Category Archives: Being Grateful…

Monday Musing… I am Sooooo EXCITED!!!

It’s Mardi Gras season here in New Orleans.  In fact Mardi Gras is tomorrow and I am sooooo EXCITED!! And its not because I will be participating in all the festivities.  I used to LOVE hanging out for Mardi Gras.  It was one of my favorite holidays. Yes… in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is an official holiday with three days of school closings and more.  Normally I would be getting geared up for some fun. Instead, this year, I am preparing for the launch of my newest webinar series The Birth Plan Myth Extended!  And I. Am. Sooooo EXCITED!

The vision for this series came to me almost two years ago and FINALLY it’s coming to fruition.  I give thanks and I invite you to join me as I launch this prenatal education series on March 6.

I have had over 19 years working in hospitals. I have worked as a nurse-midwife, a labor, antepartum and postpartum nurse and today I work as a clinical educator providing training to nurses nationwide on the use of the newest models of electronic fetal monitors.   In each of my roles, I have worked in small rural hospitals, large tertiary care centers and every type of facility in between.  I have seen and spoken with so many women who have gotten so close to the birth experience they wanted, but still no cigar.  (As an important aside… there should be no smoking during pregnancy 0_o)

I have seen woman after woman come to the hospital, seemingly educated and empowered, yet still uninformed about what happens during a hospital birth.  I’ve seen countless others come to the hospital completely uninformed, and subjected to mistreatment and manipulation.   These experiences motivated me to create The Birth Plan Myth; a missing ingredient in the gumbo pot of Mother Friendly Care.

The Birth Plan Myth was created as an alternative to the typical prenatal and childbirth education available to pregnant women and families.  It was created as a tool to be placed into the bag of childbirth educators and doulas. It was created to give women, families, birth workers and birth advocates a unique insider’s view to what happens on the labor and delivery unit during a hospital birth. It was developed to help you navigate the maze of modern day maternity care.

I have been given a lot of information over the years and I want to tell you what I know.  I want to give you what I have.  I want to share the TRUTH of hospital birth that I have inside of me so that women can be free to birth when/where/and how they want to.  When it comes to hospital birth, it seems like women are showing up to a formal event in a pair of shorts and flip flops.  I don’t have all the answers, but I believe women deserve to know what really goes on.  I have an intense passion and a genuine desire for women and birth workers to be armed with the skills they need.  It is this passion and desire that gave birth to The Birth Plan Myth Extended.

The BPM 6-part Series

The Birth Plan Myth Extended is a 6-part webinar series consisting of two calls each month beginning March 6, 2014.  If you can join us live you will have the opportunity to participate in the question and answer segment. If you have to miss a call, don’t worry; recordings will be provided after each part of this series.

I hope you will make plans to join me. You can learn more and register here.  Want to get a glimpse of what will be shared in the series? Join me Wednesday, March 5, for a FREE preview call. Just make sure you register BEFORE the series begins so you can receive a FREE Sista Midwife Productions signature Birth Something Beautiful t-shirt!  Now do you understand why I am so excited?!  🙂

Are you pregnant or planning a pregnancy?
Are you a Doula, Birth Advocate or Childbirth Educator?
Are you preparing to birth in the hospital?
Do you support women who birth in the hospital?
Are you fed up with stories of women having traumatic births?
Have you taken a childbirth education class and still have questions about what REALLY happens on a hospital labor and delivery unit?

If you answered yes to any of these questions
The Birth Plan Myth – Extended is for YOU!

During this series, we will:

*  Discuss the biggest myths about Birth Plans and what you need to do to be empowered with or without one.

*  Help you understand the importance of creating a personal birth philosophy and vision for your birth.

*  Teach you ways to communicate with providers that will diminish anxiety, and increase confidence while helping to get the information needed to make informed choices.

*  Discuss the difference between informed consent and informed refusal.

*  Give you a more in depth understanding of common medications and interventions, including what they are, when and why they are used and what you can do to minimize risks even if you don’t want a “natural birth.”

*  Explain the most common procedures performed on a newborn so you can make an informed decision about accepting or declining these routines.

