About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Shall We Offer You, Oh Christ?

Many years ago, in a church in the Boston area, I was asked to teach music to the children of the parish, to sing at the Christmas pageant. It was completely my decision about what Christmas carols to sing. I was poring through the options, and mourning the fact that, even though we have some of the best theology in our Christmas carols, they aren't very "singable" to the Western ear. And so it's left to the chanter to sing, rather than being sung by families and individuals whenever the fancy to sing Christmas carols arises.

And so, I decided to make an effort to change that in one small way. I took an Orthodox hymn and set it to the music for Oh Come, All Ye Faithful. I had the kids sing the known version, first verse, first, and then sing the two verses of the adapted nativity hymn. Here are the lyrics if you would like to sing it too!

What shall we offer you, oh Christ?
Who for our sake appeared as man?
Every creature brings to you a gift:
The angels, a hymn
The heavens a star,
The Magi, gifts
The shepherds, their wonder.

What shall we offer you, oh Christ?
Who for our sake appeared as man?
Every creature brings to you a gift:
The earth a cave
The wilderness a manger
And we bring a Virgin Mother.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Aaaahhhh....Big Sigh

I just finished my 28 page final exam for my intrapartum class! Drained, relieved, and happy but very mellow, I drove home. Saw a car with a bumper sticker. It said:

Support Midwives

and underneath? it said

Make Love

I laughed and laughed! Felt like convergence.

And now, I am done with this post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fall Term

School is beginning for me again! And on the same day as my kids go back to school as well. It'll be their first full school year. And it's the first term for me where I know the ropes, how to do protocols already, how the system works. I feel like I'll start already knowing how to do this thing this time and we don't have to take the time for all that introductory stuff. We can just get down into the nitty gritty of learnin' how to birth babies. I've already started in on my readings, and found some pretty hairy stuff.....we don't just focus on the plain-jane births, the births that are how births are supposed to be, but the areas that can present problems and how to head them off before they're problems, and deal with them when they are. And all the different variations on "normal" because, as all of you who have birthed a baby know, births don't go as you plan them. You can plan and plan and do all the things necessary to prevent certain things, and all the things necessary to keep things on track....but birth happens how it will happen, and no amount of planning will keep it from happening how it wants to. It's the knowledge of those things and the skills necessary PLUS the ability to watch and wait and let things play themselves out that make a midwife a midwife.

I've had a couple of births this summer, too, and a few more lined up. I've been working toward certification as a doula and I'm two births away! I've got those births lined up....so my certification is in sight! It's been kind of slow-going, getting the clients I need to certify, but now it seems momentum is rising (or could it be that freak snowstorm we had in December....?) and I hope to be able to build up a business of paying customers and do doula work to support myself. Because of all the work I can do right now to support myself, doula is the closest to my ultimate goal. I love the work of birth and being able to support each birthing mother in the work she needs to do.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where everybody knows your name

Hey, all, here's Elizabeth! Yes, I know I have sadly neglected this blog. I just could not have anticipated how busy and single-focused I'd be when I decided to go back to school at age 40, after 19 years of not doing anything remotely like school! It was a LOT of hard work, but very rewarding. I got my grades today--well, what passes for grades at Birthingway--a "Complete" for each class I took! I am just telling myself it's really acing all my classes. That may not be true but please humor me and let me have my delusions!

So, now that school is over for the term and I have two months off for summer break, I've been thinking about how to create a community for myself. I was married for almost 20 years and, as a married person with children, I've had a built-in social life. I have been at home with my family as a default setting, and perhaps would sometimes go out with friends, but if I didn't have other friends to fall back on I knew I could always hang out with my family. And now I don't have that as a default anymore. Yes, I still spend a lot of time with my kids....but I sometimes crave meeting with adult friends, people who I can be close with who are my peers. And I find that I don't know where to go to create those kinds of relationships. I'm sure it's a common newly-divorced dilemma.

I just went to a movie screening at a local (anarchist) cafe that shows some interesting movies--that was fun, and created discussion, but I wouldn't say I "met" anyone there that I could have a meaningful, ongoing relationship with. Where do people go to find friends? And how does one continue friendships with old friends after the divorce.....seems for some people it's awkward to continue being friends with one or the other, or even worse, both! For whatever reason.

