Thursday, January 28, 2010

What do you need for a homebirth??

A lot of the things are on a list my midwife gave me but some of them are from the homebirth board. There is an amazing list of things that people had wished they'd known before they had their homebirth. Some of the things are like, "I wish I would have known that I wouldn't want so many people around during labor," "I wish I would have known I would want to drink lots of juice- all we had in the fridge was water!" and things like that.

So, a few things on the list from the midwife:
  • New water potable hose with correct fittings (for filling up the birth tub)
  • Tarp/ plastic to go under the birth pool
  • Old bathroom mats/ towels to go around the pool and soak up the water that splashes out
  • Plastic sheet/ cover for bed mattress (in case water breaks in bed or I end up wanting to labor/ give birth there)
  • Several sets of cheap sheets for our bed (so we don't care if they get ruined)
  • Turn the water heater up as soon as labor starts so there is plenty of hot water for the tub.
  • Emergency numbers, fastest route to the hospital and a full tank of gas in case of a transfer.
  • Extra towels and a robe or two
  • 10-12 washcloths for cold/ hot compresses
  • Ginger- peeled, sliced and kept in freezer until the birth (for hot compresses)
  • A crockpot (to keep the compress mixture warm)
  • Cold pressed oil for massage
  • Lots of ice and frozen juice chips in the freezer
  • Witch hazel
  • Hydrogen peroxide (gets out blood)
  • Bendy straws to make drinking water/ juice/ whatever easier
  • Easily digestible snacks for me; healthy, quick snacks for the midwives/ Dave
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
Supplies from the thread on
  • A hospital bag packed in case we need to transfer with everything for me, Dave and baby for a hospital stay
  • Coconut water- works better than Gatorade as an electrolyte replacer and is natural (no added sugars), it can be ordered online but a local grocery store here has it in the natural foods section.
  • A yoga ball (already have one!)
  • Plastic covers for pillows (some people said they just used garbage bags under their pillow cases.
  • Soup or casserole that can go in the oven or on the stove just after the birth for something healthy and filling for everyone to eat.
  • Orange juice for after the birth (everyone agreed that it was just what they wanted to drink)
  • Goldenseal powder for the umbilical cord stump
  • Small waterproof mattress pad to protect mattress after the birth is over
Advice from the thread on

  • Separate birth supplies into two tubs: One for during bith and one for after.
  • Cover the clocks so you don't know how long you've been laboring
  • If you start labor at night, try to sleep as long as you can so you are rested when labor really kicks in.
  • Turn your cell phones on silent but make sure they are charged and close by in case of emergency.
  • Put a note on the door that you are not to be disturbed for any reason!
  • Warn the neighbors (we live in a duplex so we really need to do this) that there may be lots of noise but that we are all okay!
  • Write out a list of things to do if labor isn't progressing well: Massage, different positions to try, etc.
  • Make sure that your husband knows that he MUST enforce anything you say in labor- apparently, it's hard to say things while in the throes of labor so anything that is said must be taken seriously the first time!
  • Put an air mattress in the area you plan on birthing (this for us is upstairs in our living/ dining area). They are a soft place to labor, easier to clean up than a mattress, and can be tossed out if gets too messy.
  • Lots of extra batteries for your camera and an extra memory card (ours will hold over 2000 pictures so I'm not too worried about having an extra one)
  • Set visiting hours for after the birth so you don't get worn out and don't be afraid to kick people out if they stay too long!
  • Require that visitors help out by doing dishes, laundry or folding clothes.
  • Keep the fridge stocked since you never know when you will go into labor!
  • Energy bars and snacks with protein and fats- helps with milk production.
  • Remember to turn the hot water heater back down before doing laundry on hot or running the dishwasher as the super hot water can ruin the machines!

So, we have all the supplies now. The pool is partially blown up and leaning against our dining room wall. We have the correct attachment for our kitchen sink attached (which was a pain to find, by the way!) Everything we'll need right away- the tarp for the floor, the hose, liner for the pool and some towels are in a container. The rest of the birth supplies are in another tote underneath that one.

