Pain Transformed

It's been 12 years.   12 years since my miscarriage and I still hold this day close to my heart.  I hold it, without an reminder on my phone,  without anyone else telling me,  it's a day I never forget.  

I have a box that I keep memories about my 12 week pregnancy.  In it,  a little lamb,  the announcement of my pregnancy and emails about our bad news.    I read them again today, and in all honesty I am grateful.   I am grateful for the replies.  Messages of warmth,  messages of condolence and love,  and messages reaffirming my strength.    On a day where I could sit in sadness for what never was,  I sit in gratitude about what is. 

I am grateful that this experience happened to me, what it put me through, and how this little soul taught me such huge life lessons.  
I am grateful for the  deep sadness and anger I went through and the struggles I face when trying to conceive our next child.  
I am grateful for being reminded of my husband's strength to not only loose the same baby, but to support me through my emotional and physical pain of an empty womb.  
I am grateful for the acknowledgement I have received over the years that my baby did exist,  and that people care about that little person.
I am grateful that my children now talk about the baby that came before them.  
I am grateful for the time I get to reflect  on how I have grown,  who I have become and what motherhood means to me.  

12 years seems like a lifetime ago,  and if I had read this then, I may have not wanted to hear my own word.  I just sit here knowing that the pain which seemed to encompass my whole world hasn't changed in size,  but that I, as a woman, mother, and wife have grown so much and the pain has transformed to gratitude, acceptance and love

What Does a Doula Do?

Well there are so many talents, past, and education behind every Doula that their passions and knowledge are so diverse.  So I am going to tell you what THIS Doula Does.

I work for you.  You are my boss.  You may know what you want me to do for you, or maybe I could surprise you with what tricks I have up my sleeve (or really in my Doula bag) I am committed to the possibilities you set for yourself,   so let me give you a bit of insight to what I can bring to your pregnancy and birthing time.

I start as soon as I am hired I can help you explore and discuss many ideas.

Before Birth
I will...

before and after birth

~discuss what care provider is best for the pregnancy and birth you want.
~Discuss the benefits of a planned home birth, along with risks, misconceptions and outcomes
~be a resource to help keep you comfortable for your pregnancy and birth by finding (alternative) care providers that believe in a healthy body, mind and spirit.
~contribute my knowledge about birth and challenge your ideas too
~tell you to trust your intuition
~encourage you to ask questions, to me, to your care provider, to your friends, to your partner, to yourself
~promote nutritional foods and help you find a way to eat well
~facilitate conversations of keeping sons intact
~research for/with you to help you to make the most informed decision to clarify conflicting information you may receive
~facilitate difficult conversations, be it fear, your desires, and concerns.
~encourage partners to participate in decision making and share ideas of their ideal birth
~promote great communication between you and your care provider(s) so that you know your desires and concerns are heard

During Your Birthing Time
I will...

~translate suggestions and terms from your care provider into language that can be clearly understood by you.
~include and empower your partner to be the best support person for you
~use breathing techniques, visualizations, massage, as comfort to you
~make suggestions on poses and positions for well-being and make suggestions for sleep and rest( yes, you can sleep during your birthing time!)
~assist with older sibling at the birth
~Promote that your partner is the best support person for you
~believe in you and your body to birth your baby
~be hands on and put myself into positions so that you are most comfortable.
~encourage you to stay at home as long as you are comfortable (if planning a hospital birth)
~reassure you and express normality in a homebirth or hospital birth setting
~ask questions to your care provider(s) so that you can gain insight to recommendations

After Birth
I will...

~help to ensure your views and wishes are respected
~explain in real time procedures that are being carried out on baby while they are happening
~believe in breastfeeding
~promote rest
~teach you skills that will allow the rest to happen be it your 1st or 4th child.
~help to instill confidence in your intuition (this starts way before birth)
~offer to clean, cook, entertain your children, talk, nurture and share my knowledge of early days at home
~support you in asking and receiving help from friends, family and neighbours.

What does a Doula Do? Michelle Tyliakos

These are many of the most important things I do as a Doula… but I know there are just so many to list.  I truly believe that it’s my job to promote great communication and connection with you, your baby and all those that support you.  I believe that communicating in depth during the prenatal visits we can remove any feelings or fear surrounding birth, allowing for a smoother ride into parenthood. If after birth something didn't go the way you expected, we will work though the challenges, feelings and fear and set you up for the best possible success.    Please take a look at my packages, or contact me to ask me questions.  I would love to share my work with you.  If you know anyone who could benefit from a Doula, Please share this post. 

