My Baby Had a Baby

The last four days have been pretty incredible. My baby had a baby! This child I never knew I needed had a child of her own.

Yes! My baby had a baby.

self portrait by Mary

Mary & D.J. opted for a home birth. It took me a while to get my brain wrapped around that. A home birth. Their child, created of their love, given them by God Almighty, entered the world in a tub of soothing, warm water set up in the dining area of their tiny, 1920s era, urban apartment. She would exit the womb that had nurtured and protected her for almost 10 months into the eager and waiting arms of her Mama and Papa who will continue to nurture and protect her, forever.

No monitors, no I.V.’s, no interventions that are common to giving birth in the realm of modern medicine, unless they chose to have them. Unless there was a need for those options. This was their well-informed, educated, fully-researched decision. And it was the perfect choice for them, for this birth, of this child.
There were emergency options available “in case”, but visible supplies were simple and basic. Uncomplicated.

Calming lavender essential oil was diffused, Mary’s favorite music playing softly in the background and the familiar street noises wafting in from the Windows.


Mary’s common mantra was, “birth without fear”. It was the message reverberating in the affirmations gracing the wall above her birthing tub. A ready reminder that this is a natural process and the process itself is not something a woman needs to fear. Her body is created to do this.

Her prenatal care was excellent, all ultrasounds confirmed that Nora was healthy and ready. Every exam was positive. Mary approached her day with amazing courage and strength. “Birth without fear”.

Yet, that is exactly what this wrought in me every time I thought about the “what ifs”. Fear. Anxiety. Doubt. But I chose to be a part of their cheering team. I wanted to be brave and break out of my very controlled, project management, color within all the lines, mindset. I desired to learn to trust. To trust nature, to trust God, to trust my daughter & son-in-love’s choices, to trust myself to embrace all of these factors and to enjoy being their support every step of the way. Because, my baby was having a baby.

I was blessed to capture this amazing event, most of the 14 hours, in pictures. Beginning to beginning, because after Nora was born, was not the end, rather the genesis of their new definition of family. Salas, party of three.

This blog as a whole, is about things in life from this Gramma’s view from the perch. I flew down from my perch on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, and landed right at the center of life in the raw. The reality of giving life and breath to a little human in the most natural way possible. And my view was beautiful, breathtaking, overwhelming, inspiring, exciting, heart wrenching, emotional, brilliant, spiritual, life changing, and so much more.

Birth, regardless of location is not glamorous. It’s beautiful, but it is NOT glamorous. There is physical pain, hard physical work, grossness, ickiness, messiness, bloody stuff, and waiting, so much waiting. Nora had kept her family waiting for ten days beyond what all of the health care teams had estimated her due date to be. And then for another 14 hours we waited while Nora slowly got herself in the best position she could, while Mary’s body did what Mamas bodies do best: release their baby into the world.
Nora’s was a compound presentation. This means there was more than just her head in the birth position. Her hand was also up beside her face, pushing her head slightly to the side, making it challenging for her to exit the birth canal smoothly. This is likely the reason Mary had so many intense pre-labor contractions for almost a week and a half before her water broke. It is the body’s way of trying to push the extra appendage out of the way. This made her labor hard, intense, exhausting!

And my baby was a beast, working with her body, victoriously delivering her daughter in the way she and her husband had chosen together, completely naturally, in spite of the challenges. At any time she could have said, “let’s go” and she would have had full support if she believed she was truly unable to continue without medication or other intervention. D.J.’s total and complete commitment to his wife and daughter’s best interest, safety, comfort and well-being was unmistakable.  His love and devotion is branded all over them and I am blessed.

Mary’s midwife team was amazing. They were all in for the duration and then some. When I was introduced to each of them on arrival, a hug was the greeting. We were all a team, committed to assisting Mary bring her precious child into the world. These ladies are family now, having shared in one of the most intimately precious events, in the life of my baby child. I will forever be grateful to Pauline & Mary of Abiding Grace Midwifery. Their gentle, supportive demeanor, coupled with their extensive knowledge and experience set the tone for this special delivery. To say nothing of their strong faith guiding them through the process, supporting my Mary with encouraging words, her own affirmations and prayer. “Thank you” seems inadequate.

Mary experienced a fairly severe tear. Nora’s size, presentation, and one quick jump up in the water by Mary when a particularly painful contraction peaked at one point, left her with some repair needed. They went to their chosen provider and obtained the further care necessary. Pauline was with them every step of the way, advocating and sharing details to be sure the team at the hospital had all he information necessary for the very best outcome. Mary said she was delighted to wake up from the surgery to see Pauline’s encouraging eyes right there beside D.J.’s. And then on her birthday mind you, the third day of Nora’s life, Pauline visited their home again herself, for day three Nora check and to bring beautiful gifts. Yes, thank you is hardly adequate.

