The first week of 2016 is over – time for my first post in the new year! And time to start thinking about how we can get some support and advice in the next weeks – for the time before, during and after Miss M’s birth. As my husband is travelling from time to time and the second baby often comes a bit earlier than expected, my husband really wanted us to think already now about the help we might need in some weeks. So, that’s what we’ve done the last days 😉 I’ll share some of the results of our reflections in this post: the good news is that there are a lot of companies, classes and people that can help mums-to-be and new parents here in Dubai 🙂
The symptoms I might experience in week 24 (and how I am really feeling)
Little Miss M
This week is a very important week for our little miss as week 24 is considered “the legal age of viability for a baby”! This means that, from this week onwards, doctors legally have the duty to do everything they can to give Miss M life-saving treatment in case she was born early (before this week, an early delivery would have been considered as a miscarriage). Evidently, I don’t want her to be born now! Mummy’s (huge!!) belly is a much better place to be for the coming weeks and even months 😉 Babies that are born this prematurely have a huge risk of complications and need to stay in a neonatal intensive care unit… But it is reassuring to know that Miss M could survive if she was born now.
This week’s topic
Getting some advice and support (before, during and after delivery)
Yes, I know what you might think: it’s my second pregnancy. I’ve all done it already. It must be much easier the second time around. Right? Well, yes and no. Yes, it’s not the “big unknown” anymore. There are many things I worry less about this time. But I still have no clue about how the actual delivery will be. Will I be able to have a natural delivery? Will I be able to breastfeed Miss M? Will she be quite easy to handle, just like her older brother ?
Last time, nothing really went according to plan (and trust me, I love plans…!). I know that this is the case for most mums. There is no point in actually “planning” how a delivery will be. I think you can just plan to try your very best to stay relaxed and go with it, no matter how it will be. And even that is easier said than done. When we very getting closer and closer to little L’s due date, my gynecologist in Switzerland told me that it might be advisable to consider a C-section or, if I wanted a natural delivery, to induce labor earlier than the calculated due date. Apparently, Luca seemed quite big already and my doctor wanted to avoid complications. I opted for a natural delivery and, thus, for a medical induction of labor… which didn’t work out. We went to the clinic two weeks before little L was supposed to be born. I remember that we started the whole process in the evening. I was really positive about it and believed in it. But after some hours, the nurse told me that Luca didn’t react very well to the medical induction. His heartbeat was consistently high – abnormally high. I therefore needed to remain under supervision – with two monitors strapped to my tummy, one to monitor little L’s heart rate and the other to measure the strength and frequency of my contractions – for hours. First, everything seemed to get better: little L calmed down a bit and, in the morning, I started to have some promising contractions. I decided to walk around the hospital as soon as there was a possibility, going up and down the staircase. But the contractions simply wouldn’t get strong enough. In the evening, my gynecologist came to the clinic and suggested to start another medical induction of labor using a different drug – or to consider a C-section. I remember that I completely freaked out at that moment, as I didn’t want any of these solutions. I was too tired and too scared of another induction process (especially as little L didn’t support the first one very well) and I definitely didn’t want a C-section. Thankfully both my husband and my gynecologist stayed amazingly (surprisingly??) calm and gave me the time to discuss all pro and cons of either way. Finally (after two hours or so…), we opted for the C-section. It was scheduled for the next day. Any guess what: I was super happy with our decision after all 🙂 Once I had accepted the idea of a C-section I was actually pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it all was. Plus, we had such lovely and supporting nurses who immediately brought Luca to me (even while they were still “working” on me 😉 ). They also immediately placed him first on my husband’s and then on my chest, which made nursing so much easier! It also turned out that little L had the umbilical cord around his neck. Thus, a natural delivery might have ended in a C-section anyways…
Well, long story to tell you that, while I was first freaking out about a C-section, I am now quite comfortable with this idea but a bit more worried about a natural delivery as I don’t know what to expect… I still want to try it though. I think. Well, not sure… I still have some weeks to decide 😉 But, if so, I will definitely need some advice. And it doesn’t matter that it is my second pregnancy haha
So, I’ve talked to other mums who have delivered their babies here in Dubai, had a look on different websites and found some interesting classes, people, services that I thought I’d share with you 😉
Before the actual delivery:
I exactly remember my husband’s look when I told him that we should maybe attend some HypnoBirthing classes together before the delivery of our little baby girl (I deliberately suggested that “we” attend these classes as a couple as partners are supposed to accompany the future mums-to-be). That look. The one he is always giving me when he is not saying anything but actually wants to tell me “What’s that sh… all about again?” (sorry to be that precise but I know that this is exactly what he was thinking haha). He had no clue what I was talking about. And I have to admit that the first time I heard the word “HypnoBirthing” I had no idea what it was all about neither. I thought of some hypnosis stuff. In relation to giving birth. That’s all.
