Monthly Archives: December 2011

Birthing a New Birth Center

      You may not be seeing as much of Maureen Darcey, CNM around the birth rooms in 2012, but that doesn’t mean she’s not as busy as ever!  Starting in January, Maureen is going to be shifting her role at WBWC to help adjust to the changing needs of our growing birth center.  She’ll still be catching the occasional baby as back-up midwife during weekday business hours.  However, her new duties will be primarily administrative.  Additionally, she’s ready to focus her full attention on her long-standing goal: building a new birth center.  “My new job will be birthing the new birth center,” says Maureen. 
  This is no small task, and would be impossible while also continuing the 24-hour on-call shifts that our midwives work.  As you may know, the search for land on which to build the new facility is underway.  There’s still an enormous amount of work to be done in the way of fundraising, planning, and logistics over the next several years.  With her years of experience and her passionate vision for the birth center model of care, Maureen hopes to guide WBWC through this transition period into an even stronger future.   

By |December 19th, 2011|News|3 Comments

Maji: The Gift of Life

(Maji: Kiswahili = water)
by Kerrie Kurgat

Deep inside of me, a stirring. Undulations. I didn’t know who, just as I hadn’t known for my previous two births. We would embrace a son or a daughter: joys, challenges, idiosyncrasies and all.  

I had requested gender anonymity from the sonographer, who remained neutral, even in the ultrasound report which stated: “gender – normal.” Despite my protests, the test was requested by a midwife to confirm gestational age. It was more detailed due to my age (over 35 years), and I was grateful for the reassurance and levity that Dr. Wolfe proffered: “Can you believe they think you’re ‘old’?!”

            It was the evening of October 5, 2010, my due date. I had taught my ESL classes as usual until two in the afternoon. Our children were already asleep while my husband and I prepared for bed. The painful contractions I was experiencing were not new; they had been percolating for weeks – precursors of the intense pressure that would thrust my baby into, I hoped, the warm water of the birthing tub.
            I lay in bed and jotted down the intervals of the contractions on yellow post-it notes: 11:56pm, 12:17am… In the early morning hours on October 6, I contacted the on-call midwife. “I’m having contractions – nothing longer than 25 seconds. Just wanted to let someone know.” She listened dutifully as I recited my contraction frequencies. “Why don’t you drink some tea and take a bath? Then try to get some sleep,” she suggested. I took her advice about the tea, but skipped the bath. At long last I slept.
            For a stretch of over an hour I felt no tensing or tightening. Then, rogue contractions periodically. Back to sleep. Jolted by pain in my lower back, I called WBWC and spoke with Allison. Though the labor was prodromal in nature, she validated my labor contractions. I asked her opinion about whether or not I should teach that morning. She supported the idea of canceling classes. Since I tested GBS positive, she recommended I come in early for a round of antibiotics.

            At 11:45am, my husband and I were ushered into the blue room on the first floor. Sun streamed through slats in the blinds. Helen, the nurse, bustled about readying birthing equipment.

     Five years ago, my son Nicholas had been born in the same room to the cadence of a February rain shower. A swift, intense birth that began when I walked into the room at 11:30; I cradled him in my arms by 11:59am.  


On that occasion, my labor had commenced around 8am. I had stoically gone to work enduring the ever-more-frequent pain by standing up and holding my chair in the privacy of my small office. I was of the mind then, as I am now, that there was no reason for me not to go to work up to the last moment. My colleague insisted on timing my contractions until they were five minutes apart.

Ironically, I worked with two OB/GYN’s who were in the office that day. I called the WBWC and spoke to Jan. I could come on over, she said. “Go and have a wonderful birth,” imparted one of the physicians with a warm embrace. I switched into high gear and started for the door. I happened to work a quarter mile down the street from WBWC and was actually intent on walking there. Just then my colleague bounded out of the elevator and into the parking lot (post knee-replacement surgery!) with her purse flying on her arm. “You’re not going to walk. Let me drive you,” she intervened with foresight. The difference between the blue room and the birth center parking lot!

