Nora is TWO!

I am showing this post from “I will carry you” as it describes perfectly what it means to care for a special needs child.  As Midwives, we are often in the position of breaking the news to patients that their version of the “perfect” child will not be.  That is not to say that life will not hold many special gifts for them and that life will not be wonderful in the long run.  However, this is a very difficult concept for parents to grasp.  This is a beautiful illustration of letting go and letting be, whatever life has in store for us.  Thank You Nora for teaching us what a beautiful life this can be, for all of us!!!!



So here we are with a big giant 2 year old little girl. Nora’s birthday was April 17th and I am astounded at how fast the time has gone by. I look back to those scary newborn days and can hardly believe how far Nora has come; how far we have come.


One of our awesome nurses, Kate C. getting us ready to be discharged from the hospital ~ April 2012

As we left the hospital that sunny afternoon, we stepped blindly out onto the dark water as Peter did. Jesus beckoned us forth with arms outstretched. Taking a baby home from the hospital who was SUPPOSEDLY “incompatible with life” certainly made about as much sense as walking on water. “How in the world are we supposed to do this????” we pleaded. It was an outrageous proposition! We weren’t equipped with a medical background. We did not possess some sort…

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It Takes a Team

19112876-footprintOnly one more day until the March of Dimes March for Babies and we are pumped!!!!!  True to form in the lives of Midwives, it seems like all of our full term, post term babies decided to come this week!!!  Yippee we are keeping them in the full 40 and they are doing well.  Midwives have always been champions of letting pregnancies progress as they should as long as mom and baby look good.  The March of Dimes supports us in this cause and we in turn are supporting the March of Dimes in their effort to get the word out.


Looks like our accessories are coming together…….Custom designed T-shirts by Mandy and Elisabeth…Check!!!!

Sorry they are hush hush…you will have to wait for tomorrow to see them 🙂

Fingernails painted in March of Dimes purple by lovely volunteers……..

March of Dimes Purple!!!!

March of Dimes Purple!!!!

Covergirl volunteers getting the girls gussied up for the walk

Covergirl volunteers getting the girls gussied up for the walk


Purple boas to set off our T-shirts…..

Can't wait to sport these boas!!!!

Can’t wait to sport these boas!!!!


Weather forecast for the walk??  Just as I promised partly sunny with highs in the mid-seventies.  Click here for the full forecast.


It is not too late to join us in our efforts as we support this great organization.  Please consider coming out and joining us as we walk or making a donation to our team.   In one easy click, you can make a donation to our team to support this fine organization.  The March of Dimes is committed to helping moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.  If something goes wrong, the March of Dimes offers information and comfort to families. They are the leaders in supporting research that will help keep babies strong and healthy.  It takes a team to keep babies strong and we need your support!!!!!  


By Your Side

On a sunny day, a long time ago It was 1980 and I had just turned sixteen.

A beautiful little boy, with his big blue eyes and his bright blonde hair said to me, “My daddy’s not going to die like your daddy did.  He told me so.”

I fought back my tears and wished that my dad had remembered to tell me that…so he could still be with me….and I said “Yeah, your right, your daddy’s not going’ die”.  I prayed to God that it would be so!!!

Three generations now and life doesn’t turn out like you thought it would be.

More people get the cancer.  It just doesn’t seem right.

They gave you the concrete mind.  You fight hard for your family.  You look up facts, make appointments and call researchers, send emails.  No answers yet.

Not one more child should have to lose a loved one to this deadly disease.

Channeling June and Johnny when you get the news that you have the gene.  Will you be the next in line?  Their love shown through in every song they sang.  Maybe some other love has been carrying you through?  Their love that has been with you through thick and thin.  It has been there all the while.  Getting the right people on your side, keeping people here who shouldn’t be, leading you in the right direction, giving you the answers.

We are now 4 generations and it is time for this to end.  Children have moms and dads and grandmas that they want to have around.  That little boy is now a man with children of his own.  It’s time for all of us to say, “I’m going to be here with you for a long time”.  Take charge, take care!!!  There is hope.

When it’s my time, when I see Marj and Bob again, I’m going to give them both a great big hug and kiss.  Tell them how much I have missed them.  Most of all, thank them for never leaving me!!!!

Marj and Bob dancing sent by Mary Dierig Stowers after dad's funeral

Marj and Bob dancing
sent by Mary Dierig Stowers after dad’s funeral


Go to the following link if you would like to know more about Lynch Syndrome , hereditary colon cancers and genetic testing.


A Midwife’s Guide to Skin Changes in Pregnancy

Embed from Getty Images


I have been a Midwife for a long time and to this day I am still amazed at all the wondrous little changes that need to take place in our bodies in order to bring forth our babies.  One of my favorite things to point out to our moms-to-be is how all of this is built into our DNA from the very beginning and how our body has all the information it needs to make the process happen.  One of the changes that prompt the most questions in our midwifery practice are the skin changes of pregnancy.  Here are just a few and some helpful hints to go along with them.

Overall Skin Sensitivity– Your skin is much more sensitive during pregnancy leaving you prone to sunburns and mild rashes.  Be sure to lather on the sunscreen an use a mild soap such as Dove or Dial when your cleanse.

Acne– The increase in hormones and the increase in blood flow which causes increased oil production during pregnancy can cause an increase in pimples.  You can use a mild oatmeal based facial scrub to help unplug oily pours.  Prescription anti-acne treatments such as Accutane, Retin A cannot be used during pregnancy .  Also be sure to ask your midwife/doctor about any topical creams you may be using as they may contain chemical that are not safe.  You may use benzoyl peroxide.

Mask of pregnancy- In medical terms this is called chloasma.  Not all women will see this but it will usually start to appear sometime during the second trimester.  It is when the pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the melanin cells in your skin to produce more pigment although unevenly.  It can happen anywhere on your face but usually appears around your eyes, giving you the appearance of a mask.  Avoiding the sun and applying make up to even out the appearance of the mask can help.

Darkened areas- freckles, moles, birthmarks on your skin will darken.  Even your areola (the darker area around your nipple) and nipples of your breast become much darker.  The moles, freckles, etc. will revert back to their original color.  However, your nipples and areola may continue to be a little darker than they were pre-pregnancy.  The purpose of the darkened areola is to help your baby find his/her way to the breast (along with their sense of smell).  Unmedicated babies, if placed immediately on mom’s belly after birth, will crawl to the breast.   See it in action here.  It is sooooo  cool!!!!!

Linea Nigra- This is the dark line that extends upward from the pubic bone to the navel and sometimes upward from the navel as well.  I like to think of it as a road map.   Part of the system above, this line helps baby make his/her way to the breast.

Spider veins- are caused by the increased hormones and increased blood volume.  The body will make additional collateral circulation near the surface of the skin to handle this additional blood volume.  Some of them may not go completely away after pregnancy.  If they are bothersome a dermatologist can treat them with a special injection after your pregnancy is over.

Stretch Marks-These little marks seem to cause the most worry for moms to be.   Stretch marks happen when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks. About 90% of all women will get stretch marks in areas that are growing the fastest, i.e. tummy, buttocks, thighs, breast.  The marks often start out reddish or purple, but after pregnancy they gradually fade to white or gray.  So, how do you avoid stretch marks?  Notice I said that stretch marks are caused by a break down in the fibers below the skin rather than on the skin itself.    I am sorry to say, no skin cream in the world is going to help.  Do not be fooled by anyone or any add that tells you so!!!   Women who are of average weight to begin with should gain 25-30 pounds for a healthy pregnancy.   10 pounds of this is during the first 20 weeks and 20 pounds thereafter.  Therefore, in order to avoid stretch marks, it may be a good idea to gain this weight at an even pace rather than in big bursts.  These stretch marks usually occur in the last month when you are usually putting on a pound a week.  For most women, one or two stretch marks may just be a fact of life.  Genetics also plays a big part.  If your mother gave you the gift of good connective tissue, you may avoid them!!!  Look on the bright side, they fade after pregnancy and become less noticeable over time 🙂

Ending on a Good Note!!!  The Pregnancy Glow- We see it enough to know that it is real.  Some woman are lucky enough not to get the acne, but this.  During pregnancy, there is increased blood flow, and hence increased oil production in the skin,  which gives the skin in the face a slightly waxy sheen.  The increase in small vessels just under the skin also make the skin look slightly blushed.

Try to take it all in stride.  Your body is doing everything it is supposed to be doing.  Pregnancy is only nine months and it is over before you know it.






March For Babies

The Hurtt family knows all too well the pain of having a child born too early.   Their first child; Parker, was born prematurely at 32 weeks.

Born a little too early

Parker, born a little too soon…

Thank heavens for them he is now a healthy six-year-old.  The Hurtts understood the importance of “going the full 40” and would do anything to spare any future children what Parker had to go through.

Fortunately by the time Jillian Hurtt became pregnant with her other children, advancements had been made in the treatments for preterm labor.  Under the care of her Nurse-Midwives, Jillian received weekly hormone treatments that helped her carry her babies longer.  While this advancement in the treatment of preterm labor is certainly exciting, more research is needed to help prevent the first preterm delivery.  This is just one of the many areas of research that the March of Dimes is working on to improve the lives of babies.  The March of Dimes is also committed to ending birth defects, providing community education and emotional support to families with ill infants.

Not only do the Nurse-Midwives of The Christ Hospital work diligently on a daily basis to make sure moms and babies are healthy, but we also want to help support the work of the March of Dimes.  On April 27th, our practice will be participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies!!!!  We are praying for beautiful weather and hope that you will help us support this great organization by joining us on our walk.  It’s a great way to enjoy a beautiful day, beautiful babies and beautiful downtown Cincinnati!!!!  Of course, your generous donation to support this great organization is always appreciated.  Click here to see our March for Babies team page and to join us in our fight to make the world a better place for babies and families….

Our Ambassador kids... Parker, Lillian & Luke

Our Ambassador kids… Parker, Layla & Luke


Packing for Your Baby’s Arrival-Don’t Leave Home Without It

Spring makes me think of flowers, and babies, and taxes…taxes…but we don’t want to go there!!!!  I really prefer to stick with the happy things in life.  I started to think that a packing list for the hospital might be helpful.  Being the research queen, I went online to see what was out there as far as recommendations go and found that many publications seemed to have parents packing for a short vacation!!!!  Lordy, we really do not want you staying in the hospital more than you have to.  We want to get you back home where you will be comfy and cozy.   Short and sweet is best in my book.  Here is this Nurse Midwife’s packing list for baby’s big day:

Luggage set

In Your Purse for the Hospital Pack

  • Your driver’s license, insurance card.
  • Your birth planIf you feel you need one.  You will have discussed this with your provider already but this copy is for the nurses.
  • Contact list-whether this is separate or on your smartphone, to make the big announcement after baby arrives.
  • A small amount of cash and change for dad to use at the gift shop, cafeteria or vending machines (most hospitals do have ATMs to use in a pinch also).
  • Mints or a few hard candies for dad- I can’t tell you how many times I have had poor dad be accused of having bad breath.  All because he hasn’t had time to get a drink and because he has been huffing and puffing with you.  Do him and yourself a favor!!!!
  • Eyeglasses-if you wear them or if you wear contacts that may need to come out later.
  • Your cell phone and charger.  Do not forget your charger!!!! Especially if you own a smartphone you know how invaluable this will be later on for your contact list, pictures, announcing the birth and ordering take out!
  • Camera or video recorder if you plan on using one separate from your smartphone.  Check your hospital’s policy on video recording during labor and birth.
  • Music or relaxation tools-check with your hospital or support person to see what type of equipment they have before packing, this may not even be necessary.  Our hospital plays nice relaxing music on our TVs that is perfect for labor.  Other items to consider include lavender oil or back massager.

For Your Bag

  • T-shirt, leggings, sleepwear, robe, nursing bra, several pair of undies.  Sports bra or bathing suit if you plan to get in the tub.  In our practice you may opt to wear your own clothes or a hospital gown during labor.  You may wear/or not wear whatever you feel most comfortable in for the tub.   A robe is a must in case you decide to walk up and down the hallway during your labor.  The hospital provides what we call our beautiful “victoria secret” stretchy mesh panties and pads but afterwards you might feel better in your own.  Comfort is the key…and of course, your outfit to go home in.
  • Slippers, socks, shoes to go home in-Something comfy to cover your feet during labor and to walk the halls in afterwards.  Remember, your feet may actually be more swollen after labor than they are now, so plan for it.
  • Toiletries-shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution, makeup, lip balm. You probably will just feel better with your own.
  • Outfits for baby-remember baby will be having his/her first photo op.  Also, he/she will have sharp little finger nails so pack an outfit that comes with the cute little covers for the little hands.  Invaluable!
  • Your baby’s memory book-so that we can put your baby’s foot prints in this for you.

Things on other lists that I would leave at home.  Remember; what you cart in you have to cart back out (plus a newborn)!!!!  We want to make this a stress free as possible.

  • pillows-the hospital has plenty I promise.  We know how to position them for comfort, labor and for breastfeeding!!!!
  • breast pump-If you are going to breastfeed we want to get baby to the breast.  If you need a breast pump, the hospital has the appropriate one for you to use.
  • nursing pads, nursing creams-your breasts make only a couple of drops of colostrum after the baby is born.  No need for pads at this point.  We will supply any nursing cream (lanolin) if you need it.
  • Feminine pads-we provide those too…along with the “victoria secret” mesh panties!!!
  • nail clippers for baby-experienced moms will tell you that you should not clip your baby’s nails right away, it is an accident waiting to happen.  See my comment above about covering your baby’s hands.
  • watch-not to worry-we have equipment for timing contractions too.
  • white noise machine-please….again, what you cart in, you have to take out.
  • books, magazines-You will now have a new family member to get acquainted with!  We will be giving you lots of information and handouts, plus lots of personal attention.  In between, we hope that you will be resting.

As you can see, the list of what not to pack is almost as long as what to pack.  Even if you were to forget your bag, it is not the end of the world.  We have all the necessities to get you through until someone can go home and get your personal stuff.  No worries!!!!

Local Celeb Liz Bonis Shares Her Fitness Advice

With spring just on the horizon, I am sure that the thought of getting into those summer clothes has been weighing heavily on your mind, just like it has been on mine 🙂  My favorite girl Amy Poehler had this to say in the March issue of Ladies Home Journal when she described her version of the perfect exercise class.  Embed from Getty Images

Personal trainers are people who yell at you to keep pushing. I’m like, “No, you keep pushing!” My idea of the perfect exercise class is this: The teacher gives us all a hug and goes, “You did it! You showed up! Let’s lie down.” We all lie down and she’s like, “How is everybody feeling?” We’re like, “Great!” And the teacher’s like, “Great!” Then we all get to leave 20 minutes early.

While Amy certainly keeps us smiling, her idea of exercise isn’t going to make us look very good in our summer clothes. So I decided to look for some expert tips on how to incorporate exercise and healthy eating into our busy schedules.   I turned the tables on Liz Bonis, medical reporter for Local 12, nutritionist and personal trainer.  Liz graciously agreed to share her advice with us here!!!!

Liz Bonis  Local 12 Health Reporter/Nutritionist/Personal Trainer

Liz Bonis Local 12 Health Reporter/Nutritionist/Personal Trainer

On getting motivated to exercise

I am embarrassed to tell you that I really only exercise because without it, I am a little piglet.  I know it’s good for me.. but that’s not enough motivation.. so I started just making myself get up..and getting in five to ten minutes on the treadmill before the day started.   If you don’t do it first, you will be too tired later.   It is still just a decision every day… and a hard one.  There’s no secret.   To quote Bobby Knight, “discipline is just knowing what you need to do, and doing it every day”.  So now I do at least a ten k, every day, on the treadmill ..sometimes at 2 or 3 am before work…and it never gets easy…and I don’t really like it.  I just like the way I feel after I do it!

On fitting exercise into a busy schedule and maintaining motivation

The most helpful thing I learned, was that the reasons you can’t exercise, are not really important.  If it’s not the priority, I(you) will do everything else and never get to it.  So I look at it that if all the social things come first.. I don’t have those to do if I am not healthy… and being healthy allows me to do all that other stuff… such as work, and eat out, and be active and have energy… it’s not all that stuff first, and exercise second…

Liz’s tips for healthy eating

I don’t have any forbidden foods, there are no good or bad foods, there are good and bad quantities of foods.. I can’t diet..but I can eat less of what I want…some days… I don’t own a scale and choose not to assign “good” or “bad” to any foods.  I do however try to eat a plant-based diet for health reasons…meaning…I try to make most of the plate fruits and veggies..less meat, cheese, fried food etc… I also eat six times a day.. at least.. or if I wait too long.. I will pig out …

What I love about Liz is she is just like that rest of us…and what  I like most about her advice is how approachable she makes it all.  Surely if she can get up at 2:00-3:00 in the morning to exercise, then it really is doable for even the busiest of schedules.  Breaking it down into 10 minute chunks also makes exercising seem like a realistic goal.  After all, It does make us feel good!!!!  I like too that there are no “bad” foods in her book.  I would really hate to feel deprived of anything….and science has shown that 5-6 small meals a day are better than 3 big ones.

Looks like I am getting back on the exercise bandwagon.  I can’t wait to begin taking my morning walks with my friends Clair and Hazel.  How about you?  Tell us about your exercise routine or how you plan to eat better…

Thanks to Liz Bonis for sharing your great advice!!  It was wonderful getting to know you better 🙂