Friday, December 30, 2011

T.T- How to pack your bag for the hospital.

So, I've been through two births.  
I'm not saying I'm an expert on everything motherly, but I do have an idea of what a person needs and does not need when packing for a hospital birth. 
(Disclaimer; women choose different types of births; water births, natural births, epidurals, c-sections.  There is no judgement here- I just had 2 births with epidurals, so if I forgot something that could be of use for the other types of births, feel free to add to the list!)
With Ellie, my first, I went crazy.  I remember thinking, "Where are we going to put the baby when we come home?"  There was no room in the car after packing it for the hospital!  Then about 10 hours into being there, I realized I had gone WAY too far with my list of stuff that I would "need."  
With Evelynn, my second, I feel like I packed just enough.  I knew what stuff the hospital would provide, and what of that I would not prefer over my own.  I knew what was absolutely unnecessary, and what I absolutely needed.  
So, here is what I have found with my two experiences...

How to Pack Your Hospital Bag: 
Do Pack:
*Your birth plan.  Some people go way over the top with this, but better than then not knowing what you want.  Do your research on different parts of the birth: from pain medication to video recording and photographing, and from skin-to-skin to nursing/bottlefeeding.  Again, you want to be over prepared with this one.  The nurses and doctors won't think you're crazy, they'll like that you know what you want.  Have an open mind, because about 50% of it won't go as you want or plan.  To get a template of a birth plan that you can just fill out, go here. 
*a comfortable bra or tank for birth, you might prefer a nursing tank or bra if you are going to breastfeed right away.  Honestly, by the point in labor where you're ready to show your bra, you might be more comfortable and ok with being naked.  (I was butt naked for my first birth. Didn't give a flip by that point who saw me!) 
*Comfortable pajama pants. Bring pajama pants that are lose and have lots of room in the crotch area.  You'll be wearing a heck of a lot of padding down there, or around an incision area if you have a c-section.  Bring 3-4 pairs, just in case you accidentally bleed on them.  Don't worry, it happens and it's ok!  
*Comfortable shirts, nursing tanks.  You will have a lot of visitors, so you'll need to have a few nursing tanks on hand so that you can discretely nurse.  
*Which brings me to- blankets and/or a nursing cover.  Again, you'll have visitors, and unless you're like me and ask them to leave until you feel comfortable nursing in front of them (I didn't do it in front of anyone with my first daughter... now I could care less who sees me!) you'll want a way to cover yourself. 
 *Socks and slippers.  You won't be walking a lot, trust me.  You won't feel up to it, and..well, most hospitals don't let you leave your room or floor.  
*A Boppy (or nursing pillow) Even if you're not breastfeeding, a Boppy Pillow can be of great use, especially in the hospital!  It makes holding baby a lot easier, especially in the later hours!
*An outfit for baby.  One, you only need one.  You can also maybe bring a few shirts and socks if you want, but you don't need to pack 8 outfits for the little one.  Most of the time he/she will in a Halo Sleepsack, as hospitals require that they sleep in them now.  And they sleep all. of. the. time. 
*A pillow for you and hubs- You'll want your pillow there as the hospital pillows are super thin.  And come one, your poor husband will most likely have to sleep on a chair that they say pulls out into a bed, really just a chair.  At least let him have a nice pillow.  
*Camera/Video camera-  Do NOT forget these things!  You'll want to document every moment possible!  (Although, just to warn you, most hospitals have regulations against recording the actual birth, if you're into that sort of thing.) 
*Mini-toiletries- shampoo/conditioner, body wash, lotion, deodorant.  You will be taking quite a few baths, so make sure you bring something that is gentle. 
*Essentials- the bare essentials as far as make up and that sort of stuff goes.  You won't feel super up to standing in front of the mirror for an hour dolling yourself up.  You'll probably rather be snuggling that little baby, or sleeping while they sleep.  Just bring the essentials. 
*If you're a 4 eyes like me, bring your glasses and extra contacts.  Some hospitals require you to take contacts out during labor.  I haven't had this, but it sure felt nice to take them out after pushing.  
*A headband.  No matter how much hair you have, you'll want a headband.  Not only for labor, but for the rest of the time.  You'll just want things to be as easy as possible. 
*Something that comforts you.  I brought a few seasons of Friends, and our ipod.  I can't say that you'll actually be paying attention to any of it, but you can always use it later.  I'm happy to say that my second daughter came into the world while the 3rd season of Friends was playing. :)  
*Snacks.  No, you can't eat while in labor at the hospital, so make sure you eat before you get there.  (Eat something healthy and full of energy- fruit and veggies, grains... don't go to McDonalds, or lets just say you'll be seeing it again later....) Hubs will also need some snacks, and you'll be able to enjoy them after labor as well. 
*Gifts for your nurses/doctors/midwife.  I have to say that I didn't actually remember to pack these either time.  I do have to say if I had gifts for my nurses, I would have given them to them.  My second nurse gave us the best room in the hospital and we were here only patients, so we were treated like Queen and King.  She was amazing.  Something little like chocolates or a gift card for coffee just to thank him or her for all of the help they have given.  (I honestly only saw my doctors for about 30 minutes of labor, and an hour after birth... they didn't do much.) 
*Your car seat.  Make sure someone has properly installed it weeks before your due date.  Go to the police station near your house, and have them make sure it is legally and properly installed.  They will happily do this, for free.  
*Hub's stuff.  He won't remember his deodorant when he's worrying about you in your screaming contraction, or watching gushes of fluid leaking onto his favorite rug.  Make sure he has his essentials as well- deodorant, soap, clothes, socks. 
*Lap top.  If you're going to want to share this experience with the world of Facebook right away, bring your computer.  (But don't be like me and drop it 4 feet as you're frantically putting in a bag....)
*Phone chargers, computer charger.  Make sure to have these.  You'll be using both devices a lot while you share with the world of your new tiny baby.  
Burp cloths.  Bring just a few.  If you have spitter-uppers like I do, the ones in the hospital will not suffice.  

