Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Catch Up Post: Birthings Magazine: Preparing our Munchkins for our Homebirth

Last year, after our amazing HOMEBIRTH OF ZEEKI, I wrote an article for the Birthings Mag about how we prepared our children in the lead up to this incredible event.
Although it was published late last year, I'm finally getting around to posting it here too.
Yes! Soon I will even post about the homebirth (that will be in honour of Zeeki's first birth in a couple of weeks time! Only a year on but hey! lol)

{My friend Michelle and her beautiful fam graced the cover of this issue}

{Here was the article...and I shared the double page spread with Meredith's Frangipani Baby site from whom I bought my Caboo Carrier!}

I thought I would copy and paste the article here.

“I wonder what he’ll look like?” said our curious six year old son Ethan. “I think he’ll have no hair” replied Elijah, almost eight, emphatically. “Boys, we won’t know ‘till he gets here” came the voice of reason from older sister Stassi who was nine. Conversations like this were aplenty in our house in the lead up to their baby brother’s homebirth. Two year old Zipporah wasn’t exactly sure what was happening although she did love reading through the ‘Hello Baby’ book that we had bought online to help prepare the kids.

{We love 'Hello Baby'}

We were all in new territory really, since this was my first homebirth. None of us really knew what to expect although we really did try and prep them (and ourselves!) the best we could. We talked about all the things that might happen; mummy might not be able to talk to you during the birth because she has to concentrate a lot. Mummy might use her voice to help her get through the contractions so she might sound a bit loud but that’s ok! You might see some blood, but that’s normal doesn’t mean that mummy is hurt. The labour might be quick or it might take a long time.
Our almost eight year old son is autistic and can cope with different situations as long as he is well prepared for them. So we decided that it would be good to watch my previous labour videos as a family. One rainy Sunday afternoon, we piled onto our bed, hooked up the old video tapes and discussed them as we watched. The kids cried with joy and I knew they would be so excited to be at this baby, our fifth child’s birth.
One day during the pregnancy, I invited the kids to a ‘tree party’; we took some hot chips to our favourite park, set down the picnic rug under a huge tree and talked about the impending arrival of our little one. I asked each child what they would like to do during the birth and as we brainstormed, I wrote down their ideas.
{Our tree party - iphone photo}

{Iphone photo recording our special tree party birth planning session!}

That was a very special day for me. I wanted to bottle their excitement and enthusiasm. It was so precious! Later on in the pregnancy, I took the ideas I’d jotted down and photographed each activity. Some of the activities were getting mum her water bottle, doing a special scarf dance around the birth pool, watching a Little House on the Prairie DVD, making cards for mum and colouring in stuff! Once I had photographed each activity, I printed these off and put them into a little mini photo album for each child.

Each album while different said something along the lines of...’During labour, I can...’ and then had the photo and the label in the album sleeve. I then sewed up a special felt pouch for the albums to go in, each in our kids’ favourite colours so they would know who’s was who’s.  They were so stoked when I showed the albums and pouches to them! These sat in the activity basket with the activities themselves for the remainder of the pregnancy.
{Special activities basket all ready and set aside for birth-day}

Preparing our children meant not just allowing them to chat about the birth but also involve them in the pre and post birth things we did too.
{All the kids helped with the prep for the baby blessing. Ethi squeezes orange juice}
All of them helped to cook with me and get the house ready for my pre-birth celebration. Stassi (our eldest) attended the day and enjoyed hearing the other women encourage me with words and scriptures.

{My beautiful friend Lori prays for little Zeeki in utero at my pre-birth celebration}

 It was so special to have her there too. We sang a song together that I’d composed for the birth and she had learnt it too. She sang it beautifully that day and was the proudest big sister ever!
{It was such a special moment having Stass sing with me}

{Stass practices her scarf dance which she did around the birth pool while I laboured to a special song composed - Psalm 23}
The kids attended most of my day-appointments with Hazel.

They loved to hear bubby’s heartbeat through the Doppler and Hazel would let them hear their own heartbeats which they loved so much!

(Stass helps Hazel make the belly button tie which we then sterilised in preparation for the birth. She loved being included in this step.}

They all helped to clean the cot and move it next to our bed. The kids helped to pick out music too that would play during the birth and would enjoy listening to the songs in the lead up to it as well.

 I bought and assembled a small rocking chair for our two year old to sit in, in preparation for once bubby was here and breastfeeding. I collected some books and put them in a basket near my big rocking chair and before Zeeki was born, we would sit in our chairs, rocking back and forth and read stories together.

The children would talk to Ezekiel in utero all the time; kissing my belly, rubbing it, giving him ‘hi-fives’!

Often the kids would come and lay hands on my tummy and pray for Ezekiel. They would talk to him like he was already here and that made my heart sing so much! They had formed a very special relationship with him before he had even arrived into our arms!

No doubt, the preparation we did do helped them to have such open hearts to meet him and prepare them for what would happen during the birth. It was incredible to have them in the room while I birthed Ezekiel. We were all there to welcome him with so much love. I’ll never forget their sweet voices saying excitedly, “Hi Zeeki!!!” “Praise Yah!!!” or “He’s here!!!” The birth was such an incredibly rich bonding experience for our whole family; especially Ezekiel’s siblings.

{Photos below taken by the awesome Mell Mallin}

{In awe of birth and of their baby brother}

{Ethi got to do one of the things he had brainstormed at the tree party months before; give me some water in the birth pool. He was so happy! lol!}

{While I relax in the glow of after-birth wonder and joy, the boys continue on with their craft, going back and forth between the pool and the table}

{Love the kids' faces here}

{Zippi wasn't overwhelmed at all. She LOVED being there!}

{Pushing out the placenta was something we had talked about so the kids wouldn't be scared. They coped really well and knew this was all a natural part of the birthing process}

{A special moment between me and my eldest who was so supportive the whole time. I will forever treasure the memory of Stass being there that night. She was so full of joy and wonder.}
The next day, Zippi our two year old proudly told me, “Zeeki not in your tummy anymore. Zeeki came out your wo-wo (vagina) and into the birth pool! He’s not in your tummy now!”
Every little conversation, question and activity we did to help them prepare for the birth of their baby brother was totally worth it and we hope we get to do it all over again sometime soon!
  Well, that was the article with some extra photos thrown in for good measure.
More to come soon!
I have reno photos to share, a post on swimming, thoughts on autism as we journey through, birthdays and lots more.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks!
Lus x

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