Well, here we are at 36 weeks and some change! Mike and I have our bags packed and ready to go to the hospital, something that we never got the chance to do with either of the boys’ deliveries. Theo came too early and I was unexpectedly admitted with Oliver. Nothing makes a girl feel less attractive than going through childbirth just to take your first shower with hospital provided toiletries. I’m pretty sure they give you the same basic toiletries in prison: ie, a bar of soap. That’s. It.
So this time around we are prepared to go to the hospital with our own stuff! Yippee! Woohoo! It’s the simple things in life, ain’t it?
When I was pregnant with my first son, I looked at a few “packing lists” and, I have to tell you, 90% of the things they tell you to take are not on my list. You aren’t setting up your child’s nursery, you are having a baby. There are a few key items I suggest taking with you for personal comfort and, let’s be honest – style – but the rest you can leave at home. Here is what I suggest:
-a few changes of clothes
-comfy sweater (Hospitals are freeeeeeeeeeezing!)
-toiletries (***For me, this is the most important thing. Having the items that make you feel like “you” are super important after delivery! Bring whatever you need to feel fresh and ready. That includes anything for the shower, lotions, hair product, etc. Heck, bring your favorite lipstick if it helps you get more pep back in your step!)
-change of clothes
-if you plan on being in the shower or using a birthing tub, you might want dad to have a pair of swim trunks.
-If your hospital has a parking garage or cafeteria that dad will need to access, be sure to bring along some cash. Meals are for moms only.
-If you (mom) have medications that you take regularly, write those down and give to your partner. If you show up in super active labor, you might not have the recall or where-with-all to remember the list and it’s important that your medical team have this knowledge. Just a thought!
-Outfit or two (including hat)
Keep in mind that the hospital will have everything you need to take care of your lady business post-partum, including the special, super sexy, one-size-fits-all underwear. Who cares what they look like. They are wonderful, and they are yours for the taking. Just go with it.
Also, newborns don’t need soap/lotions/etc, so keep all that at home. The hospital provides you with all the diapers and wipes you need during your stay, so that is another thing you don’t need to worry about.
And a special word about all the other stuff you think you will need during labor, like your soothing playlist, your yoga mat, or a scented candle. In my experience, when you are in the throes of active labor you won’t even know where you are, let alone be able to practice your soothing yoga routine.
With that being said…The #1 thing you need to have “packed” before you head to the hospital, however, is an in-depth and specific conversation with your partner about your expectations, goals, and concerns. Again, you may not be able to communicate all of those things yourself, so it’s absolutely vital that you’ve shared those thoughts with your partner so that they can be your advocate.
Worried about privacy? Ask your partner to keep extra personnel out of the room (doctors and nurses are vital, attendees are not).
Worried about being pushed into decisions you aren’t comfortable with? Ask your partner to (politely!) ask the doctors to give you a few minutes to privately discuss options if they need to make a decision about your care.
What I’m getting at is this – you can have a baby without your favorite pair of slippies, but it is much, much harder to have a baby without a partner who is not only there to support you through child birth, but to also advocate for you and communicate your wishes. If you are in a situation where your child’s father can’t attend the birth, ask a trusted friend or family member to be that person for you.
An honest discussion about birth. Don’t leave home without it!
Side note: In the past, Mike and I just threw all our stuff into one bag. This time around, mommy and baby girl got their own bag and daddy has one just for his things. Let the season of having two women in the house and all the overpacking bliss begin!