And They Kept Asking If This Was My First Pregnancy, For Some Crazy Reason
37 Weeks

The Third-Time-Around Hospital Bag

So. You may be happy to hear that I finally up and packed a damn hospital bag. (You may also be mildly ambivalent, profoundly disinterested, or experiencing nausea and dry mouth. Side effects may vary, please consult your doctor.) Packing the bag, I believe, is the sure-fire way to prevent a repeat of Tuesday's events, and guarantee that absolutely NOTHING of baby-and-labor-related interest happens until June 1st, when we are scheduled to go in and get 'im. 

The first time I packed a hospital bag I used one of those checklists from the Internet. (Many of which, I've noticed, still mention FILM. Like several times. Make sure your camera has FILM. Bring extra FILM. The hospital gift shop will overcharge you for FILM. It's like a glimpse into childbirth circa 1994!)

Anyway, the checklist I consulted was a very, very looooooong checklist, and I ended up hauling a tremendous amount of useless shit with me. And none of it was organized very well, and since we changed birthing venues multiple times during my labor with Noah (an extended stay in triage due to overcrowding, then a birthing suite, then the OR, then recovery, THEN my non-private, exceedingly small room), we ended up needing a hotel-bellhop-style luggage cart to haul all the various loose things we'd pulled out at various points in time but neglected to re-pack. 

By the time we made it to the recovery room, Jason was wheeling around a giant pile of Random Crap, with expensive electronics shoved in tote bags underneath a precariously-perched Boppy while various charger cords dragged on the floor behind him. Once we were in my room I kept finding smashed-up granola bars ("BRING SNACKS FOR YOUR PARTNER") in my nursing bras and rogue tennis balls ("GREAT FOR COUNTERPRESSURE DURING LABOR") in my toiletry bag.

And then! VERY MUCH WORST OF ALL, IN FACT THE WORST THING EVER! In an attempt to streamline and declutter my room later, Jason packed up a bunch of the Random Crap and took it home, but accidentally took the bag containing everything I needed for a shower. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor, deodorant, you name it. We didn't realize it at first, because post-c-section you aren't allowed to shower for quite some time. Which was awful. I felt disgusting. I LOOKED disgusting. Visitors came to see the baby and I couldn't stop thinking they were all staring at the oil slick on my head instead. 

So when I finally got the all-clear that I was allowed to shower, I practically dove in headfirst. Only to discover that Jason had taken my things and I was limited to the hospital-supplied products, which included a horrible combination shampoo/bodywash, a bar of antiseptic hand soap and...nothing else.

Jason had just arrived for the morning and said he didn't feel like turning right around and driving allllll the way home, so just to "deal with it" and he'd bring my stuff back the next day.

To this day, you guys, I am still SO SO SO MAD AT HIM ABOUT THAT.  

We were determined to Do Better the second time. Having the scheduled c-section meant we didn't need to worry about the tennis balls and squeezy stress fidgets or labor-coach snacks (plus I'd come to the realization that hey, Jason could PACK HIS OWN FUCKING BAG, IF HE WANTED ONE, WHY DID I CARE IF HE HAD FUCKING TRAIL MIX AND VENDING MACHINE CHANGE OR NOT, JESUS CHRIST). Plus -- with the exception of the toiletry bag, which I was determined to keep shackled to my ankle this time -- I'd learned that duh, you really don't need ALLLLL your things with you right from the moment you show up. Stuff can stay in the car! Or at home, even! Your partner will go home at some point, especially since you have an existing child, and stuff! 


This freedom -- this terrible, terrible freedom -- to not feel limited to packing One Hospital Bag To Rule Them All, did have its drawbacks. I did, in fact, leave everything in the car except for my purse and a camera bag. This meant we had no bag of our own to put our own clothes in, once I was in a gown and Jason was in scrubs. The hospital gave us plastic drawstring of which we lost completely between triage and the OR (Jason's clothes. They turned up HOURS later.) and the other of which contained my clothes but somehow was missing one of my shoes (MIA to this day). 

Plus, I hadn't done a very good job of making sure that if there WAS anything I really, really wanted right away, that it was in my purse, and not in the suitcase in the trunk of our car. Because apparently, "riding down the elevator and walking to the parking lot" was the new "I don't feel like driving all the way back home so just 'deal with it'" moment for which I still harbor a great deal of unresolved anger towards my husband. He was too preoccupied with the fact that we'd just had a BABY and look at the BABY and I want to hold the BABY and take pictures of the BABY to understand just how hysterical I was getting because I NEEDED MY HAIRBRUSH AND LIP BALM. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GO GET ME A HAIRBRUSH AND SOME LIP BALM.

So! Good God. Hospital bag angst. The most first-worldy problem ever. Other than maybe your cleaning service forgetting to dilute the floor cleaner properly before mopping and LOOK AT ALL THESE OILY RESIDUE FOOTPRINTS WTF NOW I HAVE TO MOP GAH GAH BZZZZTTTT NESTING OVERLOAD.

(I mean, not that that last bit applies to me and my spoiled little life, or anything. Was just a figurative example.) 

So we have one final chance to Get It Right. I would very much like to Get It Right. Or at least not verbally abuse my husband in a drugged-up hormonal haze over some trivial item that I have suddenly decided is the most important thing in the world go get it gogetit GOGETIT.

Here's how the bag is shaping up so far. I think it's at least, a pretty good start, and acceptable should we have another rush-to-the-hospital emergency because OH, I DUNNO, I COULD PEE MYSELF AGAIN, OR MISTAKE GAS FOR CONTRACTIONS, ANY OF THOSE NOT-AT-ALL EMBARRASSING THINGS. 

In My Giant Ass Purse, On My Person At All Times:

Cell phone with all possible needed phone numbers, iPod selections, lifeline to Twitter, Google, blawwwwgs, etc. 

