A Natural Childbirth Story

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I feel so blessed to have had two babies, a boy and a girl. I can’t even believe how lucky I am when I think about it. And… I’m so happy I’ll never have to give birth again. Growing babies and delivering babies to the world is some serious shit. After my first natural childbirth, I felt empowered and strong and proud. After this last one, I feel… traumatized and envious of the ladies who get C-sections 2 weeks before their due date. Let me explain.

I had such little energy during this pregnancy, maybe it was because I have a toddler, maybe it was because I just wanted to sit and meditate on life as I did when I was pregnant with Henrik; maybe it was because I’m even older now than I was the first time. By the final month, I felt so heavy and uncomfortable, I wasn’t able to do much of anything and that can be quite boring for a toddler. My due date (June 21) came and went, I felt huge and certain she would come on time. She didn’t. I waited another 10 days.

Those last 10 days were quite miserable. With visits from the midwife, multiple “sweeps” and a couple of Non-Stress Tests, I was feeling crampy and grumpy. My body was doing some prep work, I was slowly dilating, 2 cm, then 4 cm. I was also feeling stressed, Henrik had been waking at night and having tantrums for a few weeks. I was anticipating the labour because I knew what to expect this time. I hadn’t found any time to just “be”, to take some deep breaths and prepare my mind for the birth. My body was doing it’s thing but my mind was completely off balance. I was certain this was holding up the labour.

The day before I was scheduled to be induced, the midwife came over and I told her how stressed I was feeling. She demanded that I go out on my own and sit somewhere, a park, the beach and just meditate for a while. So off I went, or hobbled, because walking was SO uncomfortable. I stopped at Starbucks and got my favourite drink, Chai soy latte. Then I drove to the beach. I knew I couldn’t actually walk down to the beach because of my waddling condition so I found a bench close to the car and sat down with a magazine and my tea. It was a beautiful day with lots of people around. I took some breaths and did some thinking, after about 20 minutes I felt it starting. My first contraction. It was about 2:00pm on July 1. I got out my handy app to track contractions (Full Term) and I timed the next contraction which was about 15 min later. Then a lovely, chatty, old lady sat down beside me. When I had my next contraction and hit the button on my phone, she asked what I was doing. “I’m having a contraction” I said. She thought I was crazy to be sitting and talking to her and that I should really be going! So I got in the car and drove home, I had one contraction at a red light and another as soon as I pulled up to the house. When I got inside, I told my husband it was starting and we called the midwife.

My first labour was fast (8 hrs) and I was warned the second could be half the time so we called my sister-in-law to come over and look after Henrik and we headed to the hospital. The contractions were getting much more intense, we got to the hospital at 4:00 and I was in active labour.

At 5:00, after the midwife arrived, she asked if I wanted her to break my water, I’m a chicken and said “no thanks” and got into the bathtub. Things really picked up and I wasn’t sure I could handle the contractions. I breathed through them, I moaned through them, I winced and sometimes swore through them.

At 6:00 the midwife asked if I wanted my water broken, knowing that things would speed along afterwards, again I declined, I just wasn’t ready for the intensity and I stayed in the tub. At 7:00 I was ready to come out and agreed to let her break my water. She said that I would have the baby in the next hour and she was right. That was the most intense hour of my life. I was pushing that baby out so hard I could have rolled a mack truck up a hill.  I felt EVERYTHING. It was quite awful and a little scary to be perfectly honest. I didn’t have the euphoric feeling I did the first time. Afterwards I asked myself, why didn’t I take drugs? Would this have been a better experience?

I know why I opted for a natural childbirth. It’s better for the baby to be released to the world through the birth canal and because I didn’t have any drugs in my system, both the baby and I were fine and mobile after the birth. I was able to be in the tub and labour in positions I might not have been able to otherwise. I believed in myself and got through it. We women are STRONG and we can do this, knowing all of the generations that came before us. In those intense moments, I could feel the chorus of mothers past giving me strength and courage.

I’m just very relieved I have had two healthy babies and never have to do that again.

I had Vivienne on Canada Day and soon after her birth we heard the fireworks. I thought “Yep, I deserve those!”

C xo

You can read my first birth story here.

Baby Girl has arrived!

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Our baby girl is 2 weeks old already. Born on July 1, so my #junebaby turned out to be a #julybaby.

There’s really no sense of time with a newborn, it’s all a weepy, happy, dreamy, sleepy blur. It feels so right to be doing this again. It’s easier the 2nd time around, especially breastfeeding, so happy I don’t have to deal with that learning curve again. The feeling of a newborn falling asleep on your chest as you hold their tiny body and smell their sweet little head is the best thing in the world. I know to appreciate these moments, it’s all so fleeting and it’s such a special time. It’s hard, having kids is hella hard combined with the most joy and emotion you can ever imagine. {yes, my hormones are going nuts and I’m incredibly emotional, can you tell?}

Vivienne was 10 days late, it felt like it took forever for her to get here. I wanted this baby so badly and it’s such a relief that she’s finally here and everyone is well. I’m a happy, sleepy, bleary-eyed mama and feel so incredibly lucky. (It also takes me a long time to recover… does anyone else get fluid in their ears causing major dizziness, or is it just me? Happened with both births.)

