February Self Care Challenge #selfcare #moms

Happy February, mama's! This month, it's all about taking time out of your busy mama schedule to give yourself a little love.


It might sound weird to just stare at yourself in the mirror, but we actually do it alot. I dare you to walk through a department store and not gaze at your reflection in the mirror or store window.

We do it ever.single.day.

And more often than not, we are looking at the imperfections. Lines, wrinkles, saggy skin. These should be higher, this should be tighter.

But what if...what if you looked in the mirror and loved yourself? Just...gave yourself some love?

Those dark circles? They're there because you were tending to your baby over night.
The stretch marks? Because you grew beautiful babies in your belly.
Wrinkles due to stressing over the well being of your children because you just love them so much.

Your challenge this month is to look in the mirror, and love yourself. Your face, stretch marks, scars, dark circles. Everything.

Just
Love
You
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February Doula Special

Ahh, February...the month of love! Give yourself, or a mom you know and love, a little extra lovin' this month with the February doula special!


What can be better than a little pampering for a new mom? Your pamper kit may include some yummy tea, a beautiful nail polish or even a lovely bubble bath. Something to inspire you to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries.

Also included in your bonus package is a self care planner sheet, healthy snacks (please advise of any allergies upon booking), and in home support to make sure you are taking the time you need to take care of yourself.


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10 Things That Make You Happy #gratitude

When I begin working with a new family as a part of my doula work, I always provide them with a journal and a card.

The card often reads....

Use this journal as a space to scream...cry...vent...remember. Celebrate the small victories, the tough days and great ones.

It's all about taking a moment to reflect and be grateful for the life you've created, your new outlook and family.

Each month right here, you will find a gratitude exercise. This is one that I did last fall on Instagram, and I thought it was such a great exercise to take a moment and think about the small things in your life that make you happy. The ones that probably no one else notices. The small, quiet moments that put a smile on your face.


So go on...what makes you happy??

Write them down, put them in a space place. Share them here if you want to publicly celebrate them!


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January Doula Special

Kick off the new year with the support of a doula! This month brings extra perks for those booking postpartum doula packages!


Juice delivery to your door on a biweekly basis
An extra meal for your freezer
2 hours of in home support....meaning you can go take a shower, or put me to work cleaning your bathrooms or entertaining your kiddos while you have a nap!

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Self Care Checkin

Hey mama!

Stressed with the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Too many parties to attend, dinners to go to, one that you're hosting, and on top of all of that....kiddos that are on winter break and are anticipating Christmas morning?

Time for a self care checkin!


If you are feeling stressed out to the max, you probably haven't taken five minutes just for yourself this month. Instead of letting the hustle and bustle consume you, treat yourself!

Manicure
Pedicure
Body Scrub
Coffee date with a friend
Bubble Bath (bonus points if you're sipping a glass of wine while you have a bath!)


Anything that gets you to focus on yourself for a few minutes is perfect at this time of year. I also like to tuck something under the tree for myself. I know that probably sounds selfish, but sometimes there is a book that I really would like to read on the holidays, or a new lip color that I want to try...things that I know my husband likely won't think to put in my stocking or under the tree, so I treat myself to them.

Take a time out mama, you've worked hard to get prepared for the holidays!


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Why I Doula

As I've gotten more and more into helping new moms find their groove, I wanted to take a moment to explain why I doula.

I doula to support
I doula to advocate
I doula to educate

I doula for you



When I was looking for a doula during my last pregnancy, I was pretty clear about what I wanted. I wanted to feel supported and confident in our parenting decisions. I wanted someone who wouldn't question me about what we wanted, but would advocate for us and help us feel empowered.

I had heard that doulas are all the same; they're hippies to the core and will push you into a natural birth. They'll push you to breastfeed and won't back down when it comes to some really sensitive topics. Essentially, that they have their own agenda and will, politely, force it on you. Failure to fall within their ideals means they won't work with you.

My vision of what, and who, a doula is changed when we met Jena. She was incredibly supportive and said something that has stuck with me throughout labor, delivery, postpartum and now doula work.

It only works if it works for you

How true that is!! As a doula, my goal is to help you find what works for you, and not by impressing my opinion on you as to what worked for me or what I think is ideal, but by looking at your life, routine, your family and helping you find your groove.

