What a Pooping Unicorn taught me about birth

Have you seen the video for the Squatty Potty?  It features a unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream and a lot of talk about your sphincter.

My 7-year-old daughter LOVES this video (Poops + unicorns = hilarity).  Shout out to my dad for sending it to us.  I've now had to listen to my daughter talking about unicorn poops for a week.

Did you know that our bodies were designed to squat?  And not just for pooping.

My 94-year-old grandmother squats when gardening and sometimes just to hang out.  She was born in Indonesia, and like many other Asian countries, squatting is considered a normal part of everyday life.  

When I took my yoga teacher training, squatting was an essential part of our practice.  Poses like Garland (Malasana) encourage the hips to open and is always taught in my prenatal yoga classes.

How does this relate to birth?

According to Evidence Based Birth, "For women without an epidural, pushing in an upright position is associated with a decrease in the risk of episiotomies, vacuum and forceps-assisted deliveries, and fetal heart rate abnormalities, an increase in the risk of second-degree tears, and a possible increase in the risk of having blood loss more than 500 mL"

That's pretty great news!  But it's not just for pushing.  Squatting lengthens the pelvic muscles and can actually provide some relief while labouring.  

What about if you have an epidural?

The great news about epidurals is that it numbs pain and sensation and allows mothers to rest.  The not so great news is that it restricts movement (since it's not safe to rely on your legs due to loss of sensation).  So during labour, rest, and when it comes to pushing, your partner and/or doula can help you into an assisted squat using a rebozo or squatting bar (if the facility you are giving birth in has one).  And studies have shown that women with epidurals who remain upright in the second stage of labour can shorten labour (ask us about the Queen of Sheba throne!)

As birth doulas, we know squat.  And now, I'm going to get some ice cream.

What position did you use to birth?  Tell us in the comments below!

I'm an older mom

I was 35 when I found out I was pregnant for the first time.  I had been married for 2 years and had no intentions of starting a family for most of those 2 years. 

At my annual physical, my doctor asked me about when I planned to have children.  I said, "oh you know, maybe at 40?"  I mean, there were lots of celebrities who were having babies over 40, and I was not feeling ready yet.  I sometimes wondered if I even wanted kids.  I grew up surrounded by kids - being the youngest child of much older siblings, I became an aunt at the ripe old age of 6.  (I have 9 nieces and nephews).  So it's not like I had a lack of babies in my life. 

Besides, our friends fell into one of three camps:

1)  Married in their 20s, had kids, and kids were now older, thus parents were running around shuttling them to various activities.  So no time to socialize with them.

2)  Married with little babies or kids, which meant pretty much no more socializing with them because they could never go out

3)  Blissfully single and/or married with no kids.  Some by choice, some because they were struggling with infertility. 

My doctor wrung his hands and told me about the risks of becoming a mom over age 35, and that many people struggled with infertility at my age, and if I wanted a child, I should try immediately and come see him in 6 months if I couldn't get pregnant so he could start me on IVF.

We stopped using birth control, hoped for the best, and got pregnant 2 weeks later. 

My daughter was born a few days after I turned 36.  Here's what I've observed about being an older mom:

  • I had many misconceptions of motherhood (like many childless women!)  Because of what I had achieved in my career, I figured a baby would be easy by comparison.  And when things didn't go right and I couldn't find an easy fix, my confidence was shattered.
  • I wasn't the only older mom in the neighbourhood, but I found most moms were younger than me (or those closer to my age were already on their 2nd or 3rd baby).  I couldn't relate to the 20 something moms (or even the early 30 somethings).  As my husband pointed out, "Would you be friends with this person if you didn't have a baby the same age?"  For a lot of them, the answer was no.
  • I was tired all the time.  While this was normal, I couldn't recover from being tired as easily as I could recover in my 20s (all night parties followed by a full day of meetings at a sales conference was a snap compared to motherhood).
  • Lack of family support.  Because of my age, my parents and in-laws were also older and didn't have the strength to help me out with a new baby. 
  • I missed my pre-baby life.  I had 36 years of being responsible only to myself, not having to care for anyone, and basically being able to do whatever I wanted (within the confines of a full-time job and money).  Spontaneous dinners out and weekend trips were easy before baby.  36 years of independent living, filled with freedom and travel, is a lifetime.  Adjusting from that was really hard.
  • Worry.  I worry when I'm too tired to keep up with her at the park.  I worry when I think about how when she is a teenager, we will be qualifying for seniors discounts.  I worry that she will likely watch us retire while she starts her post-secondary education.  I worry that we will be too old to help her care for her own children like our parents were with us.

