A Midwives Top 5 Birth Tips

Ask A MidwifeTop 5 Tips

1. Pelvis and Positions

When your baby is in an OPTIMUM position – baby’s head is down in your pelvis and baby’s back is running alongside your abdomen. If you are standing up baby is looking/facing your back. When a baby is in this position the smallest part of baby’s head enters the pelvis first and your baby can navigate through the pelvis a lot more efficiently- making your labour and birth quicker and less of a chance of needing intervention.

To assist your baby into this position- there are a few things you can do… Think of the back of your baby’s head is its’ heaviest part and you want that to be swinging to the front of your abdomen, this should help you understand the correct positioning.

• When you sit down/ relax in the evening try and ensure that your pelvis (top part) is tilting forward – it’s sort of like your bum will be sticking out.

• Your knees should also be lower than your pelvis too.

• Birthing balls (blown up correctly) and straddling a chair (so backwards and leaning over the back) are great ways of sitting.

• If you do want to lie down or slouch back in a comfy sofa I would always do so on your side.

• If you do a lot of driving then you can pop a small cushion at the base of your spine to again, help you lean more forward.

These are all tips that you can adopt at any time of your pregnancy. However, it is most important from 36 WEEKS as baby will be entering (getting engaged) into your pelvis at this point. You can continue to adopt these positions in labour to keep baby in this optimum position by leaning FORWARD (on your partner, a wall, leaning on a bed- whatever is in sight) with contractions so the strength of your uterus contracting will also be working to get baby into this optimum position.

Another thing that you can do to make sure that your ball is going to come out that maze quickly is by keeping your pelvis UPRIGHT. Imagine dropping a ball through a pelvis, it’s going to come out the bottom. If you lie that pelvis down then put the ball in there- you no longer have gravity on your side. So another top tip for birth is to stay standing or walking as then gravity will be pulling from the bottom whilst your uterus is pushing from the top. Use the forces of nature to lend you a hand!

2. Protect your space

Lights, camera, no action. If anyone here is anything like me and is slighty, Instagram obsessed then I am sure you are partial to a photograph. Any avid photographers amongst us? But, have you ever noticed the most creative photo opportunity of a loved one, with perfect composition and great lighting. Only to get the camera out and they have moved from a chilled out, natural form to an uncomfortable, stiff pose? I always think of Chandler and Monica here too, Friends fan anyone? The minute the photographer goes to take a photo of the newly, engaged couple, Chandler puts on the most awkward of smiles. Anyway you get the idea.. The camera makes people act weird! Similar situations can occur during labour. It is called the ‘Fear Of Being Observed’ and it makes total sense. If you think about being in a new situation, such as birth then put your friend in the corner, or your mother in law or the postman etc. this is going to change the way you react to your tightenings. Birth is instinctual and primitive. Tightenings can make you want to squat to the floor or lean over on all fours, they are going to make you want to breathe rhythmically and sometimes noisily like you do if you are exercising. Sometimes having extra people in the birth room, such as a friend, mother in law or sometimes even your own mother (depending how close you are I suppose) can alter how you behave and this can effect the hormones in your body.

So this tip would be PROTECT your space. If you are feeling overwhelmed with birth and your surroundings, take yourself into your bathroom as it is often the only place where you can guarantee that you will be on your own for. Just until you have got back in your zone again.

3. DIM LIGHTS.

Having bright lights on decreases your production of melatonin (the night time hormone). This hormone directly works on the uterine muscles assisting them in contracting, so we need dim lights for lots of melatonin to be produced. Also, think of mammals, they always go into a dark space- free from distraction to birth. It is again a primitive instinct as in this environment we would have been free from predators, making a safe birthing environment. Also, most likely the reason why women often go into spontaneous labour in the night time, the darkness indicates the environment is free from predators.

Keep the lights dim in labour, either whilst you are at home or in the hospital.

4. Birth Affirmations

A POSITIVE MINDSET, is something that you will always own in all situations and I encourage you to utilise this to your advantage. Use affirmations to strengthen this mindset every day. Your mindset will be using words like CONFIDENCE, STRENGTH, RELAXED.

I make the right choices for me and my baby.

I breathe for calmness.

I feel confident about birth.

I feel relaxed about birth.

Birth is safe.

I relax my mind and my body follows.

I believe in myself.

I am strong.

I birth without fear.

(Note here that birth is ALL modes: Instrumental births, vaginal births and cesareans)

By following a positive mindset- your body will naturally align with this, without you predicting or planning what will happen.

