Monday, December 31, 2012

2012

What a wild ride this year has been!

Highlights:

Witnessing 23 babies enter the world (and co-catching 2!). Being a small part of something so big is beyond words.

Learned how to keep my cool in stressful situations, call EMS, and navigate a NICU admission.

Filmed an episode for a potential reality series. Bombed my post birth interview.

Many adventures with the roomies, family, and friends.

Had my first 3 postpartum doula jobs.

Joined a new church, attended bible study, and stepped up to a microphone again to worship.

Delved deeper into the birth community and made lots of new friends and grew my village.

Took 3 mini trips to west Michigan.

Read lots of great books, lit candles, took bubble baths, naps, and focused on self-care

Attempted to write my 3rd novel, wrote 3 poems, danced.

Got back in the saddle :)













Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Things don't always go as planned, but then again maybe they do.



Micah 6:8 it is kinda funny that I pulled this shirt out of my closet this morning...


Today a sweet baby girl was born and half way around the world a little boy was "born" into his forever family.

Sweet baby girl's mother had her first all natural, no induction birth, giving her confidence in the ability of her body to work. I am a bit bummed to have missed the birth by minutes, but I loved seeing the sparkle in my team member's eyes as she told me "I delivered her".

My friend Alison went to court today and left a mother of a precious little boy. Their journey has been up and down these past few months and I am rejoicing.

I purchased the Micah shirt to help support baby E's adoption. 2 babies, 2 very different stories, one amazing day.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent

Advent
waiting, longing,
expecting


Advent
Anticipation, joy
Peace
The tiny kicks of a new life in the womb

Advent
Holy, amazing
Slippery
Newborn staring up through the waters
breaking the surface
Breathes deep and cries

Advent
Power, trembling,
Blessed
Hands that catch
hold
guide

Advent
Deeper, transcendent
Reminded
A stable, a woman, alone yet surrounded

Advent
Hope, joy
Love
A savior in a manger cries out in the night

Advent
Waiting, longing
Expecting

Grateful



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Self-care

After a recent adjustment my chiropractor said, "now you can get on with things now that your head is back on straight" he didn't know how right on he was. This has been a crazy couple I weeks and I am finally starting to feel myself getting back on track in all areas of my life.

In an effort to find myself again I am taking this long weekend to do only things that make me happy and nothing else. I am giving myself permission to treat myself nicely, to say yes to things I wouldn't normally say yes to and permission to say no.

This has gotten me thinking of what truly makes me happy, here is a snippet of the list I have created for those times I need to take a moment for some self-care.

Belting out a tune, signing a song, re-reading a favorite book, birth, writing, painting, dancing badly, sitting with friends, good conversation, chai lattes, riding, bubble baths, watch a tear jerker, napping in the sunshine, walking in the woods, newborn snuggles, belly laughing, hugs, photography...

Do me a favor... Remind me to do something from this list if I start to lose myself, pray for me, and love me even when I do.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Peace...




 If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  
~Mother Teresa


September 21st is known as International Day of Peace. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981, "Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace"  


Peace day is an important day in my book, a day to unite and make strides towards peace within the world, our cities, our neighborhoods, our families and our homes, but September 21st holds a special place in my heart for a few other reasons. 

September 21st 2010
 "The Lord has given life to a sweet little boy on this day of Peace. Strong lungs and a thick head of hair, ready to face surgery tomorrow" -ckb 2010






Sweet baby Gabe is two! A walking, talking, bright eyed and funny little person. My heart overflows with love for his sweet family, and with gratitude to my amazing God. 








Gabe's Poem
(written on his first birthday)

Ask me what peace is and I will tell you
Peace is the Steady Beat hiding behind the whooshing sounds 
Peace is Faith beyond what the tests reveal
Peace is found in prayers full of tears 
Peace is the sound of that first squealing cry
Peace is in healing and heading home
Peace is Hope at each small twitch of little feet
Peace is the feeling of you in my arms for the first time
Peace is that sweet baby smell I can never seem to get enough of
Peace is the power of seeing you stand
Peace is the blessing of watching you grow
Peace is what I feel holding you tonight, 
one year later
bigger 
stronger
Peace is a toddler who rests deeply
unaware of the tears that glisten in sun-bleached hair
who still (barely) fits in my lap.

