Nature's Mothers Blog

Childbirth, Parenting and Other Passions

Doula! The Ultimate Birth Companion May 9, 2014

Filed under: babies,Birth,Parenting,pregnancy — naturesmother @ 7:54 pm

I have recently had the privilege of being invited to be a birth partner for a lovely friend of mine. As a result I have been researching what doula’s do in more detail – although I know what my wonderful doula did for me! I have just watched this film and felt the need to share it. It costs £1.99 to stream it online – very much worth it in my opinion!

https://distrify.com/films/4744

 

 

Traumatised child, traumatised mum… November 3, 2013

Filed under: Birth,Parenting,pregnancy — naturesmother @ 11:26 pm

Since my middle child, Ayla, was born I have blogged much less. This is partly due to being incredibly busy, but I think mostly due to the fact that I have been slightly traumatised and have felt unable to really talk about this, except for to a few close friends, before now.

Before Ayla’s birth I wrote this blog about Letting Go of expectations and fear. If you read the following blog you will see that I went into labour the night after writing the first blog. Now, I have a theory about this. I feel that I did let go of fear enough for my body to relax and go into labour, but I don’t feel that I was relaxed enough. I didn’t exactly explain this in the birth blog (the second one) but looking back now, I find it quite odd that once Ayla’s head was out I lost all desire to push her body out. It took at least another 7 minutes before I forced myself (with Stevens help) to push her body out, which I believe is quite long. Looking back now, I do feel that I wasn’t actually ready for her. As wonderful as I thought my living arrangements were, there was actually a lot of constantly having to shush Erin and stop her from going into rooms and exploring like a normal toddler, and Erin was a pretty quiet, angelic child. (we shared a house). In retrospect I KNOW this caused me a lot more stress then I acknowledged or even realised at the time. I know because when we moved out I felt such a HUGE sense of relief. This was probably one of many factors – there was the ‘how will I cope?’ factor, and many more.

Anyhow, within the first day or two when little gorgeous Ayla began to cry constantly I was completely taken by surprise. My first daughter had practically never cried. I was bloody tired and emotional and nothing I did seemed to satisfy this little soul – and it made me feel so useless – and angry. I felt I never really bonded with her and fell in love with her the way I did with Erin – this process was interrupted by desperate cries and helplessness. Many a night Steven and I would just pass her between us and hold her for as long as we could cope with the crying. She has a hearty, shriek-like cry which seemed to make all the nerves in my body twang and I felt like SUCH an awful mum! Not even boobie would satisfy her. She HATED the car and would literally scream from the second we got in to the second we stopped – I often had to stop and get her out on the way somewhere as I felt so utterly mean allowing her to get into such a state..she was literally breathless, sweaty and bright red by the time we arrived.  And there were times when I wore her in the sling and sat in the back of the car with her, and she was much happier like this. It was heartbreaking. I went out as little as possible. Seeing Dr Maryellen Stephens of Westcountry Family Chiropractic was a Godsend, and the crying immediately reduced. But Ayla has always been a needy baby and she has carried that through to childhood.

I feel she is traumatised for a few reasons:
1) me not feeling ready for her due to unforeseen & unchangeable circumstances
2) me being fearful of ending up in hospital
3) allowing intervention in having my waters broken when it was looking apparent that labour would stop
4) me literally not being able to push her body out for ages – having her head in the water, eyes open for well over 5 minutes (a very clear subconscious message??)
5) me being unable to cope with the crying and feeling utterly helpless

I have had three wonderful natural births, that many a woman is envious of & I should be thankful, right?  But yet I can relate to how people who have had awful traumatic births must feel. I believe that Ayla’s stress hormones(cortisol) are high and used up fast and then adrenaline kicks in. It is hard. I totally adore this child and would die for her, but there are moments when I just simply don’t know how to be with her. This has reflected negatively on our mother child relationship and I sometimes feel that Ayla is simply a reflection of how I’ve become as a result of her crying and unquenchable neediness, and therefore my feeling of helplessness. I used to be super chilled and easy going, but there is something about that cry (which she still has) that makes something in my brain go ‘twang’ and I lose the ability to cope – over and over again. I say things that I don’t mean and I see the fear in her eyes when I roar at her to ‘stop crying because it’s making me go insane’. Tears are rolling down my face as I write this. I recognise that it is so terribly terribly sad, and I still feel helpless as to how to make it better.