Flip video camera

Kindle (book selections still TBD)

Fancy outlet splitter with USB chargers for all of the above


Lip balm, assorted varieties

Hand cream

Nail file (for me or baby, but probably mostly me because my beautiful pregnancy-enriched nails have a history of breaking into stubby, uneven shards within 30 minutes of giving birth)

Hair brush and small variety of hair clips/bands/restraining devices

Oil-absorbing pressed face powder, because I clearly have Priorities

Laptop. I think. Not definitively sure which bag this will get shoved in, but I solemnly swear to not deprive the Internet of a prompt, timely posting with a baby picture and name information, no matter what. 

*shakes fist at sky Scarlett-O'Hara style*

In Small Tote Bag, On Jason's Person At All Times: 

The "real" camera, the big SLR one

Zoom and 50mm lenses

Extra memory card AKA NOT FILM

Extra battery


Card reader

Room for those plastic drawstring bags of our clothes, provided everyone dresses seasonally appropriate and does not wear exceptionally clompy shoes. 

(Note that Jason has also been informed that IF we are heading to the hospital *in labor* and a VBAC appears to be at all a possibility, it is his responsibility to handle all the Labor Coach supplies -- tennis ball, bathing suit, snacks -- and also I am not reminding him about bringing his toothbrush or a change of clothes or whatever, YOU GO WITHOUT SHIT YOU WANT AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT.)

(Wow. I know! I should probably see a professional about this.)

In Small Suitcase, To Be Either Left In Car Trunk Or Hauled With Us, Depending On How I Feel That Day Oh Who Am I Kidding I Will Probably Tether It To My Ankle:



Nursing sleep bras

Lanolin, package of gel Soothies, small travel scissors for cutting said Soothies in half because those suckers are expensive and like, four times the circumference of my actual nipples, HEY-YOOOO. 

Mother's Milk teabags to kickstart boobs into production

Gorgeous embroidered shawl a friend brought me from India to use as an alternative to frumpy bathrobe and/or impromptu nursing cover in case of visitors. (While EXCEEDINGLY VAIN, I'm not particularly shy about breastfeeding, but still don't really want to make like, the husbands of my friends and/or Jason's coworkers or whoever else feel weird, but bringing an full-on classic "nursing cover" to the maternity ward seems kind of excessively fussy.) 

Coming-home outfit for baby. Okay, maybe two outfits. I haven't decided yet. Plus one is a newborn size in case of a 7-pound Ezra Variety of Baby, and one is 0-3 months in case of a 10-pound Noah Variety.

Soothies pacifers, because the ones the hospital offers are crappy and never work to stop the screaming and/or endless self-soothing on Mama's increasingly battle-scarred boobs.

Toiletries, including dry/powdered shampoo, actual shampoo and conditioner, body soap, razor, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup bag, all packed directly INTO the suitcase's interior pockets so there will be NO REMOVING ANY OF IT FROM THE ROOM WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE.

Outfit for me to wear home, UNLESS I happen to be wearing my black dress from Old Navy when we arrive at the hospital, because then I will just wear that home as well because it's my best option right now because it fits and it's black and slimming (SHUT UP) and comfy and every time I've tried to wear pants home from the hospital I've ended up kind of maybe crying over said pants and how they fit and look so FUCK IT, I'M WEARING A MUUMUU BUT WE'RE ALL CALLING IT A DRESS, OKAY?  

Ample extra space for robbing hospital room blind. Boo-fucking-yah, free diapers and disposable mesh panties for everyone!

In Secondary Shopping Bag, Out In The Car, And I Promise To Be Okay If These Items Are Not Within My Possession Within An Hour Of Giving Birth Or Maybe Even Two But Three Is Probably Pushing It OH MY GOD GO GET THE BAG JASON:

Nursing pillow. I gave away my Boppy but that's fine since I never particularly loved the thing, so this time I bought one by Balboa Baby. I bought it 100% based on the fact that the cover was cute. I know absolutely nothing else about it. It may in fact turn out to be the worst nursing pillow in the history of the world, but dammit, it's cute. I AM EDUCATED CONSUMER WHO MAKES EDUCATED CHOICES. 

Regular pillow.

Two full-sized towels, because the hospital only provides tiny little handtowels, which, COME ON, I need like 17 of those to properly dry off after a shower. (Why yes, I AM obsessed with the postpartum showering process a little bit). Both towels are old and disposable in case of horror-movie-like grossness* but still totally Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy approved.

Big Brother gifts for when Noah and Ezra arrive to completely ignore the new baby while we try in vain to take Incredibly Preshus Life-Affirming Photographs.

DVDs, because the hospital rooms do have DVD players but last time ours was missing the remote and didn't really have working external buttons that made any sense, so the DVDs we brought mostly just sat there taunting me. Except for Iron Man, which Jason managed to get to play at fucking 11 pm the first night while I was trying to sleep and was the reason I suggested that hey, I know we have a private room this time and all but I think it might still be better if you don't stay over again. Go be with Noah or something. I also fucking hate Iron Man to this day as well.

(Really, you do NOT want me to develop a grudge against you at any point during the immediate days postpartum. I will take it to my GRAVE.)  

*Okay, this might very well launch us into another whole blog entry here, or cause a significant portion of the reading audience to head for the fucking hills**, but OMG. The Grossness. The Bloooooood. I am guessing -- like everything -- the whole lochia thing varies from person to person, but I am a bleeeeeeder. Some of this probably has to do with having c-sections -- you are confined to bed with a catheter for quite some time afterwards, so I guess maybe it all just...pools and stores up more than for someone who is allowed to get up and out of bed right away? Because the first time I get up to use the bathroom and get cleaned up, it really, seriously is like a slasher film set in an abattoir. For this reason, I DO NOT pack my own nightgowns or underwear or maxipads or any of that sort of thing. I am a believer in the hospital-supplied Giant Mesh Disposable Panties and Two-Foot-Long Rectangular Pads. If my (cheap, cheap) bathrobe and slippers survive the stay, I consider that an unexpected bonus. 

