3 years ago

Mama’s Little Helper: Things I’m convinced will save my life during and after labor.

…says the nesting-crazy 39 week pregnant woman. I get enough energy to launder and tidy –once– but the rest of my nesting is hoarding and stocking up on stuff like a hamster.

Property of Carolyn Svellinger

Oh, good.  Another post from Carolyn about pregnancy/birth.  Just what I want to read this Holy Monday before Easter.

Maybe, maybe not. My due date is 7 days away and my brain is nesting with post ideas about birth and pregnancy, so I figured maybe someone would benefit from my bland suggestions? Sure.

Also “due date” should be in quotations because even though I charted like a mad scientist this time, all of my babies have been between 10-14 days “late”, and only Emmett was born precisely ON his due date.  That said, I’m probably looking at 14 days.  I’ve never been early for anything in my life, why would birthing my children be different?


SO. What have I decided is going to save my life this time around? A bunch of stuff.

DISCLAIMER: Please read this post light-heartedly.  It’s semi-sarcasm, semi-serious as all get out, but truly tailored for my personality type (INTJ) and what I know might (MIGHT) work for me. Everyone is different, so these things might be awful suggestions for you.  For all I know, I’ll end up not using a single thing.  But feeling prepared is all that matters, right?



Above all, before any knick-knack or snack, is LOCATION. 

Property of Carolyn Svellinger
the toilet’s on the other side of the sink, if you’re wondering.


We can’t do a homebirth.  First, because we’re house hunting and living with my parents, and second, our Collin was born with a heart defect which runs in my blood, so knowing that there’s a possibility this baby may have an undetected issue (so far everything looks great!), it’s best for us to be close to doctors who can make sure.

I’m delivering at an accredited water birthing center, located inside of a hospital.  This will be my first water experience, and I’m convinced it will be a game changer for me.  …at least I hope and pray it will…

Please God, let this blessing relieve me from pushing out this child with a long-winded warrior cry of “MOTHER-FFFFFFFFFF!”
(I swear I don’t curse and I couldn’t believe it left my mouth. Which the whole word didn’t, but still, the fact that I’d formed the eff sound out loud was like… what am I? That’s natty birth for you, I guess.)

I’m a seriously interior person and no amount of coaching can break the wall I put between myself and the rest of the world when my inner peace is being attacked, so I’ve come to believe that I need to get myself into an environment that will help my introspect chill the heck out– and bright hospital lights and needles and hospital gowns that other people have died in, barfed on, and peed in are not conducive to that.

I heavily bragged wrote about where I’m giving birth right here, if you wanna know more about that.

Moving on to the knick-knacks:  Aside from the big, obvious natural labor tools like birthing ball, water tub, etc.
You’ll find the theme here is along the lines of: Snacks, smells, and heals.  Because these are things that work for me.

Olivia has an extremely helpful series on labor and delivery filled with tips and ideas that I keep coming back to for reference, and I’ve pulled from her ideas, hoping they’ll help me too. Her posts are better organized and much more helpful than this one is shaping up to be, so really, you could probably just stop right here and go read her things.  I’ll be here when/if you come back.

property of Carolyn Svellinger


Honey Straws.

I like honey. I picked these up while in Seattle with Craig at Pike Place Market.  They can be found on Amazon too, though.  One of the biggest pieces of LARD I believe that hospitals toss at a mother in labor is that she’s “not allowed” to eat. I understand the reasons, but for a mother trying to labor sans medication– LARD, I tell you. And that’s as far as I’m going on that subject.  I’m bringing them as an option for a quick spark of sugar/energy during a lull in my contractions.  This is something Craig can quickly hold up to my mouth and administer without fuss.


I’m taking this knowing that heat and my favorite tea are two things that always work wonders for my stress levels.  A few weeks ago, after a full day of flying home with Craig from his business trip to the West Coast (I was so uncomfortable I cried) and then driving an hour to get home to our boys, I was wound up right tightly in stress. After drinking a cup of tea, I was literally falling asleep at the kitchen table, I had relaxed so much.
I think having a cup of tea available may be useful to me. May.

