Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 21

I started this week off at my local Cuidiu Breastfeeding support morning. As one of the volunteer breastfeeding counsellors it was my turn on the rota to cover the group. There were lots of small babies there, some with a few issues, so thankfully one of the other BFC's - Orla -attended. Everyone left with their questions answered, a few cups of tea and some cake in their bellies so all around a good morning. I love giving back to our community in this way and hope that breastfeeding rates will grow with the support. 

Straight after the group it was off to a postpartum client on the South side. This client was a lovely new mum, a paediatric nurse herself – who just wanted a sounding board and some help with the big ‘firsts’ like bathing and cutting nails! It was a lovely shift. 

After my shift I drove to Drake Chiropractic Clinic in Sandyford, run by the very knowledgable Ros Drake. I had been meaning to try it out as Seth was OT and Leon was OP so I always wondered was there a reason within my pelvis for their positioning. While I laboured to 10cm and pushed, Leon was a caesarean birth in the end – so I imagined with all the pushing and pulling my body was probably in need of some realignment. I know Ros from attending conferences together and I was not disappointed with her care. She was professional and friendly and explained everything as she went. It was the strangest sensation as she readjusted different parts of my body. No pain but as I heard the cracks and my neck/back/hips etc moving that little bit further than feels comfortable part of me resisted. I did feel good after and was happy to hear that things were looking pretty good. On Tuesday I had Leon at the fracture clinic in Temple Street to review his broken toe. There was still a noticeable crack but they were happy with the healing process and said in 3 weeks time he should be 100% again. We don’t need to go back again unless we are concerned about anything (as Leon has been pretty much walking on it as normal since it happened I think we are good!) 

Then of course on Friday we had our anomaly scan! There was a good wait as the Rotunda are starting their online charts system (meaning patients no longer have their paper chart and every department logs into their system on a computer and writes notes there) I feel it’s a good thing as every department has access and there will be no missing charts. It does however mean that we can no longer snoop in our chart and see what they have written about us! I guess I will have to wait for after baba is born when I request a copy of my notes. At least with everything typed I will be able to decipher the doctors writting unlike Seth and Leons charts. 

You can request a copy of your hospital notes for you and your baby under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

Our little girl at 21 weeks 

Our little girl at 21 weeks 

At our scan we found out that our baby is doing perfect. Myself and Paul were both so relieved as I have been so sick I was worried baby would have been lacking in the correct nutrients. The sonographer said she hadn’t seen such an active baby in a good while and that baba wouldn’t stay still (sure I knew that with all the movement I have had recently) After watching the chambers of the heart pump the blood, and seeing all babas organs, checking measurements and so on, we found out that we are having a little GIRL!! I couldn’t believe it. I really thought we would have another boy. Paul was very quiet, so when we left I asked was he disappointed. He said of course not, but he was terrified. He said he doesn’t know what to do with a girl – he only knows how to parent boys. So after a good chat he has come around to the fact it is a new adventure and we will learn together. 

Seth was absolutely thrilled with the news as he had decided he wanted a sister. Leon was not so impressed – as he ‘doesn’t want girl stuff all over the house’ LOL! My mother and grandmother were thrilled and Pauls parents cried down the phone. Babies can bring so much joy to a family unit and I am so excited for next year! Now to start thinking of names... Any suggestions will be gratefully received. 

Until next time...Jen x

 

Week 21: What Is Happening To Your Baby

  • They are approx the length of a carrot this week
  • They are becoming extremely active inside with lots of kicks and nudges as they somersault around your womb. Baby has more control over their limbs so this movement will be more co-ordinated. 
  • Your baby now has very clearly formed eyebrows and lids. 
  • As their taste buds are now developed there's a good chance that whatever you eat this week - baby will taste it too! 

