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 34

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Until next time...Jen x

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What Is Happening With Your Baby: 

 

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

Week 34: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

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

 

Week 34: Pregnancy Tip 

Perineal Massage

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

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

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 33

This week was lovely. Myself and Paul had lots of time together. The kids are bouncing back from the flu and are back in school. Paul ended up on antibiotics for a bad chest infection so was off for his usual 4 day break and then a full week cert. He was very drained and not up to much but we had time together and enjoyed that. 

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

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

Over the weekend we went on our babymoon. Paul was still not 100% so we took it really easy. I went for a lovely pregnancy massage while Paul relaxed in the room. Afterwards we went down for dinner and enjoyed chatting away undisturbed by children, house work or business. It was so lovely. We were back up to the room by 11pm, straight into PJ’s and watched a movie curled up in bed. It was bliss. The next morning we went down for breakfast and went back up to our room for a 40 minute nap before showering and checking out – the life of a rock star LOL!

When we returned home we got great cuddles from the kids and heard all about their fun sleepover with their Granny and Grandad. 

 

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

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

On Tuesday I met up with Kathy from Bump Baby and Me. We both trained as postpartum doulas together a few years ago and clicked right away. We could have chatted all day I think! I am so glad things are slowing down enough for me to catch up with friends again. Her baby Robyn is getting so big and the cuteness nearly made me melt into mush. 

Wednesday saw Valentines Day. I got gorgous home made cards from the kids (always my favourite part of the day!) and Paul and I exchanged cards too. After 13 years together it’s always nice to take the opportunity to share our love for each other, as we don’t always show it with the madness of daily life. We never do expensive gifts. Paul and the kids chose a nice bunch of flowers for me in Lidl which were perfect. Then as an added and very unexpected bonus we went out for an early bird dinner just the two of us. One of our favourite spots is Deep restaurant in Howth. It has lots of choice for me as a vegetarian and all their food is delicious. Paul loves the steak their and their fish and chips too ;)

Paul returned to work after his illness and we kicked back into normal routine. The kids began their mid term so we kept busy with trips out. We went to Fun Galaxy in Ashbourne (which has a play centre and a jump zone) which passed a few hours – I got to do some work on my laptop too so win win! Then the next day we went bowling and the kids also did Quasar in the Plex. 

Over the weekend we plan to go to the Chinese New Year festival in town, which sounds like great fun. Hopefully the kids will enjoy it! I also have my 34 week check up next week in the Rotunda and our second antenatal visit with our doula. I am also eagerly awaiting my first physiotherapy appointment on Tuesday! I will fill you all in then :)

Until next time....Jen xx

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Week 33: What Is Happening  To Your Baby

 

  • Your baby is roughly the size of a pineapple with week 
  • Baby is starting to be able to tell the difference between day and night now. With your expand belly the walls of your uterus are becoming thinner and this allows more light to get to baby. They do tend to sleep more during the day when you are active and wake up and become active at night - when you want to sleep! 
  • This week your baby has their own immune system - a very important step in their development 

 

 

 

 

Week 33: What Might Be Happening To your Body

  • You may find you have aches in your fingers, wrists and hands. This can be the result of the increase in fluid in your body which can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel and pinch nerves which can cause pain or sometimes numbness. If you work at a computer a lot remember to stretch your hands regularly. If the pain is really bad you can wear a splint which can help. 
  • You may have pregnancy insomnia as you try to get comfy in bed or get disturbed with frequent trips to the toilet. Once up and awake many Mums find it hard to get back to sleep. 
  • You may find you are extremely hot at the moment - and we don't mean sexy!!! We are talking about feeling overheated as your metabolic rate has increased. While this is great in the depths of winter, it can be tough in summer. Make sure to keep hydrated which can help. 
  • Your hormones are undergoing massive changes at the moment an this can cause headaches. Again water can help with this discomfort. 

 

 

Week 33: Pregnancy Tip 

It can be helpful to start getting organised for the arrival of baby this week. I know most women have their EDD in their head as the date they need to be ready by, but a normal healthy pregnancy can last anywhere between 37 - 42 weeks, so it could be only 4 weeks before baby makes their appearance. What does getting ready entail? Well first of all just to reassure you there is no need to panic. All a newborn baby really needs is you - while of course a nappy or two can be a help. We already spoke about where to source the baby equipment etc. If you are buying baby clothes and bedding new it's a good idea to wash them beforehand and this can all be done around now. You may need to buy bits and pieces for your hospital bag (and we have a very handy checklist on our website to help with this - you can download it here).  As you start to wind down over the next few weeks, starting to get organised can be actually exciting as baby coming seems more like a reality. Starting now means you won't be stressing out last minute and can gradually get organised and be ready for baby's arrival. 

