Spring Recap!

2016 spring prenatal class series is coming to a close next week, and  it was a wonderful class. We had lots of laughs and I know all the couples are feeling ready and confident for their upcoming births! I’m booking dates now for fall and spring classes and will get them up on the website asap. If weekly classes don’t work for your family feel free to send me a note and we can get you booked in for private classes in your own home.

I have a FREE Placenta Encapsulation Education Discussion coming up on June 28th, 7pm. I’m being hosted once again by our lovely midwives at the East Kootenay Midwives clinic. 1617 Baker St, Cranbrook, BC. See the facebook event for more info. Please call or message me to reserve your spot!

I am already receiving doula inquires into next year (2017!!) so if you’d like to schedule a free interview CLICK HERE and we’ll make that happen. We can go over all your questions as to what exactly a doula brings to the table and how it benefits you.

As always I have birth tubs, TENS units and home birth supplies available for rent and purchase. Click on the Rentals + Supplies section above to learn more!

Hope you all have a wonderful summer!!


cranbrook placenta encapsulation


VBAC: Is it for you?

Cranbrook VBACAre you faced with the decision of attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or a repeat c-section? I know you want to do what is best and safest for baby and yourself. I want you to make the right choice for you! So I decided to gather some of my favorite resources and post them all here so you can read through them and make your informed choice!  -Darla




VBAC: making a mountain out of a molehill

I really love this article even though it is based out of Australia, she does a fabulous job of explaining the risk of uterine rupture and describing the numbers and what they really mean. She gives suggestions on how to prepare during pregnancy and what to expect while you’re in labour! I highly recommend this read!

To be honest, as a midwife uterine rupture is the least of my worries when caring for a woman having a VBAC. I actually think the mountain that has been built out of the risk-molehill requires more energy and attention. These women do need special treatment, but not in the form of disempowering fear-based counselling or practice. They have often had a previous traumatic birth experience and are dealing with fear from family, friends, and the medical system, in addition to their own worries. They have been labelled ‘high risk’ and are constantly reminded of the potential disaster waiting to occur. They also risk ‘failing’ if they encounter any complications or end up having a repeat c-section. This impacts on their ability to trust their body, follow their intuition and allow the physiology of birth to unfold. Often these women need more nurturing, reassurance and support from those involved in their birth.”

VBAC Facts!

This is the place to go to get great info, myth busting at it’s finest!

“Many women believe that the only safe choice after a cesarean is another cesarean. Social pressure plays a huge role in a woman’s decision making process and the prevailing American conventional wisdom is greatly influenced by persistent and pervasive myths about vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The result is a 86% repeat cesarean rate in America among women with one prior cesarean (1) despite the fact that most women are candidates for VBAC and most VBACs are successful.  Let’s draw a clear line between myth and fact.”


VBAC or Repeat C-Section

So much great information, it’s very thorough in answering questions many women face.

What is the bottom line?

If you do not have a clear and compelling need for a cesarean in the present pregnancy, having a VBAC rather than a repeat c-section is likely to be:

  • safer for you in this pregnancy
  • far safer for you and your babies in any future pregnancies

When thinking about the health and safety of your baby in the present pregnancy, there are trade-offs to consider: VBAC has some advantages, and a repeat c-section has others.


ACOG VBAC Guidelines

This is the gist of the guidelines put out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you want to read the full in depth report you can find it here.

“Attempting a VBAC is a safe and appropriate choice for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery including for some women who have had two previous cesareans.”


BC VBAC Guidelines

Here you can find the benefits and risks laid out for you as well as answers to some of the more frequently asked questions!

My last thought is to take into consideration your birth team. Having your care provider on board with your hopes of a VBAC put you on the path to a good birth experience. Consider hiring a doula to help your prepare prenatally through working out any fears or doubts you have, and releasing your previous birth story. The extra support during labour can be a game changer!
I hope these resources help you and your family make the right choice for YOU!


Photo Credit: MabyCakes via Compfight cc

Placenta Encapsulation Discussion February 9th, 2016

Another placenta discussion is coming up in Cranbrook next month. Come visit your local placenta specialist and learn more about the benefits of placenta encapsulation. The midwives from East Kootenay Midwifery are hosting the FREE evening once again, 6pm at the clinic, 1617 Baker St. Cranbrook, BC. Space is limited so rsvp to 250-427-8877 quick, to hold your spot!


cranbrook and kimberley placenta encapsulation



Comfort Measures in Pregnancy + Labour Using the Rebozo

So a couple weeks ago I went on a little family road trip for Gena Kirby’s Rebozo workshop! It was fantastic, kind of life-changing. Wow! Just…wow! Gena really opened some doors for me as a doula, in how I can interact and support my clients! I’m so happy also to have brought a beautiful new LONG 9 ft rebozo back to Kimberley with me!
A rebozo is a woven shawl, they come in varying lengths and widths, and even have different names from country to country, in Laos they’re called Jias, there are African Kangas, Rebozo is the Mexican name. A rebozo is often worn by a women, used in labour by midwives and then used to carry baby by the new mama. It is not just a tool for birth, it is part of a lifestyle.