Week 21: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • Due to the increase in oil production in your body you may find yourself suffering from acne. Talk to your GP about what you can do. Most over the counter oral acne medications cannot be used during pregnancy. 
  • Your heartburn or indigestion may be getting worse
  • You might be able to feel warm up surges (or Braxton Hicks as they are often called). This is totally normal as long as the surges disappear when you switch position. If they don't give your GP or HCP a ring. 
  • Your skin can develop stretch marks. Despite what the cosmetic companies will promise there is no way to get rid of these if they develop. You can improve the condition of the skin by keeping it moisturised. Mary has a lovely Nourishing Bump Blend which feels and smells lovely on the skin and is completely natural and safe for you and baby. 

Week 21: Pregnancy Tip

Don't forget to leave some time to pamper yourself during your pregnancy. Especially if this is your first pregnancy. You will never have this time again or the luxury of having nobody else to worry about. So book yourself in for a lovely pregnancy massage, or a spa day, or get your nails done - what we find pampering is different for everyone, but whatever it is - make time for it now. Some Mums will enjoy going for regular reflexology or acupuncture - it can feel lovely and also help with the pregnancy aches and pains. Many Mums will attend Pregnancy Yoga classes and these can be a lovely way to meet new Mums, take some time for yourself and pamper yourself as usually with a class like this women say they feel amazing after it. Body work such as going to an osteo may not be pampering but it can be something that helps you to feel better in your body and can also be great for positioning of baby - so this can be helpful to try as well. What you choose of course has to be something that you enjoy, or feel good about going to and gives you a lift. Enjoy yourself whatever you choose. 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 20

This has been a great week. I am feeling good in myself and coming through the sickness. I am eating a wider variety of food and feeling like my energy is up. This week my herbal remedies from Cork arrived. I have been taking them and hopefully they will help to build me up. 

I have been focusing on growing DoulaCare Ireland and this week I attended some fantastic meetings that will hopefully open up amazing opportunities for us in 2018. I will of course keep you posted once deals are done ;)

I had postpartum clients two full days this week and then my lovely November birth client needed me. She was admitted unexpectedly as at her 39 week check they found her waters to be extremely low, which her care team explained could be a sign of the placenta failing. Her induction began on Tuesday, I spent 6 hours with her helping herself and her partner to get their head around the situation. We all sat and chatted and I was a sounding board. We listened to GentleBirth tracks, joked between us, and ran through questions to ask her care team. Once all their questions were answered my clients were happy to consent to induction. 

Reasons for low fluid (oligohydramnios) can include:

  • Mothers waters are slowly releasing
  • Being more than 42 weeks pregnant
  • Medication mother is taking
  • If baby has a medical problem with their urinary system

Other common reasons for induction include:

  • Post dates – babies approaching 42 weeks gestation
  • Advanced maternal age – women 40 years plus
  • Big baby – often a guess weight
  • Issues with placenta (coming away from wall of uterus or not working efficiently)
  • Waters have released without labour begining

Some of these reasons can be negotiated and navigated with your care team - it can be helpful to be aware of the current evidence surrounding best practise for some of the reasons mentioned above (which is where taking an independent antenatal class can be such a help as these issues are usually covered. Classes that the hospital offer tend to focus on what the hospital policy is rather than what is evidence based care).  

I popped back to my client on Wednesday, after a postpartum shift for a few hours. Again we spent the time chatting and supporting my client in getting into the right head space. On Thursday things kicked off so I spent most of the day with them, and their beautiful baby was born at 6.15pm in such a positive end to what was a long  process. It was very emotional as this will more than likely be my last birth client for a long time. I am getting too big myself in pregnancy and once baby arrives I know I would not be comfortable being on call. It was a wonderful birth to end on and I am still on a high. They are such a lovely family and I look forward to our postnatal meet up in the next week or two. 

During the birth it was so lovely to be welcomed into the maternity unit. On 3 separate occasions midwives came to say hello when they heard I was the doula on the ward. This is just so wonderful to have such good relationships with the staff and it really helps to grow the feeling of a birth support team around parents. When we went up to postnatal ward I was again greeted with fantastic midwives who remembered me from past clients. It was all a really positive experience and I am so thrilled to end things for now on such a high. 

