Now nobody planning a homebirth really wants to consider that they may need a hospital bag. I see it as having a dual purpose. Of course should you need to go to hospital for whatever reason, its there and its ready (think Girl Scout).. but also if your partner or your doula or midwife needs to get you something - having everything in one place makes it so much easier to find.Read More
When you are planning a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean, it’s easy to want to do absolutely everything you can - this time around. I see women posting often in online forums asking for opinions on whether it’s really worth it to hire a Doula and/or an independent midwife.
I'm not here to speak for other doulas.. but the first thing I usually do is sit down and review the first birth that ended in a Caesarean Birth the first time. To do this you need to obtain a copy of your birth records from your care provider/hospital. Often but not always, despite thinking they were making optimum choices, parents who were in fact making the best choices on the information they had available, the truth is that those choices were incongruent with an easy natural birth.
They may have done a course or two, or chosen a care provider that they trusted and expected that in itself would provide protection from the birth they didn’t want. You don’t know what you don’t know. They may have been given insufficient time, insufficient movement in labour or insufficient choice. Sometimes a Caesarean Birth was very necessary.
So here are five reasons why you need a doula for your VBAC:
1. There’s often a lot of fear. Fear can be buried deep after your first birth so you don’t have to think about it. It can be a survival mechanism after birth with a newborn to care for. The problem is if you don’t deal with it in pregnancy it can affect your next labour and birth.
2. There comes a point in a VBAC pregnancy when the doubt creeps in. Can I really do this? Should I try? Can I cope with disappointment if this ends up in surgery again? You need the support of someone who works with women having Vaginal Births After Caesarean to help you through the doubt. You can do this!
3. Without support, when you have a care provider appointment after 36 weeks and they want to book you in for a repeat Caesarean already “just in case”.
When you are told the risks of a trial of labour, and how risky this is for your baby.
When this.. When that.. When care providers can and do make statements such as 'We strongly suggest you book a repeat Caesarean Section, because the longer we leave you the risk of blah blah increases'.
you NEED someone to help you sort through the facts and the real risks.
4. Using techniques such as those found in Spinning Babies while in labour can make a huge difference. Get a birth doula who can help you with this in labour. This is more important than how big the baby measures or which way they are facing.
5. You need to have a plan at the start... to make sure that Vaginal Birth After Caesarean is for your family.. and once you have made the decision you need someone with you every step of the way.
If you would like to have a Free Chat about your upcoming VBAC in Perth, Western Australia contact me now. Don't wait until later in pregnancy when the pressure is greater and your resolve may have been weakened. Get support now!
Even when you think its too late to get doula support it really isn't.
Just like you - I have been there. I remember vividly being told that my baby needed to be born early. Which absolutely did not fit with the notion in my head that I was still 3 weeks away from 40 weeks (as you can guess mentally I wasn't ready).
I also remember feeling so confused and scared when they said it was an emergency induction and my baby needed to be born now... but then the hospital got busy and I was told I would have to wait until tomorrow. Like what the actual? I needed someone to explain why, but the staff were all quite busy. In fact I waited an hour for someone to enter my room to tell me what was going on, to reassure to me, to tell me where I could get a drink of water.. but noone.
“You’re constantly just feeling like, ‘Are we out of the woods yet? What’s the next thing gonna be? What’s the next hurdle we’re gonna have to jump over? Are we gonna make it to next week?’ It was interesting to write about a relationship where you’re just honestly like, ‘This is probably not gonna last, but how long is it gonna last?’ Those fragile relationships … It doesn’t mean they’re not supposed to happen. The whole time we were having happy memories or crazy memories or ridiculously anxious times, in my head it was just like, ‘Are we OK yet? Are we there yet? Are we out of this yet?’”
