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Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Blessings For A Mother

by Heidi

Let me introduce you to Edolbina.  She is the sweetest, seriously guys, the sweetest!  Her spirit is gentle and caring, she loves people and has a fierce passion for birth.  Rightly so that she would choose midwifery for her career and mission.  She enjoys watching her little boy explore the world, loves supporting her husband through life and will be there first one there if someone needs help.  Plus she has a love for iced coffee as much as I do!

Blessing Way Pregnancy

This weekend was a day that we could surprise and pamper her!  Edolbina is expecting her second sweet little babe and we couldn’t be more excited.

Blessing Way Pregnancy

If you aren’t sure what a Mother Blessing (Blessing Way) is then come take a look into our lovely gathering of women.

Blessing Way

Basically, it’s a way to honor, encourage and love on a women at her time prior to giving her.  It’s showing her that she has a strong village of support from the women around her.  Spending time reading beautiful words to her, pampering her with relaxing foot baths, painting affirmation flags for her birth space and so much more!  Oh and of course, delicious food!

DSC_8318

Birthing Affirmations

Rather than the usual focus on materialistic items (baby gifts) and games about the baby, this is a time to spend in connection to prepare for birth.  Positive stories are spoken and lots of love given!

Blessing Way

We are wishing you all the best in your beautiful birth Edolbina.

You are a rockstar!

Pregnant Woman

Also, want to give a shout-out to Lydja with Hourglass Birth Photography for using her talents to capture this event!

-Amanda, Doula/Owner

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Agency 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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Car Seat Safety Part 2: Choosing A Seat

by Heidi

Where to start when choosing a car seat for your baby

Choosing a car seat for your baby-on-the-way doesn’t seem like too difficult a task…until you walk into a store, or start searching online and see all the options. And then how do you choose? Maybe a friend or relative has had a baby recently so you ask them what they have. Maybe you just decide to find one in a colour you like. Some people like to pick a stroller first and then see what car seat is compatible with that stroller. These are helpful starting points, but it can get more complicated than that.

Every vehicle, baby and adult comes in all shapes & sizes, and families have budget that vary as well. This can create some challenges. Are there other children, pets or adults that travel in the vehicle too? Is there a possibility of baby being pre-term or low birth weight? As a car seat tech, we take all these things into consideration when making suggestions.

woman choosing child car seat for newborn baby in shop supermarket

Things to keep in mind when shopping for an infant only car seat (Some convertible car seats may be used from birth, but I would talk to a certified tech or do some extra research before taking that route. It’s just as safe as using an infant only seat, provided the seat fits your newborn and is able to be installed at the required newborn angle in your vehicle):

-Weight & Height limits. Infant seats in Canada generally fall into the range from 4-35lbs and have a maximum height limit of between 29-32” (74-81cm). Most infant only car seats have upper weight limits of 22, 30, 32 or 35lbs.

Most of us are more familiar with weights of babies & children. We focus on that number and it is important, but the majority of kids will outgrow their car seats by height before they ever reach the weight limit. If you are trying to decide between a 30 or 35lb version of a seat, and you & your partner are tall, I would opt for the one with the higher height limit as opposed to being fixated on the weight. To give you some perspective, the 50th percentile girl will reach 30lbs around age 3. My 16 month old nephew is a big boy at 30lbs, and lands above the 97th percentile on the growth chart. On the other hand, many babies will put on weight fast in the first few months and can be 22lbs by 4 months of age, and you might not be ready to start using a convertible (RF & FF seat that remains installed in the vehicle). Babies generally slow down their weight gain, so don’t panic that your child is going to outgrow the infant seat soon if your baby is 15lbs at 8 weeks!

-Lowest Harness Slot. This might be one of the most important things to look for. There are several seats we do not recommend because they do not fit an average newborn at all.

The box says it fits from 5lbs, so why won’t a 7lb baby fit? Because the harness straps must be AT or BELOW the baby’s shoulders and if the lowest harness slot isn’t low enough, the baby is too small for the seat. All the infant seats on our recommended list have low enough slots to accommodate even small babies because they all have low enough harness slots or positions. How to check: when you are at a store that has infant seats on display, look at the distance from the crease of the seat (where baby’s bum would be), to the lowest slot. Compare a few seats. You may notice some have a much greater distance. A long torso baby may fit just fine in these seats, but that’s a gamble. If you are at risk of preterm or low birth weight babies, this is especially important. Currently, all seats that start at 4lbs also have low harness slots to accommodate small babies.

