Thursday, 18 July 2013

Feeling hot hot hot

Summer has finally arrived.  The sky is a fantastic blue and as to clouds... what on earth are clouds?  It's wonderful.  I love and adore it.  Floaty dresses and sandals, walking home from the theatre with no cardigan or jacket.  My bones are beginning to feel warm again.  It's truly wonderful and I laugh at the people who grumbled we had no summer, that now grumble it is not autumn.

'What about me Mars?  Do I get dispensation because I'm pregnant?'

Of course you do darling.  But I have one word for you: WATER.  Make sure that you are drinking lots and lots of water.   Just being pregnant raises your body's core temperature.  Add that to the temperatures outside... well I'm guessing that you're not loving the heat as much as I am at the moment. So, carry water.  Drink water.  I'm sure you're already be careful about the amount of caffeine and fizzy drinks you imbibe.  They don't help when you're hot.

Don't worry about stopping in the shade for a while.  Allow your body to cool down.  This is the time to indulge in a nice smoothie or a gorgeous ice cream.  Think of it as being 'medicinal'.  Seriously... ignore everyone and have a second scoop.  Whilst we're talking about food, what about a nice slice of watermelon.  Cool and refreshing.  This is the time of year to enjoy those lovely cold soups.  In fact, I'm looking forward to whipping up a nice vichysiosse.

Thankfully maternity fashion has much improved from the day of the 'tent' dress.  So look for some floaty dresses in breathable fabrics and pop on those lovely sandals.  Get someone to paint your toenails and walk gently.  The weather feels like the Caribbean, so walk like it.  We Jamaicans say 'soon come'... let that be your mantra.  'Me soon come' and stroll, stop in the shade and rest, take your time.  Sip a nice cool drink (okay so if you were in the Caribbean you might sip rum, but I'm thinking more virgin cocktails or mocktails at the moment).  That cooling spray you've packed in your birthing bag, either unpack it or buy some spares.  Pop that in a little bag with your water bottle and you are good to go.  If you feel yourself getting hot, find the ways that work best for you to cool down.

I remember when Space Fairy (my middle child) was born.  I could barely leave the house.  It was a hot summer and just getting to the gate was exhausting.  There were days when the effort was too much.  So yes, you get dispensation for being pregnant.  As for me, I have my book, there's a park across the road and I have water.

How you feeling? Hot hot hot!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Have you had that baby yet?

Over the past week, the world's media has been making its home around St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.  It has been widely reported that the Duchess of Cambridge will give birth there, in the Lindo Wing.  Personally, I'd send Catherine to the birthing centre there.  The midwives are amazing and totally woman centred.  The decision wasn't mine and so The Lindo Wing it is.  Of course the other thing that I would have asked the Duchess to consider would have been not telling anyone her guess-date.  That's right.  I'd have mentioned that she might like to hold that to herself.  

Why?  Well it's simple really.  Babies arrive when babies arrive.  There is a gorgeous mum at school and her baby's guess-date is any day now.  Each time she walks into the playground people wonder if her baby will 'ever come' and 'doesn't she look huge'.  We remain caught up in the whole Due Date thing and imagine that on that date the pregnant woman will wake up and before she goes back to bed that night, she will be holding her baby.  It is a small percentage (4% if I remember rightly, but do correct me if my stats are off) that give birth on the 'Due Date'.  First babies, in my experience, tend to come 'late'.  Now, I use late lightly, after all full term is 37- 42 weeks and therefore a baby is not 'late' until 42 weeks and 1 day.  This is where I forward the link to a fabulous blog post about those last days of pregnancy.  You see, we are all in such a rush to get these babies out, partly because everyone around us has been ringing us off the hook to ask 'Have you had that baby yet?'  Then of course we start to hear the risks of babies being inside too long and we begin to slowly fill with fear.  We do not birth well when we are filled with fear.  Adrenaline, which helps us to fight or flee, surges through us.  Oxytocin is what we need to birth our babies and the two do not sit well together in the birthing room. 

