Doula Week 2013: The Story of Clare’s Birth at Morges Hospital

Today is the World Doula Day – that marks the beginning of the World Doula Week that will last until 28 March. I’d like to use this opportunity to celebrate and thank all the wonderful doulas out there, especially Inna, our doula who helped with our second birth.

This week I will post several doula stories written by local moms. You will read wonderful birth stories, but will also learn that the doulas in CH face resistance for their presence from many medical personnel (midwives, doctors) especially the ones in bigger hospitals. It’s a shame, really. Many use the rule that there is only one other person allowed in the room, so that if you have your partner there, your doula cannot come. But having our doula for our beautiful and “easy” second birth (more story here), had helped my labor and dilation to progress well (not stalled like our first), which lead to a no-needle-no-drug birth. I really wish they will get the well-deserved acceptance soon at all hospitals and birth houses — and more mothers can have a non (or less) medicated birth.

Here comes a story written by Clare Kutschera, who had Monica Borel as her doula for her second birth at the Morges hospital.

Happy Doula Day and Week!


My son was delivered by ventouse in a UK hospital after a 27 hour labour. I spent most of my labouring time in hospital flat on my back, after induction with a static epidural.

When I fell pregnant in Switzerland, I knew that I wanted things to be different. I felt more empowered anyway as I knew better how to exert my opinion, but I still had some concerns.

My husband doesn’t speak French. Would I be able to make myself heard in the throes of labour in my second language? How exactly does it work here? I’d never had a gynaecologist and no doctors were involved in my first pregnancy and birth apart from at the very end. Did I even want to give birth in a hospital?

I cannot remember how I found out about doulas, or indeed how I found our doula, Monica, although it was probably by that good old fall-back, Google.
Monica is an American, married to a Swiss, and her French is very good. That ticked the main box for me. But meeting with her for the first time I realised that she was so much more. Not once did we feel pressured into doing anything we didn’t want to do, or making decisions that we didn’t agree with. She spoke with us about the pain-fear cycle, which was extremely interesting, and helped me to face some fears I still held from my first labour.

She also showed us techniques to cope with labour, and I think this is where she was worth her weight in gold. My husband had been a bit of a bystander at our son’s birth, mainly I think because he wasn’t sure what to do, he didn’t want to get in the way and to be honest all the drips and monitors were a bit scary. What Monica showed us was how he could be involved, how he could actively help me and what to look out for at every stage of labour.

When the day came (well actually my waters broke on the Wednesday evening and our daughter was born on Saturday lunchtime) although she was there, Monica was unobtrusive. She took over soothing and massaging me when required, she made simple suggestions of alternatives and kept our spirits up when we were flagging (and believe me, that did happen!).

We had originally planned that I would go to the birthing centre in Lully, with our midwife, Alice, but as the days passed, and my labour was not progressing, we realised that this was not going to happen. The decision to go to Morges hospital was the darkest point for me. I felt that I had failed and that my labour, which was following a similar pattern to my first, albeit a bit longer, would end up the same. Again Monica helped me.

I went to the hospital on Friday morning. Having Monica there (as well as my husband, obviously!) really helped. Alice wasn’t allowed to come with us as she doesn’t work at the hospital, so Monica offered a continuity of care.
On Saturday morning I was induced for failure to progress. This was just like my first birth. But this time it was different. One difference was Morges hospital. My induction drip was mobile allowing me to move around, as was any monitoring equipment.

The other difference was Monica. On Saturday we met Sandrine the midwife. I explained that Monica was arriving soon (she had gone home during Friday as nothing was happening apart from waiting as my contractions had stopped). She said that she had no problems with a doula, but the big boss might not like it. I started to cry, explaining that I couldn’t do it without Monica, although I knew I couldn’t stop the birth happening even if Monica wasn’t allowed in. I felt vulnerable. We agreed that if the doctors came in the room, Monica would melt into the background.

