The Globe and Mail has the headline "C-section not best option for breech birth" and everyone cheered. Everyone, but a few people maybe. I mean, I cheered and then I said "Don't get too excited."
Here is the thing; there are some pretty unclear things with the news story about the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada releasing the new guideline that doctors should no longer automatically opt to perform a cesarean section in the case of a breech birth. The forget that for nearly 20 years in birth, c-sections have been performed for breech babies and therefor this idea is "new" to a lot of care providers.
These care providers have been taught to be afraid of breech birth. So this guideline changes nothing until training is offered and more than just offered, demanded and expected. Without training and practice a guideline is useless. Until then we are still going to see doctors recommending c-sections because it is their comfort zone. To speak some honest truth the matter is that things will be more risky if a doctor isn't comfortable.
Women are going to continue to be disappointed. Maybe even more so disappointed because they will know this is a guideline now yet their care provider is not up to par of the expectation. Sounds like training will be coming but in what capacity, it doesn't say. Who is responsible for that? Who will enforce the need for training? How soon do they expect to have people trained? What expectation are we setting for mothers showing up to deliver? Will a doctor who is trained be there or be called in, if the doctor on call is not trained?
There was also this quote: "If a woman is well-prepared during pregnancy, she has the innate ability to deliver vaginally." As a doula I know this statement to be true, but then I also ask, who is responsible for this preparation? Who is providing with this preparation? Where is the over worked system going to begin to even start preparing women for birth? Shouldn't that already be happening, breech aside? If this isn't already happening, why would we expect to see that change in regards to breech birth? This is a large part of what doula's do! It almost reads to me like the SOGC is recommending doulas. And childbirth education that focuses on a woman strength and ability. These are wins, to me.
Today I celebrate the SOCG and their new guideline but I also feel the sighs of the women walking into the hospital in the near future who are told they will not be supported in their choice to deliver vaginally.
I will continue to watch how things progress locally on this front and will update the information as I can.
When you are from the Queen City it is hard to not love the Royal family. With the birth of Prince Louis Arthur Charles everyone is talking about Kate and her beautiful baby, her stunning hair and makeup and that adorable red dress, honouring Princess Diana. What we talking about?
What does our team at Queen City Doulas & Co think about Kate, her birth, her experience and her appearance? Quite a bit actually, and the best part is, we have varied opinions. We are talking about the variations of normal. I think this is quite telling to how unique we all are in our experiences, how individuals relate to Kate, how they might not relate to Kate and if that even matters!
Now day 3...oh day 3, I wanted to hide in that lion den and not come out. I am sure Kate has a day 3 that many can relate to. There is crying and leaking milk and inflammation in the nether regions and tender breasts. She is likely at home, snuggled into bed, feeding her baby, recovering from pregnancy and birth, being a protective mama bear as long as she can be.
It is not a contest, that is for sure. So many variations of normal, but I actually think seeing Kate and believing that Kate is a real mother like every other mother, vs just believing it is a team of lady maids only making her appear that way, actually shows birth doesn't have to leave us wounded and broken and scared. In fact, part of why I wanted to share my experiences of births 4 and 5 was because 1-3 were hard pregnancies, challenging births and challenging postpartum times and I felt broken and scared. 4 and 5 were not like that and I wanted to tell everyone how damn proud I was of creating my own amazing experiences.
You might be asking, did I do something different with 4 and 5. Yes, I sure did. I did a lot different, but one of the key differences was HypnoBirthing. It is well known that Kate also used HypnoBirthing. Here is a short video clip discussing HypnoBirthing and the benefits it has to birth.
Earlier this week Anna Baker was able to share some of her thoughts with CBC. You can have a listen to the conversation here. There are a lot of good tidbits in there - such as "do you and don't worry if it isn't what others do", or pointing out how it took a team to make Kate look that way. I would like to add she also had a team of care providers supporting her, not just a hair and makeup team! You can also read a piece that Anna wrote for CBC as well.
If you are preparing for a baby, what our team hopes for you is that you have a positive experience and that you are supported to have the experience YOU want. That is truly all that matters. This is why we exist, to be the support you need. If you have the desire to have a HypnoBirth, we have that class to give you those tools. If you need someone else on your birth team, we have doulas for that. If you need more practical in home support post baby we have doulas for that have that, too. As Anna mentions in her interview, breastfeeding struggles occur, so we have help to get back on track ASAP (and we have a class for breastfeeding, too).
