Would it be ok if I shared with you one of the strategies that has really worked for me in creating a healthier home?
Of course, there are many ways to do this, but I’ve found that creating a wellness routine is a really simple and sustainable way to do this.
Now I’ve got to start off by saying that everyone’s wellness routine will look different! Today I’m sharing mine in the hopes that it will inspire you to create your very own routine! So point isn’t to cookie-cutter copy this, but rather to explore ways that you might create your own version. Make sure you keep it simple, start small, build from there and change it up as you need to.
It’s not a big “to do” or “should do” list, but rather a way to take small moments throughout the day to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Lemon Water: Before bed I place a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drop of lemon oil beside my bed. I drink it first thing in the morning as a support to my kidneys and liver, and to start my day of with hydration.
Balance Essential Oil : This is a wonderfully grounding blend of essential oils. Because I have a tendency to feel scattered during the day, balance helps me to stay calm and keeps overwhelm at bay. I have mine a roller bottle (diluted 1/3 balance, 2/3 fractionated coconut oil) and I roll it on the soles of my feet, spine and the back of my neck.
Gratitude & Inspiration: I keep a gratitude journal beside my bed. Every morning, I take a couple minutes to reflect on the blessings on the past day and note them. I choose a gratitude card for my deck to help me focus on the good stuff for the coming day. Then I spend a couple minutes reading from something that I feel is spiritually uplifting and inspiring. I finish off this quiet time to 2-3 minutes of meditation/prayer.
Supplements: I used to be a bit anti-supplements, because I just thought that if I ate well that was enough. However, as I dug deeper into health, I realized that even if we eat the best diet possible we are likely still missing some key nutrients. I love the Life Long Vitality pack as well-rounded whole-food based nutritional supplement. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and it contains all my omegas too. Since I started using it, I’ve noticed better immune system function, more energy and my body’s joints and muscles feel more at ease as well. You can learn more about it here. The other supplement I really love is called Mito2Max, it’s designed to support the adrenals, includes Ashwaganda and it works like a natural energy boosting drink.
Focus: My days go better when I use a few essential oils to support mental clarity and focus. I love Frankincense and the In Tune focus blend for this. I keep both diluted in roller bottles and these go behind my ears and right at the base of my hairline. If I really need an extra boost I diffuse 1 drop of peppermint, wild orange, patchouli and frankincense in my diffuser as well.
Immune Support: This part of my wellness routine comes and goes depending on the time of year and the amount of viruses that are in my environment. I think of this as my germ shield. It’s a blend of essential oils that I roll on the bottoms of my feet. In a 10ml roller bottle, I put 20 drops OnGuard protective blend, 10 drops Oregano oil, 20 drops Lemon oil, and top with fractionated coconut oil.
My Daily Top 6: Everyday I start off by figuring out what are the most essential tasks that need to happen that day. I always seem to have a to-do list that is longer than my arm. If I forget this step and don’t prioritize than I end up finishing the day having been busy all day, but without feeling like I accomplished anything. When I take the time in the morning to prioritize, my intentions are more clear, and I get the most important things looked after. This impacts my overall wellbeing because then I feel successful and productive.
Herbal Tea: I’m the type of person who could quite easily just keep working without stopping. However I’ve noticed that although I might increasing my work hours that way, I don’t actually increase my productivity. I do better with a little nurturing brain break in the afternoons. A cup of herbal tea settles me, hydrates me and gives me a little bit of downtime. Currently I’m in love with variations of rooibos tea.
No Screen Time 30 minutes before Bed: I’ve found that if I avoid the TV screen and computer screen for about 30 minutes before bedtime, then I fall asleep a lot more easily. This has to do with the melatonin levels in your body. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces in low light and it helps you sleep.
Serenity: There are lots of essential oil options that are helpful for promoting a deep and restful sleep. I’ve found that the serenity calming blend works really well for me. I have this in a diluted in a roller bottle as well. (can you tell that I love roller bottles!) This blend goes on the inside of my wrists and the soles of my feet.
Visualization: This is particularly helpful if my mind is quite busy when I’m trying to fall asleep. The human mind loves patterns, so I visualize or imagine the same sequence each evening, and over time this has taught my mind to anticipate sleep and it really helps settle my mind. Here’s my sequence. First I relax each area of my body physically: head/neck, shoulders/arms, chest/upper back, lower back/belly, pelvis/hips, tights/knees, lower legs/feet. Then I imagine each of the colours of the rainbow from red to violet. Next I imagine a special set of stairs to take to me my inner refuge. Then I arrive at my inner refuge and do a couple of things there. Finally I imagine a story that I like that has nothing to do with my own life (often inspired by a book or show I’m watching). At this point because I’ve been doing this for a few years, I often fall asleep at the beginning on the sequence.
