Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hospital Checklist and What to Expect...

First, let me apologise to my male readers, seeing that this post is mainly for the expecting mother... and perhaps the spouse who is curious.

In order to complement my Baby Essentials post, I thought it would be useful to provide a comprehensive list of what to bring to the hospital in the baby bag AND in the mommy bag.  I've also included a glimpse of your hospital stay (for non-cesarian births).


Mommy Bag:

  • Hospital card

  • Doctor's paper (of prenatal follow up)

  • insurance cards and or papers (to pay for your room!)

  • change for vending machines

  • cash for snacks or meals if you're not impressed with the food they bring you (trust me, after labor, not eating, and especially if you're nursing, you'll need to add on to the menu they offer you!

    • Meal example: Breakfast: awful coffee, sugar packs, 250 ml of 2% milk, a small juice. 1 piece of stale toast, one sachet of jam or peanut butter. Small box of cereal. (I had an apple on one of the days of my stay) Lunch:  small tomato juice, milk, plate of sheppher'd pie, (FISH on 2nd day!!!), soup, small dessert. Snack: two of the tiniest cookies. Dinner: a weird steak, potatos obviouly made from powder, side veggie dish (most likely canned), a piece of whole wheat bread, milk, coffee, sugar pack, small dessert. Snack: those small cookies once again.

    • Do Keep in mind if you're in labor all day (not eating), and you finally give birth at 1h00 am... they are not feeding you until morning... you'll either be starved, or too tired to eat and just sleep... I was starved!

  • A list with all the names and phone numbers of the people you want to share the joyous news to. (Prepare in advance!)

  • Distraction or entertainment: Book, Magazine, Ipod.

  • CAMERA  to immortalize those first moments with your little bundle.

  • Sockes 3

  • Underwear 4

  • Long Pads (Always)

  • 2 comfortable pants (jeans are not recommended as denim is not the most maneable material, and you might be a little sore: think Track pants, yoga pants, cotton.... comfy

  • Pyjama, which can easily allow you to nurse if you intend on nursing.

  • Change of sweathers 2-3

  • Breast Pads if you intend on nursing

  • 1-2 nursing bra if you intend on nursing, or 2 regular bras

  • tylenol or advil

  • heartburn medicine like Rolaids if you're having heartburn

  • any other medications you need to take

  • Lanolin or other breast cream if you intend on nursing. (this is actually not recommended by nursing experts, but it sure can alleviate the pain that one can feel when first starting to nurse. For my first, I used the cream for the first 3 days. I had not brought any to the hospital, but my neighbor decided not to nurse following her c-section, and gave me hers. Thank you!

  • toillet necessities: Soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, tooth paste, (no need to bring wash cloth or towels, they are provided), hairbrush. Elastic or headband (Make sure during labour, that your hair is out of your face: Tie it up! or use a headband if it's shorter!)

  • slippers

  • Some recommend a bathrobe, I find it takes up too  much bag space. Besides, if you're wearing a decent pyjama, you're fine!

  • Nursing pillow: Very useful to have at the hospital with you

  • Cover up (Opps, I should add this to my Baby Essentials post). It's a cover up blanket with a head hole specifically made for the nursing mom to cover up.

  • Spousal bag: Pyjamas, change of clothes, toillet necessities, snacks, entertainment: IPOD, book.

Baby Bag

  • pack of newborn diapers

  • pack of unscented babywipes

  • 1 little hat

  • 2- changes (pyjamas and onesies)

  • 2-socks

  • newborn mitts to prevent from scratching

  • baby bag

  • pacifier at your discretion

  • baby blanket: tip: Mommy, sleep with it for a few nights so that it is infused with your smell.

  • 1-2 receiving blankets for guests who don't want to dirty their shirts

  • baby cream, bath soap

  • Baby seat installed in the car

  • suitable clothing for the hospital exit (depending on the weather)

What you can expect:
Hard to say, every maternity ward is different. It also depends on the room type you have and the delivery: meaning: are you arriving at the hospital and you're at 8cm... or not). I was in different hospitals for my two birthing experiences. The first I had a semi private room, the second, a private room (ahhhhhhh!).

Generally speaking. Once labour starts, and you're headed to the hospital, you'll present yourself at your maternity ward and inform the personnel of your arrival. (Often, it is adviseable to call beforehand to let the personnel know you're coming). You'll go to the maternity triage, and will be placed on monitor and will most likely be examined to see if you're in active labour. If active labour is uncertain, you may be asked to take a bath... gotta love the jaccuzzi.  Once active labour is confirmed, you'll be assigned a birthing room. At Pierre Boucher, each birthing room has a personal jaccuzzi bath (not the case at Charles Lemoyne). You'll be  able to take baths at your discretion. There's an exercise ball to sit on and... rotate. (It helps speed up labour - it helps descend the baby... or something like that...) Every 1-2 hours, a nurse will monitor your contractions, and, possibly examine you. Epidural will be a possibility eventually.

My thoughts on the epidural? If the pain is tolerable, good for you. If it's not, have it. I had it for my first, and not for my second (not by choice and you can read about that on my post by clicking here). The Epidural slows the labour, but it numbs the pain. My theory is that suffering is completely optional, and completely unnecessary. Having the epidural helps you maintain your energy for when the real work begins: once the baby is born. Why suffer more and tire yourself out before baby arrives? I went without the needle the second time around, and it hasn't brought me any added sense of pride, just more pain! I'm just saying... and this is completely my sole, personal opinion!

Ok, so, now you're at 10 and ready to push... PUSH! You deliver your baby. Congrats! You hold the baby for a moment, your spouse can usually cut the umbilical chord, the nurses take him or her to administer the necessary care, the doctor takes care of you and you get the baby back. They suggest you put the baby to the breast within the hour if you choose to nurse.You're then transferred in your stay room, and that's how it goes. In your room, you'll be checked  every few hours, you'll feed your baby, and yes, the baby stays in the same room as you, and is of your responsibility (with nurses available to help if you need)! During your stay, the nurses will answer any questions you have, they usually give the first bath with you, help you with nursing...they are really quite pleasant! Before having your leave, you and your baby will be examined. The normal hospital stay length is usually around 48 hours after the baby is born, 8pm being the cutoff time at Pierre Boucher.

To repeat myself from my ''Baby Essentials'' post:

I wish you the best of luck with your pregnancy. I wish you a great delivery. I wish you a beautiful, healthy baby. I wish you many, many, precious moments with your little bundle.
Cherish every moment!

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