The interesting thing about labor stories is that they are all unique. While contractions may be a universal birth experience, a woman’s early reactions are all hers.
Some of my friends used the early stages of labor to put on makeup. Some caught up on Netflix. Others took the time to realize that they were unprepared and griped at their husbands.
All of them freaked out a little bit.
Labor and what comes after doesn’t allow for much organization. This is why women pack freezer meals and alphabetize their spice cabinets. They also scrutinize the hospital bag, which ends up being alarmingly big for a first child and confidently meager with the second.
I asked my dear friends what they actually found to be essential once they went through labor and delivery. Here is your “what to pack” checklist:
1) The paperwork
This is the most important item. Gather any papers you might need: your medical records, your insurance card and your ID.
2) Eyeglasses and spare contact lenses
Contact lens wearers may easily forget this one, but you don’t want to miss anything on this day. (OK, you might want to miss some things.)
3) No-tread socks
You will probably choose to wear the hospital gown (your own pajamas would get too dirty) but socks from home will be the perfect accompaniment to walking down the hospital halls. Plan to throw them out.
4) Your relaxation symbol
This is different for everyone. It may be a picture. It may be music. It may be a script for your partner to read. Get it in the bag.
5) Your morning essentials
Whether it's mouthwash or deodorant, you'll appreciate having your own things from home after the event. It may also help you feel a little more “normal.”
6) Nursing bras and pads
Easy access and no-leak protection. You can never imagine how much you will love those words.
7) Cell phone charger
Your partner will probably bring a phone, but you don’t want it to power down just as you are getting the first cuddly photos. You may even want to invest in a new memory card.