SmartMom Canada

by Chelsea Casson on April 22, 2014

“SmartMom Canada is a prenatal text messaging program, which texts important information to pregnant women about healthy pregnancy and birth timed to their stage of pregnancy. It is delivered free of charge.” Description from their Indiegogo Campaign

The program is being developed by Dr. Patricia Janssen and the Optimal Birth British Columbia team through the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health and the Child and Family Research Institute. They have the support of the  Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and for the first time in the history of mobile health in Canada, our technology and wireless carrier partners will provide the software at cost and send all the text messages for free!

The SmartMom Canada prenatal text messaging program is an easy to access, free resource that will benefit pregnant women across Canada, giving them the chance to make informed decisions regarding their care throughout pregnancy and the birth of their baby.

SmartMom text message

To make this program happen, they need to raise $100,000.00 by May 14, 2014. As of April 22nd, they are only at 3% of their goal and with only 23 days left until the end of their campaign they need supportive people to come forward and donate their spare change to this cause, the cause to support mothers in having healthy pregnancies and births in Canada.

For more information please visit or their Facebook Page here.

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Birth Photography

by Sasha Veitch on February 11, 2014

Birth Photography – Written by: Vannessa Brown

Birth is powerful, emotional and beautiful.  I have never witnessed anything more awe-inspiring than a woman giving birth.  Her emotions raw and real, surge through her whole body and the intensity is written on her face.  With every breath her walls fall down while she surrenders completely to bringing a new life into this world.




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Birth photography captures these intense and beautiful moments.  The indescribable emotions expressed by the new parents, grandparents, and siblings-emotions you would otherwise miss, and all the details that come together to tell your baby’s unique birth story.  The moment you look down at your baby for the very first time and the tear on your cheek when you first hold this new life; the connection between you and your partner and those first few hours as a new family.  Every emotion, tear, and outward expression is woven together creating your birth story.

Vannessa Brown Photography

Why Birth Photography?

When I tell people what I do, I often get a puzzled look “You take pictures of what?”  Birth is an intimate time, some clients worry about the details in the photos or how they will look.  Birth photography is not about graphic photos; rather it focuses on capturing the precious newborn firsts – their first breath, first cry, and first feed, the first time you hold your child’s tiny hand and the love and emotion on your baby’s birth day.

Some question why hire a professional when the father or someone in the room can snap a few photos.  A professional birth photographer will know how to use angles, lighting and timing to capture the beauty in your birth experience.  A birth photographer is professional, discreet and respectful.  They will create the story of your birth from the miniscule details of what the room looked like, who was there, the time on the clock when you were pushing to the momentous ones when the baby is birthed into the world and you first look down at this new life you created, to the expressions on the father’s face as he watches his child being born.

“Hiring a professional with passion and talent enables those shots and expressions to be captured beautifully and tastefully…from the angle of the camera, to the silhouettes and shadows, to the love captured in each shot.  Not to mention the look on everyone’s faces when my husband shared the news to my dad brushing hair back, my husband and father shaking hands, to the monitors, clocks, charts, room numbers…EVERYTHING!!!  I looked at EVERY SINGLE photo with absolute awe.” One client summarized.

One of the reasons many hire a professional birth photographer is to see the reaction on the father’s face.  As a laboring mom, you are caught up in the moment and his reaction is missed.  A photographer will capture what he looks like, how he reacts moments after the birth and what happens the first time he holds his brand new child in his arms.  And he is free from having to take photos; instead he can hold your hand, stay close to you and be part of the birth story.

Vannessa Brown Photography

Like mothers to be, fathers are often hesitant to have a photographer in the birthing room. They feel having a stranger in the room will take away from the intimacy of the birth. Having a birth photographer will enable the new father to have precious images such as these; the first time he holds his daughters hand and kisses her forehead.

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What does it feel like to fall in love with a human being you have only known for a few seconds more than anything in the whole world? Only a mother or father can feel that love. And only a birth photographer can capture the real, raw and intense beauty of it all. A fathers first kiss on his newborn daughter’s forehead or the deep pride a father feels as he looks upon his daughter moments after she has given birth.

