Sunday, December 11, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
FWTC: Tell us about yourself (work, family, interests)
FWTC: When and why did you decide to become a doula?
FWTC: How long did you practice? Did you work primarily in hospital or at home births?
FWTC: What motivated you to open Birth Source, Inc.?
FWTC: What are your favorite products?
FWTC: What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Birth Source, Inc. and your work with families?
Tracey is also generously donating a Family Tree Glass "Birth Partner" Pendant to our 900th Facebook Fan Giveaway! Thank you, Tracey! Click here to enter the giveaway!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I have been asked to share my story with you and have been trying to figure out where to start. I’ve shared my story on many preemie sites but it was pointed out to me that I edit out my inner thoughts and feelings. I guess that’s how I protect myself from going back to the fear and pain that accounted for the first 97 days of my son’s life. You see, that’s the most important thought in my head....my son is alive. I celebrate that reality every day! Keagan is 17 months old, wearing size 3-6 month cloths, has nearly no body fat and is walking and talking. When people see him they are startled and ask how old he is. When I tell them he is 17 months they usually look shocked and stare at him...then I feel like I have to explain...I tell them he should only be 14 months. This extra information usually stops further conversation, or leads to the usual “What do you mean?”. I like the times the conversation ends, it means I don’t have to get into my story with strangers. Today is about celebrating the lives, however long or short they are, of preemies...so here’s our story.
I am not young...I was 34 when we decided to get pregnant. We were so excited and wanted to do everything right. We went to the Dr and asked what we needed to do to have a healthy baby...”no alcohol, start vitamins, eat healthy”...I followed everything I was told. That was in September 2009, by the beginning of December I knew I wasn’t alone in my body anymore...I told K he was going to be a Daddy. I was so sure that I told him before I even had confirmation from the Dr. I was so happy I was jumping out of my skin! We told everybody we could. By Christmas I couldn’t fit into my jeans anymore and I was more excited! We started buying baby clothes and everywhere we shopped on our Christmas holidays ended up being about our baby.
I loved every moment of being pregnant...every little change in my body...every movement I felt...this was what I’d been dreaming of my entire life...I was going to be a Mommy!
I read every night about what size my baby was, what was developing, what I should do and not do, and I did it. I went to my appointments and had tests...all on time. We went to our 19 week ultrasound and watched our baby do summersaults, we found out it was a boy! Everything looked wonderful (we were told). We were getting more excited and filled with joy. We ordered his crib and decided on a nursery theme. When we went for my 5 month clinic check up, my blood pressure was a bit high. This wasn’t anything that concerned me as I’ve had elevated blood pressure for years. Work was stressful and I knew that was a factor. We were told that I would need to see my Dr in 2 weeks to have my BP checked again. We hired a Doula that week, I have a crazy fear of hospitals so working with a Doula seemed the best idea. We started prenatal class a week later, one of the other moms was swelled up like a balloon; she pointed out her feet and said “I have preeclampsia if you swell up like this go see your Dr”. The very next day I noticed my ankles swelled a bit, but wasn’t too worried, this happens in pregnancy, right? I’d been sitting at my desk for 6 hours, so I got up and moved aroung. Then the next day, my co-worker noticed my hand swollen. Ok...now I got worried. K was working though, and I didn’t want to worry him so thought I’d wait till after work to go to the hospital, I truly thought they would tell me I was overreacting and to go home.
When I got to the nurses’ station, total and utter panic set in. I could hardly force the words out of my mouth to tell them about the swelling. They took me to a room, took my BP and called the Dr. I was to remain and be monitored for ½ hour. I calmed down a bit and they took readings of my baby and kept checking my BP. It wouldn’t come down...the Dr came and told me he wanted to keep me overnight for observation. Maybe I would get some time off work? Maybe that would help. I didn’t get the impression that there was any huge concern, more that they just wanted me to calm down...so I tried doing that. I was 25 weeks pregnant and had a long way to go yet.
