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A Letter to Potential

This letter was written the day I took our home pregnancy test. It took me a few days to muster up the nerve to go to the store to get it. It seems like it was yesterday, but it was 5 months ago now. I’m working really hard to pay attention to all the little moments. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, and never again will this experience be the same. I know how lucky we are, and I am grateful for it every day. Here’s to our next big adventure!

 

 

Hi there little one. I’m writing this before I even know if you exist or not. I’m writing this because I am so excited for you, and if it turns out you’re not really there, I still want you to know that I love you. I love the potential of you. I love the excitement you generate, and I don’t want that to be lost just yet.

I’m terrified to take that test because I’m afraid that it’s going to tell me you’re not real. I’m afraid it’s going to tell me that I need to wait just a little bit longer to see you. I’ve been thinking a lot about that moment. When I get to see your face, your eyes, your lips, all for the first time. When I get to hear your voice for the very first time.

But that is so far away yet. I don’t want to lose these moments that we get to share before then. Including this one, where I still don’t know for sure if you exist or not. There are so many possibilities for you right now. I don’t want to take that away from you yet.

I want you to know how loved you are, little one. I’ve already talked to you. Quietly, so Nathan doesn’t think I’m weird yet. He went to sleep early last night and I laid there, thinking about you. Holding my hand over where you would be. Sending my infinite love to you.

I woke up early this morning, thinking of you. I thought how perfect it would be to be able to tell your grandparents about you for Christmas. I thought about how your due date is really going to screw up your Aunt Sally’s summer plans.

You are going to be so loved by so many people. You are already loved by me. Your Nan and Pop are going to be over the moon when they hear about you. I keep trying to think of the best way to tell them. It will be such a special moment. One that will go down in the history books as one of the best days ever!

And your Nanny and Grampa are going to be overjoyed! There will be tears of joy, just for you! They already have grandkids, but none quite like you. I feel like they’ll be over to visit a lot as you grow. One of the benefits of being not too too far. You are going to be so loved!

And your dad…oh sweet darling, your dad is going to be the most amazing dad ever. We have grown together over the last 7 years so that we could be as good as we could be for you. He’s going to take you on so many adventures. Whatever you want, he will work his ass off to get it for you. Or to show you how you can get it yourself. He will support you through everything, as he has supported your mom. But this will be different. You are part of him, and that is special beyond description. When I think about the first time I see you, I also picture the first time your dad sees you. That moment overfills my heart.

You overfill our hearts. And we don’t even know if you exist yet. I’m afraid to take the test. You’re the opposite of Schrödinger’s Cat. I need to open that box at some point, but I’m afraid of what I’ll find. Or won’t find. I’ve been disappointed before, and I love the thought of you. I love the potential of you. I don’t want to lose that just yet. Because you are so loved.

The First Snowfall

We finally have had some progress on moving things forward to get ready to build our home, so we wanted to do something to feel accomplished this year. We were hoping to have a weather-tight house at this point, but, things don’t always work out. So the plan is now to start building in the spring, and hopefully, be living in it this time next year.

So we took the weekend, rented a Kubota and got a little bit of work done so that we could feel like we got something done before winter came. We put in a drainage pipe and moved some topsoil to get ready to put the garden in in the spring. It was two solid days of work, a lot of fun, and incredible to be outside the whole time.

As it was getting dark on Sunday, we could see in the distance that there was snow coming. The clouds hugged the coastline of the bay as it inched it’s way closer and closer. And then it started. Big beautiful flakes floated down onto our land. OUR land. This was the first time it had really snowed since we bought it last spring. I sat on the tailgate of the truck, watching as Nathan moved a giant pile of soil from one spot to the other and it struck me…

This was the first of so many snowflakes that were going to fall on us, our land, our future. And it was glorious. All I could picture was the snowmen and sledding that would happen. The snowy walks up from the car, wondering who lives in the cozy warm cabin at the top of the hill. The white Christmases to come. The stormy nights without power cuddled next to the fire. So much shoveling. So many memories that were just waiting to be made.

The snow blanketed our land. Everything was white except where the tires from the tractor moved, and my footprints as I tried to keep up with the roots and rocks that would eventually need to be cleaned out of the soil. I could not keep up. But that’s ok because we have decades ahead of us to get all this work done. A ridiculous amount of dead trees that need to be cleared away. This giant pile of dirt that would eventually turn into a beautiful garden that would feed our family. That pile of rocks where we will build our home. So much to get done, and a lifetime to do it in.