The more you go over these affirmations and follow this positive mindset- the more your body believes that all is well and will naturally align with this. What I mean by this is there is going to be less adrenaline in your body, which is a hormone that can stop / reduce contractions. If you are feeling calm, relaxed and confident about birth then the OXYTOCIN hormone is going to be released-keeping your contractions effective and therefore reducing the need for intervention.

Your feelings surrounding birth you can control, which can influence your birth for the positive. However, to plan a birth journey, not so much.

5. STRAWS

I bet you’re thinking what has this small bit of drinking equipment got to do with birth??

Well let me tell you this drinking tool goes two fold…

Firstly let’s talk about the less obvious one… I’m going to take you back to a time where you felt a bit nervous about something maybe a presentation at work or an impending exam. The things that we notoriously do to our bodies around this time is hold tension in our shoulders, hands and jaw. Even now sitting here, reading this email be aware of your jaw are you holding tension in it?  What about your shoulders? Roll your shoulders back and down and you may notice that they were tense beforehand. Ever noticed how you clench your fists when feeling stressed? Our body is connected all the way down- if we are holding tension in our jaw, hands and shoulders then the rest of our muscles in our body hold tension as our body feels as if it is under stress. If you then apply this to your cervix.. a cervix that is tense will not open as readily as one that is relaxed. Which leads me onto a STRAW… when you drink a drink through a straw your jaw is relaxed. You try drinking through a straw with a tense jaw.. it is impossible!! Therefore, with the same rule applying- if your jaw is relaxed then the rest of your body is going to follow suit, meaning that your cervix will be relaxed enough to open efficiently. You can apply this same method to your palms, ask your birth partner to stroke your palms to encourage them to remain open and relaxed. Also, to your shoulders, having your birth partner pop his hands on your shoulders and reminding you to relax them will have the same effect. An extra bonus of both these too is that TOUCH increases the birth hormone OXYTOCIN, which again will encourage contractions.

This same method can and should be used in all birth situations. If you are having a cesarean, it may not be as important what your cervix is doing, however, you are still going to want to be feeling relaxed and calm during the cesarean and when meeting your baby. Get your partner to pop his hands on your shoulders whilst the spinal anaesthetic is going into your back, ask him to hold your hands and stroke your palms during the cesarean. Get that oxytocin flowing at this point, it helps greatly post birth with breastfeeding and bonding with your baby. PLUS it makes you feel good.

Second point of the straw is HYDRATION. Your uterus is a muscle. Think about going to the gym to body bump or HIIT and not bringing your water bottle… ludicrous!! It’s exactly the same as in labour, your uterus contracting requires fluid to work effectively.

Nb. Get yourself a recyclable straw then you’ll be helping your birth and the environment all at the same time.

So that’s a wrap for your 5 POSITIVE BIRTH tips.

For more tips for pregnancy and birth and the fourth trimester come to antenatal class or hypnobirthing.

I had big plans…

Pregnancy

I had big plans for this pregnancy with it being my last. I was going to spend my days in flouncy dresses, drinking green juices and doing yoga 3 times a week. But, that was far from the reality. I couldn’t bare to cook, the smell of meat would make me vom. The kids lived off anything that could go in the oven for 12 weeks and I went through loaves and jars of buttery, marmite on toast. Nothing veg-like entered my mouth and the only shade of green I saw was the colour of my face after I tried yoga the once. Doing the sun salutation was like being on the worlds windiest rollercoaster (and I’ve never liked rollercoaster.)

It all kicked off about 8 weeks, the week before I booked a scan at Early Life Ultrasound as I felt NOTHING. Not a single pregnancy symptom. Not a tingley nipple, no nausea, no bloodhound nose… Zilch. 8 weeks from the moment you pee on the stick to the NHS scan is a looong ass time to wait to know that all is ok. So off I went to my scan, feeling all the sickness by this point. Nancy played with all the toys in the waiting room whilst I sat and flicked through pregnancy magazines. Moments later we got called in and there was my 4th little nugget on the screen. Heart rate flickering away. It was awesome. This grey little smudge on the screen that was in 9months time going to be part of the Kitt- Holden crew. I got my photos and then went off for lunch. I’m so glad I have these photos because the day of my NHS 12 week scan, turmoil broke out. Rob went to work with the car AND with my wallet in it. I scraped the house to get pennies for the bus then walked the rest of the way to the hospital with 3 kids in tow. Was so dehydrated because of the marathon walk in the heat that there was nothing in my bladder for the scan so had to wait for my bladder to fill drowning myself in water in the waiting room. I then didn’t have enough money for the scan photos either. Was one of those epic fail moments… no not moments, days. So no 12 week photos for this baby.

