Nature's Mothers Blog

Childbirth, Parenting and Other Passions

Is your amber teething necklace fake or real? July 3, 2013


There are lots of fake amber necklaces on the market. Some are plastic and some are Copal (immature resin).  If you want the soothing effects of the succinic acid, you need the real deal.

Here are a few ways to test if amber is real:

  1. Drip a few drops of acetone (nail polish remover) on the amber.  If the amber goes slightly sticky, or the acetone takes on the colour of the amber – your amber is almost definitely not real.
  2. Try burn your amber (I’m guessing you won’t want to do this on a lovely new necklace!) It will burn like incense and let off a wonderful piney smell. Copal will melt but smell similar to amber. Plastic will melt and smell like chemicals.
  3. I found a wonderful video on youtube to demonstrate this one…enjoy!!

Here at Nature’s Mother you’ll find some genuine beautiful amber necklaces. The baby necklaces are between 31 and 35cm in length, bracelets about 10cm, and each bead is individually knotted to prevent them all spilling off should it break. The adult necklaces are around 50cm in length.

 

How my Chiropractor stopped the crying!! September 30, 2010

Filed under: Birth,Breastfeeding,Parenting — naturesmother @ 6:05 pm
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It turns out that Ayla is a completely different child to Erin. **surprise**

In her first couple of weeks she cried so much that Steven and I were at our wits ends.  I could tell the crying was not discontentment…it was pain, or discomfort, something was not quite right and I was desperate to help my little angel. I remembered hearing about Chiropractors helping others and decided to call up Dr Maryellen Stephens, who has an amazing reputation.  Chiropractors and cranial osteopaths often work on new babies just to get everything realligned that’s been disturbed perhaps in the womb or during the birthing process.

Dr Maryellen was so welcoming and friendly and was wonderful with Ayla.  She explained everything in detail and I’m hoping I’m recounting it correctly…

She pointed out that Ayla’s head was quite uneven.. the dent in the one side of her head was bigger than the other.  Perhaps from how she was lying in the womb, perhaps against my ribs or hip or something. How I understand it is that this restricted movement in her skull which is still quite flexible and the crying and lots of sucking is natures way of increasing pressure to try and get everything to move into it’s correct place.

She also screamed whenever we got her dressed and couldn’t lift one of her arms all the way up (which I also hadn’t noticed until she pointed it out). The chiro said that her sacrum(which is not fused at this age) was not quite doing what it was supposed to and between this and her head her spine was tethered, limiting her movement and affecting digestion, latching onto the breast, etc etc.

I had just presumed she probably had colic and I was going to have to live with a few hours of really distressing crying everyday until she grew out of it, but am so glad I gave the chiro a go.  She did a bit of very gentle work on her sacrum which immediately released her arm and leg so they could move as they were supposed to (no more crying when getting dressed!!!) and her head is almost even on both sides now.

From the first treatment Ayla’s crying reduced from an hour or two a day to an hour or two once a week or every two weeks.  Ayla is a completely different baby now…happy and content and only cries when she’s tired or hungry and her nappy is full. We haven’t had a crying session like we had before in about a month. She also feeds much better and is less gassy (her head would have affected her jaw and therefore her latch on my boob, etc).

So I am a totally blown away and a 100% convert to something I was originally slightly skeptical of.  I really want any parent who is desperate with a crying or colicky baby to at least know that Chiropractic is an option. No one really knows what colic is, and apparently chiropractic work nearly always at least reduces the crying.

I feel I owe our sanity to Dr Maryellen Stephens of  Westcountry Family Chiropractic!  http://www.family-chiro.co.uk/

Dr Maryellen Stephens is also available to answer questions on the Nature’s Mother forum, under “Ask the Chiropractor”. www.naturesmother.co.uk (Wonderful natural pregnancy products available here too!)

Other interesting articles about chiropractic and colic

http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/pediatrics/colic/babycry.html

http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/infantile-colic-treated-by-chiropractors-a-prospective-study-of-316-cases.html

 

The home waterbirth of Ayla Ivy! June 22, 2010


On Friday, June 18th, not many hours after my last blog post, after a big walk, some sex and feeling much more relaxed about whatever will be will be, I woke up at about 1am with some fairly strong contractions.  5 days after my due date.  I brushed them off as Braxton Hicks and snoozed for a while.  When I woke up 40 minutes later they were still going and I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t lie down through them, so I got up and started timing them and wandered around, just in case this was it.  They were 5 minutes apart and quite intense.  I woke Steven at about 2, saying that I thought this was it.  He didn’t quite believe me, as my waters hadn’t broken(they broke first with Erin) and he was sure they were Braxton Hicks, but when he saw me have a few contractions he began to believe me.