Vannessa Brown Photog©Vannessa Brown Photography Vannessa Brown Photography

Your birth will be a day you will never forget. The fleeting expressions and the intense emotions, the many firsts and the heartfelt reactions of all those present, can be captured and weaved into a powerful story of the day you first met your child, the day you became a parent, the day your life changed forever; a story that will be priceless and timeless.

Tips for hiring a birth photographer

When choosing a birth photographer there are some helpful tips & questions for you to ask:

  1. The Photographers experience, portfolio and equipment.  Ask to see examples of images from previous births. Do they produce images that are consistently sharp, in focus and correctly edited and most importantly evoke emotion during critical moments?  Do they understand the process of birth and respect your birthing space? It is important that when a birth photographer arrives in the room of a laboring mom, they remain quiet, professional, and discrete. They should not ask you to pose or change anything, rather they should quietly document the moments as they unfold.
  2. Just as important as the quality of their work is how comfortable you feel with the photographer. It is important you meet them before the birth, get to know them and develop a high level of trust. They will be photographing you during a very intimate time in your life. I always tell my clients they are welcome to meet with me as often as they need and for those who are uncertain, I offer a free consultation.
  3. Once your birth is over, your photographer will be in possession of your personal images. What is their philosophy on “your” images? It is important they show you everything first and receive your written permission before they share any on their website, facebook or online.
  4. What is their availability? Are they available for your 24/7 in the weeks around you due date? Have you signed a contract with them to ensure their availability? Is your birth photographer also a wedding photographer and what if you birth on a Saturday? What is their back up if they cannot make it?
  5. What if your birth results in a c-section? What are the photographers policies for shooting c-sections and refunds if you go in for a scheduled c-section?

Once you make a decision and sign a contract with your photographer, you should feel at ease and excited knowing your birth will be artistically and beautifully documented and you should have full trust with how your images will be handled. The birth of your child is a once in a lifetime occurrence; there is no opportunity to do a reshoot. It will be a day you will want to be preserved in the most tasteful and moving way.


Vannessa Brown Photography

About Vannessa Brown Photography:

I am portrait photographer in Edmonton, AB Canada, specializing in birth photography. I am a proud mama of two beautiful babies and they are my world. I started out as a wedding photographer, but Birth Photography has become my passion. I create birth stories and use two mediums, images and video, to tell your story. I love capturing those first cries on camera, what you said when your first held your child, and the look on dad’s face when he cradled his new baby for the first time. Having video enables your birth story to come alive.


To view examples of the birth stories I have created, please visit or Thank you so much.

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The Birth of Nora Ivy (Homebirth Cesarean)

by Sasha Veitch on February 7, 2014

Trigger Warning – Planned homebirth turned cesarean


Nora Ivy Born at home into her father’s loving arms

That’s a lie.

I used it as a mantra the days before I went into labour. And then I laboured hard. Oh, did I labour. It was difficult and beautiful. It was natural and felt impossible. I yelled and swore and moaned. I laughed. I cried. We wanted so badly to have our little one at home. I trusted my midwife. I did not trust or believe in her protocol. My body does not listen to protocol.

But after 29 hours of hard labour I was in no mood to argue with protocol. Nobody was. It was time to go to the hospital. Time has no place in childbirth. Nothing was wrong, the clock had just run out (my midwife was kind enough to sit nervously by for a few extra hours). My natural homebirth turned and gave me everything I wanted to avoid. I consented to an epidural and Pitocin. I did not consent to a vag exam by an arrogant resident doctor; she was the worst. When my clock ran out for a second time at the hospital I signed my name on the consent form: Cesarean Section. My husband snuck a video camera into the OR. He captured the whole thing. I have watched it dozens of times. I have watched it again and again, moving the cursor to the moment they pulled her from me. They cut the cord immediately. I have apologized to my daughter for that. They whisked her away and she cried for me. I could not get to her, immobilized on the crucifix where I was forced to sacrifice myself for my sweet girl. I heard my husband ask for skin-on-skin and they said that it wasn’t really possible. I know they lied, it just wasn’t convenient. They bundled her in three layers and all I could see was her face. My husband repeats “It’s a girl. Nope. No penis.” over and over. I can hear him crying.

