I'm a first time mom, I've never packed a hospital bag before, what the heck do I need? When do I need my bag packed by? Can't my husband just bring me stuff as I need it? What about the items I need in the meantime?
These are all questions I've asked myself as I prepare for birth and my first trip to labor and delivery. I don't have all the answers yet (and probably never will), but hope that sharing my thought process with you will help you prepare when it's your time.
I'm 38 weeks pregnant and think I finally have my bag ready to go. I had some stuff in it around a month or so out from our due date, but decided I needed to get my act together once I started having more painful contractions around 37 weeks.
I can be a bit of a germ-o-phobe at times so I am reticent about bringing some of my nicer stuff, but I figure these memories will last a lifetime and things can be cleaned. I am taking a bag that I have never used before and saved specifically for this special occasion. My mom bought it for me for my birthday and I thought it would be special to have a piece of her with me.
We also have a special Build-a-Bear that my husband and I made for Henry. I suggest doing something like this as it was really meaningful to me. We went to a Build-a-Bear store together and picked out a bear and an outfit and made the bear a birth certificate. The most touching part for me was when we did the heart ceremony. The Build-a-Bear employee had both my husband and I pick a little stuffed heart to put in our bear and walked us through a little poem so to speak. It included things like rubbing the heart on your arm so the bear is always within reach, warming the heart by rubbing it between your hands, giving it a kiss, and finally making a wish. Turns out both my husband and I made the same wish for Henry to be "happy and healthy." I wish I knew the exact words to the ceremony, but it was a special moment for us and we are going to bring the bear with us to meet Henry when he arrives.
Now, for the more practical stuff. I have our completed hospital paperwork, Henry's baby book (as I've heard they can put a footprint in the book when they are doing his birth certificate), some clothes for me, some clothes for Henry, and gifts for both my husband and the nurses. Here's a detailed list of what I'm bringing:
- Bag with some sentimental value
- Build-a-Bear bear
- Hospital paperwork (completed)
- Baby book (for footprint)
- Gift for nurses
- Gift from Henry to Derek
- Pajama top with easy opening for breast feeding
- Cotton sweatpants
- Maxi skirt (for going home)
- Pair of maternity leggings
- Three nursing tank tops
- Two tanks
- Nursing bra
- Baby blanket for Henry
- Going home outfit and hat for Henry
- A couple other outfits for Henry (I'd rather have some options just in case)
- Scratch mittens for Henry
- Pacifier for Henry
- Facial cleaning towelettes
- Hairbands and headbands
- Granola bars
I also have a list of items that I plan to grab on the day of. I have the most important ones listed at the top so we don't forget them, and then the rest my husband can grab and bring later if need be. Here's what the list includes:
- Insurance card
- Phone charger
- Eye goggles (I sleep with these every night)
- Flip flops
On this list, I also have some things for us to remember. I don't really have a birth plan, but am writing down a couple things that my husband may tell them on my behalf (e.g., I've been having pelvic girdle pain, I'm planning on an epidural, most important thing is safe baby and safe me). Also, things like "call the pediatrician and insurance after birth" with their phone numbers.
I mentioned the gifts earlier. I have a bunch of Ghirardelli chocolates wrapped up for the nurses along with a small thank you note for them. I didn't know how many nurses would be assisting me so I made a group gift instead of individually wrapping them. Also, since I don't know when I will be going into labor I didn't want something that would go bad like cookies.
For my husband (hopefully he isn't reading this), I have a little gift and letter from Henry. I won't share the contents of the letter, but here's a picture of the front of the card. To give you an idea of what the letter says, Henry thanks his dad for being there for us, tells him how excited he has been to meet him, expresses what he is looking forward to them doing together, and explains the significance of the gift. The cliff notes version of the gift is that they are Indiana Jones minifgure legos. Derek is a huge lego fan and these legos will be the first that he and Henry share. The reason I (I mean Henry, I just helped him get them) chose Indiana Jones legos specifically has to do with Henry's name and a joke between my husband and I.
If you are packing your bag, good luck. I think we'll both be okay, so try not to stress too much. And, if I get around to it, I will write a follow up post after I do give birth with what I'm glad I brought, shouldn't have brought, and wished I would have brought. Happy packing!