What is also interesting is that when Ayla was 2 months old I broke my finger and had to have it operated on. This put my one hand out of action for over a month. I don’t think I purposely broke my finger, but I do think that this gave me the ability to step back and hand over the childcare a bit more to Steven at a time when I was feeling unable to cope. You have to wonder about timings sometimes…

Ayla is quite aggressive, extremely emotional, quite angry and has a blood curdling scream which makes everyone cover their ears if we’re in a public place. She is constantly hurting Leander or pushing him over (sometimes I think she just wants to squeeze him because she loves him, but then gets carried away and hurts him instead) and hubby and I often find ourselves talking and worrying about her mental health. I know it is a mothers ‘job’ to blame herself, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself – but it is hard. I also feel very guilty that we had Leander when she was so little (she was 27 months old) and I know that of course she must be quite jealous of the attention he gets – and he is a total angel of a baby so he gets lots of positive attention, whereas she mainly seems to attract negative attention although we really really make an effort to give her one on one and as much positive attention as we can.

I myself have been rather down in the dumps and am in fact currently having Counselling  – and I must say that I feel a big part of the problem is as a result of Ayla’s babyhood and my loss of faith in myself. I do actually feel traumatised by the crying and have the most terrible guilt for not being able to provide for her needs – I could not stop her from crying, no matter what I did. I have gradually begun disliking myself more and more over the past 3 years and am now actually only recognising this and changing the pattern. How can I expect my kids to love themselves if I don’t love myself?

Regardless of all of this, I can honestly say that I love Ayla as much as my other children, and she probably spends a lot more time going around in my heart & head as I worry about her, and I desperately want to make things right in her world. She is pretty damn hilarious when she wants to be and ever so cute and small and articulate. She can be very loving and adorable, and she can be totally feisty and wild too – all of which I adore. If I had a time machine, I would like to repeat our first few months together – I want to take her on a journey back into the womb and really wish her out into this world wholeheartedly, make things right for her from the start..somehow I feel like if this had been the case she may not have cried as much as she did. If she hadn’t cried so much I would have been able to bond much better. If I’d bonded much better, she would be a much more secure child. Oh, the guilt that comes with parenthood – and of course, there’s no guarantee that any of this would have made any difference.

Another theory I have is that I persuaded her to stop breastfeeding when she was 18 months old. I had just ended up in hospital with severe blood loss after an anembryonic pregnancy, and I just felt too physically drained to continue. I also felt I never had quite the same breastfeeding relationship with her as I did with the others – it was much easier to stop feeding her than it would have been with Erin. I just didn’t feel as ‘connected’ to her. I breastfed Erin til 3 and beyond, and she is such a secure child and I am sure this is a contributing factor. In retrospect I do actually wish I’d continued with Ayla, because I think it could have been really healing for both of us – but I was physically and mentally depleted and felt unable to at the time.

What could really heal her, I think, is plenty of one-on-one time with her. Plenty of praise, endless love, no punishments. (Easier said then done when her shrieks trigger an automatic negative response from me…something I’m working on). I feel I need to allow her to be a baby again too.  Life has been hard enough for her…I have no idea why she actually cried when she was a baby, but whatever it was – I believe it has left scars. I believe Love-bombing may well be our answer, and in small doses has worked miracles for as long as a couple of weeks afterwards. I want to do a few days of total love-bombing when Leander is weaned some day and see what that does. I also want to learn to forgive and love myself again, as I’m sure this will reflect on our relationship and I’m happy to say that I am well on my way there!