I remember listening to her interview and thinking that this is EXACTLY what Parenthood felt like to me. Fragile, happy, crazy and sometimes ridiculously anxious. Those Wonder Weeks just added extra pressure. This too will pass but when?Read More
The Confidence Game in birth is alive and well. I'm writing this blog post in response to an email from a client. Up until now this client has received total support and confidence from their caregiver regarding their ability to give birth naturally. It has always been a valid option for them.
Today when they went to a regular, scheduled hospital appointment, they faced a different person to last time. A person who through their 'counselling' instilled the first seed of doubt in their choices. A person who made it clear that they held the medical degree (and hello how many medical professionals don't ;)
Given my client's (totally valid) choice to have a natural birth, which was based on an analysis of benefits, risks, alternatives, using intuition, she wondered should she now be scared?
What were the consequences?
The consequence of this change in caregiver support meant that she had the support of midwifery care removed. She was scheduled for extra weekly and fortnightly tests. Plus she has been told she now has time limits on her labour!!!
She wrote to me to ask if this was standard practice, or just a one-off supportive Dr?
My answer is this. Welcome to the Birth Confidence Game (also referred to as the Bait and Switch).
The Bait and Switch is when you are lured in to selecting a care provider who you believe is supportive of the style of birth you aspire to, but then when you get later in pregnancy, or are in labour - your choices are no longer respected. Previously unmentioned limits are applied, you are treated differently, you are told things that make you doubt your body's ability to birth your baby safely, the seeds of doubt are sown with leading questions.
The reasons for care givers being unsupportive of you having a natural birth may be many. Sure there may be risks (but having done your research you already know about that). They may be inexperienced and scared of supporting you through something they know nothing to very little about. They may have been privvy to a bad experience in the past and still be scared by trauma. They may even have just heard bad stories from colleagues. The possible reasons are endless and irrelevant.
No expecting parent wants to put their unborn child at risk at any cost.
So here's what you need to remember when facing the Confidence Game:
1. It's still your choice - your body, your baby, your choice - ALWAYS
Your choices are still the same as they were before - you just need to find a more supportive caregiver.
2. Everyone has their own filters.
Filters influence how they view the world. Filters say that Home Birth isn't safe, or that women with GD shouldn't birth in the tub. These are not evidence-based but learned from experiences (and I have experienced both of these so they are all possible)
3. Ask for the evidence or the policy. If a care provider is waving statistics at you, or stating that this is policy - ask for the research/policy and ask to take a copy home with you. If they can't provide you with evidence/policy refuse to budge until they do.
4. Get Independent Support. Hire a doula (you can Contact Me here), an independent midwife, or whomever will support your right to birth the way you really want (and not just take what's on offer)
Have you been affected by the Confidence Game In Birth? If so comment below and let me know.
With your first birth you may have had a 'what will be, will be' attitude (or not). This time around you find yourself like Alice in The Magicians. Alice is a magician who knows that she has the power to beat the beast. She is the only one with the power to attempt it.
She and her lover use probability magic to determine their best chance to beat the beast, and the answer is to visit Fillory. Fillory is a magical land filled with talking animals and other magical beasts. It is a land of abundance.Read More
I can't do that' was the reply from one lovely Mumma. 'Why not?' I asked with curiosity. 'It's not what we do in our culture is it?' she said. She was so right and I was so grateful for her pointing out the obvious.
It left me on the one hand saddened, knowing that as culture we expect women to DO IT ALL. In the movies they pop on a dress, heels and cook a three course meal two days after baby is born to entertain all the guests, in a sparkling clean, spotless kitchen.Read More
When it comes to birth, it seems pretty straight-forward. You go in to hospital, you have a baby, happy days begin. So how is that expecting couples, who are going in to have their baby and asking for one thing, are getting another. It's a bit like going to vegan restaurant and being served bacon - ya what?
This is so common, the reason is that there are HIDDEN PACKAGE DEALS - unwritten rules associated with certain decisions. Rhea Dempsey calls it 'This goes with that births' (like the Sussan Ad for those of us old enough to remember).Read More
Once upon a Monday...She felt like she had to do EVERYTHING! She felt so unappreciated. She daydreamed in envy back to the days pre-baby. She had no idea how easy she had it then, until now. She once enjoyed copious amounts of FUN and FREEDOM.
