Hospital Bag of a Third Time Mom

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Things like this don’t exactly get less exciting even if you are on your 5th or 6th kid but they definitely get more precise.

At my last appointment we talked briefly about hospital registration and stay so this week I’ve had the idea of packing a hospital bag in my mind. I am currently 34 weeks (I looked it up) but at my 18 week ultrasound baby measured a week and a half ahead so I tend to round-up a week so we could say 35 weeks and the suggestion is to have one packed by the time you reach 36 weeks. I’ve never packed a bag this early, I think with Willem I only had some toiletries thrown to the side even on my due date, Harper was induced a week past his due date (5 years ago today in fact) and I packed all day before checking in to the hospital at 7pm. I also don’t expect to go into labor before 41 weeks but for some reason this time around I am so paranoid about not having what I want there with me. It’s not that I require much nor do we live very far from the hospital I just want to be comfortable and not worry and I know .

If you look around on the internet and on pinterest there are lists that include things like: tissues, 2 sizes of underwear, pads, change, cell phone, tablet, laptop, laptop charger, a flashlight or lamp (what?), desktop, 5 pairs of socks, 2 toothbrushes incase one falls on the floor, your eyelashes and your own tv remote, etc etc. I’m exaggerating but really, in most cases you will be gone less than 48 hours and you will be fairly busy during that time, no need to take all the extra stuff. I don’t even take things like a breast pump with me because a) there isn’t anything to pump b) I hate that thing why do I have to attach to it as soon as baby is out c) it’s just another bag to carry in and out of the hospital and d) if I really need to pump the hospital has them there.

Here is my list with some explanation:

Clothing: I packed heavy in this area because I prefer to be in my own clothes at the hospital instead of the traditional gown. I also prefer to wear my own clothes during labor but stick to a stretchy skirt and sports bra. All of these are based on comfort and keeping clean, mainly because there will be bleeding. Another thing not specified is going-home clothes for me. It’s a 15 minute drive with just Chad, baby and me, yoga pants and a t-shirt work just fine.

1 soft nursing bra

1 maternity camisol

1 wetbag for dirty clothes

1 pair of socks

1 t-shirt

1 button down sleep shirt

2 pairs of black yoga pants: one to wear during the day, one to wear home

2 headbands (because who knows what color I’ll want to wear)

Toiletries: 

toothpaste: mini

toothbrush: extra one from the dentist, that’s what they are for right?

hair brush: I only have one so it won’t be packed yet

travel body wash: I actually prefer bar soaps but they don’t travel well and the after birth shower is amazing so I need something so mini dove it is.

travel contact solution

contact case

glasses and extra contacts: If I lost a contact during labor it could possibly be the end of the world and even induce a headache.

face cleanser wipes: these Burts Bees wipes smell amazing! They are so soft and gentle I can use them multiple times a day without worry.

hand lotion

breast pads: After years of leaking the lansinoh disposable pads are my absolute favorite for protection and softness.

lip balm: Eos and rose balm have me covered 100%

Vaseline: this is for extra chapped lips but also because when Harper was born his little ankle and wrist folds where bleeding from dryness. Putting vaseline on them helped sooth, protect and heal them quickly.

hair ties and bobby pins: DO NOT FORGET THESE if you have longer hair anyway.

nipple butter: just one of those things that a nursing mom needs. I never had a real problem with using lanolin but it doesn’t go on the smoothest because it’s pretty thick/hard stuff. Coconut oil is just too thin for me and doesn’t provide that soothing feeling when applied so I bought the Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter, it’s so natural I feel completely comfortable using it but haven’t actually used it so I can’t exactly give it a thumbs up or down.

Still to pack: Some of these things I have nearby, most are still in use. I have a written list of these and they are in the front pocket of my bag so that nothing is forgotten no matter who finishes packing for me.

bluetooth speaker: right now Harper uses it nightly to fall asleep but my memory from Willem’s labor was that I really loved hearing some of the songs. Music allowed me to escape between contractions so this is a must for me.

camera and card: still being used here and there but very important. Last time the nurse took some fantastic photos for us, this time a few friends might be taking photos so mine is purely backup and post birth. I love looking back on birth photos and a camera phone just won’t do.

phone charger (with wall plug-in): my life

diffuser and oils: for calming, I plan on using peace and calming for labor and serenity after. Serenity is one that I dab on blankets and slings for baby for both bringing relaxation and calmness but also to create a memory tie.

Sudoku book: for my brain when I’m alone and baby is sleeping

notebook: this is my constant, I need it to jot notes, to help us decide on names, to remember specific details of the birth and so many other things. I have to be able to physically write things down.

deodorant (orange honest one): still in use, thankfully.

personal pillow and blanket: purely for comfort

snacks: as from my last post, middle of the night stuff-my-face-fest

Some things that others bring won’t be on my list. I don’t really take a boppy pillow because it’s bulky and I don’t really need it in the hospital, maybe I’ll change my mind, who knows, I don’t take shower shoes and other random things because I pack for me, like I’m going to away for a day but in reality my house is close enough that I could have someone bring me what I needed very easily.

