Friday, September 18, 2009

The countdown begins...

My second baby will be born (hopefully!) within the next three weeks. As I am getting everything ready for the baby to come, the trip to the hospital has been on my mind.

From my experience when my first daughter was born, here are some things that I learned to make the hospital visit go a bit more smoothly:

~ Bring slippers or flip-flops. I personally found that I hated the little slipper-socks the nurses gave me. They were much to hot to wear when laying in bed, but it was a ton of effort to get them on and off between walks around the halls. Slippers or flip-flops would be much easier to slide on when getting out of bed, then slide back off when ready to lay back down!

~ Bring some after-birth entertainment. This may seem terribly obvious to most people, but I had the idea in my head that once the baby was born, my entire life would be completely and constantly filled with taking care of the little one. Not so. I had to send my husband home more than once to pick up another book or movie to occupy my mind during the long hours of baby's sleeping or between visitors.

~ Pack the shampoo you like the best. Again out of first-time-parent ignorance, when I packed for the hospital, I packed all kinds of things to use during labor--tennis balls for back massages, for example--that I never used. I only packed them because they were on the lists in all the pregnancy books. Those aren't necessarily bad things to pack, but I was so concerned about the labor part that I sadly underestimated what I would need and want for the recovery time.

A few other things I wished I had taken:

~All of my usual toiletries. It is much more comfortable to shower and be able to style your hair with the combs, brushes, and products that you're used to using. I had a hard time staying in bed for three days, and it was nice to be able to at least feel clean and groomed.

~Two outfits for going home. Sounds weird, I know. I had one maternity outfit packed that I didn't really like that I had to wear home. In the same way I wanted the baby to look cute going home, I wanted to look cute, too, and that outfit just didn't cut it! This time, I plan on taking one maternity outfit that I really like, as well as one non-maternity outfit just in case I loose enough weight that non-maternity clothes would fit better. (It doesn't hurt to be optimistic while being prepared!)

I know that every birthing experience is different, and we can all learn something new from each other. So...

What things would you suggest having in the hospital during labor? During recovery?

What things did you take to the hospital that you found you never used?

Do you have any other advice or suggestions for how to have as positive of a hospital experience as possible?


Spring said...

I had my fourth child less than a year ago and one thing I wished I had with me at the hospital was a white noise machine. My kids sleep with them and I was wishing I could too to drown the noise of people laughing in the hall and doors opening and shutting. Also, people (cleaning service, nurse, people coming to sell you the baby's first picture) would come in see that my lights were out and I was sleeping and politely go out but the closing of the door woke me up every time. I ended up requesting a fan and that helped some. Something I need to recover is sleep! :) Good luck with the new baby!

Britta said...

I remember taking my favorite prepregnancy pants and ohh, was I disappointed. My first visitor to my mom's house while I was there said 'oh, you haven't had the baby yet?' Crushed! I'd stick with the maternity clothes- it'll probably help people see you have had the baby as well as feeling more comfortable.

I never had issues with socks but my baby was also born at the end of summer rather than the middle of winter. The problem I did have was with my pjs. I wanted to take them so I didn't have to wear the hospital gown the whole time but I didn't even think about needing to nurse! So that became awkward and unenjoyable.

I would advise taking things to do after the baby is born but don't take anything that has to be done (homework, work work, anything). I didn't end up having time to do anything at all between visitors, doctors and sleeping so if I'd brought something important I would've been frustrated.

I think I too took massagers and such that never saw the light of day. The doctors never let me out of the bed and my husband wasn't sure what to do for me anyway so they sat unused.

From what I hear, every experience is very different and all you can do is be prepared for several outcomes. Luckly most of us live close enough to the hospital that our husbands can run home if we forgot something important. So most of all, don't stress it!

Megan said...

I loved having my Ipod. It was so nice to drowned out the sounds from other people. I also liked having a book. I didn't have my baby in my room, he was in NICU, so the Ipod and a really interesting book helped a ton for the time that I wasn't in his room. I also liked having my own robe. It was nice to have that to wear down between my room and NICU, and for when visitors came. I would take something comfortable to wear home. I took this pair of black pants, and hated them as soon as I put them on! I almost made my husband go home for me another outfit. Good luck Laura!

Jared and Delia said...

I totally commented and I don't know what happened to it. :(

Well...things I liked having:

maternity jeans to go home in - my "skinniest" pair. not too frumpy but fits still. I felt good going home in them.

good smelling lotion and a pair of simple earrings. It helped me feel made up enough without having to try to hard...and a little less yucky. Even after I showered I would always feel so gross, but this helped a bit for some reason.

Lucky you...guys for having down time. The second time I didn't seem to have any time for visitors even...just my parents.

I liked having the slippers but not for hospital socks get bloody every time. The robe was a life saver when my son got sent to the NICU. I used it a ton. Hospitals always seem cold no matter what time of year it is anyway so a robe is good to bring.

On The Go Family said...

Going along with the soundmaker comment, ear plugs are great to have to block out unwanted noise. (Trust me, you'll still hear the baby crying through them!)