I have a specific interest in supporting the emotional and mental well being of moms with postpartum depression because I've been there and it can be really hard.

I have an interest in supporting families going through pregnancy after a loss, those who have or are experiencing birth trauma and moms who are just really overwhelmed and struggling to find themselves again.

I have an interest in helping parents find their voice and feeling good when they make a decision.

It only works if it works for you

Hold onto that
Remember that
Recite it over and over in your head when that baby is placed in your arms and know that you are doing everything right

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Lactation Boosting Tips for New Moms

One thing that I really wish that I has when I was a first time mom was an arsenal of information about breastfeeding. I wish I had someone to help me when my son was literally attached to me at all times and using me as a pacifier. I wish I has someone to tell me that it was okay to not have a bond with breastfeeding, and that I didn't need to feel guilty for wanting to let go of it.

I wish I had someone who could help me with my supply in the six weeks that I pumped. I wish I had someone's support!

As a postpartum doula, part of what I do is support moms in their efforts to breastfeed. I also support moms in their decision to bottle and formula feed. A well fed and happy baby, makes for a happy mom...so, personally, I don't really care how they get fed. My role as a doula is to support that moms decision and make sure that she feels no guilt or shame for whatever her decision is.

If you're a mom who is breastfeeding and struggling with supply like I did, here are some things that you can do to help boost your supply!


Whole Grains and Protein

A lot can be said for a healthy diet when you're breastfeeding. Sure, you need to consume about 500 extra calories a day, but make sure they're the right kind. Start your day with a healthy breakfast of lactation oatmeal, and a fruit smoothie made with almond milk. Make sure that at every meal, you have whole grains and protein. Snack on things like veggies and hummus, whole grain pretzels with cubed cheese or trail mix with nuts and dried berries.

Water

Drink water like it's your job. The rule of thumb for water consumption is take your weight, divide by two and turn that into ounces. For example, I'm 158lbs...so that's 79. 79 ounces is what I should be drinking during the day just to stay hydrated and keep my body flushed. If you are nursing, you can expect to drink almost a third to double that number in a day.

Stay Calm

Create a calm environment for breastfeeding and pumping. Play your favourite music, post photos of places that you want to travel to and of your baby. Anything that releases those happy endorphins will help up your supply!

Acupunture

If there is an energy block, it may prevent your milk from flowing free and easy. If you are afraid of needles, I can personally assure you that they do not hurt. I went to Dr. Andrea Clarke at Rebirth Wellness Centre (highly recommend!) for acupuncture during the end of my pregnancy with Graeme and the sense of relief that I left with was amazing. I was worried that the needles would hurt, but you can't even feel them. And yes, I even had one in my forehead!

Foods to Avoid

Avoid foods that are high in acidity or strong in flavor. Things like cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, radishes and citrus fruits. It's also recommended to avoid things like caffeine and chocolate...but let's be honest...if those things make you happy, it may add more stress to you to have to think about giving them up.

Natural Supplements

One thing that did help boost my supply was taking fenugreek and blessed thistle. Yes, you will smell like maple syrup, but there are worse things to smell like, I dare say! The lactation consultant that recommended these to me advised to take them together to strengthen their properties. You can pick them up at any health food or drug store.

Tea

Fennel tea and lactation teas are very popular breastfeeding supports. You can pick up the Traditional Medicinals brand at the grocery store in the natural food section, or you can make it yourself at home! Here is a recipe for a red raspberry leaf tea, and one for fennel tea.

Stay tuned! Next year I will be featuring lactation boosting juice recipes that I have made for my clients, along with more tips and tricks to help you boost your supply.

When all else fails, and you feel like you have tried everything, know in your heart that you have and are doing the best that you can. What works for one may not work for everyone. Remember, a happy mom makes for a happy baby, so follow your heart and do what is best for yourself.



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November Doula Special

Follow your heart and let it be your arrow on your path. That's what I did, and it lead me to the beautiful experience of becoming a doula. Starting this month, I will be announcing a monthly special on doula services.

Each month  brings something new. It might be a discount on services, or a special self care package for mom. Either way, it will be something fantastic that you won't want to miss out on!




