I was very emotional as he is my first born. He gave me the gift of motherhood and changed my life forever. I was a young mum (pregnant at 19 and I had him 13 days before I turned 20) and I faced lots of judgement. Many rolled their eyes when I wanted to breastfeed and co-sleep and we did struggle but eventually we found our way together.Read More
This week was lovely. Myself and Paul had lots of time together. The kids are bouncing back from the flu and are back in school. Paul ended up on antibiotics for a bad chest infection so was off for his usual 4 day break and then a full week cert. He was very drained and not up to much but we had time together and enjoyed that.
Over the weekend we went on our babymoon. Paul was still not 100% so we took it really easy. I went for a lovely pregnancy massage while Paul relaxed in the room. Afterwards we went down for dinner and enjoyed chatting away undisturbed by children, house work or business. It was so lovely. We were back up to the room by 11pm, straight into PJ’s and watched a movie curled up in bed. It was bliss. The next morning we went down for breakfast and went back up to our room for a 40 minute nap before showering and checking out – the life of a rock star LOL!
When we returned home we got great cuddles from the kids and heard all about their fun sleepover with their Granny and Grandad.
On Tuesday I met up with Kathy from Bump Baby and Me. We both trained as postpartum doulas together a few years ago and clicked right away. We could have chatted all day I think! I am so glad things are slowing down enough for me to catch up with friends again. Her baby Robyn is getting so big and the cuteness nearly made me melt into mush.
Wednesday saw Valentines Day. I got gorgous home made cards from the kids (always my favourite part of the day!) and Paul and I exchanged cards too. After 13 years together it’s always nice to take the opportunity to share our love for each other, as we don’t always show it with the madness of daily life. We never do expensive gifts. Paul and the kids chose a nice bunch of flowers for me in Lidl which were perfect. Then as an added and very unexpected bonus we went out for an early bird dinner just the two of us. One of our favourite spots is Deep restaurant in Howth. It has lots of choice for me as a vegetarian and all their food is delicious. Paul loves the steak their and their fish and chips too ;)
Paul returned to work after his illness and we kicked back into normal routine. The kids began their mid term so we kept busy with trips out. We went to Fun Galaxy in Ashbourne (which has a play centre and a jump zone) which passed a few hours – I got to do some work on my laptop too so win win! Then the next day we went bowling and the kids also did Quasar in the Plex.
Over the weekend we plan to go to the Chinese New Year festival in town, which sounds like great fun. Hopefully the kids will enjoy it! I also have my 34 week check up next week in the Rotunda and our second antenatal visit with our doula. I am also eagerly awaiting my first physiotherapy appointment on Tuesday! I will fill you all in then :)
Until next time....Jen xx
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Week 33: What Is Happening To Your Baby
- Your baby is roughly the size of a pineapple with week
- Baby is starting to be able to tell the difference between day and night now. With your expand belly the walls of your uterus are becoming thinner and this allows more light to get to baby. They do tend to sleep more during the day when you are active and wake up and become active at night - when you want to sleep!
- This week your baby has their own immune system - a very important step in their development
Week 33: What Might Be Happening To your Body
- You may find you have aches in your fingers, wrists and hands. This can be the result of the increase in fluid in your body which can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel and pinch nerves which can cause pain or sometimes numbness. If you work at a computer a lot remember to stretch your hands regularly. If the pain is really bad you can wear a splint which can help.
- You may have pregnancy insomnia as you try to get comfy in bed or get disturbed with frequent trips to the toilet. Once up and awake many Mums find it hard to get back to sleep.
- You may find you are extremely hot at the moment - and we don't mean sexy!!! We are talking about feeling overheated as your metabolic rate has increased. While this is great in the depths of winter, it can be tough in summer. Make sure to keep hydrated which can help.
- Your hormones are undergoing massive changes at the moment an this can cause headaches. Again water can help with this discomfort.
Week 33: Pregnancy Tip
It can be helpful to start getting organised for the arrival of baby this week. I know most women have their EDD in their head as the date they need to be ready by, but a normal healthy pregnancy can last anywhere between 37 - 42 weeks, so it could be only 4 weeks before baby makes their appearance. What does getting ready entail? Well first of all just to reassure you there is no need to panic. All a newborn baby really needs is you - while of course a nappy or two can be a help. We already spoke about where to source the baby equipment etc. If you are buying baby clothes and bedding new it's a good idea to wash them beforehand and this can all be done around now. You may need to buy bits and pieces for your hospital bag (and we have a very handy checklist on our website to help with this - you can download it here). As you start to wind down over the next few weeks, starting to get organised can be actually exciting as baby coming seems more like a reality. Starting now means you won't be stressing out last minute and can gradually get organised and be ready for baby's arrival.
