Deep in Australia with no time to write!

DSCN5030ad time to catch my breath to truly find out!

left the US after a year of planning that always felt like it would never truly happen.

Stepped onto that first plane on October first. The first leg taking us from Portland to San Francisco then on to new Zealand.

International flights are of course cramped and stifling but absolutely necessary to put it all together. Sadly New Zealand was a brief stop over at dawn with no way to touch the land as we only had two hours before the last plane to get us into Austraila. It was a glorious couple of hours just reclaiming my full height!

The last plane brought us into Brisbane where we were gathered up by Denise Love, our miracle trip planner! Collecting all of our gear and already painfully aware of that dreaded over-packing we hauled it all of to the caravan she had prepared for this marathon trip. The next step after a night of sleep on solid ground would be yet another plane that would take us to Cairn, the most Northerly of the settled Australian cities.

I think this is a dream come true but I have not h

Ancestors

I don’t idle well. So as the calling on my life as a midwife has begun to change and slow in its pace, I have turned to other things. Growing up, there was always a huge emphasis on family history. My children have inherited a wealth of rich history going back to the very foundations of America. Between my husband’s family and mine, they are descended from 10% of the families that stepped foot on Plymouth, Massachusetts soil in 1620, having immigrated upon the Mayflower carrying names like Alden, Rogers, Howland, Deane, Hopkins.

Set on the stage of the Revolutionary War and later the Civil War, families intermarried and began to swell in numbers, moving out across the country. 15 generations later, as with all couples, a chance meeting brought my husband and I together bringing back those original four Mayflower families to coalesce into our children’s heritage. These include a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution, two presidents of the United states, and though the blood has been diluted the claim to this heritage has not.

It seems only fitting that I spend free time now working with Find A Grave, a group that has undertaken the massive task of finding the final resting places of multitudes of ancestors on behalf of genealogist and family researchers alike. I wander the cemeteries in search of specific persons or taking random photographs of headstones to add to the burgeoning collections of the found lost! Having been at the task for 1 year 7 months and 10 days I have created 3,550 new memorials, uploaded 11,627 photographs including one famous individual.

Today marks my 300th visited cemetery over that period of time. Most of them are here in the surrounding counties but I have also included cemeteries in Washington, Utah, and Australia. I have clamored over fences, waded through streams, encountered bees and torrents of rain, ducked for cover as lightning and thunder threatened. Veterans of the revolutionary war, Spanish-American war, Indian and Mexican wars, the Civil war, as well as Korea, WWI & WWII, Viet Nam and on as on as we thrash around on this planet unable to refrain from the atrocities of self-destruction. Babies buried freshly born and the rare long-lived pioneer, having seen 106 sunrises and sunsets. This quest has been a remarkable spark to learn more about history. Whether it is stepping amongst the memorial markers at Botany Bay in Australia, or finding the headstone of a slave woman in Corvallis, Oregon, I cannot help but open new chapters in my awareness of those who peopled these surrounds and brought each of us to birth as their descendants.

Australia soon, and off to new adventures in far off cemeteries!

Holding pattern

Saturday evening closes following a whirlwind weekend. New born visit with Masato and his family. He is the forth child of Ana and Matt. I served Ana’s family as midwife many years ago and now with the birth of this wee boy, this is the second birth I have shared with Ana. A postpartum visit with Cecelia and Lailanie, a young woman I meet at the age of 8 when I cared for her mother during one of 7 births I did with her. Then an sleep over with my daughter and her family before doing a prenatal visit with yet another second generation mamma, having attended her mother for two of her siblings! Intergenerational home birthers.
Wednesday I step onto a plane and head out for a 6 week adventure in Australia. Six weeks away from family and friends and a big step into the unknown. Gail Hart, friend and sister midwife since The Beginning!, will share this journey. Beginning in Cairns then traveling all along the East coast of Australia to Melbourne, then retuning to Byron Bay to close the trip at the Midwifery today conference there.
Packing… the next thing on the agenda…just humming in this holding pattern until ……