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5 Tips for Engaging with your Newborn

So you have this tiny little babe that you're now responsible for and everyone is telling you to play with her and that she should be doing x/y/z. But...how? Your babe probably sleeps all day, is only really awake long enough to eat, so how exactly do you engage them in play to help them develop?


Songs

Does it seem strange to sing to a little one who can't interact much? Well...if you sang to an older child while you were pregnant, chances are those same songs your baby will recognize those same tones if you sing to them now. Singing, no matter whether you're in tune or not, is a great way for your baby to recognize the different tones of your voice. Try working in their name into the songs too!

Mirrors

For some reason, babies really love looking at their reflections in the mirror. Play Who's That Baby In The Mirror, use their name and giggle right along with them. Alternatively, use the camera on your phone if you don't have a mirror handy.

Patterns

The sharp contrast of black and white patterns has been proven to engage babies and help their brains develop. Try printing out black and white patterns (chevron, stripes, polka dots) and taping them on the bottom of your mobile, or side of the crib so your baby can gaze at them.

Faces and Places

The face that your baby loves the most? It's yours! Smile, laugh, make silly faces and see their eyes light up with glee. Is your baby starting to babble? Babble back using the same ah-goo tones. Mimic their facial expressions and ask questions! Oh is that right? What would you like to do today? The tone of asking a question, when your voice raises at the end, seems to be very pleasing to a baby!

Snuggle Time

One of the best things that you can do for yourself and for your baby is to snuggle. Whether you babywear or simply lounge in a recliner snuggled up with your babe, the use of physical touch is really important to bonding. It helps your baby know your smell, and who to trust. It helps them pick up on your emotions, and naturally releases hormones in your body to keep you calm and happy!

No matter which way you choose to engage or play with your newborn, know that you are doing a great job and all they really need is your love and attention.

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5 Self Care Tips for New Moms

As moms, we give and give and give until there is very little left of ourselves at the end of the day. When was the last time that you took care of you?


Tip #1

Taking time for yourself is completely fine and there is no need to feel guilty about drawing yourself a bubble bath, lighting some candles and declaring that there is to be no mom, mommy, mama, mom at the door. You need that time and space to recharge your batteries!

Tip #2

If you're finding it difficult to work self care into your daily routine, set a goal of once a week. Once a week, take yourself for a coffee. Go after the kiddos are in bed (hello, decaf!) and tell your spouse that you just need one evening a week to yourself. You'll be surprised how much better and calmer you feel when you get out of the house once a week.

Tip #3

Exercise! Yes, I know it's probably the last thing that you want to do, but I can speak from experience on this one. Getting outside for a run, or challenging yourself to some indoor strength training while the baby is napping...it releases all of the happy endorphins and you'll feel really great about what you have physically accomplished once you are done.

Tip #4

When was the last time that you went on a date with your spouse? I bet it involved a baby in the carseat under the table, or being worn on your chest. That's not a date, and you know it! Call in the reinforcements and go out for dinner. Can't take that much time away? Make it a drink, or share a dessert.

Tip #5

Find something that is uniquely yours and hold on for dear life. When I was 5 months postpartum with my first and knee deep in postpartum depression, I started painting again, and I didn't look back. My studio is my space to breathe, and I am so thankful to have it. It helps me be centred and it's a place that is just mine. My son knows that he's not allowed in there unless I invite him in, and having that control helps me stay even.

The point of self care is to take time out, just for yourself. To breathe, give yourself space and realize that you are more than just a mom. You are still a person, with thoughts, ideals, interests and passions. Don't lose sight of that due to late night feedings, crying babies and toddlers who ask a million (and one) questions.

Be you and take care of yourself!

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Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears #review

Fear. It's something that can be absolutely crippling for a new (or new again) mom. The doubt that creeps into the dark corners of your mind.

Am I feeding her right?
What if I'm not playing with him enough?
What if I sleep through the baby crying?

In Sherry Surratt's new book, Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears, all of these things are discussed.



Do you ever feel lost? Like...ok, now I'm Owen and Graeme's mom...is that it? Do I cease to be...me? What about fearing for your baby's safety? Are you bushing their tender gums and new teeth often enough? Introducing solids at the right time? Rear facing or forward facing?

We have oh so much to worry about as parents. Surratt looks at these fears in her book, and identifies that by being brave , and giving our children a role model who is real...who messes up and worries over the smallest things...we are giving them the best of ourselves and the best gift ever.

