The Search

first visit

I wrote about our decision to have a home birth here. This post is a a follow up post regarding how we then found our midwife . . . the dear soul who would see me in all the guts and glory, sweat and tears, swearing . . . and probably more swearing.

Please note, our search was not at length. I simply went with my gut. Here’s how it went down . . .

Since we were hoping to get pregnant sometime in 2014 (and thus a home birth), I knew I better take it seriously. I turned to google and found a plethora of midwives and a couple of birth centers in the Phoenix area. I read bios, reviews and tried my best to be thorough. I didn’t rush. I just “browsed” and took my time. Window shopping. Facebook stalking.

I narrowed my choices down to two midwives (there were plenty, these were just the two that immediately stood out to me for various reasons) and emailed my first choice. She (like most midwives) offered a free initial consultation and I took her up on it. We scheduled a time to meet. A few days later she had a family emergency and announced she was taking no new clients on for the rest of the year. No problem. Moving on. I shot an email to my second pick, we too scheduled a time and one afternoon after work I found myself in her home office.

NOW. Here is where I really messed up. As I drove to her home I realized I hadn’t written down one single question and I am horrible off the cuff. I’m very much “on the cuff” when it comes to speaking out loud. I really regret this and am here to tell you that there are TONS of resources online to help guide you as you come up with your own set of questions. However, that being said, I think it’s important to note that many women decide to have a home birth midway through their pregnancy, after already having seen an OB. So, while it is important to be thorough and confident, remember, this is not a situation to rush. Anyways, back to the part where I showed up totally unprepared and looking ever younger than normal. . .

I pulled up, knocked on the door and held my breath. Two ladies (my now midwife and her apprentice) opened the door, offered me tea and led me into a quaint home office. I felt so unprepared (my fault) but very much at home. They were calm, collective and (this might sound weird but I will explain further) a tad intimidating.

This (intimidation) was actually really reassuring to me. They intimidated me because they asked me questions I hadn’t thought of (not the other way around). They had answers to my own questions that were completely thorough and factual and they were bold. After giving them a rundown of my own health history, they shared with me their concerns, and they did not hold back.

I felt as though I had just met with an 80 year old woman who told me “what was up.” She was soft spoken but did not beat around the bush. When I am giving birth, I don’t want someone to pat my head. I have friends and family to do that. I want someone who knows what they are doing, knows what my body is doing and is not afraid to tell me to cowboy up.  I want someone who believes in my body and it’s ability to do magic. The fact that she was wearing Doc Martens was icing on the cake, it might have even been the selling point. For the sake of her own privacy, we will call her “S.”

Fast forward a few months . . . once I got pregnant I knew I had time to further my midwife search but honestly, I really enjoyed S. I went with my gut and knew that for whatever reason (while I wasn’t hoping this would happen), I could always change my mind. Thus far, S and her apprentice have been amazing and I have no doubt they will continue to love on me. I have shot them emails and phone calls only to be followed up with an immediate response. I have shared with them my concerns, thoughts, feelings and they always give me their full attention. They regularly remind me that the decision is mine (I often ask, “can I?”) and that I get to make the call. In fact, a couple of times I have just straight out asked them to tell me what to do because I want their opinion, I want their insight even though the decision is mine.

No, my search wasn’t long. It could have been more thorough and I should have written down a list of my questions (believe me, some of the questions listed online are intense, tiger mom intense). But I asked the ones that were important to me,  listened to my gut and have yet to look back. They always greet me with a hug and remind me to sit up straight. They talk to the little girl in my belly with great tenderness, even when she’s not cooperative and tries her best to “run away” from the doppler. Which is every time. They remind me that my body is made to give birth, birthing is not a sickness or a condition. It is what my body was made to do, and do well . . . whether or not I’m throwing things across the room when the whole “beautiful, natural birth” thing becomes a very raw reality. S has got my back.

Three Sixty Five

A whole year has passed since we left the salty suburbs for triple digits. Recently I had a conversation that went like this,

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Me: What month does it start to cool off?

AZ Native: End of September, not too long.

Me: Really? So like what, in the 80’s?

AZ Native: Oh no, the 90’s.

To all of you who are FREAKING out in California about the past week or two of heat . . . Calm. Down. As soon as that sun sinks you very well know it will drop a good 10-15 degrees. To be fair, it drops a good 10 degrees in AZ as well . . . but all that means is instead of 112, it’s only a 102. Nothing like a good night sweat.

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I will say that it is my first full summer (supposedly “the worst”). I am currently with child and have spent the past 13 years of my life in southern CA. So, all things considered, I think it’s understandable that I cringe when I can feel the heat bouncing off the pavement. Let’s just say, I haven’t checked the mail in a long time and I’ve grown to hate looking out the window and seeing blue skies. Isn’t that sad? But if anything it’s made me appreciate desert beauty, as small as it may seem sometimes.

Flowers

And yet while our time here has been rather warm, this past year has been so “full.” We have been loved on, taken care of and ministered to in ways we knew not. Tangible needs have been met time and time again by both our community and nice men at the dealership who give you a major discount on your rental car (because both of your cars broke down in the same week and are taking up two spots at the same garage). We’ve always had just enough and paychecks seem to roll in the days when you least expected, not because you don’t need the cash but because you learned there is more joy in rest than worry.