Final Thoughts:

  • What goes in must come out and you will be taking more out than what you brought in.
  • You will be mostly laboring, eating, sleeping and feeding baby so don’t worry about taking your computer or bringing board games to keep you occupied. Even staring at your new baby will be more appealing than editing your photos. Rest and enjoy.
  • Comfort is key, bring things that will bring you the most comfort, personal blanket or pillow will make the difference in how you sleep.
  • Take snacks, you’ll be hungry in the middle of the night.
  • Nice toiletries will go a long way. Labor is the equivalent of running a marathon, it’s a lot of work and even if you feel great after your body still was still put through an incredible amount of strain and stress so pamper your skin after.
  • Don’t worry about bringing what the hospital offers. With both births of my first boys these things were offered for moms:
    • mesh underwear that you can toss after use, I wore these while in the hospital and upon leaving switching into my own at home.
    • pads
    • water and meals
  • Pain relief including ice packs and dermaplast
  • Some hospitals have birthing balls, some don’t. If you think you will want one check with your hospital first.
  • Towels, you can go either way with this. I don’t care how I dry off as long as I have comfortable clean clothes but I know some women love nice towels, hospitals have towels but they are not nice.
  • If you forget soap the hospital has some but I’m not sure how nice it is.

Again, this is just me, I tend to be somewhat of a minimalist, everything fits nicely into my bag now however I’m sure I’ll pack it full of upon the actual trip. Pack what you need to be comfortable but you can leave the entertainment stuff and luxury comforts at home because once baby is out you won’t care about much else.

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Oils Saved Me Last Night

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First off, I’m not a huge oil person. My supply consists of less than 10 bottles of a few different brands of essential oils. We use them mostly as aromatherapy in a diffuser but occasionally for headaches, sinus problems and soothing, I am a firm believer in scents being tied to memory so I tend to use a few special ones on my kids blankets and slings.

I’m sharing this because last night I witnessed something miraculous.

Harper has had a wet cough these last few nights, Willem developed it last night as well. I had already been up once to tuck Harper back in after a bathroom trip when I heard him crying and coughing in pain. He cried “my ear, my ear hurts” in between coughs and I sprung into action. First was the cough, grabbed the vicks vapor rub, next was the earache, I measured out some Motrin because western medicine… then I grabbed oils.

Olive oil is my go-to, years ago in my avoidance of a doctor appointment for my own severe earache I called the nurse and she told me to add a few drops of EVOO in my ear. The oil conditions the ear drum bringing the right kind of moisture to it while it gets any water away from the drum. Having gone swimming yesterday I wasn’t sure if Harper’s earache was from his cold, pressure or swimmers ear but in any case the EVOO would only help.

Lavender is an oil that we have never used in our house besides in a diffuser or bath was my miracle in a bottle last night. I had read somewhere on the internet that you could use it to help treat an ear infection and in the middle of the night with a kid in pain you are willing to try many things. While the EVOO soaked into Harper’s ear I did some quick google research. I dropped about 10 drops of lavender EO onto a cotton ball and placed the cotton ball on Harpers ear (not in it, just on top). He immediately stopped crying and was asleep within the next minute! Not kidding. I almost wish for my own earache just so I can feel it for myself. From now on I promise my family we will never run out of lavender.

Lemon was the follow up. Not sure how exactly this one works but after witnessing the lavender working I was fully on board the oil train. Following my google research directions I mixed a few drops of lemon into my hand with a bit of carrier oil, in my case the EVOO because it was next to me and fully acceptable (who needs to go back downstairs looking for coconut?) then starting from where the ear meets the jaw, massaged the oil down the neck.

One of the first things I asked him this morning was how his ear felt. Harper looked at me, touched each ear as if to figure out which one had bothered him to start with, then shrugged me off saying his ears feel fine.

I’m no oil expert nor am I a fanatic but that cotton ball of lavender did something incredible for me and for Harper last night.

Harper is Turning 5!

Today starts Harper’s last week as a 4 year old! Four has been the most challenging age so far mostly because he has truly started testing limits with blatant defiance, luckily it’s all a normal part of growing up and his big heart is always underneath the layers of naughtiness.
Without getting sappy and remembering the last year, the last 5 years and how much my boy has grown I’ll get to the point. I asked Harper some his annual birthday questions, the answers where as to be expected.

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Birth Tradition

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When I had Harper my sister brought me a batch of cranberry, white chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies. Harper was born at 6:30pm, I ate ever item of food on the tray they brought be for dinner a few hours later and settled in for the night. Around 2am all of my adrenalin wore off and I was STARVING. why had no one had warned me about the insane post birth hunger!? Too nervous to ask my nurse to find me something to eat and I didn’t want to wake Chad, who was already lucky to be sleeping on the lightly padded bench, I had remembered the cookies my sister brought and ate each and every one of them there on the edge of my hospital bed washing it down with mini sprite’s that my nurse had stocked me up on.

When I had Willem I made another batch, it was possibly the most important item I had packed in my hospital bag. This time I shared with Chad and ate them much faster as Willem was born at midnight when the cafeteria was closed. My sweet nurses tried to bring as much food as possible but I told them no worries as I had that covered. No jello or vending machines for me.

Today I made some for baby 3. Yeah, they are going to sit in the freezer for 2 more months but I couldn’t care less about cooking and baking while pregnant so I seized the day. Of course I put away at least 20 for the birthday.

I specifically make the same cookies not necessarily out of complete nostalgia. Oatmeal in them I learned is great for milk production and perhaps thanks to the eating of an entire batch of oatmeal cookies after a birth my milk has always come in quickly. Also, while I don’t love the Ocean Spray recipe (that is to say it’s good but it’s not the most delicious cookie ever) it’s perfect because it isn’t too sweet or overpowering, almost just like sweet bread with delicious cranberries of course making it easier to want to eat more.

Again while I’m not overly nostalgic it is nice that no matter how this birth ends up, how similar or different the experience may be, this single thing will be the same. Well, and the fact that we are having another boy.