We've been trying to stay stocked with food. We need to run to the store tonight because we're getting close to running out of some things. We are SO looking forward to this little guy deciding it's time to come! He and I are both still doing well. I think he just likes it in there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some musings on being pregnant...

So many people ask me how I am doing these days. If I say, "Good" or "Fine," they give me this sympathetic look and then ask if I'm ready to done being pregnant. I just say, "No, I want him to be in there for as long as he needs to be."

Really, I have liked being pregnant. There are things that are no picnic: Heartburn, stretch marks, constant hunger, food aversions/ cravings, etc. I've had a super easy pregnancy compared to some people. I'm extremely grateful that I haven't been sick, haven't had any miscarriage scares, haven't had to have all sorts of tests done or anything like that.

I love knowing that my son is safe, warm and as close to me as he'll ever be. I love feeling him move around and trying to guess if it's a foot, knee, elbow or hand that's trying to escape.

I've loved planning my birth: All the research and gathering of supplies and tips on how to make it the best birth possible. I love knowing that the decisions I have made are based on research and common sense rather than fear and things I've seen on TV. I've loved collecting a stash of cloth diapers to use, I've loved knitting him wool pants to go over the diapers, I've loved crocheting him sweaters and hats. I've loved going through tiny clothes and imagining how cute they will be on his tiny little body.

My goal is to be content the entire time I'm pregnant. I don't want to get to one day after my "due date" and suddenly start wishing he'd hurry up and get here. I know I won't be pregnant forever. I know he will be arrive and be the sweetest little boy in the world, there is no reason for me to stress about when he arrives.

I wish that people didn't put so much emphasis on baby's arrival. I know it's going to be a HUGE event, an amazing day and we are going to remember it forever. But, pregnancy is a very short period of time, compared to how long you'll be a parent, so why does everyone rush it? And, it's not even the pregnant people themselves who rush it, it's everyone around them. The constant questions about when baby will arrive/ when's the due date. I tell most people the end of March. The actual date doesn't matter because it's an estimate! He may need another week or even two in there for his lungs to be fully developed. And that is fine with me. I'm not going to start trying "natural" induction methods at 39 weeks. And yes, it may mean that I have to be super uncomfortable for two weeks. Oh well! I believe that what is best for my baby is him choosing his own birth date.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on that!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

32 week picture and appointment update

This is me in Boise with some funny looking boots. The white part of them is all fur.

Anyway, my 32 week appoitnment was awesome. My blood pressure was a little high the past few appointments and it's gone back down. We're attributing it to extra water, exercise and prayer! Also, I'm well hydrated as well. We've had some issues with that in the past. Apparently I'm one of those I'm-too-cool-for-64-ounces-of-water-to-keep-me-hydrated types... so, I aim for just over 70 ounces a day. I think it's probably because my work keeps the office at 74 degrees- WHO NEEDS TO BE THAT HOT??? We keep our house just above 60 when we are home, 55 at night and when we are out.

Baby boy was being difficult again so she couldn't get his heart rate. He is head down though. He was hiding behind the placenta and kept moving away from the fetascope. But, with all the moving he's been doing, I'm not too worried about not having a heart rate at this point. He's obvisouly healthy since he spends so much time exploring my ribs with his toes.

I ordered my birth kit this morning! Woo hoo! It was just under $70 and includes all sorts of little things that I could get locally, but would probably take me forever to track down. So, it's way easier to just order it all at once. We, of course, need to make sure we have lots of towels and wash cloths on hand (bought a bunch on clearance already) along with a few other things like snacks for me and for the midwives.

