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about me, announcements, Arvigo, breastfeeding, forest bathing, Self-Care

Summer Thoughts

Summer seems to be inevitably winding down, even thought it’s really still just the first part of August. But that wee bit of realization that we want to hurry up and pack some fun into the days before school schedules and cold weather starts has me feeling reflective and maybe a little bit sad and weary. There never is enough time for all the fun to be had.

I was out of town the last part of July and the first week of August, in a decidedly remote location for the first part of my sojourn, for a retreat with other Arvigo® practitioners. Remote, as in, there was barely even a little bit of cell service, and there was no way I could attend to my business–phone reception was impossible, with only texts coming through occasionally, and email and social media unwilling to download with that bitty bit of reception. I didn’t even take any pictures, except for this one of Rosita Arvigo and me, which, technically I didn’t even take.

 

It was challenging and also blissful. Such is life–a little bitter with your sweet.

The gathering of Arvigo® practitioners was informative, fun, and nurturing, as I always find those gatherings to be. Rosita lead a shinrin-yoku or forest-bathing session for us. And while I struggle with the idea that we somehow need certified leaders to help us relax, it was a beautiful exercise in mindfulness. Three mindful hours in nature can have positive benefits lasting up to a week in terms of lowered stress hormones, blood pressure and blood glucose. As someone with a history of Lyme disease in myself and in my family, and with the penchant for attracting mosquitoes and other biting insects, relaxing in the woods is a tricky thing for me. But I got all covered in insect repellent, and headed out with my practitioner friends. It was a moving experience for me, and resulted in an unburdening of worries and stress that I didn’t think would really happen.

I rounded out my forest bathing by camping with my family for three additional days at Mirror Lake, near the Wisconsin Dells. Yep. No pictures. Just the after effects of spending 5 days disconnected from technology and connected with cool people.

I had some new professional photos taken in July. Unfortunately, the day was rainy, so “humid hair” will be on display in my professional pics until I do that again. I always feel awkward getting my photo taken, but I’m pretty happy with the ones from the session.

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A new testimonial was shared with me, on a day that was filled with sadness and grieving for another person. I love to hear your stories about how my ministrations have helped you, but you all should know that your kindness and positive encouragement helps me as well. Even if I don’t tell you in the moment, I treasure your cards, photos, and gratitude, and they are a healing balm for my heart and soul.

Appointments in Oshkosh have been booked pretty solidly for the first two months of them at Bartelt Holistic. Because the third Thursday is coming right up here in August, I have a few openings this month. I’m offering $25 off any Arvigo® session or lactation consult if you take one of the remaining spots on Thursday, August 16th, 2018. Call 920-659-0267 to book your appointment. Consultations for home birth midwifery care are always free, and I’d be happy to book that as well!

I’ve made a commitment to walk on October 6th for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and set a personal fundraising goal of $250. I want to give back to the community in as many ways as I can, and I have been touched and helped by the work of NAMI, personally and professionally. My 2017 summer began with the news of the loss of two beautiful souls via suicide, and my 2018 summer has been sadly bookended with two additional tragic losses. Many new parents struggle with feelings of sadness, isolation, and depression. The pain is real. I pray that all aching hearts will find comfort and peace, and that people find help and support when they need it. I hope that you might consider supporting the work of NAMI with a donation for the walk.

As always, I love to hear from you with stories of how your little people are growing, and photos, and questions. Keep in touch!

about me, announcements, community partnerships, postpartum

Some new things. . .

What is bringing you joy these days? Summer has been delightful, and feels so very fleeting, as we quickly approach the July 4th holiday.

We’ve been up to some good work in the last little while in the office and have some updates for you.

Hanna Donati is officially on staff now and will be doing some administrative work to help me to continue to provide excellent care for you. She also has her own doula business, and teaches private childbirth education classes. You will see her at some appointments and births; learn more about her here.

I’m really excited about a new partnership with Bartelt Holistic. I will be renting a room in their beautiful location in Oshkosh to see clients once a month. They are located in downtown Oshkosh, and I have a room there the third Thursday of the month, with limited times. I really hope that this helps clients who are driving from far away to have an option that is closer to them. Call now to reserve your spot for midwifery, lactation, or Arvigo® care appointments. They have a charming classroom space, and Hanna and I are percolating some ideas for that room–stay tuned.

Have a safe and happy 4th!

about me

An Anniversary

I meandered over to my LinkedIn account the other day, and found messages in my inbox congratulating me on my work anniversary. After briefly wondering just what anniversary LinkedIn was marking, I realized that I filed the first of my legal paperwork for my solo practice on April 13, 2017. It is indeed an anniversary.

Milestones tend to prompt some introspection, an inventory of the perhaps non-tangible ground that’s been covered. So, I’m taking stock of all that has transpired over the last year and more on my journey to solo practice.

I was part of a local partnership practice since 2009 that is very busy. Prior to starting that business in 2009, I was a student midwife for about a year and a half. I’ve been mostly on call, tethered to my phone, with my brain always imagining the scenario in which I have to leave any given situation in order to quickly get to a birth, for 10 years. It is always a joy, honor and privilege to attend a birth. I still feel excited to get the labor calls; and I take enormous joy in traveling to your homes, often under the secret cover of the night, to quietly help you to welcome your little ones into your homes and families.