Pre-baby she used to spend her weekends indulging in painting and scrapbooking. Postpartum her paints and papers were packed up in boxes in the garage.
Once the CEO in charge of her life, as well as a Manager of a national company, she was respected and well paid. Now she was engulfed in a 24 hour cycle of monotony... rinse and repeat.. Her life now revolved around when the baby slept (or didn't) and gosh there was hell to pay if he didnt..Read More
I was watching the Kardashians the other day.. I find them truly fascinating. What amazed me the most was that Kim (pre-Kanye) was in this episode expressing how she had fallen out of love with her husband (sports player can't remember his name).
She wasn't interested anymore. DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND TIME with him and didnt know what to do. Wasnt feeling the LOVE..
It had me asking the question - How many of us know that there are 8 STEPS TO BECOMING US?Read More
There is an issue affecting men that nobody is really talking about. Well not in public anyway. The issue is that Dads are gaining weight after the birth of their baby.
They despise it, it frustrates them, they want to do something about it, but they also want to be a good Dad and partner.
They often don't know what to do... or they don't feel that their family is supported enough without them...or they're not really sure if they can safely take a break from their caring role long enough to take action (without getting resentful glares on their return).
I see this happening a lot. So what is going on??
The truth is there are likely a range of factors at play, most of which are largely out of Dad's control.
1. Time vs. Money
Dads are often faced with constraints of time and money. Spending the time and money on expensive, solo activities that were a part of his life pre-baby are often not possible anymore (or at least not as often). Often the Dad is faced with being the sole provider postpartum (at least in the short term) meaning less disposable income for the family.. and when he's not at work he's expected to share the workload at home equally with his partner.
'I want to look good, but I have to be there for the family, so gym time is usually put aside so the family stuff gets done. This means gym time sometimes doesn't happen."
2. Deep Sleep Is A Distant Memory
He is likely not getting much sleep. Newborns right through to toddlers (and even children) often wake in the night, sometimes numerous times (research shows that sleep deprivation can affect the thyroid gland and sleep deprivation is strongly associated with weight gain due to changes in appetite hormones called leptin and ghrelin).
3. Good nutrition takes time and effort
pre-baby at least one partner would have the time and energy to make nutritious food. Post-baby is a whole different world. Shopping with a newborn takes effort. Cooking while breastfeeding can be dangerous. So many reasons why it's harder to eat well with a baby.
4. Relationship Stages
I recently finished my certification with Elly Taylor, doing her Becoming Us training. Her model of Relationship Stages sets out three distinct stages of relationships. Coming Together - Growing Apart - Growing Together - they are a part of the model which explains how we go from being two distinct individuals to being a family.
Now given how long it takes to give birth to a baby after conception, and that in many couples a relationship is started pre-conception, it is really common for new parents to either be in the Growing Apart or Growing Together stage in their relationship by the time baby arrives.
What effect does the relationship stage have on the postpartum Dad?
Quite simply, don't be surprised if a couple who are 'Growing Together' or 'Growing Apart' experience conflict. This conflict may affect how easy the Dad finds it is to negotiate exercise and diet (without extra conflict or even just the fear or expectation of conflict).
If we assume that the couple are in the Growing Apart Stage, the Dad will likely be spending more time on his individual growth, conflict is more common and that is before Dad starts to negotiate 'individual time' to exercise.
If the couple are in the Growing Together Stage, the Dad will likely be channeling his personal growth into growing the couple and the family, and this becomes more important than solo activities.
What can Dad's do to lose weight with a newborn>
The best thing to do is to come up with an agreed plan. Part of the Nest Building Plan (the Plan that I use with couples as part of my Birth Support Package), sets out exercises or activities that are appropriate for each parent (or both to do together).
