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Welcome Baby! Winnipeg Baby Visiting Guide | Winnipeg Doula

By on December 13, 2017
Winnipeg New Baby

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

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Winnipeg Pregnancy: Finding A Care Provider

By on November 28, 2017

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!

 

 

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The Benefits of A Winnipeg Midwife | Winnipeg Doula

By on November 18, 2017

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.

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But what does a doula even do? | Winnipeg Doula

By on September 12, 2017

"Oh you're a doula? That's like a midwife, right?"

While birth doula care is increasing in popularity, it's still a mystery to many people. After we've established that as a doula I am actually not just like a midwife, (Wichita Doula covers that distinction fantastically here) the next question is usually "Well, so what do you do then?"

That answer... isn't an easy one. You see, a doula's duties are as varied as the families that choose to hire us. The great thing about doula services is that they are completely tailored to your unique experience. What works for one person may make another turn up their nose- and that's ok. Here's just a small sampling of what your doula may do for you during your pregnancy and birth.

Answer your questions and share in your joys (and fears).  One of the benefits of hiring your doula early in pregnancy is that she's there along with you for the entire ride. Your doula can act as a first point of contact for those "I'm not sure if this is normal" questions or the "I'm so over these stranger belly rubs" moments. Consider me your personal sounding board.

Help you decide if this time it's really labor. Your doula can assist you in recognizing the signs of labor, and knowing when to ignore and keep 'doing life' and when to start making forward progress to your chosen place of birth and settling in.

Help you get settled. Whether your place of birth is home, birth centre or one of our hospitals (Women's Hospital at Health Sciences Centre and St Boniface Hospital are both great choices)- a doula is a great resource to put those finishing touches together- whether that means inflating and filling a birth pool, setting up your favorite music or walking you through the strange hospital hallways and settling in to your new home away from home. Feeling comfortable and secure in your birth space makes such a difference in your ability to confidently handle the sensations of labor- and your doula makes sure the job gets done.

 

Winnipeg doula

Provide support while you move. Movement during birth is linked with shorter, less complicated labors. As a doula I will suggest different ways to use movement and position changes to help you cope with each contraction. It may mean we go for a walk around the halls or the neighborhood, stopping to lean on me during contractions, or it could mean providing a firm foundation while you handle contractions on the birthing ball. If you've chosen an epidural, a doula can help you change positions in the bed for greater comfort and to encourage baby to move down easier.

Remind you that this is normal, this is good, and you are doing just fine. While birth is inherently normal-- it can also be intimidating and scary! Your doula is there at each turn to explain the unexpected and reassure you when you're feeling worried. Having a doula who is experienced in pregnancy and birth and can soothe your fears is priceless. Sometimes all you need when you're struggling during labor is someone who can whisper in your ear that you are rocking those contractions.

Soothe aching muscles and release tension. Touch relaxation and counterpressure are truly truly wonderful tools. During labor a doula may use massage techniques or touch relaxation to pinpoint areas that you are feeling tension and help you release. The looser and more relaxed your body, the less pain you will experience. Another one of my favorite doula moves is providing counterpressure or a double hip squeeze. Many birthing people feel their contractions primarily in their backs- providing steady counterpressure during contractions can greatly reduce the sensation and allow you to focus on releasing and breathing through contractions.

Help your partner find their feet. I have been blessed to witness many amazing partners offering support to their significant other during birth. And they almost unanimously have told me before labor they were nervous. That they wouldn't be enough, they wouldn't know what to do, that they didn't know enough to be a good support. The labor room can be an overwhelming space, and partners thrive knowing that all the pressure isn't on them. With a doula present, your partner is able to watch, learn, and step in as much (or as little) as they are comfortable. Having a doula present also allows them to take food or bathroom breaks without worrying that you'll feel abandoned.

Give Postpartum Support. A doula provides nonjudgmental support during your postpartum period as well, whether you have questions about feeding, sleep (or lack thereof!), babywearing, diapering or more. Having a doula means that there's always someone just a text or call away, ready to encourage or answer questions.

