What Worries You?
What worries you most about pregnancy, labour, birth or postpartum?
You asked, I can answer!
I support women in a variety of ways, through all the stages of pregnancy, birth and beyond. Often times, I think it’s important to know how I can help you, by answering some common questions and concerns.
Who cleans up the mess after a home birth?
"I would love a home birth, but don’t want to have to do the cleanup."
I take care of the technical logistical parts of a home birth. Once hired, I provide the pool and all the equipment. I set it up and take it down; you do nothing! We all have different parts to play, your midwife will support you in the birth of the baby, you will birth the baby, and I will help comfort and ease your worries as well as clean it all up.
As your doula, once your birthing begins, give me a call and I will come over and check in on you. I will then busy myself to the setup of the pool. Once the pool is set up, we will determine whether or not you are ready to get in.
When the baby is born, your midwives and you will work to clean up both you and the baby. I on the side will drain, take down, pack up, throw out and make all the mess disappear. I start the laundry, dry the laundry and fold the laundry (If I have time), do the dishes, take out the trash, and clean up any other mess that was made. I will then come and say hello, check on you and babe, check the latch, then quietly slip out like I was never there. I get a lot of comments that go along the lines of "You wouldn't even know you were here, or that I even birthed here."
"Will I have the endurance it takes to birth my baby?"
Short answer is YES! Birth is hard work; they don’t call it labour for nothing. Most women will question during the end of her birthing time if she will be able to do it. There is a cocktail of hormones at work. I won’t get into the whole huge spiel of it all; however, the basics are Oxytocin, adrenaline, and catecholamines, also known as CA's. The CA's present during labour is the hormones present that keep you alert and going. Want more info about hormones present during labour read this article by Dr Sarah Buckley.
How can I help you? I know the normal nuances of labour and what you can expect. I encourage families to rest, nap, or go to sleep. I keep you calm and relaxed during your early birthing and in active labour I can set you up to rest and regain energy, or assure you that all is well and normal. During transition, there is a phase that is called Rest and Be Thankful, this phase can happen at the end of transition right before pushing, this is the phase where your body rests and regains its energy to birth your baby, however, we don’t always see it. This phase can be anywhere from 3 minutes to 30 minutes. Once the baby is born, you are full of Oxytocin and Adrenaline, this will keep you alert and awake so that you have the energy to bond with and get to know your baby.
“I am nervous about the pain, I may experience during labour."
There is a lot to discuss about this statement, not everyone experiences pain during birth. Some experience, pressure, sensations of tightening, pleasure, and yes pain. Your experience can be how you look at it, if you think you’re going to feel pain, and you are afraid to feel that pain, yes you will feel the pain. Dr. Grantly Michel Odent talks about the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome, he describes that the way women react to pain in labour can cause the pain that you feel, and that no other bodily function causes us pain.
In his book he describes the uterus as a large muscle that flexes during birth, much in the same way our muscles flex while working out, or eliminating (I have the book for lending). The more relaxed and accepting you are of the experience the less pain sensations you will feel.
Together we will work on any fear of pain you may have about your birth to better your experience. We will talk about what to expect, how to cope during all the stages of labour and birth, I will teach you relaxation techniques that include, breathing, visualization, movement and massage. Most importantly, your partner if you have one, and I will be by your side the whole time, cheering you on and reminding you that you CAN do it and you ARE doing it. The biggest boost in confidence is knowing that you have what it takes!
Natural pain relief
TENS Machine I will teach you how to set it up and use it. There are four pads that are placed on your back and work to block pain signals from traveling up your body. Also, it gives your body a feel good stimulus that your body will focus on.
Counter pressure: These include, double hip squeezes, pressure on your sacrum, back rubs, we use our hands, massage tools and rabozo's to assist us in creating pressure. Pressure works to relive the tension and open up your hips
Bathing- We are 50-65% water, and we react to it, I am not sure how, I just know this tidbit. Women love being in water during birth to relive discomforts. Water works to take the weight off your body. Muscles and bones. Water is also warm and soothing, causing us to relax.
Movement: It helps us to open our pelvis and allow room for baby to move down into the birth canal. Movement also allows us to get into natural positions for comfort and birthing baby
Massage: Relives muscle tension and pain, assists in relaxation, and acts as a distraction, also it feels really good during labour.
Another route you can go when experiencing pain in birth is medications. There are many different options to choose from. I won’t go into the makeup, risks or benefits of all of them. I will link each and every one. I ask that you do your research, and make your choices based on what you learn about each medication.
Medications can be a great way to help you cope during birthing, but each carries their own risks and benefits. It is important that you make an informed choice. No matter what you chose, you can be rest assured that we will still talk about what you can experience during birth, comfort techniques, visualization, movement and massage.
Most importantly your partner, if you have one, and I will be by your side the whole time cheering you on telling you that you CAN do it and you ARE doing it. I will support you in all your birthing choices.
Medicated pain relief
Entonox Also known as Nitrous Oxide or Laughing Gas. You breathe it in deeply at the start of a contraction and remove it after the contraction ends. It lasts only as long as you are sucking it in, once you take a deep clean breath, it leaves your body. The gas does not pass the placental barrier and is considered the first and safest form of pain relief. Its side effects can include dizziness, nausea and laughing.
Demerol is an opiate pain reliever that is similar to morphine. It does not take away the pain, it makes it more bearable. Read about its risks and benefits here. In my experience, women say that it does nothing, but I have witnessed a more stoned and less likely to care effect. Often myself or your partner will notice the medications effects first.
Morphine is another opiate pain reliever that is much the same as Demerol. Please ready my comments above.
