In most cases, women have an idea whether they’d want to have a baby in the future or not. I even remember myself as a little girl, playing with dolls, swaying them to sleep after a pretend bottle-feeding session and wrapping them up in blankets. Well, this is exactly how I feel towards homebirth, specially now that I am actually in a situation wherein I have to decide which kind of birth I would like to prepare for. I have memory flashbacks of watching birthing videos when we were in gradeschool (in which I found so gross at that time), coming across water birth videos on TV and telling my mom “when I give birth I want to be in water too!” – to think I was only a toddler then – basically just my strong intuition telling me that this is what’s natural. And yet of course, I understand that for some it is not the same since there are lots to consider and more if preparing for a homebirth as if the whole process of pregnancy isn’t enough.
So, for the soon-to-be-mothers…CONGRATULATIONS! 🙂
If you’ve already decided on a homebirth, maybe we can help you plan ahead and not start from scratch like we did. Here’s our list of tips and suggestions to help you prepare for your dream homebirth.
1 Research, research, and research some more.
It is a must to educate yourself about what other kind of births there are, including its pros and cons. As you go through this process, you will be able to learn lots of lessons as well as unlearning old myths and false information, and instead you’ll be able to equip yourself with confidence and knowledge. Aside from reading, it would also help to attend birthing workshop and watch birthing videos.
- If you would like to know which books, articles, workshops, and videos I recommend, you may revisit and click onto my old blog post: “7 Reasons Why We Chose A Home-Water-Full Lotus Birth”
2 Find a Midwife and/or a Doula – FAST!
This one didn’t come easy. At all.
From first to third trimester, we have come to experience the difficulties of finding professional help to support our decision. From the dying “art of natural birth” due to C-section promotion and interventions in the hospitals, there is also the “midwifes” which had been criticised generations after generations hence the low number of practitioners not being able to fill in the demand for their services. Having to discover that midwives are actually knowledgeable about birthing more than a doctor, doctors are trained to do a single type of birth and medical “emergency procedures”. And let’s not forget, the “Doulas” who provides support to a mother before, during and just after birth on a physical, emotional and informational level – Honestly speaking, I haven’t heard of Doulas until I was pregnant. – There are still very few of them and only available in some places.
Aside from all these “naturally” occurring problems, we in particular weren’t sure where to birth initially – both of us are traveling and undecided whether to birth in his country or mine – and so we took our time to think about it and process, it also affected our decision on the birthplace since it must be a major consideration to find a midwife where we will be. We were so close to giving up and very much decided on doing the birth alone. It is not just where we are, but everywhere in the world seem to have the same problems. And so if I may, I’d like to save you this trouble and advise you to literally reach out and find one after reading this…you may read the rest of my tips later.
- For references and recommendations, you may join “Gentle Birth in the Philippines” and find your ideal Doctor, Doula, and/or Midwife.
- Also you may visit “Conscious Birth Manila” for your Doula dreams.
- My adorable midwife’s upcoming workshop that maybe you’d like to attend: “Birthing Workshop with Isa”
3 Make your own Birth Plan.
This may sound easy and unimportant but it’s actually a very important list. This will indicate your preferences and decisions during labor and birth, for you and your baby. You may have prepared yourself as much as you can but if any case there would be an emergency, and you are in the middle of contractions, then this will save your dreams and you may continue concentrating on your birth and baby instead of stressing on your birth wishes. I personally made my birth plan and included important details like your partners name, contact number, nationality, and blood type.
- Here is an amazing free PDF format you can fill up online and download for you natural birth plan by Earth Mama blog: “Earth Mama’s Birth Plan”
4 Make an Emergency & Announcement Contact list.
A vital thing to have, may it be used for emergency situation or simply calling loved ones and family for the announcement of his/her arrival. Again, in moments wherein you most likely don’t want to speak, this will help everyone including house members who are a bit nervous for you. This will give them a little peace of mind. Post it everywhere and maybe give them copies. If you feel proactive, also give them copies of number 3 – your birth plan.
- My contact list includes: midwife info, emergency numbers, and our family info.
5 Make your Birthing Essentials List.
Obviously this list of ours doesn’t look like your regular “hospital bag” checklist, even though we are aware that we may have to pack one for us three (mom, dad, and baby). More over we include homebirth essentials on this list, this included our super basic shopping list, homebirth supplies, and emergency checklist. (As for the medical supplies, we had to collect them one by one, but there are online stores that sell home birth kits for midwife particularly in the US.)