With Love..
Michelle Tyliakos

Hiring a Doula Early For The Unexpected

Although no family wants to think about what could go wrong in pregnancy, it is a situation that some of us have faced, and the news can hit hard like a freight train. It is something we are not prepared for. You could be going through a miscarriage, you could have been told your baby is going to die shortly after birth.  You may have been told you child has genetic conditions that are not sustainable with life.  You may have been told your baby no longer has a heartbeat.   There are so many scenarios that can lead us to need quick immediate support that isn’t close to our due date.  

Having a woman with you through this time of grief may contribute to your whole experience. It's not something that we want to acknowledge, but reaching out immediately to your support person or Doula will be a shoulder that is a rock in the time of grief.  Having a Doula that knows what may happen, questions to ask and procedures that may need explaining will help you and your partner get clear communication in a time where nothing seems clear

If you are considering hiring a Doula, hiring one early could be beneficial for many reasons. (many have their own library, phone call support, will go to appointments with you etc)  Here are a few questions that could be beneficial to asking on your phone call with a Doula.

How will you support me if my pregnancy were to end early?
How would you support me if this was an expected death of my baby?
How would you support me if after I have given birth or miscarried?
I have lost a baby in my previous pregnancy, how will you be here for me this time?

Miscarriage

I want you to know that many Doulas will support you through these times.  And hiring a Doula early will ensure that you have that support in place should something happen.  She will be the one you call when you have received the bad news, or you discover on your own that your baby is not going to make it.  Should you find yourself in this position,  reach out to your doula and take a brief look at my services.  

Much love 

 

The Loss of My Baby

It never actually occurred to me or my husband that once we were pregnant that we could actually loose that baby.  Yes, we were aware that we shouldn't tell people we were pregnant until 12 weeks (which I realized shortly after,  I needed more people to know about my baby)  but the truth of it all really didn't set in until it was happening to us.  

It was my first pregnancy, and we were so super excited for what the future had in store for us!  We were going to be parents!  My belly was going to grow big and round with the little person warm inside.  Our dreams had started the moment we saw the + sign on that pregnancy test and we were on to the next step of our lives.  

That was, until my 2nd appointment with the Dr.  I went in expecting the Dr. to find the heartbeat and he couldn’t, which at 12 weeks can sometimes happen.  He sent me for and Ultrasound just to check and I went in that same day.  I wasn’t overly worried, and I didn’t know what to expect as I had never had an ultrasound before.  The technician was nice and I left knowing that my Dr. would call.  That is when I started to worry, and on the drive home I started to go to that place in my mind.  The place where I am telling myself everything is ok, but truly I knew deep down that it was not.  I didn’t care if my baby had 2 heads, was sick, or had abnormalities… I just wanted THAT baby.  The moment I walked in the door my phone rang, and it was my Dr. with the terrible news that my baby had no heartbeat.  

I was devastated.  My dreams were crushed, my future ruined and I felt I couldn’t escape my body.  I cried.  A lot.  And it seemed to happen to have the worst timing because it was 1 week before Christmas.  I went through a ton of emotion at this time.  I was mad.  Sad. Hurt. Lost. Scared.    I got angry, pissed off.  Why? How?   All I wanted was a baby to fill my womb. I was pissed off at the pregnant woman I saw who was smoking outside the hospital.  I was mad at women who abused their own bodies with drugs.  I was angry at mothers who neglected their children.  I was just MAD! 

The sun seemed to set on my hopes and dreams for many months the winter I lost my baby.

The sun seemed to set on my hopes and dreams for many months the winter I lost my baby.

This is a time where I became very isolated.   I was lonely and I felt that no one really knew what I was going through.  I wanted to talk to someone. I wanted someone to talk to me.  I wanted someone to acknowledge my baby and I wanted people to acknowledge my loss.  I wanted to cry with a friend or a family member.  Don’t get me wrong, I did receive loving wishes, flowers and I know I talked about my experience.   But I felt that because it was the holiday season, that my little baby was overlooked, that she/he didn’t matter.  No one brought up my baby in conversation, and that was hard for me.  That being said, I didn’t bring my baby up in conversation because I knew it was also hard for my friends. 

I waited to try and get pregnant again.  It was a mission.  I was obsessed and it just had to happen.  And each month that went by the cycle of emotion would play over and over.  Hopeful for 1 to 2 weeks.  Then I would feel like I was having symptoms of pregnancy only to get my period and be more than disappointed.  It was sadness, a loss each month and anxiety about the future.  