Epidural is the most effective. Where morphine and Demerol won’t effect pushing, an epidural might. Epidurals are also sighted to be at the center of the Cascade of interventions that may take place once it has been placed. Epidurals have been known to increase your chances of C-Section, however, I have seen it help a women to have a vaginal birth and avoid Caesarean section. When we do prenatal appointments, we will discuss all the benefits and the risks of epidurals. If you choose to get one we will talk about the best time to get one, again the choice is completely yours and I support it.
How to heal properly from a C-Section
"How do I take care of myself in the event of a C-Section?"
A postpartum doula is most helpful in these situations. I can support you by helping with small chores, holding and caring for baby, cooking some meals and allowing you to rest while you heal. C-Section is a major surgery and takes a while to heal properly, but caring for it properly will help the healing process. Things you can do to support the healing.
1. Take time out, slow down, and don’t move around as much
2. In the shower allow the soapy water to clean the wound, do not scrub and pat dry. Allow it to get some air time.
3. Increase your water and fibre intake
4. Don't pick up anything heavier than your baby
5. Your Dr will tell you not to drive
Aftermath of having a baby
"What am I going to do about the baby, my food, the household chores, all while getting into a new routine?"
This part is a two part answer. First child and subsequent children. I can help and support you with both!
Be gentle with yourself, don't rush yourself, don't expect too much of yourself, and ask for help. When you are a new parent, there are a series of transitions you go through to get used to being a new mother. I wrote a gift registry a while back for new mom's it’s a good read. My advice would be to rest and get to know your baby and his or her various cues and cycles. Offer the breasts when asked for, babies don’t need Schedules, like us they know when they are hungry, thirsty or just need a small snack. Don't make commitments, and be lenient with yourself if you are not on time or have to cancel.
There is a lot of advice out there, as well as quite a few opinions, only you know what is best for your baby, and you make the ultimate choice. I know that I had a lot of well-meaning people offer tips, or suggestions. Some of them were not mothers themselves, some of them forgot what it was like to be new with hormones in full swing, and some had great advice that I loved and used, but I had to make the choice of what was best. Self-care is really important as well and it is very important that you practice it. Some tips; Have a bath or shower, taking time for yourself, in quiet gives you a moment to breath, you will feel better and it gives you much needed quiet.
Another option it to take baby into the bathroom with you in a swing or bouncer when they are content and have a shower. Make sure that you are getting your 8 hours of sleep in, it may not be all at once because babies are not programmed to sleep for 8 hour stretches and shouldn't.
How can you get your 8 hours?
Nap when baby naps, stay in bed with baby, snooze on the couch, give baby to your partner, support person, or postpartum doula and have a nap. The best trick I learned was to turn the clock around and remove the time, you don’t know how long you slept and you won’t keep track of how long you were in bed, get up when you are rested.
Eat 6-8 small meals a day and don’t forget to snack! This is a vital part to your recovery, eating nourishes your body, gives you energy and some of that goes to the baby, you need 500 additional calories in a day when breastfeeding, for example, a cookie and a glass of milk, or apple with peanut butter and some milk. Take time for yourself; go out, grab a coffee, go to the salon, take a walk or stay home and have a conversation with a friend, read a book, play on Facebook or something else that you enjoy.
These moments, help you feel more like you. Get dressed; put on something nice, get out of your pajamas, sweat pants, or maternity clothes and dress up just for yourself, this may help you to feel more normal, and more human. Hire a postpartum doula, all the things I have listed above a doula can help you with. We can hold baby while you nap or shower. I have held baby while the parents were out for dinner. We help with light household chores, so you don’t have to worry about dishes, laundry or sweeping. I can do some food prep, or pop dinner into the oven or microwave. Having the additional support around is wonderful to have. Have your family or friends come over and help, I know they are dying to hold baby, give them baby and go shower. Barter baby time; I will let you hold baby if you fold my laundry. You can hold baby if you bring me lunch. You can hold baby if_____ Fill in the blank. Let family and friends know of your expectations. If you plan on taking a baby moon for a few days after baby is born, let people know ahead of time that you are not currently accepting visitors, or they can come on a set date and time, or start visiting after X amount of days have passed
More than 1
Well, sorry I can’t help you; I am still figuring this out...Just Kidding.
By this time, you probably already figured out your best way of surviving is by finding or hiring support. It is my strong belief that motherhood should be about a community of love and support and the new mother should be mothered no matter how many children you have had. Your body played the Olympics and you went right along with it.
Carrying a child and then birthing that child, no matter how your baby was birthed is a lot of work for you and your body. Nurture it, love it, treat it gently and allow it to take the time that you both need to heal and recover. When I had my third, babies number 1 and 2 were ages 2 and 4, going out was impossible. I would go to the store and my daughter would go left, and my son would go right, I would have my stroller and wonder who I should save first. Delegate: your littles are all too eager to help, most of the time. Have one bring you the diaper and one bring you the cream, have them play an active role in supporting the care of the baby, some littles truly love the big helper roll.
Hire a postpartum doula, I do all the things I listed above, plus I play with the littles. I can take them outside and roll in the dirt, read them a story, help put them down for a nap. My help is whatever you need so that you can take time for yourself. I am there to support you 150%, I know what it is like, I know that it can be hard, and I have been there. Have family or friends come help. I have a friend that was my daughters baby whisperer, if I couldn't get her to sleep and I was about to cry she would come over and put her to sleep, that was her roll. I had family come and bring me food, because I was starving and too busy to do anything else besides nurse and entertain my littles.
I hope I have answered some of your worries, and I would love to hear and answer any more worries or questions you have. Please leave a comment or question and I promise that I will answer it!