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#1 of 29 Old 03-18-2008, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think I fully appreciated the large financial investment collecting equipment really is...

Oh my...<sigh>

Heather
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#2 of 29 Old 03-18-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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Have you checked ebay?
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#3 of 29 Old 03-18-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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What are you trying to buy?

I bought most of my equipment from a retiring midwife. I think I spent about $300 on all of it, including my doppler, oxygen tank, and instruments. There are deals out there if you know where to look. If you let us know what you are looking for we might be able to help you find things cheaper and easier.

Stacia -- intrepid mama, midwife, and doula. Changing the world one 'zine at a time.
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#4 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What are you trying to buy?

I bought most of my equipment from a retiring midwife. I think I spent about $300 on all of it, including my doppler, oxygen tank, and instruments. There are deals out there if you know where to look. If you let us know what you are looking for we might be able to help you find things cheaper and easier.
Oh I'm looking for just about everything...LOL I know I have time but in reality not really. This can cost $$$ and even distributing it over a couple years is looking expensive (especially combined with book costs). I do have some things but still. I mean, I did hear that it could get expensive but I don't think it quite sunk in until I finally could see an end to my process recently and I am just reeling now. So yeah, good thing that midwifesupplies has a 'wish list' option...HA HA

Here's the thing, I want to make sure my equipment lasts the long haul. So I don't necessarily want crappy stuff but also don't know at the moment what is good and what is not. There is variety in quality but I am wondering if more expensive = better, which is not necessarily so in other things in life.

I do likely stand to inherit/acquire equipment from my preceptor if/when she leaves the country, however she only has one of things I may want two of (O2 tank for ex...). And my intuition tells me that she's not really going to go anywhere (and if she does, she'll be back relatively soon after she leaves) so I don't want to depend upon this option.

So yeah, this is a vent and a plea to open up a discussion. How did you come to acquire your stuff???

Heather
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#5 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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I have been buying mine, a little at a time. Lots of ebay stalking involved too. I didn't want to buy just junk that I would have to replace, so for each item, I would ask the midwives I know what they thought of their items and look over their equipment. I would ask them where to get the good deals, if they knew. So, by asking around I felt pretty good about which items I could go cheap on and which ones I really needed to spend lots more on. Even then, I have made some mistakes and boughten some stuff much too cheaply and already had to replace it. There is a resource in this list of being able to just ask about each piece of equipment before you buy and let some midwives answer you back as to what they think of it and where you might get the best deal on that item.

I totally agree though, it is really expensive! I have been donating plasma in order to buy it all.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#6 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 12:37 PM
 
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So I guess my question is -- what is "everything"? A lot of what you need really depends on what your situation is -- will you work with other midwives or assistants who have their own stuff? How will you fill your oxygen tanks? How far are you likely to be from the hospital?

I have two oxygen tanks right now, but I only need one. I have a big one that holds about an hour of o2 -- I have never run it for more than 10 minutes and when I take it in to be filled, they swap it out on the spot for a full one.

Here is the stuff I would want to have for every birth:

Hemostats (2) about $15 apiece -- I have the cheap ones and have never had trouble with them. They have been used for about 10 years now.

Scissors -- also about $15

Needle holders (2) -- this is one instrument to spend more money on.
A second pair of sharp-tipped scissors for suturing. ($15 or so)

baby scale
sling for baby scale (I made my most recent one)

ring forceps ($15 or so)

homeopathic kit (five remedies that I use all the time would be about $30)

3-4 different herbal tinctures

oxygen tank and bag and mask and tubing

oral airway -- ($1)

doppler

fetoscope

good quality infant stethoscope (about $70)

tape measure ($2)

regular and large bp cuff

There's other stuff I carry, but it's all optional or disposable.

What else would you like to have?

Stacia -- intrepid mama, midwife, and doula. Changing the world one 'zine at a time.
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#7 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I guess my question is -- what is "everything"?< ...snip...>

What else would you like to have?

I am slowly collecting the things you mentioned and the fact that the less expensive instruments are ok makes me feel better.

Other things I would have...

A pressure cooker to sterilize said instruments

A birthtub

I am really interested in a cord bander...

