In late Feb I moved to a new, 2BR apartment (we moved so i could be closer to work and to my parents). I live right on a very busy intersection and about 200 feet from an elevated subway (NYC) that runs all night. I also live above a 24 hour McDonalds that has a drive thru. The rooms in the apartment are not tiny but they are not as big and comfortable as our former, 1BR apt. Also, there is not much cross breeze and it gets stuffy.
When i first moved in I was miserable and i realized the apt had been a bad choice. The street noise (construction all night long, every night!) made sleeping impossible, the McD's smelled like gross french fries, and sometimes when the windows are open the place smells of exhaust from idling cars in the drive thru. We still haven't really finished unpacking and nothing feels right. I do feel better about the apartment than i did back in March (i have adjusted to the noise @ night) but I am still not in love and i long for the day when we can leave.
Is my HB doomed? I worry that i will never feel truly comfortable there, that if there's a heat wave there will be no truly cool room to labor in (we have one mediocre window a/c unit), that I will hate the street noise and the french fry smell more than ever. I'm scared that i won't be able to relax and dilate!!
Anybody else have mixed feelings about their home? Any experience giving birth in a place that felt less than perfect?
Thanks in advance!
I'm assuming that moving is out of the question. So - that means you have some real nesting to do!
How about getting another window a/c unit? It might drown out the noise and smell, and make the temperature better. How about getting the landlord's permission to get DH to paint the apartment some beautiful colors? If not possible - you could get some wall decals you love. Etsy has tons, I'm a big fan.
If there's no way to be comfortable in your apartment, look into alternatives. How about a hotel birth? How about birthing at your parents' house? Does your midwife have any ideas?
Good luck, but find some solution you're comfortable. This is important.
For the smells, what about essential oils? Aromatherapy is great for labor and you can probably override the McD's and exhaust. Get a diffuser and some oils--orange and peppermint are good for nausea and perking you up, jasmine and lavender are for relaxing, clarey sage encourages labor. You can also put a few drops of essential oil in a warm (or cool) bath during labor.
Momma to Sweet Rosie 7/06, Lost Baby J 1/09 at 12 weeks pregnant, Spitfire Ada born 4/21/10, and Baby Boy due July/August 2013!
Aspiring urban homesteader, photographer, homeschooling momma! Blog link in my profile.
Funky McD smell: Essential oils
Eye level subway: Opaque window film
Noise: White noise machine, white noise app, even a cheap-o fan.
Heat: Upgrade the AC. You might be able to find one on Craigslist.
And starting to nest now will make the home feel much more comfortable when you are in labor. Take this time to settle in.
With my first I (attempted) to deliver at a birth center because I didn't feel entirely comfortable in our home. I wish I had stayed home. We transfered to a hospital because I couldn't completely relax at the birth center. I think the key is to figure out what you don't like and see if you can fix it.
Our apartment was the reason we didn't consider home birth with my first, and I somewhat regret that. For all that the hospital was more physically comfortable, my labor stalled at 6cm right after I got there. (and not like, 'oh you're not progressing fast enough' but more like 'wait....where did my contractions go?') and we had a fair number of interventions.
One thing I had forgotten to consider was the other *staff* at the hospital. My midwife was wonderful, but the nurse (who was fine) was a complete stranger and, well, my body didn't want to labor around strangers.
For me the biggest thing in your situation would be finding a way to keep at least one room at a comfortable temperature.
It's just not happening.
We live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 small bathrooms. It's cluttered, the carpet is disgusting and brown (sounds silly but it's the dark, dirty gross brown), it's stuffy and depressing.
At first I was really upset buuut I figured I'd make the best with what I'm given. I want to birth at home and we plan for a lot of people to be here to be a part of it...so we'll make due. I'm doing everything I can to think of ways to make it nice, homey and comfy.
In the end, I doubt I'll be distracted by the ugly, old brown carpet while my baby is crowning. (well, who knows..I guess anything is possible. )
We'll make due and one day tell our babies how they were born. You get to tell yours he/she was born above a McDonalds.
I guess I'll tell him he/she was born above ugly, brown carpet.
Try out some of the previous posters' suggestions. You can also do everything you can to hang things up and make yourself feel more comfortable. Even that can do a world of difference for the ambiance in the place.
Mama to DS [05/21/08] & DD [09/16/10] 43 weeks 1 day!
I've been decluttering and trying to get things to my way of liking and to keep a positive focus on the adventure of it. GL!
caution: one-handed nak
And I labored in my bathroom, mostly on the toilet. Then on my hands and knees on my less-that-spotless bathroom floor. Then I crawled out, wedged myself in the corner between the bed and the bathroom, and had my baby.
The space itself did not matter much at all, except that I was in my home with people I trusted. What did matter was the temperature and smells. It was a very cool day, but at times I got HOT. Cold washcloths and icewater. If it had been a hot day, I would have gotten one of those big floor fans and had them aim it at me. Smells were not a big deal until my doula cracked open some lavendar - and bllllehhhh (normally like it, hated it in labor)! She quickly capped that and opened some citrus and all was well.