We have so much to look forward to. Every small step gets us closer to the perfect life we have pictured. Although I know that it won’t work out just as we plan (we’ve already had to make adjustments), I also know whatever we end up with will be a happy life. Even though things can be frustrating and trying at times, it is all with this end goal in mind. The challenge is learning to enjoy and be thankful for the moments between now and then.

This moment, sitting on the tailgate, giant perfect snow floating down onto my eyelashes, Nathan playing in his dirt, was a truly happy moment. I felt like I was home, even though there’s no house there yet. We have our whole lives to live, and it will be on this land. And this was the first of so many snowflakes that would fall.

Why Would I Need a Doula?

If I were pregnant I’d choose to have a doula as part of my childbirth support team. I am a confident woman, who is sure of what I would want during my labour and I have experience and understanding in the medical world. My partner is beyond supportive and my family has experience with their own childbirths.  So why do I still feel that I need a doula with me during my labour?

A doula is much more than just another person to help you through your labour. We are trained professionals that are there to support you AND your support team during your pregnancy, labour and postpartum. We don’t replace the people you’ve chosen to be with you, rather we enhance the relationships you have so that you feel connected and strong when you need it most.

My partner is a wonderful man who, someday, will make an incredible father. I know that I will have his full support in the decisions that we make and that he’ll be there for me 100%. That being said, he’ll most likely just go with the flow. Childbirth is not his passion, and so he still has a lot to learn. As do we all. But he probably won’t be the type to ask our doctors and nurses to give us space or to stop asking if we want interventions. He’ll listen to what they have to say (as he should) but probably won’t ask for more information if they have suggestions. And honestly, in the middle of everything, will I? It’s hard to say no when you’re in pain and all you want is to have your baby with you as soon as possible.

Our doula would help to facilitate conversations with our health care team. They’ll ask if there is time to discuss other possible options and give us space to make the decision ourselves. They probably would’ve already had these conversations with us during our pregnancy, and so can remind us of the benefits and risks of what’s being offered. Even I, with the knowledge and experience I have, would still need someone else to remind me of everything so we could truly give informed consent. They’d make sure that I’m not in the middle of a contraction when being asked if I want medication or an epidural for pain relief. They will keep my partner focused on our birth plan and wishes and will give us suggestions on how to help stick to it as closely as possible. They’ll also help us to continue to feel confident and strong if we need to change our plan.

My mother has gone through three childbirths. She also has nursing training and is confident speaking to medical professionals. She probably knows me and understands my wishes better than any one. She also hates to see her baby girl hurting. As much as she understands why I would want a natural childbirth, I know it would be hard for her to watch me be in pain.

Our doula would learn before hand what our values are and what are wishes would be when it comes to our care during our labour. She’ll be able to remain unbiased and so can focus on getting us through difficult moments during our labour rather than trying to get me pain free as quickly as possible. They also understand that every labour, just like every child, is different. They have training in how to support you no matter what, whether your labour is “stalling” or you’re experiencing back labour, or if everything you had planned needs to be thrown out the window.

A doula is also an amazing support for your support team. Childbirth can be exhausting for everyone involved. Having a doula by your side allows your family to rest when they can, knowing that you won’t be left unsupported. Your doula will remind them to eat, so that they will have energy to hold you up after a long labour. They’ll also provide suggestions on how your family can help you. Nobody loves you more than the people you’ve chosen to be with you in this special moment. Your doula will help them to be as present as possible so that you’ll feel loved and you can get that oxytocin flowing!

There’s all the support you’ll get after your baby has arrived too. Especially here in Central Newfoundland, there is limited resources available to mothers and their families. And often, the resources that are available are quite a distance away. Imagine having personal postpartum care, right in your home. This includes breastfeeding support; support that often dwindles after you’ve left the hospital. It’s also someone that you can talk to, without judgment, about the struggles you might be having. They have a great list of people you can reach out to if your needs go beyond their area of expertise.

Now, I am a science brain. Statistics are what make sense to me, and the statistics about doulas are incredible.