I am full. I am changed. I am more brave and confident today than I was four days ago. How can I not be? Mary defined courage, tenacity and resolve for me. D.J. exhibited love and devotion so deep it was palpable. Nora brought another piece of puzzle into this thing called my life, one more step in completing the puzzle of me.

Natural birth whether at home, a birthing center, hospital or any other location may not be for everyone. Bringing a life into this world is admirable and to be celebrated, regardless of the method chosen. I am simply grateful I was afforded this gift, this experience to share with my daughter and son-in-love.
And I am so very blessed to add Nora Jane Salas to our family as grandchild number 11.

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” Proverbs 17:6 ESV

Welcome to the world, Nora Jane Salas!  Gramma loves you!

Born July 20, 2016 ~ 5:13 p.m ~ 9.5 lbs. ~ 21 3/4 inches! Beautiful Blessing from Above


Slow to Speak

My hope is that this piece is thought provoking, perhaps a springboard for change or motivation to make a difference in a positive way.

For the last several months I have tried to take a breath before “posting all that Bible stuff”. But my reality is that the Word of God, (“that Bible stuff”) is how I live and it is what I believe. When craziness abounds around me and I’m looking for a way to make some sense of the craziness, that is where I go. The Bible. It works for me. (And thousands upon millions of others, I might add)

In regard to the events of the last week or so, the verse below keeps repeating in my heart. Let me break down for you what the words are telling me for this time we are in.

1. LISTEN! Hear one another. Truly honestly be interested and HEAR one another. Everyone, not just those you already know agree with your views. “Seek to understand” ~ Stephen Covey

2. BEFORE YOU SPEAK, have all the hard facts. Not those you read in someone’s post that found their information from a cousin of a friend of a neighbor of a former employer who might have known one of the principals at one time 18 years ago. And by all means if what you are going to say won’t contribute toward a solution, DON’T speak at all. “If you can’t say sumthin’ nice, don’t say nuffin’ at all!” ~ Thumper from the Disney movie, Bambi

3. COOL YOUR JETS with your righteous anger. There are elements of these situations that merit anger and emotion. But “in your anger do not sin!” If your words are going to stir up more anger and division, then they are not well thought out. Words and actions that are simply out of selfish anger will not have a good outcome. It will only lead down the same path that got you angry to start with and now you have become a part of the problem.

Social media makes it all to easy to know instantly about a situation without all the facts. Instead, we receive thousands of posts and images, word and opinions that are biased one way or the other. Let’s take time to breathe, listen, understand, take valuable action (I.e., prayer, education on each situation, compassion, voting when called upon to do so, more education in regard to authentic history, volunteering, etc.)
Let’s be better than we have been being. We have future generations watching what we do. We are teaching them with our actions, one way or the other.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

James 1:19
#listen #hear #think #slowtoanger #compassion #forthechildren #betheexample

Welcome to the Perch!

What better way to begin the new year than to launch this little bit of me, that has been wanting to share life with you for a while now. It’s interesting to me how differently I see the world from this vantage point.  From a year or two, or fifty some, of life experiences. From up here… on Gramma’s Perch.

I hope you enjoy the things I share with you and maybe even find some value and ideas for your own life.  Whether you are  a grandmother, just beginning your family or a single, I’d like to think that you will find value in the day to day musings, observations and discoveries I share.

On this first day of 2015 I’ve been thinking about words.  Or, more specifically, a word.  A word of focus for this year.  It’s become a little trendy to have a word for the year ahead.  A theme, if you will. I generally am not about being trendy, rather I’m about being individual; different; me!  But this is an effort I believe can hold power for pursuing the journey ahead.  Maybe you will find it to be worthwhile, also.

I prayed bout it.  I pondered.  I wanted something to come to mind that would knock my socks off.  Instead, the word that kept coming back to mind was one that actually made me feel a little fearful.  Ironic with the word that it is.  Oh.. you want to know the word, don’t you? Courage.  My word for this year is courage.


I bantered back and forth a little and decided that it must just be coming to mind because the theme for the California Women’s Retreat is “The Key to Courage”.   So I went for a walk, read a book, sat down and prayed again and guess what?  My word is still courage.

The word scares me a little because I already know some of the things I will face this year.  I immediately decided I would have to “muster up courage” to walk the path I know I will have to walk.  And then I realized.  No, I already have the courage.  I already have the strength.  All of the courage I need comes from my power source, God almighty. How exciting!  Courage. COURAGE.  Hmm… now I’m sounding a little like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz! But it is true, what the lion learned! It’s inside of us and has been all along. Now, just to remember that as I travel!

What an exciting journey I will have this year, walking with courage, down the path that is mine!  COURAGE.

Welcome to the Perch. Let’s share a cup of java or tea….and some COURAGE!




P.S.  I really would love it if you could join me at California Women’s Retreat February 28-March 1 in San Ramon.  How fun it would be to get to know you a little better while be learn more about “The Key to Courage” together.