Birth Supplies+

my first freebirth setup...definitely more than necessary.

יהוה is my shepherd;
I have all that I need. Ps 23:1
{click scripture above for a beautiful labor playlist song!}
Since I’ve been asked several times recently what I find useful for birth, I wanted to share the contents of my birth kit as well as other helpful tips for those now shifting paradigms (It’s happening in a flood!) or who have never given birth!
I keep a tote with all my main (non-aging) birth supplies:
herbal perineum oil
•Flowy, thigh-length garment (this style)
Receiving blankets
•White washcloths
Reusable chux (bed wetting pads)—you can also buy disposable puppy training pads at Costco!
Cord burning box & tapered beeswax candles
•Bowl (for placenta)
Scale & sling
•Heating pad
Adult diapers or postpartum pads
some women feel more comfortable with angelica and shepherds purse tinctures on hand. The angelica is helpful when the placenta is slow to release; the shepherd's purse would be used when placenta is released but blood is still flowing a bit quickly.

As you can see, very few items are required for a birth, so the tote is not very big. Some midwives have their clients purchase a whole kit curated for their specific practices, but many of those items are such things as gloves, cord clamps, alcohol prep pads, heel lancets, drinking straws, lubricants, etc. These are 100% unnecessary for birth and are there only for the midwife’s comfort or licensure. I remember my first birth kit being much larger than anything I use now!

Trash bags CAN be helpful, if you use disposable chux pads, or old sheets that you intend to throw away with a shower curtain liner…I don’t usually birth on a bed so I haven’t done this. Easily washable linens (the reusable underpads or a beach towel, receiving blankets and washcloths) are absolutely sufficient.

Although not listed in the birth kit, I make laboraid for each labor. Not much is required for labor except surrender, trust, and physical and mental tenacity. Most of us do not feel hungry during active labor, but I like to have homemade crackers on hand just in case. Raw milk would also be exceptionally nourishing! My last few labors haven’t lasted long enough for me to get bored or hungry for snacks (#4 was 3.5 hours, #5 was 1.5 hours), but I imagine less precipitous labors (like my third child), early labor snacks are a good idea to fuel through to the end of the work.

There’s no need to “check progress”, but in the moment, when you can sense that things are near, to feel for the head can be exciting. The last few times I’ve felt a “cervical lip” toward the front and using my fingers to press it back can help the baby to move beyond it, and prevent it from swelling because of this pressure. Using olive oil (I like one that’s been infused with healing herbs for a few months) to lubricate is helpful for prevention of labial tears, trauma and bruising.

Once the baby is born, several receiving blankets (to immediately surround your baby and wipe them down) are helpful, even if only for grip! Newborns are slippery! I like having a slow cooker with filtered water heated beforehand, with several white wash cloths in case of blood or poo smears. The baby will start cleansing it’s bowels pretty soon after birth, not to mention that mama’s colon gets a good toothpaste squeeze by the head so that might be evident also. ;) It is nice to have several warm, fresh cloths available, since you may want one after another right there at the beginning! The receiving blankets usually are soiled one after another, by amniotic fluid, blood or meconium so I like having at least 6 ready and nearby to cycle through.

I asked my husband if he wanted “monitrice support” just for the birth, so that he wouldn’t “have to” do all this fetching, wiping, laundry washing. He said he loves it, and I love how it knits us together more as one each time. He didn’t want anyone else cramping our style, either! He has caught each of our last three babies and is even more fully present mentally than I am, so that they have been gently cradled with Daddy’s hand upon emergence. What a beautiful picture of our Abba, our Deliverer! I'm glad to have married a real man. :)

After birth, the feeling of the placenta ready to release is just a heaviness that must be pushed out. It’s easy to birth after a bony baby, but I like to position over a bowl to catch it. Afterward, putting it into a ziplock inside a clean bowl is helpful to prevent blood from spilling as you move around with the bowl/cord/baby still one unit. We don’t hurry to sever the cord. Our preference is waiting until a natural lull in the rhythm of these early, sacred moments, to take our time with the burning. The heat presses the moisture out of the cord so that it cauterizes, seals and begins the healing/drying process all at once, even while it is slow due to the time it takes for a flame to burn through the cord (about 15-20 min). Find a place on the cord that is skinny, without blood pockets; the blood causes the fire to pop and spit! Not what we are after here.

Nothing in the world is as intensely fulfilling as experiencing the rich blessing of physiological birth. Without the fears, opinions, equipment, sterile tools, gloves, etc that come with a professional attendant, the body and mind are fully free to receive The Word and His direction and deliverance. Learn to enter into the trust-nourish-rest matrix that our Messiah died and was raised for us to enter back into. Emotionally and physically, having pressure of a minor (human) “authority” and their knowledge applied tends to take more than it gives.

As you can see based on the very short list of required items and hands, a full, complete experience has much more to do with your trust, and what isn’t at your birth, than what is. The best thing I’ve ever let go of is expectations and knowledge. You don’t need to know percentages, centimeters or hours like you need to know your True Deliverer. Nothing will cover your birth experience like locking your confidence on the correct Authority...the Authority of Life. As extensive as this "checklist" is, as long as you are following The Shepherd, it doesn't matter how few "comfort items" you collect: you will have everything you need.

A few things that can be extremely helpful postpartum are:

afterease tincture & magnesium
•lots of homemade meals in the freezer
sitz bath herbs
•heating pad (for womb-restoring contractions)

One more note for birth certificate and "mandatory" newborn CHD testing/blood spot screen:

You may request a parent refusal for the heel prick test. Here in VA, it is required by law, unless you send a signed acknowledgment that you are refusing the test. I received the form from a neighborhood midwife after Laurel was born.

I like to pick up a couple vital record forms before the birth, so that I have time after the birth to recover and not drive with a newborn. This form is NOT a birth certificate request. This is the Legal Vital Record form that would be given to a midwife or hospital to fill out with details of the pregnancy and birth. I get ours from the local health department. The employees are usually confused as to what I'm asking, since it is uncommon for a mother, but once they understand what you need, they can give you a couple (or three!) just in case you make a mistake. These are very sensitive to any mistakes or marks, so take your time when filling out!