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My Third Trimester Journey: A Personal Experience

Currently I am 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Our baby is overdue by 10 days & it doesn’t feel like she is making any movement to arrive any time soon. Surprisingly I am ok with this. Of course, I cannot wait to meet our little girl but I also want her to be fully ready before she arrives. If she needs the extra time, I am ok with it. The midwife is happy with how baby & myself are doing so there is no need to worry or panic about the baby being late. The biggest challenge is having the patience and trusting that my body will go into action mode when it needs to.

So far being overdue has been a pleasant experience, I am feeling really good. Throughout the pregnancy I have slept really well which I truly believe is a major part of feeling great. I have used this time to keep myself busy with personal projects I wanted to work on (blogs, videos, reading, cooking, organizing) and taking time to rest & relax. I have never had a staycation before, it’s awesome. Breaking away from the routine of working full time to being at home is a huge transition. Looking back, I am glad I left work 3 weeks before my due date. Personally, I needed that time to get my head out of work mode and more into the mindset that I am having a baby & I need to prepare for that. It is 1 month since I began maternity leave & I can honestly say I am ready to have the baby & truly focus on the baby and be ok with that.

The first 2 weeks of my maternity leave I signed up to a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Semperviva. This was an excellent way for me to transition from work to home. The routine of getting up early, making lunch and having somewhere to go really helped ease my way into maternity leave. After those 2 weeks I had nothing planned which was great because I needed time to rest after the course. I’m so happy I had the course as a distraction when I was no longer working, it was very social and meeting new people was really great. I believe if I was at home for 1 month by myself, I would be very lonely. This is something I will try and avoid when the baby comes. I love my alone time & I can seclude myself and then feel isolated, on the other hand I am very social too……I just need to find a balance that works. I know myself that I can be a bit hesitant to meeting new people and putting myself out there, I believe maternity leave will challenge me to be more social & open up more to others.

Looking back on my third trimester it has been eventful but overall a positive experience. During the second trimester we were tested more emotionally, the third trimester I was tested more physically. The physical sensations of being pregnant started for me at week 30. What I thought was sciatica on my left-hand side of my leg turned out to be SI joint pain which lasted about 1 week. It was unpleasant as walking was unbearable. At first, I thought I pulled a muscle as George & myself had gone on a bike ride the day before. I had an RMT massage booked for that Monday so I was hoping that would help relieve the discomfort. It turned out it didn’t. I told a friend of mine that I had this pain and she recommended I go to a body worker Tracy Dixon to get checked out. I booked 2 appointments that week and after the second appointment the SI pain had gone.

Apparently, SI pain can arise because of where the baby is positioned causing a slight misalignment of something in the pelvis area. Whatever Tracy did it worked. By the following week I was back to my old self. Many women suffer from SI pain in pregnancy, please know that we don’t have to live with it, we can get it fixed which makes life so much more bearable when you can walk without any discomfort. Body workers, pelvic floor physios, massage, acupuncture…. these are all recommended therapies for SI joint pain. You may have to try out a few before finding the one that works but it is so worth it. This is where I am glad to spend money, and grateful we didn’t go crazy buying new expensive items for baby as all these therapies are expensive and even with extended health coverage, they were not 100% covered for us. Body Therapy is not listed under extended health care so that was fully our expense.

Around the same time, I also noticed the effect of all the extra blood & fluid in my body. My feet and ankles started to swell by the end of the working day. It didn’t help that I work at a desk either, I tried elevating my legs each evening to help my body circulate the fluid better. Veins started appearing closer to the top of my skin in my legs, not varicose but very prominent. My whole lower pelvic area was swelling with all the extra blood flow going there too……week 30 for me was like what the hell is going on! Everything seemed to happen in that week…. I was like, “here we go”, “this is the start of it” …. turns out all of the above happened and then faded away and became normal. I still had all the fluid but the swelling reduced & was no longer a problem. The veins were still noticeable but didn’t get worse, hoping they will disappear after and the swelling in the lower pelvic region will also disappear. At this stage no stretch marks had appeared on the belly region.