It's funny. When I was reading my copy of Brave Mom, I was considering how I talk with my doula clients about their fears. In particular, the search for perfect that Surratt talks about...so elusive, and yet we as women and as moms struggle with it on a daily basis (me included!). I find that alot of my doula clients, in the first week or so, hugely struggle with this and have super high expectations on themselves.

Those expectations feed into the fear, and the cycle starts.

What if, instead of being afraid and of being worried that we aren't enough for our children, we start being brave? We vocalize those fears, give them a life, and face them?



What if we weren't afraid to fall in front of people? To walk out of the house with spit up on our shoulder, mascara under our eye and our bra strap hanging out of our shirt?

What if we started being Brave Mom's?

So what are you afraid of? I am afraid of losing myself and ceasing to recognize that shining face in the mirror. I'm afraid of the loss of identity that happens when you become a mom, because I am so much more than just Owen and Graeme's mom (though, that's a pretty great thing to be, too).

I am afraid of the broken hearts they will get eventually, the tears and the fights.
I am afraid of them being bullied and cornered when I'm not there to protect them.
I am afraid of the day when they won't need me anymore, and how much that will hurt.

What are you afraid of? Give it a voice, write it in the comments, then let it go.

If you are in need of a little encouragement, and permission to face your mom fears so that you can be brave, I highly recommend that you read Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears. You may just learn something about yourself that you never knew before!

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears from the publisher for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Creating a Self Care Plan

So, you've had your baby and are settled at home. Visitors have come and gone, meals have been dropped off and your freezer stocked up.

It's been a couple of weeks and you're going stir crazy.

Creating (and sticking to) a self care plan can remind you that you are more than just a mom, more than just a boob. It can help you get back to who you were pre-pregnancy, and give you a space to breathe.

Use the chart below to schedule your self care time, and consider the following:

What did you love to do before you were pregnant?
Are there certain places that you enjoyed going?
When was the last time you took yourself out for lunch?
Do you enjoy going to the spa for a massage or pedicure?
Who can you rely on for childcare to ensure that you have one day/evening a week for self care?


Need an accountability partner? Shoot me a message! I will gladly help you and make sure you are taking some time out to take care of your soul!

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Let Your Heart Be Your Arrow #purpose #postpartum #doula


Have you ever had an experience that completely changed your view on something, for the better? That's what having a doula involved in our pregnancy and birth process has been like.

photo credit Lainie Hird Photography
With our first pregnancy, I had it rough. I was super sick, lost a lot of weight (but was still incredibly overweight and inactive), had a long labor process, birth trauma and, eventually, postpartum depression. I felt alone, like noone understood. I felt like I didn't know myself. I couldn't understand why I was so angry all the time. Angry at my body, resentful at myself for being angry. It was just...it was not a good experience.

When we hired our doula, Jena, we sought to change that experience and empower ourselves to feel confident in our decisions. My pregnancy was fantastic, and our labour process was amazing, even with a long early-labor process. Our postpartum period (so far) has been a smooth transition, full of love, laughter, and two parents who love each other more now than the day they got married.

Then, I didn't know the value of self care. Now, I do.
Then, I didn't know how harmful negative self talk could be. Now, I do.
Then, I doubted myself at every decision. Now, I take pride in knowing that I am doing the absolute best that I can for my boys.


The now is what has shaped my desire to help ease the transition for other moms that may be being faced with birth trauma, self doubt, negativity and need some support.

So, I am embarking on becoming a certified postpartum doula.


What does a postpartum doula do? She gives support to the new parents emotionally, mentally and physically in whatever area they need. Personally, I want to focus on the emotional and mental support that new (and new again) moms need in the first few weeks when they are home with their newborn, their spouse has returned to work and they're thinking...

Oh God, what do I do now?! I'm all alone with this tiny little babe and I'm responsible. What if I screw up? What if I do something wrong? How am I going to do this?

I've been there, felt that, and come out on the other side. I've battled the dark corners of postpartum depression, and know the good, bad and ugly. I am building my toolkit to make sure that the families I work with feel empowered, confident in their decisions, and that the moms feel supported, whole and inspired with purpose.


