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.

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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!

 

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.

 

My story, or: the long and winding road to Doulahood.

Writing a bio has always been a challenge for me.

My career path has been a winding one.

As a teenager I was a budding ballerina but I chose to study Biology and Chemistry at University rather than pursue a dance career. Two years in a Science lab was enough for me to learn that I’d made a mistake.  I took some time off and after  working for three years as a professional Nanny in the UK I took my half a Science degree and transferred what credits I could to York University’s Theatre School and after graduation I became a professional Wardrobe Attendant or dresser.

I often felt that no one really knew what I did for a living (including the theatre managers who hired me.)   But I’ll tell you – I helped people be ready. Not just physically, but psychologically too. I did people’s hair and listened to their problems. I was there for them in the dark when they had 30 seconds to change their clothes but being there, consistently there, dependably there meant they didn’t have to think about that costume change but could instead think about their next lines or dance steps or song lyrics. And doing the same thing every show satisfied my inner dancer’s need for a choreographed routine.

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 I was one of the last of my friends to have kids so I benefited from their experiences, and I knew I wanted midwifery care when I was pregnant, and I knew to call as soon as possible and I was lucky enough to get a spot. Having my own children changed things. You know that it will, everyone says it, but it takes a while to figure out how it changes you.  Working in the theatre and having small children was too hard for me. I wanted to be home with my kids. I don’t want someone else to be raising them, even though as a former Nanny I know that it is possible for someone else to love your kids as much as you do.

A few friends had asked me to be present when they gave birth – to be their doula though the word was new to me then. Experiencing births – their births, my own births, listening to the birth stories of others I meet at drop ins and parks and Baby and Me classes – it has made me more and more interested in working in the birth world.  I’m curious about the differences in OB care and midwifery care and the reasons why those differences exist. I want to learn more.  I decided to do my doula training with Bebo Mia and finally I have found a job that combines all my diverse skills. Changing from a Wardrobe Attendant to a Doula is not so big a jump as you might think. What I loved most about working in theatre was that I was constantly meeting new people, and you can’t get any newer than a brand new baby. I’m still massaging shoulders and egos and telling people “You’ve got this.” I’m still helping people get ready, physically and psychologically.  Maybe there aren’t too many other Dancer/Scientist/Nanny/Dressers in the birth world, but this career path of mine has led me here, and I love it.

Contact me here for more information about doulas and to book your free consultation!

So, what does a doula do, exactly?

Frequently asked questions, doula edition.
So you’ve heard the reports and seen the stats and you know that having a doula increases birth satisfaction, decreases interventions and is just the most awesome thing ever. But what does a doula do, exactly? Of course every labour is different and every woman has different needs and desires. Your doula will adapt to suit your specific requirements. She will provide emotional and physical support, guidance and unbiased information throughout the pregnancy and labour. She will make suggestions on books you might want to read, products you might find helpful and positions that will ease your pain. She will hold your hand, wipe your sweaty brow and tell you that you are awesome.

But won’t my husband/partner do that?
Maybe. Hopefully. But sometimes your husband/partner will be a bag of nerves. Sometimes they will freak out when you cry out. Sometimes they will shriek “Get the doctor in here now!” three hours too soon. Sometimes they will turn white and pass out. Your doula can reassure your partner that the noises you are making and the pains you are experiencing are normal, healthy and to be expected. She can help your partner get over their anxiety and suggest ways that they can comfort you physically. She can stay with you while your partner gets a snack or makes some phone calls. She can reassure you both that progress is being made and that there is no reason to be afraid. She can gently suggest that maybe sitting down now would be a good idea. She can hold your partner’s hand, wipe their sweaty brow and tell them that you are both awesome.

But what, exactly, does a doula do?
Your doula will arrive at the hospital or birthing place within 90 minutes of your phone call. She will immediately check out the space, draw curtains and close doors. She will make sure you are comfortable and not sitting in a puddle of your own amniotic fluid. She will find where the dry sheets and blankets are and make sure you have what you need. She will ask questions to find out how you are feeling and what has happened in her absence. And she will get you up on your feet and make you move around as much as possible. It’s good practice to shift positions every 30 to 45 minutes and your doula will keep her eye on the clock and make suggestions as to new positions to try. In the early stages of active labour your job is to find your rhythm and get your coping strategies in place, and your doula will help you do this. You may not even notice that’s what is going on, but your doula will notice what you naturally do during each contraction and will help you keep doing what is working for you. And if things start to change, your doula will try to help you get back on track, whether by trying a new position or motion or water therapy or whatever other tools she may have in her bag of tricks.

Bag of tricks? Tell me more about this bag of tricks.
Your doula will bring a bag to the hospital that is a bit different from what you bring. She will probably have a heating pad or magic bag which can be quite soothing – if you like heat on your stomach or back when you suffer from menstrual cramps you might also like it when you are in labour. Ice packs are also an option. Some doulas bring their own birth ball and some hospitals provide them. (Others refuse to allow them. Boo.) Some doulas use TENS machines. All doulas have training in comfort measures that include massage, counter pressure and light touch. Your doula will probably advice you in advance to provide your own music, pillows and light snacks. Think about the food and drinks you like when you are recovering from the flu. Some hospitals still refuse solid food to women in labour but will provide soup and jello and fruit juice. 20150822_171946
What if I just want an epidural, right now?
In your prenatal visits you will have made a birth plan with your doula, and if your birth plan says “I want an epidural, right now” then your doula will support your choice to have that epidural, right now. If your birth plan says “I really don’t want to have an epidural” then your doula will gently remind you of your original plan, suggest a different position or hydro therapy or whatever but if you say “No, I don’t care, I want an epidural right now!” then your doula will support your choice to have that epidural, right now. Your doula is there to support you and your choices.

What happens in the prenatal visits?
You are likely to meet with your doula three times before you give birth. The first time is a free consultation session at which you will get to know her a little bit and decide if she’s the right doula for you. The second session will include birth planning and a little prenatal education. The third will most likely include breast feeding education, baby care and postnatal planning. By the end of these two sessions you should feel more confident and knowledgeable about the physiological process of childbirth and how you want to approach it, and you will have faith that your doula will support you in whatever choices you have to make along the way.

How long will my doula stay with me?
Your doula will stay 90 minutes to 2 hours after you give birth. She will make sure you have something to eat and drink. She can fetch any family members you have waiting down the hall, or shoo them away if you don’t want to see anyone yet. She will wait with you until your baby shows interest in breast feeding and help you get off to a good start. And when you are ready, she will leave and let you get on with the business of bonding with your baby.

contact us here to book your free consultation!