Tag Archives: childbirth

Enter to Win a Free Aquaborn Pool Rental!

Enter to win a free Aquaborn rental for your birth!

birth pool rental

Aquaborn Birth Pool

Here are some of the benefits to using water for your birth:

  • greater comfort
  • ease and freedom to move
  • reduction of pressure on the abdomen
  • can make contractions/ pressure waves feel less intense
  • helps mother to conserve her energy
  • promotes relaxation
  • can speed up birth
  • helps to relax the pelvic floor muscles
  • can reduce the need for drugs to artificially stimulate labor
  • can reduce the need for pain medication
  • water can help mom focus inward as birthing waves strengthen
  • Aquaborn pool are large enough that the mother’s partner can be in the water with her, supporting her
  • can reduce tearing

Some benefits to renting your birth pool:

  • cheaper to rent than buy
  • submersible pump, air pump and disposable liner are included in the fee (these items can add $200 to the cost of purchasing)
  • you don’t have to worry about selling or storing your pool after the birth
  • the pools are inspected and sanitized before you get them

Tell us why you are planning a home water birth and be entered to win!  Please include your due date in your email.  This contest is open to residents of Greater Vancouver and surrounding areas.  Contest closes Jan 1st 2012.  Good Luck!

Discuss this in the Forum!

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Research on Maternal Separation

Most of my clients are certain of a few things from the beginning – one thing is that they want immediate skin to skin contact with their baby, as long as it is medically safe.  There is always new research and further confirmation to support this basic instinct.


Sleeping Baby

Ways to reduce the need for your baby to be separated after birth are:

interview your health care provider

keep healthy throughout your pregnancy

hire a doula 

– educate and prepare yourself – knowledge is power



Maternal Separation stresses Baby, Research Finds

ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2011) — “A woman goes into labor, and gives birth. The newborn is swaddled and placed to sleep in a nearby bassinet, or taken to the hospital nursery so that the mother can rest. Despite this common practice, new research published in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence that separating infants from their mothers is stressful to the baby.

It is standard practice in a hospital setting, particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. Separation is also common for babies under medical distress or premature babies, who may be placed in an incubator. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against co-sleeping with an infant, due to its association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

Humans are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a ….” Read More


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A Doula’s Massage Oil

I am always amazed how scent can transform a room, especially the labour and delivery room at a hospital. Generally, the smell of the hospital is sterile and unpleasant. When I open my Labour of Love Massage Oil to use on my labouring clients, the nurses and doctors in the room remark on its lovely scent. The atmosphere in the room becomes calm, and everyone breathes a little deeper.

I find myself using the Labour of Love Massage Oil, most often, in early labour. It helps the laboring woman relax her mind and release the tension in her body. Massage with this oil is also very useful when a woman has chosen to have an epidural. A massage can reconnect her to her numb limbs and quiet her mind so she can sleep and regain her strength.


Our Labour of Love Massage Oil contains essential oils of Rose, Basil, Frankincense and Juniper Berry. These essential oils are known to reduce pain in labour and regulate contractions. They ground the mind and can lower anxiety.

I often use this oil on clients who have gone passed their due date to help prep the body for labour. Due to the nature of these essential oils we recommend it not be used until forty weeks gestation.

labour of love

I never leave this massage oil at home when I head to a birth! It is one of my favourite tools to use with my clients.

~ Chelsea

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Ethan’s Birth Story

At 37 weeks I went to my midwife and we discovered my very large baby was breech.   I was scared and sought out natural solutions to help turn my baby!  I found Liza Shibata – a registered acupuncturist specializing in working with pregnant, labouring and new moms.  I went for a couple of sessions, and she provided me with moxibustion sticks – my friend helped me by holding the moxabustion sticks slightly away from the outside of my pinky toe while I lay upside down on an incline.  We watched my belly move and crossed our fingers.  Sure enough he turned!  My baby was head down and everything was looking good for my planned home birth.

The next scare was when it appeared that my amniotic flulid was low.  A consultation with an OB brought up a concern that possibly my placenta was not working efficiently anymore and that an induction would be necessary.

The hospital became very busy that week, and my “urgent” induction was pushed back – I was fortunate.  My body went into labour on its own.

It was Tuesday night at 9pm. I was 40 wks and 6 days.  I was going to the bathroom more frequently, and the cramping I’d been experiencing for the last 2 weeks was intensifying and becoming rhythmic – I was in labour.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up because I had been experiencing a lot of cramping for quite a while, but when I couldn’t handle lying down anymore at 10pm I allowed myself to feel the excitement!  I ran a bath and tried to relax myself and ease the contractions so that I could sleep.  The bath helped somewhat, and I was in and out of bed for the rest of the night, catching little bits of sleep when I could and getting up when the lying down and rocking wasn’t enough to cope.  I called my midwife at 9am on Wednesday to let her know I’d been in labour all night, and that I would likely be calling her later when things picked up.  I called my doula (and now business partner) Chelsea Lafrance and told her I’d need her to come by later that afternoon – I was ok for the time.  I took a short walk and tried to carry on with my day.

