VBAC

I had my first child in 2007, an innocent completely uninformed first time momma who wound up being induced at 10 days overdue.  Laboured for 20 hours or so, with an epidural, and it wound up being a csection.  Over the years between my son being born and when I got pregnant in 2012 with my second, I got to know the incredible Shannon Stark.  Even before I was pregnant, she was encouraging of trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  When I did become pregnant, I knew I would want her to be there for us during childbirth and hired her to be our doula.  

During labour Shannon was invaluable in helping me get through each stage.  Her different positions and encouragement to keep switching it up helped my body prepare itself to bring my daughter into the world.  I was under the care of a midwife but unfortunately the midwife I had during pregnancy was with another mama and I was put under the care of another who was not a good match for me.  I am so thankful I had Shannon there, she was the one who got me through and she is the one who never gave up on me even after the midwife as well as myself had.  Because of Shannon I was indeed successful at my VBAC.  It was truly because of her that my body was given the chance to do exactly what it was meant to do.  I will always be grateful to her.

As I continue to reflect on my birth experience and life with my two children I feel compelled to reach out to people like you.  Thank you for the amazing labour support and continued breastfeeding support you provided for myself, Nathan and Emily.  Just an update, we are still exclusively breastfeeding and it is going well.  I know that we had discussed previously that I didn't necessarily feel that "breastfeeding bond" or closeness but a week or so ago it just clicked.  I do feel that bond and am starting to "get" why women love breastfeeding for more than the nutritional value.  It is a nice time of closeness in a hectic day between mother and daughter (even at 3 am!).  I never thought in a million years I would say that or feel this way.

I really believe that my birth experience (VBAC) lead to an awesome postpartum and breastfeeding experience.  Nathan and I will be forever grateful to you for your advice up to and during the birth.  We know that you were a large part of our VBAC success.  I could see in your face that you believed in me even when I was losing faith in my body and myself.   I knew in my heart that a vaginal birth would make huge difference to my family and I.  I can't believe how much better I feel both physically and emotionally compared to my first birth.  I also feel strong, confident and proud. 
 

Thank you for listening to me, being nonjudgmental, open and honest and most of all believing in birth and women.  You are a gift to babies and women.  
 

So much love,

Rachel, Nathan, Lucas and Emily
xoxo

Thanks to the BN team!

I would like to take a minute to thank Babies Naturally for their amazing support. After I had my son back in July 2012, I had a really hard time nursing. He didn’t latch on for the first 5 days, despite receiving all kinds of assistance and advice, from midwives, nurses, and lactation consultants. Then my midwife suggested I attend the breastfeeding clinic at Babies Naturally. I almost didn’t go; I was so tired of receiving all kinds of contradictory advice, none of which worked for us. But I did decide to go. I am so glad I did! Enter Carol Peat: within minutes she had my boy latched on and feeding, for the first time! I’m pretty sure that if I had not attended the clinic that day I would not have continued trying, and failing, to breastfeed my son. So thank you Carol!

Approximately 9 months later I found out I was pregnant again. My first birth experience was not what I had wanted at all. I had succumbed to the epidural because I had had unceasing back labour and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I then had trouble breastfeeding and bonding with my son. I decided that this time I wanted things to go differently. It took me a while to convince my husband, but eventually he agreed that we could hire a doula for this birth. I really wanted to go unmedicated, and of course I wanted the right breastfeeding support from the get-go. So we hired Shannon Stark. Throughout my pregnancy (and for the first number of months afterwards!) she was always available to answer my questions, as ridiculous as they were at times. When I went into labour, her support was even more amazing. She came over to our house and made me assume all kinds of weird and wonderful positions to make sure the baby could be in the best possible position for the birth. My husband was able to relax and watch the Leafs win a game, because he knew Shannon had things under control, and we both trusted that she would know when it was time to page the midwife and get to the hospital. She timed it so well in fact, that we arrived at the hospital at midnight, Isabel was born at 2am, and we were back home by 4:30am! What an experience! Thanks to Shannon, I was able to have my unmedicated birth, and then bond immediately with my baby, who proceeded to nurse beautifully (again, due to Shannon’s assistance; she literally took Isabel and latched her on, and then moved my arms into the right spot!).

Hiring a doula, specifically Shannon Stark, was the best decision we could have made. I’m not sure I would have been able to persevere were it not for Shannon’s continued encouragement and insistence that I could, and would, accomplish the birth that I wanted.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Jackie

VBAC class!

