Before You Have That Baby, Have a Check List

Ding... Baby's done! Now that your water is broken, there is precious little time to prepare you for the next 48 hours. Hopefully you're all ready and packed to go. If not... direct someone who loves you to this web address so they can figure this out for you. Not having what you need will surely make you miserable, so here is a list of things to bring and to expect. Where ever it is that you are having this baby, you deserve to be comfortable, and informed. The subject matter is going to get a little graphic, but you're a grown up, right? Follow along, don't get freaked out.


Pre Delivery

1. You might want to either choose your baby's name, or bring a narrowed down list with you. Your heart might be set on Emily, but she might come out looking like a Sophie. So be thinking of some back up names.babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/?navid=sub-nav

2. Have a space set up for your baby. Get an awesome bassinet, diapering products, carseat, blankets and blanket sleepers, some layette sets, and a breast pump (or alternate feeding source). That's all you need in the immediate short term. The rest can wait. But have those things ready, because if you don't, it will worry you. You don't want to be worried before you have your baby.

3. If your hairstyle is important to you, do something with your hair. There will be pictures. You don't want to end up like me on my first trip to delivery with Jayden... I had neglected my roots and ends for months, then the weekend before my surprise delivery I ran a yardsale, didn't use enough sunscreen and got 2nd degree burns on my shoulders. Because of that, I couldn't raise my arms over my head to comb out my hair and that resulted in lots of tangles. John, my boyfriend, had been wrapping my long curly hair in a bun, and placing that bun about 4 inches above my left eye. Two words: Hot Mess. Figure something out with your hair or it will drive you crazy. It is safe to dye your hair after the first trimester. You will be lower than the person taking your picture so your roots will be front and center. Also to note, your hands will be in these pictures too, so moisturize, file, and get rid of chipped nail polish because you will be looking at, and showing these pictures for all of eternity.

4. Have or borrow an awesome camera. Whether or not you want to take pictures during the birth, you'll certainly want to take pictures after. The camera on your phone is sufficient for posting pics on facebook for your friends, but not so much for treasuring on your living room wall for the rest of your life. Also, you can't rely on the Hospital Picture people. They will NEVER come at a good time. You know when they come? When you're trying to feed your baby, or a student nurse is harassing you to poop, or getting your lady parts checked. They'll come when you're baby is crying or covered in spit up... or worse, sleeping. They'll come the second your Nana shows up, or the birth records people are there. I have yet to see an adorable hospital picture. They make babies look like aliens or old men. And they are ridiculously expensive! Here's what you do... Get their smallest picture package because, you might, by the slightest possible chance, get a great picture. You can always order more pictures later. Then you take your own picture on the day you are going to leave, after you are all packed up, but before all of the commotion starts. Stage it by dressing your baby in an adorable going home outfit, open the curtains to let a little natural light in, place a solid color or subtly printed blanket on your bed. If you go with a print make sure the print does not compete with your baby's features. Put the baby on your bed {never take your eyes off your baby, and have your hand near your baby at all times!}. Make some soft noises to get your baby to look at the person taking the picture, and then take multiple shots, from multiple angles. Take a pic with and without a hat, on his back, on his side, propped up a little... Then download those pictures to a photo site of your choosing and order your birth announcements for a fraction of the price that the Hospital Picture people charge.

5. If shaving is important to you, shave the things you don't want people seeing hair on. Your legs will be bent up and in the air, if you normally shave your legs, now is not the time you'll want to see knee stubble. Same goes for your other parts that typically are kept hair free. Now, after the 7 month of pregnancy, if not sooner, you won't be able to physically see your baby door, so either enlist someone's help, or get a mirror. I find it easiest to place my foot on the bathroom vanity and the mirror underneath, up close. But I am also flexible. Find what's comfortable and what's highly visible. The last thing you want is a cut! Take it slowly. Now exactly how important is this step? Not very. I asked my doctor if it was easier for him to see what he's doing down there if my lady hedges are trimmed, he said that he doesn't ever notice such things. But I have a friend who is a nurse who spent some time in delivery and she said some behind the scenes gossiping could happen. The way I see it is, whatever makes you more comfortable. If you don't care, no one else should.

5. Designate a Town Crier. You're going to be filling out forms and answering questions between pushing, you might not have time to live tweet the birth. Hand someone else your phone.

