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Tag Archives: doula

Why I’m Hiring A Birth Photographer, Finally..

by Heidi

Why I’m hiring a Birth Photographer, Finally…

So this is my 3rd pregnancy/birth.  It’s coming up fast next month and we’re planning a home birth this time around.  Midwives, doula, family, the whole works will be there in our home.  Now why can’t one of these people simply grab a camera and take some photos during my labour? Sounds like it would be easy enough, especially with technology these days even on our cell phones!

I want to capture those very special once in a lifetime moments of my baby entering the world as I’m sure you do as well. But after my other two births I realized that I shouldn’t leave it up to an amateur. While my family and friends tried their best and grabbed my camera out of my labour bag to snap some pics, they mostly turned out blurry and grainy.  Strange angles and poor lighting.  I loved that they also wanted to save these memories for me but I shouldn’t have to put that responsibility on their shoulders.

So this time I’m hiring a… BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER!

I want a professional, practiced and trained in low lighting (because let’s get real, most babies come at night) with high quality equipment.  It makes a difference! If you’ve ever been to a birth with a photographer you will be amazing by how sneaky and quiet they are,  they creep around the room finding the best angles and making sure to capture all the special moments of your strength bringing your baby into the world. It takes skills to do this! Trust me… you want someone who knows birth and understands the phases of labour so they can be one step ahead at all times.

I wish I had realized all this the first two times around but for my 3rd birth I am ecstatic that I can look back in years to come and see my strength, struggles and how my birth team surrounded me to bring my baby earth side.

I want photos of my mom holding my hand.

My husband whispering loving words to me while I lean on him.

My sisters boiling water in the kitchen to make tea.

How our living room looked with a birth pool set up and twinkle lights surrounding us.

My midwife calmly watching with assurance of my ability to birth.

These are important to me, I want to remember these things and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Also, my very favorite local birth photographer is Dori Marie Photography.  She was kind enough to share her work with us and I highly recommend this sweet woman! I know you will LOVE her.

www.dorimariephotography.com

Yellow Bird Birth Services

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Birth Out Loud: In the Philippians Pt.2

by Heidi

Midwife clinic

“The hardest part for my husband I think was not having me around. Being a full time dad. He is a provider so not earning any money brought feeling like he wasn’t providing for his family was hard for sure. He had to sacrifice that a lot those years.
I spend a lot more time alone in Canada than I did in the Philippines. We just live with the 4 of us in the house as opposed to the 20 people rotating in and out so there’s a lot more isolation here. There is also a lot less fear involved in the first year here. I’m finding I have a lot less to worry about with her. In the Philippines death is so common in the first year, it’s so common. That’s why you never celebrate the birth, only the first birthday. So for my son being born in the Philippines, we came from a culture where of course we would celebrate the birth but they didn’t. It just is known that a lot of babies die. So in Canada now there’s this excitement around her that wasn’t there with my son. Because here people expect them to live, and usually they do. It the rural areas, maybe 30-40% don’t make it to their first birthday. Probably most of those are before 6 months.”

 

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Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Love Local, Be Local

by Heidi

        Let’s talk local and community for a minute.

       Last night I had a great evening attending the Fraser Valley Boss Ladies networking event and ended up sitting beside a sweet woman who not only makes the most ADORABLE pies In A Jar but is also the creator of Loving Local in Chilliwack, BC.  She creates events/markets that bring vendors, live music, food trucks and so much more together.  I told her that she was awesome and how big of an undertaking that must be!  But honestly, I love her idea of bring local people together to create a community of support and empowerment.  For business and personally. She wrote this on her page:

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success ~ Henry Ford

        I love this as it relates so much to building up your village around birth and raising children together.  I’m not talking communal living here, although how sweet would that be?!  I mean having people around you who build you up daily, pouring into your life and you into theirs.  They sit with you over coffee and listen to your struggles, they help you discover the answers, and shine joy back into you. They come alongside as your children grow to be beautiful role models and help guide them through the harder times.  Did you have this growing up?  Aunts and Uncles perhaps, or maybe family friends?  It made all the difference in my life… especially as a teenager, but you know what?  That village was created long before I became a teenager with the trust and love already established. I want this for my children.

