(Liam’s Moon, taken the evening of this post)

Thoughts on a soft desert eve…

I love the sound of a lamp switch as it’s manually clicked on and the feeling of my lower spine popping when I slide out of bed.

I had been missing the call of the Missouri Whippoorwill bird and then my Father, on his recent visit, mentioned how he rarely hears them anymore.   Their notes reminded me of a lullaby.

During the summer showers, the waxy leaves of the Creosote waft their earthy smell into the air like an offering. I have a reverence for this holy plant and it returns my love with tenderness.   When I pass it in my yard, it’s smooth, resin leaves find my hands and I stoop to inhale a breath of god, goddess, divinity, and love.  I am filled up.  A handshake shared between plant and human; really, are we all that different, leaning into sun, our breath fluctuating with the wind, open palms lifting to the rains?


7:30pm:  I write this outside as the sun tucks herself in behind the mountains and my youngest lays belly first on the swing.   “Wheeeeee!”, she gleefully spouts as the chains twist and spin her.  From my vantage point, I see a tiny naked bootie, milky skin, and golden locks.  From my vantage point, I see nothing but the giving way of spirit, the trust in gravity, the opening to playfulness, the sound of my own childhood.

7:45pm:  The battery on the laptop dies.  I push my girls in the swings and decide white pizza sounds good for dinner.

8:00pm:  The Pharma-Phobe’s way to drug her kiddos into sleep:  drops of Rescue Remedy mixed into their Sleepytime hot tea.   Woot!

10:15 pm:  All three of my favorite people are snoozing in the King-sized bed, pillows smooshed and limbs awry.  The night time ritual begins a good hour before bedtime and my daughter’s don’t like snoring before 9:30pm.  It’s tough on my rational mind, who wants “me time” but instead finds that I literally wake up and fall asleep with my kids glued to my side.  And so, I gently talk myself through it as they vie for real estate on my torso, and ask for one more story, and whine “I’m FIRSTY! I’m hungry!”.   I say to myself, attempting to pry my heart wide open, “Please, yes, stay awake one more minute so that I can feel the web your little legs and my big legs have woven.  Like roots snaking through mama earth, reminding us of the infinity of life.  Please let me remember the dampness of your sweaty heads against my neck and the whimper as you finally give in to dreamtime”.

10:59pm:  I decide to stay up and write for the first time in months.   My sidekick is an ultra wide-mouth mug of hot Honeybush Caramel tea.   It delivers nirvana, sip by toasty sip.  The handmade, second hand ceramic mug was gifted to me by my brother and his girlfriend last Christmas.  It’s dappled in mauve and cerulean colored glazing and signed “MAM ’94”.  A good year, I think to myself.  My junior year at Mater Dei High School, deep into boys and speech meets and yammering on the phone to my girlfriends via the “3-way” feature.

Confession:  Indigo is getting way too hooked on having TIVO’d cartoons to watch as she snuggles in for a nap.   I begrudgingly adopted this technique during the last two intensely busy months of doula work and births.   I needed something to aid in babysitting my children while I slept for an hour – the first in 24 or more hours.    And it’s not that I am vehemently opposed to TV, although we try to temper its use.  It’s that Indigo  begs, whine, cries, and throws temper tantrums for them, often bringing us the remotes and banging them together, shouting “MOTE!!!!” until we give in.    Today began Day One of Detox.    Zero screen time.  Mama laying her body next to both girls’ tiny bodies to soothe them to sleep, rocking Indigo in the fiberglass Eames chair that squeaks at the tail end of each rock.   Listening.  Waiting.  Hoping.   It worked.  Will I be so lucky the next few days?

An upside to the cartoon watching?  Little Bill.  I’m not kidding when I say that channeling Little Bill’s mama has actually helped me be more present, more patient, and unconditional.  When I tell Kaia her nightly story, I actually use Little Bill’s mama’s melty voice as a substitute for mine when the story calls for dialogue (which is actually Phylicia Rashad’s voice).  I dare you to watch a few episodes and not see what I mean.


Eight births in four weeks.  Hoo-whee!  A record for me, and not one I’d like to repeat soon.   They came in clusters:   Three in three days, two in two days.  And then the last three were five days apart, two of them just 36 hours apart.   Stories to come.

  • a planned unassisted homebirth VBAC (with a twist)
  • a repeat client whose birth bore eerie similarities to prior one I attended
  • a homebirth under the new moon
  • the birth of a beautiful baby who entered the world without a breath
  • a client of my doula partner’s whose birth I partially attended until my partner arrived fresh from another birth
  • a powerful quick birth in the hospital
  • a super speedy water birth at home (I arrived 2 hours before baby was born)
  • and a birth I missed by 20 minutes because mama birthed her baby in an unplanned homebirth (labor came fast and amazing mama didn’t think it was “time”).


The desert.   Our relationship is messy and raw and real.  An evening drive home on the crowded freeway through downtown, the city lights spanning hundreds of miles, and I gasp out loud “How did I end up here?!”.  I gasp this out loud weekly.    Some days it’s out of awe and gratitude.  Some days it’s out of desperation and homesickness.  Sometimes it’s an awkward and confounding mix of all those emotions.   The early morning drives home from late night births send my heart to the floor with their spellbinding beauty:  quiet roads, misty fields, towering mountains still asleep, the landscape draped in a layer of fog.    I cannot believe this scene is Phoenix.  It’s more Sonoma, less Sonora.

