What will my doula do?

I sit down for a lot of consults with potential families that go the same. “So… we’ve researched a doula, and we read what your description is. And we love your site and the vibe you give off. But… I guess I still don’t understand what you really do.” It’s true, there’s a bit of a mystique still around doula care, and a lot of misconceptions– many people still think that doulas are only good if you’re planning a twinkle lights style homebirth. And while I’m happy to support that– a doula can help ANY family, in any variety of scenerios.

For just a taste, I’ve started a quick list of some of the things I’ve done in the past year while spending time with my doula families.

 

Help you set up your birth space— hospital or home, I can get your comfort items ready, set the mood with candles or music, or make sure you’ve got the best pillow. For that matter- I can help you come up with a playlist that has just the right vibe for your labour. I’ve pumped up and switched out birth balls when they weren’t quite right, hunted down more pillows and blankets (for mom or dad), and adjusted lighting.

Help you decide if it’s really labour, or really time to go to the hospital. It can be super intimidating trying to decide if the signs you’re feeling are real labour. I often spend time on the phone or through text, talking about symptoms, feelings and instincts and helping mom decide what the next course of action might be. If it’s too early, I’ll help you come up with things to do in the meantime to keep your mind off of the contractions or to cope with the pain.

Help you transition from hospital to home. Moving from the comfort of home to the hospital can be a bit jarring to your system, especially if you’ve never been there before. I can help bridge the gap, navigate hallways, and even answer questions about parking.

Remind you about preferences that are about to become overlooked. Sometimes you get so caught up in the sensations of birth that you forget about things that were very important to you. I’m there to point out if your placenta is about to leave the room without you seeing it, turn on the music you wanted to listen to, offer up reminders about a position you wanted to try or to ask about delayed cord clamping. We talk beforehand so I know all the things that will matter to you.

Winnipeg Doula Winnipeg Birth Photographer

Answer questions when things get confusing. Medical staff can sometimes forget that their jargon isn’t second nature for you. Or you may have questions about recommended tests or options at different points during labour. I’ll help to clarify the confusing language, and figure out which questions you can ask your providers to get the answers you want.

Offer options- whether it’s pain relief, positions or next steps. When you’re dealing with intense contractions, sometimes it’s hard to remember all the comfort techniques you had planned. I’m there to offer reminders of things you can try- and we can even practice those during your prenatals. If natural measures aren’t working, I can help you BRAIN (Ask me about it!) your next steps in an informed and judgment free zone.

Help provide comfort to older siblings (or partners). It can be hard for your loved ones to watch you in pain, and harder still to be in the middle of labour and trying to provide comfort yourself to an overwhelmed family member. As a doula I’m able to give reassurance and explanations about the sights, sounds, smells and progress of labour to those with you, be it your partner or a little one. Sometimes all it takes is a quick reassurance  that all is normal, but I’ve also held hands, rubbed backs, had serious talks and even helped a loved one to a chair when they’re feeling faint. I support them so that you don’t have to.

Give your partner a chance to step out to grab a meal, or move a car. I remember back to my first birth and how relieved my husband said he was after our doula arrived. While I was buzzing on labour adrenalin, he hadn’t slept or eaten all night, and by that time he desperately needed a few minutes of fresh air and some nutrients. With my doula by my side, he was able to go take care of himself so he could continue taking care of me. I’m so glad to give this same relief to partners now as I know how much it meant to him!

winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula

Help with early breastfeeding. Sometimes your labour goes perfectly according to plan but it’s breastfeeding that you struggle with. As an experienced breastfeeder and doula, I’m there to help prepare you ahead of time, and also postpartum to get your breastfeeding relationship off to the right start.

Remind you to do life during early labour. One of the easiest ways to get burnt out during your labour is to sound the alarm bells too early. I highly recommend that my clients stay aware of their bodies, but continue to “do life” during early labour for as long as they can. We’ll keep in contact during these hours so you can communicate how you’re feeling, but I’ll encourage you to ignore those contractions and rest until you can’t ignore them any longer. This puts you in a better headspace once true active labour begins.