I am VERY excited about this series and I really hope you will make plans to join me. This series will bring a perspective like none other before.  I have been planning this for a while and I am about to explode with excitement!   During this series I will be honest. I will hold nothing back.  I will provide evidence and give you details of what I know from working inside the hospital system for over 19 years.

Register BEFORE the series gets started on March 6th and receive an SMP signature Birth Something Beautiful t-shirt.

This series is separated into 3 parts.
Part I is called The Myth Explained.  These two calls are designed to give you more understanding about why birth plans don’t work. We will discuss in detail ways to communicate with providers and give you the questions to ask that will give you the answers you need.   We will talk about how to research providers and hospitals and give you examples of how to write a birth letter instead of a birth plan.

Part II is all about interventions. We will discuss the some of the most common interventions used in hospital birth including Induction medications, epidurals, internal and external fetal monitoring, and more.  We will discuss the risks and benefits of these interventions and help you understand how to minimize risks when an intervention becomes necessary.  We will cover informed consent and informed refusal and I will discuss the realities of hospital birth while giving you suggestions on how to “pick your battles” so that your birth space can remain sacred and you can avoid birthing in a battle field.

During the final part of this series My Baby and Me, we will discuss in detail the most common newborn procedures performed in the hospitals. I will provide you with information about why they are done, and tell you what the current research says about them.  I will give you a peek inside the newborn nursery and tell you what can happen when you decide not to “room in” with your newborn.  The series will end with a call that will give you the keys to creating an empowered birth.

Want to know more??
Get a sneak peek of the information I will be sharing during this series.  Join me Wednesday at 1PM OR 8PM CST for a FREE preview call as I give you a glimpse into this series.  During this preview call I will give you a few nuggets from each part of the series that you can put into action now!!

The Birth Plan Myth Extended is going to be a dynamic series.  I am proud and excited to be able to share this information. If you find this is not for you please forward this email to someone you know can benefit from the information I will be sharing.  I encourage you to get registered TODAY.  As an added incentive, if you register before the series begins, you will receive a signature Sista Midwife Productions, Birth Something Beautiful t-shirt.

I look forward to hearing you on the call!

In Birth and Love


Monday Musing – The Universe Conspires

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Paulo Coelho ~ The Alchemist

yes, Yes, YES…. I love it when the universe conspires in my favor! I think it happens more times than not for most of us and yet we don’t receive it because we shift the universal energy in another direction and before the blessing can fall from the sky, we send our lives on a detour away from our dreams without even knowing it. Let me tell you what I mean.

The other day I was texting with a friend a number of wonderful things happening in my life right now.  One of the texts I sent said… “The universe is conspiring in my favor and knowing that the window only stays open for so long I know I have to slide through it while it is open…”  While that IS the text that I sent, what I was about to send was a text that said… “The universe is forcing my hand…” Fortunately, before I could send that message, I realized that THIS statement/text  could have, in an instant, blocked my blessings for many years. This same type of blocking, self sabotage may be happening to you.  Why was I saying “forcing my hand?”  The things happening in my life are wonderful things I have wanted, envisioned, prayed about and meditated on… and now I wanna say I’m being forced?? Seriously??  The nerve of me!! LOL

I am certainly not a “Secret” guru nor a great student of the Law of Attraction but let me say this… No one,  and I mean NOBODY can prove to me that the laws of the universe, including the Law of Attraction are not in affect for us, ALL of us, all the time. The Universe does, and will continue to conspire for us in our favor bringing to us what we ask for and affirm, no matter if its “the Universe is conspiring in my favor”  OR  “the Universe is forcing my hand.” The latter sounds a lot less pleasant sending a message to the universe that I don’t like it and don’t want it.

“I remember the point in labor when I knew I just had to LET GO…”
I hear this all the time. Women who are having an empowering un-medicated birth often will say in that moment of realization, when they let go of  controlling the outcome, and shift to having faith in things happening the way they have envisioned it… That’s a beautiful space to be in and that’s when Birth… Magic… Blessings happen.

