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Thursday, 07 April 2016 00:00

"Peace" (from Watering Dandelions)



"Peace I leave with you; m y peace I give to you; not as the world give s do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

Yesterday we had some pretty bad storms blow through! I was thinking about the irony of this last night as we huddled together in our basement, watching the weather, making brooms stand upright on their bristles and distracting Casey with junk food and Lincoln Logs. The storms looked scary. They will always terrify me. But on Facebook I kept seeing pictures people were posting of rainbows. Beautiful rainbows arced over their homes, giving hope, reminding us of a promise. And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” Genesis 9:12-13.


And of course, I couldn’t help but remember…

In 2006 my perspective, and possibly my life, changed forever. I had lost my dad a few years before and was sifting through the tremendous void his absence left in my identity and my day-to-day existence. I had taken a break from working in the medical community and had taken a job on Music Row doing publishing and A&R for an independent record label, owned by a man who used to hang in some of the same circles with my dad. I felt comfortable and safe. My husband, brother and I had also started our own side business, doing media duplication, marketing and publishing. Things had been trucking along so well, running our business from our garage for the last year, that we officially opened up a store front in a little strip of businesses across from Vol State Community College in Gallatin, TN.

On March 15th ( Beware the Ides of March ) we put down our deposit, built our counter and shelves, put up our fancy sign that read, “40 Media Solutions” and stocked the store with inventory. We put every dime of savings into our new venture, asked my mom to run the daily operations and had our Open House on April 1st (April Fools Day, yes I should have known). Things went great, we had steady business and we all felt like this was a new chapter in our lives. Things were going “just as planned”. HA!!!! God laughs every time we say this right?
This next part is very difficult for me to write but I am determined to share with you what God revealed to me through some unspeakable terror, humiliation, anger and down right shock.

So back to things going “as planned.” On April 7th (6 days after our Open House), I was at work on a beautiful spring day at my comfy office on Music Row, listening to music, amending some publishing agreements and looking over my notes on some local talent in Chicago from a recent trip I made there to scout some potential artists. The weather warned of a possibility of storms but it always does in April so I wasn’t overly concerned. The sky was beautiful and things seemed fine. Then around noon, I ran out for lunch and started hearing the rumors and predictions on the radio. This was before Facebook mind you so all I really knew was that maybe things were going to get worse than we originally thought. I spoke to Scott a few times and we reassured each other that the kids were safest in their school, mom would be fine in the shop under a steel frame, and we would see each other later.

My phone rang at 2:15. It was my mom. She said, “I see it coming… It has a black tail, it looks like a demon miíja… It’s right over Vol State now. It’s coming… Where do I go? I have nowhere to go…” Then she told me where some papers were at her house that I may need, and how much she loved me and then silence… just silence. I tried calling back but the “circuits were busy” and remained that way the rest of the day. I was petrified. I couldn’t lose her too… I jumped in the car and headed to Gallatin. It took 3 hours (usually a 30 minute trip). And I couldn’t get anywhere near our shop. Scott was trying to get to her too but wasn’t having any luck. Roads were either blocked off or destroyed. He finally ran on foot to the spot where our shop once stood. But it was unrecognizable; he wondered how anyone could have survived.....

What we didn’t know at that time was this: at 2:33pm an F4 tornado, same one that had already been invading homes and taking lives in the Nashville area since 1:00pm, swept across our shop, first ripping the roof off, then twisting the steel frame, then going through room by room disintegrating sheetrock, turning bricks to dust, bringing the inside out and the outside in, but next door at the Vehicles Emissions Testing Center, everyone had survived. At 2:50 they walked outside in hopes of helping. After several minutes of searching they found my mom underneath debris and what used to be the bathroom of our shop. Her blood tattooed the doorframe, the only frame that still stood in the entire store. They scooped her up, along with two things that lay beside her, her cell phone and her rosary, and she was alive. She was hurt, but she was alive !
As I waited for the news at my home (I couldn’t get any further) I looked out the back door across the field that I had stared at many times. Today it was lined with trees that had been shaved of their branches and a trench along the middle of the pasture that served as a reminder of how close the path was to our home but just beyond that, I saw a rainbow. I saw HOPE. And a few minutes later my mom arrived in our driveway, broken, beaten and scared. But in one piece. Driven there by the kindness of a stranger… Under the promise of that rainbow.