And of course, provide physical support through touch relaxation, massage, position changes and more. While much of doula work is through the ‘heart’ side, I also use my hands to keep your body comfortable. Whether it’s strong counterpressure through hours of back labour, walking the halls with you through early labour, a foot massage after you’ve gotten your epidural or supporting you while you changing pushing positions, I’m your girl.

winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula st boniface hospital

First Moments | Winnipeg Birth Photographer

Some moments just stand out. Today I'm going to skip the long words and just share some of my favorite photos to capture-- the first time you lay eyes on that beautiful baby. These minutes are like nothing else-- seeing for the first time this soul you feel like you've known forever and yet never met.

Grab some tissues!

winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula
Winnipeg Doula Winnipeg Birth Photographer
winnipeg_birth_photographer7
Sophie21
Grace-18
winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula st boniface hospital

Do you have a picture from your first moments with your fresh babe? I have from all three of mine and they are seriously amoung my very favourite things ever. Being able to see both their tiny details and the looks on our faces at the time are so special to me!

Hello Henry | Winnipeg Cesarean Birth Story

I met Lea and Mark last year just as fall was settling in. Their easygoing natures and warm personalities were such a breath of fresh air. As we got to know each other, I fell in love with their trust in the process of birth and in the story their little one was cooking up for them. If I could come up with one phrase to describe their vibe to the upcoming birth it would be settled. It was just a lack of fear or stress. They knew what their preferences were for the birth, and they prepared for it thoughtfully with both prenatal classes and a doula. But they also had a fantastic relationship with their care providers and between being well informed and holding a trust in those providers, they were prepared and open to whatever path they needed to head down.

In January Lea and Mark found out that their little one was breech. They talked about their options with their doctor, and agreed that they would follow baby’s lead. If baby decided to stay bum down, the safest delivery for both Lea and the little one, would be a planned cesarean. A few weeks later when baby was still breech, they proceeded to plan their cesarean birth. Of course this wasn’t Lea's first choice, but I loved her understanding and security with the path they were heading down. It wasn’t the experience she would have picked for their birth, but she was confident they would make the best of it, and knew that it was the right decision. In so many births where the parents feel satisfied, I hear that common thread— regardless of the type of birth, or what happened during it— what makes the most difference is that the parents had a voice and were able to make their own informed decisions. Lea and Mark did, and I am so proud of them for being able to look so calmly through their options and choose the right one for them.

Right away, Lea began speaking with her doctor about her preferences for the birth and the possibility of having me attend, and thankfully her amazing provider was on board. We talked about what else to expect for their birth, and made plans for their special day, February 16th.

As is the case so much of the time, their little one had other plans! Despite being the one day Lea said she didn’t want to have a baby, she started having contractions on February 14th. We laughed a bit about the irony, and they made plans to go to the hospital and be checked out. After a couple hours it was confirmed that she was in labour (gee thanks, she could have told you that!) and they would be meeting their baby tonight!

Winnipeg Doula Winnipeg Birth Photographer

I headed over to meet them, and could feel the excitement in the room when I joined them in triage. Mark updated me while they started getting Lea set up with her IV, and we were able to confirm that both Mark and I would be welcomed into the OR for the birth. I was so happy to be able to continue supporting and documenting their journey! Often doulas and birth photographers are not allowed into the operating room for cesarean births due to a one support person limit at both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface Hospital. Thankfully this tide seems to be very slowly turning, as care providers and nurses are seeing the benefits and focusing on how they can improve the experience for these families as they welcome their babies. And we are SO thankful!

winnipeg birth photographer winnipeg doula

Scrubs on and ready to go, we counted down the time until they came and got us for the birth, excitement building as each minute passed. Finally we went down the hall and waited in recovery. When they came to get Lea she made it to the door before running back in to give Mark a hug— their last as a family of two! I’m pretty sure I grinned like a fool.

Once in their birthing room, it’s like time speeds by. Mark comforts Lea, whispering in her ear and keeping a reassuring hand on her. As they await the birth, Backstreet Boys start playing on the radio. Lea laughs and they tell me that in a previous surgery she had, one of her requests to make the experience better was to have Backstreet Boys playing in the background. What serendipity that it randomly came on now, just as they were meeting their baby!

Before long, we’re able to peek over the curtain and Mark announces that they have the most beautiful baby boy! He looks big and strong, has the most annoyed look on his face (what a shock to the system birth must be!) and is absolutely perfect. He lets out his first cry, and I’m pretty sure all of us tear up.