My peaceful homebirth got railroaded into a sterile operating room for no other reason than my body moving too slowly, at its own pace. My daughter was sunny side up which typically means an exceptionally long labour. I feel sorry for my midwives who had to push me into something we all knew was wrong: they are not allowed to be the midwives they want to be. I feel sorry for my husband who laboured right along beside me and had to watch my heart break. I feel sorry for myself because a hundred times over I could have had that baby on my own terms. I feel sorry for my daughter because her first experience Earthside was being pulled from my abdomen by her head. I feel sorry for that nasty resident who seems to think birth is something she can control and manipulate, something that needs to be fixed. She is so very wrong. I am not ashamed to feel sorrow about what should have been the best day of my life: rules and guidelines made it bittersweet. I do not believe that our surgery saved any lives. I expected overwhelming joy and was given a painfully inaccurate lesson in not trusting my body. I will never become a parent for the first time again. They took that from me. I am not ashamed to feel this way. Our system is flawed. It took so much from me. I have spent the last few months trying to see the beauty in the way my daughter was born. I am still mourning the way I wanted it to be. It is there, in that video, in my memories. I try not to play “what if?” but most days that’s all I can do. I have a scar for the rest of my life – through skin and muscle, into organ, through my heart and into the deepest part of my soul. The worst part of it all is that I am not the only one. I wish for all of womankind that I could bear this pain alone, but I am not alone. I am sorry that it happened that way.

Our system is flawed, our bodies are not. Something needs to change.

Nora Ivy Pulled from her mother by a stranger

I will learn to see the beauty in that.

Nora Ivy

Written by: Virginia Heron


Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at

Quite recently I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a seminar by Sharon Muza of New Moon Birth entitled Cesarean YOUR Way. During this session Sharon described a childbirth education class that she specifically designed for parents undergoing a planned cesarean birth. The most interesting aspect of Sharon’s class is the way in which she incorporates the element of choice and informed decision-making. For many expectant couples, having a say in how your cesarean birth is performed is a revolutionary idea. After all, a cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery.  Yet Sharon suggests all expectant couples have a conversation with their care provider about ways to make the birth a more personal experience. Although hospital policies and procedures may limit some options, several questions an expectant parent may discuss with a care provider regarding the cesarean birth include:

  1. Can the partner do skin to skin with baby in the operating room?

  2. Do the mother’s hands have to be restrained during the surgery?

  3. Is it possible to wait until labour begins naturally to perform the cesarean birth?

  4. Does mother need to have medication that reduces anxiety prior to the surgery (these medications can leave mother foggy and cloud her memories of the event)?

  5. Can the drape be lowered at the time of birth so mom and partner can see the birth of the baby?

  6. Can the OR staff introduce themselves before the procedure begins?

  7. Can mom walk into the OR?

  8. Can mom/partner see the placenta?

  9. Does mom prefer a quieter room or are staff free to chat during the procedure?

  10. Will staff or parents announce sex of baby?

  11.  Is aromatherapy allowed in the OR?

  12. Would you like the doctor to explain the details as the procedure occurs?

  13. Would you prefer sutures or staples to close the incision?

  14. Is delayed cord clamping a possibility?

  15. Are pictures or video allowed in the OR?

  16. Can baby breastfeed in OR?

When parents concerns are taken into account a cesarean birth can be a beautiful birth. To illustrate this point please take a few minutes and view the YouTube video entitled “ The natural cesarean: a women-centered technique”.

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Making Sense of Research, Pregnancy and Childbirth

by Chelsea Casson on October 22, 2013

Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at


Are you the type of person to research a product before buying? Would you rather figure things out for yourself then listen to a salesperson throw you a pitch? In the field of pregnancy and childbirth there are countless studies on best practices during these life-changing events. Trying to read through these research findings can feel like you are learning a new language. There may be unfamiliar words, strange statistics, and results that disagree with current recommendations. Luckily, understanding research findings is not an impossible task. Today we will look at ways to help you make sense of health – related studies.

Not all studies are created equal. Some pieces of research are more reliable than others. Here are some basic questions to ask when reading through research articles:


Who is the author and what is their motivation?