Many other things transpired in the days and weeks to come. Financially we lost everything. We spent months trying to piece things back together. I resigned from my job to devote my full-time attention to putting our life back together and we spent a lot of time just feeling shock and disbelief. But we were given a second chance in more ways than one. Although we had discussed the possibility of expanding our family previously, we now knew that we were in no financial situation to make that a reality (plus our boys were already 10 and 12 so who in their right minds would start over now). So, you can imagine our surprise when we learned that Casey Sanders McDougal was expected to be born on April 13th, 2007, almost one year to the day after the tornado. Standing in the kitchen, as Scott walked in (because I couldn’t look), holding that little test with the prophetic 2 lines, seeing the tears of amazement in his eyes, I felt that same familiar rainbow start to glow in my heart. And as he said to me, "Everything's going to be ok, actually it’s going to be better than ok", I saw a rainbow in his eyes. I saw hope. I saw something that I never could have imagined and I saw my life change in an instant. My preparation for that birth in 2006 is what led me to the work I do today. Through the terror and pain of that day, the perspective and direction of my heart was forever changed. 9 people in my community lost their lives to that tornado. Neighborhoods were leveled. Churches were destroyed. Families were torn apart. But I was given a rainbow. I was given hope…

One year later, while I impatiently waited for Casey’s arrival, I again weathered a storm (literally and figuratively). Through a series of events including another mighty April wind, we found ourselves at the Hampton Inn due to severe storm damage to our home. It wasn’t livable, and we were supposed to have a homebirth there any day. Our perfectly planned birth was in danger and our son had the very real possibility of being born in a hotel. But another rainbow was revealed to me in the bathtub of the Hampton Inn on April 7th, on the one year anniversary of that ravenous storm that almost took my mommy from me, as I prayed and cried and gave the
future of this new life kicking inside of me to Christ, I realized… He would use me!! He would use this … the parts of me that I felt were unworthy. The parts of me that I wanted to hide. The parts of me that held fear and doubt. He would use it all! I was important and He had already worked it all out for my good. And in my heart, in the quiet places where no one else resides, He was there. And I was firmly convinced at that moment that there was a reason for ALL of it and I knew he would be faithful. I also knew that as much as I wanted to meet this baby that I was not to do anything that might interrupt God’ s handiwork; I was to do NOTHING to change His timing. I finally felt PEACE. I was ready to let God have His way with me.

              Three days past his due date (thank God for his timing and not mine), already in early labor, we were finally able to move back into our home. And the very next day, on April 17th, in our home, in the same exact place in which his tiny being was knitted inside of me by the breath of God, Casey made his arrival, finishing off the Lenten season and establishing his rightful place in our Easter celebration.


All under a bright blue April sky. And somewhere that day; I have no doubt, that a rainbow hugged its beautiful colors of promise and hope across someone else’s life… A rainbow of new beginnings, a rainbow of journey, a rainbow of mercy… For us there was no pot of gold at the end of ours, but instead an endless platter of redemption.

And we celebrated.

And we still do. For along the journey of confusion and pain, God was waiting with a promise.

And He doesn’t break His promises.

“Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God. And when I saw it, I fell on my face.” Ezekiel 1:28

Friday, 05 February 2016 00:00

Birth Center?

     Birth Center?


     Did you hear the news? Hendersonville now has a Birth Center! As a Sumner County native and long-time advocate for healthy and safe birthing options in Middle Tennessee, I was so excited when I heard this was coming. So, when they cut the ribbon and opened the doors for the first time, I had to go check it out for myself. I mean, the setting that a woman chooses to deliver in can affect outcome almost as much the provider she chooses to manage her care. I was beyond excited that Hendersonville was now going to be able to offer this unique setting to women in Sumner County and the surrounding area.  


