Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 38

As I turned 38 weeks I felt back on track. I had reflexology with Jessie again and she brought me some more lovely oils.  Saturday was St Patrick's Day, but it was freezing so I brought the boys to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit. I thought between the parades and rugby match we would be the only people in the country there....I was wrong! We had to queue for 45 minutes for the tickets and book for the next viewing (in 40 minutes) so we hung around. The movie was very good and it was great to get out and about for the afternoon. 

Sunday brought more snow so we chilled out at home for the day. The boys didn’t even want to go out and play in it, they were totally over the whole snow thing. In fairness it was fairly blustery and yuck out so I didn’t blame them. 

On Monday Leon headed off to his friends birthday party in a play centre and Seth went to his friends for a play (they ended up going to Jump Zone and had a ball). While they were gone I did lots of Spinning Babies and some lunges/squats and sorted out the washing and a few bits around the house. After the party one of Leons friends came to ours for the afternoon and they played away.   

On Tuesday I had a real “get this baby back into position” day. It started with reflexology, then I went for a good walk, then I had shiatsu with Joanne Faulkner and used Moxa sticks to try to encourage baby to come back head down. I ended the day with spinning babies and then a bath with essential oils and listening to “perfect positioning” on my Gentlebirth app.

Our Cork DoulaCare Ireland team from l-r: Zoe, Mary, Claire and Jacquie at our Meet the Doula Event for World Doula Week in Cork. 

Our Cork DoulaCare Ireland team from l-r: Zoe, Mary, Claire and Jacquie at our Meet the Doula Event for World Doula Week in Cork. 

Wednesday I spent the morning dropping items for our World Doula Week events off to our doulas. I got a phone call from my GP to say my bloods showed that I have extremely low B12 and need to start a coure of B12 injections as soon as possible. She told me to go straight to her after my check up in the hospital. I am glad as I have been feeling very tired and breathless (presuming it was just normal end of pregnancy stuff). Hopefully with the injections I will feel a boast of energy before baby arrives.  Then I rushed back to take a DoulaCare Ireland conference call with a new business prospect. Mary and I are constantly working on growing the business end of things, while ensuring our clients remain at the heart of everything we do. We are excited to hopefully share some news over the next month or two! I finished the day with some body work and more Moxa sticks before bed. 

Thursday brought my hospital appointment. I dropped the boys to school and headed into the Rotunda. The midwives were all lovely and supportive as always. I met a new midwife called Bridget who spent a good bit of time with me asking how I felt and giving me space and time to chat. This midwifery support is so important in antenatal care (especially for me as I had wanted midwifery led care to begin with). They are all so kind and patient and really offer mothers space and time to process their emotions and get a clear focus on their thoughts.

When I saw my consultant she confirmed baby was still in an unstable lie, and my amniotic fluid levels were officially polyhydraminos (a medical term for too much fluid). The two combined creates a dangerous situation for baby, in that if my waters were to release the cord could get flushed out ahead of the baby. Of course the umbilical cord provides oxygen to the baby so that would not be a good situation if I was at home. She broke the news that I would need to be admitted . I negotiated heading home to pack a bag and explain to the kids what was happening. I collected them from school, then brought them both to McDonalds for a treat and we had a good chat. They both understood that both the baby and I were fine it was just for the doctors to keep an eye on things. I packed a bag and when Paul came home from work he drove me in. I was feeling pretty gutted as my mind movie of labouring at home, supported by Mim and Paul slipped away. The kids, especially Seth really wanted to be there too – Seth even learned how to do some back massages for the big day!  

The antenatal ward was pretty busy on arrival but the staff were all lovely. I had all the routine checks and everything was really good with baby and I. I have all my positive tools with me (Ear phones to listen to GentleBirth tracks, essential oils to keep my senses calm, my laptop to keep my mind busy writing or watching movies, books and so on). 

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On Saturday 24th at 38+6 weeks I lost my mucus plug, just as I was settling down for the night. I went into spontaneous labour (while on the antenatal ward).  Baby Kayla Rose arrived just over 3 hours later in an intense and quick, intervention free VBAC. She weighed 8lb 2oz and instantly we were head over heals in love. Birth story to follow soon x

Kayla Rose getting skin to skin after a very fast VBAC birth in the Rotunda Hospital 

Kayla Rose getting skin to skin after a very fast VBAC birth in the Rotunda Hospital 

 

 

 

 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 37

This has been a bit of a mixed week. The week started with my very last tutorial in my training as a  Cuidiu Antenatal Teacher. It has been a tough 3 years juggling the work load, monthly tutorials, work and family but I have really enjoyed it. The course is second to none. It has a roll on roll off structure so new students learn from the more established students as we go. It takes a while to find your rhythm as you can feel like you have been thrown in at the deep end! The tutors are amazing and support everyone at the level they are at. I have made some life long friends through the course.  It give such balance and everything you learn is evidence based, constantly comparing studies and trials. We ensure to create activities that include all learning styles and avoid lecture style classes, which are inclusive of all our clients (taking into account their background, needs and chosen care provider).

The core of every course is Informed Decision Making – ensuring each parent makes an informed decision for their individual pregnancy and birth experience. It has given me such a grounding in my knowledge and I would highly recommend the course to anyone involved in work with pregnancy/new parenting. The day ended with cake and snacks and everyone in the course sharing a wish for me for the future (to say emotion was high is an understatement!) It was so lovely.

Sunday was Mother's Day. Paul was working, so Seth and Leon made me some toast and brought it up to me with home made cards. It was so sweet. We took it easy for the day and just kind of sorted things around the house and watched some TV together. My mam dropped down for a while and I gave her her card and flowers.  Then we went to Pauls parents for dinner, which was lovely. 

On Monday I had another reflexology appointment with Jessie Walshe from Barefoot Reflexology & Balms. It was just lovely, baby kicked and moved around during the treatment as Jessie and I chatted (we are both Cuidiu Breastfeeding Counsellors in the same branch, so we know each other a long time) Jessie really feels like my body is ready and baby will come soon .... here’s hoping!

Bren had a check up in Jame's Hospital too, which went really well. The hospital was really happy with his healing and all is looking good for now. He is still smoking, so they explained again if he doesn’t give up the cancer will 100% come back. I don’t understand how he can still be smoking after everything he went through and knowing it will come back if he doesn’t stop. My mother-in-law was told to give up almost 2 years ago after find out she has a blockage in her heart and she is still smoking too. I’m not sure what to do to encourage them but I guess they just have to make the decision that they want to be around for their grandchildren or not. 

Birthday Celebrations 

Birthday Celebrations 

Tuesday was my 31st birthday. Again, the kids were busy making home made cards for me – Seth even bought me a box of chocolates and a candle with his own money which was so sweet. I had a really relaxing day and then Pauls parents, my mam, her partner and my Nan all came down for a take away and some cake. It was lovely just to spend time with close family and relax. I did wonder would baby make an appearance and we could share our birthday but she seems happy in there for now ;)

On Thursday I had a routine check up in the Rotunda. That morning I was pottering around getting the kids unifroms ready for school and I steppped back onto a lego motorbike in my bare feet. I fell straight back onto my back and caught my back (just at my bra strap) on a bedside table. I felt so silly, it just happened so quickly! Paul woke with a jump not knowing what was happening and the kids came running in to see what the crash was.... I was ok but shaken. Babing didn’t move for about an hour, but I would say that was more to do with my adrenaline being released. I pulled the ligaments under my bump and I was achy. I got a full once-over and they did a scan. All was perfect with baby, BUT.....now she has been jerked out of my pelvis and is in an unstable lie (oblique - so lying diagonally across my belly).

If she stays like that my VBAC will not be an option as there would be a risk of cord prolapse (where the cord comes down ahead of the baby). I have a lot of fluid too, which also increases the risk. After further discussion, I agreed with the consultant to come back next week and make a plan (they would be keen to do a Caesarean if she hasn’t moved by then). She wouldn’t sign off my birth preferences as things were, as she said minimal intervention would not be possible with this situation. I left feeling deflated and emotional. 

Paul was concerned about the risk of cord prolapse and wanted to know more about what to do if that happened. I filled him in and we headed home. I was very achy so had a long soak in the bath and listened to Gentlebirth tracks to try to calm down. Both Mim (our doula) and Mary were on the phone and sending links to studies/tips of things I could do. I felt so supported. My logical brain knows there is loads of time for baby to go head down again but my mama brain is so disappointed – like all my hard work has been for nothing. I had an evening of moping and feeling sorry for myself but after a good sleep and all the lovely positive messages online, I woke feeling better and ready to get to work on optimal positioning again.

I will keep you posted how it goes. Thank you to everyone who took the time to reach out this week. It really did make such a difference to feel all the positive vibes, love and kindness. A kind word and heartfelt good wish can go a long way! So thank you all, for taking me out of my wallowing hole xx

Until next time....Jen x

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Week 37: What is Happening To Your Baby

This week your baby is the size of a Cantaloupe 

This week your baby is the size of a Cantaloupe 

  • Your baby is the size of a large cantaloupe this week. 
  • Your baby's due date is getting closer (though only 5% of baby's are actually born on their EDD). 
  • If baby arrives now they would be considered early term (up until 39 weeks0. 
  • Their lungs are usually mature at this point of pregnancy. However baby still has more growing to do - especially when it comes to putting on weight. 

