Tasmanian Mum Musings | my pregnancy journey so far
I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy. I haven’t posted much about it here, or on social media, but some of you might be sticky beaks like me and want to know how it’s been.
I’ve just gone past the 38 week mark and I’m feeling fine. I think I’ve actually had less aches and pains while pregnant then I do normally. Not what I expected but my osteopath did warn me that the change of hormones might have that effect. I have to admit though that the last few weeks have made maneuvering in, out or around the bed or sofa pretty tricky. I’m also really starting to slow down now. Baby is getting heavy!
On reflection there are a few things I’m grateful for:
1. My health
I’ve been so well this whole pregnancy. There was some ickyness in the first trimester but thankfully no spews. I discovered that I could avoid the worst of the morning sickness if I slept with a cut up apple next to my bed to eat as soon as I woke up - something about not having an empty tummy for too long. Also these ginger biscuits helped me heaps.
So aside from a bit of morning sickness I’ve had low iron for which I take supplements, and I had a short period of constant tension headaches - which my naturopath correctly diagnosed as a magnesium deficiency (She's located in Launceston and honestly I can't recommend her highly enough. DM or email me for her details. She's hard to find). I’ve been taking a super duper high quality magnesium supplement and my god, it’s been a game changer. It’s helped with relieving tension and anxiety, I sleep better, I have more energy during the day, and my mood and hormones have been pretty level (just ask David… I dare you). The one I take has calcium in it which is an added bonus.
2. Our public health system
David and I have chosen to have our baby at the Royal Hobart Hospital for no other reason than it is essentially free. We knew that no matter what our final choice was we will be well cared for. I’ve previously seen a gynecologist at a private hospital for something unrelated to babies. The consultation fees were pretty steep and only a small portion ended up being paid for by my insurer. And that was before I got the anaesthetist’s bill after my operation… aye yai yai. My advice is: if you have private health insurance, and you want to use it, make sure you sit down and work out what will be covered before you even get pregnant. You may need to beef up your cover and they may not let you use it straight away.
As it turns out David and I couldn’t be happier with our final choice. The hospital allocated us a midwife through Midwifery Group Practice. We’ve been seeing her for each checkup and she’s been great. I even have her mobile number and instructions to call or text her at any time if I have questions or concerns. I’ve built up a fantastic rapport with my midwife and there is an 80% chance she’ll be at my side during the birth. If my primary midwife is not on call when I go into labour I’ve also been introduced, and cared for, by her alternate who is equally as lovely. There is something special about being able to build some trust and familiarity with the people who will be caring for you during such a magical event.
3. The care of my family, friends, and my community
Being pregnant with my first baby has felt magical, joyful, at times overwhelming, but also indulgent. I say indulgent because being baby number one means I don’t have care for anyone else but myself - and it’s quite lovely. I also have the care, unrelenting support, and the love of my wonderful husband who indulges and spoils me rotten. It’s been a really wonderful experience and I’m making the most of this precious, calm time before the baby arrives.
My family and friends have also been amazing and have been there for me whenever needed with kind words of encouragement, and delicious mocktails so I don’t feel left out. It’s meant a lot.
Then there are all the amazing ladies who are already mamas who have come to my aid with recommendations and words of encouragement. These are friends of friends, or girls I've only met once or twice, who have been open and willing to provide support and advice. I've been blown away by the solidarity that exist between young mums who want to spread positivity and help other mums-to-be. It's been amazing!
When I say I’m grateful for the care of my community I mean all the organisations and businesses that provide support for pregnant women. My boss (who is a bloke) was so understanding of my changing needs and circumstances. It made me feel reassured and secure to know that my career isn’t compromised because David and I are expanding our family. I’m also lucky at my workplace that I get excellent maternity leave and conditions. I imagine that for a lot of women this can still be cause for anxiety and it saddens me that although things are changing, we still could be better at supporting parents and families.
There is also a broader community who work with pregnant women to make sure they are armed with knowledge and support.
Some of the things that I tapped into during this pregnancy have included:
Hypnobirthing with Sarah Purvey
David and I got so much out of these classes. They truly armed me with a lot of knowledge; gave me confidence that my body and baby will know exactly what to do when the time is right; and empowered David and I to take control of whatever situation might arise during birth by asking lots of questions. I feel like we will be able to maintain an experience that reflects how we would like our baby to arrive in this world - even if I don’t get to have the natural birth I’m hoping for. The classes helped to alleviate the anxiety I felt about childbirth and really compressed a lot of knowledge into two sessions. I can highly recommend them - it’s better than trying to Google medical information that’s for sure!
More information is available on Sarah Purvey's website.
Pregnancy yoga with Belly Bliss Yoga
I continued doing my normal yoga classes until about 23 weeks pregnant and could have happily continued them. But when the yoga term ended I picked up with the pregnancy yoga and it was lovely. Julia, who runs the classes, has been a birth educator for a good many years and her focus is as much on the physical benefits of a regular yoga practice, as it is on mental benefits, and drawing together a room full of fellow pregnant ladies and providing some much needed solidarity. David and I also both attended one of her yoga birthing classes together which we both found really useful.
All the details are on the Belly Bliss Yoga website.
This place is an institution in Hobart and if you’re looking to include natural remedies and supplements into your prenatal health care regime I can recommend a visit. They always have experienced naturopaths on hand to give advice where needed.
The Goulds website has information about the services they provide.
Richard de Barry Osteopath
Richard has been my osteo for a good many years and has been excellent during my pregnancy as well. He was the one that encouraged me to start the Belly Bliss yoga classes, and reassured me early in my pregnancy that I wasn’t going to fall apart over the next 9 months. He also gave me some fantastic exercises well before I got pregnant to strengthen my core and the all important pelvic floor (you’ll be pleased to know I haven’t peed myself once).
He doesn't have a website so you'll have to Google him for contact details.
Beer and Bubs
This one was for David (I’ve been avoiding the icy cold ones as you can imagine). Run by a male midwife these classes take place at the pub over a counter meal. It’s secret mens business but David was really happy with the information they provided him there.
Session times and information is available on the Beer and Bubs website - it's a nationwide initiative (and I'm pretty sure they run it in Launceston too and the North West too).
David and I are eagerly awaiting our baby’s birthday. We can’t wait to be holding it in our arms and dreamily gazing at it. It could happen any day now and it’s all extremely exciting. The prospect of birth and having a child was so daunting at the start. Nine months seems to be just the right amount of time to work through anxieties and realise that this experience is truly going to be amazing. There is nothing but joy in my heart when I think about what's ahead.
Hopefully other Tasmanian mamas to-be find this post useful. Please feel free to add info in the comments below and ask me questions about specific things. And please also comment below if you’d like to see future posts of this nature.