In addition to the above I got my blood tests back for diabetes testing. I was tested because there is a history of type 1 diabetes in our family. It turns out my blood test came back positive for gestational diabetes. I was informed later that my blood sugar levels were not too far off normal but because of my family history the diabetes clinic wanted to monitor my blood sugar levels. This meant I have several additional appointments to the diabetes clinic to show me how to test my blood and explain how diet can help control diabetes. I was asked to track my blood sugar levels for 1 week before & after each meal using the blood glucose machine they provided. Before & after each meal I pricked my finger and got the glucose machine to read the sugar levels. I recorded the results on a tracking sheet which the clinic provided.

After that week I returned to the clinic and the nurses & doctors reviewed my results and said that my diabetes would be diet controlled and I would not need any insulin or further treatment. For 3 more weeks I monitored my sugar levels every second day. I recorded all my results and returned to the clinic to show them. This time I was informed that my diet was all good and to keep doing what I was doing, which was eating healthy & exercising every day. I no longer had to track or record my bloods. However, my sugar levels will be monitored during and after birth & so will the babies. We both will have to revisit the clinic 6 months after the child is born for a follow up visit to ensure the gestational diabetes is gone. For me being told that I may have gestational diabetes was not a big deal as we have 2 type 1 diabetics in our family so it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard about. For others it can be really disappointing. These kinds of things happen during pregnancy, there are so many hormonal changes in our bodies and gestational diabetes occurs. With eating healthy and exercising every day for most people this is all you have to do and again with the majority of cases the gestational diabetes disappears after the baby is born. Crazy how our bodies work & how well they can recover.

From week 32/33 to week 36 all was going really well, during that time George and myself had gone away to Victoria for a long weekend which was lovely, we did lots of walking and enjoyed it so much. We went camping to Nairn falls and did a mild hike and had a very peaceful & relaxing time in the woods. After the Nairn falls trip, week 36 the SI pain flared up again but his time on my right side of my body. Thinking it may have been the hiking I did at Nairn that brought it on.

Once I felt the pain, I booked myself in with Tracy Dixon for my body work, hoping she could help fix it after 2 sessions alike the last time. Unfortunately, the body work did not help with this side. In addition, this side was way more painful and was lasting longer than the previous side. After my last session with Tracy she recommended to see a pelvic floor physio & maybe do some acupuncture. I got an appointment for acupuncture that weekend but it didn’t help. I booked an appointment with the pelvic floor physio for the following week. The Physio gave me 2 exercises to work on butterfly and bridge pose and this worked! After the physio I felt a little bit better but after 3 days doing the exercises the SI discomfort was gone completely which was awesome. The SI pain was gone just in time as I had just finished work & was beginning my yoga training that Monday.

The above were the major physical discomforts for me during the 3rd trimester. Overall there was only 3 weeks in total that were uncomfortable. I reckon that’s not too bad, I really believe the whole 3rd trimester would be a slog. So delighted it wasn’t.

The highlights for me during this time were:

  • To hear from the midwifes that the baby’s heartbeat was still strong & she was growing well
  • Our trips to Victoria & Narin falls’
  • How good I felt & that my body was coping well with all the changes
  • Seeing Georges excitement growing as we got closer to the due date
  • Georges constant encouragement & care throughout the whole experience but especially in the 3rd trimester…. he loves my big belly & said he will be sad to see it go…. that makes me love it too
  • My belly button sticking out! I was always freaked out by the thought of my belly button sticking out but when it did it was funny, for the longest time only half had popped out so it looked like a nose…George would draw a face around it….hilarious….it finally did pop fully and It’s something we both love and press like a button! Lol!
  • Completing my Prenatal Yoga course. This course was amazing and I learned so much about pregnancy which was so great, so looking forward to teach and share all my new found knowledge.

I would love to hear about your experience during your 3rd trimester. Everyone is so different & all our experiences are so unique. We come from so many different backgrounds and have different outlooks on pregnancy that everyone’s experience should be heard. The good, the bad & the ugly. If you feel like sharing please leave a comment. Sharing our stories can help others who feel like they are going through changes by themselves but when they read others are going through similar changes it is comforting to know we are not alone.

Thanks for reading,

Feel free to share with a friend and leave a comment.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx

What We Packed in The Hospital Bag for Birth & Why

We attended a prenatal 1-day workshop at Pacific Midwifery Practice, April of this year, 2019. At that time, I was about 30 weeks pregnant. It was such a beneficial workshop and provided lots of information around birth & after care.

