motherhood,  pregnancy

5 Favorites: Hospital Bag

So I should proooooobably pack something to take for the dreaded overnight at hotel hospital for this little lady’s imminent arrival, but I find myself at something of a loss.

Firstly, if I pack a bag that means I’m expecting to go into labor soon. At least in my mind, bag preparedness = imminent birth. I’m ‘full term’ at 37 weeks now, and indeed, Joey was born at 37w 4d, so it’s not completely beyond the realm of possibility. But. But… John Paul debuted at 41 weeks and some change. So, yeah. If you’re counting, that’s around a month‘s difference in gestational time. They were both spontaneous labors, and Joey was actually 10 oz bigger than JP, so…who knows. And yes, we knew our dates were right, both times. Particularly with our almost-honeymoon baby Joey, ahem.

So that means I may be pregnant for like, another 2 days. Or else for another month. No big deal, right? Well, except for the extra 2-3 lbs I seem to be piling on every single week still. And the fact that I had to buy a new maternity shirt yesterday in this, my 9th month of pregnancy, when I’d really prefer to be saving my pennies for something not designed by Madame Lange and consisting of a 97/3 lycra poly blend. I don’t know, maybe pants with a zipper? Something crazy.

But back to the bag. For our firstborn’s delivery, I had a full size suitcase packed with aaaaaaaall the recommended Bradley business you can imagine, and then some. Tennis balls. Scented candles. Essential oils. A birthing ball. Literally made Dave stuff a 55 inch fully inflated birthing ball in the backseat of our Honda accord before driving my laboring, broken-watered self through rush hour traffic on a Wednesday evening to our hospital. Oh, and a Boppy. And a blow dryer. And 3 outfits for all three of us, I’m pretty sure. At any rate, 80% of it never made it up from the parking lot to the birthing suite, and I’m almost positive that I wore the same pair of his and his gym shorts and a ratty nursing tank for the entire 3 day stay. We may have even done a leave-behind on the birthing ball in the hospital parking lot when we discovered we couldn’t get Joey’s carseat strapped into the back seat due to it’s massive girth…

I did a little better packing for JP’s debut, but not a lot, and I distinctly remember looking around our teeny teeny teeny recovery room and freaking the freak out because there was clutter everywhere: clothes, balloons, half empty bottles of champagne, diapers, makeup…it was so not zen-like.

This time I would looooove to strike the perfect balance between prepared and spartan chic. I’m talking one bathrobe for mama, a handful of footie pajamas and onesies for baby girl, and maybe Dave’s contact solution and toothbrush. Maybe. (I’d love to not have to stay a single night this time around, fingers crossed!)

So I throw the floor open to you, mamas. What are your go-to items/products for birth day? Here are mine:

1. Earth Mama Angel Baby new mama bottom spray. I can’t/won’t really go into further detail, but, yes. Essential. And much nicer smelling than lydocaine.

2. Bravado nurisng bra. Just picked this one up at Target to rave reviews from my 2-person try on panel in the family sized dressing room. Praying it lives up to the hype, and that they both wipe that memory clean from the delicate slate of their formative young souls…

3. Arbonne FC5 moisturizing day lotion. I use the formula for normal/dry skin, and I feel like a huge troll if I don’t put it on morning and night, even though I’m probably not reaping the full SPF benefits in the midnight hours. It feels better than any lotion I’ve ever used, and I happily cough up the 30-something bucks every 6 months to reorder it.

You can buy some from my bff Elizabeth here.

4. My MacBook. Oh internet, the thought of sitting in a hospital recovery room without you by my side is too sad to bear. Plus, birth story writing. Maybe a little ambitious, we’ll see.

5. Our San Damiano Crucifix. I bought it at the FUS bookstore before graduation and had it blessed by my old spiritual director, a wonderful T.O.R. with a rocking beard. Since then it has accompanied us into every delivery room, and I made sure to bring it to our last general audience with Papa Francesco before we departed Roma, so now it’s layered with a thick layer of papal blessing, too. (Freaked out yet, non-Catholic readers?) My wonderful doctor also brings a beautiful icon of the Blessed Mother and props her up somewhere in my eyeshot, and I love begin able to look around our sterile and hideously-late-90’s-oak-panelled delivery suite and see some actual beauty.

So tell me, what’s in your bag? What am I missing? And head to Hallie’s house on your way out.


  • Kris

    It’s been a few years, but I make sure I have “regular” underwear because that mesh stuff at the hospital is beyond not happening. A nice baby blanket. A book to read, an ipod. Camera. I definitely winnowed down between first and last!

  • Mary

    This is the second or third time someone’s raved about that Bottom Spray, so I jumping on that train the next time ’round the baby mobile. I always pack my gluten-free carbs/processed comfort foods to eat post labor– WOW cookies, Chex honey cereal. And a Snickers bar. Always a snickers bar.

  • Lisa

    One thing I mini-splurged on with both deliveries was…new socks. I don’t know why but new socks make me happy. And also on my list is some form of snacking chocolate- my sister brought be a bag of that homemade Chex mix Trash and I was grabbing it by the fistful in b/w nursing sessions!


    I don’t know how I ever managed it, as disorganized as I become under pressure, but both times (I think I did it both times?) I brought fresh strawberries and freshly-made brownies (from the Ghirardelli dark chocolate boxed mix — the only kind of brownies worth having, as far as I’m concerned). It was easily the best birthing-related decision I made.

  • Rosie

    I always pack holy water, just in case an emergency baptism is in order and my husband has to jump into action. It seems crazy, but that is the item that I triple check to make sure that I have. And usually some orange juice or gatorade, which I mostly needed when I was induced with my second baby and was at the hospital in labor for a long time. Hope your labor goes well!!! Praying for you!

  • Valerie

    Yes on the normal underwear, and I ‘always’ take my own pads too (not funny? ok). After day one postpartum, I can’t handle the two inch thick beauties sans wings that they give you at the hospital to wear under the mesh panties. Other than that, a comfy pair of something modest and feminine to lounge in, a camera, and a toothbrush is about all that I take.

  • Alix Davis

    Pretzel M&Ms. I eat one giant bag the night the baby is born to help me stay up nursing! I have for every child, and I plan to do it for every child to come! I look forward to it for months….unfortunately for me that means buying a bag once a week and mistakenly eating it too early….so by the time the birth comes around, I’ve probably already eaten ten bags.

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