for briana

Apr 26, 2011 by

Late Saturday night I found out that one of my friends had died that afternoon in a rollover accident on her way home to California for Easter. She was a fellow birth worker, a midwife, who spoke truth, loved deeply, and lived connected to people’s hearts. Briana took my phone calls late at night and listened with her whole soul. Briana’s presence on this earth will be greatly missed and I, along with many others, feel such a great sadness at the passing of this dear, dear young woman.

One of her midwifery clients made this video tribute about her…so lovely.

Briana Blackwelder from David Perry on Vimeo.

Thank you, Briana. Thank you for loving and living and listening and giving yourself fully to so many of us. You will be so missed.

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a quilt for natasha & jacob

Mar 29, 2011 by

Many of you read about Daniel passing away last week and the heartbreak all of us involved have felt. Daniel’s funeral on Saturday was incredibly moving. His extended family flew and drove in from all over the country to grieve together and to support Jacob and Natasha in the burial of their first and only child. The gathering of Jacob’s parents and siblings had a profound effect on me. It showed me what family can be. It showed me a picture of what I am trying to create in my own home. The closing prayer at the funeral was especially touching. Jacob’s brother, Nathan, pleaded with God above to comfort all the mothers who have lost a child or had to deal with an injured child. I sat in my pew and sobbed. Most of the time I am at peace with my ten children who haven’t made it into my arms, but Nathan’s words brought up all the pain again. After I was done sobbing for myself, I sobbed for all of the children and mothers and fathers who have been separated by death. I sat and cried for quite a while and let all of those emotions come out.

This life is not for the faint of heart. The grief we feel can be overwhelming at times. I want to take all the grief away, but I cannot, for it is part of God’s plan and it is essential that we experience the grief in order to know the joy.

I am grateful I have had the opportunity to share this difficult time with my friends. I can’t imagine what they are feeling, but I know their hearts are heavy.

I felt a compelling desire to make them something tangible that they could hold onto when they can’t hold on to their son’s body. Even though sewing is such a challenge for me, I decided to make them a quilt. An easy quilt mind you, but a quilt none the less. I’m sure it took me five times longer than it would have taken a competent person, but maybe the hours I spent on it and all the uneven stitches will show just how much love I put into it.

Designing it:


Here it is all laid out, ready to sew:


After this point, my machine went into crazy, thread-skipping convulsions and I spent hours trying to fix it, sewing, unpicking, sewing, unpicking, screaming, and then finally giving up and using Blythe’s machine that only knows how to sew at sloth-speed or racehorse-speed. Whenever I sew on it, I feel like I am riding a bucking horse and my end results show it.

Hours later it was finally done, crooked and unevenly-spaced seams and lots of love all thrown together to make an adorable creation.

Here it is sewn and ready for binding:


I have never made a quilt and certainly have never bound a thing in my life, so I didn’t quite know what I was doing. I watched some YouTube movies, read scores of directions, and was still terrified of completely ruining it. Then, last night at about 1 a.m. Jessica emailed me and said if I cleaned her kitchen she would do my binding for me. Of course, I hopped right in the car to go scrub down her kitchen and see a lovely binding quickly put into place. She showed exactly what to do so I can do it on my own next time, but I think that may be next to impossible.

Bound and ready to be washed so it fluffs up and frays:




Now I just need to trim all the threads that went crazy in the wash.


Jessica is simply amazing. Her finishing skills were just what was needed to make this quilt adorable. Thank you, dear friend! I will clean your kitchen anytime you want to sew something fabulous for me.

I hope Natasha and Jacob love it and that this small gift of love helps heal their broken hearts.

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Mar 21, 2011 by


Daniel…what a name. What a legacy. Daniel who refused the king’s meat. Daniel who prayed in spite of the prohibition to call upon the God of Israel. Daniel who courageously stood for truth.

This Daniel was taken home before he ever took a breath here on earth. This Daniel was prayed for for eight long years. This Daniel was loved and yearned for. This Daniel will never be able to do the things his namesake did – at least on earth.

This Daniel is beautiful with long eyelashes and a perfect body. This Daniel looks just like his mama.

My heart is aching for his precious family.

What to say?

What to do?

How can I be God’s hands in the midst of their grief?

I don’t know. I have no magic words. I can’t reverse the clock. I can’t give them their baby back.

I found a poem that speaks to my heart. Maybe it will speak to theirs as well.

What Makes A Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today,
I asked, “What makes a Mother?”
And I know I heard him say:
A Mother has a baby,
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby’s not with you?

