The Only Way Through Is Through. The Birth Story of Miss Jade Elizabeth

The sun had finally finished descending for the evening and the aroma of Mom's home-cooking gently began to wake me from my early evening couch slumber. Dinner was ready so off to the bathroom I went for yet another preggo pee break. Much to my surprise, my water broke on the way there and initially had me questioning if I had seriously peed my pants. Annoyed and slightly embarrassed that this could be the case, I rushed to the bathroom and was quickly reassured that my bladder was not actually failing me (as it was in fact my waters that had released).

I instantly went through the four stages of early labour: "Holy Crap!" ... "Is This for Real?" ... "YAY...Finally!" ... and "Holy Crap...This IS for Real!" 😳

Knowing that something was up because I hadn't yet come to the table, my Mom came into the room to find me and make sure everything was ok. I told her the situation and explained that I had just got off the phone with Chris to let him know that he was going to have to get ready to leave work and start making the trip back from Fort McMurray to Lac La Biche (even though he had just returned the day before). The plan was set: the kids would finish their dinner while I got my things together, I'd put them to bed and they would stay home with Grandpa while my Mom and I drove to my Grandma's house to meet Chris (and my midwives when I needed them).

My kids hopped into bed just like any other night at Grandma's house. I snuggled in next to them and we decided we would read the new book I had bought for Chris: Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA - by Jimmy Fallon. After we were done reading, I explained to them that Mummy might need to go to Great Grandma Rose's house that night to have the baby and, that if I did, Grandpa would still be home and that Grandma would be back soon after driving me over. My news was met with a little uncertainty and unhappiness as they had wished to come to Lac La Biche as well but it was late and thankfully they had been totally played out that day with lots of fresh air so they were tired and weren't in the mood to argue further. I hugged them both close and breathed them in as they quickly fell asleep. I knew that would be my last "tuck-in" with just two kiddos under my wings so I savoured every easy moment of it...

It was only minutes before they were both sound asleep so after giving my Dad a big hug and reassuring him that all would be well, my Mom and I loaded into the truck and set off for the hour-long drive. Thankfully, Alberta highways (and their potholes) leave a little to be desired this time of year so all the bumps got my early birthing waves going quite nicely. By the time we arrived at my Grandma's house, things were moving along swiftly and Chris greeted us at the truck (as he had beat us there by about 15 minutes).

We started getting settled into the quaint birthing space that we had set up in my Grandma's spare bedroom. I put a little more air in the birth pool and readied the space with some tea light candles and essential oils. My birthing waves slowed a little while we transitioned to our new space but it didn't take long before I had the lights out, the music playing and was back in the zone and allowing my body and baby to work as they needed to. Around 2:00 in the morning, I had been having rather consistent waves so decided to call my midwife. She arrived shortly after and began preparing her supplies while I continued to labour in my Grandma's living room. After a quick check, we found I was about half of the way to being fully dilated but it seemed that baby was in a wonky position (or something) because she wasn't quite coming down the way we had anticipated.

Having the doula and yoga skills I do was a blessing. My midwife and I came up with a game plan of what I could do to get babe to reposition and off I went to lunge and squat and rock and sway. I felt a lot like Captain Morgan at times but my waves were slowly gaining in intensity so it was all worth it. After some more work and a chance to rest in the birth pool for a bit, I was rather surprised to find out that there was still next to no progress in my labour by the time the sun began to rise. I won't lie, I really did think I'd be holding my baby in my arms by this point so had a bit of a mental hurdle I needed to cross. My waves were still slowly picking up in intensity but they seemed to be spacing out a little and it seemed that something was still "off".

After another few hours with pretty much zero progress in my labour, Chris, my midwife and I started to discuss the reality of a hospital transfer to see if we couldn't get things going a little quicker...or at least see if we couldn't find out what was preventing baby from coming down and out. I had never experienced this with my previous labours so was confused, a little discouraged but mostly annoyed. It was almost noon, I was getting tired and my waters had been ruptured for quite some time by this point. We weighed all of our options and decided it was time to pack things up and go get checked out - it would seem my homebirth plans were unravelling before me but I knew it was time to go...

