Welcome to our blog! It’s my turn to share about who I am with you lovely readers.
My name is Jaclyn and I live in the Fraser Valley. I define myself as a wife, mother, and a natural living/birth enthusiast. I met the man of my dreams when I was in my late teens, and 3 years later we were married and falling so deeply in love! Next came the most beautiful little girl, and just recently, a handsome baby boy! My family is my treasure and am daily reminded of how blessed I am to have them…even though they produce endless amounts of dirty dishes and sticky fingers! But I have always desired to have a large family so these 2 littles are just the beginning of many more babies and years of motherhood!
I find joy in being outdoors, drinking tea, singing and dancing throughout my house…and car, and in multicoloured/patterned fabrics with which I dress myself, my children, and my home!
My passions are for my faith, family, and for birth! My journey into the birth world as a doula started when I witnessed my sister’s giving birth to their first born babies (4 months apart, t’was a busy year). I was overcome with a love for labouring women and the power they posses. I was also blessed to have a mother who was a doula. She passed on her trust in birth and knowledge of a woman’s power through labouring and raising her babies. I was taught to have confidence in and love myself deeply, something that I feel every woman needs in every area of life.
Yellow Bird Birth is truly an adventure for me. When I “grew up”, I had only dreamed of being a wife and mother (which I love as I have said before), but I now I get to pour out my passion for birth into others lives as a doula and placenta encapsulator in Chilliwack and Abbotsford. And I do pour love into placenta prep! I feel called to this work and find great rewards in it. My hope is to change the birth world, to encourage families to stand up for their right’s and desires in maternity care, to show our community how valuable doulas are and how much they are needed, but most of all, to witness families bring their babies earthside safely, peacefully, and joyfully!
Birth Doula, Placenta Encapsulator and Mother Of Two
On Saturday we picked Oakley up and we went to one of the trade shows at Tradex. We walked around there for 2 hours and I was definitely contracting, but I was fine. I figured, awesome, early labor, my body is going to do this on its own this time! Woohoo.
So on Sunday, we went for lunch with my family, I was still contracting, but whatever right… Ross suddenly was feeling sick, and started being a grouch. Great, an annoying sick husband, and I’m the one in labor! Day continues on no difference, but still contracting randomly.
Monday comes, we had no plans, we just hung out at home. But wow, Oakley was SO CLINGY. She would not leave my side! I can’t remember anything that happened that day except that Ross was man sick and Oakley was crazy.
By 10pm my contractions were coming about 10 mins apart, they were a little more painful then before, but I was still cool. Ross and I got into a big argument at 1am, mostly because he was man sick and Oakley was STILL AWAKE.
I called Miranda (my doula) to come over, I don’t really know why I called her, because I wasn’t even convinced I was in active labor. But because my emotions were overboard, I figured I needed someone to talk to and vent to and I also figured she would know if this was the real deal, or still early labor.
Miranda arrived about 2:30am. We went for a walk, I vented, she made me laugh, she let me decompress and I felt better. But still contracting. But I was still able to laugh, walk, talk, etc. We thought Ross might be able to get Oakley to sleep while I was gone, but nope, she was still awake. All 4 of us went for a walk, how funny would that be, look out your window at 3am and you see 3 adults and a 1.5 year old just walking around like it’s the middle of the afternoon….
Anyways, we return home and Miranda convinces me that I need to get Oakley to sleep, once she is asleep, and I get some sleep, and relax… then hopefully my body will ramp up and maybe tomorrow labor will start. So I laid in bed with Ross at 345, I nursed Oakley, it was awful. My aversion with her was so bad. I had to grit my teeth and bear through it. All of a sudden I had 2 back to back very bad strong contractions. I had to squeeze Ross’ hand, and I said to him “OMG THIS IS IT, and if THIS IS IT, I CAN’T DO IT, this HURTS”.
It must have calmed down for a minute because I posted on FB at 4am on the dot… and then Oakley let go of my boob.. and my water broke!!!! Right there in bed. I must have yelled or something because Miranda came running in, and she helped me get through the next contraction while my water was breaking.
