Dads and Doulas | Winnipeg Doula

With Father’s Day almost upon us, I wanted to talk about one of the elephants in the room. One of the most common concerns when a couple is talking about inviting a doula to their birth, is what about dad? Doesn’t he feel displaced? What if he wants to be part of the birth, helping his partner through the experience? I hear stories from families where the birther wants a doula, but dad isn’t sure. He worries about being “unneeded” once they hire a doula.

Rest assured, having a doula present does not mean that the mother’s other support person, be it her partner or another loved one, is replaced. On the contrary, having a doula can help support the partner so they can better support the birthing mama.

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With my first pregnancy, I know my husband was hesitant to invite someone else into our birthing room. By just a few hours into labor though, he already expressing how thankful he was that we’d chosen to have a doula. While my husband remained by and large my primary support, my doula was our rock. She was there to offer tips or encouragement when I needed, and having her perspective was priceless. My husband knew me- he knew what things relaxed me and could read my facial expressions. My doula knew birth. Together they were an unbeatable team.

But she didn’t just help me. She was around to grab snacks and water when my husband needed. She was able to stay in the room with me when he needed to make phone calls or go for a walk. The birth room can sometimes be a stuffy place, and getting even just a few minutes of fresh air while knowing your partner is still supported is such a relief. My daughter is almost seven, but he still talks about how unburdened he felt as soon as our doula got to the hospital– he was still my support, but it wasn’t *all* on him anymore.

As a doula I see the same thing in the families I work with. Partners who are worried that they might not know enough or have the right words to say, gain confidence as they watch an experienced doula care for the birther. My favourite thing to see is when they start to copy things that they see me doing, providing the perfect combination to their partner. A dad who started the labour maybe just lightly rubbing a back learns exactly the right way to prov

ide counterpressure during contractions, or how to sway with the rhythm of her breathing. As he’s able to step into a larger role and feels more comfortable, I’ll take the opportunity to grab snacks or water, maybe grab lotion for moms back, or help her fix her hair. Sometimes one of us will be provoding physical support while the other stares into her eyes and talks to her. Dad and doula complement each other, always one ready to step into the role that mom needs.

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And when things get intense, as a doula I’m able to lend support to both partners– I’ll often provide physical support to the birther while explaining to the partner what is happening, reminding them that these sights and sounds may seem intense, but that it is all normal. Especially as you get close to the moment of birth, the hospital staff or midwives are often focused on the medical side of things– as they should be. This can leave both mom and partner feeling a little lost and sometimes scared. Having a doula there who understands birth and typical protocol can be incredibly reassuring when everyone around you is talking above you– not TO you.

I love working with families, and especially love seeing these strong dads become more confident as they support their partners. For more information about working with a doula to support both of you, head on over to my doula page.  If you have questions, send me a message! I’d love to hear from you. Happy Father’s Day!

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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!

5 Signs It’s Time To Contact Your Doula | Winnipeg Doula

Am I in labor? Is this real? When do I call my doula? Such common questions at the end of pregnancy!

Many birthers find that they have prodromal or “practice” labor at the end of their pregnancies for days or even weeks before starting to labor in earnest. This can be frustrating and confusing all at the same time! These warm up contractions help your body and uterus to practice and warm up, but generally do not work to significantly dilate your cervix (although some dilation and movement of the cervix can happen!). Don’t confuse that with meaning they don’t do anything-  prodromal labor is a good thing, even when it doesn’t feel like it!

Still, it can be confusing trying to figure out if it’s practice labor or the ‘real deal’. These warm up contractions may feel very real! The most common way to tell the difference is over time-- while “real” early labor contractions will get noticeably stronger, longer and closer together, prodromal labor will typically not get significantly closer together or longer. For most people they will happen for several hours and then fizzle out, starting again later or another day. This is a good sign that these are the important priming contractions-- but not a sign that true labor is starting.

In this case, I recommend trying to get rest, and remain positive- these contractions can give you a good chance to practice some of your relaxation techniques, but I urge you not to get caught up in planning for the birth yet! The best thing that you can do is to rest and keep your mind off of it.

So how do you know when it’s time to start preparing for the birth and calling your support people? Below are a couple signs that productive labor may be starting- and it’s time to alert your partner, your doula, birth photographer and/or midwife! Your doula will have different preferences for how you contact them, so make sure you ask! Often an email or text during overnight hours is preferred (or waiting altogether until morning), while during daytime you can use whichever method you prefer. For my clients, I tend to prefer a text or waiting until morning unless your mama sense tells you something may happen quickly! But as always, don't hesitate to pick up the phone if you feel you need me! 

 

1. If your water breaks

Whether a trickle or a gush, your water breaking can be a dreaded and exciting moment. It may not mean that contractions will start immediately, but it's a good sign! If your water breaks and contractions have not started, or they are still light, I personally treat this as a perfect time to grab some food and then climb back into bed. Getting some rest before labor starts in earnest is always a good idea! Not sure if it was your water? Amniotic fluid should be clear, and have a mild scent- not like urine. Some people say it is sweet smelling.

2. You lose your mucus plug and/or see bloody show

Seeing bloody mucuous on the toilet paper after you wipe can see a bit scary, but it’s also something to be excited about in the last weeks of pregnancy. This is a good sign that your cervix is starting to move and dilate! If noticable contractions have not started yet, they may soon. Just to keep you on your toes though- some birthers will lose their mucuous plug and not go into labor for days or even weeks. Still- it’s a good idea to keep your care provider and support people in the loop if this happens!

3. You start feeling like you have the flu

It’s a common occurance. You get to 39 weeks pregnant and it hits-- You’re achy, tired, your stomach gets upset and you may have loose stools or even diarrhea. This may feel like the worst thing in the world, and many people worry that they are now going to have to go through labor while sick, but it’s actually a common sign that labor is getting ready to start! One of the ways your body prepares for labor is by dumping hormones-- and some of these will cause your body to mimic signs of sickness. Again- this isn’t a foolproof sign, but it’s a good one to be aware of- especially if you’re finding yourself in the bathroom a lot. Many birthers state that the night before or hours before labor started, it was like their body got spooked and “emptied out”- that’s a strong fight or flight response there-- your body is preparing to do hard work!

4. Backache

Wait, how do you know the difference between regular sore back and one that signals labor? You can’t always. But if you notice a backache that switches from a generalized soreness into a concentrated pain that may ebb and flow-- this may be a sign that things are gearing up.

5. Contractions Pick up

Braxton hicks are frequent during late pregnancy, so how do you know when they’re the real deal? If you’re noticing contractions that are easily timable with an obvious start and end- labor may be starting! Early labor contractions will continue to progress longer, stronger and closer together, so it may take a few hours before you know for sure. If they’re coming at regular intervals though, even if still fairly far apart-- it’s time to give your support people a heads up! True labor contractions will also not let up with rest, position changes or increased water, and tend to include some back pain with them. Many birthers also report that their labor contractions felt like they wrapped more around the belly, as opposed to the low down menstrual cramp feeling of braxton hicks.

Feeling some signs? Maybe it’s your time! Don’t forget to get some rest, and contact your care provider and support people!

 


 

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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.

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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.

Winnipeg Pregnancy Guide: 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

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!

Winnipeg doula

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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