 

Week 37: What is Happening To Your Body

  • You may find new stretch marks are appearing on your belly at this stage and that they keep coming over the next few weeks until baby makes an appearance. 
  • If baby has dropped you may find yourself going to the toilet even more frequently (I know - you are probably thinking, how could I be going any more than I am now!!!). 
  • You may feel Warm Up Surges (or Braxton Hicks as they are more commonly known as), as your body gets prepared for labour. The difference between these and actual labour surges are that when you get up and move around, or sit down and rest they disappear. 
  • You could feel nauseous (which may be a sign you are going into labour). If you are feeling extremely nauseous make sure to inform your GP or Health Care Provider as this can be a sign of other complications. 

Week 37: Pregnancy Tip 

These last few weeks can be frustrating as you wait for your baby to arrive. This is a lovely article that talks about those last few days of waiting for your baby. You are more than likely going on maternity leave soon. Have some nice treats lined up for yourself - things to look forward to and to distract yourself with.  A spa day? Getting your nails done, going for a nice reflexology treatment, meeting a friend for a cuppa - whatever it is will be different for everyone. Baby will be here eventually and all will change. Hang on in there. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 32

This week brought sickness to my house. Paul and the kids were all very sick with flu. Leon (our youngest) was so drained he couldn’t walk! We had to carry him to the toilet. This from a child you normally cannot keep still for 5 minutes was very worrying. They all lay around on the sofa or in their beds, watching movies and snoozing. I miraculously avoided it completely! I’m wondering if the flu vaccine protected me or if I was just lucky as I am taking lots of vitamins and supplements. 

I took the opportunity to start sorting out and washing baby clothes. I donated huge amounts to charity, but was delighted there were lots I could use from the boys. I did keep a mix of blues, yellows, greens etc in newborn sizes and there was a good bit of white too. It was so lovely to see all the little babygrows and vests drying around the house. I was very emotional remembering the boys in certain outfits and really began to get excited about this little girls arrival. The tiny socks and booties always get me right in the heart strings :) 

This week I met up with two past clients for breakfast. One was a mum of twins who I worked closely with throughout their pregnancy and for the first few months of their boys' lives. It was wonderful to catch up and see how well the boys were doing. I even got to cuddle them both and we held one sleeping baby each as we chatted and ate. It was great! When leaving my client gave me such a beautiful gift and the two of us fought back tears when saying goodbye. The bond we have is so lovely and I look forward to meeting up again soon. 

I also met another client and her husband later in the week who has a special place in my heart. I worked with them throughout pregnancy (they attended my Cuidiu antenatal course) and for the first few months of their daughter's life. Their baby was gravely ill when born and they had to travel to another country for specialist treatment. It was a rollercoaster of emotions for them and I walked that journey beside them, offering support every step of the way. When they returned I worked with them for a number of months, watching their beautiful daughter grow stronger and helping them both deal with the trauma they had lived. They are writing a blog to share their experience for World Doula Week so watch this space! 

With DoulaCare Ireland Doula  Emer McGlade  and  Gail Tully  from Spinning Babies 

With DoulaCare Ireland Doula Emer McGlade and Gail Tully from Spinning Babies 

Over the weekend I attended the Spinning Babies Workshop, in the Glenroyal Hotel. It was full of like minded birth professionals (mostly midwives and Doulas, with one chiropractor) and lots of friends and familiar faces to catch up with.

It was a fantastic day and I gained lots of useful information from it. I was however extremely sore sitting for the day and so left early (as I had my friends 40th that evening to attend). I could barely drive the 35 minutes home and hobbled into the house. I lay down for a while and Paul ran me a bath to try to help the pain. I relaxed into the warm water and listening to my GentleBirth tracks. The pain wouldn’t let up so unfortunately I had to miss the night with my friends. I felt awful but there was no way I could make it. 

I had a GP check up and she said it sounds like a mix of round ligament pain and SPD (or pelvic gurdle pain) She recommended a physiotherapist in Sutton Cross that specilises in the area. I called and booked in. Looking forward to the support. I will let you know how that goes. In the meantime I ordered a pregnancy support band to take some of the pressure off my ligaments. It is giving me great relief and I am getting longer into the day before the pain makes me lie down. (photos/video from facebook) 

Next week myself and Paul have a night away planned for our babymoon! So I am very excited about that. 

Until next time....Jen x 

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Week 32: What Is Happening To Your Baby

  • Your baby is the size of a Papaya this week
  • Your baby will gain put to half of her birth week in these last few weeks 
  • There is much less room to move inside you anymore
  • Your baby now has fingernails, toenails and some will have hair on their head
  • Most of your baby's bones have now hardened. The exception to this is the skull which will have soft spots (fontanelles) to help make the birth of your baby that bit easier. The fontanelles make sure the baby's head can fit through the birth canal easier.
  • Your baby is doing lots of practise to prepare for life outside of you. They are kicking, sucking, swallowing and breathing trying to refine the skills they will be needing in a few weeks when they are born. 

 

Week 32: What Might Be Happening To your Body

  • Your blood volume has increased by up to 50 % since you got pregnant - this can mean a drop in Iron for some women and you may have to take Iron supplements if it drops too low. 
  • You may feel less co-ordinated as your growing uterus shifts your sense of gravity and can make you clumsy, change your posture and put strain on your lower back. 
  • Your nipples and areola might darken - why we are not fully sure. 
  • You may notice increased vaginal discharge. This serves the purpose of preventing infection 
  • If you have an 'innie' belly button, you may find it is now an 'outie' with the increased size of your belly. Don't worry - this will usually revert back to what is normal for you after the birth of the baby. 

Week 32: Pregnancy Tip 

If you have pets such as a dog or a cat , you need to begin preparing them for the arrival of your new baby. As they are probably used to being the centre of attention, it can be a huge stress for them when you bring home baby and have no time for them anymore. Pets like dogs or cats are already very connected to us and so they will have sensed that something is different. They do need to be prepared for the changes to come though and this is best done before baby arrives. We will have a blog post coming soon on this topic - so keep an eye on the blog. 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 28

This week was very busy with lots of meetings, both with more potential agency clients and with other birth professionals - building relationships. I am such a people person and love to have these chats. I also had a few short shifts with some clients needing some extra support with breastfeeding. 

On Sunday we went to our local Panto “Beauty and the Beast”. We brought my Nan and she really enjoyed herself. It was fantastic. This is one of my favourite childhood films. Leon loved it, and got really into the spirit with the interactions. Seth is getting a little too old and too cool, so did not quite enjoy it as much (this may be the last year I’ll be able to convince him to go!) Afterwards we ordered a take away and chilled out together. 

I had terrible Braxton Hicks that night. To the point I started timing them. For 2 hours they came every 6-11 minutes and some were very uncomfortable. I got down on all fours and did some gentle stretches and some spinning babies excerises. Paul rubbed my back and got me a hot water bottle. I texted Mim and Mary to bounce ideas off them. After about 3 hours things settled down. As they were much more intense that anything I have experienced before.  

I called my GP the next day and went to her just to check all was ok. I told her baby had been tranverse (side lying position) during them and I felt she may now be OP (facing outwards instead of toward my back). My GP had a good feel and broke the news baba was not only facing out but she was also now Breech (or head up). She confirmed this with the doppler. I was a little gutted as none of my babies have been Breech at this point in my previous pregnancies, but I also know she still has lots of time to flip. GP thought perhaps it was the big movement that sent my body into spasm. She told me if I experienced them that intensely and regularly again to go into the Rotunda.

We ended the week with a wonderful 3d scan of our baby girl. I had a meeting with a client in the morning so I headed in ahead of Paul and the boys. We went to The Ultrasound Suite on Grafton Strret. It was a very professional set up and the sonographer was so warm and friendly. She did a full health check first, which was so reassuring. Baby is measuring a week more than dates but this is to be expected with my history of big babies. 

Our little baby

Our little baby

She then started the scan in 3d. Baby was putting her arms up over her face and hiding. She also wouldn’t stay still and every time the sonographer tried to take a picture it was blurred as baby was moving so much. After a little while though we did get some lovely pictures. We watched our little girl play with her feet and hands, suck her thumb and move around. The boys loved seeing her as she looked like a ‘real baby’ rather than the normal scan photos. We confirmed baby is a little girl and skipped out on a high. 

After the scan we got a treat (Leon got ice cream, Seth a Waffle and myself and Paul a crepe) and pottered around the shops a little. It was such a lovely day. 

Next week I have an appointment in the Rotunda. It will be my first in the Semi Private clinic so I am eager to see their reaction to me wanting a VBAC, with a ‘big’ breech baby!

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What is Happening To Your Baby This Week 

  • Your baby is the size of a aubergine this week 
  • Your baby is starting to develop more fat on their body 
  • They may be able to see light as their eyesight is developing.
  • This week your baby starts to settle down into the position they will be in when you are in labour with them (ideally this is with head facing downward,). 