Despite everything, older motherhood is wonderful. For many, older motherhood is by choice, circumstance, or both.  Whatever the reason, it is still motherhood.  Being a parent is hard, no matter what. 

My daughter is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me.  

Refreshing Summer Melon Salad

It finally feels like the weather is warming up!  You can toss this easy, tasty salad together in 10 minutes for a healthy, fresh meal or snack.  The best part is, it can even sit out at room temperature for a few hours and will still taste delicious.  Perfect for potlucks or as a side to any bbq meat!  Enjoy!

Refreshing Melon Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

4 cups cantaloupe, cubed (you can use honeydew or seedless watermelon too - or a mix)

2 cups cucumber, sliced into half moons

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and sliced into thin strips

Dressing:

2-3 tbsp honey

2-3 tbs fresh lime juice

sea salt (optional)

Method:

  • Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl
  • Whisk the honey and lime together in a small bowl.  Pour over the salad.
  • Taste - you may want to add more honey or lime to taste, or for those who like salt, a sprinkle of sea salt (optional)

Serve.  May be kept at room temperature for a few hours, otherwise, put in the refrigerator.  Best eaten the same day.

Enjoy a taste of summer!

Newborn Sleep: The Real Scoop

Sleep is perhaps one of the hottest topics surrounding babies.  The one question new parents will always hear is "Is your baby sleeping through the night?"

At Doula Care Journey, we are thrilled that author Elizabeth Pantley has shared her guide to newborn sleep with us.  And we're sharing it with you!

Her book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, is a recommended read from our postpartum doula team.  Even better, try to read it before your baby arrives!  It teaches you what is normal and expected of newborn sleep, so you can be prepared for the postpartum period.  It teaches what is a normal sleep pattern and range of sleep for newborns to older babies. 

And now, she has The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns!  Finally, some REAL expectations on new baby sleep!

(FYI - She has also written a whole library of gentle parenting books, so her advice grows as your family does.)

Her approach works on finding solutions that work for your whole family.  She knows there's not one method that works for everyone, and so has a variety of solutions to present.  She's a mom of four kids as well and has been there in the parenting trenches (we love that!). 

Please take a minute and check out her website for more information. 

Just click the link here to download your own PDF copy!

Need help with newborn sleep?  Our overnight postpartum doula services may be right for your family.  Contact us to find out more!

What is the best Music to use in Labour and Birth?

The other day I was cleaning out a drawer and found my old iPod mini.  It was a fun trip down memory lane to plug it in and see what I was listening to at the time.  On it, I found a playlist titled “Labour”. 

If you’ve been preparing for birth, you may have read or been told by someone to create a playlist for your birth experience.  For me, this was a no-brainer, since I love music.  Some people want their favorite pillow with them in the hospital; I wanted my iPod. 

Why is music important for labour?

  • Familiarity:  Like your favorite pair of fuzzy socks, familiar music can make you feel good.  This is especially important if you are birthing away from home, like at a birthing center or hospital.  The setting may be different but music can act like a psychological tie to familiarity. 
  • Relaxation:  I don’t mean just nature sounds or meditation music.  But the right music can get us into a mood of relaxation, which is beneficial to helping labour progress.
  • Distraction:  Closing your eyes and focusing on the music was an awesome distraction for me.  Having my ear buds in drowned out the sounds of the monitors and let me just escape where I was.  (For the record, I had an epidural and was feeling really disappointed.  Music distracted me from what was happening.)
  • Rhythm:  Music can help you move in labour.  And moving around is a great way to bring your baby lower into the pelvis.