The emotional moment as we hear baby cry for the first time <3

They take him over to the warmer to get his first checkup, and Mark gives Lea a continuous update on how he’s doing and what’s happening. It’s been months and I can still hear his voice in my ear as clear as day, proclaiming over and over how perfect their son is, voice dripping with emotion and love. Finally they have him wrapped up and bring him over to show Lea her son for the first time. It can be hard to see when you’re still lying down but Lea immediately starts to talk to him and is able to reach her hand out and touch him. I feel so blessed to be able to witness these amazing moments.

   

Mark sits down to cuddle with baby while they wait for Lea to be ready to go back to recovery. She can’t see their little guy, so he makes sure to continue giving her all the details. I love how much he makes sure at every moment to keep her involved. It can be so isolating to lay on the table covered by the drape while so much is going on around you, but Mark continues to reassure Lea and recount for her everything that she can’t turn to see.

Finally it’s time to go back to recovery, and like some kind of miracle mama, Lea is able to sit up right away and wastes no time getting to know each detail of her son. She talks to him and rocks him like a pro when he fusses, like she’s been doing this for years already. They latch him on for his first breastfeed and start to learn together. I watch quietly, lending a hand when needed, but mostly just being witness as the three of them transition so well into their new role as a family of three. It seems like such a natural move for Mark and Lea, and I think how lucky baby boy is to have their soothing personalities in his life.

Time flies by as they take in each detail and soak up the newness of this amazing new personality. He's content to just sit and hold mom or papas finger, knowing he's safe and loved here.

   

I am so honoured to have gotten to know Lea and Mark and to support them as they become parents. I can't think of two more deserving people, and I know Henry will be a very loved little boy. Welcome to the world little Henry!

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Sophie’s Story | Winnipeg Breech Birth

The first time I met Soraya and Fabio I fell instantly in love with them. They exuded so much love for each other and excitement for their pregnancy that it would be impossible not to get swept up in it. I knew I wanted to work with them, and was so excited when they contacted me to say they'd chosen me as their doula. This wonderful couple were relatively new to Winnipeg, and we talked a lot about what to expect as they moved through their pregnancy here in Winnipeg. We started preparing for the birth they wanted, and every time we met, I was shown again how connected they were. After keeping their baby girl safe, the first thing on each of their minds was always how the other one felt. They were gentle, soothing and intuitively seemed to know what the other was thinking. It was so refreshing to see!

As we know, the only thing predictable about birth is that it is unpredictable, and at the end of their pregnancy, Soraya was told that their baby girl had decided to settle into a breech birth position. After talking through the options with their doctor, they decided that they felt safest and most comfortable with a planned cesarean to get their sweet babe here safely. We switched our focus instead to things that would make this new birthing experience a positive one for them, and worked to soothe the fears that lingered. Even when you feel confident in your choices, going into a cesarean can still be a really overwhelming thing!

On October 23, 2017 Soraya contacted me to let me know that their birth was planned for the next week, October 31st- she would be a Halloween baby! How exciting! Except, baby girl had other plans! Just a couple hours after that call came another one-- Soraya's water had broken! It turns out their baby girl wanted to celebrate Halloween with them instead. After a couple hours at home, they made their way to Winnipeg's St Boniface Hospital to be checked out, and were informed that yup, that was indeed amniotic fluid, and this baby was coming to meet them! I joined them in the early hours of the morning on October 24, and we prepared to welcome their little one. They were filled with excitement, and we talked some more about what to expect from the cesarean and afterwards. Soon it was time!

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula
Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Preparing for mom to be taken down the hall to get ready in the operating room is always an emotional experience. A couple who has worked through every aspect of their pregnancy up until now is forced to separate. The minutes that follow seem to take hours. I always make sure to talk to my clients about how long it may take before the partner is allowed back, but once the time comes, it still drags on. I'm glad at least to be able to sit with dad and talk a bit to help fill some of the silence. Fabio took the time to sit quietly and reflect. It's clearly an emotional time, but he was so brave, anxious to join Soraya and meet their sweet girl.

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula
Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Eventually they came and let Fabio know that it was time to join Soraya and meet their little girl. I was able to wait in recovery for them to come back, and before long- they were on their way back with sweet baby Sophie. She was absolute perfection, and it was a joy to watch the beaming parents start to get to know this new little person in their lives. It was precious watching them exam each detail, and smile at each coo. The road was long, but now that she was here, so was so worth it! They were able to spend some time quietly breastfeeding and snuggling before having Sophie's first exam and then getting ready to go to their new room to rest.

