Practical Tips For Creating A Joyful Home Birth Experience

June 24, 2024

Okay. So you know what is getting real. As of this podcast release, I am officially 37 weeks pregnant, and the countdown to baby number 2 is on like Donkey Kong.

Although, I pray this baby isn’t as big as Donkey Kong and lifting barrels over its head, but it feels as though it is definitely trending in that direction. My first born was 8.11 ounces, and this one already feels bigger or at the very least longer than my daughter was.

Comparison of Home Birth, Birthing Center and Hospital Birth

But with all that being said, it is time to buckle down and prepare. As I’ve shared before, my previous pregnancy was supposed to be at a birthing center, but I had to be admitted to the hospital due to my HELLP syndrome diagnosis, which I definitely am going to do a podcast episode on in the future because this time, things are very different. How I’m attacking it, obviously, my blood levels as well.

So I definitely wanna do an episode specifically on that topic because it is not something that people know about, and it’s not something that I had even any idea of before I developed it myself.

Thankfully, I ended up delivering at 39 weeks and 2 days. And I did, I will say, have a pleasant hospital experience, but alas, like, that was not my preference. Right?

This time, I’ve opted to do a home birth. Crazy. Right? Yeah. I know. That’s basically what everyone says out loud to me, or I can, at the very least, read it on their face when I tell them that that is the preference and plan.

But the main reason we are doing a home birth over a birthing center birth is because my midwife this time around, she does not have a physical space to have moms come in and deliver their babies.

So my midwife, Jen, she was underneath my first midwife, you know, learn from her, did birth with her, yada yada. So there’s obviously that deep connection between the 3 of us.

But my midwife for my first birth with my daughter, she moved back up north to Pensacola. And I have an amazing podcast episode with her, Mandy Rojas, that you should definitely listen to. She is a cesspool of knowledge, seriously.

Midwives- Your Natural Birth Ally (Part I) – with Mandy Rojas

Midwives- Your Natural Birth Ally (Part I) – with Mandy Rojas

Midwives: Your Natural Birth Ally (Part II) – with Mandy Rojas

Midwives: Your Natural Birth Ally (Part II) – with Mandy Rojas

So this time, the reality is home birth is is our only option,

Advantages of Home Births: “I want to explain to people that a home birth is literally the same as a birthing center birth in that, you know, any kind of help, so to speak, that you may need in a birthing center, you have at your disposal in the home.”

It’s gonna be in your home as opposed to some, like, random space.

And you’re gonna be home 4 hours earlier because what I don’t think a lot of people understand about a birthing center birth is you have your baby and then you’re on your merry way 4 hours later.

It’s not like a hospital where you’re staying overnight or like me, I had to stay multiple days due to my HELLP syndrome. Or, you know, if you do end up having a C-section, you’re there for 2, 3 days.

Addressing concerns about proximity to a hospital

Literally 4 hours. Good luck. The main difference is the location and proximity to a hospital. Okay? So my birthing center was gosh. I don’t even think it was 2 miles from a labor and delivery hospital.

But the reality hit reality of, like, having a home birth and and all that is and even in a birthing center too, like, having a transfer is extremely low, like, minimal. And first of all, a good midwife is not going to take you on as a mom, a client, especially in the home if you’re high risk.

If you have a midwife who just throws caution to the wind and, you know, we we can do all these things for you. You know? That’s a major red flag. Okay? But if you have a midwife who understands that sometimes things are out of our control and we do need modern western medicine at times.

It saves lives. Then what they’ll do is they’ll still take you on as a client knowing, you know, that you are high risk. But going through the motions of basically everything short of the labor and delivery process, which is where you’ll you’ll do that in the hospital, just like I did.

Maren [00:05:01]: And they’ll monitor you throughout your pregnancy. And I was sent to the hospital, not as an emergency transfer, but as someone who is admitted. And and trust me when I say they treat you very differently. Okay?

They treat you very differently as an emergency transfer as opposed to walking in. I will say one of my husband’s initial concerns with having a home birth was our lack of proximity to a labor and delivery hospital.