One of the topics covered in the workshop was what to pack in your hospital bag. We were recommended to have the bag packed and stored in a handy place by week 37 as many folks can have baby early.

The recommendation was to pack your bag for 2 days stay at the hospital. Usually in Vancouver the birther stays one night in the hospital. However, if there are complications that would be extended, in this case if your stay was extended make sure you have someone who has access to your home to pack extra things if you need.

This blog will cover what we packed in our bag, assuming we will be in the hospital for the 2 days. We have a small cloth weekend bag which we filled with Parents clothing, baby clothing, toiletries & snacks. We were recommended to only bring essentials and not come to the hospital with a huge suitcase of things. (Apparently this happens! Lol!!)

The above is the small bag we packed which has everything we need for the hospital in it. Its light, easy to carry & eye catching so hoping we wont forget it!! We have it stored in the closet by our jackets.

What We Packed: Why?
Birther:
Large T-shirt that I wear as a night dress During late labour the birther will be really hot and will need something easy to take on and off. Many birthers are naked but it’s good to have the option;-)
Comfy change of clothes for going home (Lululemon loose bottoms, soft loose cotton t-shirt & soft loose light sweater) This is where comfort over fashion comes in. We don’t know how our birth is going to go natural or c-section so packing loose fitting comfy clothing for going home ensures you won’t be uncomfortable for the car ride home. Tight tops & pants could aggravate stitches from surgery or apply too much pressure to a sensitive area after birth
2 large knickers & breastfeeding bras Since the birther will be bleeding after birth large knickers for sanitary towels are recommended. Also, if you are planning on breastfeeding bring a breast-feeding bra
Loose socks My feet get cold so this is a comfort thing
Flip flops The instructor at the workshop advised against bringing your home slippers as the hospital floor can contain a lot of germs & you don’t want to bring that into your home. Bring flip flops you can wash after
Eye mask Great for blocking out extra light & ensuring you are catching as much zzzzz as possible
Partner
2 t-shirts The partner can sweat a lot too during birth, nerves, stress and the rush of it all can really create some heat. Bringing a clean shirt will keep the partner fresh. The birther is also more sensitive to smells so avoiding the issue of BO is recommended
2 pairs of underwear Again, the partner should be as comfortable as possible, having nice fresh clothes to change into after a long labour is essential
2 pairs of Socks The partners feet can get cold or sweaty so pack extra fresh socks
Eye mask Great for blocking out extra light & ensuring partner is catching as much zzzzz as possible
Baby
2 onesies The option of 2 onesies is for photos & if we get any stains on one, we can use the other
2 hats We couldn’t decide between hats as both were so cute…. nice for photos too
1 pair of socks Just in case the baby’s feet are chilly, for car ride home too
1 cardigan To ensure the baby is warm enough when she is transferred from hospital to car & for car journey home
2 headbands For photos only
Muslin blanket To keep baby cozy and snuggled in her own blanket
1 small stuffy For photos and a cute little gift
Toiletries
Travel tooth brush, floss, Travel size Cleanser, moisture, shampoo, conditioner, body moisturizer, Deodorant, Facecloth, Comb We packed all travel sized toiletries so we could save space in our bag. We brought a little bit of everything so we can feel as fresh as possible after our first shower after birth
Snacks
4 fig bars, Cheese & crackers, Pecan nuts, Dates, Chocolate, tea We packed some of our favourite snacks so we can both keep our energy up during & after the labour. I imagine I will crave my favourite Tea after labour so I have it packed.
Other
Travel pillow for George (inflatable one from MEC) Our friend recommended to bring a pillow for George as the partner may not get a pillow…. we want both of us to sleep as best as we can after
iPhone For taking pictures of baby, sending messages to family, playlist for birthing
Paperwork for midwives & hospital check in We have to hand in paperwork to the hospital when we arrive, it’s at the top of the bag, all filled out & signed

These snacks are easy to eat, no cutlery needed, full of energy & ones we love to eat on a normal day.

