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Vera's New Bag - Consolidating Your Equipment


Please note: this is our second entry on bag reviews. You can see the first one here. 

The following bag is also included with more photos (with less stuff for clearer picture taking) in the above link.

Vera is a friend and local midwife. Having been to a planned home birth with her as a doula, I have seen first hand how she would practically move in with all her gear. She felt it was time to re-consolidate her home birth equipment into one bag that was very functional and easy to manage in all home birth circumstances. Here is how she did it:

First off, she started carrying less stuff (good first step). Before, she was carrying multiple sets of disposable supplies with her to each birth. Now, she has a home-birth box that clients can pick up at 38 weeks and keep at home for the "big day". Here is what it contains (all supplied by Midwifery Supplies Canada, by the way):

Labour Supplies 

20 non-sterile gloves

5 pairs of sterile gloves

5 packets of lubricant21+

1 In/out catheter

1 amniohook

2 amnisticks

10 blue pads

10 alcohol swabs

1 10ml vial of sterile water

1 1cc syringe/needle

 Delivery Supplies 

1 Cord Clamp

1 RH Blood Tube

6 sterile gauze

2 3cc syringes with needle

2 alcohol swabs

 Suturing Supplies  

1 lap sponge pack (contains 5 sponges)

1 sterile underpad

3 sutures (2-0, 3-0, 4-0 vicryl on a small needle)

1 10cc Syringe

1 18Gx 1.5” needle

Newborn Supplies 

1 1cc Syringe and needle

1 alcohol swab

1 packet of sterile gauze (2 per pack)

2 Neatnick heel lancets

1 bandaid

1 cord clamp cutter

 PP Hemorrhage Supplies  

1 Foley Urinary Catheter

1 Urinary Drainage Bag

3 1000ml NaCl

1 IV Kit (see website)

1 Wire hanger

 Lactation Supplies

1 Foley Cup Feeder

1 10cc Syringe

1 5fr feeding tube

 Personal Supplies and Container 

10 blue underpads

1 peri bottle

1 60ml bottle of peroxide

12 hospital maxi pads

2 mesh panties

1 waterproof sheet for the bed

Before, Vera was carrying multiple sets of this stuff with her all the time. Now she carries one set of labour and emergency supplies for quick, unplanned home births, and all planned home births have the supplies there already. The box gets inspected and re-stocked before going out to a new mom, so nothing is expired (have you checked your expiration dates recently)?

Here is the new bag Vera chose to carry her equipment: the Ferno Airway Management/Oxygen Bag

She wanted wheels for her bag, so she went out to the local suitcase store and purchased a set of wheels and bungie cord for $30 (she feels she could use one more bungie cord). 

She also wanted a back-pack for those times when dragging wheels up the front stairs wasn't practical (and potentially harmful to the equipment inside). This bag is also a well-designed backpack. 

The straps can also be put away for ease of transport when you don't want to use it as a backpack or want to use it as a shoulder or carry bag (they do tuck away completely, but Vera wanted them to be reasonably accessible in a pinch):

Here is how she fits everything (other than her spare O2 tank) into a single bag:

That bag of disposable supplies is pulling out from a zippered compartment that is hard to illustrate in these pictures (excuse my crude iphone photography!). This is one of the side compartments of the bag.

 further deconstruction of the same compartment reveals all the stuff that fit into that pocket.

The main compartment of the bag. The top stuff is in the lid. The blue-rimmed clear plastic compartments come with the bag, and velcro out. If she needs the supplies in that top left section there, she can just rip it off the bag and take it where she needs to.

After removing the electric heating pad from on top, we reveal layer two of the main compartment stuff. The blue pads are useful for birth, but also offer some extra padding for her Laerdal compact suction below, as she opted not to use the carry case. Pictured on the right is her manual resuscitator. Next to that are some more of those blue-rimmed clear-topped removable segments that come with the bag.

 As you can see, these removable compartments are great for things like dopplers, IV supplies, medications, etc.

Here we see her suction unit (bright yellow), and her oxygen tank, which is buckled in. It's hard to see, but there is a padded black divider in the middle of the bag, so the suction and the oxygen tank are not knocking up against each other. This divider is velcroed in and removable if you just want one large compartment. Vera also has all the tubing, etc for the suction in this compartment.

This oxygen carry bag comes included with the bag. It has a drawstring at the top, and a sturdy handle. Pictured here is a D-tank. Vera has since purchased a c-tank so she can have even more room in her bag, and has a D-tank as her spare that she keeps in the car. (This picture was upright in my photo program!)

So there you have it - a one bag system that can be worn on your back, over your shoulder, or put on wheels. It's versatile, functional, and compartmentalized for easy access. 

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  • Jill and Paul Colpitts