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

Winnipeg Birth Photographer Winnipeg Doula

It was such an honour to be a part of sweet Sophie's breech birth story. Seeing the love and connection with which Soraya and Fabio approached each step of their story was inspiring and I'm so glad I had the chance to get to know them, and now to get to see Sophie grow. If you're interested in a Winnipeg doula or Winnipeg birth photographer, I'd love to sit down for coffee or tea together and chat. Adding support to your birth is always a good thing!

Do Life: The Best Early Labour Plan

While some lucky birthers find themselves starting labor with active contractions five minutes apart or less, most of us will have labors that ebb and flow in the beginning, contractions starting as mere annoyances, and slowly progressing into an active pattern. Ah, the joy of early labor.

Early labor can be long and drawn out, reaching 6-24 hours, especially for first time moms. Contractions during early labor can be anywhere from 20 minutes apart to about 4-5 minutes apart. Generally you know it’s early labor if contractions are progressing closer, but you are still able to focus on life, pausing only briefly during the height of a contraction. They may be 30-60 seconds long.

While there is important work being done during this time, it often doesn’t feel like it. Watching the clock can make time seem to stand still, so I recommend “doing life”. That is— continue to go about your day as you normally would, stopping just long enough for the contraction to pass, and then brushing it off and continuing on as normal. The longer that you can deny labor and keep doing life, the better headspace you will probably be in once active labor hits.

 

If you’re unsure what to do, some ideas are:
-take a long leisurely shower or bath.
-take a nap
-make food, or bake!
-play a game
-cuddle on the couch with a blanket and your favourite Netflix series
-clean your house- slowly though- don’t burn extra energy
-paint your toes!
-go shopping
-take a walk around your neighbourhood
-take a last set of maternity photos

If you think you may be in early labor, send a quick message to your doula to let them know— and then continue business as usual. Use one of the tips from this list, or pick something of your own. The important thing is that the activity keeps you comfortable and focused on anything other than your beginning contractions!

Once you find that you are having to stop and focus through your contractions, or they are five minutes or less apart, it’s time to call your doula (and your midwife if need be!). Start thinking about moving to your chosen place of birth if not planning a homebirth, and settle in to meet your baby!

Winnipeg New Baby

Winnipeg Pregnancy Guide: Welcome Baby! A Visiting Guide | Winnipeg Doula

Adding a Winnipeg baby to your house? Overwhelmed about keeping up with visitors and expectations? It can seem like a daunting task to settle in with your precious newborn without having to add the worries about entertaining guests, or trying to navigate new feeding and sleep routines while someone else looks on.

Leading up to our first child’s birth, our own new Winnipeg baby, my husband and I were dead set that we didn’t want visitors– we were really craving that time to settle in as a new family of three, uninterrupted. We were worried that having a revolving door of visitors would make us more stressed out, and were also a bit concerned about dealing with all the (sometimes not so) helpful advice that new parents get. So we encouraged family and friends to wait a few weeks before stopping by.

As it turns out, we were pretty overwhelmed anyways, and probably could have used some helping hands! In hindsight, I wish we’d felt confident enough to encourage visitors– on our terms. I’ve learned a lot over the past six years, and we were incredibly grateful to have wonderful family and friend support after our next two births. Our visitors were amazing at coming at convenient times, never staying too long, and making sure to be helpful while they were here.

I’ve jotted down a quick list of ways to be helpful while visiting a new Winnipeg baby. Share it with your family and friends, Post it to Facebook, or use it for yourself if YOU are the new visitor. You want to be invited back after all!

Come at a convenient time

Dropping by unannounced is never a good idea in a house that has a newborn. Communicate with the family and ask what time is best for them. And be flexible– Sometimes what seems like it will be the perfect time ends up being 12 minutes after nap time has started and all those sleepy new parents want is to go to bed with baby. No one needs guilt on top of exhaustion.

Keep your visit short

Unless Requested otherwise! In those early days and even weeks, short visits are usually key. Give them a bit of adult interaction, swoon over the gorgeous new baby, and then get the heck out of dodge and let that family rest. However– some parents really find themselves craving this companionship, and may encourage you to stay. Read their cues! If they’re settled in and keeping the conversation flowing, it’s ok to keep chatting. But watch for signs of tiredness, hunger or anxiousness- sometimes it can feel awkward to deal with those new baby tasks when you’re worried about your guest. Which brings me to the next point…

Image courtesy of WordPress.

