birth supplies

In an effort to pull my thoughts together on the final things that need to be done to prepare for our birth, and knowing that for those of you that don’t home birth or have never experienced one, questions and curiosities abound, AND because I happen to know of at least one other Mamma who is trying to pull it all together… I’m going to blog my check list.

The first curiosity that most people seem to have is, “Does the midwife bring pain medication?”

The short answer is, “BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAH AHAHAHAHAHAHA… NO.” She does, however, bring some supplies such as oxygen tank, suction tubes, various herbs (such as Angelica or Shepherd’s Purse, in the event the placenta is unwilling to cooperate or if there is slight hemorrhaging), and at times even some pharmaceutical drugs for bigger emergencies. Also baby scales and scissors for cutting the cord and that sort of thing, generally falls under her realm of “stuff to bring.”

First is the preliminary stuff…

  • Announce my plans to the Health Department and get them to send me the Home Birth Certificate Kit. (By the way, no one has ever told me that I could not have my baby at home. They simply send me the work sheets for obtaining the birth certificate, and tell me to mail it in after the baby is born. Not an eyelash batted.) DONE
  • Update Driver’s License to display our current address to make getting said birth certificate somewhat easier. DONE
  • Burn music onto CD for the birth DONE
  • Charge cameras
  • Find box of birth supplies DONE
  • Find baby clothes DONE
  • Turn up water heater a bit
  • Blow up birth pool and clean it out. (I’ve used the same one for all of my births. We’re going for a record.)

…which we did today. And every time I turn around and see the pool sitting there, it dawns on me that shortly I’ll be birthing another human being into our family!! This seems to be one of the standard pools used for water birthing. Of course, there are the fancy pants ones that look absolutely divine, but Brent says we aren’t shelling out $300 when we’ve got a perfectly good $7 pool that has served us well. And it has. I could write a poem to this pool. How many hours have we spent together, pool? Hmmm… A good 10 hours for the first birth were spent in the pool, 3 for Charis, and about 3 for Ezra as well. 16 hours! This pool has been my companion and comforter, giving me a soft, warm place to relax, giving me a fluid environment to rhythmically move through. It has softened the blows of transition…THREE TIMES! It has welcomed my babies with gentle warmth and sheltered us as we first gazed into each others eyes…THREE TIMES! And yes, on occasion, it has been the family summertime pool. Oh, birth pool, how I love thee.

And what I like to have on hand by way of “Supplies”:

  • Aforementioned birth pool. (I got this one years ago at www.qualityinflatables.com or you can try www.yourwaterbirth.com) CHECK
  • Fishy net for removing…uuhh… debris. (For obvious reasons, we buy a new one for every birth)CHECK
  • Water thermometer (we keep the water between 98 and 100) For some reason, these never survive storage and we have to buy another. CHECK
  • Tarp, for protecting the floor from any splashing of water and other umm…wet stuff. CHECK
  • Plastic sheet/shower line/painters cloth for in case I decide to go mobile and give birth out of the pool on the couch or bed or something. CHECK
  • Fountain pump, for quickly draining the pool. These can be found at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot in the garden section near the fountains. The more expensive the pump, the faster it drains. And when you are trying to get luke warm water out so that you can add more hot water, in the midst of contractions, trust me… you want the faster pump! It’s also handy for emptying the pool after the birth. We drain it into a toilet or out the window, depending on which one is closer. CHECK
  • Clean hose for filling pool. (Also, troubleshoot ahead of time to make sure it hooks up to your faucet the right way.) CHECK
  • Lots of large pots for boiling water. (No, we’re not THAT archaic… this is just a really expedient way to heat up the water in the pool in case the birth goes long, or your hot water heater gives out on you…) CHECK
  • Birth Kit (this contains sterile gloves for midwife and Brent, syringes, alcohol swabs, cord clamps, newborn hat, gauze pads, bulb syringe, etc…) I usually get mine from either www.everythingbirth.com or www.inhishands.com (favorite).  CHECK
  • Beach towels for placing on top of tarp to make it less slippery for bathroom trips. (I don’t have any and couldn’t find any, so I think we’ll just use an old blanket or something) CHECK
  • Chux pads, chux pads, and more chux pads. CHECK These usually get used for the placenta birthing. Midwife prefers I not deliver the placenta in the birth pool, so that we can more carefully monitor blood loss on dry land. So, once baby and I have checked each other out, pillows and stuff are usually gathered on the floor next to the pool, covered in chux pads. And I sit there and bleed…and bleed…and bleed…. and at some point, those lovely pads are used to wrap up and deep freeze that placenta until I figure out what the heck to do with all of them. Oh, and chux pads are GREAT for putting underneath to catch milk overflow, spit up, leaky diapers, leaky mamma pads,  and all the other really gross stuff that comes out of you and your baby for the first few days. 
  • Next, I prepare a large paper bag with lots of fluffy towels for both me and the baby and several receiving blankets, possibly with a lavender sachet inside, stapled shut and labeled so that no one has to ask me what’s in there. Some folks stick this bag into the oven and bake it so that it’s warm and extra sterile after baby comes out. CHECK
  • Another paper bag is filled with clothes for me for after the birth, including underwear. (Am I the only Mamma who gets behind on laundry in her 9th month? How awful would it be to not have any clean underwear to put on at this point?!? LOL) And then clothes for the baby- I usually do a girl outfit, a boy outfit, and a gender neutral organic gown, plus booties, organic undershirts, hats, and a soft thick blanket. Did you know that the #1 risk to a home birth baby is hypothermia due to not being adequately kept warm after the birth? My midwife is neurotic about hats and having lots of towels and blankets on hand.. and of course, putting baby skin to skin with Mamma is the very best way to keep warm. =) This bag is also labeled, and no one has to ask me where to find clean clothes for me after I’ve given birth. Also, even if you know the gender of your baby, you should have more than one outfit planned… they tend to poop and pee everywhere, you know.  CHECK
  • And yet one more paper bag is prepared with clean sheets for my bed. I have no idea who usually puts these sheets on, but someone always gets that bag and puts clean sheets on the bed so I have a nice clean place to land after the post-birth shower. I think I’ll toss a lavender sachet into this one this time as well. =) CHECK
  • Herbs and container for sitz bath CHECK
  • Goldenseal powder for cord care CHECK
  • Mamma Pads (cloth this time and they are sooooo cute! Photos coming…) CHECK
  • Premixed herbs to drink during labor, along with crackers, cheese squares, and grapes. I can’t imagine going through the hard work of labor and not being allowed to eat!! Although, with my last birth, I never got hungry, but I was starving afterwards and rewarded handsomely for my hard work with a nice plate of waffles, followed by a steak dinner… Oh, and I usually have some Recharge (the natural equivalent of Gatorade, minus the HFCS and other yuck), but this time I went with an Emergen-C drink. CHECK
  • Tinctures- Angelica and Shepherd’s Purse, in case midwife doesn’t make it or is missing hers. =) CHECK
  • Tennis balls for back massaging CHECK (These are new. I’ve never used them during labor before, but Brent massaged my back with them the other night and it was AWESOME)
  • Herbs for a special baby bath CHECK (also new, but  I’m looking forward to soaking in rose petals with my bebe
  • 2 Rolls Viva Paper towels CHECK (Midwife requests these every time. I’ve never seen her use them, but they get used each time!)

It sounds like a lot, but it’s not that bad. And truthfully, not much is actually needed to have a baby, but I’m Type A, you know.  I like to have my bases covered. I’ll be editing and adding to this list as I remember stuff. I’ve already thought of several things that I had forgotten about since the last birth.

Truthfully, I am looking forward to it! I take no issue with the pain of child birth. It hurts. BAD. But just for a bit, and then it’s over with. I just can’t wait to have my sweet baby in my arms, and NOT MY BELLY! My skin is stretched to maximum capacity, and baby has run out of room to move. It might just be time to add an evening walk into our nightly routine.