Wow… Just like that I am in the third pregnancy trimester already! Suddenly, everything is going quite fast! Next week, we will start the HypnoBirthing classes and I am starting to think more and more about the D-Day… So, this post will be about delivery and birth. And about why I think I will write a birth plan this time 😉
The symptoms I am supposed to have in weeks 28 and 29 (and how I am really feeling)
Little Miss M
Last Saturday, I had my 28 weeks scan. Oh, and the glucose tolerance test. How could I forget about this… I didn’t do the so-called oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) back in Switzerland when I was pregnant with little L as my gynecologist didn’t see the need to do so (THANK YOU, Dr. S!). Here in Dubai, it is however advised to do the OGTT (or even required by some hospitals if I got Dr. Anni right). The latter is used to detect gestational diabetes, which can be hard to diagnose sometimes and can represent a risk for pregnant women and their babies. So, on Saturday, I went to the doctor without having eaten anything (I never, really NEVER, go out of the house without having had breakfast… So, you can imagine my mood haha…). At the doctor’s, the nurse took a first blood sample to measure the level of sugar in my blood and gave me a sweet, sugary mixture to drink. Well, the least I can say is that it tasted disgusting… I felt drowsy during the next two hours when I was waiting for the other blood samples to be taken (still no food or water at this point)… Miss M on the other hand was moving around in my belly “like a headless chicken” after all the sugar she got to swallow… poor her. A second blood test one hour and a third blood test two hours later and I was finally done. Then the result after 48h that everything was ok 🙂 But back to the 28 weeks scan. Miss M now weights a bit over 1.2kg and has already turned head down! This is much earlier than it was the case for Luca… Not sure if I should be happy or worried about it. Especially as my doctor told me to calm down a bit. Hmmm, we’ll see. Otherwise, Miss M seems to be perfectly fine – and that’s the good news 🙂 She was hiding her face though, meaning that we didn’t really see much of her. I also learned that, at this stage in pregnancy, Miss M starts to sleep and wake at regular intervals. This sleep-wake cycle is actually quite similar to the one she will have in the first weeks after birth. So, I guess I will start writing down when she is awake to be able to prepare myself mentally 😉
This week’s topic
Why I will have a birth plan this time
I didn’t have a birth plan for my first delivery back in Switzerland. I didn’t even know there was such thing as a birth plan. Funny enough cause the idea of having a “plan” for the “birth” of your child couldn’t sound more German or Swiss 😉 But no, I had never heard of it before coming to Dubai.
Of course, I know that writing down a birth plan will not give me the power to control what will actually happen on the D-Day. I can hope and wish for a natural, easy, quick and painless delivery as much as I want (and, man, trust me, I do haha), if there are complications or if Miss M doesn’t want to show up at all, what can you do… But at least, I can write down my wishes and make them clear to my doctor, my doula and maybe even the midwives at Al Zahra Hospital.
Cause I think I was extremely lucky last time, when I had little L. No, not because I had the easy and painless delivery I wished for back then (this was not the case… read the whole birth story here). After the medical induction of labor failed to work, Luca was born by C-section. But I was still very lucky, I feel. Because I had an amazing midwife on my side during the operation. One who strongly believed in the positive effects of immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding after birth. Not only did she make sure that little L stayed with me for a while after he was born (even though I was still in the operating room), she also arranged that my husband could hold him until I was brought to the recovery room where I started nursing Luca. She even took pictures of the whole operation and of the moment when Luca was born. Well, that’s another story but I cannot thank her enough for having suggested doing this for us. I wouldn’t even have thought of it and it is such a feeling thing to look at these pictures now. Especially when you had a C-section and felt a bit “left out” of the whole birthing process.
If we have had a different midwife or if the induction had actually worked and I have had a natural delivery, oh my, it probably would have been a different story all together.
I had never thought about the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact or breastfeeding before having little L. I had no clue about my preferences during labor neither. Nobody, not my doctor, nor my husband or the midwives, not even myself knew if I preferred to lay down or walk around during the first stage of labor. Nobody knew which methods of pain relief I was considering, if I wanted an episiotomy and if we wanted to stay with our baby for a while before the medical exam and procedures were given. Nobody knew if we were ok with formula or a pacifier. And honestly, I cannot imagine that I would have been able to give a response to all these questions immediately before or during labor…
It’s very unlike me not to have thought about all this. But it was our first child. We were clueless. And nobody had told us all the points we should think about. Not even the midwives during the antenatal “crash course” that we attended some weeks before the birth because we had no time to attend the regular classes. (Well, maybe I should have read the last chapter of the dozens of books on birth I had bought but I never got to the last chapter haha).
