Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gratituesday Kindred Spirits

 Some people come into your lives and your heart and take up residence. It has been said that if you have one true friend in a life time you are surely blessed. I don't just have friends, I have kindred spirits. If you don't know what a kindred spirit is then feel free to ask me. The people in these pictures are my kindred spirits. It does not matter how long we have been a part, we can pick up right where we left off. My precious kindred spirits share with me a deep passion for the LORD and they each serve him with everything they have. My life is richer because of them.
I found myself in my home state recently, beautiful Colorado. The mountains rise up and declare the glory of the LORD. Oh how I wish for the mountains again. They speak to my soul. The mountains remind me of the majesty of God. I am so grateful that I got to spend time with these amazing women who grace my life. I am truly blessed.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Dark Pit

The doctor called first thing the next morning as promised and told me our first appointment was in an hour. I walked into the clinic holding Richard in my arms. I am confused at this point. This new clinic was an optholmologist office. I go to the desk and tell the receptionist that there must be a mistake. I told her our name and she said, "you are in the right clinic, the doctor is waiting for you".

I am totally confused at this point. I am ushered into a room with a huge chair in the middle and am asked to sit down. The doctor walks in and says there is no mistake, I am here to see the doctor. He had already had a consult with our pediatrician and knew what was going on.

He had me sit in the chair with baby cradled in my arms. As the minutes passed and those minutes turned into over an hour tears just started streaming down my face. How could I have missed it? What kind of a Mom am I?  The doctor didn't have to say a word, our baby couldn't see a blessed thing. I quietly sobbed.

The doctor started explaining to me that atrophy had already occurred behind the eyes so it was irreversible.  He would be blind forever. My first thought was, "he will never see the sun rise". Then, he will never know what his Mama looks like. He will have no frame of reference for colors. I could imagine the darkness he would endure all his life.

The doctor was very kind and gentle with me.  He told me I had another appointment upstairs with the commander of the hospital. I slowly walked upstairs holding Richard tight and walked into the commanders office.

He asked me to sit down. He was sitting behind this very large and ornate desk. On the surface was a pretty picture of his children all decked out. As I recall he had three or four children.  He looked through the records and realized Richard was adopted.  He also noted the adoption was not yet final since it takes six months to complete.

He calmly told me that it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned to just give Richard back. Boy did my tears stop then. You don't mess with this Mama bear.  I looked at the picture of his children and asked this full Colonel if those were his children. He said yes. I then said, "If you just found out one of your children had lost their eye sight would you just throw them away?" He said of course I wouldn't! My response was why? WHy wouldn't you throw your child away after finding out he was blind? Because he is mine.  Exactly I said, "so don't EVER bring up giving up my child." The LORD has blessed us with this child and we will raise him to serve the LORD no matter what challenges he will face.

I had never spoken to anyone with such forcefulness.  No one was going to suggest I turn him back in because he wasn't perfect. Hadn't we asked God to give us a baby who really needed us? Doesn't everyone want to adopt white healthy babies and not challenged ones? We had asked for a baby that needed us and we sure got one.

I called Rich from a pay phone before driving back home, recounting what the doctors had said. SO much information to process. How would we tell the children their little brother was blind with no chance of recovery?

I will finish the story up next time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Back to the story. I took the baby to the pediatric clinic at the Air Force Base. By this point he was a little over two months old and could not hold up his head, he had no tone and he screamed with a very high pitch scream for hours and hours at a time.  The only time he did not cry was immediately after a feeding. We had a good 15 minutes before the screaming started. He could not hold a finger or a bottle.

So a male pediatrician walks in and hardly even looks at the baby. He was in a hurry, lots of babies to see during the day. He checked him so quick you would have missed it if you had blinked your eye, no kidding!

He turns to me who is admittedly worried sick and he says, "There is nothing wrong with this baby, you are just over feeding him". Are you serious? This is baby number three and I know it was my first time bottle feeding but seriously, nothing wrong with him? He told me to lower how much I was giving him at a feeding and go home.

