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Free Parenting Seminar – Breastfeeding: The Joys and Challenges

Are you a new parent or soon to be a parent?  Want to know more about breastfeeding?

Find out what’s involved and how to manage.

Come and hear about:

  • breastfeeding and how it works
  • common problems and how to manage them
  • living and working while breastfeeding
  • how partners,family and friends can help.

Babies, partners and supporters welcome

For further information contact Parenting SA

For information about breatfeeding go to www.cyh.com

Please note: Another seminar on ‘Breastfeeding: The Joys and Challenges’ is being held on Wednesday 7 August at the Hopgood Lecture Theatre, Noarlunga http://breastfeeding7august.eventbrite.com.au

Is Kate Facing Unfair Public Pressure and Judgement by Choosing Hypnotherapy?

When the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly pulled out of the ‘society wedding of the year’, concerned that her labour was close, the British media’s speculation reached fever pitch.

Yet when it comes to the birth itself, Kate’s plans have attracted some very public sneers.  She’d reportedly like a natural delivery surrounded by family, with hypnotherapy and even a birthing pool.  What’s so wrong with that?

Quite a few high profile journalists and social commentators seem determined to convince us that Kate is living in a dream world. Seriously.  I think it’s fantastic that she is opting for a natural delivery.  She might have married a prince in the perfect fairytale wedding but she’s still a real woman and is more than entitled to try for a natural birth. Trust me, after using hypnotherapy to get me through my two labours, it’s hardly going to be a fairytale!

She’s not alone either.  A lot of women get laughed at when they suggest they’d like to try for a natural labour and avoid the epidural altogether.  I did.  A lot.  People didn’t realise they were doing it half the time.  Trust me, I noticed.

Listen, I’m not going to make out it was easy.  It wasn’t easy.  It was tough at times, but it was incredibly powerful.  INCREDIBLY.

So how did I get to this decision?  As a pack-a-day smoker for over 20 years, to my own delight (and trust me, surprise!!) I gave up smoking one day about six years ago by listening to a hypnotherapy CD.  I was skeptical.  Very skeptical.  I’d always believed the mind’s a powerful tool so I was determined to make it a success.  Let’s face it, if I could do THAT, I could make it through childbirth without an epidural. Surely! Thousands of women had done it before me and they’d survived.  I mean, the pain can’t be THAT bad can it?

For me, it was about wanting to feel the contractions, feel when to push and just be proactive throughout the birth.  Maybe it was the control freak in me.  Just maybe.  Either way it was my choice and one that got my husband’s and midwive’s full support. Trust me, I wasn’t after a medal, and an epidural wasn’t completely out of the equation, I just wanted to give it a go and see if I could do it.  It was MY DECISION and despite the sneers and sniggers from the older generation around me (and so many men who just didn’t get it … “You’re stupid, take the drugs” they’d say), I was determined to give it a red hot go!  And I did.  And it was nothing short of frigging powerful!  It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it WAS so totally amazing. So empowering. So downright WONDERFUL!

So for Kate, why do we feel the need to criticise her, and indeed every other woman who dares to dream of a positive birth experience?  Shouldn’t we be celebrating her courage and wishing her well, rather than putting her down and doubting her before she’s even started?

Birth should be an amazing day in any woman’s life but sadly for more and more women it’s become something to dread.  Sometimes traumatic, sometimes unpleasant and often feared.

Let’s celebrate the birthing process and hypnotherapy as a powerful way to encourage women to aim for a peaceful, relaxed and calm birthing environment and a positive and empowering birth experience.  Either way, we are amazing creatures and deserve to be given the opportunity to decide the approach we’d like to take.  It might not go to plan, it might change somewhat, heck it might go pear-shaped. However it goes, at least we gave it a go.  Who knows, we might even get the birth we wanted.  How incredible would that be?

From one mum to another, well done on your decision Kate, and either way, however it pans out, you’ll do great!

Have you used hypnotherapy in your labour and how did you find it?

But Hang On, Where’s My Epidural?

birth story

On the morning of my 38 week obstetrician appointment I woke up at 7am with an overwhelming urge to drop the kids off at the pool [my gen Y sister told me about that saying!]. While on the toilet, I noticed some bleeding which I recognized to be my ‘show’.  Fortuitously, Mark had taken that very day off for us to finalise the nursery so I bounded out and gave him a blow by blow account of my morning so far…at which point I felt a tightening across my swollen abdomen. Did I say swollen? Forgive me, I meant ENORMOUS. I had gained 20 kilos so far [contrary to more lies about the average woman only gaining 12 kilos during pregnancy]. In the time that it took me to explain, in great detail, what my show looked like, I’d had another tightening. Hmmm… these seem to be regular? Let’s time them. Hon, am I doing this right? Wow. I think this baby may come today. Put on the kettle hon, and I’ll just call the hospital [as my birthing classes had told me].

