Galway Now Maternity Feature Expect The Unexpected April 2016

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6 weeks and counting until our lives will change forever! At week 34 of my pregnancy, I feel like I am waiting on Christmas to arrive so that I can unwrap my present; only instead of Tiny Tears doll under the tree, it will be a real baby!

NOTE TO SELF: If I was able to look after a Tiny Tears doll all of those years ago without losing a head or a limb from the doll, surely this counts as training to look after a real baby now? Nappy changing can’t be that much worse can it? After all as far as I recall Tiny Tears went to the toilet pretty much instantly and all day with one sup of water.

            In preparation for the arrival of our little person, my husband and I have attended two hypnobirthing classes, along with a general hospital antenatal parenting class.

NOTE TO SELF: Should I be concerned that my husband thought it was called ‘Anti– natal’ classes! Maybe there was a subliminal message that I was missing!

We hadn’t done any research in to hypnobirthing, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All of the videos we were shown were of people breathing deeply and calmly, and with that out popped this baby with one final deep breath (I need to breathe deeper at the gym I thought to myself!). I am generally quite a strong-minded person, so I wasn’t afraid of labour – until this point that is. The truth of the matter is, while I sat there with a smile, I felt overwhelmed that I would not be able to do this. We practiced meditation, which I just could not do. I started to think if I couldn’t meditate here, how would I possibly do it in the labour ward. Doubt was creeping in, and the videos were very different to anything I had seen on One Born Every Minute. At the end of day one, I turned to my husband and said to lower his expectations of me being as calm as the women were in those videos! After the class I went away and researched what hypnobirthing is all about; it explained that it is to relax you during labour with breathing, hypnosis, and relaxation techniques, and that you can combine these with other options of labour techniques. With this on day two of the course, I was much happier and more relaxed, I stopped being so hard on myself just because the meditation part wasn’t for me; instead we walked away with really helpful massage and breathing techniques.

The third day was the antenatal parenting education course, which was fantastic. Our midwife went through everything from when to come to the hospital, labour options and possible complications (without the scare tactics that the general public gives you even when you don’t ask. It usually starts with ’How are you feeling? My sisters’ friends’ cousins’, daughter had a neighbour who had a terrible labour experience’ and so on, while you stand there frozen the ground listening to the story wishing you could leave but curiously getting the better of you). The day finished off by showing us how to hold, wash a baby, and change a nappy.

NOTE TO SELF: Did the midwife just say that the baby will have pesto-looking poop ‘explode’ out of it, all up their back and up to their head??? I don’t remember that happening to Tiny Tears? And why is the baby pooping pesto, I thought it was just drinking milk!

While I had my hospital bag ready, we got some really good advice in the course on what to pack, so I am going to re-pack! It turns out you might not want ‘that’ labour nightdress back home, so pack accordingly! This lead me to look in to hospital bag items that people found really that you might not find on a general list:


  • Fan
  • Straws
  • Lip balm
  • Ear-plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Nail file
  • Tea bags
  • Plain biscuits
  • Hard sweets (for dry mouth)
  • Mint chewing gum (should your birthing partner need to freshen up as they breathe over you ‘Push, breathe, Push!)
  • Face wipes and facial water spray
  • Hairband and bobbins
  • Moisturiser
  • Phone charger
  • Mini wooden back massager
  • Make-up for a fresh face look for those photos that you didn’t expect to end up on Facebook – dry shampoo, compact mirror, concealer, Benefit high beam, mascara
  • A bag in a bag – labour ward bag and maternity ward bag so you are not searching
  • A pink outfit and a blue outfit for the baby if it’s a surprise
  • Spare t-shirt, deodorant, & toothbrush for your partner
  • Maternity clothes for going home in (your tummy will not disappear straight away no matter what celebs say!)


Until next month, see you soon, Siobhán McHugh of



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