6. Pack your bag and your baby's bag.

7. Call ahead and go to your local police station to check to see if your carseat is installed properly. Ask them to show you how to completely remove it and the base and put it back in. Your hospital might make you remove it anyways and place your baby in it for a few hours while they run a car ride simulation to test your baby's ability to stay in a good car riding position.

8. Don't forget your ID, Social Security Card, and Insurance Card, and those of the baby's father for the birth certificate and health insurance. Keep track of where they are so when people come asking you about things, you're not tearing through bags looking for them.

Delivery

1. Something to hold your hair back with. You're going to sweat, hair plastered to your face is annoying.

2. Lip gloss/chapstick. All of that breathing is going to dry out your lips and annoy you.

3. A cup with icewater, some gum, or lollipops. Your mouth and throat will get dry too. Which is... you guessed it, annoying.

4. MOST IMPORTANTLY!!! Your favorite sandwich to be devoured immediately after your baby is out and fed. They'll most likely not let you eat before and during delivery, and because babies like to be born in the wee hours of the night, the cafeteria or nearby food place will probably be closed. You will be tired and starving, and thankful that you have a ham and pickle sub being unwrapped for you. Remember to chew.

Post Delivery

1. Have an over-sized overnight bag for you. You'll need lots of room for things you don't normally have to pack for a weekend getaway.

2. A bag for your baby's clothes and baby things. But don't worry about packing diapers.

3. An extra empty bag for all the things you're going to be getting/taking. And by taking I mean almost everything in your room except for the furniture is yours to keep. Don't feel bad about this, because most things will just get thrown away once it is in your room and you don't take it. So take their diapers, their formula (even if you're breastfeeding, it's good to have just in case), their plastic tubs, baby hats, pacifiers, tubes of Vaseline... And they won't mind if you take a few of their receiving blankets and wash cloths. You can never have enough receiving blankets and wash cloths. If your hospital provides a breast pump for your room, you'll hit the jackpot of free stuff because they'll give you a tubing, collecting, and valve package which will normally run you $40. Even if you already have this package, take theirs because it's good to have a second or even third set of these. Basically take everything not nailed down.

2. Comfortable but cute and/or pretty loungewear. The hospital does provide you with johnnies and scrubs, but that's not going to make you feel good, or like yourself. With Jayden, I wasn't able to take a shower because I was cathetered, and John grabbed the wrong clothes to pack for me (maybe it was close to laundry day because he brought me ugly breakaway basketball pants that were too small, and ginormous t shirts from places I hadn't heard of in years). Two things that can immediately make you feel better after having given birth is a shower and your own comfortable clothes. It's also important that you have some nice, maybe even new, night gowns because you're not going to "feel" good. For the last 9 months your belly has been growing, but that's ok because this belly served a purpose. This belly was a thing to be proud of and it was hard and a little shiny and it was nice to touch. Once that baby is out, your belly becomes a gelatinous blob without a purpose. It's enough to bum you out or otherwise devastate you. What will help you is to feel good about yourself as quickly as possible? A hot shower and a pretty night gown can make you that much more happier. Avoid looking in mirrors with your shirt off, but look at your beautiful, glowing, new mom face.

3. Toiletries: Good smelling shower gel and lotion, shampoo and conditioner, your face cream, some light make up (if you wear it), your tooth brush. Medications if you have any, take your prenatal vitamins if you're breastfeeding. Bring a bathrobe and slippers or flip flops for walking around outside of your room. Your phone charger.

4. Dermoplast. It's a numbing and antibacterial spray and it's from heaven. After giving birth, the act of peeing is going to be agony if you have any tearing or stretching. With Jayden, I got stretching of the skin that resembled a skinned knee and I got some scraping from the catheter. I went to see the doctor the day after I got home because the pain of peeing was too much for me to wait the traditional 2 weeks. There, my doctor asked me if I was using dermoplast, and I said no, I hadn't even hear of it. Well! It works like a charm... instantaneous relief. For the my second baby Delaney, I brought a can, but my nurse also had one for me (if your nurse provides you with one, and she or he is awesome like that, let them know it!). Delaney tore me, ever so slightly, and I was stitched, but I never had a problem peeing because I had my dermoplast. Spray your lady parts immediately before you have to pee, and then after. It's a special product. Also, pushing during delivery may cause a hemorrhoid, so have some tucks pads. And don't go too crazy on the icepack pads they give you. They only work for a couple hours. It's better to use only one, and then let your lady parts get some air when the coldness wears off. After that, the regular pad and those fishnet undies they give you will be best to get you healed.

