Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Classy, right? I'm not sure where this saying came from but our family (my sisters and I) use it a lot. We've used it so much in fact that we can just say the first three p's and know what is insinuated with the following without having to say them (which is most oft the case as there are always little people running around nowadays and I don't want to hear my two year old say "piss"). Anyhow - it's kind of a joke really but those who are close to me have more than likely heard me say this a few times and hey, despite it's classiness it rings true!
Like in any other situation (vacation, starting school, birthday parties, etc) home birth requires prior preparation. Preparations for home birth (with our selected midwife) included things like:
~ reading, understanding and signing the agreement given to us by our midwife
~ regular prenatal appointments
~ ordering a home birth kit
~ taking a home birth class
~ purchasing necessary/recommended supplies to have on hand when it was "go" time
Prior to our first meeting, my midwife and I communicated a little bit over email and in her very first email she sent me some information rich paperwork that covered some of the following:
-who she was (her training and her philosophy)
One of my favorite things she had written in that document: "Birth is unpredictable - I do trust the Lord for His protection and guidance - but it needs to be clear that I have no guarantees of a good outcome for any birth. I am not God or a fortune-teller or infallible - just a human being who believes that God made birth to work without intervention (most of the time) and that, if left to itself, the process will unfold normally, in good time and with the best outcome for mother and baby."
-services offered (detailed breakdown of prenatal, birthing, and postpartum care)
-fee scale/financial schedule
The prenatal schedule I followed was a bit different than those I followed with my previous midwives. I saw her every 4 weeks until I was 36 weeks and then I was moved to every two week appointments. In my particular situation, my midwife saw her patients in her home. She reserved a set day each week to see all of her prenatal appointments. I believe in her agreement she said she would be willing to make herself available for in-home visits if a patient so desired but there was an associated fee and I'm sure her availability for such largely depended on her schedule week to week with women who were due, etc. In my particular situation, prenatal visits included having my blood pressure and pulse taken, getting weighed, leaving a sample for routine urinalysis, being measured, palpated and having size and position of baby estimated, and fetal heart tones heard. I would say the most valuable component to my prenatal appointments was the emotional/physical counseling that they provided. Specifically I just felt like they were eager to be in tune with what I was thinking/feeling, etc. They wanted to know how I was sleeping, how I was eating, if I was active and if so in what way. If I was having an issue in any of the aforementioned areas they were eager to talk through it and address it which truthfully hasn't always been the case with prior providers I've worked with.
The home birth kit I ordered was through a company which my midwife worked with. I ordered the kit online through the company's website. It included all kinds of necessary items such as (but not limited to):
-umbilical cord clamp
-chuck it pads
You get the picture. I laughed when I got the kit because Tim and I had been watching the PBS series on DVD called "Call the Midwife". As part of their prenatal appointments the midwives deliver a "birth kit" to each mother who is approaching her due date. So: my birth kit came via the UPS man :).
In addition to ordering our birth kit we had certain things to have ready prior to delivery - clean towels, extra sheets, layette items for baby, flash light, salt for bath water, drop cloth/plastic to protect carpets, bed linens, etc.
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I had all the aforementioned items ready and waiting like 10 weeks prior to my due date.
The home birth class I took was with other expectant couples who were planning to birth at home with my same chosen midwives. The class was a long class - I believe 5 hours in all. I couldn't begin to even give you the Cliff Notes version of all we discussed, but just know that we covered EVERYTHING and then some of the what typically happens, what could happen, how we would deal with what could happen, etc. etc. etc.
I honestly felt kind of sad at how prepared I felt going into this experience the 4th time. I wish so badly that I could have known even a fraction of what I knew prior to this birth before my others. I mean, realistically if each Mom were educated prior to the birth of their first child with the most common complications and how they are handled in a hospital or non-hospital setting it would drastically reduce stress for all involved if one of those things happened heaven forbid because you'd know why/what they were doing next. Does that make sense? For example: "if you experience a cord prolapse, this is what will happen next or if you begin bleeding more than xyz after you deliver these are the action steps that will follow". I just felt super confident going in knowing all of those things. I mean, I know that anything can happen and you can never be 100% prepared for anything but hey...80% prepared is better than 24% amen? Amen! The class reassured me in my choice because I felt like I further trusted the midwives and their ability to handle anything that would/could come and I knew that if they felt unsure or hesitant about mine/babies safety in ANY WAY they would not hesitate to transport me to the nearest hospital possible.
The last preparatory details before baby came included:
~having someone "on call" in the event my kids woke up during the birthing process.
~making sure the house stayed relatively clean as we "patiently" awaited the arrival of our new baby
~making sure the bathroom was ridiculously clean (I may have been cleaning it every 2 days) *This was not specified as a "pre-requisite" but I have a special neuroses about bathrooms and potentially giving birth in one took it up approximately 5,492 notches.
~keeping up with laundry since I would be out of pocket after baby arrived
~having some meal prep done ahead of time for kids and Tim and I so when baby arrived we'd not be stressed about that in particular.
That pretty much wraps up what we did to prepare and our prenatal care experience! Next up (& sure to be the most fun): my home birth story!