I always say that everything happens for a reason and am a firm believer in mother's intuition. It took me awhile to mentally accept that my "dream homebirth" was no longer going to be a reality but I know the universe always provides you with what you need (not necessarily what you want). I was initially disappointed, there's no doubt about that, but I also knew that there was a reason for all of this and that at some point, I would be gifted with the answers.

As we started to pack things up and get ready to drive over to the hospital, my birthing waves started to pick up even more. For a split second, I considered staying right where I was but then began to wonder if maybe my body or my baby knew that where we were going was where we needed to be. We arrived at the emergency room registration area, greeted by my amazing midwife, and got settled as the nurses admitted me. When the doctor finally arrived and introduced herself, I had chills down my spine. If I would have closed my eyes while she was speaking, I would have thought the late, great Vilia Tosio was sitting right across from me. I immediately had flashbacks to her memorial service just two weeks prior and the powerful words a fellow doula had shared. My eyes still well up when I think about how she envisioned Vilia's new work being that of the "keeper of the babies" ... supporting and encouraging them as they prepared to come earthside ... and reminding them to let their mums know how amazing they are. ❤️

My conversation with her was a bit of blur, however, as I was having a different one inside my head. I knew deep in my soul from that moment that everything was going to be ok and that it would work out just as it needed to. With my midwife still by my side, I agreed to be checked out by this new doctor and just minutes before she began her exam, I had yet another huge release of waters. I couldn't believe how much amniotic fluid my baby had been swimming in and mentioned a few times that I now understood why my belly was SO darn big...

I knew something was up as soon as she finished examining me. The energy changed as she immediately started asking for a speculum. It was very quickly confirmed that with that last gush of waters, my babe's umbilical cord had come down in front of her head. A Cord Prolapse: one of the last things you want to hear as a doula who knows a few things about birth AND especially as a mum who really just wants to come out of her experience with a healthy baby in her arms (nevermind hoping to avoid a surgical birth at all costs). My midwife grabbed the doppler and was having a hard time finding baby's heartbeat. I was asked to flip over onto my hands and knees and get my bum up in the air as high as it would go. I had flashbacks for the second time that day: to my very first doula training and our instructor telling us about what to do with our clients if this exact same scenario should ever unfold while labouring with them at home. I could not believe all of this was happening and yet, it felt like I was sitting by and observing everything even though I was very much in the middle of it all.

Waiting for the sound of that heartbeat was likely one of the scariest experiences of my life but it was also strangely one of the calmest. I remember my face being squished into the bed in front of me and asking them if they could raise the foot of the bed higher so I could be tilted even more. My back felt like it was bending in unnatural ways and looking back, I can now joke that I'm glad I had such a strong backbend practice throughout pregnancy. My midwife reminded me to breathe deeply.

"Your breath is her breath."

The exact same thing I remind the mamas I work with while they are labouring through intense contractions. It was all so surreal. Just then, the most magical sound in the world appeared across the doppler's speakers and I continued to breathe as the room filled with doctors and nurses and I was prepped for emergency surgery. Poor Chris didn't really have a clue what was going on (or the severity of it) so in true doula-husband fashion, was still asking questions and trying to advocate for me. I am always amazed by his strong, silent presence and how even though he was freaking out on the inside, he remained calm and cool and simply held my hand the whole time which, I know in my heart, is what kept me grounded. 

It wasn't long before the doctor came back to check on me again. I truthfully don't even know if she left because I was unaware of most of what was going on behind the scenes. I do, however, remember the exact moment she removed her hand from my body one last time and announced that she was able to push the cord back in behind baby's head. "We still have a shot," she said. "We want you to give birth to this baby vaginally if you can." I'll take it, I thought! I was still rocking a mean puppy pose until they were ready and they would still be bringing me into the operating theatre in preparation for a cesarean...this we knew. The only change of plans was that they would now check me one last time before going under to see if I was close enough to try pushing my baby out. Talk about pressure...ha! Throughout all of this, my uterus was still contracting and my body was still working my baby out. I still had a shot.

still had a shot.