When In Rome… Let the baby eat

For a parent who is new to breastfeeding, it can be an overwhelming task. There is no covering up or being discrete when you’re still not sure exactly how to latch baby on properly. And the last thing they need to worry about is making someone else feel awkward. Take your cues from the parents- if they request privacy, this is a perfect opportunity to make yourself useful! Tidy the living room. Wipe down the table. Offer to make tea or a snack. If however, the parents don’t make a big deal out of it– don’t make it into one. Continue talking, make eye contact, and reaffirm that a baby eating is a totally normal and acceptable thing!

Make yourself useful

It’s important to acknowledge that everything with a new baby takes twice as long- if not more. Help out a little while you’re there. Help an older child put away their toys, offer to make the parents a cup of tea or grab a quick snack. Walk the dog or swipe a cloth over the counter quickly. If you’re close with the family or have permission, offer to empty their garbages or throw a load of laundry into the washer. It doesn’t have to be much, but these small gestures are so appreciated! Time spent visiting is often time when the parents aren’t able to get other tasks done- a visitor lending a hand quickly on their way out makes the visit less stressful.

Visit with the big siblings

One of the biggest sources of guilt for parents is often trying to spread the attention between a new baby and older siblings– be they human or of the furry variety! If you have time, try to acknowledge these forgotten members- take a pup for a walk or give them a good long back scratch. For human siblings, take a moment to talk to them about this new development, and make them feel special by reading them a book or playing a quick game. They will appreciate it, and so will the parents.

 

Any other tips you would add? What worked best in your household in those early newborn hazy days?

Embrace Birth Services has created this handy printable for those first weeks with your Winnipeg baby. Post it on Facebook, send it out with a birth announcement, tape it to your door.

 

Winnipeg Baby
Winnipeg Baby

Winnipeg Pregnancy Guide: Finding A Care Provider

Staring at two little pink lines? Not sure what your next step is for your Winnipeg pregnancy? We’ve got you covered.

The first concern on most families’ minds after getting that positive pregnancy test is to find a care provider that aligns with their views. If you are looking at a Winnipeg pregnancy, you have a couple options. Lucky you!

1. Find an OBGYN

Winnipeg is home to some fabulous doctors who specialize in Obstetrics, commonly known as an OBGYN or an OB. Most will practice out of only one of our birthing hospitals- Women’s Hospital at Health Sciences Centre, or St Boniface Hospital. Make sure that if you have a preference, you choose a doctor who delivers at that hospital. To find an OB in Winnipeg, you can go to your family doctor and ask for a referral, or you can call an office yourself if you have an idea of whom you would like to use for your Winnipeg pregnancy.

2. Find a Family Doctor

A great option bridging the gap between an OBGYN or a midwife is to have a family doctor continue your care during pregnancy and birth. While there aren’t a ton, there are some family doctors in Winnipeg who still provide pregnancy and delivery care. Family doctors tend to see only patients who are lower risk, and can be a great choice for someone in Winnipeg experiencing a normal, low risk pregnancy and wanting a hospital birth with perhaps lower intervention, and a higher chance of having your own provider at the delivery. If your own family doctor does not attend births, you can use the Family Doctor Finder to put you in touch with one.

One particular Family doctor that gets a lot of attention for families with a pregnancy in Winnipeg is Dr Reynolds. Dr Reynolds practices out of Women’s Hospital Outpatient Department at Health Sciences Centre, and is lovingly referred to by many as a “midwife in a white coat”. Dr Reynolds is well known for his gentle, low key demeanor and his openness to allow the birthing person to trust their intuition and labor and birth as they feel comfortable. I have heard stories of him allowing dads to catch baby, of assisting deliveries on the floor, and even just spending a labor sitting quietly in the rocking chair, holding space for the family. If you would like to contact him for your Winnipeg pregnancy, Dr Reynolds can be reached at 204-787-1781.

