Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 34

This weekend started off with a trip into town with the kids to see the Chinese new year celebrations. We went to where we thought it was, but the lady told me that is was on further down town. So we walked and walked but couldn’t find anything happening. I was in bits with my pelvic girdle pain and Leon's little legs were so sore. We sat down near the Liffy and had the sandwiches and crisps I had packed. We continued to walk but could not find anything. I started to ask people – eventually one person told us it was on next weekend (if you could have seen my face!) We had been in town about 3 hours at this point...aimlessly walking LOL I put on my Mary Poppins cheery voice - “That’s ok guys, sure we have had a great adventure and it was much better than sitting at home all day” They didn’t look too convinced. We went and had a hot chocolate and cake in a cafe. Then we pottered around some shops. We got a taxi back up toward the Ilac car park (where the car was) as I was fighting back tears with the pain, while trying to remain outwardly cheery. 

To say it was a disaster is an understatement, but I racked up almost 22,000 steps on my fitbit!

On Tuesday I went to my first physiotherapy appointment. I was actually surprised how bad I was when she started her assessment – trying to stand on one leg was near impossible without feeling like crumpling onto the floor. She told me my thighs and lower back muscles were overtight trying to compensate for the weakness in my pelvis. She worked on easing that tension (which was super painful, I was literally sweating) She then gave me exercises to strengthen my hips/pelvis. She also gave me a different belt for the symptios pubis. She had mentioned my pelvic floor was too tight, and that could have had an impact on my previous two births. I have always been very conscious of doing pelvic floor exercisers, as my grandmother has severe incontinence. Apparently I have been over doing it and a pelvic floor that is too tight can cause as much issues as a weak one. I had never heard this so I was grateful for the information. I felt better after the appointment, armed with some tips to help before birth.

Mary doing a Google Hangouts session with myself and Paul on VBAC support and birth options. It was really helpful 

Mary doing a Google Hangouts session with myself and Paul on VBAC support and birth options. It was really helpful 

Wednesday evening brought another GoogleHangouts call with Mary. We chat weekly, keeping up the running of DoulaCare. This time there was a difference...it was to chat with myself and Paul about our labour and birth. Mary offered Paul some wonderful tips and explained hospital policy and so on. I was amazed at how little Paul had taken in from me (as we had covered it all before!) He seemed to get really engaged in the conversation when it was coming from our Doula and took away some great understanding of the difference in policy around a VBAC mum.  It was really nice for us both to chat with Mary too, as I spend so much time on the phone/laptop with her ;)

On Thursday I had my 34 week check up in the Rotunda. I was called by the doctor first (normally I see the midwife first) He was a lovely young reg who was open to listening to me. I had my birth preferences with me in the hope we could get them signed off but he told me I needed to speak with Claire Burke at my next visit as she was the consultant.  He measured my belly, which measured 36 weeks. So he did a quick scan, measured baby saying she was measuring a week ahead but I did have a lot of amniotic fluid which is making my bump bigger. He seemed happy enough. I felt things were going well and then, as often obstetricians do...he came out with his random gem... 

So apparently at my 38 week appointment they will check if my cervix is favourable, if it is they would schedule an ARM (breaking my waters to induce labour) I sat shocked for a nano scond. Then I asked why they would intend on doing this, as a VBAC mum ARM is the only induction method I could have so if contractions didn’t begin he would basically be signing me up for a caesarean birth. He was a bit taken back by my reply. He said everything would of course be a discussion with me at the time and it would ultimately be my decision but the reason he would suggest it would be to “avoid another big baby getting stuck” 

He was a lovely young doctor, who clearly wanted to respect my wishes but perhaps was so institutionalised he presumed by offering interventions he would be saving my preference for a vaginal birth. 

After the doctor I waited for another hour to see the midwife to get my blood pressure and urine tested. All was well. I met a gorgeous midwife Jeannine, who is such a warm and caring woman. She is an active advocate for women and midwives – trying to maintain surroundings to facilitate normal birth. We recognised each other from social media and attending workshops and seminars. She was so lovely and listened to me with such kindness, encouraging me to stay strong and voice my wishes for my birth experience. The Rotunda really have some amazing midwives in their semi private clinic and I would encourage everyone to speak with the midwives about any concerns if you feel your doctor had not heard you. 

On Friday myself and Paul had our second antenatal with Mim. It was great to get her feedback on the situation as I know I am too close to see clearly (and probably think rationally) We had a really good chat about Paul's role in the birth and he felt so much better afterwards. She spoke to him about his chat with Mary and helped him to get everything clear in his head. Again, Paul was so engaged with Mim and opened up so much about his feelings around the birth. I was thrilled to have our Doulas facilitate that and allow us to find a balance and to feel prepared. 

That night Paul said he wasn’t sure if he had been brainwashed with all our Doula speak, but he was feeling so much better about the birth and even feels excited now that he knows how to support me while still ensuring both baby and I are safe. It was so lovely to hear – that’s what Doula support offers!

I attended a meeting at the end of the week to plan for World Doula Week. One of our team Lorna has extensive marketing experience and we also met with one of DoulaCare Irelands past client's who is an expert in the field of PR and campaign strategies. It was an amazing morning. We really focused in on what we want to achieve and how to go about it. Mary and I are so grateful for all the support we have surrounding us, helping us to learn and grow. 

This week Mary was also invited onto Cork's 96FM Opinion Line as a Mum had contacted worried about her distance from the hospital and how she would manage in labour. Mary had a lovely chat with P.J who was very interested in the idea of a doula. You can listen back here to the interview: 

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Until next time...Jen x

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What Is Happening With Your Baby: 

 

  • Your baby is the size of a cantaloupe this week. 
  • Their brain is fully developed by this stage and if they need to be born baby's usually do really well (they may have to go to Special Care for a day or two but most have very few issues thankfully). 
  • They are becoming rounder as fat layers continue to develop. These will help your baby regulate their body temperature outside of the womb.
  • Your baby's lungs are still continuing to mature. 
  • Their fingernails are almost fully formed. 
  • If this is your first baby they may have 'engaged' which means they are head down and they are pressed deep into your pelvis ready for the birth. 

Week 34: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • Exhaustion has probably kicked in again by this week (if it hasn't already!). A combination of hormones, restless nights (with lots of disturbance as you try to get comfortable or breaks to go to the toilet frequently). Your body will want to slow down - do listen to it
  • You may have blurry vision. Or your eyes may be extra dry (due to a decrease in tear production). These changes are usually temporary though. Again this is all due to hormone changes which will readjust after baby arrives. Pop into your optician and get some eye drops and don't forget to let your HCP know if you have any issues with your vision so they can check it out. 
  • Your breasts may feel heavier. 
  • If your baby has engaged any breathlessness you may have been feeling will ease off and you will be able to breathe more freely. 

 

Week 34: Pregnancy Tip 

Perineal Massage

If you are a first time Mum there is some evidence that that Perineal Massage may help reduce your risk of tearing (have a read of this article for more information). If you are going to give it a try use a plant based oil (try to make sure it is unrefined. Mary our co- owner sells a perineal massage oil blend that you can find over on her website). 

This is a good step by step article on how to do Perineal Massage 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 33

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. 

Week 33 Bump - just about to go down for our lovely dinner 

Week 33 Bump - just about to go down for our lovely dinner 

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. 

 

Lovely morning hanging out with Kathy and baby Robyn from  Bump, Baby and Me  

Lovely morning hanging out with Kathy and baby Robyn from Bump, Baby and Me 

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.