We called the midwife who said she’d be on her way, and we set about doing what prep was needed.  Steven was lighting the rayburn to heat the water, pumping up the birthing pool and lighting the fire in the lounge, while I was putting music on, lighting candles, moving my birthing altar in, lighting the oil burner with soothing, calming lavender oil and leaning forward and breathing through contractions.  I remembered the Rescue Remedy and Steven and I had a few sprays which really helped to keep us chilled.

Our amazing friend, Julie, who we live with had heard the commotion and was up making tea and snacks, helping with the fires and helping to fill the pool by the bucket load, and making sure we all had what we needed.  She had to leave at 5am for France, so sadly missed the birth.  Thankfully the lovely Spike, who lives in the mobile home, was around to keep an ear open for Erin(who was still fast asleep) and continue where Julie left off.  The pool got filled up and I got in.

By the time my midwife, Lynne,  arrived at around 4am my contractions were much closer together and pretty intense.  She did an internal examination to discover I was 5cm dilated. Yay!  She asked me where I’d like to give birth if the birthing pool never got filled up in time and I found a spot close to the birthing pool where I’d still be able to go onto all fours and lean against the pool, and Steven could still massage my back.

Steven was a superstar and let me boss him around telling him exactly how much pressure I felt I needed on my sacrum (his bodyweight a lot of the time!).  He also reminded me to breathe slowly and deeply and held me really tight so I could put all my bodyweight on him every now and then.  He was my calm, my rock – as always.

The pool got filled up and we got in.  The warmth and weightlessness was comforting and made the contractions feel less intense.  In fact I think it may have slowed things down because my contractions slowed right down.  Erin woke up at around 6.30 and she popped in to say hi and then went on a wander with Spike.  She came back in every now and then and was not at all bothered by the animal-like sounds I was making, and came up to me and stroked my hair and gave me little kisses.  I had not planned to have her there, but she seemed so comfortable that it seemed wrong to chase her away. This would only have made her feel left out.  And because she was comfortable, I was comfortable.

By 8ish, I was truly pooped and even thought how nice it would be to go back to bed and try again another day, but on examination I was 9cm dilated.  My waters had still not broken and the midwives (a second one had arrived earlier – they’re meant to have two there for the birth) did say that, while completely my choice, they could just prick a hole in the membrane( breaking my waters) and this would speed things up. I tried walking around for a while and going to the toilet, but this didn’t seem to do a whole lot.  Contractions were further apart and less intense. Were I still 5 cm and had lots of energy and contractions were going strong, I’d have refused having my waters broken – but being so close but with things seeming as if they were coming to a standstill I decided to go ahead and have my waters broken. It is a completely painless procedure and just involves them using something that looks like a long crotchet hook and breaking the bag that holds the water around the baby.

When the midwife broke the waters there was a bit of merconium (baby poo) in it.  Lynne was not concerned as she said it looked fresh. The second midwife, however, was talking about sending me to hospital – as if baby swallows merconium it can be dangerous, and it can be a sign that baby is in distress.  However baby’s heart rate was great and Lynne, thankfully, put her foot down and insisted that I was having baby at home and there was no need for concern. She said that the only thing the hospital would do was monitor me, and they could do that right there in the birthing pool. I felt like there was no need for concern and knew that I was probably too close to the birth for them to send me to hospital anyway. It just shows you though, if Lynne were not on I may have been sent to hospital completely unnecessarily, so thank you Lynne!

I’d been nibbling breakfast bar, bananas and weetabix throughout and having sips of juice and tea and Lynne had a hand held doppler/heart monitor that she could use in the water to listen to baby’s heartbeat whenever she needed to.

Breaking the waters meant that babies head came right down onto the cervix, getting the last of it out of the way so that babies head could move down the birth canal. I got back in the birthing pool and contractions suddenly became very intense and painful, but I had the midwives and Steven there to help me to stay strong, stay calm and breathe.  I refused gas and air this time, as although they say it has no effect on baby, it is under researched and nobody knows for sure. I was also feeling a bit nauseous and didn’t want to risk gas & air making me be sick.

I don’t know how to explain how I was feeling at this time. I switched off to everything around me, and felt really internally focused and safe, but almost out of my body at the same time.  In a good way. Before I knew it I could feel Beanie’s head moving down and after a biiiig push, and a stinging feeling (the ring of fire) as baby’s head crowned, I felt down in the water and I could feel her head. The hardest part was over. I waited for the next contraction to push her body out.  I waited for more than 5 minutes but didn’t have a contraction. I was calm though and ready. The midwives suggested Steven rub my nipples, which he did, and this brought on a strong contraction. I was on my knees leaning forward against the side of the pool. Her little body came shooting out between my legs and I reached down and lifted my gorgeous little grey bundle out of the water for her first breath ever.  Welcome to the world, little Bean!

