It’s almost time… and in between ordering everything for our last Cedar Ring Circle order and waiting for shipments to arrive so I can pack and ship them to members, I worked on readying a peaceful birthing atmosphere here at home. I plan to labor in our downstairs bathroom, one of my favorite rooms in our 1849 farmhouse. It used to be a dining room, so it has lovely stained glass windows and is nice and roomy. The previous owners lovingly restored and installed an old clawfoot tub here (thank you!!). During my last labor, I found it so relaxing to listen to music in a dim, candlelit room while soaking in water- so soothing for contracting muscles, that it was really only the last 15 minutes before my daughter was born where I found labor to be difficult and intense. I know every labor is different, and I am not expecting this child to enter the world exactly as his or her siblings, but hopefully it will be just as gentle a birth as my last.
Mama Erin gave me this beautiful orchid, and Big Dipper Waxworks sent me their new beeswax Citrus Grove Pomelo Candle (thanks Jody and all at Big Dipper!).
I think flowers are such beautiful imagery for giving birth. During labor I like to imagine myself opening like a flower greeting the sun.
In the windowsill beside the tub I placed a candle surrounded by crystals, a fingerknit bracelet, and card sent by a co-op member and her son- thanks Jennifer and family! I feel surrounded by love and support.
The changing table awaits a tiny bundle- with freshly laundered blankets, diapers, a neutral layette, and a choice of hats- pink or blue? We are so excited to greet this new face and discover if it is a new daughter, or a new son. My Ipod is also tucked in there, with my birthing playlist ready to rock.
Homebirth supplies are at the ready… I have a list from our midwifery practice which includes an herbal bath specially designed for a postpartum soak to help heal faster.
I am usually occupied (with a new baby) when they make it, but I think they take the herbs and garlic and wrap them in cheesecloth like a giant teabag and steep in a pot of boiling water for a bit, then add it to the bath. There is 1/2 cup sea salt, 1 oz dried yarrow, 1 oz uva ursi, 1 oz witch hazel bark, 2 oz comfrey leaf or root, and 1 large bulb of garlic. The big bowl is for the placenta. My oldest son *really* wants to cut the umbilical cord this time… we’ll see how things go!
I really love my midwifery team… Meg has been catching babies for 30 years (over 2,000 babies- wow!), Emma (a Cedar Ring Circle member!) has been assisting for about 4 years, and the newest midwife in the group, Martha, has put her daughter through a Waldorf kindergarten and I feel very much on the same wavelength (although not nearly as knowledgeable!) as these women. I love how intuitive Meg is, during my last birth I think she knew I was happy to be alone, and this time I will probably want the same thing. For me, concentrating on the music I am listening to and the imagery I have created for my birth help me most relax and get into that birthing “zone”, and anything else feels like a distraction. When the baby is ready to come, it just comes (couldn’t stop it if I tried!)… I haven’t experienced any need for coaching on pushing or cervical checks- just a few blood pressure and heartbeat checks to ensure the baby and I are doing well as we work together, and the rest of the time, the team is discreet and nearby, but not overly in “my space”.
I’m also getting a basket ready for my “recovery room”- I plan to stay upstairs for 3 days after the birth, only venturing from my bedroom to the bathroom. It will be a time to rest, nurse, and maybe knit (desperately need some newborn wool soakers!), read, or needlefelt while the babe sleeps… I am working on a needle-felted angels-and-mother-with-child mobile to hang over the baby’s cradle. Pictures to come when it is finished…