Here’s Gena, sharing a bit more about the rebozo:

What did I learn?

  • How to connect with my clients in new ways
  • Some awesome techniques for supporting labouring moms
  • How to get partners/dads more physically involved in comfort measures for birth


The Rebozo as a Gateway

As a doula I have mostly seen it as a tool in my doula bag until now. Now I see it as an extension of my hands and arms, and as an extension of the partners love, for a labouring mom.
I think over the years I’ve figured out ways to engage with clients to help get us up on our feet and trying out comfort techniques, but it can often feel awkward, especially if it’s the first meeting between the doula and the dad. Enter the rebozo, such a simple tool for helping open a gate way and between the birth team. It’s wonderful to have something I can hand to dad and say, you are going to be a pro at this by the time we’re done here. Giving dad something to do to feel engaged, connected and NEEDED is really important, because I never want dad to feel displaced because I was there, I want him to get all the glory.
Seeing the many uses of the rebozo now I will never leave home without it, it can be used to relieve pain and tension, used as a relaxation tool in labour, help relieve stress from partners, midwives, nurses and siblings. Create a quiet space for the couple to reconnect, it can be used to block out stimulating lights and sounds. Use it to help mom move in the case of an epidural and is a powerful tool toward effective pushing.
Here’s a couple examples of what we might do with a rebozo:
Relaxation techniques for labour

Gena demonstrating how to relieve tension in the mothers neck (or anyone who’s feeling stressed in the birth space)

rebozo used for pushing

Here seated is the partner or dad, then labouring mom is straddling them. She is being supported with the rebozo by her doula, standing behind dad. Shown is a demonstration of pushing so kneeling behind mom is the midwife helping to lower baby safely to the ground.

Darla Sparrow -rebozo used for pushing

And here I am, supporting Gena through some intense contractions, this is an awesome postion for pushing!










The Partner is so important!

The workshop really lit a fire in my heart to addressing the role partners and dads play in the birth experience. I know that in each prenatal visit from now on I am going to be telling the partner how integral they are to helping mom relax. I’ve always been good at getting dads involved to their comfort level but now I will be acknowledging the importance of them being there, loving her, loving the experience and I’ll be creating space in prenatals for them to further their relationship in pregnancy and birth.
What does that really mean though?
When you close your eyes and imagine labouring, see yourself working hard, coping through an intense contraction. This image might create some stress in your body, now imagine labouring and your partner is right there next to you, skin to skin, their smell comforting you just by its presence, their arms holding you, supporting you, their heart beating in time with yours, love hormones flying between you as you open your eyes and see the pride beaming from him to you for the hard work you’re enduring. That’s what we want because if you notice, that time when you imagined your partner there by your side, everything was softer, more relaxed. That is the key to better births. And really that is what was driven home for me, how when I’m there supporting my couples I really want the partner to being doing it, because that is the where her comfort lies.
The rebozo techniques themselves weren’t all new to me but having a chance to practice them and see them in action rather then just on a hand out was so important for my learning experience. Having more hands on experience myself so that when I share these comfort techniques with my pregnant couples will be so beneficial to their learning and their birthing time. I love that I now have new ideas for situations that may arise in your birth!



If you’re pregnant in Cranbrook or Kimberley and think you could use some more labour support, please give me a shout!

World Doula Week Recap!


Cranbrook BC doula

March 22-29, is known as world doula week, perhaps not a well known week of the year for most, but it’s a fun time for doulas to connect, take part in lots of online seminars, and get the word out about doula care!

