Monday, March 27, 2017

What I Packed in My Hospital Bag

a hospital appropriate photo...

One of the blog posts that's been bouncing around in my bed (don't ask me why this topic seems so compelling to me, but it does!) is what I brought to the hospital when Sam was born, and more precisely, what I actually needed, used, and liked. His birth went so utterly different than we had hoped or planned - I'd really like to write it all down and should and maybe will share? - so it's sort of surreal to think back to those few days. In so many ways, it was the worst four days of my life. Sadly, I hated our hospital stay and left with a lot of anxiety and stress. That, coupled with a stressful birth, definitely caused some PPA (another blog post for another day on PPA/PPD, but I do want to say it's so real and hard and if you're pregnant, remember when the baby comes to try to be so nice to yourself and get the help you need, be it professional or otherwise).

But on the other hand, it was some of the most beautiful days of my life because Sam was born and our family grew and we all expanded to fit him into our lives. Really hard and really good and beautiful. I don't want to forget what it was like. I'd really like to be able to look back and be proud of myself and Lewis and all of us for doing our best and making it and to see how even though it was hard, it was so worth it.

All right. Enough gushing about feeeeeelings. Practical Paige wants a LIST to reference back to for later! And it may or may not be of some interest to you too :)

Note: this doesn't include what Lewis "packed" (we had very different ideas of being hospital-bag-prepared and he literally threw a change of clothes into a duffel bag in like 2 minutes. Much to my satisfaction (I kid), he regretted some of his choices and wished he'd had some different things (like comfortable shoes for lots of standing over a screaming baby in a UV tanning bed)). I guess this doesn't include what I packed for Sam either, which was basically a carseat, two outfits in different sizes in case he was tiny/huge (he was tiny) and some pacifiers on a whim but THANK GOODNESS because those pacifiers saved our lives/ears, nurses' grumbling be darned.

What I Brought

  • toiletries - shampoo, soaps, etc.
  • hair ties, bobby pins, a brush, etc.
  • nursing nightgown + robe
  • socks
  • change of clothes to go home
  • a book + iPad + phone charger
  • tennis ball for labor
  • lip chap
  • plastic flip flops
  • nursing bras
  • boppy nursing pillow
  • earth mama nipple cream
  • camera
  • documents/forms/wallet/insurance cards/etc.

What I Used & Loved

  • nightgown and robe - but not until day 3; had we left sooner, I might not have (I had just happened to wear birkenstocks to the hospital which was because I wore them when I shuffled around the room)
  • shampoo, conditioner, etc. - taking a shower was terrifying but I felt a million times more human afterwards
  • hair stuff
  • lip chap
  • socks
  • nursing bras + nipple cream
I didn't end up using anything related to labor because I didn't labor for any length of time or any sense of the word :/ And I had thought I would use the iPad, read my book, or perhaps even check my phone? Nope. I barely glanced at it for four days. Like, it sat across the room untouched for at least 24 hours at one point (sorry, parents and everyone else trying to get a hold of me!!). 

Even though I know a lot of people 100% recommend taking a nursing pillow to the hospital (and so I obliged and did), I barely used it because my incision was so tender and anything resting on it or near it was painful. So! Maybe leave it in the car and then have someone fetch it if you decide you want it. I also brought the wrong sort of clothes to go home in...again, probably because I had had major abdominal surgery and so different parts than I expected were tender! I wish I had had a really loose, soft dress instead of stretchy pants and a maternity top :) 

Other things I wish I had had were my own pillow (I know...bodily fluids...but I do think I would have slept better). Also, since we're in the US, you pay for quite literally everything in the hospital, so I wished I had brought my own tylenol/advil, which is all they gave for pain anyways most of time, (besides the one or two times I accepted the percocet) and stool softeners (ah, the glamours of birth). Finally, this is sort of but not really a joke, I wish I had had a sign to post on the door that said "essential personnel only!" or some such thing. We had people coming into our room literally every 30 minutes and it killllled me and seemed so unnecessary. For next time, I'll definitely be advocating for myself more and being much more firm about when we are able to see doctors, hospital staff, etc. I mean, I didn't even get to eat dinner two nights because there were so many people in and out of there. Not good!! Anyways. Something good to know for next time, if there is one!

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