Soon enough they were wheeling me into the OR and, in a last-ditch effort check, found me sitting around 8cm dilated. Close enough for them so surgery was put on hold and, as agreed, I continued to labour while baby was still doing well. Thankfully, transition is usually the shortest phase of childbirth because it really was NOT fun being on a teeny, tiny operating room table while managing the intense birthing waves that were taking over my body. Chris and my midwife were beside me, supporting me the entire time, and there was one particularly caring nurse who did everything she could to make the room a more peaceful place. She brought me water, Chris an ice-pak, and blew us all away when she started setting up a CD player with beautiful classical music playing in the background. She took all of this upon herself and I truly believe she is an angel on earth for her caring and peaceful demeanour. There were easily 10 or so doctors and nurses who had all been called in from their relaxing Easter Sundays but the energy was so calm and strangely light. I really do believe I had many positive, peaceful vibes being sent my way at that time and that operating room was proof.

I was vocal enough about the terrible-ness of trying to labour on the operating table that somebody finally had the brilliant idea of wheeling one of the maternity beds down to the OR. When it arrived, I was able to flip back over onto my hands and knees and had never felt such sweet relief. Ladies, labour is not meant to happen on your back!! It was at that same time that I was completely dilated and ready to start pushing my baby out and I was soooooo ready. This was when I realized one of the reasons why my labour had been taking so long...

I felt my baby very slowly making her way down the birth canal and knew instantly that I would be having a big girl. I pushed and pushed and pushed and felt her inch down ever so slightly but it was exhausting and she was definitely taking her sweet time. I had another mental hurdle to cross because I was losing steam and was really starting to doubt myself and my ability to get her out. I had made it this far but really didn't know if I could carry on much longer. All of a sudden, an affirmation that I had shared on my Facebook page just a couple weeks prior popped into my head.

"The only way through." 

This was true. I had made it this far and really couldn't see myself giving up at this point. So I pushed on and kept repeating the mantra to myself over and over in between pushes. I knew my baby would be earthside soon and I truly had to dig deep into the dark recesses of my soul to find the strength to get her head the rest of the way out. Anticipating that we'd be dealing with a shoulder dystocia because of her size, the doctors began mentally preparing me to flip back over to perform the McRoberts Maneuver once her head had finally emerged. Once again I was so very thankful for all of my training and knowledge as a birth worker because I can pretty much guarantee that if I didn't know what they were suggesting and why, I'd probably have lost my mind by that point.

Her head finally emerged and flipped over I did. It all happened so very fast and she most definitely was stuck. I had the assistance of a handful of doctors and nurses helping to get her out and for a split second I remember feeling like I was in a different world. I could feel her little shoulder stuck on some bone within my wasn't painful in the sense that I was was just very intense and, again, very surreal that I was able to simply feel all of these sensations without letting them overcome me. At one point, I heard my midwife say, "Push for your life, Jen!" and all of a sudden I felt like I was coming back to the room. It dawned on me then that I still had work to do and so once again I pushed with all my might and she finally came out...all 10 pounds, 11.6 ounces of her! Our beautiful baby, Jade Elizabeth was finally here and healthy and Chris and I could breathe a huge sigh of relief! 

About halfway through my pregnancy, I came across a quote about childbirth that touched me deeply. It says:

"It is said that women in labour leave their bodies... They travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies and return to this world together."

I feel like I knew when that exact moment was for me. And while many people were worried that I would be traumatized by my experience, I can honestly say I look back on my baby's entry into the world with complete peace in my heart. There was literally no time throughout my entire labour that I feared the process and I welcomed every single sensation as the teacher that it was. I am far from traumatized as I feel like I learned a lot from my sweet Jade's birth. I learned a lot about energy and intuition and trusting in the universe; I learned so much more about the amazing-ness of midwifery support than I ever could have imagined; I was reminded of how incredibly strong and grounded my husband is; and I learned so very much about myself and the true strength I have within me. I've been on a bit of a self-love crusade this past year or so and I used to think I knew what I was capable of...but now I really know. I also know what my new daughter is capable of and the wisdom she has held within her long before even being born.

So did I get the "dream homebirth" I had envisioned for so long? No, maybe not. But a homebirth was not my main reason for seeking out midwifery care. That would have been the icing on the cake but the real gift was having people surround me who truly supported me and believed in me. The real gift was having the ability to make informed choice throughout my whole pregnancy and not once feel guilty for it or pressured into anything. That's powerful...and is an opportunity I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Barbara Katz Rothman said that "Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers -- strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength." My sweet Jade's BIRTHday gave me that truly know...and I will forever be grateful to her for that. This may have been my third time "becoming" a mother but it was very much a separate, unique experience that has transformed me in ways I never knew possible.