     For anyone who may be wondering what the differences are between the hospital and a birth center, I’ll defer to an expert in the field. According to Dr. William Sears, MD, author of, “The Pregnancy Book,” (among many others), the difference between a hospital and a birth center has little to do with what the room actually looks like, but instead the birthing philosophy. He states, “Birth centers are predominantly a woman-run show, midwives are on staff to attend all normal, low-risk deliveries and Obstetricians are readily available for consultation, back-up and transfer of care.” He goes on to explain that birth centers manage pregnancy and birth as natural processes, utilize technology when necessary but don’t over utilize it to the point it can create unnecessary risks. He goes on to cite a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, stating that the outcome rates for successful vaginal deliveries are much higher than the hospital setting (especially for first time mothers and women attempting to have vaginal births after cesareans or “VBACs”) and that the neonatal death rates were also way below average.



     Some of the other defining characterizations that Dr. Sears and many other birth professionals consistently (nationally and internationally) use to describe birth centers as utilizing are: labor tubs, non-hospital beds for delivery, midwifery and doula support throughout prenatal care and labor, drug-free options for comfort and pain relief, evidence based care including eating/drinking during labor and being able to move freely (without restrictive interventions such as routine IVs and continuous monitoring), being able to deliver in any position that is comfortable to the mother and providing breastfeeding information and support that coincides with the “Breastfeeding Health Initiative 10 Steps.” These common characterizations for birth center care also coincide with many of the guidelines in the “10 Steps to Optimal Mother-Baby Maternity Services,” being implemented world-wide by UNICEF and the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative. You can read more about the International Mother Baby Childbirth Initiative here:


     So, back to me. Knowing all of the above about birth centers and being very familiar with new Baby+Co birth center downtown and all of its stunning ammenities and flexible options for birthing families (Baby+Co birthing suite pictured above), and knowing how desperate Sumner County has been to have something like this in our area my entire life, I cannot put into words how excited I was to get to touch and feel this place! To look at the rooms, see the tubs, touch the beds, ask questions to the staff, meet the midwives and doulas, and just share space with this place that was surely going to decrease c-section rates, increase breastfeeding success rates, improve outcomes and give woman an encouraging new option for birth in my community. I was so excited! I listened as members of the local government gave their speeches. I heard the $18.5 million dollar price tag and drifted off from reality as I imagined these beautiful suites and blissful birthing spaces that must be awaiting my eyes (I mean, the average birth center nationally costs about $1 million, so this place must be absolutely phenomenal!! ). So finally, after all the local government, administration and staff had their turn to talk, it was finally our turn. We were finally going in. I found myself among 3 colleagues and we toured the facility together, all of us eager to see what was on the other side of those doors.


     Well…. It was very pretty. The floors weren’t sticky, the furniture was new and the vinyl couches pull out into sleeper units for dad. All nice improvements for sure. And here are some other facts. No midwives are on staff. The same Obstetricians will be attending births in the new facility as were attending births in the previous facility. No doula support program has been implemented although the staff did seem open to doulas attending births. The beds were still hospital beds that elevate at the head and foot and can be broken down for delivery (like in all major hospitals). Laboring women will now enter through the ER regardless of the time of day. Like their sister TriStar hospital in Nashville (Centennial, who also has a stand alone Women’s Center), they are hoping this will make for a smoother admittance procedure by giving all women the same instructions for arrival. There are no labor tubs. There are walk-in showers but those can only be utilized by patients who do not require continuous monitoring. Over half of the patients who labor at Hendersonville are continuously monitored (according to one of the head nurses, Cindy Corley) either because of their particular provider’s protocols (a few require this of all their patients) or because of that patient’s risk category (mothers being given a trial of labor after cesarean are in this group and are required to have continuous monitoring and IV fluids although, again, the evidence per Cochrane reviews does not support these interventions increasing healthy outcomes for mother or baby and has actually shown that they have the ability to decrease the rates for successful vaginal deliveries). So unfortunately, many patients signing up to use the new birth center in hopes for hydrotherapy may be disappointed. “It is a question that should be discussed with their care provider early on,” advises Corley.