I was stunned. Now remember at this point I am a young mother, void of all the experiences I have had since but I KNEW something was really wrong with our son. So I did what any other mother would have done the next day and called the pediatric clinic and told them I was coming right now and I needed another pediatrician NOW!

I got there and in walks a female pediatrician.  She sat down and listened, through tears, my story. I told her about the comatose incident several weeks earlier and told her about the high pitched screaming when going over bumps and any movement. I told her about the lack of tone. I then sat back and plead with my eyes to please help us.

What she did next was amazing. She spent almost 30 minutes examining our son, from head to toe. She asked lots of questions and I answered the best I knew how. She tenderly asked how we had functioned for all those weeks with a screaming baby. I told her one time I had to put him in the crib and closed the door for 30 minutes at one point because I just couldn't handle the screaming any more. I told her Rich had a very hard time listening to the screams when nothing would comfort him so he would take the kids and go for a walk. There were a lot of walks for some quiet.

When she was done she said she had a plan. First I was going to go home and she would call the next morning with our first appointment. They would be scanning his brain all different ways. Lots of testing. She was so kind and told me that we would figure out what was wrong. Everything she talked about was directed at his brain, I was worried about his stomach. The only thing I could correlate with the screaming and when it has stopped was the feeding. I asked if her if after all the other testing was done could she please check his stomach for a possible ulcer. With kindness in her eyes she said of course she would.

I went back to our little temporary housing on base and told Rich that finally we had someone who was listening and hopefully they would find out what was wrong. In just a few hours I would be seeing the first specialist and he would figure it all out.

The next morning the call came. I was to report to Dr. SoandSO in clinic 203. What happened next broke my heart.

Join me next time.
In Christ Alone

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

That Precious Little White Healthy Baby

The initial adoption proceedings were held on Friday. The three of us drove home so happy and content. We were amazed at our new little son. Uncertain how this was God's plan but happily adding this little man to our family. Serenity and Gabriel were in love with baby boy. Rich had to fly back on Sunday right after services. WHen we brought our brand spanking new baby to church that morning everyone was so happy for us. One friend and then another was amazed at how our new baby looked so much like his new Daddy.

Rich flew back that afternoon and we started to settle into a new routine. In only 2 months hubby would be back from the school he was attending and we would be sent to new duty station. Military moves are just part of the life we were leading so I really thought nothing of it.

I took baby to the pediatrician on base and he was declared a real dandy. All we had for records was a scrap of paper with his Apgar scores on it and the last time he had had a bottle. The doctor didn't see any problems so we happily went home. Things changed the morning of his 6 week appointment.

An hour before the appointment I was sitting in the rocking chair with him. I wanted to feed him before we went for his check up.  All at once he vomited so hard that it shot across the room. Within just a couple of minutes he was comatose. Once at the hospital he was immediately admitted to the hospital with an almost certain diagnosis of spinal meningitis.  We had gone from a healthy baby boy to a very sick little one in the blink of an eye.  That was only the beginning of the nightmare.

We were at the hospital for three days. Once the spinal fluid came out clear they gave up looking. The actual test came back and was filed in his records without anyone noticing what the real problem was. It would take a year to find that piece of paper again.  I was so frustrated with the hospital. Because they had been so sure he had meningitis they stopped looking when it wasn't. That mistake would haunt us for years.

Baby was released from the hospital still sick but the hospital thought he just needed rest and he would be fine. Rich came home, the military packed us up and we moved from Illinois to California. We drove all that way with a baby that became sicker with each mile. He didn't cry, he screamed. This ear piercing high tone scream with every bump in the road, with every sound that was made, he screamed.

I remember driving through Las Vegas and deciding we just had to get to the new base as fast as we could so I held him. I know, we could have all died in a car accident but we were desperate. I tried to soothe him as much as I could. We finally put him on the floor between my legs and he finally slept.

I will never forget that ride as long as I live. We were sick with worry. I KNEW there was something really wrong with him, and we both felt so helpless. We got to base in the middle of the night and fell into the bed.

I got an appointment with the pediatric clinic the next day. Baby was now 2 months old and could do nothing a 2 month old could do. He could not hold up his head, he screamed at the slightest movement and was only quiet the first 20-30 minutes after a feeding. All muscle tone was gone. Holding him was like holding a rag doll.

