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Experience: Labor through the Public Healthcare System at Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Experience: Labor through the Public Healthcare System at Women’s and Children’s Hospital

When we first found out that we were pregnant, the next few questions that came to mind were:

“What is the next step?” (this is a good site to have a look for those in SA!)

“Where should we deliver our firstborn child?”

“Public or private?”

“What is the system like?”

“How does it all work?”

“AHHHHH!!!!”

While I was being precious about my first baby and all, hubby (a physician in one of the Adelaide hospitals) was believer that if you are young, healthy and have a normal pregnancy, one does not necessarily need to fork out additional cash to pay for private hospitals for delivery.

I also have had friends who had their babies through the public system at Flinders Medical Centre, Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Lyell McEwin Hospital. They were all happy and satisfied with their experiences so that gave me some confidence as well.

I went through the shared care system where I would see my chosen GP monthly and only went to the hospital for my 12-week scan and 37-week scan. Personally, this was a great arrangement as my GP was only less than 500m from where I lived and I could easily walk there. Having been to the hospital on certain occasion I also think that seeing your GP might be faster than seeing a midwife in the hospital.

My Labor Experience

So, it was winter when my little one decided that it was all too cosy in the womb and refused to come out. At 39 weeks, I set up a labor induction appointment at 40+5 weeks with a heavy heart as I was all for natural birth at the time.

My due date came and went without any signs of labor, so I had to be induced through a balloon catheter (my cervix was not ready) at about 2pm on that fateful day. We were meant to let the balloon do it’s magic for the next 12 hours or so, but when I got checked next at 4pm the doctor said that she would be able to artificially break my water and so she did.

They then proceeded to inject some oxytocin as my contractions have not started despite all the help.

But finally the contractions came! I still remember it being 8pm and I was supposedly having a contraction every few minutes but not feeling much. At first it was so light I could barely feel it.

So I thought smugly, “Hah! I can do this!” I’ll just remain calm and listen my Hypnobirthing tracks.

BOY WAS I WRONG!

My contractions started getting really intense towards 10pm and by 12am I was all out of it. Hubby and the midwives thought that I was doing really well and was amazed by how calm I was, but man inside I was just screaming.

Whoever who said that labor is just like period pain must be out of their minds. I was calm and in the right frame of mind thanks to my Hynobirthing practice but sad to say it did not reduce the pain one bit at all!

So there I was suffering with about 4 contractions in 10 minutes to then find out then I was only 5cm dilated. No way I was going through many more hours of this unbearable pain and so requested for an epidural at midnight.

Thank goodness for modern medicine. I was so so grateful that the horrible pain was over, but we were only halfway there.

For the next 6 hours, hubby and I managed to catch some sleep before I was fully dilated and bub’s head was engaged. Yes, 6 hours! So glad I proceeded with epidural.

I started pushing for the next hour but nothing changed. We also had a little scare when my bub’s heartbeat was really low for 2 minutes and a group of 6-8 paediatricians, obstetricians, anesthetist and more midwives rushed into the room.

It was really odd as by the time everyone came into the room his heartbeat went back to normal. Such a drama queen even before he was born lol!

My obstetrician then gave me a choice, “Your baby’s head is still not out. We can either bring him out through assisted delivery OR you can continue pushing (!!!).”

At the time I was just wanting the baby out of me and said, “Whichever is the fastest option.”

Believe it or not, it took another hour to get bub out through episiotomy and forceps and he was finally born at 9am!!! Hurrah!!!

I think I cried tears of relief more than tears of happiness lol!

So what did I like about my experience at Women’s and Children’s Hospital?

  • I received great support from the medical staff during labor

My labor lasted more than 12 hours from when I was first induced, and yet I was never alone the whole time. Due to my long labor, I had about 4 midwives look after me and I thought that they were all experienced and competent. They did not force any unwanted advice/ideas on me and were generally supportive. I had less interaction with the obstetrician and anesthetist but felt as comfortable as I can be during labor.

  • I was able to request for an epidural even at the very last minute

It was my wish to have an all natural birth at first. When I showed the midwives my birth plan, they were all supportive of it. But when it all became too much and I opted for pain relief at the 11th hour, it was granted in less than 30 minutes. I understand that if I had gone private, this would not have been possible unless arranged beforehand.

IN SUMMARY

We saved about $3000-5000 by choosing the public route, and used that money for some portpartum recovery and help instead. Best decision ever!

Of course, everyone’s labor, needs and expectations are different. It also depends on what happens and the midwives/doctors on call on the day of your labor. But if you are healthy and young expecting mother and wondering whether the public system is good enough in Adelaide or South Australia, I would like to reassure you that it definitely is!

