Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

on letting go

Thursday, March 24, 2011

5 Gratefuls

1. The Village

2. The Sea
This is looking west to the Atlantic from Dakar.

3. Newborns. Everywhere.

4. My very special red and yellow cloth blanket
This is a view from the protective tent it provided when we were stuck on the side of a road.

5. The things I've learned from my middle child.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

sweet sweet


Born 4 weeks early
Her mother never heard the term "kangaroo care".
She just knew.
This baby girl is doing fine.

Monday, March 21, 2011

same same

First day home finds me unpacking my memories. They're packed in my heart, real tight. I am loving this experience of sorting, sifting, sharing and savoring an intense week of unbelievable experiences. As I process and prepare my report for WWHI, the realization that rises to the top is this. We are the same. No matter where a woman births, her needs are the same: safe space, respectful care and connection. Within minutes after a meeting with the village sage femme and touring the humble maternity where she worked, I was called to a birth. A woman I had never seen before climbed on to this metal delivery table. I did the initial exam, 7 cm. As the sage femme was busy setting things up, I observed the mom struggling through a contraction or two. She whimpered in Malinke. I went to her and offered my hand. She pulled me in and held tightly, the very familiar birth grip. My other hand went to her lower back, the spot I knew would be bowing out about now from baby pressure. We made eye contact and I knew her. The Universal Birthing Woman. She knew me. Safe, respectful connection. With Natalie close by documenting the moment, a baby boy was born. I am so happy that my daughter's first birth observation was here. Where most western women see austere, uncomfortable and inadequate in this African birth environ, I saw and felt peace. I may have been chosen to go on this expedition to teach but I knew from the get go who the teachers would be. Lesson #1 will never be forgotten. We are same same.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

full moon, full heart

I knew this moment would come. Last night in Africa . . .for now.
I'm leaving some love here, taking some home.
Thanks for all of your good wishes, blessings of peace and prayers for our safety. I felt it all.
The moon, beautiful moon over the ocean here in Dakar, lighting my way home.
A bientot.

Monday, March 14, 2011

africa 2011 - update

bravehello friends! this is lindsay.  friday afternoon this snapshot showed up on my phone. evidence that cath + nat were boarding a JFK flight. africa or bust! we weren’t expecting to hear much else from them.
my dad got a call yesterday afternoon that they were in the city + safe.
a voicemail popped up on my cell a bit later. all is well! her voice a bit shaky – but sounding brave.
she snuck a call a bit later – they’d already attended their first birth there. a boy! her call was quick and i can already hear a change in her. they will come home – different. she was anxious that they would be heading out to a more secluded area today. i am thinking of them. will you, too?

love, lindsay

Friday, March 4, 2011

for Lindsay Ann

My own mama is coming on Wednesday to take care of me.
Her words: I know you will be busy. I just want to help you get ready, do your laundry, be there.
I am soooo glad she will be here. She knows. I will be coming undone, losing things, running late, crying behind my sunglasses. She will be calm, have just what I need and save her tears for the drive over the mountain.
Lindsay, when I am 79 years old, I will come to your house and help you pack for your dream come true. I will bring the little scrap of embroidered fabric wrapped around the picture of Grandma T that my mom stuck in my purse on Wednesday. "Someone to watch over you, ya know."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


9 more days. . .

Not much left to do.

Bought a flip video camera and an Acer Netbook. If there is internet, and I think there will be at the health post, I'll send a daily blog post.

Made the cursory trip to REI and invested generously to my 2012 REI Dividend.

Nat completed her immunizations yesterday.

Phone consult tonight for me with WWHI proposal writer, place one last midwife kit supply order and I'm done.

Next week will be crazy busy with NRP re-cert, MCU Conference and prenatals.

Oh yeah, and mid-terms. Don't fail me now my brain. I'm sure I will need a baby-sitter next Monday afternoon. Anybody?

Oh, and I'm trying to find those magic slate toy things. You know with the gray filmy cover and the red plastic stylus. I need 30 if anyone knows where I can find them.

I can start packing now. I can barely breathe. I just want to get there.

p.s. I get a full African moon on my last night. Is that not icing on the cake?