For this birth, who knows. Same house, but MUCH messier. LOL. I'm going to nest nest nest while my brain frets about it, but I know that when labor hits I won't care at all.
you know I felt a little frightened about having #2 in our condo (we rented a secluded cabin in the country for #1's HB). We live in a college town and we're on the first floor of a tri-level condo. I really freaked out while during the pregnancy people were parking in our assigned parking spot (I had planned to leave it open for our MW to have a place to park) having loud parties, mouthing off to us and the worst was someone ralphing over the third story within site of our patio. Oh and we can hear the upstairs neighbors (music, them walking, their a/c unit)...
because of my concerns I had considered renting a B&B and my midwife was cool with that too, so maybe you could think about something like that.
as it turned out #2 was born on a super quiet night before anyone got up (4-6am) on our patio under the stars. it was PERFECT! hope yours turns out to be awesome too!
mom of three with on the way
Kelly, married to the love of my life, Den , DD1 5/07 , 11/07, DD2 10/08 , DDS 8/10, expecting our next blessing this winter!
When the time came, I just got the job done, yelled my head off, and didn't worry about any of it. Dh said he heard the weird porch people commenting on the noise and almost went over there to start trouble, but I had no idea about any of it. I say nest away, solve the problems you can, and then be prepared to let go of the unideal when you go into in labor.
We live in a college town and we're on the first floor of a tri-level condo. I really freaked out while during the pregnancy people were parking in our assigned parking spot (I had planned to leave it open for our MW to have a place to park) having loud parties, mouthing off to us and the worst was someone ralphing over the third story within site of our patio. Oh and we can hear the upstairs neighbors (music, them walking, their a/c unit)
To make matters worse, we had two awful neighbors in the back. One was a group of frat-daddies who partied every night (or so it seemed) - complete with kegs, pick-up trucks pulled around to the back shining lights into my bedroom, and rebel yells at 1 am. The other one dealt dope and owned two pit bulls that were always getting lose.
The NIGHT BEFORE I DELIVERED the cops raided the dealers house - it started with flash grenades at 6 AM (which may be the reason while Dos was born by 6 AM the following day )
But honestly, I didn't think of ANY of these issues when I went into labor (my labors tend to be fast and heavy tho' - I can't concentrate on anything else). I went into labor, had the baby, and was on cloud nine.
I must admit, tho' I nested like crazy.
Uno ('03) Dos ('08) and Tres (Aug '10)
What i did to help was i overhauled how the place is set up. I had to get the place set up for me, so that i could move freely and make as much use of the tiny space as possible. I also had to redecorate (on a very tight budget). My biggest impact has been a birth board that i made with visuals and words for the birth, whenever i worry about birthing here I look at my board to help me center. It truly has helped.
I'm still a tad apprehensive, but i'm hopeful . . . i'll keep you posted
I can totally empathize with living in crappy rentals. We are luckily moving into our own place about 4wks before my EDD. We live on a VERY busy street where the traffic never stops and have other issues with our rental that are pretty similar to yours. I was all set to birth here, though . . .
This is what I would do if I were you---
Get a giant fan and cooler of ice in front of it to cool the place down
Light scented candles and/or incense to overpower the McD's fry smell
Turn on some really mellow music that will drown out the cars
Make the whole place seem really "nesty" with tapestries on the walls, cushy rugs that you can get down on all fours on, etc.
IMO you will still be more comfortable in your humble little abode than in a hospital room that you've never been to with a bunch of people you've never met . . .
All of the issues you described DO seem like they can be temporarily minimized/alleviated in order to accomodate a peaceful birth in your home. I would go for it, if there is nothing else holding you back. Good luck!
And for what it's worth, there could have been a train IN the bedroom with me while I was in labor, and I wouldn't have noticed or cared. It already feels like a train rushing through you, so my guess is that you won't notice the one next to you!
Wife to DH , mom to DS (4/09), and DD (8/11), and crafty and hardworking in my own right! In my parenting journey I've , , , , and. To each family their own!!
"There are words for people like me, but I don't think there are very many."
Since I first posted the main update has been an improved A/C unit in our bedroom. It was like magic the first night... I actually woke up in the middle of the night and resolved to name the baby after the A/C brand. Hahaha. But just having that one room be cool will, i'm sure, make a huge difference.
Anyway, I loved all of your suggestions and I am thinking more about rearranging things more proactively. I already did a bunch this weekend and feel better already. Must be that legendary nesting instinct-- such a weird feeling to be compelled to reorganize things even when it's hot and humid and my feet are so sore I feel like i'm walking on knives.
Even more than the suggestions I loved the stories about giving birth in odd places (like a hallway or bathroom) and feeling ok about it. It's so nice to know i'm not alone.
Thanks again, everyone! And i'll keep you all posted.
But like others have said, when it came down to it, it was great. I labored during the night, so things were relatively quiet, but I doubt I would have noticed if they weren't. I'm so glad I didn't have to go anywhere either before or after the baby was born.
DD 7/07 DS 1/11