Do NOT Pack:
*Underwear.  Yep, you'll be there for 2 days, but you're not going to want to wear anything but those super sexy mesh underwear that they provide for you in the hospital.  Trust me. 
*Your pre-pregnancy clothes.  You won't be in those for a little while, no matter what amazing genes you have.  You retain quite a bit of the weight even after having your baby.  It's just nature.  
*Bras with under wires- you won't want anything to do with an under wire for a LONG time if you're nursing, and even if you choose not to breastfeed, your poor boobies are going to go through hell before you wear any wires.  Again, trust me.  
*Perfume and cologne.  Babies are really sensitive to smell.  If you're dousing yourself and your husband in that great smelling date night perfume and cologne, it might not be as pleasant for baby.  

Some other hospital tips: 

Take as many of the "bathroom items" that they provide for you in the hospital, home with you!  
The "tux pads" or witchhazel pads are AMAZING helpers.  Not just in the case that you have a stitch or two to take care of, but you will also most likely have a sore bum for a while.  (hemorrhoids are...well, they sneak up on you later in the game.) The mesh undies are great since you will be a fountain of blood for a good 3-6 weeks.  Wear them for the first week, at least!  Also, take those elephant pads and ice packs home.  Once you run out of those- maxi pads and diapers filled with crushed ice work just as well! 
Also, if they offer you more diapers, take them.  Just because you have a package or two at home, just take the diapers from the hospital.  Baby poops 10-12 times a day, you will NOT have enough diapers no matter how prepared you are.  Plus, the hospital gives you the nice pampers swaddlers.  They're expensive...
If people bring a lot of gifts for you to the hospital, ask either your husband, or someone in your family to make a trip home before you and the baby go home as well.  That way there won't be plants and balloons all over the car on the way home.  Instead, it'll be waiting at home for you guys.  

Have as much of this in your car as possible.  Have one bag hanging in your bathroom waiting for the essentials, camera, and other things that are last minute.  Then you can throw it in there, and head out the door!

Good luck and God bless you!  
I'm jealous of the journey you're about to embark on!  
It's a very, very beautiful one!  

1 comment:

  1. I was Just thinking about packing a Hospital bag yesterday I guess this is confirmation that I should get started on that :)