So now the secret is out – I am indeed human and no super mom at all. But, as I so often say these days, I’m working on it 😉

breastfeeding

 

Vaccination Talks with Dr Jayne Donegan coming to Cornwall August 26, 2013


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Vaccination Lectures

With Dr Jayne Donegan
MBBS DRCOG DCH DFFP MRCGP MFHom

Where:

Redruth Community Centre, Foundry Row, Redruth,
Cornwall TR15 1 AN

When:

Tuesday the 22nd of October 2013.

Times:

12noon – 2pm: ‘Supportive treatment of Childhood Illnesses’ – What do you do if you don’t Vaccinate (and also if you do)

7pm – 9pm:  ‘Vaccination – the Question’. 

Prices:

Tickets are £11 each.  There are reductions for booking the whole day and for multiple bookings.

Email sharonmackay@gmail.com for any enquiries.

Book your place at www.naturesmother.co.uk

 

What if… A woman is told “there are no midwives available for homebirth”… May 23, 2013


Another guest post:

What if… A woman is told “there are no midwives available for homebirth”…

Quick answer: If couples decline hospital transfer and insist on remaining at home there’s a good chance that the hospital trust will be able to organise attendance by other midwives.

Longer answer: The government report ‘Maternity Matters’ (2007) guaranteed that every woman in England would have the choice of giving birth at hospital, at a birth centre or at home. This promise is far from being met as maternity services remain overstretched.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council say “Should a conflict arise between service provision and a woman’s choice for place of birth, a midwife has a duty of care to attend her… Withdrawal of a home birth service is no less significant to women than withdrawal of services for a hospital birth” (NMC 2010).

A health authority is legally obliged to provide emergency care, although it cannot be forced by law to provide a homebirth service. However, if women decline hospital transfer and insist on staying at home in labour then the trust do their utmost to provide a midwife.

If a woman’s local team is already busy or unavailable, midwives can be called in from other local areas. If other community teams are busy or unavailable the on-call supervisor of midwives will be asked to attend. As a last resort paramedics can be called to attend.

Birth partners should advocate for the woman clearly, calmly and assertively on the telephone. Calmly repeating phrases such as “No, she does not wish to transfer to hospital, we’re having a homebirth. Please arrange for a midwife to attend. There’s no way she’s getting out of the pool” sends out the message loud and clear.

Some women voice concerns that insisting on midwives coming out might mean that they get grumpy care providers… I have to say, when I’ve supported local couples in these circumstances as a doula, the midwives who arrive have always been professional and happy to be there.

Obviously, women should only stay at home if they still feel comfortable doing so.

If a woman is involuntarily pushing (especially near the beginning of each contraction) and a midwife might not arrive in time, birth partners are advised to call 999 just as a precaution and prepare for an unassisted birth… And keep calm!

Cornwall homebirth provision…

Maternity service commissioners here in Cornwall have requested that any incidents of threatened or denied homebirth provision should be reported to them.

Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group can be contacted directly, or you can pass your comments to the Maternity Services Liaison Committe via myself (Alice Kirby) of the chair Mandy Wells (07833 054664).

First family photos

Many thanks to Alice Kirby of  Hypnobirthing with Alice Kirby here in Cornwall for letting me post this very useful info. This is often a concern for pregnant mothers and it’s good to know where we stand.

 

A letter to my baby boy January 14, 2013


Dear Leander,

I cannot believe that 4 months has gone by since you entered this world.  You are the happiest, most chilled out, loveliest baby I know. Ok, obviously I would say that…I am your mommy!

Getting to know you has been such an absolute delight:  from the moment I reached down and touched the top of your head as you were crowning just before you were born to watching you doze off on my breast just a few minutes ago.

Some of my favourite moments with you include holding you in my arms seconds after you were born, watching you breastfeed for the first time, climbing into bed with you a couple of hours after you were born and letting your smell and oxytocin inducing gorgeousness envelope me in bliss, watching you sleep, smile and nuzzling your neck.

