15 March 2011

Home Town Home Birth

Another sweet baby was born in the wee hours of monday mornin' this week...mama worked hard and brought her forth! Lovely family! I am happy to have been invited to take part in their journey! Always such a blessing. And it was in my home town! (not the first but exciting nonetheless!)

I love attending home births in my own town! I live in a small town outside of Salem...and we are known in the area to have a pretty decent hospital birth center here. People prefer to come into our town to birth their babies. Many of the local folks I have had discussions with about home birth really tend to ask "Why? Our hospital is really good!"....In my opinion, we live in the perfect town to have home births....the hospital is never far away...We get accepted well in the need of a transport to our hospital and typically the recieving docs and nurses are respectful of our clients wishes and views surrounding birth....And there is rumor that some nurses who work in the birth center have had home births as well so the likelihood of the receiving nurse atleast having heard of home birth and treating clients well is good!

A while back, there was an article in our local paper about home birth. I was kind of upset at how it was portrayed to our little public...I wrote a letter to the editer...to hear nothing back. I wrote her again and again heard nothing back...I feel this town has its fair share of homebirths and a pretty high number in ratio to the size of the population I would think. (anyone know where I might find that specific of information?)...I wish this would have been represented well in the article. ALL sorts of people in this town have home births! Its not all one type of person or group of people that do it!

Right now, my main ad campaign for home birth is MY MOUTH. I think, especially in a small town, word of mouth is such a great thing! I just found out the other day that a gentleman's (that I ran into in the coffee shop and see about town) great grand mother was a "Granny Midwife" in the South....He told me a great story about her...and I am looking forward to learning more about her!

I am kinda rambling....but, I really love our little town here! And I am happy to have had clients/friends/relatives here that do have babies at home! I bet Homer Davenport was born at home! Ha! (I should find out!)

01 March 2011

Ahhhh! Birth After Hiatus!

After a nearly three month hiatus, we had a birth yesterday! A sweet 9 lb 4oz baby boy was born in water to a lovely and strong mama and her sweet and oh so supportive husband yesterday afternoon! What a perfect day spent witnessing the growth of this family!

On my drive home last evening, I thought to myself about the day's events. I wondered if I am still too green to be SO relaxed about birth...if it will be an issue later? I feel like its because I trust the process of birth and fully believe that it can be done without hindrance by interference. I feel like "en guard" midwifery (by this I mean always expecting the unexpected or abnormal)could somehow change how a birth happens by projecting fears or what have you onto the birthing mother and her family? Im sure it can have a huge impact on how a birth might go...

Being trained initially in nursing school, I was taught to expect the worst...but I never bought into it...and I witnessed nurses and doctors not trusting that women can just have babies. That, I think, is why I am where I am at today....

In my heart I feel like it is a good thing to be relaxed and flow with the normal rhythms of birth...

So, what are your thoughts on it? Is it a bad thing to be so relaxed about it? Any advice from you lovely and seasoned midwives out there?

18 September 2010


I really love the word "ripe" when describing a radiant and lovely woman with a full full baby belly. It is such a simple and small word that describes the end of pregnancy (and perhaps transition into the labor and birth period) so perfectly....so perfectly.

We have two very ripe and radiant mamas right now. I am very excited to meet each of their little babes. Neither of these families know the sex of the babies...I love the suprise! I love the waiting.

Little ripening babies! Can't wait! <3

29 August 2010

The Birth Story of Sierra Journey

Our Journey

It was on Beltane, May day, your due date. I was never a believer of "due dates" and whenever people asked when you were due, I told them springtime.

Yet, you came earthside on such a beautiful, warm day. The trees were just starting to blossom with little buds. I could feel the twinge of labor coming on, slowly and lightly. I told my dear partner, Jesse, that it was time, and we drove to a friend's farm.

When we arrived, I was just in the mood to take a slow amble around the farm. We walked on a tiny dirt path through the tall grass to a little pond surrounded by huge trees and flowers. The contractions slowed down. I guess the rocking sensation of walking relaxed you. We slept outside on the grass under a tree for most of the afternoon.

I woke up with the urge to go take a warm bath. Jesse and I got into the bathtub and I felt so relaxed...and then the contractions started rushing in with gusto. Blood was coming out in little bits. Jesse told the midwives that things were really progressing. They got on their way, and we filled up the big blue birthing tub outside on the grass. I absolutely loved the smell of fresh grass and watched two little spring robins play around.

The rushes became stronger and stronger. Soon, I lost nearly all my sense of control and just let go. I let the sounds inside of me out. I moved around madly with every pang of contraction. Our midwives came outside to check on your heartbeat once in every while. They were completely silent and stayed inside most of the time. It was starting to get dark and cold outside. I asked my midwife when she came outside, "When will I know how or when to push?" She smiled and said that my body would do it for me, and that you and I would work together.