 

 

 

 

Week 28: What Might Be Happening To your Body

  • Can you believe you are 6 months pregnant this week!
  • You are starting into the third trimester this week 
  • You may have aches and pains this week - stretching, swimming, yoga and walking can all help. If it is really bad you could try wear a maternity support belt. 
  • You may notice Braxton Hicks this week. While this is perfectly normal, if they get stronger and more regular make sure you let your GP know 
  • Your breasts may start to leak this week as your body is preparing your baby's first food (colostrum). 

Week 28: Pregnancy Tip 

It is usually recommended to start counting kicks from this week. This is a very helpful way to ensure all is well with your baby. This website has really useful and up to date information about how to do this as well as a really helpful video: 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 27

This week I am on call for a birth client. One of our doulas in our agency is sick at the moment and  so I have taken over until she feels better. That is the one of the many benefits of the agency model, as we ensure our doulas can take time off if needed and our clients always feel supported. 

For New Year's Eve I watched Free Willy with Seth (and cried A LOT!!!) 

For New Year's Eve I watched Free Willy with Seth (and cried A LOT!!!) 

On Sunday it was New Years Eve. We normally all go to our neighbours for a party but this year we were all wrecked. I was feeling sore and Paul had a cold (plus he was due up at 6am for work!) So Leon and Paul went to bed together at 10pm. Seth wanted to stay up so I stayed up with him. We watched Fee Willy and I of course bawled my eyes out even though I have seen it a good few times.  Then we turned on the National Countdown. We listened to the music and watched the fireworks. The guys on the drums were epic (they played at our friends wedding last year and really got everyone going before the DJ started). Myself and Seth chatted about things we are looking forward to for the year ahead and had a cuddle. Then we both went to bed around 12.30am! Not exactly the rock and roll life but perfect for us this year just the same! 

We had our antenatal with one of my lovely doulas Mim this week. I love her so much and just feel so relaxed in her company. Mim was my mentor over the years and has taught me so much, in my role as a doula, antenatal teacher and breastfeeding counsellor. She is such a warm and calm person and one of the most experienced doulas in Ireland. Between her and Mary we will be well nurtured during our pregnancy, labour and birth! Their combined experience hits nearly 30 years!! We are so lucky to have these two wonderful ladies in our lives. 

The antenatal meeting was really fab as Paul has been a bit in denial about the birth. With both the boys things did not go as planned and both Paul and I carry a lot of trauma. Through all my courses, CPD and training days I am lucky to have worked through a lot of this trauma and have had space and time to debrief. Paul on the other hand has not. So Mim spent a good bit of time giving him room to talk and share his feelings. She pulled more out of him than I have ever managed, but in a very gentle and respectful way. Before this visit, Paul was unsure if he wanted to be at the birth this time, which I would have supported if he truly felt uncomfortable. Now he feels happy in the knowledge he will have either Mim or Mary there as a supporter. 

Mim brought her youngest daughter Juno over to play with Leon while we chatted. I do believe they might be soul mates! They are both cute as a button with innocent little faces, but absolute divils and mad hatters. They had great crack for the few hours and had to be dragged apart when Mim was leaving. 

I then logged on to do a Google Hangouts call with our DoulaCare Ireland doulas on supporting parents with premature babies, as we have a client with preterm twins starting this week. 

I have been getting lots of regular Braxton Hicks this week. Very tight tummy, a little uncomfortable but nothing concerning. I am wondering if my magnesium is low – as this can be a cause of more frequent BH. I also am making sure to drink plenty and rest when I can (again dehydration and doing too much can also be a reason for them as well). 

On Wednesday I had a few client interviews with potential birth and postpartum clients for the agency. I had a lovely evening with the boys and a relaxing shower. I was just about to head to bed and I got the call that our client was in labour. She was a second time mum and had been having surges on and off for days so I had a feeling she would experience a fast labour. Once I heard it was her husbands voice I knew it was time (as mum was unable to talk over the phone). With my bag ready, I made a sandwich for the car on the way, got dressed and headed out the door. It was a stormy night but I made good time. When I arrived 30 minutes later she was ready to go to the hospital. We were only there a few hours and baby was in arms after a beautiful, unmedicated, fiercely strong and positive VBAC. I stayed with them for the first breastfeed and to take some family photos etc. I got home around 6am and fell asleep on a high, feeling so privledged to be part of such a wonderful birth. 

Next week we have our 3d scan booked and are so excited to see babies face!

Until next time....Jen x

Week 27: What Is Happening to your Baby

  • This week your baby is the size of a head of cauliflower
  • If your baby were to be born now their lungs would be capable of functioning (though they would still not be fully mature). They are inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid practising for life outside your body. 
  • Baby is also showing brain activity this week and will keep developing over the coming weeks becoming more and more complex as the weeks go on. 
  • Your baby's taste buds are very developed now 
  • If you feel light spasm like sensations in your body - this could be your baby hiccuping 

 

Week 27: What Might Be Happening to your Body

  • Many of the symptoms you have been experiencing will still be around (and stay until baby arrives!). Leg cramps, constipation, backache and haemorrhoids can all be experienced during pregnancy. There are things you can do to help (drinking water can be a huge help with leg cramps and constipation), so it's good to see what might bring you some relief and help make your pregnancy more enjoyable. Some women will sail through pregnancy with none of these issues - let's hope you are one of the lucky ones! 
  • If you have managed to escape leg cramps or backaches up to now they may start from this week on as your baby gets bigger and puts pressure on your back and legs. 
  • Tying your shoes and bending over is going to become more difficult as that bump expands

 

Week 27: Pregnancy Tip 

Think about buying a birth ball or exercise ball for yourself this week. They are great support for your pregnancy and during your labour. A birth ball is really just an exercise ball and can be bought in places like Argos, any sports shop and occasionally Lidl and Aldi stock them. During pregnancy they are great to sit on. You can't slouch on them so your posture is improved and they can help balance the ligaments, tendons and muscles in your pelvis. Doing this helps baby as it can give them more room in there and thus encourage them into an optimal position for birth. If you sit in work all day ask can you swap the chair for a birth ball instead. They can help relieve lower back pain

This is a great position to be in on the birth ball both during pregnancy and in labour (some Mums like to have some more support so will add a few pillows for under their knees and on the ball). 

This is a great position to be in on the birth ball both during pregnancy and in labour (some Mums like to have some more support so will add a few pillows for under their knees and on the ball). 

During labour they are a fantastic tool for making you more comfortable. You can use them to sit on and do gentle hip circles or figures of 8 in early labour. They are also great for leaning over when the surges get more intense. This can help encourage baby into a more optimal position if they are posterior, but it also allows your partner access to your back - and so they can give comfort measures to help make your labour more manageable for you (they will learn these tools at a good birth preparation course like GentleBirth or Cuidiu). Having a birth ball with you also helps to keep you upright and off the bed (much better for labour). 

Do make sure you choose a ball that is anti burst (which would mean they deflate slowly if they burst) and you will also need one that suits your height. Your hips should always be higher than your knees when sitting on the ball. Recommendations are: 

Under 5ft 4 inches: 55cm ball

5ft 4 inches - 5ft 9 inches: 65cm ball

Over 5ft 9 inches: 75 cm ball 

Any questions about using a birth ball do let us know here at DoulaCare. Our email is: info@doulacare.ie 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 26

Christmas morning excitement - Santa came!

Christmas morning excitement - Santa came!

Well this week was Christmas :) It was full of excitement and last minute wrapping. The boys were so excited and it’s just so lovely to share in their joy. Paul had this Christmas off so we really got time to relax and celebrate as a family. 

We host Christmas dinner in our house every year and both myself and Pauls family come down. Then we do it all over again on Stephen's Day to use up the left-over Turkey and Ham. The kids help to set and decorate the table and enjoy choosing a place for everyone to sit. I love being surrounded by family and spending that special time together. The boys are so special to everyone as they are the only grandchildren on both sides so they got lots of attention! Of course everyone is over the moon about their new granddaughter on the way and excitement is building!!

I always find the few days after Christmas to drag a little. The boys were on their best behaviour playing with their new toys so on the 27th I had a nice day of tidying up and resting. We went to see the new Star Wars movie, which was brilliant! The boys loved it, as did Paul and I. We all stuffed ourselves with popcorn and nachos and chilled then for the evening. 

Paul and the kids at  Swords on Ice  

Paul and the kids at Swords on Ice 

Later in the week we went to Swords on Ice. I didn’t chance skating myself but loved watching the lads and Paul having fun. Leon flew around and was a natural! He is always so brave and just throws himself at a new experience. Seth was a little more wobbly and had a few falls but enjoyed himself all the same. Paul did very well, while holding the lads up in parts. He only had one fall which was very funny :) 

I have been so busy these last few weeks, it only dawned on me that I am in my last week of the second trimester! I am not ready for the third trimester to begin!! I feel I have not enjoyed this pregnancy as much as my previous pregnancies as with this one I have been so sick for so long and experienced lots of cramping etc. Also factoring in running a business, working with clients, finishing off my Antenatal Teacher course (after 3 years) and being a wife and a mam..... I just want to feel I enjoyed it. I feel so bad for this little baba as I loved every second with my first two pregnancies and savoured every moment. I feel like I’ve kind of ‘got through’ this one so far. It makes my heart hurt as I love this little baby so much already and smile every time I feel her move. 

