There are so many things I love about attending planned home births in my midwifery practice, Local Care Midwifery, PLLC. First off, there is the ability to truly provide evidenced based care for folks that have chosen to work with us. Then there is the joy of being with clients that fully participate in shared decision making, clients that really own their pregnancy, embrace their births and uncover their very own parenting. There is the privilege of sitting vigil as a woman's sweet agony is transformed into overwhelming surrender, then into a warrior's grace and finally into a mother's love. There is the glimpse of a babe emerging new, and shiny from its almost yearlong hiding place. There is witnessing the birth of a family; watching as a new mother, father, sibling and grandparent are created with a baby's emergence. There is leaving a client's home in the wee hours, dishes done, laundry spinning, brand new baby tucked into loving arms: everything calm, safe and copacetic. And then there is the absolute rightness of home baked chocolate chip cookies.
In attending home birth, I especially love what happens after birth. I love watching mother and baby snuggle in their own bed. I love getting the birth partner a glass of their favorite juice from the kitchen cabinet. I love moms putting on a different shirt or pair of socks, finding the one that feels just right. I love the toddler that drags a green top down the hall, saying "Mommy, shirt. Mommy, shirt!" I love the everyday excitement, the genuine ordinariness that fills a home within moments of the miraculous, momentous travail of birth.
Recently, I was lucky to attend the second birth of a return client. Her first baby was born safely into this same house after a very long labor, and several hours of pushing. This recent birth took place in the same house, had a similar outcome and had a very different timing. The new baby just kinda appeared not long after mom realized this might be labor. Dad was getting big-sister-to-be up from a nap when maybe-labor turned into having-a-baby. Baby slipped out into my hands then into mom's arms, greeted by daddy, and new big sister.
Hours later, as I was packing up my bags to leave, I glanced at the couch. Mom was sitting, legs tucked under her, baby snuggled sweetly. At mom's feet on a small stool was a big glass of cold milk and a plate of fresh, warm, chocolate chip cookies.
This delicious vision exemplifies what I love about attending planned home birth. Safe, healthy, loving, attached and intact families in their own comfortable environment, making empowered choices. Some even choose chocolate chip cookies.
May all babies be born into loving hands
Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Recipe
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate
- Sea salt
- Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
- Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.