I think the next purchase of mine will be a good quality infant stethoscope...

Anything else I am missing...???
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#8 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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I'm not sure how much I've spent, but I've just slowly started accumulating things over the last couple years. It hasn't seemed to hurt my budget so much then. I've bought some of the things online, through various email groups, and some things from midwives around my area. I put the word out that i was looking for stuff, and so a few called me when they had things to sell.
I started out with a scale and sling, blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, and a fetoscope. Those things are pretty affordable. I bought the cheaper fetoscope ($20ish) and it works just fine. I slowly started adding things from there. Eventually, one of the area midwives called me when she was getting out of the business, and I bought quite a few books from her, like Anne Fryes Diagnositc Tests and the suturing book.
I bought a Sonotrax doppler off ebay for $100.00. It's waterproof and works ok. Get's the job done. Someday when i have more money, i'll buy a better one. I'll also buy a better infant stethoscope, but for now, i can hear which lungs sound crappy and which ones dont.

Christa
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#9 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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I am slowly collecting the things you mentioned and the fact that the less expensive instruments are ok makes me feel better.

Other things I would have...

A pressure cooker to sterilize said instruments


Right now, I am just using my oven for sterilizing. Although, all I have are 2 pair of sissors and 1 hemostat that someone gave me that looks like it cost about $3.00

Christa
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#10 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 01:35 PM
 
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I wouldn't invest in a cord bander -- I use the cord bands sold at Birth With Love and they just use hemostats to put them on. Very easy.

I also sterilize in the oven, with a fabric instrument wrap that a friend made for me, but the paper & plastic instrument packs work there too.

Stacia -- intrepid mama, midwife, and doula. Changing the world one 'zine at a time.
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#11 of 29 Old 03-19-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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I am really interested in a cord bander...
I don't use a cord bander. I use curved a curved hemostat like this with a cord ring, which is included in my client's birth kits. In His Hands and Birthsupplies.com both have them, as does bornwithlove.com, I think.

I've never liked infant stethoscopes and just use my same stethoscope for everything.

My baby scale is a $14 fish scale from Academy and I made the sling for it. I check it with a bag of sugar or a dumbell frequently to make sure that it is still accurate.

I couldn't afford a doppler outright, so I rented mine until I owned it. It cost about $100 more that way, but it was worth it for me. Now dopplers have REALLY come down from where they were 4 years ago and my apprentice got a used/refurbished form of my doppler for $150.00 (about $500 less than I paid!).

For my apprentice's birthday and Christmas each year, I buy her small things....like a sling and scale, a day planner (very important mw supply!), a prenatal bag for her supplies, a precip pack so she has everything she needs to catch a baby on her own. I've never spent more than $40 for a gift for her, but have helped a lot. Maybe your preceptor won't want to do this, but I'm sure there's *someone* in your life who would love to help you buy your midwifery supplies?

Charlotte, midwife to some awesome women, wife to Jason, and no longer a mama to all boys S reading.gif('01), A nut.gif ('03) S lol.gif ('08) and L love.gif ('10).
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#12 of 29 Old 03-20-2008, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So as far as instruments goes, the better the suture kit is the way to go and everything else can be more or less 'generic'.
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#13 of 29 Old 03-20-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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That's my opinion -- I know that other midwives might believe that it is important to have the best versions of all of the instruments, but I have found my cheapy hemostats to work just fine as long as I keep them lubricated. If I thought I might ever need to cut an episiotomy then I might want to make sure that my episiotomy scissors fit well in my hand and were easy to control, but I hope never to find myself in that situation.

Except for hemostats and scissors, I just don't use my other instruments all that often. The ring forceps come out once or twice a year. I haven't had trouble with my instruments rusting or being hard to clean -- maybe that is because I dry-sterilize and lube them every time, maybe I'm just lucky.

But I have noticed that the cheaper needleholders have a weird feel in the hand when they are gripping the needle -- the quality of the metal seems to matter with those.