And I just wanna make sure everyone knows that, like, and if you do, and you’re kinda, like, rolling your eyes. But just keep in mind that, like, when someone’s never done this before or, you know, they don’t have a ton of children in their family, they might not know this, but you can’t deliver in any old hospital. K.

So you could have hospitals near you like we do, but you have to deliver your baby or God forbid, have an emergency transfer to a hospital that has a labor and delivery unit.

Consider emergency medical services availability

So where our house is, we do not have a hospital like that within 10 miles of our home. I think that’s, like, the closest ones maybe 12 or 13 miles. But in an instance where time is, of course, of the essence, you know, yes.

This is a major concern, but I don’t want anyone to be in fear about anything in pregnancy, labor, and delivery because fear stalls everything. Fear is the enemy. And always remember, as my midwife reassured me, EMS will get there very fast.

In fact, I know we have a fire department literally, gosh, 500 yards from our entrance of our development.

And they’re gonna get there fast, really, really fast, and they’re trained to take care of you. You know? Think about these people, they deliver babies in cars. Right? And that’s what you need there right away.

And then your standard drive to a hospital is not the same as an ambulances. You know, you may not be able to blow through red lights and cut through traffic, call the hospital ahead of time to let them know you’re on your way….

Let’s stop harping on this scenario because we do not want any of the bad vibes out there. We only want positive vibes. Ain’t nobody got time for bad juju. Okay?

Midwife’s Support and Preparation

So this past week, my midwife dropped off my kit with her 36 week visit.

And as she started to go over what was in the box and how we need to be preparing, I was like, okay. Woah. This is really happening. In the kit itself, so it’s this big plastic bin, There are supplies that she’s gonna need as well as stuff that we’re gonna need in our home.

Like, when she went over this, I was like, excuse me? Like, there are cloths in there. Big, big, big cloths, you know, that you’re gonna wash or even throw out, that we, Nick and I, could possibly need if the baby were start to come before she even gets there.

So say she’s on her way and boom. Like, this baby is ready to hit the ground running.

No pun intended. Oh gosh. We have what we need. And I was like, excuse me. What? What do you mean? Like, do this by ourselves. But I have had friends where this has happened to them because there’s just no predicting of when that baby’s gonna come. But it’s it’s reality. Right? You just never know how fast labor and delivery will be.

It could be fast. It could be long and tedious. Hopefully, it’s the former, not the latter. So I asked her, what the heck do I do?

And she just said, lay down on your side, and then that’s how you’ll deliver the baby. You know, it’s the safest way. Right?

So that the baby doesn’t drop onto the floor or whatever. And then as soon as the baby comes out, put them on your chest to keep them warm. And obviously, you keep the cord, which is still attached to the placenta, attached because the baby is still receiving blood.

The baby is still receiving oxygen. And she said, you know, sometimes it takes a few seconds for the baby to cry. Sometimes it takes 30 to 40 seconds. She’s like, and those could be some of, like, the longest 30 to 40 seconds of your life.

But immediately do skin to skin and keep that baby warm. Because remember, they’ve been in that amniotic fluid for 9 months, nice and cozy, hot tub. Right? They need to stay warm.

And she’s like, just keep the baby there, rub the baby’s back, keep them warm, you know, put all of the receiving blankets, which are also in that kit.

And I have some from when my daughter was born, and just keep the baby there until I get there. I’ll be on my way.

What to do if you have to deliver your baby at home by yourself

  1. Lay down on your side
  2. As soon as the baby comes, put them on your chest
  3. Keep the umbilical cord attached so your baby continues to receive oxygen and blood
  4. Lay warm receiving blankets on your baby

I told my husband this, and he looked at me with wide eyes. And he’s like, I’m gonna be calling 911. Thank you.

Then I’m like, we’ve been doing this since the beginning of time. Okay?

Creating a Calm Home Birth Environment

There are a few other things that I’m going to take this week, this upcoming week, to prepare for because I just know myself. And if I don’t, listen.

