Yes, yes, I am late. But I have a good excuse. Probably the best excuse ever:
I had a baby. On Christmas Day.
Yeah, bet you’re feeling pretty bad about giving me the gears about being late. While you were busy eating and opening gifts and merry-making, I was completing one of the biggest work outs of my entire life.
I tease, it wasn’t that bad. Maybe I’ll tell you about it one day, but at this point, I’m a little hesitant to spill the messy details about my childbirth experiences. However, we will talk about something that women are a little hesitant to talk about (at least in voices above a whisper) when it comes to labour and delivery:
What I recommend taking to the hospital in your birth bag
A caveat here: I am in Alberta, Canada which may affect what I would put in my bag compared to you. Also, I’ve never had a cesarean section so I wouldn’t know what you’d need to bring for that. This is just my list of what worked for me.
- Pretty socks. Yup, this is the first on my list. If you’re delivering vaginally, you’re going to have your feet up in everyone’s faces. For some people it doesn’t really matter and we all know that the nurses probably aren’t thinking about your feet when you’re delivering, but I felt more comfortable having my feet covered. And when you’re as vulnerable and exposed as you’re ever going to get, a little comfort makes a difference. Also, socks will be nice for when you’re walking around the hospital room floor. Keep in mind that these socks may get soiled with blood, amniotic fluid, pee, and anything that else that can be expelled from your body so don’t get too attached to them.
- ID, Insurance info, & medical information. This stuff is pretty obvious but a nightmare to forget. In my province, when you get passed a certain point in your pregnancy, your OBGYN will give you your medical records from your pregnancy to keep on you at all times. This will make sure that no matter where you deliver, the people around you will know what they need to make sure you deliver safely.
- Nursing supplies. This includes a nursing bra (only if you plan on wearing a bra under that hospital gown) and a nursing pillow. This is contingent on if you plan on nursing or not, which the hospital will really, really, really recommend (to the point where I felt like I didn’t have any other options). Whether you plan on nursing or not, stashing a couple of those little pads that soak up colostrum is a good idea since you may be a little leaky.
- Baby supplies. This includes a going home outfit, a diaper or two, a receiving blanket (if you’re nursing or if it’s cold when baby is delivered), and a car seat. Most hospitals won’t let you leave without a car seat that they check. My first delivery, I didn’t need to bring diapers since the hospital gave me a giant stack when I left (and they provided diapers while I was there as well). However, for my second, the hospital had switched to cloth diapers so they weren’t just giving them away. I may or may not have just taken one cause I didn’t bring any disposables myself. For safety sake, I’d bring one if I were you.
- “Bottom” supplies. I don’t know why they use the term “bottom” but I guess it’s more polite than any other words. Anyways, these are the most important things you can bring in my opinion. You are going to be sore and miserable and having these will help. My hospital provided me with 1 pair of mesh underwear and pads for while I was there, but I felt better with my own stuff. I had bitten the embarrassment bullet and purchased Depend underwear and I’m not joking, they are the best purchase I have ever made. They don’t look sexy, but I don’t have to throw out a bunch of cloth underwear that barely fit over what’s left of my pregnancy belly after a sneeze that left my pants looking like a crime scene. I also had a bunch of pads that I could put into the underwear, but they weren’t that necessary. Another thing I had for my traumatized bits was a witch hazel spray. I couldn’t tell you if it actually does anything, but the cool mist feels like rain from heaven. The last and one of the most important things is a peri-bottle. It’s just a water bottle that you use to pour water on your downstairs to help you pee. My hospital gave me one, but if yours doesn’t, you need to find one. It helps you relax (the same way hearing water running makes you feel like you need to go to the bathroom), it helps clean up an area that can’t be touched, and it eases the sting of urine on torn/stitched up tissue.
- Books/Music/Stuff to do. You’re going to be at this hospital for a while. Most of them like to keep you for 24 hours after the baby is born and most of it is for observation. Of course, resting and taking care of baby are part of what you do, but it feels like a long time to just be sitting in a hospital bed. Don’t bring much, but a book wouldn’t hurt.
That’s it. That’s all I brought to the hospital. My husband did bring his own bag, but I didn’t use anything from it and the last thing I wanted to be responsible for when I was in labour was a bag of snacks for him to chew on. As for things I wouldn’t bring?
- Pyjamas or a pretty robe. You’re going to be in a hospital gown (or nothing) most of the time and if anyone judges that when they come to visit…well, they’re already in a hospital, might as well give them a bloody nose. Besides, you’re going to bleed all over it. Trust me.
- Shower supplies. While you’re going to want to shower, you’ll want to do it in your own house. Hospital showers aren’t made for comfort or relaxation. Bring a washcloth if you like, but I’d wait to bathe until you got home. Plus carrying the extra stuff is no fun. And you just gave birth, you don’t owe the world a pretty face after what you’ve just endured.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know below.
Also, since I’ve just had a sweet new little baby (his nickname is Eggs), I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus from this blog for the month of January. Fear not, though! I’ve got a couple of dear friends who have volunteered to keep this place active while I’m away. I look forward to reading their stuff!