But once you read about HypnoBirthing classes you will quickly find out that HypnoBirthing has nothing to do with swinging pendulums or so. It’s much more about relaxation and letting go fear. It’s a way of preparing women for childbirth, a technique for achieving a gentle and calm birthing experience as well as a way of giving them confidence in their bodies.
One of the key aims is to teach you to release all negative programming about birth and to get rid of all harmful emotions and fear.
I am not saying that I believe that I will just attend some HypnoBirthing classes and, all of a sudden, I will become super cool (instead of super stressed) towards the end of my pregnancy. Or that I will decide not to have an epidural. But I certainly want to give it a go. It is said that “HypnoBirthing mums” require fewer drugs and that it helps achieve a shorter and more comfortable birth. The classes also give dads some tips on how to keep the mums (and themselves) calm and relaxed during birth. This alone makes me curious.
There are two classes or rather two people that have highly been recommended to me with regards to HypnoBirthing:
Jasmine is a trained doula and a fully certified, Dubai-based HypnoBirthing teacher (The Mongan Method) and the co-founder of Love Parenting UAE. She accompanies parents and offers guidance through pregnancy, birth and beyond (as she also qualified as a BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm teacher).
You can find out more about Jasmine’s HypnoBirthing classes on her website.
The next set of 5 classes is starting on Friday, January 15 already (9.30am to 12.30pm). Should you prefer evening classes, another set is starting on Tuesday, February 23 from 7pm to 10pm.
To book or to find out more about the schedule uptil summer, simply send Jasmine an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 050 132 3669.
Elizabeth is a UK Qualified Midwife & Health visitor as well as a certified birth doula and certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner.
Find a doctor you trust as well as a hospital that makes you feel safe and comfortable!
It took me quite a while to find a gynecologist I felt comfortable with here in Dubai. Especially as I had an excellent one in Switzerland… But I think that Dr. Anni Engberg Faelling in Drs. Nicolas & ASP might just be the one 😉 I have heard a lot of positive things about Dr. Anni and I know that she will help me achieve the natural and positive birth I am hoping for. And she is completely fine with a VBAC as well, which is not always the case. I have to say that, with each visit, I appreciate her more as she really listens to my concerns and is always available in case of questions (I absolutely love the fact that you can send your doctors WhatsApp messages here in Dubai! This is something I had never heard of before moving here!!). Regarding the hospital, I have chosen Al Zahra Private Hospital. Not only because it is easy to access from Marina (but this is definitely a big plus) but also because I really feel I’m in good hands there. And trust me, after having spent two late evenings in their emergency section already, I know what I am talking about 😉 (read more on my hospital choice in one of my previous posts).
