Many moons ago, not long after my maternity leave finished and I was back at work, I made a passing comment on one of my blog posts about where and how I saw myself since becoming a mother. I wrote:
“I had a light bulb moment yesterday at my desk where I suddenly asked myself what I was doing here? Not in a “I should be home with my baby way” (I do feel that too) but in a “am I doing justice to my son, my skills, my abilities, my hopes, my dreams by doing this job right here right now?” way. Should I be pursuing passion and excellence? If I’m going to work and be away from my baby, should the work be really meaningful and worthy of consuming my family’s time? Or then again, do I need to embrace this wonderfully flexible and supportive workplace I’m in…and take advantage of it to the benefit of my family, at least for the foreseeable future? This is just what is running through my head at the moment and perhaps it’s fleeting as I settle back in. But maybe there’s something stirring in me. Time will tell I suppose…” Continue reading Putting my money where my mouth is→
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw during the week that I attended the rally outside the High Court in Dublin on Wednesday to support Aja Teehan in her case against the HSE to lift the blanket ban on homebirths for women who have had a previous Caesarean section. Aja’s case is based on an individual’s right to self-determination and making decisions about themselves based on informed choice. You can read the details of her application on her website here. Continue reading Aja Teehan: Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong→
Waterbirthin Ireland was the theme of this year’s Home Birth Association annual conference on Sunday. If you were following me on Twitter, your timeline would have been bombarded with a blow by blow account of the day. Between myself and my fellow Irish Parenting Blogger David who was representing Birthingmamas on the day, I think there probably wasn’t one inch of the conference we didn’t cover!
The biggest take away for me was that water birth – whether you’re talking about just labouring in water or both labouring and delivering your baby in water – is most definitely not the preserve of women planning a home birth. Having access to birth pools in both hospital and home births is a great option for labouring mothers and the over riding recommendation seems to be “get thee to some warm water!”.
We heard great speeches from renowned UK midwifery lecturer Ethel Burns and Philomena Canning, Dublin-based self employed community midwife, who between them have over 70 years of midwifery and water birth experience. Ethel took us through her fascinating 2012 research on outcomes for women using a birth pool and Philomena spoke about her experience and the benefits of water birth.
Here’s some facts you may not have been aware of:
All midwifery units in the UK have a birth pool. We have very few in Ireland
Use of a birth pool during the first stage of labour decreases the need for analgesia (pain meds), results in less augmentation of labour, more spontaneous delivery, less infection, reduced pain perception and increased maternal satisfaction. That’s an awful lot of good things.
Evidence also shows that using a birth pool results in more intact perinae, no increase in extensive perineal trauma, and no increase for minor or major primary post partum haemorrhage
It is not necessary to wait until you are x many centimetres dilated to get into a birth pool. You can get in when you want to get it in.
If you are interested in or planning a natural birth, Ethel’s research proves that both labouring in water, or labouring and delivering in water, increase your chance of having a normal birth. Ethel also pointed out that data shows that if you are a healthy first time mother with no complications, you are in a very high risk group for an emergency C-section. Getting yourself into water for your labour will reduce your chances of this happening.
Both Ethel and Philomena gave great tips on the practicalities of using a birth pool:
Ethel recommended that the temperature of your birth pool should be slightly cooler than your normal bath temperature but said that you shouldn’t get hung up on temperature. Cooler is better and be comfortable. Philomena agreed that your own comfort was key and suggested a temperature between 37 and 38 degrees.
Philomena stressed that the most important thing about using a birth pool is to make sure that your partner does a trial run of filling the pool beforehand. You need to know how much water you’ll need, how long it takes, that the hose, taps, nozzles etc all work together.
From a timing perspective, Philomena recommended that if you’re having a home birth, don’t wait for your midwife to arrive before preparing the pool. Have it filled and ready to go before you think it’s time to call her – otherwise you mightn’t make it that far!
Philomena made three really important points about water birth and natural birth. She said that mothers will always benefit by going with nature as much as you can and that the great thing about a water birth is that it keeps your caregivers away from you and “hands off”. She also called water birth the epidural of home birth. Having laboured in a birthing pool myself I can attest to that last one and also add “but much more pleasant”. 🙂
You can access Ethel’s research at this link here if you’d like to read more. As was mentioned a number of times at the conference, birth pools are so widely available now and quite affordable, so there’s no reason why you couldn’t decide to have your own birth pool at home to labour in before going into the hospital if that’s what you wanted to do. Given the relatively few birth pools available in Irish maternity units it’s certainly something to consider.
There were a number of other topics discussed at this year’s home birth conference including policy developments in home birth in Ireland in the last 12 months and women’s rights in childbirth to choose both where and how they deliver their babies. I’ve covered those same issues here myself in the last couple of months so you might be interested in reading my earlier post, Giving Birth Is a Feminist Issue and my guest blog on Feminist Ire.
Wow, your bump is huge! Are you sure your dates are right?
Oh, you’re very neat. Are you sure your dates are right?
Should you be eating that?
I never touched that stuff when I was pregnant.
We’re very precious about what we eat with our first borns, aren’t we? You won’t be so fussy the second time around, let me tell you.
Are you still here?
Anything stirring there?
Any sign of that child yet?
It feels like you’ve been pregnant FOREVER.
There’s no medals for not having an epidural you know.
How are your nipples? Sore?
You’re carrying very high. That head’s not engaged. You’ll be here for AGES.
You’re carrying very low. It must be a girl/boy.
Would you ever hurry up and have that child?!
You look WRECKED.
There’s that baby brain again. You’d forget your head.
You don’t actually have to eat for two, you know.
I presume you’ll breastfeed?
There’s no medals for breastfeeding you know, don’t be a martyr and it’s not fair on the daddy and the grandparents. They’ll want to feed the baby too.
We didn’t need all those gadgets in our day.
Don’t waste your money on that thing. I guarantee you it’ll be in the press and you’ll be pushing a Maclaren by the time the year is out.
Did you have a sweep?
Would you not just go for the section again this time? It’ll be easier than ending up there anyway.
I can’t believe they just won’t bring you in and induce you.
What are you reading those books for? Sure it’s better not to know! TRUST ME.
First labours take days, you know.
A TENS machine??? You’d know you never had a baby before. Ha!
You’re not the first woman to have a baby you know.
That baby is massive. You’ll never get it out yourself.
All that hocus pocus won’t do you any good when you’re screaming for the epidural.
Oh, you’re much bigger this time, aren’t you?
10 months!? It was only 9 months back in my day.
Enjoy your sleep while it lasts…
File under Stupid Things People Say to Pregnant Women and cross-reference with Oh, Mind Your Own Business and Unsolicited Advice.
People say the rudest, most inappropriate things to pregnant women. Often the comments come from a place where the commenter didn’t have a great time themselves and they can’t help projecting their experiences on others. But every pregnancy is different and unique to each mother and her baby. Block it out and let it all wash over you ladies! Water off a duck’s back 🙂
My personal favourite affirmation is “your baby is the perfect size for your body” and everyone has an opinion on that one, don’tyaknow!