Saturday, June 27, 2015

Haiti 2015

It's official! Glen and I have set the date for our third trip to Haiti, in support of Midwives for Haiti. We will be in Haiti September 19th-26th.

As with our previous two trips, we need and value the support of our family, friends, and community. We appreciate all forms of support- encouraging words, prayer, monetary gifts to help purchase supplies, gifts of comfort items for ourselves to use while volunteering (hand sanitizer, snacks), medical supplies, and basic baby items made into gift packs to hand out during mobile clinic (well as for the families who come to the hospital with nothing) including: a onesie, hat, pair of socks, baby blanket, and cloth diaper.

The single most important factor in ensuring a safe birth for both mother and baby is having a access to care with a skilled birth attendant. While we struggle here in the United States with decreasing the rate of (unnecessary) intervention, there are women and babies dying due to that they do not have the most basic of intervention- a skilled birth attendant.

Please support us as we support Midwives for Haiti in their work to end preventable maternal and infant mortality. All donations may be brought to Integrated Women's Wellness & Center for Birth, now through September 14th. A list of specific needs will be posted and kept updated on a separate blog entry.

With Thankfulness,

Tara Elrod

Friday, June 19, 2015


Last night after a birth- like after most births I attend- my husband sent me a text that read, "Good job." We had just had a calm, gentle waterbirth, and welcomed a new baby boy.

I'm not sure if my husband's words of praise are a thoughtful effort on his part to lift me or encourage me (no matter how 'easy,' uncomplicated, normal, or short a birth may be, the demands of what it is to be a midwife never change), but he makes sure to share this small praise with me often.

"I didn't do anything," I responded. Truly, this woman required very little of me. I was with her in my simple presence of just Being. My work included monitoring her baby and ensuring the normalcy of what was already naturally occurring.

A conversation stemming from his "good job" ensued. 

"You obviously did do something.  She got there at a great time in her labor, she had a good birth, no complications...You obviously had some part in orchestrating that." Yes, yes I did. But I know that we both already know that. And I recognize who did the most important work (not I). Should I be boastful? Should I be prideful? There is a difference with having pride and being prideful.

I drove home at 2:30 am, the Alaskan sky still glowing with light like the smoldering hot embers of a campfire that continues to persist. I marveled in the beauty of  "summer birth" in Alaska, how easy it is compared to the dead darkness of the desolate winter. Tiredness doesn't cohabitate with Alaskan Summer, and at 2:30 am, it might as well have been 2:30 in the afternoon. I drove marveling over Pioneer Peak, while mulling over the value of Humility. When I got home, I quietly crept into my house, still light from the Midnight Sun and without need of turning on a light, devoured two cold pieces of pizza right out of the box that had sat there all afternoon and night. I crawled into bed beside my sleeping husband and baby, and further contemplated humility; what it means to be humble.

"Humility has nothing to do with depreciating ourselves and our gifts in ways we know to be untrue. Even 'humble' attitudes can be masks of pride. Humility is that freedom from our self which enables us to be in positions in which we have neither recognition nor importance, neither power nor visibility, and even experience deprivation, and yet have joy and delight. It is the freedom of knowing that we are not in the center of the universe, not even in the center of our own private universe." -David Wells

This speaks to midwifery and what I value in my heart.