**I'M JUST TRYING TO BE SERVICEY HERE! For anyone else packing a hospital bag! I was caught so unprepared the first time! Like this:





I had VBAC both times, with an epidural so I had a catheter, and still, the first time I stood up to go take a shower OH DEAR GOD, MUST REMEMBER TO BUY APOLOGY FLOWERS FOR HOSPITAL CLEANING STAFF. So, I hear you.

I also still remember things my hubby did during labour that annoy me to this day. I just think that is one time in your life where your partner should say "yes dear, right away" and do whatever it is you want, immediately and without argument.


I have never at any moment in my life felt as good as I did after that first post-c-section shower. Aaaahhhh.


I COMPLETELY relate. I did the whole list thing the first time, too, and ended up having a C-section and thinking WTH is all this crap? Why can't I find what I need?

I don't like to pack ahead of time for any kind of trip. I always forget something.

The second baby, I was scheduled to go in on Monday, but then DD and I got sick so they rescheduled me for the following Monday. (An entire extra week, really? I was DONE.) So I went into labor that Friday at 2am. Still hadn't packed my bag. DH was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and freaking that I hadn't packed yet. (Um, you do know how this goes right? We did this once before. No need to panic.)

Took about 20 minutes to get ready to go which was perfect since we were waiting for my parents to get to our house to be there for our oldest. Didn't bring a thing for him. He was on his own second time.

This is a good reference guide for round 3 which we are (probably) going to try for later this year.


That made me laugh out loud at work and i have never had (and probably never will have) children. You have crossed the mommy-blogger divide, with a post about childbirth!


Heh. And here I thought some surgeons left things 'a little cleaner than when they got there' with respect to a post-baby uterus. (AKA cleaning out all that bloody grossness with industrial size sponges.) THE MORE YOU KNOW.


I agree with Hannah. Chop fucking CHOP, husbands!! And I think the black dress is really cute!


Last time I was in the hospital after my twins were born I lost or misplaced my shampoo and was desperate for a shower so I asked one of the nurses to bring me some. In my post-partum haze I took whatever she gave me assuming she knew what SHAMPOO was. I poured it onto my head, hmmm.. weird this isn't lathering at all. What the....? BODY OIL I dumped VO5 BODY oil on my already grease pit head. And had NO SHAMPOO to wash it out with. I think I even stayed that way until I went home the next day I tried to keep my hair in a pony tail and pretend that the slicked back look was In again. And I think one of the nurses who helped wheel us out mentioned " Well you must be excited to showed at home huh?" Thanks lady.

Lesson learned, make you you bring your own shampoo people.


Yes, the stuff husbands do post-partum remain in the brain. I remember telling him that my throat was sore and a bit raw from my pushing efforts (no drugs for me = grunty Gaby!). He then chimes in, "Mine too!" REALLY? With all the...what, exactly were you doing that caused your throat to ALSO get sore?! Sigh.


Hah... I would have killed for combo bodywash/shampoo after kid #2. We "packed" at 1am after my water broke somewhat unexpectedly, and my sleepy brain packed for a nice hotel rather than the hospital. Much to my dismay there was no cute display of travel size toiletries in the hospital bathroom. There was no shampoo to be found, we had visitors coming very soon, and my hair was so gross that I ended up washing it with the antiseptic bar soap... I don't recommend it. :P


You are right about the lip balm. While in labor, it was the only thing i asked my husband to get me from the bag. Then he brought THE WRONG ONE, and I told him so. Probably not very nicely.


I gave up asking my husband to do anything but sleep after our daughter was born. Childbirth really exhausted him.


I misplaced a modifier, and I'm sorry for needing to post this, but I teach English and need to: While I (not my lip balm) was in labor, it was the only thing I asked my husband to get me from my bag.

Heather G

I had to laugh regarding stealing all the stuff in the room. I "accidently" opened all the extra packages of pads and mesh underwear so we could take them home. I figured if it was in my room they were going to charge us for them anyway! I also nabbed one of the pads they put on the beds which came in very handy when I had a major bleeding episode.


Treat yourself to a nice pillow to bring (granted - hospital pillows=yuck) but woman, just "forget" it there when you go home you really .... just please .... or I'll send you one. :)


I enjoy reading your blog though I've never commented before. However, that picture from Carrie had me laughing out loud. Funniest thing I've seen in a long time. And so so so accurate. Nobody really warns you about that shit beforehand! It's just not right! Thanks for the laugh :-). And excellent packing list, by the way.


I think I packed OK (I used one of your lists on one of the other sites you write for) but the amount of stuff that we ended up taking home with us was ridiculous. We had the stuff we brought but then we had all the gifts people brought us, the breast pump I rented from the hospital, the bags of free hospital supplies (mesh underwear, HUGE pads, diapers, etc.), the free diaper bags we got (which we still use!) and all of the paperwork that hospital gave to us since our baby was born with Albinism. Thankfully, my MIL took some of it home with her on one of her trips to visit us in the hospital. It felt like we had a baby who came with his own set of luggage to tote home! Good luck with everything! I can't wait to see pictures!


I don't comment that often but THANK YOU for this post! I'm due with my first June 19th and have been so intimidated by the checklists the different websites provide. (I'm also planning on bringing a black 'slimming' dress!)

ms martyr

I love the hospital combination shampoo/body wash. I use it to clean my horse's brushes (no lie) I pour some in a bucket with hot water and let them soak in it, then rinse. I figure there are no additives that might cause an allergic reaction.


I heart you.


What I didn't see on your list that is on my definite "must have right on me" list is MOUTHWASH. Both actual labor and c-section prepped epidural can induce random vomiting and inconvenient times, and it is nice to take a swig of that to at least help with the after-puking-mouth when you can't actually brush your teeth due to being confined to bed or unable to sit up or whatever. Mouthwash. Bring it!

Also, steal EVERYTHING that is not pinned down in the hospital (except the remote--that's just mean).

