My sister and I were blessed to be pregnant at the same time. When we first found out we were pregnant I remember my husband Drew
and I talking to her about how I would have a scheduled C-section because I did not want to have to go through labor. That was when my sister invited me to a birthing class that she and her husband
were going to be attending. This was the best decision we could have made in regards to being parents.
This birthing class led by Pastor Mari helped us understand our choices but not only that - we gained family through this gathering. We began educating ourselves about the process we were about to go through. The more we learned the more we realized we wanted to have a home birth. We made the decision and I was even able to be part of the birth of my niece. I was able to witness Pastor Mari's work first hand. I heard her coach my sister through labor about what to do, and what she was going through.
Our relationship with Pastor Mari was already growing but seeing her in action gave me an even deeper courage that I was making the right decision for me and for my family. We all have our fears and doubts but this pushed me so that I was not afraid to speak to others about having a home birth. I was loaded with knowledge.
Pastor Mari has worked with so many mothers and experienced so many labors she knew by my sounds and my non-verbal cues what the
baby was doing and what my body was doing. We were educated with this at our birthing classes but to hear her during helped me not to feel so lost. One thing about my labor, in addition to the pain I
felt scared and lost (I don't think I am the only one). I remember there was one point where I cried out and bent over, I almost started crying. Pastor Mari held me from behind and she whispered in
my ear "You are in transition. Your mind is telling you that you can't do this, but your body was made for this." I found a renewed strength in her words. I surrendered myself to my body. She knew
just what to say and what to do - she helped my husband to comfort me. All this helped both my labors go fairly quickly.
My son Samonte was born healthy at our home on Oahu.
I had my daughter Everdeen in our home in Grass Valley, CA. We worked with local mid-wives called Sweet Arrival. I was blessed
enough to have Pastor Mari there as well. I really needed her there, we talked about it but I thought it was so far fetched. I did not even feel it was fair for me to pray that Pastor Mari be there
for this birth. However, God knew the prayer of my heart and he answered it.
I was in the birthing tub already when she came in and kneeled in front of me. I cried this time - out of joy.
My daughter Everdeen was born healthy at our home in Grass Valley, CA.
Pastor Mari and her team (this includes her family) were sent from God to be in our lives. We have been able to witness true goodness and it has allowed others to witness the same through us.
I have to add that having our kids this way has made my husband and I closer and stronger than ever. He was truly able to be part of the labor and I am so proud of that (he is too).
We are forever grateful for the Pastor Mari and the whole Stewart family, The Ark, Dr. Lori, and Kristl.