Women who had continuous support from a doula during their labour had a:

  • decrease in the use of pain relief medication
  • decrease in admission of their newborns to hospital for medical care
  • decrease in the use of Pitocin
  • decrease in the risk of Cesarean birth
  • increase in spontaneous vaginal birth
  • increase in satisfaction with their birth experience
  • shorter labours
  • higher breastfeeding success
  • decrease in the rate of lower APGAR scores for their babies
  • the list goes on…

 

For me it’s a no brainer. The way I look at it, a doula is just another tool in my tool box. I’m going to want to do everything possible to hopefully have a positive birth experience and having a doula will help me do that. They know the science and they know the emotional stuff that comes along with it too. I can’t say no to something that has been proven to be beneficial for me and my someday baby, no matter what our birth looks like!

How did I get here?

How did I end up here? If you’ve found this website, you obviously know that I am working as a doula. I’m still a paramedic, but working in a casual capacity for now, at least until I can figure out how to balance all of this craziness that I call life at the moment. But how did I end up here? Ever since my first nephew was born, almost 19 years ago (holy crap, where has time gone?!), I have wanted, in some way, to be a part of people’s lives when they worked to bring their own incredible tiny human into their world. I was able to be a part of that day with my sister, and I want more than anything to be a part of it with so many more.

My original plan was to become a midwife. I wanted to be the one who brought back childbirth as it was for centuries before. Before all the drugs and the surgeries. Before birth was seen as such a scary thing. Before it was looked on by some as a malady that needs curing rather than a natural part of life. We’ve come a long way in the last couple decades, so I guess I won’t be THE ONE, but I can still be one of the ones.

I figured I would need experience to get even close to being accepted into what is a very competitive program. That’s why I went into paramedicine. Turns out, I actually ended up loving my work. It was supposed to be a stepping stone to something more, but in the mean time, I have found a job that gives me satisfaction, despite the fact that I did not intend on staying in this line of work for very long (it’s been 10 years since I graduated as a paramedic…that’s a long time).

My next stepping stone towards my dream, was to get more education. Going back to university was also a good excuse to tell my parents why I was moving to Newfoundland, besides to be a little closer to a cute Newfoundlander. I went and got my BSc in Bio from MUN, learned a lot, met some incredible people, and studied for my MCATs. My thought was, if I’m going to go back to school for that long, why not be a OB and have a much broader reach on the people that I could help. Trouble is, whether I become a midwife, or an OB, I need a lot of time, and I need to be far from this beautiful place in the world that I am lucky to be able to call home now. Time that, right now, I don’t feel that I have.

For now, I have changed the direction of my stepping stones, yet again. I’m moving away from the education piece and back to the experience piece. I’ve become a doula. And what a wonderful place to be able to do it. Currently, there are no other doulas in Central Newfoundland, a place that desperately needs more resources for pregnant women, parents and their families. I am so excited to have the opportunity to give families the chance to have the support that has been shown to decrease medical intervention, increase breastfeeding rates, increase the satisfaction rate of women’s birth experiences, etc, etc (I will talk more on how amazing doulas are another day).

So in other words, I have no idea how to get across to my final destination. I just keep jumping from stone to stone in hopes that I will eventually end up on dry land. I may not end up where I was originally planning on going, but really, who does? And if they do, did they have any fun along the way?

What else is on the go? So much! My cute Newfoundlander and I have recently bought a piece of land; a big piece of land! We are so excited to finally get to start building our house, developing our land into our little piece of paradise, and seeing what grand adventures the universe has in store for us next!

What I am hoping to get out of this blog (oh someone please come up with a better name)? Well basically, its going to be a place where I can share what I’m learning. Maybe this will be my way to be one of the ones… I’ll share what I’m learning about how to make births a more positive experience, what the evidence is saying about common birth practices, and also about how to hopefully live a happier and fuller life. Some of what I write will be about pregnancy and birth, obviously, but I also want to share things like the mistakes we make along the way of building our home, maybe even stuff on farming and homesteading if we ever get around to it, and food…cause I do love food. Just about life. Hopefully we’ll be able to learn together along the way.

My disclosure to you is that I am not a beautiful writer. I have always struggled to find the right words, or figure out how to make what’s in my head flow out to sound just right. I hope that I’ll be able to write in such a way, that you’ll want to keep checking in to see what new adventure is on the horizon. Hopefully the more I write, the better I’ll become. I hope everyone has a very safe long weekend. Thanks for reading!