You’re welcome to take these suggestions and try them out. And if you’d like me to help you create your own wellness routine using doTERRA oils in your own household, contact me so we can chat.
Finally I would love to hear about your wellness routine. Share your ideas in the comments.
Lately I’ve been exploring the idea of creating more wellbeing at home. One of the ideas that really resonated with me is the idea of protecting my children’s free time. Right away I realized that was what I was attempted to do when we sat down as a family and chose our kids activities for the school year. As a parent, I recognize that I have a great deal of influence over how my children spend their time outside of school. Although there are dozens and dozens of benefits to music, arts and sporting activities – there is also a benefit to free time.
I want my kids to have the opportunity to be bored. And yes, it’s sometimes it is grating on my nerves when they complain about it, but after being bored for a while, something magical happens! They figure something out. They create the coolest and most imaginative games. They start a project. They go outside. They experience FREEDOM.
When I think about how much freedom I had growing up compared to my parents, I can’t help feeling as though with each generation kids have less and less freedom. I had less that my father or my mother, and my kids definitely have less freedom than I did. And while there are probably a host of different cultural reasons that explain that change, I do want to create pockets of freedom for my kids where I can.
During those pockets of free time, it may not look like much is happening. Despite the fact that I completely value productive activity, I also know that worthwhile activities don’t always appear worthwhile. Sometimes it may seem as though my kids aren’t doing anything particularly important or useful, however there is value in play. As an adults, it’s interesting to reflect back on the type of play that we most in enjoyed as children, often there are hints to our future occupations in that play. Play gives kids a chance to try out so many different roles and ideas. It gives them space to figure out how they like to spend their time. And that in itself holds value.
We hear about yoga seemingly everywhere these days. The same can be said for essential oils. Both are becoming SO popular. This is because they are BOTH awesome, and when you combine them, something pretty magical happens. (If you are unfamiliar with yoga or essential oils – scroll down for some definitions)
Combining the power and benefits of Yoga and Essential Oils will only help make your yoga practice more relaxing, more energizing, and more balancing.
So what exactly are some benefits of Yoga and Essential Oils? Here’s just a few of my favourites!
– Increased Flexibility and Stronger Core Muscles
– Supports Relaxation and Natural Sleep Patterns
– Easier and More Comfortable Body Movement
– More Energy and Feeling of Vitality
– Better Circulation and More Oxygen
– Help the Lymph System
– Release Stress and Tension
– Balance Mood and Enhance Emotional Wellbeing
– Release Toxins in the Body
Essential oils can bring clarity of mind and they also bring increased natural healing when accompanied with yoga. Yoga can be challenging but it really can help get you on the road to a healthier body, mind, and spirit.
If you are interested in trying out some aromayoga and you happen to live in Regina, Sk. Check out the studio where I teach for the aroma yoga class times and dates. http://www.everydaysacred.ca/schedule/
If you already have a home practice (meaning you do yoga on your own at home) start incorporating the essential oils into your yoga practice by starting with this simple little sequence. First put your desired oil or oil blend into your diffuser and turn it out. This will benefit you through the entire session. Then start with a nice deep aromatic experience, by applying a drop or two into your hands and cupping your hands over your mouth and nose. Breathe deeply and slowing for 5 breathes. Next add a little bit of coconut oil to your hands to dilute your essential oil. Then apply the remaining oil to your neck and throat. Massage into these areas, and then move to the back of your neck, behind your ears, and into the base of your scalp. Also you can massage the remaining oil (or add another drop) into your low back, which is the adrenal and kidney region and then finally along the bottoms of your feet. Now you are ready to begin your regular yoga practice with the added healthful benefits of oils.
I hope you enjoy this new heavenly way to begin your yoga practice! Try it out and share your experiences in a comment!
Yoga is a Sanskrit word used to describe an ancient meditative practice used to unite the body, mind and spirit. In contemporary culture, many view yoga as a form of movement involving stretching into certain postures. Yoga is far more than that, as through the movements, known as asanas or poses, we begin to quiet the mind and focus in the present moment -creating a meditative quality to our day and practice, which can bring balance to the body, mind and spirit.
