Welcome Baby Sabrina!

So pleased to announce the birth of Sabrina Marie Higdon! Jessica and Ray welcomed her into their arms on 10/9/15 at 3:49a.m. weighing 7#9 oz. Look at those smiles! There's a lot of love in this family. What a gift to be their doula. Congratulations!

Ty Johnson Robert- A Homebirth Story

* 8.14.14 * Ty Johnson Robert Ghali * 10#12oz * 21.5 “ That very first contraction began around 1:30am. We had a hunch tonight would be the night. Kaia and I had set up the birth tub just a few days ago with candles from friends, beads from my Mother Blessing, and birth affirmations all around the perimeter. For days now I gazed at these charms of good energy during my nightly bath, my water-pregnancy, my one place of comfort in a nearly unbearably uncomfortable long 10 months. I was beyond eager to meet him. We decided to take the castor oil Wednesday night after we got home from a trip to the hospital, showing signs of pre-eclampsia. This was never meant to be a hospital birth baby.

Top 10 things I love about our birth community: A community resource list

**EDIT** Original post January 2014 One of the things I love about being a doula in Fort Myers is that I get to be a part of a bridge between our birth communities, from Naples up to Cape Coral. If you are expecting, you are LUCKY to be in our community! As Doc John from Mama’s Chiropractic summed up, we are lucky to even *have* a birth community, when so many states have outlawed midwifery care and free standing birth centers are unheard of. As an example of our lil’ passionate community, when I asked Samantha McCormick, one of our local CNM’s, what’s the one thing she loves most about our birth community she said, “One thing? That so many moms are educating themselves and seeking the ki

Birth, A Play by Karen Brody

**EDIT** Original post June 2013 Save the Date! Saturday August 31st, 2013 at The Alliance for the Arts on McGregor in Fort Myers, FL The SW Florida Birth Network is bringing Birth, a play by Karen Brody to Fort Myers! I am so excited to be a part of this amazing piece of creative work, this grassroots theater for social change. Along with a handful of other birth advocates and community members, I will be acting in this play as part of the BOLD Movement (Birth On Labor Day). This BOLD movement is in conjunction with the 2013 Rally to Improve Birth at Lowdermilk Park in Naples. (Remember last year's Birth Rally in Fort Myers? The Birth Network is moving it to Collier County this year to

A Weekend with Ina May Gaskin: "Rock on"

**EDIT** Original post April 2013 What would you ask the world-renown “Mother of Midwifery” if you had the chance? I had been so excited to have the opportunity to spend some time with her, after having spent months planning with a wonderful group of people with the vision and commitment to bring her to our community in SWFL, that I nearly forgot to worry about what to actually saywhen I finally met her. I was getting ready to pick her up from the airport, just Ina May, me, and my trusty lil' Prius. What will I say in the car? Oh gosh, what will I wear? We were heading straight from the airport to the venue hosting our VIP reception and screening of her new documentary Birth Story: Ina May

Ina May Gaskin in Fort Myers April 2013

**EDIT** Original post February 2013 A quick visit to Ina May Gaskin's website (www.inamay.com) will humbly inform those who don't know who this living legend is that she is an "Author, Activist, Innovator". But if you're here, reading this blog, chances are you are already familiar with this amazing birth visionary. Right? This is Ina May! Mother of Midwifery! She and her husband along with a caravan of friends traveled cross country in the 70's to "birth" The Farm Midwifery Center in rural Summertown, TN (one of the first out-of-hospital birth centers in the U.S). What made The Farm so noteworthy, and why it remains so, is their incredibly low rate of intervention or shall I say, med

Why Doulas Rock (A New Year's Countdown)

**EDIT** Original post 2013 1. We believe in birth, and we believe in your innate power as a birthing mother. 2. When others try to talk you out of your birth choices, birth place, and birth provider, we support you. 3. We understand when to step in and when to step back. It’s YOUR birth, not ours! If that means you need some time to connect with your partner, it’s yours. If that means you need some extra reassurance, it’s yours. If that means you need the chance to talk through your options, it’s yours. We are here for YOU. 4. When everyone else in the room looks panicked, we take a deep breath and connect with the moment. Sometimes the reassuring eyes of your

Uncertainty in Labor

**EDIT** Original post in 2012 Certainty. Why do we seek it? Is it possible to have any sense of certainty going into labor and birth? Isn't that uncertainty some of the beauty and mystery of the sacred event? A hands-on lesson in spontaneity? Join me as I dive into the issue, fueled by my own frustrations in working with moms who crave the elusive predictability. After 5 weeks of 2 hour classes with a large group of expectant couples at the birth center, I opened the discussion up for further questions. We had spent our 10 hours together by learning a handful of pain coping practices including Breath Awareness, working with our senses and embracing distractions, vocalization during lab

Birth Lessons

**EDIT** Original post 2012 (pictures not included) January. What a whirlwind. 3 births plus the weeklong Birthing From Within retreat. All around the grounds in Ojai where we stayed for the birth retreat were these little gems of awesomeness painted on small rocks. I immediately wanted to paint one, to leave my mark on the land. I asked the groundskeeper for "permission" and was met with humble disapproval. Apparently the spirits on the land, our anscestrial spirits, do not appreciate our desire to paint our mark on the raw land and have expressed their disapproval to the groundskeeper during times of deep meditation. Who am I to question that? Though it did lead me to question why e

What is Birthing From Within?

