My name is Amy and I am a mother of two beautiful girls. I have always believed that God has beautifully equipped the female body to develop and deliver babies naturally, and in most cases, without medical intervention. I had the pleasure of experiencing care from a very holistically-minded doctor when I walked through my first pregnancy. Being in Yellowknife, there was not access to perinatal specialists or midwives and my options were very limited. Although my first birthing and postnatal experience was mostly positive and one I look back on with fondness, I was very grateful when I was given the opportunity to walk through the pregnancy, birth, and postnatal period of my second daughter, with the care, support, and gentle education of Kristi Waun.

Despite the fact that miles separated us and that my little girl had a mind of her own and decided to stay in-utero 11 days past the expected date of arrival (long after Kristi had boarded the plane on her way back home), Kristi was available, attentive, sensitive and extremely knowledgable in every area surrounding child birth and postnatal care. I was completely at ease each time we spoke and as she educated me on how to prepare my body for a natural birth, or how to overcome nursing difficulties, she never once made me feel defensive or inadequate. She had a way of communicating in an affirming, caring manner and she also let me know she respected my decisions and trusted who I was as a mom. Having lost two babies myself, I am very excited and relieved to here the support that is being offered to moms through Babies Naturally “Mark the Moment” seminars. It’s such a comfort to hear from one who has walked the difficult road herself.

Having the support and care of a perinatal specialist is a comforting, empowering and extremely positive experience. I would highly recommend the services of any of the women on this team, without any reservation, because of their ability to focus a mom’s attention on the beauty and natural attributes of birthing a miracle.

Amy

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

 

 

Upon preparing for the birth of our first baby, my husband and I came to learn about the role of a labour support person (doula) and what the statistics suggest about having one at a birth. Because we had our hearts set on natural childbirth, we decided that in order to increase our odds, we really had to have one, and so we started our search. We were very fortunate to be introduced to Allison, who had just completed her labour support program and was quite eager to get her first hands-on experience. At our initial meeting, we knew we did not have to look any further- she was the perfect person for us.

 

We were truly blessed with a wonderful and rewarding birth experience and Allison far exceeded our expectations. She was instrumental in achieving our goal and provided us with great support and knowledge during and after labour.Today, as we await the arrival of our second baby, we very much look forward to sharing the experience with Allison again. It’s very reassuring to know that she’ll be there with us. Thank you, Allison.

Laura

 

 

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

Shannon has always been very professional and always made us feel comfortable no matter what the conversation or topic was. Her knowledge of the birthing process and aftercare is such a great asset and something we found invaluable as first time parents. Many times throughout the pregnancy we didn’t know what to expect or what our options were (or that we had them) and Shannon was always great at explaining and clarifying everything.

The most important area we would like to highlight was the labour and birth. Without Shannon present and on-call at all times, we probably would have made 2 or more trips to the hospital only to be sent home. It was such a relief to have Shannon’s experience and consulting to let us know exactly what was happening and what stage we were in. Being able to labour at home as long as possible made it much easier on us and we are confident this enabled a smooth birth.

On Sunday around 12 noon we had hit our low point. We were very exhausted physically and emotionally. Sensing this, Shannon made the trip out to Komoka to be with us even though Amy wasn’t in active labour yet. Shannon was a godsend to us. She raised our spirits, helped Amy relax and really kick-started labour. By recommending new positions and strategies Amy was able to relax, get baby Hope into the right position and get things moving along to the point that Amy was 6cm dilated by the time we arrived at the hospital at 6pm.

When it was time to travel to the hospital, Shannon made the trip with us in the car which was completely above our expectations. Knowing she was there allowed us to relax, confident we were in good hands if the baby arrived early. After all was said and done, Shannon spent over 12 hours with us that day and was constantly dedicated to us for that whole time. Having that level of support was inspiring to say the least.

Amy’s plan all along was to have a completely natural birth with no interventions. We are very confident that without Shannon, this would not be possible. When Amy wavered in her ability to complete the task, Shannon knew exactly what to say, or what to do to relax her, and get back on track. This was also very beneficial to me (Jeff) as watching Amy go through so much pain and discomfort was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Shannon was able to keep me calm and coach me into saying the things I needed to say, and do what I needed to do to comfort Amy. Without Shannon I might have collapsed and recommended an epidural to Amy. Again I am so grateful for Shannon’s support.

