Baby Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

Baby Mama's Hospital Bag Checklist

As I hit 37 weeks on Monday with my 3rd pregnancy, I realize maybe I’ve been a liiiiiitle too lax this time around! We enjoyed vacation, and then upon returning home, I have been frantically realizing that we might not have as much time as we think we do, and being full term, who knows when this baby will arrive! Along with trying to get bunk beds set up for Nico and Luca, I am also planning their 5th and 3rd Birthday Party, running my health + fitness coaching business, and trying to survive a hot summer home as a stay at home working mama with two kids 24/7 home from school.

I still have yet to pack my bag even after making this checklist…I think that will be the first thing I do after hitting POST on this! But do as I say, and not as I do, right? ūüėČ Haha. I would recommend having this bag packed by 36 weeks at the latest, because you honestly just never know!!! At least the essentials.

While this checklist may seem quite large…know that I am a serial over-packer. You’re like, ok….WHY am I reading this post then? This is supposed to be HELPFUL! Haha, but hear me out. Everyone has different needs and necessities, and I also got some feedback from many of you that was fantastic…so I do include quite a bit to make sure I covered most of the bases. That said, if I mentioned EVERYTHING that people suggested, then it would become too overwhelming. So I included many of the things that I found useful and a few additions that I know others have truly found useful in past pregnancies.

I will highlight some of my FAVORITES and MUST-HAVES for ME…and then I have included an overall checklist that you can feel free to print out. I included a section at the bottom in case you want to add some things that I didn’t find necessary that you may want to bring.

I hope this is helpful for many of you new mamas out there! Or even any 2nd or 3rd or beyond time mamas, because through the craziness of labor and delivery, sometimes it’s hard to remember back when!

Okay so here we go:

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

1.¬†Footwear: I absolutely recommend a pair of your own non-skid socks as they make you wear them in the hospital so you don’t slip, and the ones they give you are pretty terrible. I just bought this pair from Kindred Bravely. Many people also love to have a pair of slippers. I didn’t really find I needed them having all August babies, but if you are a slipper gal, these are a nice pair. I DO recommend bringing flip flops, because you will want to take a shower at some point post-partum, and you will NOT want to put your bare feet in that shower. I also wore my flip flops coming home, so they were essential!

2. Hair Ties/Head Band: I definitely wanted something to pull my hair back after a long time in the delivery room, so a hair tie was essential for me! A headband can also be a good idea. No need to get fancy here. I picked mine up from a local drug store. Post partum, I needed a brush/comb for after a shower. Some people take the time to blow dry their hair if that’s your thing and makes you feel like a human afterwards, but I threw mine up in a top knot personally and called it a day.

3. Make Up: This is what DOES make me feel more like a human. Haha. Post partum after showering, I definitely wanted to freshen up, especially before it was time to go home and see my mom and family (not that they cared, but again, makes ME feel better!) So I plan to bring this BB cream, powder, under eye concealer, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. I will also bring CHAPSTICK for labor and delivery, which definitely should not be forgotten as your lips will get super dry with all the hospital air and all the heavy breathing.

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4. Nursing Bra: Comfort is KEY. Something I can sleep in as well as wear all day and comfortably nurse in and then go home in. I think I’m going to purchase these. (certain colors are also on sale now!) Will let you know how I like them! I may also bring a stretchier, comfy sports bra or bralette.

5. Robe: I stayed in the hospital gown almost the whole time with my first baby, and wished I had brought a robe, so the 2nd time I brought a comfy one that I got for free from Ulta along with a purchase. So much more comfortable that time around! Here is another one from Victoria’s Secret that looks cozy.

6. Motherlove Nipple Cream + Breast Pads: Not gonna lie. Nursing hurt like a B*TCH for me for the first couple weeks after having BOTH babies. Motherlove Nipple Cream was my savior and the only thing that made them feel better and heal. I applied it literally every time after I nursed, and will absolutely do it again. Breast pads are also a good idea as your milk may start to come in and leakage is no fun. I like these reusable ones that you can wash and use again, but also use and love these disposable ones from Lansinoh as well.

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7. Herbal Perineal Spray: I have never used this before, but I have read about them on a few different blogs, and it sounds like I have been missing out and that it’s super helpful with recovery and pain after birth, so I plan to get some of this Earth Mama ASAP to add to my bag!

8. Comfy Clothes: I plan to pack some comfy clothes all around…a couple days worth of tops, pants, (most likely my maternity leggings or something similar) in dark colors, pajamas or something to sleep in, and then something to go home in. Nothing fancy. Comfort is KEY.

