More options for your waterbirth

Earthy Birthy Doula just acquired another birth pool available for rent! I’m happy to announce that I now have an Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool along with the Birth Pool in a Box!

Every pool rental comes with the following accessories:

  • Hose to fill and drain pool
  • Faucet adapter
  • Electric air pump to blow up pool
  • Submersible water pump to drain pool
  • Disposable liner

Here are some specs on the pools available to rent:

Birth Pool in a Box

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  • External max dimensions 76 x 65″
  • Internal max dimensions 56 x 45″
  • Internal depth 26″
  • Maximum water depth 22″
  • Rim width 10”
  • Built-in seat
  • Internal seat
  • Handles on outside 4
  • Handles on top 2
  • Volume when filled (80% full) 172 gallons
  • Pool material 0.55mm PVC
  • Liner material 0.20mm PVC
  • Approx. filling time 40 min – 3 hrs
  • Approx. inflation time 5-25 min depending on how you’re inflating it.

Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool

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  • Material Thickness 0.60mm
  • External Dimensions 72″ × 64″ × 31″Internal Dimensions 52″ × 44″
  • Interior Depth 27″
  • Inflated Floor Thickness 3.3″
  • Floor White, anti-slip
  • Handles 6
  • Number of Persons Two
  • Approx. Inflation Time 6 min
  • Approx. Filling Time 45 min
  • Volume when filled 170 gallon

Pools are rented out for a 4 week period for $185. Additional weeks can be added on for an extra $25/week. Pools are dropped off usually 2 weeks before your due date, with a planned pick up for about 2 weeks after your due date.

If you would like to rent a pool, please contact me to inquire about availability.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Last night my rollerderby team played an Edmonton team in Calgary.  It was fun, although several players left being hurt physically and drained emotionally.  While the bout may have physically ended on the track, after every derby bout is an afterparty, and in true derby spirit, we showed up to win the afterparty.  Out of the 6 people from our team who made it to the afterparty, 3 of us were Doulas.  I’m not sure what the connection is, but it seems that there is a high percentage of birthy birthy ladies in the derby world, and I like it!

Anyways, we got chatting about past experiences and one of the things we chatted about was our trip to The Farm, and our stay in Nashville following our training.  First let me say, the Doulas that support birthing mothers AND play derby know how to have a good time in all situations.

**this photo was taken on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, which was the original Grande Ole Opry.  Sadly, one week after we left they experienced great flooding in Nashville and I’m pretty sure the auditorium was flooded.  However, looking at their website, it looks like it’s all repaired now!! 🙂

It was April 2010 and a fellow Doula friend and I decided to go to The Farm and take a “Midwifery Assistant” workshop with Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives.  It was essentially a pilgrimage to the Mecca of the birth world to learn under one of my all time idols.  We did so much there, like palpate a dummy pregnant belly with a baby inside, practice cutting a fake umbilical cord and drawing blood, setting up an oxygen tank, blood-borne pathogen training, watsu (essentially shiatsu in water for pregnant mamas), took blood pressure/heart rate, and even listened to the heart tones of a real live baby in a belly.  Yes, we basically learned about all the things that we cannot practice as Doulas at all, but it was still worth it.  Actually, it was beyond worth it, it was an amazing experience that I am thankful to have experienced.

The week that we were on The Farm we stayed with the Bloomfields.  The house was the original house built on the Farm that used to house 50-70 people who all practiced communal living.  It was such a beautiful house, with fantastic tile work in the bathroom of really hippy pictures.  🙂  Our host had a hula hoop and we enjoyed hooping on the front porch overlooking a massive garden and lush green forest.  It was amazing.

Not only did we soak up all the knowledge we could from all the amazing women on The Farm, we also experienced first hand what it was like to live within our means and off the land.  We spent that week eating entirely vegan, which is actually more challenging than you’d think, or at least it was for some.  They made amazing food and processed their own soy right on The Farm.  We ate dishes that tasted like cooked meat and cheese, like lasagna.  We ate desert called Ice Bean, which is essentially like ice cream except made with soy beans, and it tasted like caramel vanilla.  My mouth may or may not be watering right now as I type this.  Aside from the food, we visited the eco-village on The Farm, which is essentially where many of the bus homes, and mud/straw homes are.  They had gardens on their roofs and faces carved in the walls of their homes, it was amazing.  I’m not sure if anyone actually lives in the buses anymore, as some of them were pretty worn down, but it was awesome to see it all.

During one of the last nights on The Farm, we gathered on Pamela Hunt’s back porch to listen to Ina May tell stories.  That woman is an amazing story teller.  So while she was sharing stories of births past and present, stories about the witch hunt and the decline of Midwifery as a result, the safe motherhood quilt project etc., the sun fell and the fireflies came for the stories too.  We were surrounded by pitch black darkness and then fireflies everywhere.  Talk about surreal.