3. Apply for a midwife.

Midwives are awesome. They are also in high demand! If you are considering midwifery care, I highly suggest you reach out as early as you can! Midwifery in Manitoba is covered under provincial health. That means that if you qualify to see an OB under your Manitoba Health plan, you also qualify for a free Winnipeg midwife. There are no extra fees associated with this service! In addition, you do not need a referral from another health care professional. Your Winnipeg midwife will provide care during pregnancy, birth and for six weeks postpartum to both you and the baby.  Find more information about midwives here: http://midwivesofmanitoba.ca/what-is-a-midwife/

In Winnipeg, please call the Centralized Intake Line at (204) 947-2422 ext 307. This will direct you to the Birth Centre, who will call you back to do a full intake. They will distribute your midwifery intake information to all the Winnipeg midwives to determine if someone can accept you. There is no need to call all the midwifery sites, and no need to continue to call back repeatedly.

You should hear back whether you have been accepted or denied a midwife in Winnipeg within 2-6 weeks. Sometimes it may take longer if they are very busy. Please be patient and remember that each midwife generally takes the time to read through your intake form- this takes time!

Once you have been accepted into care for a Winnipeg midwife, you will be assigned a midwife team and will book for your first meeting.

You can see a list of all registered midwives in Manitoba at the following link: http://www.midwives.mb.ca/Register%20of%20Practising%20and%20Non-Practising%20Midwives%20May%208%202017%20je.pdf  If you are considering entering into care with a midwife who is NOT on that list of registered midwives, please contact the college directly. It is very important that you make sure your midwife has been properly educated and registered, and the college can help you to determine if this is the case. The college of Midwives of Manitoba can be reached at (204) 783-4520 or emails sent General Inquiries: admin@midwives.mb.ca

After you’ve chosen your medical care provider, don’t forget to hire your doula too 😉 Doulas are professionals who specialize in physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy and birth, and are able to be with you each step of the way throughout. They’re passionate about assisting families in labor to feel supported and satisfied with their birth outcomes. For more information, stop by my Services page today!

 

 

Winnipeg Pregnancy Guide: The Benefits of A Winnipeg Midwife | Winnipeg Doula

While almost everyone has heard of a midwife, I find that few people truly understand what midwifery care includes- and why having a Winnipeg midwife is so awesome! Before going into the process of how to obtain a midwife in Winnipeg, I think it’s important to explain how their care differs and why you want one- even if you don’t know it yet!

A midwife in Winnipeg provides the same professional medical care during both the prenatal period and birth that you would receive if you were to choose an obstetrician or family doctor to attend your birth. As a client of midwifery you can receive all the same testing and access to resources that you would normally expect. Midwives are highly trained professionals with expertise in birth. Fortunately- with midwifery you get so much more than just a medical provider!

 

Informed consent.

One of the basic and yet most important tenets of midwifery care is informed consent. In my experience this has gone so far beyond a simple “This is happening, ok?” to a true desire to ensure that the family understands all options presented and makes the best decision for themselves. Appointments with midwives are filled with information and dialogue about the existing and newest research and evidence based practice- and how that may effect you and your pregnancy and birth.

Long Appointments.

During my second pregnancy, I LOVED having extra long appointments with my midwife. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the experience with my previous OB where a “long appointment” only referred to the amount of time I spent sitting in the waiting room. This extra time with my Winnipeg midwife meant that we had a chance to go over not just my weight and blood pressure (Actually, many midwives won’t even worry about your weight, focusing more on other markers, but that’s another blog), but could delve into how I was feeling emotionally, and to help me prepare for the upcoming birth and changes. I left each appointment feeling heard, and more confident, more supported.

Stronger Relationship With Those Likely to Attend Your Birth.

One of the wonderful pros of working with a Winnipeg midwife is that you have a far greater chance of actually having met the care provider who ends up being there at your birth. When you choose to work with a Winnipeg OB, your doctor typically works in a call group of 6-8 doctors, any of whom may be the one to actually attend your birth. It’s common to have all your appointments with one doctor throughout your entire pregnancy and then only have one or two five minute appointments with a second doctor from the practice at the very end. This means there’s still 4-6 or so doctors who have an equal chance of being there for your delivery whom you have never met before, or sometimes even heard their name.

I loved during my pregnancies to have a chance to meet and get to know each midwife on my team. I felt fully supported and comfortable with any of the midwives who might show up on my birthing day.