 Bias in research is a huge topic that is worthy of its own textbook! Nevertheless we can discuss the basic principles regarding biased results. When looking at research try to figure out:

a)    who conducted the research and are they qualified to speak on the topic (what are their credentials, have they been studying this particular topic for a while, have they been supported by other experts in the field)

b)    if the author makes money from the product that is being researched

c)     if the study is funded by the makers of the product being studied

d)    if the purpose of the study is to get the reader to buy something

e)    if the study has been peer-reviewed. This means other unrelated researchers have carefully read through the study and determined it was good enough research to be published

The answers to the questions above can help you decide if the results may be biased towards one outcome or another. The less bias in a study, the more reliable the results tend to be.


Who was included in the study?

 The most informative pieces of research look at many different people in many different settings. Research involving 10,000 women from several different countries and several different researchers tends to be more reliable than a single case study involving 5 women in the same hospital. When many women in many settings have the same results, chances are better that the intervention or technique being studied has a true affect.  If the study involves only a handful of individuals there is a greater possibility that something else besides the intervention may have caused the observed results. This is why national organizations and hospitals will not change routine policies until there is a large amount of research that supports using or getting rid of an intervention. Policy changes are usually guided by systematic reviews, which are pieces of research that look at all of the studies on a subject and pool the results together to create a very large population.  Keep in mind a single study will not give you the full picture. Looking at all the studies on a single topic will give you a much broader understanding of the intervention being studied.


What is the relationship between the intervention being studied and the results?

Saying that intervention X caused result Y is quite different than saying there is a correlation between intervention X and result Y.  Suppose for a minute a study was published that found women who chewed gum in pregnancy were more likely to have male children. If the results say chewing gum caused women to have male children, we would assume that the gum was involving in gender determination. If the results say that a correlation was found between chewing gum and having male children, we only know that the two things are somehow related. We do not know if chewing gum determined the gender of the baby OR if mothers with male children crave gum more than mothers with female children. Both situations would lead to a correlation between gum and gender, but only one of those situations would mean that chewing gum actually increases the chance of having a male child. Of course there is no truth to the scenario I just described. I simply used the gum and gender scenario to make a point that just because two things are linked together or correlated does not mean that the intervention in question caused the observed result.


There are many factors to consider when critically evaluating a piece of research. The questions we have just discussed are a good starting point for evaluating the research that you come across in your reading. For more information, please check out some of the websites below. They offer a more extensive look into the world of research and how to make sense of it all.


Sources for more information

Evidence Based Birth

Informed Choice in Childbirth by Henci Goer

Understanding Research: The Birth Professional’s Guide

Childbirth Connection

The Cochrane Collaboration (Home of many high quality systematic reviews in medical and healthcare research.)


Leslie’s Birthing Experience’s.

by Chelsea Casson on October 21, 2013

Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at

My first child was born on her due date. I am told that doesn’t happen too often! But she didn’t come into the world totally of her own will… Just after midnight on May 19, 2009, I awoke to warm feeling in my jammies: “I think my water broke!” I whispered to my husband and then crawled out of bed to call the hospital to see if I should come in or wait to see what happens. They advised me to come in so they could verify the situation and start the 24 hrs to birthday countdown. I went to the hospital and learned my water had broken and I was just 2 cm dilated.

I eagerly went home to bake a cake. I had spent the last month reading all about birthing traditions and one was to bake a cake when you were in labour and then have that as your first food after the birth. The full 24 hours past and nothing substantial in terms of contractions started. I returned to the hospital the next morning and started the induction process, as baby was getting restless but not moving and the environment was no longer sterile for her, given the ruptured membrane. A few hours into that and I asked for something for the pain in my back. I suppose it was a lot to do with what I had heard from others about giving birth: induction, epidural and tada- baby. She was born happy and healthy and after just 12 hours in our room we went home. I had spent the whole process laying in a bed hooked up to the medication drip and then the epidural. After the birth it took a few hours for my legs (and bladder!) to work again.