I suppose a huge part of this is that I'm shy about forging new friendships. I always feel like people will think that I'm being too forward, or people won't want to spend a lot of time with me. Perhaps it's a very bad friendship experience I had a couple of years ago. I'd rather curl up in my cocoon and withdraw from the world than to call someone up and see if they want to get together. And then I'm lonely. And then, there's the other problem of people being so busy....and these lonely streaks seem to just come on strong all of a sudden. And then, of course, I crave company *right now*, and people are busy and can't get together.

Please, don't read this wrong--I really am not fishing for anything--I just know my own hang-ups and I would like some ideas from people who've been here before. Also, I just want to say upfront that I do not have any regrets about the decisions that Paul and I made. They were necessary and the right thing to do, and I am not pining for "the old days."

Any suggestions?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dooce again!

I don't usually post links to the mega-bloggers; I figure they get enough attention already. But this one post from Heather may have single-handedly turned around the economy of doulas and homebirth midwives! Go read here about Heather's story of labor, part one--really, just the lead-up to labor. I can't wait to read the rest--I'll post the link when it comes up.

Dooce on Natural Birth

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just hormones?

I am studying hormones in preparation for tomorrow's big final (plus a lot more things....) and don't have a whole lot to blog right now. But just now, in a little break from studying, I checked in on Dooce, who just gave birth to her second child. And she writes about what it's like for a new mommy of her second child. Oh, yes, all those raw emotions. If you've given birth to more than one child, you know. If you haven't....well, just go read, no matter.

Family of Four

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm here...

....but not for long. I am winding down on school work--just about to start on the last bit of homework before the end of term! And there will be a Very Long Test. The final for my core class is 31 pages long. That is not a typo! So, just to let you all know I am fine and busy with school and will (maybe) blog more in the summer. I have July and August off of school.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lovely Landmark Scooter Ride

Yesterday Maria and I did something we hadn't done yet (but have talked about since the fall)--we went on a long scooter ride just for the sake of taking a long scooter ride. We started out from her house in SW Portland and rode down to Lake Oswego, along highway 43 which is just gorgeous wooded roadway. We rode around the lake, looking for routes that would give us lake views, but also got a Lake Oswego homes tour in the process. (If you're not familiar: Lake Oswego has some gorgeous mansions, but we also stumbled upon shoebox-sized cottages.) We finally found the road where you can cross over the little inlets with lots of docks and it looks kind of like Disneyland.

There were so many good smells on the ride, which of course on scooter one can fully appreciate. Cherry blossoms, the heady scent of the conifers, and on our way back through the area around Tryon State Park, it was the damp cool mossy kind of smell. That was where the sky all of a sudden darkened and I thought we'd get poured on.....

But we made it to Maria's house just before the rain started. And then it poured!

This morning I looked at the speedometer on my scooter and saw that somewhere on our ride, I crossed over to 3000 miles on Dora. I have enjoyed having Dora even more than I thought I would! In March, after getting through most of the winter weather, I sold my car. Dora has been just what I needed to get over the hump of needing a car/wanting to go carless.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seems like a long time...

...since I posted here. So much has happened--or rather, just a lot of school has happened. I am really loving it, and unsure of how much I'm going to be able to post here, as I'm busy reading and going to school. I am learning a lot already--and I have begun posting on my birth blog about what I'm learning as it pertains to pregnancy, birth, midwifery, etc. So if you are interested in such things, check it out!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It Is Starting...

My midwifery course, that is! I am attending the first day (half day today) of orientation wherein we will learn about non-violent communication, which is the model they use at Birthingway. Tomorrow we'll be learning about the school and how it functions, policies, library use, the citation method used at Birthingway, etc. and will have a community potluck lunch! And on Tuesday I begin classes! Woohoo! I'm looking forward to every minute of it!

And now, I still have a bit of reading to do before Tuesday....and not enough time to do it unless I crack down. Okay, I do have enough time, it just doesn't feel like it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rockin' Chickens

Several weeks ago, our hens got scared by a possum in the henhouse. They are very dramatic when this happens--the one who is being chased loses a bunch of feathers and you can see them *everywhere.* It makes it look like someone's a goner for sure....when the hen isn't even as much as scratched. As far as I can find on the internet, a possum won't kill a chicken unless it is exceedingly hungry, but it will eat eggs. But the hens do not like possums and are always nervous around them.

