Pregnancy Diary: 28 weeks

Today I am 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant.
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Apparently baby now weighs just over 1kg and will turn it’s head if it sees a bright light shining continuously…fun with a torch and the kids to be had I think!

I was due to have my anti D injection this week but there had been an error and it wasn’t at the surgery so I’ve got the pleasure of that next week instead now(!) I did talk my midwife’s ear off though about all sorts of things birth related. She is so lovely and we get on really well, I’m so hoping she’s on call when I do go into labour.

Other than that, all is well. My acid reflux is under control as long as I avoid tomatoes and too much sugar and my SPD is okish. I’m going to self refer for physio so I’m hoping they might give me a stretchy band like they did last time! I am starting to feel heavier and more tired though. Third trimester is definitely kicking in, I do feel like a bit of a wally for getting out of breath from going upstairs though!

Anyway, enough rambling. That’s me on bump related rambling for the week. Over and out!

Pregnancy Diary: 27 weeks

Today I am 27 weeks and 5 days pregnant.
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Baby is apparently approximately 36cm long and according to Baby Centre  some experts think that at this gestation babies begin to dream! I’ve never read that before and find it simply amazing, what one earth would they dream about?! Incredible.

I’m nearing the end of my second trimester and am starting to feel the slowing down that comes with the third and final trimester. I’m getting out of breath easier and feeling more tired even after getting a decent amount of sleep at night. I’m not particularly bothered by either of these symptoms but am experiencing a third which is I’m definitely not enjoying. For the last few days I’ve had really painful ankles and tops of my feet. They’re not swollen but just feels like I’ve walked 10 miles around Dartmoor. I know it could be so much worse but I’m used to being on my feet most of the day and am struggling with the concept of having to sit down a bit more!

Other than that, we’re all fine and dandy, Isaac and Sophia are talking about the baby on an almost daily basis and definitely looking forward to the arrival of their new sibling. February seems like an age away but with both their birthday’s and Christmas before hand, I reckon it’ll be here before we know it. I don’t think I’ve much else to say this week, just wanted to mark the end of the second trimester on here to keep up with my documenting of this pregnancy.

 

 

 

On birthing at home

One of the first things I said to Dan after finding out that we were expecting baby number three was ‘I can finally have a homebirth’! He laughed and said he’d been just waiting for me to announce this. I am really excited by our plans to birth at home and hope that all goes smoothly to make this plan a reality. I’ve talked a little bit about my previous two births before on here so won’t repeat myself but allow me a moment of indulgence if you will…

When pregnant with Sophia, my midwife asked if I had considered having a homebirth but to be honest, I didn’t know much about them and was put off by the thought of mess and worrying about who would have to clean it up! By the time I was pregnant with Isaac I was much better informed about all things birth related and longed deeply for a homebirth (this article having helped me with my questions surrounding mess). We were living on Pinafore by then (our 31ft sailing boat) but despite this, my midwives were unfazed. They said they had supported births on boats in the marina before and were happy to do so again. I excitedly booked in and that was that.

However, at 36 weeks I started to rethink my decision. The boat was really very small…. the only place to labour was on our bed (which was a table in the saloon during the day) and there was no space really to pace or move around. Furthermore, the midwives would have been quite literally, about half a metre away from me at all times due to the cramped environment. Quite possibly, a bit of a claustrophobic atmosphere! I wasn’t even sure where we could have a hard surface for their equipment other than in the cockpit and in January, it would have been pretty chilly! So I concluded that it wasn’t a good birthing environment for me and decided to have him in the hospital (the nearest midwife led birth centre being 45 minutes drive away). I went on to have a very quick, natural, unassisted birth in the pool and it was nothing short of amazing! The only downside was the hours spent in hospital afterwards as a blood sample got lost and paperwork took an age to complete – I just wanted to be home in bed.

So this time, it was really a no brainer where I would plan to give birth.

But as I participated in a playful poll about parenting styles the other day, I was surprised to see how few people were supportive or on board with the idea of birthing at home. I went searching and found that in the UK in 2012 only 2.3% of babies were born at home. This is a startling low figure; I knew it was low but hadn’t realised quite how small it was. And I have to say, I’m still at a loss as to why so few people choose to give birth to their babies at home.

I’m guessing that a lot of people would state that they feel safer in hospital and with quick access to medical equipment and knowledge if needed. I assume some people are put off by the idea of mess (as I was) or don’t have a suitable home environment in which to have a homebirth. Possibly, it doesn’t even enter into the minds of expectant parents as an option to consider. The default place to have your baby has been the hospital for many years. But is it time for more of us to consider another option?

