Braxton Hicks contractions they call them. Practice contractions they say. Ugh!
After two babies and a collective forty six hours of labor I think it is safe to say that I have practiced enough for this little one and my body should knock it off already with these darn Braxton Hicks. The other night I woke up to tummy discomfort and a tightening of those muscles, I tried to stay awake to keep track of their length and pain level but before I knew it I was waking up the next morning. No labor for me that night which is fine and dandy considering I still have about six weeks to go until Baby A is full term.
Of course Braxton Hicks don’t just come once and stay gone, I’m actually experiencing some while writing this. There’s nothing fun about these “practice contractions” but at least they serve as a reminder that the due date is closing in and it’s time to finish preparing for the baby. This means loading up the dresser with baby clothes (done), getting the diapers and all that jazz ready (finished) and packing up the hospital bag.
For me what’s in the bag is equally as important as the bag that you choose to bring with you itself. My hospital bag is, and has always been, a handmade diaper bag from my Aunt. It’s enormous and the inside has nearly one dozen little pockets of varying sizes which makes it easy to organize the important little things like phone chargers and toothbrushes. Another reason why size really does matter? People are likely to bring little gifts for the baby and probably even some things for you and your significant other. Having a big bag with a lot of room in it leaves space for the stuffed animals and trinkets you might be leaving the hospital with.
If you were wondering at all what I think you should have in your hospital bag, here’s my list: (I’m no pro but this is my third trip to the maternity ward and I think I have it down now).
- A coming home outfit for the new baby (or babies if you’re having multiples).
- Blankets and a hat for the baby. Depending on the time of year and the place that you live, it might be extremely important to remember these stay warm essentials for your newborn.
- Clothes for mom and dad (enough for two to three days). It’s not a bad idea to pack some slippers with traction for walking on those slick hospital floors and some XXL underwear for when you leave as well.
- Toiletries! Although a lot of hospitals provide some soap and shampoo for the shower, not all of them do and it’s nice to have your own preferred products. Don’t forget your soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant (you can buy sample sizes for your bag so you don’t have to empty out your bathroom). Also important, hair ties, hair brush and some make up! Even though everyone is likely to be giving most of their attention to your little, people will be snapping pictures left and right and from experience I can tell you that after pushing a human out of you, you may need just a smidgen of help in the looks department.
- Other essentials like something good to read (not that you will have much down time), a phone charger and maybe a camera for capturing those priceless moments.
- Comforting things from home. If you have time on the way out of the house to grab a few more things you should consider your bed pillow and a nice blanket for the nights ahead in the hospital bed. Not that hospital beds are super uncomfortable but on a scale of one to ten, I would rather sleep on a floor… Bringing little things from home can make the whole experience a lot better.
- Money! Even though the hospital will be feeding you on a regular basis, you will probably still want snacks or other little things that aren’t going to show up on your dinner tray. Not to mention, your significant other will probably want to eat as well and not all cafeterias or vending machines take cards.
- Something sweet for your nurses and doctors. It isn’t necessary but a thank you card or a package of candies goes a long way for the ladies and gentlemen that are going to listen to you holler and help care for your newborn child.
On your way home, or in the coming weeks before hand, be sure to stock up on giant underwear (you’ll thank me) and maxi pads. Despite all of the women you know who have children, chances are no one has told you that you will have something similar to a heavy period for a while after the baby is born. You will want big, comfy undies, baggy pants and some serious leak protection. Whether you plan on breast feeding or not, a maternity bra and some bra pads are also a good idea as your boobs will be swollen and somewhat leaky. (It’s not a wonderful thought but it’s better to be prepared than not).
Last tidbits of advice. You wouldn’t forget your pets or your children! I know this.. However, you can never plan too far ahead when it comes to arranging someone to care for them, after all, a due date is just a number and your baby will come whenever they want to. Find someone with flexible availability, someone who is either very close to your home or very close to the hospital where you plan to deliver.
Like I said before, I’m no professional but I have been through this twice and I’m 99% packed for Baby A’s arrival right now. All that’s left are the toiletries, comforting items and I have to wash and pack his coming home outfit. If you have any questions or comments for me, please leave them in the comments section below and as always…
Thanks for reading!!