First Ever Sacred Pregnancy Retreat

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Peaceful Passage Doula Service is so excited to present our first Sacred Pregnancy Retreat June 13th and 14th. This retreat will offer pregnant mommas a sacred space to connect with one another in sisterhood, and experience their pregnancy in meaningful and personal ways. Mommas are invited to look deeply at the issues unique to their pregnancy journey and find a centred, peaceful place to live this pregnancy journey. These two days will include time to look at topics such as creating a personal sacred space, food and body image during pregnancy, relationships with your partner and your baby, expectations and hopes for birth and so much more.

Your fee of only $250 includes:

-the course in the peaceful and lovely Grow Centre on Whyte Avenue

-supplies for a multitude of beautiful and engaging activities

-excellent catered lunches and abundant snacks

-daily yoga practice with a qualified prenatal instructor – our very own Clara

-learn to safely use essential oils during pregnancy and birth with a special guest

-opportunity to connect with other pregnant mommas- the first step in building a new sisterhood.

-and an amazing gift bag that includes the Sacred Pregnancy book and journal (watch for posts on Facebook about some sweet swag we are gathering).

We will have space for up to 12 mommas and will enjoy our weekend at the Grow Centre at 10516 – Whyte Ave. We will begin each day at 9 a.m. and go until 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Register before the end of April and receive $25 off.  Clients of Peaceful Passage Doula Services receive an additional 10% off of retreat registration fee.  

Email us at peacefulpassagedoulas@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

Brenda and Clara look forward to serving you and leading you in the beauty way for this weekend.  If you are interested in taking part in the beautiful weekend and want to bring “sacred” back to your pregnancy, please email us at peacefulpassagedoulas@gmail.com

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Upcoming Birth Fair

Are you pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant?  Do you know someone who is pregnant?  Then you want to check out the Birth Fair on March 7 at the Grow Centre. Start the day with a yoga session with Clara. and then stay for lots of great information and birth talks.

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Our First Birth Journey Prenatal Classes

Peaceful Passage Doulas are so excited to offer this new prenatal class to pregnant mommas and their partners. Class is weekly for four SIMG_0343unday evenings (one afternoon is included in order to cover all necessary materials). Each week we will explore new topics to contribute to the birth journey as mommas and their partners to prepare for this path. Be prepared to connect deeply with your partner and your baby, to understand the process of birth and how to work with that process instead of against it and to be fully present in all aspects of birth through the senses. As a part of this small, intimate group, you will have ample time to explore all aspects of this journey and be fully prepared for the birth that you envision.

dates and times:
Feb 1: 6-8 pm
Feb 8: 6-8 pm
Feb 15: 2-5 pm
Feb 22: 6-8 pm

These will take place at 6117 37A Avenue in Millwoods.
Cost is only $85 for the four weeks as this is the first offering of these classes (value of $150). Email peacefulpassagedoulas@gmail.com for more information or to register for the class. Space is limited as we hope to maintain small, intimate groups.

Meet the Doula Night

Peaceful Passage Doulas invite you to meet their new collective of six doulas. Learn about their full services including birth support, postnatal doula support, Sacred Pregnancy support (Bengkung Belly Binding, Closing the Bones Ceremony, vaginal steams, herbal craft, Birth Journey Classes), car seat tech service, birth photography and soon to be placenta encapsulation.  This will take place at the Grow Centre  in the basement, 10516 – 82 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 2A4 at 7 p.m.  There will be some fabulous door prizes including a free Tuck in Ceremony and a photo package (mini-maternity session with an 8×10 print, yoga discounts, and others).

Full of Questions

My last two births did not go as the mommas had planned.  In fact, both ended in c-sections and I can safely say that was the furthest from both of their minds.  I have been mulling the situations over in my mind and I think by writing down my thoughts, I will get some peace and perhaps be able to “let it go.”

Momma number one was having her first baby and was overdue by one week on her estimated due date.  Her doctor told her if she hadn’t gone into labor by the Monday she was scheduled for an application of cervadil.  She tried many different things to hopefully get her labor “going.”  She tried  walking, nipple stimulation and two sessions of accupunture to hopefully “relax her into labor.”  All of this to no avail.  So she packed her bags and arrived at the hospital Monday morning.  Throughout the day we texted back and forth and I kept reminding her that her body knew what to do and baby would come when he was ready.  She agreed and kept a positive vibe.  Sometime in the late morning, her doctor checked her cervix and found it to be completely closed and not thinning at all.

She was disappointed but again I reminded her that she should try and rest and I thought the doctor would send her home and try again another day.  Maybe an hour later, she texted to say she was hooked up to the drip and they were trying the oxytocin to get things going.  She said she had a few contractions but nothing she couldn’t handle.  I told her if she needed me, I would come.  She said she didn’t think she needed me yet.  Everything was going well and baby’s heartrate was great.  Once again, I told her to let me know when she needed me.

The next thing I read on my phone was a text at 330 pm from her husband saying they had just done an emergency c-section because the baby’s heart rate had dropped dramatically.  He expressed that everyone was well.  I popped up later to see them and their new little bundle of joy but I was puzzled that the doctor had started oxytocin with a cervix that was completely closed and I remain puzzled to this day.  Even after a discussion with one of the head RNs from the hospital who found this situation to be odd, I still do not understand the passage of events.

