Aida is TWO!!

Nope, I still cannot believe that I am the mother of a two-year old. Just like every other parent out there, I'm continually amazed at how fast these babies grow and change into little people with very distinct and sometimes very large personalities. Every second of everyday they are growing!

Every month for the last 2 years my husband and I have been recording our little lady's growth alongside Alfie (a childhood toy of Curran's). I thought it was pretty interesting so I decided to share it with you all. 

We had a very nice birthday day with Aida. The hubby took the day off and we spent it with our lady.

 Thank you for being such an awesome person Aida. We love you more than anything else! We are so lucky to call you ours. Happy Birthday my little lady!

PS: Happy Summer!!! And in case you were wondering, my 30 day yoga challenge went swimmingly. I accomplished 34 yoga classes in 30 days! I feel great and most definitely rejuvenated. It was a great experience but I am ready to slow it down a bit. The hardest part of this challenge was feeling like I was constantly rushing off and missing out on lots of family time. I have taken a week off of yoga since the end of the challenge which has allowed me to spend some much-needed time with my favorite people but has not been the best for my body. I love yoga and I am going to continue practicing 3-4 times a week, which I hope will bring the right balance into my life. Thanks again to my family for being so patient during the last month and encouraging me to take care of myself. Love love love! 

The Mama's Story of My Very First Birth

One of the most amazing birth experiences I have had as a doula was my very first one. I was so incredibly honoured to be invited into this birth. I was ecstatic that I was going to be able to work alongside a midwife, for in my mind, they are truly magical beings. When I first spoke to Sila on the phone I was nervous that she might not want me present since it would be my first birth, but instead she welcomed me and wanted to help me learn and gain experience. Also, purely by chance, the doula whom I ended up working alongside was the very one who guided me through my birth with Aida. That alone was very special to me.
It was a long but incredibly beautiful birth. I surprised myself at how calm and not nervous I was. It felt completely natural to me, like I was exactly where I belong - next to a powerful labouring mama. I loved every minute of it. Sila is a woman with such strength and beauty, inside and out, and was nothing less than wonderful to be with. We spent a lot of time chatting and laughing and bonding and when it came to the more difficult parts of her labour we worked so well together. I could feel the absolute trust she had in me and it fed my drive to do everything I could to help her have the beautiful birth she wanted and deserved. 
I witnessed for the first time the birth of a tiny, gorgeous human being and I was filled with such happiness for the mom and her new baby that I could not contain my tears. The emergence of this new baby triggered a rush of so many emotions in me along with the memories of my own birth and I was so thankful to feel these again. It was nothing short of amazing. I will forever be great full to this mama for the wonderful birth I ended up experiencing by her side.
Sila, who is back home in Kenya, sent me her birth story to share with you all. I hope you enjoy reading it! Thank you Sila for sharing with me and those who read this blog and thank you again for being an all around wonderful woman.  

"When I was in my early 20’s I remember wondering if a magic genie came to me and said I could only have one thing in my life but not both – a true love or to be a mother – which would I choose. In my head I always chose to be a mother. If I couldn't have both then that was the one I’d choose. In 2011, I was pregnant at 31 and in a troubled relationship. I was advised, "You need a doula to be with you through it!" and yes, you guessed it I googled it first and later decided I did need a doula! After asking my friends about doula services in Winnipeg, a friend recommended her friend friends' wife, who happened to be Bree. I later learnt that it would be her first birth! As a new mum-to-be, I was a little bit apprehensive but if there is something you will learn about Bree is that she can calm a storm. We met shortly after I reached out to Bree and she explained the package she will be providing me - but since she was still in training she will be shadowing a certified doula. I registered for a pro-bono doula with another well known doula service in Winnipeg. Bree was a great support for me 3 months leading to my birth. And when Barbara Harper was in town for a talk on water births - we made a date to attend the event. She kept me informed and also advised me on what/how I should prepare. The fact that Bree was a mother too made her a good birthing 'companion' for me. We talked about how I felt, how to improve my energy levels (I was pretty tired) and how I was coping with everything. 

On Nov 21st I started laboring at 4:30am and my midwife confirmed that I was indeed going to have my baby today. I called my doula's Jessica and Bree - Bree was to shadow another certified doula for her practicum to be validated. Bree was the first to arrive by my side and she brought me some homemade pasta sauce and a pack of sanitary towel that remained from her last birth. Bree kept me distracted from the pain as I crotchet my baby a sweater in between my contraction. Bree truly felt like a sister at that moment. At 9pm (yes, 17 hours later) my midwife suggested we go to the hospital since I was 6cm dilated.  Bree checked my bag to confirm I carried everything and helped me finish my packing. We arrived the hospital and thank fully I got my own huge room. I got settled in as my bath was prepared. Bree excused herself to pump milk for her daughter and I remember she had mentioned that she often pumps at work as well. Now, I had never heard the weird sound of a breast pump before and when she started pumping, I thought it was the funniest thing I have heard ever! Of course it wasn't so funny after I started pumping but at that time I laughed so hard I teared up. It was hilarious! 
After Midnight, my pain intensified and Bree stepped-up and made sure I was breathing right and when the pressure was too much for me, she walked me though techniques to ease the pressure. At 7:25am I was ready to push -- Bree was there to cheer me on as she snapped pictures from her phone. The photos she took are the only once I have of Mariela's birth. Pictures that I shared with my family who were back home in Kenya. Mariela was born at 7:45am on November 22nd 2011 and I asked Bree to cut the umbilical cord. 
Bree was my star during my 25 hour labour. One thing that I love about Bree is that she loves what she does as a doula and because she is so passionate about her work, she is also so great at it too! I remember my midwife telling Bree that she will make an incredible midwife some day. She is just not a doula, she is a phenomenal doula. 
Thank you Bree."

Thank you again Sila! And thanks to you all for taking the time to visit my blog. 
Have a great day!

One Powerful Mama

A while back I attended the birth of a friend of mine who was having her second baby. It was an amazing experience for me. I felt so completely honoured to be present during this beautiful and fast birth. It was a home birth, a first for me. It was such a wonderful and relaxed setting. Surrounded by all the people she wanted, in the place she felt most warm, secure and comfortable, Heather laboured like a champ! It was fast, very fast. I was there less than an hour before she birthed her beautiful baby girl. But a crazy hour it was! Everything happened so fast. I new her first was a fairly quick labour and that this was going to be even faster, but I was even shocked at how quickly things were moving. The way Heather laboured was completely inspiring! She is so incredibly powerful and makes it look so easy.

Heather's photographer was not able to make it in time for the birth so I tried my best to fill both roles: the doula and the photographer. I am by NO accounts a professional photographer but I tried to capture this amazing event as best I could. It was a challenge to go from taking pictures to massaging to pictures to climbing over furniture to providing counter pressure to pictures to assisting getting in and out of the tub to pictures and all over again, but such a FUN challenge! You can read Heather's birth story here and see some of the pictures I took during her labour (she created a very nice slideshow at the end of the post). While your at it, check out the rest of this mama's great blog, careful tho, you might just lose a few hours of your day getting lost in all its inspiring glory.

Since Heather's birth I have had the great honour of being a doula for another wonderful friend of mine. Having these experiences has been too amazing to put into words. I have been witness to the birth of two children who will grow alongside my own daughter, who will pay together, learn together and journey through life together. I will know these souls from birth until forever and that fills me with such joy.   

Happy Tuesday to you all!