I cherish the relationships we formed with the other students taking the workshop at The Farm, we keep in contact and I find them inspiring.  We bonded with them over a few beverages that we may or may not have snuck on to The Farm.  😉  So just a tip for future farm goers… if you like beer or any sort of alcoholic beverage, bring a cooler, ice, and your beverage of choice, as you will find nothing there.  That said, I think the people there are probably the healthiest people I have ever met and it probably would be beneficial to follow suit with them.

One last memory and I’ll be done.  While navigating around The Farm during a break we found the school.  Yes, there is a school at The Farm, and guess what?  It is powered by solar power!  We’re standing there looking at the school and the kids are all out playing in the field with a couple adults.  Now I don’t know about you, but I used to play a game as a child called “Cops and Robbers”… well, these kids were playing “Cops and protesters”, for reals.  I overheard one kid saying, “It is against the constitution to…*insert something awesome here, as I forget what followed*”.  Seriously though, what a great place.

I like reminiscing about experiences such as The Farm and other life changing times in my life.  Visiting The Farm affirmed for me what I already knew, that my calling in life is to serve women and provide options that aren’t necessarily available for many women.  When I first took the Doula training in Lethbridge there were no certified Doulas here, and that is why we brought the training here.  When I first took the PBi training for placenta encapsulation, there was no one who would encapsulate a placenta here in Lethbridge.  When I opened my brainchild EcoBaby Canada, there was nothing in Lethbridge or Canada like it.  Every step in my life has lead me to where I am, and The Farm help ground me to who I am and what I need to do.  And man do I enjoy a good walk down memory lane.

ps… moving to Calgary between August 1st-14th!

Look out goals…. Here I come.

Some very exciting things are brewing in my world right now, and to be honest… they are a little too exciting to keep to myself.

As you may or may not know, I moved to Lethbridge almost seven years ago to attend University.  My goal was to finish with a B.Ed. and teach Religous Studies.  Yes, that is true story and if you know me personally you can stop laughing now.  🙂  Anyways, over the past seven years I had two more babies, taken time off of school here and there, started a business, became a single mother and then started dating the love of my life, became a certified Doula, changed my major a few times and figured out some pretty major life goals.  Here are just a couple of those major goals and how I came to realize them:

1. Pursuing my Midwifery Calling

On May 5th, 2008 I organized a rally here in Lethbridge in demand for Alberta Health Care to cover midwifery services.  The rally was held on “International Day of the Midwife” (which was yesterday) and was just one in five rallies being held across Alberta.  At the same time rallies were being held in Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton and Medicine Hat (although I’m not sure Med. Hat actually did have the rally or not).  Prior to the event I had circulated a petition and lobbied the government demanding this essential service be available for women.  Not even a year after this province wide rally Midwifery services were covered by Alberta Health Care.  Wow, you have no idea how huge this is.  This was a 20 year fight that had finally come to an end!!!  Yay!

International Day of the Midwife Rally 2008

**This is one of the only pics I could find at this moment of rally day.. 🙂

Now funding of Midwifery is fantastic and all, but Lethbridge does not even have one registered midwife so it does Lethbridge locals no good (unless they travel).  I had to pay for both of my births with Midwives and unfortunately Lethbridge families still have to pay, and it’s for a lay-midwife or traditional birth attendant.

Okay, I will quickly get to my point.  Having my second two children with Midwives and then becoming emmersed in the birth community… I came to find my “calling”.  I realized that becoming a Midwife was something I was going to do, regardless of how long it took me.  With that said, only two provinces in Canada had Midwifery schools at the time, and as a single mother of four, moving that far away was not an option.

In September 2011 Mount Royal University in Calgary began offering a Bachelor of Midwifery program!  Yay!  So now a Midwifery program is in my hometown, which makes my life goal of becoming a Midwife even that more attainable.  I did not apply for last years admission, and I did not apply for this years admission, but my plan is to apply for September 2013 admission.  And this brings me to the first announcement of my “very exciting news”… I am moving to Calgary!!  This August to be precise.

2. To work as a Doula again with one of my besties

While living in Lethbridge and dreaming of being a Midwife, I kept in close contact with a dear friend of mine, Hannah.  We would chat on the phone about opening a birth center after we both became Midwives and how great it would be to work together.  In June 2009 we both took the DONA Birth Doula training and became certified shortly thereafter.  In May 2010 we both took the DONA Postpartum Doula training, and we are both planning to take the CAPPA Childbirth Educator training very shortly.  Now here’s the exciting part.  When I am in Calgary I can work as a Doula again (as I have family there to help with childcare), and Hannah and I have decided to work together!  This means that we will be teaching prenatal classes together as well as being eachother’s back ups!

What that means is I can now accept Doula clients who are due starting in October and in the Calgary area!!!   But don’t worry Lethbridge, I am still available for placenta encapsulation and select births for friends, just contact me!

And this also means thatI am available for Placenta Encapsulation services in Calgary starting in September (without the travel fees)!!

So there are a couple of my goals… to become a Midwife and to work with Hannah.  With me moving to Calgary in August, I will be that much closer to actualizing those goals.  Hannah and I are in the process of putting together a website and all that jazz, so definitely stay tuned for that!