Photos: Allison Andria Photography


When Everything and Nothing Changes

I read an article the other day on Scary Mommy and would be lying if I said I didn't feel a bit of angst and a slight tightness in my chest thinking about how my life is going to be completely altered as I welcomed my third baby into the world in just a few weeks.

It was about friendships (and relationships in general, really) and how they change so drastically when you have kids. I'll be the first to admit that I had a helluva time navigating life as a new Mom after my first was born and I know my friendships suffered because I tried to do it all on my own and really just ended up isolating myself. I consider myself very fortunate to have some really great friends that just "get me" and I had invested enough of my own heart and soul pre-kids that we made it through to the other side and found a new normal that works for us.

We might not go for coffee like we used to. And we'd all pretty much agree that we don't see eachother as much we'd like but we're all still on the same page and the solid foundation we have (from high school age) allows us to face the ebbs and flows of life with little issue.

Last night was the first time in a reallllly long time that ALL of us were actually available to get together. It had literally been months (if not close to a year) that some of them had even seen eachother. We met at a local restaurant for some drinks, laughed and caught up on life but generally just existed and enjoyed eachother's company as if it had only been days that passed by since our last meeting.

"Time is the largest asset that I am lacking to be able to devote to someone I can confide in outside of my marriage. Everybody needs a friend who just emphatically gets who they are. If you have yours, hang on to that relationship and don’t take it for granted."

It was last night that gently lifted the angst I felt and softened the tightness in my chest. It reminded me that while everything in life seems to be changing, somethings really don't change at all sometimes and that's perfectly awesome. It reminded me that I DO still have an amazing circle of women around me that I know I can call on in a heartbeat if I need them (and vice versa). Most importantly, however, it reminded me that while I have a major life event coming up that would seemingly take over the entire focus of my life, I cannot forget who I am and must make it a priority to continuously reconnect with myself and those who fill my soul in ways my children do not.

That's not being selfish....that's being true to myself. 

If you're not true to yourself and don't spend time filling your own cup first, how can you truly expect to be able to serve anyone else without a whole lot of resentment and exhaustion?

I feel very blessed to have been given this simple reminder on such a random evening of good times and laughs. The timing really could not have been more perfect. ❤️


When Did You Start Thinking You Weren't Good Enough?

I gotta rant on this crap for a minute here...because who seriously makes this stuff up? Using pictures of a beautiful baby for wrinkle creams? I mean, I get the cuteness and all but really?!

I grew up like many other typical teenage girls who didn't like the skin they were in. Probably starting around age 15 or 16, which is later than most girls I know, it seems that out of nowhere my world became an obsession with how much I weighed, what size my clothes were, whether my hair was just right, blah, blah, blah. I thought I was fat. I thought I needed a nose job because my nostrils weren't symmetrical. I thought my eyes were too squinty and that I just wasn't pretty enough.

Translation: wasn't good enough.

Looking back at old photos of myself as a teenager now makes me want to cry because I spent a hell of a long time hating on myself when I now know I was actually really beautiful. The beauty and purity of my heart shone out of my face like sunshine and if I only knew then what I know now, I wonder how many years I could've saved wasting time on things that truly don't matter....not to mention a lot of hurt.

If anything, all those years of self-hate really accomplished one thing and one thing only: they put me back a helluva long way now that I'm a mom in my 30's. I now deal with the most sorry excuse for a metabolism that anyone can imagine. I look at food and basically gain weight before even putting it in my mouth. My body is in a constant struggle with itself and I even lost my damn gallbladder at 17 years old!

I know that I will constantly have an uphill battle until I can get my body fully restored to health again and that's something I own and take responsibility for. BUT, my approach this last year or so has been completely life altering. Focusing from the inside-out, I've spent A LOT of time searching my soul and the dark recesses of my brain to figure out how I got to where I am and what I'm going to do to get to where I want to be without harming my body (or my mind).

But when I see pictures like the one above, I kinda just lose my proverbial shit and I know that's something I need to work on (so forgive me if it offends you).