Not very long after that, I decided to head into the bathroom with Jesse. I took a few sips of water, and with three ABSOLUTELY overwhelming contractions, I yelled and felt like I was about to throw up. I felt like I was being turned inside out. There was absolutely no holding back. You came so FAST. I was standing up. Jesse could see the intact water bag come out first, your head twisting out. The bag broke and you slid right out, in your father's hands.

Jesse immediately gave you to me. You quickly raised your arm towards me, your fingers spread out, touching my heart.

And then I realized that your birth was unhindered and beautiful. The way women in so many cultures have done it for centuries. I felt so empowered, strong.

And the rain immediately started pouring outside.

~~~~~~Thank you Marisa for sharing your birth story and for sharing that beautiful day with me!

06 August 2010

I am still here!

I havent posted in quite some time. I have been busy! Busy being a mama. Busy working. Busy coming and going to and from prenatals and postpartum appointments. Busy with my studies. I am a couple short weeks from making my first submission. I am anxiously awaiting feedback from my orientation submission! Things are moving along nicely.

I have managed to finish two study related books in the last week! This is some feat as I have a two year running around at almost all times!

Lennon and I have had some beautious babies born recently. Witnessing the strength of mothers and babies during birth is amazing and sweet! I come away from each birth experience richer and fuller by having witnessed it.

I have been thinking more and more about how one knows she is ready to be on her own as a midwife. To all you experienced midwives out there, how did you know? Did you just make the leap? What was it like for you? I would love to hear your experiences!
I know that I trust the process of birth completely. And I am confident in my ability to assess for any deviations from the norm that might occur during the process.....But how do you know if you are really ready?

I feel like I need to more fully trust my actual ability just as I wholeheartedly trust my intuition...I think this all has to do with my education actually. I find it difficult to fully trust the skills and information I learned in nursing school as I tend to disagree with the implementation of those skills and/or information within that school of thought and mode of practice....Did nursing school help or hinder? Sometimes I wonder.

08 May 2010

Here is her new Home

After a lovely roadtrip down I-5, my sculpture found her new mama! I just wanted to share. She was a suprise for Carla Hartley. Given to her at the Trust Birth Conference this last March.

I was so so so sad to miss the conference...but I felt like I was really there in spirit.

birth stories

I would really enjoy posting our clients' personal birth stories! If you are interested message me on my facebook or leave me a comment here! i always love to hear birth stories from your perspective!

I would love to share your birth stories and pictures here!

19 January 2010

Hearts and Hands for Hartley: Fundraising Auction

Fundraising efforts begin today! The Hearts and Hands for Hartley Auction begins today at noon! Please help if you can! You can help by donating your crafty wares or any other item! Your services can also be donated! You can help by sharing the link below with all your email contacts and your facebook friends!

Auction Link: http://www.32auctions.com/view_auction?id=hartley&pwd=hartley
Auction ID: hartley
Auction Password: hartley

Please share this link, ID and password with all your friends/peers/coworkers/etc!

More auction items will be added as I recieve them!
Thank you to the donors so far! Beautiful works of art! Thank you!

18 January 2010

Help Me Help Carla...

So. The midwifery program that i am enrolled in is called Ancient Art Midwifery Institute. The founder and director Carla Hartley is amazing. When i went to enroll she knew that financially I was not able to pay for the whole of tuition. She lowered my tuition for me by half. She also gave me a discount off the Trust Birth Conference that she is holding in March....She is the most generous person I have ever encountered. She believes in midwifery so strongly that I cant help to see what I can do to help. She has helped empower women all over with her intense dedication to birth, babies and women. She has done so because she believes so strongly in her trust birth philosophy and in all her students.

Right now, her husband, Ray, is battling cancer. And the Trust Birth Conference is rapidly approaching.
I really want to help. So, I have offered my volunteering time IF i make it to the conference. Which is feeling impossible.

But I feel like I can help from afar...... I have this sculpture I made a few years back...a ceramic beautiful pregnant torso sculpture that is just sitting in my living room. I want to find a way to auction it and another smaller sculpture off to see if I can raise funds to give to Carla for the conference and/or her personal needs.

So, what I am asking for is perhaps crafted donations that I could also auction off. ...can be anything....it would be nice if it was birth/pregnancy/woman/midwifery related...vaginas are good! babies. whatever! I would so appreciate any help!!

Also, input about how to go about doing an auction through my midwifery blog would be cool.