So, I only have one more appointment until the big 36 week one! After 36 weeks I'll be able to deliver at home if I go into labor. Also, at this appointment, both my primary midwife (who I've been meeting with at my house since the beginning) and her backup will come. We'll have all the birth supplies ready to go and we'll show them where they will be kept. Also, we will show them where the bathroom is, where things are in the kitchen, etc. Not that our house is very big... Dave will be at that appointment- the first one he'll have been at since the very first! Well, and the doctor's appointment/ ultrasound- but I don't really count that as a real prenatal appointment.

Yikes... the more I think about what we have to do before then, the more I realize there is to do! We'll also be installing the carseats at 36 weeks. The convertible one will go in the truck and the infant seat will go in the car. That way, if we do need to transfer to the hospital, we can take either vehicle.

OK, I'm going to stop thinking about all the things we have to do before then since I'm at work (working hard obviously) and can't do anything to prepare at the moment!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Awesome information about baby wearing

I came across a very interesting article on baby wearing. I can't believe that most newborns are only held an average of 2 and a half hours a day! Dave and I plan to carry baby boy all the time.

You very rarely see infants outside of carseats these days it seems. Dave and I have developed some sort of radar for babies these days. We see them everywhere, but very rarely are they being held.

"Research by the International Chirorpractic Pediatric Association shows that car seats are not the ideal transport for your infant due to restricted postural options which can impact your baby's developing cranium and spine," the article says.

This is the reason we skipped getting the infant car seat (though we will have one that my sister gave us from her baby, it will go in the car so we don't have to move the seat back and forth from the truck all the time.) I know people say they don't want to wake a sleeping baby, but if baby boy is sleeping, I'll take him out, snuggle him into his carrier and hopefully he'll fall back asleep. This is also the reason we are not getting a stroller that can be used for infants. While he's small enough to be easily carried, he will be. Whether we are walking along the river, running errands or even out of town at a mall, he'll be in a carrier or directly in our arms.

Now, not all baby wearing carriers are created equal. The most common carrier I've seen is the Baby Bjorn, which is NOT a good carrier for long term. It causes baby to hang by their pelvis and does not support the baby in a sitting position. There are several structured carriers that do this: Ergo, Scootababy, Boba, Pikkolo, Patatum. We would like to get an Ergo, though I'd prefer to find it used since they are kind of spendy. Otherwise, I will be using wrap-style carriers: Like the Sleepy Wrap, Moby and woven wraps. More than likely, I'll just make the ones I use and vary the fabrics depending on season.

There is a lot of good information in that article. And yes, it's on a baby wearing web site so I'm sure there is a bias, but really, where else would you expect to find information like that? On the let's-all-carry-our-baby-without-ever-touching-them web site?

The portion of the article that talks about why pediatricians don't recommend baby wearing it references a Dr. Watson who, in 1928, said babies would be spoiled if you held them, responded to their crying, kissed, cuddled or rocked them. BABIES CAN'T BE SPOILED! Toddlers can and children can, but they can never be spoiled from too much cuddling or from providing for their needs. He recommended that babies be left alone so they would become independent.

Seriously... what idiot believes that a baby, after being rocked, warm, fed and safe inside the womb for nine months should be able to lay on its back without any human touch and be happy? I would say that witholding affection from a child is emotional abuse and willl not create an independent child.

Apparently this is another hot button issue for me. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Declaring over our pregnancy and birth

Dave and I have been declaring positive things and blessings over this pregnancy and birth since we found out we were pregnant. We've prayed for our safety and health as well as this child's safety and health from the beginning. When fears or worries would creep into my mind, we would pray against those thoughts.

A friend of mine recently loaned me a book called Supernatural Childbirth. Lo and behold, we were doing many of the things suggested in the book already. But, it was a reminder that we should declare those things every day, rather than just when I am stressed about them.

So, I wrote out a few things that are very important to me for the rest of this pregnancy, the labor and our baby. Here are a few of the main things:

I declare a complication free pregnancy for the next two months- normal blood pressure levels, no infections and no more heartburn.
I declare a complication free labor and delivery- baby in the correct position, that my water won't break until the end, that I would not lose an excessive amount of blood.
I declare that we will have a healthy baby- he will breathe with no problems, he will latch on and breastfeed within the first few hours and will be healthy and happy.

