Center offers infant CPR classes

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, August 1, 2013


Susie Rollins, executive director of the Coastal Pregnancy Center, holds 5-month-old Damaya Coward. Damaya’s mother learned infant CPR at the center.


Damaya Coward is not a fan of the oxygen tube she has to wear.

“It always ends up in her mouth,” said her mother, Marilyn Hill.

At 10 pounds, five-month-old Damaya could pass for a newborn. She was born at 23 weeks, the only surviving twin.

With an infant on oxygen, a 3-year-old and another baby on the way, Marilyn Hill jumped at the chance to learn infant CPR. As a client of the Coastal Pregnancy Center, she was offered a free one-on-one lesson with registered nurse Jackie VanEssendelft.

“I like this place. They really help you out when you need it,” Hill said.

VanEssendelft said the class was a “friends and family” CPR class, not something for certification. Medical personnel require refresher courses every two years. Van Essendelft recommended others take a refresher course every year.

The lesson included instructions on helping a choking baby.

All of the center’s services are free. In addition to infant CPR, Coastal Pregnancy offers parenting classes on baby proofing homes, breastfeeding, infant/child nutrition, childbirth and newborn care.

Susie Rollins, executive director of the Coastal Pregnancy Center, said the classes are scheduled as needed.

“It’s at their (the clients’) convenience,” she said. “We can do them whenever. Basically, we do these classes for our clients who come on board with us and commit to seven classes.”

In exchange for attending the classes, parents are given free baby supplies and clothes.

Rollins is currently on the hunt for cribs for Damaya and Hill’s baby due in March.

“God’s doing something pretty cool here and he’ll make it happen,” Rollins said.


Coastal Pregnancy Center is located at 1312 John Small Avenue in Washington. The center’s office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 946-8040.