Welcome to the final trimester of your pregnancy.
Us women can state these final months and weeks for some are the most tiring, as we’ve once again hit that dreaded midday slump and we need a nap. But, we can also say these moments are the most exciting and thrilling as we not only start planning our future life, add those final touches to our little one’s nursey and homes and we start clutching and holding onto these remaining moments of pregnancy.
In my case, I was a basket case of mixed feelings. On one hand, I was excited about the prospect of not experiencing severe ligament and pelvic pain due to Baby O’Chunky favoured my right hip and used my pelvis bone as a hammock. One the other hand, I wanted to prevent the inevitable as a part of me wondered if this could be my only pregnancy and thus, I wanted to stay pregnant for as long as possible.
I also experienced a small amount of anxiety and concern as Baby O’Chunky is my first baby and I had no concept of what it was that I needed to pack and included in my hospital bag. Cue frantic phone calls to my Mum most evenings, asking if I had packed enough clothes and accessories for Baby O and the endless hours spent scrolling various blogs and websites.
When going through my extreme nesting phase, I had the sudden urge to pack my hospital bag at 32 weeks and put it near our front door. Every day until I gave birth, my hospital suitcase would serve as a reminder of what was going to happen in the near future, how I shouldn’t do the ‘typical Eliza’ thing and pack everything at the last minute as I no doubt would’ve forgotten something important like my maternity pads or toothbrush. Serving as a reminder of the feelings and deeply ingrained knowledge that Baby O’Chunky wasn’t going to wait until I was full-term before making his grand entrance into this big, wide world.
As someone who has recently given birth and three weeks later, found the time to unpack her bag, I would highly suggest and recommend you buying or using a rolling suitcase! Not only it is a lifesaving necessity in my mind as it makes it easier for you/your partner to roll it into the hospital birthing room. But, it means you can pack everything bar the kitchen sink for your hospital stay comfortably in one bag and you’ll also have additional room for your partner’s necessities.
This is the list of necessities I packed in my hospital bag and some optional items as well:
I cannot highly recommend bringing enough snacks for you and your partner to the hospital. Not only can hospital food be unappetizing to the palate but you can spend anywhere up to seven dollars for a sandwhich. One thing I discovered during labour was the fact both of my birthing partners became extremely hungry during the early hours of the morning when everything was closed for the evening. As a result, I would gently remind them I had packed various muesli bars, dried fruit and nut mixes and crackers. I would also recommend other snacks like not-so guilty treats such as non-refrigerated custard puddings, small sized chocolate bars, biscuits and cheese and crackers.
2.) Hair ties or headbands
One thing you will come to re/discover is how hard labour can be without a hair tie or headband. These are my most highly recommended necessities to be packed into your hospital bag. As a prime example of what not to do, I decided to untie my hair and leave it loose as I was beginning to get a headache from having my hair up in a messy bun and due to the weight of my hair. It was in this moment of having another contraction, I discovered what an incredibly stupid idea that was as I not only wanted to rip my hair out at the roots but I wanted someone to put my hair back up for me. Lastly, do you want pieces of hair sticking to your face while you get sweaty?
3.) Flip Flops or Slippers
When you’re ready to show off your proud accomplishment by walking up and down the hallway and loosen those limbs of yours, I’d suggest packing a pair of comfortable slippers if you live in a cooler climate at the time of reading this blog post or flip flops. Flip flops can be used as a means of protecting your feet from germs in the corridor/hallway and for the shower as well.
4.) Socks & Sweater
During my recent hospital stay, I discovered my hospital kept my room at a steady 23 degrees C as it allows for expressed breastmilk to remain at room temperature and delay curdling. If you’re anything like me, a person who can feel the cold quite easily and will have a bit of a mumble about being cold, I packed a couple pairs of socks and an extra baggy sweater. Not only does it serve the purpose of keeping you and your little loved one warm (especially during skin-to-skin contact and snuggly hugs) but it puts you at easy and in relaxation mode.
5.) Nursing Bras & Nursing Tank Tops
I am a former renowned lover of anything with a hell of a lot of lace, a bit of cleavage and a peep of underwiring. However, when the girls started growing with pregnancy and underwiring became my all-time enemy, I converted to wearing bras that were either underwire free or were nursing bras as a means of comfort. As someone who is currently wearing nursing bras 24/7 due to breastfeeding and leaking breasts, I would recommend getting bras that not only fit your bust size but are also extremely comfortable as you’ll be wearing them every hour of the day. Lastly, you’ll want to get nursing tanks to wear around your home and under garment tops as well for easy breastfeeding access.
6.) Comfortable underwear or ‘Dependable’ briefs
Dearest Reader, I have two words for you and they are: Grandma. Panties. Although they are not glamorous in any fashion sense and will posse a hazardous risk for any type of naughty action from your significant other, I cannot speak highly of my scary black grandma panties. These glorified, hideous bad-boys have not only served a purpose of holding in my abdominal muscles (especially after having a caesarean birth); but they have been a support system for those heavy maternity and super pads, that are going to become your best friends for a while. I would heavily recommend getting black underwear as it’ll hide a multitude of sins, particularly if you happen to leak outside of the pad boundaries.
