Its getting so close now! We will soon be welcoming Baby E into the world and holding him in our arms. I can’t wait to see him and his brother interact for the first time. No matter what else is going on, the last few weeks can fly by and drag at a snail’s pace all at the same time, and it always feels like there is something else you need to do. Something else you need to remember. As I finish getting myself packed and ready I thought I would share a few thoughts and share what I am packing in my hospital bag, etc.
First and foremost:
Breathe….. This is my second kid, and while I feel more prepared for this one, it is still an overwhelming and nerve racking time. Search any pregnancy prep ideas and you will have hundreds of different lists. What to pack, what NOT to pack, and what you have to do for labor. There are a lot of good tips in those articles, but they’re also not you. What works for one person won’t always work for you and that is ok.
How did you pick your doctor? For Baby E this was an easy answer, we just went with the same doctor that delivered Kyler. However for the first round I had no idea where to look. I hadn’t been living in the area for very long, only about a year. My former doctor was 3 hrs away and I will admit I had been horrible and hadn’t found a primary care doctor yet. And there was a LOT of prenatal and birth care options in the area. Hopefully, unlike me, you already have a primary care office so I suggest starting there. See who they recommend, and which hospitals they work with. We added me to my husband’s doctor’s office and they gave us a nice list of suggested centers and hospitals.
The next thing to decide was what kind of labor we wanted. Obviously if you want a home birth you will be looking at different care then someone that wants to go to the hospital. Finding a OBGYN/midwife that works with your preferred labor plan is a big must. Yes, a lot of things can change when labor actually starts, but if you and your provider agree on a lot of the same ideas you won’t have to fight for what you need, and you will have a much more pleasant experience for your monthly/weekly check ups.
For us we knew we wanted to do a birth center. We wanted the convenience of the hospital care if something went wrong, but the privacy a center offers. Once we had all that figure out narrowing in on our doctor was easy, and I have been very happy with her (obviously, since we are going back for round two)
Also many midwiferies, birth centers, and hospitals offer tours. Take them. Learn what you can about the area, the staff, parking, and which entrances (if any) close at certain times. And ask any questions you have, no matter how silly you might think they are.
Haha, seriously though its true! I do believe making one is a good idea, but also don’t expect the baby or your body to follow the plan. I feel the biggest reason to make a birth plan is to get you, your spouse, and your care provider on the same page.
Keep it simple. Again this is pretty much to get everyone on the same page so when you go into labor you aren’t trying to field questions at the same time. It also allows your provider to know the basics of what you’re wanting (Epidural vs none, who you want in the room, if you plan to breastfeed or not, etc) and allows you to focus on the actual labor. Depending on where you go they might have an actual birth plan print out for you to fill out, which is a great option.
Also when you are making your birth plan just remind yourself this is best case scenario and if things change thats okay. Whats important is that you and baby are healthy. With little man the plan was to go drug free if possible, but after 20+ hrs of labor and minimal progress I was given pitocin to help speed things up. I ended up laboring for an other several hours and never reached a full dilation when my doctor announced we needed to get him out. Did it go like we had wanted? No, but in the end I got to hold my happy, healthy, little bundle of chubs and that was what mattered.
Epidural or not? This is something everyone will have an opinion on, with tons of research to back up why you should or shouldn’t. Here is the thing, I know many women that had babies with and many women that had babies without one. What works for one woman, or one pregnancy, doesn’t guarantee its what will work for you. I’m going to say that a lot. It really should be pregnancy’s motto. Just like how everyone will experience pregnancy differently, labor and what you need/want will vary based on each person.
Go ahead and do your research, talk to your care provider, talk to family or friends and decide whats going to be best for you. You know you’ll need one? Then go for it. Want to try without? Do it. (Quick note here though: If you decide to go without an epidural but want it as plan b, make sure your doctor and spouse know this! I know a lady who originally didn’t want one. Then part way through delivery she changed her mind. However, she and her husband had discussed the fact she wasn’t going to get one. So he kept her from getting one. He thought he was helping her stick to her plan, but needless to say next time they went in he knew, if she asked for one she wanted it.)
What ever you choose, know you have made a good choice. I still have no idea why people feel they need to make other women feel inferior for their differences in labor. You are a super woman however you choose to it!