- In case it would help, here’s our list for you to check out:
FOR Home Preparation/Shopping List
- 2 Nursing Bras (use after birth) – w/ 2 breast pads
- 5 Maternity Underwear
- 1 Binder
- 5 Maternity dress
- 1 Breast Pump (just in case of emergency)
- 1 Breast Milk Storage Bag
- Bottle Sterilizer (only if using breastpump)
- 1 Changing mat / 1 Non-slip bath mat
- 2 Baby sling (Ring Sling and Baby Pouch)
- 1 Waterproof mattress cover
- 4 Blankets (including cotton cellular blankets)
- 4 Receiving Blankets
- 5 Newborn night gowns (for use until the cord falls off)
- 8 Sleep suits (long-sleeves) *With zippers are recommended
- 8 Onesies (short-sleeves)
- 8 Wrap-over vests
- 8 Pairs pants
- 1 Sun hat
- 6 Newborn soft cotton hats
- 2 Cardigans
- 12 Pairs socks
- 12 Pairs scratch mitts
- 1 Jacket/pram suit
- 7 Daywear outfits (optional)
- 2 Swaddling blanket
- 2 Dozen Muslin squares
- 14 Bibs (optional)
- Reusable Nappies:
- 12 Shells (2 newborn)
- 18 Organic Bamboo Cotton Soaker Pads
- 2 Pack Baby wipes (Make natural DIY version)
- 4 Baby sponge & face cloths
- 1 Baby toothbrush and toothpaste
- 1 Baby nail scissors
- 1 Baby hairbrush and comb
- 1 Set of Organic Essential Oils (DoTERRA – Every Oil Kit)
- Oils (VCO and Almond Oil)
- 1 Baby Car seat (where law requires it)
FOR Home Water Birth – Full Lotus
- Birth Pool
- Birth Ball
- Yoga Mat
- Hanging Ring for squats
- Plastic sheet for bed
- Placenta container (basket or cooler with Muslin squares) – w/ Isa
- Salt for placenta
- Bucket (for emergency and puking)
- Fishing net/Large sifter for poop (just in case)
- Plastic/Garbage Bag for dirty linens
- Hot water bottle and Hot Compress Bag
- 3 Face cloths for compression
- Bendy Straw
- Ice Condoms (make with Isa)
- Coconut Oil for base massage
- Baby towel for cover up on pool (orange from Isa)
- My Bath robe for in and out of the pool
- 3 Old towels
- Toilet paper and Wet wipes
- Mirror (just in case for crowning)
- Small pouch of extra Hair ties
- Extra tea light candles
- My DIY candle holders
- Labor and Birth EO: Lavender, Frankincense, Helichrysum (Geranium), Peppermint, Myrrh, Clary Sage
- Essential Oil Diffuser
- FOOD: fruits (dates), nuts, oatmeal cookies, coconut juice, pineapple juice, (sweet potato) kamote tops juice, coco popsicles, dark chocolate, honey, yogurt, toast
- MEDICAL SUPPLY:
- Sterile Gloves (3sizes)
- Cotton Balls
- Measuring tape
- Thermometer – digital one
- Blood pressure device with stethoscope
- Emergency Pitocin (inside the refrigerator)
- Small oxygen bottle
- PH tester (small strips can be bought in pharmacy)
- Adult diaper (2-3pcs) and Maternity Pads
- Perfusion (2times 1 NaCl for example) – Natrium Chloride
- 1 bottle of Octenisept (it’s a disinfectant liquid which can be used for mucosa tissue) – Mucous membrane and wound antiseptic
- HOSPITAL BAG:
Emergency checklist (for a 3 day stay in hospital):
- 2 Nursing nightwear
- 2 Nursing bras – w/ 2breast pads
- 1 Pair of Slippers (optional)
- 5 Maternity Underwear
- 3 Adult disposable diaper (@ the birth box)
- 1 Pack Maternity pads (@ the birth box)
- 1 Binder
- 2 Baby Sling
- 1 Boncho (breastfeeding poncho/cover-up)
- 1 Pack Baby wipes (@ the birth box)
- 1 Tissue roll (@ the birth box)
- Mom – comfortable set of clothes for going home (w/ 3 undies)
- 1 Extra Shawl
- 1 Set of Organic Essential Oils (@ the birth box)
- Extra Pillow (optional)
- 4 Receiving Blankets/Swaddle
- 8 Muslin Squares (Lampin)
- 2 Newborn Reusable Nappies SHELL
- 3 One-size-fits-all Reusable Nappies SHELL
- 10 Reusable Organic Bamboo Cloth INSERTS
- 5 Newborn soft cotton hats
- 5 Pairs socks
- 5 Pairs scratch mitts
- 6 Printed jumpsuit clothes (1 with matching bib)
- 3 Newborn pants
- 2 Newborn over-all PJ
- 2 Newborn short sleeve over-all
- 6 Newborn strap-on Long sleeve
- 2 Newborn strap-on Short sleeve
- 1 Pack baby wipes (@ the birth box)
- 2 Baby sponge & face cloth/s (@ the birth box)
- 1 Jacket/pram suit (optional)
- 1 Pack Disposable Newborn Nappies
- 3 Sets of Change of clothes (1)
