Saturday, July 30, 2011

Packing for the Hospital...

Weeks ago (somewhere around week 28), the doctor mentioned that it might be a good idea for us to go ahead and pack our hospital bag and start bringing it with us to all of our appointments. Her rationale: we live two hours away from the hospital and you never know what might happen in any given visit - my blood pressure may be high, the baby may be in distress, or some other situation might arise where she decides to keep me for additional monitoring and/or go ahead and have the baby. This all makes sense. Yet, I still couldn't bring myself to pack the bag. For one thing, it was still way too early to be having this baby - and if you don't pack the bag, she can't come yet, right?

Maybe that reasoning is flawed...but the other side of the coin was that we still didn't have all of the things that you *need* to pack in your hospital bag - nursing bras? nope! going home outfit for baby? nope! car seat? nope! not to mention that you have to pack away clothes for yourself on the return trip home (something that would fit you around your 6-7th month, because alas, you will not be your pre-pregnancy size 2 days after giving birth) - and this one was a real doozie for me as well. I've been pretty much refusing to buy any more maternity clothes than I absolutely *need* - which means that I've been "surviving" with one pair of panel shorts, one pair of panel jeans, a few maternity tops, and a lot of begging, borrowing, and stealing of my poor husband's T-shirts and athletic shorts. (Oh, and a maternity bathing suit from Old Navy that I absolutely HAD to have....that I have worn once...for two hours...only 30 minutes of which was actually in the water. What a waste.) So, when it came to packing the hospital bag, my question was what the heck was I supposed to pack? What could I do without?

Fast forward through several weeks of me staring at an empty bag and asking myself these same questions, and you'll find me at week 34, still staring at an empty bag. But, something is different now...I have a list! In talking to friends who have had babies and scouring the interwebs for pointers, I am now armed with a list of things to pack to take to the hospital. Between baby showers and my own "nesting" instinct, we now have a lot more baby items on hand...and between Old Navy's crappy maternity pants construction (the blue panel starting coming off of my one pair) and my ever increasing belly size, I've also broken down and bought two more pairs of maternity pants (it's nice to have pants to wear every day...and as my husband lovingly reminds me, I'll get use out of these pants even after the baby is here...yikes). So, I may finally have enough stuff to pack (or at least start to pack) the hospital bag.

So, what am I bringing? Here's the breakdown -

In the baby bag:

  • breast pads (I don't have these yet, but they're on the list of things to stuff into my bag as soon as I have them!)
  • lanolin
  • nursing cover up (in case we need to nurse while company is present)
  • going home outfit for baby girl (I actually have an adorable knit dress that my mom bought that I will probably use for pictures, and another cute little onesie outfit that will likely be what she actually wears home)
  • itzbeen timer (and batteries) and a small notebook/pen to keep track of feedings/diaper changes/etc.
  • diapers (my mom swears that even though the hospital will provide these, that I should bring my own so that we aren't "charged" for, I did pack some)
  • diaper cream 
  • petroleum jelly (can help with meconium tar poop clean-up if slathered liberally on baby's bottom BEFORE it happens)
  • travel pack of wipes

In my bag:

  • nursing bra (one of my sleep nursing bras)
  • 2 pairs of (giant) underwear
  • a "nursing" nightgown (a regular nightgown that buttons down to the belly that I found at Wally-world in the elderly women's section)
  • some sweet old lady house-shoes (that sadly, I've had forever...they are so dang comfortable!)
  • extra socks (in case my feet get cold)
  • 2 nursing tanks
  • my crummiest pair of maternity panel jeans (I've read that it's more comfy to have the panel than not, but I didn't want to pack my newer "nice" maternity jeans) + a belly band to cover up the fact that the panel is coming apart
  • a pair of fleecy maternity pants (no panel here, but they look comfy...I figured I'd give myself the option)
  • a pair of flip flops (to wear home with my jeans or fleecy pants and tank top)
  • ibuprofen (in case I need it on the way home) & colace (to start taking ASAP...apparently pooping can be a real issue post-delivery, so stool softeners and fiber are highly recommended)
  • a toiletries bag (with shampoo, conditioner, a razor, deoderant, lotion, spare contacts, a contact case, and travel contact solution)
  • baby record book (so the nurses can do footprints when they do them for the birth record at the hospital)
  • camera and camera battery charger