Another suggestion is that if you get a good setup, enjoy it while you can. I left the hospital less than a day after my first because I was feeling great and didn't think I needed any help. I totally wish I would have stayed the extra day. With my second, I delivered in Switzerland and got a FIVE day stay (that was the min.) and it was AWESOME. I wish they would allow it in the US. It was so helpful in getting on a good nursing schedule, beginning my recovery, etc. That being said, I was alone in a double room (so lots of space) and if I didn't have a good setup, I totally would have preferred to rest at home.

One thing that was hard for me during both hospital stays was having guests. I SO wanted visitors to come by, but I found in the end it was totally exhausting. I found it helpful to use my husband or mother or someone to help filter my visitors so I could really rest. Because as all second-time moms know ... once you get home, rest can be hard to come by ... especially if you've got other young ones.

Best of luck. Hope all goes well with your delivery and hospital stay.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love this topic. For some reason I just find pregnancy, babies, and birth advice/stories wonderful! I always learn something new when I'm talking to someone. I'll try to answer the questions:

What would I suggest bringing? I seriously think that less is more with hospital stay. With my first baby I packed a HUGE suitcase and ended up not using hardly any of it. DUMB DUMB DUMB. My second time around I used everything I brought.... so I brought the right stuff!! Things that I really liked - all my own personal toiletries (like shampoo - as Laura said, some lotion, a little make-up, hairbrush, toothbrush obviously). I packed some travel sized of all that stuff so I wasn't bringing a load. I also agree about what's been said about clothes - bring something you like, even if it is maternity clothes. The second time around I cried when I put some clothes on at the hospital because I was still so big and I was really depressed. If I had just worn my maternity jeans then I would have felt fine. I also have to say that I brought several DVDs and books to read. The first time I didn't use these, but the second time I did. I was in labor for a bit longer the second time (on a pit drip) and watched TV for quite a while. Then when I was recovering I read almost an entire whole book because my baby was in the NICU and no one came to see me. :( Who wants to go see a mom whose baby isn't with them? It was rather depressing actually.... So having something to do eased the time.

I also loved having my own PILLOW!! I am so picky about pillows. Slipper flip flops were awesome too and a robe, but both of those have been said.

Things that I never used.... all the labor stuff they say to bring (yeah, like the talcum powder and the tennis balls - but if you are dedicated to natural childbirth than I think they would come in handy). I honestly can't remember all the junk I brought the first time that I didn't use. All I remember is that I way overpacked. Just bring the essentials - one outfit (maybe two for choice) to go home in, one little onsie/outfit for the baby (and a blanket), some toiletries, and something to entertain (books or DVDs).

One thing I'd suggest for making a hospital stay pleasant is to send your baby to the nursery overnight. If you are tired and don't feel good then just send your baby over there and they will come get you when the baby is hungry. I did this with my frist one and it was great. Don't feel guilty about sending the baby away - you'll be better able to cope if you get sleep. :) That is TOTALLY personal though... so decide what is best for you.

I'd also suggest getting the lactation specialist in as much as possible (if you plan on nursing) because it is free while you are still a patient, but consultation later can coast.

Hope that helps!!

Rebecca said...

Great post Laura! I definitely don't have any advice to give but I will certainly use all the advice given! :)

Jes said...

I kept telling my husband to pack his own bag for thw hospital, lol and even wrote him a list! (we were living in Logan at the time but still driving to Ogden for our Dr and planned to drive down for the labor too.... didnt happen anyway, lol we were out of town when it did , but he still needed a bag!)
Make sure you husband has his stuff!! Clothes, toothbrush, etc. I also told him to bring his car magazines or something and some food...and he regretted not having those!
As far as me and baby... I cant think of anything we packed and didnt use (I only brought basics last time and used everything I had and didnt need to get more from home) ...but one thing I HIGHLY recommend: buy a package of Depends! The tiny pieces of so-called disposable 'underwear' just werent happening for me! I realized how much you bleed after the birth when a friend had her baby just before I did. prior to that I didnt have a clue and was quite shocked! :) I decided I would try the depends, and was sooooo thankful I thought of it! the one package was all I needed and was so much better than the alternative. ...i know that sounds weird/gross but its the best advice I have to recommend from personal experience! :)

~Sherry (Bear) and Stephen (Wolf) said...

First 2 kids, my husband stayed at the hospital and froze all night. (I would ask for extra blankts and they would pile hot blankets on me. This last time I took a warm blanket for my hunny-or any visitor that got cold.
I like my semi-warm robe and slippers...I too took many walks to the NICU.
I think I packed socks, but wore my slippers all the time instead.
I took mine and my kids journals to catch up on. (Only somewhat caught up.)
(This last time, I took my PJ's. I wore the hospital gown the first few days, and then my own Pj's were heavenly!(just an old huge t-shirt and pj bottoms.
My water broke when I was listening to the 12th of 13 tapes of a book on tape. My hunny had to run home for the tapes and tape player.