I called my husband who met me at the WBWC. When we arrived, we were directed to the first floor. I knocked. Maureen opened the door with a swoosh. “Hi, I had a feeling we’d hear from you today, so I prepared this room for you.” Incredibly, she hadn’t spoken to the staff upstairs. I stumbled in and stripped down. No time for antibiotics despite my positive GBS status. The nurse sauntered in after about ten minutes.
“Hello everyone,” she greeted.
“Get dressed,” Maureen retorted.  
My husband inquired whether he should pick up our daughter from school. Maureen advised against that as a father had missed the birth of his child recently under similar circumstances.

Fifteen minutes and some oxygen later, Nicholas was nursing in my arms. Five years later I was in the same place – time, gray hairs, and experiences between the years.

Helen mercifully rubbed my lower back and related engaging stories about her family, leavening my labor pains. Allison arrived at WBWC from the hospital at 1:30. She asked my permission to have a student midwife, Daniela, participate in my birth, and I consented.

I was a stranger to Lamaze and ignorant about the Bradley or any other method. I implicitly trusted my midwives and nurses for countenance and management. Both Allison and Daniela guided me through the grist and grit of labor.

Through an amalgam of thoughts, I focused intently on inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. Rhythm. Until a spasm rocked my uterus. Inertia propelled my baby down. “Ease this baby out. Relax,” chanted Daniela. As he crowned, my water finally broke. Through the plate tectonics of labor, my son transitioned from his protective sac into the water at 3:05pm.

As he suckled colostrum, his nectar of life for the next few days, I pondered over Jonathan’s journey: an answer to the ellipsis that lingered as Nicholas grew older. Vicariously, he had swum numerous times in the community pool. He was pummeled by rip current waves in Lake Michigan. His birth in the water, luminous and ephemeral, brought him full circle, and he was aptly named “Kimibei” of the East African Kipsigis people: “he was in the water” or “there was water.”

By |December 19th, 2011|News|0 Comments

New Arrivals

 Top row: Isis Barbour, May Scudellari. Bottom row: Ari Morrow, Atticus Harkey, Jordan Gates

Violet Clove Sterner Miller – 7 lbs., 13 oz. – September 25
May Elizabeth Scudellari 8 lbs., 8 oz. – October 25
Jordan Langdon Gates – 7 lbs., 8 oz. – November 5
Phoebe Rose Studson – 5 lbs., 5 oz. – November 7
Kieran Leo Marchetti – 7 lbs., 15 oz. – November 10
Atticus Larry Harkey – 8 lbs., 9 oz. – November 11
Seth Smith – 8 lbs., 7 oz. – November 11
Marlow Quinn – 8 lbs., 13 oz. – November 12
Vera Lynn Caron – 7 lbs., 12 oz. – November 14
Zoey Isabella Pilkington – 7 lbs., 14 oz. – November 15
Sydney Devon Bridges – 6 lbs., 4 oz. – November 15
William Lafayette Clements – 8 lbs., 6 oz. – November 17
Isis Avani Barbour – 8 lbs. – November 18
Kahlan Noelle Green – 8 lbs., 13 oz. – November 19
Adlai Escher Naimi – 8 lbs., 10 oz. – November 19
Malachi Liam Davidson – 8 lbs., 12 oz. – November 21
Aram Gatling – 9 lbs., 5 oz. – November 23
Adeline Mae Butler Grover – 8 lbs. – November 23
Aspen Vivian Thomas – 9 lbs., 2 oz. – November 28
Reed Elizabeth Mason – 8 lbs., 8 oz. – November 29

Ari Lincoln Morrow – 6 lbs., 15 oz. – November 30

Welcome to the world, Little Ones!

If you would like your baby’s birth announced in the next newsletter, send an email with baby’s name, birth date, and weight to  You can also include a picture if you’d like!