Amy in StL

Wow, so am I the only person who saw that dress and immediately wondered if my non-pregnant self could get away with that? I mean all black maxi-dresses are hard to find. No-one has to know it's a maternity dress! AmIRight??

Parsing Nonsense

That last picture is perfect, it's a good thing I wasn't drinking coffee when I saw it or I would have snorted some for sure. Good luck this time around, I hope things go smoothly!


Dude, you should come to my hospital. They give you lipbalm, and it is the BEST. STUFF. EVER. Seriously, I'm trying to figure out how to have surgery again so I can get more of it. It's softer than Chapstick and minty and I've got to find it in the real world.

The annoying thing my husband did? Sat in the recliner in the labor (out of my reach), put the TV on The Weather Channel, and fell asleep. Multiple times. As much as I hate Gwyneth Paltrow, I'd rather watch Iron Man over and over than The Weather Channel.


Ah...thanks for this. Having a scheduled C-section this time around and lightbulb went off in my head - "Oh, I don't need any jolly ranchers this time around?" I am a terrible packer, so I really need to hang onto a list this time around so I'm not crying over missing face wash.


I had a c-section with my son and was terrified of the post-partum bleeding my friends warned me about. I didn't bleed. Ever. Not a single drop. I thought something was terribly wrong with me, until the doctors told me that's very common for c-sections?!


Thanks for this! I'm 30 weeks with my first, and am starting get all twitchy about having a hospital bag, but since I really had no clue what to pack/might need some of that crap over the next two months, am not actually doing anything about it. YET. But I did find your info super helpful!


Excellent Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy reference. Perfect for childbirth, ya know? DON'T PANIC and always have your towel.


Great post!

I sent my husband the link to this post before I even read it. Thanks for including so many "tips" for the spouse (as if my poor husband isn't tired of fetching me things already ;^)

Question(s): What about the food? Have you liked the hospital food? Have you sent Jason off to the nearest Chipotle? And I think you mentioned not wanting to eat meat much when pregnant with Ezra (I am in the same boat, and it's crazy) soon did you want to eat meat again after giving birth? Has it been the same this time around?


With #2, I went in for a quick ultrasound "just to make sure the baby isn't too big" before going to work, and was ordered to get my ass to the hospital RIGHT THIS SECOND BECAUSE THAT BABY NEEDS TO COME OUT RIGHT NOW!!!!! So yeah, no hospital bag, no camera, nothing.

I paid $25 for a guaranteed private room, which also provided a little toiletry kid of sub-par products, but at least it had a toothbrush and toothpaste. Visitors over the next few days brought me things like pajama pants, a hairbrush, the damn camera, another book. I bought a nursing bra at the hospital boutique. We survived, but I'd definitely recommend people pack that damn bag (so yay, good job for you).

I'd read a great tip once to get a pack of those Depends underwear to use instead of the mesh panties because of less chance of leaking, and you can rip the entire thing off and throw it away. So that's my tip I'm passing off to you - I never got to try it out and that pack still sits in our linen closet to this day.

Hi, I'm Natalie.

People still use DVDs?? What is this - 2007?! ;>)

(You'll be awesome. And The Internet won't have to track Jason down to berate him for not getting the damned toiletries this time. :>)


Oh god, I laughed so hard at this post. I also laughed especially hard at Eva's comment.

I am still pissy to this day that my husband was so anxious to get to the hospital after my water broke that (1) I didn't get to eat a snack, and proceeded to labor for 36 f-ing hours on hospital supplied jello and chicken broth and (2) Husband wouldn't go back into the house to get our pillows when I realized in the driveway that we had forgotten them. To this day, the pillows on our guest bed the pillows purchased from the Penney's next to the hospital. Which my husband deigned to go buy because his little cot thing was uncomfortable (and he had no underwear packed).

The hospital also gave husbands a list of things not to say while your wife is in labor (ie, "I'm tired," "this sure is taking a while"). I think my husband said them all. Including "try harder" 3 hours into pushing.

Am I a bad person for seriously considering wanting my mom there next time too?


I went to the hospital all unexpected-like last time, without going home. The only things I sent my husband home for were my laptop, chapstick, a pillow, a blanket, and my camera. The first time, I had two suitcases full of stuff and never used any of it.

I saw someone selling designer hospital gowns for $150 each. I ruined THREE hospital issue gowns in about two hours last time. Ick.

Melissa E

I'm pregnant and due in September (scheduled C-section, because pushing for 3 hours AND ending up with a c-section is not anything I intend to do again) and I still have flashbacks to that first shower-using their products, the mess, etc.

My son was born in 2003, pre-iPods(or, perhaps pre-we could afford an ipod...I'm really not sure), and we brought a small radio. What station does he decide to turn on while I'm laboring? The local classic rock station (ugh)...which just happened to be playing Cat Scratch Fever. Oh my...I almost punched him clean out. To this day, I get ANGRY anytime I hear that song.


I, too, am a bleeder, but my mom who had a c-section doesn't remember bleeding at all. WTF? I just had my IUD removed to try for baby number 2 and two days later it was like the scene where Carrie gets splashed with pig's blood. Holy hell.

This post made me laugh hysterically. I hope you have everything you need, where you want it, and when you need it!


I had a scheduled induction, and they basically told me that it wouldn't work. So when I went into labor at 3 am, I was totally unprepared - I'd even sent my husband home!

I had packed a bag, luckily, mostly using Amalah's checklist, and my recommendations are:

(1) just bring a dress to go home in. So much easier.

(2) make sure your bags have extra space and

(3) if you're renting a breast pump, don't take all of the pumping parts and put them somewhere in your luggage "where you won't lose them" and then forget where the special place was and end up at Toys R Us at 8 pm on the night you're released from the hospital sobbing because they don't have the little suction-y parts and tubes and YOU NEED TO PUMP RIGHT NOOOOOWWWW! and then find the parts the next morning. And have your dad laugh at you.