One of my (Jeff) initial fears of hiring Shannon was that it would limit my involvement in the birthing process. I can honestly say now that in no way did Shannon interfere with my ability to be involved in the birth. Quite the opposite it allowed me to be involved exactly how I wanted to be involved as Shannon handled everything else. I was able to be 100% focused on Amy and Shannon supported us both however we needed it.

Once Hope was born, it was the happiest moment of our lives. We owe it all to Shannon and are so glad we were able to share that experience with her. We don’t even know how to express how much we appreciate and are forever grateful for Shannon and what she did for us. After Hope was born, Shannon was also a great asset to help Amy in the early stages of breastfeeding. The nurses were almost non-existent so it was great to get little tips and tricks to kick start breastfeeding success. With a few small tweaks and adjustments Hope is feeding great and Shannon was a huge part of that.

Jeff and Amy Northey

 

 

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

 

 

Thank you for your amazing prenatal class! Shannon – you were so organized and detailed and genuine. You have such a lovely spirit and your calm, happy, giving energy was so inspiring. Your honesty and forthcoming nature made the class so personal and so practical and so informative. This class made me feel so educated about birth and so empowered – I truly feel ready to enter into this next chapter and knowing that there are support people like you guys out there makes the whole endeavor seem a lot less scary!

 

Dr. Heather Somers, Chiropractor

 

 

My husband and I decided we wanted to have a home birth for our first birthing experience. After some research on the advantages of having a doula present at birth we contacted Babies Naturally and were put in contact with Karen. I can’t say enough positive things about our experience with her! Karen’s initial responsiveness and professionalism, her kind and calm care during labour and after, and continual breastfeeding support really made our first birthing and parenting experience happy, positive and empowering. Karen had great knowledge of different positions and techniques to try during labour and was there when I just needed a hand to hold. Her experience as a lactation consultant was also invaluable right after birth and continues to this day. This was especially helpful to me because it can be very confusing when you have so many opinions and schools of thought on what the right way to breastfeeding is. With Karen’s support I was able to gain confidence in my motherly intuitions and the persistence to successfully continue breastfeeding. It was a blessing to have Karen’s help and I look forward to have her attend our future births. Thanks so much Karen! I couldn’t have done it with you!!!

 

Kathy McSpadden

Since having my first child I knew from the start, that I wanted to be involved with a baby group that would get me out of the house. I’ve always heard that these groups at times could be disappointing, competitive and sometimes make you feel incompetent. I knew from the breastfeeding help I received from babies naturally that this class would be different, and it was. I met some great ladies who I still chat with and I truly felt like we were on the same page whether it was our first child or third. The hour and a half went by fast and all ladies had great advice and tips. I really can’t say enough about it! It was a great/safe atmosphere to discuss many topics, especially for myself being a first time mom! I would definitely consider doing it again.

Robyn

 

 

I encountered some difficulties in the hospital while trying to breastfeed my newborn. The nurse had convinced my husband and I to supplement with formula and ensured us that it would not interfere with breastfeeding. Being in the vulnerable position we were, we took her advice. However, when we got home and didn’t want to supplement anymore we ran into problems. We struggled with breastfeeding for 2 days and then finally reached our breakpoint on Friday when our son was 4 days old. Out of desperation we turned to the internet and came across the Babies Naturally website. I called and within minutes Karen had arranged to come out to our home. So there we were 10pm on a Friday night when Karen showed up on our doorstep. She was amazing!!! She helped us calm our son down and then got him to feed properly. She stayed with us while he fed, providing tips and answering our questions. Our baby was so content that he slept for the next 3 hours giving us some much needed sleep. Karen continued to follow up with us for a few days to ensure things were progressing well. Our truest gratitude goes out to her. She has made me feel more confident and provided me with invaluable guidance. As a result each breastfeeding session has become easier. I would definitely recommend her to anyone who is having trouble with breastfeeding and will not hesitate to contact her again.

 

Trish