Hospital Bag Essentials for Labor Day and beyond…

Guess what?

We are at the hospital!

Even though, I waited to the very last minute to pack my hospital bag – it was one of my favorite things to do to prepare for the hospital stay after the arrival of our second baby girl. I thought it was fun, but because others might find the task stressful I’m sharing with you some of my favorite essential products that I included in my hospital bag. (Side note: I am not affiliated with any of these brands.)

1. Robe: Wether you deliver vaginally or c-section, make sure you bring a soft and cozy robe that opens in the front. That way you can easily do skin on skin and if you choose to breastfeed, it makes breastfeeding easier.

2. Nursing bra: I brought 2 nursing bras. My favorite ones are made by the company Storq. They have no underwire, are made from the softest material, and pull to the side so breastfeeding becomes easier. While I’m in the hospital I usually don’t wear a bra, because I’m breastfeeding on demand or at least every 2-3 hours. But the bra goes on when I have visitors, and for the car ride home.

3. Nursing pads: I brought a couple nursing pads to the hospital just in case my milk came in during my hospital stay. But keep in mind that it takes 2-5 days for milk to come in, during the first days the baby is receiving colostrum from you.

4. Nipple butter: I personally love the products Earth Mama Organics (aka Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics.) The nipple butter is soothing, organic, lanolin free and non sticky. It smells amazing, and is safe for baby’s mouth. This product keeps the nipples hydrated and safe while breastfeeding. It is also very healing. If for some reason your baby is struggling with latching on, and you are feeling painful pinches instead of gentle tugs, nipples can become bruised or cracked, this nipple butter will save the day.

5. Another product line that I love is Zoe Organics. I packed my belly oil and belly butter by them. This way I can continue to hydrate the skin on my belly, and soothe any stretch marks and continue to avoid them.

6. A dry shampoo is also a must have product. My favorite one is R+Co Skyline. That way if you don’t have the time to shampoo, condition, and blow dry – you can still have fresh hair.

7. Deodorant is a must have, especially if you don’t have time to shower. I am currently using a natural deodorant by Primally Pure.

8. A going home outfit. Again, keep in mind you are still going to have a belly. Instead of a huge 40 week pregnant belly, you are going to look 5 months pregnant. So pack your maternity leggings. My favorite are by STORQ. I also brought with me the pink T-shirt also made by STORQ. Don’t forget socks. Your feet might get cold, and it’s just nice to have a for walking the hospital halls. Again I have a great pair from STORQ.

9. Bellefit Postpartum Corset. I have yet to try this, but this one is the product I am most excited about!! I never used a postpartum belt, girdle, or corset during my past postpartum experience. But my friend, Mariana, swore by it! She loaned me her belt, but I never actually use it. So this time around I did some research to find the one that would work best for me. Turns out I ended up coming across the Bellefit Postpartum corset and loved everything about it. It is a FDA registered medical certified product, which is used to help support the body during postpartum. The product is safe to use for both a c-section or vaginal birth. I’m excited to use it to help heal and support my postpartum body. I’ll be recording my progress.

10. Another thing in my bag is my postpartum/Fourth trimester books and a ball of yarn to start a new project. This is for the waiting game. Whether you are in labor waiting to reach 10 centimeters, or whether you are waiting for your schedule c-section. Either way it is important to have something to do to help your relieve stress and relax. They are also good to have when you are in the mommy and me room when baby is napping.

11. One of the most important thing is baby’s outfit for going home in and a soft warm blanket for baby, for the car ride home.

The one thing that I wouldn’t pack is my breast pump. You may think, “oh I need to pack my breast-pump,” but turns out you most likely you won’t need one. And if you do need to use a pump, the hospital can, on your request, provide you a hospital grade pump during your hospital stay. You can also rent one for home at a monthly fee.

Tip: Honestly, if you don’t have time to pack your bag, don’t worry, the hospital actually has everything you need. The reason most people pack a bag is so you have your own stuff to make a more comfortable hospital stay. Especially, if you have a c-section. Some mamas that have vaginal birth with no complications get discharged from the hospital the very next day, while mamas that have a c-section with no complications end up staying on average 3 nights, 4 days, getting discharged on day four.

Also another great tip is to bring a bag with lots of space so you can bring home any extra stuff you collected from the hospital.

So there you have it, my favorite tips, extra information, and my essentials for my hospital bag. Now let’s have a baby!

What’s favorite things you packed in your hospital bag?

How to create a Birth Plan…

motherhood

 

“We go into labor as one person, but emerge as another.” – Roni Jay

This post was written during the week before my due date, August 15th, 2015. In other words, Zoe was not born yet, and I had not experienced labor and delivery. 

Birth Plan – Is it helpful to have one or not?