Now you are a whopping 4 months old, well out of your 0-3 month old clothes and some of your 3-6 month clothes are on the small side. You are a proper little giggler now and it’s so contagious! I can’t look at you without getting an overwhelming sense of how much I love you, and how I just – selfishly – would like to freeze time and keep you in all your gorgeousness the way you are now.  You are  like a drug – intoxicating to the max – I want to bottle your smell, somehow store and save the way you make me feel.  I love the way you reach for me in your dreams at night, put a hand on my cheek or my chin and immediately settle knowing that your mama is close.  I love the way you wriggle close to me when you’re hungry or need comfort in the night and latch on to my breast.  I couldn’t not share my bed with you, that would be just too hard and too tiring for us both!

I love the milky smell of your breath, and I love spending most evening feeding you. Truly I do! I remember your big sister wanting to feed all evening – and being my first it spun me out a bit.  I wondered if it was necessary, whether I was spoiling her as some claimed, or worse still over feeding her. I also had the sense that my evenings, in fact my life, was no longer my own and this used to scare me a it. But now I know that either you are telling my body that you are growing and I need to make more milk, or you just want to be close to me and suck for comfort. And both are fine!  I also now know how quickly this time goes and I absolutely treasure and cherish it! I love the way you giggle uncontrollably when we snuffle your neck or tickle you, only a baby can laugh like that. I am so happy to be your mummy.

One thing daddy and I really enjoy is chatting to you.  You really make eye contact(and have done for months!) and you look so chuffed and joyful when we copy the sounds you make and give you a chance to answer back.  We have tried to get these chats on video, but you’re distracted by the camera…but they are so precious.  You can almost see the neural pathways forming as you have realised that you have control over your hands.  You have quick reflexes too and will have our bowl off the table in a second if we don’t keep our eyes on you!  You want to put everything in your mouth now, which we don’t mistake for you being hungry.  You are discovering, and this is the way you do it. You are also chewing on things and dribbling as your first teeth must be lurking under your gums, not too many months away from making their appearance. You have a lovely little amber teething necklace now, and I have one to match. You enjoy holding onto it and pulling it while you breastfeed just lately too.

Your sisters love you very much. You make them giggle when you accidently bash your rattle against your nose, or drop things repeatedly on the floor. They want to hold, cuddle and kiss you constantly, and it’s not unheard of for them to wake you up to do so! You love grabbing hold of their hair – this makes them shriek and giggle and you look so pleased with yourself.

My only one regret is that I can’t be fully with you 100% of the time, that I have other jobs to do, but in a sense this makes the undisturbed times with you all the more special. I am so grateful for your calm and happy soul! Our family would not be complete without you!

Lots of love

Your mummy

 

My Anembryonic Pregnancy February 17, 2012

Filed under: babies,Birth,miscarriage,pregnancy — naturesmother @ 12:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I’m sharing this blog especially because I found so little online to let me know whether what I was going through was normal or not. Even the professionals didn’t seem to know.

I fell pregnant in August last year. It was a bit of a surprise, but followed by the usual sense of excitement and the warm, fuzzy feeling that there was a little baked bean, slowly developing into a person inside my womb. This pregnancy felt different. Slightly heightened sense of smell, but not nearly as much as with the girls. No real cravings or being off food. No severe fatigue. In fact, I found myself wondering if I really was pregnant. But of course I was…I had no periods – it was just an even easier pregnancy than with my girls – maybe it was boy? My body was going through changes. I was beginning to get a bit chubby and  my breasts were feeling tender.

At 12 weeks I started bleeding. Just spotting on and off at first.  I panicked for the first little while as I’d never spotted with the girls.  Then I, of course, googled ‘spotting’ and found that it was perfectly common and not necessarily a sign that anything was wrong. I was due to see the midwife a couple of days later for the first time (much more relaxed this time around). When I did see her, I filled out all the paperwork, and almost forgot to mention the spotting. She did look slightly concerned when I told her that sometimes I just didn’t feel pregnant.  I was due for a dating scan which she hurried up so they could make sure everything was ok. She reassured me that spotting was quite common.

A couple of days later we went for a scan. I was still spotting…bleeding even by then, like a light period. I felt worried. I remembered reading about false pregnancies and wondered whether I was that crazy to imagine a pregnancy. It wasn’t like we had problems falling pregnant or anything, so why would I trick myself into thinking I was?

