By: Heather Crossan CD(DONA), PCD(DONA)
Originally posted from: http://elitedoula.com/blog/20/finding-a-calgary-doula
So, you're pregnant and have decided you want some extra support before, during or after your birth, but where do you find that? Calgary is full of young families that no longer live close to friends and family, so where do you turn when you need a pregnancy support network? Utilizing a doula is one way to access that support, but where do you even begin? What do you search for? Who do you ask? How do you pick the right birth or postpartum doula for you and your family?
There are many tools out there to help you find a doula in Calgary. Reach out to your social circle, send a text to friends or write a Facebook post in a local mom’s group asking if anyone has ever used a doula. You'll be surprised how many of your friends have a referral! A personal word-of-mouth recommendation is by far the best way to start your search, and get the inside scoop on a great one and their practices. This information can prove invaluable. This doula, however, may not be the right one for you, even if your friend loved them, but it's an excellent starting point.
The next step would be checking with your health care provider. Technically physicians, midwives or nurses cannot recommend individual doula businesses, but they may be able to point you in the right direction in terms of with whom they have had good experiences. Again, who they suggest may not be the right one for you, but their thoughts can help you narrow down the field.
If you're still looking for names, you can contact local groups or associations, like the Calgary Doula Association, or Doula Essentials. Most of these local groups will have a referral list that they can share with you. One benefit of this is that generally the birth or postpartum doulas have had a certain level of training and/or certification. Another benefit is that if you have an issue or concern, you have someone to contact to get it resolved. When you know that these Calgary doulas are part of a bigger community and have a support network of their own, it can make a huge difference in how they practice. If a doula isn't connected to a local group, you may want to question why. The down side of getting such a long list is that you may have to spend a considerable amount of time researching the names.
The least effective way to find the perfect fit would be a basic google search. Most doulas have websites or at least a Facebook page. While this method seems fast and easy, you could spend endless hours sifting through websites or business pages trying to get a feel for who they are, and who to contact! Also remember, you are hearing about them from their own words, so of course they are going to sound amazing! Be sure to check for testimonials or reviews from past clients. How a doula handles a particular birth situation, or an event postpartum will usually be found in those nuggets of information.
Once you've arranged to meet with a few doulas, try not to focus too much on what questions you think you need to ask. While you should leave the meeting with a clear view of their contract and services, what you really need to do is focus on the vibe. Are you comfortable with this person? Do you enjoy their company? Do they listen and articulate responses well? Do they make you feel safe? You are going to invite them into a very important part of your life, no matter how experienced they are or how many stats they can recite the most vital part of your relationship with them will be how they make you feel. Trust that.
We know that we can help you to find the support network that will help you in this new reality. We firmly believe that there is a perfect doula out there for everyone. After all, it's never too late to add doula support to your birth, or to bring a postpartum doula into your life.
Leave all the hard work to us!
By: Rachel Parris CD(DONA)
Originally posted from: http://fiveelementsbirth.com/blog/giving-birth-at-south-health-campus-an-insiders-guide
I love finding out that a client will be birthing at South Health Campus (SHC), Calgary’s newest hospital.
BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP WITH FAMILY-CENTERED CARE AS A GUIDING PRINCIPLE, THEY ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF MATERNITY CARE IN CALGARY.
The staff is warm and friendly, with a strong emphasis on collaborative care. From a nurse bringing our client a breast pump because she saw on her birth preferences page that she wanted to try that first to increase her contractions, to geeking out about the benefits of TENS machines with one of the residents, I’ve had many lovely experiences supporting clients at SHC.
WHERE DO I GO WHEN I ARRIVE AT SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS?
When you arrive at SHC in labor, make sure to park in B lot, also called the Forest lot (it’s the green). The entrance can be found on the south side of the hospital and is the closest to the elevators you’ll be taking up to labour and delivery (L&D). All the parking lots, except for the lot designated for the emergency department, are underground and heated.
Make sure to grab a parking pass from one of the pay stations just inside the doors to the hospital on your way up to L&D. Once inside, you are looking for the sign directing you to the Inpatient Elevators (T2).
L&D is on the 7th floor and you’ll want to turn left as you get off the elevator. You’ll need to use the intercom button just outside the unit doors on the right hand wall to enter. Once on the unit, check in at the nurse’s desk, straight ahead.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE AT LABOUR & DELIVERY?
