My pregnancy has reached that terrifying/exhilarating moment of “any day now” territory. I’m about to be 36 weeks, which in my Mamahood memory marks the two week countdown to when my first child was born. Baby Boy has been exhibiting similar in-utero signs of coming early as well, so I’m battening down the hatches and kicking my nesting in to overdrive. Keeping busy with To-Do lists has helped stave off my nerves a bit– but honestly there really is so much to do before his arrival. Why are there so many things new little babies need?! And when that new Baby’s Birthday takes place in your own house as it does with a Home Birth, there is even more to prep! Today I thought I’d share some ways that I’m preparing for my Home Birth, including a couple recipes that can be fun to try no matter where you’re having your baby.
Organizing Newborn Necessities
Home birthing Mamas need all the same newborn supplies that Mamas who birth in the hospital need! Even though I’m not packing a hospital bag, I still need to make sure that all my ducks are in a row in terms of what Baby Boy will need for those first few hours and days. This week I’m focusing on washing all of his tiny little clothes, swaddles, and towels and putting them away so they’re nice and clean for his arrival. I’ve also been boiling bottles, pacifiers, and the parts to my breast pump (by the way, this is the one I have and use. I’ve found it works the best, and I had to pump A LOT last time around). Kyle’s job is to install the infant car seat (in case a hospital transfer is necessary) as well as the baby monitor in the nursery.
Gathering & Ordering Home Birth Supplies
It’s amazing how many things you need to have on hand for a Home Birth. I guess it’s not surprising– hospitals are packed with tons of supplies too. But the list my midwives gave me for supplies was two pages long! Besides ordering a “Home Birth Kit” from an online supplier (this includes things like chux pads, sanitary napkins, latex gloves, gauze pads, umbilical cord clamps, bulb syringes, a peri bottle, and many other items) I’ve been gathering other necessary supplies such as garbage bags, tarps, ziploc bags, extra towels and sheets, and good ‘old adult diapers. These are for postpartum by the way, not labor! Ha! I am keeping all the supplies in a big box in my hallway closet so they’re readily accessible to the midwives once I’m in labor. I also rented a birthing pool to try out this time. I didn’t use one with Marlowe but I’m interested in having one around for this delivery, just in case it ends up being useful and comforting during my labor. I don’t have my heart set on a Water Birth, but if it happens it happens– I’m keeping an open mind!
Nourishment & Hydration
One of the differences between a home birth and a hospital birth is the eating and drinking component. Hospitals usually require that you don’t eat during labor, while Home birth midwives do allow this. They suggest stocking your home with lots of nutritious, snack-y foods such as yogurt, crackers, cold cuts, soups, fruits and vegetables as well as water, tea, and coconut water to stay hydrated. I was in labor with Marlowe for 36 hours and definitely ate and drank a lot of liquids. I remember having a yogurt at one point and a turkey sandwich– ha! I also drank about six bottles of fresh-pressed Green vegetable juice that my Mom had picked up on the way to my house. My doula wrote me a note a few months after my labor and said that green juices still make her think of me because of it! So funny.
My midwives this time around sent me a couple of really cool recipes to check out in anticipation of my birth. One for “Laborade”, which is a super hydrating homemade electrolyte drink, as well as “Groaning Cake”, a nutritious and delicious cake that is traditionally made by the Mama during the early phases of labor to occupy her…Groaning…get it? I did a little test run of the recipes and loved them!
As always, check with your doctor before using any of the supplements listed in this Laborade. If you’re birthing at a hospital and are unable to drink during labor you can make it as a hydrator to aid in your recovery once home.
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups coconut water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- A few drops of Rescue Remedy
- 1 Tbsp of liquid calcium/magnesium (or 2 crushed calcium pills)
- 2 Tbsp of honey
Lemon juice is very useful in digestion related problems. It can give relief from nausea, heartburn and bloating. So often in labor women have an upset stomach. As well lemon just tastes good, and makes it more enjoyable to drink the labor aid.
Coconut Water is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels in the body. It’s important to maintain your electrolyte level for proper cell function and for energy.
Sea salt helps with muscle contraction and expansion and re-hydration.
Bach flower rescue remedy, helps you stay calm and focused, with no side effect to you or baby.
Calcium and Magnesium assist in muscle and nerve activities. These two minerals help the muscles to relax or contract. Calcium is involved in blood clotting, protecting you from losing too much blood– especially if you tear in childbirth.
Honey is used for its great taste and to give you energy.
This cake has tons of fiber and nutrients, and no artificial sweeteners! I made little muffins instead of one big cake. Jury’s out on whether I’ll actually feel like doing this when I’m in labor– but it made me feel really connected to the generations of laboring women before me while I whipped it up on a Sunday morning. Kyle, Lowie, and I ate the Groaning Muffins with lots of butter and jelly for breakfast!
- 3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tps salt
- Spice Mix: 1 Tbsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp Ginger, 1 tsp Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp Cloves, 1 tsp ground Fennel seeds
- 3/4 cup Butter, at room temperature (*I use Earth Balance)
- 3/4 cup Honey
- 2 Tbsp Molasses
- 4 Eggs
- 2 Tbsp Rum (optional)
- 1/3 cup Whole Milk Yogurt (*I use Goat Yogurt)
- 1/3 cup Whole Milk (*I use Goat Milk)
- 1/2 cup grated Apple (loose, not packed in)
- 1/2 cup grated Carrot (loose, not packed in)
- 1/2 cup grated Zucchini (loose, not packed in)
- 1/2 cup grated Coconut
- 3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spice mix, and walnuts (if using). Put the butter in a medium metal bowl and place it in the hot oven until it begins to melt a bit. Remove from the oven. Add the honey and molasses and whisk until blended. Add the rum and mix well, until heavy and silky. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the yogurt, milk, grated apple, grated carrot, grated zucchini, and coconut. Add this to the honey-butter mixture and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently, until the batter is homogeneous. Be careful not to over mix. Pour into an oiled and floured 10-inch spring form cake pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes in a 350F oven. (Or pour in to a muffin tin and back for approximately 20-25 mins) The cake is done when the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cake should be cooled for about 10 minutes in the pan, and then removed from the pan to continue cooling on a rack.
This cake can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum and kept for 1 to 2 days at room temperature.
**Many thanks to Journey To Birth Midwifery for providing me with these recipes, and also for generally being super amazing. 🙂