I’m last minute Louie on most things to know me is to love me. But when it comes to this, my main focus is obviously being at peace and being calm and being relaxed. You know?

Even I keep getting the question from people like, well, when are you gonna stop working?

Or, you know, all of that. And where people will say, like, why don’t you just work until you can’t anymore? And I can appreciate that sentiment, but at the same time and listen, I am definitely working a lot longer and harder in this pregnancy than my last.

I mean, it’s just different when you have a toddler, which once again, another podcast episode.

But between the heat down here, taking time to be with my daughter, you know, her last few weeks of of being an only child, She won’t remember that, but I will. I just wanna take my time and be at rest because ultimately, childbirth is preparing for a marathon.

And when you’re doing it in the home versus the hospital, it is so important to be at peace, to not be stressed, to get the proper rest because you don’t have, which of course are interventions and have, you know, natural consequences.

Like you don’t have those things at your disposal like you do in the hospital. Right? So that’s why this week, I really want to make sure I get everything done and I have it all in one spot. And I’m prepared because it’s one less thing I have to worry about.

So from the medical supplies to the snacks we need on hand, to the first outfit that the baby’s gonna wear, multiple changes of clothes for me and Nick, as well as towels, towels, towels, and more towels.

Not to mention, we need to go get a new hose and attachment for our faucet for the prospect of giving birth in the birthing tub that my midwife brings. And when I told Nick this, my husband, he says, but we have 2 hoses outside, Maren.

And I just looked at him. I was like, seriously? You want me to use those ratty hoses that have been out there for years in the elements that you drop in our pool, use to wash our car, you know, have dirt and whatever else on it from the animals that live outside our preserve, you know, that might walk by it.

Like, you wanna just put that in a birthing tub where your child’s gonna be making their entrance? No. Once again, men, I digress. But I thought I’d give you a breakdown of what some of these supplies look like in each category.

And before I do that, I want to preface that this list, it’s gonna sound overwhelming. Okay? And I understand that. Even for me, you know, knowing that this is what I want, it I was like, oh gosh. Wow. Okay.

But if you’re someone who’s truly looking for a peaceful environment, because I’ll be real with you, a hospital is anything but peaceful.

You know, giving birth to my daughter was not my first experience in the hospital.

I’ve had major surgery before and you get no rest. Someone’s coming to check-in on you every hour. It’s it’s almost even worse when you have a baby because they’re checking on you. And then like 30 minutes later, they come in and check on the baby.

So there’s no breaks. And the hospital environment’s one where, quite frankly, you you will get gaslit. Some worse than others. And there are gonna be scenarios where you get pushed into intervention after intervention. And for me, I don’t wanna deal with that nonsense.

Like I said, I had from, you know, all things considered, I had a good birth experience. But that time in triage, I literally sat there for those 3 hours, which by the way, I had no contact with my husband. That’s a whole another story because they have my phone.

Normal. Right? And I’m saying to myself, oh my gosh. This is why I did not wanna be in a hospital. It was miserable. So even though this list can feel maybe at times overwhelming or tedious, it’s a 100% worth it.

And I did 100% advocate for myself with my first labor and delivery experience. You know, at one point, so you go in, I’m in triage and like, you know, we promote vaginal deliveries, you know, like they were all about that.

Well, once I made the decision to stay and be admitted, I see the whiteboard and it says ice chip diet.

I’ve had major surgery before. I knew what they were setting me up for, which is why I also made sure I was sneaking snacks on the side, much to my husband’s chagrin because he was all nervous. You know?

They tried getting me to take off my, you know, one of my bracelets, which you need a screwdriver to take off because, you know, just in case. I was like, no. It’s not coming off. You know? They they were setting me up for surgery.

Advocating for Natural Childbirth

You know, when it comes to that diet, like, you cannot be preparing a woman to run this marathon. Right? I think, honestly, I think it I’ve read a stat somewhere that, like, giving birth is, like, running 3 marathons in, you know, in one day.

Right? You you can’t starve her. It’s only gonna end one way, and that’s a C-section. I also am someone who obsessively researches things. K?