After the induction was started, and I finally dilated a bit, I was allowed in the birthing pool. I remained in the pool until our daughter was born. All the time Monica was there reassuring us. I remember at different points thinking “she told us about this stage, she explained it to us” and it was such a comfort and such a calming thing to have that knowledge.

Just after lunchtime on the Saturday our daughter was born in the water, after a labour with no pain relief (my Tens machine was redundant!), just with soothing massages from my husband and Monica and hot compresses on my back.
Not long after our daughter was born, and we’d all shared a lunch of bread, butter, cheese and jam, Monica went home. We met up afterwards to talk about what had happened and our epic journey together, and even now, we still see each other occasionally. She was part of something very special and she helped to make it so.

Having a doula was the best decision we made when I fell pregnant the second time. If I was to do it again, I would not hesitate to hire a doula once more. But I’m probably not, so what I will do is recommend hiring a doula to anyone who is pregnant.


*Photograph of Morges Lakefront taken from Wikimedia Commons

Baby Steps – Baby Planner in Lausanne

So you’re pregnant with your first but your mother is on the other side of the planet. So are your sisters and your BFFs. Or this is not your first pregnancy, but you just landed in this country – and don’t speak the language!

Panic? No need to be. Florence Helg of Baby Step is here to help.


Florence is a young mama of two, academically trained in science and engineering, who is switching career to help other parents begin (or continuing) their journey of parenthood. She founded Baby Steps, where she offers her service as a baby planner, a.k.a. a parents-to-be assistant. She can help you organize practically everything before and after the baby’s arrival, minus the health part (which should be already be covered by medical professionals). For example, she can help you make a list of baby things that you will need, that are customized to your life style, as well as gives you advise where to buy those things. She can explain your rights as a working mother, or what your insurance will cover during and after the pregnancy. Feeling overwhelmed by the choices of baby carriers?  Don’t know which organic products to use for the baby? No worries, she can help with those and many many more of your questions and problems.

Florence is properly trained to help you with all those, as she had been taking courses such as on maternity rights and health care, as well as working on baby planner certification (more about that here).

Florence is very flexible and can adapt the service to your need. If you think you can benefit from this service, you can set up a free first appointment with her, to asses your needs. After the first meeting, she will give you a detailed description of her service and thee fee – which then you can decide on. I know Florence personally and although I didn’t use her service (it was too late for me ;)) she’s so knowledgeable, organized, dependable, and one of the loveliest persons I’ve ever met, that I feel confident to recommend her.

And finally, you can also come to one (or more) of her events, such as “Les After-works Future Mamans”. The next one is this Wednesday, 20 March 2013 (registration and more info here)

For other information, please contact:
Florence Helg
Baby Steps Baby Planner
florence (AT) babysteps-planner (DOT) com
+41 21 544 81 91

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, but Florence did bring a yummy cake when she came to visit me at home a few months ago 🙂

*Logo and photo courtesy of Florence Helg

This & That Week #5-6 – January-February 2013

Our house had another flu round last week. But this time it was hubby, not the kids, who brought the virus home. Fortunately, to my surprise honestly, I didn’t get it, although hubby and both kiddos had their share of fever, runny nose and cough. I heard this bug has been going around, I hope you were spared!

  • Michelle of Moms-in-Vaud wrote this informative blog for those whose children will start school this year. My daughter is one of them! Yay! She’s “suddenly” a big girl! 🙂
  • For the bookworms: “Le Samedi de Bibliothèques Vaudoises 2013”. This Saturday, 2 February 2013, 40 libraries in Vaud will do special programs for all ages. More info here.
  • News from L’écoline: They are accepting registration for their Holiday Club for this Feb school holiday (More info here). And last time I heard, they still have spaces in their Sweet Baking class (More info here).
  • The schedule for Starbucks Coffee Meeting for Mums and Mums-to-be in Feb: in Starbucks, St. Laurent Tuesdays the 5th & 19th February 2013 from 10.30am to 1pm. Just show up, no registration required. Dads are also welcome. FYI: they’re usually sat round at the back to the left.
  • Go explore the metro m2! (“Le m2 des p’tits curieux“) Free family walk (in French) on Saturday, 9 February 2013. Click here for more info.
  • There will be two Disney shows — “La bande à Mickey et son Magic Show” — in Malley (Prilly) on Saturday, 27 April 2013. Tickets (CHF35-65) are still available through Ticket Corner and Fnac, as well as all Ticket Corner affiliates (CFF, La Post, etc. — I bought ours from my local post office).
  • Another interesting blog from Michelle of Moms-in-Vaud: Her effort to reduce plastic waste at home (here).