 

If you're already convinced that a doula is right for you, head on over to our Contact page to set up a time for us to chat and get to know each other better. If you're still needing a bit more information, stop on over at the Services tab for a list of what is included with your birth doula care. And as always, don't be shy to ask more questions if you need. I love to talk about my work!

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

By on August 17, 2017

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

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When you Come Unglued | Holding Space as a Winnipeg Doula

By on July 28, 2017

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.

 

 

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You Want Me to Wear What? | Winnipeg Doula

By on July 20, 2017

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!

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

By on July 16, 2017
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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Winnipeg Pregnancy: Top 10 Things To Do Before Baby

By on June 19, 2017

Today I am sharing with you my Top 10 things to do during your Winnipeg pregnancy before baby comes! The list isn’t designed as a shopping list or a specific baby prep- it’s about honouring yourself and the big changes about to come!

While pregnancy in itself is a time of transition and new experiences, bringing baby into your home- whether the first or fourth or beyond, is always an exciting experience with new stresses and emotions (don’t worry there’s joys too!), and this is my Top 10 list that helped me transition through my Winnipeg pregnancy into those newborn days each time.

 

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  1. Feed your freezer – The early postpartum days are already an adjustment without dealing with your insatiable appetite and you’re unlikely to want to spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen. Make it easier on yourself by preparing food ahead of time, or picking up from a meal prep store. Places like Supper Central can be a lifesaver! With each of my babes we made sure to batch cook and feed our freezer with meals, snacks and treats.
  2. Have a date with your partner – Your life is about to change, and so will your relationship with the other people in your life. Take some time to connect with your significant other, so you remember why you fell in love when you’re hopped up on hormones and feeling like you haven’t finished a conversation in weeks. There are so many unique places to visit with your partner during your Winnipeg pregnancy- pick one or two- or lots!
    Winnipeg Top 10
  3. Have a date with yourself – your relationship with yourself will change too! Don’t forget to take time to enjoy yourself and connect with all the things that make you you. Go sit in a coffee shop and read, do some shopping alone, have a bubble bath and a long nap. Whatever helps you remember that person that came before “mom”.
  4. Pamper yourself – I am one of those mamas that makes sure I get in a shower each day postpartum. It’s important for my mental state and gives me some time to unwind before jumping back into mama duties. But it’s not often I get a chance to take time out for a whole massage or “extras” like doing my nails. So I make sure to take at least one day before baby comes and pamper myself- book a spa day and get a massage (We have many experienced providers to give you a Winnipeg pregnancy safe spa day), have your eyebrows done, enjoy a mani/pedi so you don’t have to try to reach your feet. If a spa day isn’t in the budget, you can still enjoy all of this at home. Or get together with some friends and do each other’s nails while sipping sparkling water.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  5. Go sightseeing in your city – make time to do those things that are harder once you’ve got a little one in tow. I loved heading to the beach and taking a walk around the forks one last time. Add in some cute photos with your partner in the exchange district and you’ve done double duty with your Winnipeg Top ten things to do before baby list!
    Winnipeg Top 10
  6. Have a postpartum plan – know which friends and family will be around to help, and which ones you want there. Stick to those who will make things easier on you- cross off anyone whom you feel like you’ll need to play hostess for.
  7. Join a La Leche League meeting – Sometimes breastfeeding is second nature. Sometimes it’s not. I find it is so helpful to have connections already in place when those early newborn days come. Find your local group here.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  8. Fill your Netflix or Kindle queue – Babies eat. A lot. I found it so much more relaxing when I wasn’t counting down the minutes until they were done. Before baby two, I made sure to set myself up with a list of shows and movies to watch, and added about a dozen easy reading books to my Overdrive App. It made frequent nursing breaks actually seem like a break, rather than an endless chore. Goodreads always has a great chick lit list.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  9. Find your tribe – parenthood can be very isolating and I’ve never doubted myself like I did as a new mama. Finding a group of likeminded parents that I could be truly transparent with was crucial. You don’t think it’s that important until you’re considering having to ask your coworkers which Depends work best postpartum or really need someone to sit with in your sour milk smelling glory who won’t care a bit when you need to rehash your birth story for the 12th time.
  10. Hire a doula – Well of course. But really. My doulas were instrumental in both my pregnancy and postpartum period. So much of what you do during pregnancy is preparing for the baby- but hiring my doula was for *me*. And having that support from these lovely women who knew just the right questions to ask, who read my mind when I was feeling frustrated or needed reassurance- whether it be hour ten of labor or day ten of breastfeeding– is priceless.