So what was on my playlist?  Here’s some of the highlights:

1.     Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles

2.     Hourglass by Squeeze

3.     Fingers of Love by Crowded House

4.     Perfect Day by Lou Reed (Duran Duran cover version)

5.     Ordinary World by Duran Duran

6.     Enlightened by Marillion

7.     Hurry up and Wait by Stereophonics

8.     Catching the Butterfly by The Verve

9.     Red Rain by Peter Gabriel

10. Try to Make It by Sloan

Have you thought about what’s going to be on your playlist?  Share your comments below!

Some Thoughts on Father's Day

With Father's Day coming up June 18th, I've started thinking about what it really means.  With families coming in so many flavours and combinations (LGBT families, surrogacy, single parents, adoptive parents) are these labels of Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) outdated?

What does it really mean?

You can read all about the interesting history of the holiday here, but, like Mother’s Day, it's an attempt to select a day to honour parents and all the work they do. 

I remember when I was about 5 proudly giving my dad a construction paper necktie I made in school.  He was perplexed. He was an immigrant who grew up in a country where there was no Father’s Day.  And he didn't wear a tie to work (he was a blue-collar worker).  My mom was easier, she loved crafts and flowers and breakfast in bed and all the Mother’s Day things. 

Families are so different today.  On my street alone, we have a family with two moms and two dads (joint parenting), a single mom who adopted a baby, a woman whose babies were carried by a surrogate, and children being raised by grandparents (since the mom and dad are not in the picture).  What does Father’s Day mean to them?

As Doula's one of the things we learned in training is to use the term "partner" - since it's gender neutral and more inclusive than "father" or "husband".  So, should it be "Partner's day"? 

Perhaps the simplest solution of all is to treat these holidays as what they are with a personalized twist:  a way to honour the important people in our lives, the people that support us, care for us, and that we support and care for.

Because really, no matter what our family looks like, isn't it about love and appreciation?

What does Father’s Day mean to you?  Comment below!

HypnoBirthing® for Better Birth

Parallels are often drawn between birth and other life experiences – usually not pleasant ones.

Why is the bringing into the world of your baby – the arrival of the love of your life, the most joyous moment you will experience – painted in such bleak colours?

Let’s for a moment equate birth to another physical feat we may choose to undertake... say a marathon. You sign up months in advance, you anticipate the day. In the months leading up to it, you try to eat well, maybe even do a few stretches here and there and take a Marathon Preparation class where you and other runners get together, perhaps even listen to someone who’s run a marathon before. You talk about the experience, how you might feel at the 10th, 25th and 40th kilometer... and then you go home. On the day of your marathon, you start off feeling great, by the 5th kilometer your legs are cramping... by the 10th you’ve forgotten how to breathe and by 15 you’ve hit the pavement. This is where the metaphor ends because, with birth, you must reach the end.

The missing ingredient in the above scenario – the one that would ensure you making it to 42 kilometers - is training... preparation... practice and understanding the physiology behind the activity.

Just like birth, running is an emotional, mental and physical process. You can’t run 42k without being prepared on all levels, without having learned how to psyche yourself up, keep yourself focused and, most importantly, if you’re terrified and dreading the experience.

By exploring and eliminating the reasons for pain in childbirth, teaching relaxation techniques and ways to work WITH your body the HypnoBirthing® curriculum provides complete understanding and preparation for childbirth in every way.

Our learning doesn’t end when you walk out of class - the deep relaxation and strength needed for birth comes only with consistent practice and training. We will provide both you and your partner with the materials to practice and condition your mind and body in preparation for birth.

