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

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

Carol helped me welcome all three of my children into the world. I cannot imagine how different (and probably not as pleasant) my birth stories would be without her. She has cried with me, laughed with me, and jumped for joy with me. I have leaned on her, stared at her, yelled at her, chatted endlessly on the phone with her. She has given me a foot massage, helped me handle castor oil, introduced me to babywearing (my best parenting decision by far), kept me in shape, and helped me figure out nursing, bundling, diapering, bathing and endless other baby details. She is a birth and baby goddess.

My husband is one of her biggest advocates as well and tells every co-worker or friend to head her way. He believes that hiring Carol was the best decision we made concerning any birth/baby purchase or choice.

Even though they are now 11, 8 and 6 years old. I still call Carol a friend; and, I am grateful to her husband and her children for sharing her with my family and I. I am forever indebted to her for her time, her energy, her enthusiasm and the sharing of her soul.

Julie

 

 

While my midwife team was an excellent support group, Shannon and Carol were there EVERY step of the way. Questions, education class, labour coaching and post-delivery lactation support – they helped build my confidence. I can’t articulate how much it meant to have knowledgeable, reliable and compassionate professionals guide me along my journey.

Tania Testa

Many people believe that by choosing to have a medicated birth they save themselves from pain in childbirth and I can say quite simply (from experience) that it just isn’t true. I had planned to have a natural birth with my first child and despite feeling prepared and informed I ended up with the birth that I really did not want: hospital, Pitocin, epidural, transfer of care, suctioning and stitches, instead of natural childbirth at home. Needless to say, my first birth experience was not at all what I had hoped for and it took me months to come around to the idea of ever giving birth again. My recovery was long, physically and emotionally draining, and breastfeeding was challenging. Upon discovering that I was pregnant for a second time I decided that I HAD to have a more positive experience; to take control, be stronger, wiser and have the most calming person I knew at my birth. We opted to sign up with a different midwifery practice because we felt that their mandate was closer to our own birthing philosophy. We also decided to take an additional birth education class as the one we had taken during our first pregnancy was not as informative as we would have liked. The” Babies Naturally” birthing class was fabulous. We spent the day with one other delightful couple and Shannon and Kristi, the class co-leaders, shared their ideas about how to achieve a positive birth experience. This class was in stark contrast to the first one that we had taken. We had lively and varied discussion, and felt comfortable talking about our experiences and asking questions. Armed with our newly gained knowledge and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm we gathered our home birth supplies, and felt that this time we could achieve a beautiful natural birth.

 

As we approached the 42 week mark our hopes for a home birth seemed to be slipping away and we were envisioning an induction with the usual catalogue of interventions. I began to panic and decided to try every trick in the book in order to avoid this unwanted outcome. I had two “stretch and sweeps” –the second of which was on the day that my labour started. I took castor oil a few hours after my stretch as the midwife felt my cervix was ready and that I simply needed a bit of help to kick start the labour (and to empty my bowels). I had to admit that it took me two tries to get the vile liquid down my throat (the first lot ended up splattered all over my kitchen cabinets). Evidently, my body was ready as three hours after taking the oil and an hour after a nice long walk I was relaxing in the bath when the contractions started! They began gently and gradually, coming every 5 minutes and lasting for about 30 seconds. After an hour of regular contractions I called Carol to let her know and we chatted a few times over the next half an hour, so that she could monitor my progress. The contractions were building fairly rapidly and Carol suggested paging the midwife, filling up the labouring tub, and preparing ourselves for a quick delivery.