A daily walk with baby is a great low impact way to start improving your fitness. Gentle activity alleviates stress, and lifts mood.
The key here is not so much the activity itself, but coming to agreement about who will do what, and how often.
Babywearing is a great way for Dad's to spend some time with baby and get exercise. Click here for more info on safe babywearing.
It's then up to that partner to make the time to make it happen on a regular basis (and their partner to support and encourage them).
At our June Pregnancy and New Mothers Group we invited Angela Harrison along to talk about secret womens business. You know the kind of stuff that nobody is talking about.
Angela runs a business called Thrive Women's Health where she helps local women with a blend of Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Herbal Medicines.Read More
If someone told me that I would be a placenta encapsulator ten years ago, I would have laughed myself silly.
Who me, the vegetarian who thinks that placentas resemble jellyfish (and I don't even like jellyfish thank you very much)!Read More
People say nothing can prepare you for parenthood, but that's not true anymore.
Welcoming your new or next baby, or even the one who will complete your family, is a time of transformation.
Knowing how to work as a team with the changes and challenges that are common to most mamas, papas and partners can deepen your connection and strengthen the foundation you are building for your whole family.
Becoming Us prepares, guides and supports you through the first few years of parenthood so you can grow a family that thrives.Read More
Mary Houston's Earphones At Bedtime Free Yoga Nidra series is truly lifechanging... and better still you don't have to a thing to benefit.
How it works is that she sends you a downloadable sound file (MP4) that you can save to your phone. Then you simply listen to it as you are falling asleep. The course lasts for 3 weeks, and you receive a free meditation each week.
Mary's voice is very easy to listen to (unlike some meditation downloads) and you listen as you drift off to sleep. The best part is that you can still benefit even if you are asleep! I highly recommend this to exhausted, stressed out Mums!
The biggest difference that listening to the Yoga Nidra made to me is that what little sleep I get (as the mother of a young toddler) I wake up feeling more rested. When I'm only getting 5 hours a night of sleep I need every hour to count!Read More
A friend of mine posted the following on Facebook and I saw red. When you read it you will understand why.
I took our baby to our local Health Campus as she has been projectile vomiting since 4am this morning, she's has had about 6 hours sleep in the past day and a half. She is screaming in pain and not to mention hasn't had a proper feed since lunch time yesterday and a temp of 38.5.
They seemed quite concerned that she was dehydrated so they wanted her to stay in over night, fine by me as I only want what's best for her, except! They refused me to stay with her, I kinda figured that her being only 4 months old and still breastfeeding it wouldn't of been an option for her to stay over night without me but it was.
I asked if I was able to please stay because I was worried about her and that she's never spent a night without me as I'm still breastfeeding. The Dr replied with: formula is just as good, she either stays here with us or you can both go.Read More
You see it everywhere in the media. Celebrities barely 12 weeks postpartum with no signs of a post-baby belly. I knew the saying '9 and a half months to gain it, 9 and a half months to lose it' so I was not worried about becoming fit immediately after birth. I was also breastfeeding, and although everyone says this helps you lose baby weight that wasn't particularly true for me.
How would you like your postpartum M'am?
After the birth of my first baby I was a little bruised, had a few stitches and was exhausted in many ways, but I was physically OK. I went into my second birth with expectations of much the same postpartum. Boy was I wrong! Every birth and every baby are different.
Second time round I had a longer pregnancy, coupled with a precipitate delivery and a slightly larger baby. Who knows what it was exactly, but I noticed very quickly that when I got up to walk after giving birth, I felt like my ovaries were falling out!! It was painful (not just uncomfortable), and at first I thought I was overdoing it, until I spent all day doing nothing and was still sore when I walked.
I used a Newborn Mothers Belly Band to gain initial relief and wore it 24/7. I had this idea that with patience and time and doing my Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels) that my body would somehow feel better. I put it out of my mind in the short term. This was a really comfortable way to do day to day activities, especially having to pick up and care for my baby. I dismissed how supportive my Belly Band was until I thought I'd go without it one day and within a few hours I put it back on.