I do need to do this with a quickness...I could either have you send the item(s) to me and then I could mail them out to the highest bidder...or you could send me photos of the item, I could auction it and then have you send it directly to the highest bidder....either way. any proceeds acquired would go to Carla and she can use it as she sees fit...personally or for conference expenses.

Thank you so much if you are able to help. In any way!
i hope i can do this!!! i really want to help her.

16 January 2010

Two new babies in 2 days!

Yep! We had two new babies arrive in two days!

The first was a lovely land birth. We got the call to come around 10:15pm on Thursday night. Being that I live a ways away I arrived and was only there nine minutes or so before a sweet baby girl joined us earthside! She was born into her daddy's hands. All was well and good! Beautiful.

The second of the two births was just this morning. A lovely waterbirth of a precious baby boy to sweet first time parents! Mama caught her own baby with the loving support of her partner and mother around! A beautiful start as a family!

I feel that every birth is so unique. I love being in the moment with each family as they experience it. I soak in each birth, each experience as they do. And I am so honored and blessed to be able to do so...

15 January 2010

Benjamin's Birth Story

I was given permission by one of our dear clients to post her birth story on my blog. Such a sweet sweet story. Thanks for sharing!

Benjamin Timothy
Born at Home
January 5th, 2010

My birth with this baby started 4 yrs ago with the birth of my first. After 10 days of prodromal labor, Cameron was born on a cold day in February at 42 weeks. I went to the hospital in sheer desperation for sleep b/c of the constant contractions. At that point, I didn't care about the baby any more. They tried to break my water but only got a little leak. He was born 6 hrs later. I wanted something different with my next baby.

Elijah was born two years later, in May, after an AROM induction at 42 weeks with an experienced midwife at home. While it was a homebirth, I had kind of been relegated to the bedroom for most of labor and was not very active during labor. Overall, better than the hospital, but still, something was missing.

I consciously know when Benjamin was conceived. I told my husband that I would get pregnant that night. We were in Salem, Oregon, looking forward to a move, scoping things out and excited about our future as a family. I confirmed pregnancy 2 weeks later.

We moved and Bret couldn't find a job so I worked 6 months part time at a local hospital as a registrar to support us. I was tired all the time, the boys were missing me, but Bret still didn't have a job so I didn't have a choice.

I found a midwife as soon as I moved up here. Lennon was comfortable to talk to and I felt free to want the birth I hadn't had yet. She was very willing/capable to handle more difficult births, if they arose. I was nervous both about the possibility of 42 weeks again and also that Elijah & Cameron had been breech until 37 weeks.

Two months before my due date, Bret got a very part-time on call job. Two weeks before my due date, he got a full-time job with benefits. God's timing is impeccable. I stopped working a week before my due date b/c of intense contractions that kept me up all night. I had to call in sick to my two last shifts and felt really bad about that.

Family came for the holidays, I thought Monster would come then b/c of some major labor type activity. But no. Family left. My due date passed and I started to doubt my ability to go into labor. I had emotional breakdowns. I ate brownies. I ate extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese, the only thing I've ever craved in a pregnancy. I got swap packages ready. The boys were wearing me out with Bret's 12 hr work shifts so I was ready for baby to come.

Monday, Jan 4th, Bret came home from work and I asked if I could go do some errands sans boys. I was highly irritable and pubic symphysis dysfunction had just set in painfully making it hard to be a good mommy. So, I went out, fed the horse, went to a store to buy some puzzles for Cameron, toys for Eli and chocolate for me. Stopped by the grocery store for prescription meds and some herbal cough syrup for Eli. Got in the car and suddenly peed all over myself. It was very embarrassing b/c I never had any sort of incontinence. I kept peeing and couldn't figure out why.

It suddenly hit me as I drove into our parking lot, that my membranes could have possibly ruptured. So, I crossed my legs, waddled upstairs and told Bret to go get the bags from the car. Soaked my first pair of pants. Called Lennon and she said it could be just a small leak but to keep her updated.

Ate dinner, had some of the regular old contractions I'd had for weeks. More leaking, definitely was not pee. The boys were tired so I put them to bed at 6:30 instead of the normal 8:30. Both went down fairly well and I noticed contractions picking up to about 5-7 min apart and not too strong.

Called Lennon to update her. Updated some of my friends online who were eagerly waiting to hear about baby. Went to sleep from 10:30-midnight and stronger contrax woke me.

Got up, went in living room for a while and then Elijah woke up and wandered out. He apparently thought it was morning. I laid him in bed, he was dry coughing a lot so gave him some cough syrup. He did NOT want to sleep, kept singing to himself, sitting up and smiling at me. The contractions were getting stronger and I was having to blow through them a little. He loved that and would blow back.

