Packing The Hospital Bag

We're in the home stretch now. I've passed the 39 week mark; every day could easily be the last day it's just the two of us. This is both wonderful and frightful. So much will change, and there's only so much of that change we can really feel prepared for. I suppose this is part of where the "nesting" instinct comes in: that uncontrollable urge to prepare a home for a child on the way, leaving you feeling somewhat competent and in control even though you're a total mess when it comes to the idea of actually parenting.

Seeing as I am a habitual planner worrier, this nesting thing happened for me somwhere around February, and lasted up until a few days ago when I finished getting the last of our newborn diapers prepped and lanolized. I may be on a first name basis with the UPS driver, having ordered nearly the entire nursery and all of our baby supplies from Etsy and Amazon. As if our son might arrive and declare that he must have color coordinated custom bedding if he is to sleep at night. (If he did, we would know for sure who he got that from.)

Which leaves the hospital bag. That trendy red spinner suitcase that's been splayed open on our bedroom floor for weeks, slowly filling with random essentials and more than a few comfort measures. (Toothbrushes? Yes. Flameless candles and a Jambox? Obviously.)

Behold! The mostly non-essential stuff we're lugging to the hospital. Because natural birth demands a calm mama.

My Hospital Bag List

In preparation for a natural hospital birth, I've packed some non-standard items. Here are a few of my favorites. Clockwise, from the top left:

  • A suitcase that's split into two halves (Vance gets the other half). I am convinced that sharing a suitcase prevents us from looking like total crazy hoarders.
  • Pillow protectors to go on a couple of pillows we're bringing from home. Hospitals are full of sickness. (Why is it, then, that we choose to birth our babies there?) The hospital we're delivering at, thankfully, has its own floor for labor and delivery, but I'm playing it safe with these pillow protectors, scientifically proven to keep the germs out let me sleep at night.
  • Toiletries. A hospital will provide shampoo, soap, and the like. But having my own stuff will make me feel much more at home.
  • A black, insanely comfortable short nightgown for the birth. It won't stain, and it provides much better coverage than a hospital gown that may or may not have been vomited on last Thursday.
  • Natural reusable nursing pads. Doubtful I'll need them at this stage in the game, but they're tiny and it's better to be safe and have them.
  • Our good camera. Because babies are only that squished and cone-headed once.
  • Protein-rich snacks. These are for me and Vance. We'll both need the sustained boost of energy during and after the labor.
  • A decent, but tiny, Bluetooth music player. Kumbaya.
  • Cables for all our various first-world devices. Preferably long enough that it doesn't matter where the outlets are in the room.
  • Motherlove birth and baby oil. If it doesn't work for one, it'll surely work for the other.
  • Black, washable flip-flops. For the shower, for the birth, for not caring whether they get totally soiled.
  • Ambience. Our doula has a set of flameless candles she brings, which can help set a calming mood with dimmed lights.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything in the bag, nor does it include the few things we're bringing for Vance and the baby. But it does include a few things I haven't seen on the dozens of "what to pack" lists I've perused on Pinterest, so I thought I'd share.

So that's it. Bags are packed. It's baby time.

Cletus The Fetus is moving less actively these days, more like a slow, lumbering rhinocerous than a wild, leggy thing. Kind of like his mother.