9. Pillow + Nursing Pillow: It’s nice to have some comforts from home, so I always brought my own pillow to try and sleep as much as I could since I was so exhausted during and after giving birth! I also found a nursing pillow to be really helpful for breastfeeding, and I used my Boppy¬†every time!

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10. Towel: Hospital towels are the WORST and ridiculously small. It will feel SO amazing to dry off with a soft, comfortable towel from home after your first post partum shower.

11. Cell Phone + Charger: This is kind of an obvious, because who doesn’t go anywhere without their phones these days. But one thing you may want to add is a portable charger or an extension cord to your list, because oftentimes the plugs can be so far away from the beds and it’s a pain to have the phone so far away while charging.

12. Camera: I always brought my DSLR camera to take some photos before and after delivery and for those early moments in the hospital. Sure, you can use your phone, and I will likely take phone pics also, but I will absolutely bring my camera to capture some precious moments. Make sure to bring your camera FULLY charged, so you don’t have to worry about bringing chargers…and also make sure your SD card is IN your camera! I can’t tell you the number of times I have brought my camera out to shoot something and then realized my SD card was in my computer or somewhere else.

13. Toiletries: These will be different for everyone, but I plan to bring shampoo, conditioner, a little hair de-frizz product, soap, face wash, face wipes, face oil/moisturizer, body lotion, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

14. Snacks + Water Bottle: You may or may not be allowed to eat in the delivery room, but either way, you will want some snacks for the next couple days. Hospital food is mediocre at best and you will be STARVING. I also always try to scope out the local food in the neighborhood of the hospital, so I can send hubby out on a food run! Trust me, he is MORE than willing to oblige as he doesn’t want that hospital food either! Haha. Many of you suggested bringing your own water bottle to the hospital because you either didn’t like the cups provided or they were too small and you had to keep refilling. I don’t remember water being an issue for me, but wanted to include it here and will pack one this time just in case since it’s a new hospital for me.

15. Clothes for Baby: You will definitely want some onesies for the baby while you’re in the hospital. I always hated the clothing they had them in at the hospital the first time, so the second time I brought my own clothes. And then something for them to go home in. I usually just chose a cute sleep and play with a baby hat to match. Bonus if the outfit has built-in anti-scratch mittens, because the separate ones always fell off my babies hands.

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16. Swaddle Sleep Sack: 2 kiddos down and I still can’t properly swaddle using a blanket, so I will bring our Halo Sleep Sack for baby, so I don’t need to call a nurse every time I need to swaddle!

17. Car Seat Installed: Make sure you have your car seat installed now just in case so you are ready when it’s GO time! I remember feeling like our babies were SO tiny in those things, and I just couldn’t quite believe they were going to let us take them home!

18. Gifts for Nurses/Staff: I have never actually done this before, but I have read it on a few other blogs and it seems like a really nice gesture to at least give them some cards with a nice note and maybe a sweet treat.

If you have older siblings in the house, it’s also a nice idea to bring them a gift or a goodie bag from “from the baby.” Since the baby will be getting so much of the attention, it will be nice for them to feel the extra love coming from baby! Since all my boys are August babies, I plan on having the new baby give them Birthday presents when he arrives!

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There are some other things on the printable list for you to go through, but these were some that I really used, needed, or enjoyed having there! Can’t believe we will be doing this again soon! Okay…time for me to go pack now!

Your printable checklist is below. Happy packing and congrats on your sweet babe on the way!

XO,

Gina

Baby Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

Baby Mama's Hospital Bag Checklist

Luca: A Birth Story

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It’s been over two weeks since the arrival of our second little monkey, Luca Ronaldo Notes. He arrived on Sunday August 23rd, 2015 at 1:39 am measuring in at 5 lbs. 4 oz and 19 inches. We are over the moon and so in love with our little guy.

He arrived during the 38th week just like his older brother Nico, only this time my story is slightly different. Throughout my pregnancy, Luca was measuring small (also like his brother), and they kept a watchful eye, but because of my history of having a small healthy child, they weren‚Äôt terribly concerned and basically left me alone treating me as a ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ patient. However at the 37th week, my belly did not grow, and out came that watchful eye once more. I was scheduled for two appointments per week up until baby‚Äôs arrival and was told if the baby did not come by my due date (August 31) then we were going to have to talk about induction once again.

