Thursday, October 24, 2013

35 Weeks and my hospital bags are packed!

I debated even doing a post on this because I am a first time mom and I have NO idea what I will need in the hospital.   Before I explain why I decided to write this up anyway, I must say that I am extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to stay at home after Stella is born.  I have been even more blessed because I haven't been working since May.  After giving up my teaching job (2nd grade) when we moved, I subbed for a year (well, half the year by the time my fingerprints went through) in schools around our new home.  My plan was to sub until Stella arrived, but (big surprise!) teaching certificates changed and I was required to re-register my certificate (long story short).  I decided it wasn't worth the money and time for just a few months of subbing before my due date, so I have had several months off.  I decided to make the most of it, and I've found a million things to do that have kept me busy.  The biggest of those is preparing for Stella!  I have been able to do so much research, reading, and organizing that just wouldn't have been possible if I was working.  I remember (all too well) how frazzled I was as a full-time teacher, so it is my hope that sharing the finished product of much research can help other time crunched moms out there...and also those who just don't want to do the planning (which is FINE!  we all have our strengths).  So after all that's to hoping this list helps you pack your hospital bag when the time comes (because lots of the lists I found were very impersonal and generic!)

 First up:  Clothes!

  •  All items packed in Thirty-One Bag!
  • 3 pairs of underwear (Hanes from Wal-Mart...nothing fancy these days!)
  • 2 nursing bras (less than $10 each at Burlington Coat the risk of sounding like the commercial, please do yourself a favor and do all your maternity shopping there!)
  • 3 pairs of socks 
  • 1 fuzzy pair of socks to serve as slippers (with grips on the bottom to avoid sliding around the hospital hallways)
  • PJ's (that consist of pants, a nursing tank, and a long sleeve cover-up...thanks Emily!)
  • A robe to throw on over my hospital gown if needs be (the red one...wanted something cute!)
  • Flip-flops and a big beach towel for the shower (sure am hoping I'm up for taking one)
  • Going home outfit...I picked black leggings (and also threw in black yoga pants if the leggings aren't cutting it...although they are maternity leggings), a simple black top, tall black boots and cute socks (boots are set out...I will throw those on when we leave so I don't have to pack them), and a scarf, hat & gloves in an attempt to dress up my casual outfit.  Comfort is key with this girl!
  • I also threw in clean undies, socks, and a T-shirt for my husband...because we know he won't pack anything!! 
Next up:  Toiletries & Misc. Items!

  • All items packed in Thirty-One Bag!
  • On the left are my breastfeeding items:  Medela pump, nursing cover-up (on top of pump), a few samples of Lanolin, and a few disposable nursing pads (don't need too many since your milk doesn't come in for a few days).  As I've mentioned before, I am all about "clean" foods and products that aren't full of chemicals...BUT...I also like to balance that with convenience!  I bought some organic washable nursing pads as well as a pure nipple cream by Earth Mama Angel Baby to use at home.  However, when packing my bag, I chose sample & travel products when won't hurt anything to make things easier on yourself during times of travel and stress.  Balance and moderation are key!
  • I included a few booklets from the hospital with all the vital labor & post-labor information I could ever need!  We weren't able to take any labor classes due to switching hospitals (got caught in the middle...old hospital wouldn't let us go to theirs and new hospital's classes were over by the time we found out we were going there), but I did tons of reading and research on my own.  I decided against a formal "birthing plan"  because let's face it...I have no idea how it will go!  I did arm myself with lots of information on what to expect, how to relax (should be easier since I'm a big yoga fan), and different pain relief options.  I really prefer to learn on my own anyways :-)
  • I also packed some blank thank-yous and a pen & paper, should I wish to thank anyone at the hospital.  The sticky note on the thank-you box has a list of questions I prepared for the hospital.
  • Diffuser (blow dryer will be thrown in last other hair tools needed)
  • Hair brush
  • Lint roller (because I'm sure to take much of my German Shepherd with me)
  • Always Infinity Pads (there we go getting personal again...sorry but the shame must go out the window before you even go in for delivery!)
  • A bag full of healthy snacks (a variety of granola bars, nuts, & trail mix) and some gum
  • Make-up.  Nothing wrong with wanting to feel human!  I just hope I have enough ambition to put some on.  I packed sample sized foundation, BB cream, highlighter and powder (from Sephora orders...a great way to wear high-end make-up for free & without toting around several bottles), concealer, a small blush, my beauty blender, 1 eye shadow and brush (that can double for brows), mascara, and sample Arbonne lip glosses.  Simple and fits into a tiny black bag.
  • A travel mirror to do said make-up from bed.
  • A small cosmetics bag full of toiletries:  face wash & wipes (if I'm unable to wash my face); travel sizes of body wash, loofah, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush (for me & Mark!) & toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, q-tips, deodorant, and lotion; chapstick; hair paste & salt spray (for a simple messy hair look before we head home); a few headbands, bobby pins & hair ties for getting my hair off my face during labor; and finally some tums & a few days worth of prenatal vitamins!
 Last but not Least:  Stella's Diaper Bag!

