I am officially an Aunt!

Assalamualaikum wr wb,
Bismillah…

Forgive me for the long absence. I took a break in Ramadhan and Syawal as I had been overseas in Melbourne during this period for a much needed break. Its good to be back in Mum and Dad’s arms! :). It so happened that this period coincided with the birth of my first nephew, Musa, the son of my brother. My sister in law had been so sweet to ask me to be her doula, and of course I agreed!

Her birth story was pretty straightforward, with 2 days of mild early labour. We did the usual works – birth ball, massage, hot shower and she coped beautifully. There were times when my brother asked me if its time to go, and I’d see that she’s still chatty and fine and I’d say let’s hang on a while. On the 3rd day, when her labour became more established, things picked up pretty quickly and soon she knew it was time to go. The hospital was just a 7 mins drive away, but by the time we reached there, she was starting to bear baby down (aka, wanting to push). Here’s a doula action shot taken by my dear bro! (Don’t mind the handbag, we were waiting to be escorted into a room, hee). Not long after, my handsome nephew was born! And today is his first month, Alhamdulillah.

 

Pelvic squeezes while waiting for a room

Pelvic squeezes while waiting for a room

 

In other news, I am (finally) resuming my birth talks in September, InshaAllah! 7 September is already half full (priority for those who asked to be put on waitlist), but there will be 2 more on 14 and 21 September. Please msg/wa me for more details! Seats are really going fast and I’d hate to disappoint anyone.

Signing off for now, but do stay in touch as I have good news to be shared in the next few weeks, InshaAllah! ❤

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A Saturday with Spinning Babies – easier childbirth with fetal positioning


I had a tough month of March. It was a true test to my work as a doula, but at the same time it was also a gift. Alhamdulillah I am now fully recovered.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a very useful workshop conducted by Gail Tully of Spininngbabies.com fame at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. In our doula community, we rely heavily on her website to help us in our work. Her website helps pregnant mothers deal with a misaligned/disproportioned reproductive system that may be causing pain or discomfort during pregnancy and birth. Pregnancy shouldn’t be uncomfortable and shouldn’t cause pain, numbness or soreness. If it does, then there is a good reason why the body is shouting for help. You will need to do something about it… and quickly too, or else it might have a possible unwanted outcome on how your labour works out later. Ideally, a good labour would mean gradual progress from less intense to more intense in a systematic manner. However, too many times do we hear of labours that stop halfway, or that the intensity doesn’t progress, etc. Her works also include useful positioning/exercises to help mothers have an easier and more comfortable labour/birth with help on how to get stalled labours going or how to help turn babies in a bad position back to a good one (which is what is causing labours to stall or be painful in the first place).


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My main take away from this workshop is that I must understand and accept that mothers in the future will face a lot more challenges in their pregnancy and labour, and it is not their fault. Why is this so? It is due to the way we live our lives now. You’ve all probably heard of the saying “orang dulu-dulu senang je nak beranak” (“our ancestors birthed without problems”), and this is true, but it doesn’t mean that just because they had it easy, we would too. Now, we don’t work on our hands and knees, we seldom sit on the floor anymore, we slouch a lot, we sit in a motor vehicle to get us around, etc. There are so many other examples of how modern technology reduces our mobility and the need to stay upright and balanced (the 3 main recipes for an easier pregnancy and birth). All these habits may displace the optimal foetal positioning that would be ideal for a comfortable pregnancy & birth. Human beings are meant to be upright, mobile and balanced. Not sitting down on an office chair all day, only to go home sitting slouchily on bus or car seat. So what do we need to do? We need to do extra help for ourselves… from the start.. or even before we get pregnant! Thankfully, spinningbabies.com has all sorts of information that will suit everyone.

