I had another doctor’s appointment today. He swabbed me for Group B Streptococcus or GBS which is apparently very dangerous for newborns if you happen to have it. But generally they just give you some Penicillin, send you on your way and everything is okay.
After that we started chatting about birth plans and the expectations some people have about their births. Like, he’s saying women often give him three typed pages, single-spaced, detailing what they want from their child’s birth and the days following.
The doctor was telling me that, nine times out of ten, their plans never go the way they want, which can lead to huge disappointment. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. But I subscribe to the theory that the less I plan, the more pleased I’ll be with the outcome. In other words, I’m going in expecting anything and everything.
My birth plan: E P I D U R A L, please. Thank you.
The way I see it, if some medical drama unexpectedly requires a C-section, well, so be it. I trust my doctor, that’s why I chose him. It did get me to thinking about what I want to pack for the hospital, though. The first time around I was Googling all over the place, trying to find the ultimate birth plan and pack list. I dragged Serge to Walmart and purchased everything from a special nightgown and slippers to certain pillows. I was even told to pack photos of our other children so I could focus on them during labor. So I brought a photo of our dog, Max. All of it sat, untouched, in my suitcase.
This time I’m not going to bother. But there are five things, five must-haves, that I will definitely pack and you should too! The following list isn’t a comprehensive one, just the items I absolutely could not do without while laboring, delivering and beyond:
1. Tucks Medicated Pads – Listen, just trust me on this one. I had a second degree tear, which, I believe is the most common. I was terrified of pooping that first time after delivering. I made Serge hold my hand through the doorway. Truly, I did. The hospital will give you a spray bottle to use in lieu of toilet paper, but I am telling you, I must’ve gone through fifty Tucks pads a day. They’re soothing, they numb your parts a bit, especially those jagged stitches, and just generally make life a bit more bearable.
2. “Fat Pants” – Big, stretchy pants. Here’s why: you’ll be bleeding a lot after you give birth. So you’ll want to be wearing giant pads, if not full-on diapers. It’s no fun wearing diapers or pads with a nightgown or hospital gown. At least I don’t enjoy it. I prefer a nice, stretchy pant in between my diaper and the world. Also, you may want to bring along a huge pair of granny panties, but the hospital will likely outfit you with all the mesh panties you want. These big, stretchy mesh-like undies go over your diaper/pad and are AWESOME. Don’t tell LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, but I stole a whole mess of ‘em on my way out. Some women love the mesh underwear; others don’t. You can’t go wrong with your own roomy cotton underpants. And make sure you have a large supply of pads at home.
3. Camera – Duh. Make sure you bring your fully charged camera and batteries. Because of course you’ll want to document every single second of life on Labor & Delivery.
4. Snacks – The hospital food is okay. I mean, I was so hungry most of my stay that I’d eat damn near anything. Except the green Jell-O. But you’ll be hungry so pack a little something-something to tide you over between meals. I had salty snacks, granola bars, fruit roll-ups and Jolly Ranchers. Even stashed some Jerky in my bag for Serge, who ate it all. I’ll do the same thing this time too.
5. Books/Magazines/DVDs – Everyone told me to bring a book. I’m a huge reader and I’ll tell you what; Not once did I have the urge to crack open the book I brought. I was way too wired. The best I could do was page through the gossip mags. And I have the entire series of Friends on DVD and I pretty much constantly had those on throughout the night.
Am I missing anything? Please share your own hospital must-haves. What could you absolutely not do without while laboring, delivering and recovering?
Photo Credit: JamieGrill/Iconica/GettyImages