Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Durban Doula's Pregnancy Diary Week 16

Week 16? Four months? WHAT?

Peep toe shoes peeping...
I sometimes feel this is all passing me by a little too quickly... in four weeks I'll be half way there!

Maybe I'm feeling that way because things have been a little crazy this last week... crazy in a good way though.

In this week's edition of my pregnancy diary: Goggles, Wardrobe Issues, Belly Pics, Cloth Diapers and VBACs... and of course, the fresh produce size comparison


So my eldest daughter told me I must get her some new goggles, so that when the baby comes she is going to put her Hello Kitty swimming costume on, with her new goggles, and she can watch the baby come out under the water. Momma isn't too sure about how she feel about this, but ok, we'll see how it goes!

My youngest (4) has also started whispering to baby (through my belly) and then pressing her ear to my belly for an answer. They are both still utterly convinced we are having a boy.

Wardrobe Issue
It's been a hot day in
Durban today!

One thing I am struggling with this time around is clothes. I hate taking forever to get dressed, but honestly, I'm really running out here! I think my style of dress has changed to a slightly more corporate feel since I was last pregnant over four years ago - I don't have as many pants with elasticated waists as I used to have, and my blouses tend to be more fitting / structured than they were in the past. So this week I'm planning to put everything I can't wear to one side in my wardrobe, so I don't get depressed having to look through it all every day in search of something I can still wear! I think I am going to have to buy few items though - I've already found some built in support vests with a bit of extra length that I can wear under everything else, and I'm thinking of making myself some more harem pants, the ones that look almost like a skirt, as I find them extremely comfortable - especially in summer when you can wear them as an 'all-in-one' just by pulling the elasticated band up over your chest. I think tops will be my biggest need though - I'll have a look through my sewing patterns and see what could work...

Belly Pics 

About size, I honestly do feel much bigger this time than I did with either of the girls... I don't know if I mentioned previously, but last time I was still wearing skinny jeans with no issues when I was 4 months pregnant. I get that I sound like that annoying friend with no kids and an immaculate house who always profusely excuses the (non-existent) mess when you come over... 

But still, I still have those same skinny jeans and they are feeling much tighter on the belly. So obviously the thought of twins crosses my mind, as I think it does with every mom at 2 am in the morning. We'll have to wait until 20 weeks to find out though, but honestly I think it's just a third pregnancy thing! The girls seem pretty keen on twins though. The eldest has already told me I'm having twin boys, and one of them can sleep by her, and when he wants mommy milkies, she'll bring him to me and take the other baby to sleep by her. All organised!

Apparently baby is the size of an avocado now, about 11.6cm long (crown to rump) and weighing in at about 100g, although that weight is apparently due to double over the next two weeks! And in true pregnancy fashion, this talk of avocados, and searching for free avocado images on the net has made me crave avocados - so I messaged hubby and asked him to bring some on his way home. Apparently baby has started growing toenails and eyes and ears are getting closer to their final positions.

Cloth Nappies
My newborn cloth nappy 'stash' so far...

One thing about third babies, is that they get all the hand-me-downs from the bigger kids in terms of car chairs and general baby gear - which is a great financial boost for us, but sometimes it is nice to have something special for this baby, and so being the pragmatic person that I am, I bought some newborn sized reusable cloth nappies for this little sproglet. I used cloth nappies with both my girls, but before you panic, these are not your ouma's cloth nappies lying about in buckets of Steri-Nappy! You get all sorts of different kinds now - some that are as easy to put on as disposables, some with snaps, some with velcro, and many with a 'One-Size-Fits-Most' style. You can find out more about cloth nappies in South Africa on the FB group South African Cloth Nappy Users, they'll direct you to the groups that are specifically set up for buying, selling and trading cloth nappies.

I was only one of two people I knew using them back in 2009 when my daughter was born, and back then there were only 4 brands available in SA; now there are many many more options in terms of style, colour, fabric and print! To be honest I find the scope of choice quite overwhelming, where others love to have a collection of many different types.

I started using them originally because I couldn't bear the thought of my grown daughter one day asking what we were thinking letting every baby generate a couple of tons of biohazardous waste that would only start decomposing in 500 years in the name of 'convenience' - convenient for whom I'm sure she would ask?