Hi Carol, it's Meagan Medeiros and my husband and I took your V-BAC class back in August. I just wanted to let you know that I not only had a successful V-BAC but I delivered my beautiful baby girl Zoe, on October 6, at home with the help of my midwife Annette. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for helping educate my husband and I, and for relieving some of our concerns regarding V-BAC. You and the students made us feel quite comfortable and we used many of the techniques you provided us with in that class. We are over the moon at the birth of our little one, and even happier that we got everything we wanted with this birth plan. Thank you Carol and Babies Naturally again for providing your moms with ALL the information and support needed in childbirth.
 

Dear Carol
I am filled with gratitude for having your support around the births of Noah and Teddy.
The birthing and breastfeeding of my children has been an epic personal journey. From the time I was a little girl I was afraid of the pain of childbirth. I believed that because my own birth was a "failure"due to a "failure to progress; requiring C-section",  that I too would "fail" to birth my own children. If I as a baby didn't know how to "come out" , how was I supposed to give birth?  I felt doomed to fail and was very afraid. Likewise, although I have always been committed to breastfeeding because of the health benefits I was uncomfortable by the thought of my actually doing it and felt embarrassed as if breastfeeding would make me more animal than human.

In order to manage these fears I bought heavily into the familiar medical model of birthing and breastfeeding. Hence my intense fear response when at the conscious birthing course I was introduced to the concept that birthing in the current medical model can be traumatizing and disempowering. You were so kind and professional in the way you tended to my emotional response. You compassionately met me where I was at to further enlighten me about what birth should be. The way you gently reached out to me was truly remarkable. You catapulted me on my path to seek a "better birth" education and in overcoming my learned and epigenetic fears of birth.

In retrospect, with my first birth I hadn't had enough time to develop and integrate my new views on birthing and so I believe my fear somehow might have contributed to Noah being breach and my decision to have a C -section. After thoroughly being traumatized by this birth experience I  came to believe that their must be a better way. In all my postpartum and breast feeding difficulties you were such an amazing support and I quickly realized that you were the only one in my care team(of all the obs/gynes and family docs) that knew how to diagnose and treat my issues(including the elusive raynaud's of the nipple). Seriously though, without your expertise all my ailments and breast feeding difficulties would have gone undiagnosed or inadequately treated. You hold a wealth of knowledge that is lost or forgotten in the medical system. How could that be? I am stunned at how in my experience the medical system is so woman unfriendly. And I am forever grateful to have found this knowledge in you. With your help, breastfeeding became an easeful, beautiful way to mother Noah. Breastfeeding helped me become more fully human.

So, before even planning on becoming pregnant a second time I knew I had to have your support in labour and again in breastfeeding. To have the best chance at having a successful vbac I knew I had to have you in my corner during a midwife attended unmedicated birth. My prior, fear-based wishes for a obstetrically attended birth and epidural were now long gone as Babies Naturally had planted the seed in my mind that my body already knew how to birth. How I came into the world and my general poor body image didn't impact my ability to birth. I am a woman therefore my body was capable of doing this. I had no fear of natural birth(only fear of requiring medical intervention such as C section, especially if unnecessary).

In my pregnancy with it's ups and downs(bouts of premature contractions and gbs positivity) your knowledge and healing presence was invaluable. It was reassuring to run what I was being told by the midwifes and the rare doctor to hear your highly valued informed opinion. You were the guardian of my baby and I. I am particularly thankful that I had the opportunity to discuss my options of what to do if I had premature rupture of membranes while gbs positive so when this ultimately did happen I had already decided how I wanted to manage this unfortunate scenario.

And then I was off to the races with an induced labor. I had so many complicating factors that threatened the success if my vbac, but I was determined. Having your knowledge and healing energy throughout my labor was so reassuring. I trusted that what my body might not immediately know you would fill in. Your suggestions on positioning to change an OP presentation were invaluable and you did it in a way that didn't introduce doubt in my ability to continue with the vbac. You also instilled me with confidence throughout the labor by pointing out the things my body was doing naturally to facilitate the birth. Furthermore by explaining what certain sensations meant you gave me the strength to continue an unmedicated birth where otherwise if I didn't know that the feelings were a normal part of the baby actually coming, I may have wanted an epidural due to fear of this totally unfamiliar and overwhelming experience. Birthing without fear actually wasn't painful. It was a beautiful, all consuming event where I had the opportunity to use all my physical, spiritual and emotional capabilities. I had the opportunity to be fully human. While birthing my baby, his mother too was born.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me that I COULD do this and for supporting me all the way through.

