Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hospital Packing Part 3-Creature Comforts

If you haven't yet, please check out my packing list for Mom's Essentials and Baby Supplies.

So this is my list of not-so-essential supplies that are being packed this time around.  It's also the section of items that will likely be a lot more personalized when you pack your own bag.  But, I promised you an explanation of everything that went in my bag, so on we go...

  • Cell Phone & Charging Cable. Not only will I be able to contact family and friends after delivery, but my smartphone is what I used to take the majority of the newborn photos of Avery when I was still in the hospital. It's a lot smaller than my camera, so it's easier to have next to me in the bed and it doesn't take up a bunch of room on the bedside table. (Which is where everything seemed to naturally accumulate during my last postpartum stay for fear of it being lost.)  The smartphone also allows me the ability to stay connected to the internet if I have some down-time where I don't want to sleep (more on this in a bit). Having the internet connection also allows me to instantly upload all those adorable photos to excited family members so I don't have them popping by to see me before I'm ready. (But I'm sort of weird and don't want visitors when I'm in the hospital.  Remember this post from the last visit?) One thing to remember though, MAKE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR CHARGING CABLE BACK HOME WITH YOU.  It seems common sense enough, but my nurse told me it's the number one thing parents forget in the room when it's time to go.  They unplug the phone but leave the charger in the wall.  And sure enough, my husband was one of those people. (I happened to catch it before we left though.)

  • Digital Camera with extra batteries. Yeah, I can use my cell phone for a lot of photos, but sometimes it's nice to have something with a little better picture quality or functionality (think low-light photos during that 3 a.m. feeding). And, you only get one opportunity to take those first precious shots of your little one. It's best to make them count by using the best equipment you have available to you.
I'm going to stop here and note that these are the most valuable items price-wise that will ever make it into my hospital room. Even then, if they are not directly next to me or my husband they are placed out of sight. (Yes, EVERY time you need to get up to pee! And don't forget that wallet you brought while you're stashing stuff.) While I'm trusting of the staff in my hospital, the maternity ward is constantly full of visitors...even if they're not my own. Bringing pricey items with you just invites trouble. It's like leaving valuables visible inside your car and parking it at an amusement park.  You have a higher probability of a broken window when you return than for your stuff to be sitting in the front seat where you left it. Besides it being in the way, I just don't want to babysit it.  Would my laptop be easier to use than my phone for browsing the web when I'm bored? You bet! I'd much prefer it!  But I'm more comfortable replacing a $200 cell phone than a $1200 laptop.  Same thing goes for jewelry.  Not that my wedding ring has fit for more than a couple weeks of this pregnancy, but any jewelry items have to be removed in the event you go for a C-section.  I do not want a small (a.k.a. easily lost), valuable, and sentimental item like that to go missing because I have to remove it. Best not to risk it and leave it at home.
  • Next item...SNACKS! A lot of hospitals have weird times for their cafeteria to be up and running.  Some close down entirely after a certain time, others offer a limited selection.  My hospital offers only deli sandwiches after 6:00 pm...the ones that were made around noon and have been sitting in a fridge all day getting soggy.  When you're not allowed to eat during labor (and you spend an extra 12-24 hours in the hospital before that for an induction...where you're also not allowed to eat) and you deliver your baby at 6:38 pm not having food is a MAJOR problem. Did I eat the nasty sandwich from the cafeteria? No.  Because I came prepared with food I actually like.  This time around I packed a couple of those tuna and cracker "meals" where you can mix it up how you like it, some trail mix and a few cheez-its in snack-size Ziploc bags, and 1 little Debbie snack brownie for good measure. Fruit is always a good choice too, but I packed early and wanted things that wouldn't spoil in my bag over the remainder of my pregnancy. 

  • ONE (small) form of entertainment. This time I chose to bring a deck of playing cards. Last time I brought along the cards, a knitting project, and a book. I took them because a lot of moms said there was a lot of down-time during the day where baby is having tests done, or getting a circumcision, or some other procedure.  That's true, but I spent the majority of that down-time SLEEPING.  Your body just underwent some MAJOR trauma.  You're going to be exhausted and not feel up to doing anything besides laying in a lump on your bed. Of the things I brought last time the only one I touched (except to curse its existence when trying to fit everything back in the suitcase when we were leaving) was the cards.  Hubby and I played a couple of games while I was in early labor to help distract me from my contractions. I'm bringing them again for the reason that it entertains both of us, they're small, and light-weight...making them perfect to shove anywhere in the suitcase. The book and the knitting project took up too much valuable space and I didn't want them anyway.  If I really want to read I'll just download an e-version on my phone.

  • My own pillow. The hospital ones are like sleeping on cardboard.  You need to wrangle 8 just to get a decent sleeping height and then they crunch under your head every time you move.  Don't forget to put a bright colored pillow case on it so it doesn't get mixed up with the crummy ones. Depending on how long you'll be staying, this can be left in the car until you're ready for it.  When I had Avery I stayed at the hospital the night before my induction.  Since I was sleeping there, I took it in with me right away.  Had I just spontaneously showed up when it was "time"  to have the baby I'd have left it in the car until I was moved into my postpartum recovery room.

  • My Boppy Nursing Pillow. This one will stay in the car until I'm ready for it in the recovery room. I didn't bring it with me when I had Avery.  Along with the normal struggles of learning to breastfeed, I could never get her propped to the right height for me to be comfortable sitting in the chair. (And nursing on the bed was even more of a joke when it came to comfort.) I used it the very first nursing session after coming home and told my husband, "Dude!  Why didn't we bring this with us?!  It's so much better!" It didn't seem to crush down under the weight of the baby like a stack of regular pillows did for me.  Since I have several of these pillows now (including a travel one that will be used for this visit) I won't be making the same mistake again.
In the next post, all the things I didn't mention!

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