Winnipeg doula embrace birth services

Choice of Place of Birth

While many people under the care of midwives still prefer to give birth in the hospital, there are many who love being able to take advantage of two other options- a homebirth in Winnipeg, or a midwife attended birth at the Women’s Health Clinic Birth Centre. Both are a wonderful and safe option for low risk individuals who desire a more natural experience for their labor. Your midwife will go over all the safety measures in place for you (It can seem daunting until you realize how well trained and equipped they are!), and you are free to choose whichever place of birth appeals most to you (barring medical changes which would require you to change to a hospital birth). Since many studies now have shown that homebirth is just as safe as hospital birth, it is so great to be able to have the choice to birth where you prefer.

winnipeg doula winnipeg birth doula

Postpartum Care

It’s almost difficult to put this point into a brief paragraph. When I speak with women who are considering midwifery care, one of the things I always bring up is the level of postpartum care that you experience with a Winnipeg midwife. In Winnipeg, you remain under the care of your OB until 6 weeks postpartum, and your infant transfers to the care of your pediatrician or family doctor. Once you are discharged from the hospital, you typically won’t see your doctor again until your 6 week discharge visit. This visit is often fairly quick, focuses on your healing from vaginal or cesarean birth, and if no immediate concerns are raised, you are sent on your way until your next pregnancy or pap smear. While some awesome providers out there do inquire more into your healing process both physically and emotionally, it doesn’t seem to be standard practice.

In contrast, Winnipeg midwifery care follows both parts of the mother/baby dyad for a full six weeks. During these weeks you will receive several visits at home, and at the midwifes office. To me, this aftercare makes all the difference in recovery from birth, considering not just your physical recovery, but also the emotional adjustment to all the changes that have occured! My midwives were an amazing resource with breastfeeding, stress management, reassurance daily when needed about normal healing processes, and any other questions I could come up with regarding having a new baby at home. The switch to a level of care that covers both mother and baby is an important one– so much in these first weeks affects both parts of your little team!

 

Have I convinced you yet? Stay tuned for a blog about how to get a Winnipeg midwife. I want to take a second as well to acknowledge that Winnipeg is also home to some -amazing- family doctors who attend births, (I’m looking at your Dr Reynolds and Dr Schneider!) and Obstetricians. There are absolutely some gems out there! If you find your experience a little lacking though, don’t forget about the amazing complement of having a doula at your birth as well! Doulas work wonderfully alongside midwives and other care providers to tend to your positive experience. Visit my services page for more information about what I offer as a doula.

When you Come Unglued | Holding Space as a Winnipeg Doula

I talk a lot in my work about ‘holding space’. It’s a beautiful and breathtaking concept, and Glow Doula captures it perfectly in this article.  What does Holding the Space Mean? As they underwent some business changes, the article was unavailable for a while. Now that it’s back up, I wanted to share it with you again.

“In a strictly spiritual sense, to “hold space” for another is to make yourself a centering force.  To hold the space for a woman giving birth is make yourself the rock-solid ground beneath while labour throws everything it’s got at her.  It means passing no judgement or holding no sway over her decision making, nor her perception of her experience.  It means not trying to fix the unfixable, or reason with the unreasonable. It means accepting that there will be times in labour when she comes a bit unglued, and will be convinced she can’t do it – and knowing what she needs to hear (and doesn’t need to hear) when that time comes. It means making it emotionally safe for her and her partner to live through this most intense of experiences in their own way, and to feel whatever emotions come with it. It means making sure they know there’s a safe space if and when they need to talk afterwards.”

 

At Embrace Birth Services, your doula holds space for your birth- whatever that may mean. I will be your firm foundation, your soft space to land, no matter what choices you may make, or twists and turns your labor may take. Your doula’s support is not dependent on any criteria- I am there to sit with you through the quiet and the storms.

Continuous support during labor has been associated with numerous benefits, but perhaps the most important is the peace that comes with knowing that you have someone on your side who is an unshakable presence- who is there 100% to support your experience. “Not trying to fix the unfixable” is such a beautiful way to put it. As a doula I don’t claim to take away the sensations or pain of labor. A magic wand I am not. But I can sit with you as the waves crash, as you come unglued and assure you that your feelings are real, that your experience matters, and that I will be there every step of the way.

My amazing doula holding space for me during my third labor. No fixing, no magic, just an unwavering presence who exuded acceptance and support.
Other great articles on what it means to hold space:

Heather Plett

Birthing From Within

 

Are you ready to find out more about how a doula can support you during your birth experience? Fill out the form below to set up a complimentary consultation with your Winnipeg doula.

 

 

Winnipeg Pregnancy Guide: Postpartum Pad Tips! | 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!