Eat the rainbow!

Did y’all know that June is “National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month?” Lucky us! In Virginia, we are blessed with a bountiful assortment of local farms and farmers’ markets, making it easy to find delicious fresh produce. This chart can help you see at a glance which foods are best at certain times of year. It looks like right now, beets, blueberries, green beans, and squash (and others) are at their best. Some of my personal favorites are on that list!



Beets are so good for you. They’re high in carbs, so if you’re watching your carb intake, you want to be careful about that, but they’re so good for you in so many ways. According to Dr. Mercola, beets can lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, have anti-cancer properties, and help your body detox. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate (important for pregnant moms to help prevent neural tube development issues).

If you want a truly amazing super food, beet greens are it. Dr. Mercola has a blog post devoted entirely to beet greens. They’re high in vitamin C and iron and extremely high in vitamin A. He says the vitamin K works with the calcium in the beet greens to help prevent osteoporosis.

Beets were never one of my favorites when I was a child. When I was growing up, I remember eating canned beets, and I thought they were absolutely disgusting. Now, as an adult, after trying them prepared differently, I’m getting over my aversion to beets. Here’s a great list of recipes for beets that just might help us all to open our minds to new possibilities. I’m thinking the Beet, Carrot, and Pomegranate Salad is looking mighty tasty!



Berries are so good for you. They’re low in sugar and full of vitamins. They’re low in calories and high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. They’re full of antioxidants and may lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. The health benefits of blueberries are quite extensive. This delicious recipe would be quite festive at picnics this year. You could substitute greek yogurt for the coconut cream for an added protein boost. And any combination of berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.) would be quite tasty!

Green Beans


Green beans are so quick and easy to prepare, and they’re so good for you. They’re full of fiber, which helps your digestive tract and helps you feel full. They’re a great source of folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. My favorite way to prepare green beens is to quickly saute them for a few minutes in a little bit of olive oil and sliced fresh garlic. I squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top add some fresh ground pink Himalayan salt and black pepper. So simple and so good.



The health benefits of squash are numerous. My absolute favorite vegetables are squash, so seeing that infographic makes me feel pretty good about that! I love zucchini and I can’t get enough butternut squash. There are so many ways to prepare squash … grilled, baked, sauteed. Of course, butternut squash soup is delicious. Then, there’s the squash desserts. Who doesn’t like zucchini bread and pumpkin pie? OK, maybe zucchini bread and pumpkin pie aren’t as healthy as roasted butternut squash, but still…

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Vegetables and fruit add variety to your diet. Eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day will help ensure you will get all of the vitamins and minerals you need to grow a healthy baby and have a healthy pregnancy. A lot of times, we get into ruts with foods, and we think of only one way to prepare a particular vegetable. By experimenting with new recipes, you can really broaden your diet, and you can learn to like vegetables you thought you didn’t like before, because what you really didn’t like was how they were prepared. Keep experimenting! This is the season to try new treats from the garden! Your local farmers’ market will have a lot of choices and ideas to help you on your way.



Premier Birth Center Fact #10 – Our T-shirts may be more awesome than we ever thought!

We hope you enjoyed our facts about Premier Birth Center series. Keep following the blog posts to learn more about us!

Premier Birth Center Fact #10: Our T-shirts may be more awesome than we ever thought!

I designed a Premier Birth Center T-Shirt for our staff and bought a few extra to give to friends and have considered selling some at the birth center. They’re actually really comfortable and look great on everyone! Look how cute Nikki, our office manager, looks in her Premier Birth Center T-Shirt…


I didn’t think much about it, but those Premier Birth Center T-Shirts are really getting around. They’re traveling around the country and even out of the country now! True story… A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend of mine, and she shared with me an experience she had while on a trip to Canada. With her permission, and name removed, I’m sharing her email here…

My husband and I are on a long trip, and we crossed the Canadian border into Saskatchewan. At the border they did the basic questions, took our passports to the office, came back for some more questions, then asked my husband to pull up and park and ME to come into the office! According to their computers, there’s another woman with my same birthdate and social security number who was a ‘bad person!’ And, Canada doesn’t like letting ‘bad people’ in to visit!! A lot to do with fraud I think.