Whew… I’m happy I changed that text message :-).  It can be a scary, revealing, empowering, exciting, spiritual, transformational, thing to experience the truth of the Universe….  When we Let Go and Let God… things happen in our lives and we move into the space to “Birth Something Beautiful”

Wanna know what has me so excited right now?? Check out this information about the upcoming Birth Herstory (#BirthHerStory) conference.

From the official website: “Birth Herstory is a FREE online annual conference uniting women of colour in celebration of Black History Month.  Join us on the Full Moon Monday February 25th 2013 and be inspired to grow and learn from one another in the area of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and motherhood!

13 amazing women have committed to sharing their expertise in a wide range of subjects all centered around mothering the beautiful woman of colour! Hear speakers such as Shafia Monroe, Nicole Deggins, Darline Turner, Kimberly Seals Allers and Latham Thomas share their best secrets to empower you to create the journey to motherhood of your dreams!

If you want to feel inspired, get information your care provider may not provide, feel like you are understood, and be part of this amazing community…then sister you’ve got to join us!”

This type of conference… featuring Black women talking about birth, sharing wisdom, and giving birth love…. I always knew there was someone else who saw the same vision I saw and Tanya is her!! I’m so excited about this conference and I hope you will join it. While the conference is free you must register.

You can’t force birth. You can’t force the timing of your dreams, desires, and blessings.  All we can do is speak it, believe it, scratch that….  KNOW it and then put in the work towards it and when it is time… we have to take a step back, Let Go and Let Birth and in that space… magic happens.


Wordless Wednesday – Giving Thanks for a New Logo!!!!!!

Join the Movement – 30 Days of Gratitude

I woke this morning earlier than I usually do when I don’t have to be anywhere in particular in the morning. In fact today I don’t have to be anywhere until 5:30PM. I could say I woke early because I have lots to do but there are ALWAYS lots to do in my life. I can honestly say this morning I bounced out of bed (well almost LOL) and for those of you who don’t know me…. I will claim to be anything but a morning person so for me to almost bounce out of bed at 6:50am when I didn’t have to be out the door by 7:30 is remarkable. 🙂

I got out of bed, did my zombie walk to the bathroom and realized that while I have been moving forward getting adjusted to a new life, with lots of new personal responsibilities, and moving forward with planning my business launch, I have been neglecting my online life, among other things, and figured today I would do some “catching up” if possible. I haven’t been on twitter with any regularity since the ICTC Conference, nor had I posted on my FB page. In fact my FB page is prompting me to post something…. anything!! LOL I logged into my blog this morning and realized I had not blogged since SEPTEMBER… That’s certainly no way to grow a blog!!!

Instead of getting all worked up about it, I decided to close my computer down, do some meditation, and give some prayers of thanksgiving. I gave thanks for a lot of things, for the people in my life. The ones I like and the ones I don’t like. The unexpected blessing I got when I was guided to use, the opportunities I have in front of me, the continual confirmation from all directions that I am being divinely guided. I gave thanks for the new relationships growing in my life and the renewed relationships. I gave thanks for the money that is flowing into my bank account easily and freely even as the balance appears to be shrinking. I gave thanks and felt FAB and then logged into twitter and once again Darcel over at Mahogany Way Mamma has inspired me to write. Her post today was about creating 30 days of gratitude.  About starting TODAY giving thanks for the lives that we have. She invited us to join her in blogging thirty days of gratitude.  I can certainly say I am happy and extremely grateful this day and decided to join her in her 30 days of gratitude. What about you? Can you spend the next 30 days focused on what is good in your life? Can you take a moment from each day and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings in your life both seen and unseen.

A few years ago a started a section on my blog titled Being Grateful and I had plans to write something for this blog category on a regular basis but I checked this morning and see I haven’t posted anything here since January. I have certainly said prayers of thanksgiving but never took the time to blog about them. I went back to read some of the old post and will be sharing some of them and some new ones here over the next few weeks. I won’t promise that I will write a post everyday but I can certainly, as Darcel points out, start TODAY

” I am showing gratitude for this day, November 1st, 2012. It’s all I have right now. I can’t go back to yesterday and I’m tired of borrowing trouble from tomorrow.”

So how about it…. on this November 1st… Tell us….. What are YOU grateful for?

