September 7, 2012

Oh, So You're Planning on Birthing at Home?

Yes, yes we are. I say, "we" because I really feel like this is going to be Eduardo and I both birthing this baby. Since we're sticking with the Bradley Method, my hubby is truly my support and coach in this birth. He has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, and I don't want it to be scary for either of us, so we're trying to read Bradley's books and keep an open mind to whatever could come our way come labor day. I don't want Edu to simply be present at the birth as he watches me moan and groan (scream and cry? sleep and be silent? roll and sway? rock and squat?) through the contractions, without any warning as to what's expected, or unexpected, and without any tools to help ye ol' wife birthing their first child. We are both really excited, like little kids in that we're also nervous, for the day we get to put all that we have learned to practice.

I need to be clear on something. This birth is not in our hands. God's plan for our future and our baby's entrance into this world may be completely different than the vision we have. And this is okay with both of us. We trust God fully and know that He is in control of the entire birth, from first contraction to baby's first cry, and it's comforting knowing this to be true. My prayer is that during labor, whether it be the excitement of the first contraction or my water breaking, or the transition period from 7cm to 10cm, I can focus on my Savior and not on myself. I pray that God's Word and presence would completely overwhelm me, more than the sensation of birth itself, or my own "pain" and "suffering" (hey, some ladies have described their births as "painless" - I can dream, can't I?) and that I would be in awe of the miraculous gift of life in my body, ready to greet the world, as well as the complete gift God has blessed woman with to carry a baby as they grow for nine months, and be capable of birthing them.

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a Mighty One who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you by his love;
He will exult over you with loud singing
Zephaniah 3:17

I love the idea of birthing at home, a place we know so well, a relaxed atmosphere that is familiar to us and calming. After posting this I'm hoping to find a handful of bible verses to print and post around our home for inspiration, encouragement and motivation during labor. And now that we're so close to the due date, I can't even imagine birthing in a hospital setting, away from home, in a building with hundreds of other people, in a room we've never been in before, surrounded by machines... I know I wouldn't really care at all where we found ourselves once baby is about to appear, either, although the idea of birthing in a hospital bed sounds so surreal to me. I'm not against hospital births, I know that many women have had wonderful births surrounded by amazing nurses, midwives, and a great doctor. I know there are many facilities that are open to water births and laboring on yoga balls and walking the halls while contractions take place. I simply have loved the prenatal care the midwifes have provided these past 9 months or so, and I find peace knowing that we have the freedom to birth at home with their help.  

When we first mentioned to the midwife that we wanted to birth at home, she gave us a lift of things we should have around the house come labor day. It's a pretty long list, compiled of many items most people have around their house anyway (towels, wash clothes, Ziploc baggies, a flashlight, sanitary pads...etc) and we were also given a website to go to that has customized birthing kits, something we will need to purchase by week 37. 

After looking at the long-ish list, we decided to wait 'till around week 36 to purchase the goods (including the birthing kit from and ended up gathering most items come middle of week 37. It was a little nerve-wracking, knowing that baby could have arrived any moment and we didn't even have a few spare towels to use for the birth, but thankfully no early-baby surprises greeted us, so now we find ourselves with a loft full of birthing supplies and all we can do is watch the clock tick.
We decided to purchase a few new towels at Ikea (weird, we never buy anything from them, huh?) and keep those as "none-birthing goods". We then donated all of our old-er towels to the birth, as well as purchased some cheap wash clothes from Wal-Mart (they sell 'em in bulk, so it was a no-brainer to go there!). We also grabbed a shower-liner to cover and protect our mattress, some hydrogen peroxide for stain removal, and some large bowls. 
The birthing kit was more or less customized by our midwife and ourselves as a team. We looked at her check list and took off a few things we didn't see necessary (New Mother's Balm, expensive Arnica pellets that we later found online for a lot less than the website was offering, sanitary napkins that I already had loads of, etc). But what we did keep on the kit was: gauze, sanitary gloves, unisex briefs, tape measure, umbilical cord clamp, kleenprinter (for finger prints, I s'pose), some lube, light weight underpads (to protect floor?), Poly Paper (to...hold baby in?) and a peri irrigation bottle.

Also, the cotton baby cap came from Baby Shower goods, and of course we had more than a few Q-tips to go around, enough to clean plenty of umbilical cords! We also were told to grab a handful of receiving blankets for getting dirty. I've been watching a lot of home births recently (hey,Youtube, thanks) and have seen the midwives use these on baby the moment they exit mami, rubbing them and wiping them clean - so I was a tiiiny bit hesitant to donate the adorable receiving blankets we had on hand, but 'tis all we had. That's what a washer machine is for, right? Right.

For the floors, we were told to cover wherever I can imagine walking around the house during labor. For us, we decided to labor mainly in the bedroom, while occasional trips to the bathroom in the hallway when I feel like sitting in the warm tub. So Cindie, our CNM, recommended we line the walkway from our bedroom to the bathroom, since it is known that once the water breaks, mama never really stops "leaking" (beautiful, isn't it?) so it's best to cover the carpet unless we want some fun cleaning projects post-birth! For this, my sweet ma and pa donated some large, black garbage bags and old beach towels to the cause. Also on the list was a flashlight (check out that birth canal, midwife o' mine!), some heating pads for blankets if mama gets cold (or if any of us finds ourselves cold, really), ibuprofen, and a few Ziploc bags (hello, placenta's home). I grabbed some feet/hand heating pads from the grandparents-to-be, and hope they'll do the trick since I don't see the need to buy a heating device just for a blanket or three. I also read that you can simply throw the towels in the dryer for a few minutes to heat them up, which seems pretty ideal to me!

So now we wait, with a room full of home birth supplies and a suitcase packed for an emergency trip to the hospital (containing an outfit for me, a baby outfit, some diapers n' wipes just in case, sanitary pads, and a check list of last minute items we would grab like overnight toiletries, the camera, snacks, and cell phones). We also have a handout from the midwife on "When to call for labor!" with their pager numbers, cell phone numbers, and when we should just give the office a quick ring.

When to call for labor/page midwife:
  • Contractions that are hard to talk through, lasting at least one minute, are consistently 5 minutes apart or closer, and have been in this pattern for at least an hour.
  • Leaking of water from the vagina
  • Bright red bleeding that would fill a sanitary napkin (or more)
  • Decreased fetal movement (I should  get at least 2 "wiggly" periods daily. If not, I am to eat something, lie down and count 10 movements in an hour; if unable to get 10 movements, page midwives).
  • During the daytime (between 7am and 9pm), let midwives know if I think I am in early labor, even if my contractions are not regular.
Okay, Monday marks week 39 - am I going to make it? Is baby going to greet us this weekend? Do I have a whole week left of scratching my belly, awkwardly hugging people with a large baby-bump in between us, contractions that last 60 seconds and then disappear for two days, and pouring over other girl's blogs who have already birthed their beautiful bundle of joys, as I ponder what it will be like to hold my own? Only God knows. Let's leave this whole timing thing up to Him. And really, I have no idea how long it will be until I have another lovely pregnant belly, so I need to embrace this awesome body that has transformed since January, and love being pregnant since it's almost over!

G'night, moon. Hello, pillow.


  1. I'm excited for you both!!! :) I'll be praying for all three of you :)

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