To read more about the amazing Gabe click here 


*****
September 21st 2010 



"I cannot find the peace in the reunification of a baby, who was abandoned at the hospital, nameless, motherless, who became loved, named and cherished..." -ckb 2010


IMG_1336



September 21st also reminds me of how sometimes finding peace with a situation can be tough. My heart was broken two years ago by the fb message telling me that my baby would never be mine. 

I have come a long way since then, my heart still feels the connection to her, and sometimes my arms still ache to hold her close and feel her tiny heart beat against my chest. But, I am finding the peace that I could not find two years ago. I am holding tight to the promises of the God who is holding her. 








Isabella and mama



and although the image brings tears to my eyes and a hurt deep in my soul, I can almost picture her, two years old, spunky and sweet, long jet-black hair, piercing auburn eyes, laughter like sunshine... Running into her mother's arms.











“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” 



Saturday, September 15, 2012

What life looks like these days...



I am feeling extra blessed today after a couple hours of sleep. This week was crazy busy! 

I filled in for a friend with one of her postpartum doula clients. (click for definition of postpartum doula "Boss" is a sweet little boy with amazing facial expressions! I enjoyed hanging out with him in the wee hours of the morning.

We had a few births recently, 3 beautiful baby girls and 3 strong and amazing mamas. I am still reeling and writing birth stories in my private journal. 

Along with the new life, came a  final goodbyes this side of heaven as my cousins lost a grandmother. Please keep them in your prayers, she was a wonderful woman.  

Daycare has been good, It had been nice having a small number of babies each day, I am able to do more things with them and enjoy the day a bit more I am greatful for my  amazing and supportive coworkers who helped out this week with the birth craziness. 

Another highlight was witnessing one of "my" babies' amazing healing after her open heart surgery as we played this morning. She is crawling and pulling up, laughing and being a stinker. You would never know she had surgery  2 weeks ago. 

Soaking it all up today, and praising God for it all. 




Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Booksneeze Review: Heaven in Her Arms, By: Catherine Hickem



"Fear. It is the single greatest paralyzer of all time. It comes in many shapes and sizes. It is no respecter of persons, race or status. It can cause big men to collapse, soldiers to crumble, and nations to retreat. It has sabotaged peace, prevented healing, and stirred divisions among families" -15

I absolutely loved this book outlining some reasons why God chose Mary to raise His son. I was captivated by a side of who Mary was that we don't really see from the few verses from Luke.  The chapter 'Smart Women Know They Need Other Women" really hit home for me. Hickem writes,"In the Jewish culture, women spent a lot of time together. They walked to the well together to get water... and during that time they  would socialize and chat. They helped deliver each other's babies and would tend to the new moms  during their first several months of motherhood. Ther ewas no problem too big for the circle of women... they understood their role, trained up the younger women to assume it when the time arrived, and would remain a constant source of constant council and support throughout their lives" -81 Nowadays, we are more isolated from others, fearful of attachment, and weary of how others may see us. We are vulnerable and alone. 


This book portrays Mary as a woman of strength and character, chosen, for these vary reasons to raise the son of God. I recommend it for its eyeopening chapters and beautifully written words. 




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Friday, June 15, 2012

RIP Buick Century






17 senior year
school and career prep
late night Mei*jer runs 
howling at the moon
flat tires and mailbox hitting
driving miss daisy
church
off to Marquette
over the bridge, pay the toll
back and forth
Holland, the beach
let's all go to the buffet
pick up friends from the train and plane
the mall 
drive the kid
move back and forth back and forth
michigan's adventure 
adventures to nowhere special
running errands
classes and jobs
cracked windshield
babysitting 
interviews
dead batteries
don't forget to change the oil
packed to the brim 
no room for anyone
move to the city
CRASH! 
Hit at an intersection
stuff with babies, 3 in a row
midwife conferences with bumper sticker souvenirs  
pack and pack up to the brim
storage unit for 3 weeks 
empty out at new apartment
putt
putt
putt...
mechanics say the end is near
adios old friend... 