Just saying.


When our second daughter was born, our first managed to get some minor virus thing meaning she wasn't allowed in the maternity ward. With no other family around, and friends who all worked, I spent many loooong hours alone (I was in for a week - there were "issues"), albeit with our new baby, but she SLEPT all day and didn't start partying till nighttime. So I asked my then partner to bring me something to read. I believe I may even have specified "light and/or trashy". He brought NO magazines and just one book. And that book? Was Ben effing Hur. Like you feel like reading that when you've just given birth...
Said partner is now my ex and, whilst obviously Ben Hur isn't to blame for that, I haven't forgotten it (or forgiven it either)...
Best wishes!


I've never had a baby come out of any part of my body, but my last hospital stay was TWO WEEKS and believe me, TWO WEEKS of a hospital issue comb, washcloth, and bodywash/shampoo combo and NO BAR SOAP and NO RAZORS and NO HAIR PRODUCTS and NO LIP BALM would have sent me over the edge if I wasn't there already.


Kindle reading? Bossypants might fit the bill - easy to pick up in short bursts. Only problem is that it is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Which might hurt your bits a bit.

Reading this post makes me glad I was 10 minutes from the hospital - I don't remember much about packing the hospital bag!

cindy w

I actually have your list from your Alphamom column ages ago (pre-Ezra, I think?) about what to pack in the hospital bag. And while I haven't packed my bag yet (uhh, I should probably get around to doing that, huh?), it's right there! Written down on a tidy little index card! Just waiting for me to get off my giant pregnant ass and pack!

Then my 4 year-old said she would pack my suitcase for me. It included: slippers (good job!), a pair of light pink pajama pants (um, probably not), FOUR bras (WTF?), and one of her stuffed animals (uhh... thanks?). So clearly, I'm all set to go.


Dude. Speaking of the lochia... why does no one warn you that it's huge effing clots?!?! The first time I passed a clot the size of a golfball, I thought for sure I was bleeding out and was surely nearly dead...


You all are really makIng me appreciate Women's Hospital of Texas (thanks for the free lanolin and nipple shields)! One thing I wish I had in the hospital is one (or 2) of my now favorite nursing tanks from Target. They are MUCH easier to quickly whip a boob in and out of than the hospital nursing gown; plus I was ready to put some pants on after a day anyway. We also watched movies during my 24 hrs of labor; the movies we brought were a much better distraction than the crap on TV at 3am.


So I'm not the only one who brought a razor to the hospital! And thank God I did, I was so swollen they had me wearing hardcore compression stockings that the nurses had to put on me because I couldn't really reach my feet due to the combination of C-section and legs-were-so-swollen-my-knees-wouldn't-bend-enough-for-me-to-reach-my-feet. I'm still not entirely sure how I managed to reach my legs to shave them, but shave them I did.

And I'll second the don't-bother-bringing-your-own-pads-or-underwear thing. I don't think my lochia was nearly as bad as yours (I've had periods worse than my postpartum bleeding, but then, my periods are debilitatingly disgusting) but still. Those mesh panties were heaven. And it was nice to not have to worry about bleeding through my pads because they were roughly the size of the mattress.


You have just voiced, in the funniest way possible, the way every mother feels but never says. Fabulous.


OMG.. you crack me up!!!


I adore you. That is all.


i gave birth the natural (aka: straight out the hoo-ha) way and i passed out TWICE when they made me get up to go to the bathroom because blood would literally just pour out of me. they were THISCLOSE to doing a blood transfusion. in the end i just got a really kick ass oxygen mask and some hot pictures of me wearing it.


So, when I read the word FILM, I wondered, what could that acronym be? What is this FILM she speaks of? It seriously took me a full minute to remember film, the stuff we used to put in cameras and have developed at stores for our pics. Seriously, can you still even buy film?


I swear, you get funnier with every additional week of gestation.


This post is GENIUS.

The first time, I was trying to have a homebirth and was transported to a hospital. I went without a bag, didn't even have one packed.

The second time around, I packed a bag, but did not pack enough (see any) clothes for the baby. I was adamant about my lip balm and water bottle staying less than two feet away from me at all times. That's what I remember most about my first birth, being thirsty as shit with chapped lips.

Oh! And the second time, my husband brought an ICE CHEST to the hospital with snacks and drinks because he knew he would be famished. WTF. (I have issues as well.)



After Noah was born (emergency c), they put me on a liquid diet for what felt like AGES, and I was unbelievably starving, since I hadn't eaten since BEFORE labor started and all night and all morning and then all day and finally the food guy stopped by and there was a mistake and they didn't have a liquid tray for me. So he asked if I'd been given the go-ahead for real food, because he had extra of that.

I lied and said yes, and it was the most delicious plate of mystery beef tips and rice I have ever tasted.

After that, the food wasn't awesome, but it really wasn't that bad. And Jason usually stopped somewhere for himself and brought me supplements of like, donuts and danish and stuff.

With Ezra, same thing: Required fasting before the surgery, then nothing, then liquid diet, then FINALLY real food...but the hospital had switched food suppliers or something and it was INEDIBLE. I made Jason bring me stuff for every meal. Though 99% of the time he was late with it, and I either had to eat the horrible hospital food or eat lunch at like, 2 pm or some shit and wow, reliving this makes me want to kick him in the shins when he gets home from work and remind him NOT TO DO THAT AGAIN.

As for meat? I ate almost exclusively vegetarian throughout the whole pregnancy with Ezra thanks to aversions. I think I made it to the recovery room before I started screaming SOMEBODY BRING ME A DAMN COW.

(Jason did end up bringing me a lot of hamburgers. So good job there, sweetie!)


Two things.

1 - OMG I am so very glad we're not having any more babies.