We’ve Been Called to the Mountain…

It has been MONTHS (October 2011)  since I helped organize the ICTC South East Black Midwives and Healers Summit. During the summit, I was unable to blog as I had intended. As a key organizer and M.C., quite frankly, I could not find the time or energy. After the summit, I had every intention of doing a series of blog posts and for a variety of reason it never happened.

After such a long delay, I thought I might never do a post about the summit at all.  As things would have it however, there was, and continues to be, a message from the Summit I feel compelled to share.

From day one of the summit, I knew we were in for a powerful weekend. During our opening ceremonies, Imam Mikal Shabazz brought us a message, one that, in my opinion, became the most important message of the entire summit.

He began… “This is a Summit, and not a conference… According to the dictionary, what is a summit? A summit is a place where the highest levels of leaders and officials gather… And when we think about a summit in the natural environment, a summit is the highest peak… and when you reach the summit you have accomplished something but what you have accomplished is not reaching the summit in and of itself but reaching the summit and then taking a look out into the horizon and seeing what you can see from the summit that will benefit others”

He reminded us that both Moses and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, were called to the summit… to the mountain top… and let us know that WE too had been called.  We sat at attention as he assured us, if there was any doubt that we had been called… “You are here, so that means you were called.”  And with that he asked… “Why are we here?? That’s something we have to reflect on. Many have been called, few have been chosen and YOU are here, and there is a reason why you are here.”  That set a powerful tone.  Yes we had been called and we knew we had a serious task ahead.

This message, this idea of being “called,” is not new to birth workers and it was reiterated the following day by Sula “The Doula.” She added another dimension as she shared a lesson she received.  Her teacher reminded her that as she accepted her calling, she must recognize her calling came with a window of opportunity. What are you going to do while that window is open he asked her? And she asked us the same question.

I was overwhelmed with emotion the entire weekend. Through the words of Imam Shabazz, Sula “The Doula”  and others, it was confirmed that I was walking on my path and my life is being divinely guided. On my 1.5 hour drive home I cried tears upon tears of joy and gave thanks for the revelations I received. I realized that have been called and my window of opportunity is NOW.

Recently, I had been challenging myself and trying to understand my role as a midwife. I have been looking, reading, listening, searching for a sign, direction, the perfect push to move me in the direction I was to go. There have been times when I felt like I was less of a midwife because I was not “catching babies.” This summit, with its many words of encouragement, and the revelations I received assured me that I was on my path. The summit gave me confirmation.

On the last day of 2011, I was literally on a mountain. I did not reach the summit of Haleakala but as I enjoyed the incredible views from the mountain, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, and I was reminded of the messages from October. I have been called, and I am humbled by the reality of what that means. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve women, to assist with the ushering in of new life. I know that as I continue on my path as a “virtual midwife” and pregnancy coach, as I continue in my role as the South East Regional Rep for ICTC, whether I work as a home birth midwife or hospital based midwife, all of these things allow me to serve… to be… to do what I have been called to do.

ALL of us, who do this work have been called. Are you a birth worker? If so, you too have been called to the mountain top. Have you accepted your calling?  We know it to be a calling. We know it to be a work of passion and humility. We know it to be a labor of love and I am honored that I have been called. I accept my calling and look forward to helping you Birth Something Beautiful in 2012 and beyond.

In Birth and Love

#GiveThanks for 2011… OR… Happy New Year!!

It’s December 31, 2011 and as the New Year arrives in every time zone in the United States, I will be on a plane in the air; Sleeping hopefully, on a red-eye flight to Chicago.  Sooooo I wanted to take a moment NOW to say have a safe, fun filled, blessed, New Year’s Eve celebration.

Twenty–twelve is going to be a FANTASTIC year.  I believe it. I have claimed it.  And it is so. We all have the ability to make it so.  Have you claimed your blessings for 2012??

If ever I was in doubt… 2011 showed me that yes, in spite of how things may look… The Universe does support me.  The Universe supports all of us! Two thousand eleven reminded me that perception is important and gratitude is essential.  #Givethanks for 2011.

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to work in Hawaii.  It made for a few VERY long days.  I also had some free time and actually survived the “Road to Hana” yesterday!Image

Whenever I spoke about my work trip to HI, I mentioned that I would be flying home on a red-eye flight on Dec 31st. I would often get the reaction “What!? You are going to be in flying on New Year’s Eve” and I am like “Yep… coming from HAWAII!!!!!!!!  “ They are thinking… what a boring way to spend the night. I am thinking…

How great is that?!!  Yep!!! Twenty-twelve is going to be a GREAT year to Birthing Something Beautiful!! It’s all in how you look at it. #Givethanks

Love, Peace, and Blessings to you and yours!!!  Happy New Year!!

~Nicole~  @SistaMidwife

Birthday Reflections…

So today is the day… 38 years ago I was born at 10:50 PM at Fort Shafter Hospital in Honolulu HI!!

Every year, around the time when December 31st rolls around, many people make “New Year’s Resolutions.”  In my adult life I have not been one of those people preferring to make my resolution/revelations/plans for the next 365 days as I reflect back on the previous 365 days counting from birthday to birthday. So today as I mark the completion of my 38th year on earth I reflect…

WOW! This past year has been a whirlwind… I left California for what I called a re-location vacation on my way back to New Orleans stopping to see many sights along the way (Biked across the Golden Gate, Sushi with an old friend in Montery, Wine Tasting in San Luis Obispo, Circque du Soleil in Vegas, Hoover Damn, the Grand Canyon, and then chill mode as I passed through New Mexico, and Texas to make it home safely.) It was GREAT and I did that about two months before my 37th birthday.  My plan was to move home to New Orleans, to re-group, get re-focused, and make a decision about my next journey.  I had some difficulty finding a job once at home and so I did a couple of short travel assignments before settling down in New Orleans in January.  I made a plan:  I will live in New Orleans for ONE year; as my 2010 birthday approached, I would re-evaluate things and make plans to make a new move by the end of the year.  If you have already been a reader of my blog you know that this year I have truly been in transition. While transition can be hard, I always embrace it because I realize that’s what life is… one transition after another.  I know that after transition comes the birth. I wondered what this transition meant and when/how/what/WHERE would I be birthing.  One thing I now know and have come to accept is that in spite of my prior “plans,” my “birth” will be happening right here in New Orleans! No moving for me anytime soon. “Sigh… breathe… Whooo sah… smile” and so it is!

As I reflect this birthday afternoon, the sun is shining, the weather is mild, I am planning the rest of my celebration and I am reminded I definitely have a lot to be grateful for. IMHO the best way to start any day is in thanksgiving. Right HERE, and right NOW, while the transition continues (its been going on for a year now LOL) I know the Birth is on the horizon and I am grateful. I am reminded today that I have GREAT friends and family (near and far) who remind me how much I am loved on a regular basis. It feels good to be loved ya know?! I am excited about this new blog of mine. It’s taking shape and things are taking off. I have new outlets, new ideas, and a renewed commitment.  With the closing of one door comes the opening of another and blessings abound if you look forward and open it!! And so it is with this new blog.

Professionally, I am looking forward to getting back into midwifery practice… I feel it coming soon. I was given a “provisional” license by Louisiana and I am in the process of finding a job. My book is slowly taking shape and my online prenatal classes will be re-launched as well!!

Of course there is my health, a house over my head, food to eat, the fact that I can breathe freely and have no unmet needs! God is Good!! I am grateful for all that is mine and all that is meant to be and all that is coming. I give thanks and praises and I am happy to be entering the 39th year of this journey called life.

One thing I reflect on each year is how much I want to continue to celebrate life. Life can be hard but that doesn’t mean we have to lie down and take a beating. Yes I have trials and tribulations,  and more importantly I also have triumphs and celebrations.  I want to focus more on the later.  Focus on DOING what is right instead of focusing what I may have done wrong. Focusing on where I am going and not where I have been.  Focusing on the new beginnings instead of the tired endings! That’s my new birthday resolution. When we change the focus of our camera lens we  just might find that the picture is more clear, more beautiful and there is so much more to see! Do you need to change the focus of your lens?

Thanks for joining me on my journey….