What I packed in my hospital bag

I had so much fun packing a hospital bag for this baby that I thought I would share a post about it. I could never resist those hospital bag blog and Instagram posts myself.

With pregnancy and birth there's so many things you can't control or that you may not like but just have to get through. For example, no one asks you if you would enjoy having your cervix checked or peeing in a cup. You can't do much about your weight going up and up over 6 or 7 months. No matter what affiliate links you click on for stretch mark cream you can't stop stretch marks from appearing, not to mention killer varicose veins. Generally speaking, no one, not your pregnancy app, not the doctor, and not the internet, can tell you exactly when baby will decide to make his appearance in that last month. Tonight? Two weeks from now? Maybe. Also, you can have a birth plan but it's quite possible things could go south at the delivery and there's nothing you can do.

In light of that, I decided to try to have fun with the hospital bag because that is something I do have control over. And since this is my fourth baby, I felt like I knew what things I would like to have in there much better than with my first.

Christopher said he would buy me a fancy new diaper bag for this baby. It was very hard to decide which one to get. I searched and searched online, trying to find one that would be stylish and attractive but durable and comfortable to tote around everywhere and drop on the floor of a dirty old Suburban. I almost chose a Petunia Picklebottom convertible backpack in a pretty Disney Beauty and the Beast print. But when I read dozens of reviews on it, it didn't seem to be a practical choice. Once you got past the influencer reviews of a free product, people complained that the bag would never stand upright but flopped over and the backpack straps were nearly impossible to use. Looking at the photos more carefully, I could see those were legitimate concerns.

I looked some more (and okay, even prayed about it -- go ahead and laugh at me if you want for praying about something like which diaper bag to choose) and finally decided on a plain black Itzy Ritzy Dream Convertible backpack. They had a classic round backpack and a square one. I chose the square one because the shape looked more elegant to me and the round backpack seemed a little juvenile for someone in their mid-thirties. It's made of a synthetic material that seems sturdy and should wipe clean. Black seemed a little boring after Beauty and the Beast but in the end I was glad I decided to keep it simple. When I got it in the mail I was very happy with how the gold hardware and tassel charm keychain made the bag still look fancy. The straps are padded and comfortable and (I discovered this from review photos) the bag still looks nice even when you stuff it full. This is a plus. When Christopher packs the diaper bag for church it is crammed to bulging and weighs about 45 pounds. Yes, he is heroic dad who packs the diaper bag and gets the kids dressed for church while I am in the shower. Anyway, did you know that not all diaper bags look nice when they are stuffed? Things you don't think to consider until the fourth child...

So the nice new bag is going to be my hospital bag! That was probably the best part of packing for the hospital.

For baby, I just packed a few things because in the past they gave us diapers and a thermometer and comb and brush and all kinds of things at the hospital.

I packed him three zip up sleepers. One of my favorites is a white sleeper printed with blue bunny rabbits and decorated with an applique of a fuzzy cotton bunny tail on the back. That was given to Julian from his bunny-loving grandmother and Julian only got to wear it a couple of times before he outgrew it.

I also packed him a crocheted horned Viking hat. He has a Viking name so I told Christopher he needs a Viking hat. Etsy was happy to oblige. I suppose bunny sleepers and Viking hats are incongruous, but that's okay.

My mom makes every one of her grandchildren two new double sided flannel blankets to have at their birth, so I packed those. She made him one printed with blue hedgehogs and the other with a squirrel print backed in plaid. Perfect for an autumn baby.

I'm also bringing my own nursing pillow. There are nursing pillows at the hospital that they are always happy to let moms use but they never have covers for them. Last time when I had Julian my nurse covered the pillow with normal rectangular pillowcases, which is an okay temporary solution, except we were in the hospital a lot longer than anticipated. This time I thought we'd be more comfortable with our own nursing pillow.