As  a result I have decided I need to slow down a bit more. I need to take at least 10 minutes out each day to just be with my baby and feel my bump. I love my pregnant body. It’s strange to say but I always feel most comfortable with my body when I am pregnant. I love my bump and feel it’s my happy place ;) Hopefully things will slow down a little so I can enjoy the end of my pregnancy. It’s such a special time. 

Until next time.....Jen

Week 26: What Is Happening  To Your Baby

Photo by  Jez Timms  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

  • Your baby is the size of a courgette this week (both in length and weight). 
  • Your baby is soaking up your antibodies - and by doing so is preparing their own immune system 
  • Your baby's eyes are starting to open this week and they have eyelashes
  • If you are having a boy - his testicles will start to descend very shortly into his scrotum (and this will take a few months)
  • Your baby's lungs are developing 'surfactant' - this allows them to inflate and keeps the lung tissue from sticking together 
  • Your baby's hearing system is now complete and fully formed 

Week 26: What Might Be Happening To your Body

  • You are probably having some trouble sleeping (and we have some tips to help with that on this blog post)
  • You may be experiencing swelling and puffiness. While this can be normal, it is also something to keep an eye on in case it is a sign of something more serious. 
  • You may have headaches. While these can be due to changes in hormones it could be that you are dehydrated. So be aware and drink plenty of water throughout the day. 
  • Pregnancy brain - yes it is a thing! Mary was on Cork's 96 FM chatting about this recently. 

Week 26: Pregnancy Tip 

It's probably a good idea to start stocking up on baby items now. There is such a wealth of items to choose from and many Mums find they buy items that they don't really use. Ask other Mum's what their most important buys were and what they ended up passing on or taking up space. It's important of course to have a safe and secure car seat and this should be bought new. Lot's of other purchases however, can be sourced second hand. There are a number of fab baby market's around Ireland where you can pop along to and source items that have been pre-loved. Check out The Baby Market to see when the next one is in your area. If you prefer to buy new there are lots of lovely local Irish shops around. One of our favourites is Pip and Pumpkin. They have a physical shop in Mullingar but they will also have a website coming soon and you will be able to order online. They are extremely competitive (they do their best to price match) and shipping is only €5 for orders under €75 and anything over €75 is free. And you are supporting a local homegrown small Irish family run business. Elaine the owner is hugely helpful and will answer any questions you may have about products. I don't know about you but when I was a first time Mum I hadn't a clue what half the baby stuff was for, so it's always great to be able to chat to someone who can guide you through your purchases. You can connect in with them on their Facebook page at the moment (and keep an eye out for the website). They are also on Instagram 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 25

What a jam packed week this has been. On Saturday it was my good friend Michelles 40th birthday. We went out for a lovely meal in The Dog House, Howth. This is a really quirky little spot and it has a special place in my heart as myself and Paul had our wedding meal there ;)

Another of my friends, Aideen got engaged this week. Her partner Colin went all out and the proposal was the stuff out of a movie with candles and flowers everywhere. She shared a video on our group chat and we were all bawling! Truly delighted for them. Plus this means we now have two weddings to look forward to (as our friend Ruth and her partner Brian got engaged a few weeks ago!) 

My father-in-law got news that he needs more surgery and also that they would need to go deeper this time so he would need to stay in hospital. We were all shook by it but kept a brave face for him. I took time off from my postnatal doula work from Monday-Wednesday to bring Bren and Cindy (my parents-in-law) to the hospital. We went Monday for them to speak with his consultant and get a game plan. This resulted in us waiting around most of the day to see if they could admit him there and then. At 4pm we got the word he could go in fasting the next day for surgery and he would be in hospital for a few days. Bren was happy to get home and we were all tired by then. 

The following day he had his surgery, he was gone for 5 hours so myself and Cindy went to town to pass the time. We did a small bit of shopping and had lunch before returning to James’. Bren was out of surgery and doing much better than we thought he would. We stayed with him for the afternoon and after dropping my mother-in-law home, I crawled onto the sofa around 8pm and conked out! Paul woke me to go up to bed and I had a good sleep. 

After dropping the kids to school the next day I went back to James’, where we had the great news that Bren could go home. The team were delighted with his recovery. They are happy they got all the cancer this time, but he will be back in 3 weeks for more biopsy results just to be 100%. All in all it was fantastic news. Bren looked great, his colouring and everything was so much better. Perhaps it was the relief!

I had a nice afternoon with the kids, sorting out their bedrooms and listening to Christmas FM. The next morning was my GTT (glucose tolerance test). If you follow DoulaCare Ireland on social media you will have seen my posts keeping everyone updated. You can scroll back to 21st December to read them. Our blog on the GTT test is available here . 

After I left the hospital I went straight to my sons school to see his carol singing. It was really lovely and helped bring on the festive feeling. I even collected Leon early so he could come with me too. 

On Friday the boys went to collect holly with my mam and her partner, which they loved. They came back full of muck and fresh faced. It was great as I was due to work a night so I could grab some sleep! I did the night shift and in between caring for the twins and sorting the house, I enjoyed feeling my baby somersault around and kick. She really is a very active baby and I am loving feeling her move so much! Leon is interested watching her move, he thinks its cool seeing my belly. Leon is suggesting Anna as a baby name, Seth really likes Robyn. We still haven’t really felt that ‘wow’ moment yet with any girl names but sure we have loads of time! 

Next week is Christmas! I can’t wait to see the boys faces on Christmas morning. It just makes Christmas having kids :) 

Until next time....Jen x

Week 25: What Is Happening To Your Baby

This week your baby is the size of the cauliflower

This week your baby is the size of the cauliflower

  • Your baby is the size of a cauliflower this week 
  • They are laying down more fat and hair this week 
  • As your baby gets more fat, the wrinkled skin gets smoother so they look more like a newborn baby. 
  • Your baby is now peeing frequently (and this passes into the amniotic fluid, so that most of the amniotic fluid is in fact sterile urine!)
    • Your baby's brain, lungs and digestive systems are now developed though they are not quite mature yet. 

Week 25: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • You may notice you are slightly unsteady as your bump grows, this can be due to changes in your centre of gravity. Pilates and Yoga which works on your posture can help give you good balance. 
  • Oh dear! Your OH may complain about the noise levels in the bedroom as your snoring gets louder! 
  • Frequent urination. As the baby is getting bigger, so is the pressure on your bladder 
  • Warm up surges: Also more commonly known as Braxton Hicks contractions. While they usually aren't noticeable until 28 weeks, some Mums will start to feel them from around this time period. They usually go after you change position (so if they don't give your GP a ring). 

Week 25: Pregnancy Tip

DCI Pregnant Couple .jpg

The tips this week are aimed at your partner - so they can help you and make your pregnancy a more comfortable one. So get them to read this bit!!! Partners can help out by doing more around the house, running a nice bath, offering to give you foot rubs, lower back rubs or a nice neck and shoulder massage (this will not only be useful for pregnancy but extremely useful during labour). They can also listen to you - this is such a huge time of change and while it may be exciting there can be lots of other emotions involved as well. Keeping up the romance is hugely important during your partner's pregnancy. Surprise her with a trip away or a nice dinner out, and make lots of nice memories together as a family of 2 (if it's your first), before baby arrives. 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 22

Sending their letters to Santa

Sending their letters to Santa

This week was a very mixed week. We had our first week of feeling like it’s almost Christmas! We attended or community Christmas fair, where they had lots of stalls, carol singers and the annual tree lighting. We met some friends at it and the kids really enjoyed themselves. There was a lovely atmosphere around and a great sense of community. After the tree lighting we went up to Pauls parents for the kids to send their Santa letters (as a tradition we put the letters in the fire and the magic brings them to Santa – Paul always did this as a child so we have carried it on) The toy show was on Friday which is always a real mark of Christmas beginning for us. We had treats and hot chocolate and all snuggled up together on the sofa. 

Earlier in the week my father in law had surgery to remove the tumour on his voice box. I went and spent the day with my mother in law as they were both very nervous. It was a long day but Bren was allowed home that evening and we were all relieved to have it over. They took some biopsies and we will go to get the results in 3 weeks. It’s an awful wait but hopefully we can keep his spirits up and it will all be behind us by Christmas. 

Wednesday I was back to work doing what I love. Then Thursday was my mother in laws birthday. Myself and the kids always bake for family birthdays. Seth decided he wanted to make scones, which he did all by himself. I just helped with measuring and put them in the oven. Myself and Leon made a yummy chocolate cake. Once Paul was home from work we all went up and got an Italian take away and had cake. It was nice to mark the day and lift all our spirits. 

Chatting to the newest group of doulas taking their DONA Postpartum Doula Training with the amazing Ann Grauer from  Nurturing Doula Dreams. 

Chatting to the newest group of doulas taking their DONA Postpartum Doula Training with the amazing Ann Grauer from Nurturing Doula Dreams. 