4. People to bring you good food. Hospital food, even at its best, is hospital food. When your loved ones call up to ask you if they can visit, tell them yes, and to bring food!

5. Clothing for you to go home in. Remember you will still need your maternity clothes for at the very least, one month after giving birth (although it's ok to wear them for several more months). So don't torch them yet! Bring something from the middle of your pregnancy.

6. Clothing for your baby to go home in. Keep in mind the climate in your region during your season. Your baby is going to need the same amount of layers you need. If it's warm, don't think you need to bundle your baby up in down comforters; and if it's cold, make sure your baby's skin is covered and you have a snow suit.

7. A note book. Before leaving the hospital, ask your nurse everything, write it all down. If you're the scrapbook type, keep a record of who visited, and your baby's stats. Write down whoever you need to send a thank you card to. Get a notebook that has a folder in it because you are going to be receiving lots of paperwork that you'll not want to misplace.

Other things to think of...

1. Don't be frightened by other women's birth stories. Often, new moms will be too scared to ask, or veteran moms will think it's in poor taste to scare you with their own stories. Still other moms will scare you with horror stories on purpose because they are sadistic bitches. Horror aside, you can really learn from women who have been there. Everyone has a different experience so ask. Ask the lady who got the epidural, who had the water birth, who had a midwife, who had a doula, who had a scheduled c-section, who went drug free... Reading books or attending a class is nothing compared to a close friend or relative sharing their birth story. The more prepared you are for that delivery room, the better. As ladies, we need to have more discussions with each other about this stuff. But stay out of chat rooms. People be crazy.

2. Pooping during delivery can happen, don't dwell on it. It has not happened to me with the first two, but I've heard that 1 in 3 births has some poop involved, so, it might be my turn. My nurse friend said that if there's one in the chamber, there is literally nothing you can do about it because your baby's mass emerging from your body will force it out. So when they tell you to push, don't not push to avoid this from happening. If it does happen, hopefully your spectators will step away, the nurses will clean you, lift you off of the sheet, remove the sheet, and never speak of it again.

3. If you have a pet at home, have someone take a blanket or clothing item that has the baby's scent on it, and bring it to your pet so they can get familiar with the baby before you take the baby home. Some people think this step is crucial, some say it's not. I'm a dog trainer, I think it can't hurt. Don't get too upset if your pet is indifferent to the baby item. They might need to see the real thing to understand.

4. The instructional videos they make you watch in the hospital were all made in the 80's with bad lighting and worse wardrobe. The ladies are all older and weird looking and can make you think that now because you're a mom, you have to look like that. The videos are so off putting you might not even want to watch them. But unless you know everything there is to know, you gotta do it. Just remember that you are you, you are not the weirdo ogre ladies in the video and there are other women out there that more closely resemble you, giving birth and still being vivacious. Don't go out and buy mom jeans and a Cosby sweater. Feel free to continue to be awesome even though you're a mom now. Maybe someone out there will make new instructional videos.

5. Lots of strangers are going to bother you in the hospital: The nurses and/or student nurses, Hospital Picture people, Birth records people, techs to check yours and the baby's stats, people to check on your epidural site, people to check your undercarriage, the hospital's pediatrician, food service people, people to change your sheets and take out your trash, candy stripers bearing magazines, an insurance rep, and your new baby's many adoring fans. If you get too overwhelmed, tell the nurse station you would like to be left alone for a few hours, otherwise, be nice to people.

6. Relish every second of this. Be present. Don't be afraid of the pain, it's part of the process. Once it's over, that feeling of pain will be gone, and you'll have this wonderful beautiful life in your hands. That pain is also pretty hyped up, it makes for good drama, but in real life, it's manageable. Don't be nervous, the people helping you know what they are doing, and millions of women give birth everyday. Ask questions about what's going on, whether something doesn't seem right, or everything is going swimmingly, you should communicate with everyone in the room. Have a happy birth, happy recovery, and happy bonding with your new adventure.

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Comments 1 comment

Tammy Tucker 5 years ago

This blog is just as Amazing as the rest.. In fact it makes me wanna have another baby just to complete the darn list!!:):) no not really but it sounded good:) the soon to be momma's have some fabulous information to work with here... Bravo Women, this is great:)

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