The Must Have For 2012 – A Homebirth

When my friend first told me she was planning for a homebirth over three and a half years ago, I replied with “well I’m not afraid of hospitals.” NIEVE, hell yes. I had no idea what I was so quickly dismissing. I thought that it was only serious hippy types and people with a hospital fear that actually chose to give birth at home. My friend was neither, she was a paediatrician – she knows what goes on in the maternity ward.

When planning for baby #2 I’d already started finding out more and it dawned on me, there was an even better way if the circumstances were right. Due to various circumstances we didn’t plan a homebirth, it just happened. And well, kinda fell into place on the day (erm mind the pun, although I’d not calling that falling, I still had to do a whole lot of hardworking pushing).

I can admit it now, but I wanted a homebirth so much, at one point I’d convinced myself that I was willing to let the dream go. I’m so pleased that I didn’t need to in the end, that it all happened without the stressy prep – better than I could have ever imagined. Mainly down to the midwife I had and my subconscious determination.

I appreciate that the best way to have a homebirth is to plan it, but don’t write it off if you haven’t. A waterproof picnic blanket and old towels was all we needed. But I guess the most important thing is the right frame of mind.

Any chance I get, I can’t help but rave about how good it was. It’s not just me gloating about the most amazing experience of my life. (cough cough…although it is a little, I still brim with pride now). But mostly it’s because I wish more expectant mothers would get switched onto the idea. This is how birth is meant to be. Not all gowns and hand sanitiser, and polished floors and bed rails.

If you are interested in finding out more, why not pop along to this homebirth support site

The Value of a Good Midwife in Labour

For the last eight weeks I’ve been considering how to say thankyou to the midwife who helped me deliver my son at home in September. I’ve been thinking hard about the words that I could use to show my deep gratitude that would show what her assistance meant to me.

For me and many other mothers world over, giving birth is one of life’s great moments. I can firmly say that giving birth to both of my children naturally were the best days of my life. Giving birth at home tops it all. Still now, having had time to reflect, I am still in awe of that day.

The reality is, it would have never happened that way without Teresa, the experienced midwife on call for the day who guided me through it all. Awesome doesn’t quite capture how brilliant she was. I wish all midwives could be like her; experienced, relaxed, supportive and fun. I could not have ever felt more reassured during my labour.

She didn’t just take care of the physical things like checking the baby and telling me when to move into different positions, she focused a lot on the emotional things and enabled me too off load and get my head straight and focused. I always underestimated this side of labour, but now I know it makes a difference and am sure this is one of the big reasons I was able to labour quickly and smoothly (along with the calmness of being in my own home, and having self confidence and belief in my body’s ability).

The fact that by being at home, I had her full attention all of the time, made an even bigger difference. This for me is a major plus point of a homebirth.

So my message is that we should be valuing good midwifery more in society. Birth can be the most beautiful thing if you have the right environment and support.

And what a way to start a new life!

Natural Homebirth Birth – Did that just happen?!!!

I’m still in shock and awe at what happened yesterday. In fact I can’t sleep for thinking about it and gazing at my little baby Boyo.

It was better than I can have ever imagined, don’t let the world scare you that it’s some horrific experience. I’m not about to launch into my full birth story here, cause that is going to take some proper writing. But I couldn’t wait to share some of the highlights:

A) No intervention

That is nothing, no internal examine till 1pm to check dilation, and he was born just under three hours later. I was only 3cms dilated at the time but the midwife knew it was ramping up super quick.

B) Homebirth

This is the BIG one for me, I really wanted one but it was just too much of a fear challenge for daddy (quite understably many will agree) for him to get his head around until we reached the point of almost no return. The plan was to labour as long as possible at home and then drive to the low risk birth unit at the hospital just some ten minutes away. It all progressed so quick from my examination at 1pm that getting in the car 45 mins later was almost out of the question.

3) Born in the caul

This means that baby was born in the amnionic sack that surrounded him in the uterus. Usually your waters break or the medical team break them for you to help things progress. His head came out in the sack and the midwife tore it open.

4) Full labour was totally natural, including the third stage of delivering the placenta. Soon after giving birth I had the urge to push, so kneeled up and out it popped. Only pain killing was gas and air plus Tens machine.

5) Total physiological third stage labour and delayed cord cutting

This means you don’t cut the cord early, you let all the remaining oxygen coming from mama be absorbed by the baby. It also meant that we didn’t cut the cord until a good few minutes after the placenta had been delivered. A job that daddy did.