Whether you are someone who has elected to or have an emergency caesarean birth, the last thing you’ll want to do is put on grandma undies because of having to use abdominal muscles and I found, the fact the underwear rubs against the surgical wound. Even with the dressing in place, it causes additional unnecessary pain. As a result, I cannot highly recommend getting Dependable underwear and yes, I know they are for women who experience incontinence; but by far, they are the most comfortable things besides grandma panties.
If you are planning on getting some, I would look and the sizing guide and stick to your actual size during pregnancy as you’ll still look like you’re pregnant. If you still aren’t bought on the idea, I wore Dependables for about a week and a half (even after being discharged from hospital). Not only did they keep me sane during some breastfeeding issues but I never experienced any leaking (like I would’ve with a maternity pad) and they held my abdominal muscles in rather nicely.
7.) Phone Charger
Double check to make sure you’ve packed a phone charger because there’s nothing worse than having a dead phone. Especially when it comes to sending out those messages alerting all of your closet family and friends about the birth of your little one. Not to mention, the trillions of photo’s you and your significant other will be wanting to take during and after birth.
Toiletries to pack for both and your partner include toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush and/or comb, breast pads (I recommend Madela breast pads as they’re super comfortable and absorbent) and a small make-up bag containing make up if you’re wishing to look like a human again. I know you’re sitting there saying, “wait a minute, Eliza… you forgot to put down shampoo, conditioner and body wash” and Dearest Reader, you jumped the gun.
Ladies, whether or not you’ve had a vaginal or caesarean birth, that first shower is going to be a God send in so many ways and you’ll want to spend an hour or more standing under the water. As a luxurious treat and a way to pamper yourself, why don’t you buy your favourite shampoo and conditioner (if they come in travel sizes) or splurge on a luscious smelling body wash or scrub. So, if you ever come across the scent of your shampoo or conditioner and body wash, it’ll bring back fond memories of your labour and birth as well as that glorious shower of yours.
As someone who stood underneath the water for close to twenty minutes before washing my body, I would also recommend taking as long as you need/want in that shower because oh boy, does it feel sinfully good. Just make sure, you have someone watching the baby while doing so.
9.) Pillow & Blanket
After spending close to eight days in hospital, I learnt after the second night was hospital beds are not comfortable in any way. However, one thing that made my hospital stay a little bit more comfortable for my neck and shoulders was the fact I brought my own pillow from home. I swapped out my white pillowcase for a brightly coloured one, so I could identify my own pillow amongst the hospital’s pillows and I encouraged my sister to bring a blanket for her own comfort as the hospital blankets are thin and rough as a nails.
10.) Comfortable going-home outfit
Finally, the day has arrived and you are about to put your little one into the baby capsule or car seat and take her/him home for the first time. Whether your drive home is merely five minutes around the corner from the hospital (lucky you, Dearest Reader!) or an extensive two hour journey, you need should wear a comfortable going-home outfit that is neither tight around your stomach or hips. Although I had packed my favourite wrap-around maxi dress, a dress I had worn nonstop throughout my pregnancy from City Chic (a shop dedicated to curvy women who don’t fit mainstreams vision of skinny), I opted to wear a black maxi dress home instead. Only downside was to my choice of dress was the fact it wasn’t a nursing friendly maxi dress, unlike my green wrap-around dress.
11.) Miscellaneous items
Other miscellaneous items to be considered include an extra-large plastic bag for any dirty laundry, especially if you are someone who lives two plus hours from your home. If you are like me, someone who leaves home with one suitcase and returns with five in hand, I would recommend packing a duffle bag as you’ll no doubt be carrying home presents and cards from visiting loved ones alongside various supplies given to you by the hospital for postpartum recovery. Another thing you may wish to consider doing, if having to come to terms with what to do with your various sized flower bouquets is to donate them to the other women on the ward or to the women who’re experiencing a miscarriage or stillbirth.
While opting to keep a few flowers for yourself, this kind and very thoughtful act will not only brighten another woman’s day and moment; but it will also bring a moment of light into a women’s life as she comes to terms with the loss of her baby and the horrific knowledge of what is about to happen. It is also a way to acknowledge this woman’s pregnancy, her labour and birth as well as her child. Although I asked my family not to give me flowers as I would’ve experienced hay fever, a part of me does wish I had asked for flowers so then I could’ve donated them to the women experiencing heartache and loss.
If there are any other necessities that I may have forgotten to include, why not pop them into a message down below so other women and men (wish Mr. Darcy had packed my bags for me!) can write a list and start packing when the time comes. With that, Dearest Reader, I wish you all the best for your upcoming birth and congratulations on becoming a Mama.
Much love and hugs,
Featured image via: Love, Jookim blog