Tag Archives: doula support

Labour and Childbirth… some of my thoughts

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I am a true believer in all women having the labours they want and want to experience, some want it all natural, with a doula, birth coach, midwife, whale music, water birth, hypnobirthing, some want all the drugs available, an epidural at the first contraction and some choose an elective caesarean section. One of my personal favourites was the Entonox or Gas and air as it was called in layman terms. I am not sure how widely used this is in Canada.

My role when I was a midwife was not to judge but to support what each individual client wants and needs. women also need to understand that sometimes, things don’t go to plan and many did come in with a birth plan.  Another one of my roles was to monitor the mother’s and baby’s wellbeing whilst in labour and watching the progress in labour, trying not to think about the medical model of labour, but keeping it tucked in the back of my mind. In my 6 years as a practising midwife in the UK, I have attended a variety of births, normal cephalic, high risk, breech presentation, premature labour, twins, quadruplets, the sad stillbirths the late terminations for abnormalities and many more… of course I did not experience everything and I still have a lot to learn when I gave midwifery up after my 2nd child was born and I felt I could not do a good job as a midwife as I was constantly sleep deprived and my children and family always came first. I felt I did not have much left to give women and their families going through such an amazing time, and so decided leave the profession. 

Childbirth is still something that can only be deemed normal in retrospect. We really cannot predict that everything will go as planned.  We sincerely hope that a normal and healthy pregnancy will result in a smooth labour and birth of a healthy baby but occasionally, babies do get distressed or labour does not progress for reasons like there may be cephalopelvic disproportion. It could even be something like the umbilical cord having wrapped itself inconveniently round the baby’s neck, the baby’s body, and the baby get distressed with each contraction. Whatever the cause, we don’t want these things to happen but they sometimes do. We have a duty to educate women about these possible events, not to scare them but to prepare them for things that may go awry. This way, if any of these events happen, then they will not be so traumatized or shocked and feel like the perfect labour and birth was denied them, or they were robbed of the wonderful experience of a normal birth.

I feel sometimes like my friend Katie Clinton puts childbirth is portrayed as the 2 extremes of the serene amazing natural birth (which does happen) and the horrific ones where everything appears to have gone wrong. In reality, most people fall in between these two extremes.

Finally, another friend has shared her experience of childbirth and parenthood, and I especially like the bit at the end where she says, I have had 12 years to experience being a mum, it’s not all about the labour or birth, it’s so much more.

LK Koay posted this on one of my posts

Suyin, fr young I saw how childbirth was being portrayed on tv and I grew up being afraid of all the pain, screaming and the propped up legs. To me, it’s painful, messy and unglamorous. I almost didn’t want kids! 

When I got pregnant, I cried. Tears of fear. When the 1st child’s due date loomed near, I told my doc n hubby that I want it as painless as possible n I wanted C-sect. 

On the day my water bag broke, the 1st request I made after the hospital settled me in a labour room was…. “where’s the anaesthetist? I don’t want to feel pain!”. When I realised the pain I felt wasn’t a stomach ache from wanting to visit the loo, I panicked even further that the most important person has yet to arrive! And I’m not talking abt the obstetrician! Anyway… overall birth experiences I had were wonderful. I felt almost no pain and I didn’t go thru what I saw depicted on tv. I had good birth experiences if you ask me. I wasn’t traumatised. I’m glad I did it the way I want, rather than what I should have done because others do it naturally to feel ‘how it feels like to be a mother’. I had so far 12 years to feel how it feels like to be mom anyway. 

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Laid Back Breastfeeding AKA Biological Nurturing

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Recently I discussed this method of breastfeeding to a new mum who was having a few problems with obtaining a good latch resulting in sore nipples. She was pretty sceptical and because I was the only person amongst all the health care professionals she had encountered since the birth of her baby, including nurses and a lactation consultant, who had mentioned it she was mulling it over. In the meantime, I had suggested side feeding, which seemed to be the best bet for a good latch. After going to the 2nd Lactation Consultant a week later, who convinced her it was worth a go, she tried it whilst with the lactation consultant and found that it was a great way of getting the baby to latch. She came home, tried to replicate the experience and did not succeed, she went back to cross-cradle hold and side feeding. Baby was having the most success with a good latch in the lying sideways position.

When I visited the next day and we we talking about how things went with the IBCLC, she said that she wanted to give the laid back method another go, and would I help her to achieve this. I said of course I could and we set on an adventure, baby, mum, dad and I. We undressed baby, placed baby on mum and watched in amazement as baby made her way to the breast. She had some assistance from mum who placed her within the vicinity of a nipple and she appeared to do the rest. How wonderful, baby led breastfeeding and attachment. Admittedly mum had to be careful that baby did not clamp down too hard on the healing nipples, by directing the breast towards baby’s wide open mouth, but it was minimal assistance as opposed to having had to bring baby to her breast as in all the other positions and methods that had been used previously. Mum too felt more relaxed and comfortable, bringing her arm down to support baby’s head as in a modified cradle position. Mum said the laid back position she was in also reduced the back and shoulder strain she had experienced previously in the more traditional feeding positions. Success.

The first time I heard about biological nurturing was when I attended  CAPPA lactation educator’s training, being delivered by Attie Sandink IBCLC extrodinaire. I had been a midwife in the UK and practised for 6 years, till the year 2000 and a nurse after that until 2009, and never once had I heard about laid back breastfeeding.  The DVDs were amazing to watch but to see it for oneself live is the best thing ever. For this I can thank my current clients. Dr S Colson brought this method to us and we should teach all new mums about it.

Here is a link to an article by By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA about biological nurturing. 

https://breastfeedingusa.org/content/article/some-ins-and-outs-laid-back-breastfeeding

 Here’s a link to Suzanne Coulson’s video on Biological Nurturing

http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

Yet another link to Dr S Colson’s work and words

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/biologicalnurturing.asp