A nurse will guide you to a private triage room where you, baby, and your labor progress will be assessed. If you are in active labor, you will be admitted to L&D. If not, you may be sent home, or instructed to go for a long walk and return for reassessment in a couple of hours.
Once you are in active labor and admitted to L&D, you will be assigned a nurse. Like all Calgary L&D units, SHC provides one-to-one nursing. This means that there is one nurse who’s primary responsibility is you. Excluding breaks and shift changes, your nurse will be in your room with you for the duration of your labor.
WHAT ARE THE LABOUR & DELIVERY ROOMS LIKE?
Your nurse will show you to your private L&D room. Unlike the other L&D units in Calgary, SHC does not transfer you, after your baby is born, from the L&D unit to the postpartum unit. You will be in the same room throughout your stay, so feel free to make it comfy.
I love how flexible the lighting in the rooms is – you have full control over how bright or dim your birthing space is. Dim lighting is a great way to get your oxytocin (the hormone that produces contractions) flowing!
L&D rooms at SHC are large and comfortable, with a second bed available for your designated primary support person (this can be any adult family member or friend), who is welcome to stay with you 24/7. One of my absolute favorite parts of the family-centered approach at SHC is that there is no limit on the number of support people you can have with you during labor. As the person in labor, you get to choose how many (or how few) people you want there.
WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO WATER WHILE IN LABOUR?
Each room has its own private washroom, with unlimited hot water. Sitting on a birth ball, in the shower, is a great way to cope with contractions – especially during the intensity of transition, just before you begin pushing (Pro tip: make sure your birth ball isn't covering the shower drain - we may, or may not, have flooded a room once).
There are no tubs available on the unit, however, if you are under midwifery care and your midwife attends births at SHC, you can discuss the option of bringing your own inflatable birth pool for use during labor.
WHAT IF I NEED A CESAREAN BIRTH?
The operating rooms at SHC are on the third floor rather than being on the same floor as L&D. This means that if a caesarean birth becomes necessary, you will be transferred via direct elevator to the third floor. Unless you require general anesthesia, you are welcome to have one support person in the operating room with you, with additional support people at the discretion of the medical staff.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY BABY IS BORN?
Another lovely touch at SHC is getting to pick a song from a shortlist that is played throughout the entire hospital once your baby is born. I love hearing those songs come on and knowing that another baby has joined us earthside.
Postpartum stays are 24 hours for an uncomplicated vaginal birth and 48 hours for an uncomplicated ceasarean birth. If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding, you can request to meet with one of the lactation consultants on staff.
Meals can be ordered at your convenience anytime between 7:00am – 7:00pm. Visitors and your primary support person can access meals at one of the three restaurants in the hospital, or at the Gateway Retail District to the west. There is also a fridge, microwave, and dining area on the unit if you prefer to bring your own food and drinks from home.
WHAT IF MY BABY IS BREECH?
Currently, South Health Campus is the only hospital in Calgary that offers vaginal breech birth.
If your baby is breech at term, your primary care provider can refer you for a breech consult with the Obstetrics/Gynecology department at SHC. To be eligible for this option, you will be referred for an ECV (external cephalic version) first, to try and turn baby head down. If the ECV fails, you will be scheduled to meet with an OB/GYN from SHC who will discuss with you your eligibility for vaginal breech birth, as well as the benefits and risks of your options.
SOUNDS LOVELY! HOW CAN I GIVE BIRTH AT SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS?
Maternity care spaces at SHC fill quickly and are usually reserved for families living in the south east area of Calgary. If you are interested in having your baby there, make sure to discuss this option with your family doctor early in your pregnancy.
Did you have a baby at South Health Campus? What did you like most about your care? Did anything surprise you?
By: Tracy Hudson CD(DONA)
Originally posted from: http://www.maternalinstincts.ca/blog/choosing-where-to-have-your-baby-in-calgary
Our last blog post talked about the options for maternity caregivers in Calgary and expressed the importance of making an early decision. Choosing how and where you want to birth goes hand in hand with the type of caregiver you have. As stated in that post, if you wish to have a water birth, home birth or have your baby at the birth centre, you will require a midwife to achieve this. If none of those things are an your wish list, your options are to either chose a midwife or a doctor and birth at one of the area hospitals. If you want to birth at a certain hospital, you will need to look for a clinic that takes self-referrals or make sure your family doctor sends you in the right direction. Catch up on the details on our last blog here.
