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What do I really need to know about a homebirth?

(37 Posts)
voodoomunkee Sun 16-Oct-11 14:47:40

Due to various reasons I am considering a homebirth. Am now nearly 37 weeks pg so time is running out drastically. Midwife is prepared for me saying I want a homebirth so at least that takes out some of the drama. What I would love to know from people is what do I really need to know before I embark on this? Also what do I really need to have prepared? This is my 3rd dc with a large age gap between this one and the previous two so sometimes feel like I am a newbie all over again!


voodoomunkee Sun 16-Oct-11 18:25:34

Nobody? Bump!

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 16-Oct-11 18:29:28

I've had 2 HB with NHS midwives. In some areas they deliver a 'homebirth pack' ahead of time, but round here the MWs just bring what they need (inc G&A) when you call them out.

Things we used - plastic sheeting to protect carpets, covered in towels/old sheets to stop slipping, TENS machine, the bath (although not at same time as TENS...), birth ball, snacks.

LynetteScavo Sun 16-Oct-11 18:34:35

I didn't get a home birth pack.

I did get some shower curtains, but didn't use them...used a duvet instead (I left it to DH to explain that one to the lady at the launderette) I don't think we used any towels.....but I did throw up into a bucket I had handy. I used a birth ball and played some music, and that was it.

Apart form that I kept a hospital bag packed close by, so everything we needed to dress the baby etc was handy.

We also got in some extra nice biscuits for the midwives.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 16-Oct-11 18:50:40

God yes, had forgotten about the bucket!

voodoomunkee Sun 16-Oct-11 18:50:54

OOO no waterbirths/pools then? Nice biccies would be top of my list.... hidden from the dc's of course!

Really helpful ladies, thank you!

So basically buy some cheapie shower curtains and/or a duvet. Check with my mw to see what they would be bringing?

Was it a good experience if you dont mind me asking?

Kayzr Sun 16-Oct-11 18:53:58

I had a homebirth with DS2. I went to the local hardware store and got a couple big blue tarpaulins. Then used old duvet covers and sheets we have.

I loved my homebirth. It was a million times better than my hospital birth and I'm planning another with DC3.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 16-Oct-11 19:02:19

I did think about having a pool but decided against it in the end. I did spend a lot of time in the bath with first baby.

Both births were fine (but don't have a hospital experience to compare it with). Second was much quicker so a bit more 'enjoyable' (if you can use that word about labour?!) in that I felt pretty good afterwards, and was relieved that it had all happened in the early hours whilst first child was asleep usptairs.

Rivenwithoutabingle Sun 16-Oct-11 19:04:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynetteScavo Sun 16-Oct-11 19:05:03

If you want to give birth on your bed, then get a water proof undersheet from dunelm.

I've just remembered the midwife wrapped DD in a towel as soon as she was born, and dried her off.

I sat on one of those pampers square thingies on the sofa afterward. The midwifes did suggest I went to bed, but I had to get DS ready for school. grin

Yes, it was a very, very positive experience.

voodoomunkee Sun 16-Oct-11 19:18:19

Riven I am about 20 mins from the consultant led hospital where they would have to take me. Thats assuming the traffic isn't mad.

NotJustKangaskhan Sun 16-Oct-11 20:11:01

I've had two homebirths (working on the third, I'm 35 weeks). Check with your midwife on what they would bring as it varies greatly - it changed completely between DD1 and DD2 and I was living in the same hospital area. Also discuss when you should call them.

Room prep depends on how quickly you/your partner wants clean up - which isn't really that bad but my husband likes to just wrap it up and throw it away. My husband tapes shower curtains around the floor and puts waterproof covers on the bed. Have old towels, pillows, rags so you can just throw it away.

It terms of the birth itself, whatever you think you need - I tend to have birthing ball, heating pads, snacks, drinks, old pillows, and a bowl/bucket in case of emergency need. Some like to have a music player.