I believe you might not be as far off as having an experience like Kate, as you might think you are. You are just spared the pressure of having to present your baby to the world, 7 hours post delivery.
The Next HypnoBirthing Class starts Tuesday May 22nd and runs through June 19th. This is the last class until fall. Get more information here.
The next Your Breastfeeding Experience class is May 5th. There are a couple spots still open in this class.
The next Your Life with Baby class starts May 12th. There are spots still available in this class also.
If being a good doula was based on what is in our doula bag, Mary Poppins would be the greatest doula.
Mary Poppins had quite the bag and all things considered it could make a fairly decent doula bag! There are a few items I would leave out of my doula bag, if I was Mary Poppins. The first one would be her coat rack. I am quite certain I can find a place for my coat at the hospital or a clients home. I can probably do without a plant, but hey, if you want a plant in your hospital room to make it a little more homelike, you can bring one…I won’t complain. Although, keep in mind, you might get some flowers gifted to you after you deliver your baby, so take up more than you need to.
Mary Poppins even brought her own lights. Lights are important, but again, I am not worried about the lighting at the hospital or your home. If you want dim lights, the doctors and midwives have flashlights - really, they do! Speaking of lights, some people like to have some flameless candles to create a nice ambience. I do have some in my doula bag, but as an FYI, they are a few dollars at the $1 Store.
Now, of course, I know some moms would want to but in my experience it is not super common. Again, if that is something you think you might want to try in your birth, lets chat about it and make a plan about who should bring the mirror, just like the plant.
That tape measure Mary Poppins has in her bag is amazing and I would love one! I mean imagine being able to measure people I am going to work intimately with and be told all about their personality. Wow, what a benefit that would be to me and to my clients. Wait, hold on! I do often have a tape measure in my doula bag…with my knitting. Yes, I pack knitting into my doula bag. What? Why on earth would I have knitting? We can talk about that later in another blog post.
Back to this tape measure idea. I don't have a tape measure that will tell me easily what your personality is, but I do however have a tool that will help me discover more about your personality and help me connect with you to make our work together easier and a little more flawless. The “Your Birth Experience” (YBE) program allows me to connect with you, identify your needs and then equip you with the resources necessary to achieve your goals. This leave mothers and their families empowered to envision their ideal birth, prepare for that birth and ultimately achieve the birth experience they desire. That’s pretty close to the magical tape measure, right? It is close enough for me.
So far you now know my doula bag has a few tea lights, running shoes, knitting and a tape measure. That tape measure isn't the good personality one - that comes from our prenatal meetings. That is all I have in my doula bag? Don't I have a rebozo, massage balls, TENS machines, birth balls? Nope. I do have some gum, some cash for parking, some hair ties and some snacks. Why so simple? Largely, infection control. For real, I don't want to disinfect birth balls and I surely don't want to clients sharing “dirty” ones. I don't want to have to wash beautiful fabrics from Mexico in harsh chemicals made for industrial disinfection standards. I can do some neat stuff with a hospital sheet instead. Bonus is that I can get that at the hospital and then leave it at the hospital to have it cleaned properly, just like the birth balls. Massage balls and TENS machines…what can be bad there? Nothing is really bad, but I prefer to not place an object between my clients and I. I find a better connection with direct contact and that increases endorphins which are great for labour. Again, if clients know they want to try a TENS machine or like the porcupine balls, I can help them use ones that they likely already own.
What I do have that cannot be packed into a bag is my years of experience and my confidence. Relief comes to my clients simply by my being present, much of the time. Clients know they can count on me to be present for them. I am a familiar face they know already and our relationship is solely focused on me helping them have a positive experience. They are presented with a bendy straw in a cup of water to juice, before they even knew they were thirsty. I am leading them to the washroom to pee and get that bladder out of the way of babies path because they didn’t realize they needed to pee. I am lightly touching and stroking their feet to remind them to relax their WHOLE body. I am that voice in their ear telling them that they can and are “doing it” when they feel like you are not being strong.
