0

Cora’s arrival – Our Birth Story

It’s taken me a while to get settled into being a Mummy of two, breastfeeding and trying to give Ted enough attention are a full time job in themselves let alone keeping on top of all the washing a newborn creates, how did I forget so quickly?? I’m hoping now I’ll be able to dedicate some time to writing again too and Cora’s arrival seem as good a place to start as any.

Cora arrived on Friday 30th October, unfortunately on labour ward after induction as there were concerns around her size and my placenta function. I delayed induction for a week with monitoring every second day to ensure she was happy – she was on every trace so I asked to speak with a consultant the day before the planned induction appointment so I could be involved in the decision making based on the information they could give me.

The doctor felt she couldn’t be confident that my placenta was functioning fully and recommended induction as the safest option – after a fully natural homebirth with my son I wasn’t keen but both my husband and I felt if we were advised out was safer than in for our baby, to ignore it would be foolish and selfish…so our induction appointment for the Friday morning remained and I went home to prepare practically, physically and mentally!

Once Rich was home from work we went out for our last meal as a three – it was so emotional spending that time with Ted, knowing it was his last evening as an only child and it felt really odd knowing the day our baby would be born in advance.

image

I practiced Hypnobirthing methods throughout my pregnancy and knew I would need to call upon them even more now in order to remain calm, positive and in control. My husband was so supportive of the methods and knew I wanted things to be as natural and intervention free as possible, I knew with complete confidence he would be my advocate throughout and make sure nothing happened unless it was necessary in order to keep myself and our baby safe.

We arrived at 7.30am and after all the checks it was decided that I was advanced enough already to just have my waters broken and then see if everything else could progress naturally.

image

Initially the most uncomfortable part was having liquid trickling for the next 7 hours!! We walked, we ate, we chatted and we laughed – Rich even said how much he was enjoying the time together as it was so rare (and about to become even more so!) We popped back to be allocated a room and have traces done every few hours to ensure baby was happy.

image

Doctors did their rounds at about 2pm and suggested an oxytocin drip to speed things up, something I wasn’t keen on, they were accepting of this and it was agreed we would review the situation at 9pm.

We kept active, pacing the corridors and stomping up staircases, I could feel things progressing slowly and had confidence in my body, I was controlling everything and maintaining a calm approach even when a pushy abrupt doctor tried to force me onto an oxytocin drip when my contractions slowed due to monitoring despite the earlier arrangement. I knew I was progressing and that the machine was just failing to pick up my contractions despite his claim “these contractions are not going to get your labour started”

I refused and got quite upset at his approach and insistence without examining or talking properly with us or the midwife with us. Rich stepped in though and was amazing, asking them to remove the monitor and leave me to my own devices for another hour and a half (the agreed 9pm) unless there was a concern for either myself or Cora, which there wasn’t.

I then refocussed, plugged myself into my hypnobirthing mp3 and refused to let an appalling bedside manner ruin my focus. We then paced the floors, climbed the stairs and removed ourselves from the ward to be able to work together on what we had practiced in an environment we felt safe in…

image

I was in established labour by 8.30 stopping approx every 2 minutes relaxing into and breathing through each contraction, we returned to our room just before 9pm and were told the ward was really understaffed at the change of shifts which would work in our favour as they would allocate us last and leave us to our own devices as we had requested but told us to buzz if we needed anything. At five past 9 I told Rich I thought I wanted some gas and air so he grabbed Nina, the midwife who had been looking after us before she clocked off and asked her for a mouthpiece, as she left at 10 past she appologised she couldn’t stay until our baby arrived but we all thought it would still be quite a while and it was Friday night!

As my next contraction came I took a drag on the G&A and told Rich I thought I needed to push!!

He had a quick look and quickly whacked the buzzer for help, as I guess they thought we wanted water or something unimportant nobody rushed to us so Rich had to stick his head out of the door and shout “Help…I think we’re having a baby in here!”

A lovely old school midwife came to his rescue and encouraged me onto the bed (apparently kneeling ready to deliver a baby onto a hard hospital floor isn’t deemed the safest!) I managed to make it onto the bed, staying on all fours and rocking. The  midwife told me she thought one good push and I’d have a baby…it actually took two and at 9.28 our darling daughter arrived looking the image of her big brother. I used nothing but the techniques we practiced and about 10 puffs of gas and air for pain relief and I cannot explain how proud I am we were able to manage the situation and the labour in the way we did. I know without the relaxation techniques and the confidence they gave us I could very easily have lost control and ended up with a very different delivery.

image

Thank you so much to Barbara of Romsey Relax for her support and enabling both me and Rich to be sitting here today feeling empowered rather than deflated and bullied.

