RSS Feed

Category Archives: Products and Gear

Placenta What?

Posted on


Everybody’s doing it.

I’m not going to do a placenta promo in this post.  I’ve gone placenta fan-girl on this blog often enough to lose followers.

Besides, this magical place called the world wide web has plenty of information on placenta encapsulation.

No, today I’m giving a shout out to our community’s only certified placenta encapsulation specialist.

Kellyann Battista is a busy, busy bee!

A few months ago, my sister gave birth to her second child.  Kellyann arrived at my sister’s home the day after she gave birth to do the deed.

Now, let’s pause a moment and think about the deed.  A stranger is going to come into your home to steam, dry, grind, and encapsulate your placenta.

Awkward could be an understatement.

Truly it takes a special person to enter anyone’s postpartum space.  But guess what?  Kellyann makes such an occasion a delight.  Here is what my sister had to say:

Kellyann was professional, flexible, and thoughtful.  She brought me a cup of Mother’s Milk Tea and gave me a sweet card to congratulate me on Emmett’s birth.  She was very quiet and did her work without asking for anything from us.  She let us be lazy and focused inward while she did everything.  She brought all her own tools and appliances to prepare the placenta, took out all her trash, and cleaned up everything.

Are you thinking about encapsulation?  What you need to know:

  • Contact Kellyann early so get a space on her calendar.
  • Birth location doesn’t matter.  With the exception of Spartanburg Regional (It can be hit or miss there), hospitals accommodate families keeping their placentas.  They package it up in a very tightly sealed plastic container.
  • You’ll receive a very professional labeled bottle containing your capsules with complete instructions for use.
  • You won’t have to clean up anything.  You don’t even have to be at home while she works.
  • You can request flavored capsules so you can avoid any psychological heebie-jeebies about what you’re swallowing.  🙂

Did you encapsulate your placenta?  What were your reasons for doing so?



Private Childbirth Classes in Greenville

Posted on

Did you know I can come to your home for classes?

Reasons why a private childbirth class might be for you:

You won’t have to pay a babysitter.  Many of my private students schedule their classes during bedtime.  Or, her partner watches the kids while mom attends class in another room.  One couple I teach has the dad do the bedtime routine for the first hour of class and then join the mom for the second hour.

A group class is too far to drive.  Some of my private students hire me because they live in Saluda or Liberty or Pickens.  I understand.  I live far from classes, too!  Add up the cost of gas and a babysitter.  Maybe it equals the difference in cost between a group and private class.

You’re on bedrest or your immune system is compromised.

You or your partner are not comfortable in a group class.  While I pinky-swear that I make my group classes relaxed and non-threatening, I understand that some folks would rather talk about birth in private.

Your schedule is crazy or unpredictable.  I can be as flexible as you need with a private class.  Want to meet once every two weeks for a six session class?  No problem.  Need to reschedule at the last minute?  That’s fine.

Or it’s simply convenient.   Or you want to wear your jammies.  Or you want to learn by candlelight in the backyard.  

For whatever reason, know that this option is available!

Babylegs in the doula bag?

Posted on

When my girls were wee babes, I thought Babylegs were just for little legs.  They looked so adorable.  And sometimes the legwarmers were the only thing I could get Norah to wear.


We also used them as arm-warmers and in costumes.


I thought I was pretty clever when I packed them to cover Cedar’s airplane seatbelt so she wouldn’t escape and cause mayhem.

Babylegs are pretty versatile.  But why do I pack them in my doula bag?

For hospital births, most women are forced encouraged to get a hep-lock.  The hep-lock provides IV access in case of emergency.  I haven’t met a natural birther yet who loved her hep-lock.  In fact, at many births, the birthing woman complains more about the hep-lock than anything else.

It’s usually placed in a spot that is uncomfortable during the poses a natural birthing woman chooses.  It might be in the bend of the wrist.  Sometimes it snags on things as the mom moves.  And it is very visible to the mom.

I’ve known more than one birthing woman to rip out her hep-lock and throw it across the room in a blaze of glory.

Babylegs are perfect for sliding over the hep-lock and keeping it out of sight/out of mind.  It keeps it from snagging on things.


Has anyone else found creative uses for their Babylegs?

Swept away

Adoring: My husband who brings home the bacon and looks so dang hot when he leaves for work in the morning.  Also, he and Norah love to sing Swept Away by The Avett Brothers.  I cry quietly imagining her wedding, dancing with her daddy, and getting all crazy sentimental.

Listening to:  A podcast about fecal transplants.  Oh my word.  And people get all worked up about placenta encapsulation??

Proud of: Norah.  She learned to crochet and began wood-carving last week.  She also made another bat house and hiked to the top of Table Rock.


Never Leaving Home Without:  my phone.  I’m back on call.

Appreciating:  the flexibility of my days.  It could change tomorrow but for now, I appreciate that I sleep until 8am many mornings.  I can call a play day like I did today instead of doing school with the girls.  We school year-round to allow for that.  I’ve never enjoyed routine and, for now, these days are satisfying.

Nostalgic about: Josh Finch.  Scott and I have spent hours remembering our old co-worker.  That time he ran through the woods with a pocket-knife certain he was being chased.  That time he cried with me over Scott’s chainsaw injury.  That time he pulled me up when I was dangling off Kaaterskill Falls.  That time he ran through the woods with some shredded cheese certain he was being chased.  Oh Finch.  You are missed.

Reading: Eat Mangoes Naked, While I was Gone, Birth Matters for my Hypnobabies Recertification, and loads of poetry.  I just read The Poisonwood Bible for the first time.  That one messed me up in the way only a great book can.

Buying: Dr. Bronner’s Patchouli-Lime Lotion, Alba Sugar Cane Body Polish, and a new math curriculum for Norah.

Drinking: Numi Earl Grey Tea

Working on: long overdue birth stories for my clients.  And taxes.  And projects for Upstate BirthNetwork.

Wishing: I was finished with my taxes.

Giddy about: My sister will be home in just a few months!!!  She’ll be in my kitchen complaining about how I forget to turn on lights.  We’ll take our kids to the park.  I’ll help her through re-entry culture shock by feeding her chocolate and ice cream.

Feeling:  Energized and happy.

photo-20Missing:  Vermont.  And the dear ones who live there–like that sleepy fellow on the right.  And the fact that they have recycling containers at the gas pumps.

Grumpy that: I need to make a decision about a homeschool co-op for next year.  I’m not ready.  I like our current program but it is pricey.  With a program that costs less, I’ll have to volunteer more but I’ll have more money to spend on extra-curricular programs.

Decisions.  I hate them.

Review of Cloth Diapering Trainers

Cedar has been (daytime) diaper-free for some time now. I had intended to do this review and, well, procrastinated.

First, some history.

Norah learned to use the potty like a dream. I didn’t do anything. We never used a little potty, training pants, or strategy. We never read potty books or watched DVD’s. She turned two and decided she’d had enough. C’est fini.

Lots of parents asked me how to potty train and I confidently responded, “they just do it when they’re ready.” This information was based on my case study of ONE.

With Cedar, I tried half-heartedly to do elimination communication. I stared into her baby blues watching for her “cue” while she stealthily pooped in my lap. Great bonding time. After dropping out of EC, I provided her with a little potty. At 16 months, she used it! Nice. Just like I remembered.

And then she never used that potty again.

Her two year birthday came and went. We had the big trip to Asia coming up and I decided she simply must be diaper-free by then. It is tough for me to admit but I checked out one of those “potty training boot camp” books from the library.

After dropping out of potty-training boot camp, I dealt with cloth diapering in Asia. Then I simmered down and let her “just do it when she was ready.” Guess what? She did.

I tried training pants this time around. I’m not sure it made a significant difference. I tried a bummi’s, flip trainer, and grovia trainer.

Bummi’s: This one did not get points on cute factor. It was huge and bubbled out around Cedar’s trim bum. There was no way this thing was going under pants. It would have to be for skirts and dresses. I bought a medium. Maybe a small would have been trimmer but I’m not sure the elastic would have been comfortable. This diaper takes forever to dry. I liked the flannel lining that would let her feel wetness quickly. Leaks were contained. I still use it–at night of all times–with an extra liner. I got it on sale and so, for the cost, it is fine as a nighttime diaper.

Flip Trainer: The flip trainer is an adjustable cover that comes with five organic inserts. The diaper can be pulled down or snapped apart. I liked the snap apart feature for the few times she pooped in them. A poop accident in a trainer that can only be pulled down? No thank you. It has adjustable snaps for sizing. The problem I encountered was fitting her skinny legs. I think the cover was so light and the inserts so heavy that it increased the leg leak factor. When I stuffed it with a BG microfiber insert, it worked much better. Cedar did have some trouble pulling the flip back up when she used the potty. Because the insert is on the outside (to feel wetness, I get it) and because I had the cover so snug to prevent leaks, the insert sometimes shifted as she pulled the diaper back up. The inserts require extra drying time. But, I still use it–at night of all times–with an extra liner. I bought mine used and so, for the cost, it is fine as a nighttime diaper.

IMG_1250Grovia Trainer: This trainer is darling. It won me over when I saw how trim it looked. Cedar was easily able to pull it up and down. The Grovia material is, in my opinion, the cadillac of the cloth diaper market. The core is a hemp/cotton blend which makes it fairly absorbent. It has a pocket for additional stuffing and I found the flip trainer inserts fit perfectly for nighttime. The big complaint, however, is the size. Cedar is small and she can no longer fit the trainer. She says it is too tight. Grovia offers extender tabs that snap in but with a trainer that already carries a hefty price tag, who wants to spend anything else? Also, if you have an early potty learner, the snaps can not be sized smaller. These diapers dry faster than the other two.

Bottom line: I’m not sure I’m sold on the whole concept of training pants. This opinion is based on my case study of TWO so what do I know? We’re all trying our best to figure this parenting gig out and, in the big picture, while potty-learning can feel huge; it’s really a tiny blip, a fleeting moment.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on potty learning or trainers.


Disclosure: I Love Natural Baby, a retailer of the above diapers, gave me a Grovia trainer when I was complaining about potty-learning in the store one day. The manager suggested I could write a review on the diaper. </e

Natural Baby Parenting Series

I’ve scheduled the next round of classes.  All classes meet at Natural Baby from 6pm-7:30pm.  The cost is per student/couple.  If you are a single mom or your partner cannot come, you may come alone or bring a friend/family member.  The cost is 20.00 per class or you may register for the entire series for 80.00.   To register for the entire series, please email or stop by Natural Baby.  Please rsvp for all classes so that I have enough swag and handouts.

Try to See It My Way:  “Why is my baby crying? Is this normal? I don’t understand what she is trying to say!”  Come learn about infant communication and cues. We’ll also discuss birth bonding, attachment theory, soothing skills, and finding balance. Plus lots of tricks for calm parenting. Babywearing lessons included!  This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.

Breastfeeding:  In our breastfeeding class, we’ll learn about the biology of breastfeeding.  We’ll discuss common issues, finding help through community resources, and returning to work.  Babies are welcome in all classes.  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class.

Now What?  The First Six Weeks:  The first six weeks can feel like a whirlwind of emotions and the learning curve may seem steep. Learn what to expect during the postpartum. For mom, we’ll discuss physical changes, healing from birth, and creating a postpartum plan. For baby, we’ll look at common issues such as jaundice and gastric changes. And we’ll learn about baby care basics, newborn procedures at the hospital, and vaccine choices.20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes

Sleeping Like A Baby:  *Yawn* Who came up with the phrase “sleeping like a baby” anyway? Learn about the physiology of infant sleep. We’ll talk about naps and nighttime parenting. And, of course, tips and tricks for getting restful nights for the whole family. 20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.
Having a Baby without Breaking the Bank:  Having a baby does not have to put a giant hole in your wallet! Learn practical tips for DIY, saving money, and what is safe to buy used. In fact, saving money can also be a sustainable and non-toxic choice. We’ll talk about creating a lean and green baby registry. What do you really need to raise a baby?  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming.  This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes.
Parenting the First Year:  Parents have many decisions to make the first year. This class will discuss solid-feeding, safety, teething, discipline, learning through play, and infant development.  20.00 per student/couple the night of the class. RSVP at the link to let us know you’re coming. This class is appropriate for parents-to-be or new parents. Babies are welcome in all classes

Grounding me

Posted on

Today, I celebrate 14 years of marriage.  Some days I feel I might fly off into wild dreaming.  Or sink down into slodgy worrying.  Or dissolve into puddles of tears.

Fall off the edge.

This man, with one look, holds me fast to time and place.  Grounds me.

A gift for him– a bracelet with the longitude/latitude of his marriage proposal.

Reminders of time and place.

*My friend, Jessica, crafts these bracelets and much more, at Motherhood Journey.


Posted on

I haven’t done one of these in awhile.

Adoring: my May clients. Two beautiful families. Their births will be extraordinary.

Listening to:

Proud of: my students and the amazing, outside-the-norm births they experience!

Never Leaving Home Without: My LifeFactory bottle filled with coconut water, chlorophyll, and lemons.

Appreciating: coffee

Nostalgic about: gluten. Oh how I miss it. I’ve been gluten-free for four whole days.

Reading: Little Women with Norah. The Easter Bunny is bringing her tickets to the musical.

Buying: Vitamins and herbs. This family is consuming some serious supplements of late.

Drinking: green tea. Trying to get three cups a day.

Working on: A new blog look. This one has long grown stagnant.

Wishing: Cedar would decide to poop on the potty. I threw away a cloth diaper the other day because I just couldn’t make myself clean it. Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone.

Giddy about: hmmm. I can’t think of anything. I need more giddy in my life of late.

Feeling: Heavy for my dear friend who will be sending off her Airman to faraway places.

Missing: my computer. It crashed last night. As much as I would like to say the iPad satisfies, it falls short in areas like blogging, creating Facebook events, creating documents, working with media files. I would like to insert a picture in this post. Alas, I don’t know how.

Grumpy that: my poor missionary sister in Cambodia gets to see Hunger Games before I do.

Planes, Tuk-tuks, Song Taus, Vans, Shuttles, Mopeds, Taxies, Boats,and KIDS!

Travel with kids is challenging.  And it is endearing!  Seeing experiences through their eyes is the best!  Here is a summary of travelling to Thailand and Cambodia with my 6 year old and 2 year old. 


For a few weeks before take-off, I prepared the girls.  We looked at pictures of the plane and I showed them what their seat would look like.  We practiced buckling up and talked about what take-off would feel like.  We gave them new bags and let them select special toys to pack.  I also prepped them for airport security. 

I stalked travel blogs and processed my fear with anyone who would listen.  Over and over.

I packed my Osprey bag o’ many pockets with everything I could think of:  healthy snacks, homeopathic remedies, changes of clothes, wet wipes, diapers, hand sanitizer, gum, ginger, peppermint oil, small trash bags, neck pillows, a few surprise toys, iPad loaded with WonderPets, trayblecloths, and every trick I could think of. 

Checking my bag one more time.  Can you feel my fear?



Departure security was a breeze.  We had to go through once in Atlanta and again in Korea.  The girls were champs.  I was thankful I read ahead of time that kids no longer need to take their shoes off.  I saw some parents dealing with kid shoes when they didn’t have to.  When we left Cambodia, Cedar got a pat down.  She was furious but complied.  The worst security was returning to Atlanta.  After going through customs, we had to go through security again (!! after we landed, grrr).  My foggy brain wasn’t on top of it.  I didn’t realize Norah had a bottled water from the flight.  She got into a screaming match with a TSA agent when her water was taken.  It was ugly.  Meanwhile, I inadvertently took a set of silverware (knife included) from the plane which made it through without notice.  I guess everyone was distracted by my 6 year old screaming. 

When we flew from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, Scott flew back to the US.  I failed to prepare Norah for this separation which happened rather quickly.  So going through passport control and security in Thailand?  Norah was crying and yelling, “I want my daddy.  Don’t take me from my daddy.  Daddy!!  Daddy!!  I don’t want to go with YOU!”  I didn’t think I would make it through with my apparently abducted child.  I was also afraid she was going to bolt when we had to walk through the metal detectors separately. 

The Flights

Except for the flight-we-will-not-speak-of, the flights were smooth.  I wasn’t able to sleep or relax and had to be creative to stay one step ahead of the girls, but I was happy.  The first flight I ever took my children on was 15 hours!  Where is my medal? 

  • I used a babyleg to cover Cedar’s buckle during take-off so she would be less inclined to unbuckle.
  • I removed the girls shoes right away to minimize accidental kicks to the seat in front of us.
  • I asked the flight attendant to disable the “call” button on Cedar’s controls.
  • I filled a prescription of Valium for my sweet husband.
  • I packed kid-friendly headphones for the girls and Scott packed a splitter so they could watch the same screen.

We also packed LIGHT.  No stroller or carseats.  Minimal luggage.  Smallish soft-structured carry-on bags.  I know many parents have to travel with gear.  I don’t think I would have managed that gracefully.   

Korean Air was amazing.  There was always a flight attendant walking around with someone’s baby or toddler.  They tried so hard to convince Cedar to go with them.  She wasn’t falling for it.  They kept the kids on a sugar-high which I wasn’t thrilled about.  Every time they saw a child, they offered candy/brownie/cookie.  An example of the kid’s meal:  corndog, spaghetti, potato chips, yogurt, juice, pudding, candy bar, brownie, bread/butter/jam, and tiny packaged snacks I didn’t recognize.  Even the breakfast meals looked like that.  It was astounding. 

Other brownie points for Korean Air: 

  • They were very much on “crying child patrol.”  If a child was fussy, they must be soothed at all costs.  Which meant, even if the seatbelt sign was on, I was encouraged to hold Cedar.  Children were allowed to break any rule. 
  • The toys they gave the girls were perfect.  Magnadoodles, aquadoodles, colored pencils, crayons, stickers, stencils, coloring books. 
  • There were video games, kids music, good movie choices, cartoons, and read-aloud books. 
  • Soft blanket, pillow, bottled water, slippers, toothbrush/paste, wet wipes, headphones in every seat.
  • Lots and lots of food and drink.

At one point, I thought “Wow, this is started to get really challenging.  We must be almost there.”  That is when I took this picture.  Yep.  Only half-way. 

The final return flight was the best.  Norah sat with my mom on a different row.  Cedar slept 10 of the 14 hours!  Of course, much of that was ON me which meant I didn’t get to move much. 


The time difference was 12 hours.  When we arrived in Thailand, jetlag only affected Cedar.  The first night, she stayed awake crying, “It NOT nighttime.  It NOT.”  In a bleary daze, I decided to give her half a melatonin that I’d brought for us.  She was asleep in 15 minutes.  So I used the melatonin for the first few nights. 

Coming home, the jetlag hit both the girls.  And for almost a week, they woke between midnight-3am asking for breakfast.  Ah well.  I just got up with them, poured cereal, and put a movie on.

They loved every type of transportation we tried.  I worried we would never get them buckled in carseats again! 









P.S. one of the strangest things I saw:  A woman with a newborn in a bucket-style carseat.  The baby was strapped in.  But the woman was carrying the carseat while riding on a moto.  The carseat was sort of dangling from the side.  A man was driving and a toddler was seated between them.  I’m not sure why she bothered with the carseat. 

Cloth Diapering While Trekking Overseas

Warning:  this post is more than many of you want to know about cloth diaper travel and my anxieties about it.  Feel free to skim.

I have some vanity issues. Once I’ve “never done” or “only ever” it is incredibly difficult to step out of my corner.  The principle of the thing, you understand.

Cedar had never worn a disposable diaper. Never. Not once. No disposable wipes either. And she’s two. When I realized she was not going to potty-learn before our big trip, I faced a dilemma. Do I attempt to exclusively cloth diaper or do I get over my vain self?

I seriously worried over this question. I didn’t make a decision until two days before we left for Thailand. My husband thought I was ridiculous and he was not excited by the thought of cloth diapers during a 24 hour travel day.

I also felt paralyzed by the choices on the diaper aisle! Sizing, design, print. It had been a long time. It took several trips to the store to work up the nerve to buy something. 

It’s ok. You can make fun of me.

I settled on seventh generation for the big travel days there and back. I tried one on Cedar. She immediately complained that she didn’t like it. It was too hot. 

Also, disposable diapers = once snug clothing falling off.

I put her in a disposable the night before we left and she wore disposables on the 15 hour flight, layover in Korea, 5 hour flight, and overnight in Bangkok.  And not surprisingly, she did not poop until we arrived at our hotel in Bangkok.  She is a die-hard private pooper.  As soon as we checked in (2am local time, 1pm our time), she hid under a cabinet to poop. 

My biggest complaint about the disposables:  when she had gas, the smell seemed to get stuck in there! Oh how it lingered. It also tricked me, and others around me, into thinking she had poop. Have you noticed people get gassy on planes?

The next morning began my hybrid cloth plan. I wasn’t sure what sort of laundry conditions I would face in Thailand. I knew most Asian toilets had a sprayer attachment but I didn’t know if there would be any laundry soap or facilities. I borrowed some gDiaper covers from my friend Erin. They are cloth covers with a waterproof layer inside that snaps out. For whatever reason, they fit Cedar better backwards. So she always wore them that way. Plus, Cedar loved these diapers because I told her they belonged to her little friend, Griffin. She called them “Gwiffin’s diapers.”  And Erin gave me permission to abandon any diapers that were beyond help, if you understand what I mean.  I didn’t have to.  

Here is a cute, trim gDiaper worn backwards:

I stuffed the gDiapers with the amazing Grovia BioSoaker. This disposable insert had sticky tabs so it stayed lined up perfectly with my little mover and shaker.  And oh my word, could it ever soak up!  When we woke up in Bangkok to continue our trip to the coast, she was wearing the cloth/disposable hybrid. Usually, I changed the BioSoaker before it leaked onto the cloth layer. The poop was contained. Yes! I felt wildly successful that the poop did not reach those covers. If I thought the waterproof pouch needed it, I could easily snap it out and rinse it in the sink. A few times, I sat on the porch with a big bowl and hand-washed the covers with the laundry soap we were provided. The sun dried them.  

I could live in a village. 

Did I mention I loved the Grovia BioSoaker? And that it kept all the poop (even Thai food poop) off the covers?

When we arrived in Cambodia, I switched to prefolds with the gDiapers. I knew I could borrow some of Asher’s cloth diapers if I needed extra. My sister had a washing machine and Charlie’s Soap. She only has cold water so I added a bit of bleach to the prefolds. And dried them in the sun. 

Of course, in the heat, it was tough to keep clothes on Asher or Cedar.

(Can you see the bald spot in Asher’s hair from the zhu zhu pet incident?)

Flying back, I skipped the seventh generation and went with the hybrid plan.  Again, no pooping until we were home and she could close (and lock) her bedroom door.

I arrived home with one BioSoaker and 10 disposables to spare.  I ran out of seventh generation wipes in Cambodia and had to buy more wipes there.  If I had to do it all over again, I would skip the disposables and stick with the hybrid/prefold combo. 

Also, changing a toddler’s diaper in an airplane bathroom = not easy.