Easy Spaghetti With Cream Sauce, Salmon & Sweet Peas

Another quick dinner recipe for the busy family!  30 min to make

cream sauce:

-1/4 c butter

-1 small white onion diced

-4 cloves garlic pressed

-1/4 c flour

-1 can cream of mushroom soup

-1/2 c milk (more or less to desired consistency

-1/2 c parmesan cheese

-salt & pepper

heat butter on medium element, add onion & garlic and cook until onions are translucent. whisk in flour until smooth. add can of mushroom soup and stir constantly until heated. add milk slowly stirring.

salmon

-1 kg salmon fillet

-lime

-salt & pepper

place salmon fillet on large piece of foil. squeeze lime juice all over & sprinkle with salt & pepper. wrap foil around salmon & place in oven at 425° for 15 min

spaghetti & sweet peas

cook your favourite spaghetti according to instructions. add sweet peas to water when spaghetti is 3-5 min to finishing. strain together & then add to the cream sauce & toss to coat

serve spaghetti with salmon fillet on top.

I didn’t have time to take a picture – the kids had seconds! I’ll post one the next time I make it :)

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Top 12 For The Doula Bag

I have a great faith in the natural process of birth.  I love supporting a couple in welcoming their new baby – throughout the pregnancy, birth & postpartum.

Achieving a positive birth experience is comes from being educated, and having an educated & experienced support team.

As a doula, and someone that likes to be prepared for anything, I take a range of natural products to aid the birthing mama.

Here is the list of items I pack in my doula bag:

  1. hair ties (for the mama)
  2. hot water bottle (you could also use a microwavable heating pad, but they don’t have a microwave.  I don’t like the plug in heating pads because they are not as easy to move with the mama)
  3. gum/mints
  4. fresh lip balm (for the mama)
  5. battery operated tea lights (candle light is soothing, and these can be used in hospitals too!)
  6. unscented massage oil
  7. essential oils: lavender, jasmine, clary sage, peppermint & whatever else mama might request.
  8. homeopathic remedies: aconite, pulsatilla, caulophyllum, chamomilla, nux vomica, arnica, carbo vegetabilis, kali phosphoricum,&  gelsemium.

  9.  tennis ball (for rolling on the back)
  10. Rebozo
  11. Elle TENS unit
  12. Postpartum Wellness Bath Tea fr making healing frozen pads, and putting in the peri bottle to speed healing.

I should add that for home births I find the Aquaborn birth pool to be an excellent tool.  It doesn’t fit in my doula bag, and can’t be used in hospital births – so that’s for another post!

I welcome any feedback – share what you pack in your doula bag, or what you found most helpful as a birthing mama!

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Chocolatey, Protein Packed Energy Balls

You can never have enough HIGH PROTEIN, healthy SNACKS on hand as a pregnant or new mama!  Keeping protein levels up keeps sugar cravings down!  So here’s it is:

no-bake-energy-balls-2

1 cup PB

1 cup raw honey

2 cups oats

1 cup chocolate chips or sunflower seeds

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup ground flax

3 scoops chocolate protein powder

 

Mix it all up, roll into bite sized balls and refrigerate to set!

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Workshops I’m attending!

I’m really excited to be building on my skills this September.

I am passionate about supporting growing families & providing the best care possible.

Two workshops I’ve been wanting to take are happening the same weekend in September.  It will be an intense, and educational weekend.  The two courses I’m taking are:

When Survivors Give Birth Is a workshop taking place at Mothering Touch in Victoria.  I will develop skills to understand and support women through childbirth that have a history of early sexual abuse and/or other trauma.

Supporting Families Through Infant Loss Is a workshop taking place at Midwifery Supplies Canada in North Vancouver. I will develop skills to support families through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.

I will post about my experience at these workshops at the end of September.

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Overcoming Postpartum Depression

 

Self-care and Social Support for Overcoming Postpartum Depression – from Midwife International

“…Perhaps it is surprising that a plan for self-care and social support is considered one of the single most important aspects of postpartum planning. Valuing your emotional health and tending to it can bring great peace and serenity to both parent and child…”

Read the full article HERE

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Late Pregnancy Ultrasounds for Possible Breech Presentation

I’m really excited – I will be attending a great friend’s birth soon.  It will be my first in about 1.5 yrs!!!  Hard to believe I have been out of the doula scene for that long, and I won’t really be taking on “clients” until early 2014, but I’m attending births of close friends with the understanding that I will be there if I can, but I have 4 kids & life is a bit unpredictable right now!

