Monday, 23 November 2015

What's in my hospital bag?

Getting ready for labour
Writing my birth plan and packing my hospital bag suddenly makes having a baby feel very real. We are having a baby! Ekk!

My hospital notes and bag sits at the top of the stairs and is a gentle reminder every time we walk past it that our baby could be making an appearance any time soon. 
Before being pregnant I can honestly say I didn't have a clue about pregnancy, apart from watching the movies where your waters break then a couple of minutes later a baby pops out. 
Labour
As for what goes in a birth plan and hospital bag I also had no idea; so this post is my attempt at helping others think through what you might need. 

One of the first things to say is that you can do all the planning and preparation that you like for your labour but no one can guarantee you the perfect birth. The key thing to do is have an open mind, be flexible and do what you need to bring your baby into the world.   

It is a good idea to attend some form of antenatal classes as these are a great way to find out more about labour, becoming a parent and meeting others to build up a new friendship group. 

I decided early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to attend Hypnobirthing classes mainly because we wanted to build up our knowledge about labour, release the fears we had and feel confident in the decisions we made. We attended a weekend training course and although sceptical at the start cannot recommend it enough. 

What is offered in this post are suggestions only. If you have something that you would like to contribute and add you are very welcome, just share in the comments below (no negative birthing stories though please). 

1. Creating your birthing plan:  
By its very title, a birthing plan gives the impression that you can plan your babies birth. Sorry to rain on your parade, you can't plan. What you can do is write down things that you would like, give consideration to things you wouldn't and write down what is important to you. 

Your birthing plan is to help your partner and professionals as much as possible to work with your wishes and preference to help you through labour. 

The key to your birthing plan is being open minded and flexible in your approach.  

There are a million and one birth plans out there, but I have found a few that offer some food for thought that will help you think about what is important to you and that you might want to include: 


2. What's in my hospital bag?

Take a look at the size of the bag that I am taking with me to the hospital, it looks more like I am going on a two week holiday, than delivering a baby. The only saving grace is that it is on wheels. 
What to include in your hospital bag
One thing I have learnt is that babies don't travel lightly and their mothers as a consequence don't either. You do have the choice when packing your bag to separate it into mum bag, baby bag and going home.

I have opted to have everything all in one bag but this is a personal choice. It is worth discussing with your midwife any specific items that you might need for the hospital you are giving birth in (do they have sufficient birthing balls, pillows or fans or do you need to bring your own) and to consider the time of year that you're having your baby (Warm clothes for a baby born in winter).  

  • Mum Bag: There is a difference between the essentials and nice to have. So I have listed the essentials with the less important ones mixed in. I am realistic that some of the below I might never get to use, but it is comforting when preparing to know that they are on hand. 

Labour essentials


As I'm unlikely to be able to have pain relief other than gas and air due to health reasons, I have been researching other things that might help in labour. 

I've purchased the Elle Tens machine (£49.99), which if used at the first signs of labour is meant to be a good distraction from the pain. Does it get rid of the pain altogether? I seriously doubt it but I like the fact that it is a natural pain relief, is already set up and has a boost function specifically for contractions appeals. 
Labour
It is important to me to have a calming environment during labour, hospitals always have that clinical smell that instantly puts me on edge. To try and combat this I have purchased the Neal's Yard Balancing room spray (£17) with bergamot and patchouli essential oils. It smells wonderful. 

I have a good selection of toiletries, wet wipes and cooling strips if I get too hot. 

Labour
Labour

Lots of mummies have told me that in labour their lips got really dry so I have made sure that I've packed a lip solve. 

The other top tip was bendable straws.
labour
This one might sound strange but apparently very useful when you need a drink in labour. 

As a foodie I have also packed snacks both for me and the other half. I definitely don't want him disappearing in the middle of labour in search of food.

I've tried to settle on a selection of healthy and easy to eat snacks. 
Labour

Drinking water in labour is also really important so make sure your birthing partner is aware of this and that they encourage you to drink. 

Giving birth is not glamorous, so what follows is some practical and honest realities. If your not ready for the realities cut to the baby essentials. 

Regardless of the labour you have you will have some bruising and swelling post delivery. Nelsons Arnica cream (£5.08)* and tablets (30c) (£4.35)* are said to be naturally anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce swelling and bring out the bruising. 
Labour essentials
But with all medication check with your midwife before taking. 

Well post labour you probably expect to have some bleeding but I'm not sure they prepare you for how much. Lochia (post birth bleeding) lasts between two and six weeks. 
Labour
The best part is you get to wear the biggest maternity pads going, no thin discreet liners here, at least not for the first few weeks. 

