Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Ready for Baby Pt 4: The Hospital Bag

So I'm about 36 weeks along and I'm getting antsy. Aside from nesting, I am really just wanting to make sure that I am totally prepared for whatever this kid can throw at me. I'm a list-maker, and the making of lists is in full-force, my friends. I decided to blog it all in a few different parts so my fellow pregos and pregos-to-be might benefit from my obsessive-compulsiveness.

This is Part 4 - The Hospital Bag

[See Part 1 - Visiting the Hospital or Birthing Center]
[See Part 2 - Creating a Birth Plan]
[See Part 3 - Before Baby To-Do List]

Everyone's needs are different. There's no getting around that. When I had my first, I packed a ton of stuff in my hospital bag - I didn't know what I would need, and I'm always one to "be prepared" (shoulda been a boy scout). Ask anyone that knows me - my purse/diaper bag is always stocked and ready for any kind of "just in case". Same with my car. And my locker in high school. I get made fun of for it. But then everyone knows who to come crawling to when they need a bobby pin or a bandaid, and THEN who's your best friend??

I digress.

Anyone can google "hospital bag" and get a pretty good list of what to bring. There were things that I brought that I never used. There were also things that I SO WISH I had brought and didn't. Live and learn, right?

[Tip: It's important to know what your hospital/birthing center provides for you so you don't overpack. It's also good to know their "rules" of what they will and won't allow. I, for example, was not allowed to plug anything in to the outlets in my room when I had Gabe - wish I had known that. The hospital tour that I talked about in Part 1 is important - they may provide toiletries, so why pack them? Unless you're picky about soap or whatever else...]

Here is my hospital bag list for baby number two (packed and in the trunk of the car by 35 weeks):

- A trash bag and/or towel to sit on stowed under the seat in case my water has broken (which was the case with Gabe) 
- Baby's car seat (installed and ready to go at 35wks)

- Pen and folder/binder with the following:
     - Blank paper for recording thoughts/notes/other info
     - Insurance info
     - Hospital registration paperwork
     - Birth plan (several copies to everyone on every shift is in the loop)
     - "Who to call" lists (when in labor and after delivery)
- Cord blood donation kit
- Camera
- Baby book (so you can get footprints/record birth info. I didn't bring Gabe's and I wished I had - footprints are not as easy to get as they look! Those nurses have a lot of practice...)
- Kindle
- Thank you cards (for super awesome nurses/staff)

- 2 maternity bras (don't know about you, but I don't like feeling all loosey-goosey - especially if I'm going to have visitors! You may opt to pack nursing tanks or camisoles as well/instead)
- Comfy, non skid socks (2-3 pair)
- Going home outfit (plan to be at least your 'six months pregnant' size)
- Nightgown/robe/labor gown (if you don't want to wear a hospital gown)
- Eye mask (I never really thought about this one until it was suggested by a few friends who said it was really nice to have to block out light while napping since nurses are always in and out checking on you. This one takes up literally NO space)

- Massage oil/essential oils/lotion
- Diffuser (for essential oil - love me some doTERRA)
- Sugar free hard candy (for keeping your mouth moist)
- Slippers (not necessarily needed, but some hospitals require that you wear some sort of shoes if you want to walk the halls while in labor...which I plan to do)

- "I feel pretty" kit (face wipes, light makeup, wisps (love them - I always have some in the car and in my purse!), travel-size brush, travel deodorant - whatever makes you feel human again)
- Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, mouth wash, contact case/solution, tooth brush/paste - all travel-size, of course)
- Chapstick (this one's a life saver--trust me!)
- Stretchy headbands, hair clips, bobby pins, hair ties--whatever you use to keep your hair out of your face
- Snacks for after delivery

FOR BABY (To be packed in a diaper bag)
- Receiving blankets (2)
- "No scratch" mittens (didn't know to bring them for Gabriel and his adorable, brand new baby face got all scratched up from those tiny little fingernails...  :'(  so sad)
- Baby fingernail clippers (a lot of hospitals don't have the nurses clip baby's fingernails - liability issues)
- Socks (2 pair)
- Hat/beanie (the hospital usually provides one, but you'll be taking your chances on whether or not it's hideous)
- Small, circular push lamp (handy for 2am feedings if your room lights are too bright)
- Going home outfit

FOR HUBBY (in a small, separate bag)
- Toiletries (whatever he requires to feel human in a 2-3 day span)
- Extra set of comfy clothes
- Reading/entertainment for down time
- Snacks

There are some things you'll want to grab when you're heading out the door--things you can't or wouldn't want to keep packed in a bag in the car for weeks. I'll have this list on the fridge to refer to when we're heading to the hospital:

- Purse/Wallet (ID, Insurance cards, etc.)
- Cell phone and charger
- Glasses or contacts (whichever I'm not wearing at the time)

This list may seem pretty lengthy to some. You have to keep in mind a few things: everyone's needs/wants are different, most of these items are pretty small and don't take up much space, my personality and time spent as a military dependent have necessitated and honed excellent space-saving packing talents. This packing list means having three bags in the car from 35 weeks on: a small, carry-on size suitcase for my stuff, an even smaller bag or backpack for hubby's stuff, and diaper bag for baby's stuff (which will be stowed in the unused, but installed car seat). This works for me. It may not for others. Some people prefer to keep their "hospital bag" in the coat closet so they can grab it on the go. That's fine, but I prefer to have it in the car for two reasons: less to grab while in labor and heading to the hospital, and I would rather have it with me in the car in case we're not at home when I go into labor.

What do you think? Did I forget something important? What would you add to this list? What would you not bother taking and why?

1 comment:

  1. I hardly brought anything. We packed right before I went to the hospital. I just wish I had been wearing socks while I was in labor!