I got out of bed and into the bathroom, and within minutes I told Ross and Miranda that I had to PUSH! I think we were all in shock at this point. Miranda got Ross to call the midwife, and then 911. I reached in and I could touch his head, he was right there!
I asked Miranda if she ever delivered a baby, and she said not yet! And I said me either but lets do it. I don’t remember very much after this, I remember Miranda was talking to me. But I have no idea what she was saying. I remember Ross rushing in and out of the bathroom because he had no cell service in there!
Weirdest but most awesome thing was when I got down on all 4s, I could feel Cyrus coming down, and then going up with contractions. It was the most amazing feeling. I didn’t experience that feeling when I pushed Oakley out, probably because I was on my back (ps– that’s just a dumb pushing position!!!).
I wasn’t even pushing, he was just coming !!! Next thing I know he was out! Ross caught him, and then Miranda pulled him up front onto my chest. He didn’t cry for a split second and I worried.. and then he cried. It was awesome. He was perfect. A few mins after he was born I said WHAT TIME WAS HE BORN!!!? haha, we all guessed 4:32am, so that’s what we went with.
911 showed up and said Happy Birthday to little Cyrus. they clamped his cord and Ross cut it. Then we just hung out in the bathroom, waiting for Heather the midwife.
She came, and then we moved to the couch, where I nursed Cyrus for the first time, and Heather gave me a stitch.
My mom showed up… she was called when my water broke. She thought she was coming to watch Oakley because my water broke. She was confused why she wasn’t meeting us at the hospital, Ross forgot to tell her that the baby was coming NOW. So when she walked in, I was butt naked on the couch, holding my baby!!! She waltzes in with her coffee, and was shocked.
Then after a few hours everyone was gone, and it was just me and my little family.
I never imagined having a home birth, but it was amazing. I don’t have the words. It was unbelievable. You’d think this situation would be scary, but it wasn’t. it was calm, it was relaxed. It was perfect.
Cyrus Charles Slater
Enough with parenting books!
I have had enough! Let’s get rid of these parenting books which tell us how to carry, sleep, feed and play with our babies. How many of you have read one of these books just to feel down on the way you are raising your children?
I was a new mommy and was recommended a sleep training book (I won’t say names). I started to read about how a baby shouldn’t depend on soothing noises, comforts of their mother, or milk… at this point I was bed sharing with my little guy just to survive night time wake ups. It told me that I needed to train my child to be independent, to learn to fall asleep on his own, and for him to figure out that mommy would not come running at every cry. How sad is that? I felt like a horrible mom! I felt like I was teaching my baby to be too needy and depended on his mom and dad. I admit that I even tried to sleep train at 8 months and sat in the hall way crying. I spent many hours over those months rocking him and snuggling him just to get him to close his eyes. We had a good routine and even though it was a lot of work, I look back now 4 years later and don’t regret any of that time! Of course my second child was an amazing sleeper, she would lay down and be sound asleep within minutes, so I guess the book was meant for her…
I read a parenting book once that told me my child should be trained in first time obedience. That I needed to run my home as if we were in the military. When I ask for something to be done they need to obey immediately. While this would make parenting much easier (not having to ask so many times), I also realize that if my husband treated me this way I would feel very low and discouraged. While I didn’t want to encourage this super strict behavior in my family, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated when my toddlers wouldn’t respond instantly and give me their full intention. I expected much more than they were capable of at their very young age. I believe that a child needs boundaries and rules, they need to practice respect and being a positive part of a community, but they also need grace and forgiveness.
I wish we practiced what our grandmothers did and follow the advice of the experienced women around us and the mothers that came before us. It amazes me the wisdom that can be found by sitting listening to women who have been there decades previous. Let’s follow our instincts and raise each child the way we believe is natural and instinctual.
There are many more examples but I would prefer to focus on the good and not the bad. This is where Sarah Mae comes in. This is one of the only books on parenting that I recommend. Her blog and book have changed the way I parent! Her style of loving her children has been such an encouragement. Each paragraph I read would make me more and more excited to be close to my babies. She talks of grace and love and beautiful things.
