Labor Pains: I Packed My Hospital Bag As If I’d Be Spending Weeks At A Five-Star Resort
Iâ€™m not sure whatâ€™s worse: Packing your child up for her first day of school after Labor Day or packing up your bag for labor. Since I had a planned c-section, I had a lot of time to pack for my daughterâ€™s birth. She was born almost eight years ago and all trips and vacations I’ve taken since, I can genuinely say Iâ€™ve packed lighter for the two of us than I did for those two days in the hospital.
Yeah, I remember packing Ann-Marie MacDonaldâ€™s The Way The Crow Flies, which, no kidding is, more than 800 pages long. What the heck had I been thinking? That I could somehow start, get into, let alone finish an 832-page novel around having a baby? I seriously didnâ€™t know. No one really told me what to bring to the hospital. Sure, I had a list that I kept losing. And that list, like buying school supplies from the list of the school supplies, I found confusing, to say the least. (Number 7 pencils? What kind of markers exactly? Do they even still sell Bristol board anymore?)
The list of what to bring to the hospital had me angst-ridden. First, I needed pads. No one told me why I needed pads and I really didnâ€™t know why I would since I was getting a c-section. But mostly since I hadnâ€™t used a pad since I was 16 years old, I was more than flummoxed when it came to knowing what kind or type of pads to buy. So, of course, because I didnâ€™t want to screw up my labor day packing, I bought practically ever size, shape and brand of pad on the market. I bought extra long, super sleek, super size, wrap around….
Eight years later, I still have three packages of pads from that hospital stay. In fact, I recently gave one to my boyfriendâ€™s daughter, who may or may not be starting or period soon. (I donâ€™t think they have expiration dates, do they?) But with buying pads, I also needed underwear. The underwear I had back then, all thongs, would not work for the pads and so I also had to go underwear shopping. The truth is, I hadnâ€™t gone underwear shopping for years (I rarely, if ever, wear underwear.) Living in a new city, I had no idea even where to buy underwear. So my fiancÃ© and I hit a department store, where I looked over underwear that would go with my pads, underwear I wanted to be comfortable, but also inexpensive, because I knew that I would never use the underwear again.
Again, I bought 18 pairs of underwear, all of which I also packed in my hospital bag, along with the cartons of pads, because I had no clue what to expect after my daughter came into the world. Along with the huge novel, and enough pads to hand out to an entire all-girls high school, and underwear to last me four years, I also packed a large-size bottle of shampoo, conditioner, a bar of soap, toiletries as if I were going away for vacation for a week, and enough â€œcomfortableâ€ clothes to last me through a winter season in Canada.
I brought slippers and two robes and numerous pajamas (which I never got into) and sweat suits. And that was just for me! For my new daughter, I also had a freak out over what to pack. We had a â€œleaving the hospitalâ€ outfit from one set of grandparents and another â€œleaving the hospitalâ€ outfit my mother had knit. We had enough onsies, newborn diapers, soothers, bibs, wipes, cloths and blankets to last us months.
We just didnâ€™t know. It is easy to screw up, as easy as it is now when I have to get my daughter ready for her first day at school. I over pack her pencil case, because last year â€“ as stated â€“ I bought her a ruler, but that ruler didnâ€™t turn out to be long enough. So now I buy her three rulers, because I donâ€™t want to be the one mother who doesnâ€™t seem to be able to buy the right school supplies.
When my fiancÃ© saw the packed hospital bag, he told me that I wasnâ€™t going on vacation. He nearly threw out his back when he picked up the massive duffle bag that looked like I was going away for overnight camp for a month. But he didnâ€™t really complain, because he was as clueless as I was. I remember walking into the hospital and asking directions for where we to go and whispering to him, â€œI think theyâ€™re laughing at how much we brought.â€ But, better safe than sorry, right?
And, yes, aside from the few diapers and swaddle blankets and a pair or two of underwear, I didnâ€™t use much. The book was never opened, as with the shampoo and conditioner. It was never even taken out of the bag, along with most of the stuff I packed. Even after we got home, my hospital bag remained at the door of our then condo, unpacked, for more than a year.
Eight years later, I have yet to read The Way The Crow Flies. I have more pressing things to do, like buying my daughter the right markers.