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bratmobile 04-16-2006 07:16 PM

This will be our first HB after 1 hospital birth. I feel like I am starting all over with this pregnancy and am starting to gear up for labor now. Is there anything about HB specifically that you wish you would have known beforehand? Logistically or otherwise? Anything that you wish you could have prepared first? Or wish you'd had on hand?

I know these are broad vague questions but maybe I'll edit if I can pin point what it is I'm getting at better.

I guess with my first hospital birth I wish someone would have told me to BRING my nursing pillow with me and to get some freaking lanolin! I was SO much more comfortable after I discovered those things at home. And my friend who just had a great HB with her 3rd told me she'd never give birth without a tub again so I rented an aquadoula Are there any invaluable little things you had or did to your house to help? Anything you wouldn't be without?


sapphire_chan 04-16-2006 07:19 PM

One thing that seems to come up a lot in these sorts of threads is to prepare and freeze meals before hand. Not specifically a homebirth thing, but it's something I know I'll really need to do.

rere 04-16-2006 09:24 PM

A birthing stool.I don't know if i ever would have got her out without it.

Emilie 04-17-2006 01:05 AM

To have someone around after to watch your other child! Oh my- I was so tired..... and ds was wide awake! ACK!

myniyer 04-17-2006 09:19 AM


lovemysunshine 04-17-2006 01:13 PM

For me, it was the pool, but you already have that covered. I was in heaven in there compared to being on land.

And if you start labor at night, try to get as much rest/sleep as you can if possible. I was surprised I was able to sleep between contractions from 11 pm until 5 am (and then DH eventually woke up to find me laboring on the toilet).

Good luck!

rere 04-17-2006 02:52 PM

Oh, and some of the best advice that i took was to not look at the clock.

georgia 04-17-2006 07:42 PM

For me, with 1 hosp. and 2 HBs, I learned: Don't allow visitors during the birth. Turn off the phone. Keep lots of towels handy for waterbirths (and a robe). And no matter what, make sure your hose adaptor fits on your faucet so you can fill your birth pool and then, your hose is long enough to reach the spot where the pool is!!! Have your camera charged up if you decide to take photos. And know, without a doubt, you can do this

AngelBee 04-17-2006 07:44 PM


Patchfire 04-17-2006 08:50 PM


I like visitors. I enjoyed having people come to visit after dd was born (hospital birth). She was born in the morning on a Saturday, so everyone came down to visit that afternoon. Everyone left that same afternoon (our extended family is all about 2 hours away). I thought that it would be similar this time.

Ds was born in the morning, too, but on a Wednesday. No one came to visit that day, or the next, and I rested. Then FIL and step-MIL and SIL came to visit on Friday. They said they would be there around 1:30 or 2, and my mw was coming for my follow-up around 3. So I didn't take a nap after lunch. They finally showed up at 4:15 and stayed until 5:45 or so. I didn't get a nap that day. Next day, MIL shows up. She arrived AT 1:30, so no nap, and didn't leave until 4:00ish. She was technically playing with dd part of that time, but I can't sleep with her in the house, KWIM? Dh finally shooed her out.

Then the next day was Easter. We had planned to have my relatives come down here so we wouldn't have to travel with a brand-new baby. Everyone arrived at 11 or so and stayed until 4 pm. Again, no nap. I was exhausted by the time Monday rolled around and my lochia that had started to taper at 2 days pp was back like it was barely 1 day pp. I really feel like those three days set my recovery back a TON.

So I wish I'd known that people would postpone visits, because we were at home, stay longer when they visited, because we were at home, and not combine visits, because, after all, we were at home.

Next time I intend to tell people "Visiting hours are 9am-11:30am; you're welcome to join us for lunch if you're providing. Rest time is 12:30 to 3:30; there will be no visitors during this time. You may also visit from 4:30 to 6:30; bring dinner with you!"

Guest* 04-17-2006 09:08 PM

I wish I would have made it perfectly clear to my husband where the birthing supplies were and how they were to be used. Our birth ended up being unassisted, so it would have been helpful for him to know what a receiving blanket was used for and where to find it!

bratmobile 04-18-2006 01:07 AM

OMG-This is so helpful for me! Please keep it coming! I'm totally going to:

1. Cover the clocks! I never would have thought to do it in my own house.

2. Have visiting hours!

3. Include more instructions for DP about "stuff" and where it is and what its for. He always claims not to know where anything is now

4. Turn off our phones once the midwives arrive. That goes on DP's list.

5. Ask our friends who are going to watch DS during labor to be available for a little after labor support too. Good idea. I would like him nearby in case he does want to see the birth though

