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 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 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 24

So this week I had a full week of postpartum clients and scheduled phone calls to follow up on. I love that I am feeling better in myself and can still be out supporting families. We have a great mix of clients at the moment (with different backgrounds, ages of children and personalities) So no two days are the same and I really enjoy chatting away with each client, catching up on their news and supporting them with the help they need to make life with a new baby that bit less stressful. 

Picture of the Queue in the Rotunda that circulated on social media around the same week I attended

Picture of the Queue in the Rotunda that circulated on social media around the same week I attended

I had my 24 week check up in the Rotunda public clinic, where I was due to speak with their community midwife team to see if they will accept me. I arrived to an unbelievable queue. Not only was the waiting room to check in full but there was a queue of pregnant women standing all down the hall as far as the clinic waiting room. There was at least 40 women ahead of me.... just to check in!! I really was shocked as some of the women were heavily pregnant and struggling to stand in a stuffy corridor. (It was freezing outside so most of us were bundled up too which didn’t help ;) 

Eventually I made my way to the check-in desk and I was told to take a number and I would be called by consultant. I explained I was due to speak with the team and so she told me to find a midwife at the nurses station to chat to. I did find a midwife and I was told very bluntly that there was no appointment for me to plead my case as there was no point. As Leon was 4.53kg they would not accept me. I then asked about the NBAC clinic and I was told their cut off point was 4kg. I was so stunned by this attitude. I questioned why, in a healthy pregnancy I could not have antenatal care in the community, because one of my babies was over their criteria?? She simply said it was out of their scope of practice, which is absurd. All they do is check my pee, my blood pressure and measure my bump. Surely they could do that and if they were concerned about anything I would happily go to the hospital. There was no talking to them. I did ask why I had to wait until 24 weeks to find this out, as when I spoke with the community midwife team, when choosing which hospital to book, they didn’t seem to have a problem at all. Again very unhelpful, I received an 'it is what it is' type answer. 

I was bitterly disappointed. I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry or boil over with rage, not just for me but for all the other pregnant women using this hospital. Women do so much better with midwifery led care and it is such a shame that a previous “big baby” can put a woman who has a healthy baby and pregnancy in every way into high risk for her antenatal care. I sat another hour and a half waiting to be called, fuming over the system and how women are treated. 

When the consultant called me I went in, still bubbling under the surface. He seemed to think that because the baby is a girl she will be smaller and there is no way she will be 10lbs (surely this is not evidence based at all but interesting to hear a total conflict of their reasoning for not allowing me the care I requested) I spoke with him about my options and he did a similar thing explaining ‘hospital policy’ and so forth.  He did say I had a 90% chance of vaginal birth as I laboured well with both boys and reached the second stage with Leon before a caesarean was required. He reassured me that there would be no pressure on me for a caesarean birth and hopefully everything should go as planned. 

I felt a bit better about this at least, but as I have seen time and time again with doula clients – everything is grand until 38 weeks arrive and then the discussions begin about caesarean, risk with VBAC, big baby and so on. We will just have to wait and see what happens. He said he would like to see me again in 4 weeks so I queued again for 15 minutes and asked for an appointment. The lady was so unhelpful. I was asking about times that I could work childcare and she said I would just get the next available slot.

I decided there was no way on Earth I would do that queue every appointment, so I walked over to the semi-private clinic to see would they take me on. The receptionist there was so lovely. She couldn’t have been more accommodating. Booked me in for a date and time that suited me and cancelled my public appointments. She even moved my GTT to the semi private clinic so I could "relax there, as the rooms are much quieter" -  I wanted to hug her! 

So I left feeling deflated but glad to have the public system behind me. I will think about my options over Christmas. I may make a few phone calls to the Coombe and see what is available there. 

Santa Visit.jpg

After a crazy week it was wonderful to get out for the weekend. Paul and I took the kids to Causey Farm Santa Experience. It was really amazing, they made it such a special experience and the kids loved it.  We left feeling very festive and even got a take away as a treat on the way home. We all snuggled up after to watch a movie and I for one so needed this day to just switch off and remember what is important. 

The kids went to Butlers chocolate factory with my mam and her partner on Sunday, which they loved. They came home delighted with their chocolate santas. While they were at that I did a mad dash to Blanchardstown shopping centre to get some Christmas shopping done. My tummy has been a bit sick the last few days so I had to keep stopping for breaks but I got the bulk of it done. 

Baby is moving around lots and you can now see my tummy moving with her. Paul gets a little freaked out by this which I find hilarious - he thinks it’s like an alien LOL. He likes to know she’s moving and doing well but doesn’t want to see it!

Until next time... Jen x

 

Week 24: What Is Happening To Your Baby

Your baby is the size of a cantaloupe melon this week 

Your baby is the size of a cantaloupe melon this week 

  • Your baby is really starting to put on weight and fill out this week and they are about the size of a cantaloupe now. 
  • Their lungs are developing branches in the respiratory tract as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once they are born and start breathing in air. 
  • Your baby's skin is becoming much pinker and less see-through as they develop.
  • Your baby's brain is also growing rapidly now and will continue to develop at a enormous rate over the next few weeks

Week 24: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • If there are any concerns about Gestational Diabetes you will usually have your Glucost Tolerance Test around this week. You can read more about it in our blog post here
  • You may have lots of backache now as your muscles are having to work harder to carry the extra weight. You could try getting some body work done with a physio or osteo, or treat yourself to a nice massage (just make sure the therapist is trained in pregnancy massage and can accommodate you). 
  • Dry eyes can be a symptom some women suffer from in pregnancy. This can be accompanied by irritation and a feeling of grittiness. Talk to your optician about how you can make this less uncomfortable 
  • Some women will suffer from Piles/Haemhorrhoids during their pregnancy - they can be the result of becoming constipated and increasing the amount of fibre and fluids in your diet can help. It can also help to avoid sitting for long periods of time. Talk to your GP if they are severe as you may need some medication to help relieve the pain. 

Week 24: Pregnancy Tip

There is a huge amount of breastfeeding support around Ireland - find out where you can access support before baby arrives 

There is a huge amount of breastfeeding support around Ireland - find out where you can access support before baby arrives 

Are you hoping to breastfeed? If yes start looking around for a good breastfeeding class you can attend. You may find your hospital run these but they can book up fast, and it's really helpful to take a class before baby arrives. It's also useful to find out where your supports are and get in touch with them beforehand as well - this way you will know who to contact if you should need some extra support after. Friends of Breastfeeding offer a Buddy system, whereby a trained Mum will come out and support you in the early days of breastfeeding. It's such a great idea and completely free - so definitely worth booking. Cuidiu have regular breastfeeding support groups around Ireland as well as trained breastfeeding counsellors who are available by phone to provide support and a listening ear. (Both Mary and Jen are Cuidiu Breastfeeding Counsellors). La Leche League also run support groups around Ireland have their Leaders are available to offer breastfeeding support as well. So do make contact and if you can at all once you are on maternity leave, pop into your local group and say hi. Pregnant women are always more than welcome along and it's nice to meet other Mums who are breastfeeding before your baby arrives. 

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 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!).