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We’ve hiked, eaten well (Arizona’s pickings are far from slim when it comes to good food and drink) and dived head first into some awesome libraries. We’ve had time to think, breathe and rest from what was. It’s given us ample time to learn and soak up new ideas, new authors and new purpose. We’re young kids, having kids, with a lot to learn. I feel like this past year has been a sweet grace in allowing us to grow into our skin and figure out our next step, as abstract as it may seem.

In addition to desert blossoms and good cocktails, I love our grunge. Some may laugh when they read this because downtown Phoenix is comparatively mild when it comes to, “downtown-ness.” But you have to remember, we come from the Inland Empire. In our circle of friends we were the only ones who knew what it was like to call 911 when you found a body in downtown LA and the only ones with stamps in our passports (heck, we might have been the only ones with passports). So when I say that Arizona is culturally diverse, hear me out. It isn’t all Volcom and Roxy.

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When I venture a mere 20 minutes away from our cross streets, my white skin makes up about 50% of the population. When I venture a good 30-45 minutes away, I’m no longer 50%, it feels more like %10. Not just because I’m white but because of my clothes. My health. My mental state. My mode of transportation.

If this is where we are to begin raising a family, then I’m all in. I want our family to habitually cross cultural boundaries. To be familiar with weird smells, differing language and people who are simply not like them. Arizona has much to offer in this department (pause) if you are willing. Otherwise you can stay comfortable in your stucco house and pretend like your kids don’t eat processed foods because you shop at Trader Joe’s.

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It’s been 365 days. Mostly comprised of heat and blue skies. It’s been a lot of chlorine, popsicles and what felt like an endless trimester of nausea and what looks like an endless horizon of rocks and lizards. It’s been a lot of books, City and Colour on repeat and choosing to try new things as the “new couple” instead of staying at home where it’s “safe.” It is these freeways that I think long and hard on. It’s this apartment where we are trying to love on those who (literally) live next door and it is these months were I am eagerly awaiting the few cold days that wait ahead. Yes, I do hate the climate. But I really love the soul quiet, the proximity to Whole Foods (I’m just being honest), the cultural diversity (remember people, Inland Empire) and the GIANT Christmas tree that will be put up in a few months at one of the many fancy malls.  Even though it’s metal and faux fir, I love it. Arizona, you have been more than good to us. Here’s to the year ahead.

 

Ripples

Moving to a new place gives you time to rethink, does it not? When you leave your family, friends and routine you are given an entirely new slate. You are given the time and space to rethink how you want to, well, recreate your life (to some extent. That kinda sounds melodramatic). Your calendar is bleak and your obligations meek.
It’s been a whole year since we moved to Arizona but I still feel a lot of freedom in terms of choosing who and what I want to invest myself and my time into. I feel as though my soul has had a long rest and now with fresh thoughts I may proceed, learning and gaining even newer thoughts along the way. Lewis refers to this journey as going, “Further up and further in” (The Last Battle). 
The early twenties are pretty foundational to the years ahead. Sure, big changes will occur throughout our lives but the choices we are making today will have a profound ripple effect on the years ahead. Because of this, I have been thinking a lot about how (not necessarily why) I want to live. As in, the earthyness of my faith. The tangible-ness of my philosophy. The legs I want to give my goals and aspirations. Now, obviously, I had to think about my faith, philosophy and goals in order to figure out the earthy part and they will most certainly change with time. I will probably laugh at myself in years to come but that’s part of journeying, “further up and further in(to)” truth. Yet, right here, right now, as I’m getting ready to throw some stones that may or may not have positive or negative ripples, what kind of stones do I want to throw? What is the wholness of my person aiming for? These are the kinds of things I think about while hiking in the Sahara Desert Arizona mountain trails . . . send water.

I thought I would share some of the people ( I don’t know personally) who have/are still giving me food for thought.

Tsh Oxenredier: A few months ago I was introduced to Tsh Oxenreider. Not only did her podcast get me through my long commute this summer, it pretty much got me through a nice bout of morning sickness too. So did Udi’s gluten free blueberry muffins. This however is not the only reason I am so thankful for Tsh O. Her personal work and blog network have become a huge resource to me. Her premise is simple . . . simple living in a chaotic world. Does that sound cliche to you? That’s cool. It has become somewhat of a buzzword. But for me it has been such a breath of fresh air. Good writing and good words that are tangible. Through her network and contributors I have been so inspired and encouraged. Fodder for new thoughts. I need new thoughts.
Emily P Freeman: Her newish book, A Million Little Ways is gold. Gold! It is not a one time read. It is a “dog-eared, underlined, highlighted, water stained, stuck in the bottom of my purse” kind of book. She blogs here.

.- Eddie Wadsworth: Especially her first podcast. She has also revealed that she is working on her memoir. I’m pre-pre ordering it. No, you can’t do this (maybe you can?). I just would if I could.

NOW. Here are a few books I have YET to read but are on my list.
Clutterfree with Kids
– The Devil Takes Visa
All the Money in the World
Wendell Berry’s poetry