 

 

 

 

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 30

So this has been another busy week – surprise surprise! 

On Sunday night I woke several times with terrible leg cramps in my right calf. I haven’t experienced them this pregnancy and they were the type that makes you leap up in the bed, rubbing furiously! I had a check up this week with my GP anyway so mentioned them (as it was like I pulled a muscle in my calf and have been limping) She just said it was normal and not to worry.

You should always mention leg cramps with your care provider, as for a small percentage of women there is a risk of developing a clot. This is especially important If they are persistent or if your legs are swollen or  tender in one spot

This week I finalised my birth preferences both for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) and one for a Gentle Caesarean Birth. Both Mim and Mary were so helpful with feedback to keep my language open, while still being firm with my wishes. I have supported so many families with creating their birth preferences but it can be difficult to do your own when the time comes, so feedback from my Doulas was much appreciated. We have written  a really helpful blog post, with tips to help you create yours:  “How to Create Birth Preferences.” 

This week, while writing my birth preferences I began to think about what I would like to do with my placenta. There are many options open to women:

  • Do nothing (the hospital will dispose of it)
  • Bring it home and plant it in the garden under a tree
  • Encapsulate it with a Placenta Encapsulator (preferably one who has been trained with IPEN or some similar self regulatory body which ensure those trained with them operate to certain standards). 
  • Eat it raw in a smoothie
  • Donate it to a search and rescue organisation 

I was debating planting an apple tree with it but thought I would love to do something worth while with it. To me the placenta is such an amazing organ, that was created to keep my baby nourished during pregnancy – so having it  discarded was not a nice thought. On my research I found out that search and rescue dogs need human tissue to be trained. I reached out over email to www.irishsearchdogs.com  and the lovely chairperson Glen got back to me to say they would be delighted to accept my placenta.

He explained that they only need a tiny amount to train each dog and they have found it to be very successful for both land and water. This would hopefully help so many families get comfort in finding their missing loved ones so they could be laid to rest. Thrilled with this prospect I have Paul all set to take it home after birth and freeze it until Glen and his team can come and collect it. I will write after baby is born to let you all know how that went!

A lovely meal out in the Cedar Tree in Dublin 

A lovely meal out in the Cedar Tree in Dublin 

On Thursday Mary came up from Cork to join me at a business meeting for DoulaCare Ireland. It went really well and I am so proud of everything we have achieved so far. We work really well together and I feel our mix of skills and knowledge magnify our talent. After the meeting we had a gorgeous dinner at The Cedar Tree in town. The food was amazing and I would highly recommend it! I had home made lemonade which was delicious and we shared a vegetarian mezze platter of the most gorgeous Lebanese food. We were both starving and tucked in with gusto, the mix of flavours was unreal. Yummy!! We followed it with one of my favourite desserts Baklava. The time flew by and before we knew it we had spent 4 hours there! I dropped Mary back to her mothers (who lives in Dublin) and we made plans for the weekend. . . . . Our DoulaCare Ireland CPD day is finally here! 

I will fill you all in on the next blog.

Until next time....Jen x

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Week 30: What Is Happening  To Your Baby

  • Your baby is the size of a large head of cabbage this week 
  • Your baby's eyesight is still developing (it's still not great right now and won't be even after they are born - it will develop further outside the womb). 
  • The languno they have been covered in (the soft hair covering their body), is beginning to disappear as your baby's brain and fat cells are now capable of regulating their body temperature. 
  • The vernix (the white greasy substance that was covering your baby's skin) is also starting to disappear now. 
  • At 30 weeks your baby's bone marrow is now making their red blood cells. This is a very important step as it means your baby will be more able for life outside the womb when born.

 

Week 30: What Might Be Happening To your Body

  • Some women find they have very intense and strange dreams at this stage of their pregnancy. Perhaps it is a result of all the hormones in your body - we don't really know! 
  • Lots of pregnancy symptoms you thought had disaapreaded for good after you got through the first trimester reappear around this time (such as tiredness, tender breasts and the need to go to the toilet all the time). 
  • You may find you are suffering from shortness of breath as they lungs get squashed by your growing baby who is still high up around your rib cage this week. 
  • Notice your belly getting hard? You are having Warm Up Surges (or Braxton Hicks as they are more commonly known). They tend to happen more often after exercise or when you are tired/dehydrated so make sure to rest and drink water as often as possible. They will go away after rest (and if they don't do let your care provider know) 
  • Your feet may go up a size - this is due to your ligaments relaxing in preparation for pregnancy. You may need to invest in some new shoes as a result! 