After the possum came to visit they've been not wanting to go in the coop at night. Usually chickens are homebodies--when dusk falls, they are ready to tuck themselves in and go to sleep. They like their home and are creatures of habit. But now they've been roosting in other places: on top the fence and on top the support between the porch canopy and garage. We've had to go out and retrieve them manually and put them inside every night. Sometimes I can get out there right at dusk and lure them in by sweet-talking them and tossing a bit of feed into the coop.

But the other night Carissa and her rock band were practicing in the garage. (Yes, it's true: we have a true garage band in our midst!) And I went out there to try to lure them in....and found four already in and two loitering by the door ready to go in. I had no idea that chickens liked hard rock music! But they went right in without a fuss. :-)

Come see Carissa's band, Pyroclasm play this Friday (March 20) at Audio Cinema, which is located at 226 SE Madison (under the Hawthorne bridge) at 6 pm. The $5 fee goes right to helping more girls make screamy music.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Zac's new blog!

Zachary wants everyone to know that he has a new blog. Zac definitely has a sense of humor. His blog is called Son of a....Priest?

Go visit and say hi!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Butterfly Birth is now live! Go check it out! Pregnant mamas, especially. For now it's all about my doula services (and Blessingway services too) but when I complete my midwifery training it'll be a website for that too.

Full credit where credit is due! My wonderful friend Maria is the creator of my website and she did a beautiful job. Thanks, Maria!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Is this....Portland?

It just doesn't know when to quit this year.

After our "Arctic Blast" in December, I figured that was enough snow for the whole year--heck, the whole decade. We were snowed in for two weeks and when we did get out by public transportation it was a nightmare.

But apparently the weather gods didn't think it was enough. I'm looking at huge fluffy flakes coming down fast and furious. It is beautiful. But I've had enough of the snow! I want warm weather back! It snowed yesterday too. We had our Sunday of Orthodoxy procession around the church yesterday, in the sleet. Fun times! It was okay until the very end when the wind started blowing and we all got cold. Paul even wore a kalimafki! (Shoot, I was going to link that to wikipedia telling what a kalimafki is, but I can't even find a definition on OrthodoxWiki. Ah, I did find one image of a priest wearing one.) He hasn't done that since we lived at St. Nicholas Ranch and he was showing the cultural Greek stuff to Elderhostel guests. He wore it to keep his head dry.

(Magpie--I thought of you during the service, that I should have warned you to watch for weird stuff happening at the church across the street from you! We were doing the weird stuff, too.)

Well, it is supposed to be sunny for the rest of the week, and in the 50s even. Can't wait for our perfect Portland summer.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love It!

Baby Blues addresses the functionality of breastfeeding. :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Doula Website!

Tada! I have a new website! It's for my doula services and eventually I can add my midwifery services to it. It's not much yet, but it's mine and it's up! Check back to see updates. :-)

Butterfly Birth

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beginnings, begun

I had no idea when I posted my Endings and Beginnings post that I'd get so much attention!  The first day it was up my blog got 133 hits, and the next day was well over 200!  My numbers remain at least double of what they were pre-divorce.  Huh, I guess the way to get people to visit your blog is to do something extraordinary!

Clergy divorces are big news.  I'm told that my blog is the talk of our Metropolis (like a diocese) and perhaps even of the archdiocese.  I didn't make this announcement in order to gain popularity, but you are all welcome to check in here!  Seems like clergy divorces are usually messy and one partner was very hurtful to the other and it causes a huge scandal and he who was set high on a pedestal is now brought down low into the mud.

First off, I want to say that I am doing very well.  We are a week into the "rearrangement" and it's gone fine so far.  I am happy.  Yes, I am HAPPY!  It's been a little disconcerting to me how many people expect me to be sad, upset, angry, even distraught.  Yes, there are moments of sadness and anger.  But mostly I am happy.  

I wonder: is it a *bad* thing for people to remain friends when they divorce?  It seems that some are upset that I am happy and that Paul is happy.  We can't just look at this for what it is, decide that we have grown apart, and decide to move on?  Would it be better if we were at odds, always fighting, and became enemies?  I get the feeling sometimes that some are looking for someone to blame.  One of us must be to blame, right?  Well, no.  We both share "blame" if blame must be assigned.  But mostly, no, we don't assign blame and are content to leave it at "we grew apart."  We just aren't the same people anymore and we don't fit in a marriage anymore.  But hey, we still make great friends!  