I’m the worst at keeping secrets, more so my own exciting ones. But the crazy intuition of midwives is second to none in guessing who’s pregnant. I remember telling one midwife at work that I’d managed to sleep all day before a night shift… she immediately thought, pregnant! Plus when you’re heard vomiting in the toilet no one suspects a bug. A baby is far more suspected amongst the midwives.

I would be sick whilst getting in the car, sick when getting out of bed, sick whilst entering the house from a day out. My fave place for those months was in the safety of my own home or better still, bed, where no one could see. It can be a pretty lonely place! I ate what made me feel better, I took a back seat at life and I did not feel guilty about it.

Being now 18weeks, I’m back to my coffee/tea drinking self and feeling a lot more normal. I’m still holding on to my green juice/yoga plans… watch this space. Although, I’m four pregnancies in and I’m still waiting for that glow. Second trimester you owe me…

Pregnancy- The happiest reason to feel like crap.

‘We were meant to go to Birdland..’

Birth StoriesThe Great British Birth Off

11th August 2018. My due date and the date my precious boy arrived into the world. I hadn’t slept much because his movements had changed and I was worrying, so at 8am I rang triage who asked me to come in to be monitored. We very nearly didn’t take the hospital bags as I was so sure I would be sent home, and anyway, we had plans to go to Birdland!

We arrived at Gloucester, I was monitored and told everything was fine so we were just waiting to be told we could go home. The doctor came in to chat and said she wanted to examine me, I was 1-2cm dilated and she could feel baby’s head. So she said we might as well get things moving! We were in complete shock. I immediately needed a nervous poo! I rang my Mum straight away to tell her! I’d been quite chilled towards labour throughout pregnancy, I just think it’s the type of person I am, but this was further backed up from my ante natal classes with Beth at the Bump to Baby Chapter, I started looking forward to labour!

I was wheeled through to delivery suite and was given a pessary. I had a good idea of the induction process because of my ante classes and was fully aware it would probably involve a lot of waiting around, something I wasn’t overly filled with joy about. However, that was not the way it was going to go for me. Within seconds I started contracting. Similar to Braxton Hicks which I had had throughout pregnancy, so I didn’t think too much to begin with. But they didn’t let up, and started getting more frequent and more painful. I remember being told about the pain in labour, and that you needed to concentrate on the breaks between contractions. Well when you’re having seven contractions in ten minutes, there isn’t much of a break! My body didn’t react well to the pain, and I was sick, hot, high heart rate and I had diarrhoea – which I wasn’t too bothered about, better to have a clear out now! Baby wasn’t too much of a fan of the pessary either so they decided to take it out after a while and I had my waters broken. I was given something to slow down the contractions and I was put on fluids for my heart rate. I also had gas and air. Gas and air, for me, really didn’t do much at all, if anything it was something to do and focus on during the contraction and it was also the sign for my husband Rich to start rubbing my back! Once my contractions had slowed down to four every ten minutes, things were great. I knew I could do this! Due to the fluids, I started needing the toilet quite regularly, and the diarrhoea continued. I’ll never forget the image of me on the toilet while my husband was holding my fluid bag! Not once did he ever question it, just gave me love and reassurance. At some point, I decided that I couldn’t be bothered to keep going to the toilet to wee, so I just kept weeing the bed! and to think I was worried about pooing on the bed. When you’re in labour, you just don’t care. I remember apologising to my midwife Louise, but it was a half hearted apology because I knew what I was doing ha!

Anyway, contractions were slower – still painful, but manageable so I asked Rich to put on the gymnastics followed by the athletics. Not what I thought I would be doing during labour at all, but it was great. I loved watching the GB team win the men and women’s 4x100m relays! It was coming up to four hours after my waters had been broken, so I was due to be examined. I asked for more pain relief and said I wanted it no matter how many cm I was dialated. I had diamorphine and again, I don’t think it did much for me, just made my head very woozy! Louise examined me and laughed and said I was 9cm. Both Rich and I laughed, 9cm, how!?? Active labour started at 4cm and I had by passed that without even realising! I knew it wouldn’t be long before I needed to start pushing. I was very fortunate that I had a good friend as my midwife, and then Beth joined us for delivery. I’d been kind of hoping for at least one of them during labour, but to end up with both was amazing! I trusted everything they said, and was able to have a joke and laugh with them. Something I didn’t expect to be doing just as I was about to push!