 

Happy loving family. mother and child girl playing, kissing and hugging

Pregnancy is tough.  Birth is tough.  Raising children is tough.  It’s time to build your village.

If you don’t already have people in your “village”, I want to challenge you today to reach out.  Build relationships by joining groups (online and in real life), talking to your neighbors and creating a space in your home that is open for others to come in. It starts with you. Go and be local.

Also, check out Loving Local’s event in August called “Made In The Valley”.  I will definitely be there!

-Amanda, Owner & Doula

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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She is there.

by Heidi

She is there. Someone to be the “woman to woman” connection that is so primal and instinctive.  She reminds you that your body is strong and was made for this and that your baby is safe and ready.  She enhances your partner’s ability to be fully present for you and help him alongside this beautiful marathon that is birth.

Doula

She knows you through the hours of prenatal sessions together and knows your desires for birth.  She supports your choices and is there to gently remind you what your options are.

She helps you breath and focus, to go inward and let the tightening’s flow as you ride them out.  She keeps the lights low and the space in the room calm so you can get that good oxytocin flowing.

doula

She reminds you to follow your heart, gut and intuition.

She suggests movements and positions to help your baby move further down, to help you rest and to connect with your partner.  She massages your feet, puts pressure on your back and grabs a cool cloth for your forehead.  She brings you back during transition when you want to close your eyes and are done.

A doula is a woman with experience and knowledge in birth.  She comes along on this journey as a guide and an encouragement.

She is there. 

-Amanda & Jaclyn

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Need a bit of SPICE in your Pregnancy?

by Heidi

Need a bit of SPICE in your pregnancy? Hint… We aren’t talking cooking.

It’s the month of love and it’s getting steamy with couples ready for Valentine’s Day.  Roses, chocolate and perhaps a night away in a romantic hotel furnished with the MOST COMFORTABLE bed you have ever slept in.  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  All of this won’t get you revved up and ready for a spicy night with your partner if your hormones have taken your sex drive hostage!

It happens. Many women have a pumped up drive during pregnancy while others wonder if they will ever get back to feeling sexy and normal again! Fair enough, your body has undergone major changes and perhaps nausea and tiredness are still lingering.

Slight changes in your day can prepare your mind and body to get you in the mood.  Touching throughout your day is a perfect way to feel connected.  Holding hands during a walk, a bit of a longer kiss before you leave for work and spending an evening cuddled up together all help lead to a steamy night.  Does fatigue at night when you crawl into bed makes sex the last thought on your mind?  Try switching to mornings or afternoons when you feel more awake.

Pregnant Couple

Did you know research indicates women who regularly engage in intercourse during pregnancy have lower chances of giving birth prematurely? Having orgasms may be the key to lowering chances of giving birth early.  Great news, now let’s get spiced up!

  • Buy Maternity Lingerie: What better way to feel good than flaunting your new curves with intimates that are pretty AND comfortable!
  • Book a Photo Shoot: Maternity shoots are all the rage right now.  Spend an afternoon in a cozy bedroom with candles lit, music playing and some bright red lipstick as all the attention is on you making beautiful poses.  Or take it outdoors to a lush forest with a flowing dress that fits your curves oh so well.
  • Escape on a Baby-moon: A romantic little hotel in the next city for a night or flying away on a sun-filled, white beach vacation.  Either way a change of scenery may be the trick to spicing up sex!  Leave your worries at home and take some time to focus on each other before baby comes.
  • Find a Good Position: What felt good before might not be working for you.  Switch it up!  Getting on top, side by side (keeps the most weight off your uterus) or sitting down can make all the difference plus throwing a couple pillows in there takes comfort to the next level.

Communication and openness are the keys to maintaining or improving sexual satisfaction during your pregnancy.  Keep talking and remember, what is normal for other couples may not be normal for you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Amanda & Jaclyn

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Power of Wisdom and Experience

by Heidi

Nervous Pregnant

Newly pregnant, I went straight to the local book store and bought an armload of pregnancy and newborn books. I would read them during my lunch breaks at work, at night before bed and any chance I got to sit down and rest. I obsessed with knowing the details since I was nervous about how my body would grow and how at some point I needed to get this baby out of me!