I have no idea when the Duchess of Cambridge conceived her baby, and I have no idea when it will arrive, but I do hope that she goes into spontaneous labour and no one 'hurries her and the baby along'.  I also hope and pray that she knows what she wants and makes good decisions with her husband.  I stand by my opinion that Kate needs a doula and I also think she needs a fabulous midwife to be with her as she births her baby. 

As for the photographers and reporters who are camping out.  I do hope that they are prepared for the long haul.  This baby will be born when it is ready.   Do babies tend to come to plan?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Why Kate needs a doula.

I know, you're probably, possibly groaning thinking that this is the longest pregnancy in Christendom.  To be fair, most pregnant women think that their pregnancy was/is the longest one.

I love birth and so I'm not feeling over saturated with royal baby information.  I've read some interesting articles such as Is Kate being bulied about her birth? by Milli HIll and her follow up article Has Kate's birth plan inspired a new kind of birth talk?  I've also read the wonderful Sheena Byrom OBE's blog post Catching Babies: A gift for the Duchess of Cambridge.  There are other articles out there.  Some talking about the cost of refurbishing the new baby quarters, others talking about her severe morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum and endless 'what will the Royal baby be called?' speculations.

Despite the plethora of articles and blog posts, here I am adding in my two penneth worth.  I think that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, needs a doula.  I do.  I truly do.  Of course I would love to have my phone ring and 'get the call', but that's not likely.  With my doula clients I like to spend at least two antenatal sessions with them talking about their birth hopes and preferences.  Sometimes people get caught up in the whole birth plan thing but I never have a problem with people wanting to plan.  I suggest that they have a couple of other plans in their bags.  

Much has been made of Kate's plans to use birth hypnotherapy.  Not all of it is positive.  We live in a world where the media view of natural birth is that it is la la land.  Of course Kate, as the Royal Bride, soon to be mother of the third in line to the throne, has been given the best team to support her as she births her baby.  The fact that the perceived best are two 'surgeon-gynaecologists' rather than two midwives experienced in normal birth caused my eyebrows to rise.  I know, you want to know why I feel like that (well, maybe you do).  I feel like that because the lovely Kate is reported to want a natural birth.  I happen to know that doctors have less and less experience in natural or indeed normal birth.  They train to sort out the problems, and thank goodness for them, but how, with that training, can they know what normal looks like?  How long is labour?  Well, it's not what it says in the medical books. Okay, I confess, I haven't read many medical books.  I do know, however, that birth is measured in terms of progress.  1cm an hour from established labour, though for some it's 1cm per hour from the moment of first assessment.  With a royal baby waiting to enter the world, will the two surgeons want their moment in the sun?  'I delivered the heir to the throne'.  Will they err on the side of extreme caution and worry for her 'tired cervix' a few hours into labour?  Will Kate be 'allowed' to labour at home for as long as possible?  So many questions and each spawning more. Do I think that these doctors are good at what they do? Yes.  They are undoubtably good at what they do.  Are they the best for Kate? Perhaps not, unless there is a medical emergency within her birth, and I am yet to be convinced that birth itself is a medical emergency.

So why does Kate need a doula?  This is her first time on this journey.  First time babies have a reputation for being 'late'.  Does Kate know her options about expectant management, the risks of induction or caesarean?  Will Kate be able to use informed consent?  I hope so.  I really hope that I am completely wrong about the two doctors charged with supporting the Duchess of Cambridge when she births her child, for make no mistake, pizzas and parcels are delivered.  Babies are born and mothers created.   I wish, for Kate, a perfectly normal birth.  A birth where she can use water (bring in your own pool Kate, I don't think they'd say no to you... or would they?) if she wishes, plug in her hypnotherapy cd, move freely and hold on to her man as her baby, yes her baby, makes its way into her arms.