2 - Kindle? When are you going to read? Between contractions if you go for vbac? during the c-section? after when the baby isn't sleeping, eating pooping? when is that?


just to set your mind at ease: I went to visit my cousin in the hospital a day or so after her unplanned C-Section. I don't recall that she looked anything but tired. Looking at the image in my minds eye, her hair looked just fine (I think she mentioned something about being desperate for a shower) Mostly I was paying attention to the baby, who was not impressed by our visit at all!

Best wishes and positive thoughts coming your way!


Amalah, I heart you so and am tearing up in full-on pregnant-lady gratitude because
1) you answered my question,
2) you seem to truly understand the "hangry" that is not eating regularly (which is a problem not pregnant and now pregnant I plan my whole life around eating and am fearful of the post-partum hangry)
3) omg, I have the hope of wanting meat again (I miss wanting it so)



Dang, your list makes me feel like a total slacker. My husband kept pestering me to pack a damn bag already and I kept telling him
'dude, there's plenty of time, I'm not due for three more weeks yet". Yeah... wound up on the floor of my closet trying to find clothes to shove in my bag at 1:30 AM in the middle of painful contractions (transition finally convinced me that maybe I should get my damn ass to the hospital)

I wound up showing up there with a mostly empty bag containing my Kindle, chargers, and a pair of yoga pants, and nothing else. Thankfully since I was such a dumbass about labor, I wasn't there long before delivery (about 20 minutes) and didn't need anything to distract me, no food for husband (he may have been slightly past tipsy anyways, because have I mentioned we're dumbasses), no lip balm.

By the time we left two days later though I had TONS of shit to bring home, two different bags, all the clothes and shower stuff my husband brought from home (he forgot underwear for me, that's what I'm still bitter about, I hated those mesh undies) and all the packs of diapers nurses kept bringing in, along with two brown paper grocery bags full to the brim with pumping and breastfeeding stuff. Free hospital stuff rocks

I promised him next time I'd pack a bag at 30 weeks and it would be far more organized than the last one


For the horrific bleeding? Try upping your calcium intake. I planned a home birth and my midwife had me take at least 500 mg of calcium (Standard Process Calcium Lactate specifically) daily for two weeks before my due date. I ended up with an emergency c-section (very oddly positioned baby) and bled little afterward. I was able to switch to my usual lightdays pads on day 3. Thank GAWD because those giant hospital pads felt like a mattress between my legs.


For the horrific bleeding? Try upping your calcium intake. I planned a home birth and my midwife had me take at least 500 mg of calcium (Standard Process Calcium Lactate specifically) daily for two weeks before my due date. I ended up with an emergency c-section (very oddly positioned baby) and bled little afterward. I was able to switch to my usual lightdays pads on day 3. Thank GAWD because those giant hospital pads felt like a mattress between my legs.


I... thank you deeply for this post. It... well, it goes away, right? It's just a couple of days, and then you get to shower properly, and have your own closet at home, and... well, you have survived this twice, and... err... you make really cute babies and it's worth it?...

I almost googled FILM, thinking it was a pregnancy acronym, then saw camera next to it and oooh, FILM! :)


Even if I had a Kindle, I'd still just toss a couple of old mystery paperbacks in my bag, or buy People and other junky magazines down at the gift shop before heading up, because honestly, during labor my brain don't work so good, and I turn to junky TV, junky magazines OR just talking with my doula.

After the birth I just wanted to either sleep, stare into space, or stare at the baby. In between figuring out how the baby worked, that is.

Also, not that I suspect anybody in particular, but things can get stolen at hospitals very easily. You can be napping and somebody comes in under the guise of being an orderly or nurse, and there goes your Kindle. I'm not planning on taking anything expensive to the hospital--save for my cell phone, and a small portable DVD/CD player that we wouldn't miss much if it did go missing.

Same goes for camera equipment. I totally get wanting to capture those first few moments, but I'd worry about either losing an expensive camera or it going...missing. This time around I'm going to ask a good friend of mine, who loves doing photography, to bring her camera when she comes to visit after the baby's born, to grab a few newborn pics. Also, my doula is more than happy to play around with the camera on my cell phone to take a few pics if I really want them.


My first piece of advice to friends who are having babies is always DON'T look in the toilet the first time you go to the bathroom. Seriously.


This.was.HILARIOUS. Who knew that a post about a hospital bag would have me cracking up.I loved the "SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT" ;-) .

Congrats and we can't wait to hear from you! And now I shall go before I say anything to cause a grudge against me ;-) .

(P.S. Loooong time reader, 1st-or-maybe-2nd time commenter. Am somewhat coming out of my internet shell).


Let's be gross here..just because we can. My 8 yr. old was a c-section and when I was finally allowed to get up to go to the bathroom (I hated that catheter more than anything before or since), the splash in the potty was so BIG and GROSS I actually called the nurse in and told her that I was pretty sure that something vital to me just fell my liver or some such shit. It. Was. Gross.


Yeaaah those lists suck. I packed, like, all of the stuff suggested and didn't use any of it except the pillow, the camera and the toiletries. I had 3 pairs of PJs with me but it was all so gross afterward, and I was so freaking sore that it was easier to stay in the hospital gown. I wish now that I'd had room to take home more stuff...even though I took home so much I didn't end up using all of it. I don't care. Those snappy ice pack thingies will totally come in handy some day, I'm sure.


This post NEEDS to be in "What to expect when you get inhabited by a baby or some shit like that." (No, not preggo yet, obviously.

I can't tell you how hard I laughed at Jason, and see far too much of my future hubby in him. I'll start coaching NOW.

Also- PSA about the bleeding? WHY DO THEY NOT TELL US THAT?! I am so unprepared.


After extensive in-hospital bedrest and then a few stays with the kids I thought I had the perfect list of what you do and do not need at a hospital but after our last visit, I have decided what I really need to take from now on is a universal remote that I can set to work the DVD player since the remote for it is always either missing or doesn't work. Because just like being forced to watch Iron Man sucks, explaining that "Mommy can't select the Cars movie honey, we seem to be stuck on the DVD menu" to a sick two year old also sucks.