I just really, really think this way is so much better for all involved than if we were fighting and hating each other and making life miserable for all those around us.  We still function very well as co-parents and I think the kids do appreciate that.  I would be eaten up by guilt if I felt like we were ruining our kids' lives by being enemies.  

In all honesty, we did have months of fighting.  We had a very difficult year.  We did our misery, and the kids did get dragged into it.  But now, we are no longer in that space and I am so very glad.  
In other news, my student doula practice is finally starting to pick up.  I have a doula partner and we are attending one birth,  a woman who is due this Sunday, and we're talking to another tomorrow about her birth.  I'm so excited to be back into the birth scene!  It's one of those things that has been suppressed in me for so long.  I was very interested in birth after Carissa was born and the power of birth just washed over me.  Even more so when Zac was born at home--then I saw homebirth as even more empowering to women.  And I wanted to enter that world, to help other women to have an empowering birth, but I had two small children, so that dream was put on hold.  I am so glad it's no longer being put on hold!  On the flip side, I'll need to get used to long wakeful nights.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

I think it's time that I shared here something deeply personal that's going on in my life. Many of you who are local have probably already heard the news: Paul and I are getting divorced. And you know what? It's not the end of the world. I have always regarded divorce as pretty bad news, but I am seeing our divorce as part of each of our personal growth and commitment to living authentically. We are not the same people we were when we were 20 and 21--well, we are the same people, but those two people have grown and changed and grown and changed some more. I always said that it's amazing that we've always grown *together* when we've grown and changed....and that was true, until it just was not true anymore.

We still love each other and plan to remain very close friends. We will be co-parenting our children. We will still be sharing life to some extent. Paul calls our new relationship "rearranging". And it's true: we are rearranging our lives, but we will still be close.

The kids are doing all right. They took it hard at the beginning but are doing all right now. I move out on Friday and I expect it will be hard on all of us for awhile.

Paul plans to continue to be the priest at Holy Trinity. But I will no longer be presvytera (title for a priest's wife). I am planning on taking a break from parish life for a time, as I don't think anyone there needs me in their face right now. But I do hope to go back at some point. I think we all can learn from each other and help each other along the path.

I will be sharing bits and pieces when I'm ready of what this journey is for me. I hope you will travel this path with me.

Doula Services

I'm hanging out my shingle to let you all know that I am offering doula services now. And if you're one of my first five clients, you'll get those services for absolutely free! No, there's no catch or gimmick. I am currently a student doula and working toward my certification, so I need to attend five births before I'll be qualified for certification. So help me out! If you live in Portland, OR (or the vicinity) and need a doula, or are curious about a doula, and you're pregnant, give me a holler! Please email me at elizadoula@gmail.com.

I'm on track to attend midwifery school in the end of March. One of the prerequisites to entering the program was a labor doula workshop, so I thought it would be a good idea to begin to work in the field now. I'm so excited about my classes! I sent off my registration yesterday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breastfeeding is Normal

Recently I've been outraged to hear of the Facebook policies that say that pictures of women breastfeeding are "obscene." There is nothing obscene about this very natural way of feeding babies--milk begins to be produced as soon as a baby is born. And we should ignore this natural resource? Not a chance when it has been proven over and over that breastmilk is the absolute best thing for babies to eat. Formula does serve a purpose, but we should be holding high this very natural and beautiful way of feeding babies. (I think I'm preaching to the choir though!)

I was just made aware of this youtube. It's a snippet of Sesame Street, from 1977. That Jim Henson! We were very pleasantly surprised when re-watching Muppet Shows with the kids (like the "Why Can't We Be Friends" sketch) at his prophetic nature for the times he was writing. Here you can see a very simple explanation--and demonstration--of breastfeeding.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Have I told on here that Hibiscus no longer wants to be called that? She is going back to her birth name. Which I am not unhappy about!

We went on a little hike today with our homeschool co-op and a friend caught Carissa on camera. Just had to show off what a gorgeous young lady she is growing into!Link

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I, Elizabeth, on my 40th birthday, have been accepted into the midwifery course of my dreams! Whoopie! I am so excited! What a GREAT birthday present!

A Couple of Great Youtubes

What can I say. It's my 40th birthday, so indulge me!

There's a bunch of other great videos from Advent Conspiracy on Youtube but I'll let you find those yourselves if you are so inclined. :-)

Happy 2009, everyone! I'll be eating New Year's Cookies tonight for my birthday.