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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's just not going to fit

No this isn't a post freaking out about the imminent passing of Baby Wormy out of the birth canal, although of course that is always occupying at least a small part of my mind at the moment. What I'm currently musing about is the hospital bag.

These days in Queensland you have to take almost everything with you when you go to have bub. They provide a bed (in most cases), sheets, towels, and water. When you pop bub out and get admitted to a ward they might throw in some dodgy meals (sausages, peas and onion, a great mix with waiting for your milk to come in, NOT) and if you're lucky a scar or two. Most other things are BYO.

Nobody really knows when labour is going to start, so the midwives encourage you to have your bag packed from about 30 weeks. So you have to live without this stuff for the last quarter of your pregnancy or buy doubles, or keep getting things out and putting it back in and driving yourself nuts. I bought extra undies and toiletries so at least I wouldn't forget those. I have the daggiest clothes in the world in there so I won't miss them, so I'm going to look absolutely delightful in Wormy's day old photos, not! Although I don't think the clothes will really matter. Things like the camera, batteries, ipod etc I'm going to have to just hope I remember last minute, or maybe I should pack them and just have dodgy phone photos of Alexis in the meantime. Yes, perhaps I should.

The hardest thing though, is space. Hospital wards are quite small. I'm not sure about where I'm going this time around, but when I was in hospital with Alexis there was JUST enough room to stand beside the bed on each side. With the baby crib thing they provide and the lovely but cumbersome flowers someone inevitably lovingly sends, there isn't much room at all. There's nowhere for a suitcase. So the first hospital I went to asked us to pack just a small bag, about the size of a carry-on bag on domestic flights. It makes sense, but in that bag I am meant to pack (their recommendations):
  • pregnancy health record
  • comfortable clothing for myself for 3 days
  • toiletries
  • tissues
  • min 4 packets maternity pads
  • bras
  • massage oil, barley sugars, glucose drinks, music (I haven't thought of any of this yet)
  • pen
  • 2 dozen newborn size disposable nappies
  • 6 newborn singlets
  • 6 newborn jumpsuits
  • 6-8 bunny-rugs or small cotton blankets
  • baby wipes
  • mobile phone and charger
Hmm, yes, because this is all going to fit for sure in a small cabin-size bag. 6-8 bunny rugs would fill the whole bag. 4 packs of maternity pads fills most of the bag. 24 nappies, even newborn ones, are going to take some space. Then there's the stuff they didn't mention, like, camera, batteries, snacks, water bottle, slippers/thongs.. The hospital I birthed Alexis at said to have snacks, drinks and clothes for our birth partners too.

It is good to be prepared. It is necessary to take all these things. I'm not going to be re-wearing dirty underwear or dirty clothes. Actually first time around I went through several outfits a day. I had Corey and my mum running backwards and forwards exchanging washing for clean clothes, but they'll have their hands full this time. Also, Alexis was born straight into 000 clothes, so even though the hospital says to take 0000 stuff I have to pack 000 stuff as well in case bub #2 is big too. (No I can't just ask the medical providers how big they think bub will be because they said Alexis would be "about 8 pound" and she was 9 pound 14 ounce.)

So, I think it's better to have lots of small bags rather than a big suitcase that has nowhere to go? I did that first time around, but the problem there was the only way to stash the stuff out of the way of visitors and to actually move, like, at all (which after birth is not easy regardless) was to stack the bags on top of each other. So whenever I needed anything it was always in the bottom bag (of course) and I had to shuffle everything around to get anything. Ahhh, memories.

Don't worry, I'm not saying "please don't visit me, I don't have room for you". I like visitors. Visitors will be most welcome. Presents are totally not necessary but also always welcome. Having family and close friends come share the excitement of the new arrival with you is half the fun. Although hopefully no-one is inconsiderate enough to bring randoms with them. The morning after giving birth to Alexis I had two groups of people (who don' get on well at all) turn up at the same time (just as visiting hours opened) and I had just made a mess everywhere and needed a shower and Alexis wanted a feed and to top it off one of them had brought two extras with her, because, you know, why not? One of them even asked for a hold of the baby. Um, no, if I don't know what your name is, then sod off.