Also one of my good friends Ruth and her boyfriend Brian got engaged this week while on a romantic sun holiday. I am so thrilled for them both and you could feel Ruths joy and excitement bursting through the photos in our whatsapp group! (Ruth was sone of the girls I went away with a few weeks ago, we have been friends a long time) Ruth moved up north to live with Brian so I am unsure if they will have the wedding up there or perhaps even in the sun somewhere fab. It’s always nice to have a wedding to look forward to :) 

My baby has been moving so much and on Thursday night Paul finally felt baby kick :) We were thrilled. I can’t wait for the kids to feel too. 

Next week we have our ‘big’ scan. We are hoping to find out babas gender too. I will fill you all in more next week...

Until next time....Jen x

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Week 20: What Is Happening To Your Baby

Photo by Mike Dorner on Unsplash

Photo by Mike Dorner on Unsplash

  • Your baby is the size of a bananna this week
  • This is the last week baby will be measured from 'crown to rump' (they were measured like this because their legs are curled up in a foetal position - from next week however measurements will be taken from top of head to tips of toes!). 
  • Your baby is swallowing more this week - really helpful for their digestive system 
  • Your baby is starting to produce meconium - this is a greenish black sticky substance that will accumulate and be stored in their bowels and you will see it when they first pass this in their nappy (or if you haven't managed to get the nappy on them, it might end up on you or your birth partner!!!). Some babies will pass meconium in your womb or during the birth.
  • Your baby is forming sweat glands this week

Week 20: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • Woo hoo!!! You are now half way through your pregnancy (more or less!! Baby may not arrive until 42 weeks!!!). 
  • You could be snoring for the first time ever!!! Blame those hormones again. The increase in Oestrogen can result in the mucous membranes in the nose swelling. It can help to sleep on your side and elevate your head slightly. 
  • Sleeping can start to become very challenging from this week. See our Pregnancy Tips below for some ideas on how to help your sleeping. 
  • You may find you have a vaginal discharge which is getting more noticeable as the weeks go on. This is normal and you can expect it to keep increasing until baby arrives. It helps keep bacteria at bay. It it becomes green, yellow or starts to smell do let your GP know. 

Week 20: Pregnancy Tip

It can be tough to get a good night's sleep when you are pregnant. Some things that can help are: 

Sweet Dreams Blend .jpg
  •  Listening to the Sleep Sanctuary on the GentleBirth app. It is very soothing and Mums will often find they drift completely off having listened to it. Do yourself a favour and get yourself some SleepPhones if you are listening to the App regularly btw - they can help with the sleep because they are not as uncomfortable as ear buds.
  • Mary's Sweet Dreams Essencia Blend is also a great blend of aromatherapy oils to help promote sleep. It's safe to use when pregnant, smells amazing and is especially designed to help you relax and drift off - and works great in conjunction with the Sleep Sanctuary track. A body pillow can help ease aches and pains and make you more comfortable in bed. Switching off the phone at least half an hour before you go to bed can help as well. And trying to grab a cat nap during the day if your sleep is disturbed is important so you don't get too exhausted. 
  • Check out this EUMom article from GentleBirth founder Tracy Donegan to get more tips to help with sleep. 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 19

This week was lovely. Over the weekend I turned 19 weeks and went away for a night with my good friends. We all worked in a restaurant together in our teens and have been friends ever since. I was the first of the group to have children, but over the last few years the girls have started to grow their families and none of us get to see each other as much as we used to. We have meet ups for birthdays, weddings and christenings but rarely go out randomly. So once a year in November we have a girls night away.  This year we went to Dunboyne Castle Hotel.

As my November birth client just turned 37 weeks I drove my own car rather than car pooling just in case I had to leave (last year I had to leave the Monart to go to a birth!)  Of course for both mentioned clients I have back up doula support,  but when it’s your birth client you want to be there for them, no matter what. 