Pushing, for me, was hard. I’m someone who likes to know exactly what’s what. I think if someone could have said ‘you’ll have 20 contractions then baby will be here’, I would have found it easier. It doesn’t quite work like that though. There were parts when I didn’t think I could do it, when I didn’t think I was getting anywhere. But I was, every contraction meant I was getting closer to meeting my little boy, and Rich, Louise and Beth gave me encouragement throughout. I do remember thinking (I may have even said) that they were lying when they said I was close now. Ha! But they were right, I was getting closer. Rich put on my Disney/Greatest Showman playlist while I was pushing and that definitely helped too! At some point a sanitary towel also appeared on my head too as I was getting hot. Like I said before, you don’t care about anything during labour!

Baby’s heart rate wasn’t very happy and so Louise said we needed to get baby here sooner rather than later, the way she said it, I knew she was being serious but at the same time I didn’t feel panicked at all. She told me that if she cut me she thought there was a 90% chance it would work. I didn’t really care by the point and didn’t hesitate in saying to do it. I wasn’t aware of being cut either. However I still couldn’t get baby’s head out, so they called in a doctor who said they would give me one more contraction on my own before they used a ventouse. I made them promise that there were only three contractions left. One on my own, one with the ventouse and then one for the rest of baby’s body. She promised. It seemed to be exactly what I needed, and that final push on my own was the push that did it! The head was out. It was the weirdest but greatest feeling ever. I waited for my final contraction and started pushing, Louise told me to open my eyes as I pushed and I watched my baby enter the world. Crying before he was even fully out. Sebastian Matthew John was born to Tightrope from Greatest Showman and a song from Moana. After that nothing else mattered apart from my little boy in my arms.

I look back on my birth experience, and I can honestly say I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the seven contractions every ten minutes as I think it made me handle the rest of labour easier. I enjoyed the athletics. I enjoyed the music playlist. I even enjoyed the pain. And I enjoyed the company I had throughout, Ellie my first midwife, Louise my friend and second midwife. Beth, who I’m sure did lots of important things but I only remember her taking some amazing photos! (that sanitary towel was on my head for a long time after birth!!) and of course my husband Rich who was amazing throughout.  I smiled, I laughed and I got to meet my little boy. A pretty perfect day if you ask me!

What you can do to reduce vaginal tears in birth?

Ask A MidwifePregnancyTop 5 Tips

Ok ok I get it.. it’s not the most nicest of subjects to talk about and I’m sure you’re all crossing your legs as you read this 😵. But rather than focusing on how horrid this may be or worse still sticking your head in the sand, start thinking about what YOU are going to do about it!!! Because there’s lots of things that have been shown to lessen the tear, and with around 90% of first time mums having a tear that needs sutures, the more you know the more you can do to help reduce them. Knowledge is power after all. One of the biggest fears expectant mamas have about birth is vaginal tears so I thought I’d do a post on a few things that can be done to lessen the tear (number 6. is one that you can do from 34weeks pregnant.)

1. A warm compress. Having a midwife support the area with a warm compress can reduce tears.

2. Position. Pushing on your left side, all fours or semi- recumbent have been shown to have the lesser tears.

3. Communication- Blow and don’t push when the midwife says. This is so baby’s head can be born SLOWLY.

4. Hands on approach. Having a midwife support your perineum again, especially with a warm compress.

5. Did I mention…

S-L-O-W-L-Y

6. Perineal massage- Massaging the perineum with your thumbs (or getting your partner to do it) from 34 weeks with some olive oil has been shown to lessen any tears in first time mums by 10%.

These tips are all evidence based guidelines from the RCM or from an a midwife Julie Frolich who made a care bundle which has been shown to reduce tears.

If we’re talking about tears then we need to talk about recovery and healing.

1. Change your pads regularly to reduce infection.

2. Stay hydrated. It’s concentrated urine that may sting your stitches.

3. A high fibre diet will help with that first post natal poo. That’s dates, prunes, bran, fruit and veg.

4. Tea tree in the bath can aid healing. Other than that you can wash as normal but don’t use soap on the area. And pat dry.

5. Arnica tablets can help with bruising in that area regardless of if you have a tear. Have a look in your local health shop for arnica tablets to take during labour and post birth.

Any questions…? Please comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Suzy’s Cesarean Birth

Birth StoriesUncategorized

So having been told early on in pregnancy that I would need a c section as I had Placenta Previa (placenta blocking cervix) to then be told at 30wks my placenta had moved and you can have a normal delivery… left me absolutely crapping myself as it isn’t what I had been preparing for and all the uncertainties that came with it!