We all went into the room where they do the ultrasound scans. The two ladies were lovely and explained that if they couldn’t see enough with an external scan, they may have to do an internal one. The moment they passed the scanner over my tummy, I KNEW something was not right. I could see the sac, but no baby. They confirmed my suspicions by asking to do an internal scan (completely painless and not uncomfortable, by the way). Steven gripped my hand and Erin stroked my arm. Steven had seen the empty sac too, and Erin just seemed to know something was not right.

They then explained that I had an anembryonic (meaning ‘without embryo’ and also called ‘blighted ovum’) pregnancy. It is where the sac forms,  grows, and either the baby forms and dies really early and is reabsorbed, or the baby never even forms. A ‘quirk of nature’ the sonographer said, something that was not quite understood and there was no pattern, as in it doesn’t run in families or can’t be predicted.  I was not imagining a pregnancy, however. Phew! Up until 12 weeks, hormones are responsible for the early development of the baby, at around 12 weeks the placenta takes over. It was at this stage my body had realised that there wasn’t a baby to feed, and I started bleeding.   They measured the sac and confirmed that I would have been about 12 weeks.

Anembryonic Pregnancy

I can’t help wondering if it was something to do with the dental scan I had before I knew I was pregnant – my dentist doesn’t have a lead apron(Please ALWAYS insist on one, pregnant or not!!)  Miscarriages are on the increase since the disaster in Japan, and we are all exposed to more radiation than we should be.

I was then given a few choices…

  1. I could either take a tablet which would help it all come away,
  2. I could go for a D&C (evacuation of the womb) under general or local anesthetic
  3. I could let it happen naturally
Since I’m a natural gal, and things seemed to be happening naturally anyway, I thought I would let nature do it’s thing. I was sent away with a brochure about what to expect. the brochure said I should bleed for about 2 weeks, heavier than a period. When I asked the Sonographer how long I should bleed for, she said ‘how long is a piece of string?’  She also warned that it would be much heavier than a period and that lots of people experience labour like cramps. The internet confirmed that people bled for up to 10 weeks! (Not the best place to research, I know!)

I then had the emotions to deal with. While my pregnancy felt different and I almost didn’t feel pregnant, I still fully believed I was…as did my body up until that point. I felt like my body had failed me, even though I pride myself on being pretty healthy. I also felt like I wasn’t justified in feeling sad, as there’d perhaps never even been a baby anyway. It was a very strange feeling to be having a miscarriage but not actually losing a baby.

Anyhow, I’m a great believer in mother nature knowing best, and although I was sad I also felt that there was a reason…in that maybe something would have been awfully wrong otherwise, and perhaps the timing wasn’t quite right. Ayla was only 14 months and still very attached to me and breastfeeding loads.

It was only when a friend, without thinking – I’m sure, said something insensitive about it, that I realised that actually I was going through exactly what any woman who had a miscarriage went through – emotionally, at least. I also strongly feel that my emotions were completely valid, and it was important for me to see them through and not just brush them aside. Which was another reason for letting nature do it’s thing.

Anyhow, emotions aside…about a week after I first started bleeding – I practically went into labour. I was lucky to be house-sitting for a friend, as we had a compost loo and no bath or shower in the caravan we were living in. I had contractions every few minutes, and after each contraction I would bleed really heavily and generally passed at least one pretty massive clot (I didn’t measure them, but I’d say some of them were probably up to about 7 or 8 cm). Bleeding is normally measured by how many sanitary towels per hour. I bled out of a thick maternity pad within seconds and ended up just sitting on the loo and in the shower for the entire afternoon. (I’m sorry if this is all a bit gory…but I felt very alone in not REALLY knowing what to expect. At birth you have a midwife with you. When you miscarry, you’re alone! – Especially if your husband has to keep the kids out the bathroom)

This died down by evening, and then at lunch time for the next 2 days I started labour pains again and had a repeat of that afternoon.  After this it started to settle down, and I thought yippee…I could look forward to it starting to all calm down. However, bleeding would get less for a couple of days and then I’d pass some more clots and bleed loads again. Since I was still within 2 weeks, I didn’t worry too much.  Miscarrying at 12 weeks means the sac is much bigger  then if you miscarry at say 8 weeks, so it made sense that I’d be bleeding quite a lot.

