Whatcha Got In There? {A Look Inside My Doula Bag} | Winnipeg Doula

I often feel like I need to explain myself when people ask me what I carry in my doula bag. People expect to see a lengthy list of magical and crucial items which I cannot attend a birth without. The truth is- I carry less and less as time goes on. At first glance this can look like a lack of preparation or experience, but it really comes down to perspective and trust.

See the thing is, you don’t need me to pack 83 tools and gadgets to rock the heck out of your birth. Your strength and perseverance, your knowledge and focus, are what are going to help you through the journey that is labor. I’m just there to support you along the way.

There’s sometimes a comfort in “things”. If I pack enough items, if I read enough books, if I’ve stressed over writing the perfect birth plan– *then* I will have the birth I wanted. The truth is that none of that is the key to a satisfying birth experience. 

When you hire a doula, you’re not hiring me for massage tools, bendy straws or lotion. You’re making the choice to hire this doula for my experience, my expertise, my deep seated belief that you have within you all the tools required for a wonderful birth story. I am holding space for your birth, but I am not the writer of your birth story.

What I bring in my doula bag are primarily items designed to help me serve you. To be the best doula I can be for you, every step of the way. So without further ado, I present an inside look into what I’ve found to be the necessities.

winnipeg doula bag

Spare Clothing.  Sometimes birth is messy. Being able to support you fully means that sometimes, a change of clothes comes in handy later on.

Toiletries. Because after 20 hours together, you’ll be happy I brought the toothbrush. All items in here are designed to keep me fresh in mind and body- self care means that I’m putting my best foot forward for you.

winnipeg doula bag

Snacks. This is a sampling of what I keep in the bag for if I need to run quickly. Usually I throw in some fresh foods right before I head out the door. Keeping up energy during your labor and birth is important for the entire team- I encourage my families to eat and drink, and make sure that I do too. Labor is a marathon, not a sprint, and the better we treat our bodies, the better they’ll treat us!

winnipeg doula bag

Massage Tools. Touch during labor can be a magical thing, soothing aching muscles and serving as a reminder of support all in one. To enhance your experience I bring grapeseed oil, a roller ball massager, and a sensory ball to hit all the right tense spots. You can also see a sleep mask for if you’re having trouble resting in between contractions, a small heat bag, a some crystals. I’ll be honest that I’m not 100% sure where I stand on crystals and their usage, but I do know I found it grounding in the last weeks of pregnancy and early hours of labor to hold and rub the smooth cool stones. There’s something about the firmness of a stone or crystal that is extra reassuring when everything around you feels a little shaky. 

I also keep on hand a kneeling pad, a copy of The Birth Partner books, and the gloves and chux pad (the bright blue one). These have come in handy while laboring at home or during a car transfer!

And that’s it! All the important things that assist me in helping you. Add in a willing heart, peaceful open mind and body that’s willing to work- and you’ve got a doula! And the stuff that really matters? That’s already inside you.

winnipeg doula bag

You Want Me to Wear What? | Winnipeg Doula

If you’re expecting in Winnipeg, you’ve probably heard the news regarding recent health care cuts, specifically those surrounding the postpartum period. We could talk til we’re blue in the face why this is the wrong choice for Winnipeg moms, but instead, I’m here to offer some constructive advice.

The first issue that has been discussed the most by Winnipeg moms lately seems to be the disappearance of those famed mesh undies. Love them or hate them- they get a lot of attention! And unfortunately, many expecting parents lately have been receiving letters from their care providers announcing that they are no longer being provided by WRHA at Winnipeg hospitals. If you’ve read my previous packing list suggestions found here, you’ve got a sneak peak into a fabulous solution.

While no more stylish than the mesh underwear and monster pad option, many women swear by Depends post birth as a hands down better choice. I’d have to agree. I know it sounds wrong, but hear me out. The postpartum period is filled with enough uncertainty and perceived loss of dignity. Depends cuts down on the leak factor, so you can go about the day getting to know your fresh babe without worrying if your new couch is sporting a new stain. They fit better and more comfortably than a one size fits all mesh underwear, and means no need for the King Kong size pad weighing you down.

And now that Winnipeg hospitals may no longer be supplying the beautiful mesh underwear and postpartum pads, choosing Depends also means having an easier item to purchase. While mesh panties may need to be hunted down at a medical supply store or online, Depends are readily available at any grocery store you or your partner may have a moment to run in to. It’s win-win.

So while I still want to blow a giant raspberry in the direction of whomever is responsible for taking away more services from Winnipeg moms, in this case at least- fear not, you have other (and better!) options!