I went upstairs and looked at my sweet little one, who is now four, curled up under her covers peacefully. I said, “Do you need me?” She nodded. I knelt down, crawled into bed with her, and snuggled up close. “Lullaby, and goodnight…” I softly began to sing. I rubbed her head and nuzzled my nose into her hair, and felt the delicateness of her soft skin. She lay there precious and still, with heavy eyelids, and I kissed her head and thought, “How many times have I rushed bedtime? How many moments like this have I lost?” –Sarah Mae, Maybe Your Two Year Old Just Needs You
If you are looking for some light and joy in your parenting journey I suggest reading what Sarah has to say. I promise it will give hope and encouragement in times of need.
Birth Doula and Mother Of Two
Hi! I am so glad you have stopped by to visit our blog. Allow me to introduce myself…
I’m Amanda, a birth doula and prenatal fitness instructor. I have a super manly husband of just about 5 years whom I love to pieces and is my rock. Our favorite adventures are long road trips together where I sing loud and he rolls his eyes but secretly loves it! We have two beautiful young children that are full of life and excitement.
In the forest is where I get grounded. I often find myself craving the feeling of walking long windy trails full of tall trees and refreshing energy. I crave pushing myself to higher places with views of the world. My children are calmed by the outdoors, they have come to an age where they just sit and take in the beauty and I love watching them experience a life outside of the city.
I boost my self-confidence through dance. I taught women’s dance/fitness movement for a long time before becoming a doula and learned that the more I danced, the stronger I became in my own body and self-esteem. To love your body and how it moves is such a gift, especially through pregnancy.
It feels like a life time ago but I actually started out in quite a different career than birth. I was trained in architectural design and worked as a designer/drafter for many years until I had my babies and dreaded the thought of leaving them each day. A random fact about me.. I use to also race drag cars!
My love of birth started with my mother. She was trained as a doula over 20 years ago and while she doesn’t work with clients except her daughters anymore, she taught us a lot about the power of a woman’s body and its ability to birth and sustain the life of a baby. My other influence was my sister-in-law Edolbina who is very close to completing her midwifery training. She shared her Ina May Gaskin books with me and I was hooked! I had the privilege of training with Ina May last month and was mesmerized with her wisdom and excitement for pregnancy and birth.
Being a doula is a passion for me and while I love holding those squishy new little babies, my favorite part is watching a woman become a mother. Assisting her and her partner in learning and making informed decisions during their pregnancy to when their baby joins the world. I love encouraging and helping during each tightening and seeing women find a strength that they never knew they had.
I am feel blessed to be on this journey.
Birth Doula and Prenatal Fitness Instructor
Recently I received the most wonderful surprise of this pregnancy so far, a Blessingway Ceremony.
Also called a Mother Blessing, a blessingway is a traditional ceremony that honours the mother and the rite of passage into motherhood. These gatherings often occur instead of a baby shower which tends to focus more on gifts for the baby and less on honouring the sacred time of pregnancy and birth.
The beautiful gathering held for me truly was a blessing! I was greeted outside by the women who are closest to me, dressed in beautiful flowing fabrics, their faces full of excitement!
I was guided into my sister home which was draped in colourful fabrics, covered in cushy pillows, lovely flowers, and the smells of yummy snacks! I was given a seat of honour and the guests circled me with pillows on the floor. We opened with some deep breathing, a prayer, and a reading about connecting with my baby and acknowledging the support of those around me. The women then took turns giving me meaningful beads they had brought for a birthing necklace and sharing some scripture, words of encouragement, or a poem. The tears of joy were shared by most during this time! A far away friend even video chatted in to share her words and prayers for my birth and growing family.
We then moved into snacking and crafting! Cream puffs and cake…Yum! My birthing necklace was assembled for me, a crown of flowers placed on my head, and we got to work painting affirmation flags. The laughs and joys were shared by all as we chatted about my upcoming birth and plans for my placenta among other things. These flags will be strung together and hung in my birthing space when the time arises.
