I have my first midwife appointment in a week or so (I got one late), so of course I'll discuss this with her too, but I wanted to get some idea of your experiences with homebirths!
My first DD was born in a hospital after 6h of labour, absolutely no complications. It was totally by the book, really (frankly) easy. I had a couple of tears that bled a lot, but they healed just fine. This time around I am 21/22 weeks and everything is going perfectly once again. I'm starting to consider having a homebirth, especially since we live a fair distance from the nearest hospital and don't have a car (we take public transit in Toronto). I worry a little that I'll go into labour and not even have enough time to make it to the hospital.
So I don't have any health/comfort concerns, but I have (and I know this sounds silly...) HOUSEKEEPING concerns! I'm a terrible housekeeper and my DH is useless at these kinds of things. Our place is also pretty small and cramped (there are bookshelves and books absolutely everywhere you look/stand). I don't want to have the additional stress of having to make my house/birthing area spotless in the week before I give birth. And what about afterwards?! My DH isn't going to clean up after a birth - he absolutely doesn't have the stomach for that. Last time around I pooped a lot during labour too - what a mess for my spare bedroom...
How did you guys handle your homebirths logistically? Are you all just better housekeepers than me? I've always ruled out homebirths strictly because I didn't feel my space was "nice" enough, but now the trek to the hospital just seems tiring and unnecessary. If I can just do this at home hassle-free, it'd be awfully nice.
You don't have to have a spotless or perfect house. Really. Midwives are used to visiting different people's homes and they won't judge. Just make sure you have a nice clear area (in the bedroom maybe) to actually labor and birth in, so there's space for you to move around and for the midwife to lay out her supplies.
I would treat it as if you're having any other kind of company over. You can also hire a house cleaner to come over once or twice a month in your last 2 months. This is something that would be a nice treat for you anyway!
As for the after-birth cleanup, it really is not as messy as you might think. Sure, there is a lot of goo that comes out of you, but 95% of that will be caught on disposable towels called chux pads that will simply be thrown into a trash bag and taken away. If you poop, they will wipe it all up and whisk it into the trash in that moment.
If you labor or birth on the bed, they'll tell you how to make up your bed beforehand--clean sheets, a layer of plastic, then old sheets on top. Afterwards you just strip off the old sheets and the plastic and get into your clean bed wearing a sanitary pad, with a disposable pad under your butt just in case of leakage.
If you have carpet they'll want you to put down plastic or old towels in the birthing area.
Your midwife will probably advise you to have some old towels and linens on hand as well. Anything cloth that is soiled will get put in a pile and depending, you may have to run that one load of laundry. My midwives started the laundry for me before they left.
There was virtually no cleanup other than that. There was a dribble of blood in my hallway when I walked to the bathroom to shower, but the midwife's assistant was walking with me and quickly cleaned it up with a paper towel.
They left my house in the same condition as when they arrived. All we had to do was switch that load of laundry over to the dryer (which my DH did.)
I did need help cleaning my house after giving birth, but that had absolutely nothing to do with the mess of birth. It's not nearly as big a deal as you might think.
Also want to add that the midwife will make it very clear which supplies she is bringing, what you need to have on hand (most midwives give you a printed list) and what their cleanup system is / who does what. If you're planning a water birth it might be more complicated. My midwife last time did not provide a pool, pool setup, cleanup or breakdown. My midwife this time takes care of all-things-pool. But it sounds like you are a quick birther like me (my first labor: 7 hours) in which case it's a non-issue because there's no time to set up a pool anyway!
DDCC to say I agree with what the PP said. The midwives usually do a fantastic job of cleaning up after and during the birth. They will give you instructions on what to have handy (like towels, sheets, chux, etc), but they do all the whisking away of bodily fluids and make sure you always have something under you to protect your bed and floors.
I'd make sure my house wasn't a disaster - like dirty dishes all over or something - but DD's toys are all over, my bathroom could use a deep cleaning, my bookshelves aren't the neatest and i'm always behind on laundry. Don't worry about the little things. As long as it's liveable and you're comfortable, nobody is judging anyone!!
Carrie SAHM to Nora Caitlyn ('08) and Finnley Dax ('11) homebirthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, intactivist, doula mama!
I'll be honest, we did a water birth and weren't expecting to have to do all the clean-up/breakdown of that alone. My husband was away for over an hour shortly after the birth, when I really needed him, dealing with that mess. And he's in no way interested in doing that again. The midwife did help start a load of laundry and get me some food, but otherwise, she did very little to help clean-up the mess and left nearly as soon as she had finished helping us with all the required things (about 2 hours after our birth, and my labor was only 1.5 hours long, she was there maybe an hour before my labor actually began since my water had been broke for several hours, but all in all, she was only at our house about 5 hours.) We would have appreciated a little more help with clean-up afterwards and nearly ruled out another homebirth because of it. But the drive is 75 minutes from our house to the birth center, so we've opted for another homebirth.
I was also a little stressed about cleaning prior to the birth, although I'm sure I did not need to be. It specifically said on my birth instructions to clean the bathroom with bleach within the week prior to birth. I never ended up even laboring in the bathroom, but apparently a lot of women do. I'm not sure we have any good space for a water birth in our current house, so we may not be dealing with that clean-up this time. And my mom will very likely be here before the birth, so I'm sure she'll be happy to help keep the house clean or clean it once it seems I am in labor. But my labors are pretty short, so if it's a mess, it's a mess. We'll just deal with it.
I actually live 1.5 hours from the nearest hospital and consequently, in our area, there are no midwives willing to make the trip, so for our homebirth experience, we have to temporarily move into "town" and find a rental/borrow situation. We call it our "birth vacation". So our usual home mess isn't an issue, but I can't imagine my MW's being the least bit judgmental about the situation. And like PP's have said, they generally deal with the really gross cleanup, leaving mostly laundry. If you have someone you trust around, they could help with that. If you're worried about carpets/floors, plastic sheeting can protect things.
You might consider the birth vacation option, since transporting IF you had a problem would be difficult and time consuming by public transport, especially if it was the middle of the night?
Amanda, DW to Drew, mom to Ella, 7, Gardner, 2, homesteading on the edge of the continent on the Lost Coast.
California Homesteading, http://eastmillcreek.blogspot.com