In a matter of a few weeks, I'll have TWO daughters earthside. And I'll be damned if either one of them grows up thinking that there is ANYTHING wrong with themselves. I will never judge them on their appearance. I will never offer innocent "advice" on how they can improve their looks. And I will never, ever tell them that they could be better if they just: lost a little weight, threw on a little makeup, used this anti-whatever potion, dyed their hair a certain colour, wore this instead of that or any other piss poor excuse for "motherly encouragement".

I hope to raise fierce little girls who will grow up to be women who know their value and their worth and, pardon my language, will not give two sweet shits about wrinkles, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. I hope to raise girls who will stick up for themselves and play hard just like the boys and will know their strength and marvel in the abilities their bodies have...not worrying about how to fix them.

When did vanity become so cutthroat anyway? And it's coming at ya at all angles, too, these days! I get that a lot of people want and need to make money, but if your sole purpose of business is to tell people they're not good enough the way they are and that your product will save them, do NOT coming knocking at my door. I don't want your wraps or your creams or your vitamins. If you want to offer healthy solutions for learning how to love yourself and effect change in a natural, positive way, then I'm game.

I know I can't keep my kids in a bubble from the marketing and messages that are unfortunately being pummelled at them left, right and centre. But I can encourage them and love them and remind them over and over again of how perfect they truly are. And, more importantly, I can lead by example and show them that their mama believes that in herself, too.

That's where the real priority lies...


I Married My Father!

Ok, so that title may have caused a few heads to turn...but I don't mean literally of course! I often hear people say that a woman will often choose a life mate who very much resembles her father. I totally believe this to be true...for ME anyway.

My Dad and I have a very special kind of relationship. In the early years of my life when the Fort McMurray economy was...well...kind of like it is now, he had the chance to stay at home with me for the majority of our days while my Mom worked full time. He worked on various construction projects for a really long portion of his career and our family knew the same fear and turmoil that many families in Alberta are facing right now...a whole thirty years later. While I can't begin to imagine the stress and anxiety this caused my parents at the time, I'm kind of grateful it all happened the way it did because it allowed my Dad and I to develop a different kind of relationship that I feel very blessed to have.

I think Dad's get an unfair advantage for being typed as the only "big, strong, burly" figures in our lives. Don't get me wrong, my Dad is still all those things to me but I know he also has a soft, kind heart. He's the kind of man who would always have my back growing up (and I knew it). He would never, ever hold me back from doing what I wanted to do because I was a girl (except maybe mow the lawn). And I think I can count on one hand in total the amount of times he's raised his voice at me...although looking back the majority of those times were probably because I was interrupting the Habs game. Or there was that one time I was caught smoking...ha!

So what's your point, you say? Well, I write all of this as an opportunity to honour the man that has helped shape me into the woman I am today but also to highlight the very real fact that yes, I DID marry my father (and why that's so important to me).

That right there is MY hubby (well, his hands). Trying so very hard to put his little girl's hair in a ponytail before school. He did a pretty good job, too, considering his lack of experience.

It's moments like these (and so many others) that confirm everything I personally know about Daddy and Daughter relationships. It's moments like these that make me so very thankful (and proud) that this is the man I chose to marry and raise children with. It's moments like these, and knowing how much he and my Dad are alike, that give me hope that my daughters will also choose a life partner that will cherish and respect and love them more than they could ever imagine.

Because THAT's what it's all about...

Our daughters (and sons) need to know that they are loved. Simply and truly. Not only if they're following the rules. Not only if they're behaving the way YOU want them to behave. Not only if they're doing well in school or life. Always....and in all ways. It's up to us as parents, regardless of our personal experiences, to make damn sure that happens.

So many Dads work their asses off for their families and get very little time to spend with the ones they love. They carry such a huge weight on their shoulders and have to navigate a very different world when it comes to raising daughters. Moms don't often help either by naturally being critical (hey, I'm as guilty as the rest of you). BUT if we just took a moment every now and then to appreciate all of these little moments, I think it would do the men in our world a great service and give them a chance to shine their light in whichever way they know how. And when they do, let it happen. Let the moments unfold without trying to control them. Let them be the big kids they are...because that is exactly what we need more of in this world. Truly.

