It’s just not going to fit

No this isn’t a post freaking out about the imminent passing of Baby Wormy out of the birth canal, although of course that is always occupying at least a small part of my mind at the moment. What I’m currently musing about is the hospital bag.

These days in Queensland you have to take almost everything with you when you go to have bub. They provide a bed (in most cases), sheets, towels, and water. When you pop bub out and get admitted to a ward they might throw in some dodgy meals (sausages, peas and onion, a great mix with waiting for your milk to come in, NOT) and if you’re lucky a scar or two. Most other things are BYO.

Nobody really knows when labour is going to start, so the midwives encourage you to have your bag packed from about 30 weeks. So you have to live without this stuff for the last quarter of your pregnancy or buy doubles, or keep getting things out and putting it back in and driving yourself nuts. I bought extra undies and toiletries so at least I wouldn’t forget those. I have the daggiest clothes in the world in there so I won’t miss them, so I’m going to look absolutely delightful in Wormy’s day old photos, not! Although I don’t think the clothes will really matter. Things like the camera, batteries, ipod etc I’m going to have to just hope I remember last minute, or maybe I should pack them and just have dodgy phone photos of Alexis in the meantime. Yes, perhaps I should.

The hardest thing though, is space. Hospital wards are quite small. I’m not sure about where I’m going this time around, but when I was in hospital with Alexis there was JUST enough room to stand beside the bed on each side. With the baby crib thing they provide and the lovely but cumbersome flowers someone inevitably lovingly sends, there isn’t much room at all. There’s nowhere for a suitcase. So the first hospital I went to asked us to pack just a small bag, about the size of a carry-on bag on domestic flights. It makes sense, but in that bag I am meant to pack (their recommendations):

  • pregnancy health record
  • comfortable clothing for myself for 3 days
  • toiletries
  • tissues
  • min 4 packets maternity pads
  • bras
  • massage oil, barley sugars, glucose drinks, music (I haven’t thought of any of this yet)
  • pen
  • 2 dozen newborn size disposable nappies
  • 6 newborn singlets
  • 6 newborn jumpsuits
  • 6-8 bunny-rugs or small cotton blankets
  • baby wipes
  • mobile phone and charger

Hmm, yes, because this is all going to fit for sure in a small cabin-size bag. 6-8 bunny rugs would fill the whole bag. 4 packs of maternity pads fills most of the bag. 24 nappies, even newborn ones, are going to take some space. Then there’s the stuff they didn’t mention, like, camera, batteries, snacks, water bottle, slippers/thongs.. The hospital I birthed Alexis at said to have snacks, drinks and clothes for our birth partners too.

It is good to be prepared. It is necessary to take all these things. I’m not going to be re-wearing dirty underwear or dirty clothes. Actually first time around I went through several outfits a day. I had Corey and my mum running backwards and forwards exchanging washing for clean clothes, but they’ll have their hands full this time. Also, Alexis was born straight into 000 clothes, so even though the hospital says to take 0000 stuff I have to pack 000 stuff as well in case bub #2 is big too. (No I can’t just ask the medical providers how big they think bub will be because they said Alexis would be “about 8 pound” and she was 9 pound 14 ounce.)

So, I think it’s better to have lots of small bags rather than a big suitcase that has nowhere to go? I did that first time around, but the problem there was the only way to stash the stuff out of the way of visitors and to actually move, like, at all (which after birth is not easy regardless) was to stack the bags on top of each other. So whenever I needed anything it was always in the bottom bag (of course) and I had to shuffle everything around to get anything. Ahhh, memories.

Don’t worry, I’m not saying “please don’t visit me, I don’t have room for you”. I like visitors. Visitors will be most welcome. Presents are totally not necessary but also always welcome. Having family and close friends come share the excitement of the new arrival with you is half the fun. Although hopefully no-one is inconsiderate enough to bring randoms with them. The morning after giving birth to Alexis I had two groups of people (who don’ get on well at all) turn up at the same time (just as visiting hours opened) and I had just made a mess everywhere and needed a shower and Alexis wanted a feed and to top it off one of them had brought two extras with her, because, you know, why not? One of them even asked for a hold of the baby. Um, no, if I don’t know what your name is, then sod off.

Argh! *breathe*. All will be OK. I will have a pretty baby boy to adore and he will take all my focus. Although to be honest I think the first thing I’m going to want to do after I’ve hugged and fed the new baby, had a shower, had a bit of a rest and for goodness sake give me something to eat, (so maybe not the first thing, but definitely high on my priority list) will be give my little girl Alexis a big huge hug. Hospital is no place for a toddler but God help whoever tries to keep her away from me! At least if she gets bored she can rearrange all my bags for me, because at this rate I’m going to need 4 or 5 of them.

What’s your fondest memories of your stay in hospital? What still gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing up with “why on earth would you do that” questions? How did you fit everything in YOUR hosptial bag? Any tips for me? 

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