You have had the big home birth talk with your midwife and have decided that today is the day to start on that list of ‘do do’s’ and ‘to get’s’ for the big day. You look down at the list and at the top it says Chocolate biscuits, what do I need those for? We don’t have chocolate biscuits, we have been eating nothing but green stuff, juices, nuts, organic meats, carrots for our eyesight, fibre for the bowels, and that stuff that tastes like rusty nails I am forced to swallow once a day for my iron levels! We have no chocolate biscuits! Now I want chocolate biscuits!
With an entire packet of the best, organic, pure chocolate, gooey biscuits consumed, and the evidence destroyed or at least pushed down beside the sofa in case your partner pops home; you are now ready to take a fresh look at that list! Oh, the biscuits are for the midwives, apparently they like a chocolate treat during your birth. Oh dear I need to go back to the shops, where are my car keys?
Lets start again. And breathe… Here are my midwives ‘Top Tips’ for a home birthing kit:
Firstly, chocolate biscuits are a nice thought but this journey is about you and midwives are great at finding snacks if needed! And as they are like squirrels they generally bring little tubs of goodies with them!
Preferences for birth taped to the front of your notes for all to observe and respect
4-6 towels for mum, 6 small towels for baby
Ice to suck on as Labour can get heated
Affirmations for birth that you prepared earlier
Homeopathic remedies (if using)
Massage or burning oils/aromatherapy e.g. Clary Sage, rose, rosemary, lavender
Date Fruit (See previous Blog)
Baby change mat (for a midwives ‘baby station‘ to be set)
Bucket for sick and sometimes poo! (Yes we all do it, but midwives are skilful in the art of discreet fishing!)
A sieve (see above)
A mirror if you fancy a good peek!
Plenty of home comforts e.g. photos that make you feel all warm and fuzzy
Facial spray (water)
Swim wear or large t-shirt/underwear (for use in the pool)
Birth ball for those early stages
Old duvet/blankets to make a comfy nest
Food and drinks for energy and hydration
Hair ties/clips as hair gets everywhere!
Flannels for wiping brows during the hard work
Hot water bottle or wheat bag
Birth Pool (If planning a water birth - please have a trial run as a flat pool is as useful as an chocolate teapot!)
A charged mobile phone (pack the charger - a flat phone is no phone!)
Babysitter for siblings or your partner if they need extra support
Plastic sheeting - A couple sheets will do, no need for wall to wall covering - believe me, I have seen it all and birth really isn’t that messy!
Hospital Bag for both mum and baby as if its packed you will not need it! Like taking an umbrella on a sunny day
A little pack for Partners; Birth pool instructions, Personal snack pack, note for the neighbours “Please excuse the ’mooing cow’ we are having a baby” (consider a bottle of wine to keep them extra sweet), a little cash, a charged camera/phone, and an App for timing contractions (Yes they have an App for that!), spare car keys as we may need more chocolate biscuits! And lastly a Contraceptive advice leaflet as a hint!
In essence, yes there are a few bits to consider gathering but the things I have mentioned are my top tips that should get you through, whether home birthing on dry land or in water. Stay calm, stay at home, be comfortable, eat, drink and pee freely, stay active, rest when you need it, and keep your midwife updated! This is your time, your journey, your choices, make it the journey of a lifetime surrounded by those who respect and honour you and birth as it should be.
Final words of wisdom, breathe deeply, call your midwife, and keep that pelvis wide and legs open because that’s the only way out!
Now off to the DIY store for you both, you have some goodies to buy!
Mandy P.s If labour happens before your list is complete so be it! All you really need is soap, water and a towel, leave the rest to your body, your baby, and your midwife :)