Yoga is practiced in so many forms today, that it defies simple description. There are yoga programs offered by trained instructors all over the world in specialized yoga studios or outdoors at the park, or on the beach, at the gym or in a church, at your desk at work or on a plane, in your own living room or hotel room while following an online yoga website. Yoga is practiced by many different people of all ages, shapes and sizes, all around the world.
What are Essential Oils?
If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, or the pine tree when you bring it in at Christmas, or the smell of a fresh cut orange, then you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of all botanicals. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health care practices.
Diffusing essential oils is one of the nicest and HEALTHIEST ways to make your home smell good. In addition to just making your house a more pleasant place to be, essential oils also have the ability to clean the air, to open airways, and to positively affect your mood. (If you are up for hard science, you might like to check out the website www.aromaticscience.com for listing of all published research on essential oil use).
In order to diffuse oils effectively, you’ll need a diffuser. That’s a little machine that will put essential oils into the air. I frequently get asked about which doTERRA diffuser is the best. So in case you’ve been wondering, here’s my thoughts. I hope this helps you make your decision…
How to Choose the Right Diffuser for Your Family…
The reason there are 4 different doTERRA diffusers is because they work in different ways and which is best will depend on what you need it to do and which one works better for your goals. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:
It looks beautiful and has a soothing blue light. You put a little water in it mixed with oils and it’s like a little humidifier. The Lotus diffuser won’t stay on for more than an hour and will only run up to two hours without having to refill. You also have to clean it regularly or it gets water deposits and won’t work well. It’s easy to clean though. It comes with a little brush and every 6 months or so, I brush the silver ultrasonic metal piece and then it works like a charm again. I love having my lotus diffuser on my kitchen counter. For me, I don’t like being locked in to the same scent all day long, I love that with the lotus I can change the aroma after two hours. However having to refill it that often drives some people crazy. To me it’s big advantage is that it is very quiet to run – just a slight sound of moving water which I find lovely. In addition, with the newest model, the lovely blue light can be turn off or left on.
Aroma Ace Diffuser
To me, it is worth the little bit of extra money for the Aroma Ace Diffuser. The main drawback is that it’s pretty noisy. If it’s running in my kitchen in the day, I don’t even notice hearing it, but in my bedroom at night, it drives me nuts! My husband on the other hand finds it to be a soothing white noise though and can easily sleep through it. I like to run it upstairs when I put the kids to bed with either serenity or vetiver. You can learn more about serenity here http://doterrablog.com/eo-spotlight-serenity-calming-blend-2/ and more about vetiver here http://doterrablog.com/eo-spotlight-vetiver-2/ Both are great oils for promoting a restful sleep. The nice thing about the aroma ace is that it’s so adjustable – you control the rate of diffuser from low to high, and you control how long it says on and how long it stays off for. So for example, at the kids’ bedtime we set it to run at medium on for 10 minutes on and off for 20 minutes. About 2 hours later when we go to bed we shut it off but the aroma lasts in the air for 3-4 hours. And that’s enough for us. I know someone who uses it at their massage clinic – there they set it to run at low on for 5 minutes and off for 10 minutes and it alternates on and off in that sequence all day. It would great for at the clinic because they can set it and forget about it. The one downside is that if you run an oil on high on for 30 minutes and off for 2 minutes continuously day and night in that setting, a 15ml bottle of oil would last about a week. Depending on the oil, that can get quite expensive. This kind of diffuser uses a different technology so the oil isn’t mixed with water – you just screw the bottle directly into the diffuser.
Aroma Lite Diffuser
I love the Aroma Lite; it’s a close tie with Lotus for my favorite doTERRA diffuser. I still use the Lotus in the kitchen because I love to change the essential oil scent frequently and I LOVE how pretty it looks. I love having the Aroma Ace upstairs because it’s less prepping than the Aroma Lite or Lotus since you don’t have to put water in it.