And rere-I only kind of know what a birthing stool is. I also kind of thought I could use a regular stool, like DS's little step stools, in a similar way. Is it just to squat with some support? Is there something particular about it that is better than a regular stool? I'm into the idea of a mirror and catching the baby myself if its possible/comfortable at the time so can anyone tell me more about birthing stools? Maybe my midwives have one they can bring....

bobandjess99 04-18-2006 01:55 AM

Since you have had a birth, I'm sure this won't come as such a shock to you, but i wish someone had told me how much it would fricken hurt. All of the homebirth stories i had read said birth was awesome and totally downplayed the, c'mon, i can understand trying to stay in a positive mindset, but calling contrax "rushes" or "surges" when they were really horrific, hellish bouts of agony beyond my wildest imagination of torture was just not helpful to me......i think that if i had been more mentally prepared for it to hurt, i would have done better. Also, have yummy things to drink on hand....i *knew* that....but still we didn't have anything i wanted to drink at the time.....

Mama8 04-18-2006 03:40 AM

I would suggest to stay up as long as you can during labor.Have someone there just to watch older children. Definately have visiting hours and stick to them and if at all possible have someone else do the housework for as long as possible.

sarenka 04-18-2006 04:35 AM

Thanks for askingthe question, I'm also homebirthing after a hospital birth, some good ideas here - bobandjess I agree about the pain...alos I wish I knew that transition can bring you to the stage where you can't endure anymore and that's a good sign! Also that shit comes out and that it isn't the baby I suppose if I were more relaxed it wouldn't matter what was coming out, but I was worrying about 'how to push' I think...
What about putting a note on the door for unexpected callers, postmen etc? Warning neighbours of possible torture-like sounds coming through the wall? Depends where you live of course...

rere 04-18-2006 10:09 AM

A birthing stool is like a regular stool without much of a seat.The front and the middle of the seat are gone for easy access.I asked my midwife and she had one that she brought with her.It was great because i was abble to wrap my feet around it and get into a really good position with help from my husband and finally get that babe out.I pushed for a really long time and squating was what finally worked for me.At first my husband was supporting me but right when she started to crown i felt like i might fall over so i moved to the birthing stool and felt totally comfortable.It was great.Ask your midwife she might have one.My midwife hadn't said anything about it so i asked.

Good luck on your journey!

ErinBird 04-18-2006 03:09 PM

Advice from other homeboirthers/UCers has stressed the importance of having all your birth supplies together, clean and organized. Keep a basket or something with towels you've set aside, plastic liners, container for the placenta to be frozen in, any herbs you want nearby....

Apparently, it really sucks to go into labor and spend the first few hours frantically washing dirty towels!

Seie 04-19-2006 10:02 AM

I wish I had known that it is completely possible to have a very speedy (90 minute) labor even if your first birth was a 50 hour marathon..

I wish I had known that once the amnio sac starts "bulking" out into the vagina and having tension during contractions - then it is very likely closer to 8 cms dilation than 3 - as I thought i was at..

I wish I had known what midwife would come for my birth (the hospital sends a random one on call : and mine definately didnt have much experience with HBs )

caedmyn 04-19-2006 01:45 PM

This probably won't apply to you as you've already had one birth, but I wish I had known that my mom had fast labors--that way maybe I would have considered that I might have a fast labor, too (it was 7 1/2 hours, not terribly short but fairly short for a 1st labor)--and not had the stress of having waited too long to call DH and the midwife and actually been in the pushing stage by the time they arrived, which was about 20 minutes before DD was born.

Also, it would have been nice to know that pushing can be terrible...all I ever heard/read was that pushing was such a relief, but it was not like that for me at all. I never really got an urge to push, it was more like the baby was coming whether I was going to help or not (although I'd already spent some time trying not to push since nobody was there and maybe that had something to do with it), and there was sooo much pressure down there. That was by far the worst part of labor for me.

Oh, and nobody warned me about the after-contractions where your uterus is shrinking. Those were seriously worse than the labor contractions! Or the fact that I would be so sore afterwards. The first several days post-partum were pretty awful, even with a fairly short labor and only a minor tear.

wtchyhlr 04-19-2006 04:56 PM

- Stool Softeners for after the birth. OVer the Counter Colace. Makes the first poop MUCH easier.

MamaRabbit 04-21-2006 01:53 PM

That the person taking photos is allowed to take graphic photos.

That the person doing the birth laundry knows how to work the machine.

SusannahM 04-21-2006 05:59 PM

I wish someone had laid down the law and made me LAY DOWN and SLEEP after giving birth. I was wired, I was walking around, talking to my family, eating lunch, etc. The baby was sleeping. That was the last time in like the first 2 weeks of her life that her sleeping didn't require an hour of rocking for it to happen. It would have been nice for me to have taken advantage of the babe's long sleep after the birth.