I do like having a birth pool -- I actually have 4 of them right now

Stacia -- intrepid mama, midwife, and doula. Changing the world one 'zine at a time.
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#14 of 29 Old 03-20-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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I also bought cheaper hemostats and scissors. I bought Vantage ones. I did so after spending some time scrubbing my preceptor's instruments and talking to her about the age of each set and how well each brand had held up and her Vantage ones were older than her Miltex ones and were in nicer condition. 2 other local midwives I asked their opinions and they stated they couldn't see a real difference in quality. So, I really felt just fine about spending 1/4 of the price.

I bought really, really cheap blood pressure cuffs and ended up replacing it, the material was just soooooooooooooo cheap feeling and plasticy that I really didn't care for it. I only replaced the regular sized one and I barely use the large one, so I don't mind keeping the cheaper one for that. If I get a woman of size as a client then I will probably invest a bit more so that I have a nicer cuff to use on her, but for now it is just so that I have something as an option. I really hated my super cheap stethoscope as well, it didn't fit into my ears well and I couldn't hear as well. So, I have a better quality, but not top of the line stethoscope now and am happy with that. It is prestige and came with the matching blood pressure cuff and I was able to get that from my preceptor as she had an extra. If I was doing it all over again, I would have totally spent the extra money to buy that set rather than the cheapest I could find.

I have the $20 fetoscope and I love it. I can hear REALLY well with it. I bought a hemoglobinometer on ebay for about 1/2 price (new and from a good company), my glucometer my preceptor gave me for Christmas, but if you watch the ads in the sunday paper you can often find one that is free once you get the mail in rebate. My preceptor found a local place where I can get a whole oxygen set-up for WAY cheaper than any birth supply place, so next year when I am ready for that I will go to that local place to buy my oxygen equipment.

Eventually I would love to have a birth pool to loan or rent out, but that is a ways off for me yet. That is an expensive purchase!

I just sterilize in the oven in the paper packets at this point. I do like the idea of surgical towels and a pressure cooker though. Maybe someday when I have an income too.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#15 of 29 Old 03-20-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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I do like having a birth pool -- I actually have 4 of them right now

What?!?! You cant possibly need all 4. I think you need to sell me one of those

Christa
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#16 of 29 Old 03-20-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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my first fetalscope I bought was the Allen series 10 it was $80 at the time (in the 80's) and looking at the cost of all the equipment was rather daunting to me as well , I felt that was a huge investment- and dopplers were incredibly far more expensive then. I mostly bought used books,or interlibrary loaned books.Also I found out that hospitals have/had private libraries I haven't checked recently- I don't know if smaller hospitals are still in the habit of maintaining a library. The rest of my stuff I collected slowly looked at yard sales (because I was buying everything else there anyway)thrift stores... also went to used medical supply places when I visited larger towns- and now ebay, you could also ask on craigslist or freecycle, and do internet searches. As for instruments you can buy some cheaper ones and then wait until later to buy some German made ones. I know I also started with a bp/stethoscope bought at the local community college that had a nursing school, it got me by until I could afford a better but still used stethoscope I prefer the ear pieces and sound quality of the Littmann(bought it on ebay) , otoscope on ebay,doppler on ebay, pulse ox on ebay(unfortunately infant probes cost $$$ and I haven't found an inexpensive source, less expensive but not cheap) good hemostats from a hospital closure. I keep my old stuff around for students to use. A client gave me my all time favorite wooden pinard (not the wineglass shaped one), I also let it be known to my family what I want/wanted as far as practical gifts. How about an excellent medical dictionary from my grandma's library (she was a nurse).
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I agree, shop around. My only spending regret so far is buying a cheapie $7 stetho. I can hardly hear with it so I'll mostly likely invest in a Littmann infant stetho later down the road.

I got a good deal on my doppler, $212 on eBay and it had a money back guarantee. It's been six months, so far so good.

I use cheapie instruments that I was given and they work fine though they are beginning to look a bit tarnished after 7 months of use... maybe I need to lube them like a pp mentioned (what do you use Stacia?).


As for books... I buy a little at a time and also use ILL at the library. After I got Holistic Midwifery Vol 1 and 2, I asked for Varney's for my birthday from my parents... things like that do help!