So there it is! My recommended Top 10 things to do during your Winnipeg pregnancy. Is there anything you find a “must do” that I left out? Anything you hadn’t thought of?

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As always, if you have any questions, I’d love to chat! Ready to hire a doula? In need of some guidance? Drop me a line!


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Creating Your Winnipeg Hospital Birth Packing List | Winnipeg Doula

By on April 26, 2017
*Photo from Essie and used under Creative Commons License.

Many years ago, my husband shared with me that as a very young child he had believed that babies were born- with hats! In every media depicted birth, you always see the fresh baby with a tiny beanie on their head. Right from the get go, they're always seen sporting their new accessory. And so when it was time to pack for our first birth, it became an inside joke between the two of us- don't add a hat to your hospital birth packing list- babies come with hats!

Winnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula

But what *should* you pack be on your hospital birth packing list? I believe in prepared minimalism, and haven’t found a list that suited me, so I’m sharing mine for you! This list is based off the birth packing list I made for my first baby, and is customized for the experience you may have in our Winnipeg hospitals.

We know that when it comes to birth, plans can always change, but most people seem to prefer a short hospital stay- and a short hospital birth packing list! Be reassured that anything you need is just a short car ride away. And if you have a longer than expected stay, your support person may just welcome the fresh air on the drive home to gather supplies! Here’s what I couldn’t have lived without during that first day.

*Photo from Essie and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo from Essie  used under Creative Commons License.

When I thought about packing my bag for my hospital birth, it was all about comfort. At both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface, you may have the option to labor in water, and working through contractions in the shower can be heavenly, so I made sure to bring a bathing suit. I didn’t want to wear a hospital gown, so for my hospital birth packing list, I added a comfortable outfit to labor in- a bra top and a loose flowy skirt. The only unneeded “extra” that I packed and would do so again is fancy shampoo/conditioner and soap. The hospital supplies some, but after all the hard work of labor, it was glorious to grab my yummy smelling Aveda products and freshen up in the shower.

Since babies come on their own time, and weight guesses are notoriously inaccurate, I recommend having two different sizes of clothing available- just in case! With my third baby I put aside a couple newborn outfits. It provided comic relief later when I pulled out the teeny outfits and held them up to my 41+ week 10lb10.5oz babe, but wasn't very helpful for dressing him! For your hospital birth packing list, I recommend only a couple onesies and sleepers. It sounds basic, but skin to skin is wonderful and I prefer to just snuggle up with that fresh babe smell. We only dressed ourWinnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula daughter once it was time to go home.

Our Winnipeg hospitals supply the basics- wash cloths, diapers, receiving blankets, so leave them off your hospital birth packing list. I do bring a muslin for snuggling up with baby afterwards. Bonus that it looks beautiful in photos! I also brought our favourite blanket for the ride home. I distinctly remember snuggling with the blanket on the ride to the hospital, thinking how in just a few short hours, I would be snuggling with our babe instead.

We choose to delay the first newborn bath, and avoid hats on babies, so keep it light and don't bring any fancy baby washes or pretty hats. I see a lot of hospital birth packing lists suggest bringing items like nail clippers and burp cloths. Most of these you truly won’t need during that first night. Pack light, and don’t give yourself too many ‘tasks’ in those early hours. Focus on meeting your new baby, I promise their nails can wait.

There’s many other items you can add to your hospital bag list. And if you will feel better to bring them- do it. In the end, you being able to relax is the goal. In my experience though- most of it stays in the bag. The hospital provides the basics. Your doula and support partner will have their hands and words at the ready- willing and able to help you rock your birth. All you need is your confidence and trust in your body!

 

Click below for a copy of Embrace Birth Service's FREE Hospital Birth Packing List printable. This Winnipeg doula has you covered!

Winnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula

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