Cloth nappies nowadays are so easy to wash, and I saved a fortune with my girls, as you can often reuse them for a second or third child, or if they are well looked after they can be sold once your babies are done with them. It really was a no-brainer for me!

Newborn nappy on the left, OSFM on the right!
See that middle snap on the newborn nappy?
You snap that down so it doesn't irritate the cord stump.
Clever hey?
So back to those newborn nappies... the OSFM (One-Size-Fits-Most) did fit my babies from about 3.5kg onward, but they looked like little butternut bums! There was none of this fancy newborn nappy stuff when I had either of my girls, so I thought to give them a try. I found a batch of 17 second hand newborn nappies for sale on the FB group mentioned above, and here you see them. I know they don't look that little in the picture all together, but you can see they are teeny tiny compared with my OSFM nappies! So anyway, the thing with newborn nappies is that you only use them for up to 2 months anyway (depending on the size of baby of course) and they don't need as much absorbency because you are changing them more often, so they are much trimmer to the extent that you can actually button up the button-up vest! I'd probably like to get a couple more so I'm keeping an eye out for any more second hand batches. Because you only use them for such a short time, you can usually get a pretty good resale price for them, so you still save on nappies in the long run!

Our littlest doula baby!
(Shared with permission)
Even though I'm pregnant, I'm still taking clients for a while as you know, and I had the wonderful privilege of attending a beautiful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) last week. It was a midwife assisted water birth at a local hospital and after a long time of stop-start labour and irregular contractions, mom went from 6cm dilated to baby born in 45 minutes! So much for Friedman's curve! 

We did some of the positions from Spinning Babies and climbed lots of stairs to keep things going, as mom's waters had been broken and the Caesarean was booked for the next day if the baby wasn't there yet. Mom was very brave and strong throughout, and dad was an incredible support - it really was a lovely birth to be at. 

Part of the craziness of that week was that I had a work deadline (I work in IT too!) and a parenting course that I had played a part in organising starting on the night that baby was born, but fortunately hubby is incredibly capable and understands the nature of doula work and did a sterling job of filling in where I couldn't be, along with a great team all working hard to make the course a success. I don't think a doula or midwife-to-be could ask for a better support than that!

Speaking of VBACs, I'm currently on call for a client who was my first VBAC nearly 2 years ago, planning her second VBAC. The story of her first birth is here (scroll down a little to find the full story). So needless to say, we are both excited about the upcoming birth!

I'm certainly going to miss the doula work while I'm tending a teeny baby of my own, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to having an excuse to lie in bed all day and cuddle with my littlest person! I even find myself wanting to do that now, especially as I am feeling very distinctive movements. It's sometimes quite a struggle not to go into daydream mode!

So anyway, that's us for week 16! If you have any questions about anything I've mentioned, submit them below.

Also, Subscribe via email using the box on the right to make sure you don't miss out on any future posts - like week 18's diary here - and in case you missed week 14, you can find that here.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Durban Doula's Pregnancy Diary - Week 14

What another one?

No, not another baby, another blog post... I know I said I was going to do one every month, but there is just too much to write, so I'll try one every two weeks and see how it goes.

Our first appointment

So I saw our midwife, Arlen, this week - and I honestly can say I'm so glad I chose this model of care. Our initial appointment was just under an hour long, we talked about the pregnancy so far, how I had recovered from the last birth, what plans were for this birth and various other bits about birthiness in general. We checked all the vitals - peestick, weight, blood pressure and belly - and heard a little heartbeat too. It was great. It felt like home. 

I also got my home birth shopping list, and contract and prices for various birthing options, and like last time, the amount I'm paying for a home birth is still less than the co-payment I would have to make for a gynae in private practice on an average hospital plan that pays 150% of medical aid rates - as many gynaes charge over 300% of medical aid rates. I can understand why, given all the insurance that needs to be paid, but that's a topic for another time. Medical aids or hospital plans on the other hand, only pay 25-35% of the cost of a home birth - R2500-R4000 of R8000-R12000, even though I'd be saving them over 30k... Patriarchal prejudiced misogynistic mumble mumble mutter mutter...

