For six straight days, mom-to-be Sara Jonsdottir and her husband, Mayo Santos, have climbed the Coquitlam Crunch.
Besides offering a great view of the city, the daily trek is meant to encourage the arrival of a future Port Moody resident.
“We had decided we wanted to kind of help get things going, so we were like OK, let’s go for an incline walk,” she says.
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Rather than a hill, they opted for the stairs at the Crunch. They live nearby and Jonsdottir heard movement may help the baby to arrive.
Jonsdottir is in her 39th week of pregnancy. The couple planned a home birth for their first child together. But that can only happen if Ominira Soley decides to make her debut appearance into the world before week 41. Her due date is Jan. 14.
“Here in B.C. I believe most medical practitioners are kind of at 41 weeks, looking at what our options are medically to see do we need to induce, or is she happy in there? The risk factors just start to slightly increase after 41 weeks,” she says. “I’m young, I’m healthy. So, my risk factors are still pretty low. The reason we’re doing it is just to encourage her to arrive around her due date.”
The homebirth is important to Jonsdottir as she says it will allow her to remain comfortable in her own home as Ominira arrives.
“Traditionally in a hospital setting, they’re going to have you on your back so they can do a cervical check,” she says, “and they’re gonna have you on your back so they can listen to baby, versus when I’m at home, I can maybe just be propped up on my couch and be far more comfortable.”
The baby girl’s name has already been decided. It’s a nod to both of her parents’ cultures. Ominira comes from Nigeria, her dad’s country, and means freedom and independence, while Soley is Icelandic — Jonsdottir was born in the Nordic island nation — and means sun island.
“For me it’s just the embodiment of brightness and the sun. It’s just one of my favourite names,” she says.
A daily Crunch climb isn’t the only strategy the couple is employing to encourage Ominira to arrive. Jonsdottir has also been eating dates and pineapples, foods said to soften the cervix, as well as taking evening primrose oil, acupuncture, sex and movements like the cat/cow pose from yoga.
A Healthline article concluded that eating pineapple was likely not effective in bringing on labour. However, a 2011 study found that women who consumed date fruit while pregnant had significantly increased cervical dilatation.
During the week, the couple usually gets to the Crunch in the evening, just after dusk. On Wednesday night, their trip up the 500 steps was a little faster than usual, the pace hastened, perhaps, by the presence of a journalist accompanying them on the journey.
The air was crisp and fresh and the lights of town and the bustle of traffic dropped away as we climbed steadily higher.
Near the top, we paused for a break at a platform and Jonsdottir did a set of squats.
She and Santos have been busy preparing for Ominira’s arrival while also continuing to develop the business they started together. They design and manufacture period underwear recently rebranded as Revol Cares.
They’re expecting their first overseas shipment of 12,000 units next week. While it may be difficult for the joint CEOs to take time off work, they have a team willing to pick up the slack. And as soon as the couple sends a message including the popcorn bucket emoji, the team knows it’s game time.
Until then, the couple plans to continue their daily Crunch.
“It’s good exercise. It just feels nice,” Jonsdottir says. “I’m not overstraining myself or anything by doing this cardiovascular walk.”