Momma number 2 was having her second baby with the strong hopes of a VBAC.  Her water broke late one evening and we met at the hospital.  From the time she arrived, it was clear she was in labor and it was progressing well.  When we finally got into a labor and delivery room, the nurse checked and told the momma was dilated to 10 cm but she needed to push a little lip to the side.  She did this and encouraged the momma to push.  However, when she checked later she noticed something that wasn’t there prior and got the doctor to come and check.  He said the momma was only dilated to 8 cm and was somewhat swollen and that she needed to stop pushing.

Well, you can imagine how disappointed this momma was and what this did to her repose.  She started to get upset and felt as though she was losing control.  At this point she told me she might need an epidural.  She had put this in her birth preferences so we let the nurse know that she would like to do this.  The momma was quite tired as it was now early morning (around 5 a.m.) and her contractions were so close together, she was getting no rest.

This seems rather routine, don’t you think?  Momma gets epidural and things go along until baby is born.  Not this time!  Apparently there was a crisis with another momma and the anaesthetist was working to save her life.  While we were sympathetic to a very sick momma, the momma I was working with began to get frantic as she really wanted to push and knew she shouldn’t.  However, her contractions continued to pile up on one another.  She asked for laughing gas to help her wait, but as the wait went from minutes to three hours later, the pressure was on from the doctor on call for her to “just have the c-section” as the anaesthetist was not going to be available any time soon.  The momma refused as she told them, “I don’t want a section, I want an epidural!”  She was offered Fentanol and had several doses of this drug to help her manage these contractions.

Finally, three hours after she asked, a new anaesthetist was finally on shift and gave her the epidural she had been begging for.  The doctor returned and told the momma that she didn’t think there was any point, she would “let” the momma try to relax that cervical swelling down.  She let her rest for two hours but the swelling at this point was quite severe and would not subside.

At this point, the momma and her husband asked several questions and finally consented to a c-section.  She was exhausted and I think she just needed to see her baby.

My questions are these… In my (un-medical) opinion, it seems these two c-sections were avoidable and somewhat unnecessary.  I mean, in the moment, they were necessary as the babies needed to be born and were experiencing some distress, but really, were they really necessary???

Why would oxytocin be applied to a momma who’s cervix was completely closed? Check out this blog for information on a current “trend” called pit to distress. I hope this isn’t a new trend and if it is, what is the point?

Why would there only be one anaesthetist on at a time with no back up?  It would seem unusual for no back up plan to be in place in a large city hospital that must experience emergencies from time to time.

It was a lot for a new doula to take in and when you read all the data about doulas lowering the c-section rate, I wonder what else I could have done here? What are your thoughts?

Faster Than a ???

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What an interesting day.  I got up this morning and went to a prenatal visit with a new client I am “care-sharing” with another doula.  Meeting a lovely couple was a wonderful way to start the day.  I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and when I arrived, I put things away and ate my lunch.  I looked at my phone and noticed three missed calls.  I called the number and lo and behold, the voice on the other end was my momma who was due on the second of November.  She was distressed and explained her water had broken at 1130 a.m. and she and hubby were on the way to the hospital.  As we were on the phone, she was having a contraction and we talked through that.  I reminded her to breathe and to take a big, cleansing breathe after the contraction.

Thank goodness, my bag was packed and ready to go.  I grabbed my birth ball and threw a snack in my bag, expecting a long night.  I arrived at the hospital at 12:20 and was told by the desk nurse, “You won’t need that ball, she is pushing.”  I hustled down the hall and arrived in the room. Sure enough, the momma was bearing down and the baby’s head was crowning.  I went right to the momma and she grasped my hand.  And there I was helping with her leg as the nurse asked me to and I hadn’t even taken my jacket off.  With a couple more pushes, baby S was born at 12:55.  The nurses delivered the baby as the doctor never made it either.

Beautiful baby S had great apgar scores and weighed 5 pounds 3 ounces at 36 weeks gestation. She was a beautiful surprise today to momma and daddy who were so excited to meet her.  I spent time with them to see that baby S was breastfeeding and they were doing well.  I stayed with mom as she had a shower while daddy went with baby for a further check up as she arrived early.  She was pleased that her birth was drug free as she had hoped and even though she hadn’t shared her birth preferences, the nurses were very respectful about asking before doing each procedure.

I would think for her next birth, she might want to move closer to the hospital or consider a home birth!

 

Supporting a Mom Who is Having a Planned C-Section

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Recently I had the opportunity to support a gal who was having a planned c-section.  At first, I wondered what I would do to support her so we just let the support evolve as the pregnancy progressed.

To begin, we looked a good practices for good positioning for baby and for good posture for mom so she felt comfortable throughout the pregnancy. I gave her a couple of rebozo sessions to take the pressure off of her back.  We looked at exercises to do for good health throughout pregnancy. I shared links with her with specific exercises and yoga for pregnant women.  We looked a good nutrition as she was diabetic.