I NEEDED him to sleep so I could get up and call Lennon. I couldn't leave him to get Bret if he was awake 'cause we'd start it ALL over again. So I laid there...for 2.5 hrs, trying to move with contractions and blow quietly. Finally, he was asleep. I jumped up, checked the clock and contrax were 2-3 min apart. Called Lennon, asked her to come right away (she's an hour away) and woke up Bret to go into the boys' bedroom.

Finally, I could start labor. I paced and rocked almost the whole labor, swaying. The contractions were getting strong in my back and hips. Lennon and Angie (midwife apprentice) arrived at 3:40 or so, walking in without knocking and I smiled at them and said I was glad they were there, that things were getting painful and I was tired of being alone. I don't think they had any idea how far I was b/c I was smiling, lighthearted. We had agreed earlier in the week not to do any vag checks unnecessarily so there was no picture of how far along I was in that sense.

I felt like there was a stall when they arrived though, that I sensed an intrusion for a while and needed to regain my composure and start going back into my little dark quiet space. I asked them if we could just have the blue cafe lights on in the living room with minimal lighting and they were fine with that.

Even with them there, I was alone in my labor, sometimes sitting on my knees rocking to all fours, sometimes just standing swaying. My noises turned from low moans to horse lips and a few "ow"s when things would sting a little. My midwife kept telling me softly, "You're making this look easy. You're doing great."

In between contrax, I wanted to throw up. I knew that sometimes that opens you up and I felt like throwing up, but I couldn't make myself do it. With my gallstone issues, throwing up has always meant there was something wrong with me and for some reason, the mental block was there that this was NOT wrong and I shouldn't do it.

Transition came and went quickly. I remember a few things I said, something like, "How did I ever do this twice already? What if he never comes out? How do I make this go away?" At one point, I started crying and frantically reaching out for a hand, meeting Angie's. My eyes were closed. I've always handled pain w/ eyes closed. I cried and was scared a few times but knew that I was safe.

And then, I started whispering, "Down, down, baby, come out. It's time. I don't want to do this anymore. I don't like it. It hurts. Come down now." I have no idea if I was whispering, but it seemed quiet to me and I kept saying that during the next 2 or 3 contractions.

I realized suddenly that I had to push. Someone woke up Bret and he came out as I grunted my first push. I was draped over the little exercise ball and rolled back and forth to push. I remember being relieved that it was almost over. I remember a little fear at the change in pain as he came down. There were a few pushes and he came out in a ball of screaming baby. They helped me sit back and put my bewildered but quieted son in my arms. I soaked him into my soul.

It was less than two hours from Lennon arriving and baby meeting the world. I'm really glad I was able to labor that much on my own.

That was the birth at 5:22 am. It was quiet, dark and sweet.

Lennon and Angie left a while later, after cleaning up. I reclined on the couch sleeping and DH went back to fend off the early waking boys. When they came out at 8, they walked in quietly and then Cameron said, "Mommy, you had the baby!" Cameron wanted to kiss him and kiss him. Eli just smiled and patted his hand and head and kept nodding. Later, Cameron gave me the most perfect example of how I've tried so hard to raise him. He said, "Mommy, you did a REALLY good job. He looks so cute from being born. That was a lot of hard work." What an affirmation from an almost 4 yr old!

I was so empowered by this birth. It was what I wanted. It was the birth I'd been searching for since my first pregnancy. I had imagined birthing in the quietness of night, in the light of the blue bulbs strung along the wall, in the quiet and surrounded by people that believed in me.

I was dumped on with a lot of responsibility in my first post-partum days, unable to get the help I needed to rest. When I have been overwhelmed, I have clung to the sweet dark peace I felt after Benjamin came to me that early morning. While my body has been tired, my mind clearly greets that memory and gives me strength to just get through one more minute, one more hour, one more day.

A Sweet Baby Girl

was born at 11:05pm last night into her daddy's hands! <3

I almost didnt make it in time!! but I did! and it was such a sweet sweet birth!

06 January 2010

First Birth of 2010

So, yesterday was our first birth of the year. It was a lovely and very smooth homebirth. It went swimmingly!

This mama made birthin' look easy peasy!
A sweet baby boy was born in his living room after just a few good pushes at 5:22am. We hadn't even been there two hours. I had left home and returned from this birth all before anyone in the house even woke up.

I love the drive home after a birth....its especially nice when I have a little bit of a drive. This one was especially lovely as it was about an hour from home. Lots of time to just revel in the moments after such a lovely birth.... I stopped in a small town at a quaint little coffee shop to get a cup of coffee. When I ordered my coffee, the nice barista lady was super happy and chipper and asked "so, what you up to today?"....my reply was "well, I just got done attending a lovely homebirth and now I get to go and cuddle with my son!"...The barista grinned and said "Awwww. We have a new baby!".