It was a really difficult time in my life.  Now, many years later,  I love that baby still.  I am on the other side now.  I can cry occasionally for the little life that I lost, and it also touches my heart deeply when people acknowledge my baby now.  I am inspired by that little life that lived inside just a couple of months.  He or she has brought me to a place where I can expand my caring, empathy and connection with other women, partners, family and friends who have lost.  I am not scared anymore, I am not mad anymore.  I am not fearful to ask those questions difficult questions.  ‘Does your heart still ache?’  ‘How does it feel?’  ‘How are you REALLY doing?’  ‘Please tell me more.’  We have so much more room for growth and empathy when we can ask those questions to the ones we love and care about.  We can also learn so much about ourselves, when we are in a position to reach out and say ‘Hey, I am really in a sh*tty place right now,  I need someone to listen to me.  Can you sit with me a while?’  It takes courage to have these conversations and there is no clock to when the grieving is complete.  It doesn’t matter what side of grief you are on.  Talking, sharing, listening and acknowledging is such a privileged place to be in midst of it all.

If you are grieving the loss of a baby or you support someone who has, I ask you to visit In Our Hearts.  Minette from Birth Of Hope and I hold monthly gatherings in the Tri-Cities for women who have lost babies in pregnancy, abortion, stillbirth and neonatal death. We create a safe place to listen, share, and connect.   In Our Hearts is also in the process of expanding to different communities in the Lower Mainland.  And because we know that the loss of a baby can impact so many we will plan future gatherings for partners, families and friends, adoptive families and anyone who feels the need to be heard.

If you or someone you know is in grief, reach out.  If you don’t know what to say… it’s ok. Sometimes sitting in silence is the best way to start.  
With love….

 

 

Source: thelossofmybaby

Nutritious Beginings

Fresh or frozen food is a great way to prepare for baby.  Keeping mother nourished easily so she can concentrate on loving her baby is one of the best gifts that she can receive.  I guarantee it'll touch her in ways that other gifts cannot.   I recently spent  5 days ill in bed and when a neighbour lovingly offered to cook a meal for my family, I accepted.  I knew that it would fill my belly, my home with love, and my heart with warmth.  And that it did. So consider making a  meal for anyone expecting a baby,  someone who is ill,  a friend going through a loss  or just to make someone's day.  

I often get asked what are the best meals to make.  I have collected some of my favourite family meals and put them all in one spot.  I'll make these meals in larger quantities so that I have left over in my own to freeze to use on a busy night.   I am a huge fan of my crockpot and use it multiple times a week too!  I hope you find some inspiration for yourself and for someone who could use a good nutritious meal! 

 

food for a new mother

Food To Freeze

Greek Lentils Fakes is a great meal and it's a favourite in our house!  

Smoky Tomato Lentil Soup with Spinach and Olives.   YUMM Delish!  Plus, lentils are so great for a mother as they are higher in iron and great for any blood loss. 

Do you think I am a fan of lentils?   Here is another one!  With squash and beets.  I haven't actually tried this one yet,  but it is high on my list to make the Spiced Lentil Soup !

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup is so delicious!  

Another family favourite,  we've always used sausage instead of chicken.  Kale Chickpea and chicken Soup with Rosemary Croutons

This one is so easy, all you have to do is cook the Quinoa,  put it in a oven dish and Mom can do the rest!  Quinoa Enchilada Casserole 

Salads

Mozzarella, Tomato Avocado Salad This is so delicious and simple!

Roasted Chickpeas and Cucumber Salad.  Just the thought of this one brings me to sweet summer with the refreshing taste 

Avocado and White Bean Salad  As you can figure out,  I love beans.  I love tomato.  I love avocado.  A perfect combination!

The Best Lentil Salad Ever  I haven't tried this one yet, because it took me a long time to find Du Puy lentils. Add this to a base of Arugula and I can't wait!

Fresh to Serve

Summer Vegetarian Tacos with Avocado Cream  Veggies and Feta!  This is seriously YUM!

 

 

Affirming Birthing Videos

If you don't know already,  I am a birthing video junkie! 

I find this collection open, honest, beautiful, calm and joyous visions of birth.  Most often they are home births.  I feel that we have had enough exposure to hospital births on media and I want to counter act the views by sharing my favourite stories with you.  It's not because I disagree with hospital birth, it's because I want to share the vision how birth can be. I am hoping that it may even add your ideas of birth!   Maybe all you know are the horror stories,  or the versions seen on movies or tv.  Perhaps you are considering a homebirth but are not sure what that looks like.    Well, these are versions of what birth can entail and each one is so different!  I've given a short description of each video.  I feel these can be appropriate for younger eyes (and ears)  especially if you are hoping to have younger siblings around during your birthing time.   

