An Open Letter To Kate Middleton

Dear Kate

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on choosing some great maternity dresses throughout this pregnancy. Re cycling your Top Shop polka dot dress went down a storm, I bet Sir Phillip Green couldn’t believe his luck.

I hope you’re enjoying your ‘nesting period’ now that you’ve finished your last public engagement before the baby is born. I also hope William isn’t spending too much time whizzing around in helicopters rescuing stranded people while you are on your hands and knees scrubbing the Royal floor boards to encourage your baby to get into the right position for labour. Don’t worry, I know you may be tempted to sniff the bottle of Bathroom Bleach due to those uncontrollable urges, it’s just those crazy hormones. Your body does not really want you to eat soap.

photo (5)Really embrace this time to perfect your Hypno-birthing techniques with William, remember ‘Surges not contractions’ and print off your affirmations to post around the delivery room walls. Something along the lines of ‘Opening like a flower‘ or ‘ If in doubt, breathe out’.

Show him how to massage the sacrum of your back during those difficult times of your labour, you may want to consider using aromatherapy oils such as Lavender or Chamomile which are relaxing especially if your Mum or William are getting a little stressed! Drop a few drops onto a tissue and let them have a whiff, this should do the trick. Perhaps this would be a good time to consider trying some perineal massage.

Make sure William knows how to use the TENS machine and can stick the pads on your back without him electrocuting himself! Could be a bit embarrassing for him and you. Not one to tell the Queen. I’m sure you have already, but pack your labour bag, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, a wide headband and a pillow are just a few essentials you will definitely need. And not forgetting the all important food bag, especially for William. A strapping lad like him needs to be topped up regularly with high energy snacks; Pot Noddles, a few bananas perhaps and some Lucozade for you to sip to keep you going. (bendy straws, don’t forget the bendy straws!)

Music! We know how much you and William are partial to a little groove once in a while so make a great playlist. You may be inspired here from some of my and my readers suggestions. Number 8 and 11 were particularly good through those final pushes!

Last but not least, remember to take photos! If William is down the business end, get your Mum to take them. Obviously these won’t be the ones The Palace will want to release. But the first one of you with the baby skin to skin and looking like well like you’ve just given birth is very special. Perhaps Instagram it, a nice filter should do the trick.

Sending you lots of positive birthing vibes Kate, and I do hope you achieve the natural birth you so want. I have a feeling your Obstetrician may not be so up for a water birth or Hypno-birth but you never know. One last suggestion, maybe consider a midwife looking after you. One you know, have a good trusting relationship with, one that will support all your choices and treat you like a normal low risk pregnant woman. You could even have a home birth at your parents house, in the private environment you so deserve.  Just like the soon to be Great Grandmother did. If home birth is good enough for The Queen, it’s good enough for the heir to the throne.

Let me know if you change your mind, I may know a few great midwives that could help.

Best Wishes

Aromatherapy (not an “adult massage”)

Yesterday I gave my beautiful friend Lucy who is 36 weeks pregnant (and carries it so well) a back massage and all for free – well she did give me an old fingered copy of Hello a fair swap if you ask me.  You see, I’ve just done an aromatherapy study day and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a blooming bump to get practising on! The hospital at which I work is offering all low risk women the use of aromatherapy oils to use in labour and there are now around 12 midwives who can now provide this lovely complimentary therapy (excellent bedside manner and a massage – what more could a lady ask for?!).  I bought a few oils and a base oil (Grape Seed) in my local pharmacy and gave my husband and 4 year old a lavender massage before bed (I did attempt to massage the 17 month old but she wouldn’t lie still and ran away laughing).  My husband who generally wakes up in the morning making sounds like a grizzly bear moaning, stumbling from the bedroom to the kitchen to make tea, kids breakfasts and complaining that he hasn’t slept properly for 4 years, said he slept the best he has in ages following his massage (he wanted to turn it into one of those ‘adult massages’ but I quickly put a stop to that sort of nonsense much to his annoyance!) The 4 year old however still woke at 6 but I partly blame the mornings getting lighter, that and the draw of early morning Milkshake on Channel 5 – I mean really, if they didn’t start the programs so early then maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t want to get up in time to see the first run through of pepper pig. Rant over think I better smell some lavender to calm myself down.

The following are some oils that you may find useful:

  • Lavender – You may already be familiar with lavender as a means of promoting a good night’s sleep. The scent is well-known to aid relaxation and promote calm. The oil is also a painkiller that stimulates circulation and healing and may strengthen contractions
  • Clary sage – One of the oils that you should avoid during pregnancy itself, clary sage can strengthen contractions during labour. It’s also a great oil for lifting your spirits and reducing anxiety, but it’s not recommended for use if you are using gas and air (not this blog obviously – you can use that as often as needed)
  • Neroli – Calms and reassures as well as helping relax. Is also a powerful anti-depressant
  • Peppermint – A generally uplifting and refreshing oil
  • Chamomile – Soothing and calming, helps to reduce tensions and anxiety
  • Jasmine – Acts as a uterine tonic, painkiller and anti-spasmodic. Also known to strengthen contractions and can be used in a compress to aid delivery of the placenta
  • Rose – Is a uterine tonic and anti-depressant
  • Geranium – Helps breathing and boost the circulation
  • Majoram – A uterine tonic that also aids breathing and can help to lower blood pressure. It is also an effective pain reliever and antispasmodic

