Packing Bags for a Natural Hospital Birth

When I was twenty-seven weeks pregnant, we unexpectedly had to go to labor and delivery, and I was admitted for nearly a week. It was still so early in the pregnancy, we thought we had months before we'd need to pack for the hospital. But there we were, throwing things into a bag in a state of near panic. That experience taught me a lesson, and as soon as I came home and began feeling better, I got to work on packing bags to have ready at the door. 

I spent a lot of time Googling ideas and scouring Pinterest for hospital bag essentials, until I finally collected everything I thought we could possibly need and stuffed it all into as few bags as possible.

This made a total of four bags

1. Labor bag (essentials for a natural birth in the hospital)
2. Overnight stay bag (clothing and toiletry items for my husband and me)
3. Pet bag (an overnight bag for our dog, Annie)
4. Diaper bag (a cute little bag of baby things!)

This sounds like an awful lot, but really, the only things we'll be lugging into labor and delivery when we show up are the labor bag and overnight stay bag. The diaper bag will be kept in the car with other baby-related necessities we already have in there (car seat and My Brest Friend Breastfeeding Pillow). 

So. What's in all these bags, exactly?

1. Labor Bag

This is the bag for everything I think could come in handy during actual labor. My hope is to give birth naturally with as few medical interventions as possible, including pain medications, so I wanted to be as prepared as I could. That's what this bag is all about. Comfort and endurance.

I was so tempted to buy a pretty bag just for this purpose, but instead, I borrowed this spacious Vera Bradley bag from my sister. It's exceptionally roomy and has lots of pockets, many of which are actually plastic-lined to safely hold containers of liquids.

It's just perfect for what I needed (thanks, Jessica! I'll give it back soon!). Now, let's take a peek inside.

Here's a bulleted list of the bag's contents:

  • a few printed copies of my birth plan (or birth "wish list") for hospital staff
  • my bookmarked copy of The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin for husband's reference (an amazing, non-cheesy, extremely thorough book on the birthing process)
  • a hospital gown that has snaps in the back for privacy
  • fuzzy socks
  • flip-flops
  • heating pad
  • two tennis balls for massage (and socks to put them in, both to hold them together and to prevent my sensitive skin from a possible tennis-ball-related breakout)
  • hair clip and stretchy hair bands
  • two light-blocking sleep masks (one for me, one for husband)
  • witchhazel in spray bottle
  • all-purpose natural healing salve
  • CJ's Best Boobie Butter
  • lavender and rosemary essential oils
  • coconut oil for massage
  • washcloth and hand towel
  • Water Wipes
  • phone charger
  • ear buds for iPhone
  • organic lip balm 
  • xylitol-sweetened mints (for dry mouth during deep breathing)
  • lots of snacks for the husband (and me, possibly) to keep him from running to the vending machine (trail mix, peanut butter crackers, turkey sausage links, protein bar, coconut water, and cold brew coffee)
  • a coin purse full of quarters for vending machine if he needs something else

2. Overnight Stay Bag

For this, we used one of my husband's old field packs. A roomy backpack seemed like a great option because you can easily sling it over your shoulder and run out the door. The giant labor bag...not so much. This should help balance out the weight for my husband when he's stuck carrying this all by himself. 

This bag contains, for my husband:
  • three days worth of comfy shirts/shorts
  • three days worth of underwear
  • three days worth of socks (plus an extra pair of thick wool socks for sleeping in the cold hospital)

toiletries for both of us:
  • deodorant
  • soap
  • toothbrushes, paste, floss
  • extra contacts, contacts case, and solution for husband
  • eye drops
  • Ibuprofen
  • comb/brush
  • my life's single indulgence, my special Little Barn Apothecary face oil

for me:

3. Pet Bag for Annie

We live over two hours away from the hospital, so we will need to take our dog, Annie, with us. She will be staying with her grandparents, so I wanted to have everything ready to go for her as well (this includes clear, written directions for my parents/sister, who will have to take care of her in our absence). 

Annie's bag is very simple:

  • gallon-size Ziploc bag full of her food and a measuring scoop (I wrote exact directions on the bag for my parents so they'll know when and how much to feed her)
  • Ziploc bag full of her daily fish oil capsules and her monthly Heartgard chew, just in case it happens to be due while we're in the hospital (again, I wrote directions on bag and Heartgard blister pack)
  • food and water bowls
  • leash and harness
  • poo bags 

We already keep her old bed and a blanket in the backseat, so we won't have to worry with that. And my sister's dog is at my parents' house, so there are plenty of toys for her there.

4. Diaper Bag

My mother-in-law gifted us this super cute HapTim diaper bag backpack that we had on our registry. I don't know how I'll feel about it once it's in use, but so far, I'm quite impressed. It's very attractive and has lots of pockets. It was for sure the most fun of our four bags to pack, though I was pretty uncertain about what we'll actually need or want at the hospital. 

Here's what I ended up putting in there:

And that's it!

Like I said, our vehicle already contains the diaper bag, car seat, Annie's bed/blanket, and my nursing pillow. All the bags not in the car due to containing meltable items are lined up by the front door, ready to be grabbed in a hurry if need be. I'm even leaving my purse there in case I lose my mind and try to walk out without my ID and insurance card. 

Hopefully, we're all set! In a few weeks, I'll let you know how it all worked out for us.

1 comment

Lacey said...

Woohoo!!! Mom and Dad are ready for you, baby!