Baby Advice : Going to the Hospital

13 Aug

My cousin is expecting a baby girl in October; I’m so excited for her because she is going to be a wonderful mother!

And her parents are going to be wonderful grandparents!

My cousin is intelligent, well educated, well traveled, and has a lot of common sense. On top of that, she works as a nurse so I’m sure she’s seen plenty of medical and/or hospital “stuff.”

I don’t think I’m exactly qualified to be giving out advice to my amazing cousin, but she did actually ask me a question a couple weeks ago:

What is a must-have item you needed for your babies?

Her question, naturally, opened up the floodgates and I started sending her message after message of really practical first time mom advice. She said it was good advice but I thought maybe I should stop bombarding her.

So, in honor of my expectant cousin, I’m going to put up a little series of advice posts. It’s definitely not expert advice but rather, bits and pieces from personal experience. I hope somebody finds it useful!

I’ll do a post on must-have baby items soon, but first up:

Advice for the hospital

Maybe you’re not going to a hospital, maybe you’re going to a birthing centre or staying home to give birth in your living room. I had my babies in a (Canadian) hospital though, so that’s what I know.

1. Write out a birth plan. There’s a very high chance that your birthing experience will be the exact opposite of what you wrote down, but I find that writing is helpful. It makes you think about and prepare for many hypothetical situations. So think about all the possibilities, write things down, expect anything and everything, know your rights, and mentally prepare.

2. Go to the birthing class if you want but don’t expect anything you learn to actually be useful. We went to a class, it was very interesting, but ultimately useless for what actually happened.

3. Pack your hospital bag several weeks ahead of your due date. I had a non-stress test at 36 weeks gestation and was told to come back on Friday for another test. The baby was going to be induced on the Friday or the Tuesday. I was hoping it would be the Tuesday so my mom would be back in town. After six hours of testing on the Friday, the Doctor declared it was baby time! It was 21 days before my due date so it was a good thing our bags in the trunk of the car.

4. Pack:
Extra clothes for mom and dad/partner
Clothes for baby to wear home
A book (to read during labour)
iPod with some music and tv shows
Extra batteries
Try to think minimally, because you have to carry it all home in addition to the flowers and balloons you will undoubtedly receive.

5. Check your insurance to see what kind of accommodations it covers. Universal healthcare is awesome because you can have your baby and walk out of the hospital without paying a cent. Except if you want a private room. Jason’s insurance didn’t cover a private room and that’s what I wanted. In our hospital, a husband/partner is not allowed to stay the night if it was a double or a ward room and I wanted Jason with me. So we paid for it – 250.00 a night. If you know ahead of time that your insurance doesn’t cover private rooms and you want a private room, then have 3 or 4 nights worth of money saved up just in case you have a lengthier stay. With my first birth, we stayed three nights but just stayed one night with my second.

6. Hire a doula if you can afford it. I didn’t have a doula because I didn’t know about doulas until my second pregnancy was almost over. Plus, I’m sure I couldn’t have afford it anyway. My husband was with me for almost every moment during both my labours but it would have been nice to have someone else there as my supporter and advocate, especially during my first labour with less than kindly nurses. The nurse during my second labour was amazing, but I wouldn’t have minded even more support.

7. Trust your body. I can’t count the number of times a friend has told me about a nurse that didn’t believe she was in active labour. A nurse told me she didn’t believe I was in active labour because I wasn’t breathing properly. She said, I was in for another 10 or 12 hours of ‘real’ labour so I should start breathing better and stop throwing up. Oh, what was that doctor? 10 centimeters dilated? Suck it bitch nurse!

8. You will probably poop during labour. It’s not really a big deal because it’s so common, but your partner might want to put on shoes before the pushing starts. Poor Jason.

9. Go to a spa a few weeks before your due date. I know body hair is natural and doctors have seen it all, but one thing I kept thinking about while I was laboring was, “I wish I could have reached around my belly to shave better!” I could barely bend let alone reach and I wished I went and got everything below the waist waxed, just for my own comfort and vanity.

10. Take pictures. I didn’t want to have a camera in my crotch but I do have pictures of labour and I’m glad I do! Also, you want to get lots of pictures of your new one as he or she makes a grand entrance! You think that would be obvious but I’ve actually talked to people who didn’t bring a real camera to the hospital.

If any mothers, fathers, birthing coaches, doulas, doctors, midwives, or nurses are reading and would like to share some good advice (from personal experience), leave a comment and I will include it in the following “Random Hospital Advice” post in a couple days.

Obviously this advice would not be applicable to the majority of the world’s pregnant population. I have a friend who was a midwife in Kenya for 30 years. She delivered babies in darkened huts in tiny African villages. I’m very aware that my advice would undoubtedly be a huge ridiculous pile of gut-busting hogwash for any woman preparing for birth in rural Kenya.

8 Responses to “Baby Advice : Going to the Hospital”

  1. Sasha Hodder August 14, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Perfect advice!

  2. Sarah August 14, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    I always tell my new moms to be- this is your time, you are queen and if there is something you do or do not want let it be known.
    The other thing is that everyone and every birth is different- so what is happening right now is all that matters.

    • L.W. August 14, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Yes, I like those! Every birth is different and the labouring woman is queen!!

  3. Monique August 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    If you know you are having a c section be sure to buy the biggest comfiest high waisted granny panties you can find. Your incision will thank you! I learned this the hard way.

    • L.W. August 13, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      Very good bit of advice! Thanks Monique! I’m kind of cringing thinking about your poor incision…


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