Guest blog Packing my hospital bag then and now. 

 

Why am I considering packing my hospital bag at only 32 weeks I hear you ask? Well… in all honesty, during my first pregnancy I left everything until the last minute, a few weeks before I was scheduled to be induced and my hospital bag choices were poor to say the least.
In my last blog I mentioned how naive I felt during my first pregnancy. I never truly informed myself of what giving birth entailed and how best to prepare for a positive and calm birth. Instead, I followed everything the consultants told me.. I never questioned anything or researched what terms such as “induction” or “birthing plan” meant. My hospital bag was no different. I downloaded a small list (probably from Pinterest) of the ‘general’ things mamas-to-be should pack and left my little mini suitcase in the baby nursery until the date arrived for me to be induced.
I was so excited about meeting my baby (Eden) that I naively assumed being induced meant I could simply meet her quicker. My hospital bag contained a few baby grows/sleep suits and vests, nappies, muslins, blanket and a going home outfit for the baby (I was so excited about it I forgot to pack my own “going home clothes”). I also remembered a towel, a night dress, tooth brush/hair brush, some knickers and I had read that I would need thick sanitary pads (I took a handful). I was most excited about the snacks I had chosen to munch during labour (a big bag of dried pineapple and some jelly babies!). I didn’t have a birth plan because my belief was it was better to go with the flow and not have any plans set in stone.
It is safe to say I was a little overwhelmed after giving birth and I definitely remember having to call my mum and ask her to bring me some disposable mesh panties and more pads! (I walked out of hospital the same day as giving birth wearing my pyjama bottoms and partners coat (it was snowing).
Fast forward two years to this (my second) pregnancy and I am incredibly keen to learn from my first birth experience.. including my hospital bag!
hospital bag

So what have I packed so far and what do I intend to take with me? (A lot more than jelly babies and a hair brush this time!)….

For the baby… I am keeping it simple! A friend has kindly gifted me some of her baby boy sleep suits and my mum has bought some cute new baby vests. Of course the usual blanket, muslin cloth, going home outfit (it will be November so we plan to wrap him warmly) and a newborn hat I bought recently that was knitted by someone’s nanny, all the proceeds went to a local breastfeeding charity and as I plan to breastfeed again the hat was a given. I am trying to be more eco-friendly in my choices this time. We plan to use cloth nappies (re-useable nappies) and I have spent a long time researching the different types and styles. I am still learning but I have managed to source around 40 (recommended for a stash) from local pre-loved groups and for-sale sites. Baby wipes (I also have some reusable cloth wipes), some disposable nappies to start us off and Edens old baby car seat for the journey home… (I think I have remembered everything?).

As for me.. although I always travel light, I am certainly more prepared than I was with my first birth experience. Although I wouldn’t change anything about my first labour, Im aiming for a calmer, more positive and less clinical birth than before. For this to happen I have ensured I have packed the following:

  • – BIRTH PLAN! This time I have fully researched all my options and know what I want/need to have the birth I wish for. Expressing my wishes on paper helps the midwives and consultants, although I am flexible to adapt should there be a necessity to do so.
  • – affirmation cards to place all around the room whilst I’m in labour to help my mind guide my body.
  • – battery operated tea lights to add to the relaxing environment
  • – affirmation MP3 and relaxing music
  • – iphone with surge (contraction timer) app
  • – positive birthing book (hypnobirthing) giving me the tools I need to have a positive birth
  • – I’m still researching essential oils but I have heard Clary Sage can have a calming effect.
  • – Positive notes I have made, little mantras to read and guide my breathing
  • – wireless headphones (I may need to borrow some) as I wish to be as mobile and free to roam around as possible… I don’t want to be “connected” to anything
  • – birthing ball (i will likely use one supplied) I want to remain active and upright
  • – A large refillable canteen (drinks bottle) as fluids are essential to ensure all the oxygen and blood flows around your body to your uterus. (I also got dehydrated last time!)
  • – SNACKS! This time I’m opting for lots of dried fruit, salty oat cakes, home made granola and energy balls (usually made up of dates/seeds/nuts/cocoa). Pineapple and raspberry leaf tea… quite possibly a big bag of sweets.
  • – As for my body… a big pack of disposable knickers and pads (I learnt the hard way last time), coconut oil for my lips (they were blistered and cracked in my first labour), a familiar t-shirt or top to give birth in and a bikini top if I am lucky enough to get a room with a birthing pool. Going home trousers/top, hair brush, tooth brush and paste. I have heard witch hazel can help with postpartum healing and indeed many people recommend something like “spritz-for-bits”.. but I need to research those options further. Oh and a picture of Eden.. as this will be the first time I have ever spent more than 8hours away from her since she was born.

I have roughly 8 weeks until my “due date”, so I am sure I will discover more essentials to pack. However – it is clear my choices this time are more informed and geared towards making the environment relaxing, calm and positive. I am excited and I finally feel prepared.