It's hard for me to pick my favourite from these... but I have a favourite moment in each and every one!   I love the mother who has dinner at the table with her birthing team, and the mother who is ecstatic that she birthed her baby on the kitchen floor!  I love the discovery of finding out if it's a boy or a girl, and the shear joy of 'I just had a baby'!    I am awed by the care providers who didn't speak, touch the baby, or even ask the mother to move until 5 minutes after the birth.  I notice the affirmations around a birthing room,  and the siblings discovering their baby.  I listen for the vocal tones of the mother,  maybe she is quiet, moaning, primal, or high pitched utter joy.   

There are many moments that I hope you have a chance to discover.  I encourage you to ask yourself questions. 
What resonates with you? 
What are you fearful of? 
What new idea did you learn? 
Was there anything you didn't think possible?  
What would you like as a part of your birth plan? 
What were you told about your last birth that could be proven different?
By looking for some deep rooted answers,  you may be able to discover what you truly believe about birth.  None of it which is wrong, right, or the only way.... it's your perception.   

Enjoy.... and I hope you learn something about yourself in these beautiful visions.

The natural birth centre birth of Daisy Emmeline
Blood. No noise. Siblings during birth. Birth Centre. Low/no interventions. Discovering newborn

Ullie: Born at Home
Pool, noise, low/no interventions, affirmations, Homebirth, blood, siblings after birth, discovering newborn, breastfeeding, New baby care

Austen's Amazing Homebirth + Natural Birth {Leaves of My Tree}
homebirth, siblings at birth. Quick birth, low/no interventions, noise

Welcoming Theodore
Waterbirth, low/no intervention, siblings afterbirth, breastfeeding, discovering newborn

Sage's birth
Waterbirth, low/no interventions, newborn care, breastfeeding, homebirth

The Home Birth of Lemma Maria
homebirth, waterbirth, noise, newborn care, delayed cord clamping, breastfeeding, low/no interventions,

Sawyer - Hospital Birth Apple Blossom Families Birth Photography
Hospital birth, monitoring, bath, sterile water injections, Epidural, newborn care

Baby D, A Birth Story
Homebirth, waterbirth, walking outside, dinner, noise, breastfeeding, newborn care,

JNBIRTH
waterbirth, homebirth, siblings at birth, noise, placenta, newborn care, low/no intervention

My Beautiful Home Water Birth
waterbirth, homebirth, low/no intervention,

Birth Footage (pushing through postpartum)  (click on the title if the video is not showing on your screen)
waterbirth, homebirth, siblings, noise, low/no intervention,

Birth of Frankie
siblings before birth, water birth, home birth, noise, low/no intervention, siblings after birth, burning the cord, herbal bath, newborn care

Our First Home Water Birth- Labor & Delivery
waterbirth, homebirth, quick birth, blood, pitocin shot afterbirth, placenta, siblings after birth, newborn care

homebirth after caesarean
noise, HBAC, waterbirth, siblings before birth, siblings after birth, affirmations, low/no interventions

Natural Water Birth
noise, waterbirth, siblings after birth, birthing centre, 42+ weeks (post term), 10lbs 7 oz, hypnobirthing, no intervention
 

I do not own any of these videos,  the titles are the originals and  posted either on Youtube of Vimeo. 

Adoption~ A Birthday Gift 38 Years Later

I grew up in a loving home with my fair share of mistakes, growth and joy.  I knew I was adopted and that my birth mother had a 6 year old boy at that time.  I always felt wanted and that I was extra special because I was chosen by my parents. The way I was raised never left me feeling as an outsider or abandoned.  

I never felt the impulse to look for my birth mother, I mean really… I have enough kids of my own,  concerns and worries to deal with. Did I really want to take on more?   I always thought that I would feel that urge to find them, such as when I got married, or when I had my first child, but those moments happened and the feelings never came up.

Until recently.

I have had some recent very profound changes in my life, and I set a possibility to thank the woman who put me up for adoption.  I didn’t know if she was alive, a drug addict, or a lawyer.  I didn’t know if she went on to have a large family where no one knew of me, if it were a secret, or if she was an open book much like myself.  Setting my intention of THANKS would make a difference in my world, and I only hope hers too.  I could say it, and if she heard me, great. If she didn't hear me that was ok too. So I sent off my request to the government on October 19th.   My parents were by my side when I received the envelope back on Thursday November 19th.  We opened it up, looked at the names, imagined who these names belonged to and started searching on the first place I knew where to go.  Facebook.  

