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My Pregnancy Experience As We Countdown To Birth

Jan 10, 2022

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As the weeks of our third trimester fly by and we approach our guess date, we are getting so very excited to meet our sweet little second.

I know from tuning into other Mumma’s, friends, family and podcast guests that every experience as a Mumma of two is unique. I am preparing for challenging moments, days and weeks, know that my priorities will shift and another layer of perfectionism will be released, as I navigate a newborn while being a full time Mumma to my active and affectionate three year old. 

It won’t be easy, motherhood isn’t. But it sure is rewarding and full of so many moments that lead to a heart exploding with love.

Today I wanted to share an update on the second half of our pregnancy journey and answer some questions I’ve had from my @glowingmumma.thrivingbubba insta community. Including our mode of care; how I've been feeling; what I've been doing to support my health & baby's growth & development; our birthing wishes and and how we are preparing for this. 

Here is episode 64- the finale in season 3 of the Glowing Mumma Thriving Bubba podcast.

Mode Of Care 

The mode of care that we chose to embrace again is our local midwifery group practise, which offers a home birth program. The benefit of this is usually providing continuity of care with the same midwife supporting the Mumma throughout, with home visits and the comfort of knowing who will be present at birth. It is a free service through the public health system, however is limited with space so you don’t find out if you are in the group practise until around 20 weeks. 

My experience of the program this time around however has been up and down- although it has been so helpful (especially with a three year old in low), to have all appointments in our home, we have had our main midwife sick for a majority of this time. So I’ve actually met 3 different midwives so far and still unsure who we will be getting at birth if my main midwife is still away. While this does unsettle me slightly, I know they are all homebirth accredited and will bring the expertise we need to make our second homebirth a reality. 

I have however combined this care with continuing my Integrative GP support, so I could  get regular tests for levels like progesterone and thyroid function, which I have remained on compounded medication for throughout. My thyroid has remained stable since was picked up as under active in my preconception phase, but my progesterone has needed closer monitoring throughout to adjust my dose of the compounded bio-identical progesterone pessaries accordingly.

I’ve also been able to check in with levels like Active B12 & Vitamin D through my Integrative GP. Although getting the actual blood tests has been a juggle, my Naturopath brain loves seeing changes through tests along the way.

Routine bloods like iron and glucose have also been ordered through my midwife. 

Supplements 

Alongside my nourishing kitchen creations with a big focus on collagen and zinc rich dishes for skin elasticity and of course gut health as I head closer to birth, I am continuing to support my body with important supplements like a quality practitioner only prenatal, cod liver oil, probiotics, vitamin D, iron, choline and following an additional immune supportive protocol. 

I believe in supporting my body’s natural immunity as a first line of defence and have chosen not to have the covid jab, so having additional herbs like Echinacea, medicinal mushrooms, along with vitamin C, D, zinc, N-acetyl cysteine have helped. 

This is a personal choice that I believe we all have a right to choose and not be discriminated for our choice. This has made appointments like a women’s health physio appointments I had planned to include, something I’ve now missed out on, due to mandates.

But I’m so grateful for having knowledge to take health into my own hands and support my body holistically, despite these restrictions.

 At night I also take a calcium, magnesium + cofactors blend to ease some restless legs I experience every few nights. 

Now that I’ve reached late third tri (38 weeks as I record this episode), I’m also being mindful bubs' is growing rapidly and really making an effort to provide adequate protein to support this. Organic chicken, wild caught fish, grass fed & if possible organic meats, pastured eggs from our backyard or my family’s egg farm on KI, Adams Eggs and collagen powder are some of my daily fav protein sources.  

Pregnancy Positives  

Since my second trimester blood test where my stored iron levels had dropped right down below my recommended levels, I applied my top iron increasing Naturopath secrets, through diet and supplementation and both my ferritin and haemoglobin had improved. 

I’ve been really grateful to have this knowledge and one of these tips for example is the timing of iron supplementation- if before 10am, this will minimise the impact of an iron controlling substance called hepcidin and therefore optimise your absorption.  

My energy has been great throughout this second half of pregnancy and I’ve mostly been sleeping well, which of course I’m lapping up before the broken sleep begins again.

I've loved listening into the dreamy pregnancy medi health & mindset coach Lisa Thompson created for my Path To Glowing Mumma program for expecting Mumma’s,  together with the beautiful yoga flow by Rachel Oliver. Miss three loves to join me too :)

Pregnancy Challenges 

In my late second trimester, after a week of heightened stress, coincidently I developed shooting sciatic pain down my right leg & buttocks every time I attempted to walk. It was really physically debilitating and walking was replaced with hobbling around the house to get just the bare minimum done. 

It was a really fine line between enough movement, rest but not too much of either as both laying for too long and hobbling greater distances seemed to aggravate it. Crawling on all fours was my comfort zone & of course little miss 3 took advantage of jumping on for regular horsey rides. 