Chelsea arrived around 3pm and my friend Dahlia came by shortly after that.  We made cupcakes, but by that point I spent most of the time leaning against the dining room table rocking my hips and breathing through the waves of intensity.

Night came and things felt like they were picking up.  My contractions were requiring all of  my concentration.

My midwife Lorna McRae and (then student midwife) Leah Seibert arrived sometime that evening – I think it was 8 or 9.  I was working hard, rocking on the ball, sitting on the toilet, candles were lit through the apartment and I felt pretty good.  They checked me and I was about 5 cm.  I was discouraged by this discovery – (I didn’t know then what I know now – that the progression to 5cm is generally slower than that from 5 -10, and having your first check at 5 cm is pretty good!) and simply continued on with how I was labouring.  My midwives were encouraging and proud of how I was managing, and of how calm the atmosphere in my apartment was.

Around 10pm things were getting much harder.  My back was hurting terribly – my midwives and my other supports took turns applying very firm counterpressure to my back and soon they realized my boy was posterior.  I moaned through the intensity, and felt like I could handle things as long as someone was there pushing on my back.  I was amazed that I had so much energy despite having been up for 24 hours.  Our bodies provide amazing hormones!  In an effort to try and turn Ethan, my midwives had me walking up and down the stairs, doing lunges through the halls of my apartment building, and working through contractions with one leg up on a chair.  I carried on, but was becoming more tired and the back pain was becoming harder and harder to cope with.   I was only 6 cm 3 hours later, and this realization was a disappointment to everyone – my labour pains were intensifying, but my baby wasn’t turning and my cervix wasn’t opening as much as one would like to see.  We tried position changes for another hour.  I began vomiting from the intensity, and moaning loudly.  I had the urge to push a couple of times and began to feel discouraged that my body was no longer progressing.  My midwives were concerned by the fact that I had been leaking amniotic fluid for almost 24 hours – to my disappointment – it was time to head to the hospital.

At 2 am we arrived at the hospital – my incredible support team encouraged me as I did lunges up the stairs to labour and delivery in another attempt to help my baby turn.  I was exhausted and discouraged, and pouted at them as they urged me on.  I didn’t have the energy to speak.

When we arrived at the hospital things happened quickly – there was meconium in the amniotic fluid now, and it was apparent that Ethan was still posterior and was also asynclitic.  This means his face was pointing towards my front (baby’s preferably face mom’s back) and his head was tilted on an angle.  I breathed some nitrous oxide and Chelsea coached me to deepen my tones as I panicked at the pain in my back.  Upon an examination by an OB it was suggested I have an epidural in the hopes that my body would relax enough to allow Ethan to turn – I had been in labour for a long time now, and I was still reluctant to have the epidural.  I had so badly wanted to have an unmedicated birth, but this seemed to be the only solution aside from a cesearean delivery.  I was started on antibiotics because I had developed an infection from my waters being broken for so long, and was given an epidural.

I cried.

With the epidural, I lost my good hormones that filled me with fight – at this point all I felt was exhaustion, defeat, and completely disconnected from my baby.  The nurses told me not to cry, that I needed to save all my energy and to sleep.  Chelsea talked calmly to me and reassured me I’d gone as long as I could without medical interventions.  The interventions we have are tools that can be incredibly useful in situations such as this.  Dahlia stroked my hair and tried to help me sleep…it was so soothing to have my friend there with me, calming me.   My support team reassured me that this was my best chance for a vaginal birth, and the OB told me we should really be heading for a cesearean now given the size and position of my baby.  My midwives, doula, and friend stood by and pushed for me to have the opportunity for a vaginal birth – to wait it out and see.  I tried to rest, but I was a mess of emotion, and I was terrified by the pain I still felt in my back.  Despite the epidural I still felt sharp pain in the same spot in my mid back with every contraction.  It was later discussed that this may have in fact been a muscle spasm.  I was amazed that a muscle spasm could be so severe it outweighed the pain of my contractions!

The sun rose for the second time in my labour, and I asked how long I’d been doing this.  My support team encouraged me to rest and discouraged me from thinking about the time – it was good advice – labour knows no time!  By 2 pm I was fully dilated.  My midwives said they thought my baby may have turned and that I could start pushing.  The nurse moved to put some pitocin in my IV and I yelled that I didn’t want anymore drugs – my midwives gently reminded me that with a labour this long there was a higher risk of hemorrhage, the nurse also insisted that my contractions weren’t strong enough to push my baby out.  I relaxed as I realized the validity of this intervention and got focused on pushing my baby down.  I found a strength from somewhere deep inside – I don’t know where the energy came from.  I remember locking eyes with Lorna and finding determination in that look.

I pushed hard, I couldn’t feel anything because of the epidural so I kept asking “am I doing it right? is it working? am I pushing the right way?” Yes! Everyone encouraged me and then they brought me a mirror so I could see what I was doing.  By this point the OB was back, as was a pediatrician (they were concerned about Ethan because of the length of the labour and the meconium in the fluid) and a student pediatrician, there was of course my midwife and student midwife, a nurse and student nurse, and then my doula, friend, and son’s biological father.  It was quite the crowd, and a far cry from the intimate home birth I had envisioned for myself!  Remarkably, in the moment – when one is working hard to push a baby out, eager to meet them, and exhausted from the hours of hard work, one has little care for how many people are watching ones efforts.  I looked in the mirror and saw my vulva bulging with every push.  Lorna pointed something out between contractions – a piece of my baby’s hair was hanging out for us to see!  He was close!  I pushed harder, I drew every ounce of strength up from my toes and moved my baby down.  I talked to him in my mind, and told him we were doing this together- he needed to work with me.