“Hello, it’s Tania P speaking. I’m actually not booked in for another couple of weeks but I woke up half an hour ago and had a poo and had some blood which I think was my show and now I’m getting this strange tightening which I THINK might be contractions, so my husband’s making me a cup of tea but I just thought I should touch base with you” I remember my voice had a sort of ‘lilt’ to it.

“Yes Tania, that all sounds great. How far apart did you say those tightening were?”

“Well they WERE every four minutes, but now they’re every three – that’s right isn’t it hon?” I’m practically singing by now… because I’m thinking – I can do this EASY.

Silence.

“Tania, how far away from the hospital are you?”

“About 20 minutes in peak hour, which it is right now – why?”

“I’d like you to come in straight away” the midwife’s voice took on an almost unnatural calm and I vaguely remember wondering why she was speaking to me like a mental patient.

“Ok, well I have an appointment there at 2.15 anyway so I’ll finish my cup of tea, get organised and come on in”

“No Tania, just grab your essentials and come now. We’ll be waiting for you.”

So, I call mum and tell her the entire story of the morning and that I’ll be heading into the hospital soon and then head for my shower [maybe I was skipping?] and it is just as I have stripped naked that I am hit with the most excruciating pain I had felt [so far] in my life. I fall to the floor on all fours and scream a guttural cry that I had read only native women had ever used. Mark runs in and is terrified by the sight he is facing which is, a naked, 80 kilo woman on all fours with bed hair and a massive distended abdomen skimming the tiles screaming like an animal.

In this time my mum has called back to tell me that she had a dressing gown for me and would I like to pick it up on the way. She is surprised when I come to the phone, hysterical, but is calm when she tells me “it’s OK Tan, you can do it and I’ll see you at the hospital”. IT’S OK TAN. The f*ck it is.

I CRAWL to the bedroom and put on whatever I had discarded onto the floor from the night before. I still have bed hair, sleep in my eyes and furry teeth when I get into the car to face the peak hour traffic on the way to the hospital.  And here’s where the fun really starts.

Our chosen hospital was a private hospital which resembles a 5 star hotel. It has a cafe at the entrance which at 8.40 in the morning was full of gorgeous and fresh interns, doctors and nurses. Mark pulls up OUT THE FRONT of that café, puts on the hazards and helps me out of the car. I am unable to walk properly due to the almost heart stopping contractions which are coming every one and half a minutes. So my gait is not dissimilar to an ape. Nor is my face. Gorgeous doctors are looking.

In my memory they may have even been pointing and gasping as the receptionist RUNS out of the hospital with a wheelchair and yells, dramatically ‘we’ve got a pusher!’

child birth

I’m feeling better from the moment I’m through those doors and comforted further as two midwives meet me in the lobby [yes, it’s a LOBBY] and one wheels me, while the other wheels a trolley chock full of every medical supply you would need. I find it weird that the birthing suite is clearly ‘BYO’ [I found out later it was in case they needed to deliver my baby in that very same lobby, outside the café with the gorgeous people] but I don’t ask. I can’t ask. I can’t speak. I just groan. A LOT.
We finally get into the suite and they get me out of the wheelchair and on to the bed. Bottoms off and baby monitor strapped onto my belly at which point, I remember my birthing class advice and say “I’ll have my epidural now”. Midwife #1 steals a glance across my belly at Midwife #2 and then says ever so gently “Oh darling, your baby’s coming now”. WHAT THE F*CK???

At this stage I start to panic. BIG TIME. The pain is excruciating. It feels like my body is being torn apart from the inside out. They offer me gas. Gas. Whatever. I have the mouth piece and I make that bastard sing… for what it’s worth which is not much. The pain is so bad, so unnaturally excruciating that I’m sure there’s something wrong. I’m convinced in fact. No-one, NO-ONE, ever told me it would hurt THAT much and that quickly. Where was my 8 hour labour that came in stages? And why did no-one tell me that it is even harder to not push than push?

No-one broke it down and said it feels like you’re DYING. And you know, to this day, women keep telling that lie! When I break out my birth story, in all its glorious detail, in a group of women to an expectant mother, they gather together and try to shut me down. Shushing me like a gaggle of geese. “Don’t scare her!” “Don’t tell her that, it’s not THAT bad” “Why would you SAY that??” Really girls? Because it’s the TRUTH!!! It’s terrifyingly painful. It feels like you can’t go on. It feels like you couldn’t possibly survive such a traumatic experience. You are weak with exertion and screaming with fear and pain. That is what having a baby is like for a lot of women. Did I forget the moment I held my gorgeous new son in my arms? F*ck no. I still had to deliver the placenta and THEN I had to be stitched up because I needed to be cut and I needed to be cut because that HOLE IS NOT BIG ENOUGH!!!!