Erin was apparently there for the birth although I was completely oblivious to this. Soon after, she jumped into the water with Steven and I, and we all marveled at the little miracle who was slowly turning from grey to pink. We stayed in the birthing pool for probably 30 minutes or so, Erin was overjoyed to be swimming, and ended up under the water a few times probably drinking mouthfuls of blood, membrane, etc! But she loved it. Baby had her first feed, latching on just as easily as Erin did. No breastfeeding problems apparent here! Steven and Erin went for a shower, while I got out of the pool and delivered the placenta naturally in a squatting position (I chose not to have the injection). Baby was still attached to the cord and when Steven and Erin got back, Steven cut the cord.  We put the placenta in the freezer as we plan to bury it and plant a tree on top of it.  And I only had a tiny, skin deep tear on my perineum that didn’t need stitching and healed within the first day – thank you perineum massage!

It was an incredible experience and although painful and tiring at the time, it was exhilarating and empowering, I would do it again in a heartbeat for the same result. Our daughter is gorgeous and we are loving falling in love with her! Erin is a fantastic big sister and just wants to help and cuddle her little sister all the time.  We’ve decided to call baby Ayla!

A few people have said how brave I am to have baby at home, but for me it would have taken much more courage to go to hospital and have interventions, so I feel very blessed to have had the birth of my dreams, once again.  I was also blessed with wonderful midwives who really did talk me through those final stages, reminding me to trust my instincts and that my body knew what it was doing and that I was strong.  I know that the midwife who wanted to send me to hospital only wanted to do so out of fear of things goings wrong, and she redeemed herself by being wonderfully calming and gentle and I felt really safe around her.

I do believe that my natural pregnancy – my diet, exercise, the products I have used, books I have read, and my determination to stay positive and believe in my body – have helped me to achieve this wonderful result.

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Letting go of expectations, fear and anger… June 17, 2010

Filed under: Birth,pregnancy — naturesmother @ 3:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So, I’m now 4 days overdue.  I know this is no great big deal, but it feels like it is to me as I was on time with number 1, so expected to be the same if not earlier with number 2! Expectations, huh?! The last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster for me, which is peculiar because I’d been so calm and positive up until then.  I accept that this is part of my journey, that because Erin’s birth was like clockwork doesn’t necessarily mean that this one will be although it has no reason not to be.

I went to see the midwife yesterday (saw a different one to usual) and came away feeling so angry and upset.  She did a Stretch & Sweep (where she just uses her fingers and does exactly as it says to my cervix).  It was slightly uncomfortable, but not painful, and caused a show (the mucous plug from the cervix to come away – often a sign of pre-labour, but not always!).  She then proceeded to tell me that my cervix was still high and thick and spoke about seeing me next wednesday again and about induction.  None of the positive stuff I normally get from my regular midwife, who is very motherly and gives me the confidence that my body is going to do it when I’m ready. In her defence she was probably just doing her job and doesn’t want to give me false hope, but I felt like she could have given me more encouragement.  If I felt more hopeful, I’m sure I may relax and things might happen quicker. After all the babies head is engaged, it is really low and I get plenty of twinges and Braxton Hicks contractions. Anyway, I shall try not to diss the midwife, as I have realised that I have my own issues that I need to deal with….the biggest one being my fear of ending up in hospital.

I see hospital as a place for sick people and know that pregnancy and childbirth is NOT a sickness.  However , after talking to my lovely friends, Andrew & Jerusha, who run birthing workshops and pregnancy yoga classes in Falmouth, I have been comforted by what I already know, that some do give birth naturally in hospital and that if it comes to that it is not the end of the world.  I do not WANT to be induced, but I am beginning to accept that this is a possibility, although much less likely if I work through my issues… I want the perfect home water birth, but if I don’t get it I will actually deal with it, even though I feel a bit like I can’t! At their suggestion I am going to contact a Doula, who will be able to give me a much better idea of what my options REALLY are. The medical profession do not always make all your options clear, and unfortunately sometimes we need to fight for our rights to birth the way we want to. Since I’m not really in a head space where I want to be fighting and I want Steven by my side I think it will be a good idea to get someone like a Doula, who knows all the ins and outs thoroughly to do the fighting for us if necessary.  And if fighting is not necessary (I don’t think it will be) then it will still be nice to have an extra pair of hands at the birth, wherever and however it may be.

