2011 – my deepest thank you

Today, the last day of the year, is always my day of reflection. I look back at all of the births of the previous year – reliving the triumphs, double questioning the disappointments, always feeling infinitely grateful for having been a part of each of these families special days.

And, as I did last year, I’d like to take a moment to remember and thank these families who have touched my heart and will live as part of my soul for the rest of my life. Thank you!!

For confidentiality purposes, I will only be using baby’s first name – no last names and not many specific details. If any of the parents of these precious babies would like to be identified – I would LOVE to include a picture of your baby in this post! If that is something you would allow me to include, please leave me a comment letting me know that you would like the baby to be identified as yours and their picture included!!! (if you are a parent…this is in the order of their births)

Please feel free to click on any photo to see a larger version of each picture!!

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Mckenna: Our first baby of the year! While your cranky/sleepy big brother was with dad in the other room, you slipped quietly (and quickly!) out in the living room. The night air was crisp as we left your new home – but I knew you were warm in your mother’s arms. Such a beautiful birth to set the stage for the year to come!!


Giselle: Your mom and dad are good at making girls!! You were the fifth gorgeous girl they had made! And the first baby I wasn’t able to glove up for because you came so fast! (I got ONE glove on, and was proud I got that far!) There was a moment after your birth when your mother was holding you still in the birthing pool you were born into, with your dad looking so incredibly proud behind her, surrounded by all of your sisters…that will live in my heart forever. I’ll also never forget when I realized that I had born witness to every adult woman in the room (your sister-in-law, your doula, my apprentice) giving birth. Such a blessing for me.


Harper:  After hearing your doula tell us about your sister’s birth, I couldn’t wait to see how your birth unfolded!!  Your mother made that look way too easy – birthing so fast that your daddy just about dropped you onto the bed!  Such a sweet birthing space they  made for you in their bedroom….and your big sister was so excited to have you here!!  Some families I wave goodbye to them at their 6 week postpartum visit thinking, “I wish I could be their baby!”  Your family is one of those…and you are incredibly lucky to have them!  (and I am incredibly lucky to know them!)


Hailey: I wasn’t even supposed to be at your birth! When your mom hired me they thought it was only for prenatal care as they were going to move! Well, I can not express how LUCKY I felt that their move waited until after you were born. You mother was incredible…even though you are her first baby, she slipped easily into that primal birthing time like a pro. I’ll never forget the look on your daddy’s face when he saw you for the first time…priceless!



Paxton: Oh Paxton…into daddy’s waiting hands while grandma bawled nearby, you made a dramatic entrance into a room that welcomed you with love and joy. Rolling through all of the twists and turns that a first baby can sometimes bring, your mother rocked it! Such a beautiful day!

Jordana: My little peanut!!! And all that much more special since you are my great niece! (I can say with 100% honesty now that “I am a great aunt”. I mean…I’ve said that for years, but now it’s no longer something that can be debated. Heh.) My littlest baby thus far and just goes to show that little or big isn’t what’s important, it’s about being healthy. And WOW are you healthy! Teeny tiny and full term and healthy!! Slipping from one watery world into another before being lifted out of the pool into your mother’s waiting arms! I was so proud of your mother…and it just makes that sweet day all that much more special that I welcomed you not just as a midwife, but as an aunt!! I love your mama….and I love you.

Shelby: Then homebirth that almost wasn’t!! My apprentices will remember my DANCING with a hop-skip-and-jump away from your home as we left because I was SO HAPPY!! Let me see if I remember the unique events correctly: 41.5 weeks said during an appointment, “I swear for a moment that felt like a head….nawww, there’s no way this baby flipped.” 42+1 weeks (Tuesday) sent for an ultrasound showed a 10.5 pound 42 week breech baby. (I told the u/s tech there’s no way the baby’s larger than 9.5 pounds) Called my OB friend and scheduled a cesarean for Thursday. Wednesday we meet to prepare for the cesarean….while feeling your position I feel you flip to head-down! Confirmed with an internal exam…2 hours later mother was in labor, that night you were born peacefully into the birthing pool in the bedroom. (we had cancelled the cesarean while the OB laughed and said, “Go have a baby! Whoo hoo!”) Do I have the facts right? I know I do…because I will NEVER forget that week! Birth is exciting enough, you just had to make it extra exciting this time. Next time, boring would be okay! Hehe…

Julianna: After seeing your big sister born into the water, I was extra thrilled when I got the call from your mother that she wanted me there again when you were born!! You gave us a big of a concern earlier in the pregnancy, but I guess that was enough drama for you because your birth was smooth and beautiful and a celebration of perfection! Born into the same pool your sister was, it was déjà vu for me! (your big brother couldn’t be a waterbaby as he was born in a hospital) There’s something special when I have welcomed big siblings and the new baby!