Foothills Medical Centre
(informally known as Foothills Hospital)
Located near 16 Ave & 29 St NW, the Foothills is Calgary's oldest hospital (of those with a maternity unit). They have the busiest labour and delivery department and also handle the city's highest risk patients, possessing the highest level NICU unit. The maternity ward is on the 5th floor of the main building, overlooking downtown. There are lots of places to meander on the hospital grounds while trying to get labour into full swing.
- Most of the labour rooms are very large
- Most have comfy recliners for your support people to relax or nap in
- One room with a tub (although usually reserved for the midwives)
- 2 operating rooms very close by in case of emergency
- Doulas or other support people can view cesareans through a window if they choose
- Doulas are sometimes allowed in recovery after a cesarean
- 2 cafeterias for refuelling
- Long term care NICU
Things to consider:
- Parking is currently a nightmare with the main visitor lot being revamped into a parkade
- Only 1 support person allowed in triage at a time, which unfortunately means that sometimes you are separated from your doula for awhile
- Only 2 support people allowed in labour rooms
- Postpartum unit is mostly shared rooms
View a virtual tour of the Foothills maternity unit here
Peter Lougheed Centre
Located near the corner of 36 St & 26 Ave NE, the Peter Lougheed was our "newest" hospital before the opening of South Health. It also has a very busy maternity department, only slightly behind the Foothills. Labour and delivery is located on the 5th floor of the hospital which, unfortunately, does not have scenic views, nor great areas to walk around outside since it is surrounded by many retailers. However, that means there is plenty of good shopping close by in case something was forgotten!
- Ample parking in an open parkade on the west end of the hospital
- 2 operating rooms on the same floor
- 2 cafes, plus a Second Cup
Things to consider:
- Only 1 support person in triage meaning you could be separated from your doula for some time
- Only 2 support people allowed in labour rooms
- Labour rooms are small
- Few private postpartum rooms
- [Added] Recommended you bring your own birth ball
View a virtual tour of the Peter Lougheed maternity unit here
Rockyview General Hospital
Located on 14 St SW between Glenmore and Heritage, the Rockyview has the third most births in the city per year. The birthplace is located on the 6th floor with most of the rooms having views of the Glenmore Resevoir (and sometimes the Queen Mary - the paddle-wheel boat from Heritage Park). Walking outside is definitely scenic and relaxing here.
- Large parkade that rarely fills up
- Private triage rooms where doulas or additional support people can join you
- Support is not limited to 2 people
- Most rooms are quite large
- Comfortable recliners for your support people to rest or nap in
- One room with a tub (often reserved for midwives)
- 2 operating rooms on floor
- coffee shop & cafe, plus the main cafeteria remains open most of the time
South Health Campus
Calgary's newest hospital is located in the deep SE near Deerfoot and Stoney Trail. Currently there is only capacity to handle half the amount of births annually as the other 3 hospitals. There are scenic views from the 7th floor maternity unit. The hospital was built using all the latest technology and with a strong emphasis on wellness. Being in a new area there is lots of undeveloped land and new construction surrounding the hospital.
- Ample parking in underground parkade and even free street parking (in short supply and only available for 2 hours)
- Private triage rooms with support people allowed
- Support people are not limited
- Labour, delivery and postpartum stay are in one room
- Large bathrooms with open showers
- Portable birth tubs are allowed
- TV's in each room
- Partners can spend the night with each room featuring a window seat type bed
- Doctors who specialize in vaginal breech birth
- 2 cafeterias with food around the clock plus a Good Earth
- Room service menu
Things to consider:
- With a cap on births, it is very difficult to get accepted for care
- The hospital utilizes a very time consuming record keeping method
- Basic chairs for support people instead of recliners
- Surgical suites are on a separate floor
- Some of the street design in the area impedes access to the hospital, so make sure to know where to park and how to get there ahead of time
View a virtual tour of the South Health maternity unit here
High River Hospital
Located in a quiet residential area in the SW quadrant of High River, maternity care is fairly new to this hospital (within the last 10 or so years). Averaging about a birth per day, there is definitely a more relaxed feeling here. The maternity unit on the main floor has a very low intervention approach to birth and offers woman centred care [Added:low risk clinic is a combination of doctors and midwives]. There are lots of quiet streets to wander and the hospital borders along a school field.