So this has been another busy week – surprise surprise!
On Sunday night I woke several times with terrible leg cramps in my right calf. I haven’t experienced them this pregnancy and they were the type that makes you leap up in the bed, rubbing furiously! I had a check up this week with my GP anyway so mentioned them (as it was like I pulled a muscle in my calf and have been limping) She just said it was normal and not to worry.
You should always mention leg cramps with your care provider, as for a small percentage of women there is a risk of developing a clot. This is especially important If they are persistent or if your legs are swollen or tender in one spot
This week I finalised my birth preferences both for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) and one for a Gentle Caesarean Birth. Both Mim and Mary were so helpful with feedback to keep my language open, while still being firm with my wishes. I have supported so many families with creating their birth preferences but it can be difficult to do your own when the time comes, so feedback from my Doulas was much appreciated. We have written a really helpful blog post, with tips to help you create yours: “How to Create Birth Preferences.”
This week, while writing my birth preferences I began to think about what I would like to do with my placenta. There are many options open to women:
- Do nothing (the hospital will dispose of it)
- Bring it home and plant it in the garden under a tree
- Encapsulate it with a Placenta Encapsulator (preferably one who has been trained with IPEN or some similar self regulatory body which ensure those trained with them operate to certain standards).
- Eat it raw in a smoothie
- Donate it to a search and rescue organisation
I was debating planting an apple tree with it but thought I would love to do something worth while with it. To me the placenta is such an amazing organ, that was created to keep my baby nourished during pregnancy – so having it discarded was not a nice thought. On my research I found out that search and rescue dogs need human tissue to be trained. I reached out over email to www.irishsearchdogs.com and the lovely chairperson Glen got back to me to say they would be delighted to accept my placenta.
He explained that they only need a tiny amount to train each dog and they have found it to be very successful for both land and water. This would hopefully help so many families get comfort in finding their missing loved ones so they could be laid to rest. Thrilled with this prospect I have Paul all set to take it home after birth and freeze it until Glen and his team can come and collect it. I will write after baby is born to let you all know how that went!
On Thursday Mary came up from Cork to join me at a business meeting for DoulaCare Ireland. It went really well and I am so proud of everything we have achieved so far. We work really well together and I feel our mix of skills and knowledge magnify our talent. After the meeting we had a gorgeous dinner at The Cedar Tree in town. The food was amazing and I would highly recommend it! I had home made lemonade which was delicious and we shared a vegetarian mezze platter of the most gorgeous Lebanese food. We were both starving and tucked in with gusto, the mix of flavours was unreal. Yummy!! We followed it with one of my favourite desserts Baklava. The time flew by and before we knew it we had spent 4 hours there! I dropped Mary back to her mothers (who lives in Dublin) and we made plans for the weekend. . . . . Our DoulaCare Ireland CPD day is finally here!
I will fill you all in on the next blog.
Until next time....Jen x
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Week 30: What Is Happening To Your Baby
- Your baby is the size of a large head of cabbage this week
- Your baby's eyesight is still developing (it's still not great right now and won't be even after they are born - it will develop further outside the womb).
- The languno they have been covered in (the soft hair covering their body), is beginning to disappear as your baby's brain and fat cells are now capable of regulating their body temperature.
- The vernix (the white greasy substance that was covering your baby's skin) is also starting to disappear now.
- At 30 weeks your baby's bone marrow is now making their red blood cells. This is a very important step as it means your baby will be more able for life outside the womb when born.
Week 30: What Might Be Happening To your Body
- Some women find they have very intense and strange dreams at this stage of their pregnancy. Perhaps it is a result of all the hormones in your body - we don't really know!
- Lots of pregnancy symptoms you thought had disaapreaded for good after you got through the first trimester reappear around this time (such as tiredness, tender breasts and the need to go to the toilet all the time).
- You may find you are suffering from shortness of breath as they lungs get squashed by your growing baby who is still high up around your rib cage this week.
- Notice your belly getting hard? You are having Warm Up Surges (or Braxton Hicks as they are more commonly known). They tend to happen more often after exercise or when you are tired/dehydrated so make sure to rest and drink water as often as possible. They will go away after rest (and if they don't do let your care provider know)
- Your feet may go up a size - this is due to your ligaments relaxing in preparation for pregnancy. You may need to invest in some new shoes as a result!