Yes, it may sound strange and I know that you can't plan a birth. But, being positive about the future has never hurt anyone. And I believe that God can and will bless my family.

Also, here's my most recent belly shot. 31 weeks!

Right now he's kind of sideways and facing my spine. So, if you could see inside my uterus, you would be looking directly at his butt, which he likes to stick out as far as he can. He's been moving during the day lately, which was unusual before. Today he kicked a lot during church while daddy was preaching.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My blood pressure problems...

So, I don't really have high blood pressure problems. It was a little higher during a couple appointments but that was because I was dehydrated. Now that I've been drinking enough water, my blood pressure is fine.

But, my blood pressure tends to rise when I talk about maternity care in the U.S. and birth and parenting decisions based on misinformation. I've learned during this pregnancy that people seem to think that a pregnant belly (or a babe in arms, I've heard) is an open invitation to tell you what you should or should not be doing/ saying/ feeling/ thinking.

This is the reason that Dave and I have kept a lot of our decisions to ourselves. Most of my friends and family don't know that we are planning a natural birth at home in a birth pool, we will not have the Vitamin K or Hep. B shots at birth, and we won't put the eye ointment on our son. He also will not be circumcised. We plan to have baby sleep in our room, I will breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, we will cloth diaper from the beginning, we will have vaccinations given on a delayed schedule, we will carry our baby in carriers or our arms rather than carry him in the carseat and we will do baby led weaning. Every single one of these decisions is based on research. None of these are based solely on what a doctor or midwife has told me we should do.

The funny thing is, I would never walk up to a pregnant woman who plans on a hospital birth with an epidural and tell her that she is making the wrong choice for her and her baby. I would never tell her horror stories about hospital births (even though I know of MANY), I would never say she was endangering her child's life by choosing a hospital birth. And yet, if I tell someone that I am planning a home birth with a midwife, they feel like it's their place to tell me that it's unsafe, that they knew of a friend of a friend of a friend whose baby died because they were at home, that I am some sort of whackadoo hippy who isn't getting proper prenatal care, etc.

I also wouldn't tell someone that putting their baby in a different room to sleep is cruel. I don't think it's right that parents allow their babies to cry themselves to sleep, but I'm not walking around telling anyone who reads the book Babywise that they are teaching their children to not trust them. But, if I tell someone we plan on cosleeping, I get told my child is going to be spoiled, he'll sleep with us forever, he won't learn to self soothe...

See the problems here? Other expectant moms are able to talk excitedly to anyone and everyone about their birth plans- how they will be getting their membranes stripped a week early, how they'll have a Pitocin drip and then they'll get an epidural when the contractions become too difficult (which, with an induction, can happen very quickly). Or a woman can say that her doctor told her the baby is going to be too big to fit through her pelvis based on an ultrasound, so they scheduled a c-section two weeks early. I can't give my opinion on any of those things because the person would be extremely offended that I would dare question the choices they've made for their birth.

Yet I feel that I can't talk about home birth, natural labor and delivery, delayed cord cutting and spending the first two hours after birth holding my son skin to skin.

Because my choices are not mainstream, I'm apparently fair game for all judgment, ridicule and doubt. This causes my blood pressure to go up!

But you know what? I'm not going to hide my choices anymore. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that what Dave and I have decided to do is best for us and is best for our son. Everyone is allowed to make their own choices based on their research. So, if anyone has problems with my decisions, they are welcome to do the same research I've been doing. If they come up with a different decision - fine, they can go have a baby however they want.