Right now, there's a lot of learning, reading, and researching going on as I await the training workshop that will lead to certification. I am so excited to be working with a few moms right now as they get closer to the birth of their babes, have just had their babes and others who are anticipating becoming pregnant, to help them navigate their journey into parenthood.

If you are interested in postpartum doula services, have had a great experience with a doula (birth or postpartum), let me know! I'd love to hear from you!!


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Pitter Patter Let's Get At 'Er #goalsetting #runmamarun #IWillWhatIWant #WDW10km

If you're following me on Instagram, you saw that this past weekend I went for my first post-baby run. Yep...this mama is running again, and at only 25days postpartum!



Time to put some goals out there to the universe, and hold myself accountable to you lovely readers who count on my words. Before putting it on Instagram and facebook, I didn't realize just how many are being inspired...and I am so humbled by all of your comments. I LOVE being tagged in your running and fitness photos, so keep it coming!!! The best thing that we can give to our kiddos is an example of a balanced and healthy life, so lace up and get out there!

Onto the goals!
- run 50km in August
- finish the Orchid 42km medal in the LOST running series
- add in strength training (resistance bands) once a week

How did I feel after that first run back?

Post-run satisfaction. I wasn't sure I could do it. I wasn't sure if it was too soon. Mother Nature threatened a thunderstorm. But I laced up. I put foot to pavement. And I ran. I ran the whole first mile then walked .25mi and ran again. I ran through side stitches (note to self: hydrate more!) and when it got to the road that leads home, I ran past it for another .25 mi. Yes, my legs are trembling, sweat is rolling down my back and my fave is grimy with dirt. But I ran. And it feels insanely good to be back. #momsrunning #running #badmamajamma #ua #iwill
And then...I ran again on Sunday; 3.5km in 35mins. I shaved 30seconds off my pace, and felt really confident about my training that will be coming this fall. I can feel it in my bones that being under the 16min/mile pace per runDisney rules will be absolutely no problem at all.

One thing you will notice in my training are my bad mama jamma Under Armour running shoes, some new UA gear coming for my cold weather training and the hashtag #IWillWhatIWant. I want to be strong. I want to be healthy. I want to run with purpose. And I will.

Notice that I didn't mention weight or inches in those goals? My weight, the inches and the loose skin from having two big baby boys are not my concern. My goals are how far I can run, at what pace, and, ultimately, how I feel when I look in the mirror.

And I don't mean how I feel about what I look like. But the expression on my face. How I feel when I close my eyes and picture myself out there running.

Proud
Strong
Healthy
Determined

Bring it on #WDW10km

Bring
It
On


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have #zondervan #review #books



Do you ever read a book that speaks directly into your soul? That's what my experience with Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs has been.

It's been taking me some time to formulate the words for this review. My view has shifted over the past year or so, as you've probably noticed, and I have been gravitating toward feeding my soul rather than writing or doing things on a whim. When I was given the opportunity to review Let's All Be Brave from publisher Zondervan, I jumped at the chance to imerse myself in a book that speaks to how I live.

Living Life with Everything You Have

How empowering a statement is that? For me, very, especially fresh off of giving birth to a beautiful boy and solidifying my whole purpose of being.

Downs speaks about courage, and how to find the courage to live with purpose, follow your path and live with everything you have. Everything. YOU. Have. In her first few sentences, she establishes herself as a person who is not brave in the least. She cries. She doesn't take risks. She leaves herself vulnerable.

After reading more and more in her beautiful book, I have to say that I see her as a very brave person. Who else can pour their heart and soul into something, have it published, and put it out there for the world to see? A brave person, that's who.

Downs asks her readers to please do that thing in your heart that scares you to death. And I'm interested to know, what scares YOU to death? What petrifies you at the mere thought of it, yet you can't stop thinking about it? For me, the fear of failure is what plagues me when I am faced with a new challenge.

Am I strong enough to climb the ropes and do Warrior Dash with my bests?
Do I have enough endurance to run a half marathon?

What if I fail?

But that's where this whole being brave thing kicks in. What if I succeed? What if I excel? Hell...what if I dominate?

What I learned by reading Let's All Be Brave is that everyone is afraid. Every single one of us. But all we can do is try. We can make the decision to be brave.

Follow your path, fine your purpose and for heaven's sake...be brave!

