Now, I’m not prone to boasting but I a few weeks ago, I experienced the most amazing home birth of my delicious son, Rafferty.
I’m not sure whether it was down to the Hypnobirthing, my Independent Midwives or my own preparedness but it was empowering, beautiful and made me high as a kite on natural endorphins. So today, I thought I’d share with you some of my hints and tips that maybe you can use when the time comes for you to give birth. Obviously, do check with your midwife that all these things are suitable for you. I was considered low risk, I’m healthy, I eat well and am rather active.
Ok, so my first tip is to build a good team around you. My husband and I liked to imagine we were producing a show. You put together the best team you can so that you have the support you need to be the stars. We had our Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Maggie who prepared us beautifully. I went to an osteopath every three weeks, and towards the end I had a pregnancy massage once a week. Then we had our two fabulous midwives, Mal and Jacqui. All these fabulous people helped us to be prepared and relaxed. Which brings me neatly to my next point.
Relax. Relax. Relax. If you approach your birth relaxed and calm in the knowledge that your body is perfectly designed to birth a baby. I listened to a fabulous deep relaxation app by Andrew Johnson every evening, (they also work well for the insomniacs amongst you!) Try to let go of fear and NEVER watch One Born Every Minute. If you can let go of the fear associated with childbirth, and trust your body you will find it much easier. When you get into the hardcore labour, during your surges (contractions) loosen your jaw, relax your hands, let your shoulders go and breathe deeply as if blowing up a huge sparkly balloon. It doesn’t have to be sparkly, of course. I blew up heaps of glorious jewel coloured balloons in my mind.
My next tip is about preparing. I drank litres of Raspberry Leaf tea which, when it arrived, made me look like I had a huge habit! Make sure you get the hardcore stuff, not the lovely infusions! A great tip from Mal, one of my midwives, was to add Ribena to the tea to make it more tasty. Hot Ribena, delish! I also took two capsules of Raspberry Leaf morning and evening. Just covering my bases! I also took Pregnacare capsules – I practically rattled!
Oily baths. I used Neal’s Yard Mother’s Bath Oil with added lavender oil. I spent so much time in the bath, I practically grew gills. However, I have come through with no stretch marks. I put this down to keeping my bump well oiled. I also enlisted the help of my husband for ‘booby, belly, bum rubs’ with Mama Mio Tummy Oil, I have a feeling he enjoyed it as much as me!
Preparing for your homebirth, you’ll need to assemble a bit of a kit. All the usual things, shower curtain/small tarpaulin, soft towels, incontinence bed pads, maternity pads ( I used Boots own brand and you’ll need way more than you think for the first few days. Best you just clear the shelves at your local Boots!), nipple pads, Lansinoh, old bed linen.
Go to M&S and buy three packs of their multipack lycra big knickers in two sizes bigger than you usually take. Otherwise, the midwives give you really uncomfy maternity knickers.
You should pack a hospital bag just in case. While you are at it, pack one for your other half. You might be there for a while. We kept ours out of sight to keep the negative thoughts away. The power of positive thought is totally underrated!
When labour kicks in turn the lights down low, get into the clothes you are going to birth in, breathe and don’t be scared. You are made to do this and it will make you feel like the most powerful being ever. Good Luck!
A quick checklist of things it’s helpful to have:
Scented Candles (and a lighter!) We had four or five on the go.
Ipod loaded with relaxing music
Plenty of coconut water (highly hydrating)
Sports bottle (doesn’t leak!)
Dates, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, fresh pineapple (easy to eat, sweet and will keep your energy levels up!)
Arnica tablets (Start taking them as soon as you go into labour to help ease the bruising)
Clary Sage Oil to strengthen the contractions
Pulsatilla tablets to aid with the baby blues when the endorphins fade.
A long button up nightshirt (I found some fab ones in M&S, although when it came down to business, I became terribly liberated and whipped my clothes off in a jiffy!)
Witch Hazel (As long as the skin isn’t broken, soak a maternity pad in witch hazel, pop it in the fridge and when you pop it in your knickers – Bliss!!)
Red Bull/ Coffee for your other half!
Food for the midwives!