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What to pack for me?

427 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mwherbs
Hey everyone! I have been honored with an invitation to attend the homebirth of my dear friend in 4 weeks or so. She has a doula and a midwife (possibly two) and I am there as a friend, support person, and extra pair of hands. I have some experience as a labor support person/friend with other births but no training. I was wondering if there is a list somewhere of things I should pack for myself to take care of my needs so I can better care for my friend. Also, any books that I can review to prepare myself to support her better. Thanks!
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Books: The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin (just to familiarize yourself with the many different and normal rhythms of birthing at home)

As for what other things to bring, ask her what type of support she is envisioning having during her laboring and what things resonate with her. She may not have many ideas, since for a lot of women the things they end up finding most helpful come to them while they are laboring.

*Make sure you eat and drink and use the bathroom and rest and sleep some while you are at her home during the laboring and birthing.
*Bring some of your favorite snacks along with you so you know you can dive into your bag if you need something.
*I love Emer-Gen-C for a quick, refreshing drink with vitamin C (it comes in packets, so you take along a handful).
*Breath mints so your breath is fresh and clean and not offensive to laboring mama.
*Lotion for your hands.
*Don't forget your toothbrush and some toothpaste!
*If she has longer hair, an extra hairband just in case she wants the hair off her face and that way you don't need to go looking for one.
*Extra bendable straws (something about laboring makes women want to sip drinks instead of gulp).
*If you have a short stepstool (not the folding kind with more than one step), bring that along. (It sounds like she is within driving distance and you wouldn't be flying to her, so that's easy enough to toss in the car.)
*An extra pillow and blanket to nap/sleep with.
*Copies of your favorite easy recipes so you can either cook some meals, freeze some meals or simply leave the recipes for her to use when she is ready.
*A refillable water bottle for you so you can take it wherever in their home.
*Comfortable shoes for walking outside
*Slippers for inside (if you get cold feet like me)

These are just off the top of my head at quarter to midnight right now... I'm sure others will have more ideas, too.

wishing your friend a peaceful end of pregnancy and a safe and beautiful birth...

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Gum in cinnamon and mint, then if your mouth feels stale and you'll be speaking to her, you can give HER the choice of what scent she wants in her face. Funny, but with my clients it's almost a 50-50 split.

Snacks and small containers of gatorade or OJ. Snacks should be NON SMELLY (I can't tell you how many L&D nurses I've encountered who munch on doritos and the ilk while caring for laboring rude!), not messy if you can help it, and easy to grab handsful and go (like raisens, small containers of yogurt, granola, whole wheat crackers and cubed cheese), as if you're in the thick of it and starving, you'll only have a minute or two between ctx to grab a bite or gulp down a swallow.

Tooth brush and toothpaste are important, yes, and I have a baking soda toothpaste in my leaves a less strong after-scent, just smells clean, you know? Smell is very important to a laboring woman.

Be sure to pack comfey clothes. Jeans aren't the most comfortable thing to wear when you're in all the wacky positions you'll be in during labor support. Try yoga pants, they're perfect. I pack a couple of extras, too, just in case you get wet or messy from whatever may come! Be sure to dress in layers. Laboring women often have an internal furnace and walk around naked...regardless of the actual room temp. The room may be warm and humid if there's a tub going, but it may be cooler, too, if she asks for a window cracked or a fan to move air. You don't get to choose the temp, so be prepared to adapt!

The books PP mentioned would have been my suggestion as well. Just be relaxed, tell her what an awesome job she's doing...and I mean tell her this constantly--calmly, in a gentle but firm voice, so that she has no choice but to believe you! This is perhaps the most important job of someone providing labor support. We can't do the work for her, but we can certainly help her remember that she's MADE to do it, and to make her understand that she IS doing it, contraction by contraction!

Have's really an addicting experience!
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if your friend is going to birth at home- I would just take a few personal items like- extra set of clothes including underwear- and something to sleep in- like sleep pants and a tee shirt- depending on how the labor goes there may be a time where everyone may need to get a little sleep but you may not want or your friend may not want you to leave . hair brush- hair bungies, for your mouth -spiffies, or gum or breath mints or those wafer things, deodorant, pads or tampons(have some with you just in case) as for food, water, juice or other snacks- maybe just a few things like a protein bar and some emergen-c - and then talk to your friend about food- what will she be having in the house and is there a plan to feed the midwives and DH/and kids at all-- if so you or someone else may be preparing food so everyone can eat- even laboring mom may want something- but dads frequently need something to help with flagging energy- this can help them stay awake and able to do those support things like counter pressure or belly lifting- (other personal items- B vitamins and caffeine and chocolate) although if there is coffee in the house- someone may want to brew a pot for the crew. as for reading I am not sure- there was a book called the birth partner. also talk with your friend about what she wants- and if she has anything in particular she would like from you or expects from you-- usually we like to meet who is going to be at a birth ahead of time so we know who they are and get a sense of relationship - logistics of the house-- one birth I was at there were 10 people besides mom and dad- and mom was in her element- at another one other person this may not be the case... take care and enjoy the birth
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