And don’t forget that the Hot-Air Ballon Festival and the Prix de Lausanne have started and will last until this weekend!

Have a great week!


Mothering & Breastfeeding: LLL Lausanne Meeting, 28 June 2012

Breastfeeding or planning to do it for your baby?

Michelle, an LLL leader based in Nyon, had initiated a breastfeeding support group, in English, in Lausanne. This group has had a few meetings in the last months and the next one will come on Thursday. I plan to come myself (I’m still nursing my 13-mo toddler), so perhaps I’ll see you there!

LLL Lausanne English Group
Breastfeeding & Mothering Support Group

Next LLL Series Meeting:

DATE:     Thursday, 28 June 2012
HOST:     Inna, Avenue de Lavaux 76, Pully
Time:      10:15-12:00 (doors open 10:00)

Michelle, LLL Leader
mwe_lll [at]
Facebook Page:

Participants are asked to contribute something healthy to eat.

Winner of CHF50 Voucher from Boutique Signorelli

I just returned last night from our Easter trip to Copenhagen, so that I hope you understand why this announcement comes so late.

Here it is — picked by… the winner of CHF50 voucher giveaway from Boutique Signorelli is… *drum roll*

commenter#2: Heidi!

Congrats, Heidi! I guess now you can get that “Striped Shirt Body White And Navy Mirtillo” for your little man! I will send you a personal email regarding the voucher.

I thank you all for participating and Tracy Signorelli for the possibility to run this giveaway.


Boutique Signorelli — with a Voucher Giveaway!

I was recently approached by Tracy Signorelli. She is Australian, a mother of two, and lives with her husband and children in the city of Luzern. She recently opened an online shop for baby and kids clothing called Boutique Signorelli.

This is how she described it in her own words: “I love dressing my children nicely and have always spent a lot of time finding brands and styles that are different to suit them and their individual personalities. I have sourced some wonderful and individual clothing brands for my boutique and will slowly add more to my site as I get established”

And yes, as the result, the collection is adorable. My personal picks would be these ones: for my 3.5-y.o. daughter, a Frilly Frenchi’s Underwear Set in pink (CHF27.50, left), and for my 11-m.o. son, an organic baby bodysuit “I’m super” (CHF13, right).

Don’t you agree that they are super cute and the price tags are very reasonable? To make the shopping experience better, there is also free shipping for all orders over CHF50!

And now the best part, Tracy was so kind that she agreed to give one reader a voucher worth CHF50. To enter the giveaway contest, let us know which product is your favorite from the boutique (it doesn’t have to be the one you’ll spend the voucher on if you won it). Comments are accepted until next Tuesday 3 April at 11:59pm. One comment per person, only eligible for readers who reside in Switzerland.

Good luck!

 *Images courtesy of Boutique Signorelli

My Doula and I – Birth and Post-Partum Stories

I feel terrible doing this post VERY late. My baby boy is now 10 month-old, which means I am 10 month late of showing my gratitude to one of the dearest persons I’ve ever known in my life — Inna, my doula. You know, it is very difficult to do a “public” post when there is a lot of emotion involve. And please don’t expect this to be objective, as it is not. But I learned that this week is the World Doula Week, so what a timing to finally post this.