Peace & Health,


Finding Calm in the Chaos of Motherhood

I can feel when I’m becoming overwhelmed by motherhood. I begin to raise my voice a little sooner. I lose my cool over things I’d normally never bat an eye at. I sigh…a lot. Some days I wish that I had a “real job” that I could retreat to so that I could adult all day with other adults like it’s some kind of party. And other days I even resent my childless friends (and many times even my husband).

Sometimes it happens. I’m only human after all. I’m not proud of it but it is what it is. Show of hands, who can relate? And why?

Why do we do this to ourselves as moms? Why do we take the weight of the world and all of life’s responsibilities on our shoulders without asking for help? Are we trying to be superwomen on purpose? Are we looking for a medal? Because you know what? I don’t think that medal is ever coming…

So why the hell are we suffering? Well, for starters, I think it’s really hard to be a mom in today’s society. It seems everyone is fighting a battle that is never going to be won. I can be a stay at home mom who is constantly criticized by society for “giving up” my career (and don’t I dare complain about getting to stay home all day not having to “work”). Ha! I can also be a working mom who is constantly criticized by society, and other moms, for shortchanging my kids (and how dare I “let somebody else raise my kids”). MmmHmm…see where I’m going with this?

You can’t friggen win! Ever.

So here’s my solution: Stop Competing! Stop Comparing! Live and let live. And, if YOU are happy with YOUR life…guess what? You’re golden, pony boy!

 But how do we do that?

In my line of work as a yoga teacher and doula, I am beginning to notice an alarming trend of really, really stressed out moms with nowhere to turn and nobody to talk to. I know part of it is the standards we set for ourselves that, in most cases, are just too much. But another reason boils down to the cold hard truth that motherhood can be very, very lonely. And whether you leave the house to go to your place of employment or you spend your days at home, we’re all doing work. And at the end of the day, there’s only one person who is inside your head when the kids are finally in their own beds and you have hopefully done whatever tasks you need to do before you can fall into your own bed to seek solace before another day. When this happens day in and day out with no reprieve, we begin to get worn down. Being human, we get cranky. We have less patience and tolerance not only for our children, but also for human beings in general. Our sunny dispositions can quickly turn to an online catfight with the simple click of a ‘Like’ – and that’s where the competitions and criticisms and all-out wars come from. We know deep down that we’re all trying our best but when we personally feel defeated, we tend to lash out. Misery does love company as they say.

So when I’m feeling overwhelmed and can sense the temperature inside me is beginning to rise, what do I do?

I find an outlet.

Some days it’s a yoga class. Some days it's simply taking a few deep breaths. Other days I have a full out meltdown and cry like a baby. Whatever it is, it’s a way to release pent up energy and emotions and it works like a charm every single time. Then I vow to be more mindful of what’s happening in my world and each time it becomes easier and easier to notice that I’m letting myself get caught up in it all.

Finding balance as a mom is paramount. Why live a life of anxiety and stress and negativity? What purpose does that serve and do you really want your kids to grow up with a mom like that? I didn’t think so.

So show up for YOURSELVES mamas! Have a cold, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Am I really happy?” If you’re not answering yourself back with a resounding YES then begin to peel back the layers of what’s going on in your world and find some small ways to change that so one day your answer will be different.

Reach out to a mama friend you trust. Tell your husband how you really feel. Sign up for that next yoga challenge and don’t ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Ever. Then let me know how you make out. Misery may love company but I believe the same to be true about happy people. It’s good to surround yourself with people who generally love life. Your energy feeds theirs and vice versa. Love it up and have fun!

We all have only one shot at this game of life so why not make it worth it? And then maybe, just maaaaaaaybe, we’ll become shining examples to our kids, too, so that they can grow up respecting themselves and knowing the true meaning of balance and happiness.

Think of the future they could have…

Peace & Health,

Me Time

I'm not sure what I did to make the pregnancy gods happy but whatever it was, I hope I keep it up!

It's just after 8:30. Both my kids are in their beds. I didn't have to stay in bed with either of them for nearly an hour in order to keep them there. I can now enjoy a hot cup of tea and it will actually stay HOT the whole time! #winning

Yes, there is a pile of laundry on that chair in the corner. No, I do not plan to fold it tonight. I'm doing me-time mamas! Have a glorious night! xo

Peace & Health,


Belly Doctors

These little nutcases are excited to soon meet the newest little member of the family. Carson, my youngest, asked me today if our town had belly doctors? I asked him what for? He replied with, "Well there is a baby in your belly so you need a belly doctor!"

