17 years!

My very first client was a dear friend, so every year around this time I have a reminder of my first birth when she posts photographs of her daughter’s birthday celebrations. This year she drove off in their car. Today is my son’s birthday, marking 7 years since I was last pregnant. I want to thank all the families who have invited me into their lives.  I feel blessed to have been part of your family’s birth story.

17 years(1)

To celebrate these milestones I’m making some changes in my pricing, something I haven’t done in several years.

My best deal remains the Best Birth package, for those who just want support during labour.  This is a good choice for parents who have family close by to help in the postpartum days, or for people who have taken childbirth ed classes and are feeling pretty confident about their birth choices, or for families who are having their second child.

Package includes 1 prenatal planning session, labour and 2 hours after birth, newly born photography and 1 postnatal visit in the first week. Also includes unlimited texts and emails until 17 weeks.  $870 +HST

The Ultimate Birth Support Package is the Birth and Beyond package, for those who want education as well as labour support. Ideal for busy couples who can’t make it to prenatal class, or for those who are feeling anxious and need more personalized support. This is a good choice for couples who don’t have extended family nearby to help them in the first few weeks.  If your family are coming immediately after the birth you can book your postnatal visits for the time after they go when you may be feeling vulnerable without them. It’s also helpful to book your doula for after your partner returns to work.

This package includes 2 prenatal planning visits, labour and 2 hours after birth, newly born photography and  4 postnatal visits. Also includes unlimited email and text questions for the first 17 weeks. $1177 + HST

If you feel you  have a handle on the labour and birth part but just want additional support when your baby comes home, the Best Start Package is for you. You can pre-book your doula ahead of time to support you when you need it.  This package is also a really good gift to give an expectant family at a baby shower. Booking in advance saves you $40.

17 hours of postpartum visits, minimum 3 hour calls.  First visit in the first week. Unlimited emails and texts for 17 weeks. $387 + HST
Postpartum hours can also be booked more casually. $25/hr + HST, minimum 3 hour call.

For a free consult please click here!

I will be your calming goat.

I just watched Ferdinand with my kids and I just love the character of Lupe. She’s so fun and enthusiastic and a bit vulgar and I’m not going lie, I enjoy that. Being a city girl I didn’t realize that it is common practice to put goats in with the bulls and horses to keep them calm, and I has the realization that goats are basically doulas for expensive livestock. Keeping their anxiety at bay makes it easier to manage the prize race horses or fighting bulls. In pregnancy women quite rightly feel anxious and nervous about the birth to come and hiring a doula can help you feel better about your ability to handle labour.

calming goat

The statistics are clear – just the presence of a calm, confident third party in the birthing room decreases the use of medical interventions and improves satisfaction with the birthing experience, even if all they do is sit there.  What I bring to the birthing room is my belief that birth works. I bring my confidence that you can do this, like so many women have done before. I bring experience of other births, my own included, so I feel comfortable with your movements and vocalizations and nothing phases me. My surety that everything is going to be alright is contagious and it helps relax you and your partner so that you can concentrate on birthing your baby calmly and with confidence.

I will be your calming goat. Keep labouring on and you will get your prize – a beautiful baby.

Click here to book a free consultation.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

Nine years ago my daughter was born, and my life changed forever.

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This journey I’m on now started long before her birth, my obsession with babies started young and I was a seasoned baby whisperer long before I had my own baby, I was a doula before I got pregnant myself.  I was ready to be a mother, ready to experience birth. I was eager for it.

This time nine years ago I was on my hands and knees in a rented birthing tub in my spare room, soon to be the baby’s room. My mother poured water on my lower back with each contraction. My midwives watched from the hallway. My mother wore the apron she usually wore for doing the washing up.  I remember my cat curled up on the stairs, not wanting to get too close to the action but not wanting to leave either. I remember my friend arriving, rather late in the action, and calling to her that she should come up. She was wearing white, perhaps not the best choice when called to a birth but I think it worked out for her and I’m so glad she came.

