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Finding Hope and Purpose

With Stormy Goodwin

On my 35th birthday the idea for Peeping Moms was born. My husband suggested I open “one of those baby ultrasound places.” That lit the spark.

That was in January of 2021, and we opened our doors in April that same year. Even though there is a lot of competition in my business throughout Tampa, what sets me apart is that I am an actual sonographer capable of being more intuned with our work’s technical and diagnostic aspects. Most places like ours don’t employ an actual Sonographer.

A person’s visit to Peeping Moms is meant to be fun and exciting. Sometimes, there is anxiety and stress involved, mainly regarding pregnancy confirmations. We deal with many anxious moms because they cannot get into local clinics promptly. They come into our Boutique as early as five or six weeks pregnant to see if there is a gestational sac and a heartbeat. Most of them hope for a viable pregnancy, and sometimes it’s not, so we refer them back to their Obstetrician. We try to deal with those situations as tactfully, respectfully, and empathetically as possible.

We see so much in our Boutique. Our Photographer is a surrogate right now. She has two beautiful girls of her own, and now she is blessing another family with a child. We see families of a variety of dynamics.

I come from a family that has experienced loss. My husband and I lost our oldest daughter, Skylar. Our second daughter, Phoenix, was conceived shortly after Skylar’s passing. Phoenix is our Rainbow Baby, and that little girl saved my life. We have a sign on our wall here at the Boutique that commemorates the families that have lost a child. It’s so unfortunate, but it happens.

I believe the experience my family has gone through makes me a better technician and person. I would never wish those experiences on anyone, but it does help me to understand what someone is going through. I can guide them the best I can through that because I can relate to them and help them know what is happening.

One of the biggest things about Peeping Moms is that we don’t want just to be a place where families come to take pictures or have ultrasounds. I love being a community resource and a stepping stone for our families. We can bring people together and point them in the right direction by giving them resources and connections. I love giving back. We were given so much with Skyler.

We were at Barksdale Air Force Base when Skyler was born, and we figured out quickly she had special needs. The military community rallied around us to help us with fundraising for her. There was one treatment we could get her into: a Stem Cell treatment in China. Our military family helped us. The Barksdale paper did a whole story on us. They all helped us fundraise. There was such an outpouring of love from all of them.

In the middle of all that, we were PCS’d to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, and all over again, we were surrounded by the love and support of military families who stepped up to help us get to the point we could make the trip to China for stem cell treatment. In the back of my mind, that goodness is always there, and it compels me to pay it forward.

When we moved here in 2017, I was pregnant with Phoenix, my five-year-old. I didn’t know anyone. When other military families move to this area, they can come to Peeping Moms for our services and find other resources, groups, and expectant moms going through the same things.

We want to do more in the community, such as childbirth education, newborn care, car seat safety, CPR classes, and a veteran-owned birthing center. We have big dreams. We would love to see Tricare cover Midwifery, and female service members and military spouses deserve that option in an out-of-clinic location.

My husband is in his eighteenth year of military service. We have a couple of years left until he retires. I am a little scared, to be honest. Our sixteenth wedding anniversary was in April. For our entire marriage, we have always had somebody telling us where we needed to live, where we needed to be, and what to do. Now, in just a few short years, we will be off that tether with the ability to decide for ourselves. Who knows what we will do?

Alongside Belinda, our student Midwife, we dream of opening a Birthing Center. I have never experienced birth other than mine, which will be amazing. To be part of that joyous occasion and provide an incredible birthing experience will be incredibly rewarding. The common birthing experience is so medical, you are rushed in and out, and we lose sight of our bodies doing something so beautiful. Midwifery offers a more holistic and personal approach.

There is a place in Valrico called Bump to Baby, a maternity and baby boutique. We are currently in the works of collaborating to create a destination for expectant families. The building would be half retail and half clinic, and we would also have our photography studio there. I would love to have a big open space for photography and events. We are currently looking for a location. Ideally, it would be 5,000 or more square feet with a separate, private entrance for the new Midwife Center and Birthing Center. Someday, I would love to incorporate weddings into our services, providing another opportunity to be part of those magical moments in life.

Right now, maintaining a balance between work life and home life is a challenge. My husband and I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old. Our daughters are still very young and impressionable. So, balancing running a new business with ensuring we have enough family time is challenging. All I do is eat, work, and sleep. It is essential to keep ourselves healthy and well to be the best version of ourselves to others we want to serve.

Everything seems rushed with fast food, fast driving, running late, car lines, etc. Life stressors even impact our five-year-old, who is in Kindergarten. The amount of expectation and work she is doing right now is day and night compared to when I was in Kindergarten. My five-year-old has homework. She is taking Spanish, Art, and Introduction to Computers. We have nightly reading assignments and a homework grid that must be turned in to the teacher each week. I worry about the stress we put our children under. All of the pressure put on kids these days as they are brought up in a hurry, hurry, environment with no time to rest or have fun.

While working for a local hospital as a stenographer, I was once assaulted by a patient. I was 12 weeks pregnant then, and the hospital’s human resource person told me it was my choice to file charges. It was a felony assault, and I didn’t ask for that to happen to me. That experience is the deep-down story about Peeping Moms.

That happened to me in May of 2019. I was almost eight months pregnant when we went to court. Court took place Monday through Friday. I had to work Monday through Friday. I told my boss I had been subpoenaed to testify, and they didn’t want to give me the time off of work. They wanted me to use my personal time even though it was a work-related incident. That left an unsavory taste in my mouth for that institution. This offender changed my career trajectory and made me think about being in a place I felt completely safe. I felt unsafe, and my employer did not support or protect me by implementing security measures. No one at that hospital wanted to talk to me about what had happened to me.

Modern healthcare is not personal anymore. It is big business concentrated on profitability. It’s heartbreaking because you would think that most people go into the healthcare field to help people and provide personal care, and it’s just not about that anymore.

As somebody who has lost one of the most important people in their lives, my firstborn child, I’ve realized how precious time is. Time is a currency that cannot be created or purchased. Out of everything in this world, it is the purest thing. You can only take advantage of what is going on in a moment. Once that moment is done, it is gone. So, when veterans sit in waiting rooms for two or three hours, some even longer, they cannot regain those moments. Often these veterans are under duress, stressed out, worried, and anxious. The clinical experience is just feeding into more of what their original problem is. When they finally see a physician, they are prescribed drugs and told to attend a class. It is impersonal and unproductive.

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