Friday, March 20, 2015

Preparing for labor and what to bring to the hospital

Preparing for labor can be a daunting task when you have no clue what to expect. I am hoping this blog has given you a few ideas to research because I personally believe preparation comes from the time you put into reading about the things you want in your labor.  You want a medication-free birth? Read about all your options.  You want an epidural? Read about common side effects and other moms' experiences. The Internet is full of advice and you are likely surrounded by women who have all had different experiences.  In the end, your labor will be unique to you, but at least you felt a little prepared :)

How about what to bring? My advice- ask other moms.  They will all have different opinions and tell you things that are complete opposite of what another one will tell you, but it gives you an idea of what may work for you or what may not.

What is on my list to bring to the hospital? It's definitely simplified from my first baby. I had a whole rolly suitcase filled with crap that I didn't need then haha. 

Personal Nightgowns. three pairs, one for labor and two for recovery.
I have always brought my own gowns for recovery and just started bringing my own for labor with my daughter. I always want something super stretchy, so my gowns are all jersey knit material and very soft. I had a full sleeveless gown with my daughter's labor, but this time, I am planning on a skirt, loose racerback tank, and a stretchy nursing bra meant for sleep. I like bringing my own gowns because I want to nurse more easily without messing with stiff hospital gowns.  I am doing a two piece labor outfit because last time I did not enjoy being butt naked immediately after delivery to be able to nurse and have skin to skin contact. Don't worry, I was covered in blankets so I wasn't truly butt naked. 

Comfort Items
This varies for everyone, but I am bringing my hypnosis mP3s to play in the background. You may want soothing music or perhaps if you're planning on having an epidural from the beginning, you'll want time-passing things like a good book, a sudoku puzzle book, or a season of your favorite TV show on Netflix.  

I prefer my own fuzzy socks over the scratchy ones with rubber grips. For walking around the room, I like having my own slippers. Don't be fooled, hospital floors are always disgusting. On the subject of slippers, I was pumped full of fluids with my son for some minor hemorrhaging postpartum so my feet were so swollen, they wouldn't fit my slippers.

I didn't bring my giant microfleece robe each time, but this time, I will be bringing a light jersey knit one. It's nice to have some kind of covering. Are you beginning to see a trend that I prefer stretchy, soft, fuzzy things?

Nursing Bra/Undies
Don't get sized until at least two weeks postpartum because if you're like me, your boobs may go crazy once your body is in nursing mode.  Just bring a comfortable nursing bra meant for sleeping in that has plenty of stretch so that it isn't a nuisance to navigate around.  
Post delivery, you get a pair of fantastic one-size-fits all undies.  I liked them because they were so loose, but just bring a few pairs if that does not sound like a great undie option.

Personal Pillow
I admit, I am a pillow snob.  I prefer to bring my own pillow for recovery only because I can get a stiff neck easily without the right pillow.  Something to consider, but perhaps you can do without.

The usuals: deodorant,  shampoo/conditioner, lotion.  Whatever you use on a daily basis.  I'm pretty sure hospital shampoo is just dish soap.  With my daughter, I brought my own lady pads too.  Hospital pads are like giant diaper boats, which isn't too bad for the first or second day of postpartum bleeding.

Important Documents
It's just a good idea to always have your ID and health insurance on hand when you are planning on going to the hospital.  I recommend pre-registering for admission with your hospital several weeks in advance just so they don't ask you a bunch of annoying questions like emergency contact's numbers (I don't know, I have to look it up! Who memorizes numbers these days...) or your home and mailing address.  

Birth Plan
Have a birth plan.  It doesn't have to be complicated and it could just be a paragraph long, but I encourage you to have some sort of written plan that indicates things you definitely want or do not want both during labor and with baby afterwards.  Here is mine:

medical speak: gravida refers to what number pregnancy and para refers to how many births greater than 20 weeks gestation

If you would like a copy of it in a Word document, contact me via Facebook, in the comments section or by e-mail here: rockthatbirth[at]gmail[dot]com.

Seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how often this is forgotten.  Thankfully, it seems as if we live in age where at least 5 people you are close to, if not yourself, have a smartphone and always have a camera on them! Make sure your batteries are all charged too. With my son, we brought the camera, but our battery died right after he was born. Ha! We did bring the charger with though.

You may want to have a couple dollars worth of quarters in case your support person wants to get a snack at a vending machine.  My hospitals have always had snacks for the significant other, but you may not be as lucky.  If your hospital is more updated, they may even take a credit card swipe instead!

Device chargers.  Communication has totally changed in the last few years and things like FaceTime and texting photos is a regular occurrence.  They also use up a lot of battery juice.  So, don't forget the chargers.

Clothes for Baby!
Don't go overboard with this one. There is no need to pack a whole wardrobe- the hospital usually provides open end onesie-sleepers that make it much easier to change diapers.  I also bring hand mitts for baby because my children have a tendency to cause self-inflicted wounds with their razor sharp nails. I'd skip bringing diapers and wipes too- let the hospital provide those while you can! No need to pay for extra diapers.
  • I'm skipping bring a boppy nursing pillow this time.  I found I preferred being surrounded by a million pillows instead of one to help with nursing position. 
It's nice to have a good snack on hand.  I always liked having a small selection of goodies for myself.  And a good drink.

That's all I have on my list.  What did you bring?

Upcoming Post: Recovery!

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