Welp, we definitely didn‚Äôt make it to the due date! Saturday morning (August 22nd) I woke up and felt some liquid (down there), went to the bathroom and it wasn‚Äôt much, so went back to bed. About 5 minutes later, I started feeling some more and thought I would get up and check it out again. On the way to the bathroom, I told my husband that I thought my water could possibly be starting to break, but I wasn‚Äôt sure. As soon as I was about to sit down, there was a big ‚Äúwhoosh!‚ÄĚ and yes, it was confirmed‚Ķmy water was definitely broken! I wasn‚Äôt feeling any contractions yet, so I decided to take a shower and prepare to get ready for the hospital soon.

I called my mom and she made her way up to Brooklyn to watch Nico. I wasn’t sure if she would make it in time, so we had our neighbors on stand-by in case we had to leave. We called our midwives, and because I wasn’t feeling many contractions at this point, they said I could wait it out at home for a while, take a walk, etc.

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning the house (last minute nesting anyone? haha), and then went for a walk around the neighborhood to try to get the contractions going. I started to feel a few painful ones, but honestly they were not that unbearable, and they were happening too infrequently. My mom had plenty of time to get to New York (from Maryland) and we gave her the lay of the land (on another walk) to show her some of the best places her and Nico could hang out for the next few days. Again, there were some contractions, but they were infrequent and not much was happening.

Because time was passing and my water had broken, it was time to get to the hospital. We left the house at 6pm and headed to Beth Israel in the East Village. It was quite a calm drive to the hospital…not at all what I had anticipated. No traffic. Music playing. No screaming. Infrequent contractions. I suppose this could have been much worse!! We arrived and met my mother-in-law there who also had time to make the trip up from Maryland. She is also a midwife, which doesn’t hurt in the Labor and Delivery Unit!

I checked into triage to confirm my water had indeed broken (umm yes, I told them that I normally don‚Äôt have fluid coming out of me all day long). Regardless, they still had to ‚Äúcheck.‚ÄĚ It was confirmed. However, what was also confirmed was that I was only 1cm dilated. I was going to need some help. Help meaning I was basically going to be induced once again. Now I was really trying to avoid induction this time around, but at least it was happening when our little guy was supposedly ready to make his entrance. The fact that my water had broken made me feel a bit better about the induction process rather than starting from scratch like last time.

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The induction was about as painful and uncomfortable as I remembered from two years ago, although this time things kicked into gear EXTREMELY quickly! My contractions were picking up speed and picking up intensity right away. I decided to get an epidural a little earlier this time around so I wouldn‚Äôt be in ‚Äúcrazy mode‚ÄĚ like I was last time. I am extremely grateful for that decision, because as soon as I asked for one, things started to increase even MORE intensely. By the time I had signed off all the forms, the induction had done it‚Äôs job, and I was in serious active labor.

I was in a lot of pain, but the epidural process was smooth, and eventually it started kicking in and I could relax. I felt things had picked up rather quickly, and lo and behold I was right. By the time they got around to checking me, I was at 9.5 cm. WHAT!!! It was almost PUSH time!?!?

Before I knew it, they told me I could start pushing. I gave a couple good pushes, and HOLD UP! Lady next door is hemorrhaging. Holy crap! Everyone ran out of the room (which I understand she was in much more danger than myself, so I get it), but I was kinda left there like uhhhh what now? I kept feeling the urge to push, but held off for about 20 minutes or so until everyone was able to come back.

Luckily the lady next door was OK! Whew, and I could resume pushing once again. After it was all said and done, Luca Ronaldo Notes arrived 3.5 hours after I had been induced at the hospital. He was a happy, healthy, lovable little boy and we were in love!

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I have to say, recovery has been much easier the 2nd time around, and all of the newborn things have been easier knowing what to expect. The challenge is doing all of the newborn things while trying to entertain a toddler at the same time! I have had a lot of help these past couple weeks, but the true test will come next Tuesday when I am left to fend for myself with the two boys! Haha.

I‚Äôm sure all will be well. There are plenty of women out there who have done it and survived right? Soon enough we will figure out our routine and our new ‚Äúnormal.‚ÄĚ Until then, I am just trying to get as much sleep as I can at night, loading up on coffee during the day, stealing toddler kisses and soaking up newborn snuggles.

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Hope you are all having a great week! Make it a good one!

XO,

Gina

#20 Have Children

You may have been wondering why I suddenly fell off the blogosphere these past two weeks…or maybe you have already guessed. ¬†Much to everyone’s surprise, our Little Monkey decided to grace us with his presence two weeks early! ¬†Now this Great Freakin’ Adventure bucket list item is probably the most significant one I will ever check off.