Then I was told about Hypnobirthing… decided to book on a course that was relaxed, informative and empowering… I came away with more confidence that I can handle labour. Not to mention meeting some lovely people to share the journey with.

Turns out on the last scan they found unusually large fetal blood vessels all over my placenta (Vasa Previa) that could tear during labour meaning you and your baby could lose a lot of blood and would end up being rushed to have an emergency c section, where neither I nor my partner would witness the birth of our first child (as in this situation a general anaesthetic would be necessary).

So I took control and requested a planned c section. I had an amazing little boy through a calm and magical experience 😍 … someone said, so you didn’t need the hypnobirthing skills after all?

Wrong, very wrong!

I used them several times:

• When being made to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, lowering myself on to the toilet, getting myself off the toilet and back into bed – not at all easy the day after major surgery!

• Then I also needed them again after having far too many pain killer tablets over a week (too much information coming up!) which basically blocks you up badly… I felt like I’d given birth 3 times before it all returned to normal! 💩😬😱

• Throughout my recovery after coming off the blocking pills! I used them, getting in and out of bed and on and off the floor when you are sore… you need to breathe through all of that.

I also made a lovely group of friends and now meet up regularly with all our little ones, as well as having that all important out reach text group – when your baby is going through something like constipation or colic or you want to compare explosive poops 💩!

Birth at home on the toilet- Not quite the birth planned

Birth StoriesThe Great British Birth Off

After experiencing 2 births, I can safely say that it rarely goes according to our imaginary plan or so we believe when we reflect on it later on. Some plan a free-medical pain relief option and end up with emergency C-section, others elect to have a home birth but have to be rushed to the hospital for health reasons.

With this in mind, I drew a birth plan for my second baby with a few options marked in. My main point was to stay comfortable so all options remained on the table.

I still prepared myself for the birth unit, practising yoga and religiously listening to my hypnobirthing track. I visualised almost to perfection how I would deliver the baby myself in the warmth of the pool surrounded by professional midwives and my husband (OK he was in one corner of the room, just like the first birth).

Little did I know…

In a nutshell, this is how it went: I gave birth to our second daughter in the ensuite bathroom, without any kind of medical pain-relief (no not even a paracetamol). Child number 1 was fast asleep in her bedroom. My husband being downstairs to call 999 (he had the nerve to ask me ‘who should he call?’ while the head was crowning… Ghostbusters maybe?).

When I talk about my unexpected home birth to people I always feel stupid with the following remarks:

‘Did you not notice you were in labour?’ Yes I knew.

’Why didn’t you go sooner to the hospital?’ Contractions every 5-10 minutes, and I live 10 minutes away.

‘Were you not in pain? It only became unbearable 15 minutes before birth, by that time the only reasonable thing to do was to stay home.

I thought that as long as my daughter was in the house, I wouldn’t believe it would actually happen. But my body/mind interpreted it differently: She is in a safe place so bring it on.

I strongly believe hypnobirthing brought me comfortably up to the pushing phase. I’m not gonna lie, when it was game on I was dreaming of an epidural. Weirdly enough, I think my body knew. I installed a maternity mat on the bathroom floor and thoroughly washed my hands an hour prior to fun time.

Tip for any future second time mummy: Get rid of child number 1 after a few contractions in a row (Mum of the Year Award anyone?).

The community midwife who arrived 20 minutes after birth managed to diffuse the touch of drama that was going on in my head. She asked to have a look at my birth plan, I laughed and enquired why as I clearly didn’t follow it. She went through it point by point and made me realise that if you twist things a little bit, you always nail your birth plan.

OK I didn’t plan to stain the carpet with blood. Yes having strangers (paramedics) looking at my fresh-from-birth-vagina is not what I had in my mind. Nor panicking the neighbours (two of them pregnant at the time) in the early morning with the ambulance (thank god to paramedic who prevented anyone to go inside the house…see point about strangers and my vagina). Finally, I certainly didn’t plan that baby’s first trip in the car seat would be in the ambulance going TO the hospital. But I did plan for a calm, comfortable, straight forward birth, which was exactly what it turned out to be.

My husband said that he curiously enjoyed it more than birth 1: It was quick and he was the most useful person in the house, organising ambulance, midwife, babysitter, throwing towels at me to warm the baby, and cleaning the whole room!!