Two years later I was two weeks over due for my second baby. We were never fully sure of the “due date” because my cycle had not returned from my first baby before getting pregnant again. Yes- I was one of the lucky ones that continued breastfeeding held off my period from returning. This second pregnancy was much different from the first. No time for checking online everyday to see what a 4 month, 2 days baby looks like, etc. No time to sit with feet up waiting for baby. At about 39 weeks, I had a regular check up and was 4 cm dilated. My doctor predicted “baby before the end of the week.” Baby had a different plan. At 42 weeks, one day, I had a review of baby’s living environment and it was determined she needed to be born soon or risk trouble in labour with oxygen to baby.

So here I was again with a timed birth: induction. I arrived at the hospital and was all hooked up for the induction by Pitocin by 3 pm. Contractions really got intense by 4:30 and baby was born (nearly in the bathroom- oops!) at 6 pm. I had laboured in the bathroom with the cold water running over my face to challenge my brain to get confused on pain and it really helped. After 2 hours of ice water on your face you actually don’t notice the contractions as much! I asked to be checked and the nurse said 8 cms. I said, “call my doctor, this baby is coming NOW.” She said, “It’s ok, we have time, still 2 cms to go…” I said, “You better check again because here is her head!” With that, I screamed, she ran and less than 2 minutes later I was nursing a bloody baby :-)

I was happy to have used water instead of anaesthesia and was so amazed that as soon as baby came out I was “back to normal,” felt great, not tired and groggy and looked forward to getting to the shower and a meal and home! Everything afterwards seemed to go easier too- the next day we were at the library with Big Sis doing a puppet show about the birth of a baby. So far from the first time when I never left my house for two weeks after baby’s birthday!

Written by: Leslie


Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at

March 2009 – St.John’s, Newfoundland

First baby is due, and she is over due by one week.  I start contractions around 10pm (water breaks) and head to the hospital.

By midnight I am 3 cms and throwing up due to pain.

The anaesthesiologist makes his way – 45 mins later I am given a epidural, however it took 10 times as the anaesthesiologist was having a hard time finding a space between my vibrates to do so.

Once received, the pain stopped and I went asleep.

7am the nurse woke me and said it was time to push as turns out I was given too much epidural and Emilie was crowning. I had no idea and no feeling. I pushed and the Dr. that came was ill and we had to get another doctor to delivery ASAP. Emilie was born — a little to doping now that I look back, but she was 7lbs 3ozs at 7:35am

After I was cleaned up and many stitches (never did ask how many) I was moved from recovery to my ward room. There I requested a private room.

Later that evening, I asked Mike to help me get a shower as no nurse had helped me or offered to help me. The other three ladies in the ward room were not following quiet hours. One lady had extended family with very loud kids running/jumping. One ladies mother-in-law was fighting with the son-in law about breast feeding and one lady was crying due to the fact that she was 25 weeks pregnant and her water broke and the nurses didn’t help her. I desperately wanted a private room at this point.

The first night, Emilie was taken to a nursery for me to sleep and when she was hungry they would bring her to me.

The second night she was kept along side of me.

The ward room ladies really did not go well with me so I requested a private room or I request I would like to go home.  They did their best, and on my last night at 10pm I was given a private room.  I was released from hospital the following day.

In all of that not once did a nurse check on me and my bleeding. The only person who saw me about me nursing my babe was the first day and that was it. I did however see the photo lady twice and a minister.

Being around babies, I thought Emilie looked like she was getting jaundice. The medical team told me nope, she doesn’t. However, after asking my friend, a public nurse to come to my house for advice in the days that followed, she confirmed her jaundice and she reviewed jaundice was with me. Despite the medical team took Emilies blood work.


April 2012 – Halifax, NS

Second baby is due. Already had two false alarms and babe is 4 days late.

Finally, 7am I go into hard labour, I walked around the neighbourhood and house. 11am we decide it is time to go. We get there and they check me, 6 cms.

As they are getting me ready for delivery, 45 mins later, they check again, 8 cms. I request epidural and this time, within seconds he is there and the first try with inserting the epidural needle and pain is decreased. My OB GYN  arrived and her student doctor was already there. My water was not broken, so they break it and there is meconium. NICU team is requested upon delivery of baby. One hour of pushing and guidance from the nurse/doctor, Grayson was born at 2pm at 9lbs. NICU cleared his lungs and he came back to me. I had two stitches. While Mike held Grayson, the nurse took me into the bathroom, bathed me and help me get cleaned up. After being transferred to my room, every nurse that came in reviewed  breastfeeding, checked on my bleeding and asked how I felt.