- 1 Jacket/Sweatshirt
- Mom Dad Baby Toiletries
- My Indigobaby products
- Birthing plan and notes
- Passport and Important Documents
- Coins / money for car park
- Mobile phone & charger
- Drinks and snacks
- IPod / music
- Camera / camcorder
6 Prepare your Birthing space.
Before anything else, I want you to remember that the most important thing is for you to feel safe, relaxed, intimate and empowered. So, remember to check your list and incorporate everything that was meant for the birthing space, once this is done, you may get your space cleaned, label birthing supplies, prepare your snacks.
Here are the few things you can initially prepare for your home birthing space:
- Remove clutter and move furniture
- Water proof your bed and floors – we are using shower curtain for bed and tarpaulin for floor
- Have the house/space cleaned
- Wash everything new from your shopping list – Baby clothes and maternity stuff.
- Get birthing supplies ready
- Prepare what’s necessary for your “kind” of birth: bed/pool/ball/mats/stool/something to hang on to – for squatting.
- Prepare and freeze snacks, ready to be grabbed anytime.
- Put all emergency stuff in one area, ready and packed.
Here is our birthing hut that was made and designed specially for the birth, it is located just on the first floor of our current home.
7 Add your personal touch and favourites.
The best part of all: add your personal touch and favorites! To make it feel homey and relaxing I prepared a few of my favourite things:
- DIY candleholders for a warm glow and intimate lighting – I LOVE candles.
- Got some nice essential oils to diffuse so the birthing hut smells like bliss, plus it is helpful for labor.
- Put a table where we can put memorabilia’s of everything special for Craig and me, like the champagne cork we kept from New Year’s Eve drinking celebration, the same night we knew (but unsure) we were pregnant.
- A playlist for my labor and post-partum.
- Last but not least, I printed a bunch of affirmations to be posted during my labor, as well as laminated signs like “family bonding DND” for post-partum days. This will help you save energy and rest, it will also help others to respect your space during the first 40days you have with your little one. It is crucial for dad, mom, and baby to spend this first few days together undisturbed.
And so you’ve reached the end of the list – It seems like a lot but I’m sure 9months is more than enough, you can just prepare for so much and it is okay. This is our first child so we are cutting ourselves some slack but we do hope that this will help you and your partner achieve your dream homebirth in a calm and loving way.
Time will surely fly knowing how exciting this journey is. Upon meeting our beautiful midwife last week, she checked our baby inside my tummy and he sure is ready! I am still a month away but his back facing my left side of the belly with his head almost tucked in inside my pubic bone, his shoulders and legs already in position for some kicking action to go much lower…we definitely got more excited. And then, last night happened, it was different; I started to feel “practice” contractions (false labor they call it) on my upper belly and didn’t know what it was exactly until I was told today (the morning after) – I had barely slept and felt a heavy burn on my right side where he kicked mostly. It felt like he was making himself as hard as a rock then gradually pushes with his limbs, it hurts. And I swear, I do cherish my pregnancy, specially that I know how lucky I am to have my partner beside me at all times giving me support, love and unlimited massages. But beyond this excitement and anticipation, here comes labor pressures being a few days/weeks away from actual labor. I will do my best to continue spending my days reading, writing, nesting and preparing for the arrival of our little gentle soul. I haven’t gained extra weight aside from the baby weight that is concentrated on my belly area, I look exactly the same except that I now waddle like a duck and look like I’ve swallowed a whole watermelon. haha!!! 🙂 I have been spending just as much time doing chores as I have been relaxing and practicing my birth exercises mentally, physically and spiritually. And yet, I feel like all I do is wait…the anticipation to meet our little feetS is incomparable to anything I have ever wanted and waited for in my life. And i tell you… It’s all worth it in the end, and MORE…