And when it came to pregnancy, childbirth, what was being offered to me, offered, you know, to my baby, yadayada yada. I knew it inside and out. I knew what my rights were, and I knew how to advocate for myself.

So to say that I was prepared for this situation would be an understatement. And there were times that my doula midwife were like, wait.

Are you sure you haven’t done this whole, like, birthing thing before? And I was like, no. Just because I took the time to do those things, and I cannot stress it enough.

Who gives a rat’s you know what about, like, the color of the baby’s nursery or, you know, what your birth announcement’s gonna look like or whatever. Like, dude, doesn’t matter.

Research the important things. The important things that you cannot take back.

Not the things that you can you can paint over your nursery color if you don’t like it. You can return the clothes. You you can do all those things. You cannot do it with these interventions, and you cannot do it with vaccines straight up.

Preparing for Home Birth: Catering to Your Birthing Team

When preparing for home birth, it’s important to remember that it’s not just you who needs to be ready – your entire birthing team needs to be catered for as well.

This team could include a variety of individuals such as your doula, midwife, their assistant, a birth photographer, or even a family member who’s there to lend a helping hand.

For example, in my situation, either my mom or dad will be present to look after my daughter. As labor intensifies, I prefer to keep her out of the home unless she’s asleep, because her worry for me might stall labor, and vice versa.

It’s essential to create a calm and supportive environment. One critical aspect of this is ensuring everyone is well-fed and energized.

Providing food and sustenance for the entire team is a must to prevent anyone from getting ‘hangry’ during this crucial process.

Fresh fruit and veggies. So that’s gonna help you stay hydrated as well. Protein drinks and bars. So I have my super food shake. I have my beach bars that we have every day.

Having hummus on hand, you know, those healthy fats, avocados, meat sticks. Love my Paleo Valley meat sticks. Honey sticks for that burst of energy that you may need and you don’t really feel like having anything heavy.

Electrolytes, clean electrolytes are so important. Paleo Valley also, I a 100% stand by them. You do not want something that just has sodium. You need magnesium. You need potassium.

You need a good clean electrolyte.

Get 15% off your order from Paleo Valley with this link.

Also, even if you’re not a big orange juice drinker, like we’re not in our house, it is important to have it on hand. You know, just get yourself a small bottle for after birth because there’s a reason why these blood banks and your local quest labs.

They they have orange juice on hand because if your husband’s anything like my husband or you, maybe you’re this way, he passes out. Okay?

Every time Nick gives blood, he just it’s not a good scene. And they revive them with orange juice and cookies. So make sure you have the orange juice on hand. It it brings patients back to life, so to speak.

And obviously, you’re losing a lot of blood in your delivery process. So it’s gonna help you bounce back real quick.

The other thing I don’t want you to forget about is your victory meal. 

And I will say, if you’ve never had a baby before, my midwife and I were talking about this. Please don’t believe the BS of, like, these influencers you see on the Internet who are like, birth doesn’t have to be painful. You can have a pain 3 pain I like, there’s there’s literally an influence out there. I think her handle is like pain free birth.

It’s something like that. And I’m not saying that the information that she is providing is not educational or whatever. But, like, for anyone to sell you this pipe dream that birth is not painful, they’re lying. They’re lying. It is.

Now I will tell you as soon as that baby’s out, it’s immediate relief because you’re so thankful to be done. You’re grateful that your little miracle’s here.

And then, of course, like, you know, once that kinda wears off and you have the contractions of your uterus and, you know, God forbid you have a tear or something like that.

Yeah. The recovery process isn’t so great either, but don’t believe that lie. Okay? There there’s a lot of elements, but my midwife said, she’s like, Maren, you know, you know that it’s painful. You know that it’s BS.

So just embrace it because if you try to pretend that it’s not happening, that’s gonna stall you too. Like, just know that the pain is bringing you closer to that baby coming and it’ll be over.

And then guess what? You get your victory meal. So I remember my husband went out to Habit Burger.

That was, like, the closest thing to the hospital after I delivered, and the guy took his order and looked at him. I was like, is this for a family of 6? Because, you know, Nick was there by himself, and he laughed.

