Saturday, September 18, 2010

Preparing your homebirth kit

**I've brought this post over from my old blog as it's one of my favourite posts and I wanted to let other homebirth mama's know what worked for us in our home births).**

I'm 32 weeks pregnant today. Only 8 weeks until my 'due' date. That means only 4 weeks to get what I need ready to make the move out of here until she arrives. Now I'm wondering how to fit it all into the car, especially on the return trip home with an extra child and all our stuff! Ah well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. We may have to tie a few kids to the roof ;)

What I need to start thinking about is assembling my Homebirth Kit, ready for the big day. Here's what we learnt last time around.

Anyway, the most important thing you'll need is the birth pool. That is besides my midwife and her birth kit of course. Some women prefer to buy their own, but depending on what kind of pool you want it can get pretty costly. You can pick up some pools pretty cheap - just have a look at children's wading pools, as long as it has an inflatable bottom, sturdy sides and is deep enough to be able to submerge yourself in the water then it's good enough to birth in. Or you can just ask your midwife if she has pools to hire. My midwife hires them out for $40 and charges another $40 for a pool liner.

Then there's the accessories for the pool. You'll need drop sheets to go underneath and around it - these are pretty cheap from the local hardware. Or you could put down a few sheets of tarp and some old bedsheets over the top(which is what I did last time). You'll also need a pump to pump up the pool. Nothing fancy like those plug in type ones, just a hand or foot pump will do. It doesn't take long to pump the pool up, maybe 15 minutes tops. The pool will need filling, the local hardware should also sell tap connections. We got a little pack that had a whole bunch of different connections and it was fairly easy to connect to our bathroom sink tap, don't forget the hose! I would suggest having a play around with it and make sure you can get it working properly before the actual time comes. We ended up leaving the connection on the tap when we got to 'full term' and then it was just a matter of plugging the hose onto the end when it came time to fill the pool.

Worried about keeping the water warm if you fill it before you're ready to get in? You can buy covers for the pool but hubby worked out a cheaper way. We purchased a couple of shower curtains - the really thick plastic kind. One was enough to cover the entire top of the pool and kept it warm, I hopped into the pool maybe an hour after it had been filled and it was still deliciously warm.

The other plastic shower curtain we used on our bed. First put a nice clean sheet on the bed, then cover with the shower curtain followed by another sheet. That way if the bed seems more inviting to birth on than the pool, you can just pull off the first sheet and shower curtain and have a nice clean sheet to snuggle in bed with your new baby!

Oh and a bucket, to scoop water out before you top it up with more warm water. We only had to do this once in my whole labour.

What else do you need? Towels - lots of old towels. I don't think we went through that many to be honest, but I didn't bleed a hell of a lot after the birth. I went through two or three from the multiple times of getting in and out of the pool to pee. I used a couple folded up on the side of the pool to rest my head on because face it, who wants to rest their face on hot plastic? One for the baby to get dried coming out of the pool(and one for Mama too) and then one for the shower after the placenta was birthed.

I mentioned sheets already - to cover tarp, and for the bed. I suggest putting old sheets that you don't mind throwing out if they get too dirty as the top layer.

A bowl - to catch the placenta in. I used an ice cream container and then we just popped a lid on it and put it in the fridge.

A strainer - to scoop out things from the water...yeah I won't go into detail about that one. We never had to use it.

Baby gear - a nappy, beanie, clothes, bunny rugs. We didn't get dressed for some time after the birth. We had lots of blissful skin to skin time with a bunny rug over baby and then our quilt over all of us. He didn't even have a nappy on - and no he didn't wee or poo all over the place.

Plastic bags/garbage bags - For cleaning up afterwards.

A torch - Some midwives ask you to provide one. I guess it's to see what's happening. I forgot about it and we didn't need one anyway.

Your CAMERA - VERY important if you want photos. We had ours nearby on the bedside table and our midwife grabbed it and snapped away :)

Candles, oil burner, radio and anything else that you may want to use for relaxation. It's your home and your birth. Anything goes.

T-shirt, underwear and pads - For you. Having them close by for after the birth means that your midwife can easily grab them for you while you and your partner and falling in love with your baby!

Another tip is to make sure you have you kitchen stocked weeks in advance. Have some meals prepared and frozen so that it's simply a matter of heating and eating. Be well stocked with bread and milk and coffee. If you have a marathon labour, your midwife will need refreshments too!

Have some spare pillows and blankets around too because if you do labour for a long time, your midwife and support people might need a bit of shut eye on the couch at some point.

Anyway, I would suggest keeping all your bits and pieces in a box. That way your support person isn't scrambling around the house looking for bowls or towels. And if they are busy tending to you, the midwife can easily find things that she needs.

** And just so you know, we did manage to squeeze everything back into the car to make the trip home, it was an extremely tight squeeze though. At times I couldn't see some of my children in the back due to pillows and things rolling around! **

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