Saturday, March 17, 2012

FINALLY - an Update on the trip!

It’s about time for an update! Thank you for being so patient with me. Christmas was 4 days away when we got home from Tenerife and then I spent the next two months opening up my newest adventure so we can eat this year– The Birth Education Center of San Diego. To say it’s been crazy is an understatement! So I thank you for your patience.

Finnley is doing AMAZING since we have returned from the island! Her eyesight has miraculously improved to the point of sometimes tracking objects, reaching for things that she sees and pulling things closer on occasion. She doesn’t seem to see all the time but connections were truly made. This is the first step to communication with her – and the school is trying to get her an IPAD with the communication apps on it. I have seen kids at her school use these and it’s mind blowing how well it works. We are very grateful for the eyesight improving so much.

Other things I have noticed – her constipation is a thing of the past. She would sometimes go a week without any movement and it was extremely painful. Not the case now. Her abdomen muscles are working and now move with the bowels and her comfort level is so much better. She has head control now like she’s never had and they think that is due to her seeing things that keeps her wanting to look up. She still loves her pom poms but now reaches for them with her left hand on occasion. Her therapists report that she is much more alert and happy since December and it’s like she’s a new kid.

She just got leg braces yesterday that are sporting some adorable whale artwork our local tattoo artist Rob Benavides! I will get pictures up soon! She is standing daily at school in different contraptions to build her stamina. She is now eating and swallowing a jar of food a day –which is HUGE for her. She has always had a delayed swallow and it is starting to function.
So don’t ask me how all of this happened. The only thing we did out of our routine was fundraise with some GENEROUS people, travel across the world, 12 hours by plane, then another 3 hour plane, met with some awesome German folks and swam in the Atlantic with wild Pilot Whales . So somewhere, somehow in that mix – another miracle for Finnley and our family manifested. I plan on making another pilgrimage this December to build on the results and see our Whale friends again. God Bless you all and yes – I am working on getting the pictures up!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Part 1...

We have seen the whales almost every other day for a total of 6 encounters. One day when we went out, they were not there – we assume they were eating all morning. They eat at depths of 1000 meters because the octopus they survive on lives at bottom of the sea floor. We made it our mission to eat some octopus while we were here so we could see if it was really worth diving 1000 meters for. I am happy to report – octopus is really good. At least the dish we had that was flavored with chopped up tomatoes, cilantro and other yumminess and we couldn’t get enough.

Even Angie liked it – as long as she could close her eyes and not see the tentacles. I thought it would be chewy but it was very tender. So we forgave the whales for their one day of dining when we were ready to swim. We took a dip along the coast and snorkeled for a bit.

Finnley has this amazing life jacket that allows her to float without her face in the water. It even has a handle on the back so you can tow her along. I will have to find one for the therapy pool – I will finally be able to get her in and out of the pool on my own!

Each whale encounter has a day of rest in between so we have a chance to process what we saw, felt and learned from the whales. I really feel like this has been an intense study course and almost impossible to take it all in. Roma has done therapy with each of us on an individual basis. Angie’s was more art based and they painted a talking stick with dolphins on it. One of the sticks is so big we will have to leave it here until we can find a way to ship it home. One day at sea, there was a piece of floating wood which we put into the boat. Angie stripped off the bark and I am in the process of painting a whale on it. I am not the artist that my mother is but it almost looks like my grandfather whale so at least I will enjoy looking at it.

One of these therapy sessions became my healing point or my “ahh ha” moment with the whales. This session prepared me for a miraculous swim with many whales that I will never be able to duplicate. My session took place at Roma’s home, on her patio. We spoke a lot about not feeling safe and why I have always carried that with me. It opened up doors that until now, never made sense to me or that maybe I wasn’t willing to explore.

For people who have not done reading and research on how our time in the womb and how our actual birthing affects the rest of our life experience – this may seem strange to you. But know that how we as women - think, feel, act and react to things while we are pregnant, affects our babies. The baby’s father – whether they are there or not, how they participate in the pregnancy and birth, affects our babies. The food we ingest during pregnancy and the drugs we take, affect our babies. The drugs that are administered to us during labor - affect our babies. The fear we may feel in our labor process, affects our babies. These things can shape our babies view of the world as it being one of safety and comfort or a world of worry and uncertainty. Because these things affect US as babies and shaped OUR view of the way we see the world.

I believe that my parents did the best that they could and that their parents did the same. But that doesn’t mean that my outcome was what it should have been or what I deserved. And likewise – their births and life experiences were not what they deserved as babies. So many factors play into who we are and how we are made up. And forgiveness for those events and details opens up a lot of healing and smoothes out the edges to our souls. I just didn’t realize that by healing my insides – I am only better to help my daughters heal and grow. That is why this research study treats the family and it is a significant part of the study.

My session with Roma began with breath work. I had never heard of that so I went in with no preconceived notions as to what it was. I laid down on the cushions, relaxed with the music – kind of the way I do it with my HypnoBirthing visualizations in class. Body loose and relaxed, following Roma’s voice as my guide. She led me to breathe deep and focus on my breath. I had such a difficult time breathing deep. I felt that I was breathing deep but when I put my hand on my chest I could feel that it was shallow. At one point, I almost felt like I was suffocating because I couldn’t get enough air in. My thoughts would pull me away and my breathing would almost stop. Roma would redirect me to focus on the breath and it would pull me back to the realization that I couldn’t get a deep breath and once again the suffocation feeling would return. I am not sure how long this went on but a long time.

Roma then suggested I picture the kind of birth I wanted for myself. It caught me off guard because I had been trying so hard to just breathe. And then it was like I experienced a flash of a memory without seeing a picture – more like a feeling throughout my whole body and a knowing of what I had experienced at my birth. That suffocation feeling returned in full force and I began to cry harder than I have ever cried. Not from pain exactly but from the force of trying to breathe but not being able too. I cried a silent cry with tears pouring from my eyes . My ears filled up with tears as they just kept coming. I didn’t have words, just feelings from my body as to how I felt.

Side Note: {At my birth, my mother was induced with Pitocin. Not a whiff of Pitocin to get things going as they may refer to it now, but a lot of Pitocin with no pain medication. Her desire had been a natural birth and had requested no pain relief but she was not told that Pitocin was powerful labor drug and produced much stronger contractions than natural labor with little break for mother or baby in between. When the contractions became unbearable, she requested pain medication only to be denied and then the Dr. upped the Pitocin even more to hurry me along. It was excruciating for her and she felt like she would die from the pain. As a baby, I was part of that equation too and nobody asked me if I was ready to come that way.}

As the tears rolled down my cheeks, Roma asked again for me to picture the birth that I wanted. My thoughts went to Finnley’s birth.

It was calm and loving. The labor was gentle and natural. I was in charge of my birth and felt supported by my team. I was able to surrender to my body and work together with my baby to birth her. It was a magical time afterward with hours of skin to skin and laughing and amazement from everyone there. Her dad and sister were there – they loved on her as well. I was able to picture that for myself because it was what I was able to give Finnley. Is that why she is so open and trusting? Is that why she melts hearts with her smile and has such a deep love for everyone around her. Could that have been me if my birth were like hers?

I then pictured myself being held skin to skin. I could not see faces but knew that the first arms were those of my mother. I was warm and nestled in to her chest as she spoke softly to me. This was her desire for my birth as well so I felt her presence there very strong. I then felt that my dad held me and that my brothers and sisters were there. Everyone laughing and cuddling me. It was what Finnley had it’s what I has wanted. I felt a connection to my family that I have never had before. A peace came over me and the tears kept coming.

Roma let me emerge from this in my own time. She held my hand and wiped my tears. The sun had set by this time and a warm breeze was brushing across the patio when I finally sat up.

I immediately noticed that I could breathe. And the breath was now deep. A full breath that filled my lungs without a struggle. I have never felt breath like this. I felt more alive...but didn’t understand the full impact until the next day.

To Be Continued…

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our Strong Little Girl…

Finnley has been the most amazing travel companion on this voyage around the world. Our flight over was long but she played most of the time and made everyone smile around her. She had only one small fit of crying during the last leg but we felt it was our fault for a medicine overdose! Even the layover in Madrid was ok as long as we kept the stroller moving. We noticed what other parents were dealing with so it really could have been worse.

Roma and Volker shared with us last night how many worries and reservations they had about us coming from such a long way to Tenerife. She acknowledged me for my bravery in making the trek. The truth us – it was not bravery – it was me just being naïve! My extensive world traveling has left me with zero stamps on my passport up to this point. They don’t stamp you in Hawaii or Florida… I truly had no idea what, “It’s on the other side of the world” meant. I just knew that if that if the other side of the world is where the dolphins and whales were – then that’s where we would go. It gives new meaning to “ignorance is bliss.” There was no question in my mind and no fear about the decision to go. Finnley led us to her healing and I have learned that her soul is much wiser than mine. I am grateful that I ignored the few people who tried to explain the gravity of the trip to me and basically told me that I was crazy. I’ve had that “crazy” label all my life – at this point – it doesn’t even phase me!

For Finnley, this journey has been life altering. I am in awe of her calmness and ease with everything that has been asked of her this trip. She has been taken from a sun kissed boat repeatedly and put into cold sea water without a single complaint. Water and music have always been Finnley’s favorite forms of expression and her best mode of body movement so it has been incredibly therapeutic for her to enter the sea with Roma singing to the whales. Finnley was made for this. Maybe Finn created this somehow before she came…and how perfect is her name for this work? She named herself so maybe this is all her doing…who am I to question her plans?

Roma has a silver bell that she wears around her neck and she uses it to call in the whales. To watch Roma work is so beautiful. The songs that she and Volker sing to bring in the whales for the day is magical and the songs resonate and stay within your heart space, if that makes sense. Angie makes fun and laughs at my “English version” of the songs when I sing them because I hear the words so differently than what Roma sings. I have the tune right but I tend to massacre the language. Finnley gets it though and that’s what counts! Roma also makes whale sounds below the water that Finn loves to hear. It turns their heads and they respond, so the whales must understand her. Roma and Volker’s work is inspiring to say the least.

Finnley is gathering whales each time she enters the water and harnessing their healing. This journey has not been all roses for her but she has gone through it like she understands the uncomfortable parts are necessary for the healing to take place. Her sleeping has been even worse and I am sure that jetlag is to blame for some of that, but it’s really been hard on her.
At first, her seizures increased at night to the point where her legs extended and contracted each time she fell asleep and then the rapid movement would startle her awake. We knew this could be part of the healing process as her body made a shift but it has not been easy to watch my daughter as she has struggled through each night. Neither one of us has had sleep.

The other night, Roma brought over a homeopathic remedy for Finnley. Roma has a homeopathic Pediatrician who lives in Germany. This doctor only treats children with homeopathy and is an expert in remedies. Ignecia(if I am spelling it correctly) is for emotional release of sadness(other things as well but this is the only thing I caught). I took it as well. She said she hoped that one dose would be enough for Finnley and that if we see increased seizures it would be a good sign. Trust in these caretakers has been a big part of my process in our whale journey. Who wants to see increased seizures? But my gut said it’s right - so we gave the remedy. (My doula training taught me to trust my gut and it’s never wrong if I follow it – so I never question the gut!)

We gave it to her about 15 minutes before we left for dinner. It was the first time we were going out to eat in Tenerife - at a highly recommended local restaurant. We have been so careful with eating in but this was our treat night. We made the trek up the hills to “Pedro’s b y the Sea”(I have calves of steel by the way – this town has been all uphill!). Finnley sat very reserved in her stroller all the way there. We sat, we ordered and had just received our water when she began to sob. I mean – lip quivering, huge crocodile tears – it was heart wrenching. At first we thought something had scared her and we were trying to console her the usual ways. Then her legs began to jerk and the screaming began. I took her outside to calm her down but it was not happening. She cried and cried and it only got louder. After about 15 minutes of that, we decided to get the food to go and started back down the hill. Peggy stayed behind to get the food and Angie and I went home. Once we got Finnley walking, she quieted down and never made a peep the rest of the night. In fact, she was quiet smiley and calm. Poor Peggy sat at the restaurant for over an hour – they thought she cancelled the order when she asked for it “to go.” I guess in Spain you have to say, “Can I take it away.” Who would have known that?
Finnley slept great that night – only up for two hours and no seizures. She went back to bed and slept until 10am. Roma was thrilled with the release effects and apologized for giving it right before we left for dinner. She didn’t expect it to work so fast.

Finnley has been making more eye contact and really interacting with the whales. She looks right at them and giggles at their sounds. She loves Roma’s singing and snuggles right in to her chest. Roma holds her on the edge of the boat and Finnley dangles her feet into the water while the boat is going full speed and she loves it. The harder that child is bounced and thrown around the more she laughs. Her neck strength seems to already be improving but that could be because she is just seeing better and wants to hold her head up more. I am so grateful for each tiny step we see happening. And it’s all thanks to you – everyone that has supported us in this magnificent endeavor. We will be forever in your debt.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Within the Eyes of the Granfather Whale...

Translucent as ice blue glass – his eyes offered me protection

Wrinkles and the folds of skin underneath that smiled in a peaceful, playful way

Trustworthy and steady - all is well – I am safe

Forgiveness for myself and for others is freely given while he looks deep into my soul

I saw his light as he shared in mine

I am whole and now present for others, for he opened up my heart for healing

The warmth of love under a chilled sea, encompassed my being, as I floated within arms reach of this giant

God’s work through God’s messenger in this heaven below the waves

So soft, so gentle, so massive, so enormous

The blessings of love and hope all within the eyes of the Grandfather Whale.

How do we share this experience....

With mammals as large as Whales, you would almost expect them to be intimidating because of their sheer volume in size. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Swimming next to something that large puts your life and presence on earth sharply into perspective. These creatures command the sea. Not just with size but with their intention as they glide through the water. Whales are one of the oldest species on earth and Blue Whales are the largest of all the mammals. They emanate an ancient knowledge of the planet that is hard to put into words. Feelings of safety, softness and love pour all around you and seep into your pours as you enter their world. Have you ever wept under water? It’s all one can do when you are surrounded by such power and grace.

The whales have certain markings and sometimes fin patterns that make it easy to recognize the same ones when you see them over and over again. One rather large male(my guess is about 30 feet in length and if I were to hug him around his neck, I wouldn’t even come up half way with my arms) has a distinctive nick out of his top dorsal fin. He was with us all day but was safely keeping his distance. Almost overseeing the days activities, just making sure everyone was okay with no need to get involved directly.

As I watched this scene unfold with Angie in this vast Atlantic Ocean, I cried. The beautiful journey that took place on the surface of the water was nothing as compared to what I knew was going on down below. She and Roma got in together and swam towards the two whales. They roved about on the top of the water with their plastic flippers, while whale fins and blowholes would rise and fall in a flowing pattern. The girls were in the water for about five minutes when more and more fins began to appear. Soon, whales of all sizes and pairings were around them. Mothers and babies, adolescents and fathers, groups of three – they were everywhere, swimming in circles around my daughter. It was breathtaking.

And then, from the far right, that massive male with the nicked fin made a b-line towards Angie. When they swim so directly with purpose, you can’t help but see flash backs of “Jaws” and hear the music in your head as you catch your breath and remember these are whales – and that fin I see is a gentle mammal not a man eater. He was there in an instant and he stopped just short of Angie and bobbed softly to the surface. He was within a foot of her, resting with his back out of the water. Her paddling stopped and I could feel the eye contact between them. He held that space as the other whales began to circle around both of them in a clockwise motion. Fifteen to twenty whales making the most beautiful circular ripples in the water that I have ever seen. It was pure love and protection. You feel it on such a cellular level out there in the sea and it warms your soul from the inside out. There is nothing like it and no words to adequately describe it. Emotions and communication from the whales of safety, love, protection and unity rose out of that water and encompassed you. Roma shared afterward that what I couldn’t see were the small whales were circling underneath their bodies at the same time as the larger ones were swimming on the surface.

When we get back into the boat, our whale experiences are not discussed right away. We sit with the sacred pictures and images in our minds until we make our way back to shore. Messages and ideas the whales communicate to us are taken into our hearts first and we feel them before we speak of them. Roma knows that the first instinct we have as humans is to chatter about what just took place and so she has asks us to sit with the experience first and share later. Some things are shared with each other and other experiences and messages we keep to ourselves. Angie has not spoken much about that experience except to say – “Wow, you could feel that love.”

I would only add to that – WOW…you could feel that love…now how do we share that with others?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whales Can Save Our Souls...

Such a dramatic title - maybe - but these creatures are far more than we are as human beings. I wish you were all here to see the fins begin to show themselves on the horizon each morning as we go out. First one... and then another... and then the extended whale family almost surrounds us as we cut through the water. You feel so included with these animals. No judgement, only acceptance - it feels like home.

This morning the sea was still and reflected the sun like translucent glass. The shades of blue were so calming and had a glittery sheen to them. I wish that I was a painter to capture that image, although I am not sure even a photograph could do justice to God's work of this mornings sea.

As I watch daily how these animals are creating change in my daughters, I am in awe at the love and humanness I feel as I swim with them. Finnley makes more and more eye contact after each encounter, Angie has been able to voice feelings and ideas that she has been to shy to reveal up to this point. Daily I am shown images of life messages the whales are wanting to share with me.

Today for example, I was shown that life is safe. A message that I have not carried in my life. I have been guarded and in "protection mode" as I have lived thus far. My vulnerability has been low on the scale as I have built up walls to hide and shelter myself from pain and hurt that I may or may not encounter. Not sure where I learned this or who I patterned after - but to me - the walls sheltered me from the "yuck" life brings. But those walls have also kept me from the joy life brings and the love that it offers. I didn't realize the full impact of that until a father whale showed me that this morning.

Usually, when we get into the water, we take Roma's hand and she guides us toward the whales. She is our safety net. Sometimes the whales are right under us and other times they elude us and we must swim to them. Today, my fins were ready early and Roma said, "Get in the water first and look down - go towards them." As I entered the water on my own - without that familiar hand to hold, I saw several whales in front of me. The large father whale(I estimate about 20 feet long or so) turned towards me and began to swim right to me. He was massive, enormous, majestic and a presence to say the least - My heart stopped as he got closer and closer but not wanting to put out a scared energy towards him, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes for a moment and stopped swimming. He kept coming and when he was about about three feet in front of me and I was sure we would collide - he dove down just enough to go under my feet and then came up around my side. We locked eyes and he ask me to follow him. No words - it was in thought that he communicated and we began to swim together. Other whales in the family joined underneath and we moved together. My heart was calmed and I felt a part of them. It was a feeling bigger than I have ever felt. And I felt safe. Life is safe. As I rejoined Roma and her warm hand a few minutes later - I was different. I am different.

We are all part of each other. We are all here to help each other. We are each others safety nets. I am shown that lesson daily with those of you who help me with my girls, my business, my home and my spiritual life. I am now able to accept it. Why do I guard so much? Why do we guard so much? I teach that birth is safe and I wholeheartedly believe that. But I missed the lesson that the rest of the time here is safe. We need to get that message to our children so they can live and love what life brings. Life is to short to live in fear of what may or may not happen.

Our hearts are full as we travel back to shore each day and a quiet reverence rests above the boat. Our time with the whales is too short and the lessons we gain - almost too much...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We are here in Tenerife!

A HUGE THANK YOU for all of you who helped me bring my little girl to these whales. Yes - we are still taking donations and if you have mailed checks they will be cashed when we return home - those are the questions I have seen the most in my email.

It is the most amazing, overwhelming, gratitude filled experience of our lives. We were been bumped from our first flight, had our luggage lost, things stolen from the luggage and got it 2 and 3 days later - BUT - it showed us that we can live in the same clothes, bathe in the ocean and meet people that want to help the Americans who speak REALLY BAD spanish! This would not have been possible without all of you - Thank You!

We are having to Taxi everywhere and have learned that you ask how much BEFORE you get in. We have to buy our water from the grocery store in 2 gallon sizes - good thing we have Finn's stroller for the transport. The euro is a lot lower than our dollar so we are being very careful as to what we spend and so far are managing quite well. We found Nutella and Peanut Butter for Angie so she is happy. The WiFi has been down since we arrived so I found a nice German tourist today who took me to a pub and that's where I am. I have to hurry because we go out with the whales again today.

We have swam with the Whales three times now and there just aren’t words… The Dolphins haven’t come down the coast yet so they may show up or it will just be the whales. Awesome, breathtaking and spiritual. The whales just hover around Finnley. We(Angie & I) have to swim to them but they just come to her and surround her – it’s astounding.

The baby ones flip their tails on the top of that water around her and the mamas swim underneath her. They just line up and sit by her. I heard them for the first time yesterday while snorkeling with them. I am getting messages for my life as well each time I swim them and a lot of tears are coming. The way these researchers are connected to these creatures is astounding. They call them in to us with singing and a harmonica. The sea will be perfectly open = not a whale in site for as far as you can see and then the singing starts and they emerge all around us. It's magical. Steven Speilberg couldn't do it justice. Big, massive deep grey fins, just floating in the water. We aren't allowed to take photos of the boat trips because it disrupts the process but they will email them to us once we are home.

Finnley loves the water and the boat and smiles with the whales. Angie is having a lot of processing too – this is truly a once in a lifetime trip. Finnley is making so much more eye contact with all of us. Yesterday she kept looking right at the whales and laughing. It brings tears to my eyes. I don't know if I have ever cried this much. I will try to update again this weekend. THANK YOU so much again!! Love to you all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Help Finn Swim with the Dolphins and Whales in Spain!!

We are half way there! We just have plane tickets, taxi's, food and 2 hotel nights in Madrid and then we are set! We have raised the research fee! You can donate by clicking the Chip In link above or if you prefer to send a check -
Make it out to Universal Alliance for Family Health and mail it to:
2210 Encinitas Blvd. Suite T Encinitas, CA 92024


Dolphins? Sea World Dolphins? Dolphins off the coast of Mexico or in Hawaii perhaps? No - come on folks! That would be WAY to easy for me. You know I never go the simplest route. The dolphins we need can't be humanized or tame. The wild dolphins are off the coast of Spain - the Canary Islands - Tenerife to be exact. I just couldn't find them further away from San Diego could I???

My friend Anna Verwaal met these researchers at a Birth Round Table in April of this year and they thought Finn may be a good candidate for the healing brought about by these amazing creatures. Thank you Anna! We applied for the study and just found out this week that we qualified and need to raise some funds ASAP to get there by December. Luckily, we have a non-profit we can use this time so that sponsors can get a tax write off if they need one.

The researchers are a husband and wife team from Germany who go to the Canary Islands every winter during the birthing migration of the whales and dolphins. Roma Spring is a pediatric nurse, a midwife with 15 years professional experience - specializing in water birth, pre-peri and post-natal psychology, therapeutic supplementary training and homeopathy. Volker Todt is an Educational Psychology Professor who also specialized in children and adolescents. Roma is very open to speaking with sponsors for Finnley directly about the study and what they do. Here is the site in German - if you have Google Chrome downloaded, it will translate each page for you :) Human Dolphin Research Study

Finnley is the first American to get into this 10 year old world study being done off the coast of the Canary Islands. The Human-Dolphin Research Eco-psychological field study is the only one of it's kind and the only place where you can legally swim with wild dolphins and pilot whales. It's purpose: is about one of the most extraordinary and possibly most powerful peak experiences with nature and probably a therapeutic potential for recovering from physical and emotional trauma(including birth trauma) - the encounter with dolphins and whales in freedom.

Dolphins have a long history throughout the ages of being connected to man. They have saved sailors from being lost at sea, children from drowning and surfers and fishermen from being swept out with the tide. They are very intuitive and have been known to bring about healing with their sonar and clicking that they use on human beings. The study is being used to show how remarkable these creatures are in healing us and how they do it. The researchers hope is that this study and its findings will then help bring an end to the senseless killing of dolphins and whales and bring about more protection once we know how they heal the human race.

For those of you who don't know much about Finnley - she has very limited eye sight (due to cortical visionary impairment), cerebral palsy and epilepsy. These things are all connected to the central nervous system. The doctors never came to a decision on when and what happened to Finnley during birth. Results should have shown a cord problem but it was perfect. Her heart rate was steady and within normal ranges during the entire labor. The trauma suffered during birth is just unexplained.

Why we looked into this study:
Dolphins and Whales have been shown to reconnect and form new synapses in the brain improving all of Finn's diagnoses. Of course the results are different with each child but Finnley has miracles that happen around her - the fact that she is alive is a testament of that. We were led to this study for a reason and it has clicked into place to easily for it not to be the right place for her. This study tracks the children for several years - gathering information from teachers, doctors and other medical specialists that work with the child post dolphin/whale encounter. The healing takes place over time as the childs body clears out the trauma and forms new pathways for development. What a blessing to be included.

Here is a bit about the study for the scientific minded...
Aims of Research
1. Description and analysis of social human-dolphin interaction during encounters on the open sea.
2. Development and evaluation of an integrative concept of Dolphin Family Therapy for children and juveniles with developmental disorders involving human-dolphin interaction as initiation and catalyst in psychotherapeutic processes.
3. Investigation of the natural therapeutic power of encounters with dolphins and whales. Description and analysis of general and different variables of therapeutic effectiveness in human-dolphin encounters on the open sea.
4. Description and analysis of natural therapeutic process variables, especially related to the interaction with dolphins or whales, independent from other variables in the field, which also might influence the therapeutic process.

Why dolphins ?

Dolphins have a lot of similarity to humans. Though they are living in the water, they have lungs and for breathing they have to come up to the surface. According to J. Lilly, the brain of a bottle nose dolphin is as large as the brain of man. They have a neo-cortex like humans and the structure of the brain is similar, even a little bit more complex. They are giving birth like humans. They breastfeed their babies. They most likely have a kind of humour, also emotions and empathy. They have social structures, especially the pilot whales are living in families and communities. They have a communication system. Their morphic field is probably similar to the human field, this is possibly the reason for the great interest of humans in dolphins and also the great interest of dolphins in humans. If there is an interspecies interest, there is a natural base for interaction.

Why dolphins (or whales) in freedom?
According to Rick O’Berry dolphins are suffering in captivity. Their life expectancy of 40 years is reduced to 5,3 years. They are conditioned and loose their natural habits. If they really have a healing potential for humans, they should be honoured and respected. We should not dominate and exploit them. To discover their natural healing potential it is absolutely necessary to investigate this respectfully in their natural habitat.

We(meaning myself, both my daughters and another adult therapist brought along to help with the kids) will be in Tenerife for two full weeks. We will go out on the boat and meet up with the pods. The average of meeting up with them is 96% and we will do seven trips out on days with good sailing conditions. Individual and family psychotherapy is done in the off times, helping all of us to heal and better deal with the special needs brought about by birth trauma.

Interactions with dolphins and whales(cetaceans)have been shown to help with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, seizure disorders and many other issues. While a lot of this study is recorded in German, the parts we have been able to translate are pretty incredible. All of us will have the opportunity to interact and swim with the cetaceans. They sonar and click and interact with the people they need to heal. Sometimes it is just one dolphin that attaches itself around the human -and other times it is the entire pod.

Finnley will be in the water experiencing the clicks, sonar by way of dolphin touch and movement through the water. Sometimes the dolphins nudge certain parts of the body while making noise. Sometimes they swim in different patterns around the child and sometimes its a group that surrounds and sonars patterns at the same time. The cetaceans seem to know what the individual needs and in their natural environment - they do their thing.
About 3-4 times each season(study is conducted November through May each year) a 24 meter Pilot whale may migrate through, escorted by spotted dolphins. In our U.S. measurements - that whale is almost 79 feet long. Now imagine the size of that whales brain and the ultrasound and energy coming from it towards Finnley. Not that we'll be fortunate enough to see one of the big ones - but if Finnley needs him - he will come. I am so excited for my daughters to have this opportunity. Some children have even gotten off all of their seizures meds. after these dolphin encounters. This is truly a once in a lifetime chance for some healing that Finn's brain and eyes may not be able to get anywhere else.
We need to raise the deposit of 800 euros($1100.00) within the next 3 weeks and then the remainder by mid November. The flights we are hoping to get is the direct one from LAX to Madrid and then the 2 hr to Tenerife South airport. That way we won't have a lot of layovers and extra hours with Finnley in the air. It's going to be a grueling trip for her but well worth it!

If you would like to help Finn get to Spain, your contribution would be most helpful and appreciated. If you need a tax write off then a check to the non-profit(Universal Alliance for Family Health) is the way to go and you can send me an email directly to to get the address for mailing.

If a tax write off is not worth the effort, then you can hit the button and donate here. Thank you in advance for your generous spirit. Wouldn't we travel to the ends of the earth for our babies? Of course we would... Hugs to all of you and thank you...!

It's Been a Long , Hot Summer...

That title is actually one of my favorite Keith Urban songs but my summer was not long and hot because anything fun and sexy was going on over here - bummer egh? As the heat of summer set in with no air conditioning in my house - Finnie went in for her double hip surgery and body cast at Children's Hospital. I really have nothing to complain about because we were in the hospital for two weeks and they had air-conditioning during the first heat wave. The dogs were not happy but only Angie and her cousin Shirley dealt with that mess so I am counting my blessings!

The surgery was a success. New hip sockets, legs in place and no blood transfusion which is rare for this type of surgery. It took several days for the doctors to get Finn's pain meds right and all she could do was cry. It was horrible to feel so helpless in making things better for her.

For the record - body casts are not fun in anyway shape or form. Changing diapers consists of tucking open diapers around the pee pee/poo poo places and hoping you catch it all before in runs down her legs into the cast or goes up the back and out the top - soaking the sheets yet again... At any rate - it all soaks into the cotton that lines the inside of the cast and smells just heavenly! There are not words graphic enough to describe it and I have new respect for the nurses that work that surgical unit and parents that take children home with a body cast.

The body cast was white. White? Really? Do you know how many colors they can make a cast into? My friend Kim had brought some hot pink duct tape to line the poopy part of the cast(so we could wipe it better when it got messed on)and Angie and I went to town. We ripped off strips of duct tape, covering Finn like a pinata! By the time we were done - she was almost two bright to look at. When the nurses came in and saw what we had done - their mouths dropped to the floor. I guess it was a first for them. Too bad no one said that the cast was breathable and we had just sealed in her skins ability to get rid of excess water. (The doctors promptly cut the tape off at our 2nd week appointment and the cast was soaked - oops!)

Once home, we had a few challenges moving her about, finding comfortable spots for her to lay(when she HATES laying) and coming up with ways to entertain her. Finnie always danced her legs to the music to pass the time and now they were stiff and immoveable. Cruel and unusual punishment is what it was. We all found ourselves singing and tapping and waving the pom poms in her face for countless hours to keep her from noticing the situation. I am impressed with the fact that we were very good about not complaining about the heat - since we knew that Finnley was probably 10 times hotter in that body cast and couldn't do one thing about it. It was a long, hot summer...

One Saturday in between classes, I received several calls from the same number. It seemed urgent since they called back to back so I took 5 minutes to see if it was a laboring mom. It was not. Instead it was a delivery man for B & M Distributing and they had a swing to deliver. These are the mack daddy of all swings! They are outdoor swings for adults but the only swing big enough to lay Finn on her back and keep her moving. It was a gift from Mary, the owner and one that I cannot repay anytime soon. IT SAVED US! Finn LOVES it and spends hours in it. We have now tied a clothes line on it so we get a little sit down time too!
After a month, we got the cast cut off and she went into her body brace. She will wear this 24/7 until mid October and then we can just go to the night time only. We were able to pick a funky design so it's not plain white - guess they were scared of what I might try next! So we went with a zebra print. Came out brown instead of black but we are going with it! At least the velcro is hot pink.

The goal is to now have functioning hip sockets so Finnie can learn to bear weight and walk in a walker etc. This is a long process but we have nothing but time to spend :) Our next adventure is to visit the dolphins in Spain...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finnley Started School - what an adventure...

Finnley's First Day of School from Care Messer on Vimeo.

Finn started school on my birthday - she had a blast, came home really tired and I had to make a video to keep my mind off the fact that she was growing up! Enjoy...

Finnley turned Three!

Happy Birthday to Finnie! We didn't go anywhere this year - instead we made an adventure out of a Target gift card. We did cookies instead of a cake - Angie made the candle out of a straw so Finn didn't burn down the house and we filled the playpen with balloons. I am pretty sure there are still a few of those balloons lurking around the house!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finnie got her Pool!

Hi Friends -
  It has been a long time since I have updated you all on Finnleys progress and her pool! I have been teaching 3 or 4 days a week and doing several babies each month and then came the holidays! No excuse - just the reason behind the craziness.
  BUT - just in time for the holidays -Finnley got the best present ever! Her POOL! It takes up our whole garage and that is just fine with us! I am able to get her in at least once a day and her strength is already improving. I had visions of getting her in the pool 6 hours a day but in actuality she can only tolerate about an hour at a time.
   She is doing great with the water therapy! Her limbs have begun to soften up and especially her left hand. The water temp is about 95 degrees and feels wonderful! It's costing us WAY more than we thought it would so this weekend we are working on insulating it to keep the power bill down.Thank you to everyone who helped us get this pool. It is truly another miracle sent from your kind hearts! I know the sacrifice that many of you made for her and it has not gone unnoticed.
   Finnie turns three this month - WOW! Time has flown and yet crept by at the same time.We will be losing our in home services this month and will be looking at therapy away from home. We are transitioning into putting Finn in Preschool for 1/2 a day, four days a week. I am not sure I am ready to do that but all of her therapists say I am and that's it's best for her in the long run. Our next step is getting her a wheelchair so that they can transport her to school each day. Luckily, that is something we don't have to pay for. We will have to pay for a Minivan eventually so if anyone has a lead on that - I am all ears!  As she gets heavier, a wheelchair is going to be our only option to get her around - my back is already shot! I wondered when the day would come that I could no longer hold my baby and I'm afraid it's right around the corner. She is a little girl now and I am having a hard time seeing that when I look at her.
   We found a WONDERFUL Naturopath - Dr. Mazza in Hillcrest. She is doing wonderful things with this little girl and is going to figure out why she is not sleeping. We start a new line of herbs tonight. It has been since January of 2009 since Finn slept through the night. We are all overtired and cranky! That includes Miss Finn!
   The Lord has His hand in everything and as I watch things unfold in our life that are truly mind blowing - I would be so ungrateful if I didn't recognize His great works. Thanks you once again...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baseball anyone???

Fitness Fundraising Friends is hosting a fundrasier for Finnie's pool. On Saturday Sept 25th you can attend the Padres VS the Cincinnati Reds and support Finnie while having fun with your friends and family!. Tickets are the same price as the box office - $18. If you want to come to the tailgate they are sponsoring the tickets are $30 for both the food and the game. I can also send you the flier and you can take it to work, sell some tickets, and go as a group! The tickets are a tax right off as well. All tickets will be handed out a week before game time. Please contact me if you are interested. We have a lot of 500 tickets we can sell and would love to sell them all.
 Thanks for all of your support!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finnie & Ricochet

Ricochet and her owner Judy, have been amazing in helping Finnie earn her pool. Here is the video that Judy made that has been circulating the internet. Thank you Judy!!
Finnie & Richochet - An Extra Ordinary Miracle Fundraiser

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thanks to all of you!

Finnie's Fundraiser "Swim with Finn," was a great success! They raised over $1500.00 dollars that day to go towards Finn's pool. I appreciate all of the hard work they went to for the advertising, decorating, amazingly yummy food etc.! It was so fun and just wonderful. Finnie got to swim and so did the dogs! The Gold party was a success - thank you for cleaning out those jewelery boxes! The raffle was a great addition and thank you to all those who participated and donated to it.
We are almost at the half way point for her pool. It's something that we just couldn't do without your help and we are more than appreciative! Special blessings to all of you - we are here to help you with anything you need as well! They say it takes a village to raise a child but I feel like we have a whole metropolis on our side! WE LOVE YOU!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fundraiser Details

Here are the details from the fundraiser flier that our friends have put together. We are so excited to attend and know how much work they have put into the event. We feel so blessed to have such wonderful people in our life. (They are still looking for some raffle prizes so if you have any hook ups for gift cards/certificates, services, products etc. please contact them)
The "Give Forward" site that they created for Finn has already raised over 11% of what we need for the therapy pool. This dream is surely becoming a reality for our little girl and there just aren't words enough to thank ALL OF YOU!! We love you...

This is NOT your mother’s fundraiser!!

Here is an incredible opportunity to come to a fundraiser for Finnley and actually walk away with more cash than when you arrived. In fact, the more cash YOU leave with, the bigger the percentage payout goes to the Finnley Kate Fund.

1st gather your old gold jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, single earrings, broken
items, white gold, platinum, sterling silver & even dental gold

it to the family BBQ on Saturday, July 31st, 2010
11:00am until 7:00 pm (Open House style)
Cindy Cathie’s Home
11143 New Morning Rd
La Mesa CA 91941

Win one of our amazing raffle prizes
Enjoy some great food and drinks
Swim w/Finn
(bring your suit and towel, lifeguard will be present)
Fun games & treats for the kids - ways for them to feel like they are helping too!

YOU will be contributing to the fundraiser without having to open your wallet (except maybe to buy a raffle ticket!) We just ask that you spend a few minutes going through your jewelry box, to find some old broken and outdated items you don’t wear anymore and bring them to the party. Its that simple and fun. You will get to leave with cash in your pocket and at the same time we will be earning money for Finnley’s therapy pool!

NO gold? Ask an aunt, grandma, co-worker - spread the word! In state, out of state, facebook - anyone you can think of that can help! Invite your friends and neighbors!!
(You can even get a widget from the "give forward" site for your blog or Facebook account to share with all of your friends and family!) If you cannot make it on that day, you can still participate, sell your gold, get your cash, and help Finnley! Contact us for details.

[technical details:]
We will have present a licensed, bonded and insured organization that will pay top dollar for your old gold. They test & weigh the gold in front of you, and if you agree to their price you get paid in cash on the spot. If you don’t accept the offer, you simply take your items back home.
There is no obligation to sell your items. Each person can keep the money they get from the sale of their gold. The "Finnley Kate Fund" will get a percentage of the total of the party.

RSVP # of guests to:
Cindy Cathie (619) 987-3450
Brit Mann (619) 669-5204

Don't miss out on the FUN and the chance to make a big difference in this little one’s life!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Pool Update...

Hey all - Some of my friends are going to be hosting a fundraiser for Finnie's pool next month. I don't have all of the details yet but they will have a website up about it before to long. I know that part of it has to do with old Gold and Silver that you may have taking up space in your jewelry boxes... I couldn't be more appreciative of them putting so much time and effort into helping our little one. Brit took some new photos of her and Finnley looks so old! I will post them once I have them - Brit is a bit busy with a new baby!! Congrats!! More news to come.. Love you - Care

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pool update

Hey all - I am assuming we didn't win the pool since Publisher's Clearing House type people didn't show up with balloons at my door! BUT - I have filled out the special needs paperwork for their pools and sent it in. I am just awaiting an answer so I know how much we'll need to save. SO- thank you for all of your emails and wonderment's regarding the pool - it will be happening - just don't have all of the details yet!

Finnie is doing yummyingly well right now. Daddy can get her laughing and squealing to the point where we are all laughing just as hard. She continues to have her therapy 3x's a week and we now attend a sensory class every other Weds. at a local school. We are still not sure just how much she is seeing but her hearing is PERFECT! Nothing gets by her. She adores classical music and it's one of the mainstays of our household(I am sure that just tickles my mom to death since she FORCED us to listen to Mozart and the Mormon Tab while growing up - she said she was bound and determined that we left her home with some culture!).

On May day - we planted our traditional flowers and Angie & I branched out and did small succulent gardens. We figured we wouldn't be able to kill them as easily! We found another pink & white striped Geranium so we planted that as well. I am still on the hunt for red and white striped Martha Washington ones - so if you see any...

Oh - we are having a HypnoBirthing Story Afternoon on Sat. May 22nd if you know anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming that way! I went to one of these when I was prego and it changed the course of my life pretty much! Oh - and San Diego HypnoBirthing was on the news last week! Fox 5 called me and wanted to do a story that evening on the 6:00 news. it was crazy! I had pretty much an hour to get ready and find a new mom to meet me at the Birth Center for an interview! It was fun but a bit nerve racking. Anyway - you can see it on my site if want a good laugh!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too good to be true??

I just got an email from my friend Amanda in Wisconsin. She has been looking for the therapy pool for Finnie on various Craigs lists etc(nice to have friends that go above and beyond - so blessed!). Well - she stumbled upon this link - where we can enter to win one! Of course - the entry date is March 31st so we only have 3 days left to enter. I guess it asks on the bottom of the form what you want to do with the pool if you win so she put, "donate to Finnley Messer." It's the fastlane Pool when they ask you to check the box. I see now that it's an Ironman sweepstakes - guess we are training for more of a life for Finnie than just a race(I can't believe I just said the the Ironman was "just a race!" I could be so lucky to be as fit as all of those amazing competitors!). Wonder if a baby with special needs is the kind of publicity they are looking for with their contest - probably not???

She suggested that I enter to win and then send it out to all "my peeps" and of course - it sounds like a great idea! It's only one entry per household and we don't have a lot of time. If you would consider giving up a great summer pool if you win - to help the yummiest little girl ever - it would be a true answer to prayer. Here's the link below!
Thanks Amanda!! xoxo - Care

Win a Pool for Finnie! Click Here

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our next goal...Finn's therapy Pool

Anyone wanna buy some cupcakes?? I think I may have to plan the biggest bake sale in San Diego history for this one!!

We found blisters on the sides of Finnie's feet and couldn't figure out how she would have gotten them. She doesn't wear shoes so we were quite alarmed. We soon noticed that when she would kick in the tub - her legs had gotten to long - she was rubbing her pinky toes raw along the side as she moved.

Now that Finn has outgrown her bathtub where she was able to exercise each day, we are on a quest to save for the therapy pool. It may look like a party but it actually fits inside the garage(It is not a jacuzzi with jets - relax mom!). The garage is the best place for it so we don't have to sunscreen her pale skin every time we get her in it. Oh - and no bird poop in the pool!! That's another plus...

This may be our only shot at getting her muscles strong enough for walking, coordination etc. She improved so much last summer in the community pools that we know daily therapy at home can only triple that result. The base price is quite unbelievable for unemployed parents($10,900.00) but they do offer a special needs discount so we don't know exactly how much it will cost yet. Cost really doesn't matter at this point - Finnie needs it, so we have to find a way to may it happen.

I figured if I doula 19 babies, I can pay cash for it - it's just a bit irresponsible to that in 2 months time!! So - I am open to any ideas that anyone has! The woman at the pool company said that sometimes Kiwanis or Rotary Clubs help out with special needs equipment - know anyone that belongs to one of those?
The pool has a current that you can turn on so that it increases the resistance she will be working against. It's portable so we can take it when we move. And if she grows out of this one - WE ARE ALL IN TROUBLE!!

Any ideas????

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two births in Two days...nope - Three births in Four!

Wow - wow - wow... My first two births of the new year came 1 day apart. Luckily a day is made up of 24 hours so I was able to sleep in between but WOW. I am constantly amazed at this path that I am on. What a sacred work it is to attend births. Seeing and helping a baby come into the world is nothing short of a miracle from heaven. Watching the strength that a mother and father are naturally equip with I think surprises all three of us at the time but yet we can sense it's been there all along. I use the word amazed a lot when speaking of birth work and births but I can't come up with another that describes the sense of awe I feel. I hope that feeling never goes away and they never become just another task to perform(if so, I am in the wrong line of work).

Each birth takes me back to Finnie's. I would do it all over again. Her birth was incredible and most fulfilling. A most wonderful experience that has shaped all of our lives. Finnley has such a true soul. Her sweet spirit has gotten me through some of the roughest days I've faced. What a blessing from our Lord to allow her to remain in my home. I don't take a second of that miracle for granted and only wish that everyone had the opportunity to be with her as I am. You can't help but to be changed by it from the inside out. Her birth is a many level miracle, not just one event, but continual.

Maybe one should not utter these words like these to tempt fate but I almost welcome hard experiences now. Facing them, working through them is how we grow and become. Running from them only prolongs, drags out and hurts us worse. It can also hurt those we love. I don't like pain and hard things but I see the value in them. I appreciate the sweet, small moments in life that I took for granted in the past. I see that my scrapbooks reflect the little things now, not just the big events that take place. I keep track of the way things make me feel now - experiences that warm my heart or ones that tear it apart. They are all there for my growth and I savor them as wonderful learning opportunities.

I am learning to forgive myself and and others more readily and not to hold on to grudges and painful words. It's a process I am not perfected in - but I feel a change within me and I know the Lord is by my side. Heaven knows I have made many, many more mistakes than I care to remember and that I have hurt people in the past. I am so sorry for that and wish I knew then what I am learning now. If you are one of those people, I am truly sorry for any hurt or upset I have caused you. I have also learned that when people aren't what they seem, or when you are finally open to seeing them for what their actions are displaying, it is okay to let them go and move on with your life. Holding on to damaging relationships doesn't help either party.

I see my life on a path that is moving towards positive and healthy changes. My vision board helps refocus me visually on that road. It's a conscious effort on my part and I have to realign my thinking and actions daily. But I am working towards moving forward and daily change must be constant. You have to be open to it and embrace it. I can feel a difference in days where my heart and mind are not present and working together. I don't feel it is a coincidence that negative influences are being replaced with people whose presence I am astounded to be in. There is so much we can learn from one another. Getting involved with my Birthing work is bringing wonderful, open people into my life who are on a similar journey. I learn from them while they learn from me. I had a private class the other night with people that are nothing short of incredible.

...fastforward...rewind...I put my post on hold so I could take Finnie to her Dr. appt. Here is how the day unfolded...
After a very stormy night - wind, rain, hail and wind - Finn had her tri-annual
Neurology appt. Paul stayed home to get some rest since he was up most of the early hours with her, so off we went. The rain was horrible and driving made me nervous with my little yum yum in the back seat. Parking was a joke and of course all of the Handicap spaces were taken. We parked in the FARTHEST spot in the lot around the back of the building. I thought about getting the stroller out but it was too rainy and our umbrella wouldn't have covered the stroller.

As we get inside the building, the elevator is out. Our doctor is on the 5th floor. I thought - I can do five flights of stairs. Jumping in without really thinking things through has always been a problem for me. By the 3rd landing I was near a heart attack. My purse weighs about 15lbs., Finn weighs 24lbs., the diaper bag about 5lbs and we had a bulky blanket & long umbrella with us. Hmmmmmmmm. Yeah - should have rescheduled! But that brings it's own issues so I continued climbing. Finnley enjoyed the bumping and panting - she giggled most of the time. As I came to the check in desk, I had to take five minutes and catch my breath - or should I say find my breath. I considered passing out but who would take care of Finnie? I got a grip and asked them when the elevators would be fixed. They said they had been out all morning and most people had called and canceled before they attempted the stairs. Smart people...

After our appt. the doctor asked us to go to the hospital lab across the street to get a bagged urine sample. He could see how frazzled and tired I was and the weather was only getting worse - he apologized but said it had to be done. So, we packed up and began our descent down the five flights of stairs. I was surprised that it was almost as hard because her blanket kept getting in the way and I was really struggling with not falling to our death! As we got outside - the wind was everywhere! The rain was coming down so hard with the wind that I didn't dare open the umbrella so I threw the blanket over Finn and headed for the car. Oh - did I mention that I wore flip flops? Slippery flip flops that made the walk impossible. It still gets worse... As I was rounding the corner, my pants fell to the ground! To the ground! There I was, standing in my undies for all the world to see - rain, wind, baby, diaper bag, purse, blanket and umbrella taking up all of my hands! I knew if I let go of everything I would drop Finnie so it took a moment to think about how I was going to do this. I swore in my mind and then I began to laugh. If people were watching me - what a show!! I managed to transfer everything but the umbrella to my right hand and I slowly lowered myself down to grab my waistband. By this time(it seemed like forever)my legs and jeans were wet so it took a good 30 seconds to inch them up. My balance was off and Finnie was squirming all over the place and I was losing my grip on the lot of them. It was horrible and absolutely hysterical all at the same time! I scooted my way back to the car. We were all wet and soggy by the time we got in.

I was tired and crying by this time and knew we still had another building to tackle. You'll never believe that their power across the street was out as well - so NO ELEVATOR!! This building had an open stairway and rain was pouring over the drain-spouts in gallon sized dumps. I tried to keep Finnie from the brunt of it but we were soaked but the time we got inside. The lab was standing room only and there was just NO way I was going to wait for two hours like this! Oh - did I mention that Finn had been fasting? Yeah - she was not the most amiable baby by this point. I asked for the urine bags to take home and headed for the stairs - again. This time, I had to keep a hold of my pants while walking because they were even more heavy and stretched out from the rain. I guess I have lost some weight. I knew they were a little baggy when I put them on - but come on! When we got into the car, I paused for a minute to catch my breath before starting the car. My phone rang at 12:42- it was my last January mom telling me that her water had released and that she was waiting for the surges(contractions) to start. WOW!!!

I got Finnie home, dried her off and Paul started feeding her. I jumped on the shower so that I could re-group and be presentable for this next birth. I threw the pants into the donation pile...

I baked cookies for the midwives since her surges were just getting going. She felt relaxed so she said I didn't need to rush over. By 5pm, she said she was still doing fine but that they were about 4 minutes apart. We decided that I should call the photographer and meet there at 6:00. We both arrived and found mom relaxing to her CD on the bed with dad by her side. She was talking and laughing in between and felt calm and upbeat. We left for the birth center a bit before seven and baby was born just after 8pm. It was an amazing water birth and she and her husband delivered their own baby! To say it was incredible would be the biggest understatement of the year! The photos turned out beautifully and I am so excited that this mom is letting me post her birth story slide show on my website.

It was a sacred ending to a roller coaster day. I am very thankful that I was able to attend all three births in the four days, not missing anything - feeling very well rested and blessed to be a part of them. These women were/are so strong and while all three births were very different - they ended the same. Strong women, making the best decisions for their babies and bringing a beautiful beginning to their childrens lives. I love this thing called life!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas smiles...

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We had a great Christmas this year. December was full of fun parties and lots of smiles. Thank you to all who helped make it a warm and happy holiday for my girls!

Finn is getting better at turning to her side and has even grabbed for toys! Only took us two years but who's counting??!! We will start working with Dr. Hedayat this next month and I am really looking forward to it. He has already met her PT(Physical therapist)and they will be working together!

Paul had some job interviews and we'll find out more after the first of the year. Finn's Dr. appt.s went well I guess - they haven't called to say there was a problem. We're going with no news is good news! Angie and I completed our traditional Gingerbread house with a fruit stripe gum roof that took a long time to complete. We like it enough to do it from now on. We made several batches of cookies, pies and breads to take around and enjoyed our baking time together. Christmas is so full of traditions at our house and it really helps keep things tight and together!

I am just getting the last details filled in for my upcoming group classes and start another private class this week. We are looking forward to the new year and the blessings that it will bring. We hope that you all enjoy the time you have with those you love... It's precious and not to be taken for granted...

Merry Merry -

God knows my details...Thanksgiving blessings...

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Yes - It is December and I am filling in for the last month I missed blogging. I am really proud of those of you who can do it everyday or even once a week. Crazy doesn't even begin to tell you what our household has been like - so briefly - I'll explain...

I finished up the Group HypnoBirthing classes, I was still teaching a private class, my partner decided to go back to Nursing school-so we split our business, I had to re-advertise, re-do the website, change the business name/license, organize my curriculum and homework for my couples, make and send cards to my couples, organize my email templates for future classes, finish up my observation childbirth class for my DONA certification, make checkoff sheets so that I wouldn't miss anything for my class registrations, finished three books for certification & doula training, found a place to teach, get that paid for and sign contracts(which I did, yea!) - and I had to finish up any and all Christmas presents, do Finn's therapy and had doctor's appts. in the small time allotted in between. I barely had time for breathing so the blogging had to stay in my head for the month. So, not an excuse - just an explanation.

To say that I am not grateful for this past year, it's lessons, heartaches and rejoicings - would be a felony. My heart is full for what the Lord has taught me and blessed me with this last year.
He is so aware of our details - it's not always the big stuff that he fixes - he is aware of our details. I found myself turning upwards everyday in thanks for the details being met. I have learned by repeated experiences how our thoughts effect our daily outcomes - what we put out is what we get in return. When I am able to put my worries to the side and thoughts of "the Lord will take care of things - don't worry" replace those thoughts- it happens.

The thought of paying $2000.00 for a walker that Finn needs made my heart sick and I cried. It is so hard to know your child needs something and have zero resources to draw from. It had been even harder on Paul. But - put the worry aside and our therapist then came along with a frame that had been sitting in a clients garage, our families came through with enough money to give me the hope that it would all be OK. The feeling of peace came and we then found a website that offers used equipment for more than 1/2 the cost of new and I am in email contact with several leads. The feeling of peace is key because I know that God is aware of our details.

When I first began teaching my classes, I had a lot of passion behind my teaching because I know it works - it's all the medical jargon I couldn't pronounce that filled me with fear and doubt. I was praying a Dr. wouldn't be in my group and have to correct my pronunciations! But, putting worry aside(which took a lot of effort) - I have sailed through each class without a hiccup and the words have flowed like it's normal language for me. The feeling of peace is there and I know He knows my details.

I suppose the most amazing example of God knowing my details is what happened this month. I didn't think that a partnership ending would be the door that brought Finnley exactly what she needed and what I had been praying so hard for.

I felt the peace inside when my partner and I decided to split. We are still good friends and I wasn't worried about that changing but having to re-do everything that we had done together, finding places to teach etc. was a HUGE and daunting task to face. It freaked me out and I was scared to death - but still I felt peace. Trusting that, I ask that I be in tune enough to follow what he wanted for me.

I wanted to add some aromatherapy options for my couples to use in class and during their birthing times. On the Internet, I found a doctor that works about 4 miles from my house who owns Aroma MD - an organic, medical grade line of oils. I went to his office and picked up a bottle to help me sleep(since the stress wasn't allowing much of that to go on for me) and I spoke with him briefly on a Friday. He was so kind and I again felt that peace while in his office but didn't really think much of it. I went about my day and the feelings came stronger and more intense that I needed to call him on Monday and see if he would be open to me holding classes in his office. I called him on Monday and he said he would be open to it and ask what I would like to pay. We made an appt. for Tuesday and I found myself in his office.

I met with Dr. Hedayat and his office manager. He found out a bit more about me and my classes and then I asked him
what his specialties were so that I could advertise him etc. He told me that in Chicago he was a Neonatal doctor in the intensive care unit(NICU)and that he worked with babies born with Encephalopathy(Finn's initial diagnosis) and Cerebral Palsy (the diagnosis they want to diagnose her with)... the feeling of peace rushed my entire being and I began to cry. It caught us both off guard and he left to get me tissues. I knew at that moment that I was lead to that office and that God answered my prayers yet again. It was overwhelming me to me. I explained why I was crying and he asked me about Finnley. He is the Dr. I have been needing to fill in the gaps with her therapy and medications. He has studied and seen brain injured patients make remarkable progress just by certain brain training exercises and techniques. He explained that brains can go into a "hibernation" of sorts when there is a significant assault to it and by all tests - it can look dead. But with the right stimuli, it can recover or heal parts of it that make up for lost parts. He also said that if we would have left her in the hospital to donate her organs, she most likely would have died with no stimuli. Well, she had stimuli alright!

I walked out of there amazed, awed, thankful and blessed that Heavenly Father knows my details. All of this- the classes, the study, the preparation, the stress and the joys - helped me get to this place. I cried the rest of the week and did Hosanna shouts in my heart. Do we really know how God lovingly guides out lives? Even the hard stuff is moving us towards what is better. I believe that we don't recognize it until we change our outlook and our output -but it's there and it's real.

I begin teaching in Dr. Hedayat's office in January and in the Birth Center downtown(where Finnie was born)in February. I have 3 mom's due in January so it will be a busy month a and I can't wait! Wow - I have so much to be thankful for...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Help a Chick out!!

Bringing an End to World Hunger Through Unimaginable Blessings

During this Autumnal time of year, we as a society begin to reflect on our blessings and what we have.

Angie & Finnley have been such blessings to our family and giving back to others is the only way we have to show the Lord our gratefulness. Finnley continues to do well, making little improvements everyday. We are working on getting her a "Gait" walker so that we can develop her leg muscles to hopefully begin the process of learning how to walk. It may take us years but are going down that road! Angie turns 13 next week and got wonderful grades on her first progress report! (She is SO lucky she didn't get her brains from me!) Today marks the one year of unemployment and it has only been by the Lord's blessings that we are still here! Many times, He answers our prayers through the generosity and thoughtfulness of others and it's our turn to help facilitate that for someone else.

We learned about Hiefer International on an Oprah show and it has opened up a world of opportunities to give all over the world. Hiefer International places livestock in villages and teaches communities how to raise and keep the animals to better the lives of their families. This Autumn time - we are inviting you to join with us in giving a "Flock of Chicks" to help a family from Africa to the Caribbean. For just $20.00 you can give a gift that will touch many families. We also encourage you to explore the site and see all the wonderful work that they do. Happy Autumn...

Flock of Chicks

A flock of chicks can help families add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their inadequate diets.

The protein in just one egg is a nutritious gift for a hungry child. Protein-packed eggs from even a single chicken can make a life-saving difference.

Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year - plenty to eat, share or sell. With Heifer recipients' commitment to pass on the offspring and training, the exponential impact of adding chickens to communities in poverty is truly a model that helps end hunger and poverty.

Because chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available food scraps, families can make money from the birds without spending much. And chickens help control insects and fertilize gardens.

In Tanzania, Omari and Kulwa were struggling to raise a family on just 50 cents a day. With the training and chicks they received from Heifer, egg sales have boosted their daily income to $2, so they can now buy food and still pay school fees. Now, through passing on the gift, all of the children in their village are going to school.

Today, millions of people who were once hungry will be nourished by milk, eggs and fresh vegetables.self-reliance

Families who for generations knew only poverty will be building new homes and starting businesses.

Children who once headed out to the fields to do backbreaking work will be heading into schoolrooms to learn to read.

And people who never thought they’d be in a position to help someone else will be experiencing the joy of charitable giving.

How is this possible?

With Heifer’s proven approach – almost 60 years in the making – to helping people obtain a sustainable source of food and income.

guide our efforts to end world hunger and care for the earth.

Long-Term Solutions emphasizing community involvement distinguish our work from that of global relief organizations.

“Passing on the Gift” means recipients agree to share the offspring of gift animals with others in need, making them equal partners with Heifer in the fight to end world hunger.

Environment and Sustainable Development is taught to our project recipients to help them achieve sustainable agricultural production.

Animal Well-Being guidelines are strictly reinforced with professional veterinary training staff.

Disaster Rehabilitation
, with long-term, sustainable development the goal of Heifer's rehabilitation projects.
How We Measure Success shows how people's lives have permanently changed since Heifer came along.

Donate Some Chicks!!

Feel free to send this on to more friends - let's see how many chicks we can get. Be sure to say a little prayer that they reach the family that needs them the most! We love you and can't wait to share another holiday season with you!! Love - Care

Friday, October 9, 2009

Someday is NOT on the calendar!!

Meaning to do something is just a great form of procrastination. I can put off doing something forever by using the excuse that I will 'get to it someday'! It has now been a month since I have updated the blog(thank you to all who sent me notes reminding of that)and I learned from a great woman this month that, "Someday is not on the calendar!" If you want to do it and it's important - you'll write it down and follow through. So I am updating Finn's Blog because it is important to me. I wrote "update blog" down to prove to myself that someday only comes when it falls on a day of the week! Today someday falls on Friday!

Life changes so fast that I have had a hard time keeping up with it this month. I went to Florida for 9 days to certify in my HypnoBirth training. AMAZING is all I can say about that week. Although I terribly missed my family(and dogs,)I met the most powerful and life changing women. It was remarkable. It was as if I had always known them.

I had two of the BEST roommates I could ask for - we had a ball! I brought enough cup of soup and easy mac in my suitcase that I only had to eat out once the entire time. (I will never eat that stuff again, gag, but the food I packed for the week only cost $10.97 - thank you Wal-mart!) The weather was humid to say the least but the beach was gorgeous and the hurricanes were non-existent! I took in so much information I was sure it was impossible to hold it all inside.

My trainers, Lorie and Vivian were fabulous! They run a "HypnoBirthing empire" in Boca Raton Florida called Amazing Births and I was grateful for all of their time patience in answering all of my questions. I met Mickey Mongan, the founder of HypnoBirthing and gave her my HypnoBirthing story book. She loved Finn's story so she asked me to speak after lunch the next day to the practitioners. Of course I cried all the way through it but it was a good experience. I met a lot of women afterward who had experienced loss and/or had taught couples who had. It was very enlightening and a moving few days. I have never felt so honored to be with these remarkable and passionate women. I really feel blessed to be on this journey. With my new business partner, France, we have really gotten our classes organized and are excited to get things started. The website is up(not as polished as I would like it)but our classes are filling fast. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. Doors are opening as they should and we are on a roll!

With that said - I missed Angie's first day of school. That was hard on both of us. Paul is still without a job and Finn will be losing home services soon. Days are hard and very uncomfortable at times. My car needed repair and thanks to an angel - it did. Then today, Paul's car began to smoke while I was sitting at an intersection. What fun! Luckily, I had my rose colored sunglasses in the car so the smoke looked more like fog which helped me not to break down while billowing smoke clouds drifted to nearby buildings. There has got to be a really good church talk in here somewhere right?

This week, I really felt like a one way ticket to Kauai is all I really needed. Just a break to sleep and cry it all out. It could be SO much worse. I know that things turn around in their own time. I just need to pray for more patience(or a winning lottery ticket). As I sat on the couch, feeling overwhelmed and almost sorry for myself - Finnie began to giggle. Squirming and giggling uncontrollably. Ahhhhhhhhh - what that did for my soul! A little bit of heaven right in front of me and I almost missed it. Wouldn't it be so much worse if she weren't here? She is so yummy. If anyone ever needs a pick me up - one minute with this little girl is all you need. Her spirit is undeniably divine in nature. Angie says she can come home from an awful day of school and Finn can wipe the whole day clean for her. Finn just has a way about her and how blessed we are to share this life with her.

I know that Finnie is here due to all the prayers you say and have said for her. I thank all of you for that. She is our ray of hope when hope seems to be buried under a HUGE PILE OF ....well ya know. Hope is at the very bottom of that pile! My love to all of you.. and the good Lord above for keeping my baby in my arms...

About Me

I am a mom of two beautiful girls. Our family has been greatly blessed by the Lord. His message of love and hope needs to be shared and my girls are a testimony of His plan for all of us.