Some things you will learn:

  • Achieving and maintaining deep levels of relaxation through self-hypnosis & breathing techniques. 
  • A positive and fearless approach to birth through visualization, affirmations, fear release and self-hypnosis.
  • Progression of a normal, healthy pregnancy, labour & birth, and course of action in case of special circumstances.

Our next set of classes in Toronto begins Saturday, June 17th!  Contact us for more information or to sign up!

3 Ways to Feed a Newborn Baby

This post is about feeding a newborn baby, in a way that works for your family.

Breast or bottle?  It doesn't need to be either/or.  (But it can be). 

What matters is this:

1)  Is your baby getting the nourishment he/she needs to grow and thrive?

2)  Are the parents feeding the baby in such a way that physically, emotionally and financially works for them?

That's it.

There is SO much pressure for new parents (and especially moms!) surrounding feeding.  Like many things that parents do, this is a hot-button topic that will draw ire and judgement from all around you - friends, family, social media. 

As a postpartum doula that has worked with many families, here are the 3 basic ways to feed a newborn:

1)  Breastfeeding from the breast

It's wonderful, natural, and specially formulated for your baby.  Breastmilk is amazing, free, and has so many benefits.  I don't need to get into them here because if you've done your research you probably know all about it.  What some people don't tell you is that it is very difficult for some moms.  Even second or third-time moms who have breastfed before!  Every baby is different, and there is a learning curve.  Walking is natural too, but we had to learn how to do it.  Some babies figure it out immediately, and some don't.  It has nothing to do with how good of a mother you are.  But it can have to do with your body, your nipples, your birth experience, your baby, your milk supply, your exhaustion level, your diet, your stress level, etc. 

2)  Feeding baby expressed/pumped breast milk

Did I mention latching on to the breast can be really hard for some babies and moms?  There's a reason why products like Lasinoh cream and All Purpose Nipple Ointment exist.  For some moms, pumping or expressing breast milk and feeding it to baby either with a cup, syringe, tube, or bottle is the solution that works for them.  It allows moms the freedom to have someone else feed the baby, while still feeding baby breast milk.  It's also a good solution for women trying to increase their milk supply by pumping while letting their nipples heal.  

3)  Feeding formula

So many different formulas are on the market!  Pick one your health care provider recommends and you feel good about.  You can get powder and mix it with sterilized water, or use prepared formula all ready to go.  You can feed it to baby from a bottle, a cup, or a tube.  Anyone can use formula to feed your baby so it can give mom a break.  But remember to watch the time with any leftover formula that has been mixed but not finished...it's usually only good for an hour on the counter (always read the label and follow safe feeding guidelines!)

But wait, I've left something out.

There's a 4th way to feed a newborn.

Your way.

Many people combine these methods in a way that works for them.  For example:

  • Baby only gets breastmilk, but from a bottle, since mom is pumping
  • Baby gets a mix of expressed breastmilk and formula - tube feeding
  • Baby gets formula from a cup
  • Baby gets breastfed from the breast, but once a day someone else gives a bottle of formula
  • Baby is exclusively formula fed from a bottle.

Etc. 

There is no right answer.  The right answer for YOU is the one that answers my first two questions.

1)  Is your baby getting the nourishment he/she needs to grow and thrive? (for newborns, this means every 2-3 hours, by the way, no matter what method you use)

2)  Are the parents feeding the baby in such a way that physically, emotionally and financially works for them? (every method has its pros and cons, costs, and work involved).

If you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding because someone told you it was right, and it did not feel right to you, how can you fix that? 

How can you nourish your baby in a way that makes your family thrive too? 

Your answer will be as unique as your family.

Doula Care Journey fully supports breastfeeding moms, bottle feeding moms, and everything in between. 

I say, cheers to unique families and fed babies.

Lazy Lasagna

Looking for a quick meal you can throw together before baby wakes from a nap?  BONUS:  it's freezable, so you can make it ahead of time.

I love lasagna.  Growing up it was a special occasion meal because it took my sister (the world's best lasagna maker) all day to make it.  But I'm a working mom who's short on time.  So when I'm craving homemade lasagna taste I put this together.  And it tastes even better the next day!