Somehow I thought knowing more facts would take away the anxiety.

My doctor wasn’t much help, bless his heart, he hadn’t personally experience birth and couldn’t relate on an emotional level.  I needed someone to mellow me out and bring me to a place where I could start imagining what I wanted my pregnancy and birth to look and feel like.

You can find advice all over, a group of moms getting together and trying to top each others terrifying births (at least this was my experience) or being told I should “just get the drugs” from online forums, or the best of all.. random people in the grocery store giving me information on how I shouldn’t have a home birth/use a midwife.

Then I found it.  A women who had older children, who was calm, wise and very encouraging.  She had been there, through it all.  She gave me non judgmental advice on enjoying my experience.  Not putting all the focus on the birth but the postpartum period as well.  Making sure I was keeping my marriage strong and involving my husband throughout all the months.  She had power of experience and approached me as a mentor, not someone out to frighten me or give me false expectations.

I appreciate all she did and I want to encourage you to find the same! Someone you can trust and who cares for you.  I’ve had many mentors during different phases in my life and I believe it is how us women are meant to pass on knowledge and live in a loving community together.

-Amanda

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Why I Had a Hard Time Sleeping.

by Heidi

The first time I noticed it was when I got in an argument with my husband. I packed up my son in the car and drove to a beach an hour away. It had been a small fight over something silly but I made it into a much larger emotional deal and took off. I needed some time to take my shoes off and walk in the sand with my little boy.

The second time I noticed it was driving home on the highway and realized I would be driving over a bridge and that I should plan out exactly what should happen in case it collapsed and I needed to get my son out of his infant car seat. I calculated the time it would take and exactly how I would maneuver over the seats and out the window before we would lose air. My heart pumped faster as I drove across.

This started to become a daily occurrence and each time I would get a little scarier and over the top. Planning how I could escape if there was a fire and how I would get my child out, or if we were in a store I would take notice of the exits and the best escape routes. I’m an emotional person in the first place but being 6 months postpartum with hormones flying, I thought this was normal. That each mother felt like this for their children. I started exercising and that seemed to help keep my anxiety down but then I went through my second pregnancy and it started again. My family and friends didn’t know about this since I thought it was normal and couldn’t quite explain my thoughts.

The worst day. My husband was away for a week, my son was 2.5 years and my daughter was 5 months old. I tucked the little ones into bed and turned on a movie to wind down for the evening. I did my usual checking out the window but turned off the lights and relaxed. After my show was done I went into my bed, closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep.

I heard a noise, jumped out of bed and checked out the front window. It must have been the neighborhood cat which I logically knew but my mind wouldn’t calm. I checked every window in our home, every one of them. Then I walked around and turned on the lights in each room. I peaked in to check that my children were sleeping soundly in their beds. My heart was racing and nothing was helping. The house was lit up, no reason to be scared. Logically, no reason to be scared. But I was paralyzed.

I laid there stiff in my bed. Under the covers scared to move in case I would miss a noise from outside, wanting to pack up my children and run to my vehicle so we could drive to my mom’s. It was safe there and she would protect me. Only 10 minutes away but I couldn’t fathom leaving my front door. I was scared to walk from the house to the truck so I was stuck. In my bed awake until 3:30am waiting for something to happen to me.

This was post-partum anxiety.

This continued to happen, week after week I would have at least one or two nights of no sleep, staying up until early in the morning.  Until the sky started to get light again.

Being open about my fears has been key. I try to talk them out loud when they begin and make sure I am understanding the difference between normal and anxiety. I often would wake my husband up during the night to discuss it and get it out in the open. However, the most help has still been exercising. When you see photos of me hiking way up on a mountain cliff, it’s not because I am trying to be competitive (even though I love doing that too), it’s facing my fears and pushing my body to limits that I never thought so that I can take back the control of being scared and anxious. I know who I am more than I have my whole life now.

