Planning a homebirth – the big list

Dot writes: OK, I was going to write a brief witty post about something utterly unconnected with toddlers, babies or birth, in the hope maybe somebody in the ether would want to read it and boost our stats. But then I thought – who cares? This is what’s on my mind. Maybe my mum and our other two regular readers will be interested. But I did make the title a bit google-worthy. It should really be called something like ‘all the stuff I’ve only just thought of and am writing down in a frantic attempt to feel on top of it’.

I’ve been making a list. It’s an amazingly long list. It’s a list of all the stuff we need to organise, buy or do to be ready for that joyous moment when our baby will emerge into the peaceful (ha!) atmosphere of his family home. The question pregnant mothers should ask themselves when contemplating a homebirth is not ‘will my GP be hostile?’ or ‘what about post-partum haemorrhage?’ but ‘can I rely on myself to make, in the mental fog of the ninth month, fool-proof arrangements for the preservation of my landlord’s carpet?’ And, possibly even more vitally, ‘how good is my boiler?’ Because, frankly, I have some doubts about ours. It has already had to be fixed once since we moved (though the problem was the timer rather than the boiler itself). And when one compares the size of the average boiler with the size of the average inflatable birthing pool, it does give one pause.

I contemplated posting the whole list, but as I may have mentioned it’s quite long. So here instead are some edited highlights. I am proud to say we have already dealt with some of them.

Things to do in advance
– get a gadget so the hose for the birthing pool will actually fit onto the kitchen tap. It is designed to fit onto a garden tap, presumably for the benefit of all those women who want to labour in the garden.
– try to keep on top of the cleaning, because you don’t want the midwives to come round and find porridge in the carpet. [Possibly less of a worry for first-time parents. I seem to recall there was a time in our lives when our carpet was marvellously free of porridge.]
– prepare a box of equipment for the labour (e.g. plastic sheeting to protect that wretched carpet, towels, receiving blankets for the new baby, TENS machine) and put it somewhere accessible. Spend a day repeatedly repacking it as your toddler delightedly strews the contents around the floor and decide to put it somewhere inaccessible.
– find out how to use a TENS machine.

Things to do in the event (tasks for husband)
– drop toddler at house of childminder/gullible friend while simultaneously filling birthing pool, soothing wife, fitting bed with waterproof mattress protector and making sure midwives know where to find the teabags.

Things to do in the event (tasks for self)
– become hopelessly entangled in TENS machine.

Things to buy
– present for older child that cannot be use for experimental bashing of new baby (surprisingly hard to think of one)
– snacks for midwives (because you don’t want someone shaky from low blood sugar stitching up your perineum, do you?)
– new dressing gown, because you’re worth it.


4 thoughts on “Planning a homebirth – the big list

  1. Dot

    A TENS machine looks like an oversized iPod with a number of wires ending in gauze pads coming out of it. You attach the pads to bits of your anatomy and it delivers small electrical impulses which are supposed to help with the pain of contractions. I’ve never heard anyone say it was much good, but I’ve been given one so I might as well find out how it works. I suspect it may not mix well with water, though…

    You’re right to remind me about the sugar, Juliet. Midwives are quite likely to want sugary tea. But I’ve got in a supply of biscuits and cereal bars for snacking as well – not very healthy, but good in a pinch and non-perishable.

  2. So long as you’re not tempted to have munch on them between now and then – I know I would, but then I am weak and you’ve always seemed rather stronger!!!

    The TENS machine sounds fab. Does it go “ping”?

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