Oh, and the camera? Pack the damn camera first. Baby #2 arrived prematurely via emergecy c-section. I had already been at the hospital on bedrest for six weeks when things went south. I called my husband in the wee hours as they rushed me to the OR and, miraculously, he made it in time for the c-section but neither of us ever even thought about having a camera (and our camera phones sucked). Our baby went straight to the NICU and then within an hour across the street to the NICU at the Children's Hospital and all I have to say is that I was SO very grateful to the NICU nurse who whipped out a camera, took two pictures of my baby, printed them for us and gave them to my husband. He gave them to me when he left to go with our daughter to the other hospital. Those photos were all I had to hold onto and even though I am lucky enough to have a thousand pictures of my beautiful little girl now, those two are still possibly the most precious.


Omg...the post "We won't let you shower for no apparent reason" shower = AMAZING!! I had to stay 2 nights this week for IV antibiotics and while I alternated between feeling rather icky or high as a kite from their fancy pain meds that didn't do jack (Advil is my cure-all), they wouldn't let me shower!! That was until they dangled my discharge papers over my head like a carrot. I know my nurses were thinking, "Shower, woman, we can't let you walk out of the hospital looking like this! People may see you!"

PS: Make your kindle selections sooner rather than later! Or you may be forcing yourself to read some crappy novel because you refuse to believe that you would purchase such trash at two am. It has got to get better, right? I can't waste the $9.99! Ah!

Heather B.

The last several weeks have been so tear inducing type stressful. Every time I look at my calendar with JUNE 1 all colored in and shit with the felt tip pens, it brings this huge smile to my face. I am so freaking excited to meet him.

Also, remember that you have people to bring you shit. Like, I can stop at a Sephora if need be and buy you some Bobbi Brown product.

AHHHH. You and Baby Boy are the only things keeping me going right now.


I over packed for both my deliveries. And even though I didn't read any of the magazines I brought for the first one, I had to have them for the second, too, because THE LIST TOLD ME I NEEDED THEM!


You need a life. You need a to find something that occupies more brain cells than cosmetic products and DVDs. If I were a slightly disadvantaged mother who could not afford all those goodies nor had a partner who would bend over backwards for (almost) every spoiled whim, after reading this, I would want to slap you silly all the way to that operating room. Have some decency and stop behaving like a spoiled brat.


Dying to know what your giant hand bag looks like...


I packed a bunch of bulky stuff I didn't use. I obediently put on the socks w/treads provided only to rip them off 5 minutes later moaning "Hhhhooooottttt!" I was so not going to wear a fleecy bathrobe. I also told a friend that if you must wear pants home, avoid denim because oh, the chafing!

Dude, your hospital kinda sounds like it sucks. The biggest complaint about mine was the nurse who persisted in calling me 'sweet girl'. Really? When I was suddenly sent back to the hospital four days after giving bith with post-partum pre-eclampsia, I only had my purse with. A wonderful nurse found me all kinds of toiletries except for deodorant, and kept apologizing for that lack.


Yeah Amy, how dare you be excited or prepared to give birth to a HUMAN BEING. Get a life! Don't you know there are less fortunate people in the world? How dare you talk about lip balm and cheap bathrobes when some people have to swaddle their babies in old coffee bean sacks, or something! What a pretentious brat you are!
Also- so damn excited for you guys! Can't wait to see this lil guys pics and find out his name! Good Luck!


Why doesn't anyone tell you before you give birth about the blood? Seriously, is this some big secret? Like a secret moms club that is laughing behind your back. "If so-and-so only knew what's coming her way. He he."

I never stayed in the hospital long enough to even think about a shower. I still don't know what I said to convince the hospital staff that I should check out within 24 hours. What ever it was it worked on all three kids in three different hospitals.


I bled more after my vaginal birth than my c-section. BUT, the first period after the c-section was....holy crap! So it gets you one way or the other!! I loved those mesh panties and jumbo pads for the hospital. And to add to the visual I had an episiotomy the first go round so I also used these giant ice packs that go..well you know where. I know I packed things I did not need and I'm pretty sure my husband just hauled it back to the car once we realized it was more of a pain to have it. Toiletries are a must though.


I've only done it once, but I learned from many a mommy-blogger not to overpack. I only brought one bag and still didn't use anything other than my toiletries, flip-flops, camera, and iPhone. That was really and truly it. The second night, I tried to read a little bit and just couldn't summon up the brainpower.

My hospital gave me a handy dandy canvas bag to fill with all of the "goodies" that were in the room. BONUS!


Oh gosh, the bleeding, yeah. I haven't had a c-section but bled pretty bad after both births. With my first one, when the epidural had worn off and I swung my legs off the bed to get into the wheelchair, I accidentally bled all over the nurse's sneakers which looked to be brand new. I've never been so mortified in my life.


"My first piece of advice to friends who are having babies is always DON'T look in the toilet the first time you go to the bathroom. Seriously."

Oh, the nurses filled me in on this. While wheeling my IV behind me, the very sweet nurse put her hand on my shoulder and in the nicest - yet most serious - voice possible whispered "Don't look down."

I knew right then that if I did, I would have regrets. I did not look down.

Shannnon @nwaMotherlode

Laughed.til.I.cried. Thank you for that and I'm glad your bag is packed and that you have promised to keep us INFORMED during this baby birthin'. Is it weird that I put your due date on my calendar? :)


THE STANDing up bloodbath is why I Laugh like hell when packing lists put "SLIPPERS" on list. COME ON. It's gross - pack FLIP FLOPS that are WASHABLE. I had three regular births and the first 2 times I stood up after EACH baby was a NIGHTMARE. UGH! THAT is what I warn new mommies about because no one warned me!!

Amy Jo

I'm just glad to know I'm not the only girl in the world pissed at her husband over a lack of lip balm.