Then came the pampering part of the afternoon. I laid back in my thrown and was treated to an herbal foot bath, hand massages, and a henna painting on my belly. I was brought nourishing tea and snacks while I waited for the henna to dry. It was so nice to not be allowed to move for a while, a very different situation than what I usually am in with a 2 year old in my home! Just before the women parted, we wrapped our wrists with soft string, creating a web between us all. Everyone then cut the strings, tied them on, and was invited to keep the bracelets on until my baby arrives, thinking and praying for me in the meantime. Candles were also given out to each guest who will be notified when I go into labour so they can light their candle and think of me.
It was an afternoon of rest, joy, love, encouragement, and feeling truly supported by such wonderful women. If you are interested in a blessing way ceremony for yourself or a mama to be, I highly suggest hiring a host/coordinator like Miranda from Elderberry Birth who gracefully led our gathering!
Thank you again to all those who gathered around me, I will never forget this afternoon and all the beauty it brought to the birth of my son.
5 Way to Make Hospital Birth Feel More Like Home
A Home birth is a unique experience they cannot be replicated in another setting, but when birthing at home isn’t an option or desire for you, here are simple ideas that can make your hospital stay more comfortable.
Walking into the sterile room with supplies, equipment and bright lights isn’t exactly the most welcoming environment to birth your baby. Staff coming in and out, leaving doors open and turning on machines with loud beeping noises is definitely a change from your peaceful setting in your own bedroom. While this can sometimes lead to initial emotions of anxiety or fear of a new place, there are many things your birth team to do to make this room feel like home (or close to!).
The perfect environment for giving birth is a warm, safe, private, quiet and dark place. Encourage your team to take control and make this place your own!
1. Turn off the lights
Women often begin their birth process during the night, in the dark and can often stall once a women walks into the hospital with bright lights and an unfamiliar setting. This study’s abstract says this in conclusion: “[Melatonin] synergizes with [oxytocin] to promote [uterine smooth muscle] contractions and to facilitate gap junction activity [in a controlled testing environment]. Such a synergy in [a living human] would promote coordinated and forceful contractions of the late term pregnant uterus necessary for [childbirth]” (Sharkey, Puttaramu, Word and Olcese, “Melatonin Synergizes with Oxytocin to Enhance Contractility of Human Myometrial Smooth Muscle Cells“).
2. Candles and Music
Think of a romantic evening, where you are relaxed and safe and the oxytocin (also known as the love drug) is flowing. What do you see, hear and feel? Recreate that in your hospital room, after all, how are babies best conceived? Bring beautiful music and battery operated candles. Place the candles around the room and around the bath/shower area. Watching the glow can be a great focus for you during your waves.
3. Decorations and Linens
I always wonder how a woman can spend many hours thinking about the decorations for her wedding, the exact colours that please her, the beautiful fabrics and flowers that will surround her and her love on their special day but not plan how her birthing room will look. This woman brought her birth affirmation flags from her blessing way and fabric to cover the cushions. She was able to look up during the intense parts of her birth and see love from her circle of supporting women. The room looked like a bedroom with their own blankets, pillow cases, and photos that reminded them of home.
4. Re-organize the Room
Clients often aren’t aware that they can rearrange the non-medical furniture in the room. That bed in the middle of the room calling to you for relief, MOVE IT! Push it to the side. Birth is best done moving around and trying different positions for different stages. Women are drawn to crawl right into the bed. Take the sheets and lay them on the floor so you don’t have to worry about being on your knees or standing on the hospital floor. Use the towels and pillows and blankets. Make it your own.
5. Food and Drinks!
At our local hospital at 2am there is nothing around but some vending machines and a fridge with juice and popsicles. Pack nourishing snacks like nuts, veggies, fruit, crackers and cheese. Food that makes you feel good and gives you energy for your birth and for your team. Bring your own tea or juices that are maybe a bit healthier than what the hospital offers. The birthing suites usually will have their own mini fridge or a communal fridge in the kitchen on each floor.
With a fear of not wanting to be “the too much to deal with patient”, we fall into the thought of being a house guest in the hospital. Nervous to ask for extra supplies or make yourself at home, but you and your birth team can take control and maintain a respectful relationship with the staff at the same time. Remember, you are paying for this, make it your own!