I have been brainstorming this entry for a while now. After delivery, when I was finally able to walk again and not feel as though I had ridden a cactus dressed up as a horse across a hill of moguls for a year, I immediately knew what I would do differently if I had another baby.
Despite reading plenty of “Bring to the hospital” lists – none had what I truly needed to survive, comfortably – and I use that word loosely. Anyone who has delivered via the underground tunnel knows that comfort doesn’t come for a long time.
Let’s start off with what I would have brought to the hospital if I could have talked to myself in advance:
For baby: long sleeved/legged onesie (3-4), a warm fuzzy blanket (2), receiving blankets (5-6), newborn bibs (5), MITTS, a soother of choice (don’t let them tell you not to use that or the mitts), baby wipes, diapers, baby lotion and Vaseline (the meconium is extremely sticky), baby face cloths and bottles/pump/formula.
1. Screw pads – go out and purchase Depends. The “pads” that they give you resemble hand towels in size and do not fit well in any person’s underwear. Depends all the way.
2. A glorified travel kit: shampoo(dry or wet)/conditioner, body wash, face cloths (at least two), a large fluffy towel, face wash, hand soap and cream, mouth wash/toothbrush/toothpaste (travel size), a container to put it all in on the counter in the bathroom, hair ties and headbands, face cream (no make up – ca’mon!). Most important, refreshing body wipes. You may not be able to shower, so these wipes will become your best friend. If you had a labour that was long like mine, you’ll feel filthy. The wipes are fantastic. Ice packs (the cracking kind) or a soft baggie to store ice in – obviously water proof – so you can stick it down your pants. For meds: ibuprofen, solfax or any stool softener – though your hospital might provide you with a postpartum meds care kit. If you are hurting badly, ASK for something more. They are there to make you comfortable, not reverse.
3. Clothing: Don’t pack anything tight. Be kind to yourself and your body. Baggy pants, loose shirts (makes breast-feeding possible), sports bras and underwear (however if you wear depends – your underwear problem is solved). Flip flops and lots of socks. Your feet will stink as you have so much fluid in you (ringers lactate/iv fluids etc) that they will super swell and super smell. Cue: body wipes!
4. Bring your pillows and a blanket. Nothing is more personal and comforting in a time when everything is so foreign. Bring a Kleenex box as well. You don’t have to move in – but you also don’t need to feel out-of-place.
5. Brings books/entertainment if you please, but the reality is, you are the only person who won’t be reading. Everyone around you will be far more relaxed to do these types of things. You will only be focused on one thing. Getting that baby out!
6. Food. I may have done this backwards and somewhat secretively, but I had food for sure! I had a 24 hour labour – I was hungry! I’ll have to find the picture but I most certainly had chicken nuggets at 3 am. Best sister ever.
7. Family: Have whomever you want there. Or no one at all. I was thrilled to have my sister, mom and husband in the room with me. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. And no one hit the ground, so it was obviously the right choice!
8. You are the parent, educated and read up. There will always be many ways to do things. I encourage you to do them all your way. It is fine and wonderful to take advice but ultimately, none of the nurses are going home with you, so it will be all you after you leave the hospital. That is likely my biggest regret with my delivery. Don’t let someone make the decisions for you. THEY didn’t birth your baby, make your baby or marry your partner – you did. Be gracious with them but ultimately they can go suck a lemon.