Week 30: Pregnancy Tip
Have you thought about who is going to support you during your labour? Have you considered hiring a doula for some extra support for you and for your birth partner? A doula is not there to replace your partner but to provide an extra pair of hands and an extra resource while you birth your baby. They can be hugely helpful throughout your pregnancy - someone you know who will be at the end of the phone or just an email away if you need them. Your doula is there to offer evidence based information and support. You will usually have 2 antenatal visits with your doula before baby arrives. These visits will each be approx 2 - 3 hours long and your doula will help you draw up your birth preferences, teasing out why you might want or not want a certain intervention (always once all is well with baby), talk about what you are hoping for in your labour, offer you information and support, show your partner some useful physical comfort measures and offer you reassurance and a listening ear. They can also show you how to use your birth ball, brainstorm about where to set up your early labour nesting room and help you pack your hospital bag (if you are going to have a hospital birth). If you are having a home birth they will often show you how to set up the birthing pool if you are using one. During labour they will be at the end of the phone supporting you and when you need them they will drive over to you or meet you both at the hospital. There they will be a reassuring presence - a familiar face in the busy hospital for you both. While you partner may be happy to be hands on, they may never have attended a birth before whereas your doula will be used to the hospital. Here at DoulaCare Ireland we have a team of doulas to support you and can take the stress out of looking for the perfect match - as we know our doulas intimately we can choose for you (so far we have never been wrong!). Pop us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you would like to find out more. Also check out our Instagram account. One of our current birth clients is sharing her story throughout her pregnancy on working with a birth doula and will be doing regular InstaStories which we will be keeping on our favourites for a while.
Writing your birth preferences is important to do for a number of reasons:
1. It gives you time and space to think about what you want for your birth
2. It opens communication between you and your birth support team
3. It helps you to familiarise yourself with hospital policies
4. You have time to compare policies with national guidelines, international guidelines and evidence based research.
5. It gives you a tool to remain in control and make informed decisions
Key points when writing your birth preferences
Keep your language open and positive. You have a chance to create the atmosphere you wish to birth in. Positivity is key and opens on a good relationship with your team.
Know your chosen hospitals policies. Each hospital has different policies around key factors in labour and birth. You are free to question these and even change hospital if you feel better suited to a different standard of care.
Know the HSE (national) and international guidelines / best practice / evidence. This is key. If you know what the evidence says then you can make an unbiased informed decision, rather than being swept along with a phrase such as “that’s the way we have always done it here”
Keep it to 10 points, or less. Anything more will negate the things that are important to you.
Don’t bother putting things in that are already policy in your chosen hospital (ie drinking water during labour) Again if you are familiar with your hospitals policies then you can avoid this.
Think about the atmosphere you want to birth in. Would you like the lights dimmed, music playing, limit the number of people in the room etc Or are you happy to have lights on, student midwives and doctors in the room etc?
Be firm on the points that are non negotiable for you once all is OK with baby (i.e. if you absolutely do not want an episotomy and would rather have a natural tear if it came to it). Some decisions need to be made in a split second and having discussions around the really important issues before hand are vital.
Create birth preferences for a Caesarean Birth preferences as well. This is a good idea for all the same reasons that are mentioned here. You can have the discussions, make informed decisions and then ‘park it’ to one side. You have your just in case covered, remaining in control. Then you can shift your focus back to the birth you visualise. It can be on the next page so your focus is not necessarily on this outcome if you are not planning to have an elective Caesarean, but it does mean that if things don't turn out as you had hoped you have something written up to help you create a dialogue with staff.
Create your birth preferences with your birth partner. This is important as they will be your advocate for the day. Being aware of what you want and why will help them be a better advocate for you.
Bring multiple copies so you have them for shift changes. Make sure your partner is aware they need to ask the team caring for you to read through them and discuss them with you both.
Finally knowledge is power as they say - but trust in the process is also important. All the above are important and give you the knowledge to discover what you want for your birth. It gets the discussion out of the way before labour begins, as during labour it's important to park the conscious brain as much as you can. You body and your baby know what to do, they are an awesome team, made to work together. Let your advocate voice your preferences and allow yourself to go with your labour journey.
Here at Doulacare Ireland we will always helps our clients draw up their birth preferences after meeting with their birth doula for an antenatal visit. We listen to what is important for our clients and offer information on evidence based care that will enable them to be aware of what they might want to include in a birth preference sheet. We would always encourage clients to have some birth preferences to facilitate improved communication between clients and staff.