So, from go to whoah my labour took about 2 hours. I woke at 7.00am facing a normal day and Nathan was born at 9.40am. No cups of tea, no relaxing in the bath, no back rubbing, no breathing, no epidural. Stefan came much the same way.

Dear first-time, expectant mum, I am not really trying to scare you. Having my sons was the greatest thing I have ever done in my life. The entire, uncomfortable journey of pregnancy and childbirth IS miraculous and exhilarating and awe inspiring. It is, unquestionably, worth every bit of it. But it hurts and it’s scary and I’m fortunate that my story doesn’t include the need for other scary things like cesareans and needles the length of your forearm in your spine and breach babies and prem births etc, etc. I just think if you HEAR real life stories from real women who are honest and brutal in their account, and you head into your 38th week expecting the worst… then anything better than that may just make it not terrifying. Maybe bearable. Perhaps even wonderful.

So to break it down, my top ten bits of real advice:

  1. Ask for an epidural at 38 weeks
  2. Pack a camera [disposable if need be] in your hospital bag
  3. Have something gorgeous to wear on hand wherever you are so you’re not mistaken for a gorilla on arrival
  4. Don’t bother with that cup of tea if you’re having cramps every 4 minutes
  5. Prepare your partner to see you begging, screaming, crying and in excruciating pain. I have found so many partners did not expect to be affected by seeing a person they love so much in so much pain, without being able to help
  6. If you’re pushing, getting the head out is the worst. Go hard and listen to your midwives. It really does sting but the shoulders are easier and then you’re done. Except for the placenta. But that’s a walk in the park comparatively.
  7. If you find yourself without an epidural [makes my eyes water just thinking about it], then take the gas. It barely took the edge off for me, but it did help me to ‘not push’ which the midwives may ask of you
  8. Don’t bother to ask your obstetrician to ‘sew the whole thing up’ while they’re down there ‘cause you won’t need it anymore… take it from me, they won’t do it
  9. Pack something alcoholic in your hospital bag. At least one of you will want a drink after that baby comes out
  10. Be prepared to fall in love… but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen the moment they put your just-born, screaming, covered in blood and goo baby on your chest, still attached to the umbilical cord. It may take a minute for you to catch your breath x

 

This post originally appeared at Seventies Baby – a gloves-off perspective of womanhood, parenting and modern family life in a world obsessed with being perfect and politically correct. It has been republished with full permission.

You can (and should!) follow the blog on Facebook here.

 

TOP 20: Hospital Bag Essentials

Hospital bag essentials

Have you noticed how many ‘lists’ there are doing the social media rounds lately? With so many to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to know which list is right for you.

Well at ABB, we value what our community has to say. We ask and we engage and we listen. We’ve put together a top 20 list which we have compiled from real mums. Some first timers, some veterans but ALL sensible and helpful. You may recognise some of these suggestions as your own and some of these may surprise you. Whatever the case, if you’re expecting, print it out and put it on your fridge as a go-to.

Our mums have told us what they couldn’t do without and we’re sharing the love.

1. Ural
Have you ever experienced a urinary tract infection? It’s horrendous. It feels like you’re weeing broken glass and Ural is your best defence. I suggest you start drinking it straight after you meet your baby.

2. Magazines
It’s likely that you may never read one cover to cover [ever again, in fact] but there’s a chance that you will have a moment to yourself and be interested in something OTHER than the new beautiful little life you’ve just created. It’s also great for visitors who may wish to avert their eyes distract themselves as you’re trying to get your baby to ‘latch-on’ to your enormous, engorged breasts.

3. Lollies
You’ll be KNACKERED and the sugar hit will help you out, particularly during labour.

4. Range of clothes for bub
It seems that many a mum has been caught off guard with a baby that was bigger/smaller than they expected. Most hospitals do actually provide little baby gowns [which is what I kept both of mine in until I left – so much easier than getting them in and out of tiny outfits] but lots of mums like to dress their little one in their own gear right from the get go.

5. Nice body wash
Make no mistake, child birth is incredibly traumatic on your body, irrespective of HOW you birthed. A little luxury when you’re alone in the shower is very, very welcome. Of course, just being alone in the shower will become its very own luxury once your baby comes home!

6. Maternity pads
Hospitals will provide you with maternity pads and you will DIE when you see them. They are enormous and incredibly uncomfortable. They also do not have any adhesive, or fancy wings, so they tend to move around in your [gigantic] knickers. You’ll want to use them for the first 24 hours ’cause it’s quite likely you’ll bleed like there’s no tomorrow, but once you’re up and about you’ll probably want something slightly smaller than a mattress between your legs.