While I don’t mean to make women worried with these stories, I want to make it known that post-partum anxiety is much more common than you may figure. Women are dealing with these same fears all over the country right now. If this is you, please know there is help and we can point you in the right direction to resources. I tried to reach out to my midwife at 6 months post-partum and no one returned my messages. I don’t want this to be you. Postpartum anxiety is real, serious and there is help.

-Amanda

Doula and Prenatal Fitness Instructor in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford and Chilliwack

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Birth Stories: Whitney and Manolo

by Heidi

Birth Stories: Whitney and Manolo

Photos by Mikaela @ Mikaela Ruth Photography

I first met these two in a little coffee shop down town, they were sweet and excited about getting to meet their little one in only a few weeks.  We had a couple prenatal sessions working on birth desires, massage and pain relief techniques, positions and what to expect through each phase of the birth process and into postpartum.  I know they would make a great team together with the way he supported her and the way she trusted him.

As labour began it was time to head into the hospital…  I will let the photographs take it from there as I prefer the couple tells their own details of the birth <3

http://mikaelaruthphotography.com

http://mikaelaruthphotography.com

Luka's Birthday-0020-edit

http://mikaelaruthphotography.com

Luka's Birthday-0048

View More: http://mikaelaruthphotography.pass.us/lukas-birthday

View More: http://mikaelaruthphotography.pass.us/lukas-birthday

View More: http://mikaelaruthphotography.pass.us/lukas-birthday

Huge thank you to this lovely couple for inviting me into their birth team and for sending me these photos to share with you all!  Congratulations on your sweet little one!

Check out Mikaela’s website for more of her BEAUTIFUL work.

-Amanda

Doula and Prenatal Fitness Instructor in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford and Chilliwack

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Do You Love Your Strength?

by Heidi

When was the last time you loved every part of your body? When you took a moment to appreciate every muscle, visible or not? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and became in awe of your reflection?

Your body’s strength. How it has adapted to life changes. It’s softness. It’s hardness. The beauty it’s made of.

I haven’t always thought this way. It’s been a journey.

In my early twenties I started a dance class at The Goddess Movement in Abbotsford. At first I was nervous and self-conscious but the more I relaxed and followed the music, the more fluent my movement became. Catching my reflection in the mirror and appreciating the way my body moves and flowed and pushed through each step. It was amazing and I loved it! After a while I started instructing my own classes and made a point to the women to love what they saw even if it didn’t feel natural at first. Pick a favorite part, legs, shoulders, or even how their hair flipped through the air and just be in awe.

Pregnancy is where the real changes happened. Emotionally and physically. While I didn’t enjoy maternity jeans and giving up my heels, I loved the changes and new shape as I was growing my baby. I was fascinated by how each cell had a job and did its part to nourish and prepare for birth.   I loved that my arms were strong enough to grip the squatting bar as I pushed my baby out. I respected how my pelvis expanded to let my baby be born with ease and how after the whole birth process, I had a boost of hormones that left me on a high for hours, unable to sleep.

Pregnancy

It was hard at first but I started hiking to regain my endurance and strength after my pregnancies. I guess it was the feeling of climbing a mountain, seeing the view at the top and knowing I did it! The rush of pushing through with adrenalin releasing as I climb over steep cliffs and scramble to the very top of the highest mountains in the valley. Just the other day I took on a new adventure with the encouragement of two sweet women. I kept thinking over and over, how did I get this far? Where did this strength come from? I love what my body can do!!! I was in awe… with very sore legs and a little sun burnt but definitely in awe.

Next time you are looking in the mirror, find something you really love… appreciate a movement your body does… respect the amount of time it took for you to get to where you are today.

Hiking

-Amanda

Birth Doula and Mother Of Two

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Happy Mother’s Day!

by Heidi

Mother NewbornTo My Children on Mothers Day

No one else

will ever know

the strength

of my love

for you.

After all, you two are the

only ones

who know

what my heart sounds like

from the inside.

Author Unknown

-Amanda

Doula and Mommy of Two

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