~Having given birth on the 21st of July, reading this back brings tears to my eyes. I wrote this post between 38-39 weeks and then went into labour so bare with me as I’m back tracking slightly as I have barely opened my laptop since. I’m now knees deep in motherhood, but over the next couple of weeks I look forward to sharing my birth story over the blog. ~
Since becoming pregnant I have been asked and quizzed a hundred times about ‘the birth plan’. ‘What’s your birth plan? Are you going natural or C-section? Who’s your obstetrician? Are you going private or NHS? Do you want an epidural? Waterbirth? What are you going to do?’, roll on the inquisitions. Until I got pregnant I’ll be totally honest I had no clue on the whats and how I plan to birth this child of mine so from the onset I had a pretty relaxed approach to my pregnancy. It’s been a really nice period of time getting to know myself and my husband on this new journey. Every couple is totally different and I really believe that there is no right or wrong way to approach it, after all it’s what we do best as humans right?
During this 9 month process I have done the necessary obstetrician and midwife appointments, NCT (standing for National Childbirth Trust) classes where I did The Bump Class, a meditation course at The London Meditation Centre (life changing and was on my life to-do list pre baby), a hypnobirthing course with Jemma from Stilettos in Strollers (with Raj too), prenatal yoga in my last trimester, a child first aid course with a few of our other expectant friends, had a last minute baby shower with close friends, set up a makeshift nursery, shopped a TONNE online dressing a whole new body shape, tuned into a handful of good reads and had a major clear out or ‘nest’ as they say of our home. This sounds like a crazy list now I have put it in writing however 9 months has felt like a long time so it’s really all just been happening organically as I’ve we have been going along.
While I was tempted to draw up a ‘birth plan’ like they say, however if there is anything I have learned in the last year in life it’s to not have too many expectations and live more mindfully and the moment. That’s not to say just ‘wing it’ by any means, but I really have enjoyed this journey so far and want to continue to do so without putting pressure on myself about how I’m going to deliver our baby girl. So far I’ve used all of the amazing resources to learn about all possible outcomes so I seeing every eventuality as a means to an end rather than a set ‘plan’ that if I don’t achieve I’ll get upset.
So, one thing I do know is that I would ‘prefer’ on the onset to try and deliver the baby naturally. I have been blown away by the attention and care received so far by my obstetrician and midwives and as it’s been a totally smooth process so far I have put all of my hospital care in their trusted hands. I’m generally not a huge fan of hospitals in general because of the association of where you go when you’re sick. Pregnancy isn’t really being sick in any way as it’s just giving birth which is what all humans do. This is why I have been more inclined to have the least amount of medical intervention as possible during my pregnancy, especially in the later months have kept all my care to midwives only. I’ve also been very lucky as I’ve had the breeziest pregnancy so far with everything ‘as it should be’ – apart from having to have a few extra scans because the whilst the baby is completely ‘average’ gestationally, she is big for my body size and BMI. So far I have always been re assured that a big baby size is less alarming than a small one which is when they intervene more, so it’s not something I’ve worried about at all. Whist what I just said about wanted less medical intervention is truly the case, I’ve never felt a contraction before, so if I do turn into an absolute mentalist and start demanding every form of medical intervention and pain relief under the sun – I have this lined up and I’m cool with this too. I also have become cool with the idea that if for whatever reason if the baby needs to come out via a C-section because of any kind of distress, then that’s what we’ll do. At the beginning I really didn’t like the idea of a C-section mainly because of the 6 week healing process and the fact that it’s major abdominal surgery, however I know that doctors do deem it to be safe and I guess in a medicalised way it is controlled and safe, so there we go.
The Bump Class
This NCT course was brilliant! It is a private course for women only that literally gives you the full low down of EVERYTHING one needs to know about pregnancy, birth and beyond. It was set up by Marina Fogal and Chiara Hunt who have years of experience in the pregnancy and birth game, both having had children of their own as well as and Chiara being a doctor who practises in pediatric care and women’s health. It involved eight meaty sessions which covered everything from looking after yourself during pregnancy, early labour and active labour, all types of pain relief, hospital stays, postnatal care, breastfeeding and looking ahead. It also comes from a completely non bias and non judgmental angle so you really do get the full spectrum of how it is. It felt like I was back at school again when you get really excited about a new class (in the best way possible) and met some lovely women where we now have a whatsapp group too which I also think is really important. I highly recommend this or doing a course of some sort.
Hypnobirthing with Jemma / Stilettos in Strollers
We did a private course of ‘hypnobirthing’ at home with Jemma spread over three sessions. If you’re anything like me, I’d never even heard of hypnobirthing until after I got pregnant, so when I looked into seeing Jemma I saw it as just another tool in the box to get me and us more prepared for the labour itself. Whilst Jemma is an expert in hypnobirthing and relaxation, she comes from a rather scientifically researched way of thinking which I liked. She included all of the prenatal basics which I know Raj (my husband) found really useful too as his role is going to be key in labour. We focussed on what happens when you go into labour and the whole process until the baby comes out, along with how to deal with contractions at home in that latent stage of labour at home before you make any dashes into hospital. She also talked us through creating that sanctuary at home, along with relaxation and breathing techniques for myself and Raj too so we can work together.
So I truly dropped any kind of intense exercise at about 29 weeks. I did find this really hard mentally, however literally because of my size by about 30 weeks it would feel wrong to push myself with any other kind exercise than some light and pregnancy safe yoga. I signed up to Triyoga in Chelsea (they are all around London) which do amazing prenatal yoga classes on a daily basis and honestly I have never felt better for it. I feel like it gets all the blood flowing to places where it’s slowed down a lot. It gives me that flexibility boost that I’ve been yearning over for weeks now, whilst giving me a damn good nights sleep afterwards. I don’t think there is any right time to start doing prenatal yoga during your pregnancy, in fact the earlier the better. The teachers are brilliant too as they give a constant birth prepping narrative because everyone there is in the same boat, anticipation labour day.
Since 33 weeks I have had a lovely lady called Maria who comes to my home for an hour reflexology session. This has been incredible. I’m at week 39 now and my feet have swollen. It’s definitely the pregnancy and carrying almost 16 kilos in extra weight, but the heatwave in London right now is NOT helping at all. Anyway reflexology has been amazing in helping everything flow and this week keeping my feet and legs from swelling as much whilst making my nights sleep more enjoyable too. I have also heard that reflexology is great for spurring on labour too so you don’t go too far on passed your due date. I have a feeling I’m coming a few days after my due date because I know that the first baby likes to take it’s time, we’ll see!
Overall this is generally what I’ve been up to in terms of preparing for labour. Whilst of course, frollicking around in some new underwear by a brand called Auralure, created for prenatal and nursing. I have found that everything pregnancy related is limited and this brand is one of the stars amongst my hunt for lovely things to work with the ever changing shape of a pregnant body. These images were taken at about 34 weeks so just at the end of my seventh month in pregnancy.
Photos by Frances Davison
Underwear by Auralure
Necklace by Carrie Elizabeth Jewellery
Bracelet by Limelite Jewellery
Earrings by Monica Vinader
Watch by Patek Phillippe