Littlest Sprout’s birth story

Wow, it’s been over 3 months already!!! Is it really possible it’s been so long? Seems like just the other day I was dragging my enormous belly around Brussels!

Well, I have been busy, that’s for sure. Two kids are a whole other dynamic, especially when one is always keeping the other up (and no, I’m not referring to the baby not letting Sprout 1 sleep – it’s actually been the other way around, but that’s a whole other story).

I figure it’s high time I write down Sprout 2’s birth story, before the details get completely blurred in my mind…

If you’ve been reading awhile, or reading through the archives you may remember Sprout 1’s birth was actually quite easy (you can find the story here). It was actually pretty similar this time round. The night before I was having what I thought were Braxton Hick contractions since it wasn’t another 2 weeks until my due date. Just in case, I decided to pick out the baby outfits and such I wanted to take to hospital. I woke pretty normally the next morning, went to take Sprout 1 to school, and came back home to pack my bag. I kept having contractions all morning and it was really beginning to sink in that this was it. My Mom was staying with us, and she wasn’t quite sure if I was in labour either because she said it didn’t really look like I was in pain, but started to agree I might be when my contractions were about 10 min. apart. I was still a bit doubtful, however, because I didn’t have a “show” like I did with Sprout 1. Otherwise, it felt like the first phase of labour was well on the way. R was at work, so I called to let him know he might have to come home at some point during the day. I still felt ok, and contractions were short and spaced enough that I felt ok to pick Sprout up from his half-day at maternelle. I did have to slow down a few times on the way due to mild contractions. Once I was at maternelle, contractions were closer together and I had to stop a few times on the way to the gate, which attracted some attention from passers-by, some of who stopped to ask if I was ok. Sprout was finally out and his teacher was explaining how he had a good morning that day and I had to hurry her along saying, sorry but I think I’m in labour so really must go! Her face was priceless, slightly panicky. But all was well and off we headed to the car. A couple of friends checked up on me to make sure I was ok to drive, and I really still was. On the way home I called R to say he better come home so I could go to the clinic and he asked if I could stop by his office on my way to pick him up! Ha! he wasn’t fully aware of how far along I was. Of course I said no. He caught a taxi and met me at home. After getting my bags and explaining to Sprout he was going to stay with his grandma while we went to the clinic for his brother to come out of the belly, off we went in midday traffic. When we got to the maternity at St. Michel, I saw my doctor was there (yay! at least he wouldn’t be late). We explained how we thought I was in labour, but no one really took us seriously. They sent us into one of the rooms with an intern midwife to determine if I really was in labour and if I would be admitted. The intern clearly still had a lot of training to do, especially bedside manners! Luckily I’m not one to freak out or anything. Mostly I just wanted her to shut up because she was consistently talking and asking questions. She hooked me up to the monitors, finally getting it sort of right after a few attempts and proceeded to tell me she was going to monitor me for a while and then, in her words (well, her words were French, but you get it) “we’ll decide if you are in labour”, said in a most skeptical voice. Well, um, no YOU won’t decide… but I kept my mouth shut. After finally deciding I indeed was in labour, I was admitted and asked tons of info for filling out some forms (through contractions – really? I had to keep interrupting her) and get hooked up to the IV drip thingy (without the actual drip – don’t know the technical terms!). Anyway, while trying to insert the thing, she totally went through my vein and I was bleeding.  Oh, and did I mention I have a slight fear of needles… fun indeed! She had to ask a colleague to get my other arm. No problems there, thankfully. At this point she wanted to give me an enema!!!! Which I didn’t want and so I proceeded to lock myself in the bathroom until I didn’t need one! Ha! Finally my little birthing room was cleared of all people (R went to register me and get a bite to eat) so I turned on my Natal Hypnotherapy Labour Companion tracks on my iPhone and began to relax. I used this book and cd for preparation this time since I had lent my Mongan Method Hypnobirthing book to a friend and hadn’t gotten it back yet. I liked the Mongan method, but didn’t want to get the same book I already had so I tried Natal Hypnotherapy this time. It was a tremendous help! I won’t say I actually went into self-hypnosis as I’m not quite sure I did, but it really did help through contractions without any medication and I’m pretty sure I could attribute being so calm and nobody believing I was in labour to having used this. Totally recommend it!
I did use the birthing ball this time, since Sprout 2 was in an awkward position and it was soothing. Things progressed fairly quick. I went in at about 13h30 and Sprout 2 was out by 16h30 🙂 I breathed through the contractions like the cd recommends and was fine talking in between. The room was very hot though and I was feeling quite tired near the end and thought I wouldn’t have the energy for pushing. This is normal though, it’s the transition period when you don’t really think you can keep up anymore and then… you muster up some superhuman strength and out came little Sprout in the most beautiful moment ever. Thankfully no episiotimy this time, only some small tears which were stitched up. Healing was sooo much better! Oh, and at the end, the doc told me he never thought he would be helping to deliver my baby that day, he really was expecting to send me back on my merry way for false labour. Another interesting tidbit, I spoke French to everyone the whole time, and everyone spoke it back to me (except R of course, we do Portuguese between us). As soon as Sprout 2 was born and I said something along the lines of “hello there beautiful!”, everyone switched to speaking to me in English, despite my answering in French. This happens all the time soon as people hear me speak English. Why, oh why? It’s nice people want to be helpful, but it makes speaking better French that much harder.