I liked how she phrased that. That and my nice warm cup of coffee made me feel all warm and fuzzy!

What a great way to start the new year....indeed, we do have a new baby!

breech baby...

Here is a video of an amazing breech birth that Lennon gave me the link to: here

So, I have yet to experience a breech delivery of any sort but it intrigues me. I think it intrigues me mostly because whenever I am watching breech birthing videos I find myself holding my breath.

In my mind, I know it can be and is safely done naturally and at home. I completely trust the process...

But yet I still hold my breath....can this instictive behavior be unlearned? I certainly hope so...because it can and will happen in time and I certainly dont need to be passing out from holding my breath when it does!

Methinks I need to watch a ton more and really study the ins and outs of breech birth.

enjoy the video!

01 October 2009

Breech Link

This is a link to some pretty rad breech birthing pictures....click me!

17 September 2009

Strength During Adversity

This last week and a half or so has made me so grateful for what I do have in my life.

In the last couple weeks, we have had two clients who experienced intrauterine fetal demise...aka stillbirth after 20 weeks gestation. There is nothing like trying to find fetal heart tones when there are none. Everyone holding their breath...praying, wishing, hoping. As an apprenticing midwife, you truly dont expect that THIS (let alone two incidences at nearly the same time) can happen so soon into your apprenticeship or at all for that matter...but the reality of it is...it happens when it happens. I am not so green as to have never seen death...or even the death of a baby. But this has been a humbling and insightful and tender week for everyone involved.

Both of these mothers are so strong. I know they probably dont feel like they are but...they have been an inspiration...as well as their babies. These mothers, and their families, walk in a path of grief with such grace at such a tender time. I am utterly amazed.

I feel honored and blessed to have taken even a small part in these experiences with these families. To have known these sweet souls for even a moment has been so overwhelmingly special. They have taught me so much in their short time here.

These two sweet little souls will forever be in my heart. <3

16 September 2009

First Post!

So, here we go! I havent been able to keep up with my personal blog but I need to keep a journal of sorts for all my midwifery endeavors. So, I decided to start a new blog. I will have you know that many names and things might be changed (such as specifics of curriculum etc) unless folks specifically tell me they dont mind their name out on the internets. That being said, here I go!

So, I want to explain how I got to where I am today: When I was 12, I had a dream. I dreamt that I helped ladies have babies. I remember waking up and feeling so content and happy about the dream. I also remember promptly telling my mom about the dream. She, to this day, encourages my "calling" to helping mamas have babies by reminding me of that morning.

Many years later, I thought the road to doing that was through nursing. I thought for a while I wanted to be a Certified Nurse Midwife. I studied at community college for many years as I continually applied to various nursing schools. After 3 years of applying and not getting in, I decided to look into midwifery schools in the area. I told myself that if I didnt get into nursing school that year I was going to change my path (little did I know, my path would be changed for me in the future). So, I was accepted at the last second to Concordia University where I studied Nursing for two years to recieve my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I really wanted to become a Labor and Delivery nurse. My very first interview out of nursing school was for an L&D floor at a local hospital. I wasnt hired. I was bummmmmmed. To say the least. So, I interviewed again, this time for a position in Women and Childrens Services which encompassed working on a Postpartum floor, NICU and Pediatrics. I got the job.
I still currently work as a nurse for the time being.

During my first year of working as a nurse, my husband and I got pregnant! When that occured I instantly knew that I didnt want to have my baby at the hospital. I sought out a midwife that had the same views on birth and pregnancy that I do. I felt instantly comfortable with her and her apprentice! <3

I always knew that midwifery care was unique and I was drawn to it. I have always thought I would have my own child at home. During my pregnancy, the more I read and experienced care in which I was ultimately in the drivers seat, the more I knew how right midwifery care was for me...not only for my own pregnancy but also for the type of "nursing" that I wanted to do. My son was born in August. I continued to seek out information and educate myself about the midwifery scene here and there. I kept in contact with my midwives. And in January, my apprenticeship sort of just fell into place! So, here I am!

I am loving it. It feels right for me...and I am grateful for the path that I have taken to get here. If I had chosen any other path to midwifery I wouldnt have met the inspirational midwives, women and families that I have.

A potential client of ours asked me the other day why I wanted to become a midwife or something to that effect....my answer, after a brief explanation of how I got to where I am, was that "midwives are what nurses used to be"....And I really believe that.