how we celebrated International Day of the Midwife

This week on May 5th we celebrated International Day of the Midwife.  This is a day that we celebrate the sisterhood of midwives around the world.  For us at Andaluz we had a staff meeting and spent the day together. We talked about so many things that effect our day to day life as midwives, plans for the future as well as doing emergency drills.  We all separated into groups, scenarios were read and we practiced neonatal resuscitation using an Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) at this meeting. Over the years techniques and guidelines change and currently this is what is being taught.  We like to stay current and up to date on recommendations.

LMAs are interesting to use. They are a device that go down into the babies mouth to cover the airway to ensure appropriate ventilation. Will every baby need this?  No!  This is a devise used for extended resuscitation efforts which thank goodness we don’t see very often. Most babies breathe on their own without any complication, few will need a few breaths to inflate their lungs as babies are respiratory driven and a very very very small amount will ever need extended resuscitation efforts. Regardless, it is a skill we are all working to get more comfortable with if ever needed.  At our meetings we practice on our creepy little resuscitation dolls.

I love being a midwife at Andaluz. I love being a team.  We all work so well together and we all work to ensure our students get a great education as well. We include our students, who attend a variety of midwifery schools,  in most of our educational drills as well as try to set up times for them to practice and discuss situations at other times.  Our goal with our students at Andaluz is that most of them will attend 100 births before they leave their time with us. There is something, that many of us say, happens at 100 births that makes you feel like more of a midwife.  It’s fun to watch them grow and change over those 100 births.

So this was how we celebrated International Day of the Midwife this year. We were just a bunch of midwives doing midwife things.


putting our work before our family

Midwifery is a unique lifestyle. I would say more of us than not have been faced with putting our work before our family. Over the many years I have countless examples from missing holidays, birthdays, school events and medical emergencies.  I think we all struggle to find the balance as we want to provide the very best care to the families we serve.  I have heard so many midwives talk about this.

I feel my current life provides more support and balance. I work at Andaluz Waterbirth Center and we all get a more than fair amount of time off to be with our families, to travel and to turn off our cell phones. Regardless, when emergencies arise we do have to consider, “Do I stay or do I go?”. Today I had one of those emergencies.

At about 1030am I got a message that my son had an accident. His foot had been run over by a tractor, a flipping tractor! I was sitting in an appointment and I was very worried. I chose to make the decision to leave my appointment in Portland and go to my son. I work with an amazing team of midwives and staff so my day was well covered thank goodness. I was so worried that I got lost on the way to the hospital which is next to my house but about an hour from the Portland Birth Center. How did I get lost?  I was so worried. Ultimately,  he was OK and his foot was not broken. How can that be? A tractor ran over his foot and it was not broken. Honestly, it was just a bit swollen. He’s in a lot of pain but it’s not broken. Praise the Lord.

After we left the hospital I was still a little worked up so I went home and did some “Earthing”.  The term cracks me up.  Standing barefoot in my yard made a world of difference. I even tried to mow my lawn with our manual push mower. The grass was too long though and it was a little ridiculous. So we have a couple stripes in the yard.

There were also some things that happened today that made me wish the world was a kinder place.   The internet gives people such a vicious voice and I witnessed a friend get blasted online for her kindness and humanity for all people in my community. It bothered me and made me realize yet again that not all people love one another or think just like me. Some people are full of a kind of hate that I just don’t understand.  I will keep hoping that the world changes and I will remember that my role is to provide babies with as gentle a birth possible into loving arms. It is my hope that over time this truly will make a difference.


so many wonderful things

I woke up today tired without any reason. My goal continues to be to get back to my routine of waking up at 5:00am and going to CrossFit. It’s been harder than it used to be. I stay up later than I used to and my diet is just not what it used to be. As the season change and the warmer weather is upon us I hope this will transition. It was a longer Winter than usual. There was so much more rain, like 150 days or rain or something absurd like that.

Today I did make it to the gym. It was later, 9:30am.  Hey, I was only 4 hours behind. Regardless, I made it. I arrived to see so many familiar faces, even one of my mommies. Many of the women at my gym have had me as their midwife. It’s a fun aspect of being a community midwife. I get to watch these mommies be healthy during pregnancy and return to a healthy state after their babies are born. I also get to watch their babies grow. They go from being in carseats and strollers to running around. It’s a sweet piece of life. This morning I saw one of my mommies coming in and I went out to help her with her kids. I brought her boy in in his stroller and set him up next to me while I rowed. My coach asked if I was starting to bring my work to the gym.  I laughed and said this actually is one of my babies so I guess that is a yes.