What the pediatrician told me next would make my blood boil.

The journey continues, till next time.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


 A heart of thanksgiving. That is how our LORD wants us to live. Some of you are probably saying, you have know I idea how rough my life is right now. How can I be thankful when my life is crumbling right before my eyes?  

I hung out in that pit some years ago, I know how hard it can be to be thankful. I also know that life is not always pretty. Sometimes babies die, some times Mama's and Daddy's die, I know.

Our hearts can be broken apart by divorce and the splintering of family. God doesn't ask us to be thankful only when times are good. It is easy to give thanks when your world is going well. When your marriage is perfect and your children are the very fount of knowledge and respect.

Most of us will agree, life is messy. Contrary what you see posted on facebook, we aren't all going on cruises and climbing mountains 24/7! 

What if we chose to live a life of thankfulness even though our lives are messy? Let's try and chose thankfulness. We have an amazing Creator who loves us and is willing to walk through all of life's messes.  For that, I am truly thankful.

What about you? What are YOU thankful for today?

Monday, April 22, 2013

From the Heart of Jill

Good morning to each of you. I pray this day is filled with enough challenges to keep you growing and enough joy to give you hope!  We will be having a break in baby catching for a few weeks so I thought this time could be spent on some reflections of what God has been teaching me. After all, this is called "From the Heart of Jill". There is more to me than baby catching!

Before Rich and I married almost 36 years ago we decided that someday we would adopt special needs children. We both had a desire to help those who could not help themselves. We had no interest in adopting white healthy babies because almost everyone wants to adopt white healthy babies. We wanted to adopt those who needed a family to love them no matter what.

Our first attempt at adoption didn't go so well. Every agency we called told us we were either too young, had too many children already or didn't make enough money. Back in the very early 80's children of color were not allowed to be adopted by white people. Just let that sink in for a minute.

We had shared our desire with the congregation we were attending at the time and so everyone had been praying that God would send us a baby. We waited many months to finally get any lead on a baby.  There was only one problem, the baby was a white healthy baby. Our minister called us out of the blue one day asking us if we were still interested in adopting a baby. He told us of a university student who found herself in an unplanned pregnancy and wanted to place the baby for adoption in our particular denomination. By all accounts the baby was white and healthy.

We struggled for a little bit on what to do at this point. We knew just about anybody could adopt such a baby so would it be right to adopt him if we felt God was calling us to adopt a baby that would be hard to place? We realized that God was handing us a baby on a silver platter and we should jump at the chance. It only took several months before we realized how God would use this supposed white healthy baby to challenge our faith in God's plan.

At the time of the phone call Rich was away at a four month long school, becoming an officer. We had several talks on the phone and decided that indeed we would say yes. We did all the paperwork and just waited.  Birth Mom was in the final stages of the pregnancy, by all accounts the baby was perfect. The hospital called me 40 minutes after the baby was born to tell me the baby was just fine and congratulations, it is a boy!

Because of hubby's schooling he wasn't supposed to be allowed a weekend pass but that is what he was given. He flew home and we drove hours to get to the hospital. There was a 72 hour space of time between birth and when his birth Mom could sign the papers. Those 72 hours were torture for all of us. There were times when she changed her mind and wanted to keep the baby. It was a gut wrenching decision for her. In the end she signed the papers. The lawyer picked up the baby while we waited nervously at a local K-Mart for him to arrive with the baby. We met our son in the back of a car. He was so beautiful we both cried at this wonderful gift God had laid in our laps. 

We were driven to the court house where the sheriff physically served our new baby with a summons. I will never forget, the sheriff said to the baby, "Son, I hope this is the only time in your life you are served with papers from a police officer." 

After that we were brought into the judges private chambers where we sat and listened to him tell us about the responsibility we were about to undertake. He warned us to never, ever treat him any differently than the rest of the children both emotionally and legally. It was a very serious talk and we assured him we would love him and care for him just like our other children. With that the lawyer drove us to where our car had been and off the three of us went while the other children were waiting patiently at home.

