Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Hospital Bag & Other Lessons Learned

The first time you get pregnant you think you need everything. You want to read everything. You want to KNOW everything. I have since renamed "What to expect when you're expecting" to the "what to look for if you want to panic" book because let me tell you... it's nerve wracking enough to carry a life inside you without wondering if your feet are swelling or if you have pre-eclampsia or if maybe you're toes are about to fall off from some sort of blood clot because page 149 of a mystery book said that could happen in rare cases.

I didn't fall for everything. We never had a wipes warmer for instance and somethings we bought as we went so I didn't have stacks of toddler stuff all over my house fully assembled befoer I even had a baby at home. I had learned some stuff from watching a few of my girlfriends. But I did fall for a lot of stupid things and because Layla was early there was some stuff I didn't get to do or didn't expect that haunted me for awhile after she came.

For instance, her room was ready and I had made a hospital bag to put in the car. It just wasn't in the car and it was USELESS (seriously who makes those lists of what to bring online). Jon got my bag for me and after 2 days in the hospital all I had used was my bathroom stuff and my cell phone charger and I had this HUGE pink bag of stuff I never even looked at. I did not *personally* need candles, and music, and pictures. I never once played cards or read a book/magazine before or after she came. We didn't eat the snacks. Maybe that's just us. If it helps you to have a 30 lb bag to take to and from the hospital more power to you.

This time I packed and planned a lot differently. I have a hospital bag. It has an outfit to wear home and some PJs just in case I want to dress up instead of letting my recovery ruin the nice free hospital gowns (I doubt it). This time I did remember to pack socks and a pair of ugly underwear (or 4) because last time I had to have someone bring me socks and I ruined good undergarments on the ride home. I packed my camera with an extra battery and memory card and the charger for the camera battery and my phone. I packed a toiletries bag. I packed exactly 1 book and mostly it's there this time because EMC has an H1N1 policy that will keep me from having any visitors other than my husband post delivery which means I'll spend some time alone while Jon is taking care of Layla at home. So it's a back up plan.

Last time, I had a lot of expectations. Too many years being a nice girl raised by old fashioned women I expected a TLC baby story reception for my bundle of joy. Up until my delivery, whenever someone had a baby I went to see them in the hospital. I took a small gift. I also went to see them when they got home, and I took them a casserole or a pot of something. That's what people do. I saw it on TV. My grandmother did it. My Aunt did it. No one did that with Layla. We got exactly NO homecooked meal bearing visitors. (I have since stopped taking people food because OBVIOUSLY this is so 1950's it was stupid and everyone must have thought I was crazy). But we also really didn't get many visitors at home (bonding time I guess). This time with people not being able to see us at the hospital I know people will come to the house first chance they get so I have the hubby cleaning the carpets soon and I have prepped the fridge/pantry with things *I* can cook easily while recovering from a C-section and while having house guests.

The main thing that's different this time is the Layla factor. I know I have a toddler who isn't going to see me for 3 days when Anyah comes and when I come home she's going to be all about attention and climbing on me post surgery. She'll also be rebeling from a lot of time with Nannie (which has less rules) and adjusting to a new person here. I have no way to prepare for that other than prayer. I guess next time I'll have those lessons learned to.

So yesterday someone asked me what my advice for a 1st time mom would be... here it is...

1. worry about you and baby...every one else will cope
2. don't plan for help but accept it if it comes over
3. you don't need to buy the entire baby section of Target, play smart not hard.
4. hand mittens suck as do most baby towels and you will hardly ever use them
5. not every baby is the same (some swaddle, some hate it/some co-sleep, some use a crib better/ some breast feed, some can't or won't) so do what feels right because in the end you're the one you have to spend the rest of your life with
6. ignore advice, even this advice, if you want to

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