  • All items packed in blue & brown diaper bag (yes, I know I'm having a girl.  yes, the bag was available in pink.  no, I'm not much of a "pink" girl.  yes, blue is versatile for girls & boys so I can use it with all our babies...which I will do since I splurged on this bag.  yes, it is OK if you ARE a "pink" girl and think I'm silly.)
  • 2 warm blankets (probably necessary since it's October now and we've already had snow!)
  • Going-home little bear outfit (couldn't resist, she will be so adorable & snugly)
  • Receiving blanket
  • 2 pairs of PJ's (one bag style and one hoppies...not sure which will be better)
  • White hoppies & adorable knit hat from my friend
  • 1 pink outfit with headband and booties from Uncle Jake (to wear home under little bear outfit)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of mittens
  • 3 burp clothes (not pictured because I ordered them and haven't gotten them yet)
*Note:   I decided against packing cloth diapers, wipes, and my organic diaper cream.  As mentioned above, I believe in these things and plan to use them when we get home, but I chose convenience during what is sure to be an overwhelming time.  I do not wish to bring home a bag of dirty laundry from the hospital, there will be plenty of that later!  Maybe I'll bring them for the next baby after I figure out what I'm doing, but for now it's all about that balance!!

Items to throw in last minute:
  • I jotted these items on a sticky note and put it on top of the bag.  I give myself 15 minutes to throw these items in, shut off everything in the house and leave Kaiser (our dog) some water before heading out the door.  All this planning makes me less anxious about going into labor because I know exactly what to do and grab!
  • camera & charger
  • phone
  • wallet...make sure insurance card is in here!  I already called my insurance company and pre-registered so I don't have to do anything from the hospital.  All we have to do is add Stella to our policy via Mark's work within 31 days of birth...although the sooner the better, otherwise they might get claims before she's added, which will then be denied.  Yes, that can be reversed, but why make more work for yourself than necessary?  I wrote a note to have Mark add her ASAP when we get home from the hospital.  SIDE NOTE:  We have BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois and they are fabulous!  They sent me the Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy book and offer free advice from a nurse at any time over the phone.  Call your insurance as soon as you're pregnant (or even before) and find out what is available to you during pregnancy...I called before I got pregnant to go over benefits and make sure everything was up to par should we need to make any changes before I got pregnant!
  • hair dryer
  • baby books (What to Expect When You're Expecting & The Pregnancy Journal).  I will bring these for questions, reading material, and the journal has a section in the back to jot down information from the hospital stay, which will make it easier to fill in her baby book when I'm up to it.  The section is guided so I don't have to rack my tired brain wondering what information I should record!
I think that covers everything!  I plan to bring my list to the hospital to cross off items I didn't use and jot down any I forgot while it's still fresh on my mind.  That should make packing easier next go-around!  I feel so much better having everything packed and ready to go.  Now, just have to finish the nursery and a few odds & ends around the house.  Should go well since I feel great and am in major nesting mode!!

UPDATE:  My daughter is here! 

While in the hospital I took a few minutes to jot down the items I didn't use and those I should have brought.  Read on to find out what was unnecessary and what would have made the stay a whole lot easier.  Happy packing!

