erica's story | the birth of elliott boone

I got the call it was baby time in the wee morning hours. I drove through the rolling hills outside of Asheville as the full moon lit my path. When I arrived to their home it was giddy with excitement. As the birth tub filled we all laughed between contractions. Erica stood as ripe as the moon outside, bathed in a glorious glow. The kind only laboring women have. She worked hard in the darkness and when it felt impossible, the sun rose and brought warm light into the birth room. Aiyana woke up to see her sibling born and brought in her treasured box of jellybeans that she had faithfully saved for lavver day (labor day). (Not pictured me swaying her to sleep on my hip as I took pictures).

Erica pushed for several hours and then delivered her baby into her own hands. It was a surprise boy, as they had been thinking all along it was a girl. Elliott Boone ended up having a really big head which is why it took his mama so long to get him out.

This birth was so full of joy, even in the midst of such hard work. The family was surrounded by women who held space for them. It was safe and warm just like the rising sun outside the window.

At the end of the day when everyone was tucked in, Aiyana whispered to the baby,

“Welcome to Asheville, welcome to the club, welcome to the family.”

Source: elliottboone

What I love about social media

It never fails…I will be out and about, hair unbrushed, clothes that I chose off the floor of my bathroom, and a mind a million miles away, when a Facebook friend comes up to me to say hello. Maybe I know them in real life or maybe I only know them through the tiny screen of my glowing phone. Either way we start talking and I (who am literally not able to be fake) usually ends up opening up my heart and exposing hard things from it. I do it every time. And almost without fail my Facebook friend will say, “Oh! I would never know with how you come across on social media!”

My heart sinks. I get a little bit offended. The last thing on earth I want is for someone to think I have it all together. First of all…don’t I literally and figuratively show my dirty laundry every few months? Secondly, I deliberately try to litter my feed with images and words that fight the idea that my family is perfect. There are photos of my children crying, my dishes, me standing in a pile knee deep of laundry. There are laments of my heart, tuggings of my soul and posts searching for connection. I feel like I leave it all pretty bare.

Then I will go home and sit down to scroll, determined to prove them wrong. I will start by finding all of the proof of the realness. I will start counting them one by one until I get lost…lost in the beauty. As I scroll I see image after image of my life. I will see a photo of my children giggling and know just how hard that season was. I will see me with tired eyes hugging a bunch of wildflowers and remember that hard afternoon when the roadside blossoms made me feel alive. I will see memory after memory after memory. And then I know. These aren’t highlights. These aren’t fake. These are the moments that I grasp for. These are the beauty that I seek each and every day. They happen in the season of loss, they develop in times that we are not our ideal weight, and the beautiful thing about it is that they can happen simultaneously with sadness.

Every day I am bombarded with articles and posts griping about the dangers of social media. I agree with most of them. Yes we spend our precious time looking instead of experiencing. Yes it can make us jealous. Yes it can make us not connect in real life. But even with such a huge pile of why nots, I still can’t throw social media out with the bathwater and here’s why.

Hope.

I would say an average day is hard for me. Whether I am tired from binge watching Netflix, brokenhearted about a school shooting, or weary from serving the hundredth snack of the day, my days are usually not easy. Inside of them, though, I am always searching. Searching for the hope, for the beauty, for the ACTUAL LIGHT. And I always can find it. Whether it is in my child’s twinkly smile or in the beauty of a shadow on the floor, finding it and showing it to the world is life changing. So maybe no one gets the shadow on the floor except you and you are left with 3 likes from your mom and your best friends, it does not matter. That was a moment you claimed for good.

This is why I love social media. I love celebrating in the triumphs. I love that just a quick double tap can say, “I see you.” It’s not a highlight reel to me, it’s a light reel. And as humans I think we need to celebrate all the light that we can.









the birth of milo | kris and maria's story

I met Kris and Maria in a local coffee shop and fell instantly in love with them. We all connected in a million tiny ways. I was honored to hear their story-5 failed IUIs for Kris, a miscarriage for Maria- and then finally their journey to meet baby Milo began. I was thrilled when they asked me to be their doula.

During our prenatals, it became clear that the main thing Maria, as the birthing mother, needed was to feel that she was in control, even though she knew she couldn’t really be (because not having control is birth in a nutshell). We set up plans and back up plans and talked about all the options. In the end they went into the birth with open hands and a kick ass birth team.

Things began with a hiccup as Maria developed gestational diabetes that was hard to control and induction was talked about and then decided upon. Before Maria could even lament, there were cheers from every direction for the informed choice that SHE had made. When they went home to have one last good nights sleep and get everything ready….her water broke. They both stuck around to finish the season finale of Masked Singer (which seriously cracked me up) and then they headed in to have their baby! Maria labored for 25 hours. Those hours were filled with tender moments as Kris supported her every need. They were filled with moments we all held our breath, prayed and watched her do the work that no one else could do for her…and it was freaking hard work. I saw her let go of her plans but she did it from a place of strength, not coercion.

The magic of watching parents be born is equally as magic as watching a baby be born and this was especially true of these two women. I couldn’t stop crying as I watched their faces go from shocked to elated to dumbfounded.

Milo Jax was born into an ocean of deep love and I feel honored to have been a witness to it all. I am so thankful for the gift of the birth photos that I’m able to snap in between doula support…they tell the story so well.