Sunday, February 27, 2011

Part 2: Labor and Delivery-Items and Tips for Survival

My water broke at around 1:30 a.m (the full story is here). My husband and I were rushing around the house throwing things into bags.....clearly we were not prepared. We had a few things already packed but as we were running around the house in the middle of the night I realized if there is a next time, we need to be ready.  The following list is a result of my experience of labor and delivery in a hospital.

Labor and Delivery

  1. Have bags packed at 34 weeks. You never really know when the baby will come, they have their own agenda. 
  2. Have a bag for Dad with money for the vending machine/gift shop for snacks, a change of clothes, phone charger, toothbrush and toothpaste a pillow.
  3. Bag for Mom: 
    1. Toiletries like those face washing towelettes (then you can wash your face in bed, it's refreshing). Throw in a travel bar of soap and wash cloth, deodorant, hair tie, toothbrush and toothpaste.
    2. Mints and chapstick. I wanted to freshen up every few hours. They let me chew on ice chips but my mouth was so dry that mints helped a bit. All that breathing dries your lips out, too. 
    3. 3 pairs of undies that you won't mind getting ruined. The hospitals gives you these amazingly comfy boy short mesh undies. I actually wore those and never touched any of the ones I brought. Yet, I like to have choices so I would still want to bring my own just in case. 
    4. 5 pairs of socks. I brought a couple different choices: fun patterned socks ($1 at target), 2 pair of ankle athletic socks and 2 pair fuzzy slipper type socks. Hospitals tend to feel cool and I knew my toes would be cold. The fact that you never really know how long you'll be staying (vaginal vs. c-section) I wanted to be sure I was covered.
    5. 3 pair of bottoms (I brought yoga pants that were very loose and loungy.) 3 tops (I brought a tank and 2 loose, short sleeved shirts.)
    6. Nursing bra
    7. Flip flops.
    8. Cell phone, charger and camera. Believe me, you will want to see those pictures no matter awful you think you look at the time. 
  4. Pillow and blanket
  5. Things to do: lap top (watch movies, browse the social sites, read blogs, look at labor focus pics to help keep your mind off of those contractions and play games with your partner), Ipod (to play some relaxation music), books (what to expect when you're expecting, handouts from your child birth preparation class) and 2 magazines (maybe some trashy celeb stuff and, of course, a mommy mag).
  6. Honestly, I was so tired that I did not do anything. We tried to watch a movie but I was too tired because I had gone into labor as I was going to bed so I really had not slept for a day and half or more. BUT, if I had gone into labor in the morning after getting some rest, I can imagine I would have had some energy to focus on a movie or play cards with my husband. 
  7. I don't like hospitals. I wanted to be as comfortable as I could be so that I could remain calm. I wore my own clothes to give birth. I wore a fold down skirt from Old Navy and a comfy, stretchy tank top that could be easily adjusted for nursing. 

  1. Bring your birth plan and share it with your nurses. They will do their best to accommodate your wishes. Accept that things may not go 100% as you pictured but remember that the ultimate goal for everyone involved is to delivery the baby safely. 
  2. Don't be afraid to ask questions or reiterate your wishes. I was sure to ask about the effects of all my options so that I could make the most informed choices. Don't let anyone pressure you into anything. This is your birth.
  3. Be nice to the nurses. They are the ones that do the bulk of assisting you in the birth (I only saw the doc for maybe 30 minutes....she was there to catch Evan and do the repairs.) 
  4. About an hour or so after giving birth, they want you to get out of bed and go to the bathroom (to make sure you can pee). They instruct you to get up very slowly. Do just that, VERY SLOWLY. I was like,"Oh, I've got this," and moved too quickly. I passed out. Pretty much on the pot. Not fun.
  5. After you have rested a bit, take a shower. I made the mistake of waiting to shower until I got home. Not for any particular reason, it just never crossed my mind during my stay (gross, I know). Showering would have given me that refreshed, relaxed feeling that I really needed. 
  6. Let the Grandma's and the Grandpa's hold the baby and tend to the baby for a bit. This will let you get some sleep. Rest/sleep as much as you can here because you will wish you had once arriving home. 
  7. Get breastfeeding help while in the hospital. My lactation consultant was a wealth of information and hand-on guidance. She helped get this new relationship up and going. I was embarrassed at first but then I thought,"This is about feeding my baby. No one is judging me here." 
  8. The hospital will let you take things like the mesh undies, the huge pads that you will need for a bit, numbing spray for your perineum and this lovely squirt bottle to help rinse your nether regions after #1 and #2. Take as much as you can!
  9. Enjoy your new baby!

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