On Sunday I went in to speak with the newest group of DONA Postpartum Doulas training with the amazingly skilled Ann Grauer of Nurturing Doula Dreams. They were a wonderful bunch and I am excited for the parents of Ireland to have access to their support. Three of our birth doulas were there, expanding their knowledge and skills – which is fantastic as they can now offer Postpartum support too! As always it was great to catch up with Ann who was my trainer and has been my mentor ever since. She is such an inspiration. 

So over all it was a funny week. Some low moments but also lots of highs. I have been feeling very tired this week but that is probably all the emotion too. Baby has been kickng lots and lots and it is lovely to get that reminder that baba is there and doing so well. 

Until next time...Jen x

Week 22: What Is Happening To Your Baby

Your baby is the size of a coconut this week 

Your baby is the size of a coconut this week 

  • Your Baby is the size of a Coconut this week 
  • By this week your baby is starting to resemble a very tiny newborn baby. 
  • Tooth buds are developing under their gums
  • Your baby's lips, ears, nose, eyelids and eyebrows are becoming more distinct and you can clearly distinguish them. 
  • Your baby's grip is becoming stronger and they may hold tight onto your umbilical cord (which is perfectly fine for them to do btw so no need to worry about that). 

Week 22: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • You may notice changes to your nipples and and the areola's around them. You may find them getting bigger and darker. 
  • You may find yourself going up a shoe size! Yes your feet can grow when you are pregnant by half a shoe size or more (I was a size 6-6 and a half before I got pregnant and I am now a size 7!!!). 
  • Your innie belly button may have now become an outtie (but don't worry it won't be permanent). 
  • Your hands and feet can start to swell this week - this can be due to an increase in the amount of fluids in your body. If it's minor it's usually normal but if it's severe and sudden you do need to mention it to your GP as it could be a sign of a serious complication of pregnancy: pre-eclampsia. 

Week 22: Pregnancy Tip

If you find your hands are swelling it's a good idea to take off your rings and keep them somewhere safe - just in case it gets too hard to get them off as the weeks progress. You don't want to have to cut them off you. Some women like to put them around their neck in a necklace to keep them safe and nearby. 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 21

I started this week off at my local Cuidiu Breastfeeding support morning. As one of the volunteer breastfeeding counsellors it was my turn on the rota to cover the group. There were lots of small babies there, some with a few issues, so thankfully one of the other BFC's - Orla -attended. Everyone left with their questions answered, a few cups of tea and some cake in their bellies so all around a good morning. I love giving back to our community in this way and hope that breastfeeding rates will grow with the support. 

Straight after the group it was off to a postpartum client on the South side. This client was a lovely new mum, a paediatric nurse herself – who just wanted a sounding board and some help with the big ‘firsts’ like bathing and cutting nails! It was a lovely shift. 

After my shift I drove to Drake Chiropractic Clinic in Sandyford, run by the very knowledgable Ros Drake. I had been meaning to try it out as Seth was OT and Leon was OP so I always wondered was there a reason within my pelvis for their positioning. While I laboured to 10cm and pushed, Leon was a caesarean birth in the end – so I imagined with all the pushing and pulling my body was probably in need of some realignment. I know Ros from attending conferences together and I was not disappointed with her care. She was professional and friendly and explained everything as she went. It was the strangest sensation as she readjusted different parts of my body. No pain but as I heard the cracks and my neck/back/hips etc moving that little bit further than feels comfortable part of me resisted. I did feel good after and was happy to hear that things were looking pretty good. On Tuesday I had Leon at the fracture clinic in Temple Street to review his broken toe. There was still a noticeable crack but they were happy with the healing process and said in 3 weeks time he should be 100% again. We don’t need to go back again unless we are concerned about anything (as Leon has been pretty much walking on it as normal since it happened I think we are good!) 

Then of course on Friday we had our anomaly scan! There was a good wait as the Rotunda are starting their online charts system (meaning patients no longer have their paper chart and every department logs into their system on a computer and writes notes there) I feel it’s a good thing as every department has access and there will be no missing charts. It does however mean that we can no longer snoop in our chart and see what they have written about us! I guess I will have to wait for after baba is born when I request a copy of my notes. At least with everything typed I will be able to decipher the doctors writting unlike Seth and Leons charts. 

You can request a copy of your hospital notes for you and your baby under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

Our little girl at 21 weeks 

Our little girl at 21 weeks 

At our scan we found out that our baby is doing perfect. Myself and Paul were both so relieved as I have been so sick I was worried baby would have been lacking in the correct nutrients. The sonographer said she hadn’t seen such an active baby in a good while and that baba wouldn’t stay still (sure I knew that with all the movement I have had recently) After watching the chambers of the heart pump the blood, and seeing all babas organs, checking measurements and so on, we found out that we are having a little GIRL!! I couldn’t believe it. I really thought we would have another boy. Paul was very quiet, so when we left I asked was he disappointed. He said of course not, but he was terrified. He said he doesn’t know what to do with a girl – he only knows how to parent boys. So after a good chat he has come around to the fact it is a new adventure and we will learn together. 

Seth was absolutely thrilled with the news as he had decided he wanted a sister. Leon was not so impressed – as he ‘doesn’t want girl stuff all over the house’ LOL! My mother and grandmother were thrilled and Pauls parents cried down the phone. Babies can bring so much joy to a family unit and I am so excited for next year! Now to start thinking of names... Any suggestions will be gratefully received. 

Until next time...Jen x

 

Week 21: What Is Happening To Your Baby

  • They are approx the length of a carrot this week
  • They are becoming extremely active inside with lots of kicks and nudges as they somersault around your womb. Baby has more control over their limbs so this movement will be more co-ordinated. 
  • Your baby now has very clearly formed eyebrows and lids. 
  • As their taste buds are now developed there's a good chance that whatever you eat this week - baby will taste it too! 

Week 21: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • Due to the increase in oil production in your body you may find yourself suffering from acne. Talk to your GP about what you can do. Most over the counter oral acne medications cannot be used during pregnancy. 
  • Your heartburn or indigestion may be getting worse
  • You might be able to feel warm up surges (or Braxton Hicks as they are often called). This is totally normal as long as the surges disappear when you switch position. If they don't give your GP or HCP a ring. 
  • Your skin can develop stretch marks. Despite what the cosmetic companies will promise there is no way to get rid of these if they develop. You can improve the condition of the skin by keeping it moisturised. Mary has a lovely Nourishing Bump Blend which feels and smells lovely on the skin and is completely natural and safe for you and baby. 

Week 21: Pregnancy Tip

Don't forget to leave some time to pamper yourself during your pregnancy. Especially if this is your first pregnancy. You will never have this time again or the luxury of having nobody else to worry about. So book yourself in for a lovely pregnancy massage, or a spa day, or get your nails done - what we find pampering is different for everyone, but whatever it is - make time for it now. Some Mums will enjoy going for regular reflexology or acupuncture - it can feel lovely and also help with the pregnancy aches and pains. Many Mums will attend Pregnancy Yoga classes and these can be a lovely way to meet new Mums, take some time for yourself and pamper yourself as usually with a class like this women say they feel amazing after it. Body work such as going to an osteo may not be pampering but it can be something that helps you to feel better in your body and can also be great for positioning of baby - so this can be helpful to try as well. What you choose of course has to be something that you enjoy, or feel good about going to and gives you a lift. Enjoy yourself whatever you choose. 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 17

Storm Ophelia hit at the beginning of Week 17 of my pregnancy.  In Dublin we were all fairly ok. In our estate it certainly just seemed like a normal Irish winter day (windy and raining, but nothing to write home about). However, many parts of the country were badly affected. Up to 400,000 homes were left without power and 3 people lost their lives. Checking in during the storm, we were grateful that our doulas and clients all remained safe and well. 

I received an appointment this week for a GTT test. This is a Glucose Tolerance Test to screen for Gestational Diabetes. You can read more about this test in my blog post here. I was given a test date for 28th December, with instructions to eat my normal diet the few days before the test!! WHO EATS THEIR NORMAL DIET OVER CHRISTMAS ARGH!!!????!!! 

I called and changed it and have now been booked for the week before Christmas, much better for me and my chocolate diet! Hopefully all will be clear as the only risk factors I have are that I am over 25 and my second baby was over 9lbs. I am healthy otherwise and have no pre diabetes markers in my blood  (I was tested before getting pregnant). 

This week I brought my father in law to an oncology appointment. He will need more surgery to remove the rest of the tumour from his throat and possibly more biopsies but overall the prognosis seems good. The oncologist seems to feel it is totally treatable and hopefully with some TLC this will all be sorted soon. 

My belly is gradually expanding and I love it. It is so nice to have a pregnant belly and feel all the flutters from baby. I am starting to feel much better in general. I am having crazy dreams that are causing me to have unsettled sleeps but this is just all the hormones settling in my system. 

At the christening of my friend Julie's little boy - Senan. Julie is third from the left holding the star of the show. 

At the christening of my friend Julie's little boy - Senan. Julie is third from the left holding the star of the show. 