I’ve known ladies who have written up their birth plans – which are pages long… I want this, but I do not want that. Then labor happens, and nothing goes as they planned it. All the time and dedication they spent on planning, goes out the window, and afterwards these ladies feel disappointed when things don’t go in the direction they thought or expected.

Because of this, I was hesitant to write out a birth plan. After all, pregnancy has taught me there are things you just can’t control.

Anyway, after a lot of thought, I finally decided to write a short birth plan. And although, my plan is written up and reviewed by my doctor, I know this is just a plan that could change anytime. I will be flexible and opened minded, with the end goal of keeping my baby and myself safe.

When writing up my plan, I thought of my own profession, hair styling.

As a hair stylist my worst nightmare is to have a new client sit in my chair who tells me, “Do whatever you want.” I normally laugh, because they are lying to me. Don’t tell me this when I know there are things you do not like. Because of this idea, I decided a short birth plan would be helpful. I don’t think the nurses at the hospital would want me to be in active labor screaming, “Do whatever you want?”

On another note… As a hairstylist, it is equally hard, to have the client, who maps out exactly what they want, when they do not have the hair texture, face shape, or skin coloring, for the look they are demanding. With that being said, a very demanding mama with a well detailed long birth plan, might be expecting the impossible.

By keeping these two ideas in my mind, while writing up my birth plan, I was able to avoid being to extreme, and stay balanced.

How to create a birth plan?

There are tons of example birth plans online. The two that I used as guidelines were written by The Bump, and Earth Mama Angel Baby.

Start your birth plan with general information. This includes…

  • Name:
  • Partner’s Name:
  • Due Date:
  • Doctor’s Name and phone number:
  • Hospital
  • Pediatrician:
  • Blood Type, including if you received Rhogam and the date received.

Then move on to what you want during labor…

  • What kind of birth is your delivery planned as?
  • Who do you want present before, after, and during labor? Don’t forget to include hospital or birth center staff, doctors, nurses, students, residents, interns, doula, midwife.
  • What do you want when it comes to food or drink during labor?
  • Do you want continuous fetal monitoring? Do you want a portable monitor so you can walk around?

If you need to be induced…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for induction?
  • Are you okay with medical staff breaking your water, if it hasn’t broken yet? This may speed up or jump start labor, but it also gives you a time limit. There is only so much time that a baby can stay inside once your water is broken.
  • Are you okay with receiving Pitocin? Pitocin can speed of labor, however it also can put baby under stress.

Pain relief methods…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for pain relief?
  • Are you okay with receiving an Epidural? Epidural will take away the pain, but it is also known to slow down labor.

During Delivery…

  • Do you want options to request birthing tools, such as birthing ball?
  • Are you okay with forceps usage?
  • Are you okay with vacuum extraction?
  • Do you want to be guided on pushing, or would you rather naturally push depending on how your body feels?
  • Do you want the option to touch your baby’s head as it crowns?
  • Do you want a mirror available to see the birth?
  • Would you like a episiotomy?

If you have to have a C-Section…

  • Who do you want to remain with you in an event of c-section?
  • Do you want the surgery explained to you?
  • Do you want hands free to touch the baby?
  • Do you want skin on skin and to breastfeed as soon as possible?

Cutting of the cord…

  • Do you prefer delayed cord clamping?
  • When do you want the cord cut?
  • Who do you want to cut the cord?
  • What do you want to do with the placenta?
  • Is it okay to give routine pitocin to help the placenta deliver faster and to prevent bleeding?

Immediately after Delivery…

  • How soon after birth do you want to hold your baby?
  • Do you want us to wait to clean the baby until after skin on skin and first feeding?
  • Do you want all newborn procedures delayed until after skin on skin and first feeding?

Family members and other visitors…

  • Who will get unlimited visiting? Husband? Partner?
  • Are you okay with other visitors coming to your room? Who does this include and when?

Lactation Consultant…

  • Is it okay to have a lactation consultant come to your room?

Baby’s Medical Procedures…

  • Are you okay with immunizing your baby according to normal procedures?
  • Do you know what PKU testing is? If not have it explained?

If your baby is not well…

  • Do you want to accompany your baby to the NICU or other facility?
  • Would you like to breastfeed or provide pumped breastmilk?
  • Would you like to hold your baby whenever is possible?

End your birth plan with…

What additional things you would like for your baby? And … What you do NOT want for your baby.

So there you have it… These were all of the main things I included in my Birth Plan. But again, this is just a plan, that gives the hospital staff an idea of which direction I prefer to go in. Things may change, and I will go with the flow.

What ended up happening…

Things changed and I just went with the flow…  Turns out that a lot of stuff that I included in this Birth plan – the exact opposite happened. But at the end, Erik, Zoe, and I are happy and healthy.

“Even though an “ideal” birth isn’t an outcome you can control, if you are prepared, you can come close.” – Alicia Silverston from The Kind Mama

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

C-Section: Pros and Cons

 

I always wanted to push a baby out….