The thing is, people don't give birth every day, (truth be told, I don't attend birth everyday), but I do support women giving birth more often than the average person will give birth. I have been alongside many others before. Each experience is different and no path looks the same, but they are similar enough that I can follow the flow and go alongside and help women through it. They can say things like “Is this normal?” or “what else can I do?” or “what did that nurse/doctor/midwife mean?”. I will reassure them things are normal and they are doing great, I will make suggestions about what else they might want to do, or reassure them what they are doing is perfect & I will help them understand what the care providers are doing or saying. I can help the partner and encourage them just as much (maybe more, maybe less) as I do a labouring woman.
My doula bag started out full of items, and honestly, I could have taken a small suitcase on wheels to births when I first started because I felt like I needed to bring it all. I now know that to "bring it all", we need to do more work in the time before labour, and when I “bring it all” now, I am bringing our conversations, unique goals, unique desires, unique choices and my confidence, my experience and can be “tricky” just like Mary Poppins. I am confident I can pull stuff out of thin air that will help me meet your needs without carrying a lot of baggage.
~Written by Kim Smith, Doula, IBCLC
Every hospital is going to differ in what you will need to take with you for your hospital stay, but we have a few suggestions on what to pack. In Regina, at RGH, you will spend some of your time in Labour & Birth (L&B) and then move over to the Mother Baby Unit (MBU). We suggest that you pack separate bags for during labour and early postpartum and then the mother baby portion. This way you can take less luggage up with you and have less stuff to take back down to your vehicle when it is time to go home. After all, you are leaving with more than you arrived with...
For Labour & Birth
• Prenatal sheets ("pink sheets")
• Your birth plan, if you have one
• An old nightdress or a T shirt to wear in labour. It will probably get a bit messy, so
don't buy anything special to wear in hospital.
• You might want to consider massage oil or lotion if you would like to be massaged during your labour - the hospital is quite dry.
• Lip balm - lots of mouth breathing!
• Snacks and drinks for you while you are in labour.
• Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as books, magazines, games, essential oils and so on.
• A headband or elastic. If you have long hair, you might want it tied up.
• Pillows. The hospital might not have enough to make you really comfortable.
• Music to listen to. Make sure your batteries are charged.
• Extension cord to be able to plug things in.
For the birth partner
• Water spray, or a hand-held fan to keep cool down the mom-to-be while she's in labour
• Comfortable shoes. You may be pacing the corridors
• A change of clothes
• Your choice of recording device whether that's your mobile phone or a camera.
• Address book or a list of phone numbers.
• Snacks and drinks. You don't want a dehydrated, hungry birth partner looking
For after the birth
• Pillow and blanket for your partner - there is a chair that turns into a bed and a sheet is provided but not pillows and blankets
• Nursing bras or easy to nurse in bras
• Breast pads
• Maxi pads if you have a preference & consider some mesh panties. The hospital will supply you with a pair or two, but soon they will be limiting supplies. Better to have more than not enough. Some people like these at home for a few days after the hospital stay. Alternately, old or cheap underwear. Don't bring your best ones.
• Nightshirt wrap or t-shirt. Front-opening shirts are useful in the early days of skin-to-skin & breastfeeding.
• Hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste.
• A going-home outfit. You'll need loose comfortable clothes to wear while you’re in the hospital and for the journey home. It will take a while for your belly to go down, so you'll be still wearing maternity clothes when
you head home - sorry!
For your baby
• An infant car seat. The hospitals won't let you leave by car without one.
• One outfit for the trip home (all-in-one stretchy outfits are easiest).
• Two or three sleepers for baby to wear while you are in hospital.
• Baby blanket. Take a warm one if the weather is cold.
• One pair of socks or booties
• Burp cloths or receiving blankets (some parents report the hospital provided blankets and gowns cause rashes on babes)
Hopefully this helps get some things ready for your stay - it seems like a lot! If you think we missed anything, comment below and we will consider adding it to the list.
You can find many mothers who have tried HypnoBirthing who will explain it as a wonderful tool and transformative experience. Birth has that kind of effect on people! Birth can be amazing. We have been exposed to the idea that childbirth is an intensely painful unbearable process that we just have to cope with and get through. We want you to know, this is NOT truth.