Same goes for C-sections. Remember the unofficial pregnancy motto? However you have your kid, in the end your are still a mother. There is no right or wrong way. And if anyone tries to make you feel you didn’t do it “right” just look at your kid and smile. You know the truth, you did it and you did how you needed to. There is no shame in getting a c-section and you’re not less of a mom for needing one. Even if it feels like things are spinning out of control, or you end up with everything going exactly opposite of how you hoped, you still did it and that is that. Please don’t ever feel you “didn’t do it right” or have to still earn something because you had a c-section vs vaginal birth. You have a kid. You’re a mommy. You earned it.
What about hospital bags? What do I pack? Ask what your care provider provides. Also ask yourself what you really need. There are the obvious basics (some of which is provided for you) and I am a firm believer of not bringing a bunch of stuff you don’t need with you. You’re not going to want to deal with a bunch of stuff on your way to the hospital nor will you want a bunch of bags to tote out to the car with the baby.
Here are a few of the items my birth center provide:
-Diapers for baby
-Postpartum care (padsicles, those glorious mesh panties, etc)
-Daddy snack pack and meal card
-baby cap and blanket/swaddle
(They also provided little hotel sized shampoos and soaps, but my hair is such a monster I struggle with using anyone else shampoos.)
Since all that is provided I have left them out of our bags to save space. Here is a photo of what I have packed for us. Please forgive the blurry photo. I snapped this on my phone while trying to head out the door for my Dr’s appointment.
What is pictured:
-Change of clothes for me, Hubster, Little Man, and going home outfit for Baby E
-Pajamas for the guys
-Toys, and snacks for Little Man
-Pull-ups and wipes
-Snacks for me and Hubster
-Spare change for vending machine
-Wallet with insurance cards and ID
-Skin care and basic make-up
Whats not pictured:
-Little Man’s favourite stuffed animal and blanket in case he has to spend the night somewhere besides home
We did pack a bit more this time around. Some of it due to having three people instead of two, and some of it just stuff I wished I had last time. Just trying to keep things to the basics. If for some reason we have to stay longer Hubster can always head back to our place and grab some stuff. So just like the birth plan we try to keep things as simple as possible.
Padsicles?? Mesh panties? Yup, and they are as glamorous as they sound. Trust me though, you will be very grateful for them. I won’t go into too much detail about them here just because you can find them all over Google and Pinterest. Just don’t feel bad about taking what they have to offer home with you. They are there for a reason and they want you to take them.
How have you prepared Little Man? This is my first time prepping a kid for a future sibling and I am no expert. We’ve talked to him about “baby brudder” and he has a few baby cousins which he has been able to interact with and hold. Thankfully he really seems to love babies, even rubbing their backs and trying got comfort them when they’re crying.
We know we will still have meltdowns to face, but he does seem pretty excited about the prospect of having his own baby to bring home. (We will see how long that lasts, ha!) Hubster and I have also discussed plans on one of us taking him, without Baby E, for diaper runs and such. Not long trips, no, but they will give him alone time with either mommy and daddy. We also plan on using his love of helping and getting him involved with the baby where ever we can.
During the actual labor we have plans for him to stay with either his Auntie and Uncle or Nana and Papa. All people he has stayed for long periods of time before, which will help ease any anxiety that mommy and daddy aren’t there. As much as possible we are just trying to maintain his routine. For his sanity and ours.
Do you have any labor tips? Just like the padsicles there are a lot of birth and delivery stories out there. Reading them can give you a lot of insight to what you could expect. They are chalk full of lots of different points of view and tips.
Otherwise I’d say the biggest tip I haven’t seen talked about to much is the shakes. Not the ‘oh I have a baby!’ kind either. I’m talking you getting a case of the shivers. Right after taking Little Man over to be weighed and measured I started shaking uncontrollably. They piled me up with blankets and told me I was okay, but after all the complications I had I admit I was sure something was wrong with me. My nurses assured me it was completely normal, and once I settled down and my brain was a bit clearer I realized how normal it was. I mean after all your body is going through a lot, it only makes sense you’d have side effects from the hormonal changes. It was just something I had not even considered beforehand and in the midst of labor brain fog it freaked me out. Consider this your heads up so you don’t have to freak out like I did. 😛
Final tips? Do your research and be confident in the choices you, and your provider have made. Every person, pregnancy, and delivery is different (told you I’d say it a lot) In the end what matters is you and your baby is safe and healthy.
Also there is no shame in stocking up on paper plates for afterwards. Having one less chore to worry about is huge. And who wants to wash dishes when there is a baby to snuggle 😉
Whew! This is my longest post yet! Thanks for sticking with me. Let me know what you think and feel free to post any other tips you’d add or what else you’d include in your bag. Thanks!