Please welcome Nico Alfredo Notes to the world!  Born Thursday August 29, 2013 at 10:53pm at 5 lbs. 1.6 oz. and 19 inches.

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Ever since I was a child myself, I dreamed about what it would be like to have a child of my own. ¬†As kids, my sister and I played house, school, doctor, and other role-playing games where we would play the “mom” taking care of our babies. ¬†I guess that is just something that little girls do…or maybe that was just us, I don’t know. ¬†As we grew older, the idea of having kids was something we tried to avoid, especially during our teenage and college years. ¬†Finish school, get a job, get married, then have babies, right? ¬†Of course, that doesn’t always ring true in the real world, but that’s what I was aiming for, and luckily, my life played out according to plan in that way.

However, the plan itself does not always go the way you would imagine.  Life is just not that way, and ours was no different.  It was not without struggle and some hard times.  We were fortunate to get pregnant pretty quickly, but then our world crashed down when we lost our little Peanut.  It was tough to move on, but the news of our Little Monkey on the way helped with the process.  Although we were scared of something terrible happening again, there was still that glimmer of hope which increased with every week of my pregnancy.

There were both ups and downs with the pregnancy, but all in all I would say I had a very healthy, wonderful pregnancy experience.  Toward the end, I loved feeling him jump around in my belly and we imagined every day what he would look like.  It still feels weird to not have him in my belly anymore, and I half expect to feel a kick every now and again.  I am glad to have this blog which documents most of this experience, and I look forward to showing it to Nico one day.

Now let’s look back to right before Labor Day Weekend. ¬†What I thought would be a routine 38 week check up on that Wednesday morning at 9am turned into me being admitted to the Labor and Delivery unit that morning and staying there for quite some time. ¬†My husband and I got called back for my routine ultrasound, and baby was not exactly cooperating that morning. ¬†He passed all of the tests with flying colors, except he wasn’t making any sharp movements. ¬†Now, I have my theories on this…we typically had 1pm appointments…maybe baby was just sleeping at 9am? ¬†However, he also fell down quite significantly in the growth percentile. ¬†He had been measuring small the entire time, but the docs said he was growing every time, so they were not really too concerned. ¬†They kept a close eye, and at this 38 week appointment, the percentile dropped to where they started to be concerned. ¬†My regular doc was on vacation that week, so they had someone filling in. ¬†Because of the lack of movement and drop in growth percentile, and the fact that I was full term at 38 weeks, the fill-in doc recommended that I be induced that very day. ¬†I’m sorry, WHAT DID YOU SAY??? ¬†Induced…today??? As in, RIGHT NOW??? ¬†Where is my normal doctor? ¬†Who is this lady?? ¬†Does she even know what she is talking about? ¬†She doesn’t even know our story! ¬†Would Dr. Stein say the same thing? ¬†These are some of the thoughts that ran through my head. ¬†My husband and I were clearly in utter shock. ¬†We had nothing with us. ¬†Our hospital bag was all packed, but it was all the way at home. ¬†I told myself beforehand that my “birthing plan” was more of a go-with-the-flow mentality, because it’s impossible to predict what will happen…but this is NOT what I was thinking, and I was not feeling like going-with-the-flow right now. ¬†We went down to the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital and I spoke with the midwife on call. ¬†We did a series of extra tests, which the baby passed with flying colors, and I really second guessed this decision to be induced two weeks early. ¬†It was ultimately our decision, but we had a strong rec from the doctors, and really, what was our alternative? ¬†Go home, be stressed 24/7 about whether or not we made the right decision, or wondering if my placenta was somehow failing and baby was not getting nutrition the whole time? ¬†Or get the baby out now safely while he’s still healthy, no matter what it took. ¬†The choice for us was obvious.

Luckily, the hospital staff was wonderful, and because baby was still doing really well, they told me they would not rush the process, and make sure to take as much time as needed for as long as we could to make this induction happen and to try to avoid a C-section. ¬†They let me have my “last meal” before being admitted, and Zack went home to pick up all of our stuff for the hospital, including our car. ¬†The next time we would be going home, we would be going home with a baby. ¬†This reality was finally creeping in on us, and it brought a whole new meaning to Labor Day Weekend.