I am up early this morning as I woke at 6am and could not settle back to sleep. I have answered a few emails and I am relaxing on the sofa in a quiet house.  The kids are still asleep and Paul is gone to work. It is lovely to sit and blog while chilling out. Later today my friend has her baby's Christening in Howth Church and then the after party, which will be in her new house. They have recently finished a huge renovation and extension, so it will be like a house warming too. I’m excited for a day spent with friends and switching off from work. Paul will come up to the party once he is home from work, around 6pm. As we will have the kids we will most likely head home early enough and leave the group to enjoy a few drinks and party the night away ;) 

Until next time....Jen xx

Week 17: What Is Happening To Your Baby:

Week 17: Your Baby is the size of a Pear this week 

Week 17: Your Baby is the size of a Pear this week 

  • Your baby is about the size of a pear this week
  • Your baby's sweat glands are beginning to develop
  • Your baby's fingerprints are forming this week
  • Their hearing is improving and they may enjoy you playing music to them
  • You might be able to feel your baby hiccoughing this week

Week 17: What Might Be Happening To Your Body:

  • You may find you have dry eyes. You can ask in the chemist for some lubricating drops to see if they will lessen the discomfort
  • You will have increased bodily fluids (excess mucous, sweat and vaginal discharge will be noticeable). 
  • You  may be experiencing heartburn and indigestion.
  • Some women will start to get stretch marks at this stage. There is no cream that will get rid of them (no matter what the bottle might promise). You can help minimise them by staying hydrated and moisturising every day. Cold pressed Sunflower Oil with some Calendula, RosehipSeed Oil or Avocado oil added is fantastic for your skin and doesn't cost the earth. Alternatively try the Nourishing Bump Body Butter from Essencia Aromatherapy, or ???? from Lisa Heeny. Both are hand blended ????

Week 17: Pregnancy Tip

Heartburn can occur when the valve between the stomach and oesophagus is unable to prevent the acid from your stomach from passing back to the oesophagus. This can happen due to the increase in the hormone progesterone in your body which can cause the valve to relax - thus increasing the frequency you suffer heartburn. Your growing baby and uterus also contributes to it (as everything in the space around your belly gets squashed together. 

To help prevent it, or to minimise it occurring, it can help to eat more frequently during the day but make your meals smaller.  Avoid lying down after eating and avoid greasy, spicy or fatty foods, as well as fizzy drinks and caffeine. Increasing your intake of fluids can help. And try not to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed. 

For relief eating some yoghurt after a meal can help some women, and drinking Ginger Tea. Many women swear by Gaviscon. Do check with your Health Care Provider and see what medication might be safe to take during your pregnancy as not all will be safe for pregnancy.  

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 15

Awww - myself and Paul at my Debs - 12 years ago! 

Awww - myself and Paul at my Debs - 12 years ago! 

This was a bit of a hard week. My father in law has been diagnosed with cancer of the throat. It hit us pretty hard as Bren is almost like my Dad (I have been with Paul since I was 18 and growing up I never really had a Dad). He covers most of our childcare when myself and Paul are both working and the boys absolutely adore him. He will need more tests, and he has to see specilists so I will need to rally round and help out (Paul's mum doesn’t drive and neither does his brother so it’s up to myself and Paul to bring him to all his hospital appointments. Of course we are happy to do it,  it will just mean lots of reshuffling schedules for a while). 

Adding to the week, my good friend lost her Dad after a long illness so we had the wake and funeral to attend. My heart broke for her but she has wonderful family support and I know they will all pull together over the coming weeks. I haven’t told any of my friends or family about Bren yet as he is not ready for everyone to know (by the time this blog is posted he will be). So I have had to hold a lot of my emotions in this week in order to support everyone, during a very overly emotional time (with added pregnancy hormones). 

It has been difficult but we are lucky to have so many people to love in our lives. Our little baby is also fluttering away a lot, which puts a huge smile on my face and is great reassurance. The boys are excited to be able to feel baby soon and Leon keeps putting his hand on my belly in the hope he might feel something.

I am again grateful to have Mary as not only my business partner but now a really good friend. I have confided in her with so much, and as a doula she is wonderful at listening and being a sounding board. I am excited for her to be my birth doula, sharing the duties with my mentor Mim. Mim has been a constant source of encouragement to me over the years and was my tutor during my antenatal teacher course. She attended my wedding with Paul too!

With two of the most skilled and experienced birth doulas in the country by my side throughout this journey, I know myself and Paul will feel confident and in control. 

I am also trying to use my GentleBirth App more this week, as I know I have been stressed out and I want my baby to feel calm. I am so lucky to have Tracy Donnegan as friend, so she has recommended some tracks to concentrate on. I still find it strange listening to her voice on the tracks but they are wonderful and I do find I am drifting off to sleep much easier at night. 

I am having a much better week with the sickness. I seem to only get sick in the morning these days, which means I am eating almost like a normal person now!! I am thrilled and hope to be able to enjoy a full meal soon.  Simple food it still working best and I cannot stomach chocolate or tea at all yet (for anyone who knows me...chocolate and cups of tea were a staple to my diet so this is crazy!). 

Hopefully things will continue to get better with the pregnancy and Bren will recover quickly with the right care and TLC. 

Until next time......Jen x

 

Week 15: What Is Happening To Your Baby:

Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash

  • Your baby is the size of an apple this week
  • He or she can move all of their joints and limbs
  • Their eyelids are still sealed shut - but they can sense light (if you shine a light on your bump, they may move away, for example)
  • Your baby is now practising how to breathe. While their lungs are still not fully developed the muscles that manage breathing are; and these are being used to breathe in small amounts of amniotic fluid and breathe it out again
  •  

Week 15: What Might Be Happening To Your Body:

  • Varicose veins may start to appear as the extra amount of blood volume in your body puts pressure on your veins (they usually go away after the birth). 
  • Increased energy
  • Increased libido
  • You may get nosebleeds (blame that on the increase in blood volume again, as well as your nasal passages being extra sensitive).
  • You may have swollen, sore, or bleeding gums. Pregnancy can make your gums more sensitive. Be gentle but brush and floss them regularly and get some dental check ups to keep them well. 

Week 15: Pregnancy Tip

You may find your libido has increased due to the pregnancy hormones in your body and your energy levels coming back. As long as your HCP has not given you any indication that you need to refrain from sex, it is perfectly safe for you and baby.  Sometimes Mum and partner will worry that baby will be harmed, but they are safely ensconced in the uterus with a thick mucus plug sealing the cervix and the amniotic sac surrounding them Some Mums will be concerned that sex might get labour started. While for some women an orgasm might result in very mild surges occurring (contractions), these are usually temporary and harmless and not the surges that will get labour started. If there is any cause for concern run it by your HCP first. 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 14

This week was a good week. We had our booking in appointment with the Rotunda. As I am hoping to be with the Community Midwives I had to book in under the public system. 

Our Baby - Week 14 Ultrasound

Our Baby - Week 14 Ultrasound

We were seen to at each area pretty quickly. First I had to answer some questions at reception and receive my chart. I also signed an application for the Rotunda to request a copy of my medical notes from Holles Street (NMH) for my first two births. Then myself and Paul went down to a different waiting room for a scan. This was just lovely. We saw baby doing somersaults and waving and a good strong heart beat. Baby looked like a real baby as opposed to the peanut we saw in our early scan. All seemed well and the lovely sonographer printed out lots of pictures for us to being home and show the boys :)

We then had to go to the midwives desk where I had my blood pressure and pulse taken, and had to give a urine sample (by the way the pots they use now are significantly narrower than before and extremely hard to aim for while hoovering over the loo! What were they thinking with that new design?!) 

We then had to wait to see a midwife to go through my medical history. A lovely midwife called Ann introduced herself and said she was just waiting for a room and then we would get everything sorted. We waited about 10 minutes and then she called me in. Paul was not allowed to come into the room for this, which I found strange but went ahead. We had just started when someone knocked and needed the room so we were booted out! Back out to the waiting room and half an hour later Ann still hadn’t managed to find a free room, so she sent me to get my bloods done. Thankfully we only waited about 5 minutes for this and in the meantime I had to nip to the bathroom to get sick.

Another 15 minutes passed (and yet another trip to the bathroom to be sick) and then Ann found a room. We filled out the form in about 10 minutes. I highlighted my desire to have midwifery led care as all the evidence shows that women have better outcomes. She totally agreed but as Leon was an emergency caesarean birth she couldn’t book me in. So she has scheduled a meeting for me with the community midwife team to plead my case....and I am crossing fingers they will take me on! 

If the Community Midwives won’t take me on I can attend the NBAC clinic within the hospital or change to semi private.  I will wait and see when I get the appointment and make a decision then. 

As we spent 3 hours in the public system at this appointment I’m not keen to do that each time, however I do get that there most likely wouldn’t be the same wait on future appointments. 

This week was also Pauls birthday so we had family over for take away and cake and showed off our baby pictures. Then myself and Paul had a lovely night away on Saturday while the kids had a sleep over with their Grandparents. Fitting in clients alongside all this,  meant it was a busy week but very happy.

Overall a great week. Still lots of nausea but I am getting sick less....hopefully we are turning a corner (touch wood!). 