7. Your own pillow
This was a popular suggestion and one I wish I had done myself! Hospital pillows look clean and fluffy but they sound like they’re full of potato chips. They are NOISY. If you can pack your own, it’s a good idea.

8. Big knickers
Pack lots. We’re talking huge. If you’ve had a natural birth then everything ‘down there’ is sore, swollen and possibly even held together by stitches. If you’ve had a c-section then your abdomen is tender and you’re definitely held together by stitches. On top of all the discomfort you bleed A LOT and need enormous pads so the bigger the knickers, the better. Think Bridget Jones.

9. Lansinoh
This is an absolute MUST in my [and many of our mums] books. Breastfeeding is not easy and many, many women even find it too difficult to persevere with due to the pain it causes. Lansinoh is pure lanolin which provides almost instant relief to ravaged traumatised nipples and is so pure that it does not need to be removed prior to breastfeeding. Which is important because you do not want to be wiping your nipples. You won’t even want to dry them after a shower. Air dry and Lansinoh. You’ll thank us later.

10. Front opening tops
Breastfeeding is tricky enough without having to navigate your clothes. Having button through or zip up tops make access to the breasts sooo much easier. Pack a few though ‘cause you’ll almost definitely leak milk onto at least two of them and old milk, even your own, is not nice to sleep in.

11. A few pairs of pants

Whether you’re in pyjamas all day or dressed, it’s sensible to pack a few pairs of pants. The likelihood of you bleeding through your gigantic knickers and maternity pads is HIGH and no-one wants to be THAT girl on the maternity ward with blood on the back of her pants.

12. Slippers
Well you don’t want to be walking around the hospital in bare feet and you’re probably not going to want to wear shoes.

13. Phone/camera AND charger
You think you take a lot of photos now. Wait until you’re a mum. It feels like you live your life through a camera lens. If you’re bringing in your phone and/or digital camera, make sure you’ve got your charger too. There’s nothing worse than going to catch that priceless moment only to discover your battery has run out!

14. Lip balm
The air-conditioning in hospital is nightmare on the lips and you do sooooo much kissing of that new little baby that your lips need some extra loving.

15. Hand cream
You’ll do a lot of handwashing and you’ll want your hands to be soft ’cause you won’t be able to stop touching your baby!

16. Dummies [if you’re into them]
Some say ‘no’ some say ‘hell yeah’! If you’re a mum who’s into dummies, pack them. The hospital won’t have any.

17. Toilet paper!!
Surprisingly, this was one of our most popular suggestions! Even though you may panic at the thought, you WILL need to go and nice, soft toilet paper will help your visits. Lots of mums also suggested taking a pack of those flushable wipes. Both are a good idea and trust me, you’ll want to be kind to your southern regions after what you’ve been through.

18. Hair ties
From the feedback we received, it looks like lots of our mums got caught out fighting with their hair during labour! Pack some hair ties to keep your hair off your face. They’re also handy to move from wrist to wrist as a reminder of which breast your baby last fed on. Oh don’t worry, you will forget and you’ll be grateful for the tip!

19. Snacks
We all know about hospital food but even if you like it, it’s not enough for a breastfeeding mum… and, contrary to what the media bangs on about, now is NOT the time to be thinking about losing your baby weight. Bring some snacks you can either keep in your drawer or the fridge. Nuts, soft cheese [how much did you miss that?] crackers, fruit, chocolate, chips, etc. You’ll be surprised how hungry you get and especially when you’re starving at 3 o’clock in the morning. Pack any sp

ecialty tea bags you may like as well. I can’t live without my Twinings Earl Grey tea so I packed a box of them and the cafe on the ground floor took care of my coffee needs.

20. Disposable camera
This is actually something I wished I had done. My first son came early and I didn’t have the camera packed and my phone was almost dead so we didn’t have any photos of when he first came into the world. I tell everyone to just put one of those disposable cameras in their bag JUST IN CASE you’re caught totally off-guard.

So there it is! Our top 20 Hospital Bag MUST-HAVES!  

What about you? Did you have something you just couldn’t live without? How about something you wished you’d packed?

 

FREE Parenting Seminar – Caring for your New Baby

Are you a new parent or soon to be a parent?
Want to know about caring for your baby in the first few weeks?

Come and hear about:
– handling the changes that come with having a baby
– how your baby communicates with you from birth
– feeding and caring for your baby
– how dads and other important people can be involved

Seminars are held at Women’s & Children’s Hospital on May 16 and May 22 at 7.15pm.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK: http://newbabymay.eventbrite.com.au/

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