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Time and the Livin' is Easy...

Wow! I can't believe June is half-way over.

A lot has happened since I last blogged. I have now witnessed/assisted at 11 labors and 9 births. I am still trapped in grateful amazement that I get to learn what I love. And boy have I learned a lot. The last few births were doozies! (all is well now, all families have perfect, beautiful, healthy babies)

I am working 20-35 hours a week at the daycare center

I adore my roomies! (see picture above) :)

I am officially "off-call" until August and am busy crossing off my summer bucket list.

numero uno: I am currently sitting in a "budget" hotel in HOLLAND!!!!!! 3 days in one of my favorite places in the US, beach, friends, a wedding, meeting new babies, seeing "old" babies... sigh :)



Monday, April 23, 2012

Booksneeze Review: READ and SHARE Bible DVD


The “Read and Share Bible” DVD series introduces children to the life of Christ in a friendly animated format. “The Jesus Series: Life and Miracles” is a half hour long journey into the ministry of Jesus. Stories featured include; Jesus calling His disciples, The miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus healing the sick, and the Lord's Supper. 

I would recommend this DVD for the 3-7 crowd. The animation is simple yet vibrant. The stories are classic Sunday School, and would be great to introduce or review lessons in the church or home school setting. The kids that watched it with me (daycare children) seemed to enjoy it and were able to discuss what they had seen afterwards. I will admit that I got bored half way through with the repetition, but the time and pacing was perfect for the kiddos. 









Discalmer: I received a free copy of this product through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Midwifery Monologues: "Hands"

I sped down the road, dust rising behind me, as the rose-colored moon lit up the pre-dawn sky. It is a struggle getting out of bed before 8am, but when I heard the ringtone that signaled a text from the midwife. I bounced out of bed like a child on Christmas morning. 



It *might* be time. 


I had my teeth brushed and scrubs on, long before the second text giving me the go-ahead to drive out to our client's house. I tried to relax and enjoy the beautiful picture painted as the sunrise replaced the full-moon. It seemed like the drive was never ending, but in actuality, I made it much faster than the go*ogle maps estimated time. 



It was not quite time. 



After breakfast we went our separate ways and I attempted to distract myself. Knitting, napping, a “Little House on the Prairie” marathon, and the phone rang. 



It was time. 



A sweet baby boy, born in an unplanned location in the house, just as the sun set and the waning moon rose, on a crisp spring night to a strong and confident mother; passed from the womb, through the midwife’s hands and into my arms. Slippery and wide-eyed, he greeted the room with a cry of protest. We passed him through the cord to his mama, as his father declared “it’s a boy”. 



Later, as I made a trip out to the car with some of the supplies we no longer needed, I happened to glance up at the sky. The stars were brighter than I had seen in years. The Big Dipper was directly above the house, as if blessings were pouring straight from heaven onto the little house in the woods. 

I paused, breathed deeply and held out my hands. 

Hands that have done both evil and good. 
Hands that have been lifted high in worship and lowered to the ground in pain. 
Hands that have acted out of anger and out of love. 
Hands that have held on and hands that have let go. 
Hands that have scars. 
Hands that have touched the earth in 4 countries. 
Hands that have been timid and confident. 
Hands that are learning how to be patient, yet expectant and ready. Hands that shake in fear, and hands that are strong.
 Hands that had been blessed, long before they began to learn how to catch… 

and I am grateful that I am held by much bigger hands


Saturday, March 31, 2012

March comes in like a Lion and out like a lamb...