**EDIT** Original post in 2012 I've gotta say, 2011 was pretty rockin' for me so it's not like I'm in a rush for anything new. Yet life moves along, and I quickly and with intention grab onto the kitestring, checking which direction the wind is blowing first, and enjoy the ride. A weeklong retreat to Ojai, CA is teasing me from next week. I can kind of see it, but it's through a fog of to-do's, worries, uncertainties and excitement. The retreat is a celebration of completing my Level I Birthing From Within certification along with other birth professionals along similiar paths. Yet every ending is a new beginning...as I jump right into new self-awareness and opportunities to grow as a dou

Winter Solstice Birth

**EDIT** Original post in 2011 "The Winter Solstice, here in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs tonight. Solstice, coming during the coldest time of the season, a time for turning within, for darkness and quiet. The Winter Solstice brings us the shortest day and longest night of the year. It also signals a turning back toward the light and a time of celebration." -Susan Lucas, WiseBirthWays The above was written to me by my Birthing From Within mentor, Susan. She always has a way of coming into my consciousness at just the right moment, and this was no exception. Just the day before, I was called to attend a birth. As I came back to my own family, home and reality, I opened up this ema

Supporting mom through Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)

**EDIT** Original post in 2011 "The accurate definition of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) is when a baby's head or body is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. It is believed that true CPD is rare, but many cases of “failure to progress” during labor is given a diagnosis of CPD. When an accurate diagnosis of CPD has been made, the safest type of delivery for mother and baby is a cesarean delivery." -American Pregnancy Association I had the honor and privelege of attending my 9th birth (counting my own two lil' peanuts...I was *definitely* present for those two!) this past weekend. I knew from the moment I met this mama that she was a warrior mama (later defined as such after mak

Humble Pie

I love being on-call. Really, I do. I love when my doula clients enter into their "birth window" and I anticipate right along with them the imminent birth of their baby and the birth of their new family. It's magical, and transforming, and the balance of the world readjusts as babies make their way into this realm. The waiting can be fun, or nerve-wracking, frustrating or as expected. Ah, birth. The unpredictabilities of birth. (insert smug, nearly-naive smile here). So my next doula couple is due the end of November, and I'm actually NOT on-call for the first time in months. I wonder if I'll be called to the birth on Thanksgiving (which is fine, it's what I do, and I eagerly antic

The Circle of Life

**EDIT** Original post in 2011 I never dreamed that in one week I'd be asking the same difficult questions surrounding the birth of a baby as well as the death of a friend... The early part of this week held the joy of a newborn baby; the unpredictabilities of birth and one baby's birth journey; surrendering to fate and accepting with grace as one couples' birth expectations were gently moved aside to make room for other plans. As with all of the births I have so far had the honor of attending, this family will always be imprinted in my memory. Mama gave me an up close view and understanding of what it means to be a birth warrior...you know, all those things I talk about in Birthing From

Optimal Fetal Positioning

Sometimes labor is faster than what "the books" say, sometimes it's slower than our expectations have prepared us for. We've all read: Your labor should be 12 hours, on average. Anything over that mark is a "long labor" while anything under three hours is precipitous. Hmmm. What does that say about labors with variations from these benchmarks? Are we still doing it "right" if we labor for longer? What if we labor for MUCH longer? And is one length better than the other? When does the clock even start, now that we're talking about length of labor? Some labors start, then stop, starting up again days or even weeks later. What if there were some simple things mom could do to encourage a

Birth Options in SW Florida

When my family moved to SWFL 2 years ago, I naively assumed that the birth culture would be as amazing and supportive as the one I had just left in Gainesville, FL. My babies were born in Gainesville, one into a homey birth center and another into my very own home. Midwifery care was abundant, and there was even a midwifery school right in our town. There were 2 birth centers to choose from, and when I decided upon a homebirth for my second birth, an awesome Midwive Co-op of 4 midwives came to my door, sat in my living room and answered all of my questions and patiently listened to mine and my husband's list of concerns. At least 5 of my *close* friends had already had homebirths with th

How do we change the culture of birth?

Birth. It's magical, feared, sacred, mysterious, beautiful. Anticipated, induced, overdue, early, full-term, premature. Relaxing, pleasurable, painful, easy, difficult. Unexpected, surprising, textbook. Cesarean, vaginal, natural, medicated. How many different paths to birth are there? How does your perception of birth affect who you are, your integrity, and how those in your path view birth as a result? There are as many questions as there are paths to birth. I guess it's time to start talking about them! When you begin to tell your birth story, how do you feel in your body? What's driving your story? Think about who's listening, and how your story might shape their own vie

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