I can honestly say that Deborah Fernandes of Physiofit Woman was the most important and trusted health professional I had during my two pregnancies and post birth recovery.
My initial experience with Physiofit Woman was on my first pregnancy when I joined the Pregnancy Pilates classes in 2014. From the beginning I noticed an improvement in back pain and my posture. I loved going each week. We all had such fun, there was a lovely sense of community and I made great friends. By the time my due date came through Deborah’s antenatal education I was so prepared and excited about giving birth.
Unfortunately as these things go with birth I didn’t have the experience I had hoped and planned for. After a failed induction, I ended up having an Emergency C Section. My surgeon told me afterwards that I would never be able to have a virginal birth due to having a narrow pelvis. At 6 weeks postpartum I returned to Physiofit Woman for postnatal pilates. My recovery was very slow but Deborah was fantastic. She kept a close eye on me and adapted some of the moves to aid my recovery.
Two years later I was pregnant with my second child. While I was really happy, I knew I didn’t want to have another section. The hospital wasn’t much help at the time. At my first antenatal appointment the consultant asked me what date I wanted to schedule my C Section. When I enquired about having a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean) he didn’t seem too encouraging. In fact I quickly learnt there were so many myths, misleading stories and scaremongering about VBAC’s. I left the hospital and phoned Deborah. She was a breath of fresh air. “You’ll have your VBAC” she reassured me.
I started on a journey to achieve this. Each week at the end of our Pregnancy Pilates Deborah would do an antenatal session with us. She taught us ways to naturally relieve pain during labour, breathing techniques, how partners could play a role during birth, different birth positions, about perineum massage and how to avoid so-called ‘Purple Pushing’ to avoid birth trauma. No where else did I learn such useful birthing information.
In the weeks leading up to my due date I took Deborah advice and began the perineum massage. I purchased an Epi-No Childbirth Trainer to help aid me to do this. I had some one to one Physio sessions to get my pelvis ready. I did all my Pilates exercises and stretching several times a day. I used essential oils, had acupuncture and followed Gentle Birth guided meditation.
Since my pregnancy had been healthy and uncomplicated my hospital agreed to let me go up to 14 days past my due date to see if I would go into labour myself. I can not tell you the excitement when, in the middle of watching Coronation Street while doing my “TV exercises” that Deborah teaches in her classes, my waters broke. My contractions started nearly immediately so my husband helped me put on the TENS Machine so it would work to its full potential. Due to having a previous section I had to go straight to the hospital. My contractions were coming closer together and were good and strong. I had the TENS Machine on constant Boost! Upon examination I wasn’t dilated or in established labour. That soon changed. I used the birth ball but no position could relieve my pain. Suddenly I felt the baby’s head drop. It’s often described as the Ring of Fire. Yet for me I knew that feeling from using the EPI-No.
There were just two midwives and my husband in the delivery suite, a far cry from when I was having my daughter. I felt really safe and so supported. As I squatted by the side of the bed they encouraged me to listen to my body and push when I needed to. A few minutes later I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. It was the most empowering incredible moment of my life. I was in complete shock and in awe that I was able to deliver naturally. No pain relief or gas and air, just pure determination.
I only needed one small stitch. My midwife agreed that using the Epi-No was a great way to reduce perineum tearing and reduce the need for an episiotomy. She said it was a god sent to women.
As my baby latched on I was on cloud nine. We had two hours of uninterrupted skin to skin. My labour was only an hour and 45 minutes long and it was truly perfect. 12 hours later I was home. I felt like Deborah was in the delivery suite with me as I used all her birth techniques. I couldn’t wait to get in touch with her to share my wonderful birth story. She helped me achieve the birth experience I longed for. I could never thank her enough. The single most important thing you should invest in in your pregnancy is you.
Nicola joined our Physiofit Woman in 2014 while pregnant with her first child.
She followed our Pregnancy Programme attending Physiotherapy and our Pregnancy Pilates basically until due date. When she got pregnant again in 2017, I know how she felt about the thought of going through another Caesarean and how important it would be for her to have a vaginal delivery. I just said to her, we will do what we can and trust that the body will be able to deliver the results she envisaged. And so, her second pregnancy journey began with us. She would attend our classes and regular Physiotherapy sessions to ensure the pelvis was aligned for labour. I know she was doing homework religiously and she was an avid student listening very carefully to what I was teaching, asking questions when in doubt and doing her own research from home, thus preparing as much as possible for the labour she wished for.
It was an absolute pleasure to be part of Nicola’s journey. Nicola (Nicky as I call her) has a kind heart and I must share an episode that happened one day that I will never forget. As usual, I was swamped with work and would not even have time to eat. Late takeaways were a constant in my life. One day after a physio session, Nicky reached out her bag and handed me something, saying “this is for you, I know you are not minding yourself properly and I made this homemade lasagne for you”! It had the date written, in case I wanted to freeze it, but it did not last long as I devoured it in two days. It was delicious and I will never forget how thoughtful she was. She will be proud of me now as I do have my regular homemade meals! 😊
Nicola McEntee started her career in childcare in her early 20s because of her love of working with small children. While her passion was caring for babies and enjoying the opportunity to experience their “firsts” – first smiles, first steps, it was the support needed by the new mothers and fathers that became the central part of her role as a Nanny, and she began to concentrate on her abilities in teaching and giving personal guidance to parents. Her empathy and understanding that every family member has unique needs, and her capacity to give useful, practical advice in the way that the individual was able to receive it, made her an invaluable support aid to her client families, and gave her the idea for Your Pregnancy Concierge. As a Pregnancy Concierge, it is her intent to help new parents navigate their way around pregnancy and post-partum to-do lists, give experienced, trustworthy advice, and provide caring support during this stressful, beautiful time in a family’s journey.
You can follow Nicola on her Instagram page @your_pregnancy_concierge and her contact is [email protected]