The first thing I packed for myself was an outfit to go home in. I am sick of maternity clothes! I packed some jeggings in a size larger than my pre-pregnancy size, but they are NOT maternity clothes because I bought them and promised myself I would save them for after I had the baby. I packed my favorite pre-pregnancy t-shirt, which should fit fine as it's nice and loose, and a comfortable fleece pullover sweater. Nursing bras, of course, and a belly wrap. Nothing I wore during pregnancy. Every time after I have a baby I think I will have to throw up if I even look at those old maternity clothes again. So in spite of how all the pregnancy advice books tell you you'll still look 6 months pregnant after you have the baby and you'll have to wear maternity clothes, I am not going to wear them. I refuse.

I packed some new pajamas and slippers. The pajamas are pink and printed with cherries. The slippers are froofy white faux fur slide on slippers adorned with tiny silk roses.

One Christmas a long time ago my mom made me a small pink rag cat quilt. It was supposed to make me feel better when I was having a hard time in college. It worked. So I packed that in my bag too, just in case.

I packed a book that I have been wanting to read again for a long time but decided to save for when I was in the hospital. It is Wildwood Dancing, a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses set in Romania.

For snacks I packed about 8 Luna bars. They are the best granola bars, but kind of expensive so I don't usually buy them except on special occasions.

For my birthday I was given a new Victoria's Secret lotion and a Bath and Body Works body wash, so I decided to pack those in the bag too, just to have something special. That first shower after the delivery is the best. One day I went to the store and found a bunch of Soap & Glory products in the clearance bin for 75% off! So I was able to get a nice face lotion and vitamin C serum to put in the bag too. Then when it's time I won't have to try to remember to bring my everyday face lotion from the bathroom cabinet at home. I packed the rest of the usual travel sized toiletries: toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, deodorant, spare razor and shave lotion, contact lens solution and case, lip balm, a few hair ties.

When I tried to pack a phone charger I discovered we had exactly one USB-C cord. I had to order more, which is probably a good thing. I bought them in electric blue so they wouldn't get lost as easily as the black ones.

All this little stuff like travel toiletries and phone charger I was able to organize in my collection of Ipsy small zipper bags. Those are great for traveling! Even though I haven't had an Ipsy subscription in years I still like to pick up pretty Ipsy bags from yard sales and the thrift store.

There are a few other things I want to bring but can't pack early. I have to make sure I bring my glasses, flat iron and makeup bag. And wallet and phone, of course.

I tried to pack my journal but I simply could not cram it into the stuffed bag. Anyway, probably I would not have a chance to journal while taking care of baby.

A lot of women I have seen prepare a birth playlist or maybe copy out Scripture cards for labor or maybe bring some soothing essential oils but for me, in the past when I get to the hospital I am ready to deliver and there's not time to bother with anything else other than concentrating on giving birth so I didn't pack much of anything for the delivery itself.

A long time later.... It's now been 8 weeks since I had the baby and I am just now finishing up this post! We were in the hospital for a little under 48 hours and I think I found nearly everything I packed to be helpful. Two things that stand out from packing:

1. I loved the idea of spreading my own quilt over me in bed after I was all cleaned up from giving birth. The problem is I forgot that I always feel sweaty and hot those first days after birth and I didn't want a blanket. So I didn't use my rag quilt.

2. The weather at the end of September was chilly and I was looking forward to being able to zip my winter coat again after I had the baby. I was a little surprised, though. When I left the hospital I still could not zip my coat up! A little bit of a letdown. However, my uterus shrank down quickly and just one week later I could zip my coat again, even still carrying an extra 20 pounds from the pregnancy. Hooray for being warm!

3. I loved the Soap & Glory Vitamin C serum and lotion. Also, it was really nice to have a special new body wash and lotion for my first shower after giving birth. Whenever I smell those scents now I remember how happy I was to have my brand new baby.

4. His Viking hat was too big and kept sliding down over his eyes, so I took a photo and then ended up having to put it away for a couple of months. Oh well.

5. After 8 weeks I can say the diaper bag has been wonderful. I love it.

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