However this pattern continued and after bleeding for 4 weeks I got in touch with the emergency gynae unit at Treliske Hospital. I went in for another scan and test for infection, which confirmed that I still had retained tissues.  They didn’t recommend that I have a D&C (which I think I would have gone for at this stage although I didn’t think to ask for it).

They did, however, dish out antibiotics – in case of infection.  I said that I’d rather not take the antibiotics until they could confirm an infection. They promised to let me know within the next couple of days. I heard nothing and when I called repeatedly, nobody could really even confirm who I was or where my test results were. With the bleeding getting less again, I thought maybe my body had naturally got rid of the retained tissues. And then it got bad again.  Still nothing from the emergency gynae unit.

I thought that the blood I was losing was what was already in my uterus. What I didn’t know at the time, was that your body creates these bleeds in order to get rid of the retained tissue.

Seven weeks after I first started bleeding, Steven had taken the Erin to school and was spending the day in Helston with Ayla.  I started bleeding REALLY heavily again, and still passing quite big clots. I was stuck on the toilet…everytime I got up I’d just bleed through pad and clothes again.  I started to feel really dizzy.

I called Steven and he said he’d go pick up Erin early from school and come home (it’d take him more than an hour  – as he wasn’t close to Erin’s school at this stage and it’s a 30 minute drive home from school). He suggested I just lie down.  I managed to crawl across the lounge and get a camping mat to lie on as I was still bleeding a lot.  I had images of Steven coming home, running a bath and helping me in and everything would be fine. When Steven and the girls got home they found me lying in a puddle of blood. I asked Steven to run me a bath. He asked me to sit up. I did and immediately passed out. When I came around I told him he’d better call an ambulance. He had hardly hung up the phone when 3 ambulance men ran through the door, scaring my poor little girls out of their minds.  They were very good though. Although they couldn’t find a vein to get the drip into, and my blood pressure was REALLY low.  I passed out when they sat me up.  They got me to A&E at Treliske in record time (23 minutes from Carbis Bay – the driver was very proud 🙂 )

The A&E staff were great, and got me giggling and found 2 veins immediately. A drip in each arm, nice 🙂  I was sent to a ward a few hours later once they were kind of happy with my blood pressure.  Steven and the girls turned up, and were allowed into A&E as it was not too busy.  Erin was intrigued (she loves anything gory). They couldn’t stay though and the girls weren’t really allowed into the ward either (disease control). Anyway, to cut a long story slightly shorter, I ended up having 4 units of blood. My heamoglobin was 5.4…normal is above 12!  I also ended up having a D&C under general anaesthetic. I had flu at the same time and was feeling generally totally rubbish. I had this woosh woosh sound in my head, but the moment the first unit of blood started going in this got less and less, and by the time the first bag was in…alas, no woosh woosh! Yay!  I felt like a new person by the time I got home 2 days later, and am ensuring I have an iron rich diet and am supplementing it with Floradix. Lots of leafy greens, lentils, beans

So, my advice to anyone in a similar situation…I think it is great to let things happen naturally. It gives you time to process the miscarriage emotionally and physically, and I am not sorry I made this choice. However, if you are still bleeding heavily 3 weeks later, I would personally ask for a D&C. I would have preferred a local anesthetic, but didn’t have a choice in the end. GA’s really take their toll on your body!  I hope this is helpful information for others out there, and sorry it is so longwinded!

 

The perfect gift for mum & baby this Christmas! December 17, 2011


Looking for something special for a baby or child for xmas? How about an amber teething necklace?!

They are £12.99 each and are made from genuine Baltic amber. They come in several different shades varying from ‘black’ to ‘sunshine’. There are matching ones for mums & dads too! Postage is FREE if you are in the UK!

To find out how amber works, to have a look at the various gorgeous designs, or to go to my online shop here

You can also find me on facebook here

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to you all!

Blessings,

sharon

 

 
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