Monday, February 25th, 2008
Hospital Bag Packing: What Did We Miss?
Alternate title: 36th Week Pregnancy Update
Thursday evening my wife and I attended a birthing class.
While other couples learned visualization techniques to cope with pain, I was pushing on my wife’s lower back to help her cope with real contractions that were coming every five minutes.
I would have had us stay home, but my wife figured, hey, it’s a pain coping class and she’s in pain. Let’s go.
Little Miss 3-year-old stayed at a friend’s house.
After the class, my wife’s hospital coworkers passive-aggressively urged her into having her cervix checked. She was only 1 centimeter, a far cry from the 4 centimeters required to stay at the hospital. We went home and an hour later the contractions began to dwindle.
Friday went by uneventfully.
My wife woke up at 4 a.m. Saturday to more contractions every 3 to 5 minutes and by 8 a.m. we were convinced today was the day. We began packing for the hospital and called our support team.
With our daughter’s birth, the team was myself and my wife’s friend. This time we’ve added a doula. Some "involved" dads get defensive at the thought of their wife wanting outside help, but I figure this is her ordeal and if she wants me dancing in a dress and wig, I’ll dance in a dress and wig. Luckily, she only asked for a rubber chicken (yeah, I’ll explain that one after the boy is born).
Our plan was to bring 3-year-old Little Miss to the hospital with us and see how long she lasts with a cadre of solo activities. With 3 people tending my wife, Little Miss would get a good share of attention. If the plan backfired, she would be shuttled to one of her little friend’s homes.
Shucks. Still at home, my wife was in bed listening to Enya when the contractions began slowing and by 10 a.m. the birthday was called off.
Is Enya to blame? *cough* Maybe not. Just before Enya, I was in the garage wrestling with our infant car seat and I had my wife come out to help from the other side of the car (it’s a little tough fitting two seats side-by-side).
She dropped something she had grabbed inside the car, bent over to pick it up, felt a sharp pain, and from there the contractions began to subside. Her theory is that she displaced Baby X, popping him off of her cervix and up out of the pelvis. Who knows.
It’s all good though because the baby is due March 22 and we have a week to go before he’s full term.
In any case, here are the items we packed in a semi-relaxed hurry that morning. Did we miss anything?
- Mom: clothes to come home in.
- Mom: pajamas, underwear, nursing bra.
- Mom: Flip flops (she’ll actually wear them to the hospital).
- Dad: one change of clothes (unless the hospital is busy, we’ll have a room with a second bed).
- Two going-home baby outfits (premie and regular)
- Still camera
- Video camera
Music CDs (the hospital has a player):
- Putumayo Dreamland, Celtic Dreamland, and Asian Dreamland.
- Tracy Chapman: self titled and New Beginning.
- Pink Martini: Hang on Little Tomato and Sympathique.
- Stevie Wonder: Song Review.
Address book â€“ We also wrote a short contact list, but you always forget someone.
Toiletry bag â€“ routine stuff, plus Arnica pain reliever (homeopathic, similar to ibuprofen).
Fanny Pack filled with nonperishable foods:
- Instant oatmeal packets
- Single serving apple sauce, peaches, mandarin oranges and cheese rounds.
- Various energy bars
- 3 bananas
- Tea bags
- Bag of assorted dried fruit
- Carton of hardboiled eggs. My wife ate hardboiled eggs during our first birth.
- Container of expressed breast milk just in case
Food is a big deal because our rural hospital’s cafeteria has a limited menu on weekends and closes at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. on weekdays).
Toiletry bag (routine stuff, plus lip balm and hand sanitizer).
Little Miss’ Suitcase:
- Two sets of clothing and pajamas.
- Travel toiletries
- 1 tracing book for lowercase letters
- 1 coloring book
- 1 sticker book
- 1 writing tablet
- Color pencils
- Crazy Eights card deck
Not packed: our birth plan. My wife feels our first birth plan over idealized our daughter’s birth, getting her wrapped up in what was written instead of helping her go with the flow.
There are two things she will remember to insist upon with the birth of our son:
- A sign posted on the outside of the door instructing all who enter to wash their hands. It’s a bit reassuring because everyone does wash their hands upon entering the room.
- No formula. If my wife has a c-section and is in surgery, the nurses will feed the baby with what’s available. So, they need to know we’ve brought our own expressed breast milk.
Are there any key items we missed that you found useful during your birth experience?