Lazy Lasagna

Serves 6 (or 4 really hungry people).

Ingredients:

450 g pasta (any short kind will do - rotini, penne, shells, macaroni)

1 jar tomato sauce

1/2 large block mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups.  Buy pre-shredded to save time).

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground beef (sub ground round if you're vegetarian, or leave it out)

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

1/2 green pepper (optional)

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tub ricotta cheese

1 egg

Fresh tomato (optional)

Method:

  • Set a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove.  Cook pasta according to package directions, drain when cooked.
  • In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Add onion and garlic, and cook until slightly browned.  Add in green pepper and oregano and basil, cook for a few minutes more.  If using ground round, add to pan now, stir until heated through.  Put veggies in a bowl and set aside.
  • In the same skillet after you've set aside the veggies, add the ground beef (If using ground round, skip this step).  Cook until browned and drain off the fat.
  • Add the veggies back to the skillet and mix with the tomato sauce.  Add the pasta and mix together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg with the ricotta cheese.
  • In a casserole dish, add a little of the sauce to coat the bottom.  Add a layer of pasta mixed with sauce, layer with the ricotta mix.  Add another layer of pasta, and top with half the mozzarella cheese.  Add a final layer of pasta, add a layer of chopped fresh tomatoes (optional) and top with remaining mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the oven preheated to 350 degrees.  After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese has melted on the top.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

You can freeze this either before you bake or after - both work but if you freeze before you will have to defrost and cook the casserole, so I usually recommend you bake first.

Enjoy!

Doulas, Night Nurses, Mother's Helpers and Nannies. Which is right for you?

You may have heard these terms used while you were pregnant when it comes to finding help for your family once baby arrives. 

As a postpartum doula, I often run into a lot of confusion about what kind of care they are looking for.  Here is a guide to some of the main options for care so that you can see what will work for you.

1)  Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula comes to your home and "mothers the mother".  It's her main job to help families transition to motherhood.  This can encompass breastfeeding help, teaching newborn care skills, preparing light meals and snacks for new moms, answering questions on postpartum recovery, or sometimes just holding your newborn while you take a shower or nap.  Postpartum Doulas may help families during the day or for overnight shifts, where they will help watch the baby so that mothers can get more rest.  Postpartum doulas are trained by various organizations, and some may be certified.  They can also spot possible signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, and make proper referrals to other professionals who can assist with things that may be out of scope for them.

2)  Night Nurses

Sometimes also called "baby nurses" or "night nannies", these women are often not actually trained in nursing.  Their primary job is to look after the baby at night.  They usually, though not always, work with bottle feeding families, and the mother's postpartum care is not in their scope of practice. 

3)  Mother's Helpers

Mother's helpers come into your home and keep your baby and children occupied while a caregiver is home but otherwise preoccupied.  Mother's helpers are an economical choice and work well when moms just need a break.  Like night nannies, their primary function is to care for the children and they are not trained in mother's postpartum recovery.

4)  Nannies

A nanny can work with children of any age, and are usually hired through referrals or a nanny agency.  Again, they look after the baby/child, not the mother.  A nanny can be an alternative child care arrangement in place of daycare, and are usually employed once mom's get close to returning to work.  Some nannies may also do some light housework, meal preparation, and errands (especially if the children are older and in school).  Nannies can live in (meaning living in the home) or be live out (typically more expensive than live in).  Nannies are usually employed full time (40+ hours a week), so this is a great choice for someone looking for full time childcare.

Many families use a mix of the above care providers or transition providers as their baby gets older. 

Did you use any of these services?  Comment below and let us know!

Five Ways to help baby and new siblings have Harmony

Congratulations, you’ve decided to grow your family!  While this is an exciting time, you may be concerned about how your older child will react to the baby.   And while this may not be your first time bringing home a new baby, because there is already another child in the home, it introduces some different challenges regarding integrating baby in to the family. 