I know I have been very lucky to have relatively straightforward labours and that hypnosis techniques would be unable to prevent any inevitable complications, I do however think that Natal Hypnotherapy truly is a wonderful tool that can benefit everyone who is interested in it and that they should be given the opportunity to experience it.

0

Increasing Iron – Pregnancy Fun!

After my 28 week midwife check up on Tuesday, I received a phone call to tell me that my HB levels were low.

Low. I don’t know how low or what this means as I didnt get a call from a medical professional who wanted to discuss this with me. I just had a message from a receptionist with the ‘update’ and notification that a doctor had left me a prescription for iron tablets (Ferrous Sulphate) at the surgery.

Is it me or is this really bad practice? I haven’t met this doctor before, she knows nothing about my pregnancy, any related ailments I have or my feelings on medication. She hasn’t explained my levels to me or what they mean but she has prescribed me tablets that by all accounts are likely to leave me with some horrible side effects and feeling generally yuk. She also feels it’s appropriate to do this and ask somebody with no medical training or ability to answer my queries to notify me, like it is a done deal and I should just do as I’m told.

As you can probably sense, I won’t just be doing as I’m told without research and consultation!

I am not against medication but I am against not being able to ask questions that enable me to weigh up the pros and con’s for myself. I am having a Whooping Cough jab on Monday so will be asking the nurse to provide me with more information about my levels then which will enable me to make a fully informed decision.

I have however in the meantime contacted my midwife plus two private midwifes I have done Natal Hypnotherapy with, all of whom have said my levels are very unlikely to be at a stage (especially as I’m suffering no symptoms) where I cannot try and control them through diet initially and then if necessary resort to medication later.

They also provided me with the following advice;

– It is normal and healthy for HB to go down as pregnancy progresses, especially once in the third trimester.

– You aren’t at any greater risk of having a big blood loss if your iron level is low, it is just that if you do, you won’t cope with it as well.

– Side effects of Iron tablets are common and can include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn and nausea.

– Taking spatone twice a day will improve your levels as will increasing iron rich foods in your diet. Red meat, poultry, leafy green veg, beans, pulses, dried fruit, eggs, fortified wholegrain cereals and bread plus include lots of vitamin C rich foods/drinks with meals as this helps iron absorption. 

– Avoid drinking tea around meal times as tannin blocks iron from being absorbed.

– Avoid high levels of caffeine, calcium, wholegrain cereals (although wholegrains are a good source of iron themselves, they contain phytic acid, which can stop your body absorbing iron if too much is consumed) and soya as all can prevent effective iron absorption.

– Vitamin B12 is also needed to absorb Iron, not in your gut at the same time like with Vitamin C but to make chemicals that are part of the Iron uptake process (i.e. you can have it anytime in the day). It’s in dairy, eggs and marmite or you can get vitamin pills.

– You need stomach acid to absorb B12 so make sure you’re not taking antacids/heart burn relief around the time you’re eating your source of B12.

I have also looked at natural supplements myself and today, in Sainsburys I found this…

image

It isn’t cheap, this pack is normally £10 but was on offer at £7.50 today. I think it will be worth it though and should last me about 3 weeks as a 10g serving provides over 340% RDA of Iron and 1120% of B12.

image

It is by a company called Bioglan Super foods and can be added to food easily, so I have ditched the morning coffee (probably already should have anyway!) and have started having a green smoothie instead.

Today’s Iron boosting breakfast smoothie contained:
1 banana
Handful of frozen berries
1/4 avocado
200ml Orange juice (fresh, not from concentrate)
Handful of spinach
1/4 Cucumber

This made two portions and I then added a heaped teaspoon (approx 5g)of green powder to each. I’m not going to lie, it tastes like pond water but I just drank it with a straw quickly! I’m going to play around with different ingredients and look at adding things like peanut butter and agarve nectar to make it slightly more appealing but I figure 30 seconds of enduring the drink is better than 11 weeks + of tablet side effects!

My plan now is to have one of these for breakfast everyday, to make sure I have red meat, chicken and/or eggs every day plus plenty of green veg and pulses and to swap caffeinated drinks for herbal teas. My midwife has said she can then retest me at 34 weeks which still leaves us time to take medicated action if completely necessary.

All of this info plus some personal stories have really helped me relax and feel confident I can take control of this without needing to medicate straightaway.

I know it probably seems as though I am over reacting but as I’m planning a second home birth I feel it especially important I’m in the best health possible and feel quite strongly that my medical care should be a discussion between myself and a professional not just an unexplained prescription left at a desk and if the NHS is struggling financially why are doctors offering prescriptions first if other options are available?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any Iron boosting tips!