Grayson then decided with his big feet to give himself a belly button hernia. As well had jaundice . He went tanning and he tanned next to me. We had to stay an extra day due to his jaundice and the following day after we were released we had to return for follow up blood work.

A public nurse did not come into my home this time, however I did get 3 follow up phone calls.

As you can tell – two different stories. When I look back the information/professionalism/care/nursing for Newfoundland compared to Nova Scotia, it was so different. One thing that I forgot to mention, I took pre-natal classes in NS, before I gave birth in NL, and when I arrived in NL they were NOT accommodating to me as I requested to take  one class for preparation or even information what to do. I left three voice mails on a phone, three emails and nothing came about, even the OBGYN  in NL was unhelpful to me. She said call the number (which I left voicemail on).  For Halifax, it was the opposite, I called the IWK ,got my information and all was good.


{Editors Note: I asked Dana a question to clarify some things and you will see her response to this question below:

Lisa – What would have helped you have a better experience in Newfoundland? I ask as I would like to add this to your stories. I want parents to know what to ask for and look for when they are first-timers!

Dana – My advice from my first delivery is get a good support system via hospital or family/friends. Be prepared ie. birth plan, water birth, be educated in what care should happen, review what you want for your baby (breast feeding or bottle) and never feel because you are a first time mom you do know what your gut feeling is saying ( jaundice with Emilie or making as many phone call requests as needed). Despite that you have a new born take care of yourself, rest and ask for help/accept help.

The nurses and doctors are there for YOU and YOUR baby, ask for resources for when you leave the hospital mommy group, breast feeding clinics, ask for a follow up via public nurse or phone calls– it is always nice to hear someone besides spouse or family saying ” how are you doing”, take naps with baby and make sure that support system can help you with all the paper work to follow and ENJOY your bundle.}


Written by: Dana


Blog Changes

by Chelsea Casson on October 3, 2013


In the coming weeks, we will be making some changes to our website. Please bare with us as we work out the kinks. We hope to bring you a better, more user friendly page that will include drop down menu’s, calendar of events we are hosting or joining in and a section for chapter’s that are located across Canada.

If you have any questions or can offer your tips on making these transitions easier please contact us


Chelsea Casson

Executive Director


Birth of Saul – A Beautiful Pain Free Homebirth

by Chelsea Casson on September 30, 2013

Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at

Saul’s Birth 

My Husband and I were so excited to find out we were pregnant after a year of trying to conceive. The pregnancy was fairly easy with minimal nausea and back pain starting only near the last few months. I enjoyed my pregnancy and was able to be reasonably active until the last month or so.

On Monday January 14th I woke up at 10:30 am after an uncomfortable night. My pressure waves had amplified in strength and I called my husband to come home from work. When he arrived from work at 11:45 am, my pressure waves had increased even more in intensity and I had begun vocalizing with each powerful onset. I climbed into bed and put my Hypnobabies self-hypnosis tracks on and put myself into a deep state of relaxation. I felt at this stage that I had to make a conscious decision to relax because I was beginning to become anxious and I knew that my birthing time could either go really well or really terribly if I were to continue to be restless. Climbing into bed and deciding to relax was the best decision I made and I believe that this choice helped me to have a pain free child birth.

By 2:30 pm our Doula had arrived. I was very sensitive to any sensory input-sounds, touch, and light bothered me so my doula and my husband-Mathews, were not able to touch me during pressure waves.  In between pressure waves, my doula would massage my lower back and help me place a heating pad on my back. The onset of a pressure wave brought an overwhelming sensation of heat and sweats that took over my body and as the pressure wave subsided my body would relax deeper into hypnosis and relaxation and then began to cool again.

I describe my birth experience as very animalistic because I was so inside of myself and needed very little help from my husband or my doula.  Part of me felt like I was in another world, completely focused on what my body needed to do.