If only I could have photographed his face when he found me sat on the toilet holding a baby, priceless!

So if you ever find yourself in this situation, at home or elsewhere that isn’t a hospital, keep this in mind: If it goes that quick, it means it’s all fine! (That’s not from me, it’s from the pediatrician!)

Happy Mothers Day to you Mothers and Mothers-to-be…

Uncategorized

Today is a day where I always reflect on my own childhood and my own Mum. I was really lucky that my Mum was always around, always at home, always there to pick me up from school. This is something that she continues to do for me as a Mother myself. If I’m having a tiring day with my 3 she’s always there with a box full of toys and a hot brew and some cake for me. She’s reliable, always present and always there.

Before I had children I use to think of how I would be with my family, although my life now is not exactly how I had imagined being a Mum. I work long days in the hospital so can be away from my children from 7 am in the morning till 8pm at night, often missing them wake up and go to bed all in one day.  I’m also not half as glamorous as I’d always imagined when picturing myself with my brood! A far cry from the kind of Mother that I had whilst growing up. I think one thing that all mothers have in common is that GUILT (something that you don’t prepare for from antenatal class!) That awful feeling that creeps up from your stomach when you feel torn between breast and bottle, a night out with friends, leaving for work. That feeling of not quite being enough or giving enough to your family.

What I find most interesting from looking back on my own childhood is how oblivious I was to my mother feeling like this. Never once did I think.. I wish my Mummy spent more time with me… I wish my Mummy had more more money or worked more or gave me more organic vegetables! etc. Yet, I know for sure now that my Mum, like the rest of us had that guilt feeling creeping into her days. I look back to my Mum with the upmost respect and admiration that she gave, and continues to, give so much of her life to her children. The point I am trying to make is that the way we see our days with our babies, toddlers and children is so different to the way they see it. When I am at work, my children spend time with their grandparents, something that I know they love. They are accepting of the fact that I work and have never questioned my working hours, something that I fail to remember when I check on them in the morning, tucked up in bed before I walk out the door.

Today of all days, us mothers and mums-to-be need to remember that we are enough and most importantly to the world we are Mothers, but to our family we are the world.

Happy Mothers Day 🙂

Love Beth

x

The big Q… How do I get my baby to sleep?

Uncategorized

Top 5 Tips for guiding baby into good sleep habits:

• 1: My first tip would be swaddling! Sometimes, we try swaddling and baby gets cross and we think “My baby hates to be swaddled!”- For a few, this will be true. Actually it’s what you do after you swaddle, that all add up to help baby feel comforted. I’m a fan of Dr. Harvey Karp’s Five S’s:
1. Swaddle (safely)
2. Side (Hold baby in you arms so they are on their sides)
3. Shush (Shushing Noises)
4. Swing (I kind of do this controlled jiggly motion, key here is motion!)
5. Suck (If baby has a dummy)

((Nb. Never put your baby down to sleep on his/her side. Baby always led on back to comply with safe sleep guidelines)

I find following these helps get that swaddle hater, loving it! It only takes a few minutes following these steps (you may need to play around with how you find your personal approach) before you can lay them down and the security of the swaddle stops that startle reflex from waking them up and getting themselves all upset!

• 2: I love white noise. Ewan can be great but has a timed limit of around 20 minutes which no doubt turns itself off at the crucial moment! You can get some fairly cheap little gadgets on Amazon, they are portable and great from encouraging a ‘positive sleep association’ helping baby nap on the go.

• 3: Schedules. I know this seems a CRAZY notion when you are in the thick of the early days- and that’s okay. We absolutely do not need to be instilling strict schedules and getting panicked when things inevitably veer off track. Practicing little bits of routine as early as possible will help you feel a little more in control of the craziness, and be great practise for when baby is getting a little older and you are ready to start following a more firm schedule. Keeping an eye on how naps and feeds are going will help you identify if there’s anything at play later down the line. When I talk about schedules, we must remember to be flexible and relaxed with the idea… we are talking babies after all!

• 4: Remember that your baby is NOT a bad sleeper. They are a baby- and they are sleeping like one! Don’t get caught up with the implications that your baby should be sleeping through the night by week 8 or some such nonsense- Some babes are just naturally awesome sleepers who will do, and that’s okay so long as its baby led. And that’s the true key here, being baby led. We can tweak and guide but getting good sleep is not about withholding feeds from a hungry baby, ignoring them when they are communicating with you, or comparing them to your friend’s children etc. Each baby is so different and will reach that milestone in their own time. They all end up in the same place- sleeping through eventually! They just all get there on slightly different paths… and sometimes that path is super wiggly and exhausting, but is temporary and it will pass! Surround yourself with a good support network so you aren’t facing this tough bit of parenting alone.

