Aria’s Birth Story – Part 1

At 7 weeks pregnant, I was given a due date of February 8, 2017, which never changed through the pregnancy.

At 37 weeks pregnant, you are concerned full term and can start preparing your body to give birth. Most doctors and midwives suggest drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil (orally or vaginally), having sex and taking a pill called EZ birth.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm I went to my midwife appointment, I was 38 weeks plus 6 days. I asked my midwife, Chelsea, to do a membrane sweep but when she check my cervix it was high and still closed so she couldn’t do anything. The only thing that showed any sign of labour happening in the next couple weeks was that baby’s head was engaged.  The midwives expected that could be late by a week since that is very common. I could feel a lot of pelvic pressure so I knew that baby’s head was getting deep in my pelvic so I thought that it was going to be an uncomfortable couple of weeks.

 After my appointment, my husband and I decided to go to Chinook Mall for a walk since the weather had become colder the last couple days and I didn’t want to risk falling on the ice. We stopped at Starbucks and chatted about what I might need to get before the baby comes and what I thought I could just get later in the week.

After a regular evening of dinner, some Tv watching and getting kicked in the ribs over and over, I had a conversation with my bump. I said “ I know I wanted a February baby, well tomorrow is February so you can come out now”. Later that night while lying in bed I had a weird feeling. I felt I needed to go to the washroom but didn’t think I need to pee. The feeling didn’t go away so at 12am on February 1, 2017 I went to the washroom and my water broke as I sat on the toilet. I called to my sleeping husband “ Daniel, my water just broke and my mucus plug is coming out” and with the best response ever he replied “Ha that’s funny”. After taking 5 minutes to have an “oh shit this is happening” moment, I put on a pad to catch the never ending drips of liquid and when back to sleep while I was contraction free.

At 1 am on February 1, 2017, I had my first contraction. It was mild and just felt like a side or stomach cramp. It lasted longer then I thought it would (about 50 seconds) but then it was gone. I figured it would be awhile till my contractions were regular so off to sleep I went again. At 1:40am I had a second contraction that was noticeablely stronger and was just as long as the first, there was no sleeping for me after that. Contractions came regularly and strong enough that I couldn’t stay laying down. By 3am I couldn’t let me husband sleep anymore. I needed him up with me to time contractions or help me breathe. I knew it could be a long road to baby so I wanted to try and eat to keep my energy up, Sadly with every new contraction I would throw up the bites of muffin and water I had consumed moments just before.

At 6:45am on February 1, 2017, I had contractions coming every 4 minutes and they were lasting at least a minute. I was unable to talk or move while having the contractions so I really had to stop and focus while I had each one. I had reached the 411 rule (contractions every 4 mins, lasting at least 1 minute and its been happening for an hour) and it was finally time to call the midwives. At 8 am one of my midwives, Jen, arrived at the house to do my assessment and see if it was time to move to my birth place or if we should labour at home long. All the midwives that had heard I was in labour (Jen, Chelsea and Susan) where a little skeptical on my progression due to the fact that I was just in clinic less then 24 hours earlier with no cervical opening at all. When I was accessed it showed that I was 4 cm dilated and my cervix had completely thinned. It was time to move to our birthplace (The Arbour Birth Centre).

birth-centre
This was my birth room at the Arbour Birth Centre in Calgary. 

Struggles at 34 Weeks

On December 28, 2016, I reached my 34th week of pregnancy with only 42 days till my due date. Baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (about the size of a cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. My sweet niece that is now 5 years old was born at 34 weeks and I think back at that 5lb baby and I cant believe that is was it rocking and rolling inside me.

Sleep has become a challenge as finding a comfortable position is harder then ever. Muscles are feeling tight and sore in many areas of my body and when people say that February is so soon I can’t seem to agree wen I am laying a wake at 3am. Perhaps this lack of rest is our bodies’ way of preparing me for the many nightly wake up calls that are rapidly approaching.

Breathlessness. This baby seems to like pushing against my lungs, diaphragm and rib cage. There really isn’t anything you can do however, f you’re pregnant for the first time, your baby is likely to drop down into your pelvis around 36 weeks, this is when the breathlessness might ease. The only other thing that I find works a bit is holding your hands over your head when you try to take a big deep breathe.

Nesting. I want to get everything clean, put away and organized. I know this is a normal part of getting ready for your little one but I’m sure I don’t need to fold the same sleepers 5 times. Some say an increase in the amount of adrenaline coursing through your system around 37 – 39 weeks of your pregnancy probably contributes to this final frenzy, but the emotional factors are just as strong and its productive, But don’t be upset if the nesting urge doesn’t strike you at all. That’s perfectly normal, as well, and doesn’t at all indicate a problem.

nesting

 

Have you heard about…. ?

There are a lot of new, modern and crazy things that people are doing when I comes to childbirth. Everyone is going to have a personal preference when I comes to the known or strange items people hear about now a days. I have heard a range of my weird and known decisions other people have made but I wanted to research for my self to find out what was weird and what could be very beneficial to my baby and me. Below are some decisions that could be a great choice for you and you family if you do the research:

Delayed Cord Clamping/ Cutting- What is it?