These five tips will help you when bringing new baby home so that everyone can enjoy being part of a growing family.

1)    Have a present ready for older children “from the baby”.

Babies need a lot of attention and rightly so – they are helpless as newborns and parents need to spend a lot of time with them to bond.  A special present for an older child “from the baby” acknowledges that the sibling is important, plus can provide a welcome distraction when Mom or Dad are busy with the baby. 

2)    Set some special time aside to bond with your older children.

Remember that your firstborn was once the focus of Mom and Dad’s attention, and now that attention has shifted to the baby.  Try at least once a day to have some special time with your older child.  Whether it’s reading a book together, playing a game, or letting someone else (grandparent, friend, postpartum doula, neighbour), watch the baby while you have an outing or a snuggle.  Make time and remind your older child that they are special too.

3)    Let siblings help around the house. 

As children get older, they can start to assume small responsibilities and chores.  This is ideal if you can start this before the new baby arrives.  That way, they can do small things and feel like they are contributing to the family.  “Everybody does their share” is a great phrase to use.  This is an opportunity to explain that the family dynamic will change when baby comes, and that the older child is needed to help.  Children take pride in accomplishing things and this is an opportunity to build their self-esteem (and keep them busy when parents are busy with baby!)

4)    Let siblings help care for baby.

Even young toddlers can do something to help with the new baby, like a simple game of peekaboo.   Older children can read baby a story, and help with general care like bathing and diapering.  It’s a learning opportunity for them and shows them that they are an important part of the family. The important thing is to not make it feel like a chore, so that they are not resentful.  Pour on the praise for the older child when they help, even if it’s not perfect.  Be gentle, this is new to them as well.

5)    Have a sibling basket by your feeding basket.

Just like new moms need to have a basket filled with water, snacks, and entertainment when feeding a baby, for older children (especially toddlers!) having a sibling basket is a great strategy for managing feeding time.  Fill it with special toys, books, and games (that you can play one handed!) that are to be used ONLY when baby is feeding.  That way, the novelty takes longer to wear off (you may have to rotate to some new items) and it makes the time spent feeding the baby a special time for them too. 

Remember, it is challenging to bring a new baby home, sibling or no sibling.  But by preparing in advance, lining up help, and using these strategies, it can help reduce friction between siblings and help set a foundation for a more harmonious transition for your growing family.  

Do you need a helping hand with bringing baby home?  Doula Care Journey has postpartum doulas that can help with the transition.  Contact us to learn how we can help.

 

Mamma Care Recipes - Spring Quinoa Salad

With warmer weather finally here,  it's nice to spend more time outside and less time cooking.  Here is a super quick, super healthy, make ahead salad that travels well.  The great thing is, it's made with things that you likely have in your pantry, and you can easily substitute ingredients to make this salad different and to work with what you have and your taste preferences.  This is my go-to recipe when I am called to bring something to a potluck.  Best of all, it's gluten-free and can be made vegan too.

Spring Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed well

2 cups water

1 cup celery, chopped (can sub zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, red onion)

1 cup apple, chopped (can sub oranges, pears)

2/3 cup cranberries (can sub raisins)

1/2 cup toasted almonds (can sub sunflower seeds, or pecans)

optional:  feta cheese, parsely

Dressing:

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp honey (sub maple syrup or agave to make it vegan)

salt and pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

Method:

1)  Set quinoa and water in a pot to boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and cover and let cook for 15 minutes.  Take off heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.

2)  While quinoa is cooking, put remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.

3)  Mix all dressing ingredients except for olive oil in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and stir until combined.

4)  Once quinoa has cooled, add to the bowl with the other ingredients, and pour the dressing on top.  Mix.

5)  Ideally, let sit for an hour before serving to let flavours mingle.  Keep in the fridge if not eating within an hour.  Keeps for a few days.