Charlee: Another of my babies where I had previously been blessed to help your sister born! Your mother brings tears to my eyes the way she and your father laughed and loved each other throughout your birth…just like they did your sister (also into the same birthing pool that she was born into!) Your big brother was born in a hospital. Maybe I should get you and Julianna together as your stories are so very similar. Hee hee…

Everett: Sweet dear boy who had the darndest time figuring how exactly how to get that little head out of that little space. So much patience your mother showed for you – you needed it!! I’ll never forget your mother looking down at you with just your head out of her body, you opening your eyes to look up at her – and then, still not fully born yet, letting out a squawk or protest! I shouldn’t be surprised that a strong boy would be born to such a strong mother. I bow down to her awesomess….wow!

Liam: After watching your mother birth her first baby (your big brother), I knew this was going to be a fun birth to be present at and looked forward to getting the call from your mother! And I was not disappointed…I laughed, I cried, I cheered…I love your mother (And your father’s not too shabby either!). Just like with your big brother, the pool was great in labor, but the birthing stool was where your mother wanted to be for your birth. I don’t see how it could have been any more perfect.


Elizabetta: Days passed, mom held strong, but you were so caught up in there that there was just no way you were coming out at home. I’m so sorry it was such a rough journey for you – but your mother was strong, held tight, and was able to push you out in the hospital through her own power. Your poor bruised head showed your battle wounds and my heart broke for you that it had been such a challenging journey…but I was so proud of your mother that she fought equally as hard and overcame and, even though it wasn’t what she’d dreamed it would be, she was able to give you the best beginning she could given your circumstances. You’re a lucky baby.

Benjamin: After watching your brother being born (and knowing how well your mother births babies by looking at all of your big brothers), I felt certain that this would be a smooth and simple birth. And it was…just not at home. I wish your mother hadn’t gotten sick and needed to be in the hospital – but even in the hospital she had a beautiful unmedicated birth surrounded by your entire family!! (heck, I still almost caught you as you cam flying out as my CNM friend had trouble getting gloved up in time!) I tearfully said goodbye to you and your family as they whisked you away in a move across the country, but you will always live in a little corner of my heart.


Quinn: You sure got my attention! Placenta abruption is a phrase that gives me chills and can be really scary, but your mother held strong and did everything she had to in order to protect you. The last thing she ever wanted to do was have a cesarean…but she was more than willing to have surgery to keep you healthy. Now THAT is a good mother! I was sad that they had that experience, but so grateful that you are healthy!

Maya: Triumph….healing….love….joy…all good words in the English language could be used to describe your birth. Your mother knows how I feel about her and how I feel about being chosen to be witness to your special day. For reasons she understands, I will leave it at that. Thank you and love you guys.

Holden: With daddy, auntie, and grandma surrounding your mother, you were born onto the same bed you were created. Such a spiritual experience for a family with a strong faith in God – I think your birth brought her a strong faith in her own body that God had given her, too! A beautiful thing to witness!


Christine: such a fun birth! Born with your membranes intact, into the water, with still-warm brownies waiting in the next room…wow! I loved the shirt your mother chose to wear that day – perfect for the occasion. As soon as he relaxed a little bit, I think even your dad thought this whole birthing thing was pretty cool. Your sisters were SO EXCITED when they saw you coming out!! You can’t help but be cool…look at all of the ladies of your family.


