Monday, November 19, 2012

Homebirth: Nourishment, Part One

My sister Julie spent the first part of her life as a career woman ushering women through childbirth, as a doula. She has been by my side for all three of my births, easing my mind through the fears and shock of transition and pushing, anchoring my spirit to the earth with her intense, blue-eyed gaze. Her hands are unbelievable small and strong, and have brought comfort to me and so many others with their firm massages and gentle touches. Julie is not a woman to trifle with, and she somehow manages to banish the primal terror that often accompanies birth. 

In addition to comforting my body and soul during labour and birth, Julie has offered her post-partum care time and time again. As I have navigated my way through the not-always-simple transition into motherhood, she has been patient and wise, offering breastfeeding support, emotional support, foot rubs, and a gentle ear when I wanted to cry with exhaustion.

She has also offered nourishment. 
One of her famous recipes to aid with constipation before and after birth is her "Stick-O-Dynamite" Muffins. 

If you or someone you know is preparing for birth, please consider making a batch to give! The recipe makes plenty of muffins, more than enough to freeze! For me, making these muffins has become a pre-birth ritual. I individually wrap them, so that each night, I can set one beside my bed for a snack during the 2 a.m. nurse. With a slice of cheese and a glass of water, I feel nourished and can settle in for more sleep. 

I made four dozen yesterday, and somehow a bit more peace trickles into my mind as I strike that off my "to-do" list.

Here's the recipe:

 Doula Julie's Stick O' Dynamite Muffins

4 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
1 cup All Bran cereal
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup psyllium husk
1/2 Red River (or twelve grain) cereal
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Combine dry ingredients in a LARGE bowl (I use a big soup pot...this recipe makes LOTS!)
In a medium bowl, combine:

4 eggs
4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup oil
grated rind of 2 oranges or lemons, or one of each
3 cups grated vegetables (beets, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash)
1 cup dried fruit (cherries, prunes, figs, dates, cranberries, apricots, raisins)
1/2 cup applesauce

Mix wet ingredients into dry, and mix just enough to combine.

Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F until toothpick comes out clean, approximately 20-25 minutes for regular sized muffins.

Yield: ~4 dozen muffins

This recipe can easily be halved if 4 dozen seems like too many! They freeze well, too.


  1. Your sister sounds like an amazing woman.
    Thank you for sharing the muffin recipe, I
    think it would make a nice snack for anyone,
    reguardless if they have given birth or not.

  2. Those muffins are the best! They have helped me battle constipation with this pregnancy and were delicious while I was in hospital with my previous two babies!! My husband and I were very fortunate to have had Julie as our prenatal educator and the techniques she taught my husband were so helpful with labour :). My only regret is that we didn't have Julie as our doula for labour/delivery - I ended up having a C-section and I sometimes wonder if things may have gone differently if I had a doula by my side. During the 48 hours in labour (36 of which were active)and a sunny-side up baby (ie. intense back labour) my husband resorted to Julie's 'manuals' time and time again to help me through - we highly recommend her amazing prental classes!! What a lucky woman you are to have Julie as your siter and doula!

  3. I remember so well those middle of the night/early morning feedings with my newborns, and how I always had one of those muffins, a piece of cheese, and a glass of water too. The perfect little snack to keep the milk producing, and everything else functioning well...
    You were there for several of those nights, I recall, and Julie was also my birth and post-partum doula. I am so blessed with you two for sisters.

    1. Tune in tomorrow for my ode to YOU, Lana, and your post-birth spaghetti! :)

  4. Kind words for my doula heart! Yes, I still get emails requesting the recipe 2-3 years after a couple has taken my prenatal class. They are the best cure for constipation for anyone.....pregnant, postpartum, male, elderly, etc........unless of course you have issues with your bowels then you should probably avoid them :-)

  5. Now THIS is sisterhood. You gals are incredible. Gentle and mighty. And these muffins are delicious! So happy that you shared the magic recipe.



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