Yellow Ribbon

Living in a military town, I sure am pretty oblivious to the ways of the military. The Air Force stationed my dad here in the 70’s and Colorado won his heart. 15 years later after getting out, moving back to Indiana, getting married and having 2 kids, he moved our family back. Although I couldn’t tell you what ranks belong to which branch or if a commander is higher than a general, I do know that military families sacrifice a lot. But now having worked with families whose husbands are deployed during the pregnancy or birth of their child, I understand on an even deeper level. I’ve had the gift of helping quite a few mommas bring their babies into this world while daddy is far away or the upcoming deployment is a dark cloud in the distance on such a happy day. The staticky, sometimes pixelated connection to a daddy in a far away land. And 9 months later, meeting his Avalie for the first time. And huggin that hott wife of his. 😉 [Photo by Jen Lints Photography] There is no difference missing the firstborn than missing your second, third or fourth child. Each baby is a precious, unique and special gift and something a father wants to be a part of. I can’t imagine it ever gets easier. [Jen Lints Photography] Tears normally come during labor and birth, but my heart physically hurts when a momma says to me while crying, “this isn’t right, he is supposed to be here.” And I know my hug is a poor substitute for his. I always say a prayer...

summer

Remember last summer? I’m sure you do. I’m sure you remember the pool and beer and sunshine and friends and hiking and vacation and all the good stuff summer brings. I remember babies. I remember hospital rooms and homes. I remember being woken up in the wee hours of the morning. I remember hearing little ones cry for the first time. I remember holding many a momma’s hand. I remember a breech vaginal birth. And 3 others where we barely made it to the hospital in time. I remember barely making it to a couple home births. I remember one momma shouting from the mountaintops “look at my baby! He is amazing! He is beautiful! So many newborns are ugly, but look at him!” This momma will probably forever remain the most “high” from an unmedicated birth I will witness. She told everyone in the room to rob a bank if they couldn’t afford a doula. So if you wanna top her, you better get creative. I was there when a momma made the call to her deployed husband in Kuwait “Babe, he is here! I did it with no pain medication, I wish you could have seen me!” I have vivid memories of my first mommas who needed c-sections. I remember many sad and happy tears shared between me and these families that so graciously allow me into such a sacred time. I remember being pretty tired. I remember an emergency c-section where I ran next to her bed with her as far as I could, she continued on passed the OR doors, and then within minutes I...

new year, new opportunities

2012 didn’t turn out the way I thought it would for doula-ing. It all started in October, with my first birth I with my intern and I missed it. The midwife only got there 10 minutes before the baby was born. Then 2 weeks later another birth I was supposed to attend was missed because she had her baby on the side of the road on the way to the hospital. The third ended up being an emergency c section. The forth, I was there for, but barely. She was a first time momma, labored all through the night and by the time she called the midwife she was already 9cm. So, with this new year, I knew my first 4 births had to be a fluke and that I would actually get to be at a birth. I would get to help a momma during her labor.   In the wee early morning hours of January 9th, I got called to the hospital. Me, my mentor [Candace], this momma and her husband worked through her unmedicated labor and I watched in awe as her body changed and she talked to her baby-her tiny partner-throughout the process. I hope I will never loose sight of the beauty of labor and birth. But honestly, I don’t know how I could. Her labor and birth were picture perfect and I can’t even tell you how much I learned. Watching the baby emerge from her body and the shouts of pain that were intermingled with laughter and cries of joy still give me goosebumps. As I left the hospital, the air was...

1st birth…kinda :)

2 weeks ago I attended my first birth with my mentor. It was the momma’s 5th baby and after having had the previous 4 come prematurely, she was beside herself when she actually passed her due date! I got a call at 5 am, saying it was time and I got there within 30 minutes. When my mentor opened the door, she simply said; “Well, we missed the birth. The midwife only got here 10 minutes before the baby was born.” I kinda laughed, having half expected to miss it. I have friend who has 7 children and her midwife has missed 3 out of 7. I was welcomed into their bedroom anyway and got to see this tiny newborn engulfed in her momma’s arms. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to what a beautiful thing that is. Since everything labor and birthwise was done, I observed the midwife measure and weigh the babe, give her shots and write all of her stats down. I was very intrigued by what she was doing, since as a midwife assistant, I’ll be doing those same things. Well, let me clarify. I will be giving no shots or doing any measuring. I will be writing down what the midwife reports to me and handing her the supplies she needs. It was about 7 am at this point and the sun was coming up. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move in the hallway. I looked over and their oldest, a daughter, was standing in the doorway with wide eyes just staring at me. I smiled at her...

Olive: A Birth Story

Not only did we have the honor to throw our friend a shower, but we also got to be present for her daughter’s birth. Holly asked us a couple months into her pregnancy and Becky and I have been anxiously awaiting ever since. I’ve never seen a live birth other than my own and I suspected they were nothing alike. Boy is that an understatement. At 8 am, David wrote us and said Holly was in labor. We waited for “the text” that gave us the green light to come over and finally, at 1am, we got it. At 1:30am, the midwives, me and Becky arrived and for 7 hours we did nothing but wait. But Holly was working very hard.  We waited, talked, waited, read, checked Twitter [which is very uneventful at 4am] waited, got breakfast, waited and finally at 7:30am she was 10 cm. At 9am they broke her water. The next 45 minutes were brutal for Holly and I actually teared up several times seeing her in such pain. And being just 6 months out of going through my own labor, I remember the pain very clearly. I knew exactly what she was feeling and it made me cringe for her. There are many moments in a woman’s labor that would only occur in an instance where intense pain and extreme joy come together. And since it is such a brief moment in time [relatively] they are fleeting. One of these moments came right before Holly began pushing and David got down and started talking to Olive. I don’t know what he said, but I suppose I wasn’t meant to. 😉...

The birth of my son

We went to bed after watching Conan and I had been having contractions all evening, but really didn’t think anything of it. I was a week overdue again and didn’t let myself get my hopes up every time I had contractions. I had been having them for 2 weeks, but they always stopped throughout the night. So it was like any other night, I gave Harper a bath, spent time with John, watched Conan for a little bit and fell alseep. At 2 am, the pain woke me up. I laid in bed for awhile and the contractions didn’t stop. I decided to start timing them and they were all exactly 5 minutes apart. I laid there until 3 and decided to wake John up. I told him I was gonna take a shower and start getting ready to go to the hospital. It was early early Tuesday morning and my sister was scheduled to get her chemo at 8 am. All week I got more anxious as each day passed because I wanted her in the room with us when he was born. I begged God to let her be there, to let us share his birth and when I went to bed Monday night, I fell asleep with a heavy heart knowing the time frame had come to a close. Early that morning, while it was still dark and silent outside, as I was getting ready I started to cry, thanking God that Mary might still be able to be there. It was early enough in the morning that she still could be able to make her...