Little did I know on that drive home that our lives would be forever changed.
Till next time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, April 19, 2013

Baby R the first birth we ALL missed

Baby R was born into her Daddy's arms about 4 minutes before a midwife could get there. I had seen Mama all through her pregnancy. She has two other children, a toddler and a preschooler. She had birthed all her babies with Wendy and knew that she tends to deliver her babies pretty quickly.

That evening she had contractions that seemed really regular and then all of the sudden stopped. She decided to go to bed and try to get some rest. The rest didn't last very long and her husband got out a mat and put it on the floor at the foot of the bed. He laid out the waterproof covers and she laid down.

She called Wendy at 11:49 p.m. and couldn't talk. Wendy called us and dashed over there. Thankfully she was only 15 minutes away. Baby R was born four minutes before Wendy arrived. I had picked up Courtney so the two of us were together. We had learned the birth was already over so we slowed down our pace just a bit.

When we arrived Daddy stood proudly in the doorway holding his son in his arms. He had this childlike look of pure joy on his face. Wendy had delivered the placenta and was managing the bleeding. Mama is just a little thing and she tends to get light headed (you think) after her births so she was pretty pale but had a steady heart beat and normal blood pressure. 

There were a lot of clots to get out and in typical fashion Mama did the mashing of her uterus to get them out. She did it so forcefully I thought she would tear her uterus apart but on and on she went mashing it. What an amazing woman. That was a first for me. Usually we massage the uterus to help but not this woman. She was going to do it herself. She told Wendy that it hurt less if she did it.

When she was ready to get in the tub we helped her up and she got in while I did the full newborn screening on this quiet little baby boy. This family really loves the LORD and he was given a Biblical name. Soon he was in the arms of his Mama while we quickly cleaned the room back up. By the time she was back in bed the room was back to normal. We tucked them in and said good-bye.

Baby O Born in the Caul

As a birth team we were so blessed to experience a very rare event, a baby being born in the caul. You might be asking what being in a caul actually means. Before becoming a student midwife I had never even heard of the term. Being born in the cau means the bag of waters never broke during labor and delivery. The baby actually comes out inside of the unbroken water. It is such a rare event. Some midwives have never seen a birth like this. We were privileged to witness just such a birth, right before a full moon.

It was my turn to catch this baby so I feel doubly blessed. Mama had been in labor for a few hours when we arrived at her home. The birth tub was set up so she could get in and relax. There is a reason birth tubs are called the midwifes natural epidural. Once one most Mamas let out this awe sound and just relax. Their bodies are buoyant so it really helps to be able to move around easily. The warm water helps with contractions since the body is so relaxed.   I used peppermint essential oils to help with nausea she was experiencing.

When it came close to the actual birth Mama decided she was done with the tub and wanted to deliver on the bed. She got on her hands and knees and started to push. I had expected the bag of waters to shoot out but nothing except baby. Wendy and Courtney quickly realized we were going to get to experience a baby born in the water sac so Courtney grabbed a camera and started taking pictures. I was up on the bed on my knees guiding the babies head. As a start to see the head I notice the bag. Once the babies body was completely out I pulled off the bag and out emerged a beautiful little baby girl. She was a miracle. Mama quickly sat back down and I handed her her precious daughter.

We all marveled at what we had just witnessed. For obvious reasons Mama was unable to see the actual  bag of waters come with the baby but she has pictures.  Her husband was just in awe. He had been right by her side the entire time just holding her hand. It was an awesome experience.

e the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Baby P has finally arrived!

This sweet Mama experienced multiple false starts in spite of this being her eighth baby! For two long weeks, time after time she thought she was in labor but wasn't.  That has got to be SO frustrating. Midwives would sleep in their scrubs, ready to jump up at a moments notice and each time it was a false alarm.

Until.........Baby was ready to come. I have learned that letting nature take it's course can be stressful at times. We got the call that finally baby was ready to come. The birth tub was all set up and Mama was on the bed.  When Wendy checked her she was around a six to seven after being five centimeters for two weeks. We got everything set up and got her in the tub. We try to leave birthing Mama's alone so that they can get in a rhythm so the three of us went downstairs into their living room while Mama started to soak in the tub.

Hubby comes downstairs about 30 minutes later and says she is ready for us. Boy what an understatement! Wendy kneeled by the tub and Mama had the urge to push. I was doing the charting on this birth and I asked Wendy if she wanted me to document it and Wendy said no, not yet. She checked her and gave me 8 fingers to see (some Mama's get discouraged if they hear they are "only" an 8) so I wrote 8 centimeters down at 3:26 a.m. At 3:27 it was obvious she was pushing so I charted, at 3:28 babies head was emerging and at 3:29 a.m. baby was completely out. We all stood there stunned.  Baby was beautiful, a very healthy baby boy.

This was the first home birth for the family. When the Dad was asked later what he thought of a home birth he said, "Had I known how nice this was, we would have had the other seven at home". Mama was very pleased with the birth. SHe said she loved birthing at home.

Another gift from the LORD was delivered safely into the arms of Mama and Dad.
Have I told you lately just how much I love my job? Watching strong women listen to their bodies and deliver in a powerful way these precious little babies is a miracle each and every time. Life doesn't get any better than that.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


 Today I am so thankful for the opportunities God has placed before me. After baby "Q"'s birth I scheduled to come back to see her and the parents for the well baby check and Mama check.  Rarely do I get to sit down and talk with the parents about the birth at length during this visit. This couple was different. 

Baby Q's parents wanted a woman of faith to partner with them at the birth of their first child. We spent over an hour just sitting and chatting about the spiritual significance surrounding the birth. When baby Q's parents got into the 2 person Jacuzzi I turned all the lights out. The only light was the candles that were on the side of the tub. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Mama shared that it reminded her of the Mother Mary and the birth, death, burial and resurrection of our LORD. The stillness and darkness that permeated the world. Such darkness. Sin filled the world but a Savior was coming to redeem the world and that Savior was Jesus Christ. The hush, the anticipation of a new birth.

Mary waiting for the miracle of the miraculous conception and birth. WHat did she think about? No one really knows but we do know she was very connected to God. SHe was a worshipper of the one and only true God. She waited in anticipation.  For my parents that night sitting quietly in the tub waiting for the coming birth of their daughter was deeply spiritual.

Waiting for the miracle...... I am thankful that these parents are deeply connected to God. They understand that they have been given a very special gift and it is their job to nurture and raise this precious one in the LORD.

It doesn't get any better than that. Happy Gratituesday.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, April 12, 2013

Precious BABY Q In a Wild Car Ride

Let me paint the picture for you. I get to my clients home in downtown Detroit around midnight. Mama had been so worried about calling me, unsure if she was really in labor. It was obvious talking to her on the phone that she was indeed in active labor. When I got there she was on the bed on hands and knees quietly rocking back and forth. The surges were "only" 40 seconds long but they were right on top of one another. Their dog Walter knew something was wrong and he was hyper, jumping on the bed and trying to nestle himself under Mama. He wouldn't last long in that position and then would come over to me while I am doing hip compressions and lick my face, my ears and my neck. Walter slobber in the middle of surges is almost funny! FYI this is a HUGE dog, probably 100 pounds of pure muscle.

Six months earlier I had gotten a call from Baby Q's parents searching for the doula that would be a perfect fit. We met at a coffee shop half way between our houses. I loved them when I first met them. We had so much in common. They had formed a non-profit helping the homeless. They had lots of questions and it wasn't long before we all figured out we could work so well together. They had wanted a woman of faith who would pray over them during labor and delivery and speak God's word during this monumental time of their lives. It was a perfect fit.  In the early months she would call once a month and talk about her doctors appointments and all the progress. We met again a month ago in their very cool and very old brownstone home going over their birth plan.  They had taken the class in Hypno-birthing and showed me how they planned on working together through labor using this method.  I was so excited for them.

So back to labor. Mama was nauseated so I went with her and rubbed her back when she puked, put peppermint essential oil on her temples to help her overcome the nausea. I had started a pot of herbs to help after delivery though it probably took 15 or 20 minutes to get it on the stove since there was almost no breaks in surges and I didn't want to leave her side.  When it was obvious these surges were staying steady at two minutes apart we decided it was time to go to the local birthing center. How do you get a Mama who is having surges less than 2 minutes apart feeling definite pressure down two complete flight of stairs and out into a very small Hyundai Accent?  One surge at a time.

Helping her get in was actually easier than getting her back out. We all decided Dad should drive so I could be in back with her. We had talked about having to deliver on the side of the road if necessary and I assured them I would be more than capable of handling things if we needed to. I always carry my emergency birth kit with me so I was prepared.

The car was unmerciful for poor Mama. She leaned into me and I did constant head squeezes using both hands, one on her forehead and one on the base of her neck. The roads in Detroit are terrible this time of year. Every single pot hole we found and towards the end of the ride she almost couldn't take anymore. I would say things like, okay, we are off the freeway now. Then, I see the hospital, I see the emergency room, one more bump and we will be there.  Later I told them I sure was sorry that I had not brought my Cadillac! LOL

Getting her out was a challenge. She was frozen and stuck. I essentially lifted her out with Dad coming from the other side of the car to help with momentum. The wheelchair was ready and off they went while I went to park the car and carry everything including a crock pot into the hospital. I had heard wonderful things about this birth center, which is connected to the hospital. I walk into this beautiful room with a huge jacuzzi made for two, a full size regular bed and pretty wood floors. If you are going to have an out of home birth this is the way to do it.

Her mid-wife Sarah was wonderful. There were times we got to talk about her job and how she arrived at the decision to be a midwife. She was so gentle with Mama, telling her, "you are doing beautiful".  Unfortunately the nurse came in at the beginning to ask a ton of questions which were on the paperwork they brought with them and Mama was in no mood to ask questions about the health history of great grand parents! Finally Mom was unable to answer questions and just wanted the nurse to allow her into the tub. I had started the tub for her and by this point it was ready for her but delay after delay prevented her from getting in. I had to use all my doula training to keep her from just getting up and getting in that warm tub!

Once in Mama was able to refocus. Dad got in and we dimmed the lights and turned on some pretty battery powered candles next to the tub, turned on soft music and just relaxed. I sat in the rocker next to them ready to get water or Gatorade or the peppermint to aide the nausea.  It was a wonderful time. Dad was so amazing. He would whisper in her ear helping her relax. Out of all the dad's I have watched he was the most effective in helping his wife. He was so gentle, relaxed and so affirming. I think Dad needs to start teaching other Dad's how to do it because he was a rock star!

Only a few hours went by and Mama was starting to feel the urge to push. Baby had made huge progress coming down into the pelvis. The surges were so strong that I started praying over her aloud and then started sharing scripture to assure that God was with her and was giving her the power to birth this baby.

The birth center doesn't allow water births so she changed to the bed and it wasn't long before Baby Q made her arrival. Watching Dad watch his daughter being born was a wonderful memory I will take away from this birth. He was smiling ear to ear. In fact, Mama turned to him at one point and said, "Wow, your in a good mood" and he shared just how happy he was that his daughter would be in Mama's arms shortly.

There are times when being a part of a birth is so intimate it's scary. BabyQ is one of those births. Watching this couple birth their baby together and to see the love they have for each other is amazing. I truly feel at times that I am standing on holy ground. When it was time for the actual birth I came over to Mama's left side and Dad was on the same side up at her head.  As the baby descended I would tell her when the head crowned, when the head was half way out, aw, "I can see an ear", and then "she has hair,"and then the final, "the head is out". Then the final push and baby is born. Sarah the mid-wife was holding her head when she told Mama to grab her baby and bring her up to her.  What empowering for Mama. She brought that baby up from the birth canal and just cradled her with tears of joy flowing freely throughout the room. Mama kept asking, is she okay, is she okay? To which I said she is just beautiful. She came out of the womb looking like a Gerber baby!  I quickly moved to the other side of the bed and went up to her head and put my hand on baby and with tears flowing I prayed aloud for the amazing miracle of this birth.

The golden hour was sacred. I had taught them about that first hour being golden during her pregnancy and how you want to guard it. The bonding is SO vital the first hour of birth. Skin to skin with Mama and Dad is crucial. Some dads don't feel comfortable but not so with this rock star of a dad. They had done their research and knew what was important and what wasn't.  This birth center allowed them privacey. No one to whisk away a healthy baby to weigh and measure, just time alone with their precious baby girl.

I stayed about four hours after the birth. Helping them get into an herbal bath, getting them food and all the other things that go with a birth. I did what we do at home. I stayed till Mama and baby and Dad were safely tucked back into bed with clean sheets and refreshed Mama and baby. After hugs all around I left feeling so thankful for the opportunity to witness another birth.

I walked out to the car around lunch time, still on adrenalin and just started laughing. Both of my front seats were pulled all the way up with the back of the seats bent over just like we had left them getting Mama out. What a wild ride this had all been.  A ride I will probably never forget!


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


                                                          Wonderful Opportunities 

Today I am so very thankful for the endless possibilities to serve the LORD.

I well remember years ago we had a very tough foster son. When it was time for him to leave I desperately needed a break. He had had multiple physical ailments including being a quadriplegic.  He was only 10 years old but a real handful. He decided that he needed more drama in his life so he unsealed his heart broviac and just let the blood drain out of him.  He also took the tube and started squirting the blood all over the place. It was a very tough day. Of course it would have killed him but thankfully I caught it in time. I tell you that story to give you the backdrop of how I felt afterwards.

I remember going to church the next week without any foster children. No babies with tubes or body casts and no 10 year old boys in a wheelchair. I actually wondered aloud what my purpose in life was. If I were to quit doing foster care what would my purpose be? Was raising our own children enough of a ministry to be pleasing to the LORD?

Now before you throw something at me know this, I was wrong. God is most concerned with our hearts. If we serve in Jesus' name because we love him then that is enough. Raising our own children was enough. God gave us these precious children of ours to love ad mold them into Godly children who have hearts for Him. If I had "accomplished" nothing else in my life that would have been enough.  Remember Noah? He walked with the LORD who saved his own family. He preached for 100 years while building the arc and that was "enough"

Back to the Sunday after leaving foster care. I could not see the future so all I could see was that my ministry was gone. I had lost track of the fact that there are indeed seasons of our lives. Each season comes with it's own set of joy and challenges. I had always believed that you didn't have to do foster care but could chose anything that served those in need. I had forgotten I could still serve without doing foster care. Does that make sense?

Enter the year 2013. Never in a million years would I have guessed that God could show me such wonderful other ways to serve his children. When God called me to midwifery he showed me I would use all my previous experiences to become all he wanted me to be. Nothing from my past would be lost. God would gather up all those experiences whether they were filled with joy or sorrow and use them for the new ministry.

Now the LORD is leading me to go to Haiti and serve the truly underserved. Mama's and baby's die in Haiti during childbirth at one of the highest rates in the world. Two midwives went to Haiti after the earthquake and had planned on staying to help things get back to normal. Fortunately they decided to stay and build a non-profit birth center in the midst of incredible poverty to help Mama's birth healthy babies.

LORD willing I will be going in October and staying 6 weeks. I should be able to deliver around 50 babies during the time I am there. I will serve women in prenatal visits, birth and after birth. I will help with the local garden to supply food. Because of this birth center these women can birth in a clean bed with clean water so they have the best chance at survival. I am so thankful for the vision of the two midwives who took a chance and moved to a place of utter poverty to help them build better lives.

Would you please pray for me and for the birth center? I have a lot to do including fund raising for the trip. I am being asked to bring quite a few birth supplies with me and other medical supplies to help fund the birth center. Would you please pray for the women of Haiti? I am blessed beyond measure to get to be a part of a wonderful ministry. For that I am truly grateful!

What are you grateful for today? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear.


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, April 4, 2013

When Life Looks A Lot Different Than You Thought

We just passed the four year mark of Rich's illness. Whenever an anniversary comes up I look back and try to figure out just how we got here.

How did we get here? How can you go from ministering for a congregation full time, running full tilt and then in a blink of the eye, to be in a chair or in a bed or couch unable to function like you want to? How could such an active ministry get shut down because it's servant leader can't function anymore to that level?

Where is God in the midst of all of this? What about all those dreams we had? Where have they gone? Our youngest son Michael graduates from high school in just a couple of months. We had children young so that we could be active and ready to jump to a new level of ministry when they were launched from the home.  All that time spent on schooling them, going to ball games will be done and then we could jump into the next level of ministry.

Why? Weren't men created so they can go out and kill something and bring it home? Don't worry, it's just an expression. God created men to to go out and make a living. Their jobs define who they are, right or wrong that is what happens. When a man is struck down at a  young age where does he go from there?

These anniversaries are painful but also good for me. I have to go back and mourn the loss of a dream once again and then look to the lessons I need to learn from here. "We are where we are" is Rich's line. At this point it doesn't matter how we got here, we just are. While we continue to pray for healing we understand that after four years it appears that God has said no. Could he change his mind and heal Rich? Absolutely. He has the power, no doubt but for now he chooses not to.

Thankfully Rich has started to write again. He has always been an excellent writer. Even when he was in the military he wrote and received recognition for his excellence in writing. Rich wrote lots of great articles for the bulletin that were filled with meaty thoughts. I have always loved reading what he writes so I am so pleased to share his blog that he started. You can find it at http://blog.avitd.com  

I started my training as a midwife. It takes me away from home but allows me to serve women who want support to give birth in their own homes. I am so blessed to witness the holiness of the birth process. I am going to take the experiences I am getting and go to Cap Haitian to MamaBaby Haiti which is a non profit free standing birth center for the women of the villages to come and have a safe birth. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus and serve the needy. The death rate of babies and Mama's in Haiti are some of the highest in the world. I want to go and make a difference.

So where are we? We are trying to continue to serve the LORD exactly where we are. We know God has not abandoned us. He has allowed all this suffering for a reason and he just asks us to be faithful. Until our last breath we will serve the least of these and we will try to encourage those along the way. He has done so much for us in spite of the turn that was taken four years ago. In light of that we will be faithful till he calls us home!  

So at the start of year five I say, bring it on! If God is for us, who can be against us?

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Welcome Baby N

Baby N
After two false starts with two other Mama's ready to deliver, we finally have a baby again! It usually ends up being around midnight or one o'clock in the morning, which is why I try to go to bed around 9 p.m. At least I get a couple of hours before starting work. So I am up and dressed in about five minutes and off I go. We visit each home about a month before the official due date to see where everything is at. It sure helps in the middle of the night to find a house in the dark that I have already been to.

Courtney and I get there around the same time so we get busy setting things up. Mama is down on her knees lying over a birth ball laboring quietly. I start head compressions and she is happy with how it makes her feel. I get out my fetal scope to get a baseline for the babies heart beat. No matter how hard I tried I could not find any heart tones. Wendy is there by that time and so she tries for heart tones and at first can't get any. In the back of my mind I am praying fervently to the LORD to protect the baby. Finally a heart rate is found but it is low, much lower than we would want to see in active labor without pushing. Mama N changes positions and Courtney gets out the oxygen and sets it up in case we need it.

The birth tub gets filled up while Mama labors quietly. She is in total control of her body and is totally in the zone. This Mama has birthed a couple of other times and has it down pat. Once in the tub we have a smile from Mama. The water feels wonderful to her. I work on head squeezes while heart tones are done every 15 minutes. Eventually the babies heart tones go up to a more normal range which makes us all happy.

Just a couple more hours Mama starts feeling the need to push. I take over the paperwork, charting what is going on and Courtney takes the place of catching this baby. Mama had to work very hard to push this baby out. It took about 30 minutes but she got the job done! Out came a beautiful Gerber baby girl. I love it when parents decide to wait to find out if it is a boy or a girl. It adds to the fun wondering which the baby is.

This was a wonderful birth. After our last birth it was a welcome relief to have such a smooth birth. After baby and Mama soaked in a tub filled with a herbal bath we tucked them all into bed. It was a long night but worth every minute. A precious new life has entered the world. What she will become is a mystery but I know how she started, peacefully born into her Mama's arms. Now that is something to be thankful for.