I did however have to say no to many picking up requests as I couldn’t physically lift my daughter. As hard as this was for our cuddly koala, she soon learnt that for mum to heal, I couldn’t pick her up for what she calls a ‘stand cuddle’ for some time. I have given her lots of ‘sit cuddles’ instead :) 

Throughout this painful period, I reached for my holistic health tool kit to support me through this challenge. Although while being pregnant limits the options I have for the array of natural medicines I’d usually reach for, this is what I have been doing to help ease, ever so slowly the pain & inflammation:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

✔︎ Magnesium spray topically with Lavender & Copaiba essential oil along with high dose oral magnesium, to relax my muscles. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

✔︎ Palmitoylethanolamide (yep it’s a mouthful but also known as PEA), a bioactive lipid which is a component of egg yolk. Higher supplemental doses have shown to with work on the endocannabinoid system with analgesic & anti inflammatory actions.

✔︎ High dose fish oil for its EPA omega 3 anti-inflammatory support.⠀⠀⠀

✔︎ Turmeric to reduce the pain & inflammation, but being very cautious of keeping it at a low dose.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

✔︎ Chiro & dry needling to enhance the healing was extremely helpful.

Interestingly, I’ve discovered the emotional connection of sciatica (according to Louise Hay) —‘ fear of the future’... so very interesting!

As I previously mentioned, my regular bloods have shown that Progesterone has been slow at increasing, despite the progesterone pessaries. Although I held off for a couple of weeks, my Integrative GP did want to confirm baby’s growth and my placenta health with an extra scan during our third trimester, on top of the one and only we’d hoped for at 20 weeks.  

I knew everything was ok, but felt like this was the best thing to do at the end of the day to know for sure that my placenta and our baby were healthy and put peace in my doctors mind. Which they both of course were. 

I have experienced a couple of niggling reflux moments at night as reminders for me to either avoid eating late, or not have my cod liver oil so close to bedtime. Other than that, only if I have over indulged or had something with sugar, such as after my nieces birthday cake, have I experienced this discomfort. Raising my pillow at these times, together with taking some digestive herbs helped eased the discomfort.

Being heavily pregnant in mid summer this time around I have started to notice some foot puffiness, so I've upped my green smoothies with celery along with some dandelion tea, to help flush out the extra fluid. 

Otherwise, I can’t ignore the challenging parenting moments like dealing with my daughters “I’m hungry” night time meltdowns. I feel like we’ve since overcome this issue by including an extra snack time before attempting teeth and bed, but there were some nights I felt like quitting from bedtime parenting duties. It was exhausting to navigate, especially when I couldn’t pick her up during the peak of the physical sciatica pain. 

The other factor here was if miss three (and a half) had a day sleep in the car, even for as little as 10 minutes, she would be recharged and up for extra long time at night. This I must say was exhausting and there have been several nights I’ve fallen asleep in her bed while trying to tire her by reading multiple books. Certainly worked on me! 

Heartwarming Moments 

Yes of course, there have also been heartwarming moments throughout this last half of my pregnancy. I’ve loved connecting with baby through my voice and tuning into their reactions to certain sounds and movements throughout my day. Feeling the elbows, knees and kicks have made us all smile. 

The times Amelia has managed to capture a baby movement of her little brother or sister with her hand on my belly has been extra special as her face lights up saying she felt it. The “I love you baby” and kisses to baby on my tummy have also been so so precious.

Cravings

Aside from falling back in love with kiwi fruit (perhaps my body’s way of getting in extra C for iron absorption), I haven’t craved anything in particular.

Nesting cravings however are currently in full swing, as each day I tackle a new corner, shelf or cupboard of our house to de-clutter and re-arrange in hope this makes navigating life with two, that little bit easier. 

Opted Out Of

One of the questions I have been asked by my insta community is if I have opted out of any routine procedures along the way.  

I don’t take any of these decisions lightly and have taken the time to research each extensively to make a decision that is aligned with our family values.

I have said no to: 

  • All vaccines recommended or offered in the pregnancy health system.
  • Glucose Tolerance Test. I instead had a fasting glucose test. 
  • Group B Strep Swab. I have instead been focusing on building up healthy vaginal bacteria by using specific probiotic pessaries during the later weeks of third trimester.

I understand this may leave questions for you if you are currently navigating making decision for your pregnancy and are topics I delve into within my Path To Glowing Mumma program in further details.

Celebrating Baby & Me

My beautiful friends helped celebrate the journey of me becoming Mumma second time around with a moving Mothers Blessing ceremony in our home. 

In the words of Rachel Oliver...

