if you haven't had a chance to see any of our other posts in the "getting ready for baby" series, you can check out the links below to catch up.
when we first began this series and we were listing all of our topics, i was the most excited about the last three. every first time mom walks into the hospital virtually clueless. it doesn't matter how much someone prepares, how many hospital tours you take, how many stories you have heard, when it's your first time, you will still be looking around saying, "seriously?...this is what happens?"
in an attempt to make things a little easier on all you first timers out there (and some of you veterans too), here's a list of what you should bring to the hospital.
first, before you begin packing, find out what your hospital or birthing center has on hand. many hospitals now have dvd players, cd players, wifi, and other electronics that can make your stay there more enjoyable. don't bring unnecessary items. you'll be lugging so much stuff in and out of that place, save yourself some trips by only bringing what you will need.
here it is, the good, the bad and the ugly...and let me tell you, there's some ugly with labor and delivery. be prepared...you'll be glad.
for labor and delivery:
first of all, don't bring anything that can't be ruined. you bleed a lot after having a baby so things tend to get lots of blood stains and the last thing you want to be doing is heading to the bathroom to scrub blood out of your clothes right after you give birth.
magazines: you could bring books but i could never focus on anything too serious. magazines provide a little bit of a distraction without requiring too much mentally.
sugar free hard candies: you won't be allowed to eat anything while going through labor and delivery. you'll be starving. sugar free candy at least allows you to have something to put in your mouth.
your own pillows: the hospital pillows are pretty horrible. you'll be exhausted and needing to be as comfortable as you can. bring your own pillows. as strange as it sounds, bring a pillow case that is some color other than white. when people come in to clean the rooms in the mornings, a white pillow case could be mistaken as a hospital pillow. save any confusion and unnecessary explaining by bringing a pillow case with some color.
snacks for your husband: even if you can't eat, your husband will be hungry. bring him some snacks. try to bring something that doesn't smell too much. one, you'll be hungry and you don't want to get too mad at the fact that your husband can eat and two, if you're in a ton of pain, you may feel nauseated. keep the food smells down to a minimum.
video camera: if you want to video tape the delivery, that is up to you. you will probably want to video tape some of your newborn so have the video camera charged and ready to go.
camera: have this charged and ready to go as well. you'll want as many pictures as possible of your new little wonder. be prepared and make sure you don't forget this.
a tripod: if you are planning on taping the delivery (check with the doctor ahead of time to see if this is allowed), you'll want the video camera on a tripod or in the hands of someone other than your spouse. you'll want your spouse with you and not worrying about a camera.
other things to do: it can take hours for your labor to progress. bring handheld games, other games, movies to watch, and music to listen to.
comfy, warm socks: you'll be wearing a hospital gown for a while. you'll also be hooked up to an iv that will be pumping cold liquid into your veins. your feet will get cold. socks are a good thing to have around. don't bring anything you can't live without and pick something in a dark color. remember, there will be blood involved in delivery and you don't want to ruin something you love.
hair bands: you will want your hair out of your face and off of your neck. bring something to pull your hair back.
your own gownie: one of my girlfriends purchased her own labor and delivery gown. this is completely a luxury but, seriously, these things are so cute. hospital gowns are big, they hang off of you, some snaps don't work, they are faded and pretty unattractive. labor and delivery pictures are forever. i borrowed her gownie for two of my four and love how much better it made me feel during the whole process. it may seem silly but it is a great thing to have. if you and your friends are all having kids around the same time, buy one that you can share with your friends. it's a happy purchase.
big granny panty maternity underwear: you'll want several pairs of these. you'll still have your belly after you give birth and you'll be wearing some monster sized maxi pads. you'll need the granny's to hold it all in. after giving birth was the only time i wore these but i was glad i had them.
pads: bring your favorite maxi pads. the hospital will provide some for you but they are never as nice as the ones you would bring yourself. they are also the hugest things you will ever see. bringing your own will make you a little more comfortable. bring some with wings to protect those granny panties.
a pair of pajamas or some comfy clothes: at least bring something to wear on top. you won't want to sit in a hospital gown for two days. bring something that is comfortable to sit and sleep in. the first day, you may just want a comfy, long top to wear as anything you'll wear on bottom will probably get ruined. your bottom half will also be under a blanket so it won't be like you're hanging out for the world to see. still, bring something large and comfortable. remember, you will not instantly go back to your pre-pregnancy size. be prepared to still have a belly. bring something to wear with ample room.
a robe: okay, i cannot stress this one enough. this probably should have gone with the labor and delivery part but as long as you have one, you should be fine. during labor, they often have moms walk the halls to help the labor to progress. this will be done while you are dressed in a hospital gown...an open back hospital gown. unless you would like to share your hind parts with the whole hospital, bring a robe to cover yourself. i cannot tell you how many times i've seen first timers walking the halls trying to keep their gown together in the back. you're in labor...the last thing you want to be thinking about is your privacy.
slippers: i liked having slippers for day two and three of my hospital stay. i don't know if it just made me feel like i was wearing shoes of if they were actually that comfortable. still, it was nice to have them. don't bust them out right away though as you'll just end up ruining them on some walk to the bathroom. give your body a day to slow down.
something to go home in: picture yourself with about a five months pregnant belly and bring an outfit for that. you'll also probably be retaining quite a bit of water so bring bigger shoes.
toiletries: you will eventually be able to shower and it will feel amazing. bring your own things to bathe. bring make-up. blow dry your hair. make yourself feel great. once you get home, you're on your own. take advantage of all the hospital help to actually feel nice. also, remember...those pictures are forever.
hemorrhoid cream: no one ever wants to talk about this but let me give you the cold hard truth. you'll be pushing for a really long time. you may be spared or you may have some raging roids. bring the cream just to be safe. you're in the hospital for a couple of days and having no relief will be miserable for you.
lanolin: you will begin nursing in the hospital and your soft boobs will not be prepared for what they will be facing. save them by bringing some lanolin. trust me.
nursing bras and nursing pads: again, nursing will begin in the hospital. bring these along to start getting in the swing of things.
the hospital will provide: disposable underwear (horrible stuff but you'll want to wear it for the first couple of hours), huge maxi pads, ice packs for your private parts (they are sore, after all), pain medication, a squirt bottle you'll need to use to clean yourself after each trip to the bathroom, towels and a drink container.
for the baby:
the hospital will provide almost everything you'll need for your baby. they will have onesies for him/her to wear in the hospital, blankets for your baby, a nasal aspirator, diapers, wipes, a hat, and a pacifier. here's what you'll want to have:
a change of clothes or two for the baby: the hospital normally takes newborn pictures of your baby. having a cute outfit makes these pictures more personal. you'll also want an outfit to bring your baby home in. find something in the newborn size. anything that is 0-3 months will be huge on your newborn unless you give birth to goliath babies. bring an extra outfit in case the baby pees or poops on his or her outfit.
a baby blanket: you'll want something to put over your baby as you leave the hospital. this is especially true when you live in cooler climates or give birth during cooler months. have this on hand.
a car seat: you won't be allowed to take your baby from the hospital without one.
as you are packing up to leave the hospital. make sure you take everything they are providing for the baby. ask for extra stuff. get any formula they may be willing to offer. here's the deal, your insurance is paying for that stuff anyway...it's part of the hospital bill. take it and use it. you've paid for it.
those are the basics. if you are prepared, you'll feel so much better about your labor and delivery. most importantly, you'll have your baby when the whole process is over. try to enjoy it. i never loved the hospital part but i loved that i got a baby out of the deal. did we forget anything?