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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All! I just found you guys, and need some suggestions. I am "on call" to help my BFF through labor and birthing at her home (due early June), and I realized I have NO idea what to expect!<br><br>
I am a mom, and gave birth in a hospital, so all of this is uncharted territory for me. Can you give me suggestions on how to help her?<br><br>
I believe she is going with a water tub, but am not certain. Her midwife, husband and 4 year old (very active) son will be there as well- how do I fit in? What should I bring?<br><br>
Help me out here??!!! Thanks in advance!
 

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I would ask the mom what she is envisioning your role to be. If she's hoping for child care, that will be very different than if she wants you there to hold her hand through each contraction.<br><br>
I just got to attend my sister's HB (first baby) after playing doula for the last 12 hours of her 46 hour labor. It was the most amazing and magical experience.
 

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If you go on youtube, there are hundreds of homebirth videos. Watching some of those might make it a little less foreign. Like, for example, a homebirth can feel a little bit like being in church -- the people there supporting the mom tend to talk very quietly, the lights are dim, everyone is very conscious of respecting the birthing space.<br>
I would definitely sit down and ask her what you can do -- if she has one little one already, she'll probably have a pretty good idea. She may mostly need to you keep an eye on her son, or she may be looking for emotional support, having you there in the capacity of a doula. Also, you could offer to take photos.<br>
You could also ask if you could talk to the midwife -- she might be able to give you some specifics.<br>
That's great that you're supporting your friend. I hope she has a fantastic birth.
 

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I too would ask her. I have a friend coming over to "do whatever." Basically, what I envision her role as being is to do things that need to be done so that DH can stay with me at all times. Such as kid wrangling (the biggest thing), getting food for me, DH, or a midwife, getting hot water on the stove in case the tub needs warmed up...just sort of running interference for anything that might, in her absence, take DH away from me. What I *don't* expect from her is for her to be a spectator. Yes, if everything works out well, I would hope she gets to witness the actual birth. But if my 4 year old is screaming in another room about wanting something to eat while I'm pushing out a baby and my friend is busy watching me? That would be the opposite of what I would be looking for.<br><br>
Make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, very good ideas! I will have that convo with her, but I was also looking for tips on what others found helpful in their experience.<br><br>
Having a game plan with her is a must, but I thought people might share their experiences with this scenario so I could get ideas too, ya know?<br><br>
All very good ideas though ladies! Thanks so much! I am excited beyond belief- and I know what an honor it is to be there for this.
 

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Well, I didn't birth in water, and only labored in it for about an hour, so the experience is probably different, but here are the things my labor support did that I appreciated (my DH, grandma, and doula/apprentice midwife):<br><br>
-I thought I would want to be alone, but I ended up needing to touch/be touched by someone the whole time<br>
-keep food/hydration coming: I would "forget" and it was important to keep me hydrated and my energy up so they would get bite-sized foods and electrolyte water with a straw and just stick it in my face and I would say "oh" and eat/drink whenever it was there<br>
-take pictures/video<br>
-keep my 2 hot pads heated in the microwave so I could always have one on my lower back if needed<br>
-rub my back<br>
-be physical support so I could lean/squat, etc<br>
-kept chux under me or nearby when I would get the urge to walk the house<br>
-go on a walk around the neighborhood at 3am when I needed to move<br>
-walk my dog, play with him, etc<br>
-make sure their phones did not ring and they did not answer (my gram actually did answer her phone while I was pushing and if I could've reached her it would've been through the window!)<br>
-after birth stuff: wash laundry/dishes, field phone calls
 

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I think you could also be a great help if you offered to remember little details that might get lost in the excitement... keep track of her glasses if she wears them, know where the camera is and when she wants pictures taken (or doesn't), be the one to light some candles if she might want it, etc. It's hard for everyone to remember all the little things that can make it very special.
 

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it's such an honor to be invited to a birth. lucky you! if she is looking to you to fill the role of doula, i would recommend reading the birth partner by penny simkin. it will give you a lot of information about what laboring women may need and how you can help them.<br><br>
also, bring a magazine or a knitting project. you may need something to distract you when you are unneeded without making her feel watched.<br><br>
one thing to avoid doing: talking to her partner as though she is not there. that often happens, especially when people feel nervous or don't know what they should be doing. it's very annoying to laboring mama! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
and offering to take pictures or video is a great idea. i really cherish my birth photos.
 

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One suggestion, food and drinks! For the mom, but also for the birth team. It's something I forgot when planning my homebirth, and wish someone had filled in for me. My poor midwives and doula ended up with delivery pizza after way too long a wait.<br><br>
Good for you!
 

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I asked one of my dearest friends (who wasn't a mom yet at the time) to be at ds's birth (and I'd ask her again if she weren't 1,500 miles away).<br><br>
Neither of us had been at a (human) birth before, and the only specific thing I asked of her prior was to take pictures. (Oh, advice: if you are taking pics, ask what *kind* of pics she wants! I love ours but they are a bit too crotch-shot-ty to share generally.)<br><br>
She ended up helping take turns pushing on my back (long back labor), holding a wet cloth on my head, and much to her surprise, pouring olive oil on ds's head (per midwife's request) as he came out VERY fast after a very long first phase of labor (no time to call the assistant and everyone's hands were full!).<br><br>
Never know what to expect. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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