We want women to not be terrified during pregnancy and in their birth experiences, as so many currently are. They are anxious about hours of pain, the agony of pushing and what damage might happen to their bodies. They know they are going to ask for pain management ASAP because that is the only way they know how to cope.
We want to introduce women to the idea of HypnoBirthing. We don’t mean *introduce* as in HypnoBirthing is a new idea - in fact, it has been around for decades, but it is still a new idea to many expecting women. The idea of birth not being painful, or less painful, the mother being calm and birth even being enjoyable is not something we hear in our current culture very much.
What is HypnoBirthing all about? It is not what you think. There is no Hypnotist, no pocket watch, no doing silly things, or losing control and definitely no doing anything you don’t want to do. It is really a form of deep relaxation. It gets to a deeper level of consciousness then we use day-to-day to plan, manage & cope with the labour and birth experience.
In a HypnoBirthing class attendees learn breathing techniques, positive affirmations, and self-hypnosis plus real facts about birth. The classes are weekly for 5 weeks and during that time there is light homework. This allows attendees the time needed to practice during pregnancy. It also allows time to use the techniques taught as stress relief for other life situations to practice and use that time to focus on preparation for labour, birth and even the postpartum time.
During this time, the goal is to remove the fear, that is so deep within our culture, that many women don’t even know they are fearful. This fear comes from the media, friends, family & health care professionals. It is snuck into minds in a subtle ways, like talking about big babies or negative health consequences. We need to remove that fear because it really is problematic. The fear cycle in the body creates muscle tension and anxiety which makes pain more painful and can make labours harder and longer. HypnoBirthing teaches how to get into the safety cycle, which promotes relaxation of muscles and proper function.
Is there solid evidence that HypnoBirthing benefits women? It is still up for debate as far as collectable stats go. But if we look at what attendees say after birth it is about so much more than the actual birth. It is about how women feel during their pregnancy & labour. It is about them gaining control and taking back their own experiences. It is about birth not happening to them but them being active participants in their birth. Ask a women to share her HypnoBIrthing story. That is where you will find the benefits.
Get more information about the next session of classes!
9 reasons why HypnoBirthing isn’t a good idea!
1. You don't want to understand the normal process of birth.
Of course you want to understand birth! Now, you do not need to be a “birth expert” but you should have a basic understanding of the process that occurs with the body so that you are not left surprised and wondering. The HypnoBirthing class is going to teach you the important parts of giving birth.
2. You don't want to be able to stay calm during your birth experience.
Who stays calm during birth? Isn’t it a time of chaos and commotion? NO, it doesn’t have to be at all. A very wise person once said to me, while I was pregnant, “If you stay calm, everyone else will stay calm”. HypnoBirthing helps teach you how to remain calm while experiencing something new to your mind and body. You can even remain calm in times of feeling nervous, worried, anxious. The goal is to help you remain calm so that your baby is welcomed into a calm environment. Babies are only born once and isn’t it a lovely idea to welcome them into a calm environment so they are ready to receive all the love you have to give.
3. You don’t want to take time in your pregnancy to connect with your baby.
I bet you have already connected to your little one! It is almost impossible not to feel connected to something that is throwing it’s limbs into your organs. But, are you connecting on an intentional level? Are you sending loving messages to your baby and showing baby how much, way more than I bet you imagined, love you already have for this little person you have not even met? HypnoBirthing is going to help you get a deeper level of connection with yourself, your baby and even your partner! YES, your partner can get bonded with baby during your pregnancy, too. Attachment is the root of our emotional well-being and starting early has great benefit.
4. You don't want to be in control of your birth experience.
When I say control here, I don't mean that you can plan all the details of how your birth experience is going to go. When I say control, I mean, you are in the drivers seat of the car along this unknown journey. You know your destination, but you don’t the way. However, you are not on this trip alone. Your car is full of passengers, guests. Ok, it might be more like a bus from time to time. Some people get on the bus and off the bus, some get on the bus and stay the whole journey. All these passengers have pieces of information that when put together will help you arrive at your destination safely. Some of these passengers you feel really safe with and trust and some of them are rather unfamiliar and you might not trust them so much. How do you know if you should listen to them or not?
