7 Months Pregnant

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I had every intention of sitting down and blogging over the past, cold, holidays. Obviously, that didn’t happen; and once again, I underestimated the exhaustion that comes with pregnancy!

I am now 7 months pregnant, with another little turning 2 next month, and our oldest approaching 4 in the spring. With almost three kids, we decided to stay home and not travel for the holidays. It was really relaxing when I was ironically expecting it to be lonely. I’ve been learning to be more aware of my limitations and finding peace in respecting them, even if it means missing out.

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Both S and C are becoming more helpful to me as they see my mobility limited each day by an extremely swollen tummy. They pick up the things that I drop, bring me their cups, and throw away their trash. Of course, they still act like normal toddlers still… but these little acts of childlike kindness have been a huge consolation to me.

The one thing still making me anxious is giving birth. Even though I have done it twice now, each time has involved fighting with doctors, arguing with nurses, and having to advocate for myself and the kind of birth that I want. I’m afraid I’m attempting a medication-free birth this time around, which is typically met with a lot of resistance from the medical community. Just the thought of having to advocate for myself is exhausting. There is also the fear in the back of my mind, one which the medical community would love to convince me of, that I can’t actually do it naturally, on my own.

The truth is, I actually have been complacent in preparing to have a natural birth. Despite gathering books on different methods and downloading birth meditations, I haven’t read or listened to any. I’ve made the excuse of being busy, and surely I am with 2 toddlers, however, the time has come to make it a priority. This gives birth to yet another fear… the reality that this IS happening. I’ve been able to just daydream about those ideal moments one has with a newborn: the cuddles, the coos, the surprise smiles. I’ve ignored the trial that will come before those treasured times to the point where I now resist the inevitable.

Well, it is a goal for me in the next week to crack open a book and listen to a meditation. The time has come!

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My Hospital Bag

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Since this is baby #2 for me, I was a little wiser when it came to packing my hospital bag. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had everything I needed the first time around, but I wayy over packed for my 48 hour stay and wanted to make sure I only brought the basics this time around. So, here’s what I have for baby and I:

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New Mama:
New PJ’s To me, it is an added bonus to open up the suitcase after having just given birth, and having some nice new, cozy PJ’s to throw on. They don’t have to be a splurge, in fact, I recommend you just get some from Walmart, because they will probably end up with some form of bodily fluid on them.
Indulgent soap My first shower after giving birth was a very special time for me. A time for me to be alone, process what I had just done, and make myself presentable to meet my baby. Maybe other people don’t think of the first shower as being special, but I’m a ritualistic person… and just like showering before my wedding was  important, this shower felt equally as important. I buy myself a bar of really high quality, nice smelling soap that I have packed away in my bag, only to be used postpartum.
toiletries (deodorant, tinted lip balm, moisturizer, tiny eyeliner pencil, tooth brush) You don’t have to bring your whole makeup bag, but I liked having just a couple things to throw on while people were visiting throughout the day. I kept it simple though, with eyeliner and tinted lip balm, so that I could easily wipe it off if it became uncomfortable.
nursing pads My milk didn’t come in until I was already home, but they are still handy to have just in case, and they don’t take up any room.
slipper socks Some say hospitals are chilly so socks are handy to have anyway, but you’ll also be a little fragile after giving birth, so having little gripper socks with you gives some added stability.
nursing tanks I didn’t really think this through with baby #1. I ended up wearing my nightgown and hospital gown for a lot of my stay because those were the only things I could easily nurse in. This time I packed 2 nursing tank tops and a nursing shirt.
robe Like I said, some times you’re not as “presentable” as you’d hope when visitors come by. A robe is handy for wrapping yourself up when you’re too tired to get dressed, or if you want to walk down the hall to get ice.
pillow from home All the nurses made fun of me and called me “the pillow queen” because I insisted on having my memory foam pillow from home, as well as a hospital pillow behind my back and under my feet. Laugh all you want, but those beds are not comfortable for even the most well-rested and non-injured of people. I was exhausted and dealing with stitches on my underside, so I think I’m entitled to however many pillows I want! Of course, this isn’t some thing that fits into your suitcase, so either remember it at the last minute, or have some one run home to get it for you on their way to the hospital.
optional things… some hospitals offer these items to you which is why I didn’t pack them: nipple cream, postpartum pads, extra large undies, diapers and wipes for baby

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For baby:
nursing pillow My nursing pillow actually did fit nicely into our suitcase (I packed a small, carry-on sized suitcase). Like I said above, it can be hard to get comfortable. It’s nice to have the nursing pillow as an option.
bamboo swaddling blanket I was skeptical about [what seemed like] this trend. But my aunt got me a set for Christmas, and after 1 wash, these are honestly the softest blankets ever. Also, they have some stretch to them, which is great when you’re first learning how to swaddle.
special hospital cap For baby #1, I wanted her to have the classic, blue and pink striped cap from the hospital, but this time around I couldn’t deny getting a cute pink cap with a bow for our second little girl.
take home outfit It will be the dead of winter when I give birth to this baby, so whatever little onesie they give you at the hospital won’t be enough for baby to ride home in. I packed a short sleeved onesie to be layered with a fleece bodysuit.
nightgown My mother got me the cutest nightgown for baby with pink princess crowns on it. These nightgowns make night time diaper changes a breeze, as you’re not trying to fumble around with snaps like you would with a onesie.
burp cloths The hospital usually has some, but I packed extra just in case we soil all the hospital provided ones.
carseat This is obviously a must for bringing baby home. Since it will be winter still, I got a cozy car seat cover to go in the carseat, as well as a fleece cover to go over top.