He's three.

I can't wait to teach him about all the different kinds of "belly doctors" there are...being the son of a doula, he has no idea what he's in for when he's older!

Peace & Health,


Why Midwifery Care Matters

It was dark by the time I got home from my prenatal appointment yesterday. My car was covered in a slushy, messy, frozen coating of snow and ice from driving three hours in a not-so-lovely storm. I had spent the previous night at my Mom's house in Athabasca so that I wouldn't have to make a round-trip from Fort McMurray to Plamondon for my appointment. When you're in your third trimester, a six hour trip in a car makes for a looooong day - no matter how many breaks you take - so I like to split it up when I can.

My kids missed me terribly and squealed with delight when I walked in the door. It was my husband's last day off and he was cooking up a storm in the kitchen: preparing to serve up some slow-cooker meatballs. I really am so very lucky to have such an amazing partner in life.

I missed them, too. But I was home and all was well.

When I first made the decision to apply for midwifery care at the beginning of my third pregnancy, I did it with a very small amount of hope that I would actually be accepted and thought that if I should get so lucky, I would worry about the logistics then.

You see, there are no midwives in the town I live in. That's right! ZERO midwives...even though we have well over 100 babies born per month in our one tiny hospital.

Being lucky enough to be accepted into a midwifery practice for this baby also meant, for me, that I would not be birthing my baby in my home town. It meant that I would be travelling a total of six hours round trip for every.single.appointment. It meant that I would have to pack up my family and my life in the last couple weeks of my pregnancy. It meant all of that but I was still absolutely OK with it - and I wouldn't be the first mom to do it either!

So here I am now, in the homestretch of my pregnancy and with all the travelling I've been doing lately, it seems I've had a lot of time to think. My most recent trip had me thinking hard about why midwifery care was so important to me and why I was making all these sacrifices just to have the experience I've been longing for since the birth of my first child five years ago.

It was this trip that had me realize that it's not just the birth "experience" that matters. My midwife and I had a great conversation about birth plans and birth stories and she reminded me that the "experience" really lies within the four walls of my own mind. This is something I know well and often tell the moms I converse with work in my work as a doula. But to hear someone say it back to me was exactly what I needed.

I realized that having a midwife is not just about having a home birth. It's not just about having a "natural" birth (whatever that really means these days). The most beneficial part I'm realizing as a newbie mom to the midwifery model of care is that responsibility for whatever kind of birth you want, is in YOUR hands. Midwives encourage moms to research and make truly informed decisions. They encourage moms to THINK about their bodies, their births and their babies....something I'm noticing is becoming less of a thing these days and I don't know why.

Don't get me wrong: I trust and respect doctors just as much as the next guy but what I will never understand is the countless number of moms who just "go with the flow" naively throughout their entire pregnancies. Never asking questions. Never wondering WHY induction and cesarean rates are so high. Never allowing themselves to have a voice during a time in their life that is so incredibly transformational. Just accepting the status quo as is.

Midwives change that!

They ask YOU why...
They ask you how YOU feel...
They ask what YOU want to do...
Because they know it matters.

When a woman is tasked with having to make decisions for herself...she educates herself. I truly believe that no matter what kind of birth a mother has - natural, vaginal, med-free, epidural, induced, cesarean, whatever - a few appointments with a midwife will give them the confidence in themselves to know WHY they are experiencing what they are experiencing. They will then take ownership of those experiences and they will transform into motherhood with the kind of rock-solid confidence and take-no-shit attitude that so many mamas are lacking these days (my past-self included).

THIS is why midwifery care matters.

And without even discussing the cost-saving a midwife provides, THIS is why women (and men) around the world need to keep pressuring our goverments to keep midwifery care alive.

If you agree, please feel free to share!

Peace & Health,


My Baby...My Birth

#abmidwives matter and they need long term contracts! The birthing families of #ymm deserve to have options and, right now, they are very limited.

I'm currently travelling from Fort McMurray to Plamondon every few weeks (by choice) just so I can have a midwife for the birth of my third baby. It's a sacrifice my family and I are willing to make but we shouldn't have to... #mybabymybirth