Thank you for welcoming this new life to the world with me!

xo C

Birth story #2 will be coming up soon…

The Best Ethical Rugs for your Home

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One of my favourite visuals are pictures of rugs in people’s home on Instagram and Pinterest. I just love the look of a gorgeous rug.

One thing about rugs we don’t think about is child labour. The handmade carpet industry exploits nearly 250,000 children. GoodWeave is helping to combat this problem and transform the rug industry by certifying child-labor-free rugs and by providing education and opportunities to rescued and at-risk children.

Here are some rugs you can feel good about:

THE RUG COMPANYis a member of Good Weave (yay!). These rugs support the local craftsmanship and heritage of weaving and are the largest importer of rugs from Nepal, making a vital contribution to the Nepalese economy and providing sustainable employment to a large number of people. Read about the CRAFTSMANSHIP here, it is an extraordinary story.

TIP TOE RUGS – These rugs for kids can become long-time fixtures in your home or playroom; handmade in Canada (GTA) from industrial strength felted wool, ideal for use in busy areas, made with OEKO-TEX certified vegetable dyes or un-dyed heather grey. Shipping is free in Canada and USA.

SECRET BERBERE – Traditional Berber carpets have a long history and are still created by the highly skilled Berber women of the nomadic tribes of Morocco. Purchased directly from the villages with no intermediary, these ancient artful carpets are now available to the world.

COMPANY Cis a member of Good Weave (yay!).  Started by a husband and wife team in the USA 20 years ago and grown into one of the leading carpet design houses with an impressive commitment to social responsibility.

DASH & ALBERT – I love the simple, summery styles of these throw rugs. Unfortunately, this company has no information about manufacturing on their website. I contacted them and this is what they said:

“Our products are designed in the U.S. and manufactured by skilled artisans in fair-trade fair-labor workshops in several countries. Our commitment to making fiscally sound, socially responsible choices both locally and globally, allows us to bring you top-quality products at the best possible prices. We hope you enjoy them!”

Check out: How To Shop for an Environmentally-Friendly Rug

Happy home!

C.

Waiting for Baby

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We’ve been reading these “Waiting for Baby” books to Henrik in preparation for #junebaby. He really loves reading these books, I think it’s helping put it all in perspective for him. It also might be affecting his sleep. He’s been waking upwards of 5 times per night for the past 2 weeks. Something is keeping him awake… is it the anticipation of having a new baby in the house? It keeps me awake sometimes too.

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We are now officially 2 days OVERDUE and all very anxious to meet our little girl! I’m also curious what my next Birth Story will be… I’ve heard #2 can come in half the time of #1, so I’m anticipating a fast labour, under 4 hrs. That freaks me out just a little bit! I feel so lucky from my birth with Henrik and am hopeful this time will be as cooperative. My singular goal will be to get to the hospital, hop in the (small) tub and “disappear” in to my contractions until I need to push… I already feel peaceful about the birth because we have great midwives and because I believe in the power of the female body, that we were designed to do this. I just need to remember my mantras from last time:

I can do this
only 1 minute long
deep breaths
get "taken" away
move hips
walk
keep jaw loose
OPEN yourself
DON'T fight the pain
DON'T clench
(HA HA HA. as if!!)
get through one contraction at a time

And think about this little girl we will be meeting soon!

XO

{Baby shoes from Minimoc}

 

BRIKA | A Well-Crafted Life + GIVEAWAY!!

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One of my favourite things to do is look at beautiful things, fashion, design, decorating… and visiting the BRIKA website is at the top of my list.

It’s a GO-TO site for unique and beautiful gifts for women, men, babies and kids. The best part are the designer profiles attached to each piece. BRIKA features the work of authentic MAKERS and offers a curated selection of special pieces that are destined to become heirlooms and celebrates the people behind them. (There are many Canadian crafters on the list too!)

 

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Today BRIKA is giving away two beautiful, handmade pieces (organic cotton) to gift to your baby, child or the favourite Little One on your list.

  1. The Fox Pillow by Sass + Peril is handmade with organic cotton. The fabric has been cut, screenprinted, heat set, sewn, stuffed, tagged and packaged all by hand. Each pillow is unique and one-of-a-kind and handmade in California. ($40)
  2. The Woodland Creatures Cloth Book by Ex Libras Handmade made with 100% organic cotton fabric and batting, printed with eco-friendly, water-based inks. ($35)

OPEN TO CANADA AND US. CONTEST CLOSES MIDNIGHT SUNDAY, JUNE 15th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**GET 15% off + FREE SHIPPING on any product at BRIKA. This week only**

Use code: ECOBRAVO15 at checkout.

If you want to invite some beauty to your inbox, sign up for BRIKA’s email updates and you will be on your way to a well-crafted life!

Best of luck!

C.