By |December 19th, 2011|News|0 Comments

‘Tis the Season to Keep Everyone Busy!

by Claire C. McKiernan

          I’d love to tell you the following advice is from professionals and experts, but I can’t. I’m too busy right now to interview anyone. So here are tips from a mother of four young children (me) on learning to let go a little (I’m a perfectionist, so this didn’t come easy) and, with some luck, getting your kids to cooperate this season. One caveat, you know your kids best, so my age suggestions may not be appropriate for all kids.
          If you can’t leave the kids at home, stash snacks in your purse, no matter what time of day you go out or how close to the next meal. Food does wonders! Even better if there are special snacks that they only get when you go out shopping.  I keep baggies of raisins, mini-marshmallows, pretzels, goldfish crackers, or animal crackers in my purse. Lifesavers are good if your children are old enough to suck on one instead of crunching through it and asking for more every ten seconds.
Be on the lookout for surprise freebies, especially in grocery stores, such as cookies, cut-up fruit, and cheese samples. Sometimes things they won’t eat at home are suddenly appetizing when your kids are bored, and the item is presented in a cute little sample cup. 
An important note: in my experience, bribing them with food (“If you’re good, you’ll get these”) rarely works and often gives you a bigger head ache than before. Be pre-emptive and give them a snack while everyone is happy and before the kids get out of hand.
Holiday Cards
          Can’t seem to get the cards done while the kids are awake, and by the time they’re in bed, you’re spent, right? If you enjoy writing out the cards and making them “just so” like I do, then the next bit of advice is going to require some yoga-like breathing.
Let the kids help.
Let your 2-year-old scribble in the cards to your closest relatives who will undoubtedly find it cute. Or just give her a brand new card with which to do whatever she likes. If you’re lucky she will scribble in it and give it to you. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll find it in the toilet.
Let your 4-year-old work next to you making his cards out of construction paper. If he’s making them out to the same people you are, then show him you are adding his card in with yours so he knows he’s contributing. Don’t keep the postage stamps within his reach, though.
Your 6-year-old can put on stamps and address labels. Just be sure to tell her not to seal the envelopes until they’ve all been addressed!
Your 8-year-old can write out addresses, at least to the same relatives who find the baby’s scribbles adorable. This is a great time to tell him why you go through the trouble of writing out cards and let him do a few on behalf of the family. The operative word here is “let,” meaning that you are allowing him to help, not that you are lecturing and forcing the issue. You should only do that if you never want to receive a card from him as an adult because he now hates cards.
Have them use construction paper to make decorations for the windows while you’re busy nearby. I love decorating the tree, but other than the lights and the angel at the top, my kids completely decorated our tree this year. The entire bottom half is bare because the baby won’t leave the tree alone. It’s sweet and absurd at the same time and probably the best-looking tree we’ve ever had.
Wrapping Gifts
Let your 4-year-old go to town on grandma’s non-breakable gift with some tape and colorful newspaper (comics and grocery ads) while you do some other wrapping. Your 6-year-old can help tape, cut ribbon, and stick on bows. Your 8-year-old can fill out gift labels.
          Things will never be as clean as when you do it yourself, but enlisting the kids has numerous benefits. You’ll be surprised how well they do with encouragement and easy-to-follow instructions. Everyone except my almost-2-year-old has weekly chores, and even she routinely likes to help out. My kids earn change for their piggy bank for anything they are willing to do beyond what they are expected to do. This works out great for me before company comes.
We listen to their music while we clean, and because we all work at once, it fosters a team spirit. Give each kid his or her own to-do list (draw pictures for the younger ones). Besides helping them to remember everything, lists are more official and important.
Do not put multiple kids on the same job in the same room because it will lead to dusters used as swords, laundry all over the floor, and mopped children instead of mopped floors. Divide and conquer!
The 2-to-4-year-old set are surprisingly good dusters. They can follow you around either re-dusting (no harm there) or dusting things low to the ground that you never bother to dust but really need it. This is assuming you don’t have a lot of breakable knick-knacks. If you do, I suggest you either get rid of the knick-knacks, or get rid of the kids.
Kids 6 years and up can sort clean laundry into piles, fold socks, and put away their folded clothes. I give my energetic 4-year-old one or two pieces of clothing at a time and have him race to put it away and get back to me by the time I have the next item ready.
Fill a clean spray bottle with half water and half vinegar and give it, along with paper towels, to your 4-year-old to clean the bottom halves of windows (where he can reach without a stool and where all his finger- and nose-prints can be found).  If he can’t be trusted with a whole roll of paper towels, fold one into a kid-friendly size and have him come back for more when it’s too dirty and wet. Give your 6-year-old a damp sponge and challenge him to find the true color of the baseboards. An 8-year-old can clean the kitchen table along with kitchen and bathroom counters.
Kids can wash dishes or load the dishwasher, but don’t introduce this during the holidays. Kids 4 and up can rinse fruit and veggies and open up cans while you cook.  Don’t get too ambitious! Save anything that’s messy or needs heavy supervision for non-hectic times. When my son was three, he wanted to help decorate his sister’s birthday cake. I caught him just before he used the pepper mill all over my beautifully frosted cake.
One Last Note
Nothing works 100% of the time, and when it doesn’t, breathe deeply! Remember, when they turn into little monsters, they feed off your tension, so keep telling yourself to remain calm. Their attitude is often a reflection of your own.
 If you can muster a truly silly act to really throw them off their guard, go for it. Unexpectedly skip through the room with a bow stuck to your nose and sing “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” Even if they wind up putting you in a padded room for the holidays, I bet you’ll be in there laughing (bonus: you’ll have avoided all the after-holiday clean-up). Just don’t do anything that you don’t want to see them imitate over and over and over (or telling all the guests at dinner).  
Keep everyone busy this season and keep repeating through clenched teeth, “‘Tis the season to be jolly!”  And if none of this works, don’t blame me. I’m not a professional.