This desert, she vibrates with the urgency of a first kiss, drawing you nearer to her blooming saguaros and orgasmic sunsets.  A drop of her rain on your tongue can cause you to shiver in ecstasy, and her raging heat can scorch you with one toe to pavement.   She is magic; white and black.  She is an oceanless mass, thriving without the hopeful tides.   She is surprise and made of formidable stock.

Her face is the night sky – a deep velvet cape of dotted diamonds.  Her hair is the plants, wild and scraggly and prickly.  Her belly is full of the wildflowers along the washes, sprouting new life in every crease and crack.   The vast mesas, her sturdy hips.  Her legs sprout beneath, jagged mountains with rims as deep as chocolate sin.  Of course, she births through the ancient opening carved by rivers, the Grandest Canyon of them all.  Her voice is the Coyote, La Loba, whose howl curls my lips in primal smile.


Indigo is two in a few weeks.  How?  I cradle her like a newborn still, her grin the spark that set all of Earth in motion.  She jabbers, and laughs at her sister’s mostly naked antics, and dances as if it’s not a choice but a command of her body.   Her hands, fast-growing fingernails dotting the tips, clean yogurt-covered tables and cracker bits from sofas.  I watch my Dad holding her outstretched hand and I hope he lives to see her grow into a mother (of children or of her lifework).  I hope I do too.   I remember the moon on her first birthday, how it looked like a giant drop of honey hanging in the sky, a reminder of her golden sweetness.

Kaia will be four soon and she still doesn’t poop on the potty.  But she can write all her letters and has a heart of solid gold.

I have fought, for almost 9 months, the emergent feelings in my body that I should be pregnant.    This precise time – the season of heat and monsoons –  two years ago and four years ago, I prepared to be initiated through birth to welcome my babies.    My body screams “Why aren’t you pregnant?!” and I try to hush it, gently tuck its urgency into bed and remind  my body that it can wait.  Just a bit.  A baby may make two unemployed parents giddy but more likely it could make them crazy.

And so ovulation.   In all its glory, it’s one big sticky, slightly crampy, slimy slipperiness.   An ooey gooey temptress.  Jason swears I emit massive pheromones while ovulating.   I feel the egg, meandering down my tubes, every month.  Sometimes, I even have to use a bit of deep labor breathing to ease the discomfort.  One less egg I’ll never regenerate, unlike his ever-producing sperm.  One more egg I silently, and half-embarrassed, wish a strange farewell to.  One more egg – indeed, one I had at birth – washed out with moon blood.


12:49am:  The internet has mysteriously broken (if you call forgetting to pay the bill “mysterious”) and so this post will be delayed.  I take it as a sign, like my dead laptop battery,  to retreat.

I will stand beside my bed and notice the positions my girls have assumed in their sleep.  I will think that I am so very glad I talk myself through laying with them until they drift off, feeling like they need such closeness and safety to end their days.  I will scoop one child at a time from my bed into my arms, drape their bodies across mine and guide their heads to my shoulder.   I will shuffle barefoot across the tile floors and notice how their limbs dangle heavily with sleep.   I will kiss their pink cheeks, their pouty lips, and their smooth brows.   I will cozy them into their own beds, ensuring toes and bellies are covered.  I will stare for a few moments and then close the door.

And I will raise my arms to the ceiling in a stretch, accompanied with a yawn, as I drag my body to my bedroom.  I’ll notice my hair unkempt and my makeup smeared as I pass my bathroom mirror.  I’ll resist the urge to pop a zit but give into the need to pee.  I’ll pull the drapes closed, but not before finding the moon.   I’ll leave my clothes in a heap on the floor and smooth my sheets out.   I’ll draw myself close to Jason, fluff my pillow, let out a contented sigh, and be dreaming in five minutes.  Kaia will rejoin me in a few hours, her back curled into my belly.   I will still be in dreamland.

Maybe I’ll meet you there.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Megan says:


    I know well the scream for the “mote”. I also hear it for the “TEE!” (-vee). I’m working on that, too. I can’t believe Indigo and Sofia are so close to two, but unlike you, my body has no urge for another baby. Maybe my body knows that S is a full time job by herself, and that I need to wait just a little longer for my own sanity. 🙂

  2. Gasping at that moon… so wonderful. I can’t stop staring at it.

    And love all the updates, too. Two? I can hardly believe it. Sigh.

  3. Emily says:

    So often I come here and find that the emotions I hide (yet can never properly articulate) are on your page. A miracle! Now I don’t have to labor and birth that post. I can just enjoy yours, knowing that I’ve got an earth sister–especially since your baby is always more beautiful than my green writing attempts.

  4. Housefairy says:

    Such gorgeous words, such a gift you have!

    and I myself channel the mom on Little Bear when I need to be sweet kind and oh so patient. but little Bill’s mom is a great one, too.

    And Charlie is 3 1/2 and wont even discuss Potty. Whatever. It ruins your life when you have to pull off the expressway to drag them all into some nasty restroom anyhow. I say go in your diaper, not like I have a choice.

    Much love to a kindred spirit.

  5. Aimee says:

    I absolutely love your randomicity. So good to read. As I am embarking for a winter birth and preparing myself I find lots of comfort in the birth stories that you share. I am hoping to have a different experience this time around and reading the stories you share helps me realize that it will be possible. Thank you for that.

  6. marinah says:

    Yummy, yummy post. So glad that you are in that dusty place under the moon.

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