Another thing I keep asking is whether I’m actually ready for another baby??? Physically, yes! Emotionally…are we ever ready? Can we be when we don’t know exactly what is to come? I’m sure I didn’t know if I was ready with Erin, yet I managed and enjoyed the magic of falling in love with her and watching her grow. It’s a constant learning curve and such a blessing to be a mother.  How will I cope with looking after a toddler and a newborn?? The answer:…my wonderful hubby. He is SUCH an amazing daddy and is very capable and, lucky for me, at home a lot. Since we live in a little community on the farm, we’re pretty much like extended family and I will have plenty of eager hands to help me should I need it when he is at work.  What a life we have here too…growing our own veg and doing odd jobs around the farm in such a beautiful place. It is wonderful to see Erin so free and happy!

I have tried plenty of walks, plenty of sex, plenty of just about every trick in the book (except curry or castor oil – the runs in the birthing pool would not be great!). Clary sage gives me some good contractions.  Reflexology (done at home by Steven from looking at a reflexology map) feels great and makes baby wriggle.  Homeopathy has not done much yet. And I still haven’t got my hands on the herbs. Yoga and bumpy roads I’m sure have helped get baby right down there. Another big walk this evening and then possibly a repeat of all of the above. I believe Acupuncture works very well..has anyone had experience with it?  I do not believe I will be seeing the midwife next Wednesday!

So this is my journey, my lesson. I need to relax and accept what is to come, but also know what my rights are when it comes to medical intervention (hence the Doula), and hopefully now that I’m not feeling so angry, fearful and emotional, my body will begin to do what it was designed to do…to give birth naturally!

 

10 ways to encourage labour June 13, 2010


Today is baby’s official due date!  I was expecting her to come a little early as Erin was born on her due date, and normally the second comes sooner, but apparently baby Beanie has not read the books!  I wouldn’t say I’m fed up of being pregnant, because I’m not that huge and not terribly uncomfortable, but I would like to meet my little girl soon!  I’ve been having mild contractions off and on over the past few days, but that must all be practice ones.  At least I know something is happening, my body is doing all the right things. Slightly more twinges than normal today…we shall see, I don’t want to get too excited! Babies generally come when they’re ripe and ready, although sometimes they don’t and need a little help!

There are a few tricks I can try to help things move on…

  1. Walking –  I went for a long walk on Friday, and yesterday did plenty of walking and exercise too.  This morning Erin and I took the goats out, went to check for alpaca babies in the far field, swept & vacuumed the house (well, a bit of it anyway), and watered the poly-tunnels. This was taken during our long walk on Friday.On a long walk!
  2. Sex – as mentioned in a previous post – this worked with Erin…my waters broke minutes after sex with her. (not worked so far this time!) Semen contains prostaglandin which causes contractions. Sex also causes the release of the “love drug” oxytocin, which causes contractions.
  3. Yoga – there are a few yoga postures that are good, specifically squatting and rotating your hips. This helps get baby’s head down there, and hopefully triggers things off…I’m squatting as I type!
  4. Driving on bumpy roads – I drove the tractor over bumpy lanes and fields yesterday to go collect some wood. Perhaps I should do that again this afternoon.
  5. Spicy food – or anything that gets your bowel moving, it’ll often get contractions going apparently. I’m not sure I want to try that one as I’m going to hopefully be giving birth in a pool, and am not sure I want to risk it…if you get my drift?! Castor oil is another one that is meant to be successful but can make you feel nauseas for your entire labour…no thanks…unless I’m desperate.
  6. Herbs – black or blue Cohosh.  I have neither, but may try to get my hands on some if I start going way overdue.  I’ve heard of things happening REALLY fast with these, but you have to be careful and should only use them under the direction of a herbalist, as they are powerful plants.
  7. Homeopathy – Caullophyllum: I’ve heard of women delivering REALLY fast after taking this and then it doing nothing for others.  I have it in my Homeopathic birthing kit…I shall save it for when I’m desperate!  You should really consult a Homeopath before using this…
  8. Reflexology – The reflexology points on your feet which relate to your uterus and ovaries are said to help trigger labour.  This is best done by a Reflexologist, but you only need to do a google search to find out where these points are. So it’s worth demanding a thorough foot rub from your other half if you go overdue, focusing on those points….click on chart to see bigger version.
  9. Essential oils – Clary Sage!  You can mix a few drops with a carrier oil (olive oil from the kitchen will do) and rub it on your belly, or burn it in an oil burner, or alternatively put it on a tissue on a radiator. Why not get your other half to massage you all over with it if you’re way overdue.  I only have to sniff it to get a contraction.  I did add a couple of drops to my stretch mark oil this morning and rubbed it all over my belly. I am probably being a bit too impatient.
  10. Relaxation, Hypnosis or guided imagery – these help many woman…I have yet to trial them myself, although I do relaxation and visualizations a bit when I do yoga.  I also have been talking to baby Beanie and hoping that she feels safe enough to come into this big, wide and completely different world.
 

 
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