The above table highlights everything we packed. Hopefully we have everything we will need & if not we will figure it out. Still debating if I should pack a soother for baby…. might pick one up just in case. Apart from that we are ready to go, we just have to remember to take the cheese & chocolate from the fridge before leaving. I’ll let you know if that happens. I plan on writing a follow-up blog about what we packed, this will cover the items which were essential & if we missed anything that we really should have brought with us.

 

We hope this was helpful.

 

If you have any questions please let me know.

 

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to leave comments.

 

Have a great week,

 

Theresa Burns xx

What We Bought for Our First Baby & Why

George & myself have been trying to live as mindfully as we can the last couple of years. We aim to only buy what we need & think about each purchase before going through with it. This avoids impulse spending and the over consumption of commercial items.

 

We wanted to apply our beliefs to the process of shopping for our first baby. There are so many options out there of “must haves” for having your first child that decision fatigue can happen very fast and mindless spending can occur very quickly. The fact that all baby stuff is super cute doesn’t help how hard it is to say no.

 

The process we went through to choose what we really needed was pretty easy. We started to look up bloggers who live the same lifestyle as us. We checked out their blogs to see if they wrote anything on what they got for their new born, what worked & what didn’t. Basically, we took their advice and made a list of essential items from what they suggested from their experience. Alison Mazurek in particular from  http://www.600sqft.com/about blog was huge help to us. She wrote a brilliant blog on what they needed and what she would recommend for a new born. (See post here)

 

We took that list and decided that’s what we will use. I believe doing your research is key to investing in any purchase. When someone who lives likes you & you respect has done the research and recommends something, I always take their opinions very seriously.

 

Alison’s list was so helpful as she has researched items for their design and for how well they would work in a small space. We live in a one-bedroom apartment and are not planning on moving to a larger place. With clever design & an open mind a one-bedroom apartment can work wonderfully with a baby.

 

Please see the list of items we bought below:

 

Item Bought Reason Second hand Price
Bugaboo Bee Stroller in Red Folds small, fits in hall closet & great for city $350
Maxi Cosi car seat in Red Great reviews & fits our stroller $75
Nuna Leaf baby chair Neutral Beige Nice design & fits in our closet $100
Monte Rockwell Bassinet Nice design, light for moving & doesn’t take up too much space in bedroom $200
Puj Tub in Grey Folds flat & can be used camping $15
Ergo Baby Carrier Grey Best rated baby carriers which we can face baby both front & back $165
Gathre Leather changing mats Great for on the go & replaces baby changing table $90

These are the major equipment items we bought. We sourced all from Facebook market place. Once we had the list of items we needed, we kept an eye out on Facebook market place for these items to pop up. We started sourcing the items from 6 months into the pregnancy. To be honest Vancouver is an excellent place to shop on Facebook market place for babies & children. There are so many new families here. The only item from the list we bought new were the Gathre Leather changing mats. These we bought online at www.gathre.com. The above list in total came to less the $1000, the stroller new alone would cost more than that.

 

We also created a little capsule wardrobe for our baby, only sourcing clothing which we need and not having too much of the one thing. We are planning on writing another blog on new born clothing essentials. Again, we researched online for what a new born needs and created an essential list from that. The majority of clothing was bought pre-used and were given to us by friends. Any pre-used clothes given to us we sorted through and kept only what we needed, the rest we donated.

 

The reason why we chose the above items came down to design & functionality. We love the look of all the items we bought and they work so well in a small space. The bugaboo stroller folds small and it fits into our hall closet. I really like to hide things away in closets and keep as much free space in our home as possible.

 

We didn’t believe a changing table was essential for our baby. Instead we purchased the Gathre leather changing mats (1 for the home & 1 for the travel bag). These mats can be placed on a bed, couch, floor, table, grass…. anywhere so a special table for changing didn’t make sense to us and it takes ups valuable space in our home.

 

The puj tub is super cute. As children we were washed in the kitchen sink, those photos are the best. The puj tub is like a foldable seat your child can sit in while being bathed in the sink. Our bathroom is old and the tub is really low. The idea of being able to wash our baby while standing at the sink is more appealing than bending down over a very low bath. The puj tub can then be unfolded into a flat surface and stored away very easily.