Amelia: You came so much faster than your mother could really wrap her brain around – born into the water, your mother plucked you out and snuggled you so tightly. She was emotional at first, but nothing like the explosion of emotions that bubbled up and burst forth when she took a peek and saw that you were a girl! Your doula, parents, and everyone in the room sobbed with her, happy for your family that you were here. Downstairs with your brother, a friend of your mother’s cheered with us! What a beautiful birthday you had…


Naomi: You are a spitfire just like your mother – who almost gave her life for you. Fighting to give you every day she could in the hospital, she almost fought too long and scared us all. But you are sure worth it! A perfect little girl pulled out by doctors in a surgical suite…not what your mother wanted, but she would bring you to her chest and hold you close to her heart. If there was ever a baby that was fought for and prayed for…it is you.


Raylee: Family room full of family watching Survivor on television while waiting for you to come out – you slipped out quickly and smoothly in the bedroom! Cookies to celebrate…it was the most miraculous ‘normal day’ you can have!!




Belinda: Tests, injection, procedures….if your conception was going to be complicated, your birth would be the opposite!! Born into your parents’ hands, you slipped out into the water in the birthing pool set up in the bedroom while their doula wiped away tears of joy. Your showed your mother a new depth to her strength…as well as a new depth to what it means to love another person. Beautiful.


Joey: Daddy cross-legged in front of your mother while she pushed…even though it was in the water, you all but plopped out into his lap as you slipped earthside! A shocked and overwhelmed dad lifted you up into your mother’s waiting arms as they their joy exploded into tears. While your big sister was disappointed that you were a boy (she’d hoped for a sister), we knew she’d fall in love with you quickly – I think it took her about an hour to be swayed by your awesomeness! What a welcome addition!


Luke: You will always be my little stinker…and I will always bow to your mother’s determination and strength. A challenging birth for her, yet she did it! Despite her family’s skeptics who questioned whether she could have a vaginal birth….she not only proved to them that she could do it vaginally, but had a homebirth for you!! Triumphantly you emerged on a birthing stool with your father’s help (and your doula taking pictures). Your mother endured, persevered, gave you all of the time you needed…and her reward was you. So worth it!


Silex: Your birth reinforced what I already believed: trust mother’s and their instinct. She knew what you needed, even if she couldn’t explain why. She did follow that instinct, and your birth was better for it! A cute little guy with his own brand of surprises for us….thank you for letting me witness your family’s journey.


Violet: Your daddy thought he was tough…until he laid eyes on you and then he melted into a great big puddle. Born in the water with your grandmother watching and doula taking pictures….watching your mother transform from woman to mother after how long they had dreamed for you was truly a gift. (if your dad ever lets you color in his tattoos…..just remember, that was MY idea! Hee hee)



Brendan: With a precocious big brother, we knew you would be ahead of the curve! Born a couple of weeks ahead of time, you quickly slipped into the water and into your daddy’s waiting hands. His smile was ridiculous….matched only by your mother’s tears. Precocious….that’s the main word that keeps coming to mind when I think of you. Precocious.




Tawa: The fact that your mother agreed to a cesarean shows her love for you. Disappointing that she couldn’t give you the beginning she wanted for you, she instead gave you the beginning that you needed. Intelligent, empowered, strong….you have an amazing mother so it’s no surprise that you are as amazing as you are. Full head of hair, so beautiful….well worth the sacrifices she made for you.


Claire: Another mother who didn’t believe it could go so quickly! Your grandma casually let me into your home not knowing that as I rang your doorbell, your mother had just birthed your head! I opened the bedroom door and heard your father say, “Baby’s here!” your grandmother about fainted! She had no idea that you were being born in that very moment – but she was SO excited to see you! We all were! A bathtub birth that was peaceful and exactly the way it should be…

Allison: As I drove to your home, I told your father that I probably wouldn’t make it before you were born and gave him some quick instructions. His response sounded like he didn’t believe me – but he soon would as he caught you! Your big sister took so long to come out (I was there for her as well) that I don’t think they believed you could come so fast! I wasn’t there when you took your first breathe…but am still so lucky to have known you on your birth day!

Dexter: For someone who had never experienced childbirth before, your mother sure did rock it! Fast and furious, when you decided to come out you decided to make it NOW! A beautiful waterbirth to a powerhouse of a mother who knew exactly what she wanted, went after it, and got it!! I can truly say that she slipped into the role of mother so naturally….it was inspirational to watch.

