Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What I'm Packin'

The hospital bag is packed!  I was beginning to despair of this ever happening, but I've been feeling a little bit "off" and I figured that was my cue to get my sh*t together just in case Baby Girl decides to make an earlier-than-scheduled appearance.

When I gave birth to the Muffin Man I took enough stuff to the hospital that I could've lived there for at least a month.  Guess how much of it I actually used?  Yeah, just about one percent.  This time around I'm older, wiser, and just plain lazier, so I'm packing light and only taking the absolute necessities.  Just for the record, if someone tells you to bring a book to read, you have my permission to (rudely) laugh in their face.  You will sure as Hell not be reading anything between contractions, and your days of reading for pleasure are so far behind you they can't even be seen with a pair of binoculars.  



Herewith, a list of what you really need when you check in to Casa Labor and Delivery:

1. A bathrobe.  It's cold in the hospital, so it's really nice to have a cuddly robe to wear either during labor or after you give birth.  Trust me, you really don't want everyone on the Labor and Delivery floor checking out your bare-assed pregnancy cellulite while you cruise the hallways making moaning sounds wearing only a hospital gown.

2.  Your own pillow.  Hospital pillows are stiff and uncomfortable and liable to give you a neck ache. Plus you'll be very happy to have something that reminds you of home when you're trying to get comfortable in a hospital bed.

3.  Nightgowns to wear during labor.  This is obviously optional, as the hospital is happy to give you one of their oh-so-flattering smocks, but I personally found that wearing my own nightgown was much more comfortable.  I suggest bringing two, as I got super sweaty the last time and wished that I'd had an extra one to change into.

4.  Socks.  Because the only cold feet I like to have are the metaphorical ones with regard to having a second child.

5.  Sleep mask.  Hospitals have this weird thing where they like to keep the lights on all the time, which makes it hard to sleep.  Get a sleep mask and make use of it.  They'll still come in to wake you up all the time to check your blood pressure and ask you if you're sleeping (really? my snoring wasn't a clue?) but having a mask makes it easier to catch a few much-needed winks.

6. iPad and iPhone (and attendant chargers).  The iPad is a necessity for me because it contains all of my hippie-dippy Hypnobabies music, and you'll want your iPhone for pictures and to let friends and family know once the baby has successfully navigated his or her exit from the birth canal.  Just don't forget to pack the chargers, since iPhones seems to have a shorter battery life than my toddler's attention span.

7. Pajamas for after labor.  You really don't want the first pictures of you and your new kiddo to feature you wearing a heinous hospital gown.  You look bad enough after pushing a human being out of your lady parts, and putting on a fresh pair of your own pajamas really perks you up.  I'm partial to this incredibly soft Eberjey pair, which I wore after Noah arrived.

8. Onesie for Baby.  I love these Kissy Kissy onesies as they are super soft and wash really well (this is a major plus when you have an infant who likes to poop.  ALL THE TIME.)  The hospital will provide you with diapers and blankets and hats and stuff for the baby to wear while you're recuperating, but you do need something to bring the little one home in.  Keep in mind that it can't be one of those infant gowns, because you have to be able to buckle the kid into her carseat, so pick out something with little legs.

9. Leggings and a t-shirt for you.  Here's the cruelest part of childbirth: you still look pregnant even after you've given birth.  It sucks. You'll look marginally less pregnant, but you won't fit into your pre-baby jeans OR your maternity jeans, and you will want to cry.  Leggings are your best friend and will be for at least a month or two.  I'm partial to Splendid's grey camo leggings because they are super comfortable yet also look like you made an effort.  An oversized black t-shirt disguises a post-baby tummy.

10. Nursing bra.  Invest in a good one, because if you plan to breastfeed you'll be wearing these for quite a while.*

11. Tummy wrap.  If you have a desire to someday look halfway decent in a bikini, buy yourself one of these little gems.  They are uncomfortable and make you sweat, but I think that's a small price to pay for not having to wear one piece Mommy bathing suits for the rest of your life.  I plan to strap this baby on just as soon as I'm capable of crawling off of the labor table, because Mommy wants her abs back.

12. Homeopathic remedies: Arnica, Rescue Remedy, Lavender oil.  My incredible Doula, Khefri Riley, tipped me off to these remedies, and I can't imagine not using them.  Giving birth is a workout (hence the name labor).  Arnica pellets will help with any bruising or soreness.  Rescue Remedy helps to calm you down during labor and if you're all jacked up afterwards.  Lavender oil is for the car ride to the hospital to keep you from vomiting all over yourself and your baby bump and your partner.

13. Toiletries: toothbrush, hair band, moisturizer, and lip balm.  Unless you are a Kardashian and People magazine is scheduled to take photos of you after you give birth, you do not need makeup.  You will not have the energy or the desire to put on mascara and eyeshadow and no one expects you to.  You will most definitely want some way to keep your hair out of your face and you'll want to brush your teeth, so be sure to pack those two items at the very least.

14. Cooler.  I'd like to tell you that the cooler is for transporting a jug of very strong margaritas, but it's actually for my placenta.  If you're encapsulating your placenta you need one of these to keep it chilled until it gets delivered to the individual doing your encapsulation.  Don't worry, I promise to clean it with bleach before I use it for our next picnic.

15. Cord Blood Kit.  You never know when you might need some stem cells, so you might as well save your baby's umbilical cord blood.  Order the kit a month or two in advance and don't forget to bring it with you!  Otherwise you are shit out of luck, as this doesn't seem to be an item currently stocked in the hospital gift shop.

16. Gift for Noah.  When the Muffin Man comes to visit his new little sister in the hospital she'll have a special gift just for him.  Hopefully he will not use it as a weapon against her.

*I'm sure some of you first time Moms are wondering why I don't have any underwear on this list and I'm here to tell you that it's because the hospital gives you these disposable ones to use that you will want to take advantage of.  The massive pads that you'll have to wear after birth won't even fit into a pair of normal underwear and no one expects you to be sporting La Perla 24 hours after birth anyway.

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