 

Shopping for all the above items on Facebook market place was so easy. Not only did we save so much money, we avoided having to go into shops & malls. Our weekends are precious to us and spending time shopping is at the bottom of our favourite things to do on our time off. In addition, avoiding stores also limits the commercial bombardment and the temptation of buying items which were not on our list. We searched for sellers around our area and scheduled to pick up items on our way home from work in the evenings. So simple & effective. Every person we bought from was great & had everything ready on time at pick-up.

 

Overall our experience of purchasing items for our baby has been so chill & easy. This method really worked for us. There was no stress involved, we had all the spare time we usually have on our weekends and we had no financial pressure as we bought the majority of our item pre-used.

 

We are hoping this will be helpful and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.

 

Have a great week!

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa xxxx

Our Decision to Breastfeed Our Baby: Why & How Are We Preparing for It?

Firstly, George & myself have tried to keep an open mind about all our decisions throughout this pregnancy. We understand that what we have planned may not work out. This applies to breastfeeding also. Coming from Ireland at a young age our exposure to breast feeding has been limited. At the beginning of our pregnancy I said to George that I would like to give breastfeeding a go but if for some reason it doesn’t work out then we will bottle feed our baby. I believe if the process is causing too much stress and disappointment then mother & baby are both suffering. We would like to avoid this situation at all cost.

 

Generally, when we make a decision, we do our research and prepare ourselves as much as possible to succeed, then if it doesn’t work out, we have the comfort of knowing we did all we could. We applied the same attitude to breast feeding. With limited exposure to breastfeeding other than feedback from friends in Canada (not all feedback was great) I decided I needed to learn more. Friends advise is great but everyone’s experience with breastfeeding is so unique, I wanted to speak to a specialist so they could explain why, how and the method of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding for me did not seem like a natural thing. The idea of producing milk & feeding my child from my own body honestly was completely alien to me. I needed help and guidance to change my mindset so I could see this process as a natural & special connection with our baby.

 

The first step to expanding my knowledge was to download a book called “Guide to Breastfeeding” by Ina May. I would recommend every woman who is planning on breastfeeding to read this book. Ina May is a huge advocate for breastfeeding and gave solutions to all problems & issues that may arise during the process. She is convinced that all women can and should breastfeed. After reading this book it built up my confidence that if I am having trouble at any stage of feeding there is always a solution, for me that is very comforting.

 

During my pregnancy I have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes & my haemoglobin levels are way below average but I am non symptomatic. Having low iron levels & diabetes could make breastfeeding a little more complicated at the beginning. If myself or the baby are not so great after the birth, it may occur that I am unable to breastfeed right away. Also, if there are complications during the birth it may create a situation that breast feeding right away may not happen.

 

For the above reasons I wanted to meet with a lactation consultant so she could answer my questions which were very specific to my pregnancy and to help paint a picture of when breastfeeding begins, how to breast feed and how we could prepare for any situation after birth.

I searched online for a lactation consultant and found Mommy’s Milk (www.mommysmilk.ca). I booked a private at home consultation with Shannon Joyce at about week 28.

 

In addition to learning how to breastfeed and how we can prepare for complications I really wanted to know how to use a breast pump and when I could pump. A friend of mine gave me her pump and said it was so useful. George really wants to be involved in feeding the baby and I am all for it;-) Its just that I don’t know how to do it and when he can start feeding!

 

Shannon arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday, George left us so we could have the space to ourselves. Shannon asked what my expectations were from our meeting and I told her what I wanted to know. She was such a pleasant person & put me at ease straight away. She listened to all my concerns and passed no judgement just offered her knowledge and wisdom.

 

Shannon went through her presentation on her laptop with me which covered the topics below:

 

  • Benefits of breast feeding for mom & baby
  • How breastmilk changes
  • How milk production works
  • What we should expect in the first 24 hours
  • How to hand express
  • What is colostrum
  • Best time for breastfeeding
  • How often to breastfeed
  • What are babies hunger cues?
  • How to establish a good milk supply
  • Steps to a good latch
  • How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk
  • Frequency and duration of feeds
  • Pumping and storing breastmilk
  • Partner involvement in breastfeeding
  • Breast related concerns
  • When to seek help

To say I learned a lot is an understatement. The majority of the topics above I didn’t even think of before our session. For me the most relevant topic to my situation was that you can self-express from 37 weeks and store your colostrum in vials or syringes in the freezer. Therefore, if anything happens after the birth that I cannot feed my baby I will have a supply of colostrum ready for George to feed the baby until I have my energy back up. It may not come to that but I would like to prepare for it. This is the first time I ever heard of this and I’m sure I am not the only one.