Labouring in the birthing pool was glorious and eased the contractions tremendously. We had the pool set up in the nursery and enjoyed light easy conversation between contractions. The midwife arrived at about 10:30pm by which point I was working harder but I still felt extremely calm. The reminders to relax my facial muscles, and my shoulders, and keep my voice soft and low made a huge difference to how I coped. As my labour progressed and I found myself having to clamber out of the tub more regularly to go to the toilet I opted to labour at the side of the bed. Even as the contractions grew stronger and I was feeling such extreme pressure I never once doubted my ability to carry on un-medicated and was really rather enjoying the experience. I found that focusing on something during the contractions was helpful – I picked the screw on the electrical outlet faceplate. At this point with baby moving through the birth canal I found that the most painful part of the contractions was in my back – Carol began pressing firmly on my lower back through each contraction and it helped to no end; my husband was kneeling in front of me so that I could hug him all the while peering over his shoulder and focusing on my electrical outlet. I felt surrounded by love and helpful hands but most importantly I felt strong, empowered and safe. During each contraction I repeated “I can do this” to myself and this little mantra proved to be a powerful tool indeed. Carol’s words of wisdom, telling me as each contraction passed, “That one is over and you’ll never have to do it again” was a help, indeed. I had been declining examination up until this point but the midwife suggested doing a check in case the second midwife needed to be paged: I was already 6cm and progressing quickly so we paged. By this point I was experiencing some cramping sensations in my left leg (this was a problem during my first delivery as well) and was struggling to find comfortable labouring positions. I followed my instincts and ended up labouring on my right side with the painful leg up in the air and pushed backwards – it probably looked absurd but it felt right. The contractions were coming harder and faster but still felt manageable; then my waters quite literally exploded across the bed narrowly missing the midwife and this certainly added some comic relief. A few contractions later I yelled out “That felt different” and with the next contraction baby’s head was showing. I breathed deeply and worked through the next contraction and, as I did, I felt the head emerging from my body. I was instructed to pant at this point, and my baby’s body was out with the third and final contraction. (This was a mere 28 minutes after my 6cm check.) One of the many things that I still marvel at about this experience is that I didn’t have to push during labour. We’d had another beautiful baby girl and we named her Molly. She was put onto my stomach immediately; she took a few minutes to rest before she began inching her way up my torso looking for her first food. Watching the beautifully primal instincts of a newborn babe moving towards its mother’s breast is amazing sight, indeed. The placenta came out easily and without incident just as our second midwife arrived.

After showering and being tucked up in my own bed made up with my favourite sheets and with a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit I couldn’t quite believe that giving birth could be so beautiful. The pain was by no means unmanageable (I truly believe my medicated first birth was more painful) and the empowering experience of listening to my own body’s cues and connecting with my baby was sublime. The day after the birth I was up and about, feeling strong, nursing well and overjoyed at not having to tend to stitches and swollen body parts. Molly is now 6 weeks old and I still find it hard to believe that giving birth could have been so enjoyable. I love to tell our story and encourage woman to trust in themselves and, whenever possible, to have a natural birth while surrounded by individuals who are helpful, loving and supportive.

Madeleine Kendall

 

 

I can’t say enough positive things about Babies Naturally and all the support they provide! Carol helped us out in the first week by showing us how to breastfeed. Her support, kindness, gentleness and positive energy got us through a bit of a difficult period, so when we were having “sleep issues” with our daughter at 9 months old, who did we turn to? Babies Naturally of course! I’ll admit, we thought we’d tried everything to get our daughter to sleep and didn’t have much faith that Carol could solve our problems. Our daughter Maya was still sleeping in a swing for her naps and in our bed at night. She used to sleep quite comfortably in bed with us and we’d enjoy a blissful 9-10 hours of sleep! But all of a sudden she started tossing and turning all-night so we knew that the sleeping with us was coming to an end and the napping in the swing definitely needed to stop as she was quickly outgrowing it! (Also, not great for her back etc.) To get Maya to sleep for naps we had to rock, and shush, swing and sway, and literally do full-on squats with her. Then we had to gently place her down without waking her… Ya, it’s as ridiculous as it seems. To think back at those times… I wish we’d called Carol in earlier!!

Within a few days of my initial email for help, Carol arrived in our house. She spent the time to go over everything with us. She checked out Maya’s nursery and made some small and simple changes. (At first I thought some of the changes were so minor that they couldn’t have much impact… But these changes would make all the difference!) Carol acted like she had all the time in the world, just for us. She played with Maya (and even got a few face sucks- or kisses). When she left we felt inspired and hopeful that we’d all finally get the sleep that we desperately needed and really just get our “time” back. (Rocking, and swaying a baby to sleep for hours, upon hours each day is very time consuming and exhausting!!) WELL, within the very first day of implementing Carol’s suggestions we could already see that Maya preferred her crib over the swing and the bed. In fact we couldn’t get her back in the swing if we wanted to! It took about 3 long consistent days of our new routine but she was sleeping in her CRIB!!! The fact that I had a baby that slept in her crib was just amazing to me. And no swinging, shushing, rocking, swaying or squatting! Just in her crib and there you go!!

It is now been about 2 months since we first met with Carol for sleep support…We are still amazed and shocked about how easy it is (usually) to get Maya to sleep. For both of her naps and bedtime she goes to sleep without a peep and even reaches for her crib when she’s tired!! Sometimes she’ll complain a bit when we put her in her crib but that usually lasts 2-5 minutes and then she’s out like a light! We are so thankful to have our “time” back and to not be committing to a full-on workout at naptime! We are SO thankful for Carol and all at Babies Naturally who do what they do!

Samirah Ahmed