Until next time.....Jen

Week 14: What Is Happening To Your Baby:

Photo by  Brigitte Tohm  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

  • Your baby is now the size of a peach.
  • Your baby has eyebrows.
  • Your baby may have some hair on their head and is now covered with lanugo (a thin, fuzz like hair all over that will keep their body warm). This will start to fall off before baby is born (though some babies will not loose it until after the birth). 
  • Your baby is drinking your amniotic fluid and their kidneys are working so they can pass urine.
  • Your baby can now make facial gestures. Inside they are frowning, grimacing, squinting and smiling (awwww!).
  • Your baby's liver starts to make bile this week.
  • Their spleen is now producing red blood cells.

Week 14: What Might Be Happening With Your Body

  • You may notice your hair getting thicker and shinier. 
  • You may notice you are gaining weight now more rapidly.   
  • You may notice a dark line running down the centre of your abdomen. This is called the linea nigrea and will start to fade after the birth of your baby. 
  • Some of the early affects of pregnancy (sore breasts, nausea, lack of energy), should all be now gone by this week. 
  • However, other symptoms may start occurring! Some women find they get nasal congestion around this time, as the increase in blood flow around your body can cause the mucous membranes in the nose to swell. 

Week 14: Pregnancy Tip: 

Is it a boy or a girl? Do you want to know this beforehand? It can be helpful to start thinking about whether or not you would like to know the sex of your baby now, as with your next ultrasound (around the 20 week mark), you can choose to find out. There are pro's and con's to both finding out and waiting. So perhaps yourself and your partner can sit down now and discuss what you would like to do. If you decide you want to wait until the baby is born, make sure you let your sonographer and HealthCare Provider know so that they don't inadvertently say it to you! And if you decide you want to know - do be aware that sometimes the scans will get it wrong (so you still may get a surprise at the end!). 

 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 13

Well this week I was back doing the job I love. I was working with 3 different families and then on Sunday I spoke at the Baby Wearing Ireland, Wear a Hug Fair. It was a great day and I was honoured to speak as part of their expert panel. There were lots of people to catch up with too. Over all it was a fantastic day full of chatting with new or expecting parents and catching up with old friends. 

With the other women on the expert panel at the Wear A Fair - BabyWearing Consultant Olwen Row from  Born To Be Carried  and Lactation Consultant Mairead Murphy from  Better Breastfeeding . It was so lovely to catch up with them. 

With the other women on the expert panel at the Wear A Fair - BabyWearing Consultant Olwen Row from Born To Be Carried and Lactation Consultant Mairead Murphy from Better Breastfeeding. It was so lovely to catch up with them. 

I have been feeling pretty rough this week. My sickness seems to be getting worse again. Perhaps it is the shock of being back at work (LOL!).  I am lucky to have many friends in the maternity field so I made a few calls and spoke with some HCPs about the sickness. One new drug that seems to be up and coming in Cariban. It is for severe morning/all day sickness and has been used in Australia and USA for many years. It is still new here so I plan to speak with the hospital staff next week at my booking appointment. 

I have taken to driving with a big plastic bowl beside me in the car. I have had a few hairy moments where I could feel I was about to get sick but was in 3 lane traffic with no where to pull in – so the bowl has saved me a few times! 

On Friday I nearly rang my husband to collect me  when I was half way home as I wasn’t sure I could drive any more. After 20 minutes of driving I had stopped 4 times to get sick. I managed to pull myself together and get home. I literally crawled into bed and conked out for 2 hours!

I have decided to pull back a bit on my work load. I absolutely love what I do and I am so lucky to have amazing clients who make me excited to go to work every day. However, I spend my working day minding everyone else and ensuring they are ok. It is time I do the same for myself and baba. So next week I will be working my last night shift for probably a year or two! I can’t believe it. It does seem surreal. 

I managed this week to pop all my pre-pregnancy clothes into black bags and up into the attic. I am firmly out of them now. I am in leggings next size up and some baggy tops from Pennys. I also have a few items I bought that are maternity. To my frustration Paul couldn’t find my bag of maternity clothes from Seth & Leon so I may have to buy some more as I go along. 

Anyway....Until next time... Jen x

 

Week 13: What Is Happening To Your Baby: 

Photo by  Ernest Porzi  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ernest Porzi on Unsplash

  • Your baby is the size of a lemon
  • They may be able to suck their thumb from this week
  • Tiny fingerprints are forming on your baby's fingers
  • The part of your baby's brain responsible for solving problems and memory is starting to form this week 
  • If you are having a boy his testicles are now formed and his penis is growing
  • If you are having a girl, her ovaries are now developed (and contain all her millions of eggs). 

 

 

 

 

Week 13: What Might Be Happening With Your Body:

  • Woo hoo!!! You have made it through the first trimester.
  • You may be noticing an increase in vaginal discharge which will increase throughout your pregnancy due to the increase in the levels of oestrogen in the body. It is there to protect your birth canal from infection. 
  • Your clothes will be definitely getting too tight now. 
  • You might find your energy levels and appetite increasing.
  • You might find your sex drive increased. 

 

Pregnancy Tip: 

You may still be suffering from nausea and vomiting at this stage of your pregnancy. It may just be lingering for a bit longer than the first trimester. For some women it can last a few weeks into the second trimester. There is a chance, however - especially if the nausea and vomiting are still very severe at this point - that you may have a condition called hyperememsis. This is a complication of pregnancy that involves severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. If you suspect you might have this,  it can help to talk to others for support. There is a fantastic group on Facebook here. If you think you may be vomiting excessively do talk to your GP and Healthcare Provider and see if they can provide anything to help. 

     

    Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 10

    This week was full of excitement. We told Seth and Leon they were going to have a new baby brother or sister. They were both very shocked but happy. We chatted over dinner and they had lots of questions. Leon didn’t believe I had a baby in my belly because I don’t have a big pregnant belly. We showed him a picture of what the baby would look like and that it is still tiny. It was a great conversation over dinner. Seth wants a little brother and Leon doesn’t really mind. 

    We told our families this week about our pregnancy - it was very exciting.

    We told our families this week about our pregnancy - it was very exciting.

    The next day we held a family party in our home for Bren my father in law. We exchanged presents and just before we sat down to eat we handed him a birthday card and told him there was a special surprise inside. Seth took a little video of the moment he found out he had another grandchild on the way! I found myself crying. It was a lovely moment :)

    I have still been very nauseous and getting sick daily. I am excited to tell people and for the kids to know. Even though I am really tired at night I am finding myself unable to sleep. I have also started having crazy pregnant dreams.

    I am starting to be uncomfortable in anything other than leggings. I did some online shopping and will need to get the hubby up into the attic to retrieve my bag of maternity clothes! There are some really lovely options out there now. I also just heard that Pennys now stock maternity wear so I will have to check that out soon! 

    Until next time...Jen x

     

    Week 10: What is Happening With Your Baby

    • Your baby is the size of a strawberry 
    • They are becoming really active in your womb - kicking, tumbling and stretching. You won't feel this yet as their limbs are still so tiny. 
    • Your baby's heart is now fully developed and beating at approx 180 beats per minute. 
    • Your baby is starting to look more like a human this week, though as their is brain is developing their forehead will temporarily bulge at this point
    • Your baby can now lift their chin up from their chest - so their head is more upright. 

    Week 10: What Might Be Happening With Your Body 

    • Your blood volume is increasing significantly this week. By the time baby is ready to be born it will be almost double the amount it would have been before you were pregnant. 
    • You may be feeling dizzy at times as the pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes the walls of your blood vessels. 
    • You may find you are suffering from constipation as the muscles of the bowel relax
    • Your waist continues to expand and may be disappearing at this stage. 

     

    Pregnancy Tip 

    It's a good time to start thinking of how to break the news to your friends/family/work? Some people like to do a pregnancy announcement on social media and there are some great examples here and here on how people announced their pregnancy. Do let us know how you told everyone - we would love to hear from you: info@doulacare.ie or message us on Facebook  

     

    Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 9

    So another busy week working in DoulaCare Ireland.  As mentioned I have pulled back a little on night shifts while the first trimester tiredness engulfs my being. This week I am starting to come through it a little. I feel less likely to fall asleep while walking down the road LOL. 

    I am finding baby brain is making paper work last about twice as long and my ability to do mental maths while calculating shifts for our team is not what it once was! I am taking my time and using the calculator on my phone just to be sure, but find myself needing to use my hands to count out even small amounts of time (10am-2pm = 1,2,3,4 hours) Tell me this is normal and my poor brain will recover?! 

    This week I feel I am starting to come through the sickness. I’m back eating dinners now and once I snack regularly I am not gagging (touch wood). I still can’t handle the smell of the fridge – any fridge – and have to hold my breath while searching for items for the kids. This does still set me off and the kitchen sink has become my saviour. I find I am going off food and drinks pretty quickly. 7Up was my best friend for the first few weeks but I can’t stand it now. Perhaps my body knows it won’t be helping the terrible bloating and ****TMI alert****...gas. 

    I am feeling more aware of my tummy and feel a ‘heaviness’ low down. I know my body is telling me baby is there. I haven’t found I need to pee all that much more but when I need to go I do not have the ability to hold it for 4 more hours (working as a doula helps to create a super human bladder - one of the perks!). I am also getting the odd pain, which I am presuming is all the ligaments stretching to accommodate my growing peanut. 

