Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions & Reflections

Starting this off with my current hopes and dreams or "My Resolution" for 2011.

To get my hands busy in some knitting and crocheting again.
Reading some books I already have before buying more.
Taking some artistic classes locally.
Taking Hypnobirthing training.
Relaxing, putting my focus on the health and well being of me and my fetus.
Then Back into Derby.

2010 was an amazing year! Looking back I know I could not have done it with out my family. SO Thanks to all of you My Shaner, Mummy, DC, Pookie, Dad & Keith. I don't know how we did do it. (My hormonal preggo brain can't get passed how tiring just thinking about it all is)

In the beginning of last year my big resolutions were to be the best Doula I could be, assisting as many clients through the birth of there choice as I could.
Getting my certification with DONA International.
Continuing my education as a childbirth supporter.

I was honoured to be chosen to support many couples and families through their childbirth and postpartum
experiences. I have kept records of certain details of the out come of each labour, birth and other fun facts! Some of the Statistics over the past year I found very interesting.

Age Group of Clients
16-20 12% . 21-25 45% . 26-30 35% . 30-35 8%

Number of Children
1st time Mother's 71% . 2nd time Mother's 14% . 3rd time Mother's 9% . 5th time Mother's 3% . 6th Time Mother's 3%

Weight of Babies
Biggest 10 lbs 12 oz, Smallest 5 lbs 2 oz, Average 8 lbs 6 oz

Clients breastfeeding 96%

Hours in Labour
5-10 hours 3% . 10-15 hours 26% . 15-20 hours 30% . 20-25 hours 20% . 25-30 hours 18% . 30-35 hours 3%

Spontaneous Vaginal Birth 97% . Unexpected Surgical Birth 3%

Pain Medication
Epidurals 23% . Other 11%

Induction Medication/Procedures
Induced Labour 26% . Augmentation 32% . Assisted Rupture of Membranes 31%

Less than 38 weeks 3% . Over 42 weeks 26%

Deliver with an Obstetrician 46%
Deliver with a Family Doctor 38%
Deliver with Other Medical Professional 16%

Father of Baby present during Labour 82%
Father of Baby Not present during Labour 18%

I became Certified with
DONA International in March. This was a longer process than I had thought it would. Making me all the more proud once I received my certificate, name tag and the privilege of using the initials CD(DONA) after my name. I had thought this was a big deal. It was! But at the time I didn't understand how much more was to be required of me. Learning to bite my tongue till it bled, keeping my self from gasping to the point that I almost explode, and holding an eye roll making me dizzy. Up holding the name of Doula's in my area by a professional conduct becoming to a Doula at all times was not easy in the thick of it all and continuity of care for each and every client even when there are only an hours break between. I got what I wished for and I am a better Doula because of it... but had I known then what I know now, I might have changed my wish.

My continuing education for the year of 2010 began in April with a bang! A trip to
The Farm, located near a little place called Summer Town so small many people living nearby didn't even know it was there or could give directions, all just outside of Nashville Tennessee. I have dreamt of seeing this place since I was about 14. The reality of it in person was far beyond what I had imagined, The Farm really existed! Then meeting Ina May Gaskin, sitting under her trainings and teachings was awesome. But meeting Pamela Hunt and her daughter-in-law Stacy Hunt 2 of the famous The Farm Midwives among many others, they did not disappoint. Learning from these women was one of the greatest things I may ever experience in my whole life.
In May I participated in the "Politics Boundaries and Change Workshop" taught by Sheri Deveney and Nicki Albrecht DONA International approved trainers to our local community of doulas. An insightful workshop on the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practise and the perception of Doulas as professionals.
Later in May I took Postpartum Doula training from Do Stier DONA International approved trainer. I started my work as a Postpartum Doula the next week this was more rewarding than I had thought it would be.
September an education session on Birthing From Within by a local Doula, Victoria Platenaude. I attended another education session in November on Pelvic Shapes & Fetal Positioning during labour and birth my Loree Siermachesky. My passion for my work growing all the time with experiences and the education to back me up.