He kept asking me questions like, “have you ever been to court?” and I, of course, said “no” until he reminded me, even for divorce? And I said I was so sorry, yes, I was in court for that. I gave him all sorts of dates of my married name and places I lived and finally I think he just believed my honest face! He said at the end, “I just don’t think you are this bad person!” He did suggest that, when we get home, we go to our local law enforcement office and have them check all this out and then write up some sort of letter saying “THIS ______ is NOT the one with all the crimes attached to her name!” If I understood the various things he said, most of the crimes and mess were from the year I switched back to my maiden name. They don’t appear to be current. And I’m guessing there isn’t a warrant out for that person’s arrest, or I’m sure he couldn’t have let us go and would have called the police. I’m wondering why none of this has come up in credit reports, but maybe they are dead or in jail and so aren’t causing problems now? I had a credit report done in to buy a house and another in a few years later and both came back very good! Anyway, I’ll have to try and track all that down when we get back!!

When I got back in the car, my husband said, you know, that shirt you were wearing might have helped. It is a really comfortable tee shirt I wear for travel and says “Premier Birth Center!” I mean, what criminal would wear a shirt like that!!!! THANKS Kim!!!!!!!

Glad we could help!!! Hope the return trip isn’t nearly as exciting!!!

Premier Birth Center Fact #9: Our classroom is available for community groups to use.


Over the past few days, we’ve going shared some facts about Premier Birth Center we hoped you’d find interesting and fun. Tomorrow, we’ll have the 10th and final post in this series. Keep following the blog!

Premier Birth Center Fact #9: Our classroom is available for community groups to use.

One of the biggest benefits of a birth center experience is being part of a community of like-minded people. A birth center is like a mini-village for expectant parents and new families. Our hope is that our classroom will be used for a variety of events that will support the needs of families in our community. We’re off to a good start! Here’s what we have so far:

Premier Birth Center Info Session

One of our midwives is available to answer your questions and give you a tour of the birth center. Light refreshments are served. We’d love to meet you and help you know your options and see if Premier Birth Center is the right place for you to welcome your baby into the world. Register online for free tickets.

Movie Night

Premier Birth Center is hosting a movie night once a month. We’re going to feature one birth or natural living related movie every month. We’ll announce dates soon on our Facebook page.

Virginia is for Doulas

Tiffany Shank of Virginia is for Doulas is offering several classes at Premier Birth Center. You can contact her directly at or 540-533-4182 for more information.

  • Childbirth Education Class
  • Postpartum Belly Binding Class
  • Bright Beginnings Childbirth Education Class
  • Comfort Measures for Labor Class
  • Placenta Encapsulation: What’s it all about?

Birth & Beer

Join the men as they talk about their perspective on birth, what to expect and listen to their stories. Dads need a place to talk about all that goes on and what to expect. Bring your own beer, men only.

Does your group want to have your classes at Premier Birth Center? We have a great space for meetings! Contact us for more details, and we’ll get you on the calendar!


Premier Birth Center Fact #8 – Our birth tubs are ahhhmazing!

Over the next few days, we’re going to focus on sharing some facts about Premier Birth Center we hope you’ll find interesting and fun. Keep following the blog posts to learn more about us!

Premier Birth Center Fact #8 – Our birth tubs are ahhhmazing!

Seriously… wow, these tubs are just ohhhhmigosh awesome. Makes me want to have another baby. My husband knows that’s an empty threat, so I can say that now 🙂

The Spa Tub

big tub

Spa Tub at Premier Birth Center

This tub is a Japanese soaking tub style Spa Tub. It’s 4 feet square and holds about 160 gallons of water. The water depth is about 29 inches. It has an integrated bench seat, so you can kneel against that on hands and knees (most popular), or be semi-reclined while your partner is seated on the bench and holding you. You could also grab onto the side and get into a squat in the tub. With this tub being so deep, it’s easy to get into just about any position you want to be in.

This tub is what’s called an “air bath.” That means if you like, you can turn on the air and have about 25 heated air jets blowing bubbles into the tub. You’re able to control the intensity of the air jets from either just gentle movement to a really heavily bubbling spa experience. The air tub design blows air into the tub rather than recirculating water through the jets. This is more hygienic, reducing the risk of cross-contamination, and makes it easier for us to sanitize the tubs after the births.

The Soaking Tub


Soaking Tub at Premier Birth Center

This tub is a little smaller and easier to get in and out of. It is 66″ long and 35″ wide, so it is still pretty spacious. The depth is a little over 20″ and it holds about 120 gallons of water. For perspective on water depth, the heated pool that we rent for home births (AquaDoula) has a depth of 18″, while the inflatable pools are between 22-24″ deep at their maximum.

Both tubs feature in-line heaters to help keep the water warm, and also have LED chromatherapy lighting. Underwater lighting is provided by 2 digitally controlled LEDs. A control pad allows selection of any of these individual colors: aqua, blue, magenta, red, orange, yellow or green. The relaxing Aqua-Blue-Green Cycle gently segues through the 3 colors.