I looked at the unique last name while staring at faces and pictures wondering if these people looked like me.  I knew the key to finding my birth mother was my older brother.  So I messaged 2 people with local roots asking if they knew the woman I was searching for. I had also phoned 2 people in the phone book and both didn’t know who I was talking about.  On Saturday, I received a call from the first person I sent a message to. (Less than 36 hours later) I asked him if he knew her , and before I could finish my sentence he said ‘I know who you are, I know who you are, I know who you are”  He said “I am your brother and I can tell who you are from your picture." 

We talked, we inquired, we laughed and he was so excited to share this news.  

Later that evening My birth mother called, we were both so nervous, and I wanted her to hear my intention of gratitude.  “I wanted to say thank you for changing my life” When my life seemed as though it was going to follow one route, she literally altered it to a new direction. I commend her because she had a 6 year old boy and knew how hard it could be raising another child, but she also knew the joys, laughter, and proud moments she would be giving up. As we talked and cried, I could hear the weight come off her shoulders, her voice opened and her laughter was pure. (and its much like mine!) 

I understood more deeply the reasoning for placing me under adoption.  I learned of details surrounding my birth, and how she didn't even have a chance to see me after I was born.  I acknowledge her commitment to the circumstances and how it also has changed her life.

We talked many times over the next few days to realize that she and I  live close. A week after my first inquiry, we arranged to have her over for dinner. I was more nervous that day than I had been all week!  I wanted it to go well and I arranged for Greek food to be delivered.  What do you know,  the food and My birth mother showed up at the door at the same time!  As the delivery guy was trying to hand me bread, I said ‘you need to move,  I am need to give this woman a hug!’ He had no idea what was going on, but it broke the ice and we could move on with our evening.  All the nerves and worry was pushed aside and we realized something… Turns out that we are both human! Who woulda thunk it!?  We both had the same fears and when we could get over that we could open up to hear each other stories and journeys that have brought us to today.  Learning about her, and the 38 years that she had lived holding this close to her heart allowed me to feel compassion and truly hear what has happened in her life.  

We continue to talk often and I have heard her come more alive each time.  I have realized the power that I am able to share and allowing her the space to let go of questions and potentially guilt.  I speak with my 'new' brother often and I also feel that this has allowed him and her to open up in their communication with each other. I am so grateful that they are both able to contribute to my life positively and openly.  The journey has just begun and there are no regrets on my part.  The past is what it is, and we are lucky enough to start from nothing and create a powerful future.    

I can say honestly that I am happy in all areas of my life.  I claim my present moments and expect only what I make of the future. It includes not only 2 new people but those that are close to them.  It includes my parents, my younger brother, my husband and kids.  It includes those that are friends, extended family and community.  It includes open communication, love, compassion, and heart.  It includes fun, laughter and a sense of ease.  

Most of all it contains gratitude.  For what I have, and what I can create.

 

I want to send out a wonderful thank you to my friend and Doula, Minette.  She was wonderful and kind enough to take these photos of us and I am so glad that she did.  I had never hired a photographer for any of my births, but this event is a birth of possibilities, and Minette captured it for us. Behind the camera is a caring, generous and smiling woman! Please visit her on her Birth Of Hope website and say hello.

Am I Busy?

I am having a thrill with my business.  People have been asking

  1. “how is it going?”
  2.  “Are you busy?”

These questions have sparked something inside and I have noticed something about myself. Here are my answers.

time_forgotten-wallpaper-10519463.jpg
  1. Awesome!
  2. No, I am not busy

My question is, does busy mean success? I think for many it does. And what is everyone’s idea of busy? (more clients? Up and running with 6 clients a month? busy =more money) I realize that busy is just a state of mind.  I often pretend that I am ‘too busy’ to commit to something, too busy for my kids, too busy for my husband, too busy for a friendly invite, too busy to keep my house clean…busy, busy, busy   Guess what? That holds me back!  I don’t have time for playing, I don’t have time for thinking, I don’t have time for cleaning the house, the list goes on, and it’s overwhelming to be like that.  The excuse of being busy holds me back from focusing on what I really want from life. 