Also have the afterwards supplies on hand where they're easily spotted/remembered - my husband got told off by the midwife last time as he couldn't find any baby hats. The midwives will likely stay for about an hour afterwards to do the paperwork, help you wash up, possibly help clean the room (though neither of mine did this), and make sure you and the baby are fine before leaving.

<waves to voodoo>
This is a useful thread to me as I am attempting my first HB in a few weeks and it will be a home VBAC with an IM.

We have hired a birth pool and blew it up at the weekend, so very pleased with it as it will hopefully be lovely and nice to wallow in it. However, it was a surprise purchase from DP, so I'm more interested in the other posts about nice biscuits, old towels, an old duvet etc. I have sorted a bucket out too as I currently feel sick on a regular basis atm (35 weeks).

On a practical note, what would you do it someone rang the doorbell? Just ignore or put a sign up saying 'no callers'?

voodoomunkee Mon 17-Oct-11 10:49:31

hello Kanga and MrsA!

I have already put a sign up banning coldcallers and charity bags as was that sick of knocks at the door 5 times a day and not being able to open the door for a slew of plastic bags through the door! I reckon I could manage to ignore them if someone did knock!

I like the bits like nice biscuits. Hadnt thought of a duvet and a bucket!

Spirael Mon 17-Oct-11 11:16:15

I had a home water birth last year. smile I hired a solid framed birthing pool, since I was paranoid about cat related punctures for an inflatable one!

For preparation I made sure to have a lot of cheap plastic buckets, which turned out useful for all kinds of things. (I ended up delivering the placenta into one, for example.) Also had a huge pile of old towels scattered around, for drying off/modesty/warmth/etc. I bought some DIY sheeting (the type that is plastic on one side and papery on the other) to cover the carpets.

I packed a birth bag that was by the door and ready to go, in case for some reason I needed to transfer. Luckily I didn't, and DH just raided it after the birth for all the various bits and bobs needed. I bagged and labelled all the different bits for him, as he wasn't sure he could identify between the maternity pads and nappies in a new parent haze... wink

Midwives can administer drugs at a homebirth if a doctor has prescribed them, but they don't carry them. So a few weeks ahead of time, I went to the doctor to have (injectable) pain relief and anti nausea drugs prescribed for me to keep at home in case they were needed. I needed to order them from the pharmacy, as they're controlled drugs, and picked them up a couple of days later.

They just lived in my fridge 'just in case', but in the end I didn't need them and returned them to the pharmacy afterwards. I felt happier during the birth knowing they were there if the pain did get to be too much.

Hope that helps! smile Good luck with your homebirths, I loved mine! To clean up in my own bathroom and snuggle up in my own bed with tiny newborn afterwards was wonderful. DH waited on me hand and foot for all my needs and MW's popped in and out over the coming days to check everything was going ok.

nannyl Mon 17-Oct-11 12:18:52

I had my 1st baby at home 5 weeks ago

I am at least 45mins drive from hospital (though faster by ambulence), and has known id plan a homebirth from before being pg.

I Used natal hypnotherapy (which i highly recommend, see birth srory on natal hypo thread)
I planned a water birth and had my birth pool in a box, i also got some waterproof bed sheets (for the sofa) and had waterprrof sheets on the floor. (birth pool in a box sell a massive non slip sheet that we used)

as it was my natal hypnotherapy caused me to have hardly any pain so i didnt realise how far along i was, when midwife arrived and examined me I was 7cm, 15mins later i was a mummy!

I was so pleased to have put the covers on my sofa, as when my pool wasnt ready i knelt on the sofa and got my knee down the cushion, where my waters broke and moments later baby was born.

im sure the pads in my birth pack would NOT have saved my sofa, but the bedsheet certainly did. Its still nice and cream smile

i got some huggies bed mats which were useful as i laboured in my bedroom in the dark by myself, kneeling on my pillow, i had one on my pillow (in case waters broke) and also in the bed incase they went in bed.