Essential Oils + Diffuser.

Olivia wrote a big daddy post on which essential oils helped during her labor.  These past 9 months, I’ve slowly built up my collection based off of her suggestions and I’m super excited to have them on hand.
I can say it right now, I know I won’t use every single oil because I think juggling which ones to use at the proper time could distract me/Craig, but the big players which ALWAYS bring me the whoo-sah are Frankincense, Peppermint, and Patchouli.

Property of Carolyn Svellinger
It’s true. I sell for Young Living, but LOVE DoTerra’s Frank much better, and Balance, too.


Craig’s job as soon as we get to our room will be to set up the diffuser with Frankie.  That stuff is my grounding gold.
Peppermint will help me through nausea (it has these last 9 months), and boost me with freshness and energy when I hit my wall of misery.  And I will.
Frankincense will also be rubbed, diluted with a little olive oil, onto our little one’s crown as soon as he’s born.
Myrrh will be applied to help heal his umbilical cord site.
I’m thinking a combo of Thieves + Lavender will be diffused after birth for purifying the air and because Craig and I love how cozy it smells.
Basically, if I like it, and it’s safe for baby and mama, that’s what I will remember to use.

Dried Pineapple.

Olivia suggests this in her post, and it sounded so good I picked some up at Trader Joes.  Okay… I picked up 2 bags, and have already broken into one of them and I discovered they relieve nausea, give me a boost of energy, and are full of pineapple-y flavor. And they’re really chewy. Yes, this will be good, too.

See? Why are you still here?  Olivia’s already got together.  That’s why she’s such a favorite :)

Herbal Sitz bath.

This one is for postpartum.  I never knew about this stuff until recently.  In each sachet (the lady I ordered through makes 6 in each package) is a mixture of healing herbs that can be boiled to make a tea, then I can dip a few maxi pads into the tea, freeze them, and voila: a healing, soothing, cooling compress for the after party.
These can also be used as a sitz bath, or hung under a tub faucet for a healing bath soak.  I’m super excited for these puppies.

Fruit bars.

I guess it’s all about snack options this time.  I know that at a certain point in my labor, I couldn’t even think about anything coming near my mouth, but that at other times, I would have welcomed something small, fruity, and fresh.  I found these at Trader Joes (much cheaper than the Starbucks version, same ingredients) and all it is, is smashed fruit.  That’s it.  Chewy, mashed fruit.  I’ve been keeping them in my purse for a quick snack and found they also relieve nausea.  My boys love them too.

Hmm, other things?

Birthing Gown + After Birthing Gown

Property of Carolyn Svellinger

Somewhere a few months ago, I wrote about finding a garment to wear while I birth.   I suppose I’m some form of a prude and even while giving birth, my stubborn cranium can’t fathom doing it sans vêtements, or even with a sports bra.  I cannot be comfortable unless I’m covered, and since that’s the name of the natural birthing game, I won’t ignore it.

I found a knee-length non-maternity gown from GAP which is made of modal, and super stretchy and super light weight. I got two. A dark one for the tub.  Dark so that I can wash and wear it postpartum and not worry about stains.
Then I got a light colored one to change into afterward.  It will be easy to nurse the newbie, and easy knee-length for the wonderful nurses to do their check-up thing that they do.
I also got a robe– because I needed a new one anyway, and because it’s kind of like a cozy prize I can’t wait to be able to wear after all the gnashing of teeth.  Seriously, I’m looking forward to getting the birth done with so that I can wrap up in this robe and snuggle a little beebee.

That’s it for now! I hope someone found some mild amusement and slightly helpful ideas.
Otherwise, keep me and many of my bloggy sisters in Christ who are also preggo in your prayers (and her, and her, AND her tooand her!)- and have a beautiful Holy Week!
Signing off for now,
Big Mama.
Property of Carolyn Svellinger


  1. I feel your having lots of boys pain! But as soon as he’s here it won’t even matter anymore. :) There’s always next time, right? I have 5 boys and 1 girl. And still hoping for some more girls down the road!