A Peaceful Winnipeg Homebirth- Happy Birthday G! | Winnipeg Doula

I had the opportunity last year to hold space at an absolutely beautiful and peaceful Winnipeg homebirth attended by two incredible Manitoba midwives and one rockstar mama, and on that little lady’s first birthday today I wanted to share some of that with all of you!

T hired me in the winter and right away I felt such a kinship with her- she has that same thirst for knowledge and belief in her body that I hold, and I knew she was going to rock her birth. We spent some prenatal visits curled up on her couch just chatting, getting to know each other and exploring her thoughts about birth. It was like visiting with a friend, which is the best feeling!

Early morning on July 16th, 2016 I got a call from T. She was having some contractions- it was go time! We talked for a bit and I started preparing to go meet her. As the sun rose, we decided I should make my way over, and we would assess things. She knew it was still early on, but some comfort would be welcomed in these exciting moments.

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

We spent the first couple hours of labor just busying ourselves. It was a wonderful time to gain more comfort with each other and the birth process, as contractions slowly increased in intensity. I always recommend to parents that they ‘do life’ until they can no longer avoid it. Focusing on things other than the contractions helps labor not seem so long, and much more manageable. With this in mind, T and I ran some close errands, did laundry, and she completed a few more baby related tasks around her home. It was lovely to see her draw strength and calmly deal with each rush as it came over her- little pauses and then she was on her way again. We also started to inflate and fill the pool- which always seems like such a milestone- birth is really happening!

A little before lunch, T’s good friend joined us, and was a wonderful support to have. While we waited for contractions to pick up some more, we watched tv to keep ourselves busy. Who doesn’t find comfort and distraction in a little Sarah Jessica Parker? Eventually the rushes needed more attention, the tv was abandoned, and we spent some time moving around a bit, trying different positions and focusing. We were no longer ‘doing life’, it was time to do labor! T worked beautifully through the new level of contractions, as she talked to baby, handling each pain as a true pro. I watched her gain comfort from the people and things around her. She took time to speak quietly on the phone with her partner, to get some fresh air on the balcony overlooking Winnipeg, and turned on some beautiful music that spoke to her. Each stage of labor she welcomed with grace and acceptance, relaxing into the new feelings and forging forward.

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

As the midwife arrived and set up, T was able to climb into the pool for some added pain relief. She was so strong, and we began to see that little G was on her way soon! Sometimes the transition from ‘labor’ to pushing is a big event, filled with rushing and stress and a switch to a very medical feeling in the room. In this beautiful homebirth it was a gentle flow through naturally from one stage to the next.  T worked wonderfully in the pool with her body, adding just enough pressure to gently welcome baby G into this world. And before we knew it, there she was!

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

There is such a sweet relief and astonishment each time your brand new baby is placed on your chest, and I feel honored to have been there to see the first moments of mama and baby on this day. The connection between these two beautiful ladies was so heartwarming. Such hard work, but what a payoff! They bonded in the pool for a bit before cutting the cord and then moving over to the bed for snuggles, first latch and a newborn exam. More family had arrived by the time, and there was so much love in the room.

I have been so blessed to watch these two both bloom over the past year- Grace into a precious little being, so happy with life, and T into an amazing, grounded, loving mother and woman. Thank you for letting me into your lives girls <3

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

 

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg doula, Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

 

They placed you in my arms tonight;
I can hardly believe that you are mine.
Tiny fingers, tiny toes,
a tiny life that’s gonna grow,
I’ve waited so many years for this day
–I want to make it stay.

I want to remember this, I want to remember this,
every smile,
every kiss,
every moment’s like a promise,
and I want to remember this.

We brought our bundle home tonight,
half scared to death but on cloud nine.
And as I rocked you in the dark I could feel your tiny heart;
I said a prayer as I kissed your sweet face, “Lord, keep him safe.”
Every season, every age will be beautiful in its own way,
from preschool through to prom,
even your wedding day.
And we’ll celebrate and walk with you,
each step that your life brings,
but there’s something that’s so sweet about beginnings…

Visit Beth Champion Mason for a listen to this amazing song.

Ready to find out more?

If you’re considering a Winnipeg doula or are interested in birth photography for your hospital, birth centre or Winnipeg homebirth, contact me today! I am honored to support families like T and G’s and I’d love to support yours. Visit the “Meet your Doula” and “Services” page to learn more about Embrace Birth Services, and then book your Winnipeg doula today!

 

Yours,

Jenine


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