6) Partnership with daddy

This time because I had a midwife one on one at home with me, we chose to wait until I was well established in labour before daddy come home to do his job as the birth partner. It worked very well and kept all as calm as could be. By the time he got home I was ready for his support. Never under estimate the importance of a great daddy as a birth partner in the labour process. We made the perfect team and this time I made him work hard. Running up to ‘transition’ I laboured standing up, hugging him and then finally pretty much hanging from around his neck as my legs could no longer support me and I had the urge to push. Our amazing partnership and teamwork ran flawlessly for the rest of the day.

More coming soon from one euphoric nurturing career mama ­čÖé

Just Past Midnight and Another Labour False Alarm

The midnight hour was here, the clock had struck and it was officially my birthday. I was asleep at the time working on some weird complex prego dream, when four minutes past I woke suddenly to feel…ooo ouchie. With the thought of ‘oh puck, you little minky, you wait until now to get this labour show on the road.’ I really did think I was going into labour this time, but fortunately it was another practice run. How many rehearsals is this gonna take? Do I keep flunking my lines that much? I didn’t have this first time around, just a long labour.

I have been comforted by knowing that all this prep is likely to result in a quick a smooth labour when it does happen for real.

Today I am tired, because sleep from midnight to four am was very broken and Babe has had me awake early this morning to nurse. So happy birthday to me, and thankyou to Boyo. Now we just need to keep labour away for the rest of the day.

I feel now that this baby really is coming soon. Just not till past midnight tonight please.

Going For The Water Birth

Impact of a drop of water on a water-surface.

Image via Wikipedia

After extensive discussions and research I’ve settled for aiming to have a natural waterbirth in hospital. If I’m honest, it’s not my first choice, a homebirth is, but with our current circumstances its not something we can realistically consider. Although we do have some emergency supplies just in case things should escalate before we get to the hospital.

I wanted a waterbirth with Babe, but her position was such, that I needed to get out the tub and try other positions. So I part laboured in the water and gave birth on the bed – not ideal, but it was natural and we had tried every other natural birthing position. So this time, I’m aiming to actually deliver in the water.

I’m lucky, we have a good maternity facility at my local hospital with three roomy birth pool suites, complete with CD player and ensuite. The labour care from the midwives is great and they are very good at promoting breastfeeding. The downside is the post natal care, but as they like to kick you out straight away when it’s not your first born, I’m not dwelling on this issue as it’s unlikely to affect me. If I do need to stay overnight I doubt they will bundle me in a room with others because of my sleep apnea and loud snoring. Last time there was no question, I got a room of my own. I’d not want to inflict that on an exhausted new mother and her baby. I made sure to note this in my birth plan just in case. That’s the cool thing, my babies know nothing different than me snorting away in my sleep.

So now I’ve banished those pictures you might of had in your mind of peaceful sleeping mother and baby… there is no peace in my house what ever the time of day.

My TENS machine is ready to go for early labour pain relief, and I was going to pursue the aromatherapy option, with lavender. I heard Jasmine was good, but upon nearly purchasing a bottle, found out how pricey it was – about ┬ú17, ouchie ouch! I quickly told them to put it back.

As for other pain relief, I confess, don’t brandish me too hard with the hippy stick, but I’ve always been a fan of creative visualisation. So I’ve been working hard on some great places to go visit, or things to picture in my mind during contractions. One lady in my active birth class explained that during her last labour she imaged being on a nice caribbean beach with a wonderful caring round faced caribbean lady tending to her. I kind of like that one, might take a trip there myself yet.

Right, so plans are in place, all I need is labour to start.

“I’m ready Boyo, all ready, please finish up in the bathroom and make yourself presentable.”

40 Weeks Pregnant Today

I can’t help feeling a tinge of disappointment as after some great signs of imminent labour yesterday, all has gone very quiet on the “baby a comin” front today. Well I appreciate it’s early days, the middle of the night in fact, but still. Saying that, as I type this sentence another braxton hick makes itself known, but of the gentle kind. Not the back aching, I wonder if this is the start of something amazing kind.

So here we are, at the scan predicted expected due date. I wouldn’t be feeling quite so pissed right now if it wasn’t for how I’d been feeling yesterday. Having intense braxton hicks, real niggly back pain and undergoing a system clear out. I really did wonder if tonight, what with the full moon and everything, might be the night.

