"I'd like to order one epidural in the parking lot, please"


During our initial phone call, many first-time mums nervously laugh, then ask me if I can just order them a fast birth "and one epidural in the parking lot, please." It sounds like a drive-through order.

"Why?" I ask myself. Really fast births don't allow the body to churn out all those wonderful pain-relieving endorphins (boy, do you want them!) Fast births don't allow any time for the brain to keep up with what the body is doing. Actually, my least satisfied client had a 45-minute labour and birth. She said, "I waited 40 years to give birth, and THAT'S IT??? It was so fast, I missed it!"

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Rituals

When my daughter and her husband were married, a strand of beads was held in their hands. From a crystal bead that came from Great-great Grandmother Sarah's necklace to a stone from their favourite beach, each token holds a message from those who will support them in their marriage.

Just like birthing beads in Africa, where each woman attended by a midwife adds a bead to the midwife's strand, increasing its power and significance, this strand of beads gains its power from the wishes and love of each person who contributed a bead.

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Vancouver or Bust!

One of my recent clients is a doula from Fort McMurray. She drove all the way to Vancouver to have her baby. I was honoured that she asked me to support her and her partner (and sister) through her labour. With her permission, I'd like to share a part of her email that she sent me after she had driven all the way home with the new baby (only a few days after the birth!)

"I really wanted to email you and say thank you once again for a terrific job and your incredible support. I drove to Vancouver with hopes for an amazing birth, and I couldn't have imagined it being any better, even though it was longer than I anticipated! I wrote down my birth story as you suggested, and literally just finished reading your notes. Like you said, it's so funny what a different perception you have when in labor. I love the quotes you wrote down, and I honestly thought you had arrived at my sister's place at 4am, not 4:45! You make the birth sound like it happened a heck of a lot faster than what I remember it feeling to be. What an incredible experience! Thank you for making it be so.

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Le Premier Cri

Don't you just love Paris? In the Opera Metro station there's an ad for an amazing birth movie. Would you ever see that in Vancouver? A birth movie in full theatrical release? With an ad in a Skytrain station?

However you can view Le Premier Cri, find it, view it (I googled and found the complete movie online.) Yes, it's in French, but please forget all the French that you know, and listen to the birth sounds, the music, not the words of the narrators.

The cinematography is breathtaking, the births are achingly beautiful. I found myself laughing out loud in joy at the woman in Mexico being carried to her car in a blanket and transported to the seashore just after giving birth. I wanted to be the woman moving beautifully through the South American jungle to the river - stripes on her belly. There is truth in this movie.

Find this movie - the search will be worth it...

(Note: I've been getting emails from people who can't find the movie...ask a teen...honestly...they'll have it for you before the end of the day...)

An Undisturbed Birth

I've been talking a lot about "an undisturbed birth" lately.

The language that we use in labour is so potent. I'm uncomfortable with many descriptive terms surrounding birth, such as "I'd like a normal birth"...or "She had a natural birth" ...or "We did a pure birth." It sounds like all others are abnormal or unnatural or impure. Birth just should be.

So, it came to me, recently, when I realized that so many of my clients have what I describe as "she just went into labour and then had the baby" births...they had all been undisturbed in labour. My role is to keep her private space protected and undisturbed, to help her feel free to move undisturbed, to be the guardian of her cave. She remains hidden, unobserved, in a safe space.

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Snapshots of Love

A woman sings old remembered songs in a shower. The sound of her laughter echoes in the room and blends with the sound of the water.

“Hands!” A woman opens the shower door during a contraction, reaches out and holds onto her husband’s...and my...hands. When the contraction ends, the door closes and her eyes close.

Only a few hours away from birth, a woman takes time between contractions to place tin foil on the sofas and chairs; her power remains.

“I like it here” says a woman as her head burrows into the corner of the car’s backseat.

“Hips!” “Water back!” A woman moves autonomously in labour. She calls to us to take our places during each contraction...at the hips, at the back, and at her hand.

“Happy?” The lips turn into a smile, her eyes crinkle, the water runs over her body.

“Shhhhh” Her eyes gleam as she looks at her newborn, rooting for the breast.

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The Contraction Question

“I don’t think I’m in labour yet. I feel it really low down, all in front. It’s not hurting ALL OVER.” said the doctor on the phone.

“ALL OVER?” I asked, sounding like a parrot.

“Yeah.”

“Um...if all is well, it shouldn’t.” I was just a little bit confounded. Here I was, talking on the phone with a physician who’s been attending births for years. She’s amazing with her patients, so intuitive. Now, in labour for the first time, she was just as confused as everyone else in labour.

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