My son was crowning when the nurse realized she’d forgotten to start the pitocin dripping.  I laughed and felt such pride that my body HAD been able to bring this baby down despite the certainty that I wouldn’t be able to without the pitocin strengthening my contractions.  Some panting, and then one more push and my son was born.

It was 2:55pm on Thursday Feb 8th.

He came out wailing, face up, and 9lbs 6oz.  The OB was astonished – such a tiny woman giving birth to a large posterior baby?  and with less than an hour of pushing!  I’m sure he thought it was a miracle.  Ethan’s head was very molded from sitting with his head on an angle for so long.  He had a huge lob sided cone head.  After a thorough examination he was brought to me and placed on my chest.  My baby.  My boy.  We did it together.

When he had nursed, and I’d been stitched and cleaned up, we were wheeled over to mom and babe – the nurses stood up at the station and gave me a standing ovation as we went past – I felt incredible.  I held my baby proudly in my arms and glowed as they congratulated me.

It’s too often that posterior babies are assumed to be unable to come out and mom is sent for a cesearean.  Our bodies have AMAZING capabilities if we can just give them the time.  We tried everything we could to turn Ethan – and in the end I believe he simply wanted to come out posterior!  Pushing him out was quicker than many first time moms pushing out anterior babies – we cannot assume that we know how every baby should be born.  Indeed we see that generally speaking there is an “ideal” position, but then there are always exceptions to the rules, and some bodies and babies choose another way.  We just have to try what we know, and then have the patience, and faith for a mother’s body to allow the process to unfold as it should.

I will never forget those first moments of having my baby boy in my arms.  My life was changed instantly.

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

—-  Elizabeth Stone



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The Birth of The Doula Within Me

It was 2004 and I was ready to figure out my calling in life. I knew I wanted to be in some area of medicine, but how does one choose which area? I decided to go to overseas and do some volunteer work. There I would get some exposure to a variety of areas of medicine and hopefully I would be able to narrow it down.

I made a spontaneous decision. I traveled to Uganda with an organization called Friends of Mengo to do the groundwork for a study on how selenium supplements affect the quality of life in AIDs patients. This turned into an incredible 6 month adventure. I was given the opportunity to sit in on many surgeries, work with TB patients, do home visits to AIDs patients, and work in an orphanage with several infants as well as toddlers. It was at Sanyu Babies Home where I discovered my maternal instinct. I had no experience with newborns before this trip, and there was a couple of days where I was alone in the nursery feeding and changing 5 babies under 3 months. I quickly learned how to help care for these babies, and grew very attached to many of them.

At Sanyu Babies home in Uganda 2004

At Sanyu Babies home in Uganda 2004

I traveled to Kitgum in northern Uganda. Here, I had the honour of shadowing in a maternity ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I participated in rounds with the Dr.s and deliveries with the midwives. I was given the opportunity of checking dilation, starting IV’s, and participating in many other medical tasks that helped me to gain a great deal of background knowledge about the process of birth, the physical changes and possibilities in the birthing mother’s body, and a tangible understanding of the changes that occur throughout labour. I watched women labour with such strength, and I saw the ways in which they coped and moved through the intensity.

I was in awe when I saw my first birth. I was amazed at the abilities a woman’s body has to accommodate another being both in pregnancy and in childbirth. I knew then that working with labouring women was my calling.

When I returned to Canada I started a Bio-Psych degree with the goal of going to med school, and I began researching ways to get involved in childbirth. I discovered the role of a doula, and I was fascinated. After much reading and studying, I began my work as a doula. I volunteered at a few births where I gained experience in the emotional and physical support techniques by learning from midwives and nurses.

In June of 2006 I became pregnant with my own son.  I chose midwifery care and a doula for my birth. Without the support of my midwives Lorna McRae, and (then student midwife) Leah Seibert, and my doula Chelsea Lafrance – I know that I would not have succeeded in having a vaginal birth of a 9lb 6 oz. posterior, asynclitic baby. I gave birth in the hospital with obstetricians and pediatricians present, and I saw how well the midwives and the hospital staff worked together with my doula.  It has now become my longterm goal to attend the midwifery program, and my interim goal to offer my extensive knowledge, experience, and expertise to help families to achieve their own unique goals in the birthing process. I work well with doctors and midwives, and I am experienced in home births as well as hospital births.

I am here to provide resources and information, choices and solutions, tools and techniques. I am available for your emotional and physical needs, to gently guide partners and loved ones in supporting the labouring mom, and to help you achieve a positive journey.  It is my role and my joy to empower you in the birth experience, and ultimately as parents.

Birth Doula Services ~ Postpartum Doula Services ~ Contact Me

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