I have also packed a small jug. For those of you that are yet to have children you are probably thinking, she's lost the plot.  
Labour
The jug is to be used post delivery when going to the loo. Without being to direct, going to the toilet seriously stings beyond belief post labour. The jug when filled with water and poured whilst doing a wee is heaven in a jug (enough said!). 

You will also need to pack some breastfeeding bra's and breast pads (these are needed regardless if you are planning on breastfeeding or not). Its best not to buy nursing bra's till you are 34 weeks pregnant so that the sizing is right and the bra's need to be non wired. It is wise to get professionally measured too so you definitely know that they fit. 

Remember your birthing partner might also appreciate a change of clothes too and toiletries. Especially if you have a long labour. 


  • Baby bits post delivery 

Baby labour essentials

Labour bag
Labour essentials
Labour essentials
Labour

If you are planning to bottle feed your little one you will also need to bring your own bottles and baby formula. 

Going home will be exciting but be practical with your clothing. I'm sorry to say that you won't be back in your clothes prior to pregnancy, so will still need your maternity clothes. The looser, baggier the better. Consider a cushion for the car, especially if you live in London we all know how much they love speed humps (a post birthing mother doesn't!). 

Some additional websites to check out and consider what you might need and want in your hospital bag. 
Post birth I will do a labour post and will let you know what did and didn't work from the above. 

If you have any great pearls of wisdom for labour do share them as I would love to hear them. 

If it goes quiet on the blog you all know where I am and I will share mini foodieforce with you in due course. 

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

20 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are well prepared and have a realistic view of what it's going to be like Lucy! Good for you doing the hypnobirthing course, we were terribly disorganised in the lead up to Elsie being born, do no course, but I read about it and listened to a lovely CD everyday and the breathing techniques and learning to remove myself from the situation helped get me through up to the point where I had to pay attention, but I got through labour without anything else, even gas and air as it made me feel sick, so I think you'll be okay! Bendy straws are definitely excellent during labour, because you just won't want to hold that cup/bottle and will need your partner to do it. Oh, definitely take a pillow too, because if you have to spend the night post labour, any sleep is so precious that you need a little home comfort! Gosh, sorry for the essay, but good luck, I'll be eagerly looking out for mini foodieforce! X

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    1. Sounds like you were well prepared too, relaxing, listening to a CD and doing the breathing techniques is a good way to relax. A few people have shared your experience of gas and air so we will see. The pillow I have as apparently they don't have enough, slightly worrying! Lucy X

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  2. OMG how exciting!!! Best of luck!!! Can't wait to meet the baby xx

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    1. Thank you hopefully will be quick, easy and pain free. That would be lovely Lucy x

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  3. What an exciting time for you lovely!

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    1. When I have delivered I will be more excited, the waiting is the hardest part Lucy x

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  4. I'm so so happy for you Lucy!!! I'm wishing you all the best! <3 :)

    Diana P. | Cups & Roses

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  5. You sound so prepared! That jug tip is something I never would have thought of and it makes me scared of having a baby but thankful to know about it, haha!

    I hope you have a safe birth!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    1. There are lots of things that I have learnt that I'm not sure if I'm grateful to know about or not. But I guess being prepared is better. It has taken me from being 25 to now to build up the courage to have a little one. To say that I'm scared of the delivery would be an understatement. It's the fear of the unknown but women have been doing it for centuries and they go back for
      more so I find comfort in that Lucy x

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  6. that looks great! all the best on your delivery! :D

    Have a great day!
    Animated Confessions

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    1. Thank you have a lovely weekend x

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  7. Eeek this is all FAR too exciting!! You're so organised and prepared I'm very impressed - straws are such a great idea ! :) Wishing you all the best!!

    Style Sunrise☀

    :)
    x

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    1. Thanks Karen, hope you are settling into london and not working to hard Lucy x

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  8. Eeeeeeee good luck!! Sending you all the love and best wishes in the world, so excited for you! Sounds like you're well prepared and going in with a good mindset :) I've never done it myself obviously but it all sounds good to me anyway. Really glad you've been so honest about what pregnancy is like, I'd never heard of lochia until this post - you're preparing lots of us who had absolutely no clue! xxx

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    1. I'm not sure I feel that prepared not sure you ever can be, it's all quite unpredictable but I have hopefully done enough. Glad you have found it useful I do think that we are very shy being British about the realities of birth and having knowledge is always useful Lucy x

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  9. This was a really interesting post, it sounds like you're all sorted! Sending you all the love and luck in the world, Lucy, and I hope you have a safe (and quick!) delivery xxxx

    Toasty

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    1. Thanks Beth would be wonderful if it could be delivered by a storke Lucy x

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  10. Congratulations, exciting times ahead! :-)

    ohmystyle.co.uk

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  11. This really scares me. No really, I'm terrified. Best of luck xx

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