You are a gift to women. You are a gift to the world.

Love
Maria

 

Thanks to the Whole team!

Kate turned one last Thursday (*sob*) and I am so incredibly proud to say we are still breastfeeding 2-3x a day with no end in sight. Our nursing sessions have actually become the most relaxing part of my day. If someone had told me one year ago, when I was in excruciating pain and struggling with all those postpartum emotions, that not only would I still be breastfeeding, but also enjoying it, I never would have believed them. I was so close to quitting before our first consultation - I seriously bought formula that day and it's still sitting on a shelf in our basement! - and you really saved our breastfeeding relationship, for which I will be eternally grateful. 
 

I feel so blessed to have found Babies Naturally. I attended clinic for weeks and weeks because being around like-minded women facing similar struggles, and the compassion of the BN team, kept me going when I thought I had nothing left. I've become great friends with the women I met through Karen's Mum and Baby group. And I continue, on a regular basis, to use the meditation techniques I learned from you. All in all, I feel like I would have been a lot more lost and a lot less fulfilled as a mother if I hadn't had the good fortune to meet your group of strong, supportive, compassionate women. So, thank you. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart.

Last December our beautiful son arrived one month early – a wonderful surprise! Throughout my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I thought with the help of my midwife and nurses, it would be no problem. I had no idea the challenges that lay ahead with a premature baby.

 

Many nights my husband would wake to find both our son and myself crying tears of desperation. Nothing could have been worse for me at the time, than the feeling that I did not have the ability to feed my baby the way I wanted to and felt instinctively designed to. I felt like I was failing as a mother. It was at this point Carol came into my life.

Carol calmly and tenderly helped my family begin to understand the process of breastfeeding. Carol showed us a variety of positions to try, helped us to understand a baby’s perspective, and helped me to believe in myself. Every time Carol came over, my son nursed. It was amazing to me. Carol’s warm and nurturing personality and wealth of knowledge was exactly what I needed to persevere.

The story does not end there. Carol and I decided to save a session for the future. As my son got older, he continued to wake often in the night and still nursed frequently. Tired and frustrated, I called Carol for advice. To my amazement, Carol came over, assessed our routines, and helped me to develop sleep strategies for him. I am so thankful for her ongoing support.

Today, our baby boy is 11 months old and continues to nurse wonderfully. Nursing went from being something I dreaded, to the most natural and wonderful bonding experience for us. The more I get to know Carol, the more I realize that her knowledge and instincts about babies is vast, she is truly passionate about what she does, and her support comes from her heart.

Carolyn

I was very lucky to be introduced to Carol after the birth of my first son. Unfortunately, due to poor post natal care and bad advice, I had been struggling for three weeks to breastfeed my baby. That experience left me tired and frustrated so when I met Carol, her calm and caring demeanour was a welcome change and allowed me to feel an instant connection. To my amazement, she was able to accomplish in less than an hour what half a dozen health care workers had failed to do in three weeks. Carol has a wealth of knowledge that she uses to instil confidence and empower women. She truly loves and believes in what she does. I have found Carol to be a tremendous support who is always advocating for women and their children. She has a special gift and touches the lives of everyone she comes in contact with. I am grateful for Carol’s instrumental part in helping me to successfully breastfeed my children. She is a beautiful person, a wonderful resource and I would highly recommend all that she has to offer!

 

Erin

 

 

After seeing Carol for breastfeeding help with my first son, I soon learned that she was someone special. I like to refer to her as the baby whisperer. She is someone who understands the birth process from conception to delivery, and most importantly, how birth affects your body and your baby. When I became pregnant again, Carol was one of the first people I told, because I wanted her at my birth. We had a planned homebirth, and Carol’s presence made it unbelievably wholesome and unforgettable. She was there when I needed her most, and she exceeded my expectations with her postpartum and breastfeeding support. My birth team wouldn’t have been complete without Carol’s presence. I am forever indebted to her.

Lisa

Our daughter was born January 2010 & our birth experience was exactly what we wanted. One of the most important aspects for us was to have a support during the birth. Enter Kristi who helped us achieve our goal – a totally natural birth – drug & intervention free. We were lucky enough to also meet Carol after the birth for breastfeeding support. As someone who has always believed birth was a natural process, I was totally surprised to find such little support in London when I was pregnant. Now Babies Naturally will help fill that void. Education & empathy are critical to positive birth outcomes. These ladies have it all. We feel very blessed to have met them & shared our birth story with them.

 

Aurora