• 5: Dream feeds. I wanted to use no.5 to talk about the importance of enjoying your tiny baby and how you being relaxed and connected with them will be conducive to helping them feel safe and secure to sleep well, but I think you guys will know this and so I’ll quickly touch on dream feeds. It has long been ‘standard practise’ to introduce dream feeds in the earlier half of the night, but we know that babies sleep best during this time and whilst offering milk might seem like a logical way to have them sleeping longer overnight actually we are interrupting their natural sleep cycle by doing so and setting of their digestive system (same goes for the myth of ‘feeding them up’ before bed- sleeping on a stretched fully tummy won’t give you a good night’s sleep) You may also find it is hard getting any milk into them at this dream feed, that they keep falling asleep or they are then irritable afterwards and hard to put down. Letting them wake naturally- I stop waking newborns and allow them to self-regulate night feedings once they have regained their birth weight and maintained (or gained) for two weeks after.

These top tips were written my Mother, Fern who is also a Maternity Night Nanny at Smooth Start Nanny Services. She provides care and support to tired parents across Gloucestershire.

Gemma’s Birth Story

Birth StoriesThe Great British Birth Off

You finally get the positive test and after the initial anxiety of getting to that 12 week scan has passed, thoughts turn to labour, or at least they do for most people. Me? I figured there was no point worrying about it – I would deal with it when I had to!

As time progressed, people started to ask me if i was nervous or scared, and of course lots of people started divulging their horror birth stories to me, whether I’d asked to hear it or not! At that point I decided it was time to get my butt in gear and start finding out what I was going to do about this labour thing. So I got us booked into the Bump to Baby antenatal classes, bought some positive hypnobirthing books and started to make a plan of action. I quickly decided I was going to be one of these boss mums who serenely breathed their baby out while in pool with plinky plunky music on in the background. Obviously. So when my consultant told me they would admit me to hospital and induce me bang on 40 weeks (due to my blood clotting disorder) I was absolutely devastated. I felt utterly out of control and all the lovely natural birth plans I had disappeared.

After a few days of holding a spectacular pity party, I decided it was time to pull my (seriously enormous) big girl pants up, and take all the great info we’d learned at the antenatal classes and make up a new birth preference. We’d learned all about boosting the all important oxytocin while in an unfamiliar environment and also not to be afraid to ask questions so I spoke to the consultant and asked that we delay the induction by just a few days to give my baby one last chance to make his or her own way. He agreed, and although I only had 3 extra days, it really gave me back a sense of control.

Sadly, despite endless frantic hours bouncing on the birthing ball like a mad woman, my baby was in no rush so on the morning of the 28th September we dutifully trundled into GRH, all ready for the inevitable 3 day long induction process I’d heard so much about.

I was examined and, at 2cm already (how secretly thrilled was I?) my first pessary was inserted at 1pm. After we were allowed to get up, hubby and I went on a 2.5 hour long waddle around the hospital grounds in the hope it would help speed things up. I needn’t have bothered really as within an hour I was feeling some discomfort and by the time we returned to the labor ward I was contracting regularly. By 10pm I was contracting every 2-3 minutes for 40-60 seconds and I was scared. Surely this was too much too quickly? Inductions were meant take days weren’t they? I was still 2cm (smug feeling from earlier now gone) and I was beginning to think I’d massively over estimated my pain tolerance. How on earth was I going to manage another 8+ hours of this? To add to my ever growing panic, the midwives were also telling me Alex would have to go home as men aren’t allowed on the ward overnight. How would I cope without my rock? Oxytocin had left the building and I was struggling.