The Birthplace Study of 2011 concluded that ‘for women having a second or subsequent baby, planned home births are as safe for the baby as planned birth in hospital, and offer health and other benefits for the mother (emphasis added by me). However, for first-time mothers there is a small increase in risk for their baby.’ The benefits that the report refers to are listed as lower risk of induction, cesarean section, episiotomy, vaginal tears and augmentation. In my opinion, these benefits are not to be scorned at!

Dr Sarah Buckley adds to this list by highlighting what you might call the ‘soft’ benefits to having a homebirth. She talks about the ability of fathers to have a more ‘intimate involvement’ in the birth, of siblings being able to be present, of having a midwife consistently caring for you throughout the birth and of being able to offer your baby a more gentle and quiet welcome to the world. I think all of these are factors that appeal to me. Sophia has asked to be there when the baby is born and I’m more than happy for this to be the case but it wouldn’t be possible if I was to give birth in hospital.

Furthermore, I relish the idea of being able to labour in my own home, with my own things around. To be able to potter, make food and drink as needed, to distract myself. I especially love the idea that once baby has arrived all I need to do is climb into bed with our new little bundle and relax. There is no waiting for paperwork to be completed, no trying to keep small children quiet in a curtained cubicle while they excitedly meet their new sibling, no having to get dressed and in a car to get home. We’ll already be there! We can just relax in our own environment. For us it feels like the most natural choice in the world.

Hombirth Reference Site (a brilliant resource for those thinking of or planning a homebirth) is a veritable treasure trove of information and birth stories from people in a variety of different circumstances and with varying reasons for their desire to give birth at home. If you are interested and would like to read first hand, some accounts of people giving birth at home, it’s definitely worth a visit.

By writing this post, I’m most definitely not trying to browbeat every pregnant mother into having a homebirth. I am more than aware that it won’t be the right choice for every family for personal or medical reasons. But I would love it if someone benefited from reading this information and my experiences, from knowing that it could be an option where they didn’t previously. Having your baby at home can be safe and highly beneficial. But like so many things, it doesn’t get talked about enough in a considered, balanced manner. The media is biased towards sensationalist, dramatic birth stories (a la One Born Every Minute) as they make better entertainment, better reading. But birth doesn’t have to be that. It can be calm, gentle and most importantly, it can be a positive experience.

For more information, check out http://www.tellmeagoodbirthstory.com or the Positive Birth Movement, two brilliant organisations that are trying to turn the tide on the negativity that overwhelms the discourse surrounding birth.

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Pregnancy Diary: 26 weeks

Today I am 26 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
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Baby is now apparently 36cm long and their hearing is getting better as the network of nerves to his or her ears are almost complete. I don’t doubt this for a second as bubba moves the most when the kids are curled up chatting incessantly as I read books to them! I still have absolutely no inkling as to whether it is a girl or a boy. Sophia is rooting for a boy as she wants to have her own room forever and Isaac changes his mind on a daily basis!

I’m feeling a bit blah this week. The acid reflux hasn’t been great and my hips and pelvis have been quite painful, probably due to the move. None of this is particularly helped by Isaac waking up 2-3 times a night after having just mastered sleeping through before the move. By the time evening comes, I just want to veg with trashy shows or a book, I feel like I should be being a bit more productive! But I’m hoping once we’ve set up the weight bench in the garage I can get back into lifting a bit (having not for two weeks due to the move) as that tends to help both my energy levels and mood.

I’m also aware that my mood is mirrored in the kids so am trying to make a conscious effort to be a bit more positive and focus on the good….like going to look at new beds today at Dreams – our current bed is almost 14 years old and has definitely seen much better days!! Hope you all have a very cosy and chilled Saturday on this wet and dreary November day.

Pregnancy Diary: 24 weeks

Today I am 24 weeks and 6 days pregnant.

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24 weeks feels like a milestone so although it has been a busy few weeks with moving (more on that later), I was determined to record this week and I just about got it done in time!

By now baby is apparently around 30cm long (a ruler’s length!), his or her tastebuds are fully developed and lungs are making cells that will produce surfactant, the substance that will help their lungs inflate after birth.

It feels like a milestone as generally, 24 weeks is the earliest a baby can survive if they decide to try and meet the outside world before their allotted cooking time is up. I know it sounds a bit odd but during this pregnancy I’ve been much more aware of the fragility of pregnancy, birth and babies than I have in the past two. Every day is a blessing and I pray that come February, there’ll be a healthy, happy, small addition to our family.

This week I’ve been sore and in a bit of pain. This is largely my own fault for not getting enough rest during the move but I find it impossible the sit and watch whilst Dan and friends pack and move around me! Thankfully, tomorrow should see the end of it and I can slowly  unpack and  let my body recover.