BUT I love the Aroma Lite for it’s all around usefulness. It’s great for bedroom during the night because it is really quiet and you can turn the light off and it will run for up to 8 hours. If someone has a cough in your family, then having some breathe oil diffusing all night long will make a world of difference in the quality of their sleep. Similar to the lotus diffuser, the aromalite uses water and oil together and ultra sonic diffusion to create the mist. Therefore it will need cleaning for the water deposits but I have found it easier to clean that the lotus diffuser, because it’s easier to get access to the little silver plate instead that you need to clean. I like that that the little purple light but it can be turned off or on. The other reason I love this one, is that it’s a great diffuser to travel with. It’s small and compact and fits easily into a suitcase. It’s actually compact enough that I can put in it in my purse when I travel to teach classes. It’s final pro is that is covers a large area up to 1000 square feet.
The petal diffuser is the newest in my collection of diffusers. I think the part I like the most about this diffuser is the price point. It’s about half the cost of the other ones. It uses ultrasonic diffuser similar to the lotus and the aromalite, so it also needs to be cleaned from time to time. The tank of water is slightly smaller than the aromalite, so the petal’s maximum diffusion time is 4 hours. You can also set it to run for 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours. It has a little purple light which can be turned on or off. The top white part of the diffuser will glow and lovely quite lovely turned on. It works great as a night light as well. In my experience, many families like to have a diffuser in each child’s bedroom. This one is probably your best bet for that option because it’s easier on the pocket book. If you are just starting out with oils and are looking for your first diffuser, I think this would be a good choice. It’s quiet, has a cute design, is versatile and works well. It covers about 330 square feet.
Time and time again as HypnoBirthing Educators, we meet babies born using the HypnoBirthing method who are alert, calm, and content from the moment they are born. Even in cases where the birth didn’t go according to plan, these babies seem to be well-adjusted and ready to embrace life on the outside.
A short online survey gathered information about 113 children, 72 of whom were born using HypnoBirthing, and 41 who were not. The survey was shared by HBCEs online using social media. Parents were invited to respond in respect to each of their children.
The research confirmed exactly what we knew about HypnoBirthing babies; they are more likely to be calm (92% vs. 78% of the other babies), content (78% vs. 63%), alert (99% vs. 85%) and happy babies (92% vs. 78%). Their parents are also more likely to describe them as good sleepers (71% vs. 54%) and easy babies (83% vs. 61%).
These same traits were also apparent in older children. The children born using HypnoBirthing were more often described as content (83% vs. 63%), happy (97% vs. 83%), and calm (70% vs. 57%), as well as less fussy (8% vs. 23%).
The majority of the HypnoBirthing parents who responded to the survey did feel that HypnoBirthing had influenced their child’s temperament. There were numerous accounts of babies that entered the world calm and alert and remained that way.
“I am 100% certain that Grace’s acute perception, rapid language development and extremely kind and sociable demeanour are all related to the calm, natural HypnoBirth that she experienced. You could tell she was “with” us from the very moment she was born.”
“From the moment my daughter was born, and still at four yrs old, she has been gentle and soft. She was an easy content baby and still is.”
“When he was born, he was put onto my chest and stared straight into my eyes. He never cried, he was so alert yet so calm. I strongly believe that HypnoBirthing had a great deal to do with that!!”
The full report is available at: http://www.envisagehypnobirthing.co.nz/2014/09/18/benefits-hypnobirthing/
Deep Gratitude to Esther Croft for compiling this research!
I’m deeply grateful for Anna Quindlen’s wisdom and I hope to always remember who the experts truly are.
I hope you enjoy it as much as me!
On Being the Mommy
by Anna Quindlen
If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. ALL MY BABIES are gone now.
I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.
Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber duckie at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. T. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations — what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout.
One boy is toilet trained at 3, his brother at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.
First science said environment was the great shaper of human nature. But it certainly seemed as though those babies had distinct personalities, some contemplative, some gregarious, some crabby. And eventually science said that was right, and that they were hard-wired exactly as we had suspected. Still, the temptation to defer to the experts was huge.
The literate parent, who approaches everything; cooking, decorating, life as though there were a paper due or an exam scheduled, is in particular peril when the kids arrive.
How silly it all seems now, the obsessing about language acquisition and physical milestones, the riding the waves of normal, gifted, hyperactive, all those labels that reduced individuality to a series of cubbyholes. But I could not help myself. I had watched my mother casually raise five children born over 10 years, but by watching her I intuitively knew that I was engaged in the greatest and potentially most catastrophic task of my life. I knew that there were mothers who had worried with good reason, that there were children who would have great challenges to meet.