Enter The Shapewear
The Belly Band was ideal until the time came when I wanted to do some serious exercise, and then I was back to square one as even a gentle jog was more than uncomfortable. It was about this time I discovered Spanx and I decided to try them when running.
It was just what I needed. I was able to exercise and run again. They were dead unsexy but after waiting so long to get back into exercise I didn't care. They allowed me to exercise enough to be a little fitter.
Where Can I Find Support?
Check out the Assets range in Target (designed by Sara Blakely who created Spanx) this one for example is only $15: http://www.target.com.au/p/assets-by-sara-blakely-remarkable-results-high-waisted-panty-nude/52383960
Where Can I Learn More About Pelvic Floor Alignment?
Lisa Gillespie has a free course: 5 Days Of Pelvic Alignment which you can find here: http://www.lisallc.com/blog/are-you-a-pelvic-floor-statistic/?mc_cid=e3a7bd7700&mc_eid=c1c6eee3e1
Questions, comments, want to share your unsexy postpartum secret? Get in touch!
It is such a crazy thought that in this day and age that a woman could be told to cease breastfeeding by a doctor! That's what I thought. However this happened to a friend of mine (photo credits Belle Verdiglione Photography). Here is her story:
My baby and I needed to go to the doctors this morning and after a pretty lengthy, wait my other child was starting to get unsettled so rather than subjecting a full waiting room to her crying, I decided to feed her.
Not long after I was called in to see the doctor who took one look at me and told me I needed to take a seat back in the waiting room whilst I finished feeding her or feed her after he had seen me.
I was there about my eye, yet he didn't even give me the chance to tell him what the problem was.
There was no way the fact I was feeding her would have been in the way of my consult (in fact me feeding her would have made my consult quieter and easier).
I am fuming and can't believe this discrimination still happens. This is not only wrong on so many levels but I am pretty sure its illegal too!
I wanted to share my friends story because I am saddened and angry that this is happening.. Let's all work together to normalise breastfeeding. Shame on this Doctors surgery. I know that they have been sent a letter of complaint already.
We need to get the word out there that it's the law that women can feed their babies anywhere. Yes even in a Doctors Surgery!
The irony is that even the ABA suggests you seek support through your GP if abused for breastfeeding:
What can mother do if she is verbally abused for breastfeeding her baby?
Thankfully this type of incident is uncommon, but if it does happen, it can really rock a mother's confidence. It may be essential to normalise breastfeeding again after the incident. To normalise breastfeeding, a mother may like to consider:
finding emotional support through your family, your GP and/or counselling
calling the Breastfeeding Helpline- 1800 686 268
attending her local ABA group meeting.
The ABA quite clearly explains the law:
What is the law?
In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege.
Under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 it is illegal in Australia to discriminate against a person either directly or indirectly on the grounds of breastfeeding. Direct discrimination happens when a person treats someone less favourably than another person. For example, it is discriminatory for a waiter to decline to serve a patron who is breastfeeding.
I plan to add updates to this story as I hear them and I really look forward to a positive outcome from the surgery involved. I applaud my friend for speaking up and for writing a letter of complaint.
If you live in the local area you will know that if you're baby is on it's way - Rockingham Hospital is the closest hospital to go to. What Are Your Odds Of Having A WaterBirth In Rockingham Hospital?
If you are a local you will have heard the rumours (yep they are true) that there is only one birth pool there (to be shared amongst the 5 labour and delivery rooms).
So to begin with you have a 20% chance of getting a waterbirth (unless they are too busy and women are labouring in other rooms - in which case your odds just dropped further). One pool... 10 women in labour (10% chance of accessing the birth pool).
Who Is Supporting You When It's Time To Push?
If you are labouring in the birth pool (because you were lucky enough to get in there), you will have a beautiful midwife with you the whole time.