On reflection of 2010, I did accomplish many of my dreams they just never come out as I think they will. As you may see my focus has changed, and my passion has matured.

So to 2011 and all the very best.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Birth is like playing POOL... you gotta know your angles!

One of my favourite hobbies is attending Education workshops and sessions about childbirth.

Yesterday evenings Education session taught by Loree Hosted by the local Doula Association left me once again in awe of the amazing female anatomy and the miracle of childbirth.

It's not all about the knowledge of the four pelvic types of women though this is very important. Using the Caldwell-Moloy system Loree explained the surprisingly wide variety of combinations of these four very different pelvic shapes.

More importantly is knowing how to assist each type of pelvis when fetal presentation raises an issue or restrictions to the labouring woman. Then knowing her pelvis shape and how to maneuver a fetus through it can be experience changing.

What type of pelvis do you have? In just a few short and painless exercises you can find out.

This morning I have gone to my book sources and made a few purchases for my Doula library after attending this amazing education session.

(just few books off of) Loree's recommended reading for all birth professionals.

The Female Pelvis
The Labor Progressions Handbook
The Belly Mapping Workbook

Patiently waiting for my books!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

DO I have a Guru?

I always find my self in these deep, yet enlightening conversations with my ART massage therapist. The last time (a few days ago) we talked of many things: religion, my son & parenting, (as he is yet to have children of his own I find his "ideas" are sometimes a little funny) tooth paste, dental issues and.. being disappointed by ones Guru(s).

This I have been considering. Many Doctors, Midwives and Doulas have inspired me over the past. I have grown a list of sorts 'Birthing Professionals" which have been an idol to me in some way. I have thought them each to be without a flaw.
WHAT? ... REALLY?
Then I am almost always shocked by something I learn about each, and I become disappointed how could this be? Learning that these people to are human! That there are going to be things about all of them I find to be unbelievable. Walking away I have always come to the conclusion that no matter else they may stand for, I have learned amazing valuable things from them. It's not like they are my Guru... but only one of many teachers along my way.

My massage therapist pointed out the spelling of guru.
G-U-R-U.
This I found to be an interesting point. I am my own guru! I make of my self what I am to be. No idols needed just teachers, trainers, and mentors.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

aholic - one who exhibits an obsessive need for or interest in (something specified)

There is no dout about this matter.
My name is Abigail and I am a birth-aholic, baby- aholic, pregnancy- aholic. I simply can't learn enough. This "obsessive" interest of mine started long ago and it seems as though it can't be completely satisfied. This birth junky inside of me is taking over! No matter how many conferences, workshops and training courses I attend I crave more. My shelving in my house are quickly filling up with books about you guessed it and nothing but... As I was placing a new order from my fav book store it crossed my mind again that if this obsession were with any thing but this I would be in great need of soome professional help. I remember reading my first book about this awesome topic it was a very old addition of Sheila Kitzinger's Pregnancy and Childbirth at the time my Mother was expecting one of my younger siblings. Now I am currently planning a road trip to an event 7ish hours away because I just can't get enough and other than births I attend there is nothing great going on around these parts.


This might sound crazy or out there to some but this is just the way that I choose to live. I love birth.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Never forget how you got where you are.


SO to all those who were there as I was led to this calling and found this great passion of mine. Thank you!


As I remember it, how my passion all began and my calling started to grow!


I turned six years of age in August, my Mother was pregnant with her fifth child and estimated to give birth mid September. It wasn't that I had never seen my Mother swollen with child before or other women for that matter, that part I understood but this time was different. I was attending Kindergarten at a public school and very excited about the birth of this new sibling. Like me and my other siblings this baby too was going to be born at home. I told a few of my classmates about this and my teacher then become aware of the fact that my new baby sibling was to be birthed at home, something I thought of as normal was taken by these people as "crazy"! This was so strange to me. Trying to wrap my little five year old brain around this. I'm still not sure I have. But all the same I stopped chatting about my new baby and my excitement for the birth changed to thoughtful contemplation of how the babies around me were being born. I remember asking a girl in my class at school where she was born? Her reply shocked me. "The hospital of course!" Why was this an "of course"? Was my birth not normal? I felt normal.