Woo! See, I tend to go off on these topics. It's a good thing I didn't have an appointment today, otherwise my blood pressure would have been up again! But, really, I feel like most women don't even realize they have a choice in their births. They don't know that there are options out there for them. And, if I keep what I have discovered to myself, then it's possible they'll never hear about it. So, maybe, if I share my choices and deal with the doubt and ridicule from most people, maybe one woman will realize that she does have a say over what happens to her body and her baby during birth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

30 weeks and some days survey

How far along: 30 weeks, 3 days

Total weight gain: Still an unknown. I prefer not knowing anyway though I've grown out of a pair of maternity pants, so I know I'm getting bigger!

Maternity clothes: Almost everything.

Sleep: Not too bad. I wake up several times a night to roll over or go to the bathroom. Thankfully I haven't had too many problems getting back to sleep.

Best moment this week: I actually felt his little foot. He was pushing against my side and I could tell where his heel and toes were! So tiny!

Movement: Lots of it! He really rocks around in there.

Food cravings: None really, though I have been eating more lately. Pretty much everything sounds good these days.

Gender: Boy

Labor signs: Definitely none.

Belly button in or out: Still in though much shallower still.

What I miss: Being able to get up quickly.

What I'm looking forward to: Having appointments every two weeks, beginning to really plan for the birth.

Weekly wisdom: Pregnancy makes everyone else super weird. I've had people make the dumbest comments to me. Just because my belly sticks out does not mean you have the right to know what is going on with my body!

Milestones: Baby's lungs are developing more and more and he's getting fatter!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What I've been reading...

I thought I'd post a few of the web sites and books I've been reading to prepare for having this baby.

Our favorite site has been It has short videos (actual videos inside the womb) of baby's development. It was so amazing to watch those early ones and see what had formed that week. Now that baby is bigger, we check it every once in awhile to see when baby is supposed to be able to see light (which he can now!) and when his lungs are getting more mature. They have a lot of 4D ultrasounds of babies. It's amazing how much they move around in there!

My personal favorite site has been I did subscribe recently because I was able to get a free book out of it. I love the articles because they actually encourage parents to follow their instincts rather than just listen to a doctor. I lurk on the boards there as well- so much wonderful, personal experience on those!

I also like Though I checked it out again recently and it's changed a lot. I don't visit it much any more, but there is lots of good information on it.

Another great one is Tons of information about cloth diapers and how to care for them!

On to the books I've been reading. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is a wonderful book that I am SO glad I bought. It's so empowering to be reminded that women's bodies are supposed to be able to do this! There are some great birth stories in there (also some that are a little weird.) Gaskin has been a midwife for years at The Farm. She is a nationally recognized midwife (was interviewed for The Business of Being Born) and is very experienced with natural, out of hospital births.

I am also reading Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. She encourages exercise and yoga during pregnancy to prepare for birth. I haven't been too great at doing the exercise and yoga though... I really need to step that up!

I received Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding when I subscribed to Mothering Magazine. I've been reading that slowly. It seems a little early to be reading about how to breastfeed but I figure it will help to read it now and then I'll remember what it said when I need it! Or at least remember that it was in there and be able to find it again! It is also a great book that explains the common issues women have while breastfeeding and how to combat them early.

I wrote a little in a past post about Pushed by Jennifer Block. It's not a guide to birth but it is an eye opener about maternity care in the United States. I would get SO angry, frustrated, upset and annoyed while reading stories of women who wanted natural births and were forced into inductions, episiotomies, forceps and/ or c-sections. Stories of doctors and nurses who used scare tactics to get women to submit to continuous fetal monitoring (which has been shown in several studies to increase the risk of c-section but not increase the likelihood of a healthy baby). There were women who would say they were refusing a c-section and doctors that ignored them and gave them one anyway. Women who said they did not want an episiotomy (if you don't know what this is, I wouldn't recommend searching through Google images for the answer) and were given one anyway, without their consent.

Dave finally told me I wasn't allowed to read the book before bed because I would get so angry that I'd be up for another hour just venting about it. Also, at one midwife appointment, we were talking about what I'd been reading. I started telling her about the book and how horrible all those stories were. When she took my blood pressure it was WAY higher than normal. She took it again later and it was normal. So, that book definitely raised my blood pressure!