If I don't buy it before then, I'll likely ask for a BP set (with 2-3 cuff sizes) and the Littmann for Christmas.
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#18 of 29 Old 03-21-2008, 04:12 PM
 
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Hi! I'm slowly accumulating midwifery equipment and my next purchase is going to be a sphgmomanometer. What is everyones favorite one? Does anyone have the aneroid sphygmomanometer by Prestige? How quality is it? Does it work well/last long? TIA for any advice!

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#19 of 29 Old 03-21-2008, 08:05 PM
 
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I've used tons of BP cuffs - they all seem to work okay. I'm lusting after one with the dial+bulb separate from the cuff. Or one of the nice plastic ones - I tend to get vernix on the cuff taking mom's BP after birth.

Anyone wanna buy some books from me? I sell used for cheaper than the www.bookfinder.com price.

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#20 of 29 Old 03-21-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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I want one that has the bulb and the dial in one so the dial is easier to see-- I have had one that has the different sizes that you change out and I don't care for it- bits and pieces to keep track of.
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#21 of 29 Old 03-22-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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Anyone wanna buy some books from me? I sell used for cheaper than the www.bookfinder.com price.
What books do you have?

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I want one that has the bulb and the dial in one so the dial is easier to see-- I have had one that has the different sizes that you change out and I don't care for it- bits and pieces to keep track of.
I definitely want a palm model... I was thinking of a set that comes with three cuffs but I wondered about the durability. Obviously I wouldn't need to take it apart too often, just for clients who need the small or large cuff but I hate to invest in something that won't hold up.
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#22 of 29 Old 03-22-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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I'll try to get a list up today. I didn't mean to be a tease.

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#23 of 29 Old 03-22-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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I'm definitely interested in books too!

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#24 of 29 Old 03-22-2008, 08:46 PM
 
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I'll try to get a list up today. I didn't mean to be a tease.
Suuuuuuure. tsk tsk
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#25 of 29 Old 03-22-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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books are an ongoing investment- right now my favorite midwifery text is the one written by Constance Sinclair - A Midwife's Handbook published in 2003 it is about time for an updated version medical texts just don't stay fresh for too long. I currently don't have an OB text I like.

things that are also a constant for me finding good bags some can last a few years- but when they wear out back to hunting for new again.
also ways to carry around tinctures-- what I have come up with is carrying them around in insulated bags , I have cut blocks of shipping foam to tightly fit into the space as well as cutting circles to hold the tinctures upright in place- keeps them from leaking and clanking together I have also used the smaller plastic boxes with handles but they crack up
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#26 of 29 Old 03-22-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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books are an ongoing investment- right now my favorite midwifery text is the one written by Constance Sinclair - A Midwife's Handbook published in 2003 it is about time for an updated version medical texts just don't stay fresh for too long. I currently don't have an OB text I like.
Oh sure, for every book that I read/buy, I find one or two more I also want. Now I have to go look into the book you just mentioned, I don't believe it's on my list.
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#27 of 29 Old 03-23-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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I've been buying equipment and books for about 7 years now and I have most of what I need at this point but yes it can get costly, especially if you buy good stuff that will last. I have done a TON of ebaying though, and there is a yahoogroup that has childbirth supplies that folks sell all the time. You can get things there affordably as well. Another place is birthauction.com .

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#28 of 29 Old 03-25-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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Hey Apricot---where's the booklist!

Proud wife to my handsome husband partners.gif Malachi David (2010) and Jeremiah Daniel (2012) joined our family via two lovely homebirths. Rainbow.gif Doula for 7 years and now finally an apprentice midwife! bellycast.gif 

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#29 of 29 Old 03-25-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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I agree with the cord bander thoughts: I simply use my hemostats.

I have a wonderful stethoscope which I use for mamas and babies.

I also dry sterilize in the oven, using sterile packs.

Putting together a precip pack is a very good idea, because it is something you may need before your training is done (and you'll be glad you have it!). I have one in my own bags and strongly suggest it to any apprentice or BA I work with.

Once you decide what you feel you absolutely MUST have with you, my recommendation is to focus on those items and work from there.

Networking in the "alternative" community is a nice way to:
1. get your name out there
2. find out someone has something you want and is willing to part with it (ie: retiring - or cutting back - midwife)
3. learn all of the pearls that will help you once you are the primary

best to you!
-Lynda
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