Disclaimer: I was provided an ebook copy of Let's All Be Brave for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
 

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That time they laid a baby on my chest... #birth #purpose #pregnancy

When they lay your baby on your chest for the very first time, it is a rush of emotion like none other. I didn't have this experience with our first birth, so I was very much wanting it to happen with Graeme's delivery.

I will be honest. I was a little freaked out about him still being attached via umbilical cord, and of being stitched at the same time. Of the blood and guts and gore. But honestly? Truly?



It was incredible. This time, I knew not to top off my epidural so much that I didn't feel contractions or the need to push. This time, I knew what I wanted, I trusted my body and went with the rest. I knew my purpose in all of this process and left it to trust.

I was still scared, though, so when they asked me if I wanted him to be cleaned off on my chest, I wasn't sure what to say. I looked at Jena, our doula, in a bit of a panic and am so thankful that she smiled and said Yes, she does

The moment that he came out and I saw his beautiful face, which immediately broke into a cry, I started crying. I knew that I was smiling, but there was just such a huge rush of relief that the tears came fast and hard. It was so overwhelming, and I think that added to my panic of not knowing what to say when Ney asked me if I wanted him on me.

As soon as he was on my chest, Ney started getting him cleaned up and I started talking to him. He calmed almost immediately to the sound of my voice, and I kept trying to reassure him that everything was ok, that he was with his Mama and we were just going to snuggle for a second.

This boy, I tell you. Oh this boy has my heart. I thought it was going to be impossible to love another child with quite as much passion as I love my Bear, Owen. A few years ago when we were just starting to talk about having a second, I talked to my bff Tiffany and she said it's like your body grows a second heart; one for your first child, and one for your second.

Until now, I didn't really know what that meant. It's completely true.

I truly think that having this beautiful experience was what I needed to come full circle on our previous birth trauma. This birth happened as it should; I was in control as much as I could be, trusted in our team and the process, and let everything happen as it should. I advocated for myself, my baby and my body, and challenged the answers that I didn't agree with.

It make my heart sing to know what I accomplished, on my own terms, and to recognize that I deserve to feel proud.

In this moment, I felt that I had a space to breathe, that my heart was full, and that my mind was overjoyed at what our family had become.

I am so thankful to have finally had this experience and know it is a memory that will stay in my heart forever.

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Postpartum Sealing Ceremony with Happy Rock Holistics #healing #sacredpregnancy

Earlier this week, I had the most beautiful opportunity to take part in a sealing ceremony with Kelly from Happy Rock Holistics, in London, Ontario.

While I wasn't sure what to expect, Kelly assured me that the ceremony would be healing, one of a kind, and was meant to help close emotional scars that may still have been open from the birth trauma with my first pregnancy.

I'm not sure that I can accurately describe just what happened. Kelly started by binding my eyes, then arms, belly, legs and continued her way down to my feet. At every step, she recited a piece of sacred pregnancy wisdom, and I just laid there...eyes closed, meditating and letting her words sink in.

Clarity of vision
Healing of the womb
Strength of arms


I was on the verge of tears when she got to the end of the ceremony, and started to do a light massage of warm oil on my arms, ankles and feet. It was just such a beautiful experience; one that I will certainly never forget.

In the distance, I could hear Owen playing with his Dad, and Graeme cooing softly in his crib. But this space was just for me. I was able to just lay in the quiet, turn my thoughts inward and focus on healing a very long journey.

For me, this journey started when my first son was born in 2010. I had been harbouring resentment toward my body and brain, grief over the miscarriage, anxiety over the threat of another bout of PostPartum Depression...but in this moment with Kelly, I was about to let all of that go and finally breathe.

We finished the ceremony with a belly firming paste {which made me smell like, and want, spice cake!} and belly binding.



Later that evening, the emotions were overflowing. The tears fell fast and hot against my face, and I felt an emotional release like I haven't experienced in a very long time. I felt...free. I took the binding off and felt like a mom should feel after they bring their babe into the world: confident, beautiful, whole.

I am so thankful for this experience, and that my good friend Lainie from Lainie Hird Photography was there to capture these sacred moments on film.

Disclaimer: I received these services from Happy Rock Holistics on a complimentary basis for the purposes of this review. All of the opinions expressed, and beautiful experience endured, are my own.

