Tag Archives: labor and delivery

Things I Forgot About Labor Till I Saw It From the Sidelines

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the privilege of being in the hospital with my best friend and her husband as she labored and they prepared to meet their little girl. I don’t know how helpful I was – mostly cracking jokes to relieve tension and trying to find something good on TV – but I truly enjoyed being there, and experiencing labor from the sidelines. It’s a little different when you’re not the one in pain. There are a few things I totally forgot about, even having done it three times. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about these things…

The shakes and the itching. Epidurals, and just plain ol’ high pain levels can cause crazy side effects. Thanks universe, the pain wasn’t bad enough without itchy feet and shaky hands.

The waiting. As if you haven’t had enough waiting for things during your entire pregnancy, it just multiples in the labor and delivery ward. It is so BORING when you’re waiting to dilate, waiting for the next time you’re getting checked, waiting for the medicine to kick in, waiting for the next contraction, waiting to finally start pushing… The waiting seems to never end.

The endless flow of Coca-Cola. After trying for nine months to cut out most of your caffeine, stay hydrated, and be as healthy as possible, the labor nurses come in with Coke after Coke after Coke… and the most perfect little pellets of ice… it’s glorious.

The crappy TV. If you’ve labored late during or through the night, you know that the only thing on TV to distract you is pure crap. Nothing but low-budget infomercials and strange, B-list celebrity reality shows happen between midnight and the 5 o’clock news.

The mindless banter. Nurses come in to check on you, and you answer questions, maybe crack a joke. Whoever is in the room with you – spouse, friend, etc – mentions random things from their Facebook newsfeeds or funny stories that pop into their heads. Your doctor comes in to see how you’re doing, and you make small talk about the same thing every time they come in. It’s purely to be polite, when you’d really just like to be left alone.

When your bladder is empty, your contractions don’t seem as bad. I still don’t fully know the science behind it, but contractions are SO much worse when your bladder is full. So after your third Coke, just go ahead and have them empty your bladder for you. It’ll help – really.

The inability to be still. You get to a certain point in your labor when the epidural isn’t doing much, and your body wants to push, but they say you aren’t ready yet. This leads to wanting to hop off the bed and do jumping jacks until the baby comes out. That’s a little unrealistic, of course, so you resort to squirming on the bed, nervous for the next contraction, but also wanting them to come more quickly and get the process over with.

Labor is a beautiful process, because at the end, you’ve added a bundle of joy to your family. But whether they’re things etched in your memory forever, or things that get glossed over in your mind the older your baby gets, the labor process is full of all those little moments – some sweet, some funny, and some just plain miserable – that make up your entire experience.

The Hospital Bag

When preparing to have a baby, there are tons of things you must do. On your to-do list, packing a hospital bag should be towards the top during your third trimester. However, I’ve procrastinated like a pro. Here I am at 38 weeks today, and I’ve only just done it. Oh well. In my experience, I’ve over-packed both of the last times, so this time, I chose a smaller bag, and tried to really pare down what I’m bringing with me. We live only a couple of miles from the hospital, and I know Hubby will be going back and forth a lot because the kids will be at home and will need him to be around since I won’t be. If I forget anything, I’ll have him bring it to me, right?

Here’s the bag I chose. It was a gift from a friend a while back, and I LOVE it. It’s adorable and it’s Lilly Pulitzer. Total win.

 

One important thing to pack for is self-care. It’s dry in hospitals, so I’ve got lotion and chapstick. I’ve got oral care (I HATE having yucky teeth), hair pins/band, and I need contacts to see! I’ll also pack my face wash, deodorant, and glasses at the last minute, since I’ll be using those up until that time.

Now for a few things for baby D… Like these swaddles! The hospital blankets are totally fine, but my kids picked out these “choo choo” swaddles for their brother, and I know they’ll love to see him in them when they meet him. (And obviously they’re Aden & Anais, because those are the best.)

Newborn fingernails tend to be scratchy, so I always bring a few pairs of mittens so he doesn’t scratch himself! (I like these Gerber ones better than some of the Carter’s ones I have, simply because they stay on the tiniest wrists a little better. The Carter’s ones are good for when baby starts to get chunky!)

For clothes, I like these shirts that I call “kimono” shirts… they wrap about baby so you don’t have to pull anything over their heads.  (Pictured: Gerber’s and Carter’s. They’re both favorites.)

Gowns are a MUST for newborns, because they’re easy access for the all-the-time diaper changes. (Pictured: both from Carter’s… one stretchy one-piece, and one zip-up. I also have a couple Three Marthas brand that I like just as much.)

And for a “going home” outfit, I chose this adorable little rainbow duck outfit. It was a gift from a sweet mama in Maryland who got my name in a “mystery mama” project. She sent me gifts for three months, and this was one of them! Thanks, Ashley!  

For lounge and nursing attire, I packed a couple of nursing bras/tank tops (different sizes, since I won’t know exactly how big/small I’ll be in that first couple of days, my favorite thin robe, and a nursing cover. All comfortable, all easy-access while I’m still in the hospital.(Not pictured: my favorite high school volleyball shorts. Loose and comfy!)

Things to do… my Kindle (Maze Runner currently on deck) and Phase 10 to play with Hubby. During labor, there can be some time that you’re not “doing” much… just playing the waiting game. After baby gets there, when there aren’t any visitors and baby is nursing ALL THE TIME, you might want some reading material if you’re like me.

There aren’t many more things that will get added after these. Probably a bottle of water, a Luna bar or two, and I’ll bring my pillow. Otherwise, I’ll have the clothes on my back and whatever I beg someone to bring me later. You just don’t need that much. Everything for baby will be provided, as well as everything you need as a newly-delivered mother. I’m all about using (and gathering for take-home) anything and everything the hospital will provide: diapers, wipes, nose sucker, measuring tape (to keep track, of course!), nipple balm, pads, mesh underwear (yeah, I went there), and everything else I could possibly need for my first few days post-partum. Use the resources you have!

What did you pack in your hospital bag? Is there anything I’ve forgotten?