Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In My Hospital Bag + Finishing Well

I am not so sure the internet needs another post detailing what you can find in an expecting mother's hospital bag. In fact, I had decided not to share until a stumbled on a post that claimed to be minimal but instructed new moms to pack their own bed linens and expensive toilet paper for the guests that come to see them after their baby is born.

I found that a little excessive, so I decided to share what I have packed. This was all thrown together last Saturday, after a few hours of regular contractions, and then settled into the corner of our bedroom when I realized we were dealing with a false alarm.

For Mom
Labor outfit: this is entirely optional but I am bringing a t-shirt dress because I hate wearing hospital gowns. 
Toiletries: as much as you need to feel comfortable. For me, this means face wash, moisturizer, mascara, deodorant, hair brush, toothbrush, toothpaste and body lotion. 
Pajamas: I am bringing two sets for wearing in the hospital
Nursing bra
Going home outfit: last time I packed maternity jeans and a loose top, this time I am bringing maternity leggings and a tunic. 
Book and journal: as a first time mom, I would have never imagine caring about or needing these items but when I welcomed my second I wanted something to busy myself with when I wasn't able to sleep or when I was nursing. 
Snacks: Your hospital won't provide you food during labor and will probably ask you not to eat until after you have given birth, but I've been known to smuggle a few larabars in with me during labor.
Phone charger

For Baby
Going home outfit
Pacifier: most hospitals don't provide pacifiers any longer, so if you plan to use one in the early days bring one with you. 
Bulb syringe or nose frida: OK, this one shows a little of my own paranoia. I wanted to have this on hand just in case I deliver before we arrive at the hospital.
Carseat: You'll have to get your carseat approved by the hospital staff before heading home.
Sleepers: Depending on your hospital, you may not need this. My last hospital didn't allow baby to wear their own clothes (for security reasons) until discharge. 
Swaddle blankets: if you have a preferred swaddle blanket, bring it along. Otherwise, use what the hospital has to offer.

You won't need personal items like maxi pads, nursing pads, lanolin, etc... Your hospital will provide those and most likely send you home with extra as well.

So, that is what I have packed. These items are what I consider to be the bare minimum, but your list may not look exactly the same. I find comfort to be the most important consideration. If you forget the carseat, someone can always make a trip home but if you have certain comfort items such as specific pillows or essential oils, it will be much harder to get those to you when you are in the middle of labor.

I can't believe this is where I am, at the bags packed point of pregnancy. When I stand back and look at this season of our life, it is impossible not to see it as two synonymous periods of gestation. After a somewhat violent visit from what I suspected was a stomach bug, we learned I was unexpectedly pregnant with out third child. That was just a few days after the new year. Less than two months later, my husband became unemployed. So, for the last five months we have been waiting for a new opportunity for my husband and waiting for the arrival of our third babe. Meanwhile, I was also dealing with prenatal depression for the first time. I'm sure our sudden change in circumstances played a role, as well as managing the physical symptoms of my hardest pregnancy so far.

Now that my husband is employed, now that nearly five months of waiting, fretting and praying is over, I feel anxious to end this pregnancy as well. It is almost as if giving birth is what I need to begin picking up the pieces of the last five months and start pasting them back together in an attempt to heal my health and my heart. As strong as my desire to return to old rhythms of family life is my desire to reconnect with my more whole self. In part, medication has helped tremendously with my healing, but it is easy to feel that the waiting, the discomfort of late pregnancy and the physical limitations I currently feel are still holding me back in a way.

Have you ever been on an extended vacation, woke up one day and realized it was time to go home? To make soup for dinner, instead of eating out again, to sleep in your own bed and wake your children slowly for a lazy day on the couch instead of an adventure in a new place? This is the best way I know how to describe how I am feeling today, at 39 weeks and a few days pregnant.

I would love the finish this season well, to parent patiently, to keep submitting high quality work to my editors, to keep my home clean and cook nutritious meals, but most days I am relying on something frozen for dinner and wake up much too exhausted and impatient to do anything well. My desire to move on to the next season in our life has left me frustrated, to be perfectly honest.

I'm not sure why I am sharing all of this, except to say it is hard to finish well. Whether you are a first time mom and expecting your third like I am, I think it is important to know just how hard the last few weeks of pregnancy can be. Let's remind ourselves of this and be gracious towards our limitations.


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