I met Inna through another doula who was supposed to be my doula. Due to family obligation, she could not be there around my due date. She recommended Inna. I didn’t immediately like the idea, as I wasn’t sure I wanted someone I had never heard of before as my doula. But we didn’t have family around. I was afraid that no one would be there for me if the babysitter for my 2-y.o. daughter could not come and my husband had to take care of her. So I contacted Inna.

Inna is a Swiss, originally from Ticino, but had lived in the US for several years and just moved back to Lausanne when I met her (April 2011). She is trained as a nurse, and then on training to be a doula. She had been following my blog so she felt like she knew me, and somehow I also felt the same. I like her almost instantly, kind of love at first sight. We had similar birth experiences, which I think really connected us in the beginning. As I was expecting my second baby, I did not need the pre-natal care, only during labor and delivery. I met Inna once alone, and another time with my husband. The next one was already when I was in labor.

My labor began at 3am. I recognized it immediately. I was really happy, and excited to meet my little man soon. The contraction was strong but not too painful and very irregular, so that I only sent Inna a text to be ready but she didn’t have to come yet. The painful contractions started at around 2:30pm. I called Inna and she arrived soon later. She was really wonderful. The two of us were a wonderful team. Together we tried to manage the pain of the contractions. She helped with massages and labor positions that I felt most comfortable with. She also reminded me to drink and eat, as well as suggested some labor “remedies”. One of the most helpful thing I found was that she took care of noting down the duration of the contractions, so that I could relax. Contrary to the labor of my first baby, instead of checking the clock, I could just listen to what my body told me and prepare myself best for the coming contractions. I felt in control and cared for. With these, I was not afraid of the contractions. I knew that each contraction, while painful, brought me one step closer to welcoming my baby. And I was at home, free from any needle or machine, and could even attend my daughter in between contractions. See my pic below, Inna took it in between contractions. I really smiled, it was a hard but happy labor.

In the end, the whole labor was done at home, and at 7pm I arrived at the hospital (CHUV) only to push. In fact, the baby was almost born in the lobby as I felt the urge to push immediately after we arrived. I sank onto the floor (there, see the arrow on the pic) as I swear I felt the baby’s head was coming.

Then, again, having Inna was priceless. My husband was busy with paying the taxi and bringing my bag. Inna was with me at all times. She yelled to some people there to help. I think only visitors were there at that time, as the reception at the maternity department had closed. Somebody grabbed a wheelchair and they lifted me onto the wheelchair. Inna pushed me to the delivery theater. I remember my eyes followed all the signs (Salle d’accouchements, yellow arrow below), hoping to see the final turn. But I knew it was a quick ride (approx. 50m) so that I calmed down a bit.

Arriving in the room, they quickly moved me to the bed. Pushing was easy peasy. Really. It felt so natural that I didn’t do any effort. My baby just glided out. No pain. No tear. No needle.

The hospital record says:

  • Arrival at the maternity: 19:05
  • Pushing: 2 min
  • Birth time: 19:08

You see, I had a REALLY wonderful birth experience and obviously having Inna as my doula had contributed to it enormously. Here’s a pic of the three of us after the birth — Inna, baby boy and I. I don’t know why I didn’t look happy there, probably too stunned to smile 🙂

When she was my doula, Inna was still in training. To qualify as a doula, she had to assist 2 birthing mothers. She needed me, so that she didn’t charge me anything. I didn’t mind paying though, as she was so helpful and that I finally had a beautiful birth experience (which also means I recovered almost instantly).

The doula story didn’t end there.

Fast forward four months, I had a mild depression. I was unhappy and fed up with our house (we moved to a new house 2 months before). I was tired and needed a break. All of a sudden everything piled up. I hadn’t had any vacation for a whole year, which was hard after carrying a pregnancy, taking care of a newborn and a pre-schooler, organizing the moving house, packing and unpacking, decorating, … the list seemed endless. Those, and perhaps the changing of the hormones, made me blue.