 

The Birth Diaries: Episode 1

If you’ve had me as your Birth Doula (or even if you haven’t!), you’ve probably also had the pleasure of hearing my gospel: 

“Labour and birth are so unpredictable each and every one is unique.” 

And it’s so true! Yet every birth I attend still surprises me in some way just in case I’d forgotten what I preach! 

My most recent experience in the labour room was exceptional and in being so, no exception to my gospel!

My client contacted me early on a Tuesday morning after a sweep (a common procedure whereby the doctor strips the membranes between the amniotic sac and the cervix hoping to help stimulate labour). She was dilated 2-3cm, so I made sure my Doula bag was ready and the phone ringer was on LOUD. But labour being labour, and this being a first time mom, who knew when she would give birth.  

What happened next?

Can you guess? 

I invite you to take a few moments to imagine...........

Ok, here’s how it actually went down:

Throughout the day, my client and I had periodical conversation about the explicit signs of prelabor that she was having. Her cramps were still “bearable” at 1pm. Fast forward to 7pm and her cramps were definitely contractions .  They had increased with so much intensity that by 9pm this couple were preparing to depart for the hospital, and then her waters broke! 

At the hospital the triage nurse informed my client that she was 8-9cm dilated and less than an hour later she had an epidural.

Note: an epidural at 9cm can be unusual, it’s very circumstantial and sometimes not an option

Up until this point she was using Nitrous Oxide to help cope. 

Then at 11:34pm a beautiful, healthy baby was born vaginally.  

Of course I left out a few details but to give you an idea that is how a labour timeline can look.

So returning to my original question, did you guess correctly?

You might be thinking “WOW that was fast, I hope mine is like that!”. That’s a valid thought, but I advise that you let that one go because remember my gospel “Labour and birth are so unpredictable each and every one is unique.”

Yours will be too. 

Remember…

You will hear a lot of birth stories during your pregnancy! 

You will also be given a lot of solicited/unsolicited advice.

While I’m sure all of it is coming from a place of compassion and concern, it may not always be in the form of inspiring or empowering words.  

So at the end of the day take it or (if it sucks) leave it, but despite everything you hear, trust in your personal experience and the process of labour as it unfolds because no matter how much you have in common with your bestie, your mother, your sister or any other wonderful woman in your life, her birth story will never be the same as yours. 

Being informed for birth

Why Childbirth Education?

Most people would never embark on any major undertaking in their lives without having done some research, or undergone appropriate training. Childbirth is no exception. There are few events in our lives that equate to birth - it can be a test of endurance, both physical and emotional, it’s a test of our relationship with our partners and birth companions, and in a medical environment, can be inundated with jargon that many parents to be can have a hard time understanding.

For example:

 Do we need internal fetal monitoring?

 Do I want a hep-lock installed?

 I’ve been diagnosed with Failure to Progress… now what

A well-structured childbirth education course will help you understand, ahead of time, some of the things that may be asked of you and help you make an informed choice should special circumstances arise. Regardless of your birth place and plan, you will benefit from quality childbirth education. Documented benefits of childbirth education include:

 increased understanding of the birth process

 increased maternal confidence in her ability to birth

 improved communication between birthing women and care providers

 decreased need for medication in labor and increased satisfaction with birth

 higher breast-feeding success rate

Why HypnoBirthing?

Founded by Marie Mongan in 1989, HypnoBirthing® teaches women and their partners to reconnect with their natural ability to birth, free from fear. You will learn Relaxation Techniques and how to work with your body so that you can give your baby a welcome that is calm, gentle, and safe. We will explore your options in the event special circumstances should arise and give you the confidence to make informed choices. Even if your plan is a medicated birth, HypnoBirthing will educate you in what to expect, remove fear of the unknown and provide you with tools to optimize the experience for your family.

HypnoBirthing is taught in a series of five 2.5 hour classes. The next session starts Saturday, April 8th at Skills for Change – 791 St. Clair Ave W.  Please contact Marta at:

hellodoulacare@gmail.com if you have any questions or to register!