I also printed myself out a note with things that I would need to grab...but couldn't really pack up into the bag right now. It reads, "For the Hospital:"

  • green suitcase (this is my bag) - add: iphone charger, nook, nook charger, glasses, and glasses case
  • diaper bag (this is the baby's bag) - add: white/purple knit dress (which is still hanging up so it doesn't get wrinkled)
  • car seat (the base is already installed in the car, so we just need to grab the seat out of the crib)
  • boppy (if you are breastfeeding and planning to use a boppy or other pillow, it is recommended that you bring it to the hospital...but, it probably won't fit in your suitcase!)
  • breast pump (in a carry bag...I want to bring this just in case we have difficulty feeding or something and need to pump a bit...also, I figure it'd be nice to have experienced staff around if I needed reassurance as to how this insanely scary contraption works!)
  • pillows!! (yes, the hospital has pillows...but they are thin, and scratchy, and not nearly as comfortable as my pillow from I'm bringing it!!)

Now, this is just the list for me and the husband still needs to pack his bag, and I'm not sure what all he will include, but it will probably look something like this:

  • 2-3 changes of clothes (including long-sleeved T-shirts because it is always cold in hospital rooms, especially in labor and delivery)
  • toiletries
  • snacks (like cliff bars) and sodas (so you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for them at the hospital) and bottles of water
  • nook, nook charger, iphone, iphone charger....maybe his laptop...not sure, but first babies can take a LONG time to make their we should all be prepared to entertain ourselves for a while!!

So, now I am *officially* packed for the hospital (all I'm waiting on are breast pads and I still need to sterilize the breast pump stuff, which I plan to do in the near future). I start my weekly visits on August 8, and will definitely be bringing all of this junk with me when I go to each of those appointments. And on days that I don't have doctor's appointments, I'll leave all of this stuff stacked in the glider rocker - with the list of "things to grab" right on top...because from here on out, the baby really could come any time!! Which is both a scary and exciting prospect!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Finding Comfort (in the Right Bra)!

It’s funny how sometimes you don’t realize how uncomfortable you are until you are truly comfortable again. This has been the story of me and my bras. I know that eventually I will have to buy new ones that are capable of containing my ever-growing bosom once the baby arrives…but, I have been putting this off as long as possible.

First, my boobs haven’t grown very much. I’ve gone from a small B to an ample B (possibly very small C) over the course of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, what has grown is my band size….with the baby encroaching more and more on my internal organs’ real estate, stuff is getting pushed around and re-arranged…and sadly this means that some of the bulk that used to be securely located on my stomach has now migrated north, making my bras somewhat uncomfortable. This has gotten markedly worse over the last couple of weeks.

Also, I have no idea how much I am going to grow once the baby is born and my milk starts to come in, so it seems like a reasonable thing to do to wait and see what size I will be before actually purchasing any new bras.

So, I have continued to wear the all of my “old” bras over the last 8 months…pulling at them, adjusting the straps, and wishing for a bra extender that actually fit the hooks (yes, I tried these but Victoria’s Secret bra hooks are not spaced so that they can use the extenders that are available from Target/Wal-mart…which I’m sure is so that you’ll be forced to buy new – very expensive – bras when you start to outgrow the old ones). I also bought several cheap cotton sports bras (I think they are Hanes) that I had hoped would serve me well on days that I didn’t have to go into public…but alas, these have also become uncomfortable in recent weeks. Despite this, I still wasn’t inspired to buy any new bras. I guess I figured I would continue to be a martyr until the baby was born…

On a whim, I entered a give-away several weeks ago after reading a review of the Lamaze Intimates sleep bra (nursing bra) on a blog I follow (Cloth Diaper Addiction). I completely forgot that I entered the giveaway until I got an email saying that I had won!