I had an uneventful weekend, but was kept for testing the next week. Tests showed my liver wasn’t working 100% but the OB wasn’t concerned about my baby. Ultrasound, that week, was ok we were told, though in retrospect it was a bit odd, it said my due date was mid September instead of late August. But Dr’s know best...right? I stayed in hospital here, for one week. A new OB came on and did a complete exam (the other one never got close enough to even touch me), by the time he touched my big toe he had decided that I needed to be in another hospital. I cried, why the concern now? Nurses here told me I would be put in a quiet dark room and given meds, all would be ok and I could expect to be back here in a few weeks to wait out the rest of my pregnancy. The next hour was a whirlwind. Steroids, IV, room transfer, family coming to see me, K told not to go to his truck to get my cloths, not to start driving because they didn’t know where I was being sent yet. I was terrified, I felt like nobody knew what was going on, least of all me. As I was being loaded onto the gurney, K was told he could fly with me, and that I’d been accepted to the Foothills in Calgary. Off we went, my first ambulance ride, my first air ambulance ride, scary yet I felt like someone was wrong...I could feel my baby kicking and moving...I really didn’t believe anything was wrong, how could it be when it didn’t FEEL wrong?
Calgary - This is the hardest part of my story. The part I don’t know how I will ever tell my child. I arrived late Friday night, was monitored and put in a bed around 1am. K couldn’t come in; he slept in a chair in the hall. My hero. 9am Saturday we had an ultrasound. Dr J was a lovely lady, but her face said more than she did. She showed us that our baby boy had very little fluid and that the flow through the placenta was reduced...by a lot. I stopped thinking this was a mistake...this was serious. She explained that we were going to try buying our baby as much time as possible. When pressed for an idea, she said we were going to try for a few more days but would have to take it one day at a time. I was taken back to my room where I bawled. I felt like I was failing my baby, I was failing K, I was failing the first test of motherhood...I was not going to be able to be deliver my baby at 9 months. We sat on my bed and cried. My heart was breaking. Our parents came to visit (both sets having traveled a long way) and we didn’t have the heart to tell them the bad possibilities...so we told them what we could without voicing the negatives we knew were serious possibilities, neither of us willing to say the words. I lost track of time a bit, there were 3 days of worry, 3 days of bawling at the drop of a hat, 3 days of watching monitors and listening to baby. I was so scared that I had the talk. You know, where I told the love of my life that if he had to choose my life or the baby’s that I wanted the baby to live. I started, and made K do it with me, thanking God for things. “I’m thankful that we saw him move” “I’m thankful that I met you” “I’m thankful that we got another 4 hours of him inside”. This was how I got through. I was taken up for monitoring one night, nurses took my phone (they said K needed sleep so wouldn’t let me call him), and I laid in a tiny bed with BP monitor on my arm and monitor on my belly listening to baby, both going off every 10 minutes...and on the other side of the curtain were mothers in labour. When they cried in pain, all I could think was “you’re SO lucky”. I was 26 weeks pregnant with my first child and was getting matched to blood donors “just in case”. Monday night I was moved to another room, K was given a cot so he could stay...surely this wasn’t a good sign. I was hooked up to monitors and couldn’t move...not even my foot, otherwise baby would shift and we would have to set up again. He liked to dodge the monitors. He sounded like a choo choo train....steady in the distance and I was reassured by hearing him. Nurses were outside my room watching my readings the entire time. When baby started dodging the monitors, the tests started up again. Dr B would bring the ultrasound machine in and check for baby’s vitals. We did this every ½ hour until 2am. Then she allowed me to sleep a bit.