 

After the presentation Shannon demonstrated how to set up, use & clean my pump. During the presentation she used puppets and props to give me excellent visuals of how you know your baby is latched on well and where the baby’s head, chin & nose should be positioned to get a great latch.

 

She insisted breastfeeding should not be a painful process, it may be uncomfortable for the first few moments but then it gets to feel more natural. She insisted that no one should have sore nipples or suffer when feeding. Her advice is to stop feeding and reposition the baby until it does not hurt even if the baby starts crying.

To say I gained knowledge and confidence from this experience is an understatement. Knowledge truly is power. I highly recommend spending the money on seeing a lactation consultant before your baby arrives. This is where your money is well spent, forget about fancy cribs & strollers…. spend the money on services like the above which will make your life and the baby’s life a lot easier from day 1.

 

I now have the confidence that I can breastfeed even if complications occur & I am looking forward to it which I never thought I would. I’m hoping it will be a time for myself & my little girl to bond and be happy. After 6 weeks George can then have this experience with feeding the breastmilk from a bottle and doing skin on skin with the little person.

 

We are excited about the idea of breastfeeding and will definitely give it our best shot! Hoping all works out but you just never know. I will write a follow-up blog to this on how it all went.

 

Thanks so much for reading,

 

Have a great week,

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa

Our Experience with a Doula: A Private Session to Empower & Prepare both Parents for Birth

Honestly if you were to ask us what a Doula was 1 year ago, we both would have looked at you blankly with our mouths open. “Doula” seems to be the buzz word during this pregnancy. We get asked “Are you planning on have a doula during birth?”, “Are you going to hire a Doula?”, “Will a Doula help you after birth?” Midwifes, friends, work colleagues & people we don’t even know ask us these questions, and to be perfectly honest we said no because we didn’t know why you would want to hire a doula…. we didn’t know what they did or how they would add value to the whole experience. Researching doulas and their role during pregnancy was high on my list just to settle my own curiosity and to be able to give an educated answer when asked if we are planning on having a doula at birth.

 

Saturday afternoons I go to a prenatal yoga class in semperviva and the teacher is a Doula, Teresa Campbell. Teresa is an awesome yoga teacher and as a pregnant lady I feel safe and comfortable going to her classes. She gave hints of her role as a Doula throughout the class and it intrigued me. She has over 20 year’s experience and has seen hundreds of births. She mentioned that she was holding a prenatal couple’s workshop that would be beneficial for both partners & moms. Unfortunately, it was held on a weekend we had signed up for another yoga workshop and we could not attend. Instead we signed up for a private class with her in our home.

 

I had just finished the book called “The Fourth Trimester” by Kimberly Ann Johnson and had my midwife explain to me what the doula’s role is during birth. I had a much better understanding of a doula’s role before Teresa came to visit. Doula’s are present to take in the whole experience which cannot be done by doctors or midwives as they are so busy charting & documenting the mother & babies progress. The doula is person who can help with all the emotions that come up during birth and after for both partners, she/he is there to provide encouragement & confidence to both people. I see a doula as someone who is completely dedicated to the emotions and experience of the mother so the birth can be the most positive experience possible for the mother & partner.

 

The major reasons why we wanted to have time with a doula before birth were personal to us but maybe useful to others.

An observation we both had was that the role of the partner during pregnancy, birth and in the early months after birth is unclear and often the partner can be ridiculed for being useless or confused. I believe this is really unfair. The more support and guidance we can offer our partners during this huge life changing event the better. Yes, the mother & baby are so important and are the leading characters but we also need strong supporting partners to make everything run smoothly.