We all met in the lounge and had a quick bite to eat and a chat. Then we checked in and went down to the spa. It is a bit crap when you’re pregnant at these things. I couldn’t use most of the rooms, or the jacuzzi but enjoyed lying around on the heated beds relaxing. I also used a nice foot spa and some scrubs. 

Night away with friends in the gorgeous Dunboyne Castle Hotel 

Night away with friends in the gorgeous Dunboyne Castle Hotel 

We had a lovely meal but I wasn’t able to eat much. It tasted so good but I just felt full and was also feeling a bit sick. The girls enjoyed wine and I was content to have a Coke followed by hot water and lemon. There are studies out to suggest any alcohol in pregnancy could potentially be harmful to a developing baby so I have always erred on the side of caution and avoided it completely during pregnancy.  

We stayed up chatting until 3am so I was shattered the next day but it was lovely to catch up with everyone. 

Monday marked back to normality. The kids were back in school so there was the usual search for school uniforms and a mad dash to Lidl for lunch box essentials. I was the breastfeeding counsellor for our branches breastfeeding support morning. You can find your local Cuidiu group here http://www.cuidiu-ict.ie/supports_breastfeeding_breastfeedinggroups It is always great to try get to a breastfeeding group during pregnancy. Other options are

Leon, my 6 year old broke his toe in a play centre this week, so we spent a whole evening and into the night in Temple Street. His toe/foot is very swollen and bruised so lots of TLC for him. I have been giving him Arnica and running epsom salt baths. He is super brave and strong, he is just getting on with it and hasn’t complained at all. It’s getting him to slow down that is the challenge! I borrowed a buggy from a friend for a week or two in the hope that if we are out we can use it for a bit to give him a rest. 

I have another busy week meeting clients to talk about bookings for the New Year and also have postpartum clients all day Wednesday and Thursday. It is good to be back into the swing of things while also having a balance and making time for self care. 

Until next time.....Jen x

 

Week 19: What Is Happening To Your Baby

  • Your baby is approx the size of a mango this week
  • Your baby is developing all of their 5 senses this week - the areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision and touch are all expanding massively. 
  • Your baby's arms and legs are in proportion to each other and the rest of their body this week. 
  • The vernix caseosa is forming on your baby - this is a greasy, white, protective coating that helps protect baby's skin in the amniotic fluid. They may be born covered in it btw - and this is good for them (so no need to wipe it all off as it can protect their skin in the early days outside your body as they get used to clothes and nappies and air etc). 

Week 19: What Might Be Happening To Your Body

  • You may find yourself suffering from round ligament pain - this can feel like a sharp stabbing pain in your lower abdomen, or it may not be so severe but can be uncomfortable. See our pregnancy tip below for how this might be alleviated (and check with your GP if you have any worries about the pain there). 
  • You may notice parts of your skin are darker than others (caused by a temporary increase in pigment). When these patches appear on your face they are known as chloasma or the 'mask of pregnancy' (they usually fade shortly after you have your baby).  Do make sure to protect your skin when out in the sun and keep it in the shade. 

Week 19: Pregnancy Tip

If you are experiencing round ligament pain it might be helpful to start trying some Spinning Babies Techniques. Spinning Babies offers exercises that can restore balance in your muscles and pelvis (and therefore can often help with optimal positioning of baby) and also relieve discomfort throughout pregnancy. There's a lot to take in on the website but the main exercises are known as the Three Sisters. A number of our DoulaCare Ireland doulas have taken the Spinning Babies training and it's a great tool to have in their toolbox of support. It is something they will be happy to show to yourself and your partner during one of their prenatal meetings (if you are interested in finding out more). 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 18

Jen and Mary together in Cork - planning for 2018 with DoulaCare Ireland 

Jen and Mary together in Cork - planning for 2018 with DoulaCare Ireland 

This week was midterm. My boys were off school and we really enjoyed getting ready for Halloween. We carved pumpkins and spent ages choosing the right costumes. I was working over the weekend and on the bank holiday Monday but the rest of the week was off to spend time together. We also had a very special trip....We went to Cork to Mary (my business partner) and her family! Myself and Mary had lots of work to do and the kids had fun together while we brain stormed, caught up on paper work and planned for the future. 