Till next time! xx

 

 

Why We All Decided To Sleep In The Same Room During My Confinement

Why We All Decided To Sleep In The Same Room During My Confinement

I’ve been getting quite a lot of hits on my other post about confinement lady sleeping arrangements at night, and thought that it would be a good idea to expand on why I went with Option C ie my confinement lady (CL) sleeping in the same room as hubby, baby and I.

On hindsight, I really have no regrets with this arrangement. Let me share with you why:

I was able to sleep in the same room as my newborn

To me this is extremely important because I have just delivered my baby and want to spend time with my newborn. And yes this includes night time!

Yes you need rest but you need to be able to see your baby too without walking too far. It’s an emotional thing!

It’s also important vice versa as your baby will most likely be able to smell your milk and feel comforted at the same time.

My newborn had a constant environment at night

He was either sleeping in his cot, feeding on my bed or being pat to sleep in the same room.

He wasn’t being transferred from one room to another.

Perhaps one room was colder and another warmer. Perhaps one had air conditioner on and another didn’t. Perhaps both rooms had the lights offed but the hallway’s light was very bright.

Any change in environment can be off-putting and distracting to a baby still getting used to living outside the womb, especially at night time.

I was able to cope after my CL left

Because I slept with my newborn throughout my confinement I was able to pick up on his subtle cues on feeding, changing etc.

For example, for the first few weeks he required to be fed, then burped, then fed again, followed by a change in diapers, followed by another burp before being pat to sleep.

It made me know what to expect at night and I did not feel at all overwhelmed once my CL left. Win!!

And now, let’s get some of your concerns out of the way! These were my initial worries too but in the end none of them mattered!

What if my working husband’s sleep is disturbed by our baby’s cries?

Men are generally (not all) not light sleepers. Imagine a couple sleeping in the same room as their newborn baby – most of the time the mom will be the one who wakes up and feed the baby while the dad just sleeps on.

He may help if he wants but if he’s got to work the next day, maybe not 😉 That’s why you hired help in the first place!

So try it for a few nights – chances are he might not even stir if you and your CL have it all under control and manage to sort out your newborn before he/she starts wailing.

I want my privacy!

After birthing a baby, your modesty and privacy will be thrown out of the window.

And I don’t mean it in a bad way. You just don’t bother as much, as the most important thing is making sure that your baby gets fed in the easiest and most convenient method possible.

We want our privacy!

This may be a personal preference but seriously? After giving birth to a newborn, there is no time nor energy to do any hanky panky stuff. I was trying to heal myself and had to minimise movement let alone do anything that requires energy.

The most important thing is that we get enough sleep, and baby gets fed/changed/soothed to sleep.

We can’t fit so many people in the room!

We barely made it too! Thankfully my CL is rather simple and did not mind sleeping on our Sealy mattress placed on the ground.

This made it easier to move during the day so that it doesn’t take up too much space and clog up the whole bedroom.

Our sleeping configuration was like this: hubby and I on our Queen bed, baby in his cot next to our bed, CL on the mattress at the foot of our bed.

IN SUMMARY

I am really glad we had a good confinement experience, particularly at night.

I tried sleeping with my newborn separate from the CL on the first day after coming back from the hospital, and boy that was a grave mistake!

I had to carry my lil’ boy all by myself, change him, put him back to sleep. All while trying to recover “down there”!

It was only one night before I decided to use the help we hired. I let go of my ego, my stubbornness and let others help me – and this made all the difference.

However, what works for one might not work for another. As mentioned in my previous post, it really is up to you, the mother of your child, to decide how you want the setup to be.

I hope your confinement will be a great experience too!

Your baby is only newborn once, so appreciate the moment and embrace the hourly night calls 😉

Till next time! xoxo

Confinement Lady Arrangements At Night

Confinement Lady Arrangements At Night

So you have decided to hire a confinement lady, good on you!

I personally had a very good experience with mine and was well rested after the confinement period.

One of the main roles of a confinement lady is helping to take care of the newborn baby at night.

The first 30 days postpartum would be one of the tougher times.

As your baby is still adjusting to being in the outside world, they require constant attention and checking. Most babies would require a feed at least every 2-3 hours throughout the day and night early on.

For first time mothers, breastfeeding would be a whole new experience. At the same time, your body would be in the process of healing after all that hard work throughout your pregnancy and delivery.

How do you balance between both – taking good care of your baby as well as yourself? How would you maximise the help from your confinement lady, especially at night?