By |December 19th, 2011|Family Resources|0 Comments

Leigh Ann’s Oatmeal Cookies

Leigh Ann Joel, CNM has spent years perfecting her oatmeal cookie recipe, and now she has been kind enough to share it with us.  These cookies have passed her kids’ rigorous taste-testing, despite the fact that they contain some healthy ingredients. Enjoy!  And let her know how yours turn out next time you’re at the Birth Center.

3/4 cup salted, softened butter
1/4 cup olive oil (not extra virgin, needs to be mild)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large room-temperature eggs
3 cups old-fashioned oats, not quick cooking
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milled flax seed or wheat germ
1/3 cup flax seed
1 1/2 cups craisins
2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Cream butter, oil and sugars with mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and mix on high until combined, then add vanilla.
Combine flours, milled flax, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture.
Add oats, flax seed, craisins, and nuts, and mix by hand.
Drop on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake. (I use a little ice-cream scoop, maybe tbsp sized.)
A small advantage may be gained in cookie texture if the batter sits for a while. 
Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes.

By |December 19th, 2011|Recipes|0 Comments

Free Classes Offered at WBWC

By |December 19th, 2011|Events & Workshops|0 Comments

WBWC Board Update

by Kaaren Haldeman

The WBWC Board of Directors will be expanding in the new year! We are excited to welcome new board members as we energize our efforts to envision and plan for our new space. As part of the nomination process, board nominees will be interviewed by staff representing all strata of the WBWC workforce. Our hope is to have new members voted onto the board early in the new year. Many thanks to you all for your patience in this process. We are so pleased to bring on a highly motivated and diverse group to help us plan for our future. Connie, Meredith, and I would like to wish you all at WBWC a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!

By |December 19th, 2011|News|0 Comments

What’s New at the Boutique

By |December 19th, 2011|Boutique|0 Comments