Being a Doula,  I cannot be busy, not even a little busy.  I have a dedication to each of my clients to listen, respect, and support them.  How can I rush that? How can I fill my schedule with client after client?  It wouldn’t make sense to rush myself or them.  And it is inconceivable to rush a woman’s birthing time.   I have committed to 1 client a month (potentially 2 in special circumstances)  The job requires my full attention, empathy, knowledge and service.

I have also realized now that I am NOT too busy to take care of myself, play with my kids, listen to their joys and sorrows.  I am not too busy for a husband who makes me so happy. And I am not too busy for you. I reflect on everyone who has contributed to my life, and I owe it to myself, to share the best of me.

Check out my Doula Packages to learn more.

10cm Time to Push!

Just because a woman reaches 10 cm dilated it doesn't mean it's time to push.

Think of it this way.  I can make a great meal, put it on the table and yell “Dinner is ready!”  And you can come and eat if you choose.  Or I could make a great meal, put it on the table and yell “you are ready to eat now!”  You might question what the heck I just said.  .  Yes, it might be evening and it may have been lunch 5 hours ago and it seems as though you would probably be hungry, but it sure doesn’t give me the right to tell you that YOU are ready to eat now. 

We can all be excited at different stages of labour, early signs leading to anticipation.  Moving on as surges get closer and stronger, we think about a time line.

What would you rather hear?

‘ok, you are 10 you can start pushing’

‘ok, you are 10 you might feel the urge to push’

‘It sounds as though your body might be pushing, what are you feeling?’  

relief!  Baby is here

It may actually be quiet a long time that a woman experiences no surges after being fully dilated  Some may feel that labour has stopped and it’s time to interfere, but the body is at rest and is gathering strength to use for the most primal part of birth.

This whole process is called the Fetal Ejection Reflex. It was a term used first in the early 60s and explained further by Dr. Michel Odent later on.  It sounds so lovely doesn’t it? Well, actually it can be. Basically, with the right conditions the woman’s body will automatically ‘expel’ the baby to get it out. Think of a dimly lit room, the mother is comfortable in her surroundings; the attendants are calm and remain quiet.  There are no internal checks and mother’s space is respected.  This allows Mom to lose her inhibitions and behave how her body needs to.  Hormones have been dancing to create the best recipe to fall in love with her baby.  Only a few ‘pushes’ will allow baby to enter the world!  

So when you are told that you are 10 cm and it’s time for baby, consider not wasting your energy trying to push as instructed by ‘coaches’. Instead use that time to listen your body. 

Fitness and Pregnancy

I've done it all.  You know.  I have had the 'fat' pregnancy. The workout like a mad woman pregnancy.  The how is 9 months over pregnancy. And the stop what you are doing and rest pregnancy. 

How do you know which one you are going to have? (along with the many other types of pregnancies there are)  The thing is you don't know until you are in it, or over it for that matter.    Fears of gaining weight, hurting our baby,  or loosing who we are can affect everything we do during those 9 months.   

Here are a few suggestion

Take an assessment of where you are physically right in this moment, and what got you here.    Do you have regular physical activity?   Do you eat well?  Do you get enough water?  Were you on a road to health but have lost your 'umph'?   Were you ever on a road to health? (by the way now is the perfect time to start caring for YOU) There are so many factors that have gotten you to where you are.  If you are happy with yourself, fantastic!  If you'd like to set some improvements for yourself,  Super!  If you feel you are loosing it, lets get you back on track! 

Be honest with yourself.  Set true and realistic expectations of yourself and make a plan to get you where you hope to be. 

First speak positively to yourself.  Give yourself credit where credit is due.  Did you rest when your body needed it?  Did you get up and walk when you could have drove?  Did you choose veggies instead of fries?    Write it down!  Write down 3 things that you are proud you achieved today. Now write down 3 reasons why you want to take care of yourself.  Do you want more energy?  Do you want to live long?  Do you want to grow a healthy baby?  Both of these 3 things can be the same thing every day.  This is YOUR personal journey.  I have included this sheet to help you start.

Journal.  Because pregnancy can put many 'what ifs' on your plate, why not set your plate up for success?!  Journaling your food intake can put hard evidence into perspective.  Eating well is always an option!  I love using My Fitness Pal to journal my food intake. 

Speak to someone.  Did you know they have Dieticians at 811?(free phone call in BC) Have a partner.  Someone you can text/email/speak to daily.  Tell them your struggles, tell them your joys. 

If you need any other helpful tips, You can always contact me!  I enjoy giving referrals to those in our community that have also helped me personally

 

YES!