I’m going to leave this short and sweet as….to be honest, I’m exhausted! But I’ll make time at the weekend to sit down and tell you all about the move. Until then, take care .

Pregnancy Diary: 22 weeks

Today I am 22 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

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Baby is apparently 28cm long (ish!) and tooth buds are starting to form in the gum.

He or she is definitely making their presence known these days, the movements are more regular and getting stronger and I feel like I’ve lost all the space between my blossoming belly and chest. Isaac and Sophia have spontaneously been kissing and talking to the bump and we’ve started reading Hello Baby and I am loving their interest in their sibling-to-be.

I have to admit I’ve been worrying this week a bit about how I’m going to meet all their needs come February, especially on the days and nights when Dan has to work away from home. The idea of having a 5 year old, 3 year old and newborn is simultaneously terrifying and exciting! I know there will be a lot of benefits to having them close together but I’m also being realistic about a potentially tough period for a few months next year. Especially in the light of home educating Sophia. She is so eager to always be doing work which is great but could potentially be a bit problematic with a tiny. I’m trying to remember to build some intentional quiet time into each day and also provide time and opportunities for them to play without guidance, input or refereeing from me! Right now, they are playing with play dough together and have been happily for 30 minutes or so so I’ll chalk that up as a win!

All in all though, I’m starting to get very excited about meeting Baby D, version 3. I think once we’ve moved it’ll be February before we know it so I’m trying to not wish away time and enjoy each day as it comes.

Pregnancy Diary: 21 weeks

Today I am 21 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

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Baby is apparently 27cm long and it’s eyelids and eyebrows are fully formed. I love these facts, they’re so cool!

What was even cooler today was having my 20 week scan (a bit late, ahem). We were in there for a good 30/40 minutes as baby was being awkward in positioning so I got leant backwards and throughly prodded with the ultrasound ‘probe'(?) until she was happy with all the measurements and things checked. I love seeing the bones and knuckles and little nose, makes it all feel so real, can’t believe am over half way there already! As promised we didn’t find out the gender (although I did have a sneaky peek I couldn’t decipher that area either way) so I guess we’ll find out come February.

Feeling alright really, SPD plays up daily but is still manageable wit heat and rest if I take it easy. Acid reflux is a real pain but I know to avoid tomatoes and sugar and have a gigantic jar of gaviscon when needed! Dan and the kids have just about felt some kicking which makes me happy, good way for the kids to engage with their new sibling. Isaac especially is talking to stare at and seek out babies and talk about it a lot which is nice.

It’s a nice stage of pregnancy, this middle one. Am trying to not wish it away and really enjoy each day as it comes as it probably will be the last time I’m pregnant.

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Pregnancy Diary: 20 weeks

Today I am 20 weeks and 1 day pregnant.
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Baby is apparently now 26cm long and steadily gaining weight. If I remember correctly most of the ‘important’ stuff has developed by now and the main object of the next 20 weeks is to gain weight and mature organs…etc. I find this reassuring to think of when articles about miracle 23/24 week babies pop up in my newsfeed. God willing this won’t be a situation we have to face but I’m much more aware of these kind of stories than in previous pregnancies and cannot imagine the heartbreak of those families and the agonies they encounter. I think it’s important to be able to talk about these things and the fact that not all pregnancies and births are smooth and trouble free. I don’t feel as if I have any right to talk on the subject but I don’t want to remain silent.

I feel like my belly has really popped put this week, I know it’s silly but I feel properly pregnant now! I can also feel baby moving nearly every time I sit down for more than a few minutes which I love although if it’s just as wiggly as Sophia and Isaac I might be in trouble, was hoping for a chilled out child this time! (I jest, of course)

Up until today I’ve been feeling great the last few weeks, been eating well and exercising and had loads of energy. I’ve had mild acid reflux but managing to keep it at bay. Unfortunately today we had a bit of an epic journey to forest school which included over a mile walk at 7.30am (most of it with Isaac on my shoulders), two buses and a walk the other end. On our return we were saved one of the walks and buses by a lift from a kind fellow forest schooler but still had the mega walk from Thorverton up to home. I was pottering in the kitchen upon my return and trying to decipher what was bothering me before zeroing in on the familiar burning ligament pain in my pelvis which plagued me during the third trimester of my last two pregnancies…the SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) is back. Urgh. I’ve had heat on it which has helped but the pain hasn’t eased. I’m massively fed up that I’ve got it so early this time. I know I could have it a lot worse but it’s still blooming uncomfortable…and inconvenient! My acid reflux was especially bad this evening after some homemade tomato soup so feeling a bit sorry for myself, apologies!