Abigail: Your big sister (I was her midwife, too!) came quickly….so we were ready for you when you came quickly into the birthing pool in your parents’ bedroom. Your big sister watched with an enormous smile from the edge of the pool and your daddy caught you as you entered this world. That was a fun day!!

Lyla: I wondered what your birth would be like since it had been so long since your brother was born and it was a very different experience (hospital, induced, epidural)….but your mother did GREAT!! A bathtub birth…you gave us a scare for a minute as I needed to help you learn to breathe, but you caught on quickly and soon were snuggled into your mother’s arms.

Shane: Your mother is one of the sweetest, incredible women I’ve ever met. Soft spoken, yet hiding a powerful strength that was a blessing to witness! A blow up birthing pool and your daddy was all she needed to peacefully sneak you out. You even came out in the caul (lucky baby!)….a calm, peaceful birthday!


Sara: There’s almost too much to say about your birth than will fit in this little quickie one-paragraph space will allow. What was most remarkable about your birth? Was it me letting the cat out the front door and panicking about it? Was it the powerful way your mother birthed you into the birthing pool? Was it the overwhelming joy on her face when she looked at you for the first time? I think it probably was your dad, hands shaking as your mom pushed and we started to see the top of your head, sipping coffee in the corner…when I said it seemed more like he needed a beer than the caffeine in that coffee, he snuck out of the room and slammed a beer before you were out! When I found the empty bottle he looked at me with innocence and said, “You said I needed a beer!” I will always laugh about that. Thank you, Sara…and thank you to your parents for allowing me to be there.

Kollins: JOY JOY JOY! Your father’s face as your mother was forehead to forehead with him, your grandmother behind feeling your head emerge….the eruption of unrestrained emotions when you were lifted out of the water by your parents….pure joy! I am always happy at births…but rarely am I as touched down to the core of my soul as I was at your birth. I will treasure that feeling for the rest of my life.

Simeon: Oh dear…okay…so….yours will always be the birth I missed because I was stuck on the side of the road getting a speeding ticket. The irony, right? While I wished I could have been there, I was glad you had Jen and wouldn’t have wished it to be any less perfect for you than it was!

Abigail: My biggest baby this year, would you believe that 11 pounds isn’t my biggest that I’ve done? Hee hee….another water baby, I wish you could have had a gentler welcome into this world – both you and your mother – but thankfully you are both strong and came through with an exciting story and memorable birth day.

Mikah: First babies are supposed to take a while…but apparently you didn’t understand that part. I know how much your doula helped, but it was you and your mother who were the stars of the show that day! Unlike so many others, your mother didn’t like the water and instead preferred the birthing stool…so that would be where you were born! Right there in your parents’ bedroom on a birthing stool….fast, straightforward, and everything we hope for both babies and mommies.

Aesop: You got the message that first babies are supposed to take a while…and took it to heart! I think your parents’ laid back chillaxin’ attitude were passed onto you too well as you were perfectly content to stay right where you were and you were really in no hurry whatsoever to come out! But once they lifted you out of your mother’s belly, you quickly learned that your parents arms (and on a breast) a pretty awesome place to be! I adore your parents as much as I love you and my life is better for having known you!


Aria: Quiet, peaceful, and barfy. That was your mother and her pregnancy. Lots of barfy – and it broke my heart. Most mothers find labor their challenge….your mother kicked butt on her labor, it was pregnancy that was so dang yucky. But as remarkable as her barfiness during pregnancy was, what I will always remember the most about your birth was your father’s announcement that “it’s a boy!” – trumped only by your mother’s announcement 15 minutes later that it’s a girl!!! Tee hee hee….yep, still effectively makes me giggle. So funny!!


Atticus: I couldn’t even tell your mother was in labor…until you slipped into the pool she was sitting in! No fuss…no sounds…nothing! It was….yeah, I’ll say it…it was kinda weird how calm and ‘normal’ she was!! I’m still in shock!!


Mercedes: After missing your big sister’s birth because she came SO FAST….I think everyone was nervous I would miss your birth. Not to worry as I got there in plenty of time, you still came quickly enough! Your mother is more of a friend than client to me, and to be chosen as her midwife for two of her babies was an honor and give she bestowed upon me. I remember snuggling you on the day you were born, full head of beautiful dark hair…so yummy!