It was magic, i would NEVER choose to go to hospital to give birth, and it was fab to have a wonderful bath in my (clean) bathroom, and sleep in my supercomfy kingsize bed with OH afterwards.
We had our kitchen full of food /snacks etc and after birth i had chocolate brioche (not toast!). There was no mess for me to clear up.
the midiwfes also did things like move moses basket from babies room to our and assemble the stand etc etc, as it was all being kept in there

I always liked the idea of 2 very experienced midwifes, though i actually only had 1 as baby came so fast! Next midwife arrived after birth.
I had all my bags packed ready etc etc, and the midwifes were great at finding my rescue remedy / homeopathic remedies etc.

I felt completely looked after and in great hands.

Then my favourite GP ever came to do babies checks etc, in the comfort of my own bedroom, and my baby took ages to wee, had we been in hospital im sure we would have been asked to stay in because she hadnt wee'd, being at home it was never a problem.

My midwives were fab and followed my birth plan exactly.

I cant recommend home birth enough, go for it smile

voodoomunkee Mon 17-Oct-11 12:34:23

Ah these posts are great, thank you all so much! I am feeling much more level headed about it and have a good idea now of the things that would be useful wine.

Please feel free to add more or to keep the lovely stories coming too!

ShowOfHands Mon 17-Oct-11 12:46:15

You've had lots of lovely, brilliant advice here.

I don't mean for my advice to sound negative at all but worth a mention. Feel free to ignore. It not being your dc1, you'll know all this anyway I suspect. grin

You can't control the labour/delivery you have. And while having the hospital bag packed and routes to hospital memorised etc is really easy, that's just the practical side. You have to leave some headspace and acceptance that it might not work out and you might have to transfer. I thought I'd acknowledged it as a possibility but when I had to transfer I was so unprepared for it mentally that I was quite traumatised. When you've planned all the lovely things that people here are referring to, the stark reality of ambulances and people you don't know joining you when vulnerable and sudden noise and movement can be jarring. I think I'd convinced myself I would have the perfect birth and if I wanted it enough, did enough natal hypnotherapy or planned it enough, it would happen. So it sort of felt like giving in or failing.

Lots of people who've had successful and happy homebirths say 'I'd NEVER choose a hospital' or 'there's no way I'd give birth in hospital' and I understand the sentiment but being so anti-hospital can mean that if it does happen, you've already set it up as the enemy as opposed to the necessary lifesaving place that it might just be.

Chances are you'll have a happy, healthy, straightforward homebirth and I look forward to hearing all about it. But I guess my advice is to keep an open mind.

I had a pool at home (la bassine) and the most useful piece of equipment was definitely the bucket. grin

voodoomunkee Mon 17-Oct-11 13:35:46

Showof, no thats really useful advice as these are things I really want to be able to counter in in my planning too. Even if it is negative, like you say it is important to be prepared! I really appreciate you sharing your experience and it is valuable knowledge to have. Sorry it wasnt all you hoped but I hope that you had a successful and safe birth in the end.

I am definitely not one to believe that things like blue light transfers wont happen to me, much as I would love to believe everything would be perfect!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 17-Oct-11 13:41:33

I'd actually second that SoH, I was lucky and did have a wonderful homebirth with my first baby 3years ago, planning on my second in the next 6-8 weeks, but I completely freaked the more overdue I went at the thought of having to go into hospital after all to be induced, made me realise I definately needed to have the headspace BEFORE labour began to realise I may have to do some or all of it in hospital.

I would ask your midwife what they provide then you know what you need to get. Most areas will provide a homebirth kit but the contents differ. Def get extra old towells/sheets/waterproof stuff in case (I didn't use any of mine, the incopads were sufficient in the end), a hand held lamp/torch is usually requested too.

We didn't get a pool.

Had hospital bag packed and ready in case of transfer and then had everything in one place too.

My second stage was really quick so only had one midwife for the actual birth, afterwards the second midwife took care of DS while the first took care of me (I went into shock so had managed 3rd stage then she cleaned me up and calmed me down). 2nd midwife left after about an hour, 1st midwife stayed another few hours and was back again in the morning. They cleaned everything up and took it all away with them.

