Home Birth Essentials

Now that we’re in the middle of January that means I’m 37 weeks along in my pregnancy with my little girl.  Which means I’m now officially full term, and could go in to labour at any time.  Luckily I’ve been ready since 35 weeks and have just been waiting it out.  The house is ready, nursery is all set up, her clothes and blankets have all been washed, and I even have a little baby station set up in the living room.  Last week I gave you some tips on how to prepare the house and family for a new addition.  This week I’ll fill you in on how to prepare yourself for labour and delivery.

I’ve been lucky enough to have very easy pregnancies, and my labour and delivery with my son was pretty much flawless. The moment I popped him out my midwife looked at me and said, “Next time you’re doing all this at home right?” I said “Sure we’ll give it a try.” So now I’m following through on my promise to her.

I know not a lot of people choose this option. But I’m super excited for it and can’t wait to experience it.  Some of the things you need can also be transferred to a regular hospital birth and included in your hospital bag. I’ll give you a couple of lists for what you’ll need, some of which you need to get yourself if you opt for a home birth, and some of which are provided by your midwife.

Your midwife will provide you with a birth box, inside they included everything they’ll need to provide you and baby support during labour, delivery, and directly after birth. A few of these things you’ll need to pull out to put in your emergency hospital bag which I’ll discuss later.
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On top of that there’s a few things you’ll need to gather and keep with the rest of the birth supplies.
– 4-6 pillows
– 2 medium glass or stainless steel bowls (one in case you become nauseated and one for afterbirth)
– 4-8 older wash cloths
– 6 large clean older towels (to wrap baby in after birth)
– 6 receiving blankets
– hot water bottle or heating pad
– a loose gown or something comfortable to wearing during labour and delivery
– 1 large Dutch oven or large stainless steel pot, or crock pot (to put hot water in for one compresses)
– hydrogen peroxide (helps remove blood stains)
– large pack of overnight (heavy flow) sanitary pads
– digital thermometer
– large roll of paper towel (kept in wrapper till needed)
– fresh supply of batteries for flashlights
– soft toilet paper for the next few weeks after birth
– 2 newborn sized hats
– pain relievers (Tylenol, Advil, or Gravol) to help you rest after labour

Needed for Baby
– diapers
– Vaseline (to keep the meconium stools from sticking to baby’s skin)
– variety of clothes (cleaned and ready)

Emergency Hospital Bag
In case something comes up and you need to transfer to a hospital it’s good to have a small bag prepared and easy to access, a few of these things the midwives will use so they can just work out of if.
– stretch panties (from birth box)
– squeeze bottle (from birth box)
– green pad (from birth box)
– herbal bath (from birth box)
– housecoat and comfy clothes for after birth (a night gown would be a great option in case of a c-section)
– slippers to wear in the halls
– nursing bra and nursing pads
– sanitary pads
– going home outfit for baby, including hat and scratch mittens (if you end up being stuck in the hospital longer than expected someone can bring you more items)
– a few diapers, hospitals generally give you a small pack while you are there so you won’t need many
– Vaseline

A lot of the things you need are already lying around the house, and the few things that aren’t you can easily find at the dollar store.

Another thing needed for people having baby #2 (or with pets) is a baby sitter. Someone to look after the older sibling, to keep them occupied while you’re in labour, or take them away if things get really intense and you don’t want them around, or to stay with them if you need to be moved to the hospital. My in-laws are being notified the moment I go in to labour so they can come take care of Clark (especially if it’s in the middle of the day), if it’s at night and he’s sleeping through everything we might hold off till the second midwife gets called just before delivery that way if he wakes up from any possible noises I might end up making they can sit with him in another room till its time to introduce him to his little sister.

I know home birth sounds scary, but (from what I’ve been told by experienced home birthers) it’s very relaxing and less stressful (fewer worries of needing medical interventions). Being in your own surroundings will keep you at ease, play music that makes you happy or keeps you calm.

To anyone thinking about having a home birth I promise to post later about how my experience went and my thoughts on the whole process. Anyone already planning a home birth and stuck on what you need to have ready…I hope this helped.

For the next few weeks I will be away from the page, Bonnie will continue to post, and once my little girl arrives I’m sure there will be an announcement. I’ll return a couple weeks after she’s born once I’ve settled in to the life of being a mother of two.

Enjoy the next few weeks of the new year! Can’t wait to share the news of baby girls arrival with all of you!

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