Gabriella: Our concerns turned serious when we called 911 and quickly headed to the hospital. I know it disappointed your mother that you had to be born with a cesarean instead of the waterbirth she’d hoped for….but nobody can argue when a placenta abruption is happening that it is a time when we are glad that a cesarean is an option. Your mother’s choice saved your life….she’s a touch chick and labored amazingly before you were born!!


Sierra: Seriously, who laughs as soon as she knows she’s going to start pushing and exclaims, “Now it gets fun!” Umm….yeah, that would be your mother! In a room FULL of family and with her doula photographing, you were born peacefully to a mother who welcomed you with giggles of glee! (and a dad that I thought might pass out!) Beautiful family to welcome such a beautiful baby.

Memphis: Okay I’ll admit it…you have the most beautiful parents I’ve ever worked with. Your dad is sinfully handsome….and I had a girl-crush on your mother from the moment I met her. That is, until I saw her in labor…and then I was full-on blown away by how gorgeous she was! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more beautiful laboring mother. She looked like a goddess to me as she flowed through her transformation from woman to mother. Your dad’s tears as he held his waiting hands by your head as it emerged….made me cry! And in that beautiful morning glow, as you joined this couple and made them a family, I couldn’t imagine feeling any luckier.

Scarlett: I was there when your brother was born, so I understood why your mother was nervous as to how your birth would go. I certainly wasn’t nervous at all, but I knew why she was. But there was no reason for her to be nervous as you came quickly, peacefully, in the caul (blessed baby that you are!)….and completely blew your parents away with your sweetness! She is my paparazzi baby as I remember the FLASH FLASH FLASH of all of the cameras going off during her birth as if she were coming out on a red carpet! Scarlett may be her name, but she’s my starlet.


Sophia: Alright little girl….if you just didn’t breathe in your own poop it would have been a pretty terrific day! But no, you needed even more drama! Born at home, you spent your first week in the hospital because you decided to breathe in your own poopy water. That was a rough first week for everyone, but bringing you home as that much sweeter. Sweetheart Sophia…..that’s enough drama for while, okay?




Aurora: Another waterbaby….this time I was the one taking pictures as you had Jen helping you catch your own baby! It made it so nice that your big sister slept until after you were born (gently into the night) – and what a great thing to wake up to! A new sister! Yours was what my husband calls one of my “sneak” births – meaning, I snuck out in the middle of the night and back in again before morning and my family never even knew I was gone!

Genevieve: You may have been your mother’s first baby, but she sure acted like she had done this many times before! Trusting her body and you and God throughout pregnancy, easing into labor in your own time, rolling through labor in the birthing pool you were born into….never once questioning how things were going or her own powers. Inspiring! Your dad, however, already had 2 children – and this whole homebirth thing was brand new to him! I think he ‘gets it’ now…as he said he can’t imagine ever doing it any other way from now on as he felt so close to you from the MOMENT you were born!

Eliana: I was at your sister’s birth….a healthy good-sized baby born gently at home…and looked forward to your birth for so many reasons! Over 10.5 pounds, I am so glad your mother listened to her instincts and her body and birthed you so gently into the water as it made it gentle on her body as well. You chose a funny, loving, sweet family who I know will shower you with love and laughter for the rest of your life. I am so glad your doula was able to capture your first moments in pictures for you…


Lucy: I saw your big sister come out, super fast and in the caul, and looked forward to your birth so much! Your mother, on the other hand, got stuck in her own head. Your labor started the same time as your sister’s did, so your mother figured it would go exactly the same way. NOPE…you are unique and have your own story! As soon as she realized that, you came barreling out with a “Hurrah! Here I am!” If you were older I think you would have said, “Ta-daaa!” A super sweet girl who is a joy to snuggle…


Averee: I can say that in all of the births I’ve attended, all of these years of helping moms having babies…I’ve never seen a first baby come as fast as you did!! And yet, even though fast births are usually more intense, your mother rolled with it like she knew it was what she was waiting for her whole life! A water baby….your family was thrilled to be there when you were born! (as was I!)