When you are in labour time works differently. I was in labour for 17 hours, birthing in the late afternoon at 4:36pm. I feel like I was in the tub for most of that time, the tub was magical, but my midwives notes say differently. I thought I pushed for maybe an hour, but apparently I pushed for nearly 4! I remember pushing in the tub and not liking it, trying the birthing stool and then side lying in the bed. My baby was stubbornly OP, meaning she was facing front ways instead of back, and despite all the pushing she didn’t seem to want to come out. I remember the moment when she decided she would be born today after all, feeling her corkscrew from front to back and then it was all a flurry of movement and panting and “don’t push!” and then she cried and I felt so relieved it was over…. and then one of the midwives said “push for the shoulders!” and I thought, how could she not be born yet – I can hear her – and then she really was born and it really was over and I was so tired and she was so small.

And I was different. I was a Mother.

Thank you for making me a Mother, baby girl. I love you today and always.

 

If you want to know more about doula care, click here!

If you want to book a consultation, click here!

 

#Metoo, “is it affecting you negatively?” and the ick factor.

I started this blog to promote and discuss my doula business, but before all things prenatal took over my life I worked for many years as a dresser in the Theatre. My former colleagues are reeling over the revelations about Albert Schultz but a common thread is this: no one is surprised. I worked for Soulpepper many times during my career, and while I was not personally subjected to Mr. Schultz’ advances I have no doubt in my mind that the four women accusing him are telling the truth.  One of the first Soulpepper shows I worked on was directed by him, and I remember the discomfort I felt witnessing what I can only call his overtly sexually aggressive directing style. I was shocked by his liberal use of the ‘c-word’.  I heard all the gossip, and I felt the atmosphere in the air. When the revelations about Harvey Weinstein came out, and everyone was shocked/not shocked, like everyone else I thought ‘how could such stuff go on for so long, under everyone’s nose, without anyone doing anything?’ But I do understand. The atmosphere is set by the boss. And young people coming in think, “I guess this is how it’s supposed to be or he wouldn’t be the boss” and we suck it up to keep working.

I’d like to think if I’d walked in on something more obvious, more sinister than just ‘locker room talk’ , something that looked like assault – I’d like to think I would have said something, stepped up, helped out. But it’s more likely that I would have just backed out of the room and mumbled ‘sorry’ and felt awful. Trish, Kristin, Hannah and Diana – if I let you down, if I was there and chose not to see what was happening to you, I’m so sorry. I believe you. I’m here for you now.

I worked on a show once at another theatre, it was set in Africa and the costumes didn’t leave much to the imagination. The wing space was limited, and there was a point in the show when I and most of the cast -the handsome, fit, half naked cast- were squashed close together waiting for a scene change. Every single show I was subjected to some kind of suggestive comment, joke, grope, pat, lewd facial expression – you name it. When I mentioned it to my supervisor she asked ‘Is it affecting you negatively?” And the truth is, I was single, they were hot, it was kind of fun and no, it was not affecting me negatively. But it could have. It was inappropriate, and it should have been shut down.

Maybe the only thing that separates flirting from harassment is the ‘ick factor’.  And in retrospect it was totally icky.  I know what it’s like to brace yourself for what you know is coming, what you can’t avoid, and what shouldn’t be part of your job.

This shit has to stop.

 

Five things to register for that no one will ever buy you.

5 things to register for

It’s a little known fact that many department stores will let you complete your registry at a discount, so go ahead and register for these five things that you will really need but that no one will want to buy for you.

#1 – A Squatty Potty – any step stool will do but this one is specifically designed to hug your toilet and when used it puts you into a perfect squat position. The toilet wasn’t really designed very well, and this little stool puts your body into a much better position for emptying your bowels. If you are suffering from constipation during your pregnancy this will really help stuff slide right out. Also, squatting frequently helps stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor, which will result in an easier childbirth. You can even use this when you are labouring at home to support you in a squat position and help the baby move down and out.

#2 – A donut pillow. Not a very glamorous gift but since even the most uneventful birth will result in some swelling and discomfort in your vagina, a donut pillow gives you somewhere to sit where you will not have to deal with any pressure on your delicate parts. Put an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas in the hollow and relax. These are also great in late pregnancy to take the pressure off your tailbone and pelvic floor and help you remember to sit up straight in your office chair.