Yes, you can, he replied
With confidence in his voice,
I give many women babies,
When they leave it is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for the day,
And some I send to feel your womb,
But there’s no need to stay.

I just don’t understand this God,
I want my baby here.

He took a breath,
and cleared his throat,
And then I saw a tear.
I wish I could show you,
What your child is doing Here…

If you could see your child smile
With other children and say,
“We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here!”
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me,
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy, oh so much
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow is where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear,
“Mommy, Please don’t be sad today,
I’m your baby and I am here”

So you see my dear sweet one,
Your child is okay.
Your baby is here in My home,
And this is where he’ll stay.
He’ll wait for you with Me,
Until your lessons there are through,
And on the day that you come home,
He’ll be at the gates waiting for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother,
It’s the feeling in your heart,
It’s the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.

Author Unknown

Jacob and Natasha, I love you and am praying for you. I know you are not alone.

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god’s surprise is here

Feb 8, 2011 by

After a week of coughing, aching, gasping, whispering, and barely there lung expansion, I made a big recovery on Saturday and Sunday. I still stayed in bed and rested and tried to rid my body of mucus, but by Saturday night I felt had returned to the land of the living. All the children were sick on Sunday, so we all stayed home and slept while papa went to church by himself.

I had a feeling a baby would be coming on Monday, so I laid low all day and got lots of rest to gear up for it. Sure enough, early Monday morning, the call came. I hurriedly rearranged my day, made sure Blythe had a ride to Seminary and started on my journey.

This family is dear to me. They are the first people who hired me to be their doula who didn’t know me. The first family my advertising campaign worked on. The first family I attended in the hospital. The first birthing family I fell in love with that I wasn’t related to or previous friends with.

I have attended all four of their previous births. Each one has been sacred, glorious, and transformational. Each precious child I could hold and love and nurture forever.

Yesterday was no different…except it was more. It was more miraculous. More tender. More everything. It was harder than the mama expected, longer than she ever knew it could be, and required her to go deeper into her wells of strength than she ever has before.

It was more and it was worth it.

She is worth it.

Her baby girl is here, in her arms, nursing, and looking at her daddy and her siblings. She is beautiful. She is a gift worth waiting for. She is a culmination of their faith. She is a testament to the power of giving ones will over to God. She is a touchable reminder that God can and does work miracles. We are all amazed at the blessing He had waiting for them.

I am so blessed to help welcome babies into this world.

I have one more baby coming any day now…will let you know when she arrives.

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Sep 25, 2010 by


I have been down with my lil’ sis doulaing her for the last two days…and the good news is…he is here! No name yet, but we do have an adorable little boy with the cutest, kissable cheeks, beautiful-stare-into-forever-eyes, and a calm, gentle spirit that has melted all our hearts.





I could do this for always.

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striving for

Jun 9, 2010 by

I saw a bag at TJMaxx with these words on it and knew I had to have it. Knew I needed these words in my life. More correctly, to be my life. I used $5.99 of my gift card to fund the purchase and have been smiling inside each time I read them.


Yes, this is what I am striving to do. Striving to become. I believe this is why I was called to be a doula…so that I could learn how to love in this way and then bless families lives. It comes easily as a doula…it is so much harder on a day to day basis when my heart is not pure. When I am not focused on strengthening families, loving souls, and welcoming spirits. When I interact with people…people I choose to be frustrated with…people whose behaviors drive me bonkers. I yearn to become this person in all my relationships…to be a whole and healthy person walking the path of earth life with others in a way that enriches, nurtures, and heals. To not let my vision of who each of us are be clouded by the veil of mortality or let my interactions be based on the “truths” of this world that distort the real truth of the worth of souls and the purpose of our time here on earth.

These four births in the past few weeks have taught me so much about what these words mean. Each one of these families has asked me either in words or with their hearts to do at least one of these things and often all five of them. I have been tutored by my Father above to care for them in the way they needed and in the process my own spirit has grown. I pray I may have the wisdom, the humility, and the courage to treat all people this way.

Each day.

Imagine the world if we all could do this.




Heaven on earth.

I know I am not up to it now, but maybe over the course of my lifetime eons of time I will become a person who does this as naturally as I now have frustrations, pride, and selfishness come to the forefront of my heart. Step by step, day by day, relationship by relationship I will strive to treat people this way.

Will you join me?

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a real man

May 16, 2010 by

What is a real man? Well, in the last three weeks I have attended three births with three very different families. As a doula, I am working hand in hand with the husband to help his wife have a wonderful birth. I walk the journey of birth with these families and especially with these men who trust me to help the one they love most.

A real man is one who helps his wife through her contractions by holding her, talking to her, and massaging her.

A real man learns how to do a double-hip squeeze and does it contraction after contraction.

A real man helps his wife to the bathroom and supports her while she goes potty for the 20th time.

A real man stays awake even though he is exhausted.

A real man reads Hypnobirthing scripts even though they sound hoky.

A real man thinks his laboring wife is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

A real man doesn’t freak out when his baby poops meconium down the front of his shirt.

A real man kisses his wife when she is hot and sweaty and exhausted and wants to give up.

I have spent a lot of time with some Real Men these last few weeks…what a privilege to see men fall in love with their wives all over again as they labor and birth together.

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back to normal

Sep 27, 2009 by

I missed Thankful Thursdays this week. I have missed a lot of things lately. I missed teaching gymnastics on the 18th. I missed some of my boy’s birthday. I missed The Gathering Place Retreat. I have missed reading with my children. I have racked up a library fine by not making it there for our weekly check in – check out routine. I have missed reading myself to sleep. I have missed snuggling up with my husband as we drift off to sleep together – as I have been going to bed early to make sure I am well rested and prepared for a call in the middle of the night. I have missed doing the dishes for over a week. I missed a trip to Jackson with my brother and niece. I have missed time with friends, phone calls with loved ones, and much more. I have had to simplify greatly so that I could have the energy, spirit, and emotional resources I needed to be able to give as a doula.

But I have done exactly what I needed to do for families that are very dear to me. I helped two families journey through their pregnancies and welcome their babies into this world. Both families needed me greatly and I have been privileged to be part of their lives and share this experience with them.

I wish I had pictures of these two cuties – they are both big, beautiful babies and you would squeal with delight if you could see them. They have been born into amazing families who will nurture, teach, and love them the best they can. What an honor to have been invited into their sacred circle and help them through their births.

After the second birth late Friday night I returned home around 4:30 a.m. and caught about 3 hours sleep before Keziah woke me up to inform me that she was going to do a triathlon that day and could I please tell her where I had put her swimming suit. Groggily I tried to recollect the last time laundry had been part of my life and gave her some slurred information. It must have been useful because soon she was back all ready to go get registered. I threw some clothes on my exhausted body and took her to the triathlon. She did fabulous! She had a 75 yd. open water swim, a 1.5 mile bike ride, and a 1 mile run. It was a non-timed event and everyone was treated as a winner for finishing, but I am pretty sure she would have placed in the top 5 if it had been timed. She thinks she will do more of them in the future, so I guess I need to start looking for some opportunities for her in that arena.

Richard had taken the day off so I could go to the Mom’s Retreat and had promised everyone a day of catching BIG fish. When I had to miss the retreat because of the 2nd birth, he decided to keep his promise and go to Henry’s Lake. Even though I was incredibly tired, Keziah and I decided to make the trip north. I ended up sleeping the day away while fish were caught, cleaned, and measured. They were eaten this morning for breakfast by the fish lovers of the family.

I am full of gratitude for the events of this month. My two babies came safely and are healthy, beautiful, and happy. I know I had many people praying for me and for these families – thank you – we needed those prayers. Thank you for being a support system to me and my family and for helping me help families birth their babies.

Up next? A hike to the ice caves by Driggs, another hike to Mesa Falls, reading A Door in the Wall with Keziah, attending General Conference, attending the graduation and Presidential Banquet of The Midwives College of Utah, taking Blythe to the dentist, gleaning potatoes, picking apples and canning them, mentoring two youth colloquiums on The Lord of the Rings, and pulling together a Fun Fall Family event with cooking contests, treasure hunts, obstacle courses, races, and lots more.

I have pictures of the triathlon and the fish, but no time to upload them tonight, so check back later for those beauties…

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new baby

Sep 19, 2009 by

I ended up spending Fisher’s birthday helping a dear friend to birth her baby. This mama was so courageous, so tender, and so noble in birthing her baby, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It is always a privilege to attend a family’s birth, but this was extra special because she is such a good friend and their journey to this birth has been one of questions, worries, peace, lots of faith, and finally a glorious homebirth of an adorable, perfect little boy who melts the heart of everyone who sees him.

Thank you for letting me walk this journey with you…love you!

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