However, when the time comes to push if you are in that pool in Rockingham Hospital you must:
- Hold that baby in (hah like we really have a choice)
- Climb out (have you ever tried to move with your legs spread and a watermelon inserted in your vagina)
- and push that baby out safely on land.
Those of us who are in the industry know that this is the point where women who are strong and knowledgeable and supported refuse to leave the birth pool (unless they choose to).
Who Is Supporting The Midwife?
It's far to easy to blame the midwife but we know that the hospital policy does not support her.
I have heard of midwives turning a blind eye to these women who refuse to leave the birth pool when pushing.
I have also been witness to a birth where the midwife told the woman that she would lose her job if the pushing woman didn't get out to have her baby (which may be true who knows?)..
Sadly the Hospital Policy does not support midwives to allow waterbirth.
Is This A Battle You Really Want To Fight In Labour?
My point is this is not the battlefield... when you are ready to push your baby out is no time to be having a debate about the pro's and con's of waterbirth (as opposed to immersion during labour).
Research shows that having this kind of discussion at that point in labour is counterproductive and can result in a drop in hormone levels needed to birth (due to an increase in fear hormones) and increased length of pushing stage (it's simple fight or flight stuff).
What Is The Solution?
The solution is a change in policy to allow women to BIRTH their babies in the water at Rockingham Hospital (and any other state hospital where there is a birthing pool). You can help!!!!
Please take the time to sign our petition to the Minister to get change underway now and increase the odds of having a waterbirth at Rockingham Hospital!
So, if you don't want to sit there wondering if you could have done things differently, if you want to learn what ALL your options are, and how to take charge of your birth, let's talk.
Contact me to set up a complimentary Better Birth Chat for those women who are ready to get the birth they really want.
What is HG?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (or HG) is every pregnant woman's worst nightmare. It's a bit like extreme vomiting, nausea, and weight loss and it's certainly more than a bit of morning sickness. Whilst most women experience some morning sickness in pregnancy, while HG is quite rare (some estimate 1 in 100 pregnanies). I know of a few pregnant women who have suffered through HG for their entire pregnancy.
What can I do if my pregnant friend has HG?
Part of the problem is others trying to be helpful and telling a Mumma to just eat ginger (let me tell you nothing repulsed me more than the smell of ginger when I was pregnant or dry biscuits for that matter). We need to start educating each other on HG and start being more empathetic and practical with our support (instead of offering solutions). So if you know someone suffering HG ask them what you can do to help. Acknowledge that you don't know exactly what they are going through but offer to provide practical assistance (assuming you know them well enough).
How do I know if it's HG or just morning sickness?
There are a few differences between the two. With morning sickness you sometimes have vomiting, with HG you get severe vomiting. Morning sickness generally settles down at about 12 weeks, whereas HG often continues (sometimes up until the moment of birth). HG often results in severe dehydration and you are unable to keep any food down (as opposed to morning sickness where you can usually keep some food down).
If you are thinking you may have HG there's a checklist you can download here that you can take to your care provider as well (Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting and Retching).
Is there anything that will help cure HG?
If you think you are suffering from HG be sure to talk to your care provider. There are treatments available for the symptoms, though there's no known cure. You may be given medication (your care provider will work with you to balance possible side effects with benefits).
If the medication doesn't help, or you get dehydrated you may need to go to hospital for treatment (although this sounds scary, you will feel alot better just by not being dehydrated and not nauseous).
What can I do if my loved one is suffering with HG right now?
There is a great printable brochure you can download from the HELPHER website: http://www.helpher.org/downloads/hg-loved-one-brochure.pdf which can help you to help your loved one through this really difficult time.
If you want any further information on HG the HELPHER website is my go-to resource: http://www.helpher.org/
So, if you don't want to sit there wondering if you could have done things differently, if you want to learn what ALL your birth support options are, and how to take charge of your birth, let's talk.
Contact me to set up a complimentary Better Birth Chat for those women who are ready to get the birth they really want.