Sunday, February 8, 2009

Prepping for a Homebirth

I get a lot of questions from friends about our homebirth, and I make an effort to address at least some of them here. If nothing else, for posterity's sake. Several of my friends have asked me questions about what we buy and what our midwife provides us to prep for the homebirth. So I'm going to address that here, after I give a little rundown off our last appointment.

I'm 35 weeks now, and yesterday we met with my MW and her apprentice again. The normal stuff (blood pressure, weight gain, baby's heartrate, pee strip) was checked and just fine. She measured me and I am about 1-2 cm ahead again, which has been consistent all pregnancy. She felt baby's body, and little (big?) Andre is head down. She said Andre does not feel exceptionally big, but again she won't be surprised if he/she is a long baby.

We talked about circumcision should Andre be a boy, and she discussed some of the pros and cons, and provided us with a referral to a Mohel. We decided that if we do have a boy AND we do circumcize, we will go this route as we're more comfortable having the procedure done by someone who specializes in it than by a pediatrician who may or may not be so skilled.

We also discussed the placenta. A lot of people have asked me what we will do with it. Many homebirthers consume their placenta (placentas are packed with nutrients and believed to be the #1 most effective means of preventing post partum depression), but this is not in the cards for me. I mean, crap, I won't even eat steak so can you see me eating my own placenta? Lots of homebirthers also have their placenta freeze-dried and made into a powder, which can then go into a capsule to be taken after birth. We don't plan on doing that either. She suggested either burying it under a plant in our yard (or, perhaps, the yards of one of the grandparents) or providing a gallon storage bag to put it in, and she will dispose of it. For those wondering...yes...this means it goes in the big black dumpster on the curb for trash pick up day.

I have the option (just as any pregnant woman in AZ does, though many errantly believe they don't have a choice) to decide whether we get the Vitamin K shot for baby after he/she is born (my MW also suggests looking into the all natural VitK drops, since the synthetic shot may or may not be best for us) as well as whether to get the antibiotic eye ointment. If you're a pregnant woman who wants more info on these 'standard' procedures (as they still are in most of the USA anyhow), I'd suggest you talk to your OB or MW about them, and do some independent research to decide what's best for your baby and your family.

She talked about our home visit, which happens next time, at 37 weeks. She does this visit in part so she can be sure she's able to find our house when it's labor time. She also does it so she can check the conditions of the house and be sure it's a safe place to birth. We joked we'd hide our AK47s and porn for her visit. (And, silently, I started wondering if it's possible I only have 2 weeks left to get this house clean enough that I'm ready for her to come see it AND for me to birth here). So the countdown's on and I'm going to have to spend some time getting this place in order and ready over the next 2 weeks. Anyone have a good housecleaner? ;)

Last, she provided us with our birth kit. This much anticipated kit has many of the items we'll need for the labor and delivery. In addition to it, we have a list of items we're responsible for providing. Chief among the things we had to provide is the birthing tub. We actually bought this off some friends who'd planned to use it for their birth and ended up not doing so. Just to test it out, Darrick opened the box and set it up the other day. As you can see, Luca thinks it's pretty cool.

We also need to provide things like sheets and towels (we'll probably get some cheap ones so we don't mind throwing them away if they get ruined), food and drinks for us, clothes for baby and me (I found a fabulous soft robe for $3.74 at Target, which should be wonderful for when I get out of the tub), bowls for water, washcloths, receiving blankets, and a few other miscellaneous items.

The kit she provided us with contains the other essentials, which I took some pictures of to show here (you're welcome, Elizabeth and Sarah).

First, an herbal tea which is steeped and used in a post-partum bath to relax mom and help her heal:

That can also be added to every new mom's BFF, the peri bottle. If you've never seen or used a peri bottle, it's simply a bottle used by a new mom to keep herself clean when she is recovering from birth. If you need to ask WHERE the water goes, consider yourself lucky that you don't know and consult Google. Also shown in this picture is a pair of oh-so-sexy mesh undies (I realize they look like a square of fabric, not undies, but trust me here). Every woman who's pregnant with her first is all, "Ew. Mesh? Undies? You're kidding, right?", and every woman who's ever been on the other side and enjoyed the miracle that IS mesh undies is all, "Oooooooh! Mesh undies!! Can I wear them ALL the time?":

For mom during labor, there are bendy drinking straws included. I hear these are like slices of heaven, since homebirth moms are encouraged to drink to thirst (Gatorade was on my list of to-purchase items), and having a staw can make that easier.

For after the baby's born, we have glamorous post-partum pads (9 months of no period HAS to be made up for sometime), an umbilical clamp, and a t-shirt and hat (oh my GOSH how tiny and cute and perfect and utterly drooooolable is that hat?!?!?!). I folded the shirt so you can't see the name of my MW's practice, just because I didn't ask her ok to include it here.

The kit also comes with a tape measure, regular chux pads and one large chux pad (again, if you don't know, consider yourself lucky), lots and lots of gloves for the midwife, a gauze pad, some alcohol swabs, a surgical scrub brush for the MW to use to clean her hands and arms, a nasal aspirator bulb, and giant post-partum pads. I didn't include pictures of those items as they aren't really that interesting. But suffice it to say if anyone was planning on bleeding to death at my house anytime in the next 5 or so weeks, I've got enough pads and soakers to prevent a hemmorage.

And speaking of hemmorages, I do get questions sometimes about what emergency supplies my MW brings to the birth. Chief among them, she provides oxygen, pitocin (in case the uterus is not contracting enough on its own post-baby and needs some help doing so...this helps get the placenta out and prevents excessive bleeding), a first aid kit, and many many years of training. We're about 2 minutes from the hospital (I don't exaggerate) should an emergency arise.

And lest anyone think this is some sort of underground, backwoods secret transaction my MW and I are completing, she is required to keep documentation of the labor, delivery, and post-partum recovery just like an OB or a hospital-based midwife would be. Included in the kit was paperwork for my records, information on newborn screenings, a certificate to get baby's footprints, and a form to get baby's birth certificate and social security card.

Oh, and last but not least, since one friend of mine is VERY curious about disposing of things that might be a biohazard in 'the black dumpster at the curb', this bag was in the birth kit, so any biohazards can be properly disposed of.


Elizabeth, not the crazy anon stalker said...

Holy Moses, are you going to have to rent out storage space in order to hide ALL the porn or do you have a neighbor willing to stash some for a couple days?


I can't wait to meet Andre!!!

Tabitha said...

Come on... I can't be the only one who was wondering if there was a biohazard bag!

cupcake monkey said...

Ahhhhh!!!!!! SO so close!!!! I cannot wait until he/she is here!!!

Colleen Broach said...

I know she doesn't have it on the list of things to have.. but you've got to get some antibacterial spray for "down there" after, in case of stitches. It was a saving grace for me. B/C going all natural, afterwards I was in some pain from it.

And wow, Luca looks like she could have a blast in the birthing tub!! hehe.

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh...I can't believe you're so close! Yay! And you're so brave for doing this. I'm way too much of a wuss. Gimme a hospital with drugs, please. :) I think it's awesome that you want to experience it this way. Miss you! Love you!


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