By learning a series of discussion points and communication skills, HypnoBirthing, helps you to ask the right questions to get all the information you need at the time during your experience to help you make decisions. You are still the one in the drivers seat and need to know what direction to go, but if you don’t know, you get to ask the passengers for the information to help you decide. You do not need to get out of the drivers seat and let someone take over the driving.
5. You want to have your baby in the hospital.
That is A-OK! HypnoBirthing works everywhere. You won’t be the first person ever to use HypnoBirthing at the hospital. In fact, HypnoBirthing is a great option for people who are transitioning to a new location to give birth (see above; staying calm. This is an important factor for travelling in labour).
6.You are too scared of birth to be able to relax.
Fears. We all have them. Good news is; HypnoBirthing deals with fears. It is a unique program in that way. Rather than saying “don’t be silly, you have nothing to be afraid of", HypnoBirthing looks at the fear, accepts the fear and addresses the reality of that fear. Fears teach us some things about ourselves. When you give fear your attention, see it, learn what it was needing to teach you, then it will release from the body. Some people struggle with that and HypnoBirthing helps make this an easier process.
7.You don’t relax easily.
Most of us don’t. Relaxation is not something we do enough of. Relaxation needs to be practiced. The way HypnoBirthing is structured, it allows for that practice to occur and be built upon throughout the pregnancy so that it is much easier to use in your labour & birth.
8. You don't want to be hypnotized and be persuaded to do something you really don't want to do.
I promise this cannot and will not happen. The body cannot do anything it is not open to doing! And, no one is doing this TO you. YOU are doing this for yourself. You will be 100% in control at all times.
9. You are going to ask for pain medication so you won’t feel labour anyway.
Pain relief is absolutely an option women will choose. This is also OK. Some people do choose to use HypnoBirthing as a way to avoid pain medications. Also, OK. I just want you to consider a few things. There is a period of time before you can receive pain medication, that will still might be uncomfortable and you will have to manage somehow. Also, the pain medications do not take away all the discomfort and they do not always work for everyone. So, HypnoBirthiing can be complimentary to the plan of pain medications, as you will learn about some other pain relief options. Also, with all the other the other benefits of HypnoBirthing, it would still be a great class for anyone to take. Don’t let choices you think you will make in birth keep you away from all the other amazing benefits of this class!
If you are in the Regina area, here is more information on future HypnoBirthing classes. If you have some more questions for us, send us an email.
When does learning begin? Annie Murphy Paul posed this question to us in her TedTalk (she also answered it). You might be thinking maybe at Kindergarten, and then jump to preschool or maybe a few months of life. Or maybe you think as soon as they are born, they are a blank slate, ready to take it the world in. Annie Murphy Paul has some good research to share which shows learning starts in utero, before we are born. The womb is full of first learning experiences.
She goes on to talk about what she calls "Biological Postcards from the outside world". The teachings of the world this baby is going to be born into comes from the food the mother eats, the mothers voice, the air she breathes, the chemicals she is exposed to, the emotions the mother feels. It is multi-sensory and multi-dimensional learning. The world in which a mother is living has great influence on that infant.
Many of the things a mother is exposed to might be harder to control then others.
The "Biological Postcards" are being sent whether we send them or not but I want to challenge you to think about Biological Postcards you can send with intention as you plan for your babies arrival - the birth and the time following.
Are you sending messages to your baby that are full of enjoying your pregnancy and feeling excited for your future family or perhaps you haven't been able to enjoy your pregnancy for one reason or another. Are you feeling safe and relaxed when the time for birth comes or is it a feeling of being fearful and stressed? Have you thought about that message to your baby? Are you feeling like you are creating a loving, welcoming space for your infant or perhaps you haven't been able to get to that space yet because you are feeling scared and overwhelmed?
At Queen City Doulas & Company we want to help you create intentional Biological Postcards. Through our classes and our doula services we can help construct the feelings you want to feel, alleviate some of the feeling you might rather not feel and create a loving, calm, relaxed environment for you, so you can create the same for your baby. I invite you to look at our upcoming HypnoBirthing classes as the perfect place to start writing postcards to your baby. I also invite you to share by commenting what you want your baby to read on their postcard.
You can watch Annie Murphy Paul's TedTalk here.