What I received: a Lamaze Intimates Sleep Bra from Nursing Bra Express - (I chose black). Retail value: $16-18.

Lamaze Sleep Bra (image borrowed from Nursing Bra Express)

The bra came in the mail Thursday…I opened it, but then set it to the side to “deal with” later. After a crappy nights’ sleep and some (very) early morning sports bra discomfort…I decided that maybe I should try on the new bra – just to see how it feels. I fully intended to just try it one for a minute, then change into one of my normal bras for the day…

Yeah, that didn’t happen. 

This bra is amazing! It is so comfortable and soft that I literally never want to take it off! The criss-cross front design seems like it will be perfect for nursing and the fabric is stretchy, so I have “room to grow” in this bra without having to go up a size. Even so, it fits well now…and no uni-boob! After wearing it all day, I can honestly say, I will be sad to see it go into the laundry in the morning (yes, I am planning to sleep in it too)! I ordered another one (in white) this evening…and I am looking forward to its arrival next week!

So, in summary: the Lamaze sleep bra = amazing!

At this point, I highly recommend this bra! I am looking forward to finding out how it actually works with nursing once our little girl arrives in September!! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In a Holding Pattern...

I know I haven't posted in a few weeks, but I just haven't had much going on. I feel like I'm just in a holding pattern...waiting waiting waiting.

We've completed our first two classes with the hospital - the all day childbirth class and a 2 hour breastfeeding basics class. I learned a few things that I didn't know before (like what to do in the event of a prolapsed cord, yikes), but mostly it was just nice to reaffirm that I do, in fact, have a fairly good understanding of how birth and breastfeeding work!

Apparently, as part of the childbirth class, they showed several videos of actual births...I did not know this until AFTER the class was over! I was commenting to my husband about how strange it was that there were no "birth videos" as part of the class...and he quickly corrected me! Somehow I just happened to be out of the room (peeing again) every single time they showed a video!!

Speaking of peeing...(and this may be TMI)...I have been doing that A LOT. Enough to miss four separate birth videos. And enough to drive both me and my husband crazy. I asked the doc about it and it turned out that I had a bit of a UTI. I took a week's worth of antibiotics and seemed to be improving. But, within a couple of days of finishing the macrobid, all of my "symptoms" (frequency, urgency) were back and worse than before. They tested me again. No infection. So, I got a prescription for something to help "relax" the urinary tract and treat the symptoms. No improvement. By the time I showed up for my 32 week appointment (yesterday), I was literally running to the restroom every 10 minutes (or less)! This time, my results came up positive for nitrites but no other "typical" indicators of infection (though nitrites are a by-product of the bacteria that cause infection). But, since my symptoms are "classic UTI" - the doc went ahead and gave me a stronger antibiotic and specific instructions to ignore the dosing guidelines given at the pharmacy and load up on them last night and this morning. If no improvement by today, I'm to call back and they would switch me to an even stronger medication (which is a bit scary, since the one I am taking now is the strongest one you can "safely" take during pregnancy).

The good news is, I think I am getting better. It's been at least an hour since I last had to pee. Thank goodness. Having to stop what you are doing every few minutes to hightail it to the restroom is annoying. Not being able to lay still in bed long enough to fall asleep without having to get up an pee is annoying. Needless to say, I was starting to get a bit "crabby" (which I'm using as the nice word for something else that starts with a "B").

In other news, baby girl is doing great! I was measuring just a bit ahead of 32 weeks and had gained a bit more than I had imagined (let's hope I was just retaining water because of the heat or something), but the heartbeat sounded perfect. I'm headed back in 2 more weeks!