So, we were off to a good start and he most definitely did not look like 2 weeks early (Sprout 1 also came 2 weeks before the first estimated due date, so just goes to show…). He was a plump 3kg250 and a short 49cm. This one most definitely takes after me… HA! For those of you wondering how long you have to stay in hospital for a second child here, they generally tell you 3 to 4 days (5 to 7 for first). However, with Sprout 1 at home, and not having particularly enjoyed staying in hospital the first time around, I wanted to be home as soon as possible, where I would have more loving help, a familiar environment and my oldest son. A sweet friend of mine told was only in for 24h because she got a midwife to go home to take care of her and baby and perform all the necessary tests (the reason they really don’t want you out before). I used the same service she did (http://www.zwangerinbrussel.be/) and both of us have only good things to say.  They speak EN, FR and NL and are super sweet and helpful. Plus, it’s covered by the mutuelle! All you have to pay is their dislocation fee (about €5)! I was so happy for this and really believe it was an incredible aid to our good start to breastfeeding and to him not having developed jaundice. But I’ll leave the breastfeeding story for another day.

My Birth Story

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A bit late , I know but better late than never!!! Things have been hectic since the birth, but I’ll leave that for another post!

I had gone out to dinner on Sunday 12 April feeling huge, but appearing to still be carrying quite high. Everyone was absolutely convinced I was going to go over my due date. Later that night, I woke up at around 4.30am Continue reading

Pregnancy library

Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been reading up on the matter. Besides the many blogs and forums I’ve been visiting, I’ve also managed to build up a pregnancy library at home! These are the books I’ve been reading:

what-to-expect What to Expect when you’re expecting

by Sandee E. Hathaway, Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff

This was the very first pregnancy book I bought and I quite like it. It has a lot of useful information in a Q&A format and it’s divided up my months (at the beginning of each month it says from which week until which it goes, e.g. 6th month, weeks 24 to 28). It is very useful for reference, but maybe not so much if you get obsessed or paranoid with possible complications (fortunately not my case) because it does describe just about everything that can go wrong. It also has a chapter for dads-to-be (which R has not even looked at yet!) and other useful info. I definitely recommend it for reference.

cuidados-naturaisCuidados Naturais na Gravidez

by Zita West (a Portuguese translation of Natural Pregnancy)

I have Claudia to thank for this book and the next! 🙂 This book also gives useful information on the various stages of pregnancy, but is more focused on a natural approach, meaning alternative therapies, nutritional information, etc. It’s very interesting and backed with practical and useful tips. It is not bible size like what to expect, so it is easier to consult. I love the natural approach to pregnancy symptoms (and pregnancy in general) and I think it gives a very good introduction to alternative therapies that can be used, such as homeopathic remedies, massages, osteopathy and hypnotherapy.

agenda-da-gravida

Agenda da Grávida

Impala Edições

This book was lent to me by Claudia and I believe it was the main one she used during her pregnancy last year. It is a week by week guide to pregnancy, with a calendar section each week that you can fill out with your own notes. What I love the best is that Claudia has filled out some of her stuff and since we are due for around the same time (with 2 yrs difference), it is interesting to see we have been going through much of the same. Personally, I don’t think I would actually buy this because most of this information is available on-line (in English-speaking sites mostly) and can be received through newsletters. However, I have been reading every week because it is very easy and the information is very useful. I think this would be especially useful for those who have a more limited access to Internet or that would like information in Portuguese.

hypnobirthingHypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method

By Marie Mongan

I bought this in December and have been slowly reading through. This isn’t one of those books that focuses on what is happening during your pregnancy, but mostly on labour preparation. Now, don’t get put off by the title! I have heard many people swear by this method and it really does seem to help with labour if, like me, you plan to do it as natural as possible and (hopefully) without an epidural.

The Book promises “pain free” delivery, but to be honest… I don’t believe in that! Not entirely. I think the basis for this method is very interesting and it’s excellent to help you overcome the fear of birthing most women have (and that many times is what leds to more stressful and painful deliveries). That said, I think you have to filter through what is said and take bits and pieces from it. I’m all for natural, but I think sometimes the book can go a bit over board with some demands, etc. That said, I’ve found it very useful so far, but can only comment further once I finish it (and after the birt, of course!). It comes with a cd with a relaxation track and a brth visualisation track. I’ve been using the relaxation cd before bed, which I’m not sure is a good idea because I think I’ve only been able to hear the full track once or twice. Although I do suppose that means it works 😉 I will definitely be writing more on this later on.

attendre-bebe

Attendre bebe… autrement

by de Piraud-Rouet Catherine, Sampers-Gendre Emmanuelle

I only came across this one recently and I had a real debate with myself on whether or not it was worth spending more money on yet another pregnancy book. But I flicked through it and thought this is really for me. It’s in french and is more about the situation in France. However, things are similar in Belgium (to an extent) and there is some (sparse) info on Belgium as well.

This would have been my bible had I bought it earlier on. It has a lot of info on “alternative” birthing methods, natural pregnancy, birthing plans, etc. However, the information is given to you in a very matter-of-fact way, not excluding the more medicalised solutions and it even has a part on c-sections. It also has an example of a birth story in various settings: c-section, medicalised, hospital but less medicalised, home birth, etc. I really like this book and since it’s in french, it does help to get more familiar with the lingo. It’s just too bad I didn’t find this earlier… I think it would have made a great difference.

babybelgium

Besides these books, I also have a booklet by the Brussels Childbirth Trust entitled “Having your baby in Belgium“.I definitely recommend getting  hold on this if you are an expat in Belgium (Brussels in particular).

For more information you can go here or here. These links tell you where you can get it as well. This booklet really gives you an insight on what you can expect and what to do/where to find help.

I also recommend the Pregnancy in Belgium evenings hosted by the BCT in Brussels.

I’ve also been going through a booklet given to me at the maternity called Baby Boom. I believe it is linked to a baby expo and it has way too much advertising in it. It does have some useful Belgian info though.

Every now and then I buy a French magazine called Neuf Mois. This is mostly to keep my magazine addiction going ;). Actually, it has useful articles and good product reviews.