Huatau, A Pondering Thought About Labour

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A bit of a light-hearted post, I’ve been pondering about this for some time.  Undoubtedly, women get a little bit over pregnancy towards their due date and some will try all sorts of tricks and home remedies to get labour going. You’ve probably also heard the phrase ‘baby will come when he/she is ready’ normally uttered by a wiser elder (like my grandmother who has had to wait patiently for 5 babies to enter this world).

And, they are right.  There have been numerous studies that suggest labour is initiated by the baby, and more recently a study found that baby’s lungs release a protein when they able to fully function outside the womb and this in turn signalled the hormones to start labour.  (You can read more about that here: http://www.pregnancyandbaby.com/pregnancy/articles/941885/what-starts-labor)

However, my pondering thought has been this:  If baby initiates labour when they are ready, does their birth into this world also reflect on their personalities?

For both my daughters it would seem so.  My eldest was a long labour and a long pushing stage, she just didn’t want to come out! Yes, it was probably partly to do with the induction and I still believe that she wasn’t ready to born.  But, she is still wilful (read stubborn) and it is very difficult to sway her to come around to our way of thinking and she is very persistent with any task at hand.  Her difficult birth also reflects certain troubles she had as a baby – colic for one, which in turn affected her sleeping habits…not that they were excellent anyway.

My youngest daughter’s birth was calm and quick.  Pre-labour had a nice slow build-up but once it was on, it was on! The pushing stage was 13 minutes and there was no way I could hold-off pushing. She wanted out now. She has quite a relaxed and calm manner but tick her off and you will hear about it! She changes manner quite quickly too, one minute she will be happy as, then the next she will be growling  about something and just as quickly be back to being calm and happy.

For any subsequent children, I’m really interested to see how the labour and personalities develop.  Do any of your children have personalities that reflect their birth?

Whakaoho, New Learning and Awareness

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My views on birth and parenting have been shaped by many things. When I was younger I recall asking my mother what giving birth to me was like and her reply was ‘you popped out like a pea’. Unfortunately she passed away before we ever had a realistic conversation about pregnancy and birth. I feel that this gave me a desire to seek out information about pregnancy and childbirth even before I became pregnant myself.

Over the years I have read an amount of varied information about pregnancy and birth online and particularly enjoyed reading birth stories. These definitely helped to put the birth process in perspective and helped me to realise that there are many, many different ways that labour can start and different ways with how the birth progresses. My own birth experiences reflect this also and you can read more about them on the Birth Stories page.

However, while scouring the internet for this information I came across a lot (a lot) of negative birth stories and stories about hospital standard practices (like pitocin, episomities, induction) which isn’t standard practice in New Zealand.  And, if I didn’t know any better this would have scared the bejesus out of me and I would have feared birth instead of embracing it.

Which brings me to this moment, right now. Next month I officially start a Childbirth Education course, taking two years to become qualified and able to teach antenatal classes.  I have a dream, or two about where I want to end up with this qualification.  But, one step at a time, for now what I would really like to acheive with this blog is:

  1. Having a record of how my birthing views will/may change.
  2. Sharing my experiences through this learning.
  3. Having a birthing blog that is relevant to New Zealand.

Most of all, I am passionate about sharing knowledge and wish to support parents and give them confidence for their journey to parenthood.

Whāngai ū , Two Experiences

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I have two children and both breastfeeding experiences have been completely different.  I’ve always wanted to breastfeed, it is natural, free, convenient and keeps baby healthy.  However it is not always easy.  With my eldest, Lena, I had every intention to breastfeed her until she was at least one year old.  However, she had a slight tongue-tie and although we stuck at it for 6 months, breastfeeding had never become easy and hardly ever pain-free.  It was also hard work! She feed for a long time (in the beginning, about 40 minutes each side) and I was exhausted.  I had multiple bouts of mastitis and thrush due to the nipples not healing but continued to stick it out as I was sure it would get better.  Even though I sought help from a lactation consultant and a GP, the tongue-tie was overlooked as a non-issue as her feeding did improve slightly and her latch looked OK but I continued to have a weird pain during and after feeds.  We had introduced a daily bottle of formula to her by 3 months and by 7 months we had made the move to her being fully formula-fed.

While I was pregnant with Aislinn, I was determined to breastfeed again so I started reading a lot more about breastfeeding and came across a few blog posts about laid-back breastfeeding and the breast-crawl after birth.  The theory made sense to me and sounded much simpler.  I also attended a La Leche League meeting while pregnant and heard another mum describe how her blocked milk ducts felt and I realised it sounded like the pain I had all the time while feeding Lena.  After discussing it again with the La Leche League leader she advised that the tongue-tie would have certainly caused issues while breastfeeding and mentioned that it was likely that my breasts weren’t being drained fully at each feed and this was causing the pain.

Breastfeeding Aislinn has been easy, we checked straight away whether she had a tongue-tie (she did not), she latched on beautifully after birth and for the first few weeks we laid-back for breastfeeding which also allowed me to feel more rested.  After Aislinn was born she snuggled in for some lovely laid back, skin to skin contact, she soon indicated that she was hungry and started towards a breast, I did help her latch on as she started to become a bit frustrated.  She fed for almost an hour but it was some lovely bonding time.  We went home soon after and as it was past midnight she went straight to sleep in her bassinet.  She had a bit of mucous and spat it up a few times during the night but slept right through. I was a bit worried in the morning when I woke at 7am and realised that she hadn’t woken up for a feed during the night.  I got her up out of bed and striped her down for some skin to skin and laid back in our bed, she wasn’t at all interested in a feed.  I called my midwife and she reassured me that it was quite normal for babies to not feed a lot in the first hours after they were born.  So we stayed in bed skin to skin and after about an hour Aislinn decided she was ready for a feed, shortly afterwards she spat up some more mucous (it was a lot) and then seemed quite content to feed again.  The next few nights she fed every hour and wanted to suckle a lot to help bring my milk in – that was tough but as I laid back for breastfeeding it wasn’t so bad as I could rest at the same time.  We are still enjoying a breastfeeding relationship today without any of my previous issues.

Looking back to both my breastfeeding relationships, I’ve realised that knowledge is indeed power.  If I had made the time to attend one or two La Leche League meetings while I was pregnant with my first daughter, I may have discovered that even a slight tongue-tie would hinder breastfeeding and sought more help to get it resolved.