clerk announcing it… the video of the cheering crowd in response… it made me feel sick.” I’m sure my face demonstrated the terror and grief that rushes through my body any time I remember that moment in my life when a jury of people who know nothing about midwifery found me guilty of a felony.

“Yeah, what people don’t seem to remember is that Dr. Murray and Jackson were friends. I imagine it hurt the doctor to see his friend die. People forget that. They forget what he might be feelin.”

“Perhaps it’s still too close to my own trial date.” I gulp hard here, remembering that Dr. Murray faces four years in prison, max, while I faced three. My body shudders again, remember the stress of awaiting my sentencing date. Each day more excruciating than the last.

There is some level of projected understanding beneath Eric’s tough exterior that feels like he’s been where I’m at. I wish I knew why. I haven’t known many people who have crossed that line through the looking glass. The white rabbit isn’t really all that exciting and most people who’ve actually BEEN there don’t necessarily want to relive the horrors.

But I do. I want to talk and paint and scream it out all over anyone who will listen. I want people to KNOW what real judgement feels like so they learn to protect others from it when it isn’t warranted.

I had lunch with a couple who lost their children a long time ago, despite the fact that they have had their charges dropped. The system still has their children locked away from them. Innocent parents being punished for not being typical parents. They have lost everything in their quest to regain their babies. They are now living on skid row, in a shelter just up the street. So strange to sit across from intelligent, hardworking people, who are forced into subjection by the judgement of a handful of childless social workers. Judgement of victimless crimes is a foe of true liberty.


Day 23: 121 Hours Remaining

I was awaiting the laundry to dry when I overheard Terri speaking to a brand new community service worker. I had seen him around the courtyard for the last 20 minutes, not really doing much. He had a broom in his hand but stared at the clients as if terrified. I don’t think his broom ever touched the ground.

“You can’t be saying things like that. We just don’t DO that here. If you say that to anyone here again, Greg will bring your paperwork back out here and escort you off the grounds.”

That was a first. I’d never heard someone tell a community service worker they would be kicked off the property. Of course, my curiousity was on edge. I so wanted to walk around the corner and ask what was up. But I knew it wasn’t my conversation to be had.

The community service worker pressed Terri, “But I thought maybe my money would be more help in a place like this than me sweeping shit up off the ground would.”

“Well, you thought wrong. You got ordered to do the work, not pay us money.”

My insides lit up with the joy of hearing someone do the right thing even when nobody was looking. In a place like this, I imagine the temptation to make an extra buck or two is high. So beautiful to hear a staff member exemplify the character I know they have. Funny to think a white collar worker in one of the high rises down the street who doesn’t have a felony on his record would be more likely to take a bribe.

The worker went back to “sweeping” for another couple hours and then left early. As he was signing out, I overheard Linda say, “See, it wasn’t that bad, was it?”

“Actually, yeah, it was that bad.” Was the smart alec reply.

Everything in me wanted to tell him where to shove it. But I shoved on myself and swallowed the outrage. Just like I watch the staff do every day.

The case workers are like parents who are permanently dealing with teenagers. If I had a dollar for every lie, every self entitled or defiant reply they receive, I’d be a millionaire. But then again, I asked Terri yesterday what he would do with a million dollars if he had it and he told me he would expand this shelter to have affordable housing.

Yeah. They really do care that much when others aren’t even watching.

They really aren’t that much different than midwives. They are selfless, tireless, loving to a fault even when talked down to or treated like the servants they claim to be and then there’s the bodily fluids of course. The judge told me he didn’t think I attended the birth I did for altrusitic reasons. Perhaps he is jaded and doesn’t know very many altruistic people. He’s obviously never been here.

There are people in this world who love for the sake of loving. These folks actually put midwives to shame. And that’s saying a lot.

When Wendy told Paul today, “Katie is a godly woman. She speaks the truth to me.” I was humbled, honored and in awe. Kind of like being called a good leader by Winston Churchill.