GUEST BLOGGER: The fabulous and oh-so sweet, Emily from Doulas of Cincinnati
You know, birthing your baby at home.
Free from wires, beeping equipment and epidurals.
It’s a thing.
Chances are, if you’re considering it, you’ve done your research. You likely already know that home birth is associated with fewer maternal interventions than planned hospital birth, higher breastfeeding success rates and, in some countries, is even encouraged for low-risk pregnancies.
You probably also know that you’ll be in the very small company of only 1% of United States birthers, so while you might know it’s right for you, it’s not like you can poll your besties for advice on how to avoid blood on the carpet.
Friends, I come bearing gifts: five, to be exact.
Five things this two-time homebirther knows about how to have a kickass, stain-free home birth. No statistics (I trust you can find those on your own), just tried and true methods from your temporary bestie.
1. You need lots of hydrogen peroxide.
Listen, no matter how many layers of chux pads or saran wrap or whatever-your-midwife-has-listed-on-her-list-of-stuff-for-you-to-buy you have lying about, if you end up birthing in a space you weren’t planning (squatting against a wall perhaps); you will likely get blood on the carpet.
Hydrogen peroxide takes it right up. And if it doesn’t, or you run out, call my mom. No blood stain is a match for her Bissell carpet cleaner.
2. Invest in nice, white towels.
For my first home birth, I collected all of the rejected, ratty, threadbare towels from friends and family. I was going to toss them after the birth and didn’t want to waste money. Except in all of the pictures after my baby’s birth, I look like a weird, naked bag lady.
Don’t be a weird, naked bag lady.
Get nice towels. White towels that can be bleached are ideal.
Wash them ahead of time in a gentle detergent (like Tide Free and Clear) so you don’t irritate baby’s brand new, sensitive skin.
3. If you have dogs, figure out something else to do with them ahead of time.
For both of my deliveries, I was certain I would kill my dogs.
One was panting and moaning, the other wagged his tail into the wall of my birthing tub multiple times. They obviously knew something was going on, and their nervous behavior only got worse as labor progressed.
Birth is unpredictable, so make a couple of back up plans.
Can you board them? What if it’s the middle of the night on the weekend? How much do your parents love their grand-dogs? Hopefully enough to roll out of bed at 3am.
I’m pulling for you.
4. Keep quality food on hand.
My victory meal after the birth of my first consisted of two peanut butter and apricot preserves sandwiches on stale hamburger buns. I won’t lie, they tasted better than anything I’d ever eaten, but I most definitely did it differently the second time around. Instead, we kept nutritious quick meals on hand. A big club sandwich, pretzels and hummus and cut fruit was so much more nourishing and filling than any PB&AP.
5. Do whatever you have to do to get a tub.
Rent it, buy it, borrow it, sell one of your kidneys for it… just get the tub.
Listen, hot water is your official best friend in labor. Nothing feels better. And, I don’t know if you know this or not, but unless you have a special tank-less water heater or are a huge hospital, hot water can run out.
A cold shower doesn’t feel nearly as good, trust me.
Instead of buying a new water heater,
buy a tub and solve the hot water problem.
Don’t forget to blow it up beforehand to make sure it works well and has no leaks.
So there you have it, five of my favorite tips for a smooth home birth.
But, as your temporary bestie, I feel compelled to let you in on this little secret: even if all of your plans go awry and you run out of hot water anyway, even if you transfer to the hospital, even if you get a huge blood stain on your carpet that you have to step over for 5 months, your birth will be amazing because you’re there, meeting your sweet baby, for the very first time.
It never gets any better than that.
Jessica Anne Dill