We were lucky; ours were not among them. Nothing horrible or astonishing happened: there was hernia surgery, some stitches, a broken arm and a fuchsia cast to go with it. Mostly ours were the ordinary everyday terrors and miracles of raising a child, and our children’s challenges the old familiar ones of learning to live as themselves in the world. The trick was to get past my fears, my ego and my inadequacies to help them do that.
I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top.
And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
If you enjoyed that post you might also like reading these two.
The Boredom of Motherhood
Whoever thought that mothering would be boring? I sure didn’t when I signed on. I assumed I’d be busy. And I am, overwhelmingly so sometimes. But what I never imagined was that I could be busy and bored at the same time. Keep Reading
Loving Kindness Meditation for Pregnancy and for Moms
I clearly remember the moment I first encountered loving kindness meditation. Laying on the floor of a unfamiliar yoga studio in a new city back in 2000 – the instructor directed us to relax our bodies and then invited us to follow her in a meditation in which we directed kindness to another. As she led us through it, I felt my heart open and so many warm, soft and peaceful feelings of love followed through me. I was hooked.
Years later when I became pregnant with my daughter I adapted the wording and began practicing this form of meditation to connect with her. It worked beautifully. And so I began teaching it in my prenatal yoga classes and in my HypnoBirthing childbirth preparation courses. Keep Reading
There were a few different ideas of when our “due date” was. According to the pie chart at the doctor’s office – the one that calculates a due date based on your last monthly cycle, our baby was to be born on June 21st – the summer solstice. Our first ultrasound at 13 weeks indicated otherwise, and gave us a due date of June 19th. My mom, however, told me our baby would be born exactly 266 days from conception, just as all her babies had been born – so that was the date in our heads – June 24th, 2013. And just as my mom predicted, I went into labour on the morning of the 24th.
It was a Monday, and the weather was beautiful. We got up in the morning a bit earlier than normal to get ready and make the drive out to Fort Qu’Appelle where our midwife, Debbie was. When we got in the car around 0900, I felt a mild tightening, something that felt much like period cramps. After about 20 minutes of these cramps coming and going, I decided to secretly time them – I felt like I could have been imagining them and didn’t want to get too excited. Sure enough, they kept on happening – regularly for 30 seconds a time every 3 minutes. When I told Brennan, he turned down the music – we were listening to the new National album and he was pretty into it, “are you serious?” he asked, and we both grinned. When we got to the Women’s Health Centre, and then into the room to see Debbie, I still couldn’t believe this could be it. She asked how things were going, and I casually responded “I think I might be in labour?”. She got me on the bed, did a quick check with her own grin and said “I never like to say anything, but I can say that I don’t need to do anything to help you along”. We did a non stress test which indicated that my contractions were, in fact, coming in fairly regular intervals and consistent in their strength. “How do you feel” she asked, and I told her that they felt great – surges through my body that were telling me that my baby was coming, and they actually felt really good!! With a quick “I’ll probably be seeing you later” we were on our way back to Regina.
I had made plans with a friend and her 11 month old daughter to go to Wascana pool for the afternoon. I couldn’t see why this wouldn’t still be a good idea, I loved being in water so much and it really was a beautiful day. Of course, I told her that my labour had started and we spent the afternoon giggling like school girls and floating around the pool. It was fun to have this “secret labour” – there were a number of people who, staring at my round pregnant belly asked when I was due and I could hardly stop myself from saying “Right Now!”