SO – my friend is going for an ultrasound.  She is in her 3rd trimester, and her midwife wants to double check the baby’s position before she goes into labour – to make sure baby isn’t breech.  As I’m writing this, I’m thinking ‘what if baby is breech? We all know what will happen then – she will be sent for an OB consult, then likely scheduled for an ECV, hopefully that would be successful, and then a plan would be formed based on the result.

Now – it is the care providers job to ensure mom & baby are healthy.  This means checking for any abnormalities of any kind along the way.  For many people this can be re-assuring, and for many it can be stressful.  I have a bit of an issue with late pregnancy ultrasounds myself…let me explain.

My philosophy around birth is to trust – put faith in you and your baby (in addition to educating yourself and gathering an excellent support team of course), go in with a deep trust, and question whether things are going smoothly ONLY if there is something indicating that.

My concern with my friend going for a 3rd trimester ultrasound is the range of things the ultrasound might uncover that could unnecessarily freak a mama out!  They are going for a position check, but generally at an ultrasound – since you’re there – they will check the baby’s size, and amniotic fluid level etc. etc. while they are at it.  As a friend, doula, and midwifery administrative assistant I have seen many many women get stressed & freaked out by discoveries on ultrasounds that, in the end, are completely benign.  Now, I have also seen a handful of women have fore warning about complications prior to delivering from ultrasound results – and this is undoubtedly very valuable for many.

This friend of mine has already had a great detailed ultrasound (the standard one done at around 20 weeks, generally abnormalities in baby’s development would show up at this ultrasound) it revealed everything appears normal, her blood pressure is beautiful, her gestational diabetes screen came back negative, all her lab work & measurements are looking good.

So – if all is well and the only thing we are unsure of is if baby is in fact head down – would you want an ultrasound?

There have been cases of babies turning from breech in the last days / weeks of pregnancy, AND there have been many healthy babies born in a breech position, there have also been many healthy women go into labour, discover their baby is breech while in labour, and then having a caesarean delivery at the time their baby and their body have chosen for delivery!

Here is my beef with this 3rd trimester position check ultrasound:

  • they may comment that her baby is looking big
  • they may comment that her amniotic fluid is looking too low
  • they may discover that the baby is not in an ideal position

The problem I have with any of these discoveries / comments is this:  all of these observations will create worry and stress in an otherwise healthy & confident pregnant woman.  Again this comes back to my beliefs about birth.

Baby too big?  Maybe if you were not exercising and eating ice cream every day I would consider that to be a cause for concern.  But if you are taking good care of your body, exercising and eating well – I BELIEVE YOUR BODY WILL GROW THE PERFECT SIZED BABY FOR YOU TO BIRTH.  I was lucky enough to support a mother through an un-medicated, vaginal delivery of an 11 lb baby boy!  Had anybody (including the mother) known just how big her baby boy was going to be, I don’t know if she would have laboured and delivered him as beautifully as she did.  I believe our mental state in labour has a huge impact on the way our labour progresses.  If she’d been thinking ‘this boy is so big, how will I push him out?’ she may have held back in opening to the birth experience.  Instead she virtually danced around the room singing “I can do this! I feel good!” and she pushed out her baby with tremendous strength & positivity.  What if her care provider or the hospital staff had known his size in advance?  Might they have pushed for her to get an epidural “just in case”? potentially causing a cascade of medical interventions?  This is why I get my back up about “baby too big” comments.  Yes – sometimes an assisted delivery or a caesarean delivery become necessary – this can occur for any number of reasons, but pondering the size of the baby is not going to impact a labour in any positive way.  In our society where women have been fed so much misinformation or are lacking information about childbirth – such a comment or observation can be VERY detrimental to her mental state & her birthing energy.  Take care of your health & your body and you will grow a baby just right for you!

Amniotic fluid too low? This is something that can often be observed when a care provider is feeling your belly….if amniotic fluid is very low, babies limbs feel a little too poky and…exposed.  Amniotic fluid levels ARE important, but I know first hand that the measurements of the fluid pockets on an ultrasound can be incredibly inaccurate causing much unnecessary stress.  This is certainly something a mama would have to educate herself about before making any decision, but after seeing many inaccuracies in amniotic fluid measurements (made evident by drastically different results a couple of days later, and then again days later) I reached a personal decision to decline any of these measurements in my own pregnancies.