It was late Saturday evening my Mother started to labour she got very busy. Moving about the house cleaning, doing laundry, making sure everything was in place for my siblings and I, but also for this new baby. She gradually grew more and more serious than I had ever seen her. My Mother gave birth as planned at home to my new brother. Because of a strike that midwives in the province of Alberta were on, unlike my birth there was no midwife present. Though my Father was on the phone on and off with a midwife to be sure that everything was fine as my Mother did hemorrhage with this birth. I remember my Mother saying that her body knew how to do this. That statement has always stuck with me.


I turned eight and we had just moved to an acreage when my Mother found out she was pregnant with her sixth child. My parents interviewed a Midwife living in the larger metropolitan centre 2 hours away, she was willing to travel to catch this baby. I remember her so well, every meeting, every appointment, everything she said! Wendy Day became my idol, to this day I still believe there was something so amazing and different about the connection between her and my Mother made this birthing simply beautiful. As with every pregnancy my Mother's stack of books all about pregnancy and natural childbirth started to grow beside our couch. With this pregnancy I took a new interest. When my Mother sat down to read most days I curled up beside her satisfying my new curiosity about this process. I soaked up so much information and got an understanding that I could not have got anywhere else. I thank my Mother for this experience and teaching me and my sibling by example that birth in normal. Saturday morning it started like it does. The puttering about the house as so known of as nesting, Mum called Wendy they talked for a bit and she got on the road to come to our home with her partner another Midwife from her city. They arrived, the house stayed calm, at peace and undisturbed. They blended right into the beauty of the environment and family dynamics of this birthing experience. Sylvia playing games with us kids when we were not sitting around our parents bed as our Mother laboured and then birthed our brother. Amazing and awe inspiring. To the young girl I was this experience is by far the beginning of my real calling. I remember telling my Father I wanted to me just like Wendy and Sylvia when I grew up. So as not to give the wrong impression; my Mother's labours and births were not completely uncomplicated the truth is the Midwives my parents hired were very well trained, experienced and prepared for the unexpected complications that arise in a birthing.


I was about to turn 13 when my Mother gave birth to my youngest sibling. With this birth I became aware of the unpleasant fact that people around us were not very happy for my family, or that our parents were having their seventh child. Because of the shift in some of the negative pressure around my family with this pregnancy and birth I started to do a lot of reading and began my own study of my Mother's pregnancy and birthing library. This time my parents hired the first Registered Midwife. Another beautiful experience but to me is was about others understanding that choice must be respected. No matter what it is, or if you understand it.


When I was 18-22 I was asked by a few friends to go to the hospital with them for the births of their babies. I had no idea about the profession of a Doula then, but I did this as a friend. I witnessed one cesarean section and many vaginal deliveries none of them with out intervention. Supporting labouring women came naturally to me, and I loved the reward of having been there for them. Helping them to feed their babies and understand that all of this was a normal process.


Just before my twenty-second birthed I married my husband and soon we were pregnant with our first baby. Excited for our journey through this together with great difficulty we found a Traditional Birth Attendant that was happy to be apart of our birthing experience. This was much more complicated than I had anticipated it would be. After a number of Registered Midwives turned me down for the simple reason that it was "only" my first pregnancy. So I was led to believe that my cervix was high risk until proven other wise. Crazy I know! Thanks goodness for the women empowering TBA I gave birth at home just as I had planned. After talking to friends of my husband and I, about our home birth they all seemed to have the same reply "We could never have done it at home, you must have EASY labours/births" SO to make it very clear my first stage of labour was 49 hours long, my pushing stage almost 4 hours long, the umbilical cord was wrapped around babies neck, baby was a very difficult starter not breathing and needing to be bagged for some time before coming around. I am so thankful for my sister a nurse and that she was there for me through all of this. She knows me like no body else and LOVES me like no body else. Our first nursing session was no walk in the park either thank goodness my Mother showed up about then to tell me to stop trying so hard "just let baby come to you" (thank you Mum) But I never took NO in any form for an answer, SO YES! I got my birth atmosphere preserved the way I needed it.