Last year I wrote this blog post, The Truth About Doulas which has become my most popular post to date! This year I took part in the World Doula Week Photo Challenge,  each day I captured the required image and sent it out across the social media worlds with a little blurb, so here they are again in case you prefer to be social media free and missed it.
It was really fun to share a bit more about myself and my business!
Doula in Kimberley BCDay 1:
My business and I have grown and transformed over the years. From my first business card taken directly from vista print, where I just threw Little Sparrow Birth Services on it cause  the cute bird template asked for a biz name and I thought I had to have one. To Wisdom From Within, which felt a  little closer to explaining how I want to serve but without giving any clue to what my business is about. To Darla Sparrow dot com. It’s been a journey of discovering how I want to show up in the world. How I can connect with the families I serve. Now, and (probably) forever; Mandala Birth. This logo represents so much to me, peace, balance, focus, attention. A mandala is a tool for spiritual guidance and an aid to trance and meditation. These are all qualities needed for a ‘sacred and empowered birth’ which is exactly what I hope to help bring to the families I serve.
I feel like my business and I have really blossomed since moving to Kimberley, my resources are greater, and the depth of the work and care I can to put into clients and programs has expanded. The move has given me a boost and a beautiful feeling of freedom.
Last fall I had a designer help create the logo you see now and it has given me a sense of pride and pushed me to take my business to new places, beyond my comfort zone-yet to exactly where I need to be. Birth work is my passion. I had no idea it would also be about personal growth and learning to love all the in + outs of being an entrepreneur.
Darla Sparrow Doula, Kimberley BC
Day 2:
I love this quote by Pamela Hunt from Birth Story. The moment I heard it, I had a flash back to the first birth I ever attended, I remember the moment I fell in love with that mama, how beautiful and strong she was. I am so proud of each women I work with and I confess, I fall in love with each of you.
Kimberley Rebozo
Day 3:
This has become my most prized, trusted and adored doula tool. This is a rebozo, a beautiful Mexican shawl with a crazy vast array of applications. Every couple I work with now gets rebozo’d at some point whether in prenatals or in labour, I have seen major progress and changes take place with the simple use of a rebozo. Doulas- never leave home without it! I love teaching rebozo class and optimal fetal positioning class with it. I can’t wait for the day I rebozo a mama up in a hospital bed! Ha! Anyways, I’ll have to make a video for those who have no idea what I’m talking about.
Ps. My other favs are my hands and my voice, these are my 3 most used items.
Birth Doula in Cranbrook BC
Day 4:
I actually don’t have a favourite go-to-post-birth-food. My immediate thought, seeing today’s challenge was my bed, that’s all I want when I get home. But I do usually slam a pint of water with an Ener-C, so that’s my “food” of the day.
Birth Doula in Kimberley BC
Day 5:
The magic of the doula bag revealed!
Small suitcase on wheels carries all this!
  • birth ball
  • heating pad
  • rebozo
  • TENS machine
  • LED candles
  • massage tools and scentless oil
  • vitamin C lollipops
  • ener-C
  • energy bars
  • cards
  • flashlight
  • bendy straws
  • gloves
  • The Birth Partner
  • change of clothes
  • extra socks
  • my toiletries
  • oatmeal +frozen meal
  • because I don’t drink caffeine I have a bag of Kick Start made by Harmonic Arts
  • whatever novel I’m reading
  • change for parking
  • and these days more often then not I’m bring my placenta cooler and magic bullet for making bedside smoothies
Wheeew that’s about everything!
Ina May Gaskin, Cranbrook
Day 6:
My very first mentors, the sweet and gentle Pamela Hunt & the very well known Ina May Gaskin. I dove right into the birth world and went to The Farm for my first training.  I took the Midwifery Assistant training and discussed returning to apprentice with Pamela, only to discover upon returning home that I was pregnant with my first babe!
Cranbrook Birth Doula
Day 7:
Finishing off World Doula week with a little tour of my office. I am a really lucky lady that I get a whole room to myself to work, my man is so supportive of me and my doula work, he even built me this desk last time he was home. Which is a big deal cuz he’s only home for 6 days at a time.
So on to the tour! Top left photo is my work space, I’ve got my goal sheet on the wall, my motivational picture I made myself with words from Leonie Dawson, lap top and doula binder and a ridiculous amount of pens, that I really need to distribute more evenly around the house. Top right is my sewing and printing station, with my color coded thread! If you squint hard you can see some art by Autumn Skye Morrison, The Wild Unknown and a framed Christmas party invite from The Atangard. Bottom left my lovely logo banner! My thank you card wall space, an enormous basket full of fabric, some art and my 8 year old coffee plant. Bottom right is my lending library which clients have full access to, soooo many good books, sorta over flowing!
I live in Kimberley BC, I serve Kimberley and Cranbrook. If you’re pregnant and interested in a doula, prenatal classes or placenta encapsulation give me a shout! This has been super fun to share a bit more about myself and business!