What advice can you give me about what things to pack for the hospital, labor itself, recovery and life after labor?
Hi there! I have to answer this from my phone as it’s the easiest way for me—laptops mean typing with one hand and at least with my phone I could use both sets of fingers :)
Okay, first, what to pack for the hospital. We had 2 bags—one for me and baby, and the other for Joe. In my bag, I had a couple changes of clothing. I was advised to bring maternity clothes as I would still look about 5-6 months pregnant when I left the hospital. And I did! I brought flip flops for the shower (I labored and birthed medication-free and had to use other methods of pain management like hot showers), my own lotion, of course regular toiletries, etc. I did bring my own shampoo and conditioner and soap but didn’t end up showering until I got home so didn’t use those. Bring a nursing bra—I brought one and it helped when I was nursing in the hospital. I also had Lansinoh to help with sore nipples. I was also advised to bring a nightgown but I stayed in my hospital gown until I left (we only stayed one evening). Being a few pens—you’ll be signing lots of stuff. Charged cameras and extra memory cards too! :)
For Logan, I brought 3 different going home outfits, a cap (which she didn’t use), a couple of light blankets, socks. And I think that’s it! I brought the different outfits because I didn’t know what would fit her. I ended up putting her in a long sleeve top and pants combo.
Joe brought snacks. I wasn’t interested in eating during labor but when I was almost to pushing time, my doula started encouraging me to drink juice to get some energy. I had been laboring for almost 30 hours (early and active labor combined) and had not had any sleep and I was exhausted. We also had fruit, Pringles, and other random snacks. He brought swim shorts in case I wanted him in the shower with me while I was laboring (I didn’t), and a change of clothes. He actually ended up going home and spending the night there while Logan and I stayed in the hospital so he didn’t even need anything.
Really, you don’t need much.
Now, labor itself. I would say, based on my experience, to not be afraid of the pain. The pain has a purpose, and that is to bring your beautiful baby out into the world! I labored as much as I could at home and was already at 6cm when I got to the hospital. I made sure I kept moving (since I didn’t want any anesthesia) and that helped with the pain. I kept thinking that there is an endpoint to labor, and when that comes, I will have my little girl in my arms. I also kept telling myself that it was going to hurt a lot more and that helped me cope.
After birth—the first 2 weeks were challenging. I am breastfeeding and Logan didn’t have a great latch which made for really really sore nipples. I highly recommend Lansinoh. I also highly recommend stool softeners and sitz baths to help you heal down there. Keep an open mind—I went into it expecting sleep deprivation and frustration and it really helped me and Joe. Most of all, ENJOY EVERY MOMENT. Hold your baby as much as you want, take zillions of pictures, and just live in the moment. It all goes by so fast (I still can’t believe Logan is 8 weeks old tomorrow!). And believe in your mothering instincts—you were made to do this!
Congratulations to you and lots of luck!
6am: wake up and nurse, fall back asleep
9am: rise and shine! Hopefully mama has had some coffee and breakfast as I need a diaper change and breakfast too!
10am: my bum is dry, my belly is full. Smiles and coos all around for mama!
10:30am: I think I need a snack. Getting tired so it’s nap time! My favorite spot is mama’s shoulder—so nice and comfy, especially when she’s moving around.
12:00pm: wake up from awesome nap. Mama changes my diaper (she loves to color-coordinate my cloth diapers and onesies), nurses me, then we go and get the mail.
1:00pm: I take another nap. Mama checks emails, Tumblr, Facebook, Google Reader, etc. Maybe she’ll find some good deals online! She loves to shop. Oh, and maybe she’ll eat lunch too :)
3:00pm: awake from my nap! Diaper once again needs to be changed. Mama’s trying to decide—light blue or dark blue cover? Or green? Aaah so many choices! I just smile and coo and say hello to my friend The Fan in the bedroom.
3:30pm: after having a lighthearted conversation with Mama, time for another snack! She turns the tv on and wait for Ellen’s show to come on. Sometimes she and I cuddle on the bed and nap together—that’s my favorite and I sleep longer when we do that.
5:30pm: time to wake up again! Same ol’ same ol’—diaper change, nurse, play and talk for a little bit. Maybe, depending on the lighting, Mama will take some pictures of me. If it’s bath day, this is when I get it. I’m getting better and don’t hate it as much. Mama sings all the nursery rhymes she knows during my bath and then switches to You Are My Sunshine. That’s pretty much on repeat here in our household, actually.
6:00pm: if I’m being a cooperative baby, I spend a little bit of time in my swing and mama starts dinner. Usually though, we just play more and daddy makes dinner when he gets home.
7:00pm: if I’m not napping, we go on a walk—mama and daddy and Vinny and Brodie too! I like these walks. I used to sleep through them but now I like to stay awake and look around.
8:00pm: I’m ready for dinner!
8:30/9:00pm: I spend some time with daddy as mama gets ready for bed.
9:00/9:30pm: Mama gets me ready for bed. Daddy showers me with kisses. Mama reads me stories.
10:30/11:00pm: Mama and I are down for the night! We had a great day today!