Oh, and I will definitely have my doula on my side when I will give birth to Miss M (if it will be possible to have a natural birth that is and I really hope it will be). I truly believe that having a doula you trust and appreciate with you throughout labour, who is encouraging and reassuring you and helping you calm your fears, can make a huge difference. This emotional support just seems so important to me. I don’t want to recommend any particular doula in Dubai cause I think that every woman should make her own choice and find a doula she feels one hundred percent comfortable with. But I would definitely recommend “working” with a doula 😉
Julie Mallon’s post-natal programme
Julie is a UK Qualified Midwife and Health Visitor as well as a certified birth doula and sleep consultant. I’ve already written about the excellent help she has given us when little L had stopped sleeping through the night at about five months (see my previous post). By the way, you should check out her website www.nurturetosleep.com in case you would like to learn how to improve your little one’s sleep pattern. Julie is an angel who can really do miracles! But this is not what I wanted to talk about.
In Switzerland, a nurse is checking on you and your baby once you return home after delivery. Every woman can benefit from ten visits or even sixteen in case of a first child, C-section, multiple birth or disabled child. These visits include all kind of support, including weight control of the baby, advice on breastfeeding etc. I know that I will horribly miss this support here in Dubai where this service is not automatically provided.
So, Julie has designed a 6-week post-natal programme that covers several topics: she checks on the baby’s health, weighs him/her, gives some advice on sleep management, feeding and on when to call a doctor. She also answers all kind of questions you might be concerned about. Not only is Julie coming to your home, you can also contact her by email or on her mobile between the sessions if you have any urgent questions.
For more information about her post-natal programme, you can send Julie an email (email@example.com) or give her a call (056 115 6134).
Other post-natal services
I have heard about two other companies offering post-natal home visits:
Babies & Beyond
Babies & Beyond provides different in-home services including newborn care, child development and care, babysitting, breastfeeding support as well as post-natal home visits. Their team includes European-trained nurses, health visitors as well as public health and parenting specialists. During the post-natal home visits, the Babies & Beyond team can give you guidance on feeding your newborn. I find it very interesting that they also offer help regarding family relationships, meaning that they actually help siblings to adjust to their new family member. Of course, they also check on your health (including maternal emotional health issues such as postnatal depression) as well as the health and development of your baby (length, weight, vital statistics).
Malaak is a newborn baby care and maternity agency licensed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in the UAE. Their qualified maternity nurses (who have nursing degrees as well as first aid and CPR certification) help parents not only with newborn baby care but also offer other services: babysitting, breastfeeding support, baby weaning, sleep routines and child development. Malaak also has night nurses who can, for example, help a family who already has children take care of the older ones during the night (if needed) while the mum can focus on the newborn if she is breastfeeding. Or she can simply allow parents to get a good night sleep from time to time. Hmm, interesting.
Well, these are just some interesting companies and people that can help me (and you 😉 ) before, during and after delivery – and I am sure there are more!
Up to me now to make the right choices for myself and our little family.
Must haves for Miss M:
Slowly but surely, it is time to start furnishing Miss M’s future room. Ok, to be honest, we still have plenty of time – but I have seen that there are some great sales on at the moment. So, I think I will need to convince my husband to have a look already now hehe 😉
One of the nicest and most original pieces of furniture for a baby room I’ve seen must be the multifunctional storage cabinets (called “Amsterdam collection”) from This is Dutch. So beautiful! They have designed cabinets that are inspired by the architecture of Amsterdam canal houses from the seventeenth century. They are available in different colors but I love the pastel blue ones (and who says there can’t be a bit of blue in a girl’s room?!).
Hi there! I’m Tani De Gregorio. The one behind this little blog. ‘Our big Dubai adventure’ started about three years ago when I quit my job in a multinational in Switzerland to follow my husband to sunny Dubai where we are living now with our two little munchkins, Luca (3) and Maëva (nearly 2).
This blog is not about the glamorous life of an expat wife. There’s just too many baby wipes and too few high heels in my life for that.
Instead, it’s about our daily adventures in the sandpit. About motherhood away from home. It’s about the kids. About fun things for them to do. Things you might not have heard of otherwise. It’s about workshops. And cool places to explore. In this amazing city we call home. At least for a little while…