It’s been 9 months and that cute little bun in the oven is officially an alien being, moving left right and center at all hours of night and you can’t find your ankles. You’ve taken the class and know what to do when “you can no longer carry on a conversation comfortably” and you’re pretty much doubled over in pain… hospital time. Aside from explicit instruction to “give me the epidural” do you know what you’re going to bring? Well I just started to get organized and here’s what’s on my list! (I always tell myself that the hospital is not, in fact, in a bubble so anything I leave behind can be gathered at a later date so that helps with any angst that I won’t bring what I need.) Here are my HIGH priority items, MeDiUm priority items and low priority items:
MEDICAL/ PERSONAL/ HEALTH INSURANCE INFO
When you first arrive at the hospital, there are lots and lots of questions. Knee deep in contractions, you might not be on your A-game with this interview. I print out all important medical/ personal/ insurance information so neither of us have to really focus. (When we checked in to have Eleanor, Mark was totally thrown when they asked him what my pre-pregnancy weight was…): Personal info/ spouses info, emergency contacts, insurance numbers, doctor contact as well as any relevant medical details (weight, allergies, result of strep test, etc.), and hospital information.
CORD BLOOD KIT
I’m happy to discuss this decision further if people are curious, but we’ve made the decision to bank our children’s cord blood. It comes with a cost, but it’s basically betting on the scientific community that they will continue to make discoveries and find amazing use for blood taken from the cord immediately after delivery. Here’s hoping that this is a complete waste of money for us and we never have reason to need it…
There’s nothing more amazing than announcing your happiest delivery to your family… for us, a simple text and photo right after delivery is actually easier and less disruptive than waiting until the dust settles a few hours later to make that first call! I know… how impersonal is technology…
Okay, this may seem CRAZY random, but when you’re in the throws of contractions, there’s a lot of… labored breathing. And labored breathing leads to super dry and sore lips. And we all know that when you’re miserable, the littlest thing can derail you. Hence, the mandate for chapstick in my hospital bag.
In a pinch, the hospital has water… but it’s nice to have your own on hand. Labor and delivery is no joke and you will need to hydrate.
Hospital pillows are pretty much plastic bags with pillow cases. They remind you with every toss and turn that you are in a strange motorized bed with people coming to take your temperature every 2 hours. I LOVED having my own pillow… you’re pretty much in bed for 2 days so why not be comfortable?! (I’m planning to play dumb, but we were told that our delivering hospital no longer allows pillows because of bedbugs… we’ll see if I sneak it through.)
Again, hospitals have toiletries, but it’s nice to feel a little more at home by taking that first welcome shower with shampoo/ conditioner you love and the smell of your favorite body wash.
I ended up using my computer to watch TV and movies more than anything since the cable situation at the hospital might be bleak. Especially at 5 in the morning when your bundle of love decides it’s breakfast buffet time. Unless you have remarkable self restraint, I suspect you will mention your delivery on Facebook, etc. and it’s MUCH easier to keep up with happy comments, etc. via computer than via phone.
Think comfort. Think leisure wear.
If forgotten, the iphone will suffice (and let’s be honest, the first pictures are important, but probably not as cute as ones taken just a week or so later!)
PHOTO OF THE BIG KIDS
I liked the idea of having a picture of the big kids on hand so when they come to visit, they will know I’ve been thinking of them, but in our experience, they’re not noticing much else beside 1) the baby, 2) the curtain at the door of the room, 3) the bed that goes up and down.
PRESENTS FOR THE BIG KIDS FROM THE BABY
We always have gifts from the baby for the older siblings. I remembered with Martha so she was able to give her presents to Eleanor and Oliver in the hospital, but realistically this can totally wait until we all come home!
Again, there’s a cafeteria/ snack bar/ gift shop so food will be available. For me, I was so euphoric to have this little baby in my arms that I didn’t really care what I was eating… I just wanted LOTS of it!
They’re a nice way to pass the time, not requiring too much energy or thought.
CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR THE BABY
Because of the umbilical cord, the hospital clothes are sometimes easier to manage than something we bring that may or may not fit depending upon how big Baby is.
What I WON’T need:
• Nursing Pillow
The baby is SO little that supporting that sweet little body while nursing is super easy so the need for the big bulky nursing pillow is less important. I also found that the nursing pillow didn’t support a tiny newborn high enough for them to reach the breast so I was supporting them anyways. This can wait until I get home!
• Nursing bras
You’re basically in your PJs for 2 days so don’t worry about the bra… chances are pretty good that your milk won’t come in until you get home anyways, so a bra is just one more thing to maneuver while you try to get the hang of nursing. (I do, however, like to have a camisole to keep the girls in line just a little bit…)
Hospitals have a pump if they need to get colostrum for the baby, and for me… I didn’t feel comfortable pumping for at least a week since I had no idea what my baby’s feeding schedule would be. I was always nervous that I’d pump and then 2 minutes later, baby would be hungry again, and I wouldn’t have as much milk left for him/ her.
You’re a better woman than I am if your brain is in the mood for ANYthing that you would find in a book. Unless it’s a People Magazine Centennial edition, I was way too distracted to settle into any reading more complex than the food menu or cable guide.
• Anything fancy
There’s no way to sugar coat this… you will be a mess down there. You will don the hospital supplied mesh panties with glee and happily walk around in the baggiest track pants you can find. As much as you might want to look cute, just know that anything fancy will probably come away with, um, some stains.
Despite the best of planning and list making and googling the perfect items for the hospital bag, here’s the secret… once you meet that little baby you could care less what’s in your bag. Pack a toothpick and a french cut leotard and you’ll be just as happy!
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