It was a wonderful experience, very empowering for DH as well as me. I don't have a hospital birth to compare to either but am very glad I got to labour in my own surroundings and be in my own home rather than a post natal ward afterwards.

I felt utterly safe and in control the whole time, which I think is the most important thing, wherever you give birth.

Iggly Mon 17-Oct-11 13:45:13

I had a transfer after a HB - not blue light though as was for third degree tear and blood loss.

I had prepared for it - had two bags packed, one for me and one for DS plus clothes ready which I could easily get dressed in (eg slip on shoes, comfy trousers and top) - it was all by the door.

In terms of the birth itself - you'll need snacks for you and straws as easier to sip drinks, snacks for, birth partner and the MW (if you're feeling generous), loads of old dark towels, something to protect the carpets etc (although I was told that it would be covered by home insurance), any props (eg music, candles, massage oil etc) and blackout blinds if you fancy the dark (I did).

DH was in charge of any doorbells or phones ringing. Luckily there were none.

Also make sure your car is full of petrol and ready to go - DH had to follow in the car as me, baby and MW in the ambulance. Also have a birth plan which covers other eventualities eg if you do go into hospital (things like third stage, who holds baby first etc can all still be covered - you might not transfer for an emergency!

ShowOfHands Mon 17-Oct-11 13:47:55

Feeling safe and in control is really important and makes the difference, you're right. Because I was unprepared first time round, I felt so out of control after transfer and instead of focussing on meeting my baby I was just lost and frightened.

DD was and is just fine thank you grin, born after a lot of intervention and emcs. It took me a long time to recover emotionally though.

I had ds 6 weeks ago and was still hoping for a homebirth with him. Exactly the same thing happened with him as with dd (turns out my pelvis is twisted and I can't deliver naturally) BUT I was prepared this time. I was able to give over care to the hospital and it was utterly positive. I was cared for, respected and thoroughly enjoyed meeting ds and building a cocoon in the hospital (you can do it). The staff were brilliant and mindful of my previous experience, ds was delivered safely the only way possible and while I would have loved a homebirth, ds's delivery was everything it was possible to be outside of that.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 17-Oct-11 15:00:24

oh - tell your neighbours. I gave birth in the middle of the working day this time but have warned the people in the flats above and below us this time just in case!

octopusinabox Mon 17-Oct-11 17:23:02

If you use a shower curtain make sure it's a waterproof one - lots of them are only water resistant and work fine in the shower but not so good on the floor with fluid on them. You need the very thick plasticy pvc type. We used cheap plastic dust sheets instead as they covered a larger area although there wasn't much mess anyway. The midwives bring some incontenance type bed pads but they aren't that big - I bought some disposable maternity bed mats from boots to use as well and on the bed. A bucket type thing is a good plan just in case as is something to put the placenta in - they asked for a bowl or similar. Also a decent lamp in case of needing stitches so they can see well - might depend on how good your normal lighting is.

ReshapeWhileDamp Mon 17-Oct-11 22:58:13

OP - are your other children still at home? If so, who is going to be looking after them? If you're hoping for your partner to be present, it's an issue. For us, this was the trickiest part of planning a HB. To make matters worse, DS2 arrived in the middle of the white-out snow we got just before last Christmas. My MW (independent) crawled through the ice and snow from two villages away, which took her over an hour (should be less than ten mins). My parents were never going to be able to make it here in time, and even the friend in the next village who we rang in a panic, realising that my parents wouldn't be there to take DS1, only just arrived in time to collect DS1 and free up DH for me. grin

Ideally, you need at least two contingency plans to care for children. Friends, neighbours, relatives, who are really local and can leap into action at short notice. And if you need to transfer, you need a plan for childcare for that eventuality too, if you want your partner present.

Other than that, a cheap shower curtain from Argos, and a cheap duvet underneath it (hard floors!) was our best buy. Candles, soft music hmm, pool - I had it all ready and didn't use any of it. (To be fair, DS2 came out way before we would have been able to fill the pool, which was obvious about 5 mins after it'd been inflated.)

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