I am a bit of a planner, often obsessively so. Because of this I was on top of my “Pre-baby Checklist” when I was pregnant with Bonnie, and then some. My house was prepared, meals were prepared, vehicles were prepared, mind and heart were as prepared as possible, and I did all I could to make sure my body was prepared also.
This pregnancy has been a different story altogether. Preparing my body for natural labor and childbirth has been difficult because I haven’t felt all that great throughout this pregnancy. I’ve had a few weeks when I’ve felt amazingly well, but they never seem to last long. For instance, I ended up spending the entire weekend in the hospital due to severe diarrhea/nausea/vomiting/dry-heaving, which led to extreme dehydration and loss of electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, and very low blood pressure, which eventually led to abdominal pain, swelling, and cramping, due to “gastrointestinal inflammation.” Or something like that.
Long story short, we wasted a perfectly good weekend in the hospital so that I could get pumped full of fluids and take 12 potassium tablets over the course of 35 hours. My aunt saved the day by taking care of Bonnie all weekend, and all four of us are now back at home, safe and sound. And on the bright side, we got to see our baby girl via ultrasound, and listen often to her heartbeat throughout our hospital stay. She’s fine and beautiful and feisty, and is measuring three days ahead of schedule. She’s still breech, which I’m not worried about at this point, since I have an amazing chiropractor who will turn her little bum upside down if/when he needs to!
And assuming we experience no complications from this point forward, we are moving ahead with the home birth, as planned! I will not meet face-to-face with my midwife until March 4th, so a lot of the things on these lists could change based upon her advice, but spending two days in the hospital made me realize how excited I am NOT to be in the hospital when I give birth. And then that made me excited about getting prepared to NOT be in a hospital when I give birth. And what’s the first step to being prepared? Making a list! Duh.
This list is a compilation of other lists I’ve found from people far more qualified to make home birthing lists than I am, and again, I’m probably premature in posting this since I’m not 100% sure yet what my midwife will recommend.
For the Bed:
- 2 sets of sheet
- 1 plastic liner or plastic shower curtain
- blanket (I will be using an old one that I won’t mind getting messy)
The consensus for the best way to make the bed seems to be putting one set of sheets on the bed, then the plastic liner, and then the second set of sheets. This way, one set of sheets can be whipped off the bed, placed in the washer, and another set of sheets can be ready to go in almost an instant.
For the Birth- Essentials:
- 3 towels
- 8 receiving blankets, which we should plan on getting messy)
- Several washcloths (at least 4, plus another if you want to use it for essential oils.)
- 1 package of disposable under pads (like puppy pee pads, for example.)
- Deep bowl for the placenta
- 4 thick, black garbage bags
- ice (I like crushed ice best)
- bendy straws
- 1 roll paper towels
- 1 roll toilet paper
- hair ties
- water bottle
- Gatorade or coconut water
- gallon-sized ziplock baggies
For the Birth-Extras:
- snacks, food, and drinks for your “birth team”
- music, and a charger if you’re using an iPod or Tablet
- camera with full battery and empty memory card
- video camera
- heating pad
- Chapstick or Vaseline for lips
- birth ball
For Water Birth:
- Pool and kit (The kit should come with a floating thermometer, but if it doesn’t, this should be purchased separately.)
- sports bra or bathing suit top
- extra towels
- bath robe
- flannel-backed table cloth to put under the pool to help avoid slipping
- blanket for under the pool to provide extra cushion
- check hot water heater in advance
- inflate pool in advance
- large pots to boil water in, just in case
**I will ask my midwife this as well, but do any of you have recommendations for a specific birthing pool/kit? There are several options available, but I’m not sure if one is better than another.
For After Birth:
- Extra-long, extra-thick Maxi pads
- Adult diapers/depends (to take the place of the amazing mesh panties you get after having a baby in the hospital)
- Sitz bath
- Peri bottle
- Pre-soak stain remover
- A good, protein-packed meal (especially if you’re planning to breastfeed.)
- Comfortable clothing to nurse in and sleep in
- Tucks pads
- Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Spray
- Freezer Meals (this requires its very own blog post.)
For Toddler- Go Bag:
- 1 change of clothes
- 1 pair of clean pajamas
- extra diapers
- water cup
- milk cup
- favorite book/s
- a favorite baby doll
- favorite DVD
- written down schedule for her caregiver to refer to
While I am happy for Bonnie to be at the house throughout labor and delivery, I don’t know that she will be happy there during the entire process. Both my sister and dad know they are on “Bonnie duty,” and will be prepared to get her out of the house if she gets upset or restless. And while the plan is for her to stay overnight at home with me, my parents will only be a couple miles away and I realize it may wind up being best for her to be at their house overnight, depending on what time of day/night I go into labor. She has lots of toys, books, and familiar things at their house, so there will be no need to pack heavily for her.
I’d love to hear feedback from any of you who have had home births in the past, are planning your own home birth, or work with women in home birth settings (doula, midwife, midwife assistant.) What would you add to or remove from these lists???