Packing your hospital bag for labour and birth is one of the most exciting things you will do in pregnancy. It’s your last chance to take some control of the environmental stimuli you will experience during labour, delivery, and recovery. It’s your chance to access the creature comforts of home while you’re in a hospital setting. It’s an opportunity to feel as cozy, clean, relaxed, and prepared as you possibly can for the arrival of your little one.
Here’s the rub—you shouldn’t be the one to pack the bag.
Really? But only I know what I will need! I can’t possibly leave something this important to someone else, can I?
You can, and you should, hand this very important task off to someone—your partner (or whoever will be supporting you during labour and birth).
For the birth of our first daughter, I asked my husband to add this important task to his to-do list. The result was not only the most epic of packed hospital bags (which showed up ready, at our door, a mere 24-hours later), but an extremely calm and empowered birth partner.
My husband took on this task with much enthusiasm, once he understood that this was our kit for managing labour and birth together. He needed to have access to the important things in this bag as much as I did. In all honestly, he was the only one who ever took items out of this bag for baby and me given that I was a little—*cough*—preoccupied with breathing, panting, pacing, puking, shouting, mooing, and pushing out a baby.
Don’t think you need to eliminate yourself from the process altogether.
Give your birth partner a starting place from which to work by printing off one of these handy checklists, or create your own. The guidelines for your own list are:
Pretty thorough, right? A little too thorough, perhaps? On the way home from the hospital, my husband summarized how much of our hospital-bag had gone unused by quipping:
“Next time, I’m only packing two things—some straw to lay down on the floor and a stick for you to bite.”
So, I’ve made some slight adjustments for the checklist for the arrival of Baby #2:
Given that I’m hoping to try for a birth similar to our daughter’s, I’ll also be bringing this list of powerful birth affirmations. Even though I didn’t look at these once during my last labour, I felt safer just knowing I had them there:
I wish you a fast, safe, healthy, organized labour and birth.