Brennan and I met back up at home around 1730. By this time, the surges were a little more intense, but they were still about 3 minutes apart. I asked Brennan to make one of my favourite meals – a quinoa vegetable dish with peanut sauce and pickles on top. While he was busy in the kitchen, I lit the candles I had received at my blessingway from all the supportive women in my life, played the affirmations that Brennan and I had written and recorded in his studio and found myself on all fours rocking back and forth. I was so happy that our baby was coming to us. I felt safe, confident and secure. I was blown away with the powerful feelings rushing through my body and feeling strong and ready. When Brennan came upstairs with supper around 1830, I joined him in the bathroom where I had moved my music, a number of candles, and my yoga mat. I had a few bites of supper, and felt a powerful surge that caused me to throw up. With each surge after that, I continued to throw up. It was strange, and definitely unexpected. I didn’t feel ill at all, and hadn’t been sick my entire pregnancy! As the surges continued and became more intense, I moved into our clawfoot tub. I found myself going deeply inside my own head, closing my eyes, and giving in to what I can only describe as my natural birthing instincts. The surges continued to fill me with a deep knowing that our baby was coming and that my body knew what to do. I also had a lot of help from Brennan, who could anticipate when a surge was going to start, support me from a laying position and catch my vomit which continued to shoot out of me with every surge! Throughout this entire time, Brennan had been in contact with our Doula who came over to check on us and noted how well we were coping thus far, and with our Midwife, who encouraged us over the phone. At 2100, during one of the surges, we heard a loud “POP”, and my water broke in the tub! And what a relief! Brennan called the midwife and she told us to meet her at the hospital around 2230. He shot off a message with the plan to the doula, and I continued to labour in the tub while he packed up the car. When he came back up, he helped my out of the tub, and I had a few more surges sitting on the toilet. At this point, we saw the bloody show and knew things were continuing to progress. My surges were at least a minute and a half, and still about three minutes apart, Brennan helped find my clothes and we ventured out to the car. Once outside, I had another strong contraction that brought me to my knees, invited a loud moan and a whole lot of pressure. I rode to the hospital on my hands and knees, moaning through each contraction. Our doula followed us and stayed with me while Brennan registered me and brought out a wheelchair. There wasn’t any way I was going to sit though! I rode on all fours all the way up to Labour and Delivery! I guess they figured I was definitely in labour and I skipped triage and was put into a room immediately.
Our midwife, with impeccable timing arrived just as we got into the room, checked me and said “You’re at 9cm – perhaps you’ll have your baby today just as you expected!” We figured this meant no time to set up the birthing pool and I got into a squatting position on the bed where I began to push. Very quickly, and with only the tip of my finger, I could feel my baby’s head!! “It has hair!” I said! My surges continued as they had, powerful and regular for a long time, We tried moving into different positions, squatting, hands and knees, side lying, back lying, on the toilet, lunging – you name it, I would try it. But baby had other plans and really just wanted to stay inside.
At 0300, we decided to do a consult with the OBGYN on call. Have I mentioned that up until this point I hadn’t opened my eyes?? I was so deeply in my own birthing world I hadn’t bothered to take a look around the room and was happy to see everyones smiling and encouraging faces! When the doctor came in, she was, unfortunately quite rude. She questioned why I hadn’t been given any pain medications (because I didn’t feel I needed them), she asked why I didn’t have an IV drip (because I had been drinking tons of water), and seemed upset and annoyed at my decision to keep on labouring instead of accepting her offer of interventions (baby was not stressed, I felt like I could go on). With no medical reason to intervene, I opted to continue labouring and reconsult when she was out of surgery in a couple of hours. In those next two hours I really thought “this is it” I tuned into my body even more and negotiated with it to bring our baby to us. We tried more positions and I pushed and pushed and pushed. Baby was so close, the head would emerge slightly with each surge but it wasn’t enough to complete the birth.
When the doctor returned, there had still been no progression and so I agreed to try the suction. She apologized for her rudeness earlier, explaining that she was not usually so blunt and brief but she had a c-section to attend to. We accepted her apology and made our birthing wishes clear to her – that we didn’t want any unnecessary interventions, that we wanted delayed cord clamping, to discover the sex of our baby and that mine and baby’s care would continue to be under the midwife after our baby was born. To say that she seemed annoyed all over again would be a bit of an understatement, but she agreed. With the suction attached to our baby’s head, it took three more contractions before fully coming into our world. Our midwife took our baby from the doctors hands and put him on my chest. Our doula was able to remind them that we wanted to discover the sex of our baby, “He’s a boy!!” I discovered!! For the next hour we cuddled with our son skin to skin while they worked on fixing me up. Emmett latched on and breast fed while Brennan and I drifted off to sleep. After everything had settled we weighed and measured him. He was 8lbs, 13oz, and 20.5inches long. A healthy and very calm baby who continues to nurse well, sleep well, and of course, steal the hearts of everyone he has met!
I loved birthing our baby. I felt so supported by the people I had chosen to be around me as I brought him into this world and so deeply in tune with my own body. I am proud of myself and the people around me who continued to challenge the push for medical intervention, but also for being open to the turn that it took when my labour stalled and we needed to go down a different path. I am forever grateful for my husband, Brennan, our midwife, Debbie, our two doulas, Angie and Karen, our hypnobirthing instructor, Marie, and to all those who encouraged us to believe in the power and art of birth and advocate for the importance of choice in the whole process. I am so excited to do it again someday, with even greater confidence than before!
written by Jaclyn R.
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