Here are some possible combinations that you might want to consider if you want to feed your baby through direct latching at night:

A. Baby sleeps in the same room as you and hubby + CL sleeps in another room + Pass baby to CL to burp and resettle back to sleep

Pros:
+ You get to sleep in the same room as your baby
+ You don’t have to burp or resettle baby which is 50% of the work

Cons:
– You have to call your CL each time after a feed (you have to go to her room to get her or call or text her)

B. Baby sleeps in the own room with CL + CL brings baby to your room for feeds + Pass baby to CL to burp and resettle back to sleep

Pros:
+ All you have to do is feed the baby (you might not even have to leave the bed)
+ Baby will get used to sleeping in own room from the beginning
+ You don’t have to burp or resettle baby which is 50% of the work

Cons:
– Baby would have to be brought in and out of the room
– Your breasts might be engorged or full before baby is brought in (if he is in the same room then you can just latch anytime)

C. Baby and CL sleeps in same room as you and hubby + CL brings baby to you for feeds then burp and resettles baby to sleep

Pros:
+ All you have to do is feed the baby (you might not even have to leave the bed)
+ You get to sleep in the same room as your baby
+ You don’t have to burp or resettle baby which is 50% of the work

Cons:
– Lack of privacy
– Room might be cramped with so many people

If you want CL to feed your baby with expressed breast milk or infant formula, you will be able to stretch out your sleeping time at night.

That said, there is a higher chance of having engorged breasts if you leave them be without latching or pumping for 4-6 hours. Most mothers I know who express their milk would have to wake up and pump during the night anyway to maintain supply.

Bear in mind, it is advisable to feed your baby through the direct latch to the breast in the first month if possible. This is to establish and encourage milk supply during the early days of breastfeeding.

It is also advisable not to introduce bottle feeding to your baby initially because the sucking motion is different – getting milk from your breast is different from getting milk from the bottle. They actually have to work harder sucking at the breast.

Feeding your baby too early with a bottle before they have “mastered” getting milk from the breast might confuse them, or they might prefer drinking from the bottle instead because it is so easy to get the milk.

Finally, it is recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents, either in a bassinet or cot, at least in the first 6 months to reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

IN SUMMARY

Every mother has different priorities and preferences. Some might want to stay in the same room as the baby and some might not; some will want to breastfeed by latching, some prefers to bottle feed.

Each baby is different as well. Some resettle back quicker than others, some are fussier and require more attention.

As a mother to your baby, you should decide what is best for the both of you.

For me, I went with Option C as I wanted to be in the same room as my baby, and think it would be easiest for both me and my CL that she sleep in the same room as us.

There are so many different ways the CL can help you at night. All you have to do it to decide which one fits your lifestyle and preference best.

Till next time! xoxo

3 Oils for Pregnancy Stretch Marks That Work

3 Oils for Pregnancy Stretch Marks That Work

 

One of the top concerns in a pregnant woman’s mind, besides having a healthy baby (which should be the most important thing), is whether they would get stretch marks during pregnancy, and how to avoid it.

There are some moms who think that stretch marks are proof of motherhood and would be proud to show it off. Of course, I agree that this is something totally natural and not something to be ashamed of.

That said, I would prefer not to have them. This was definitely one of my worries and I am just being honest here.

I think it is a legitimate concern.

Hence, the next few days were spent researching on the best anti stretch mark oils/creams on the market.

My findings are:

  1. Sometimes stretch mark is hereditary. If your mom has it, then you are likely to get it too. Unfortunately, no amount of oil/cream is going to help you.
  2. Different oils/cream work for different people. Some people swear by brand A, some others prefer brand B.

What is a paranoid pregnant woman to do then??

I bought three of the more popular brands and applied them (one at a time) religiously since the second week of my pregnancy. Though some of the instructions encourage application three times a day or as often as required, I applied liberally only once a day after showering.

I don’t know about you but I can’t put oil on myself if I don’t feel super clean, and I only feel super clean after a shower. And the heat from the shower causes your pores to open so that might be the best time for your skin to absorb all the oily goodness anyway.

Below is my experience, sorted from the most expensive to the least expensive:

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil – $68 for 100ml

Clarins’ #1 selling body oil — with 100% pure plant extracts including Rosemary, Geranium and Mint — helps firm, tone and improve elasticity, smoothing the appearance of stretch marks. Hazelnut Oil locks in moisture to leave body skin soft and satiny-smooth. Aromatic natural botanical promote an overall feeling of well-being. Preservative-free.

Clarins Body Treatment Oil
Clarins Body Treatment Oil

Verdict:

+ I love the smell of this treatment oil as it contains one of my favorite scent, Geranium.

+ This oil is thicker and is packaged in a glass bottle which gives off that luxury vibe, like “yes now I know why I am paying top dollars for this”.

– The oil is so thick that sometimes I have to either use a lot of it (not ideal given the price) or wet my hands/body slightly so that it is easier to apply. The instructions say to apply on a damp body so I have to only semi-dry post shower to keep my body damp or wet my hands but it is a bit tedious after a while.

