Canada’ 1st Alongside Midwifery Unit comes to Markham Stouffville Hospital

Alongside Midwifery Unit Markham Stouffville Hospital

On July 9th the Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) opened the Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU), the very first of its kind in Canada. Our Birth Doula and Co-Owner Kristi Clements had the pleasure of assisting with the first baby born in the unit, on opening day. Now that’s a birthday party! One week later we had the pleasure of officially touring the brand new AMU and learned more about this ground breaking facility. The event was organized by fellow Doula and childbirth educator Teresa Maskery and led by Executive Director Carol Cameron. Here’s a quick overview of what we learned during the behind-the-scenes tour.

How the AMU Came About

The midwives at MSH wanted to have a facility that was run by midwives for midwives that gave their clients more options. It sounds like this was quite a labour of love and we are grateful to all involved for making it happen. Read more

Our Birth Story

Nicole Sean and Lily
-Guest Post for “Positive Birth Stories Series”

On September 22, 2014 we welcomed our daughter, Lily,  into the world with the help and support of Kristi Clements from Helping Hands Doula. Our decision to use a Doula was one that I had always considered but wasn’t sure I needed. With this being my first pregnancy I didn’t know what I wanted in terms of a birth plan. Of course like many expecting mothers I was faced with the question of whether or not to have the epidural. I decided that I would play it by ear and see how I was handling the pain on the day of the birth.

The day finally came and the question of whether or not to have the epidural no longer became my choice. I was told by many that my first labour would probably be a long one, but that wasn’t true for me. I had my first contraction at 4:00am and my daughter was born at 8:52am, less than five hours later.

I called my Midwife and Doula around 6:30am. My midwife arrived at my house by about 7am and I was already 9 centimeters dilated.  While my husband began to run around like a chicken with his head cut off, getting all of our things into the car, I found myself alone and close to tears. Just then Kristi walked into the house and gave me hug. I leaned into her as another contraction started, she guided me through the pain and gave me words of encouragement. After the contraction subsided she helped me into the car and we all made our way to the hospital. Her support never waivered; as we made our way through the halls of the hospital we stopped multiple times as the contractions felt unbearable. She would give my tips on how to manage the pain, rub my back and cheer me on. When we finally got to our room I begged for the epidural, but it was too late. Kristi continued to provide support and help me through what I could never have imagined I was capable of. But she was not just there for me, my husband Sean also benefitted from having a Doula. She provided a sense of calm and reassurance for him when loud noises were going off and the midwives were concerned about my blood pressure dropping. She coached Sean about what to do, where to stand and how to help with the process.

If I could give one piece of advice for expecting mothers it would be to consider a Doula, especially one from Helping Hands Doula services. Their professional, yet personally support is money well spent to help make the birth of your baby extra special, to support you and your spouse when things don’t go the way you plan and to provide the hands on support you need to get through the most difficult parts of child birth.  For these reasons I would highly recommend Helping Hands Doula. Thank you again Kristi, we couldn’t have done it without you!

-The Proud Parents of Lily Christel Sutherland (Nicole and Sean)