I shared a book from my doula library about what to expect in a c-section.  This helped her formulate questions for her doctor and gave her good information around what to expect.

We talked about birth preferences such as skin to skin and delayed cord clamping that could happen even in the operating room.  I answered questions from personal experience about the healing process after the c-section in terms of incision care and good healthy practices like walking after surgery so gas doesn’t build up.

Early in the pregnancy, her hubby wasn’t sure he could “do” the surgery part and it looked like I would be the one supporting her in the OR but I gave her good reasons why he should go in and she convinced him.  He was really glad he decided to do this!

After the baby was born, I headed up to the hospital to offer postnatal support.  We talked about breastfeeding and got the baby latched on.  We talked about good nutrition for breastfeeding mommas and how important it was to keep him nursing and why he would NOT need formula (this was offered by the hospital).  We looked at the comparison of size of baby’s new born tummy and that was a surprise to mom.

I have checked in with mom on a couple of occasions since she went home to see how things are going and all is well.

I believe she was happy with the support offered in this situation and I would definitely do this again. I think all mommas need support and a doula can be helpful even in a planned c-section.

The Tuck In Ceremony

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In order to warm the momma after being open, raw and cooled both mentally and physically, during birth, we can use warm, soothing baths and wraps with deliciously warm rice and lavender bags.  Finishing off with firming belly paste and a bengkung belly wrap.  I had the opportunity to offer one of my moms this service.  When she was all tucked in after her bath and belly rub, her comment was, “I will just stay here for a while.  I am SO relaxed!”  Music to my ears! I am happy to offer these services should you be interested.  See our fees section for possible packages you may be interested in.  What a great idea for a shower gift for the mom who has everything!

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We have been busy!

We have been busy new doulas over the summer!  Not only are we doing our reading, writing and collecting of data, we have been attending births in order to get to our certification.

AND, we have been taking advantage of a variety of learning opportunities that will improve our service for all of you new mommas.

First, we took the rebozo course.  A rebozo is a long shawl that can be used in a variety of ways to offer comfort to the momma during labor.  This versatile tool was used a a blindfold to give the momma some darkness and focus at my last birth.  I have used it to support the belly while the momma is sitting on the ball during contractions.  I used it as a pull in the bathroom while the momma labored on the toilet.  I have used it to do the lovely double hip squeeze during contractions.  I have offered it over to dad either on his own or with me at the other end during contractions.  I used it to sweep over the momma’s head and back for a treat during labor (she loved that!).  At any rate, this has become a regular tool during labor for both of us.

Next, we took the Step 2 Breastfeeding course.  This course was invaluable to learn the mechanics of breast feeding, the stand of the World Health Organization on breastfeeding, and problem solving for new moms. This is the same course all RNs take at “Breast Feeding Friendly Hospitals” like the Grey Nuns.  All staff must take this course to get that label!

Then we thought we wanted to give full service so we took the online Sacred Pregnancy course on Bengkung Belly Binding (please see our link on the menu to learn more about this).  We vowed to care for the moms as an artist of Sacred Postpartum care.  We now can offer the belly bind and the belly firming paste and are the proud displayers of this seal:

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Then, not to sit still, I (Brenda) took the Sacred Pregnancy course to learn about hosting two day mini retreats for pregnant mommas.  These two day retreats will promise to offer mommas opportunity to dig deep and learn about body image, fear release, creating sacred space, nutrition, honoring, as examples of the many topics throughout the weekend.  Watch our website for future weekends.

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Finally, I (Brenda) am completing the Full Mother Roaster (or warmer) course with Sacred Pregnancy.  This course will give me tools to support the momma in the postpartum period and includes the belly bind, plus tuck in ceremonies and many recipes and herbal tinctures or mixtures to support healing for the momma.  I look forward to sharing new found information with new mommas.  Please see our menu for information at a later date along with fees for services.

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Our goal is to offer you a peaceful passage from belly to birth.  We look forward to holding this sacred space for you and your babe.  For information about Sacred Pregnancy see www.sacredpregnancy.com

The Blessingway

I was honored to have the opportunity to host my first Blessingway in August.  We have all been to a baby shower where the focus is bringing gifts for the new baby.  While the gifts are welcomed and needed, the focus is on the baby.  The Blessingway focused completely on the momma’s journey from maiden to motherhood.  Women gather together to honor, celebrate and offer support for the momma in this journey.

During this time together, each woman brought a meaningful bead that was shared to create a birth necklace for the mom.  Each woman also brought a written blessing, wish or prayer for the momma.  Every participant commented on the power of the evening.  This powerful “tribe” of women lifted up this young mom and promised to support her in this uncharted journey.  We finished the evening with pampering of the mom including hand massage, shoulder and head massage and an herbal foot soak.  The “icing on the cake” was the henna painting of the momma’s glorious belly.  We couldn’t leave dad out so he prepared the feast for all and it was delicious!

If you are interested in honoring a momma that is in your circle, feel free to contact me.  I would be happy to help plan, create invitations and ensure all was ready for a powerful evening of honoring the momma with all of her favorite women!

Enjoy the video of a Blessingway:

Contact me if you want more info.