The tubs also have super fast filler faucets. They fill our tubs at almost 9 gallons per minute, so the tubs take around 15 minutes to fill. We know that’s important when your labor is moving along quickly and you want to get into that deep water to get some relief!

Beyond the tubs, we have other tools that help your water birth experience be even better. LED candles and aromatherapy diffusers provide even more relaxation. We have waterproof Dopplers for monitoring your baby. There are warm, fluffy bathrobes, slippers, and a seemingly endless supply of Egyptian cotton towels for when you step out of the tub. The fireplace and our throw blankets can warm you up if you feel chilled after being in the tub.

We put a lot of thought into our tubs and how we do water births at Premier Birth Center. As midwives who have attended hundreds of water births, we know the benefits of water for reducing discomfort, helping labor progress, and providing a gentle welcome for the baby. We want to help you have the best possible water birth experience at Premier Birth Center.

Premier Birth Center Fact #7 – We have a “just in case” birth suite.

Over the next few days, we’re going to focus on sharing some facts about Premier Birth Center we hope you’ll find interesting and fun. Keep following the blog posts to learn more about us!

Premier Birth Center Fact #7: We have a “just in case” birth suite.

Premier Birth Center has 2 “official” birth suites. They’re really great – lovely spa tubs, fireplaces, queen-sized beds, flat-screen TVs, ceiling fans, hardwood floors. Did you know we also have a third, “just in case” birth suite? We figured two birth rooms would be plenty for us, but it’s always good to be prepared for that day when the unexpected baby storm comes, right? Midwives always have a contingency plan… always.

When we did our renovation, we converted our first-floor powder room into an ADA-accessible bathroom with a shower, just in case. And, we added a queen-sized Murphy Bed (a bed that pulls down from the wall) to our classroom, just in case. We added a door to the classroom so it could be closed off from the rest of the birth center for a birth… just in case.


This is a stock photo of our Murphy bed. Our bedding is different, but you get the idea 🙂

If we need a third birth room, or even if someone just really preferred to have their baby in our “just in case” birth room, we do have this third room we can use. It’s actually a pretty nice setup! It’s on the first floor, has its own separate outside entrance/exit, the fireplace is beautiful, and the bed is quite comfortable. The only drawback of this room really is that it doesn’t have a built-in birth pool. However, we do have a portable heated birth pool (AquaDoula) that we could bring into the room if we needed to.

Bring on the baby storm! Bring it!

Premier Birth Center Fact #6 -We have something in common with dentists.

Over the next few days, we’re going to focus on sharing some facts about Premier Birth Center we hope you’ll find interesting and fun. Keep following the blog posts to learn more about us!

Premier Birth Center Fact #6 – We have something in common with dentists.

You meet people throughout your life, never knowing then the full extent to which they will touch your life until years later. There have been many examples of this during my lifetime. Even just during the process of starting this birth center, there have been several people who have played a part that I never would have anticipated the day I met them. For example, I never knew when I met Kimberly Haines on my first day as a midwifery student that she would eventually end up inspiring me to open Premier Birth Center in Winchester.

There are many people who were big and little pieces of the puzzle as put this project together, but probably the most unlikely piece, at least at first glance, is Arminco, Inc. Arminco is a locally-owned company that designs and builds stunningly beautiful dental offices. Their creative team includes designers, engineers, architects, and project managers. If you are a dentist and want an amazing office, Arminco is THE place to go in the DC area. Seriously, I mean, their designs are totally off the hook beautiful.


So, how did we get connected with Arminco? Well, it’s a roundabout story, as are many of the stories in this “Premier Birth Center Facts” series.

It all starts with Tara Lussier. I met Tara Lussier at a BirthMatters meeting several years ago when Tara was very pregnant with her twins. Tara had a c-section with the twins, but came to me to be her midwife for her HBAC (home birth after cesarean). You can read her amazing birth story here. Tara’s husband, Mark was nothing short of a hero at that birth. He was ultimately the person who got her through to the end, and it was one of the most memorable moments of any birth I’ve ever had the privilege to witness. Gives me goosebumps just to think about it.


Awhile after that birth, Mark started working at Arminco. (Ahh, there’s the connection!)

When I found the property in Winchester for the birth center, I talked with Mark about it, and he offered to take a look and give me an estimate for doing the build out so I could figure out numbers for my budget. Months later, Arminco was up to their eyeballs in building a birth center.