But you don’t always get what you want.

Instead after 36 hours of labor, trying everything to deliver Zoe vaginally, an unplanned C-Section was our last and final option.

There are plenty of things that I don’t like about c-sections.

A c-section is a major surgery. I haven’t really had surgery before so heading into the operating room made me a little nervous.

Right before my c-section, I watched the You Tube video of Ellen interviewing actress Kristen Bell about her c-section. Kristen Bell talked about how she loved the drugs and that the modern hospitals sure know how to take care of you. Although, I agree with the last part, I hated the drugs. They numb you from the nipples down. And let me tell you, it is really weird not to be able to move. The numbness started to wear off, so I was able to hold my baby right after they stitched me up. However, I was unable to walk until the day after my delivery. They put moveable compression tights on my legs to keep circulation flowing. And then the next day, the nurse helped me out of bed to walk. I was a little unstable, but she thought I did great.

Another thing about all the drugs is the fluids they have to give you. I had some swelling during the end of my pregnancy. The swelling started at 35 weeks. Well after the c-section my whole lower body was swollen. My butt, hips, legs, feet… I looked like an elephant. Anyway, the swelling also made it hard to take those first steps. Even though I was super swollen, the swelling went down in a couple days. Everything now is back to normal. I never thought I would be so happy to see veins and bones in my feet.

This really annoys me… I watched two natural child birth documentaries that were pro home birth and natural birth. These documentaries were awesome, but definitely put c-sections in a negative light.  I never thought I would have a c-section so I never read up on it at all. So all I knew about them was what I read and watched on the documentaries. And because they put them in a negative light, my main goal, was to avoid them if possible.

When you are laboring naturally, you trust your body and are only focused on your baby. However, during my c-section I had to put full trust in my doctors and medical team. Although, I only wanted to focus on meeting my baby, because I was having a surgery I never researched or planned for, I not only became concerned about my baby, but also about myself.

If laboring naturally, I wanted to see what was going on. But during my c-section they put up a screen, so you can’t see anything. Because of this, the memory of hearing my baby cry is so vivid and unforgettable.

I wanted to have delayed cord clamping done and have my husband cut the cord once it stopped pulsing. However, because during a c-section they need to work fast to close you up, delayed cord clamping is out of the question. (They can do it for a short bit, but not too the full time.)

I also wanted to have my baby in my arms immediately with all of the fluids on her. But they took her to clean her off first thing. My husband was able to be by her side and watch everything, which was pretty special for him. Mean while my head was turned trying to get a glimpse of her. I was able to see a little. I also wanted to see my husband’s look on his face when he first laid eyes on our daughter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see his face. He was holding my hand, but was by my side, behind me. Plus everything happened so fast.

Once in the recovery room, my baby latched on and we breast-fed for about 45 minutes. But at first my body was shaking. I kept asking why, they told me it was the hormones. It was annoying, because it was hard to really enjoy that moment when I had uncontrollable shakes. But I held her the best I could. We did skin on skin and it was amazing feeling her warm skin against mine.

Everyone says it is a lot harder to recover from a c-section. This is true. Because of the incision it was hard for me at first to find a comfortable position for both of us to breast-feed. I also am not allowed to lift anything except my baby. So I’m not allowed to lift the car seat or stroller. So I have had my mom, sisters, friends, husband help me.

I went in for my 2 week check up and everything looks good. My next check up is in 4 weeks and we will discuss whether I can start working out again. I am so ready. So far my recovery has been pretty good and smooth. I am no longer on pain meds.

Now for the positive things about a c-section.

During a c-section you can’t see anything, so your ears are very important. The absolute best thing ever was hearing my baby cry. That cry is and will always be unforgettable. I also loved hearing the medical team scream out her birth weight and length. I remember thinking, “Wow, my baby is a big baby!”

Now, although, my husband wasn’t able to cut the cord, he was able to run over to our daughters side and watch the nurse weigh her and clean her up. He also was the first to hold her, and bring her to me. This was very special for him.

Another very awesome thing about having a c-section, is that because it is a major surgery, you get to stay longer in the hospital. Some people may not consider this a positive thing, but for me it was. I’m a first time mom, who needed to stay at the hospital for the full amount of time so I could learn as much as I could from the nurses. The nurses were awesome and taught me a ton. I never felt rushed and even had time to talk with two different lactation consultants. When it was finally time to be discharged, I felt really comfortable heading home with my little one.

At first, I was pretty annoyed that I had to have a c-section, but now looking back it wasn’t that bad. And regardless of whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section, both are experiences. I experienced a c-section and maybe with my next child I’ll try for a VBAC.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that Erik, Zoe and I are happy and healthy.


Baby Zoe is 4 weeks old today!

Thank you Erik, for making me a mama! Everyday I am even more in love.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily