Little Ones Valentine’s Party and Mother’s Tea


What are you and your littles doing on Valentine’s Day? Stop by geneabirth for a cup of tea and something special for your little ones. Bring a friend! Everyone is welcome.

valentine's day

Tuesday, Feburary 14th 2016

9:30 am-Noon

851 Dayton Avenue, Saint Paul 55104

Upper Level 

We will have a special toddler/preschool friendly Valentine’s Day  craft and goodies.

We have tea and coffee, comfy places to sit, lots of and toys for the little ones. We’ll have some yummy snacks to share. Potluck snacks are encouraged, but don’t worry if you are not able to bring a snack, just bring yourself and your kids).  If you baby is too small for crafts and party activities, join us anyway for a cup of tea and some conversation

This event  is open to the whole community. You do not need to be a geneabirth client to come.

We hope to see you there!

Finley Rae’s Birth Story

Julia has graciously shared her birth story and her beautiful photos and fun labor selfies with us.  Julia and Isaiah are passionate about fitness and this story starts with a workout that would challenge most of us when we’re not pregnant!  I will always remember this birth–Julia eased her baby out so gently and almost in perfect slow motion and little Finley’s eyes were open looking around her new world during the moments of her emergence.  It was gorgeous and glorious.  –Erin

Finley Rae Crevier’s Birth Story

We knew it was “possible” to get pregnant on our wedding night, but we didn’t actually think we would get that lucky on the first try! We found out we were pregnant the day after arriving home from our honeymoon in Italy just 13 days later. Throughout the entire pregnancy we both had a strong feeling we were having a little boy, but we received a BIG surprise when little miss Finley Rae arrived on May 21st; 6 days past her “due date”.

We were pretty pumped about her late arrival because the weekend she was due, Isaiah was stuck in part 4 chiropractic board exams (an ALL DAY event under security where no one is allowed to leave) &, to be honest, I had procrastinated finishing up my “pre-baby to do” list until just days before her actual arrival.

A huge goal of mine was to continue staying as active and fit as possible though out my pregnancy. I was, after all, training for the most important workout of my life.. BIRTH! It was Friday evening when Isaiah and I decided to go to the gym for a workout. Granted it was already 7:30 pm, this hungry mama hadn’t eaten dinner yet and wasn’t super thrilled by the idea, but I ate a little snack and we walked the half mile to his school gym hoping a good workout might kickstart labor. I remember doing rowing intervals, kettlebell swings and weighted box step ups thinking, “if this doesn’t help get this baby out, i don’t know what will!”

prelabor workout selfie

Kidding.. But really. It had to have helped right?

After our workout we walked a longer loop back home from the gym and got me adjusted before having two of our best friends over to hang out. By this time it was about 9 o’clock, I was still feeling normal, but I had an inkling that baby was coming real soon. Around 10:30 I noticed the smallest hint of a cramping feeling in my stomach. As someone who didn’t notice braxton hicks contractions during pregnancy, I was becoming more certain that this small pinching in my tummy meant the baby really was coming soon! I remember having a conversation with Isaiah about thinking I was going to go into labor during the night while our dear friend/cousin Bridgette was planning to spend the night at our place that evening. Always wanting to be a good host, I was more worried about disturbing her peaceful snooze on our couch with my frequent nightly potty breaks than about going into labor myself! Isaiah assured me it would be fine, so we eventually decided to just go with it.

last bumpie

We went to bed around 12:30 am, but I was soon up again at 2:30 with a pain in my low back. I made my routine nightly trip to the bathroom (hello, baby squashing my poor bladder over here!) while trying to remember Sarah and Erin’s stern advice to try not to get too excited that labor was beginning so I would be able to get adequate rest while I was still able to. I noticed a mucousy pink substance when I went to the bathroom so of course I had to google “mucous plug” to confirm my suspicions. Contractions came every 9-10 minutes and lasted for 1.5 minutes at a time until about 4:15 am when they sped to 8-9 minutes apart. I stayed in bed trying to rest between contractions, but don’t remember if I ever actually fell back asleep between them or not. The contractions were upsetting my tummy so I felt like I was getting up every other one to go to the bathroom or to move around to ease the pain. Isaiah would roll over occasionally to put his hand on my tummy and check on me. Around 4:30 I got up and had a banana and a long hot shower because I was starving and what better way to pass some time than to bask in the goodness of a toasty hot shower. Hot showers had been my (not so guilty) pleasure during pregnancy and was the perfect thing to easy my contractions and prep me for the labor to come.

Around 7 am Isaiah & Bridgette got up and had coffee. I drank a huge glass of water & ate a perfect bar. We turned on my Bethel Music worship playlist, dimmed the lights & started diffusing calming oils though out the apartment. By this point the contractions were getting more uncomfortable where I would wince and not want to chat much during them anymore.. But between each one I felt great; still up and about like normal.

I soon realized I had forgotten to purchase a VERY IMPORTANT item off of my supply list.. Big comfy post partum undies. Any mama who’s had a baby knows how essential this item is.. Of course, Sarah and Erin had actually told me to buy depends because they’d be comfy/easy afterwards, but being the diva (not) that I am, I wanted to do post Partum pads + undies, but I had forgotten to buy 1 of the 2 essentials to bring my plan into fruition

Like I said, I was still feeling pretty bomb between contractions & I remembered reading numerous times in Ina May’s books that going for a walk in early labor was a good way to kick start things, etc. So I was dead set on walking the quarter mile or so over to target myself to get undies. Thankfully Isaiah was all the wiser and forbid it. He said we could go for a walk, but that Bridgette and Philip could pick some up or my mama could on her way up from Iowa. So alas, I reluctantly settled for letting them tend to my needs and we went down to the parking lot for a mini stroll around 8:30.

My contractions were quickly sneaking closer and closer together because we didn’t even make it down a row and back in our parking lot without me having 2-3 contractions. By now I had to stop walking and would close my eyes & sway during them, telling Isaiah, “just give me a second” until I was able to walk again. Thankfully no cars were pulling out/driving thru because during the cx’s I was moving for no one! 😂


All of my labor was taking place in my low back, which to me wasn’t surprising because I have always experienced menstrual cramps worse in my low back, as well. So we expected that I might labor this way. We eventually made it back up to our apartment and decided it was time to get the tub put together only to realize we were missing an essential rod piece that held the outer shell together! Isaiah gave Erin a call and thankfully she quickly found the missing piece and said Sarah would drop it off/come check on me as well after she made a quick run to target.

Around 9:30 or 10 was when the mini panic of “when did you say Sarah and Erin were going to be showing up?!” began to kick in. The contractions were getting real intense, lasting 2.5 minutes a piece and just 5 or so minutes apart. I remember doubting if I was timing the contractions correctly because they were nearing together so quickly. In the 2nd trimester I had read that expecting mama’s who ate 6 dates a day for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy showed to have quicker 1st stages of labor, in addition to other awesome benefits.. So I had religiously eaten my 6 dates a day with high hopes, but even I didn’t expect for things to progress quite as quickly as they we

Sarah eventually made her way over, allowing us to get the tub filled up & boy was I ready. Anything to help ease those pesky contractions. Sarah felt baby’s position and checked the heartbeat. Everything was in perfect order so I dropped my drawers and hoped in the tub. The warm water was calming and helped to cut a little of the intensity of contractions.


The point from getting into the tub to beginning to push is a bit of a blur. I remember sitting on my knees in the tub and feeling great until a new contraction would come on. Bless Sarah’s heart, she was a God send early on showing Isaiah how to best help ease my back labor during cx’s. As one would come on, she would press firmly on my hips/low back as I would slowly try to sway away the pain. Isaiah soon took over that job, and since all of my labor was in my low back and tailbone I appreciated any help I could get!


I do remember Isaiah offering me a frozen peanut butter filled date soon after hopping in the tub. Never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but the peanut butter made me gag! That was the only moment that I thought I might throw up.

After awhile of chilling in the warm tub, they asked me if I might want to try to go potty as a full bladder and pushing out a baby don’t really work hand in hand.. So with a helping hand I swung one leg then the other over the top of the tub and strolled to the bathroom. FYI, it’s not easy to maneuver your legs at this point when you’ve essentially got a watermelon slowly sliding down in your abdomen and putting pressure on your pelvis! But we made it work.

I was still sitting on the toilet after peeing and Erin told me that on my next contraction I would likely feel the urge to push and it was okay to give into that urge. Boy was she right! I remember that first pushing contraction very clearly. Not only the forceful power of the female body, but the physical movement of the baby sliding lower into the birth canal and the intense pressure down below. Ugh.. My poor, poor tailbone. If you have intense back labor like I, God bless you. I don’t think any labor is for the faint of heart, but man.. That back labor is on another level. Don’t let that scare you tho! It’s so 100% worth it and the baby DOES eventually come out. Pain is temporary and, let’s be real, it’s called LABOR for a reason. Those first pushing contractions can be a little scary in that they feel completely new and it’s easy to want to fight the “fire” feeling going on down below, but things move along so much smoother, I learned, if you give into that burning pushing sensation. Each surge is bringing you closer to meeting your little bundle of love!

Now, I had remembered reading stories of women who pushed on the toilet, had babies over the toilet or a similar type chair. Valiant and wonderful birth stories, sure.. But not quite what I envisioned for myself so after a contraction or 2 more we made our way back to the tub. Pushing contractions were much more taxing than the “pre-transition” contractions. So most of the time between I spent floating around with my eyes closed taking deep breaths and praying our little nugget would make his/her way into the world safe and SOON.

Time went by with little progress. My pushing contractions were only lasting a short 25 seconds, so I had to make the most of each contraction. Sarah and Erin were making position change suggestions to see if that might help move things along. Though baby felt like she was in a good position, we wondered if she might be stuck on one of my hips so I was recommended to try putting one foot forward flat on the bottom of the tub with my other knee down and back in a “runners lunge” pose. Ya’ll, I thought they were crazy! I had so much pressure in my poor bum & was feeling crampy in my legs, the last thing I wanted to try and do was scissor split my legs!

Alas, we decided to transition out of the tub to try something new. We eventually got me down in the runners lunge pose as I leaned my upper body on my big exercise ball for support. I pushed through a couple contractions on one side, then swapped legs and did the same on the other. I had made some definite progress by now, but I still couldn’t manage to push her out.

My water had yet to release by this point, but they could see the membranes bulging each time I pushed. Sorry (not sorry) if that’s TMI for ya’ll, this is a birth story after all! With my permission Erin gave the water bag a good pinch to help break the membranes.

Ahh, a mild relief of pressure. Come on baby!

I don’t remember who suggested it, as my mind was kind of a blur at this point, but they had me transition from the ball/runners pose down onto my back next to the tub. Now.. if you have had a home birth or know anything about home birth, the last thing you might picture is a mama laying down on her back giving birth. But that’s exactly what happened.

Once on my back I got to actually see the progress I was making with a mirror, as the top of a head was clearly visible. A few pushing contractions later and out came the head (hallelujah, sweet relief!) with curiously alert eyes wide open & lots of dark brown hair.. Along with the head was a tiny little left arm wrapped across the chest/neck and over a tiny little shoulder.

Psh.. no wonder she was so hard to push out!!

Another big push and out she came! We had no idea if we were having a girl or boy.. the whole pregnancy I said we were having a boy, until we got to about a week from her due date and I “just had a feeling” it was going to be a girl. Mama always knows. 😍 (or maybe I just really wanted to use the girl name we had picked out.. It’s hard to say.)


Sweet Finley Rae was born at 2:20ish on May 21, 2016 in our apartment living room.. on the floor.. next to the birthing tub.. & it was perfect. She had the tiniest & shortest little umbilical cord so she had to lay on my low belly in those first moments while we waited for the placenta.


Mamas.. Those first sweet moments with your baby are the best. So many emotions and so much adrenaline, it was hard to take it in. But wow, the power God put within women to grow another human and give birth naturally is truly amazing and what an honor it is to experience it personally. All thoughts of the pain and endurance it took to deliver your baby are instantly GONE when you hear those first couple cries as your baby fills their lungs with air.

I don’t know if it was the adrenaline, all of the working out I did during pregnancy or the fact I no longer felt like I had a bowling ball trying to bust out of my backside.. but when they asked if I wanted to go lay down with Fin in my bed I popped right up off the floor and started strolling that way like nothing had happened. Let me tell you though, one of the biggest blessings of having a home birth was getting to snuggle up with my new bundle of love in my very own bed & being in the comfort of my own surroundings. There really is no place like home and though we no longer live in that apartment, it will always hold the sweet memory in my heart of where our family of 2 became a family of 3.


cord-cutting family-2 tiny-placenta


Anticipation, Surprise, Swift, Emotional, Beautiful, Blessed: The Birth of Miles Hartley

One of our summer birthing mamas has written her birth story and has graciously shared it with us and the world.  Her beautiful story involves lots of preparation and support, grappling with the unknowable nature of childbirth, a gentle and ample pre-labor, a swift active labor and pushing stage, a sibling at birth and a bit of an unexpected urgency at the end.

Anticipation, Surprise, Swift, Emotional, Beautiful, Blessed.  There are so many more words, but these are the most prominent that come to mind when I reflect on our birth time Miles Hartley.  You took us on an amazing ride and I will forever be grateful that we walked this journey together.

homebirth birth tub

As much as I wanted you to come into this world much before your due date, I tried to remind myself that it was not up to me, but that YOU would choose the perfect time to come meet everyone that was waiting for you.  My pregnancy with you was filled with so much anticipation and I found it harder to control as your guess date drew near.  I felt anticipation about whether you were going to be a boy or a girl; anticipation about how it would feel to meet you for the first time since I had not had nearly the amount of time to spiritually connect with you during this pregnancy; anticipation about the connection you and Averee have had and will have in your life together as siblings; most of all, there was anticipation about what our birth time would be like, knowing that it was undoubtedly going to be so much different from Averee’s birth but unsure of what that meant.  My anticipation was so strong that I decided on Tuesday morning I needed to go for a long walk with Cece and the girls around Lake Harriet to try to encourage gravity to get you moving to the outside world!  Contractions came along but nothing that made me think you were on your way anytime soon.  Little did I know…

I was slightly surprised to wake up in the wee hours of the morning on June 8th 2016 (around 1:00am) to a tiny hint of what seemed to be “pre-labor” contractions.  The tightening feeling of the Braxton Hicks contractions that I had felt during most of the pregnancy now had a little bit of a sting to them.  All I had to do was concentrate a little harder on breathing through them.  That part was a familiar feeling to what I experienced before but the only place on my belly that I felt the pressure of the contraction was in the lower part of my uterus, not my entire belly.  The duration and frequency of the contractions was very irregular (ranging anywhere from 3-12 min, and lasting 30-60 seconds) which is why I knew that true labor had not begun, but I was still a little surprised to think that maybe you could actually be a “due date baby”.  I told Papa what I was feeling but that I thought he should go to work and I would touch base with him later in the morning after I had the chance to speak with the midwives.  The minute he left the house at 5:30, Averee woke up but wasn’t ready to get out of bed.  I went to her room to lay down with her so that we could both get a little more rest.  It seemed as though you knew that I needed to focus my attention on your sister and you politely waited your turn, sweet boy.  At that time my contractions slowed drastically coming every 30-60 min instead of every couple and the intensity of them decreased as well.  Even though I wanted to kick things into gear, the gentle break to let my body and mind process everything that was about to change, was a welcomed gesture.  Thank you little man!

It is hard to explain what I felt as the rest of the day went on because it went by so quickly.  Chloe came over with Eden to play with Averee and take my mind off of everything I was feeling.  Contractions stayed mild and infrequent for the rest of the morning and afternoon, however right before Chloe showed up at 10:00 I had some bloody show when I went to the bathroom.  When they left, I decided to take a nap with Averee.  After Papa got home from work and Averee woke up from nap, I continued to rest on the couch.  Papa decided to take Averee to the park and give me some more time to relax.  Yaya and Farfar brought dinner over  so that I didn’t have to cook.  Starting around 4:30 things picked back up.  The intensity of the contractions got stronger again and from here on out they were 4-6 min apart.  At about 5:30 I let me midwives know that frequency of the contractions seemed to pick up again but no change in the intensity or anything else that I was feeling.  They told me they were all set to come over, and to keep them posted with the next change I felt.  I had more bloody show and mucous discharge right before 6:00.  My conversation with Sarah basically ended with any other change I feel to let them know right away and they would be over.  We made it through dinner with Yaya and Farfar and over the next couple of hours things stayed regular.  I could continue carry on conversation and move about between contractions, but I did not have much of an appetite.  As soon as Yaya and Farfar left around 8:00pm, Papa started getting Averee ready for bed.  We could tell that labor was definitely in motion so as Papa finished putting Averee to bed, I started getting the house ready for birth.  We needed to get our bed ready with plastic sheets, get all the birth supplies out, get the birth tub set up, etc.  Then I decided it was necessary to take a shower since I may not get another one for a little while.  I got in the shower about 9:00pm, and that was the key to getting things in motion.  From there on out, things moved so swiftly that I never had the time to process the physical sensations I felt, the emotions within me, or the fact that I was SO close to meeting you.  When I got out of the shower I was feeling a lot more pressure in my bottom.  I had a brief moment of “I got this, I don’t need to call the midwives yet.”  Then you must have spoken to me and with the next contraction my mindset changed.  I called Sarah at 9:24pm, and at the end of our 2:30 min conversation and listening through two contractions, she said, “I’m on my way!”

Even after Sarah said she was coming over, I was still in denial that things were actually moving quickly.  Her urgency made me think that I should at least let the rest of my birth team know that things “seemed” to be picking up if they wanted to head over.  Thank goodness I put those calls in right away.  Everyone was at our place by 10:30.  I continued to labor walking around the house and leaning on various surfaces while someone helped me through the contraction.  EVERYONE was still helping getting things set up.  There wasn’t much laughing or conversation or music.  We were all just focused.  I guess everyone could sense the urgency.  At about 11:00 Chloe suggested we change up the position.  She grabbed Averee’s step stool  and suggested I get a leg up and lunge into each contraction to try to get my pelvis open.  This was another game changer!  I think after two contractions like this Sarah suggested we get a chux pad under me because she was sure my water was going to break.  No sooner did they get that settled that my next contraction broke my water (about 11:10pm).  Surprise!  Things keep moving in the direction of birth yet I was still reluctant to believe that it would happen so quickly.  The midwives suggested that I get into the tub, but I was apprehensive remembering how much it slowed me down during Averee’s birth time.  I did however want to get in the shower to rinse off the two drops of amniotic fluid from my water breaking.  I think everyone was laughing at me in their heads because they all knew how imminent birth was.  But they let me do as I wish.  Into the shower I went to wash my legs off and have another couple contractions.

The next thing I knew, I was standing at the bathroom sink.  I glanced at the clock in the living room taking note of the time (11:15pm) and trying to figure out what my next move was.  While I continued to labor in the bathroom, Sarah and Erin were getting set with birth supplies in the bathtub.  My next contraction came and I could feel a ton of pressure in my bottom and felt like I kind of pushed with it.  I turned around and saw all the supplies in the bathroom and said something along the lines of “I feel like I’m pushing.”  Their response was, “Yep, you’re having a baby.”  I replied, “I’m not doing that here. I need to get in the tub and someone needs to get Averee up.”

Getting to the tub was a difficult task feeling so much pressure in my bottom, so it was good I made the move then.  As soon as I got into the tub, I sunk down into the water, closed my eyes and began to focus on every contraction and opening further for you to come out.  I heard Papa bring Averee into the room a few minutes later.  I asked her to give me a hug and kiss, and I know you felt that love too.  She was so calm and continued to repeat encouraging words.  She stood with Papa and kept careful watch through the next couple contractions, then the midwives asked, “who is catching this baby?”  Papa wanted to catch if Averee would let him so she sat and cuddled with Grandma, and Papa moved behind the tub.  Sarah checked heart tones during the next contraction and said that they were a bit low and I needed to give every ounce of energy on my next contraction to get your head out. 

At that moment, I opened my eyes and felt the beauty of the moment.  I saw Lisa in front of me holding my hands.  She gave me a smile and said “you’re doing it mama, you’re going to meet your baby.”  I had a beautiful flashback to 6 months ago when we were opposite each other in the very same moment before she gathered all her strength to birth MacKenzie.  I continued to look about the room and saw Averee cuddling with Grandma (who seemed to have the slightest tear in her eye) and felt blessed that my mother and daughter were going to witness your birth.  Then my focus went to the wall that had our family pictures hanging and a bunch of the birth art I had made with positive imagery.  I had another flashback to my blessing way when many of my friends gathered in this exact space to provide their energy, support and prayers for our birth time.  I could feel their energy and the energy of everyone in the room at that time and I took that beautiful feeling, retreated inward, closed my eyes, and with the next contraction pushed with every ounce of energy I had. 

Your birth was so much more intense than I remember it being with Averee.  I think it was due to the fact that it was happening so quickly so there was so much more sensation and emotion to process at every moment.  As I felt that one last contraction, I pushed with all my might.  I could feel your head come out and I didn’t stop there.  I wanted to meet you.  I continued to send my energy to you and could feel your body slip out and into the water.  Papa caught you and fed you through my legs and I brought you out of the water.  I saw and announced immediately that you were a boy and lifted myself up off my bottom and showed you to Averee and Grandma.  Averee said, “Mama, there’s the baby! You push it out of your belly!”  She totally got it and it was such a beautiful feeling for her to witness your entrance into the world.  Our family is complete, and I feel blessed.

As much as I wanted that to be the end of our birth story, you had one more surprise up your sleeve.  Moments after you came out, Erin noticed that your umbilical cord was not intact but had severed on the way out.  You were losing blood and looked quite ashy gray.  Erin grabbed the end of the cord and tried to pinch it off while Sarah grabbed the clamp.  Despite this scare, all the other measures of health on the APGAR rating were high, and your vitals were great.  They got you out of the water and skin to skin with Papa while Sarah helped me out of the water to try to deliver my placenta before I started to hemorrhage.  Thankfully she was able to find the end of the cord and help me get the placenta out.  As soon as I delivered it they got me comfortably in bed so we could snuggle, keep you warm and monitor your color coming back.  You pinked up rather quickly considering what the outcome could have been.  Your oxygen levels were perfect too.  After that kind of scare, we were all thankful that you handled it so well, took right to the breast and have continued to be a perfect little addition to our family.  We are so in love with you Miles Hartley!  Welcome to the world, sweet boy.


7 Things You Can Do with Your Placenta…Instead of tossing it.


Our appprentice, Hayley, is also a placenta specialist. She encapsulates, makes tinctures and cord keepsakes for many of our families and her private clients.  She has written this great article about all the things you can do with your placenta. When Sarah and I were having babies, most homebirth families buried the placenta and planted a tree or some other plant on the site. This is a lovely and meaningful choice. In the last few years we’ve seen an explosion of interest in placenta medicine.  So many choice! What do you want to do with this amazing organ that nourished your baby months?

by Hayley Duke; Placenta Specialist, Doula, Apprentice Midwife

Most people see the placenta as that thing that comes out after the baby is born, the afterbirth. In the hospital they take it away, but what do they do with it? Usually, the placenta is sent to pathology for analysis per policies. After they analyze it, it is thrown into a bucket with formaldehyde and tossed into the biohazard waste. After your baby is born, the placenta likely won’t be on the forefront of your mind but try not to forget about this beautiful organ that transferred oxygenated blood and nutrition to your baby throughout the course of your pregnancy. Here is a list of 7 things you can do with your placenta instead of tossing.

1. Encapsulate It.

The most popular form of encapsulating is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The first recording of using placenta in the form of medicine was by a pharmacist in China in 1578. It was started to be used in 1980 in America by a midwife who studied TCM. Encapsulation works by dehydrating the placenta and then grinding it up into a powder. The powder is then placed into vegetarian capsules. Your placenta is filled with wonderful things like: iron, vitamins B6 (aids in the making of antibodies), vitamin E (heals damaged skin cells), corticotropin-releasing hormone (reduces stress levels), oxytocin (known as the feel good hormone-essential for successful breastfeeding), and more!

2. Turn it Into a Tincture.

Turning your placenta into a tincture is just another great way to ingest the nutritional benefits. A tincture only takes a small piece of placenta so if you’d like to, you are still able to encapsulate it as well- in fact, a lot of Placenta Specialists will even offer you a discount for doing both. To make a tincture, the small piece of placenta steeps in 100 proof alcohol inside a dark colored glass bottle for at least 6 weeks. After 6 weeks you are able to take the tincture on as ‘as needed’ basis. The average recommended dosage is 7-10 drops held under the tongue for 60 seconds or more drops if going to be diluted in juice. This dose can be taken a few times per day but as always, listen to your body. The tincture has been useful for many women from PMS to menopause and can even be used for the teething infant. A tincture is a great choice if encapsulation isn’t an option for you, it is simple to do at home and the shelf life is indefinite.

3. Placenta Art.

Placenta art can be something as simple as a placenta print to something very complex like placenta jewelry. A placenta print takes very little time and supplies, here’s what you do: Get a large piece of paper or canvas, paint or food coloring if you want to encapsulate afterwards, and some cotton swabs. Lay your placenta out on a clean surface, vein side up (this is the fetal side) and pat dry with a paper towel. If you want to be really creative, you can turn the umbilical  cord into a fun shape or letter. Then take your paintbrush or cotton swabs and paint the entire placenta and umbilical cord. You can do a mix of colors or just one – whatever suits you. After everything is painted, take your paper or canvas and place it right on top of the placenta. The color from the placenta will transfer onto the paper. You can do this as many times as you’d like, just make sure to wipe the placenta down with a paper towel between prints. This is a fun project the whole family can get involved with. Have fun! Placenta jewelry is very time consuming and takes a lot of practice, with a quick Etsy search you can find instructions to do it yourself or someone to do it for you.

4. Smoothie.

Yum! Placenta smoothies are a delicious way to enjoy the benefits of your placenta immediately after birth. There are many benefits for consuming raw placenta, including: it promotes faster healing, aids in easing into the hormonal transition, helps to prevent baby blues, decreases postpartum blood loss, replaces iron, vitamin B6, protein, and minerals. This is a quick and easy way to consume your placenta and like the tincture, it only takes a small chunk so you’re still able to use your placenta for something else that interests you. You can use any smoothie recipe but this one is my favorite:

Tropical Raw Placenta Smoothie Recipe

  • 3 inch chunk of placenta
  • ½ Cup frozen or fresh mango
  • ½ Cup frozen or fresh strawberries
  • ¼-¾ Orange juice (depending on consistency preference)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Flax seed (optional)
  • 2-3 Ice cubes

Blend ingredients together until you reach the desired consistency. Serve immediately. Contact a placenta specialist for proper placenta storage instructions to ensure a healthy placenta.

Some people like to have one placenta smoothie right away after the birth and then encapsulate the rest, while others like to have several smoothie. If you would like to save your placenta to make more smoothies, have someone cut the placenta into small 3 inch or so pieces. Place those pieces spaced out on a baking sheet so they’re not touching. Throw the baking sheet into the freezer for a few hours until completely frozen. Once frozen, store pieces in a double bagged freezer zip loc. It is very important to use proper handling- clean utensils, supplies, work space, and wash hands thoroughly.

If this sounds like to much work after you’ve just had a baby, no worries! Placenta specialists are happy to come to your home, hospital, or birth center to prepare a smoothie for you!  

5. Lotus Birth.

The act of lotus birthing is leaving baby, umbilical and placenta attached for days while the umbilical and placenta dry out, naturally and gently detaching from baby. Lotus birth is the biological way to sever the bond. This is encouraged by rubbing salts and herbs into the raw placenta to preserve the tissue. It is a common misconception that you cannot choose both lotus birth and placenta encapsulation. As long as the placenta is taken care of properly and diligently during the lotus birth, the salting preserves the tissue, similar to salting fish or meat, and the placenta can be rinsed, steamed, dehydrated and put into capsules. Another benefit of lotus birth is it truly encourages the mother to take a babymoon. The babymoon is the period after birth in which the mother is lying with her newborn, bonding, nursing and cuddling skin to skin.

6. Bury It.

Burying your placenta in the garden or under your favorite tree is a wonderful way to honor the life sustaining organ. Not only will you always know where it is, the placenta also makes a great fertilizer. Remember to bury it at least 1 foot deep so you won’t have to worry about it being dug up by any curious animals.

7. Donate It.

There are plenty of people and organizations that would love to have your placenta. Call around to your local midwives, doulas and placenta specialists. Sometimes these birth workers are studying the placenta or training their students to know what is normal and what isn’t, therefore they need to see a lot of placentas. Your placenta can also be donated to be used for medical purposes to help other people (yes, placentas are just that awesome!) is a good place to start if you’re interested in learning more about that.


Hayley is a doula, placenta encapsulator and apprentice midwife serving the Twin Cities and surrounding areas.. She believes in families and loves discussing anything related to pregnancy, birth, and babies. If you have any  questions or just want to chat, she is available by phone or email.

hayley duke geneabirth apprentice


Babywearing 101 with Babywearing International at geneabirth

jen babywearing 1


There are so many benefits to babywearing for both moms and babies.

ashley babywearing at the beachJoin us on Thursday, August 11th for Babywearing 101.

Volunteer Babywearing Educators from Babywearing International of the Twin Cities will be here to do an introduction to babywearing. Learn all about babywearing safety and the different styles of carriers available. There will be time at the end for questions.

Our 2015 Babywearing 101 get-together was one of our most popular events ever. The presenters are amazing.  Even if you are an experienced babywearer you will learn something. They have so many beautiful carriers and can show you so many ways to care babies of all ages.

Coffee, tea and yummy baked goods will be served.  Bring your baby, of course, but toddlers and older children are welcome too. There’s plenty of room and lots of toys.

This is event is open to the community.  Anyone can come; you do not need to be a geneabirth client to attend.


babywearing newborn_edited-110:00-12:00 (presentation and coffee hour/tea time to follow)

Thursday,  August 11th

Geneabirth:  851 Dayton Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104

Send me a message or comment below if you have any questions.

Spring geneabirth Community Blessingway

hayley henna hand

Geneabirth Community Blessingway

Sunday, April 17th

11am -2 pm

Geneabirth –851 Dayton Avenue,

Saint Paul MN 55104

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Join us in celebration and fellowship at our community Blessingway.  A Blessingway is an alternative to a baby shower, an event to mark the passage a woman makes to motherhood for the first time or each subsequent time she adds a new life to her family.

All women are welcome…pregnant, postpartum, doula or other birthworkers or any women or mothers who want to offer support, enjoy one another’s company and bask in the warm, loving birthy glow.

We will  honor the mothers who came before us, sing, pamper our mothers-to-be and other guests with henna, foot rubs and shoulder massages, weave a web of support and end it all sharing a delicious meal together.

Babes in arms welcome.  Please make alternative arrangements for older babies, toddlers and children.

Please bring a potluck item to share. Sparkly non-alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, a celebratory cake  and gluten-free treat will be provided.

RSVP   Erin at  or via text at 612-508-0584  or find the event on our Geneabirth facebook page and join.




sally doing henna

hair braiding blessingway

group photo blessingway

Introducing Hayley: Geneabirth’s Student Midwife

hayley duke geneabirth apprentice

We first met Hayley when she pregnant and chose us as her midwives. We enjoyed getting to know her and her lovely family. Hayley shared with us her midwifery aspirations very early in our relationship. We were impressed with her initiative and felt that she shared a similar philosophy towards birth, breastfeeding and family life.  We invited Hayley to attend prenatals with us during her pregnancy.  

After the birth of her second baby, she took some time off but has returned to her midwifery apprenticeship and went to her first births with us in January.  We think she’s a wonderful addition to our birth team.  She is caring, sincere, down to earth, intelligent and hard working.  Hayley will be involved in the prenatal and postpartum care and births of some of our geneabirth mamas.  Sarah and I both trained in this community through the traditional apprenticeship model and we find it so satisfying to share the practice of midwifery in this way.  Families who work with Hayley are participating in this unbroken chain of the passage of midwifery skills from woman to woman.  

I asked Hayley if she would answer some questions about herself as a way to introduce her to our community.We hope you enjoy getting to know Hayley as much a we have!


hayley duke geneabirth apprentice


What draws you to homebirth midwifery?

There are so many things: I have always been interested in neonatal and maternal health, reproduction, feminism, babies and shock value. Homebirth midwifery offers me a chance to enjoy all of that.

Share a little bit about your own births.

Atom was born at home, in Florida at the end of February 2014. We had great support during a long labor that included two doulas. Atom was born in the posterior position (the back of his skull rested on my back) with a nuchal hand (his hand was born at the same time as his head.) I remember being very tired the entire time. I even fell asleep in between contractions and during pushing. I didn’t want to move,eat, or drink. At this point in my life, I wasn’t educated on comfort measures and birth physics, and I definitely wasn’t expecting that kind of intensity. After a relatively short pushing phase, he was born and it was the first most beautiful, magical and transforming experience of my life. He had a very short cord, so he rested on my stomach while our minds traveled back to earth. I wasn’t able to see his face, but I knew he was perfect. I delivered him on our bed, and his father’s hands were the first to greet him. Atom’s birth wasn’t only special for us, his parents, it was also special for my Great Granny too. At 83, his was the first birth she ever witnessed, and she still talks about it often.

Kelvin’s birth was very different from Atom’s. I woke up at 7 am having very strong contractions that were 10 minutes apart. I called Erin, my doula Emily, and my birth photographer to let them know labor was starting. Little did I know just how short it would be. It started out with two contractions 10 minutes apart, then I had two contractions 8 minutes apart, and then two contractions 6 minutes apart. I woke up Granny who was staying with us at the time, and was extra quiet, so I didn’t wake up Atom. While I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading on how to get a posterior baby to turn before in labor. I knew if I kept walking through the house everything would be easier than last time, so that’s what I did. Atom eventually woke up and was a little frightened by the noises I was making, so I started smiling to let him know I was ok. I was standing up in our hallway when Kelvin was born, smiling and roaring my birthsong into my doula’s ear. Granny was holding Atom while my husband caught our second baby boy.


Tell us about your birth related work and training so far.

My first introduction to birth work was a 6 week doula training course that taught me how to give give educational, emotional and physical support to women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This was a fantastic experience that really focused on the spirituality of birth. I learned so much from that class, and I am so happy to have taken it. However, I knew going into doula work that I eventually wanted to become a midwife. After I completed my doula training, I decided to become a certified placenta specialist. From the time I found out what a placenta was, I have found them very beautiful and fascinating. I enjoy being able to offer placenta encapsulation and other placenta services to the families I work with. In addition to my doula and placenta specialist training, I took a really fun neonatal resuscitation class taught by Karen Strange in 2015.

What are your favorite resources for birthing families?

I think Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth, or any other book by Ina May Gaskin is a great place to start. She also has a website with great articles her favorite resources: Another great website is Sarah Buckley is a family physician who studied obstetrics and family planning. Her blog consists of evidence based posts about these topics often. Penny Simkin’s video Comfort Measures During Labor is a nice, slow paced video for couples to watch together. She is a physical therapist that has been specializing in childbirth education and supporting women in labor since the 1960s. In this video, she reviews many comfort measures that are known to be helpful in labor. The video Birth As We Know It is another resource I find myself recommending often. You can find this on the internet or on the bookshelf at Geneabirth.

What is your philosophy of birth?

“Birth is designed to work in case no one but the mother is there.” I remember Karen Strange saying this several times throughout her class last year. My philosophy of birth is that the mother should be able to labor with as little medical intervention as possible. I believe that every family and labor will be different and should not be treated the same. I believe through education, understanding and support mothers will be able to, without shame, use their primal instincts to birth their babies. I believe that families are capable of making decisions for themselves and their babies, and families should be encouraged to be active participants during and after birth.

What parenting issues are you most passionate about?

Evidenced based education. I think it is so important to be educated and prepared. It is so easy to forget that things can be done differently than the way we’ve been taught. Breastfeeding, nutrition, routine infant circumcision, home birth, vaccines, doulas, cry it out, car seat safety, epidurals, surgical birth, placenta encapsulation, ultrasounds, rice cereal, belly binding, hormonal birth control, chiropractic care…I think it is important to educate parents on these topics and when they are educated, they will make the decisions that are right for their families.

If you could give a little bit of advice to all women before giving birth what would it be?

Oh man, the first bit of advice I would give is to take more time for yourself. The moment your baby arrives, your entire life will change. Finish your sewing project now, watch the new Star Wars, take a weekend getaway. It is very easy to forget about making time for yourself when you are so wrapped up caring for the most perfect baby in the world. The next bit of advice is spend more time researching about real, raw birth. The media has done a great job making birth out to be a horrible, painful, traumatizing event. Take the time to detox yourself and your partner from these beliefs. Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth is a collection of real birth stories. It is a fun, short read that will boost your confidence and educate you at the same time. Finally,  labor will progress faster if you stand up or walk around (yay gravity!), and smile.

hayley baby feet

Hayley offers placenta encapsulation services.  This is a great resource for our families.  She is available to answer your questions about placenta encapsulation, different methods, benefits, placenta tinctures or smoothies.  If you are looking to hire a placenta specialist to encapsulate or prepare your placenta, consider Hayley.