I am really enjoying my new place. It is a nice sized apartment and my roomies are awfully cute :) I am living with a friend that I have known since the womb and her 2 daughters, age 4 years and 4 months.

March brought 4 new babies, all born at home, surrounded by those who love them. I am still in disbelief that this is my job! I am learning so much and growing more confident by the day. I am looking forward to the April babies, but trying my best to enjoy the lull.

My weeks consist of office visits (prenatal appointments, postpartum visits), home visits, births, and working part-time at the daycare. I have been interviewing with some new families for babysitting jobs to supplement my income as well. I am meeting so many interesting and wonderful people.

I am happy, content, and full of joy

sigh... someone pinch me... is this real life?



Monday, March 12, 2012

"The dreamer's just a vessel..."


"The River" -Garth Brooks

You know a dream is like a river
Ever changing as it flows
And the dreamer's just the vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores.

(chorus)
And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry.

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide.

And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry.

And there's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my captain
I can make it through them all.

Yes I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry.

Yes, I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
'Til the river runs dry.

As a child, when I would sing this song, I always thought the lyric "vessel" was "my best"... I kind of like my 4 year old self's version better even 20 years later. "I will sail my best, till the river runs dry"

24 truths as I turn 24...

  1. "Love Pays Attention." -PG
  2. "Hold the Space." -LV
  3. "Feel your Feet on the Floor." -SB
  4. "Don't Undervalue Yourself." -WP
  5. "Goodbyes are just as important as hellos."-KW
  6. Reevaluate the definition of strength
  7. If you don't feel like doing something, you probably need to do it.
  8. Knit. It won't solve the problem, but it is sure hard to feel stressed when hold a finished baby hat. 
  9. It Gets Better.
  10. Hold on tight to your dreams, even when others try to convince you to drop them.
  11. Yes, many people come and go in life, but there are always a few that stay. If only for the simple fact that you need them and that is ok. 
  12. Ask for help. 
  13. Ask for prayer.
  14. There is never a perfect time... Jump in. 
  15. Accept grace, even when it is hard. 
  16. Take every opportunity to smell a newborn's sweet head. 
  17. Trust yourself, you've got this.
  18. Miracles happen, take time to notice them.
  19. "Choose to chance the rapids, dare to dance the tides" -Garth Brooks
  20. "You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting." -Mary Oliver
  21. "The same God who led you in, will lead you out" -Newsong
  22. "It's hard to dance with a devil on your back, So shake him off." -Florence and the Machine
  23. "Everything rides on hope"-Addison Road
  24. "A baby changes everything" -Faith Hill


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Moon dance... (A poem)

I am fantastically overwhelmed
                                 All in
      placing all my chips on the table
   It is an awkward dance
                stumbly,
                       bumbly
like hippos
      mimicking cranes.
Powerful emotions
        tearing the heart into healing
                                                                     Messy
                                                Beautiful
                                                                       Love
Blue toes and pink cheeks
life sustaining thick pulsing cord
                                                           eyes lock all around the room
                                                                     speaking words that cannot be heard
                   he coughs
                  softly cries
                             laughter
and oh how my heart sings
                         



Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Living in Limbo...

I have been camping in my parent's "Daw-ffice" (Dog room/office) since Saturday. I am looking forward to moving into my apartment in a couple of weeks, but it has not been too bad so far. Probably because I have been busy!

Saturday was spent loading vehicles, saying goodbyes in Holland, and meeting a precious 5 day old :)

Sunday brought church and a retirement party.

Monday contained a visit to the daycare that turned into working for a few hours, followed by my first office visit as an official member of the Nine Short Months birth team. I was so excited to meet this sweet 6 week old that I had felt in the belly back in December :)

Today I had an interview for a nanny position... I am not so sure about how it went.