Discovering baby in a position that is not ideal for delivery?  Now – while knowing baby’s position late in pregnancy CAN be helpful, I prefer to encourage women to focus on optimal fetal positioning regardless of current position.  Encourage baby to get, and or stay in an ideal position.  Having said that – I do also see the value in knowing if a baby is breech so that you can use moxibustion or other natural approaches, followed by an ECV if you wish to try and turn your baby… I know some people that hold the belief one should not try to alter the baby’s position so forcefully.  Of course as always I recommend the spinning babies website.  Prior to an ECV I suggest using moxibustion, use homeopathics, use a rebozo, do inversions, go for acupuncture, go for chiro – do whatever you feel best suits you to encourage your little one to turn.  But what if baby doesn’t turn?  You would likely be sent for a consult with an OB – some doctors at some hospitals are comfortable with breech deliveries, but it has become somewhat of a lost art, and many are not.  This would lead to a conversation about caesarean delivery and generally – the physician prefers to schedule this.  I hold a strong belief that babies emerge when they are ready.  Unless there is a medical indication (such as hypertension, or a distressed baby with an abnormal heart rate) to schedule a birth (vaginal or caesarean), I am of the belief that a breech presentation should still wait for a mama to begin her birthing time NATURALLY.  This is where I think that if the hospital you are working with is very uncomfortable with the possibility of a vaginal breech delivery you may be better off left uncertain of your baby’s position.  Even if the hospital you are attending does not support vaginal breech deliveries, you can at least let your baby and body decide when it’s time for baby to come, and go in when labour has begun – baby may have surprised you with a somersault, or a quick delivery, or you may go in for your caesarean knowing that your baby has chosen his or her time to be welcomed earth side.  And if the hospital you are attending DOES support vaginal breech deliveries – all the better!

Here’s what I propose as a solution if you are faced with a similar situation:

  1. find out your hospital’s policies for breech deliveries
  2. find out your care provider’s course of action if your baby is breech (ie induction / scheduled caesarean / continue as before & allow labour to begin & progress naturally)
  3. look inside yourself & decide what your preferences are – around how labour begins & how delivery progresses
  4. from there you can a) decline the ultrasound b) specifically request that your care provider write on the ultrasound requisition for a position check only, without measurements of baby etc.
  5. know that although things aren’t always presented as a choice – you DO have choices
  6. unless you or your baby is at immediate risk, I strongly recommend leaving appointments without a plan of action set out -go away & research whatever you are presented with, think about it, and talk over the various possible scenarios with your care provider

 

Thanks for reading – I welcome you to share your story, comment or leave feedback  about this post :)

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Ending the Breastfeeding Relationship with My Daughter

I’ll never forget those precious moments, with Ivan along my side – his head resting on Camille’s legs as she lay across my lap – two pairs of beautiful big blue eyes staring up at me as I nourished my babies.

I am weaning Camille.  I am grieving the end of our breastfeeding relationship in a way I didn’t expect to.  She is my only girl, she is my sweet, gentle, loving, thoughtful little girl.

When I birth my babies I feel a sense of grief and a little anxiety about the fact that they are now on the outside.  They are no longer inside me, connected to me, being fed & protected by me.  They must breathe their own air, digest my milk, and be exposed to a little bit of the world.

Now, I am feeling that same sense of grief and anxiety – she is no longer going to receive my antibodies or the unique nutrition my milk provided her.  She is no longer a baby.  She is a toddler, she is moving into the next stage of her childhood and will learn a little more about the world, and exert her will a little more, and become a little more adventurous and independent.

I know she is ready.  I know this because she doesn’t cry for it.  She asks occasionally when she has just woken up or is cold, but other things offered provide her what she needs.  Those are the times she most wanted to nurse.  When she woke up feeling a little groggy or if we’d been out for a long walk in the rain, or she’d gotten cold in the swimming pool, then my baby girl would like the warmth and security of nursing – it wasn’t just hunger that I was abating in these moments.   But it seems she can fill her hunger with food now, she can be warmed in a blanket by the fire quite happily, and when she needs security she hides behind my legs or is reassured up in my arms.

I feel so blessed I’ve been able to tandem nurse Camille and Ivan.  It’s been a truly rewarding experience.

Now it is time for Camille and I to move into another stage of our relationship – I’m excited for what’s to come with this sweet angel, I am so blessed to have as my daughter!

 

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Labour Pains – what do they feel like? how to cope?

First time moms often wonder how they will  know they are in labour.  What will it feel like? Can it be compared to menstrual cramps?  how can they be sure it’s time?  