Re-enter Inna. She gladly helped me as my post-partum doula. She came 1-2 times per week for a couple of hours. It immediately changed the whole situation. Just having her around already made me feel better. She also helped with anything that I needed to do. From taking care of the kids, to washing the dishes, to taking me grocery shopping. It was amazing to see how a couple of hours of help could boost my mood. For example, on our very first session, I (finally) could plucked my eyebrows and quickly applied nail polish, and boy how I felt much better afterwards that I could pamper myself! Having her around again was a bliss!

The post-partum doula support last around 3 weeks. I was a much MUCH better person again after. I was glad that I had such help before things got much worse. As someone who is usually very positive, it really sucks to be unhappy.

The best thing is that Inna and I remained very good friends until now. So there you know why this post could never be objective as, man, I love this lady!

(Happy Doula Week, my sweet Inna!)

To contact Inna:
Corinna Rasmann
Français, Italiano, English, Espanol
076 321 26 08
corinnarasmann (AT) gmail (DOT) com

More on Sture & Folke Blankets

I wasn’t expecting anything when I posted about Sture & Folke baby blankets a few days back. But this came in the post today — as a thank you and holiday gift from Karin.

Oh. My. Goodness., this blanket is über gorgeous. It’s super soft and the color is so “rich and royal”. I especially love that a part of it is made of corduroy, and that the ribbons/tags used are really beautiful and have different textures. I hope you can see it in the couple of shots I made this morning, but I have to say that the blanket is even better “in person”!

I’m wrapping this blanket now for my baby’s Christmas present 🙂 I already plan to use it as his living room blanket as the colors match perfectly and it is simply too beautiful not to showcase to our guests 😀

Thank you so much, Karin!

Karin’s workshop is located in Préverenges
email: karinstenmarck (AT) msn (DOT) com

Sture & Folke – Hand Made Baby Blankets

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Karin, who just started a hand made baby blanket business in the area. I thought I had to get the post out today — what could be better than a post about cuddly blankets in such awful weather! Did I mention already that the blankets are hand-made? Oh yes, I’m always so excited when it comes to a crafty mom going entrepreneurial!

Here’s more about Sture & Folke baby blankets in Karin’s own words:

My STURE & FOLKE baby blankets are the result of my wanting to give my own two sons, Sture and Folke, the warmest and softest baby blanket in which to sleep. I tried so hard to find something special that was not only warm and cozy but also playful and beautiful. I gave up searching and decided to make them myself. My aim was to make something not only for the cot and buggy but also a blanket that I could use everywhere. For example to put on the floor in the living room that also functions as a nice decoration as well as a soft play rug. All my blankets are unique and each one is created for the individual who will use it.

My inspiration comes from nature in Sweden (where I am from) and watching my boys on our daily walks by Lake Geneva. The spectrum of colours are taken from all that I see and love: flowers, water, birds, mountains, leaves, snow, clouds… 

My workshop is located in Préverenges, in case you are interested to take a closer look.
email: karinstenmarck (AT) msn (DOT) com
phone: 078-906 7710

See more on the website:

Note: A few days after this post went up, I received a surprised gift from Karin — one of her gorgeous baby blankets for my baby boy. See my personal review about it here.

Giveaway Contest from Gym Nature

The second giveaway contest this week! This really feels like Christmas! 🙂

This giveaway is sponsored by Gym Nature (see this post for more info about their activity)

The prizes are:

  • 3 PRENATAL GYM NATURE lessons of 1h00 (value: 180CHF), or
  • 5 GYM POUSSETTE lessons of 1h20 (value: 90CHF)

Two winners will be picked at the end of the contest and each can choose which prize to take.

To enter the contest, please let us know which part of the day you would prefer to exercise in the comment section below (not on facebook page). Comments are accepted until Tuesday, 13 Dec 2011 at 11:59pm.

Two winners will be picked by their comment numbers, using random number generator on I will announce the winners on the blog and will email the winner individually.

Good luck and stay healthy, moms!

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