Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Home Visit

My midwife and her assistant came over today for the 36-week home visit. I don't know if you can call it the nesting urge, but I did a fair amount of cleaning and rearranging yesterday in preparation. Heck, I even had Darwin hang some pictures that have been sitting around for months! But my bathroom counter is clean, and the floor is swept, and I hope I won't have to do that again before the baby is born.

The midwife checked out the layout of the house and made sure we'd laid in our supplies. For them as is interested, here's a partial list of stuff you need to have handy for a home birth:

  • A bag for baby containing some cloth diapers, an undershirt, some socks, a first outfit, and several receiving blankets.
  • A bag with eight towels and twelve washcloths
  • A sterilized pan for the placenta (bake in a paper bag at 250 degrees for an hour, place the paper bag in a plastic bag, store in a safe dry place)
  • A postpartum bag containing the antibiotic eye ointment, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls, Q-tips, small unopened bottle of olive oil
  • two fitted bed sheets, a plastic sheet, and two sets of pillow cases. (In early labor you make the bed with one sheet, put the plastic sheet over it, and put the other bed sheet over that. Then after the baby is born you pull off the soiled top sheet and plastic sheet, and voila! The bed's already made.)
Baby's heartbeat is strong, she's wiggly and of a good size (but not too big!) and I'm as healthy as a horse. And I'm about 70% effaced and almost 2 cm dilated, and baby's head is low. This could all go down quickly once it starts -- heh, heh, heh...

But in the meantime, I feel just fine. My mom is scheduled to come out in three weeks to help with the girls and the baby stuff, and as long as my ankles don't swell up, I ought to be able to hold down the fort until then. And I haven't developed any new stretch marks (yet)! And a friend took the girls to dance lessons, so I'm carefree all afternoon! You think I'm going to write a long and witty post for your edification, but what I'm really going to do is make some cocoa and lay down with a book and relax.



Jenny said...

Maybe this is too gross (if so please ignore), but I'm honestly curious. What do you do with the placenta? Do you just throw it out? And if so, why does the pan need to be sterilized?

Otherwise I'm shocked at how normal the list is. It seems like stuff one would normally have around the house.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to ask the same question.
I also wanted to know what the paper bag in the oven was for.

mrsdarwin said...

Ah, you are asking the Right Woman, because only this afternoon I asked the midwife the same question, and got Answers!

What ultimately happens with the placenta: the midwife can't legally dispose of it, it seems, so we have to make it disappear. We'll probably bury it in the back yard (I've been wanting a garden anyway...), but some people freeze it and then put it in the trash, well wrapped. The midwife told me that someone she knew had barbequed and eaten it. This was not the option she advised, however, and I have to go with the prevailing wisdom here.

The pan has to be sterilized just in case the midwife has difficulties in delivering the placenta or needs to reach back up inside for any reason. With a sterile place to set the placenta, she doesn't have to change into a new, clean set of gloves, which can save a few minutes. I guess it's not common for this to be a problem, but if it is, it's handy to have the sterilized pan around.

As to the paper bag -- I believe it's there so that you don't actually touch the pan after it's been sterilized.

The list is fairly ordinary, which is comforting, no? But the midwife also requires a separate birth kit which has all the underpads and gauze and gloves and two drinking straws (those I can't explain!) and medical-supply items. She has a custom kit on file with the company, but if you're interested in what sort of things one needs for a home birth, you can check out the website ( and see the different options. I have to go back there myself and order the Vitamin K for baby.

Amber said...

Oh, I only had to have one drinking straw on hand! No idea what that was supposed to be for though, and it wasn't used. If you find out, do let us know, please? We didn't have to have a prepared pan for the placenta, instead they wanted a large bowl and a garbage bag. She just wrapped the bowl in the garbage bag and plopped the placenta in when it was time to do so. Having the pan be sterile sounds like a good idea though. Otherwise our list was pretty similar.

Rick Lugari said...

The midwife told me that someone she knew had barbequed and eaten it.

I've heard of that twisted behavior (usually in China). The freaks probably have a pantry full of Soylent Green.

My advice: Either...

dig a hole in advance, placing all the dirt in a wheelbarrow. Then after the placenta is delivered, have Darwin literally run outside with it (holding it at arms-length away, closing his eyes, holding his nose and gagging) and deposit it in the hole, immediately dumping the dirt over it - then pounce up and down on it while shuddering and gasping for breath.


have Darwin literally run outside with it (holding it at arms-length away, closing his eyes, holding his nose and gagging) and throw it in the nearest dumpster or under the neighbor's shrubs. That way the neighborhood cats will get into it and then while petting your loyal pooch you can be entertained by the thought of those cats returning home and "kissing" their owners.