babyREADY was born out of our mutual love for having become mothers.
I did not set out, in 1998, to change the world of birth and birth preparation as I prepared to welcome my first child. Instead, as I lay in bed on doctor prescribed bed-rest, I simply planned to have my baby in the new-fashioned way; in the hospital with the aide of an OB/Gyn. How things unfolded was what changed my way of thinking. The birth of my role as a labour support provider (sometimes called a doula) and childbirth educator was an evolution that came as a result of a variety of events.
The first event was Fergus’ birth. As stated, I spent the last couple of months of my pregnancy in bed. This was a result of having elevated blood pressure that was not able to be controlled by medications alone. My labour was induced. I was given an epidural (as is common practice for women with high blood pressure). My baby did not tolerate the unfolding of events as they were and so my son required vacuum extraction.
To this day, and certainly with the experience that comes from the hundreds of births I have attended in the role of labour support, I am not upset that the doctor chose the path he did. I am upset that no one took the time, during pregnancy or during the labour, to ensure that I knew what was to happen and what the risks might be. I was, as so many are, simply a number and totally uninformed.
By the time Fergus was 6 months old I had signed up for and completed my weekend training to become a “Birth Doula.” I still remember slipping out to fetch Fergus from my partner so that my son would not miss any feeds while I was doing my training. My partner, was gracious enough to agree to spend the entire weekend sitting in a cafeteria at McMaster University to help me achieve this goal and to ensure Fergus was the happiest he could be. Shortly after finishing that weekend I attended my first birth. As that beautiful baby girl arrived into this world I realised that I had found my calling. I came home and told my partner that this was what I was to be doing with my life. Surprised, I was asked how I could know after only one birth. I couldn’t explain it. I just knew.
I soaked up as many birth resources as I could find. In September 1999 I began the path to become a childbirth educator through a program that used to run between Humber College and Women’s College Hospital. I was surrounded by other women as enthralled with the birth process as I was and who were as eager to help others as I was. Finally, someone understood!
Since the beginning, I have been able to source out resources that go beyond simple prenatal classes and the basic role of labour support. I have long been an environmentalist in the making (it is an ongoing, learning process). Using existing resources, renewable options and common sense is a large focus of the classes I teach. I want expectant parents to come away with a new perspective and know about their options. To this end I have spent a large amount of the last 10 years researching environmentally responsible and eco-friendly options for infants and children in terms of food, clothing, bedding, furniture, infant hygiene products and more.
babyREADY has come from a growing frustration that I have heard about from my clients and students. “How can we follow your advice and investigate for ourselves just what alternative options are out there when we don’t know where to start looking?” That’s what I am here for. I know where to look. I know how to help. Sam
(originally post Jan 2011)