And I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite kids’ book, “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess.

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. “

Roller Derby Doula

If you have read any of my past blog posts, you are probably aware that I think Doula’s are needed in every area of life.  This includes every situation from during a tattoo session, while making bread, during a miscarriage or stillbirth, and all the way to during the death process.  Well, I now have another area of life where my doula skills have come in handy, and that was during roller derby.

This may or may not surprise you, but I play roller derby.  True story.  My derby name is Andi Linquent and I’ve been playing for about 2 years now.  I love it like crazy, and oddly enough, I have connected with so many other birthy birthy mamas through derby.

***that’s me in the front… I block.

Okay, so picture this:

Seven women on an oval track (we had 1 in the box I believe) all smashing each other around for some seemingly pointless reason (there was a point though, I swear).  One steps wrong and SNAP!, she’s laying on the floor in excruciating pain with a busted leg.  First there’s the shock and look of fear, then there’s the noticable tension sweeping over her body and burning pain, all expressed through clenched fists, tight jaw, shaking and small cries for help.  The jam (what they call the 2 minute segments of play during the game) is called off and I holler for medics.

There are two things you can do at this moment… you can back up and let those who know what their doing tend to the injured, or you can tend to the injured.  Considering that the fallen team mate was at my feet and could not take my hand to get up, I chose to stay and help.

***not her leg… just took photo from google images.

A broken leg is not something anyone can plan for, but I was surprised at how fast I switched from “knock a girl down” mode (PS… she was on my team, I did not knock her down, just to clarify), to “help a girl who’s down” mode.  The immediate shift from aggressive competitive derby girl to my doula persona was what made that situation a no brainer for me.  Instantly it is no longer about anything else except the mate on the ground.  The game doesn’t matter, the stress doesn’t matter, I don’t matter…. everything is thrown to the back burner and team mate is #1.

During doula training and moreso after attending a variety of births, we learn that pain is to be managed (or avoided if possible).  Obviously I guess… why would anyone just let pain happen, right?  This doesn’t necessarily mean managed with drugs, although maybe it does some times.  To stay on topic of the broken leg, narcotics were not available immediately so non-pharmacological pain management was required.  It was all very similar to handling labour pain, without the movement of course.   My support essentially consisted of repeating what my fallen team mate needed to do, which was:

– take deep breaths…. in your nose, and blow out your mouth

– relax your muscles…. the more your muscles are relaxed, the less pain you will feel.

– encouragment (you got this)

There were momemts when I looked my team mate in the eyes and instructed her to follow my breathing, in………. and out……….  There was constant massaging of the hands and shoulders, as raised shoulders and clenched hands indicate tight muscles, which will make pain worse.  Our coach was doing some leg massage, which really helps.  Another team mate, who also is a doula was helping stabalize the leg with our resident medic (who plays derby as well), and was super supportive for our injured team mate.

Now here is my confession…. I cannot handle broken bones, among other things that I won’t list right now.  Yet, when I am needed, it doesn’t matter.  This means I’m not going to cry while trying to support her because her broken leg scared the crap out of me, and it means that regardless of what I may “think” I can’t handle, I actually can.  Because it’s not about me, and it never is when I’m supporting someone else (regardless of situation).

The next day I was chatting with a much more experienced roller derby friend about the whole incident, and she shared some info with me that confirmed what I was already thinking.  She said that even though she’s been playing roller derby for 6+ years, she still gets a knot in her stomach before each bout, and she uses the pain coping techniques she learned while pregnant to calm down.  She engages in self calming with deep breathing etc. and basically gets in to a meditative state to settle herself…. before she goes knocking the other team down.  😉

So there we have it… A Derby Doula should be a required person on the side of the track for when injuries occur.  And I can’t believe I actually found a way to write about doula work and roller derby in the same blog post.  That happened.

The “Un-doula” Doula

What is an “un-doula doula” you ask?  Well, it’s a Doula that is unable to act as a doula for various reasons, be it work, school, single-motherhood, you name it.  Yet at the same time, while not able to physically attend births, she is still available for the myriad of other birth/postpartum related needs.  Take me for example, because… well… I am currently an “un-doula doula”.  Due to several life circumstances, I am unable to attend middle of the night birthings… and as I’m sure you know if you’re reading this blog, most births take place in the middle of the night.  So there begins my path down the tunnel of un-doulahood.

But wait!  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  Although I may not be able to attend births at this moment, I am still connected to the birth world and love helping pregnant mamas.  I love chatting about birth plans, pain coping techniques, pregnancy issues, and postpartum plans.  I am connected to the birthing mamas of Lethbridge through my admiration and support of every mother walking the journey to birthing their babies and raising them earthside.  I am still here!  I am still here with EcoBaby, as well as the babywearing group.  I will still answer any question about pregnancy, birth, bonding and postpartum that you may have.  I am still here, and a day will come when I will doula again, and remove the title of UN.  But until then, I will be the best damn un-doula that I possibly can be.  🙂

And with that said, it’s a weird place to be as an “un-doula”.