This time though, I know much better what I want. I still believe that you cannot “plan” anything when it comes to giving birth. There is something unpredictable about labor that forces you to remain flexible. But I certainly know what kind of labor I am wishing for. And I know my preferences. So, I will make sure my doctor and doula do know them as well this time.
That’s the reason why I will write down a birth plan this time. “An outline of how you would like things to go during your baby’s birth”. Sounds simple. But it is not that easy. I had a look at different examples and one of the most comprehensive ones I’ve found is the one suggested by TheBump.com. Of course, Al Zahra hospital might not “allow” or offer all the options included in this plan BUT reading them made me think about my preferences and raised some questions, which I will need to discuss with my gynecologist and doula next time I see them. It’s important to talk through all questions. For example, I was quite keen on a water birth. But my gynecologist told me that this sadly was no option for a VBAC.
I also like the idea of writing down some open questions and trying to answer them for myself, such as:
What would be the idea birth environment for me? For example, do I like to listen to music or do I prefer a quiet environment? If music, which kind of music? And so on.
What exercises and labor positions do I think I will feel comfortable with? Do I like to get a massage or do I prefer not to be “touched”?
What does my partner feel comfortable with? (It might actually be a good thing to discuss this with my husband at one point cause, even though we briefly discussed things before Luca’s birth, we never really talked about his “role” during labor… Does he want to cut the umbilical cord or even “catch the baby”??).
There are also more complex questions that might be worth talking about, such as the question of stem cell collection. Or placenta encapsulation. I won’t discuss these questions in detail now but they are certainly worth thinking about.
It’s funny how unprepared and anxious I still feel for the delivery of my second child and how much better prepared I feel at the same time. Sounds weird, I know. And, probably, this doesn’t make any sense. It’s just that you think of so many more things and know so much better what you want for your second delivery. But, at the same time, every birth is different. It will be a completely new and unpredictable experience this time. Just like Miss M will be a completely different person than little L…
So, writing a birth plan is not that much about planning the D-Day. I think it’s more about knowing what you want and what you feel comfortable with – for you, your partner and your baby. It’s about making sure that everyone is working as a team. You, your partner, your doc and doula, and the midwives. It’s about communicating and making things easier.
That’s why I will write a birth plan this time.
At this point, I would like to share some Facebook groups with you, which I find quite useful as a pregnant mummy here in Dubai:
Must haves for Miss M:
Shoes… I know what you think. Babies don’t need shoes. I agree. They don’t. I bought quite a few pairs of shoes for little L when he was a tiny little baby. And he rarely (never?!) wore them. But that doesn’t keep me from checking out baby shoes for Miss M. And she’s a girl after all. Girls do need nice shoes. And there will be her Christening coming up. And little L’s second birthday… Well, a lot of good reasons to check out shoes, I would say haha. And they are simply so damn cute. So, here are two of my favorite brands for baby shoes:
Not only do I love the trendy design of Moxilicious’ soft sole moccs, they are also made out of genuine leather and super comfortable! Plus, I really like the ladies who created the brand. Enough reasons for me to be in the starting blocks already to buy Miss M her first pair of Moxilicious 😉 Two of my favorite models for my little princess are definitely the bow moccs and the ballerinas with Swarovski stones. Another advantage: the moccs are made here in Dubai, meaning that you can order online and get them immediately. If you want to meet the fabulous ladies who create them, head to the Ripe Market that takes place in Zabeel Park every Friday!
Wren’s Nest Creations
I came across this IG account quite recently and all I can say is that I immediately fell in love with the beautiful handmade soft-soled shoes this mum creates! They are lined with organic cotton and even have a padded insole for extra comfort. I am sure Miss M will love that 😉 Also good to know: the smaller sizes have elastic over the arch so that the shoes don’t slip off our little princess’ tiny feet. Only thing to consider: you need to wait patiently until these little beauties, which are made to order in the US, arrive here in Dubai.
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…