A new home…

I am thrilled to announce that as of yesterday, my doula and childbirth education practice has found a new home in Cobourg. I couldn’t be happier to have joined the team at House of Wellness!

Beginning next week I’ll have office hours there on Tuesdays and Fridays and I will be teaching both prenatal education and pregnancy fitness classes there too. I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be working alongside some amazing health professionals, including Kristi Prince, ND; Marissa Wopereis, RMT; April Boyd, MSW, RSW and one of the midwife teams from New Life Midwives!

Keep your eye on my class schedules page and on the House of Wellness website for more info on upcoming courses.

Warm and Fuzzy: New Client Testimonial

Another testimonial from a wonderful client. There’s nothing like the privilege of being invited into someone’s birth experience.

We looked at a number of Doulas before selecting Heather. She provided exceptional care and support throughout our unexpected excessively long labour. Her skills and wisdom, especially in regards to pain management were especially helpful. Over four days she became part of our home and helped us to welcome our little girl into the world. We would highly recommend Heather as a Doula, she offers exceptionally good value, especially considering her extensive knowledge base.

 

Birth Without Fear

'They felt comfortable knowing that they had two knowledgeable and experienced midwifes and a doula to support them,' explained Ms Dives

Photo credit: Jackie Dives

I came across a beautiful set of photographs this morning, in the UK Daily Mail and wanted to share them with all of you. Check out the full article and photo series here.

Taken by fellow doula, Jackie Dives, these pictures really capture the beauty of a home birth. There is a level of bliss that seems only attainable in birth when a woman is truly comfortable, cared for and respected. It’s a pretty hard thing to achieve in a hospital setting but I see it every single time at home.

Obviously, home birth is only right for those who really want it – in other words, if you’ve done your research and you feel you’d be more comfortable in a hospital, then that’s where you should be – but for those who prefer it and who work with their midwives and are deemed good candidates for home birth, let no one call their choice “wild or erratic” again.

To learn more about home birth and the studies that have been done to determine its safety, check out my post (Home)Birth. Is. Safe.

FAQ Fridays!

As you may have noticed, I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. It’s been a busy time for me, with classes and clients, as well as other life-stuff going on (nothing major, just moving to a new town and getting married!), and I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to.

As I don’t see this trend reversing any time soon, I thought I’d try my hand at a short (haha), once-weekly series to keep me honest. Hence, FAQ Fridays! Every week (on Friday, obviously), I will tackle a common (or ‘frequently asked’) question about doulas, birth, babies and what  have you. Feel free to drop me a line if you have a question you’d like me to answer!


FAQ #1:

How is a doula different from a midwife? Continue reading

New testimonial!

Another heartwarming client testimonial. I feel so honoured to have been a part of this birth.

Hiring Heather was one of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy. I had thought about a Doula early in my pregnancy, but hesitated because I didn’t know much about what she did and I didn’t know where to find one. About two weeks before I was due, a friend suggested I consider a Doula and gave me Heather’s number. After a brief conversation on the phone with Heather, I knew I had made the right decision. She made me think about things I hadn’t previously thought of and encouraged me to ask questions at my next doctor’s appointment.

I was very impressed with her prenatal knowledge as well as her experience with delivery. She always made me feel like I was in control over what would happen to me during delivery, but I was confident that she’d be the advocate I needed in the delivery room. Her calm demeanour and soft voice carried me through every contraction and provided the encouragement I needed to have a natural, drug-free birth. Even though I had only met her twice before the birth (baby decided to come early) I felt like I’d known her for years. Her presence at the birth offered a great deal of relief to my husband, allowing him to take care of logistics, all the while knowing that I was in good hands.

One of the things I appreciate most about Heather is that she goes out of her way to find resources to support us, whether it be how to deal with baby’s first infection or community groups for mom and baby. She is a wealth of information! Thank you for everything, Heather.

Don’t Believe the Hype

This article from The Wall Street Journal provides some great historical information that connects meaningfully with my previous post (Home)Birth is Safe.

The author, Nathaniel Johnson notes that,

In 1923, Mary Breckinridge started the Frontier Nursing Service in rural Appalachia….Within a decade, the astonishing impact of that care was apparent. The women the Frontier Nursing Service cared for, who were desperately poor and usually gave birth at home, were 10 times less likely to die in childbirth than the average American at the time. The nation as a whole wouldn’t catch up until the 1950s, after the widespread acceptance of antiseptic and the discovery of antibiotics.

Given that antiseptic practices and the use of antibiotics are available and in use in midwife-attended home births today, it makes sense that, as Sheila Kitzinger has argued, it is not a high level of medicalization that makes birth safer – it is overall health: access to good pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum healthcare, good quality nutrition, access to clean water and access to skilled birth attendants. This has been borne out the world over, regardless of whether women are typically birthing at home or in hospitals. Access to medical interventions for the few women who actually need them is important, which is why midwives are thoroughly trained to detect possible complications before they become problematic and why they only support home births for women who are not at risk. Obstetricians are trained to deal with problems when they arise, but midwives are far more likely to be able to prevent them in the first place. Continue reading

How to pay for your doula

Photo

A few years ago I began the process of cleaning up my diet and lifestyle. I started buying organic produce and sustainably caught fish, I started making my own deodorant, lip balm and cleaning products and I started thinking more carefully about everything I brought into my home and put into or on my body. Some things truly saved me money – making my deo and window cleaner, for example. Others, cost me more. Buying organic food was the biggest adjustment in that category for sure. Like many people, I thought, “ugh, why are organic veggies so expensive?” but then I learned a really important fact that changed the way I look at my food and the way it fits into my budget. In the 1950s, the average North American spent about 25% of their household budget on food. Other than housing, it was the single biggest expense for most people. Now contrast that with today, when most people spend only about 10% of their household budget on food and far, far more on toys, gadgets, clothing and other material goods. What that boils down to is this: organic food costs what food costs. Non-organic food is cheaper than food, it has been made cheap by factory farming, genetic modification and wide use of pesticides. As with most things, there are compromises that must be made for going the cheap route (eating pesticides that can cause cancer, GMO products that have not been thoroughly tested in terms of their impacts on health or environment, etc.). In other words, organic veggies aren’t too expensive, non-organic veggies are too cheap. This is an issue of priorities. If you think about the things that are most important to you and your family, does eating good, clean food come before or after electronics, the latest fashion or entertainment? If you make food and overall health a priority in your budget, suddenly the organic produce doesn’t seem that expensive after all.

Ok, ok, so eating well is a question of priorities, so what? What does that have to do with paying for a doula who wants $1000, $1200 or $1500 of your hard-earned cash to do her job helping you prepare for and supporting you through childbirth? Continue reading

Refer Me and Get a Special Gift!

Check out my brand new referral program. Now, not only will you be helping a loved one find support for a satisfying, empowering birth experience, you’ll also get a treat for yourself!