Thankfully we managed to keep Alex there for another couple of hours and as I gladly accepted the offer of pethidine, I was told at now 3cm dilated, we could go down to the delivery suite. Hooray!!! Once wheeled down and settled in, Alex quickly got to work putting my affirmation bunting up and getting out our battery operated candles. I had my waters broken and then the fun really started! Within half an hour I was seriously contemplating an epidural – something I swore I’d never have but I was really doubting I could cope with much more. The midwife suggested gas and air which despite being quite nervous about trying, I found to be brilliant. With Alex and the midwife cheering me on, I soon found myself wanting to push at the end of each contraction. It wasn’t until the midwife brought it up that I even realised I was doing it and at that point I completely panicked – why was I trying to push at 3cm?? I’m sure I was told to trust my body during labour but at this point my body didn’t seem to know what it was doing, or so I thought. The midwife didn’t seem overly concerned but after an hour of increasingly more urges to push, she decided to examine me and I heard the words every desperate labouring woman wants to hear: “You’re at 9cm!”. Hallelujah! The midwife admittedly seemed as shocked as me and all of a sudden the room sprung into action. Other midwives appeared, the tray came out and the gas and air went away so I could really start to put all my energy into pushing. After a good half an hour of pushing and despite all my visualisations of my vagina opening up like a lotus flower (ha ha!!), nothing was happening and the team were starting to get worried about my baby’s heart rate which was distinctly elevated. A clip was put on baby’s head to monitor the heart better and the decision was made to call in a doctor.

The next few minutes passed in a blur, and before I knew it, the midwife was explaining that as my baby’s heart rate was elevated they wanted baby out double quick so they were preparing to give me an episiotomy. Prior to going into labour this would have been a horrifying thought, but I just wanted my baby here safely. I calmly consented to the episiotomy and the doctor acted quickly. Once the cut had been made I was urged on by the midwives and my husband – a few more pushes and we’d finally find out whether we’d got a girl or a boy!

That last stage of pushing was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I literally had nothing else to give and at one point I thought my head would explode before this baby came out! I remember Alex saying he could see the head and the midwife getting me to feel it. That meant my baby was so nearly here! I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and re-grouped. I’d doubted myself all the way through this but I knew now could do it, the end was in sight. A few more pushes and the infamous ring of fire sensation hit. I know it’s meant to be really unpleasant but for me it was a reassuring sensation, it meant the head was right there! At 3:40am we welcomed our baby girl, Eloise, to the world. She was here and I’d survived!! We managed to have a little skin to skin but unfortunately her breathing wasn’t great and after a few checks it was decided she needed to go to the NICU for further treatment. It turned out she had fluid on her lungs and an infection but responded really well to treatment and the following day she was out of the NICU and back with me on the ward, where we stayed for another 4 days.

My labour story was like nothing I ever imagined and I don’t think I did any of the things on my birth plan! To top it off I don’t think I ever considered how physically demanding it would be! Sounds ludicrous to say that out loud but at the end I really felt like I’d run two marathons back to back. In flip flops. On sand. I wasn’t prepared for the level of exhaustion that inevitably followed. I learned that I should trust more in my body (it really does know what it’s doing!) and trust less in other people’s stories. I’m so glad I attended the antenatal classes because despite being scared at times, I understood everything that needed to happen and felt comfortable with the decisions we made. The only thing I would do next time that I didn’t do this time is attend an actual hypnobirthing course, to really cement my belief. Oh, and maybe work out more so that I’m fitter for the marathon that is labour!!

I am incredibly proud of myself and my husband, we were a total team and he really showed how much he’d taken on board from attending the antenatal classes, which was so reassuring for me. We’ve stayed in touch with all the couples we met at the antenatal group and they have become firm friends and a source of comfort and support during those sleepless nights! Labour was an epic ride and I can honestly say I can’t wait to do it again!

Snowed in in labour

Uncategorized

I’m sitting here looking outside to the blizzard that surrounds my house. With the trouble that many of the midwives are having getting into hospital to work it makes you think what about the ladies in labour?? Being snowed in in labour is something we failed to cover in antenatal class!

The question on any full term mothers lips right now is….

What happens if I go into labour in the snow???

Here’s a basic run down…

Ask around now for friends or family who own a 4×4 if they will be on stand by to take you in. And ask them to be prepared for a night call.

If you think it’s safe to drive, park your car at the bottom of the drive or on the main road where it will be easier to get out.

If you think your going into labour then call your place of birth/triage or in Gloucester the maternity advice line.

Pack extra towels and blankets in the car, have a full tank of petrol for the heater, and keep both phones charged. If baby is going to be born in the car then pull over and call for help. When baby is born, dry baby put baby against your skin with a baby hat on and cover you both with towels and blankets until the paramedics arrive.

But ultimately…

If it’s not deemed safe to drive due to the weather then phone an ambulance to come to you at home. It would be safer to have a baby at home than stuck in the snow in the car on a country road somewhere.

Who would have thought this would be on the agenda for Spring babies!

Stay safe and keep warm!

X

  • 1
  • 2
  • 7

Newsletter

Social Media

#104 - An access token is required to request this resource. Here are some possible solutions to fix the error.
TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100