#3 – Maxi-pads you can see from space. No one is going to buy you these, but if your department store has a drugstore section, why not? You will need these even if you have a C-section as it’s normal to bleed for several weeks after having a baby, and you can’t use tampons or a cup at this time (which for me, was the worse part of bleeding for several weeks). Always Maxi Overnight with wings get my vote. They are enormous but do the job well. Some women like to wear Poise or Depends in the first few days but personally I didn’t enjoy the feeling of wearing a diaper, and I found a product designed to absorb blood rather than urine just did a better job at handling the lochia. Register for a bottle of witch hazel too and prep some padsicles to enjoy in your first few days postpartum.

#4 – A sitz bath. This little insert for your toilet will be your best friend if you suffer from postpartum hemorrhoids. Fill it with warm water and Epsom salts and sit (well, squat since you have a squatty potty) with a magazine for a blissful ten minute break. Helps heal your perineum and gives you a well deserved time out. A good opportunity for your partner to figure out how to handle a new baby while you take care of yourself. Self-care is a vital part of surviving new parenthood, find little moments of solitude wherever you can.  Your days of using the bathroom alone are numbered.

#5 – A waterproof mattress pad. While most women don’t have their water break spectacularly like you see on TV, it does happen and you need to protect your mattress just in case. It’s more likely that you will leak milk or your newborn’s diaper will fail when you are lying in bed together. Register for that mattress pad- those suckers can be expensive but not as expensive as a new mattress.

Baby Ready can help you set up your registry with the things you really need. Contact us here for a free consultation!

Gift the gift of a doula!

Gift of doula

Some partners are concerned that having a doula will mean they will have no role in their baby’s birth. This is not true! A doula can help give you the confidence to be a fantastic supportive birth partner. Your doula can reassure you that your partner’s labour is progressing normally and help keep you both calm if it is not. Your doula can teach you comfort techniques that will your partner will come to depend on during her labour. You will be as involved as you want to be for the entire labour and delivery. And if you need to step out, you can feel confident that your partner is being taken care of in your absence. Give the gift of doula support – and get it for yourself too.

 

This Doula’s on fire!

Sorry Folks I’m so friggin’ busy I haven’t had any time to blog. I’ve just come back from a doula collective meeting and I’m all fired up so let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to.

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Yes, I’ve been leaving the house for paid employment, not just dreaming about it. I’m using my postpartum doula skills at Toronto Yoga Mamas where I will cuddle your baby so you can take care of you. Take a yoga class, get a massage, see a chiropractor or pelvic floor physiotherapist secure in the knowledge that your baby is in good hands. I will only bother you if your sweet babe is completely inconsolable – and I have a lot of baby whispering tricks up my sleeves. Also a high pain threshold when it comes to listening to babies crying. After all, crying is how baby communicates. If they are just saying “I miss Mommy” then they’re okay. Enjoy your shivasana. Ohm.

SCHOOL

This time last year I signed up to do my prenatal educator training at Douglas College. I’m about half way through the program and would be further if it wasn’t for WORK and FAMILY sucking up my time. I’m really looking forward to travelling to Coquitlam in the spring to do my teaching intensive. I didn’t realize that I would have to go to BC when I signed up to do the program online but I can’t say I’m feeling sad about it. Springtime in Vancouver? Yes please.

FAMILY

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Working as a postpartum doula allows me to be home for my children when they get home from school, most of the time. My children are getting very big and don’t need me so much anymore which allows me to spend time helping families with babies who are small and needy.  I’ve been working hard with my husband building his business and getting him ready to fly – now it’s my turn.

 

 

 

 

THE FUTURE

I’m so happy to announce that I’ve joined the newly born Doula Collective at Mums and Tums Canada. Mums and Tums are distributors of the Ontario Baby Box, modeled on the Finnish Baby Box that has been proven to lower infant death rates.  Finnish families have been putting their newborn babies to sleep in free cardboard sleeping boxes for 75 years and they boast one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates. You can sign up for a baby box of your own here, and pick it up at Mums and Tums distribution centre. Oh, and if you are not in Ontario check out Baby Box University and see if they have a free program in your community. Thanks to the popularity of the Baby Box program Mums and Tums founder Heather Dolimont has big plans for the future of her company and I am thrilled to be in on the ground floor. Watch this space for more information!