Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What to Pack Should Be the Least of My Concerns

I've got a little over 9 weeks to go until DD-Day.  Earlier today I started pondering what should be included in and when I should pack my infamous hospital bag.  Yes, I'm still planning a home birth, but packing a hospital bag is like a right of passage for pregnant women.  Even if you plan for a home birth, a hospital bag should still be at the ready just in case.  It's an acknowledgement that your baby is almost in town.  It's a sanity guard for when you're in the heat of labor and need to bust a move for the hospital.

I felt a little bizarre thinking about my hospital bag this early but it's my first time, I have pregnancy on the brain and I want to be prepared. 

Fast forward two hours and I was standing in Boots (aka CVS) grimacing over an aisle of pads and adult diapers.  I saw some Depends but I'm pretty sure that's not what I'm after.....I'm certain that they make specific maternity pads for after the birth, right?  If anyone has any advice here please share.  All the diapers and pads started to blur and then I lost the will, quickly exiting Boots and rolling my eyes that maternity pad shopping is now on my radar.

When I travel Chris usually audits my suitcase to stop me bringing too many things.  He says I like to take my clothes on vacation.  I'm not a fussy dresser, I just like options and tend to be indecisive.  That doesn't bode well for packing a maternity bag that I probably, hopefully, may not need.  Was this going to get stressful?

No!  Leave it to me to create unnecessary stress.  I'm going to stay strong; there are lots of check lists (yay, lists!) out there about what to include in hospital bags and on my walk home from Boots I promised myself that I'm going to take a minimalist approach....I'll tell you how I get on once I actually pack the bag.  Aside from working out where I can get some maternity pads and finding out what the heck arnica actually is, I have most of the things I need and ample time to get organized.

I've also stumbled across a not-so-surprising US/UK difference in hospital bag advice: In the USA diapers and maternity pads are usually provided; in the UK they are not and need to be packed (ahh, the differences of private, pricey healthcare versus NHS no frills).

Aside from the usual suspect advice and items to bring for mama, baby and birthing partner included on most hospital bag lists, here are a few other gems that I've heard.  If you have any other tips, please add a comment!
  • Pack 2 small bags - one for labor and one for your hospital stay - this may help you stay better organized
  • Remember to pack your glasses; even if you wear contacts, you may not want to wear them through labor
  • Pack a pair of flip flops for the shower; if you're a clean freak like me who wears flip flops to the gym pool, this advice was a real winner!
  • Bring along some baby wipes or cotton wool for changing your baby; these are not provided by the NHS
  • Pack baby nail clippers or an emery board in case your little one has long nails that need trimming
  • Pack your Baby Book to jot down all your baby's birth information
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