Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Home Birth Essentials, Part 1

I mentioned yesterday that we are planning to give birth at home.

I've been thinking about how to prepare my house and myself for labor. I've already pinned down a few things that I believe will help to have ready during labor.

1) Non-scented Candles

From what I have heard, women's senses are pretty heightened when they are laboring. I plan on stocking up on non-scented candles so I can get the candle-lit vibe without the smells.

Candles are relaxing, calming, and can be a great focus point. Women usually need to have a focus spot and a dancing flame might be a great visual while getting through tough contractions.

We have a fireplace in our master bedroom, which Bryan will never light it. Our master is not that mastery, so it would get very hot, very fast. Right now there is an gas insert that he plans to take out. I figured by taking it out before the baby comes, I can fill it with candles so if I happen to be laboring in our bedroom I can enjoy the fireplace lit up with candles.

A candle tray is a great way to incorporate candles into home decor, I especially love the rock layer for that earthy touch. I plan to clean off our coffee table in the living room and stack it with a tray like this, so that if I'm laboring in there, I'll have that calming presence.

Ask Bryan and he'll tell you that I already have tealights everywhere in our house. I love the twinkling light that tealights provide. I already have a ton of unscented candles, so I plan to use those. We get a good 4-5 hours per candle, so I plan to have my Mom or my mother-in-law to be on candle duty.

We have a few shelves that have been waiting to go up. I plan to keep them bare so that I can load them up with tealights and candles.

2) Music

What is awesome about having a home birth is that what you listen to and how loud you listen to it is completely at your discretion. I plan to have my iPod filled with different playlists ranging from serene background music to heavier rap music. Sometimes when I listen to rap music, I feel like a badass. That can't be a bad feeling during labor right?

Wouldn't it be hilarious if Shepherd was born and Eminem was doing his thang on the radio? Hardcore for life!

3) Clothing

From what I see and hear, women in labor go from the comfy, yoga pants and t-shirt, to some sort of freeing, shorter dress type contraption to nothing at all when they labor at home. I plan to have multiple outfits that are ready to go so I can change when I need to. Here are a few outfits I'm planning to gather:

Two sets of cozy clothes
-Normal yoga pants, t-shirt and light sweater, socks and slippers.
-Oversized, loose fit, lightweight cotton pants, cami, light sweater, socks and slippers.

Three lightweight dresses

-Maternity maxi dress - something flowy, appropriate for visitors and does not require a bra.

-Maternity Sleepwear - A few mid-thigh to knee length dresses will be good to have on hand. You can easily be checked and are free to move in any position you feel necessary but everything important is completely covered.

-Maternity Hospital Gown - I think having a hospital gown at your disposal is great. If there is ever an idea that we would need to transfer, I would easily be able to slip this on and be ready to go at the hospital. It's easy to remove and even if we don't transfer, is a great gown to labor and possibly give birth in.

Nursing bras and tanks
I plan to have a few nursing sports bras at my disposal so that if I decide to get into the birthing tub, I can wear a sports bra, get it wet and not worry about it. 

Nursing tanks are great to have around because they are comfortable and if you are wearing one when the baby makes his grand entrance, its easy to pull down to get him latched immediately.

I already have a silky robe and a short bath robe. I plan to have those and maybe another bath robe available to me so that I can pull them on after a shower or being in the birthing pool.

This may seem like a lot, but considering that a woman can be laboring for DAYS, having options ready to go is a good idea. I like the idea of knowing that at any moment I can change my clothes to fit where I'm at in the moment.

4) Food

Another pro of a home birth is that I'm in control of my water and food consumption. If I'm hungry, I'm gonna eat. I plan to be stocked up on bottles of water and maybe even some ginger ale. I plan to keep hydrated throughout the labor.

I plan to have a snack tray that I can go to any time, that is portable and can follow me around, and that can easily be restocked. I plan to have cucumbers, carrots, assorted fruits, nuts, cheeses and crackers. I also plan to have jello, plain veggie soup, juices and popsicles.

Obviously, my husband is going to need to eat real food while I'm laboring, so we will have to come up with a few options that won't make his breath stink.

5) Clear Instructions for Family

It's important that family members know what the expectations are for a home birth. It is difficult because in a hospital setting, they can wait in the waiting room and then come visit once Mom and baby are settled. We are already thinking of our family members and devising a plan to keep them close, but not up-in-our-grill. More on that later.

What I am learning is that there is a lot more prep for a home birth than there is for a hospital birth, but the freedom you have in your surroundings is definitely worth the extra work now!

Stay tuned for part 2!


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