 

We are so lucky we live in a time where men are actively taking more of an equal role to raising their children. Moms are no longer expected to give up their jobs and take the soul responsibility of raising the children. The new modern dad carries the baby in the carrier, has skin on skin time with the baby to help with bonding, changes diapers, feeds the baby pumped breastmilk/formula, helps with night feeds, the list goes on. It truly is amazing how times have changed since my parents’ generation. This is something I am so grateful for, now let’s help our partners by providing them with the information & tools they need to feel useful, loved & appreciated.

 

The modern dad has come a long way and it is inspiring to watch but it has not been easy for them or their partners. There is not much support for men out there who want to be more involved. Their role can be unclear and confusing especially during the early months of birth. I think they can be overlooked for the value they can add and how helpful they truly can be during the whole process of pregnancy and after.

 

I believe we need to offer our partners a roadmap of how they can truly help. Who better to do this than an observer like a doula? They get to observe the dynamic of partners during the birth and after. They have witnessed so many births and situations where partners have been excellent help and where others were not as prepared. Why not seek advice from a person who knows what works during labour for both mom & partner and who can empower both people by sharing their experience, knowledge, do’s & don’ts.

 

 

When Teresa visited our home for our couples’ prenatal course, we started off the session with why we wanted to take part in the course. Basically, we wanted more of an insight to both of our roles and visuals of what the birth would potentially look like and what we may be doing during this time.

 

Teresa explained what things George could do to make the experience more comfortable for me.

Some suggestions were:

  • Ensuring I was drinking enough fluids and eating enough snacks
  • Providing massages to help relieve pain (Teresa demonstrated particular massages George could do and we confirmed which I liked the best and the pressure I liked so George would know before the birth)
  • Keeping eye contact with each other to reassure mom that all is good, sometimes words are not needed
  • If it happened that the nurse, I had didn’t suit George can request for another nurse, he can ask for people to be silent in the room (staff included)
  • He could turn down the lights if they are too bright
  • He can play my favourite music
  • Basically, he will be the one who controls the atmosphere of the room with guidance and requests from mom

We had no idea about any of the above options. Instantly I felt more at ease about the birthing process. I had mentioned to Teresa I do not like hospitals and was worried how I would react arriving there. Thank goodness I have never had to stay in a hospital so the whole idea of it is alien to me. It’s nice we can make the room as homely as we can by having control over the above.

We practiced some exercises called eye gazing where it is to promote connection and intimacy between partners. We really liked it. We stared into each other left eye without saying anything, just looking into the eye. Then after a while as we kept eye contact, we mentioned 3 things we loved about each other, 3 things that we were most excited about and 3 reasons why we loved our baby. It was really special to take time out like this to just focus on each other because things can get out of control and the bond between partners can be stretched & pulled in different directions as time gets closer to baby arriving. When the baby arrives, you want to feel as close as ever to your partner but without truly taking time out to connect the bond can overly stretch and cause lonliness in a relationship. We do not want this to happen and really feel by just taking 3 minutes every day to connect is super powerful and will definitely help with build a stronger relationship after birth & help encourage intimacy when it feels right for both partners.

 

It’s important for the partners to know that the mother will go through several emotional waves after birth and that they should be mindful of what they say and who comes to visit. This is where the partner is great help. They can be the ones who text family when labour begins, they can be ones who tell family & friends that mom and baby are resting and to call back next week.

 

Teresa’s prenatal partners workshop was insightful for both of us. We learned a lot & felt reassured about the birth experience & our roles during the experience. The bonus from this workshop were the exercises Teresa showed us to help keep & build our strong connection after the baby arrives. After all we both love each other so much & we want to keep that bond even when we are sleep deprived & not feeling like ourselves. Something as simple as kind words of encouragement & eye contact can make all the difference. Our relationship with each other is just as important as our relationship with our new baby girl. My aim as a new mom is to show as much love to my baby & husband as possible because we all need love, support, respect and encouragement through times of change. No one should be left on the outside or feel not as important as another in our little unit of 3.

 

We would highly recommend incorporating a doula somewhere throughout your prenatal experience to prepare yourself as much as possible for during & after birth. We have decided not to have a doula present for our first birth as we want to see how everything goes with just us & the midwives.

 

Let us know your thoughts on the above and if you would recommend a doula for your first birth or not? We would love to hear your feedback.

 

I hope you enjoyed the above.

 

As always feels free to leave any comments.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog.

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa xxx