Today’s workout was grueling. It killed everyone. In the end a bunch of sweaty bodies were lying all around the gym. I did not by any means kill it, but it did kill me.  I didn’t really have time to lay around and socialize after. I had to run out and head to the cottage for an appointment. I arrived in my gym clothes sweaty and a bit disheveled. I am so happy we have a shower there. I quickly showered and put myself in order for the day and started my appointments.

I love people. Most people I know know that I am very social. I love talking to people and sharing stories.  I learn about their lives and their children and they learn about me. It’s a very fun exchange. Midwifery is a different type of healthcare that involves relationship. We all socialize in different ways and have different personalities but overall I think most would agree we enjoy getting to really know the people we work with.

After my time at the cottage I grabbed the baby scale so that I could go do a home visit and weigh a little tiny peanut of a sweet baby.  I drove out into one of our smaller towns in the area. Today was absolutely beautiful. It’s 80 degrees, a first in sometime, and the sky was the bluest blue I have seen in ages. I stopped at the Mexican grocery store, got some lunch as well as picking up a fresh cooked chicken, roasted peppers and fresh tortillas for dinner. I am a master of multitasking. It may be the only way we all survive.


I arrived to a mommy with her little baby in her arms and her toddler running around the yard. They, my little babies and mommy,  were also enjoying the sunshine. We went inside and had a lovely postpartum appointment. He’s just about 6 lbs now and as cute as can be.  I had to poke his little tiny foot which he didn’t like. I was impressed honestly because he is so young that his response seemed like an older baby. I also did some craniosacral therapy which he enjoyed and even smiled a couple of times.  This family is special to me and over the years I have gotten to know them well. So today felt good.

Midwifery is so many things, so many wonderful things. We provide quality healthcare, we socialize, build relationships, watch families grow and change and build life long friendships. It really is a very special thing.

Reflecting on a journey of firsts

I gave birth to my first son in 1995. It was a life changing experience. It literally changed my life and my direction. I left knowing I wanted nothing more than to be a midwife. Within 6 months I was studying midwifery. Time passed and I learned many things. I studied, I took classes, I taught classes. For several years I worked at McKenzie Midwifery as the office coordinator and childbirth educator. I taught a class called Bistro Babies that I basically inherited  from another midwife. It was a fun class that I taught over 4 weeks. I taught a lot about waterbirth. I worked at one of the first hospitals to provide waterbirth in the US.  I can’t say what hospital was the first but I know it was the early days.  At that time waterbirth with homebirth midwives was often done with Rubbermaid horse troughs. I’m sure there are still midwives using those tubs but for many of us that helps to date it. Waterbirth is my passion. It always has been. I have never had a waterbirth but I have attended hundreds upon hundred of them in an out of the hospital.

As a childbirth educator all those years ago I used to use the Andaluz “Born In Water” video to teach. I had never been to Andaluz but the video was pretty much the only thing we had to teach with. With that, Andaluz had some superstar status in my brain.


As the years passed I became a midwife and in some organic way I ultimately became a midwife at Andaluz Waterbirth Center. It was totally unplanned and something I never could have imagined. Today I sat in the Lavender Room at the first Andaluz and I reflected on just that. My history of working in one of the first waterbirth hospitals in this country to my current life of working at one of the countries first freestanding waterbirth centers has been quite a journey. I have been here for over 5 years now.  I am proud of the path I have taken–all the twists and turns and the diverse experiences that I have had. I look forward to seeing what the future brings.

Andaluz Waterbirth Center, Lavender Room

a busy morning

This morning became a wild ride out of no where. I woke up, made my son lunch, took my daughter to school (my battery was dead) and then quickly needed to send some records over to the hospital. I was scrambling to keep everything going in a positive direction. Darren charged my car up and I got my fax issues resolved, showered and rushed out the door.  My first appointment cancelled. There is some pukey bug going around that every one is getting.  As I arrived at the birth cottage I unpacked my home birth kit, blew dried my hair and made a lovely little breakfast and took my dōTERRA vitamins and probiotics. I forgot my phone charger at home. Thank God for Darren. He just showed up with it to save the day with a phone charger.  I feel like a whole day has already passed.

Envisioning a much more mellow day from here on out. We’ll see.

Breakfast: Bob’s Redmill oats with almonds, coconut, a chia blend and almond milk. breakfast