Friday, May 14, 2010

">Women have been supporting each other in pregnancy, labour and childbirth throughout the history of humanity. Only recently in North America, the art the doula is being rediscovered by pregnant women and in some areas it is very new to the medical professionals associated with childbirth. Whether the labour support a woman receives through her childbirth experience is given by a trained, certified and hired doula or her best friend, this support is often invaluable to new mothers. Because of a unique professional relationship the doula builds with each couple during their prenatal, labour, birth and breastfeeding experiences, all these events can be greatly enhanced by the emotional, physical and informational support a doula provides.

The emotional support that an expectant mother requires and receives begins early in pregnancy. Women begin the process of preparing themselves for labour, birth, breastfeeding and motherhood the moment they find out they have conceived their child, long before they have given much thought to hire a doula or who may be supporting them. The ability of a doula for instilling confidence in the prenatal stage by helping women to feel confident in her body’s ability to give birth the way they want. Clients of doulas benefit from all the areas that their doula has to draw from when it come to giving support such as their training and past experiences of knowledge of the physiological and emotional process of labour providing comfort and encouragement. Doulas provide unbiased, evidence-based information when answering their clients questions and explaining the course of this journey. Acting as an advocate for their clients, helping them better understand the different interventions and procedures, but more importantly when they may be necessary from deep discussions with their doula. Doulas do not make decisions on behalf of their clients, speak for them, or provide any clinical medical procedures. In a situation where a labouring woman becomes overwhelmed by medical practices, procedures and policies, by having a doula there reminding them of their rights and to express themselves women are empowered. Making sure a birthing mothers voice is heard and understood. Always keeping woman informed about the process and her progress through labour. Reminding a couple of different relaxation techniques to help with those more difficult stages doing everything to ensure the couple has the birth they had planned for. In event of complications a doula will explain circumstances, help the couple understand suggested alternatives remaining the calm and soothing advocate for the couple as they interact with the medical staff. Supporting the desires and request of a labouring family takes the skill and patience of a doula at all times. Because this is the birth of a baby, a mother, and a father, we want them to have a wonderful memory of their experience. Their doula will make great effort to protect this memory not allowing them to be put down or to feel shame. Doulas empower families through informed decision before, during and after their birthing experience. Comfort measures given by a doula for relief of labour pressure include massage, movement, breathing, relaxation, visualization and more. The doula’s greatest tool is their ability of conveying empathy through comforting touch, calming words and relaxing actions. Labour support is available in the form of a doula so that families can increase their chances of having an empowered birth experience as the doula works within her parameters of offering them emotional, physical, and informational support. As a couple evolve into the parents of their long awaited child the experience and memory of their journey helps to form them. Supporting a couple through one of the most changing and meaningful experience together is to be sensitive. A father is also born at each delivery, and his comfort, security, and ability to support the mother are enhanced by the doula's presence. Having the trust and confidence of the couple allows a doula to support them with valuable encouragement. She allows the labouring couple the freedom to experience birth as a team, participating as an objective guide, lending encouragement and support when needed. A doula helps support the partner so that they can love and support the labouring woman. The doula's experience gives both parents a sense of calm, enabling them to interact in a loving and peaceful way. A doula is sensitive to the labouring couple and respects the couple's relationship. When necessary a doula will step back and allow the couple to work at their own comfort level, or she may guide the partner to involve him gently, complimenting and strengthening his role. A doula will never take the place of the partner; she will nurture and support the couple.

Birth should be a joyous experience for the mother, her partner and all the supporting people. It's a calling that enables doulas to protect the mother's childbirth memories, and lay the foundation for the lifelong family relationships. Women who have experienced this support know they'll have a knowledgeable and compassionate companion, and that provides comfort and security before the birth, emotional and medical benefits during, and positive feelings after and anytime they may want it.