When I was pregnant with Little Monkey, I read all the books and searched endless lists of what to take to the hospital. There were all kinds of ideas, so I packed a nice big bag of things to do. Now, every woman labors differently. While in L&D last time, there was a wide range of reactions to labor. The lady that delivered in ten minutes and acted like she was there for coffee, the woman with the TV turned up loud enough for the entire floor to hear, and the screamer. Whoa. It was a hopping joint that day on the L&D floor.
Back to that big bag… I didn’t use a single thing in it. My contractions were mainly in my legs and it felt like I was being drawn and quartered. Not even U2, Maroon 5 or Depeche Mode could make me forget some invisible source was trying to rip my legs off. But, that epidural was magic medicine. Even after that, I didn’t feel like a rousing game of Sudoku. I’m a silent sufferer… basically, I just laid there and wanted to die. And there sat my bag, in the corner, completely unused.
What did I wish I’d had? How about:
– My Boppy Knock Off (for feeding times)
– My Contact Lenses (I had a pair of glasses, but I like my lenses so much better)
– Sleep Mask. (We had an incredibly obnoxious Nursery nurse that came in every two hours during the night, flicked the lights all the way on and spoke at the top of her lungs, in case we were hard of hearing or something. No one slept… until she went off her shift. Those little plastic blinds just don’t block out much light. We went home ASAP.)
– Snacks. My hubby was starving the whole two days. And seriously, how many fruit cups can you eat before you never want to see another one again?
– Comfy nursing bras. I used my nice ones the first few days and, oh my goodness, once my milk finally came in, they ended up being a little too supportive. I liked the sports bra style of nursing bras better the first few days. There are no words for the pain of engorgement when your milk first comes in.
– Breast pump. My milk took almost a week to come in. Apparently, somewhere my biological clock missed the “make milk” memo. We had to feed Little Monkey something so he had formula the first few days because I had nothing to give. That little delay in milk production caused so many problems with breastfeeding. I wish I had just pumped the whole time. Usually, you can rent pumps from the hospital, but they didn’t have any available. This time, I will be taking my pump… just in case.
– Breast pads. I didn’t need these in the hospital, since my milk took so long to come in, but they were for sure a necessity after it finally did. No one wants to be drippy… and it’s just awkward to be sporting the “wet t-shirt contest” look when visitors show up.
– Undies. If you aren’t a fan of the mesh undies the hospital gives you, take your own. I personally liked the mesh ones because then I wasn’t ruining any of mine. I’ll admit I wore them for a few days after coming home too. You already feel like you’re wearing a huge bulging diaper, the mesh undies lessen some of the bulk.
– Comfy clothes to go home in. Your body goes through some serious trauma during labor and deliver. Don’t try to wiggle back into your pre-preggo jeans. Things will be sore. I wore yoga pants and a tee shirt home last time. This time, my outfit will be along the same lines. Besides, you’ll still have that belly for a while. Ugh. I know.
– Toothbrush and toothpaste. I sent my mom to the store as soon as she’d handed the baby off because I soo badly wanted to brush my teeth. Labor and delivery is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever done. I felt so gross, I just wanted something to be clean.
– An extra bag. We got soo much stuff from the hospital, it was a little difficult getting everything out to the car. Our Nursery discharge nurse was awesome and totally hooked us up with extra blankets, hats, formula, diapers and bottles. Then we had all the paper work too. And all the stuff we’d brought with us. It was definitely an armful.
– Manila envelop. For all that paperwork.
By the way, with all the complaining and whining I’ve done about wanting this kid out, you’d think I’d have my bags already packed, right?! Well, at least I have a list I can direct My Mr Right to when I wake him at at 3am with that “It’s TIME!”
What are your must-haves for the hospital?