Tuesday May 25, 2010 - 27 weeks 2 days pregnant THE scariest day of my entire life. Doctors everywhere. Dr J checked baby again and told us that blood flow had reversed, baby was no longer getting anything through the placenta...she was calling the team for a meeting. Dr M came in, told me he would be delivering baby at 3:30. Dr W came in for permission to get samples for Preeclampsia studies. On and on the list went. My mom was called; she had 3 hours before the operation she could be there in time I thought...I prayed. I wanted my Mommy in a way I hadn’t felt in years. 1:15 something changed, I was rushed out of my room into the surgical suite. K was told to wait in the hall. I was being given a spinal, Dr M was fighting with the anaesthetist about putting me under...nurses counting tools...at one point I saw K in the window. Then I was lying down, arms strapped, curtain up, K was brought in and by 1:48 my baby was out of my body and gone from the room. I didn’t see him. I was so terrified that something was wrong. Then there was the feeling of having stuff shoved back into my body...I didn’t feel pain but I certainly felt my body being shaken and shoved in ways that didn’t seem right. Then I was wheeled into recovery, where the Neonatologist came, finally, to tell me about my baby. K had taken a couple pictures to bring me. Keagan was SO tiny, 640grams (less than a stick and a half of butter) and not quite 12” long. But he breathed on his own. Dr T said he was a superstar! I breathed for the first time in days. I was taken to see Keagan on route to my room...gurney and all.
NICU - This is where we spent the next 97 days, different hospitals but same story. I could write a book about these 97 days, but I’ve kept you reading a long time already. What I will tell you is the NICU is a very scary place. You can watch your baby, sometimes touch them, and sometimes hold them, but NEVER without permission. I often say I was blessed to be able to watch my son develop in a way that I never would have if he were in my womb. Though true, this is NOT something I would wish on my worst enemy. My son didn’t have all layers of skin like a full term baby, I could not stroke him, and too much stimulation could cause him to Brady. Brady is when they forget to work and their heart stops...yes, stops. I will never forget the terror I felt when Keagan bradied while I was kangarooing him...NOTHING prepares you for that. To see you child hooked up to tubes/ wires/ breathing aids/ feeding tubes...to know that without them he would die, no parent should ever have to live that. Preemies don’t have body fat...not micro preemies anyway. They don’t have cheeks, chins, bums or wrinkles...anywhere. We thought Keagan looked like an old mad and dreamed of the day when he would have some fat and definition. In the NICU you celebrate things that other parents take for granted. We have a certificate from the day Keagan reached 1kg. We celebrated the day we saw him without his c-pap hat on, the day he grew eyebrows and eyelashes, the day he turned when he heard our voices...things that full term parents don’t think of and the things that some prem parents never get a chance to see. We also had hard days, days that we wished we could offer up our own lives so that Keagan could be pain free, that just breathing wouldn’t be so much of a chore for him let alone the constant needle jabs and blood samples. The excitement when he was transferred to our hospital because he was doing so well, the Dr’s were talking about release! Just when you let your guard down in the NICU, something happens...we were getting the nursery ready anticipating having our baby to ourselves when Keagan got sick. So sick he was airlifted back to Calgary. We were actually relieved to have him transferred back to Calgary....sick with worry and terrified but thankful that his Dr knew enough to send him to the pros.
This time there were more tests, more needles, more of everything...but our baby wasn’t allowed to feed. Imagine holding your baby (all 3lbs of him) while he cries for food, but you can’t give it to him. I felt so helpless; I had to leave sometimes just so he wouldn’t see me cry. I called the NICU at all hours of the night because I couldn’t sleep, I spent nearly the entire day and evening at his bedside, I couldn’t be away from him without worrying. My baby was sick, and not just from being premature. Nobody could figure out why or how to treat it...I was a wreck. Then there was surgery on hernias, our poor little boy. For some reason after the surgery his tummy issues cleared up rather quickly and we were on the homeward stretch again. On August 27 2010 we took our 4.5lb baby home from the hospital. You would think that our world would be perfect. Suddenly we had a baby without monitors, no medical team to turn to, and a baby that still needed meds and would need follow-up for at least the next 5 years.Our son is now 17 months old, 14 corrected. Corrected is what he would be if he was born on his due date and the date that development is based on. Keagan is our precious little miracle and I thank God every day for his life and for mine so I can know my sweet baby. Keagan is developing as he should be and amazes people who meet him.