I highly recommend that every woman read that book. It made me simultaneously want to scream at every obstetrician I ever met, picket hospitals and cry for all those women who were violated. It made me think of the women's rights movement and how maternity care has made women no better than cattle in a slaughter house line. Maternity care these days is a GIANT step backwards in women's rights. It made me SO glad that I will be having a home birth with a midwife.

I did get a few other books from the library about natural birth but none of them stick out to me as being wonderful.

Oh, another great resource is The Business of Being Born video. It is available to watch instantly through Netflix if you have that. I believe there are also places online where you can watch it for free. I actually watched it about a year and a half ago because I was home from work and bored. It really opened my eyes to other options about birth. I had Dave watch it when he got home and that was a big reason that he's so open to and looking forward to our natural birth.

So, those are a few things I've been reading/ watching. There is SO much information out there about birth and choices that a couple needs to make about their baby. The saddest thing for me is knowing that so many women never look into the options they have. They simply listen to their doctors and never make an informed decision about tests or procedures done to them or their baby.

Hmm, and now that I look back through this post, I probably should have written a whole separate one for the review on Pushed! That got long.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My baby has a quilt

From his great grandma. My grandma made amazing quilts and she made them for everyone! All her great grandkids got them when they were born. Most of her grandkids had them. She was waiting to start this little one's quilt until after we found out if it was a boy or a girl. Sadly, my grandma passed away two weeks before we knew.

So, while we were cleaning up and going through her things, we found a box of quilt tops she had started and never finished. I claimed one for my baby and just finished it. I am not a quilter though, so I had to be a little creative.

I decided to use a fleece backing so I wouldn't have to put batting in between the layers. So, we chose a green that matched some of the blocks in the quilt. Then it sat in my craft room for a few months before I decided I needed to tackle it.

So, the other night, I brought it out and started pinning. Then, I took all the pins out and repinned. Then I took the pins out again and stared at it. I could not get the edges to look right. The blocks went all the way to the edge, so if I folded the fleece over, it covered some of the blocks. It looked funny if I had only part of the corner block covered so I would need to bring it over at least an inch. But, I didn't like how that looked. I thought of getting a silky binding for it, but that would have the same problem covering the corner block.

Then, I decided that I would just serge the thing together! I had some blue thread in the machine from another project I had just finished and blue would match really well. I went for it, even though I was a little scared about the outcome...

Thankfully, I love it!

Here it is with the fleece backing.

Here are close up shots of the serging at the edges. I think it's a great baby quilt and I'm very glad my baby boy will have a little something from his great grandma.

Unpaper towels!

I finally made unpaper towels! I inherited a serger from my grandma at the end of October. Along with lots of different types of material. I found a large piece of white cotton and a very old flour sack that I cut up for the unpaper towels.

I have made a lot of cloth wipes for baby with the serger already but was just using the white thread that was already on the machine. If you've ever seen the threading of a serger, it is pretty intimidating! I finally got up the courage to do so, with a tip from an expert sergist (not really a word, I'm sure) to tie the new thread onto the old thread and run the machine until it gets to the needle and then finish threading by hand. It only took me about 20 minutes to finally get it all rethreaded that way. I'm sure it would have taken three times as long had I tried to do it all from the beginning!

Anyway, these are my towels, all stacked neatly next to my toaster and cookbooks. The sink is to the left. As you can see, the paper towel holder hangs above them. It is now empty because we just ran out of paper towels. I made these things just in time! They kind of double as napkins too since we usually ended up using paper towels for napkins. I plan on making some nicer napkins for us at some point but for now, these things work really well!

I ended up with about 20 I think. They are probably 10" by 10" and so very absorbent! I was pretty surprised at how well they work at picking up little spills and things. Now, my next task is to get a little basket to throw the dirty ones in.