So the 3 principles of spinningbabies.com are:
1) Balance
2) Gravity
3) Movement

What do we balance? Not only the joints of the pelvis, but also the muscles, fascia and ligaments of the entire reproductive system. If your body is balanced, you should not feel pain/sore/numbness in one side.  Make your daily actions (eg: sitting, walking, using computer, sleeping, washing etc) as balanced as possible. If you tend to use more of your right muscles for instance, now is the time to work those left muscles too.
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Imagine an egg balanced on two elastic bands as in this picture. That egg is your uterus and the two elastic bands are your uterine muscles. Gail says in her website: “Sometimes the uterine ligaments are not equal on each side of the body. If one side has shortened ligaments the entire lower uterine segment can have a twist in it. This effect is not uncommon among women who twist to do their work (massage therapists, nurses, chiropractors, etc.) or who hold a child on one hip frequently. A twist in the cervical ligaments can put the lower uterine segment into a slight twist which reduces the room for the baby to have a good head-down position. The baby may remain breech, posterior, or come down asynclitic.”

Activities to help increase balance: Rebozo technique and the Forward-leaning inversion

When we have balance, having gravity and movement will now greatly help in foetal positioning or for labour progress. Gail mentions that exercises like yoga, walking, swimming, stretches, dancing, pelvic tilts will only work better after doing the balancing activities mentioned above.

If you are a pregnant mum or hoping to get pregnant in the future, I really urge you to have a look at the superb website spinningbabies.com. It will give you an insight on how babies spin/rotate and the mechanisms that take place in doing so. MasyaAllah how grand is Allah’s design!

Gail Tully also provides useful tips on how to help a breech baby turn head down, how to engage baby in labour, and lots more! It is so amazing what she has done all these years to help mothers have an easier pregnancy and birth. Alhamdulillah I am so blessed to have met her!

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Gail Tully & Doula Hanani


If you have any questions to ask me about this workshop, you can send me a message over at my Yaqyn Birth page. 🙂

Can doulas work remotely?

If you hadn’t known yet, I am not living in Singapore at the moment. From Sept this year, to Sept next year (2012), I will be in a lovely place known as Leeds in the UK. DH is pursuing his studies at the Uni. of Leeds and brought me and DS along. 😀

Settling down had been easy, Alhamdulillah, thanks to our previous experience in Aus and NZ. This time round we’re wiser; we didn’t bring the whole house with us. I’ve made a lot of lovely friends, mostly Malaysian postgrads also from the university, and they have been very kind in helping us get the hang of things in Leeds.

Work-wise: my doula work from Singapore came with me to the UK and I’m very happy to announce that not one, not two, not three, but *four* of my mothers had a great birth experience with me as their ‘remote doula’. Watsapp is an amazing invention! Now, I had actually recommended them to get a different doula who can support them in Sg, but they reported that they had more confidence in me even though I’ll be far away. Alhamdulillah! *big smile* (I don’t recommend this though, for a guaranteed better experience, it is recommended that you get a doula in your country who can come to you and give you back massages and see you face to face, etc).

I told my mothers that “for every inch of confidence that you have in me, you must place the same amount of confidence in your birthing body and allow your baby to birth with zero or minimal medical intervention”. They listened and laboured in the comforts of their home with their DHs till the very last moments and spent just a short time in the hospital before they birthed! One first time mother was even ready to push as soon as she reached the hospital doors! SubhanaAllah, when they later told me their birth stories, I couldn’t help feeling their joy and almost feeling like I was there with them. But no, all the hard work and 100% credits go to the mother and her DH, for she had faith and confidence, and trusted her body to give birth exactly as she willed. All I did was to add that extra push of confidence to empower her. And Alhamdulillah, job done!

So you see, you *can* overcome your labour contractions at home yourself (or with DH) if you would learn to trust that Allah has designed your body for this amazing thing called childbirth. If you have had a healthy pregnancy, there is no need to panic when labour starts… you will be prepared… *breathe deep*…. and you will know how to take them in stride… *move your hips*… one contractions at a time… *visualise your baby coming down the birth canal*… and before you know it, your baby will be in your hands!

I’ve started a facebook page because I like to post links from other gentle birth sites, so please click ‘like’ and join me there. At the same time, I will also try to post updates here from time to time.

So what do you think? Can a remote doula work as effectively as a personal doula who comes to you? My honest opinion is she can’t, a ‘live’ doula can do so much more, ie: give you massages, give your DH a break, remind you to hydrate yourself, remind you to breathe, relax, loosen, to drink, to pee, etc. But if all you need is a little ‘push’ or confidence booster via watsapp, then I’ll always be here to help!

Warmly,
The Sg doula in UK