-Fit to Vehicle.

Some seats are more narrow than others. Some are shorter front to back. If you have other people or child seats in your vehicle or if the front to back (leg room) situation is short, these are very important factors.

Some bases have built in lock offs that make install the base securely easier than with the seat-belt alone, if lower anchors (UAS) are not available in that seating position. All bases have UAS hooks included although some seating positons (mostly the centre seat) do not allow borrowing the anchors from the outer seating positions so require a seatbelt install. Some vehicles do not have UAS (any vehicle made after 2001 will have at least two seating positions with UAS), so seatbelt install is required. Do not use both UAS AND seatbelt together. It’s one or the other, not both. They are equally safe as long as the install is correct. Always read your manual to see what is permitted for your specific seat.

Vehicles come with all sorts of slopes on their 2nd row seats. Some bases are adjustable while others require the use of a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle segments to achieve a proper newborn recline. Having the seat installed at the proper recline is very important as it helps keep a newborns airway clear.

-Ease of Use.

Can this seat be installed easily in most vehicles? Does the handle require a specific locked position when driving that is going to be an issue? Can this seat be installed baseless easily when we ride in other vehicles other than our primary car? Is this seat heavy, even when empty and going to be an issue to carry around when a larger baby is in it? These are all great question and a friendly CRST would be happy to answer these questions for you!

Contacting a car seat tech can help you narrow your search to specific seats that meet your needs, are best suited for your vehicle and fit your budget. There are some fantastic seats on the low end of the budget scale, so you don’t always have to pay big bucks on a seat that you may use for under a year.

More expensive seat might not necessarily mean they are safer, but have certain features that make use easier or may fit your vehicle better.

Need help? Have questions?

Find a nationally certified CRST (Child Restraint Systems Technician) near you here!

Find a tech

A great resource is our friends over at Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs. They keep an up-to-date compilation of recommended Canadian car seats. If you don’t see the seat you’ve been eyeing on this list, there’s likely a good reason it’s missing. : http://vicarseattechs.com/our-favourite-seats/infant-seats/

-https://www.facebook.com/groups/FraserValleyCarSeatSafety/

Janice Kampman, CRST

I’m a Fraser Valley based car seat technician, passionate about child passenger safety. I have 4 young kids and usually 5 car seats installed in my van. I love working with people to figure out a 3-across that works for their vehicle, testing fit of car seats in clients vehicles (with my vast collection of seats!) and advising people of what seat would work best for their situation. You can contact me here:

[email protected]

Fraser Valley’s Primer Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth!

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Blessingway Necklaces, Handmade by Opechee

by Heidi

Blessingway Necklaces, Handmade by Opechee

I have to say, meeting Monica at the Vintage Market last month was such a treat.  She is sweet, lovely and makes BEAUTIFUL creations!

Blessingway 1

Each bead in a blessingway necklace is gifted to the momma to be by a loved woman in her life.  Along with the bead, a positive message of love and encouragement is given to her for her labour and her entry into motherhood.  The blessingway necklace is then strung by Monica (Opechee) with love and positive thoughts for her labour and delivery.  It serves as a reminder of her village and can be used as a focus during labour to remember how strong and loved she is.

Blessingway2

A beautiful gift to an expecting mother to wear during her labour so she can have a constant reminder of all the love and support circling around her.

Make sure you visit and Like Opechee (o-pea-she): Jewelry featuring chic designs built around one of a kind vintage pieces HERE and find your own personal blessingway necklace! (and so much more!)

Not sure what a blessingway is?  Read here!

-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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20 Things to do in the Valley…While Pregnant

by Heidi

So you are pregnant…perhaps you are feeling a bit run down, tired of sitting at your desk or on your couch binge watching Netflix, and just needing to do something good for yourself. Well boredom be gone! Here are 20 things to refresh your mind, body, and spirit right here in the Fraser Valley that are doula and preggo-mom approved!