The things I was way too busy to care about: 
  • Underwear.  I had to wear the lovely mesh hospital ones after my C-section (and honestly they were my best friend for days to come), but even without a C-section you just might not care enough to dig your own out.  Personal preference.
  • Socks.  Flip flops that you can toss after your stay are good enough to wear around your room or for the walk down the hall.  Just don't forget 1 pair of socks to wear home if it's cold out!
  • Robe.  You'll probably only leave your room to venture to the nursery, which I only did because Stella was confined there for a day.  Otherwise the nurses bring your baby to you.  If you have a C-section that trip will be made via wheelchair.  My hospital gown covered enough for that jaunt.
  • Towel.  I was too sore to even dry off after a shower.  A big item that's just unnecessary unless you're a huge germ-a-phobe. 
  • Pads.  The hospital supplies them.  Yes they're as big as a diaper...but guess what?  You're gonna need them that big!
  • Lanolin cream and nursing pads.  Provided.
  • Breast pump.  Another big item that's unnecessary.  Use the hospital's if you need one.  I did because my daughter was confined to an oxygen hood for the first 28 hours so I couldn't breastfeed.  I pumped once or twice to get the milk going.  They have new cups and you take those home.  Get your money's worth people!
  • Vitamins/tums/any meds.  I was so pumped full of meds there's no way I would have taken any of my own.  They can wait a few days, the hospital will supply whatever you need.
  • Baby clothes, socks and mittens.  This is totally personal preference.  Let me start by saying I love dressing my daughter up as much as the next mom.  But those first few days, it's all about comfort and ease for you and your baby.  She lived in a diaper and the hospital supplied t-shirt and hat during our stay.  The nurses bathe the baby and dress/swaddle them after, so why mess with it?  Stella was cute as a button in that gear.  One adorable outfit for the trip home and baby pictures is all you need!  (Bonus tip:  You might want to bring 2 outfits to be safe, 1 sized newborn and 1 sized 0-3 months.  This way you're prepared for whatever size baby comes out.  I took a 0-3 months and it was HUGE on my 7 lb 8 oz girl.)
  • Baby blankets.  They have TONS at the hospital.  Just bring a warm one for the ride home if it's cold out.
  • Burp cloths.  Provided.
  • Thank-you cards.  I was way too doped up on pain meds to write a decent thank-you note.  If you want to bring 1 or 2 just in case, fine.  I just remembered to send one to the doctor's office and one to the hospital when I sent them out for baby gifts.  If there's a special nurse you'd like to thank, just jot their name down (something I forgot to do for my favorite 2 nurses!)
Despite being SUPER organized, I still didn't think of these things:
  • Ipad charger.  Mark's brother picked us one up at Wal-Mart, but they are so expensive (so we returned it after...shhh).
  • My glasses.  I am blind as a bat and there's a lot of paperwork and TV watching to be done.
  • More PJs for mommy.  I brought one comfortable, breast-feeding friendly pair but needed more!  I was in the hospital 4 days.  The first 2 I spent in a hospital gown...I was in labor for one full day and the second day I couldn't even move so I didn't shower or change.  I'd suggest 2 or 3 pairs!
  • Make-up.  I did pack some, but I packed travel sizes.  This is a great idea...if they're travel/sample sizes of products you are used to.  Mine weren't, so I wasn't able to do my make-up as I normally do.  By the 4th day of feeling super-gross I was desperate to look decent (and those pictures last forever!) and I would have prefered to have the make-up I trust and love.
  • A bag for your husband, if he doesn't pack his own.  I mentioned above that I packed a few items for Mark.  With the longer than anticipated stay and my inability to move, he couldn't run home (our hospital is 45 minutes from our home).  He ran to Wal Mart for some essential hygiene items, but I recommend the following items at minimum:  3 pairs of underwear and socks, 3 shirts, razor & shaving gel, toothbrush, hair gel or hat.  
  • The last item isn't something I forgot to pack to go to the hospital, it's something I forgot to pack to come home.  They sent EVERYTHING with us that we didn't lotion, wipes, diapers, breastfeeding cups, pads, you name it!  Let's be honest, you ARE paying for that stuff in your lump sum.  Take it all and ask for more!  I was given gel nipple pads to soothe the pain of nursing.  I asked for an extra set to take home and they said "Sure!  No problem!"  I later found out they cost about $15 to buy!  So don't be afraid to ask.  I forgot to ask for more underwear (I told you they were my best friend).  After a C-section, the incision is right where regular underwear sit.  Hospital undies go up to your boobs, right where you want them to!  My sister-in-law said she loaded up before she left, and even washed and re-used them until they fell apart!  I didn't take any extra and threw them out after I wore them.  Big mistake, I ended up in Depends and tent underwear for about 6 weeks because they were the only things that didn't dig at my stitches and medical tape.  So ask for more.  And if you forget, don't be too proud to wear Depends.  Happens to the best of us!

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