- Free parking - lot and street
- Support people not limited
- Emergency cesareans available
- Longer postpartum stay
- Partner can room in
- [Added: Inflatable tub available]
Things to consider:
- Rooms are small
- Only low risk patients accepted
- Care sometimes transferred to Calgary
- No NICU
- 25 minute drive from Calgary's south limits
View a virtual tour of High River's maternity unit here
Arbour Birth Centre
Calgary's one and only birth centre is a remodeled house in the community of West Hillhurst (near 16 Ave & 19 St NW). It has 3 private birth suites with full ensuites and large tubs, a kitchen and a living room area. It doesn't seem like a particularly quiet area being right on 16th Ave, but you can walk south into an old, quiet residential area.
- Parking is easily available
- As many support people as desired including service practitioners (mobile massage? chiropractor?)
- Each suite has a double or queen size bed
- Tubs are large and can easily give birth in them
- Comfortable living room space for family, etc. including toys for kids
- Can store & prepare your own food in kitchen
- Medical equipment is on-site, but kept out of sigh
Things to consider:
- Only midwives will attend births there and they are in high demand
- Cost is out of pocket unless your private insurance will cover
- Obviously not a full on hospital if problems arise, however midwives are highly trained & transfer before it becomes too serious (Foothills hospital is less than 5 minutes away).
- Can be a pain to get into coming from the east
- [Added: No shower in the bathrooms]
View the Arbour Birth Center here
By: Rossana Keay CD(DONA)
Originally Posted on: http://mydoulove.com/2017/01/23/the-doula-and-her-bump-2
That’s right, you read the title of this blog correctly. I am, in fact, a doula who is pregnant. Some people have asked me if it’s even possible to practice as a doula while carrying a baby of your own in your belly and I can tell you it absolutely is.
Though every doula is different, I can share that being pregnant and doulaing is a lot easier than it sounds if steps towards self-care and stress management are taken. Yes, being on-call 24/7 supporting families for an undetermined amount of time, providing physical and emotional encouragement during a birth and then coming home to take care of a 2 year old and run a household seems like a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong; it is a lot of work especially with a bump, (my daily reminder that life is growing inside of me). But because the reward is so high, and the joy I feel everyday knowing that I can help other people, I figure why not make this work. And here’s how I do it. There are a few very important things to consider when being pregnant and taking on doula work.
1. First Pregnancy vs. Subsequent Pregnancies
I like to tell my clients that every pregnancy is different. With my first, I think I could have done just about anything until the day the baby was about to pop out. Without any nausea, pain, or fatigue, it really felt like I wasn’t even pregnant. This second pregnancy is slightly different, I feel like I need more energy to get through the day. I’m often pretty tired by mid-afternoon and my body has a great memory of where to store soreness and pain from my last labour. I’m aware that every time I grow a baby, I will feel different. I just chose not to let the changes scare me away from what I’m called to do.
Being a full-time doula means that I can be 100% available to my clients. They know that I will not take another job to pay the bills and that I will be fully present and available to them. With this being my only source of income, it does get very tempting to fill my workload and take on every client. But I have to carefully consider what I can handle in order to keep my energy level up for every birth.
3. My doula community
Reaching out to my own doula community about doulaing while pregnant has been my saving grace. I learned that compression socks would help prevent fainting when standing for long periods of time. Drinking a lot of Emergen-C’s would help to hydrate me. Wearing a support belt would help relieve my back pain. And of course always having a fellow doula or two to chat with when I need to de-brief or release some emotions, which we all know are at an all-time high when pregnant.
4. My self-care routine
I’ve always had a routine/ritual at every birth, whether it’s listening to a song before I enter the birth room, sending out the partner for a break before taking one myself, or making sure to check in with my own needs at least every 2 hours. Those didn’t change after being pregnant. What I did do though is make sure to sit down more whenever possible. Have the partner move into the physical roles more. Take more breaks whenever possible and carry pocket-sized snacks. Taking care of myself in every way means I can fully support my clients, and that’s the goal isn’t it?
5. Getting my family on board
Knowing that my husband has a snack waiting for me when I arrive home from a birth keeps me sane and ready to conquer the next birth. My family knows that mommy might be sleeping all day and that I will need my rest and recovery. That for just one day, the household chores can just take a pause or even better, be handled while I’m off having pregnant dreams.
6. Honesty with my clients
I felt that it was very important for my clients to know that I was pregnant. That way they understand if I have to step out or sit down. Being honest with them gives them a level trust that solidifies why they hired me in the first place. Finding the right place and right moment to share my news with each client was a great learning experience. I always made sure they were well aware that my pregnancy would not take anything away from my level of support to them.
Photo by Reedan Thiessen, Mountain Mama YYC
Photo used with permission