One of the rituals I love as I make my way into the last few weeks of pregnancy is the preparation of the homebirth basket.
The list given to me by my midwives sits beside the empty laundry basket in my bedroom, a highlighter resting on top. There is a natural rhythm to when I start placing items into it; the room has to be just so. Of course, it must be cleaned, and I faithfully put away the laundry each day to keep all paths clear.
It means putting in the personal touches that have been lacking since we finished our bedroom renovation: a shelf to hold candles, smooth stones, shells, and a piece of ocean-worn ceramic that has followed me from home to home over the past 18 years. My beloved vintage photo of a mother and babe hung on the wall. Curtains, and a fresh duvet cover. We have no door on our bedroom yet, but I have released my husband from worrying about it for now.
Then, one by one, items start finding their way into the basket as I start washing linens, finding old cloths and towels to be used during and after the birth, and so on. The baby bathtub, a new washcloth and towel, and unscented baby wash is set up in the bathroom for her first bath. Candles are set around the tub for my comfort during labour. Gradually, as I wash the baby clothes, small garments are set into the basket. Maxi pads, a spray bottle for perineal cleansing after birth, a shower curtain to slip under the bedsheets, and clean sheets for afterwards are all part of the kit.
You know that feeling before Christmas, when you finally know that you're ready? I get the same feeling before going on a camping trip, when I've made the list, checked it twice, and feel fully prepared.
Somehow, I sense that my body knows when the homebirth kit is ready. I can relax and enjoy the last days or weeks of pregnancy, knowing that everything we'll need as we welcome our babe earthside is within reach, clean and waiting...