It is a birth practice where the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after pulsations have ceased, or until after the placenta is delivered.

Pros: benefits for the baby include a normal, healthy blood volume for the
transition to life outside the womb; and a full count of red blood cells, stem
cells, immune cells and decreased chance of anemia at the 5-6 month mark. For the mother, it keeps the mother-baby unit intact and can prevent complications with delivering the placenta.

Common Objections: Doctors in a hospital setting just don’t have the time to wait for DCC and some say that immediate clamping can prevent severe postpartum hemorrhage.

delay-cord-cutting

Placenta Encapsulation – What is it?
It is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. Sound gross? Did you know we are one of the only mammals that don’t consume their placenta after birth?

Pros: reported benefits include, faster physical recovery from birth, decreased postpartum bleeding, reduced chances of anemia, less physical exhaustion, increased maternal energy levels, prevention of postpartum depression, fewer mood swings and increased breast milk supply.

Cons: you have to spend the time to do it or you have to pay out of pocket. There is a company in Calgary, Alberta called Tender Touches Doula Services Inc. that charges $275+ gst.

placenta-encap

Helping Labour and Delivery

There are so many articles that talk about different ways you can make yourself go into labour; while most products can’t make you go into labour when your body isn’t ready,  there is science saying that these products can help stop you from going over due. This is important for a lot of us who are planning an out of hospital and/or natural birth.

Below are some commonly used products for pregnancy, Labour Preparation, Post-bith care and Newborn care.

Red Raspberry leaf Tea: can drink after 37 weeks to help tone the uterus in preparation for the marathon of birth
tea

Evening Primrose Oil Capsules: Can be taken after 37 weeks to aid in hormone balance and to prepare the cervix to expand as your due date approaches
primrose

EmergenC or Ener-C: drink to aid in maintaining adequate electrolyte levels during labour and post birth. Combine with coconut water for extra hydration and electrolytes.
ener-c

Epsom Salts: Add to bath to aid in healing of perineal tissues in the days after birth

Calendula Tincture: promotes healing. Can be used for vaginal ice packs for after birth and on baby’s umbilical stump to prevent infection and faster healing. Can also be used in peri bottle for after birth to spray in vaginal area. [Be sure to get the right kind. They have spray forms and creams but only Amaranth Health Food Store carries the right tincture
form]
calendula

Dates: studies have shown that women who eat 6 dates a day, starting at 36 weeks, are significantly more dilated, more like to go into labour naturally and have shorter first phase of labour. Dates contain all the following dietary benefits as well:

  • Natural sugars (fructose) that easily break down in the body and won’t spike blood sugar levels but will offer high energy, which makes dates during pregnancy or labour an excellent choice.
  • Fiber – Helps you stay full, relieves constipation, and lowers your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
  • Potassium– One of the best electrolytes. It helps maintain water/salt balance, which helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Magnesium– Support muscular health and helps to alleviate muscle spasms and cramps in pregnancy.
  • Folate  – Getting enough folate will ensure that your baby’s spinal cord matures properly, avoiding neural tube defects.
  • Vitamin K – maintains proper blood clotting and healthy bones.

Almond Oil: Ideal for massage during labour and used for baby massage after birth

In Calgary you can find all these items Amaranth Health Food Store with three locations around the city. North location – Arbour Lake, Central – 4th Street Downtown and South Location- 130th Ave SE. Stop by on the first Wednesday of every month for customer Appreciation Day – 20% off – 

amaranth

 

Hello Third Trimester

On November 16, 2016, I officially reached 28 weeks pregnant. Everyone says your now in the home stretch but this part of pregnancy can be the most challenging.

In my 27th week I started experiencing Sciatic nerve pain or what people commonly call Sciatica. For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about, you are very lucky.

Sciatica is a pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg; this can be experienced on one side of the body or both. It is caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disk. Some of the symptoms I felt included constant pain on my right side of my bottom, pain that worsened when sitting or returning to stand. Weakness on my right side, and sharp pain when stepping off curbs or turning sides during sleep.
What I found worked to relieve the pain – Putting heat on the painful areas, trying to sleep on the opposite side of the pain, sitting on harder surfaces and MASSAGE.

Shortness of Breath is normal. This naturally occurs the more the uterus expands and presses up into your diaphragm below your lungs, so yes it seems like this feeling will just get worse as you move into your third trimester.
What I found helped a bit – While sleeping, prop your upper torso up on pillows to expand your airway and lifting my arms above my head when trying to take a deep breath.

Neck and Shoulder Pain is just the start of various back pains. I wake up with pain where my neck means my shoulder on the right side. Most suspect two causes: 1) the weight of my baby was pulling my whole body forward into a hunched position, which aggravated my neck and shoulder, and 2) that because I spent most night curled around my pregnancy body pillow, I had slept on my side wrong and caused inflammation.
What I found worked to relieve the pain – Putting heat on the painful areas, trying to sleep on the opposite side of the pain and MASSAGE.

Frequent Urination is the new normal for every pregnant women. The extra blood flow makes our kidneys produce up to 25% more urine  after conception. in addition, once we move further in our pregnancy urine frequently can be influenced by pressure on the bladder from her growing uterus.

unknown
Women’s anatomy in the last trimester