There is not much that I am hard and set on in world of motherhood,  but there is one thing I make all my new mothers do.  Ok, are you ready?  Hold up your right hand.  (or wait, is it your left?)  place you other hand on your belly and say….

“I_____INSERT NAME HERE_____  Vow not to say NO for the first weeks of motherhood.”

Now of course I don’t want you to take this literally, but I do want you to be aware of what you are really saying when someone asks if you need anything.  We tend to not want to burden others so we instinctively say no.  I want you to get in the habit of saying yes.  Do you need anything? YES Do you want me to pick something up? YES Do you need help? YES Can I clean something YES, YES YES!   (ok lets not get too excited there) 

Seriously though, I feel as a new mom, may it be baby #1 or Baby #5 you need to  be able to sit on your tush, lay in bed or rest as much as possible so that you and your baby get to know each other.  So that you don’t feel the need to be supermom from day 1. So that you realize you are human, and you do need help, and its OKAY to accept it.   So that you build up your community of support from day one. 

It actually feels good for others to help.  We all want to contribute to the wellness of our friends and family.  If we are clear on what we need, then it’s so easy to participate.  I have a list here for easy ideas on how you can ask for help.  They are so simple, but can make such a huge impact on your day.  This list is here for quick ideas, something that your brain may not be able to think of with lack of sleep, or other issues you may be concerned about.  This list just helps to lighten the load.   

Tasks that are completed may not be up to your standards, or maybe they aren’t the way you would do it,  but that is ok.  You have a lifetime ahead of you to do it the way you want.  Sit back and relax, put your feet up, drink that warm cup of coffee and enjoy friendship and those simple gestures that you will remember. 

Check out my Postpartum Services

My Trip to Doula~hood.

Why did it take me so long to become a Doula?  Well, to tell you the truth, I may be quite observant, but when it comes to myself, I really need the universe to Hold up a sign right in front of my eyes before I think 'Hey,  I think the universe is trying to tell me something.' 

11 years ago I became pregnant for the first time.  I knew nothing.. really.  I wanted to go and purchase a pregnancy test the day after I think I conceived. I wanted to get into the doctor 2 weeks after that.  OH I had so much to learn... and I have!

I am so grateful for my first pregnancy,  I had an OB in Alberta.  My second appointment the Dr listened for a heartbeat which he couldn't find.  He said this is only happened twice before and he sent me for an Ultrasound.  I was 12 weeks.  The next day I went in, oblivious to what I was to expect.  The tech sent me home, andthe moment I walked in the door my phone rang, it was my Dr.  and he told me that my baby had died.  I was devastated.  Within a few days I had a D &C and I felt alone.  I felt empty.  I felt hungry for knowledge.    And all I wanted to do was hold a baby in my womb and then in my arms. 

In a short time, we moved back to BC and thankfully became pregnant again.  I was in a place of fear.  I didn't want anything to happen to this baby and to the pregnancy.  I researched a lot, but sadly, found the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting.  For every twinge, pang, and stretch I was worried, and this book just instilled that for me even more.   A friend mentioned to me that Midwifery was covered in BC and I by chance got in with a midwife when I was 20 weeks along.  Oh, what a blessing that was!    She helped me stay informed,  let me go of my fears and encouraged me to trust myself and my body.  I fell in love with being pregnant, I wanted to know all there was to know. 

After I had my first, I couldn't stop reading, analyzing and looking up new data and by the time my next pregnancy came along, I knew what I wanted to be different, and I knew what I wanted to stay the same.  

So each time I became pregnant it sparked a new thrill of learning more about my body and my developing baby.  I wanted to know what my choices were, I wanted to make my own decisions and I was supported again by my Midwife.  All this knowledge allowed my husband to also be confident in our decisions. 

September 2014 my 4th baby was born and after my empowering birth I just couldn't stop thinking about being in this field.  I asked my team of midwives how I get into the birth world, and if they think it would be a good idea for me.  One of them looked at me with wide eyes and said 'Michelle, you have asked that after every birth,  You have been talking about this for years!'  Those word were the final push (pun intended)  for me to get intoDoula work!   In March 2015 I became a Certified Doula by the Wise Woman Way of Birth.  Sitting in class I recognized how much knowledge I already acquired, yetI felt this overwhelming sense of excitement about the roll I was about to embark on.

I certainly feel that all these years of personal experience and study will allow me to bring the best of me to my clients.  With5 pregnancies and 4 lovely children, Ihave experienced many different situations, test, emotions,  recommendations, triumphs and defeats.  I have cultivated a belief that birth is normal, women's bodies are powerful and strong and that if there is ever a time to trust your instincts it is now.   I want every mother, and every support person to feel strong in their educated decision,  powerful in their birthing experience and make the transition into parenthood abundant with extraordinary moments.