While we were in Cork Mary took me to her Herbalist, Bridget Meagher. She thinks my progesterone is too high, which is causing my increased sickness. She asked if I had a threatened miscarriage or a period of time with cramping. I said I had a week with cramping on and off but no bleeding. Her theory is that my body upped my progesterone to hold onto the pregnancy and that is why my sickness has continued so long. It was a very interesting appointment. When I think back, I was coming through the sickness for a week or so – then had cramping – then it was back with a vengeance!  She has prescribed herbs for me but will encapsulate them as I most likely would not keep down a liquid that doesn’t smell or taste great ;) 

Mary also gave me a beautiful gift – one of her Essencia blends to help me sleep - the Sweet Dreams mix. I have to say I love it. The smell is not too strong but it has just helped me to relax while listening to my GentleBirth tracks at night and eventually drift off to sleep. 

Road tripping with two boys by myself may not have been the best idea. It was great to balance work with spending time with them, but the car journey was no joke. We downloaded movies onto the laptop from our Netflix account for them so they could watch that but we had a good few stops for toilet and just general peace keeping. (Too much time in a small space = fighting). I was exhausted after the trip. My hips and pelvis really hurt but it was so worth it. I am so excited about the future for DoulaCare and it was amazing to spend more time with Mary and her family. 

Baby is moving around a lot now, which is so lovely. It helps to remind me baba is there and to make sure I mind myself so baba can grow and be safe. 

Until next time xx

Week 18: What Is Happening With Your Baby

At Week 18 your baby is about the size of a Bell Pepper Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

At Week 18 your baby is about the size of a Bell Pepper Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

  • If this is your first baby you may become aware of the first signs of movement this week - you may have been noticing movement before but found it hard to tell if it were baby fluttering or not. This week it could be much more obvious to you 
  • Your baby is now forming a protective cover of myelin around his/her nerves - enhancing the development of their nervous system 
  • Your baby is now starting to yawn (and hiccough!) 
  • Your baby's hearing is improving 

Week 18: What Might Be Happening With Your Body:

  • You may notice a fairly big increase in your appetite this week 
  • You may feel dizzy every now and again over the next few weeks. This is because  your cardio vascular system is undergoing major changes and sometimes women end up with lower blood pressure than they would normally have. When moving from lying to siting up or sitting up to standing take your time and avoid jumping up and you should manage to avoid most of the dizzy spells. 
  • Some women will find they have back aches now and leg cramping 
  • Sleep can become disturbed as you become more and more uncomfortable (TIP: Try the Sleep Sanctuary on the GentleBirth App and Mary's Sweet Dreams Essencia Blend to help you drift back to a peaceful slumber)
  • Increased pressure on the veins in your nose may make you prone to nosebleeds. 

Week 18: Pregnancy Tip

If you haven't already started making a list of your favourite baby names, there is no harm in starting now. It can take a while to come up with a name both yourself AND your partner agree on, and so giving yourself time to start thinking about it is helpful. Most couples start by drawing up a longest of names and over the next couple of months whittle this down to a couple of firm favourites. There's no need to worry though if you can't decide on a name before baby has arrived - sometimes you will have picked a name and then don't feel it suits baby. One client couldn't decide between 2 names so spent a few days after baby was born alternating between both until she got a feel for which one baby suited better! This link on the CSO website offers an insight into baby names in Ireland from 1964 - 2006, so you will get lots of ideas here (and see how trends have changed over the years). 

 

Jen's Pregnancy Diary: Week 17

Storm Ophelia hit at the beginning of Week 17 of my pregnancy.  In Dublin we were all fairly ok. In our estate it certainly just seemed like a normal Irish winter day (windy and raining, but nothing to write home about). However, many parts of the country were badly affected. Up to 400,000 homes were left without power and 3 people lost their lives. Checking in during the storm, we were grateful that our doulas and clients all remained safe and well. 