Massage

1 drop of essential oil to 5ml grape seed carrier oil. A maximum of three oils may be used in a blend in labour (e.g. 3 drops essential oil to 15 ml grape seed)

Bath (NOT for use in birthing pool)

4 – 6 drops of essential oil added to carrier oil or teaspoon of full fat milk, add to bath after the bath is filled. Once only in labour. Re-run bath/pool but do not top up with water/oils.

Compress

4 drops of essential oil in hot or cold water

[Hot for pain / cold for swelling]

Soak flannel, wring out and apply to skin.

When flannel is the same temperature as the skin re-soak and reapply to the skin.

Do this as often as required BUT do not add more essential oil if water is topped up.

Tissue

1 – 2 drops of undiluted essential oil onto a tissue/taper. May be repeated 2 hourly.

Inhalation 2 – 4 drops of essential oil in a bowl of hot water. Inhale.

How many is too many?

My shifts are long, 12 hours (well 11.5 to be precise as we don’t get paid for half of our lunch break and that’s if we even get a lunch break I mean who has lunch 5pm?) but it does mean that I work 3 shifts a week and still have 4 days off a to spend being the perfect yummy mummy (I’m joking, for the record I bloody hate that term, its degrading it basically means if you’re remotely good-looking you’re classified as yummy and if you haven’t been blessed in the looks department you’re what, you’re just doing a great job?).

Anyway I was looking after this really sweet young woman the other night having her first baby and she had fantastic support in labour. Her Mum was there, her boyfriend, her sister, her niece, her sister’s best mate ,her granny, I think a pizza delivery boy was there at one point, I mean the list was endless I lost count of the constant flow of people in and out of the room offering their ‘support’. I say this term loosely as I’m not wholly convinced that they were all there in the girls best interest. The hospital policy states that you are only allowed 2 birthing partners in the room at any time, mainly due to security reasons plus the rooms aren’t huge and it makes safety an issue if there was an emergency situation (at a home birth you can have as many people as you like).

So this one girl who I have no idea whether she was a cousin, sister or friend of the woman in labour instinctively grabbed a sick bowl and started fanning the woman’s face. Now I’m not the kind of midwife who just sits in the corner of the room and jots things down in the notes whilst the birth partner does all the support. I will massage backs, mop brows, clear up vomit, wipe away poo (more on that subject in a later post) and I can usually tell if a woman needs fanning and looks too hot. But this friend was amazing, she then took to massaging the woman’s sacrum I mean really doing a fab job almost a professional standard, like she knew exactly where to press and reassure her friend through every contraction.

Well there I was not really needed, it felt shit to be honest sob sob oh I do love to feel like the one person who can help the woman (after all that’s why I love my job) but I did sort of feel like a loose end. So I sat back and observed this amazing birth partner. Eventually the other members of her family got bored as there was no sign of baby and went to Nandos to fill up on hormone and protein enhanced peri peri chicken and soggy chips. But this girl just kept on going, I did offer to take over with the massaging but nope she was not giving up working her thumbs to the nub and the labouring woman was certainly benefitting from all of this.

Anyway the baby was born, a gorgeous 8lb baby boy and all was fine. My inquisitive side of got the better of me and I had to ask the birth partner ‘So where do you learn how to do that, you must be a doula or had at least 10 babies to be that good.’ The girl just smiled and a burst of deep loud hearty laughter erupted around the room ‘From One Born Every Minute you know on the telly, I bloody love that show watch it every week!’ Of course the Bafta awarded Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary, where else?! I honestly think that show is great, not only does it really portray a maternity ward, it shows you pretty much all scenarios you could be faced with when having a baby (NCT take note). I congratulated and thanked the girl on her wonderful techniques and banged on about how she should train to be a midwife oh how we need people like her at all births, you were really amazing for your friend bla bla bla and then the laughter came again,

‘No way babe, you wouldn’t catch me seeing lady bits every day, women screaming in pain, I’ve got a job anyway.’

‘So what do you do?’ I asked,

I’m a beautician, mainly specialise in bikini waxing’.

Before my brain had a chance to register her answer (I blame the hour and lack of break) she was gone, thrusting her business card in my hands on her way out

‘Let me know if you ever need a trim down there’ she said nodding at my nether regions. Shit did she know I was soooo over due my last wax that my husband had given up on the promised Valentines/birthday/Christmas treat? Who knows, but what I do know is that she was an amazing birth partner. The point of the story is readers – ‘its quality, not quantity’, choosing the right person/people to have in the room can make the difference between reliving the pain in your back or being a pain in the neck. And if there’s a free bikini wax at the end of it for the midwife, then everyone comes away satisfied.