I was able to communicate with short bursts of directions for my doula and my husband-Mathews, telling them to please be quiet, or to get me a drink or lip balm. When I laid in bed, I wondered how much stronger the pressure waves could possibly get, since I felt that it was nearly impossible for my body to release any more energy than it had already done. As I lay in bed, the sensation to push overcame me. I pushed twice on the bed and asked my doula and my husband to fill the bath tub since our mid-wife was still on her way. Each time a pressure wave came, I transferred all of the energy that was working inside of my body and openly vocalized it all out. I felt a gush when my water broke as we transfe

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rred to the bath tub. Our mid-wife arrived just in time; exactly 4 minutes prior to Saul being born! As a first time Mom, I was expecting a longer birthing time and so my husband and I we’re surprised that ‘active labour’ was barely four hours. At 3:40 pm my midwife had me stretch like a cat and within three and half pushes I lifted my beautiful baby boy out of the water. We were so happy to meet him. He weighed 5 lbs 8 oz and was 18 ¾ in. long. We switched on the bathroom lights and after the placenta birthed we were given privacy to get to know our little one. After about forty-five minutes, we decided to cut the umbilical cord and have me get out of the tub. My husband had skin-on-skin contact with the baby against his chest, while I took a shower and then I was able to climb into bed with my family.

Our homebirth was fast, perfect, pain free and empowering. I felt as if I had climbed Mount Everest for the first three days after I gave birth. The exhilaration and adrenaline was better than bungee jumping off a cliff into the ocean and by the third day, the adrenaline had faded and I felt every aching muscle that was used in my birthing time. Looking back at my birth experience, I still feel the joy and exhilaration that I felt in the moment after giving birth. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.

Saul was brought into this world at home, without any interventions, and with so much love.  I could not have been happier with my birth experience and my birth team- they did an amazing job, especially my husband-Mathews who remained calm, cool and collected for the whole time. Thank you and thank you to my birth team.

Aradhna Abraham, Edmonton Alberta


Use your iBRAIN: alcohol consumption in pregnancy

by Chelsea Casson on September 27, 2013

Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at

The topic of alcohol use by pregnant women has once again been highly publicized with the recent release of the bookExpecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know” by economist and mother Emily Oster.  In this book the author concludes that “light drinking is fine” and advises pregnant women to “drink like a European adult, not like a fraternity brother.” These statements, based on Emily’s review of research on fetal alcohol exposure, sparked a loud outcry from organizations such as the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). NOFAS wrote an official response to the release of Expecting Better including the facts about light drinking during pregnancy. Today we will use the iBRAIN framework, originally described in our February 19 blog post, to analyze the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.


When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, even one serving, so does her unborn baby.  Alcohol does pass through the placenta and the baby will have the same blood alcohol level as the mother. Alcohol is a known neurotoxin in utero and can destroy fetal brain cells.  Alcohol is more harmful to a developing baby than heroin or cocaine.


  • There are NO known benefits of alcohol exposure to the developing baby.
  • A woman may perceive that she is able to be more social when she consumes alcohol.
  • A woman may feel more relaxed if she consumes a serving of alcohol.


  • Alcohol exposure during pregnancy, even at low to moderate levels, is associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome can occur when a developing fetus is exposed to alcohol in utero. Symptoms range from problems with learning, socialization, IQ, impulse control, emotional self-regulation, and sensory processing to physical deformities.
  • About 90% of babies affected by alcohol exposure in utero will have no physical deformities but will suffer mental and/or behavioral damage.
  • Not all babies exposed to alcohol in utero will exhibit physical, behavioral, emotional, and/or learning disabilities. However, the effect of alcohol exposure on a baby may not be seen until that baby has reached teenage and early adult years.


  • To relieve stress try exercise, meditation, social clubs or groups, rest, completing a hobby, a warm bath, or chatting with friends or a loved one.
  • Try a fancy mocktail to indulge in refreshments at a party.


  • Abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy is the only certain way to prevent damage to the developing baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no known safe time during pregnancy to drink and no safe kind of alcohol.

If you liked this post, check out these other fantastic post’s by Lisa: iBrain and iNformed Desicion Making, iBrain and Nitrous Oxide (Enotonox), iBrain and Membrane Sweeping, iBrain and Amniotomy.