And he’s like, no. My wife just gave birth because we had so much food. I only wish we had In N Out Burger near us. I’m so jealous of those of you that do. But I digress. Please make sure that you have something high in protein as well as high in carbs, 1 to 2 hours after delivering.

Embracing And Preparing For The Messiness of Childbirth At Home

And as I’ve mentioned, it’s no secret that labor and delivery can be messy. Right? We talk a lot about, like, blood and fluids. Fingers crossed. You don’t have a bowel movement.

So we are going to have lots of trash bags on hand, tons of large bottles of hydrogen peroxide, which is a miracle worker for removing blood, rubbing alcohol, towels upon towels upon towels, as I mentioned earlier, washcloths, lots of pillows that are also covered in trash bags, because you just never know what you’re gonna need or how you’re gonna labor.

Same thing with having a waterproof mattress cover and pad. And then you would purchase like a cheap plastic shower curtain for your bed. I’m also going to get an additional plastic mattress cover, like waterproof mattress cover.

That’s gonna go in between sheets. So, like, I’ll put my normal sheets on my bed, the plastic cover, and then some, like, crummy sheets that I just don’t care if they get stained.

And I’m gonna have that on our bed, like I said, going forward, like, from week 37 on, because you don’t know when your water is going to break.

You know? It could break in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping, whatever it may be. You just wanna have all this stuff ready to go. And as you labor, there’s gonna be weird positions, like, use weird in air quotes, but are helping you feel comfortable.

And it may require you putting a pillow between your legs or underneath your knees and all of that. You get the idea.

We do not need to go National Geographic right now. Okay? It’s just like I just laugh because it’s not the Instagram worthy scene that you see from your favorite influencers that makes you cry.

It definitely gets raw and real, but, ultimately, that’s what makes birth so beautiful. Right?

Postpartum Gear and Preparation

Your postpartum gear should be on hand too. So that includes your overnight maxi pads, comfortable button up pajamas with easy access for skin to skin and breastfeeding, a sitz bath basin, Arnica montana, the 200 c. So the the high dose, high octane.

You can also use that during labor and delivery. So when you’re laboring every 15 minutes, it’s gonna help you ease the pain.

Use code “MAREN15” and save 15% on your order from Olloïs.

The thing about homeopathics, it’s not so much the dosage like we are used to with western medicine. It’s how often are you doing it. The other thing that I have on hand is called Ease the Ache by Earthly.

And, of course, items that you want on hand for the newborn. Right? So because I didn’t have that really for my daughter, because I didn’t know I was being admitted.

So I got admitted to the hospital. And then once I got in my room and I was settled, Nick had to go back home for our stuff.

So we had to go back home for the car seat, for the diaper bag. We didn’t even have diapers. I remember being in the recovery room and ordering on Amazon because this kid, she’s boujee like a mama.

She’s literally a mini me. She was not feeling the wipes that were ice cold out of the package. So I was like, alright. Let me get a warmer, and she still uses it to this day. We we had nothing, and we were using the hospital’s diapers that they give you.

We did have a onesie that someone had given us. I think we had a few newborn onesies, but, like and he grabbed those, But we didn’t have, like, the the pretty outfit, you know, like, the pretty outfit that, like, get get your newborn coming home outfit.

We didn’t have any of that stuff. It was like, let’s just do the best we can with what we have. So have that on hand. Their first little outfit, the diapers, olive oil is huge.

Olive oil is what you’re gonna wanna put on the baby to help with those meconium poops. It just wipes off easily until, obviously, they’re done with that and it’s their normal poop.

I also, 100000 percent recommend getting goldenseal root. So that’s an herb. And this herb is what you’re gonna put on the baby’s umbilical cord to help it heal. I swear by that stuff. Okay?

And I’m sorry. No matter how adorable your newborn is, this smelly decaying flesh, because that’s what the umbilical cord is, is nasty. Alright? And that stuff speeds up the process like you can’t freaking believe.