And, as much as I have reservations about the safety of non-medically required ultrasound scans, (see last diary here), I admit I am a little excited for the one we are have in about 6 weeks' time. I think we'll take the girls (4 & 6) along with us, as they seem to be more excited about this baby than anyone!

Having said that, everyone seems so excited about this baby, which is so lovely for a third child! I'm enjoying being pregnant, because I know this will probably be the last time, so even getting past the nausea was bittersweet, as crazy as that sounds!

Obligatory Fresh Produce Comparison 

You thought I had forgotten about the obligatory pregnancy diary fresh produce comparison! Porridge brain has not set in quite so severely as that...

Well, baby is now about 8cm long (crown to rump) - about the size of a lemon.
He/she is growing hair, can make facial expressions, suck his or her thumb, and can even pee. Yes, baby pees in the amniotic fluid, it gets absorbed by my body and gets processed by my kidneys so I can pee it out 53 1/2 times a day. At least it's easier than nappy changes!

Irritable Uterus and the Doula Pregnancy Protocol

Peesticks, irritable uteri and
getting rid of baby pee -
Toilets are an integral part of pregnancy
Wikimedia Commons

I am currently on call for possibly my last two clients before my own baby arrives, unless I get some clients for November and December. (Any takers? Last chance! Only taking one per month!)

I'm not sure what the protocol is on doulas and maternity leave, but I feel that January is a good time for me to stop, as I'll be entering my third trimester and may not have the energy for the physical demands of doula work - staying up all night, massaging for sometimes hours on end - it can get quite demanding, and by then I think my belly may be getting a bit large to be getting in anyone's space!

I have also experienced 'irritable uterus' with my last two pregnancies - yes, that is a thing!
I can already feel reasonably strong Braxton-Hicks contractions - tightening of the uterus without downward pressure, considered to be toning up for the real thing - as I did with my first two. I haven't ever had problems with prematurity, but it was uncomfortable having strong, and sometimes even painful contractions caused by over exertion, dehydration, a full bladder, an empty bladder, touching my belly,or sometimes seemingly caused by nothing at all. 

Plant Nanny - Available on Apple,
Android and Windows devices
I'm being more diligent with making sure I get enough magnesium and drinking enough water this time around, and I'm hoping that will help, but I thinking booking clients for my third trimester would still be unwise, for me and for them!

By the by, I'm using a little app called Plant Nanny to help me remember to drink water, and it seems to be working!

After the birth I think I'll need to take about a year's break from taking on doula clients, perhaps more depending on the personality of this little sproglet. I may still be able to do some volunteer work as that usually involves a set period of time, primarily in daylight hours. Again, this is one of those bittersweet things, letting go of something I love so much for a season, but that's just what it is, a season. Ideally I'd love to be a private midwife one day, so it makes sense to have my own children sooner rather than later.

As much as I will miss doula work, I am so looking forward to newborn snuggles! I went to help a friend with breastfeeding her newborn this last week, and those teeny tiny fingers and toes always undo me!

Other birthy things I'm thinking of right now... 

  • Trying to think of how to fit three car seats in our Daihatsu Sirion
  • Sorting out the girls' playroom and unpacking all of the boxes of oddments from when we moved so it's not stressing me out when baby comes
  • Getting some newborn sized cloth nappies - a luxury I didn't have with my first two - I just started them off on regular cloth nappies and they spent their first few weeks with butternut shaped bums!
  • Realizing how many safety gates we will need for our new house (at least 3!)
One last funny thing... Even as a doula and a third time mom who had great natural births with the first two, I do still have moments of consternation centered on the question, 'This baby is coming out where?'

So I pull a doula move on myself every now and then: Women all over the world do this all the time. Our bodies are designed to give birth, and so on.

I won't be quite so glib in my encouragement in future

After seeing how much I just wrote, I think once every two weeks might be doable - not as much pressure as a weekly diary, and not as much marathon reading as a monthly one - what do you think?

If you do want to get notifications of blog posts and pregnancy diary entries in your email, please subscribe by entering your email address in the box on the right, or follow me on Twitter on @DurbanDoula

And if you have any questions about how this Durban Doula does pregnancy, ask away below and I'll address them in future posts. 

Find Week 16's diary here and week 12 here.