Once the induction process started, it was a long road. ¬†It finally got started around 6:30pm (after being in the hospital since 9 am). ¬†12 hours and another day later things finally seemed like maybe they were moving along. ¬†Unfortunately, after the midwife examined me…it turned out that things were not really moving along all too well. ¬†Rather, than drug me up with more and more pitocin (which they did not think would work for a natural delivery), she suggested that we start the process over. ¬†WHAT? ¬†Again? ¬†12 more hours of this? ¬†And what if it doesn’t work again? ¬†I am doomed for a C-section. ¬†I wasn’t feeling too optimistic at this point, but I trusted that the midwife was recommending the best thing for me and what what we wanted for this delivery. ¬†So, they let me take a shower, have another “last meal”, and we tried again.

Somehow, someway, the process worked this time and I started progressing. ¬†That was a ridiculously happy moment for us, and I started to feel hopeful. ¬†The rest of that afternoon, I felt contractions, but I wasn’t in a terrible amount of pain. ¬†My mom, sister, and mother-in-law were able to make it up to NY in time to be there before the delivery. ¬†I had very lucid conversations with them through my contractions, and I was generally pleasant for a lot of the time.

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I kept progressing, they eventually broke my water, and it was then that everything kicked into high gear. ¬†My contractions started getting more difficult to handle, and thank God for those birthing classes my husband and I took as he was so helpful in getting me through a lot of them. ¬†Eventually it got to a point where I said, “I don’t have to be supermom right? ¬†I need an epidural.” ¬†It didn’t kick in right away, but let me tell you…I was so happy when it did. ¬†Before we knew it, the midwife was telling me it was time to push. ¬†Already? ¬†For such a slow start, this birth certainly was moving quickly now! ¬†We didn’t even have time to tell our family that it was go time. ¬†We just had to go. ¬†A small army of medical professionals surrounded us and my nether region, but at this point, I was so over feeling awkward…I mean I had to pee in a bedpan for the past 24 hours, because they couldn’t unhook me from the machines…my humility had already gone out the window. ¬†I pushed like a rock star for only 20 minutes, and our baby boy finally arrived! ¬†Right before he came out, his heart rate started to drop, and there were talks of possibly using a vacuum to get him out. ¬†I guess that was all I needed to hear to get him out as soon as possible. ¬†Turns out, the culprit was the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice that had tightened up as he was coming down the birth canal. ¬†Thank God for those last quick pushes. ¬†They placed him on my chest, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion and shock, and I don’t even know what else. ¬†It was so surreal that this little “alien” jumping around in my belly for nine months was finally here and a teeny tiny human in the real world. ¬†My Little Monkey. ¬†My Nico.

It was a magical experience, that I don’t think you can even accurately describe or understand the feeling unless you have gone through it yourself. ¬†We stayed at the hospital for about a day and a half after Nico’s birth, trying to recover and pick up all the tricks of the trade from the nurses. ¬†My husband even videotaped a nurse doing a swaddle. ¬†Trust me, it has definitely helped out at home! ¬†It was pretty unreal taking our baby home and realizing that we were now officially parents who had a new job of raising this child.

My mother-in-law stayed with us for a few days to help out with cooking, cleaning, giving us time to catch up on sleep, etc.  We are extremely grateful to have such a wonderful support system.  Once she left, we missed her and the help, but it was nice to try and figure out this parenting thing on our own, and get into as much of a routine as we possibly could.

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since our little Nico arrived. ¬†I already feel like we have been through so much emotionally, mentally, physically, and more. ¬†As soon as we think we have things figured out, something changes. ¬†Everyone says this, and I thought I would be different, but breastfeeding is not easy. ¬†Sleep is so important for your sanity and well-being. ¬†And it’s integral to get out of the house every now and then.

Nico is doing well and gaining back his birth weight.  He has been a pretty awesome baby so far, and he sleeps a lot for which we are very appreciative.  As crazy and exhausting and hard as motherhood can be, I am loving every minute of it so far.  Just seeing that little face every day, the little smiles he gives, and knowing that my husband and I created such an innocent, wonderful little being makes everything worth it.  I already feel like time is moving by so fast, and before I know it, he will be going off to prom or getting married.  I am so excited for the journey that is to come and ready to take on all of the challenges that come with being a mommy.

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Heading home from the hospital

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Like father like son

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Nico with his Nana (my Grandma)

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He smiles!

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Silly Monkey

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First trip to Prospect Park

Since this major life change, I can’t promise to keep up with my blog as often as I once did, and I can’t promise I will take a shower every day. ¬†But I can promise to give this baby the world, my best, and everything I’ve got.

XO,

Gina