Scan should be this week but due to car issues I had to rebook it for 21 weeks so I’ll have to wait to see the wriggling bean in action! Watch this space!

Pregnancy Diary: 18 weeks

Today I am 18 weeks pregnant. (Sorry I missed a week, been slightly preoccupied but more of that in another post, another day)

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I feel very bumpy this week! Have also started to feel those familiar faint flutterings, so exciting but then gone before you know it. I’m looking forward to them being stronger and more often, a good reminder that there is indeed a baby in there, doing it’s thing.

Apparently baby is now 12cm long and his/her ears are in their final place and should be working soon. We have the scan in a few weeks but as before are opting out of finding the gender, much to Sophia’s annoyance. But as we said to her, there are so few surprises left in the world, why not wait?!

I’m feeling possibly the best I have yet in pregnancy this week. Have restarted the exercise and healthy eating after a few weeks slacking so I’m attributing it to that. I am getting frustrated by the conflicting information on what weightlifting exercises I can and cannot do though. I know not to do anything lying on my back and that I can’t do exercises that involve lifting weights over my head but one source says to continue abdominal exercises and another says not to, one says squats are an absolute no and another says to avoid lower back exercises. ARGH! Any knowledgeable folk out there that know the real skinny, please enlighten me! Am just being sensible and sticking to chest, shoulder, arms, upper back and leg exercises and light cardio for now whilst I research further.

World Doula Week

There are several posts I’ve been meaning to write for the last week or so but didn’t manage any due to a particularly nasty virus that kept the little ones poorly and me very sleep deprived. As I pondered which one to write first this morning it seemed only right to finally write about my doula course as I’m currently immersed in the post course module AND it’s world doula week!

I’ve just finished a reflective piece about how the course impacted me and I thought rather than rehash it for the purposes of this post, I might as well just share it as I think it’ll give you the best feel of how I found the course and where I am on my journey now I’m on the other side and about to register with Doula UK as a mentored doula. 

 

Taking part in the Nurturing Birth Doula training course was nothing short of an amazing experience. I found it incredibly eye opening and challenging whilst simultaneously empowering and just downright enjoyable to be able to spend some time fully engaged in something I feel passionate about without small people interrupting!

The biggest challenge for me personally was realising that the ‘ideal’ birth isn’t a home water birth surrounded by candles and gentle music but that that ‘ideal’ will change depending on every mother to be. Although on the surface I already knew this, it was really reinforced by the course. The right birth is different for every woman and the most important thing is that a mother is able to make informed choices and be in charge of her own birth. This seems really obvious in retrospect but I think I approached the course with a large bias towards the natural birth movement. Although there is nothing wrong with this in itself, I realised that the clients I encounter may have other ideas about what they want from their birth and my job isn’t to try and change their minds but support them in their choices.

This leads on to another realisation and change in belief that I had; that being or having a doula is much more mainstream than I previously thought. After being teased for being the hippy I realised that doula’s are not restricted to the organic eating, home educating, lotus birthing crowd but that they are and should be available to any mother. This was really refreshing and made me really excited to think that having a doula is something available to all and not just a select few.

I felt challenged to focus on my listening skills and when we spoke about being silent as a doula although the concept of silence was slightly foreign(!), it was reassuring to remember that actually, it will often be our physical presence that a client needs rather than any number of things we can say or do. It also took me back to my peer support course in remembering that we are not there to give advice but to provide information where wanted and above all, to offer support. Similarly, I felt encouraged that I don’t need to have a draw or to offer a list of services (homeopathy, massage..etc) in order to attract clients. I had felt slightly unconfident in my ‘credentials’ but now feel completely well equipped to be able to work as a doula and to support women through the most exciting and potentially turbulent time in their lives.

Finally, the course made me realise that my feelings of slight disappointment at Sophia’s birth are valid, I’d felt that I shouldn’t feel any negativity towards it as it was a natural birth but now I feel that I wasn’t as informed as I should or could have been and it’s ok to view it with a mixture of good and bad feelings. I don’t view my experiences of breastfeeding any differently but it did reinforce my realisation that I should have been humble enough to seek out support when things weren’t ‘right’ with Isaac’s feeding. I no longer feel guilty about his missed tongue tie but have put those feelings to rest as something that is done and cannot be changed.

To conclude, the course was brilliant in throwing out my preconceptions of who might hire a doula or what they might want from a doula and in reinforcing that above all, our role is to provide unconditional emotional and practical support through a woman’s pregnancy and birth in whatever form they need it. 

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