Warm Wishes & Happy New Year from Bella Vie!
As things calm down from the holiday hustle and bustle and we settle into the New Year, we would like to take a moment to fill you in on what happened at Bella Vie in 2013. We have had quite a busy year, with 109 babies being welcomed into loving arms! Congratulations to all our families, new and growing. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives. 

Goodbye and Hello

We would like to wish a fond farewell to Cristyl Garner, who has finished her midwifery apprenticeship and will soon be taking her board exam to become a licensed midwife. Also to Sarah McColm, who has had to leave her apprenticeship at Bella Vie to move out of the area with her family. Thank you both for all you have given to the staff and families of Bella Vie. We will miss you.

A warm welcome to our newest midwife apprentice, Dana Johnson, who joined us in December. Also, if you have been around Bella Vie in the last few months, you have probably had the pleasure of meeting JoLyn McCullough, who has been working in our billing department. She is changing roles and becoming our new office manager, as our current office manager Jen Holland goes through her own transition. Jen is answering her calling, and starting her journey to become a midwife as an apprentice. She will start attending births in February. Congratulations, Jen! Welcome, Dana and JoLyn!
Meet Rose Waters, our new Certified Nurse Midwife

Rose joins us from Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Health in Washington D.C., where she spent the last two years providing prenatal care and well-woman care to about a hundred people a week and sending them off to the hospital on their own to have their babies. She is happy to be at Bella Vie where the relationships between women, families, and midwives are maintained, nurtured, and valued.

What did you do before you became a midwife?
A little bit of everything. I studied English literature in college, made pizza in Yosemite, led historic tours and glacier hikes in Alaska, studied French and hung out with babies at an orphanage in Tunisia, spent a year as a substitute teacher in California, worked as a ski lift attendant in Tahoe, hung out with midwives in rural Guatemala, and tried to keep people from hurting themselves at an indoor rock climbing gym.

What made you decide to become a midwife?
I was born at home with a midwife, and my mom always talked about how wonderful her midwives were when I was growing up. Although it never occurred to me that I could be one myself, I always had a very high opinion of those who help babies into the world in a warm and gentle manner. When I started working as a hiking guide in Alaska, I took a course and was certified as a Wilderness First Responder. It made me realize how interesting our bodies are, and also that I enjoy knowing what to do and being calm in intense situations. I then read the book "Baby Catcher" by Peggy Vincent, and suddenly I had a calling!

What kind of training do you have?
I started my midwifery training by attending over 100 births in just a few months at a very busy out-of-hospital birth center in El Paso, Texas . I then went on to attend nursing and midwifery school at the University of California, San Francisco, and became licensed as a Certified Nurse Midwife in 2011. 

What is your favorite part of being a midwife?
Witnessing the transformative power of pregnancy and birth in a woman and family's life is, of course, amazing and wonderful. And babies are amazing. But really, my favorite part is talking to people, explaining things in a way that makes sense, and helping people feel safe and empowered. 

What do you do when not at Bella Vie?
I enjoy being physically active--hiking, dancing, maybe even rock climbing (but not while on-call!). I like experimenting in the kitchen, reading good books, playing my fiddle, and singing. 

Upcoming Herbal Antibiotics class with Debbie Schaffner:
Saturday, February 22nd, 10:00-11:30 am at Bella Vie

In the first half of the 20th century, antibiotics and other medicines were discovered and developed. They were thought to be the miracle cures. 

By the end of the 20th century, we discovered their limits of effectiveness, and the bacteria we thought stamped out, had become super-bugs and increasingly deadly.

How can we combat that? What are some options?

Herbs, with their complex mix of antibiotic, systemic, and synergistic compounds, can be our defense. We will discuss a few basic herbs and how they work in your body to build a reliable, effective defense. You will learn about the systemics, the localized non-systemics, and the synergists. 

We will make some plant medicine, giving you formulas to use confidently. 

Join me for a 1 1/2 hour class: Herbal Antibiotics

$25 Bartering accepted on a case by case basis

Contact: Debbie Schaffner, herbalist 503-914-9001

Natural Childbirth Classes

This Natural Childbirth Class series explores the benefits and transformative potential of natural childbirth. Learn the process of birth, the role of a labor support person, helpful positions and ideas to add to your "tool box" for labor and birth, and relaxation techniques to help avoid the fear-tension-pain cycle. Explore your options for birth, discuss standard tests and procedures, and learn about newborn care. Breastfeeding and babywearing will be highlighted. This class will help prepare you for an empowering birth experience and the transition into parenthood.

This class meets on two consecutive Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm. Lunch is potluck-style--please bring a plate of food to share. 

The cost for the series is $180 per couple. Barters considered on a case by case basis.

The class is offered through Starlight Yoga and Birth Services and taught by Jen Holland. Jen is a student midwife and passionate advocate of normal birth. She has attended labor doula programs through Birthingway College of Midwifery and Birth Arts International, and has an array of personal birth experience, having birthed in a hospital, a birth center, and at home. Jen is also a Registered Yoga Teacher working on her pre/postnatal certification.

Please email Jen at for more information or to add your name to the list.

Plan to finish your series 3-4 weeks before your due date.

Please note: Jen is an on-call student midwife at Bella Vie and as such may be called away to a birth at short notice before or during class. Because of this possibility, there is a backup class date to use as a makeup day if needed.
Upcoming Class Dates:

February 1 and 8, 2014 (backup class date Saturday, February 15)
March 29 and April 5, 2014 (backup class date Saturday, April 12)
May 31 and June 7, 2014 (backup class date Saturday, June 14)

Recipe of the Month:

Fire Cider, an Immune Tonic

Chop, grate, or otherwise mince any combination of the following:
  • Onion 
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish root 
  • Ginger root
  • Turmeric root (or add dried powder) 
  • Fresh chili (jalapeno, etc)
  • Fresh rosemary

Put the chopped ingredients in a jar and pour apple cider vinegar to cover. This should be the raw organic kind (such as Bragg’s).

Traditionally, fire cider was buried in the ground to steep, but you can put it in a dark cupboard instead. Leave it for a month or more. Strain, and add honey if you’d like a little sweetness. Take a spoonful or so daily. Some people like the way it tastes straight, but you could also add it to hot water. It burns a little bit going down (“fire” cider, remember), but it’s a good burn. Aside from the immune-boosting properties of all of these ingredients, ACV has also been used as a digestive tonic and remedy for heartburn.
Quick ideas for Avoiding Winter Colds
     Winter can be a tough time for families. Cold weather, the stress and business of the holidays, and getting less exercise and fresh air can all contribute to getting colds and flus. To protect ourselves, we wash our hands more, cover our sneezes, eat soup and drink tea, and try to stay away from sick people. But we all know that dreaded run-down feeling, the tickle in the back of the throat, the first little sneeze, the kid who is suddenly fussy or unusually quiet and needy.

     To make it worse, when you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, figuring out what to do to prevent and treat illness can be confusing. Many people decide to avoid medications, supplements, and natural remedies altogether rather than risk taking something that could be harmful.

    Because Bella Vie families are already very savvy in the ways of natural health, this is meant to serve not as a comprehensive guide to staying well, but just as a few quick ideas and reminders. There are many tools we can use to promote good health and immunity --these are just a few reminders of tools that anyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, can use to stay healthy this season.

Starting with the basics
  • Wash your hands: frequently!
  • Stay hydrated: half your bodyweight in ounces of water, broth, or herbal teas
  • Get enough rest: as much as you can!
  • Practice stress reduction: yoga, meditation, deep breathing, walks in the park
  • Eat well: nourishing soups, leafy green vegetables
Vitamin C

This is the traditional one. While it’s okay to take pills or “Emergen-C” packets, fresh fruits and vegetables are a better option. Citrus fruit provides not only the right amount of vitamin C (more than the recommended daily allowance is discouraged during pregnancy), but it also offers other benefits. Although acidic, lemon (think water—hot or cold—with lemon) actually helps balance the body’s pH by alkalizing the blood. Another benefit is found in the pith of citrus fruit (especially grapefruit), a substance called rutin, which promotes healthy connective tissue—making the womb-hotel of the amniotic sack strong and safe until labor starts, among other things. So when you eat a piece of citrus, don’t pick off the white stuff—it’s good for you!

Tea made from dried nettles (or fresh in the spring) is another good source of vitamin C, and also contains iron. However, nettle tea is a mild diuretic, so take in moderation and make sure to get extra water also.

Vitamin D

Having low levels of Vitamin D has been linked with many negative health effects including lowered immune response. Most of us living away from the equator and spending most of our time indoors are being found deficient. Many people are being tested for this either during pregnancy or at annual physical or medical visits. Others decline testing because deficiency is so common it can practically be assumed. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is somewhat controversial, but a conservative recommendation is to take up to 1000-2000 IU daily. And it is always a good idea to get outside in the sun whenever possible, both for Vitamin D and for mental health!


Turmeric milk or tea is a popular cold remedy in India. Turmeric has many immune supporting properties and can be used fresh (a root, like ginger but smaller with orange flesh and a mild taste; it can be found at many Asian grocery stores) or more easily found in powder form. In India, turmeric milk—often just hot milk with lots of turmeric and maybe black pepper or ginger—no sweetener—is often forced on children at the first sign of a cold.

To improve the taste, I make an Indian-style chai with tea (black, green, rooibos, herbal, or none) and spices (cinnamon, peppermint, cloves, ginger, cardamom, black pepper), and add a few spoonfuls of turmeric powder and some milk. While dairy milk is usually used in India, many people find that dairy products increase mucous production, so if you prefer you can use a non-dairy milk, or none at all. Honey can be added to taste. Kids will love the bright yellow color, and you may leave out the ginger and black pepper for a milder version.


Elderberries contain flavanoids, which have been found to reduce inflammation and swelling and boost the immune system. Taking a syrup made from cooked elderberries may ease and decrease the duration of flu symptoms significantly. Don’t eat raw elderberries—they’re poisonous in large quantities—but the cooked berries whether in syrup, tincture, or lozenges—are not only safe and effective for children, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, but also taste great. You can buy elderberry syrup at a natural food store, or make your own out of dried berries.


In the 1800s, Louis Pasteur discovered that bacteria cells in a petri dish will die when exposed to garlic. Garlic will fight colds and flus, kill bacteria, viruses, fungus, and parasites, and ward off vampires! Hippocrates recommended chewing and swallowing a clove of raw garlic every day for good health. While that wouldn't be a bad idea, it would be a little hard to handle for most people. Other ideas to get the garlic down include adding it salad dressing, spreading on buttered toast (like garlic bread), adding to pasta, spaghetti sauce, stirfries, or scrambled eggs (add at end so it gets cooked minimally). Garlic can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce mucous and phlegm production, help balance blood sugar, and reduce risk of some types of cancer. Amazing!

Best wishes for a

wonderful 2014 from all of us

here at Bella Vie!



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Our mailing address is:
13160 Jerusalem Hill Rd NW
Salem, OR 97304

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