1. Walking is so good for you and your baby so take a stroll down the Vedder River Rotary Trail. This Chilliwack favourite is a flat, dog and stroller friendly trail that runs for 8km along the Vedder River. But have no fear, there are picnic tables, benches, portable toilets, and 5 different access points/parking lots along the way so it’s easy to just do a short section and return, or go for as far as you can and call someone to pick you up at the next stop!Vedder Rotary Trail2. Need some veggies or a hand made gift? Check out the Eco Market at Sardis Park! Every Wednesday evening from May to October, you can experience live music, yummy food, fresh produce and local artist sharing their crafts!

3. A La Leche League meeting is a great way to prepare for your baby and to meet other mom’s who have been where you are now! Questions are welcomed and you can know you are getting the best breastfeeding support from the lactation experts and experienced moms.

4. Rainy Day? Need to float? Head to the Chilliwack or Mission Leisure Centres for a dip. Swimming is an amazing way to stretch and gently work your muscles while taking the pressure off your back and feet!

Fraser Valley5. Need some baby gear? There are many swaps that happen throughout the year all over the valley. Some of our favourites are the Cloverdale Swap and Lil Rascals Swap Meet in Chilliwack.

6. Take a good read, like Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, to Wired Monk and enjoy a naturally decaf Roobios Tea Latte. Yumm

7. Need a perfect fitting nursing bra? Want to pick up some lovely things for baby or postpartum momma care? Head to With Child Birth and Baby Boutique and Nicole will set you up with all the goodies you need!

8. Don’t forget about prenatal fitness! Stay healthy and enjoy some time stretching and moving your body at Nurture You Prenatal Fitness Classes at The Goddess Movement in Abbotsford.

Prenatal Fitness Class9. Capture this precious time as your body grows and changes with a beautiful maternity photo shoot with Roxanna J Photography.

10. Looking for some baby swag?? Head to the Baby and Tot Show this October at the Tradex!

11. Treat Yourself! Head to Duft and Co Bakehouse for some delicious fresh pastries! And bring a girlfriend to wander the shops in Historic Downtown Abbotsford.

12. And while in Downtown Abbotsford, head to Precious Kargo to pick up some Charlee Dee baby accessories! They have the cutest drool cowls, bow ties, top knot head bands, and soother straps!!

13. Have a Blessingway lovingly orchestrated by Miranda from Elderberry Birth. Gather the women in your life to soak in their wisdom and blessings for your journey into motherhood whether it’s you first or fifth baby.

Pampering14. Let the pampering begin! Head to Gentebella Salon and Spa for a prenatal massage, and while you are there you might as well throw in a mani/pedi or facial!

15. Reconnect with your partner with a Babymoon at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel. Walk the beach, enjoy the natural hot springs pool, and indulge in a delicious meal. Take this time to relax and dream about your birth and your growing family.

Harrison Hot Springs16. Don’t have time for a weekend getaway? Enjoy a coffee and dessert date at Decades! Choose an intimate table and comfy chairs and let the conversation flow!

17. Take an afternoon and go antiquing in Fort Langley. Find that vintage high chair you’ve always wanted, or a new treasure in one of the many local shops!

18. Take a picnic to Heritage Park in Mission. Bring a kite for the kids (or yourself!) and take some cute selfies in the gazebo or on the bridge.

Pregnant Picnic

19. Take advantage of the nice weather and go to the Twilight Drive-In Theatre in Aldergrove! Bring some lawn chairs or cuddle up in the car. The drive-in is always a fun night, and the kids love it too!

20. Have a date with your Doula!! Get ready for your birth and ask all those burning questions in the comfort of your home. It’s never too early to learn how to use your breathing and birth ball for a joyful birth! <3

-Amanda & Jaclyn

Birth Doula’s in the Fraser Valley.

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The Gift of a Blessingway

by Heidi

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.10987315_10153149848078120_4470301643426764419_n

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.

Birth Supporters

Birth Supporters

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.

Birthing Affirmation Flags

Birthing Affirmation Flags

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.

Beautiful Mama

Beautiful Mama

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!10428545_10153149848123120_2655490022096101367_n

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.