I’m not sure if any of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. Arminco had never built a birth center before, and I had never taken on a project of this magnitude myself, either. But, we got through it together. There were many surprises along the way, but with the support and tenacity of Arminco’s wonderful people, we got through each challenge. If a project is easy, pretty much any contractor can handle it. But, when you have a project that presents you with challenges, you want to be working with a professional who has the creativity, courage, integrity, and experience to know how to handle the challenges appropriately. That’s Arminco. They stuck with it to the end, no matter what they faced, and even though it was difficult, they did their best to help me wherever they could. The end product is a beautiful place I think we can all be very proud of.


There were a few Arminco people who worked closely with me on this project. First, of course, there was Mark Lussier. Without him and his calm “no problem” attitude, I’m not sure I could have made it through all of this. There are no words to express my gratitude for his work to help me with this project.


Next, there is Zehra Arif. She is this amazing genius designer person. She has such a wonderful way of figuring out what people really want. She asked all the right questions to help me get exactly what I wanted. I sent her pictures of all of the furniture and linens I had picked out, and she helped me find flooring, paint, and other parts to pull it together. Oh, and of course, she was the one with the brilliant idea of the brick wall and the super cool shelf for the reception window. That was genius! Everyone loves it!

KevinThen, there’s Kevin Sears. What would I do without Kevin? This guy has been my right hand over the past few months. He’s been my project manager. Kevin has been the unfortunate bearer of the bad news (poor guy!), has had to listen to my meltdowns, and has had to deal with endless inspections and red tape. I love Kevin.

Then, there’s Neris and Mario. These are the main guys who did the construction work. They did a really good job. I’m sure our project was nothing like what they’re used to doing, but you’d never know it by looking at it! Their work was top notch!

I’m guessing Arminco isn’t planning on going into the birth center construction business, but if they ever do, they’d do an awesome job. There are a lot more dentists than there are midwives, so it is probably a better business decision to stick with the dentists, but wow, they really knocked it out of the park, didn’t they?

Oh, and to bring it around full circle… guess who was the doula at Premier Birth Center’s first birth? You guessed right — it was Tara Lussier.


Premier Birth Center Fact #5 – We’re as green as can be!

Over the next few days, we’re going to focus on sharing some facts about Premier Birth Center we hope you’ll find interesting and fun. Keep following the blog posts to learn more about us!

Premier Birth Center Fact #5: We’re as green as can be!

We’re doing everything we can to make Premier Birth Center as healthy of an environment as possible. We know everything is a balance of choices. Sometimes, we have to use products we’d prefer not to use in order to keep everyone safe from harmful germs, but whenever possible, we avoid harsh chemicals when we clean the birth center. Almost always, we use doTerra essential oils, rather than artificial fragrances, and natural cleaning products, rather than caustic chemicals. We also do what we can to conserve natural resources, too.


  • We clean with doTerra’s All-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate. This is our main cleaning product. We use this for cleaning almost everything at the birth center.
  • Our laundry is washed with doTerra’s Laundry detergent. We use a high efficiency front-loader washing machine that’s super high capacity, to minimize the number of loads of laundry we need to do and to reduce our water consumption. For stubborn stains, we use hydrogen peroxide, and use chlorine bleach only as a last resort.
  • We avoid fluorescent lighting, whenever possible. Even though the compact fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient, we have concerns about the health effects of these lights. Some of our staff are sensitive to fluorescent lighting, so we use incandescent lights in limited amount.
  • Out-of-hospital birth is greener than hospital birth anyway, but to make it even greener, we use a lot of washable chux pads instead of only using the disposable pads. We still use the disposable pads, but are trying to reduce our waste by using washable chux as often as possible. They’re more comfortable for our clients and better for the environment.
  • Our tubs are energy efficient. (More on the tubs in a later post!)
  • 51YgqjBGaaL-2We’re as paperless as possible! All of our standard documents, with the exception of the Premier Birth Center Care Guide and Information Guide, are sent to clients for electronic signature. We use an electronic health record, as well, so we do not keep paper charts at all. Our faxes and our lab reports are all received electronically. This helps us to greatly reduce our paper consumption in our office. What we do use gets recycled.
  • The hand soap in our bathrooms is doTerra’s OnGuard Foaming Hand Soap. It smells ahhhmazing.
  • We use ceiling fans and electric fireplaces to provide quick changes in temperature in the birth rooms, as needed, rather than raising and lowering the thermostat for the whole house.
  • All of our appliances and plumbing are energy efficient. Even our window blinds help us conserve energy.

Premier Birth Center is offering Free Essential Oils Classes with our client Melissa Patterson on Thursday evenings where you can learn more about using essential oils to have a cleaner home and a healthier life. You can contact Melissa directly to learn more about the class schedule and upcoming topics.

We’re not perfect of course, but we try very hard to do our best to be responsible about how we clean and how we consume resources at the birth center. It’s important to all of us.