Sage: I have some incredible memories of your sister’s birth, and I couldn’t wait to see what you had in store for me. All the words I would have hoped for your birth (smooth, peaceful, gentle, waterbirth, dim lights, father catching) is exactly what you got for your birthday!! It was just an added unexpected bonus that it was on MY birthday as well! What a gift you gave to me that day!!!

Vaughn: Walk in, put on gloves, and catch a baby that barely waited for me. Yep, that was your birth, little guy! That was a gift you and your mother gave each other, and I was lucky to be there to watch it! Your doula on one side, your father on the other….peace and love surrounding you! And another birthday gift for me since we share a birthday together, you and I! I will always think of you on my birthday as well….thank you!

Asher: Earlier this year your mother stood by and watched as her sister gave birth to her first baby in a beautiful waterbirth. She must have thought that looked pretty cool, because she did the exact same thing for you!! Born into your daddy’s hands as he supported your mother in the birthing pool…skyping family on the computer who were so excited to see you along with a cheering section of your older siblings seated quietly against the wall…despite the number of eyes watching you come out, the room was incredibly peaceful. It was truly a beautiful birth day….


Clayton: I think that you were a lesson to your mother on many levels – a lesson of patience, of trust, of faith, of strength. Preparing for you had ups and downs as they got to know the baby that you are and the person you were becoming, making plans for a homebirth which was so new to them, going into labor on her own which was a unique experience…..every step of the way discovering how strong she could be and how to trust herself, you, and God. I watched you become a baby…but I watched your mother transform in ways that were just as dramatic. A beautiful birth rewarding your family in ways that they probably didn’t expect….I felt blessed to bear witness.

Pearl: I was lucky enough to be chosen to be there when your big sister (a water baby) was born – and giggly to be chosen to be there when you were born. Another water baby, I will never forget the moment you were being born and your mother reared up on her knees like a fierce mama bear and exclaimed to the room with this growling strength, “I’M CATCHING!” I leaned away from her as she lifted you up out of the water and into their lives forever!! It was one of those moments when you think that someone’s coolness can’t get any more…and then it does!! You have a super awesome family – I am lucky to know them, I can only imagine how lucky you are to be a part of it!


Joshua: Oh sweet Joshua….with how much I love your mother, I prayed and prayed and prayed that she would get a beautiful birth experience. I was not disappointed as I watched her ease you out into the water and into your dad’s hands…helping her lift you out of the water and sit back, smiling as brightly as I’ve ever seen her smile. You have got to be one of the most snuggliest babies I’ve had the pleasure to receive a cuddle from!!! And I am so glad you got the peaceful experience that we prayed you would get. Your brothers were so excited to meet you – heck, we all were!! Thank you for the cuddles…

Stella: I helped your sister when she was born….but I will wasn’t expecting your birth to be THAT fast! Seriously? Two hours start to finish? In a heart-shaped tub? By the light of the fire in the fireplace? “Spiritual” might begin to describe how it felt to be there….watching daddy catch, wiping his tears away as he watched you cuddle into your mommy….but it doesn’t describe the depth of my gratitude at being invited into that space to bear witness and hold her space for you. You are a peaceful soul, Stella….I believe you will do great things in your life.


Harrison: Your sister gave us so much trouble coming out that your mother worried about how your birth would go. Despite the hours it took for you to join us, you taught your mother the most valuable lesson I think she needed to learn – that she is not broken and perfect as she is! You were born into the water just like your sister was….and I can not think of a better ending to a spectacular year! You were my little caboose…..the last baby I would see born in 2011. You came with proverbial fireworks – rightfully so! No matter how old you get, never stop being your mother’s little Squishy! Thank you for ending my year on such a wonderful note….thank you.


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In closing I have to give a nod to the babies whose births occurred way before they should have, but who touched my life just as much. I have had 5 mothers (6 babies) this year who conceived a dream that couldn’t be. I need to acknowledge those mothers and babies whose journeys were less joyous, but that baby’s journey nonetheless. 2 of these mothers are current clients, pregnant again with healthy babies they are excitedly looking forward to in 2012.
My prayer is that the other 3 find the same joy for themselves in 2012. I look forward to their phone calls.

Thank you to all of the families….all of the babies….everyone who entrusted us to travel their path with them. Many tears have been shed as I retraced my steps in this blog post…..it is a gift you gave to me, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul.