Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The time is flying by and I am running as fast as I can muster to keep up. I knew September was going to be a brutal month with 11 babies due. I did make it to services this past Sunday but by the end looked like a crazy lady, my veil was falling off which uncovered my hair which had not been brushed in over 24 hours. I had been awake for a very long time and I looked and felt like "the crazy lady". After a meltdown in the passenger seat of a friends car I finally went to bed. So in a couple of hours the craziness starts again till the weekend. Now to my favorite thing of the week, GRATITUESDAY!

My trip to Cap Haitian in Haiti is just around the corner. All of my shots have been given, I am actually starting to pack and my knees are starting to quake. People will ask me, are you going with a group, the answer is no, then who are you going with Jill? It is me and God people and I wouldn't have been nervous if people would stop asking me if I am crazy for going alone! So now I am nervous but I know that perfect love casts out fear and God is the best one to go with me.

Mama Baby was started by 2 midwives after the earthquake in Haiti a few years back. So it has only been in existence for a few years but what a difference it has already made. When I researched the birthing center they were delivering a little over 50 births a month. Now just a few short months and they have delivered 1000 babies in the last three months, so more than 50 births a week. Women will walk over 20 miles during labor to get to the clinic. Can you imagine? We whine if we have to get in a car for a 20 minute ride to the hospital and they are walking.

Why would a woman walk that many miles to deliver a baby? The answer is simple, the staff at Mama Baby care and care deeply about each woman that comes their way.  The birth center is free for each Mama. They are a non-profit and from a midwives perspective that is alot of supplies. You need sterilized instruments to cut the cord, you need a cord ring for the cord, you need towels and under pads and suctioning bulbs and you need I.V. kits for those who need fluids, and you need suturing kits to sew up those who tear. All of that cost money.

Speaking of money, and this is where the gratituesday part comes in. They are funded by their volunteers. I paid $750 a week just to be there. It covers my bed upstairs above the clinic, food and then the rest goes to supplies. I could not be going without the support of all of you. For those of you who have given so that I can go, thank you hardly seems enough. I could not be going if it were not for the support for you.

There is no shipping to Haiti so I am the best shot for supplies getting over there for the time I am there. I need more medicine. I have one suitcase already filled to the brim with cloth under pads and some diapers. Now I need more medicine. Would you consider an Amazon gift card so I can purchase more medicine? Or a Wal-mart give card? I can buy lots of medicine at Wal-Mart for good prices. I have the money needed to pay for the extra bags but I want them full to the gills!

By the way, in the newest newsletter another midwife and me were called out specifically for paying for the shipment (which cost $1000) of an entire pallet of prenatal vitamins. They have arrived and are making a difference. If you want to help leave me a message or email me at jill@avitd.com .

Today I am thankful for all the help you have given me. The time is close, please help if you can.

In Christ Alone,

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gratituesday The Alphabet Starts Over

It is now official. I have started over on the alphabet in honoring the mama's and babies I serve. I just welcomed into the world late last night a beautiful, very chunky baby boy. This makes the 27th time so he marks the next round in the alphabet. Baby A2 was in such a hurry to come that I missed the actual birth itself. When I dashed in the door there was Mama and baby in the bed falling in love.

I am so thankful that I don't miss births routinely. This little man was in a hurry. Before I tell you about the night let me go back because this sweet Mama was introduced to me 7 months earlier at another birth, Baby J. Her sister who looks like she could be her twin got out of her car as we were arriving. I had to do a double take because she looked like our client who was inside laboring. I turned to Wendy and asked who she was and for some strange reason asked when she was due. Apparently she had just found out she was pregnant but didn't want to spoil the joy of her sister.

The love these two sisters share remind me of my own sisters. It is so sweet to watch and last night was no exception. Mama J came to help Mama A2 bring this new little one into the world. Poor thing, she was thinking she might have to catch her nephew since we were all in our cars driving wildly (not really honey, I am trying to slow down, honest) right before the birth. Wendy and Courtney who live 20 minutes closer than I am got there with 3 minutes to spare. Just enough time to grab some gloves and catch that precious baby. Minutes later I walk into the scene with a smiling Mama and very content baby in her arms.

It really, really stinks to miss the actual birth but once it's over there is no sense in crying over it. There was still plenty of work to be done. There was caring for Mama. SInce the birth came so fast the birth tub sat nearly empty. It was the perfect place for her and baby A2 to have their first bath so the birth tub was filled up and the herbal bath was made. An hour after the birth Mama and baby were still skin to skin, happily nursing like a little champ. This is such a special time for Daddy, Mama and baby. A time to get to know their little one at a whole new level. We try really hard to not disturb that initial bonding. As long as Mama and baby are stable we let them be.

We just stood back in awe at the scene unfolding. We were busy charting which obviously there wasn't time for anything but notes until then. Mama J was just in awe of this miracle she had just witnessed. Her smile reached across her face and settled in her heart. Witnessing the birth of her nephew ranks high on her happy meter for today.

There was something that was wonderful at this birth. Watching this Papa dote on his wife was such a treasure to me. They recounted the past few hours and his words were so affirming to his wife. This was their first home birth. Their other two children were born in hospitals and they just could hardly wrap their minds around the simplicity birth can be. This Papa honors his wife and it just tickled me to my toes. They are an amazing couple that show the depth of love for each other. I can picture them when they have been married 50 years and it brings a smile to my face.

Peaceful, loving Mama and Papa's holding their precious new baby is what I am thankful for today. To get a peek into special marriages and very cool families is such a pleasure for me. It gives me great hope for the future. For that I am grateful.

In Christ Alone,

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

A to Z Gratituesday

I have met my first goal in midwifery. Before I went to my very first birth as a student midwife I decided to keep track of each and every birth. IN order to keep them all straight I chose to give each baby a letter in the alphabet. That would keep the privacy of each family and would allow me to keep them all straight for counting.

It's interesting. When we sit for an initial interview with prospective Mama's invariably one of the questions they ask is just how long you have been catching babies and how many have you caught. 

I have now finished babies A-Z! The alphabet is complete. So now is a good time to sit back and count my blessings and reflect on what I have learned. Here is my list in no particular order.

1. I have been blessed with a wonderful team of midwives. We laugh, we cry and we work our tails off. They accept me for who I am, plain clothing and head covering and all. They cheer me on when I succeed. 

2. I have been blessed to work with 26 different amazingly strong women in the past 11 months. I have watched women dig deep down inside themselves to muster the courage to birth a baby the old fashioned way. 

3. I have learned that I do have what it takes to be a midwife. Now, that doesn't mean I know everything, in fact the more I learn the more I know I don't know a thing. 

4.  I have witnessed the miracle of 26 precious babies coming into the world. They are all different, their births are all different but they all are sweet and precious and a gift from God.

5. I have learned that I am old but that doesn't mean I can't keep up with all these young pups. I am starting my second career at a time when most women are getting ready to retire. Not me, I am just starting.

6. I have learned that I can live on little sleep but only for so long. Eventually I hit a wall and melt. 48 hours is my limit. 

7. I have learned that families process their births in different ways. Some women find it deeply spiritual and some women find a primal response suits them. All are natural and all ways work.

8. I learned that you can drive really, really fast in the middle of the night on the freeway thinking no one will know until hubby realizes the GPS registers the fastest you have ever gone and be surprised. Sometimes you just have to get to a birth really fast I say! Hubby is not impressed. I have decided flying to the highway is awesome and if this career doesn't work I might be tempted to be a race car driver!

9. Helping Mama's walk through nine months of pregnancy, the birth and postpartum is an honor that is not to be taken lightly. You hold space for these Mama's, a sacred trust.

10. I have found that it is helpful to always carry your birth kit with you that includes a catchers mitt and mask. It's safer that way!

Thank you God for allowing me to embrace the past 11 months. For all the answered prayers during labor and birth that gives me grace I thank you. WHat are you thankful for today?

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Next Generation

Raising Homemakers This is the link for reading other women's posts on raising daughters.

Some of grammy's girls. Each one a unique individual. Each made in the image of her creator. They are each made in the image of their Heavenly Father. They are as different as night and day. No two are alike and for that I am thankful.

Now that I am officially part of an empty nest I want to look back and offer some perspective. Perhaps it will be helpful for you as well as me. Top 10 things I learned.

1. Parenting is always a marathon and never a sprint. We are in this thing for the long haul. You think all you have to do is get them to age 18 then think again. That little life that was created inside of you is with you forever. The circumstances change as they get older but you are still a valuable and influential part of their lives.

2. Their little personalities are shaped at birth. Dr. Dobson was fond of saying when a baby comes out of the womb they come out one of two ways. The first is the little bundle of joy that comes out and says, "oh Mommy, how may I please you". The second and always the most challenging one is the little baby that comes out of the womb and,"shakes her first while shouting, where is my dinner". I have found that to be so true. They are each uniquely made by God. The trick is to shape and mold that little one without breaking the spirit.

3. Little girls need their Mommies to show them how to be little ladies. I came into this parenting job without a mentor. My mother died before I ever remembered a blessed thing about her. So I was clueless. It was my job to learn how to raise my children. What better place then to read God's word. The blueprint for parents. All of that learning takes time, which brings me to the next thing I learned.

4. Every day is a brand new, empty slate. We wake up refreshed every day. I love the line in Anne of Green Gables when Anne's mentor says to her, "Each day is brand new, with no mistakes in it" Our children need their Mama's time. I can now look back and say I embraced the time I had. Don't let anything and I mean anything get in the way of the time you spend with those precious little charges. I told my children growing up that I was a working Mom.. I worked everyday in the home to raise godly children. When they grew up and left home, I was going to be a brain surgeon but until that time I was with them.

5. Time flies so do not and I repeat, do not pine for tomorrow. I know you have heard it said a million times but it is so true. Do not wish for tomorrow. Embrace every day as they come, a gift from the LORD. Embrace each season your child is in. Before you know it that little girl will be walking down the aisle on her daddy's arm so embrace each and every season.

6. Teach your daughters to love creating a home and not a house. A home is filled with love and grace and mercy. A well run home creates peace and not chaos. Teach her the skills she needs to succeed.  Teach her that it is not about "stuff" but about creating an atmosphere for the family to be loved and cherished.

7. Teach your daughters to be creative. I have always said I had zero creativity and the itty bitty bit I do have is found at the end of my little pinky. What I learned is that I really can be creative. I can take a recipe and make it my own, it just takes time. Some girls are naturally creative but others take more time and effort. Embrace both.

8. Read and read and read. One of my daughters favorite memories from her childhood is the summer we spent reading on the couch while her little brother was recovering from a traumatic brain injury. We read the coolest books that summer. Give her a love of reading. Teach her to be a discerning reader. To each the value of chosing wisely what she chooses to put in her brain. Give her the best kind of books.

9. Teach your daughters that their value and their value alone comes from her creator and no human being. She is beautiful not because she has a perfect body or a pretty smile but because her heart was created in the image of God. Teach her what real beauty is. Teach her to tune out the world's definition of beauty. Teach her that her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Purity comes from a clean heart, teach her that God's opinion is the one that really matters.

10. Every day needs to start on our knees. I begged the LORD over and over again to please grant me grace and step into the huge gap between my parenting skills and God's parenting skills. I failed miserably over and over again but Jesus was the bridge to my Father who will make all things new in his time.

Parenting is not for cowards. We have to be intentional. Living intentional and parenting intentional. I am so thankful that my grandchildren are being raised to live intentional for their Savior. Only God can stand in the gap. For that I am truly thankful because if parenting had been all about me it would have been a miserable failure. God can take our weak efforts and create beautiful things.

Be blessed today. Praying that your journey is one sprinkled with lots of grace.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It's two in the morning and I am sitting in a living room that is not mine. Labor day just ended but the labor is still going on in this home. Strong women doing what they need to do to breathe a baby out. Today though I want to thank God for wonderful surprises that can bring such joy. My sister Wendy and her husband Dale drove through from Toronto just a few hours before I went to another birth. We got to spend a couple of hours talking up a storm for about 2 hours.

Don't you just love it when you get an unexpected and wonderful gift from God? A sweet visit, a hug around the neck from the one person in the world who has loved me longer than anyone else this side of heaven. Life is good.

What are you thankful for today? I would love to know.

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