We are one of the lucky families and we know it and don’t take it for granted not for a moment. Those of you who have preemies, you know what I’m talking about. Those that don’t have preemies...maybe this will help you to understand preemie parents better. Yes we seem overprotective, we are. We have to protect our babies from small germs because they can cause huge problems, and we weren’t able to protect them from the pain and suffering they endured to get where they are. Yes, we tend to hold our babies more than termers...we didn’t get to hold them at birth like you did and after all the pokes and pains from the hospital, maybe they need it a bit more. Try not to complain about being 9 months pregnant when you’re big and sore...there are Mommies out there that never have and never will experience what you are going through and they would give everything they own if only they could. Don’t look at our little Miracles or us with pity, please look with amazement at what God, amazing medical staff and super strong babies can do.
Today is World Prematurity Day, please celebrate the lives of preemies everywhere...those with us and those that God took to be with Him.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Do you know the risks of premature birth? Do you know the signs of premature labor? Download our information sheet HERE.
Monday, September 26, 2011
The most inspirational part of the book, to me, was the birth song sung first by a midwife, Inna, then later by Dinah herself at both birth and death. I hope you feel it's deep meaning as well.
Fear not, the time is coming
Fear not, your bones are strong
Fear not, help is nearby
Fear not, Gula is near
Fear not, the baby is at the door
Fear not, he will live to bring you honor
Fear not, the hands of the midwife are clever
Fear not, the earth is beneath you
Fear not, we have water and salt
Fear not, little mother
Fear not, mother of us all
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
One of the companies that we had shared with our clients was a private ultrasound service. While we do not advocate the use of ultrasounds, other than for medical reasons (see Obstetric Ultrasound Biological Effects and Safety by SOGC, Are rural general practitioner - obstetricians performing too many prenatal ultrasound examinations? Evidence from western Labrador, Ultrasound scans may disrupt fetal brain development, and Ultrasound: More Harm than Good? by Marsden Wagner, MD Midwifery Today Issue 60, Summer 1999), we realized that some parents wished to have a second ultrasound to for a special memory, gender prediction, etc. Therefore, we provided the discount coupons to those who mentioned they were planning to have these ultrasounds.
Recently, we have been doing much more research into baby-friendly practices such as the WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (World Health Organization). Specifically, we believe we must adhere to the following:
Article 4. Information and education
4.2 Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants and young children, should include clear information on all the following points: (a) the benefits and superiority of breast-feeding; (b) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breast-feeding; (c) the negative effect on breast-feeding of introducing partial bottle-feeding; (d) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breast-feed; and (e) where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials contain information about the use of infant formula, they should include the social and financial implications of its use; the health hazards of inappropriate foods or feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant formula and other breast-milk substitutes. Such materials should not use any pictures or text which may idealize the use of breast-milk substitutes
Article 5. The general public and mothers
5.1 There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of this Code.
5.2 Manufacturers and distributors should not provide, directly or indirectly, to pregnant women, mothers or members of their families, samples of products within the scope of this Code....
5.4 Manufacturers and distributors should not distribute to pregnant women or mothers or infants and young children any gifts of articles or utensils which may promote the use of breast-milk substitutes or bottle-feeding
Please know, that as doulas, our first priority is caring for the families we work with. We support your choices and will assist you in finding evidence based information to help you make informed decisions about caring for your new baby. We also must abide by the standards set forth by the World Health Organization and our training/certifying organizations. We're happy to serve you in a mother-friendly and baby-friendly practice!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Prematurity Awareness Day is November 17th. To learn more about premature birth and late preterm birth, and what you can do to help, please visit the March of Dimes.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Normally when you think about pregnancy, labor and birth the last thing that comes to your mind is keeping your placenta, let alone taking it home. Some women, after they delivery, might get lucky and their doctor might show them the placenta before it gets taken away by one of the nurses. The placenta is an amazing organ, created by you for your baby, only needed during pregnancy. It is your baby’s life line and it literally connects you to your baby through the umbilical cord.