Also, my bestie, who happens to be a nurse, helped me to the bathroom for the first time after I delivered (vaginially, btw) and she almost fainted at the sight of the bloodbath.


let me just say that mistaking gas for contractions is infinitely worse than mistaking labor for gas and having the baby in the car - which happened to someone I know.


"Two-Foot-Long Rectangular Pads." - awesome.
Good luck!!


May I humbly recommend one more item for your bag? Dry shampoo! AKA the best thing ever!

the bee

Glad I was not at work reading this. I need depends now from all the laughing I have been doing at my desk. Whatever happens it will all work out and you can share the bitterness with us afterward. That is what we live for. Oh, and the precious memories.


Wanna talk hospital bag/husband-related dumbness? Check it: When we headed to the hospital after several hours of labour, my husband remembered the birthing-mother-related bag and the birthing-partner-aka-father-related bag, and COMPLETELY FORGOT the baby-related bag. You know, with the freaking blankets and jammies and hats and mitts and everything. He told me later that it just had not dawned on him that another person was coming home with us. The happy ending, however, is that our house is three blocks from the hospital, so that stuff arrived PROMPTLY after the baby did.


The thing I brought to my first hospital birth and didn't need: a flower pot. What I should have brought: soap. I honestly thought hospitals had some notions of hygiene. I brought a lot less the second time and I had no pacifier for the baby (she needed one), no boots for the snow that was falling and no baby clothes that would fit her 9 lbs body. The blood is what convinced me that a home birth wasn't for me, who would clean all this?? I went to the hospital too to give birth to my twins and I needed a lot of food brought to me. Don't forget the car seat! Hilarious picture of Carrie


Wow, I can't believe what excellent memories you all have! I'm sitting here with my freshly-home-from college 19 year old and the grossest thing I can remember is that the mesh panties--which I loved? The bitchy nurse told me I was only allowed the one pair. If I ever see her again...I probably won't recognize her. (It has been 19 years.)


My best last minute hospital bag addition -an old fleece throw. I used it on my bed during labor, afterwards, over my legs while I nursed. It was soft and smelled like home, and it was old so I was fine leaving it there.


The Combination of Body Wash and Shampoo is really harmful. Pack your hospital bag as soon as you complete your seven months.


Great post :) Seriously, WHY don't they tell us about these things? And why don't they tell you that the bleeding last for like, SIX WEEKS?! I'm so happy we're done (we have three little people now). Or at least I say we're done. No one has gotten fixed yet, and we're the most fertile people ever.

And to commenter "jessie" maybe YOU need to get a life? Because we all love Amy.

Also, I'm a first time commenter, but I've been reading your blog since Noah was a baby :) HI!


I waited a long time to pack my hospital bag. Then, my water broke on base when we were in a rental car with no bags and now I know we should have gone home first, but we went right to the hospital and they wouldn't let me leave. So, hubby went to go get the bags. He was gone a long time. I missed him - laboring all alone.

One thing I didn't know we'd need that he had to make sure to bring? My pump. With all it's unsanitized pieces. Because I thought that you didn't need to pump until weeks after giving birth. But that's how I avoided pitocin at first - nipple stimulation. and if I had known better? I would have been pumping while my baby refused to wake up at the hospital to feed - because my supply never recovered :(

Sanitize your pump parts and bring them to the hospital!!


I had a VBAC with my second. I hoped I would be able to but never really thought I didn't think about putting anything that resembled warm clothes in my hospital bag (for me or the baby). In my mind I'd be discharged from the hospital some time during the day (July), not at 3am after an exceedingly fast delivery! Left wearing a sleep t-shirt over my muumuu. Yep classy!


I am going to remember this post and make my boyfriend read it when we decide to have kids. I REFUSE to have a husband who brings me the wrong lip balm. REFUSE. ^_- Ya'll crack me up.


Ummmm I think I just had a panic attack trying to even understand and wrap my mind around this post and what to bring. Bless you for putting this out there. I will have to read it again once I stop breathing out of the paper bag....

Katie Kat

OMG, this whole thing made my day! I don't think I packed 1/3rd of any of this and ended up having an emergency C-section. Woo-ha! Then my hubby nearly fainted the first time I went to pee and there was the BLOOOOOOOOOOOD everywhere... oh dear! Hopefully you'll clot better this time - ha!

mrs. q.

I think I packed three lip balms along with music and extra socks. After an emergency footling breech (yea, you heard me--a baby PULLED out feet first), safe to say there were, um, stitches! So I begged nurses to find me each and every "magic pad" in labor and delivery. These are giant maxi pads with built-in ice packs. I would have jettisoned everything in my baby bag and stuffed it full of these puppies. Good thing my husband was in charge of packing the baby.


OMG the bleeding. And the pee. Vaginal with both and seriously I cried every time I had to pee for the first week. It sucked. Though I do remember with my second that they said I had to pee (after the epi wore off) or they'd give me a catheter. You better believe I made it happen.

And yes I'm de-lurking to say hiya and hope you the best with this little boy.


Hmmm... I had both kids by C-section, but the only time I had a catheter was on the operating table. It was removed even before I came to (general anaesthetic). I was allowed to get up to pee 6 hours after the operation. How long do they keep you catheritzed in bed in the US?

Also, tell Jason that the interwebs say GO GET THE BAG.

kari weber

I actually think that the pillow you got from Balboa Baby is going to be great. What I hated about the Boppy (even though I bought a second one when I had my second child...) was how FLAT it was! I am sort of tall from waist to boobs so I always felt like I had to hunch over to get said boob to babies mouth. This pillow seems to be stiffer, so therefore, probably better! Let us know how you like it upon actual use!


HILARIOUS! You make me laugh so hard.

Yes, the grudges. They still continue!


Both my babies were premature, so I went to the hospital both times without anything except what I was wearing. Not a single thing packed!

And the first time, we ended up sent by ambulance to a hospital where they told my husband not to leave the hospital grounds; it wasn't safe. So he couldn't even go get anything until much later.

But looking back, I think deciding what to take would have stressed me out more than having nothing.

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