Hospital Birth with a Doula

Hospital birth! I am excited that this shows the Sterile Water Injections. I find that this alternative medical pain relief is rarely talked about or offered. I also find that women who are 'threatened' with an unwanted intervention, can use their adrenaline to push that baby out. It has happened to me, and it base on the whole flight or flight system.  If there is too much adrenaline in early labour it can cause the birthing time to stall.  If it happens near the end, Mothers can use it to their advantage and birth their baby quickly. I am not sure if that was the case in this birth, but a pleasure to watch.  Happy Birthday to little Sawyer!

 

 

How To Get the Most Value From Your Doula

What if I have a short labour?  What if I have a midwife?  What if my husband/partner is already my support person?

These are all great questions and reasons to think you may not need a Doula. I had all 3 of those, and heck, it took me 4 of my own births before I realized the value of a great Doula match!   After my first birth I thought, ‘I don’t need a Doula, I know what I am doing now’  But what I didn’t realize was that each pregnancy and birth is completely different.  Each and every scenario may play out in a different way.  And although I knew how to give birth (and I believe every woman does) I didn’t know the questions to ask when in the midst of birth or how having an extra set of hands would be so invaluable with siblings around.

My job starts at our first contact.  I want to know you, I want to know your partner.  When we meet for the first time, I want to answer your questions honestly,  I want to find out more about you too.  At this time, if we feel that we aren’t perfectly matched... that is ok!    Our Doula community is close, and I can help you find someone that will make the best Doula pairing for your needs.  If you would like to hire me, my job will begin almost immediately.

By interviewing and hiring a Doula early, you will receive all the benefits of open communication via text, email and phone during your pregnancy.  This is on top of the 3-4 hours we are going to spend together in your home.  Now why would you want to email me and have me over if I am only there to help with your birth? Well, we have to get to know each other even more.  I want to know your desires and fears.  I want to know what might help you through your pregnancy and birthing time.  I want to know what your perfect birth looks like. I want you to ask me questions, questions and more questions!  Maybe it's something you forgot to ask your Midwife or Doctor.  Or maybe you were presented some information at your last appointment and you aren’t sure what it all means.  My job is to help you decipher it all to make informed decisions.  I am not here to give you medical advice, but just to make plain English of it all.   

During birth I will be there to help not only you but your husband/partner and children.  I believe that a rested partner will be the best support for you.  My job is not only to comfort you during the birthing time, but to ensure your partner takes care of themselves.  Children may need help getting ready for their day, or having a meal put together. It’s my role to constantly assess the scenario and respond with what is needed. My responsibility will be ever changing during this time while keeping the emphasis on Mom’s needs with calm and comfort.

After birth is some of my favourite time.  (well, truly pregnancy, labour and new baby is all of my favourite time)  I believe that there is importance of taking away the strains of life so that Mom and Baby get to know each other in the best way possible.  I believe that rest, help around the house and reassessing expectations will enable Mom and baby to have the best start to breastfeeding while lowering complications that can come with stress.  

As with everything, the best value doesn’t always come from the cheapest or the most expensive.  Be sure to shop around for a Doula, ask questions in an interview that will give you the answers you need to find the best match.  Value comes from hiring the right Doula for you, and hiring early. 

Here are my  Doula Packages.

Greek Lentils Fakes

 

Meals= nurtured mother and happy family.

When you ask a new mom "Can I bring you anything when I come over?"  and she replies with a 'No, I am fine'    I don't have many rules for new mothers, but one I do make them hold up their hand and swear by is to never refuse help.  She is not allow to say 'no, nothing, I am good'  ...so with this, I say bring her food.

So here is a fantastic recipe that my whole family loves and it is great for new mothers.   Make a double batch and freeze them for her. Pick up a loaf of fresh bread and you are good to go!  Want to get more bonus points? Bring it over, clean her kitchen quietly, then leave. Lentils are rich in Iron which will help Momma recover from any blood loss. Add fresh tomatoes and the vitamin C will help absorb the iron even more.

Fakes (pronounced Fah-key)
2 cups of dry lentils
5 cups of water (add more or less for desired consistency)
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or more to taste)
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (I like more)
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle in some love
you can also add things like celery, carrot or spinach too.  Add all ingredients to the crockpot, cook until lentils are soft and you are done.