But, for real, 10 years is a long time to live an on-call lifestyle. And, truth be told, I haven’t been so diligent about my own self-care. For years, I have run on coffee and random snacks, little sleep and not enough exercise, and more M&Ms than I should probably admit to. Though I love whole foods and no one has to coerce me to eat my vegetables, I was often too tired to prepare healthy food and relied on not-so-healthy restaurant fare. In 2016, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, plus adrenal stress. Of course I was.

The diagnoses prompted me to start cleaning up my act and attempt to manage the symptoms of overwhelming fatigue, body aches and pains, disrupted sleep, disrupted periods, depression and anxiety. Then in September of 2016, just a month after my diagnosis, my mother unexpectedly died. At the ages of 23, 20, 19, and 14, my kids lost their sole remaining grandparent; my husband’s mother had died just a little over a year prior. Everyone grieves in their own ways, and their stories are not mine to tell; suffice it to say, I felt throughout that autumn that my family and my life really were coming quite undone.

I knew that I couldn’t keep up the pace I was going, or the pressure of a busy practice with an unrelenting overhead, all while trying to heal my body, grieve, and be there for my kids and husband. My business partner and I began discussions about me selling my share of the practice, and I began preparing for a smaller, slower paced practice. That was all finalized on June 30, 2017.

Pregnancy, labor and birth have always been powerful metaphors for my life. It’s been 26 years since I was pregnant with my first born, but the giddy, excited feeling knowing that a whole little person is forming and going to be born is unforgettable. It was similar imagining a solo practice–purchasing new equipment, designing the logo, creating my own procedures, and reveling in all the spreadsheets. (I REALLY dig spreadsheets.)

But nothing is all giddy excitement. (Did your parents say, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt,” when you were growing up? That was a favorite of my dad’s, addressing a general air of chaos brought on by a household of six kids.) A new thing also brings worries, doubts, queasy stomachs, and a whole lot of hard work. I’ve had to self-talk some of the things I say to laboring clients in the middle of the night.

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“Just breathe”

“Take it one step at a time”

“You can do this”

“You are doing this”

“It will be so worth it in the end”

And you know what? It is worth it. A year on, I am delighted by

  • office mates who are filled with laughter and joy
  • a leisurely drive into the country to get to my office (it’s really not that far away, I promise!)
  • the opportunity to walk at the state park on my way to or from work
  • a slower paced practice, with time to soak all of you in, and hear your stories, and hold space for you and your babies
  • an opportunity to continue to support Heather on her way to becoming a midwife
  • a new assistant, Hanna, who is intelligent and excited and dedicated to the work
  • Arvigo® work being integral in my care
  • the opportunity to participate as part of the teaching team for two Arvigo® workshops since January
  • repeat clients who have followed me to the new place, whose kind words of encouragement and appreciation have meant more to me that you can possibly know
  • new clients–for home births, Arvigo® Therapy, and lactation consults–welcome! I am grateful for your business

The storms of life come and go. Labor lasts for sometimes seemingly endless hours. Eventually, we are delivered. Delivered into new time and space, a new sense of being, a new opportunity, a new soul to nurture and love. The stormy experience gets integrated into our beings, teaches us lessons that we can return to time and again, and helps us to create something beautiful in the present.

May it be so.

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about me

An invitation

It’s a lovely fertile June morning, and I would love to invite you to my deck for a cup of tea and a chat. I’m excited to hear your story, and to share some things I’ve learned with you as well. I’ve worked in the birth professions since 1997 as a doula and childbirth educator, and now as a midwife, Arvigo® practitioner, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I’ve raised four children of my own, so I have the perspective and experience that goes beyond academic training. I have a heart for new families and all that fertility, pregnancy, birth and parenting entails. Please share your stories in the comments, and I hope you will find some things here to learn, value, and take comfort in.

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about me

Office Space of My Very Own

I’m so excited that my office has come together so nicely! I won’t have to drag my things over to the massage therapist’s room, and run back and forth to get things for appointments any more.

sherwood office appleton midwife arvigo therapy ATMAT home birth green bay de pere neenah oshkosh menasha manitowoc relaxing treatment table exam table remedies libraryMy dear husband has graciously measured and drilled and nailed and helped me to hang the things on the walls. My sons have fetched and carried and helped me to move things around, and my daughter gives decorating and organizing tips and assistance. It really is a family affair to run a small business, and I’m ever so grateful for their love and support. I’m still missing one bracket, one screw, and a little bit of tidiness in my closet office, but all that will be remedied shortly.

Special thank you to Goza Works for your hard work and expertise.

To celebrate, I’m offering $25 off any single session service, such as an Arvigo® treatment or a lactation consultation, if it is booked into my calendar by 1/31/2018. The actual appointment can be after the 31st, but you need to book by the end of the month.

Oh, and you see those green and blue books? My latest project and offering is coming in March–stay tuned!

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