     Chief Nursing Officer, Lisa Gann, who was giving a tour of one of the new 14 labor rooms (less that what they could accommodate previously) was also very excited about the new baby isolettes in all the rooms. She said, “now we can weigh, warm and provide oxygen to the baby right in the room, whereas before, we had to take all the babies to the nursery,” (a practice that has been outdated for serval years in most hospitals, especially those seeking compliance to the Mother-Baby Friendly Initiative mentioned earlier). In fact, all recognized maternal-child organizations worldwide (including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) recommend 1-2 hours of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after delivery and except for a few extreme circumstances, do not recommend EVER removing baby from mother’s room during the entirety of the hospital stay. There are a host of physiological, emotional and psychological reasons for this, and “rooming in,” and “skin-to-skin contact” is considered routine care now in many hospitals nationwide and in all birth centers (or at least the ones who operate under the general understood definition we discussed above).


     So, Birth Center? Not even close. Same hospital, new entrance, prettier furniture and bigger showers (for dad mostly, like the pull out sleeper).  “We wanted it to feel like a hotel suite,” Vice President of Human Resources Matt Gilday said. Well, I say that goal was met.


     But here’s the BIG STORY! The one that got missed in most of the headlines. The one that didn’t make the hashtag. Breaking News: Sumner County now has a NICU! Guys, this is huge. Before now, babies who were born before 32 weeks or that had an emergent issue had to be transported to Nashville. Women’s Services Director and prenatal nurse, Jan Alexander spoke in the opening ceremonies about her own personal premature story and how difficult it was for her new family to commute and afford the expenses (even food) that came with having a baby in the NICU. She vowed to bring these services to Sumner County one day and today is when she has fulfilled that promise. The “Birth Center” at Hendersonville Hospital now has a Level 2 Neonatal Special Care Unit that houses 6 PRIVATE NICU rooms with a sleeper couch in each room so that families can have privacy and don’t have to leave their babies. That’s a big big deal!! And honestly, THAT should be the headline.


     When asked about the new birth center and the facilities during the open house ceremony, one of the OBGYNS on staff, Dr. Tanya Dannemann, said, “The main benefit is the NICU. Now pre-term babies or babies with medical problems have a place to stay and be taken care of close to home. Before, the babies were transferred to one of the hospitals in Nashville or the mother was transferred if we anticipated a premature birth.” Yes, I agree. THAT’S the real benefit here. That’s the big change and that’s the part we should be talking about.


So what is a Level 2 NICU? According the American Academy of Pediatrics, the NICU levels break down as follows:


Level1: Basic Care Newborn Nursery

Evaluation and postnatal care of healthy newborn infants greater than 34 weeks


Level2: Special Care Newborn Nursery

Specialized care (including mechanical ventilation for periods less than 24 hours), IV therapy, TPN and central lines of infants greater than 32 weeks


Level 3: Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery

Comprehensive care for newborns of any age at the highest skill set level possible. Comprehensive on-site access to subspecialty consultants; Performance and interpretation of advanced imaging tests, including computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and cardiac echocardiography on an urgent basis. Performance of major surgery on site including surgical repair of serious congenital cardiac malformations that require cardiopulmonary bypass.


     So now, Sumner County families will be able to benefit from the Level 2 neonatal care that Hendersonville Hospital has to offer and avoid being transferred to Hendersonville’s sister hospital (Centennial) downtown to receive this level of care. Very sick or premature babies will still be required to be transferred to Vanderbilt, but this is a huge step in the right direction.


So what did my colleagues taking the tour with me think?


"I was so excited when I saw Sumner County was taking on a new birth center. I was thinking doula services, labor tubs, and a comfortable atmosphere. Sumner County has upgraded Tri Star Medical Group to bigger rooms and beautiful floors.  It most definitely is a beautiful upgraded labor and delivery wing. I am however thankful for the new level 2 NICU that we have! We are making baby steps!”

~Elizabeth Hobdy Jones, BA (Childbirth Educator and HBAC mom)


“I think the name is deceiving. When I think birth center, I think of a calm atmosphere, intermittent and portable monitoring, labor tubs and big showers. Unfortunately, The “Birth Center” at Hendersonville Medical Center doesn't live up to that expectation. It's basically the hospital's labor and delivery with a facelift. The building is beautiful and houses brand new state of the art equipment. So if you're looking for a posh new labor and delivery unit this is the place for you. The level 2 NICU is a wonderful asset for Sumner County families. I love that parents are able to room in with their baby 24/7! I think this new unit shows how behind Middle Tennessee is in maternal/newborn care. There seems to be talk that this unit is not complete and there are plans for more changes in the future. My hope is these plan include aspects of a true birth center.”

~ Kaytlin Gregory, RN, BSN (Labor & Deliver Nurse, Childbirth Educator)


"HMC's new wing is not, alas, a true birth center, an option Sumner County lacks. The new L&D rooms are instead typical, if nicely appointed, hospital rooms without any development of the expanded services one expects to see in a birth center. The real headline is the opening of the NICU with its thoughtful amenities to encourage bonding between the exhausted and the fragile. While happy, of course, to see these additions to the hospital's repertoire, we wish they had a song to play for mothers-to-be interested in dancing to a new tune."

~ Lindsey Seger, President, ICAN (and Childbirth Educator)


     So, although, based on the information presented in the tour of these new facilities (no change in restrictive policies, no utilization of the midwifery model, no onsite doula support, limited hydrotherapy options, limited drug-free options for pain and comfort, routine separation of mother and baby, etc), the staff may still benefit from more education on the benefits of the 10 steps in the Mother Baby Friendly Initiative, I am pleased to know that these new rooms will now, at the very least, afford them the opportunity to provide more mother-baby friendly care if they do indeed decide to offer that type of care in the future.


And I am beyond thrilled that Sumner County finally has a NICU. Although only a level 2, it is still a wonderful start and a fantastic addition to the preterm and emergent neonatal needs in Sumner County.

To read more about the new facilities and to see pictures visit the links below or follow the hash tag #ATriStarIsBorn.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015 00:00

Dear Doulas


About 10 years ago, after working in the mainstream,
conventional models of care, serving women for years and being frustrated with the restrictive options they were being offered, I decided to become a doula. At the time, the word “doula” was pretty foreign in my community and finding work and other professionals to connect with was challenging to say the least. This was before Facebook. It was before professionals and consumers could connect with the click of a button. We couldn’t hide behind a screen or let our profiles work for us. We used our mouths to communicate, hugged people, shook hands and looked folks in the eye. And somehow…. It worked.

I remember a handful of us local birth professionals connected regularly on living room floors. We discussed birth options, changes we dreamed of seeing in our community, plans to implement grass-roots movements for the underserved, ways to distribute evidence-based education and ideas on how to connect with the population more effectively. It was hard work. It was invisible work. It was meaningful work. And somehow… it DID work. We worked together, worked hard and made change happen! Today, the hospital in Nashville who delivers the most babies, (1) employs midwives, (2) has labor tubs available in many of their delivery rooms, (3) is working towards the coveted “Mother Baby Friendly” certification (another top hospital in Nashville has already achieved this status) and (4) has started offering “family-friendly” c-sections. We have also seen a huge increase in the number of families choosing homebirth for low-risk, healthy pregnancies, seen the VBAC success rates increase, seen the opening of a brand new Birth Center in Nashville (Baby + Co) and have worked alongside many hospitals to help implement evidence-based childbirth education. The changes I have seen in the last decade have been phenomenal and the Nashville professional birth community (many on a volunteer basis) had a huge impact on the success we’ve seen thus far. We worked TOGETHER and together, made huge strides!   

Same has consistently been true with our clients. Somehow, before anyone told us we had to have “functionality” in our websites and eye catching social media profiles, moms invited us into the most intimate times of their lives. They allowed us to share our skills and experience with them as they ushered forth new life. Their families became our families. Why? Because our hearts spoke louder than our Tweets.
Our passion was more beautiful than our profiles. Because guys, this work of being a doula….. Well, it’s all about the moms… not the memes.

Now before you egg my house, I’m not saying technology is bad. I get it. Technology has advanced and so must we. I don’t use a paper calendar anymore; I use a digital one. I don’t have a landline; I have an iPhone (although I still miss my Blackberry but that’s a post for another time). I rarely give out business cards anymore; my website is sufficient. And many times, instead of an interview, folks stalk me on Facebook and hire me sight unseen. That’s the world we live in and I do get it. But although technology has advanced and changed how we practice in the day to day, birth has not changed. It cannot be translated into an avatar. It cannot be expressed in a blog (not even this one). And it cannot be discredited by the insecure (although many have tried).
Birth is unwavering. It’s a classic that never goes out of style. It doesn’t need to be mobile friendly and it definitely won’t wait on buffering. The most important thing you need to know about birth is….

It doesn’t need your permission.

But here’s the problem. In this ever changing, fast-paced, keeping up with the doula next door world we live in, we’ve gotten distracted.
We’ve become overexposed. We’ve gotten competitive. We’ve gotten stuck behind our screens. Caught with dead batteries. Complacent. Convinced ourselves that charging more means doing more. That forward thinking is forward movement. That creating a footprint in cyberspace is the same thing as standing in a threshold holding open a sacred space. But birth knows…

I, like you, have stayed up all night with hundreds of laboring woman. I have physically held her weight, held her tears, held her pain, held her fears and most of all, held her space. I’ve held the space open for her as she found her own strength to open physically, spiritually and emotionally to birth. I’ve protected the space for her while she dug deeper to the place that allowed her to welcome new life. And I’ve protected the space for her (as long as she needed) as she discovered the courage she never knew she had, to say goodbye.



I stand in humility and awe as I
anchor myself in theses doorways... Protecting the space these women have invited me into.


Because the work of a doula cannot be put into a business plan. Yes, I just said that (now I’ll surely get egged). It cannot be structured and it cannot be used to elevate professional status. It’s messy. It’s unorganized. It’s painful. It’s sleep-deprived. And it’s amazing!!! Yes, you can absolutely create a birth professional business plan model and structure a financial framework that fits your family’s needs, but don’t always expect birth to comply. Birth must lead you, not vice versa. Birth won’t always allow for change. But it changes its mind. It doesn’t often give advanced notice. But it notices everything. If you can’t move and adjust quickly, like the flicker of a candle, you WILL burn out.

The doorways we have been asked to stand in are sacred. Even if you dont connect with your role inside of any spiritual belief or approach, your role does exist inside a threshold that is “sacred” in the sense that it precedes and supersedes the normal way we experience time and space. We labor WITH our clients. We stand witness to their delivery and in spite of our own understanding, we are delivered.

So thrive in this role! Love and serve and be prosperous as you do so. But don’t take more than you need from birth. It is a resource. It is meant to be treated with respect and utilized responsibly. Remember the sacred place and role you hold.  It takes stamina and courage. You will never be the most popular one in the room. You will feel powerless and even invisible at times. But birth sees you… I see you.


As you stand in the threshold of life and continue to silently protect the space for MYSTERY to become MIRACLE.

I see you.

Xo, Gaylea











Restorative Exercise™ is a movement program designed to improve health through restoring optimal skeletal alignment.  This workshop will use a combination of lecture and exercise to help women understand the mechanical causes of pain & disease while giving them practical tools for change.  Participants will learn corrective exercises and lifestyle modifications to heal and prevent common aliments. 



This class is for any woman who has experienced (or would like to prevent):

Pelvic organ prolapse (bladder, uterine & vaginal wall are among the most common)


Menstrual cramps

Sexual dysfunction and pain

Hip, knee, back and pelvic pain

High blood pressure

SI joint pain

Edema (swelling)

A cesarean section (a pelvis that was “too small” or a baby that was stuck/breech/posterior)

Pelvic floor trauma


alignedAddressing your alignment during pregnancy can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy, prepare the pelvic floor for birth, provide space for optimal fetal positioning and increase space in the pelvic outlet.  In the postpartum season, proper alignment is crucial for restoring the pelvic floor and getting back to an active lifestyle.  Even ladies who have never had children or suffer from pelvic disorders can benefit greatly from improving their alignment.



Workshop Details:

Saturday August 9th, 12:00

Radiant Yoga, 227-A Dunbar Cave Rd., Clarksville, TN 37043

Includes lecture, exercises, homework, handouts & take-home equipment

$40.00 per person (20 person maximum)*


*Our Pelvic Floor Party in May SOLD OUT in 9 days so register ASAP to grab your spot!


Please wear comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict movement.

Bring a yoga/exercise mat or a large towel


profile-taylorAbout Your Instructor: Taylor Broggie has a B.S. in Movement and Exercise Science and has been teaching exercise for nearly a decade.  In 2010, she began training under Katy Bowman and became a Restorative Exercise™ Specialist.  She taught at the Body Education Alignment Center for Health in Ventura, CA before moving to Clarksville last summer. Taylor currently teaches Middle Tennessee moms how to improve their alignment for better pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery and teaches the teachers-in-training as part of the Restorative Exercise Institute staff.She loves helping women be strong, active and pain free in all stages of life.

To purchase a ticket to this event please click on the button bleow. Because of space and equipment limitations, we are only accepting 20 people for this event which we highly anticipate will sell-out fast like our May event did. Register today!



47388325A candle-lit room, a bowl of strawberries, fluffy pillows in a pile, sheets a tangled mess; his scent lingers on your skin from all the creative positioning and slow dancing. Your ears delight in the familiar melodies (a perfect mix you have carefully selected for this day). You feel vulnerable but safe, loved and supported by someone you completely trust. Your body simultaneously experiences a flood of delight and pain. You compare it to a runner’s high and laugh through tears of anticipation and excitement. Your body is tired but you remain in control. There is pain; but it has a purpose and it is helping you understand how to move, how to sway, and you surrender to it… And as you do, your body opens as naturally as a flower, just as it did during conception. But THIS! This is so much more… This is the grand finale of conception; this is BIRTH…


Labor-and-Delivery-SuiteOn this same night, your friend enters a cold room she’s never seen before; it smells unfamiliar. She is told to lie flat on her back. Her weak body is starving and thirsty. Fingers aggressively enter her body and curiously explore her very tender cervix while the man in the white coat shakes his head in a disapproving way and announces that she is “inefficient and inadequate.” Her body tenses up with fear and pain. She is tired, intimidated and defeated. She knows her chances of leaving this room alive are smaller than women in almost every other industrialized country. The physical and emotional pain is too much to bear so she trades her control for a numbing relief. Her body refuses to open, and like an unripe piece of fruit, it has to be cut…


This is also birth.


For an astoundingly high number of women in our country (over 50% in some parts), the second scenario is their birth story. When we are attacked inside of such an intimate and vulnerable season, our bodies will usually react with defense. They will tighten and close. It is PART OF THE DESIGN! See, when these artificial means of creating labor don’t work, it is not because our bodies didn’t respond. It’s because they did! They did exactly what they were created to do- defend us and our babies. Hang up the “closed” sign and hope that the attacker will go away. This business of having babies is a private, gentle, intimate affair. Like prayer and meditation in this quiet season of reflection, we are called to solitude, to a place of intimacy and trust. A place where we can be with the lover of our hearts and the creator of our soul. A place that is accepting. A place that has no rules or definition. In some of the most important moments in scripture, even the Son of God had to be alone. He had to get away, to call on strength from the Father in a private and personal way. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” Mark 1:35. I don’t know about you but in solitude, I withdraw from everyone- from all the noise, all my responsibilities, my blackberry, my computer, my charts, my obligations, from all the stimulation and distractions of life to be with God. I get away from all of my roles, all of the people who are either cheering me on or criticizing my efforts. I get away from all of that to just be alone with God… to find out if there's anything really just between us, and that’s when I hear Him the loudest. That’s when I feel His breath across my cheek, His hand upon my shoulder, His grace upon my existence. And this is what gives me strength.


jess doula supportBut getting back to birth, why 40 weeks?? What could be so significant about that number? Yes, we all know that 40 is biblically significant. But, could God possibly hold the same importance and protection over my pregnancy as He did over Moses & Elijah, the Israelites, Noah and even… Jesus?? I mean sure, sometimes pregnancy can make us feel like an Israelite wandering alone in the desert for 40 years. It can be scary, isolating, unpredictable and even painful. But what I most remember about those precious 40 weeks was that it was a time when my own wisdom, strength, resourcefulness and patience weren’t nearly enough. Like the Israelites, I had to rely on God. Fully, completely and unconditionally. For 40 weeks (41.3 actually but who’s counting), I wandered around in the desert of my own heart. Like Noah must have felt for 40 days and 40 nights, I found myself questioning if this job was really meant for me? Was I really being entrusted to carry and birth this child? Was I even capable? And like Jesus, in the desert for 40 days, I was tempted by the enemy.



I was so tempted... with greed, false comforts, unkindness and impatience. It would have been so easy to give in and give up. To make a deal, to make a trade. The strength of God for the strength that man has to offer. The timing of God for the much more convenient timing of man. But, guess what? Turns out God was right. At 12 weeks I was still pretty selfish. At 19 weeks I was still too weak. At 22 weeks I was unforgiving. At 30 weeks I was not generous enough. At 39 weeks I was still resentful. It took 40 full weeks of sacrifice, prayer, stillness, laying at His feet, praising His name and receiving His grace for me to be capable of attending that celebration in the manner in which He intended. By 40 weeks, He had molded, polished and spoken my heart into a place of true, unconditional love, capable of opening His perfect gift. Not just the gift of a precious baby, but the gift of birth. He crafted the skills that I would uniquely need to peel back the layers of my labor, to open the inner most part of my body and soul, to release my man-made fears and replace them with His supernatural ability to usher forth life!


378565 2249359749728 1974044151 nAnd isn’t it just plain cool that it physically doesn’t work as well until we allow that to happen? That He desires this for us so much that He built it into the design of birth? Into the exact way He builds His kingdom? And we are allowed to participate in that! When we are weak enough to fully allow the might of creation to flow through our body and soul, a profound truth is revealed to us. With each moment of surrender our pride is a little more unraveled, our flesh is a little more broken, our fight is a little less aggressive and our motivations are a little less our own, and with each moment of surrender, God knits us into grace, builds us back up into faith, motivates us to conviction and battles in our place for redemption! I think that is part of the plan, part of His design. For us to “shut the door” and “wander alone in the desert with only Him” as we offer sacrifice and seek solitude in our most vulnerable moments, our most personal seasons, so that we can fully  “open up” to what He has to offer. To the thing that seems most impossible. And through our season of solitude and sacrifice we will celebrate like the season, opening up, bursting with color and aroma, or like the cloud, pouring out rain over a thirsty field or like the mother, opening up to the sensations of surrender, ushering and welcoming new life.

Tuesday, 04 March 2014 23:54

What do you KNOW about GMO?

veggiesTo supplement week 1 in regards to the 8 GMO Food Crops grown in the U.S. This article is very informative and easy to understand. Happy and healthy eating :-)

Thursday, 06 February 2014 04:32

My Water Just Broke!

72427f76cb72b00a 100257373What do you do if your water breaks before labor starts? This video by Ina May Gaskin supplements your understanding of the section in Chapter 1 regarding Pre-labor challenges, specifically PROM (Prelabor Rupture of Membranes). 

Thursday, 06 February 2014 04:11

God's Perfect Design

Gods Perfect Design Highlighted VersionLove how Sarah Buckley details the perfect design and dance of mommy-baby hormones in this article. Goes so well with this chart from chapter 1.

Thursday, 06 February 2014 03:56


imagesHere is more info on the importance of SQUATTING (Exercise section in Chapter 1) by Katy Bowman and instructions for proper alignment. Have fun!

Thursday, 06 February 2014 03:18

The Human Microbiome

bacteria-generic-130823This is a great article on the Human Microbiome to supplement your understanding of the Nutrition section in Chapter 1.

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