Week 30: Pregnancy Tip

During your pregnancy you will have 2 antenatal visits with your doula - who will help you draw up your birth preferences, show your partner comfort measures for your labour and listen to your hopes and fears for your upcoming birth    

During your pregnancy you will have 2 antenatal visits with your doula - who will help you draw up your birth preferences, show your partner comfort measures for your labour and listen to your hopes and fears for your upcoming birth 

 

Have you thought about who is going to support you during your labour? Have you considered hiring a doula for some extra support for you and for your birth partner? A doula is not there to replace your partner but to provide an extra pair of hands and an extra resource while you birth your baby. They can be hugely helpful throughout your pregnancy - someone you know who will be at the end of the phone or just an email away if you need them. Your doula is there to offer evidence based information and support. You will usually have 2 antenatal visits with your doula before baby arrives. These visits will each be approx 2 - 3 hours long and your doula will help you draw up your birth preferences, teasing out why you might want or not want a certain intervention (always once all is well with baby), talk about what you are hoping for in your labour, offer you information and support, show your partner some useful physical comfort measures and offer you reassurance and a listening ear. They can also show you how to use your birth ball, brainstorm about where to set up your early labour nesting room and help you pack your hospital bag (if you are going to have a hospital birth). If you are having a home birth they will often show you how to set up the birthing pool if you are using one. During labour they will be at the end of the phone supporting you and when you need them they will drive over to you or meet you both at the hospital. There they will be a reassuring presence - a familiar face in the busy hospital for you both. While you partner may be happy to be hands on, they may never have attended a birth before whereas your doula will be used to the hospital. Here at DoulaCare Ireland we have a team of doulas to support you and can take the stress out of looking for the perfect match - as we know our doulas intimately we can choose for you (so far we have never been wrong!). Pop us an email - info@doulacare.ie if you think you would like to find out more. Also check out our Instagram account. One of our current birth clients is sharing her story throughout her pregnancy on working with a birth doula and will be doing regular InstaStories which we will be keeping on our favourites for a while.

Top Tips on Writing Birth Preferences

Writing your birth preferences is important to do for a number of reasons:  
1. It gives you time and space to think about what you want for your birth
2. It opens communication between you and your birth support team
3. It helps you to familiarise yourself with hospital policies
4. You have time to compare policies with national guidelines, international guidelines and evidence based research.
5. It gives you a tool to remain in control and make informed decisions
 

Key points when writing your birth preferences

Woman taking notes.jpg

Keep your language open and positive. You have a chance to create the atmosphere you wish to birth in. Positivity is key and opens on a good relationship with your team.

Know your chosen hospitals policies. Each hospital has different policies around key factors in labour and birth. You are free to question these and even change hospital if you feel better suited to a different standard of care.

Know the HSE (national) and international guidelines / best practice / evidence. This is key. If you know what the evidence says then you can make an unbiased informed decision, rather than being swept along with a phrase such as “that’s the way we have always done it here”

Keep it to 10 points, or less. Anything more will negate the things that are important to you.

Don’t bother putting things in that are already policy in your chosen hospital (ie drinking water during labour) Again if you are familiar with your hospitals policies then you can avoid this.

Think about the atmosphere you want to birth in. Would you like the lights dimmed, music playing, limit the number of people in the room etc Or are you happy to have lights on, student midwives and doctors in the room etc?

Be firm on the points that are non negotiable for you once all is OK with baby (i.e. if you absolutely do not want an episotomy and would rather have a natural tear if it came to it). Some decisions need to be made in a split second and having discussions around the really important issues before hand are vital.

Create birth preferences for a Caesarean Birth preferences as well. This is a good idea for all the same reasons that are mentioned here. You can have the discussions, make informed decisions and then ‘park it’ to one side. You have your just in case covered, remaining in control. Then you can shift your focus back to the birth you visualise. It can be on the next page so your focus is not necessarily on this outcome if you are not planning to have an elective Caesarean, but it does mean that if things don't turn out as you had hoped you have something written up to help you create a dialogue with staff. 

Create your birth preferences with your birth partner. This is important as they will be your advocate for the day. Being aware of what you want and why will help them be a better advocate for you. 

Bring multiple copies so you have them for shift changes. Make sure your partner is aware they need to ask the team caring for you to read through them and discuss them with you both. 

Finally knowledge is power as they say - but trust in the process is also important. All the above are important and give you the knowledge to discover what you want for your birth. It gets the discussion out of the way before labour begins, as during labour it's important to park the conscious brain as much as you can. You body and your baby know what to do, they are an awesome team, made to work together. Let your advocate voice your preferences and allow yourself to go with your labour journey.

Here at Doulacare Ireland we will always helps our clients draw up their birth preferences after meeting with their birth doula for an antenatal visit. We listen to what is important for our clients and offer information on evidence based care that will enable them to be aware of what they might want to include in a birth preference sheet. We would always encourage clients to have some birth preferences to facilitate improved communication between clients and staff. 

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!

* * * * * * 

 

 

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 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.