Roxy is a lovely mum-to-be and midwife I ‘met’ on Twitter, and she offered to share a post with us about being pregnant from the perspective of a health professional who knows more about the whole process than most of us! Here she tells us how she is preparing for the birth of her baby – with some tips you could certainly benefit from if you are expecting. Roxy introduces herself:
“I am a midwife who has been qualified for 5 years and am now expecting my first baby. I am 24 weeks now and looking forward to motherhood with the same excitement, fear and expectation as any other mother. I enjoy promoting normal birth for women and providing women centred care and feel very privileged to be surrounded by colleagues who will do their best to facilitate the same care for me. I enjoy photography and I am looked forward to plaguing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with daily updates of my newborn!”
Roxy blogs at midwifebecomesmum.wordpress.com
I’m generally a planner. Some may call it procrastination but I am the woman who likes to at least try to plan for every eventuality in life.
I meal plan, I write a shopping list, I pretend that I adhere to a cleaning schedule drafted on Evernote (in reality I spend far more time altering the schedule and printing it off in pretty colours than carrying it out), I could map out the holidays I plan to go on for the next 20 years…the list of lists I own could go on.
So have I planned my birth?
This is one element of my life that I feel cautious about ‘planning’. Planning for me usually means that I could become set on a list of ideals and therefore a preset list of requirements that I will either pass or fail at. I just don’t feel entirely comfortable with the idea of failing. The very fear of failing in itself could hinder my birth experience so from now on I am going to use the phrase ‘birth preparation’ instead.
As a midwife I have the benefit of experience and knowledge of birth. This includes experience of the highs and lows that childbirth can bring, the reality of the transition to motherhood, the beauty of the moment when the precious bundle arrives and occasionally the heartbreak involved when losses happen.
It is a matter of opinion whether this knowledge is a help or a hindrance to a midwife’s own transition to motherhood and their personal journey of childbirth. I also think that to each individual midwife this prior knowledge can have very different effects on birth ideals, preparation and fears. I certainly feel privileged to be involved in childbirth and I am thankful for the opportunities to learn that this has given me.
Knowledge can be empowering, midwifery has given me midwives as close friends, links to local pregnancy services, an addiction to midwifery related reading material, a Twitter feed obsessed with all things birth, bonding and breastfeeding. It is however worth acknowledging that whilst all of this gives me a support network and an above average knowledge of the process ahead, it certainly does not promise me ‘the perfect birth’.
Ideally in labour I will be hoping to disassociate myself from my ‘midwife brain’ and get in touch with my ‘monkey brain’ (see Bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby for further explanation of how your inner primate can help). Knowledge and using the ‘thinking’ part of your brain does not always allow for ultimate relaxation and therefore can hinder the physiology of birth. Part of my birth preparation therefore will involve switching off the thinking process, which as a midwife I admit may be challenging.
My Birth Preparation:
- I intend to use hypnobirthing techniques and have my first session booked at 26/40
- I will express colostrum from 37 weeks for the following reasons: to have a little colostrum stored and ready if needed, to help boost my lactation and to try to avoid going overdue
- I will take a short walk (if I feel well) every day from 37 weeks to help myself maintain fitness and remain active
- I intend to set up a birthing pool at home to use when any tightenings start
- I intend to give birth wherever I feel most comfortable when my labour commences, whether that be at home or in hospital (I do not have a local birth centre unfortunately)
- I hope to have the time and opportunity to read Ina May Gaskin’s books from cover to cover whilst on maternity leave
- I will write a list of positive pregnancy and birth affirmations so that I can begin to repeat them daily
- I will surround myself with positive people when I labour
- I intend to use aromatherapy oils to assist my journey
- I will keep well hydrated and fed when my tightenings start
- I will have familiar and relaxing music available to use if I wish
- I will adopt any position that feels natural
- I will follow my natural instincts
If something happens that I wouldn’t have hoped for I shall try to remain calm, composed and be kind to myself. I am a midwife but I am human. Being human does not mean I have failed.
As mothers-to-be we can prepare ourselves for the best chance of success but we cannot control our destiny. We all try our best with the circumstances we are given, and I intend to do just the same. Best of luck to any other mothers out there who are also expecting. How are you preparing?
Follow Roxy on Twitter @Roxy_xxxx