Argh! *breathe*. All will be OK. I will have a pretty baby boy to adore and he will take all my focus. Although to be honest I think the first thing I'm going to want to do after I've hugged and fed the new baby, had a shower, had a bit of a rest and for goodness sake give me something to eat, (so maybe not the first thing, but definitely high on my priority list) will be give my little girl Alexis a big huge hug. Hospital is no place for a toddler but God help whoever tries to keep her away from me! At least if she gets bored she can rearrange all my bags for me, because at this rate I'm going to need 4 or 5 of them.

What's your fondest memories of your stay in hospital? What still gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing up with "why on earth would you do that" questions? How did you fit everything in YOUR hosptial bag? Any tips for me? 

Do you blog on Tuesdays? Join up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM. Jess has gastro (and 4 kids) so spare a moment to give her some comment encouragement. Tell her I sent you.

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At October 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM , Blogger Jess@Diary of a SAHM said...

I packed two bags; one for labour and one for the stay. The labour one was just a glorified shopping bag with lollies, a change of clothes, one baby outfit, bunny rug, and the camera. Oh and pads obviously!

Everything else was in another bag in the car, so Tim just brought that up to me after they were born.

Honestly though, dont worry too much. It's not like Corey can't bring you anything you forget, or take home dirty things to wash. Just dont forget the phone and camera!

At October 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM , Blogger Kristy said...

Agree with Jess, and that's exactly what I did. I well overpacked with Mackenna so was aware of the things I really wouldn't need, which was helpful, cause the Mater was much the same as you described with not much space for anything but the bed and the crib. Just think about what you are going to want for labour and for the few hours after his birth, because everything else can be bought to you if you forget it.

I also had a list of things to pack just before leaving on the fridge (ie. camera, iPod, phone, wallet etc.) that I checked off so I didn't forget all those last minute things.

Good luck with bag choice.... it's always a fine line between 'too big' and 'all this 5h!t is really just not going to fit in here'

At October 4, 2011 at 5:59 PM , Blogger Ames said...

Where are you having your baby!? I did, however, forget the maternity pads then ran out - eek! Not cool and something I'll definitely be stocking up on this time! Let's just say the mister knows more about the brands than I do.

I laboured at home and we were so rushed at the hospital we forgot the hospital bag until the next day. I had to use these massive nappies on lufflump provided by the hospital.

The food was actually quite good though which I was surprised about. But I will say take snacks - enough for a week stay as they definitely don't give you enough!

At October 4, 2011 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Nicole Harry said...

I can't help here! But I am almost sure all of this is an awesome reason for homebirth.

At October 4, 2011 at 7:37 PM , Blogger Lifeasmummymax said...

The hospital ive had my kids at always are prepared if you forget something. 1st time round i forgot the bag i packed with baby stuff nappies, clothes, wipes. Everything. I was prepared 2nd and 3rd time. The food was great but that could have been because id been on a gestational diabetes diet :) I had no idea how horrible hospitals were till i read this. I thought every hospital was like our local one. I dont think you can ever pack enough though. Unless you take a big suitcase. Its silly how much they say to bring. Hubby used to bring me stuff and take stuff home every day

At October 4, 2011 at 10:52 PM , Blogger robyn said...

I also had two bags, one for labour and one for stay.... I think I'm going to pack a lot lightly than I did last time around. Last time, we had the baby away in the city and I was pretty clueless so packed way too much. This time, we only live a block away from the hospital, and I plan on going home as soon as I can, so I figure I'll pack the bare minimum. At least it's warm so you won't have to pack so many layers! :)

At October 5, 2011 at 7:42 PM , Blogger Lee said...

I did the same as some of the others have said - packed a labour bag and a maternity ward bag.

Take food! I gave birth to number 2 at 8.45pm and had to wait until breakfast to eat. I was starving. That was in a country public hospital.

Love your new banner too!

At October 6, 2011 at 1:11 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks for the tips everyone. I had an appt after this and they said I might be there for only 6 hours after birth. gee whiz, I wanted to be waited on for a few days, and will choose to if I can, I think.
I'm thinking labour bag and ward bag too.

Kristy, I've taken your idea and have a list on the fridge of last minute stuff.

I'm fairly organized now, I even have a bag packed for Alexis.

Nicole, homebirth is not my style.. unless I planned to just toss away all the linen for the first few days.


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