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For Dad:
loose change For the vending machine. Who knows what time of night I’ll go into labor. It may be awhile before he has the opportunity to eat real food.
-a pen It may seem silly, but there is a lot of paperwork to fill out while you’re in the hospital!
power bank You may forget your charger on your way out the door, but if you have a fully charged power bank packed in your bag, you can charge on the go!
tooth brush, lounge pants, PJ pants, and a change of boxers Really, this trip is all about mom and making her as comfortable as possible. Dad just gets a little space in the suitcase for basics. If he needs some thing else, he can run home when he has a good opportunity, or have some one else bring him what he needs later.

Hospital Essentials [and what you DON’T need to bring]

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As a first time mom, I was terrified to give birth. There are of course, medical procedures you worry about [episiotomy, c-section, epidural…] but that doesn’t mean you don’t worry about the simple stuff to! I scoured various blogs for what I should bring in my hospital bag and ended up way over packed for my 48 hour stay in the hospital. While there are a lot of good resources and opinions out there, I’m going to share what my personal necessities were, and will be for the next time!

Must have’s:

Nursing tank [and PJ pants] After giving birth, you’re going to want to be as comfortable as possible. A good nursing tank [like this bravado one] should offer you some support without being uncomfortable and obviously allows for nursing access. PJ pants don’t really need explanation….

light weight robe If you have to go out to the ice machine, or just feel like taking a walk after being bed ridden, a light robe is nice to have since you most likely won’t be changing out of those PJ pants [or you may just forego the pants altogether]

comfy socks with grippers OR light slippers The last thing you need is to slip and fall after giving birth, or while holding your precious, new bundle. I preferred socks, because they kept my feet a bit warmer, but I also used my ballet-type slippers a good bit too.

luxe shower/bath products This one sounds indulgent, but after sweating and being miserable for 12 hours, I wanted to have the greatest shower of my life when labor was over and done with [and you deserve it!] I had this really luxurious, handmade bar of soap my mother got for me during a trip to wine country and I saved it especially for my post-labor shower. It was so nice! I can still vividly remember how relaxing that shower was, so pick out a really nice bath product you normally wouldn’t splurge on and save it for that shower!

tinted lip balm This might sound dumb, but tinted lip balm made me feel great when the visitors started rolling in. Even though I love my make up, I did not even want to put it on. You’re fading in and out of sleep those first few days, adjusting to new-parent life and ain’t nobody got time for that! Besides, I found the hospital to be a little dry, so I needed some chapstick anyway. Having a tinted balm helped me to feel a little more put together, while also solving my dry lip problem. Not to mention, I was more open to a few pictures, knowing that I felt more “put together” and those are pictures i treasure to this day!

your own pillow It sounds silly and unnecessary, but that is exactly why I am writing this post. Bring it. Hospital pillows are pancakes and they will only allot you so many pancakes. My nurses called me “pillow queen” and indeed I was, a very happy queen sitting on my throne of pillows. One pancake on my lower back, one pancake under my feet, and my special, memory foam pillow from home, underneath my head. Pure bliss. If for some reason you don’t use it, Hubs probably will, so just bring it!

phone charger Before I was in active labor, I was snapping hospital selfies and uploading them to instagram [#laborday!], playing games, scrolling through my newsfeed…. You do a lot of waiting around before baby really decides they’re coming [for real]. In addition, we use our phones for everything nowadays! You’ll be taking pictures with your phone, or if you’re me, calling your family in the morning to tell them active labor has officially begun! Whether it’s you or your significant other, make sure one of you has a phone and charger.

a comfy outfit for leaving the hospital Let me tell you a cold hard truth– no amount of preparation will allow you to walk out of that hospital looking like Kate Middleton. Don’t.even.try. And yes, you’re still going to look at least 4 months pregnant [or if you have my luck 8 months…] so don’t toss those yoga pants just yet, you’re going to need them for the ride home.

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What you DON’T need

camera Smartphones have amazing cameras these days, so just use it. If you want nicer pictures later, put a family member in charge of bringing a nicer camera, but you have other things to worry about.

make up I swear you won’t need it. Even if you want to wear it, you’ll be too exhausted to apply it. It simply takes up space. Go for the tinted lip balm instead.

a wardrobe for baby I brought every adorable outfit in the newborn size. Don’t. The pictures of your baby swaddled in that hospital blanket are cute enough without a coordinating outfit. If you feel like your baby needs a hate or socks, the hospital is usually able to provide those things too. Also, baby doesn’t care!

any other clothes for yourself besides the nursing tank and go-home clothes. I had all these sets of coordinating PJs and loungewear. Don’t bother. Bring your reliable, favorite jammies, and a comfy go-home outfit and leave it at that.

to worry about things for your husband I’ve been seeing so many posts lately about “don’t forget hubby!” and I’m here to tell you, forget about hubby. He’s a grown man, for God’s sake. Grown enough to impregnate you, anyway… I think he can handle grabbing an extra pair of boxers. If you have crazy nesting energy and feel the urge to pack a bag for him, go for it. But don’t stress about him having what he needs. Most women don’t pack their husbands a hospital bag, and whoever wrote a pin suggesting it should have to answer for this crime against pregnant, exhausted women.

a ton of snacks I don’t know where the misconception about hospitals starving new moms came from, but you absolutely do not need to worry about going hungry during your hospital stay. I brought a whole variety of lara bars that I thought I’d have to craftily consume behind the nurses backs. They offer you food before you’re in active labor, they offer you food after. When they tell you can’t eat, you won’t want to eat because you’ll just want to get that baby OUT. Also, if for some reason your hospital doesn’t cater to your inner foodie, I’m assuming you have friends and family [or god forbid you send the husband…] who will go and get you take-out from your favorite place. Seriously, don’t bother bringing snacks.

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What were items you couldn’t have survived without during your first hospital stay?