– It is pricey. I finished 1 bottle of 100ml in 1-1.5 months so that works out to be approximately $600 if I used it for my entire pregnancy.

Bio-Oil – $20 for 200ml

The Bio-Oil formulation is a combination of plant extracts and vitamins suspended in an oil base. It contains the breakthrough ingredient PurCellin Oil™, which changes the formulation’s overall consistency, making it light and non-greasy. This ensures that the goodness contained in the vitamins and plant extracts is easily absorbed.

Bio-Oil
Bio-Oil

Verdict:

+ This oil is cheap and can be found in most supermarkets or pharmacies.

+ It feels lightweight and not too greasy. Also, it’s suitable to be applied on the face, which is perfect for lazy days when I am not bothered to put on moisturizer.

– I am not a big fan of the scent. Perhaps this coincided with my morning sickness but I could not to finish the bottle at one go and had to force myself to use it towards the end of my pregnancy.

Palmer’s Intensive Relief Treatment Oil – $9.99 for 150ml

Palmer’s signature Intensive Relief Treatment Oil is a deep moisturising treatment designed to give your skin that velvety smooth texture you’ve been craving. With an exclusive blend of unique ingredients designed to reduce the visibility of stretch marks, correct skin tones and repair damaged skin all at once!

Palmer's Intensive Treatment Oil
Palmer’s Intensive Treatment Oil

Verdict:

+ This oil is light and I did get that smooth velvety texture post application.

+ It does not smell. There is no fragrance so you can’t get sick of the smell and it’s perfect for people who are sensitive to scents. I find this surprising given that most Palmer’s product I’ve used smells of coconut.

Note: I love this oil so much that I brought it back with me to Malaysia. I was 7 months pregnant then and my body was starting to feel extremely hot all the time. Coupled with the humid and hot weather, I was sweating so much that it was impossible to apply any oil or cream on my body.

IN SUMMARY

Having tried all three popular brands for stretch mark, I am glad to say that they worked for me.

I had no stretch marks, even after carrying a 4kg baby which is huge for my frame. My tummy went back to its normal state about ten days after delivery.

3 Weeks Postpartum
3 Weeks Postpartum

Was it just the oils that did their magic?

No. I strongly think that this is due to a healthy diet, proper hydration and frequent but light exercise throughout my pregnancy. Of course, daily oil application helped maintain my skin’s tone and elasticity.

Till next time! xoxo

My Birth Plan

My Birth Plan

Towards the 30th week of my pregnancy, I started researching about Hypnobirthing and was immediately drawn by the philosophy and reasoning of having a drug-free, natural birth. You can read more about my thoughts and experience here.

Given that there there are various standard practices in different hospitals and countries, Hypnobirthing mothers are encouraged to have a birth plan. In fact, most Hypnobirthing moms would definitely want to have a birth plan to ensure that they achieve their ideal birth.

A birth plan is a document where the parent-to-be communicate to their midwife or obstetrician their preferences during labor and delivery. It includes information such as comfort measures during labor and pain relief preferences.

Questions that I had myself was “What to include in a birth plan?”, “How long or short should it be?” and more importantly, “What are my birth preferences”?

These were a few things I was conscious of when drafting mine:

  • It has to be short and sweet, 1 page at best (like an investment banking CV).

I find the Hypnobirthing sample birth plans a bit too wordy and long winded. If I don’t want to finish reading them, what more busy nurses, midwifes and doctors? Hence the document was written in point forms rather than in sentences.

  • Information is divided into sections.

To make things even easier to read, I compartmentalize my preferences into birthing environment, birthing preferences, pain relief methods during labor, preferences after birth etc. Then I outlined them in boxes. I’m anal like that.

  • I wanted mine to be unique.

Probably just like all moms-to-be out there, I didn’t want my birth plan to be boring. So I created a flowery border to spice things up. Does it matter? To be honest, it probably doesn’t matter to anyone else but myself.

And lastly,

  • I called mine Birth Preference instead of Birth Plan.

Every delivery and labor is different, and sometimes things just don’t go according to plan no matter how badly you want it. I was aware of that and knew the importance of being flexible. Ultimately, the most important outcome is for both mom and baby to be safe and healthy. The difference is very subtle but ‘preference’ just seems more appropriate in my circumstance.

So here you go, my birth plan example is per below. I am very happy with the end result as it had all my preferences yet is concise. Oh and it is also pretty and did not take up too much of my time 🙂

Birth Plan Sample
Birth Plan Sample

Let me know if you want a copy of the Word document – am more than happy to share! But remember, birth plans are very personal and there is no right or wrong way of writing one.

Till next time! xoxo