A Mother’s Blessing is a celebration of life, love, pregnancy & motherhood in a tranquil, sacred and love-filled atmosphere. It has evolved from a traditional Native American ceremony embracing healing, creation, harmony & peace in support of the mother to be and the precious new life within her womb.
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The spiritual intention of the blessing way is to gather together in love to nurture the mother to be’s mind, body & soul in preparation for her journey as a new mother once again. A sacred ceremony of honouring, empowering, nourishing, nurturing, encouraging & supporting one another, the mother to be & her baby.

Gifting her with the strength & confidence that she will have a beautiful birthing experience welcoming her new baby earthside & will have a smooth transition into life as a Mumma, finding comfort & strength at all times from her village behind her.
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A supportive village that last well beyond the ceremony.

Each of the women brought along a meaningful shell or crystal for me to keep in view and bring me comfort and empowerment leading up to and throughout birth. A flower to add to a handmade flower crown I wore throughout the ceremony and they also each shared with me words of affirmation or a poem to fill me with love, light and strength throughout my birth.

All to remind me to surrender and trust my body and baby and remember all the mothers who have birthed before me.

I was so grateful for this special ceremony, to have these women in my life and the powerful gifts they shared, to support me as I bring air precious baby into our world. 

Birth Prep 

As long as baby begins his or her journey into the world between 37-42 weeks gestation and everything flows smoothly, we will be bringing our baby into the world at home. After having our first born in this sacred space, I really can’t imagine any other way for us.

We have our birth preferences list completed with a main focus on an intervention and medication free, hands off birth, with minimal interaction with midwives to create a peaceful environment, with minimal lighting, gentle music and allow me to be in my zone. I will tap into my previous hypnobirthing tools from hypnobirthing teacher Rachel Oliver, use oils and possibly a tens machine for pain relief and this time around will have access to a birth pool if I find the water soothing for me throughout. I have full trust in that my body knows how to birth naturally (and of course did last time around). I'm genuinley excited for the journey ahead. 

Throughout this last trimester I have really ramped up main focus on encouraging a healthy microbiome for me, including gut, vaginal and skin bacteria by taking fermented foods, specific probiotics, probiotic pessaries and using natural homemade soap topically (definitely no hand sanitizers), to avoid stripping beneficial bacteria from my skin. This is because bubba will be picking up my microbiome predominantly post birth and I want to pass on beaming bacteria for them to have a thriving start to life. 

To help prepare my cervix, I've been eating dates, drinking raspberry leaf tea and also reached for homeopathic arnica spray to prevent bruising post birth. 

 I've continued my chiropractic care to keep the sciatica at bay and help physically prepare me for birth and beyond. I have also booked post birth care of placenta encapsulation (more on this in last weeks episode here) and a treatment package including closing of the bones massage, sitz baths and belly wrapping through the Golden Month. (Discount code on their products is found in Path To Glowing Mumma program). 

I have also taken the time (by asking for help), to have some precious pre-birth hours for me. As women we need to put ourselves first especially throughout pregnancy and post birth. Yes, it feels indulgent, sometimes selfish, but to show up as the best version of me (wife, mother, sister & friend), it’s a necessity. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So I have visited light worker Hailey Adams who filled me with reiki light & energy, together with a powerful reading which blew my mind.

I worked with health & mindset coach Lisa Thompson to also help me release any blockages & fears in the lead up to birth, with a dreamy but confidence boosting hypnotherapy session. Highly recommended. 

Now that I've officially wrapped up my one-on-one consultations and this is the final episode before bubs arrives, I will be using these last days and possibly weeks to fill our freezer with slow cooked meals of gelatinous cuts of meat on the bones and root vegetables, which we can easily add cooked greens alongside. I am such a fan of congee and warm rice based dishes for the fourth trimester, so having some batches of pre cooked rice in portions in the freezer will be handy to make into either brekkie or savoury dishes easily in the days and weeks post birth. 

Right after this recording, I'm off to make up my essential oil blends to use throughout labour tropically for pain, relaxation and transitioning into birthing my baby into the world. these recipes are found in my Path To Glowing Mumma program.  

When 3 Becomes 4

As we spend our last days and weeks as a family of three, we have spent this time together on local trips in my hubby’s handmade caravan and do special things with my daughter together knowing that life for her will also soon be very different as she becomes big sis.

... & yes, I'm making room on my phone for the influx of bubba spam ;) 

I know we’re about to be thrown back into the broken sleep by night, Mumma juggling act by day and feeding around the clock, I am so thankful for this opportunity to become mum all over again.

Thank you for being a special part of the Glowing Mumma Thriving Bubba podcast & I will see you on the other side of my fourth trimester. 

In the meantime, here are the ways you can gain my ongoing support during this time: 

1) Recipe Inspo

2) Hormone Balancing

3) Preconception Care

4) Pregnancy, Birth & Fourth Tri Support

5) New Mumma & Baby Health

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