I received an appointment this week for a GTT test. This is a Glucose Tolerance Test to screen for Gestational Diabetes. You can read more about this test in my blog post here. I was given a test date for 28th December, with instructions to eat my normal diet the few days before the test!! WHO EATS THEIR NORMAL DIET OVER CHRISTMAS ARGH!!!????!!! 

I called and changed it and have now been booked for the week before Christmas, much better for me and my chocolate diet! Hopefully all will be clear as the only risk factors I have are that I am over 25 and my second baby was over 9lbs. I am healthy otherwise and have no pre diabetes markers in my blood  (I was tested before getting pregnant). 

This week I brought my father in law to an oncology appointment. He will need more surgery to remove the rest of the tumour from his throat and possibly more biopsies but overall the prognosis seems good. The oncologist seems to feel it is totally treatable and hopefully with some TLC this will all be sorted soon. 

My belly is gradually expanding and I love it. It is so nice to have a pregnant belly and feel all the flutters from baby. I am starting to feel much better in general. I am having crazy dreams that are causing me to have unsettled sleeps but this is just all the hormones settling in my system. 

At the christening of my friend Julie's little boy - Senan. Julie is third from the left holding the star of the show. 

At the christening of my friend Julie's little boy - Senan. Julie is third from the left holding the star of the show. 

I am up early this morning as I woke at 6am and could not settle back to sleep. I have answered a few emails and I am relaxing on the sofa in a quiet house.  The kids are still asleep and Paul is gone to work. It is lovely to sit and blog while chilling out. Later today my friend has her baby's Christening in Howth Church and then the after party, which will be in her new house. They have recently finished a huge renovation and extension, so it will be like a house warming too. I’m excited for a day spent with friends and switching off from work. Paul will come up to the party once he is home from work, around 6pm. As we will have the kids we will most likely head home early enough and leave the group to enjoy a few drinks and party the night away ;) 

Until next time....Jen xx

Week 17: What Is Happening To Your Baby:

Week 17: Your Baby is the size of a Pear this week 

Week 17: Your Baby is the size of a Pear this week 

  • Your baby is about the size of a pear this week
  • Your baby's sweat glands are beginning to develop
  • Your baby's fingerprints are forming this week
  • Their hearing is improving and they may enjoy you playing music to them
  • You might be able to feel your baby hiccoughing this week

Week 17: What Might Be Happening To Your Body:

  • You may find you have dry eyes. You can ask in the chemist for some lubricating drops to see if they will lessen the discomfort
  • You will have increased bodily fluids (excess mucous, sweat and vaginal discharge will be noticeable). 
  • You  may be experiencing heartburn and indigestion.
  • Some women will start to get stretch marks at this stage. There is no cream that will get rid of them (no matter what the bottle might promise). You can help minimise them by staying hydrated and moisturising every day. Cold pressed Sunflower Oil with some Calendula, RosehipSeed Oil or Avocado oil added is fantastic for your skin and doesn't cost the earth. Alternatively try the Nourishing Bump Body Butter from Essencia Aromatherapy, or ???? from Lisa Heeny. Both are hand blended ????

Week 17: Pregnancy Tip

Heartburn can occur when the valve between the stomach and oesophagus is unable to prevent the acid from your stomach from passing back to the oesophagus. This can happen due to the increase in the hormone progesterone in your body which can cause the valve to relax - thus increasing the frequency you suffer heartburn. Your growing baby and uterus also contributes to it (as everything in the space around your belly gets squashed together. 

To help prevent it, or to minimise it occurring, it can help to eat more frequently during the day but make your meals smaller.  Avoid lying down after eating and avoid greasy, spicy or fatty foods, as well as fizzy drinks and caffeine. Increasing your intake of fluids can help. And try not to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed. 

For relief eating some yoghurt after a meal can help some women, and drinking Ginger Tea. Many women swear by Gaviscon. Do check with your Health Care Provider and see what medication might be safe to take during your pregnancy as not all will be safe for pregnancy.