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Our {empowered} Birth Story #purpose #pregnancy #labor

On Tuesday, July 8th, my husband, son and I all met at the doctor's office for what we knew would be our last prenatal appointment. It was schedule the induction day, and I was so excited to have some finality to a very long and emotional journey. This was our rainbow baby, afterall!

After a routine checkup, we found out that I was 5-6cm and fully effaced at 4pm. Yes friends, that would be called active labor, and almost transition! Yikes! We scheduled the induction for July 14th, and bid our medical team a great week, then headed over to the inlaws for a quick visit.

I really truly thought that we would make it to 14th.

I texted our doula, Jena, to let her know of the progress and then chatted with her on the phone. During out conversation, contractions started and were every 5ish minutes;a fluke I thought...I don't do regular contractions.

Color me wrong!

Soon they were 4 minutes...some 2 minutes. My husband dashed home with a list of things that we needed to get like phone chargers and cookies for the nurses, and then {with tears streaming down my face} we kissed our sweet Bear goodnight and told him to have a great sleep over with Nana and Papi.

Off we went to the hospital, letting Jena know that we were on our way and it was go time.

We got to the hospital at around 6pm, and while I was still only 5-6cm, they sent me walking for an hour while they called our doctor to find out if he wanted me to be admitted.

7pm...admitting time! Off to the beautiful birthing suite we went.


We didn't have that experience with our first son, so it was really incredible to see. The room was massive, and the view of the city was gorgeous to stare out at. I felt really peaceful and happy, and when my doctor showed up at around 8pm after his dinner to check me, we found out that I was 8cm.

8:39pm they broke my water, which was...well...it's gross. There's no way around it, but it's gross! I labored on my own until about 10pm, at which point I was 9cm and I started quietly panicking about feeling delivery. With our first, I was numb from the top of my ribs down and didn't even feel contractions. Also, given all of the pelvic floor issues and cracking lately, I didn't want to be in excruciating pain for delivery, so I asked for an epidural.

After that, we all relaxed for a while. Jena and I watched a few episodes of Sex and the City (Season 6), and my husband slept after a gruelling crossfit workout and working all day. 

By 11:30 pm, I was feeling a lot of pressure so asked to be checked for progress. 9.5cm at 11:45. Our lovely nurse, Ney, said she would check me again at 1am and see where we were and to just get some rest. So...we all did!

1am came and we found out that I was 10cm, but there was still a piece of cervix in the way so just to relax and we'd do another check in a little while. I think it was about 30 minutes later that I told Jena that I was feeling alot of pressure and to get a nurse. She did, but they were all in the midst of a fast delivery, so we were told to hang on for a few minutes and our nurse would be right back. Another contraction, more pressure. Jena asked if I felt like I was holding myself back from pushing, and I without a doubt said yes.

She ran to grab our nurse, who took her more seriously this time and we found out that it was indeed go-time! Practice push and, just like with out first, I was told to stoooop because we needed the doctor. Our doctor and his resident must have been in the hospital still, as they were in our room really quickly and agreed that it was time to get the show on the road!

I cried as soon as he was born, before he was even up on my chest. I was so proud of myself, and happy that the process was beautiful and lovely!


By 2:16am, I had this sweet face on my chest {an experience I will write about later}, quickly calming to the sound of my voice. All was said and done in just over 6hours.

Graeme Russell Alexander - 8lbs15oz, 20.9"


A hugely massive, heartfelt thank you to our nurses Ney and Leslie, Dr's Jordan and Briscoe, doula Jena and of course my husband Colin. This birth experience is by far night and day different to our first, and was incredible. I felt empowered every step of the way, was certain of my decisions, and knew exactly how I wanted this process to go.

First snuggles with Daddy
Our incredible doula, Jena, from Rebirth Wellness Centre
 Stay tuned for the after-birth experience, meeting the big brother and settling in at home portions of this story.

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Still time to find your Purpose! #toronto #torontoart #ldnont

Have you made your way to Urban Gallery on Queen St. East in Toronto, ON yet? There's still time to check out my show, Purpose, and find yourself in one of the eighteen abstract paintings.


The exhibition closes on April 26th, so if you have the opportunity to get out to Urban Gallery, please do!

And if you've seen it...what did you think??? Leave a note in the comments below!



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