The great news is, if you’ve suffered from severe menstrual cramps, contractions are easier to cope with from at least one perspective – you get breaks!  With menstrual cramps, they are continuous unless relieved by medication, heat, aromatherapy, herbal teas etc., but with contractions in labour they are rhythmic and you get to rest in between.  That’s the first thing to remember, and to savour!  Tip # 1 for moving through your birthing time is to RELAX as much as possible.  If you’re not sure if “it’s happening” or not, it’s best just to carry on with a relaxing day and try your best to ignore the sensations.  If you are in the more intense stages and are certain your baby is making its way – take those breaks and focus on softening your entire body and relaxing as much as possible in between waves / contractions / tightenings.  Many women are able to doze off even if it’s just for a minute or two even in the most intense parts of their birthing time.

As far as the sensations being compared to menstrual cramps – most people describe  this sensation for the early labour – or the weeks leading up to labour.  This is most likely associated with the cervical ripening that occurs before the body moves into the birthing time.  When the “real” contractions begin, it is a bit different in that the sensations are usually a tightening all around the baby – so into your back (a little or a lot depending on the woman and the position of the baby), and up as high as your uterus has stretched.  The cervical ripening is associated more with the menstrual cramps sensation because it is lower down in the pelvis.

Often during the contractions there is a tightening all over the belly, and a discomfort low in the pelvis around the pubic bone as your body is pushing your baby in a downward motion with each contraction.  Applying some heat to this area provides great relief. Trying to keep your body relaxed THROUGH each contraction is also very useful.  Remember your uterus is a muscle working hard to move your baby down & out.  Allow your body to expend energy in that muscle while relaxing the rest of your muscles.  As I mentioned before, if you are unsure if its time, relax and carry on as much as possible.  The contractions that should have you calling your midwife or heading to the hospital will get your attention no matter what you are distracting yourself with.  They will feel strong, you will not feel like speaking through them, only breathing and focusing on your body.  Most women prefer a gentle rub in time with their breathing pattern, not to be spoken to unless it’s gentle words of reassurance and encouragement.  Anything out of time or sync with their body usually proves irritating as it is a distraction from the work they are doing.

You can practice for labour by standing with your feet a little more than should width apart, supporting your body with strong legs, but specifically softening your bum & vulva.  Rock your hips back and forth, around in circles and move them in any other ways that feel good.  Belly dancing is a great thing to do to keep your pelvis loose!  Soften your whole body aside from your strong legs supporting you, lean forward with your arms resting on the back of a couch or a counter or some other support if it feels good.  If your partner is around get into a slow dance position and rock your hips with a focus on relaxing your shoulders, your face, your bum and your vulva – you are letting your baby down.  Breathe deeply softening your body with each exhale.  Imagine the tightening of your belly hugging your baby and moving it down – closer to being in your arms.  It is good practice for your partner to support you, move in time with what feels good to you, breathe in time with you if it seems right.  Having someone breathe slowly and deeply with you can keep you on track with it as things intensify.  If we breathe quickly our body tenses, keep it slow and if you feel like toning, keep it low.

Every woman will want to move into different positions at different times to cope – follow what feels right for your body.  Do what feels right for moving your baby down.  Trust your body & your baby.

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Decongestant Chest Rub

I’m reposting this from last year! I pulled out the chest rub I made last year, and used it on all the kids & myself with this nasty cold we’ve had.

 

As promised – the recipe for a natural remedy for chest congestion.  My 5 yr old was coughing all night long, so first thing in the morning I set to making this chest rub to help clear things up and help him sleep:

Peppermint

  • 1/2 cup of avacado oil (or any base oil you have handy)
  • 4 tsp beeswax
  • 15 drops peppermint
  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 15 -20 drops eucalyptus
Combine the oil and beeswax in a pyrex jug, place the pyrex jug in a pot of water on medium heat on the stove .  Heat until all the beeswax has melted.  Mix thoroughly, add the essential oils, mix thoroughly again and pour into a clean dry glass jar or salve tin.  Allow it to cool, rub on chest as needed!
My son and nanny both LOVE this rub.  I do NOT recommend using this for babies, I didn’t use it on my daughter as she is only 8 months and too young for these potent essential oils with.  I would not recommend using this on yourself if you are breastfeeding and/or co-sleeping with a baby for the same reason.

 

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Cinnamon Bread Recipe

I have to keep my recipes somewhere – so I thought I’d share!

You could easily add raisins for cinnamon raisin bread, but my husband hates them so I leave them out :)

Add the ingredients in the order listed.  If adding raisins wait until the machine has blended these ingredients first, and then add them in the kneading phase

1 1/3 cup warm water

1 tsp bread machine yeast

2 1/2 tbsp sugar or honey

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp oil

1 1/3 cup white flour

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

I set my bread machine for “normal” / white bread

I came up with this recipe when I was craving cinnamon buns, but didn’t want that much sugar (and didn’t have the energy to make them..) and my family LOVES it!

Enjoy!

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