    My oldest boy Seth has been asking me a lot why I am sick all the time. We have decided to tell the kids next week about baby. It is my father-in-law's 60th so we will tell him then, as he has been begging for another grandchild for years and we know he will be thrilled. So close family will know and then perhaps we will start to spread the word. 

    I am unsure how the boys will react. They are both old enough to understand and we hope the gap is big enough they won’t feel shoved out. I will fill you all in next week. How did you tell your other children about your pregnancy?  And how did they react when you did? 

    Until next time...Jen x

    * * * * * 

    Week 9: What Is Happening With Your Baby

    • Your baby is the size of a Grape this week
    • All of baby's essential body parts have formed now. 
    • Your baby's head is beginning to look rounded and there is a clearly defined neck.
    • Your baby's limbs are developing rapidly and you can see clear fingers and toes.
    • Your baby's eyes are fully formed now, but their eyelids are tightly shut (and won't open until 27 weeks). 
    • Your baby's teeth are developing and their heart has divided into 4 chambers 

    Week 9: What might be happening with your body

    • Your hCG levels are at their highest this week - so all the changes to your body that have been happening over the last few weeks can be at their most intense this week (nausea, fatigue, vomiting, frequent urination etc). 
    • Your gums may be softer now with pregnancy hormones - be careful with dental hygiene
    • Those pregnancy hormones can give you lovely skin BUT they can also give you very intense mood swings - so be gentle with yourself and know that these will ease off over the next week or so.
    • Your nose may be very congested - your body often produces more mucus when pregnant, leading to a constantly blocked up nose. 
    • You may be finding it hard to button your trousers or skirts this week as your uterus expands. 

    Week 9: Pregnancy Tip

    You can try the GentleBirth app free for the first week. 

    You can try the GentleBirth app free for the first week. 

    The GentleBirth App is a fantastic tool for pregnancy and birth, with tracks for early pregnancy and mindfulness to help you have a positive pregnancy and birth experience. It's such a  nice way to connect in with your baby throughout your pregnancy. You can try it for free for the first week and there's a fantastic GentleBirth Facebook Group that you can join for support as well (and it's a closed group as you may not want to announce to the world yet that you are pregnant! But to be on the safe side - if you have friends in the group and you don't want them to see you are pregnant yet, you can always join under a fake profile). Get more information on the GentleBirth App

     

     

    Jen' Pregnancy Diary: Week 8

    Our little peanut

    Our little peanut

    So our early scan was amazing. As I mentioned in my previous post,  I had decided for my own piece of mind to get an early scan privately at Merrion Fetal Health Clinic. We saw our little peanut with a perfect fluttering heartbeat. My husband was thrilled that a) there was just one baby and b) there was a normal heartbeat. He feels like he can relax and enjoy everything now. 

    I skipped out of the office and in a way it feels more real now. (I have been having all the clear pregnancy signs but there is something so special about seeing that little baby on the screen :) 

    After much debate and many many phone calls, I have found my care givers. I can attend the Community Midwives Antenatal Clinic in the Rotunda, but for my birth, it will be whatever midwife is on duty. I am happy to go ahead with this as all the evidence shows that women have better outcomes under midwifery led care. In order to attend the Community Midwives in the Rotunda, I must book as a public patient. I attend the antenatal clinic for my first appointment and from there on out, I can receive my care in the community. 

    I am not overly thrilled about the public waiting times but hopefully, it will be just for the one appointment. I also have to wait for this first appointment to request semi private postnatal care (as my health insurance covers semi-private completely even though I have chosen not to go semi for antenatal care)

    My first appointment will be at 14 weeks. This will include a scan, blood test, urine screening and meeting a consultant (whoever is on duty) The hospital has told me to expect this appointment to take around an hour and a half. If you are unsure what your first visit will include you can call your care provider and ask. Don’t be afraid to bother them, this is your special time and they are happy to help. 

    This week I was hit with a tummy bug (or at least I think it was a bug) I spent a full 24 hours unable to hold anything down. It was not pleasant but my husband took care of me and kept everything going with the boys and the house. Again the wonderful DoulaCare team stepped up to ensure our clients were covered. 

    Some care advice for tummy bugs during pregnancy are: 

    Tips for managing Tummy Bugs.png

     

    I had to go out and buy some bigger clothes. I have not put on any weight on the scales but my clothes were uncomfortable as my boobs are bigger and my tummy is bloated. I am living in leggings and baggy tops right now but I’m comfortable at least!

    I am excited to be at the point where I have a bump :) 

    Until next time...Jen x

    Week 8: What is Happening With Your Baby

     

    Your baby is approximately the size of a raspberry this week.

    Your baby is approximately the size of a raspberry this week.

    • Your baby is the size of a raspberry this week

    • Your baby is growing their eyes and ears.

    • Your baby's tail is nearly gone

     

     

     

     

    Week 8: What Might Be Happening With Your Body

    • You may notice your bra has gotten a lot tighter. Your breasts are growing, getting bigger and heavier and may be sore. Your milk producing lobules in your breasts are expanding to get your body ready for breastfeeding. You will probably go up a cup or two by the time your pregnancy is ended (so you will definitely need some new bra's).

    • Yes - you did just fall asleep at your desk and wake up with drool over you!! Fatigue is setting in and you may want to just nap ALL THE TIME!

    • You may still have nausea and morning sickness (why do they call it 'MORNING' sickness! This can strike at any time!) Have a look at our previous blog post for tips on how to manage this.

    • Pregnancy cramps - if they are severe, or you are in any way worried do contact your GP or midwife, but just to reassure you that for many women this is totally normal at this stage of pregnancy as your uterus expands.

     

    Pregnancy Tip: 

    Trying to get an extra nap in during the day can really help with fatigue levels. Even just lying down on the coach for a rest can be useful (as naps may be out of the question especially if there are other children already!). 

     

     

    Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 7

    So I have hit week 7 (I think) I have had to ditch my underwire bras completely as the pain was too much. My boobs have gone up 2 cup sizes already so who knows where they will stop! I am now in the only 34e non-underwire bra I could find in Dunnes during a quick dash between postpartum clients. It’s not pretty but it is way more comfortable. 

    The tiredness has hit me too. I literally feel like I could put my head down on a table and be gone in 1.3 seconds. I sometimes wonder if I could sleep standing up. I have had to pull back on work a little and I am so lucky to have an amazing team of doulas who can step in to cover. In DoulaCare we all work together and there is constant back-up for our clients. I always tell doulas (and the clients we work with) that self-care is so vital. It is so important for a doula to must look after themselves before caring for others. So it is definitely time I actually take my own advice. For now, I am limiting myself to 2 night-shifts a week and ensuring I have at least one full day off to be with my family.

    I have decided to go for an early scan so I am attending the Merrion Fetal Health Clinic on Wednesday and I will have a better idea of dates then. Right now I think our baby is due around the 30th March. For my body that means closer to mid-April as I carried both my previous babies ‘over’. Seth was 40+8 after a painful sweep. Leon was 40+14 after an induction of ARM. Who knows how long they would have stayed in there if left to their own devices LOL!

    Pic: CCO Creative Commons

    Pic: CCO Creative Commons

    There are studies out there that suggest too many ultrasounds are bad for a developing baby, but considering most women only have 2 or 3 scans during pregnancy I have decided to go ahead for my own peace of mind. It is something to consider if you decide to look into early scans. My friend Helen has joked about me having triplets for the past year, and I do feel the universe may feel I could cope as I specialise in supporting families of multiples and premature babies. I, however, am not so sure so I am going in the hope of giving myself peace of mind that there is one little peanut in there! 

    I am excited to let you know how the scan goes. Hopefully, there is a strong little heartbeat and a happy baby in there. Paul is coming with me, which is lovely as I think seeing the baby makes it more real for partners. 

    Until next time...Jen x

    Week 7: What is happening with your Baby

    On Week 7 your baby is the size of a blueberry!

    On Week 7 your baby is the size of a blueberry!

    • Your baby is still an embryo and is about the size of a blueberry this week.

    • The limb buds are developing and look like tiny arms and legs

    • Webbed hands and feet are emerging from these limb buds

    • Your baby has a small tail (an extension of their tailbone) which will disappear in a few weeks.

    • Your baby may be already sucking their thumb.

     

    Week 7: What might be happening to your body

    • You may be experiencing morning sickness (see my post from last week for some tips on how to manage if you are very nauseous)

    • You may have food cravings and/or aversions

    • You may need to pee a lot more even though baby is still tiny - your kidneys are working a lot harder due to increased blood volume in your body.

    • Breakouts of acne

    • Cramping and/or bleeding - it is fairly common for women to feel cramping, and some women will also get some spotting (especially after sex). Do always check in with your GP or midwife if you have any worries about this (always better to be safe than sorry), but it can also be good to know it can be normal.

    • Your breasts may have grown in size (up to a cup size bigger).

    • You may have no symptoms at all at this stage of pregnancy.

    Pregnancy Tip

    • It can help to start your research to choose your care provider at this stage of your pregnancy. Don't just rely on the recommendations of friends and family as their needs could be hugely different from yours. Figure out what you your hopes and expectations are for your birth and talk to a number of different people before deciding on the best path for you.