- contains your own natural hormones
- perfectly made for you
- balance your system
- replenish your depleted iron stores
- give you more energy
- lessens postnatal bleeding
- shown to increase milk production
- help you have a happier postpartum period
- hasten return of uterus to pre-pregnancy state
- can be helpful during menopause
- 80 – 120 placenta capsules; depending on the size of the placenta
- Cobalt blue jar to store capsules in
- Dosage guideline and instructions
- Cord keepsake
- One visit about a week after to help adjust dosage if need and to discuss any questions
- One phone calls at about 6 and then at 12 weeks postpartum for another wellness check up
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Kaitlin is offering a special rate for mothers due this winter! For only $300 you can receive complete doula services including prenatal visits, childbirth preparation, labor support, birth photography and birth story, plus postpartum assistance! This is a limited-time offer, so call Kaitlin today at (403) 581-1825 or send her an email!
Monday, August 1, 2011
by Sherel Burrows
The loss of a loved one is always difficult but when a new life is being created the loss is even more poignant as grief is laced with mixed feelings of missed celebration and shared excitement that cannot be. There is much mystery in both the creation of life and in the conclusion of life; with one there is joy and celebration and with the other there is pain and sorrow. As babies are welcomed into this world so, too, we deal with the bitterness of loss of loved ones as their time on this earth comes to a close.
When Sarah was 21 weeks pregnant she learned that her mother had been diagnosed with a terminal lung cancer. For Sarah there were conflicting emotions as she dealt with the illness of her mother and her feelings about the birth of her baby that her mother might never see fulfilled. As with most pregnant women Sarah’s emotions were already in turmoil due to surging hormones and grief was a constant part of her life as she dealt with the rollercoaster of emotions that flooded her as her mother grew weaker. It was a struggle for Sarah to take care of herself and her expectant child as fear and grief overrode all her thoughts. When Sarah was 38 weeks pregnant she attended the funeral of her mother.
There are many women that experience grief and loss during the time that they are carrying a child in their womb. Loss can come from death of a beloved friend or family member, a pet or from separation or divorce. Expectant mothers deal with loss in many ways and for some it can become dangerous if their grief plummets them into depression affecting their appetite and preventing the nourishment of their body and that of their growing child.
In Barbara Harper’s “Gentle Birth Choices” the author notes the connection between mind and body and remarks how the emotions that a personal feels can affect the cells of the body. It is suggested that the pregnant women release her emotions as she feels them and does not try to cage them up inside as this can be detrimental to her health and thus the health of a growing fetus (Ch. 7).
Many experts in grief counselling promote the need for the body to feel and release emotions as those who mourn move through the stages of grief. Mothers who grieve during their pregnancy do not give birth to children who are upset and hard to deal with; however, expectant mothers who are unable to express their emotions and release their feelings of grief, may have difficulty separating the birth of their child from feelings of sorrow and loss. These feelings may prevent maternal bonding and can lead to other problems, such as postpartum depression.
Traditionally, in many cultures death was an accepted part of life. Children were birthed at home and family members died at home with their loved ones gathered around them. Within our culture the role of the hospital has created a place for birthing, where illnesses are treated and cured, and death occurs. There is no longer an understanding of the sacredness of birth and death as it is rare that death occurs naturally and peacefully. With death occurring in the hospital there is a lot of fear that surrounds the end of life along with fear of the unknown.
Whether supporting those who grieve or suffering from your own grief and pain, the best help can come by allowing the expression of grief through tears or anger and by mourning with those that mourn. Nothing we can say or do can take away another’s pain; however, having an empathetic ear and a listening heart can do more healing than any hushing or consoling. Holding a person and letting them cry can help a person to release their pain and move on to a place of acceptance and peace. Death is the miracle at the end of life where those who came into this life through the miracle of birth depart to a new life that waits on the other side. Grief must occur for us as we continue through life and we need to recognize the effects that pent up stress can create in a pregnant women experiencing grief with an unborn child. Our role is to grieve and then to accept and move on until it is our time to move on from this world and reunite with loved ones on the other side.
Reference: Harper, B. (1994) Gentle birth choices: A guide to making informed choices about birthing centers, birth attendants, water birth, home birth and hospital birth; Healing Arts Press, 1st Ed.; Ch. 7.