 

 

Midori Uchi | Net Zero Home

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I had the pleasure of visiting this gorgeous ULTRA green, Net Zero home in North Vancouver last week. It is a stunning accomplishment from Naikoon Contracting and will become a benchmark for the future of green home building. Midori Uchi has achieved the highest levels of Green Certification: LEED Canada Platinum Rating; R-2000 Energy Efficiency Certification; Build Green Platinum and is the show home example of top notch architecture and green build innovations.

[Net Zero means that the total amount of energy generated by the home on an annual basis is expected to be greater than the energy used]

With features such as:

  • Rammed Earth Walls
  • Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) Roof System
  • Insulated Concrete Forms
  • Triple Glazed Fibreglass Windows
  • Heat Recovery Ventilators
  • Rainwater Collection
  • Solar Photovoltaic Power System
  • Optimized 100% LED lighting and Home Control
  • Organic Landscaping
  • Reclaimed Timber
  • Grey Water Reuse System
  • Stringent Waste Divergent Program
  • Renewable Energy Solutions
  • Envelope Airtightness
  • Low Flow Plumbing Fixtures
  • Energy Star Appliances

Naikoon Contracting is a leader in Green Building techniques and Sustainable Design. Naikoon worked closely on this green home with architect Richard Kadulski, a Vancouver architect who specializes in healthy, energy-efficient, solar and climate-sensitive residential design. 

It looks like green build and renovation resources are starting to grow and people like Joe Geluch, the Owner of Naikoon Contracting are blazing an impressive trail for the rest of us to follow.

Check HERE for upcoming Open House tours.

C.

Eco-friendly Baby Blankets

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I’m in love with these gorgeous eco-friendly baby blankets right now… and one pillow!

With only 3 more weeks to go until #junebaby, I’m craving coziness (and cleanliness, although house cleaning is my least favourite activity, especially when 8 months pregnant)… and I’d love all of these blankets to wrap my baby girl in and cuddle her up when she gets here.

1. Love you more blanket (limited edition) – 100% organic Cotton by Vonbon, available at Shop by Monika

2. Unicorn receiving blanket – 100% organic cotton, available at Mitani Designs

3. Eco Pineapple Baby Blanket – 80% recycled cotton, 20% acrylic, available at Spearmint Love

4. Mini Kantha Blanket – 100% reclaimed cotton sari cloth – Fair Trade, available at Dignify

5. Eco Cross Baby Blanket - 80% recycled cotton, 20% acrylic, available at Spearmint Love

6. Sleeping Lion Pillow – 100% organic linen, corn fibre filling, available at Mini Boheme

7. Reversible Duvet Cover – 100% cotton (Oeko-tex certified), available at Om Home

Oh baby!

C.

Tim Hortons introduces Partnership Blend coffee + LED lights

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If you live in Canada, you know Tim Hortons. It’s an institution in Canada. I grew up in Ontario and Tim Hortons is part of the culture. My grandparents drank Tim Hortons coffee. My family would always stop there on summer road trips. Now I have my own family and we’re carrying on the tradition. If you’re Canadian, it’s likely you have a favourite Tim Hortons doughnut (mine are chocolate dip and old-fashioned glazed). And those Timbits… come on!

Tim Hortons is changing…. in a good way!

In the past week my family has been drinking the new Partnership Blend coffee. It is SO good! Sourced 100% from coffee farmers in the program and stemming from a 7 million, eight year sustainability investment. I’m happy to hear how serious Tim Hortons is about this sustainability initiative.

OAKVILLE, ON – May 15, 2013 — Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership has been working for more than eight years to improve the lives of coffee farmers in Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil and Colombia by empowering them with the business skills needed to prosper. This work has had a significant impact in helping these farmers bring their coffee to market at attractive prices. Today, following years of technical support and education, and an investment of approximately $7 million, Tim Hortons is announcing its inaugural Partnership Blend coffee – the company’s first coffee product sourced solely from the work of the Coffee Partnership.

The Partnership Blend comes in a ground coffee format, sold in a 343g bag and available now at participating Tim Hortons restaurants across the country. The coffee retails for $7.69, with $1 from every purchase going back to support the Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership.

For more information about the Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership visit http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/difference/coffee-partnership.html

That’s not all Timmy’s has been up to.

Starting March 2014, all newly built and renovated Tim Hortons restaurants across North America will be outfitted with energy-efficient Philips LED lighting. By the end of 2014, 485 restaurants will take part in the conversion program and all of the more than 4,400 restaurants are anticipated to take part in the program by 2024.

At the end of this year alone, the conversion program will result in a projected annual savings of approximately 6,366,780 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity1, which is equal to:

  • the total annual energy consumed by 400 single-family homes
  • the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 924 passenger vehicles, or
  • the annual CO2 emissions from burning 4,713,674 pounds of coal2

Read about Tim Hortons 2013 Sustainability Report here.

QUESTION – what’s YOUR favourite Tim Hortons treat?

[Disclosure - I received some really awesome Philips LED lights and a delicious bag of Tim Hortons Partnership Blend coffee for this article]

C.