Yesterday I also had my full term midwife appointment which went well and she confirmed that baby Boyo’s head is now pretty much all in my pelvis. If I thought I looked like an obese penguin before, now I’ve really got the act down to an art. But no Happy Feet here (great film by the way), just the plop flop waddle poddle, scuttle shuffle of my glum ass moving around the room.

But on the lighter side, although I shouldn’t use the world lighter, as I lie on my side trying to find a comfortable position to resume sleep; I definitely feel like a beached whale. But back to looking up, yesterday’s progression is still great to hear, I guess it was my body training to get me physically and mentally ready for the marathon of labour ahead. At least it prompted me to charge my iPod ready and get the cupboards stocked up with food.

There was also a small part of me that didn’t feel quite mentally ready, I was surprisingly feeling a little apprehension about labour, which I was somewhat taken aback by. Maybe I just needed yesterday to force me to straighten my ducks out, as they had already been neatly placed in a row.

The midwife did offer to help things progress yesterday with a sweep (membrane separation). I declined and I don’t regret that. It’s much too early in the process to start interfering with what my body is trying to naturally get on with. I was surprised she even offered. But she did agree, that it could just irritate things and my body seems to know what it’s doing. We went ahead and scheduled another appointment to review progress in a weeks time and she mentioned that nasty word, ‘induction’. I clenched up at this point, there is no way I’m going to embark on this without consulting a paediatrician first. But she did doubt very much that we will be waiting till next Monday to see each other. So here’s hoping.

39 Weeks Pregnant – Stamina Found

I’ve had a little change of heart, I’m no longer thinking ‘oh my, just get this baby out’.

Maybe I’ve found some patience? Mmm, somehow I doubt that, I am very much of a ‘now’ person.

I think it’s more to do with feeling more comfortable. The desire to throw up at bedtime has gone and┬áthe eating is going better. The fat huge belly┬áthing is no longer getting to me as I’ve become accustomed to being huge, and have less incidents of accidental bump scraping. Plus baby Boyo is no longer beating me up as the lack of space is starting to restrict his movements.

Doesn’t this make a change, I’m not moaning again? It was getting rather boring wasn’t it?

Toddler Update
I’ve got more good news, Babe is less clingy and has been an absolute joy over the last few days. Apart from hacking at the kitchen wall with my hair slide.

She was even proud of her wall art efforts shouting, “mummy come and look at this“. Bless her, she clearly didn’t realise that it was wrong, but after some explaining cutely said to the wall, “so sorry wall, so sorry”. I couldn’t be angry, she didn’t understand. In my view, this was not the time for ‘discipline’. Ok, if she knew it was wrong and had been bloody minded, but she showed immediate remorse when I’d explained how bad it was and it was the first time.

I myself recall an incident when I was a toddler, of toffee hammering the hall wall and painting the dots in. I don’t recall if this was done intentionally to be naughty or just to experiment. I was subsequently locked in my room, where I proceeded with the biggest of tantrums by pulling all the clothes out of my drawers and showering them around the room. While wailing at the top of my voice.

Did it teach me that lesson? Honestly (sorry mum) but I’m not sure it did. I was just isolated and lonely and thinking about that, and less about the terrible wall art I’d just created.

Filling Time
The nice thing about being 39 weeks pregnant is that I’ve got most of the big jobs done and I’m able to focus on what I fancy doing when it comes to cleaning and life organisation. I’ve learnt the lesson of not staying in all day with a toddler and it’s working so much better for he both of us.

As my due date crawls nearer I’m also being sure to schedule activities in advance to look forward to and potentially cancel (wishful thinking). It’s also my birthday next week, so I’m starting to hope that maybe he will come late, like a week late so that he doesn’t rain on my parade. It’s my birthday, MINE. I’m sure in the future he too will appreciate my perspective on this.

At the same time, if he wanted to arrive like now, I’d be cool with that. Our birthdays would still be a week apart. I’ve also refreshed myself on the optimum active birthing positions thanks to going to the local Active Birth class last week. And should labour progress super quick and I accidentally end up having a homebirth I have vitamin┬áK in my fridge ready for the ambulance team to administer to it to baby Boyo. Plus that drug for helping deliver the placenta should I need it, although my plan is for a physiological third stage of labour (to naturally deliver it without stimulation from drugs). I might add, at the other end of the spectrum I’ve also prepared my emergency cesarean birth plan, so every avenue is covered. The plan A though is to labour at home as long as possible and then drive to the low risk birth unit at the local hospital and give birth in the birthing pool.

So keep watching this space.

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