I wish we would have made a list of what to do if labor wasn't progressing well. I had a lot of things in mind, and even had my notes with the stack of stuff for the birth, but I totally forgot about the reflexology things until about 15 hours into labor. Once DH started using the right pressure points on my feet, boom, everything started happening, and 3 hours later I had the baby in my arms.

One thing that was extremely helpful for me was to have the Depends type underpants for after the birth. Wearing regular panties was much too painful, those things were great.

There's a thread about herbs to help you heal down there after birth. I'm going to use that useful advice next time, wish I'd had it before.

I so wish I'd known about the nipple shells for flat nipples before the birth and that flat nipples would make breastfeeding much harder, no one knew I had them or thought to ask. Just wanted to mention that in case anyone else has the same thing and doesn't know about the shells!

The only other thing I can think of is that I wish I'd asked the midwife how to take the clip off of the umbilical cord, because DD started messing with it before the midwife came back to check on us about 4 days later. I could have just taken the clip off once the umbilical cord had dried out a little a day or two after the birth, instead what happened was DD grabbed a hold of the clip and ripped it and her cord stump off (wasn't a huge deal, but she bled a little).

StacyL 04-21-2006 09:40 PM

Originally Posted by SusannahM
One thing that was extremely helpful for me was to have the Depends type underpants for after the birth. Wearing regular panties was much too painful, those things were great.


I also used the Depends underwear because pads were too painful.

Also, stuffing ice into the liner of a newborn-size disposable diaper and putting that in your shorts for 10 minutes helps a lot with pain & swelling.

CrunchyKat 04-22-2006 01:55 AM

What I loved most was my yoga ball! I got one that was in more of an egg shape. I can't even start to tell you what it did for me. I was having back labor and rocking back and fourth on that ball worked wonders. I don't think I could have gotten through it without it. Also, someone already said this, but having meals already cooked and frozen were super convienent to just pop in the oven. I also froze pads and had stocked up on lots and lots of TUCKS and dermoplast for uh, down there, afterwards.

PancakeGoddess 04-22-2006 08:36 AM

I wish I had known:

1. support is good, but ultimately no one else can labor for me. I had to get upright and DO IT.

2. inviting more people to the labor/birth can be a very bad idea. Each person who arrived slowed my contractions. I had way too many people in my house.

courtenay_e 04-22-2006 07:35 PM

To be serious about all aspect of my transfer of care plan. Dd was to be cared for by my sister who was my photographer. I wanted the photographer at the hospital, so had to scramble to find someone (ended up calling my dad home from work) to take care of her. I had to rush around between contractions (every four minutes) to fill my hospital bag and forgot everything (shampoo, deoderant, my non-antibacterial sensitive skin body soap, my sensitive skin no scent lotion, my nursing bra, my TOOTHBRUSH!). Not fun. So, especially because it's not likely you'll have to use it, have a plan, and a hospital bag, ready!

eirual 04-25-2006 04:37 PM

Have an Enema handy (my little piece of heaven and c-section preventer )- my midwife asked her coleague to bring one after I requested one since hers was expired.

Bowel Buddies (Bran wafers) were truly my best buddies, better than stool softeners for me

I'll definitely get a tub next time around.

Sea_Gal 04-25-2006 09:02 PM



Pandora114 04-25-2006 09:50 PM

If you are expecting "Unwanted Visitors" that the local police department is your friend (considering if Homebirth is legal in your area) Call em up when you're lucid, and say "umm I'm in the throes of labour, I'm having a planned homebirth and for some reason people I told to not come by, are coming by anyway and I really would like assistance in keeping them away" The cops will show up and stand sentry.

faeriewisp 04-26-2006 12:29 AM

I wish I would have known how different my natural contractions would feel compared to the pitocin induced ones during my first birth. Then maybe I would have realized how far into it I was and set up the camera! We got no pictures of the 7 hour home labor/birth!

I wish someone would have told me that delivering the placenta wasn't always painless. Mine was very painful, the contractions were INTENSE and I freaked out transition-like.

WHen your baby is coming right through your pelvis it is quite possible that you will lose sound of the heartbeat. Yes push that baby out but don't let anyone, even your midwife, make you stress about it being an emergency situation. After not finding the heartbeat my mw said ominously "Gotta get that baby outta there!" and I thought she meant immediately. Here I was, desperately trying to push even though I wasn't having a contraction, which is a waste of energy. SHe finally asked me if I was having a contraction and I said no, and she said "only push with the contraction."

I also wish I had talked to the baby less when she first came out. I was anxious to hear the first healthy cry/gurgle, and was worried when she didn't make a noise, so I kept saying come on, take a breath, it's ok. But she was fine. Some of 'em don't cry, especially waterbirths. I was too worried.

I think the reason I tore was because I didn't spead my legs apart far enough.

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