If there’s anything I’m forgetting, by the way, or I am going to add last minute, I am going to make sure to make note of it and all of the things, and I’m going to have a follow-up episode that I’ll do once the baby’s officially here.

If there’s anything I’m forgetting, by the way, or I am going to add last minute, I am going to make sure to make note of it and all of the things, and I’m going to have a follow-up episode that I’ll do once the baby’s officially here.

So I can document my whole birthing experience for you and kinda fill in the gaps. So I don’t wanna officially say, like, this is part 1, but it is. Right?

We’re gonna have a part 1, and then we’ll have a part 2 of what the whole experience was like. And look, I understand this whole journey to motherhood and beyond can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

But please know you’re not alone. Okay? You’re not weird for having the questions you have or feeling the way that you do. And sometimes we just need to talk it out and have some oral processing time with someone who understands and can help us answer some of our questions. And I would love to provide that for you.

I do have a 30 minute motherhood mentorship call that I offer to help you talk through your questions, your research findings, your birth preferences, and more.

This is your time, and we will customize the conversation to best fit your needs. And I know sometimes when I tell people that I offer this, they’re like, well, what about my doula? What about my midwife? I’m telling you, and I had the best of the best.

Maren with daughter giving kisses

Motherhood Mentorship Call

Sometimes We Just Need To Talk It Out

I’ll help you talk through your questions, your research findings, your birth preferences and more. This is your time, and we will customize the conversation to best fit your needs.

Home Birth Preparation Checklist

Essential Supplies:

  • Birth Kit: Provided by midwife, including materials for emergency situations.
  • Emergency Supplies: Ensure materials for safe delivery if baby arrives before midwife.
  • Resuscitation Equipment: As supplied by the midwife, if needed.

Newborn Essentials:

  • Outfit: Soft and comfortable clothing for newborn.
  • Diapers: Have a sufficient stock of newborn-size diapers.
  • Olive Oil: For cleaning meconium poops.
  • Goldenseal Root: For umbilical cord healing.

Postpartum Essentials:

  • High-Protein & High-Carb Meals: Pre-prepared meals or ingredients.
  • Hydration & Recovery Drinks:
    • Fresh orange juice for quick recovery after childbirth.
    • Electrolytes to maintain energy and hydration.
  • Cleaning Supplies: To manage any mess that might occur.
  • Bedding Preparations:
    • Extra sheets and waterproof pads for water breaking and potential mess.
  • Pain Management Tools:
    • Items to aid in positioning and support during labor (e.g., birthing ball, pillows).
  • Snacks & Sustenance:
    • Fresh fruits and veggies.
    • Protein drinks and bars.
    • Hummus and honey sticks.

Birth Environment:

  • Calm and Peaceful Setting:
    • Create a soothing ambiance with dim lighting, soft music, or nature sounds.
    • Maintain a clutter-free, clean space.
  • Necessary Supplies for Birthing Team:
    • Snacks and drinks for the birthing team (electrolytes, protein bars, etc.).

Communication and Planning:

  • Emergency Services:
    • Ensure that fast emergency medical services are readily available if needed.
  • Midwife Communication:
    • Keep in regular touch with your midwife for any last-minute preparations or updates.
    • Follow any specific advice or guidelines provided by the midwife.

Personal Preparation:

  • Mental Preparedness:
    • Embrace and prepare for the birthing experience, aware that pain is a natural part of the process.
  • Research and Advocacy:
    • Stay informed and firm in your childbirth preferences, drawing from your research.

Remember, the aim is to create a supportive, prepared, and serene environment for both you and your newborn. Each checklist item contributes to ensuring a smooth and fulfilling home birth experience.

Maren with daughter giving kisses

Motherhood Mentorship Call

Sometimes We Just Need To Talk It Out

I’ll help you talk through your questions, your research findings, your birth preferences and more. This is your time, and we will customize the conversation to best fit your needs.

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

Maren Crowley

Your Host

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In each episode we’re seeking truth and getting real – helping you discover your strength and voice to make the best, informed choices on YOUR terms in accordance to HIS will.

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