The Night Calls

The ring of my phone stirs me out of my slumber. Sleepily, I try to determine reality from a dream. I reach for my phone, and read the name on the caller ID. I clear my throat and sit up. “Hello?”, I say. The voice on the other end is excited and hurried. “She's ready for you,” he says. After our conversation and all my questions are answered, I ask to speak with the mother. I listen to her sounds as she works through a contraction. Stepping out of bed, I respond, “It's time,” and we end our call.

Taking in the conversation and still waking up, I wonder. What time is it? What time did I fall asleep? Did I get enough rest? Do I have time to make a cup of coffee? I trust that God will provide what I lack and I pull on my scrubs.

The house is quiet as I hurry to pack a lunch and get ready. I tiptoe in and out of rooms, kissing sleeping faces. I double and triple check that my phone is in my pocket before locking the door behind me. Outside, the stars wave their soft light. The moon illuminates the path to my car. It's late and no one accompanies me, but I am not alone.

The GPS is set and I begin my journey to the laboring mother, whose journey began long before the call. Excitement races through my blood. I feel creation rejoicing with me. I try to quiet my busy mind and pray. I pray for wisdom, eyes of a hawk, skilled hands, and the heart of a lion. I pray that God will enable me to be everything the mother needs me to be. I thank God for calling me to this work and for the privilege of serving families in this way.

night birth

As I pull up to the house, I see the soft glow of lights inside. I reach for my equipment and walk towards the door, excited for what is waiting on the other side. The door opens and I'm greeted by the expectant father. I inhale the sweet smell of simmering herbs and essential oils. We pass the living room where I see her purple birth ball, a heating pad, and the leftovers of a smoothie. He leads me to her room where she labors peacefully in the birth pool. The candles in the room dance, casting shadows on the ceiling. Her deep breathing and gentle moans are heard above the quiet music. The water ripples as she sways her hips side to side. She is strong, capable, relaxed, safe, surrendered to the process. I set my things down quietly and move close to her. I whisper softly to her as I reach to hold her hand, “I'm here.” 

My New Favorite Book

There is ONE book I keep in my birth bag.

It is my "bible" when it comes to labor progress. Any guesses as to what it is?...

I'll give you a clue:

Penny Simkin co-authored this incredible resource that is loved and referenced by birth workers worldwide...


(Midwives & Doulas: This book is not cheap ($40), but I PROMISE it is worth every penny!)

Before I continue, I feel the need to mention my love for coloring. Recently I was gifted a beautiful book from my dear friend called Whatever is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship. It's my favorite (thanks Dawn!).

So, now I'll tell you about my NEW FAVORITE book.

But what book could be better than my favorite labor position handbook and my favorite coloring book???


A coloring book of labor positions!


Yes, it's really happening. Penny Simkin has released a coloring book of labor positions based on the Labor Progress Handbook. Of course, I purchased this as soon as I could. Here's the link so you can get yours


Birth Plan Series: Part 2

If you haven't read the Part 1 of the Birth Plan Series: What is a Birth Plan? You can find that here.

Tips for Writing a Birth Plan

1. Keep it short and sweet.
Your birth plan should not be more than one page. When it is longer than a page, people don't want to read it and it can appear as though you're very needy. Use headers and bullets to get your point across without repeating the same phrase over and over.

2. Use positive phrasing. Be clear and assertive.
Instead of saying, “I don't want this, I don't want that, and Don't do this.” Consider phrasing your request, “I am planning” or “I would like.” Or start by saying, “I wish to avoid ____ (insert your bulleted list here!)” or, “It is important to us to have ____”.

Avoid using words or phrases such as “minimal”, “necessary”, “as few as possible”. These words are subjective. What one person thinks is minimal or necessary may differ from the next. Instead, be specific and use phrases or exact numbers. An example would be, “After admission, I prefer to have vaginal examinations no less than every four hours or per my request.” And, “I wish to avoid all interventions that are not medically indicated.”

3. Read other birth plans.
Consider asking friends to read their birth plans or find some online. However, DO NOT simply copy and paste a birth plan that sounds good. Make sure you know exactly what you're asking for!

4. Discuss your birth plan with your care provider ahead of time.
Work to find compromises where necessary. Provide a space at the bottom for your provider to sign the copy and request for it to be kept in your chart. This will hopefully eliminate surprises and conflict on the day of birth so you can labor without added stress.

5. Bring extra copies AND gifts for the nurses and birth team.
Chances are pretty good that if you have a basket of snacks or goodies sitting out next to your birth plan, everyone who comes into your room will stop and take a look. If you're planning to birth in the hospital, individually wrapped snacks or candies are great for a nurse to slip into their pocket to enjoy later. Some ideas I've seen are gum, granola bars, Via (instant Starbucks), cookies, lip balm, and gift cards. Butter them up! Show them that you care and appreciate them as they work hard to care for you. This is a great way to start off on a positive note.

So you've done your research and determined your priorities and goals. What happens if your labor doesn't go as you had planned? Click here for Part 3 of the Birth Plan Series: What to Do When Labor and Birth Don't Go As “Planned”.

Laboring on the Toilet

Consider laboring on the toilet for progress

Consider laboring on the toilet for progress

I always encourage my clients to utilize the toilet during labor. My saying is, "When nature calls, sit through at least 3 contractions". The body instinctually relaxes when sitting on the toilet. This is a place where sphincters are used to opening and sphincters opening is crucial for labor progress! For more about Sphincter Laws, be sure to read Ina May's book.

To get an idea of how to make laboring on the toilet a little more comfortable, check out this wonderfully written article at Baby Bump Services. 

Herbal Play Dough

This recipe is easy to make and you probably have all of these ingredients in your home. Some ideas for using your play dough:

Young children: Give them opportunity to explore the dough using tools, kitchen utensils, and cookie cutters.
Preschoolers: Encourage development of their fine motor skills through the formation of letters and shapes.
School-age children: Engage kinesthetic learners while building spelling words. 
Families: Play dictionary with the dough instead of pen/paper.

Herbal Play Dough
3 herbal tea bags
1.5 C boiling water
2 C flour
1 C salt
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp baking powder
optional: tea leaves (from the tea bags), essential oils, fresh herbs
*Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add flour until desired consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container. Refrigeration optional.