I was also planning on going to a few office visits and home visits, but in the midwifery field you can't always plan and I ended up at a beautiful home birth. A precious 7lb 13oz, baby boy entered the world today surrounded by family. His mama was a complete rockstar! My role at this birth was charting and clean-up. It never ceases to amaze me how awesome women's bodies are and how strong their hearts.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review

If you know me IRL (in real life) you know that there are a few things in this world that bring me great joy... besides all things babies... I am a reader. The smell and feel of books is like a drug to me. Those black on white words better than the richest chocolate.

This being said, I have a habit of buying books when I have money to, but often the time to read them does not align with my bank account. Recently I started reading a book bought in such a moment. Havah: The Story of Eve  by: Tosca Lee.

AMAZING!

The season of Lent is a great time to read this fictionalized account of Eve's life from first breath, awakening in the Garden next to Adam to final breath, awakening back into the presence of God. The author attempts to imagine how it must have been to speak with God, fully in His presence to the complete separation that sin created.

I have not finished the book yet but I recommend it so far. It is an adult novel, but I am sure that a mature teen could enjoy it.

"...Help us become simple people, that we may see you plainly. As we wear the mark of ashes, rekindle the sign of hope within our eyes..." - The Worship Sourcebook





This is NOT a sponsored post, just a friendly reading suggestion :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

heavy...

January has been a heavy month...

In the snow that finally decided to fall.
Dreams
Thoughts
Events

I am prepping for life to take me on another tailspin, and although I am grateful and excited. I am a bit terrified. Can I do this? I can't imagine myself doing anything else...

There are so many things that are falling into place that I find myself in constant amazement at how God takes care of this undeserving sinner.

February is about to get very interesting and very busy...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This I Believe #2

I Believe in the Journey. The rough roads made smooth by years of trodding back and forth to the same places, over and over again. Painfully repeating lessons you thought you have learned.

I Believe in wondering broken roads in broken places, wiping the dust off the glass to peer inside the run down heart. I believe in actively seeking by hiding in the back pew of a mega church is just as important sometimes as standing at the pulpit.

I believe that the journey can be made by leading people in worship, teaching children "Jesus Loves Me", The patterns of Sit, stand, kneel and recitations at Mass.

 
I believe it is in entering a mosque with  head covered, praying at the beach to the waves, sitting in the silence at a Friends' Meeting, breaking bread at a Seder table.
 
I believe in being washed in the blood, bathed in chilly baptismal waters behind a pulpit, and icy waters of lake Superior.  Sprinkled. Poured. Immersed.  
 
I believe in energy, touch, and the sacredness of the moon felt in circles of women and tents of red. The dance to the beat of a drum in honor of Mother Earth, Healings and Miracles.
 
As it is said "We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. 
 
I believe being human is touching, loving, hating and pondering. It is love, fear, hurt and joy. We are drawn to these things, to each other, to the earth, and to our creator.


This I Believe #1


I believe in the sanctity of human life. I believe in the vessel that holds and nourishes life deep inside. I believe in the powers and the passenger and the passageway. I believe in the power of women, in birth, in the journey to enter the world. I believe in the mess, the blood and the soil.  
I believe that pregnancy is a normal and natural process, not a medical condition. I believe that women should be able to choose where to give birth and that babies should choose when to be born. I believe that birth changes women into mothers far more than in name. I have seen a mother become a mother for the first and for the fifth time and the transformation is there no matter the number. When the baby transitions into the birth canal there is fierceness. When the baby crowns it is a holy moment in which, all in the room become one as a fresh infant slithers into the world and onto its mother’s chest.
I believe in the magic that happens when a baby opens its eyes this side of heaven and sees the world for the first time. I believe in the power of a baby’s fist breath and throttled cry to bring a gown man to his knees, tears to a mother’s eye, and a knowing glimmer in the midwife’s heart.  I believe in standing back, a silent witness to the creation of a family.
I believe in the powers that ripen the cervix and prepare the way for change – uncomfortable, painful but necessary. I believe in the passenger, perfectly formed and ready to make the journey. I believe in the passageway that connects lives together forever.