  2. I have been dreeeeaming about those birthing gowns you posted. I can’t find anything like them anywhere :(. I loaaaathe the traditional maternity gowns. Gap sell out?

  3. I was eating the fresh pineapple like it was going out of style to try and induce labor with both my girls, but to no avail. Well, maybe it worked eventually…..

    That tea is seriously miraculous during pregnancy.

    Here’s hoping and praying for a smooth birth and quick recovery for you!

  4. Holy wow, I can not agree with you more about the eating thing. You’re not allowed to eat anything while you’re doing something that can only compare to running a marathon? Girl, PLEASE. (That said, I had a lotta snacks in my hospital bag, and by the time I got to the hospital there was no time for that. Triage to birth in T-minus 4 hours!)

  5. I love all these things – even though I don’t love labour!

    I really am happy you found nice gowns! I always buy myself nice new pyjamas for after the birth, and usually a new robe, but for some reason never put together the gowns thing. Haha, when I’m in labour I care about nothing, not even being clothed, which is so weird I hate to even admit it. But I’ve had my last two babies at a birth centre and they’ve both gone really well, so I’m praying for you!

  6. Yes to the Trader Joe’s loot – between feeding me and my husband, he was practically my doula. The freeze-dried banana slices are great labor food, too.

  7. big mama? Hardly. You look astonishingly good for 10 months. And now I want honey sticks.

    Praying for a timely little lady baby to ring in your Easter right.

  8. Where did you order the herbal sits baths and the birthing gowns?!

    During the last walk-through-the-door-of-the-hospital-while-pushing-completely-natural-because-there-was-no-time-for-the-meds-I-was-screaming-for labor, I alternated between screaming, “Lord, please have mercy on me!” and “SH*T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I think the labor and delivery staff was confused.

  9. I love this post! I read it just now at almost 48 hours postpartum while I snuggle my new sweetheart (who came 15 days late – solidarity!).
    I wish I had got some of that dried pineapple! It sounds awesome!!!! I just had a homebirth so stocked up on lots of snacks – those TJs fruit bars are awesome! I also really enjoyed Larabars during labor. There is a little protein in there from the nuts that helped me get through.
    I wish I were into the EO’s – those all sound amazing.
    Hope all goes well for you!! So exciting! New babies are the best. ❤

  10. You are making me covet beautiful birth gowns. And pineapple. And frankincense. Dang, I thought I had most of what I might need but now I want all these, too :) Praying for your birth and thank you for the prayers, too…I need them this time around most definitely. Can’t wait to hear of the new Svell-baby!!

  11. 1. I’m so jelly of your birth center. The hospital I’m delivering at is super pro-unmedicated births and they have a tub that if I make it to 37 weeks and no one else is using it I can use it. But it means switching rooms which is poop.

    2. I love birth related posts so keep them coming! I just hit 34 weeks and I’ve already got my bag packed and a last minute grab list and I’m probably just way over preparing because I’m scared and can’t deal with the uncertainty of labor.

  12. Dried pineapple is my favorite snack all the time, pregnant or not. You can usually buy it in bulk at most grocery stores too – our local cheap one makes it in-store with the list of ingredients right on it and it’s super great!

    I want to try natural next time (a failed induction and 52+ hours of labor last time made it, umm, a little out of the question) so Imma keep this list real handy! Thank you!

  13. You are too sweet to include me! I LOVE your suggestions! And isn’t the dried pineapple to die for? It is THE best. It’s so funny because, since I ate it during labor, you would think I would never want to eat it again. but I still crave it all the time! ;)

    Love and prayers for you sweet mama!

  14. OKAY well this was hysterical as per usual. And I have mixed EO allegiances, but heck YES Doterra’s balance is the most incredible smelling thing in the WORLD. I use it all the time!

    Also, I’m not pregnant, but I’d love to join in on the dried pineapple party please and thanks.

  15. That dried pineapple is seriously my new addiction – I hide it from the kids and my oldest is totally onto me, he found an empty bag in the trash can the other day…


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