Thursday, September 14, 2006

WHAT'S IN THE BAG

I'm starting to switch off and enter Denial. Seems like a logical psychological tool for dealing with the next 23 days. Not that I'm counting. At all. All those intricate lists you make with the first child, religiously crossing of bits and pieces as they are collected, have been abandoned second time round. Shit. What was I thinking! I live for lists. They rule my life, they are my order. Did I think I knew it all because I've done it once?

I have to pack my hospital bag. My midwife and I have a plan. This is good. The plan involves packing my hospital bags this week. Next week she will tell me to unpack my bags, and then, apparently, because I am in chaos without a packed bag, the baby will spontaneously come. I like her plan a lot. I have utter faith in it. Still means I have to pack my bags, which means I should know what is going into my bags. Should be easy. Wrong.

I had 2 bags last time. Because I was efficiently organised because I had read all the books, consulted many lists, crossed off my lists, and visualised my birth. There was one bag for me, and one for the baby. That's how organised I was. 90% of what went into my bag remained untouched. 95% of what went into Max's bag went untouched. The 10% and 5% that were used were incredibly utilitarian things: nappies, maternity pads (how many packets of maternity pads does one buy - a LOT. Buy LOTS now. Your husband does not want to go and buy them for you while you are in hospital), underwear, deodorant, Arnica pills. So what, exactly do I pack this time?

My last labour went haywire in every possible way. There was no romance to any of it, and no way of planning for each new eventuality that presented itself, and therefore no real way of utilising many of the things I thought I would rely on. The one thing I really wanted in my bag - my husband - had been told to go home. Induction is supposed to be slow - Bring a book! Bring knitting! Yes, well, not all inductions are slow, and it's bloody hard when you have no support there with you, and another lady in the room not in labour trying to sleep. I'm pretty sure this time reading and knitting wont be on the agenda either. Cute idea, but I'd like to focus on a) my body, and b) the baby at the other side.

I took no music, or essential oils, candles or anything like that. My labour was brutal, and I kind of liked that. I didn't miss any of them. My one concession was a homeopathic birthing kit. It remained unopened except for the Arnica Pills which I swear made a huge difference to my recovery. They were used religiously from the moment of induction, to the day I went home, and beyond.

The bag for Max went unopened for 12 hours, except to get nappies out. I had been told Max was going to be big. So we only bought non-newborn clothes, and only packed plain sleepsuits in a larger size. We were woefully unprepared for a small baby who swam in 0-3 month clothes, and sweltered in the heat of a sunny window bed and warm hospital. Husband was dispatched to buy emergency lightweight newborn size clothes.

Everything I packed was wrong, or inadequate, or not used. And I followed all the guideline lists. Each baby is different, each labour different, each experience different, and now I'm torn between the stupidly romantic notions of a little newborn girl and this being the last pregnancy/birth, and the reality of just getting through the experience and anything extra can be brought in from home which is 10 minutes walk down the road.

Yes. I am being slightly over thoughtful on this. When I have a packed bag, I will share the contents. I believe a nice big box of chocolates will be high on the list of priorites.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Alicia A. said...

Well, the bad news is you know what can happen this time around. But the good news is you KNOW what happens. That is infinitely empowering.

I'm thinking about you and hoping things go as smoothly as possible. It may even go better than last time! And if it doesn't, so be it. Take it one step at a time, and keep your mind on the reward. (Hello, baby.) At least you realize, no matter what happens, to soak up every painful, frightening and incredible moment.

Good luck first with packing the bag, next with the harder stuff.

12:11 am  
Anonymous Krista said...

for my first birth, the bag had been packed for a month, at least, checked and re-checked against multiple lists. The second time around, my water broke and then I sent my husband racing around the house tossing things in bags while I stood stock-still in the middle of the kitchen, chewing on a fingernail. And, guess what? Labor and delivery #2 went, like, a million times better than the first, lack of preparation notwithstanding.

1:04 am  
Anonymous Ali said...

Didn't even get the bag opened for number 2 (apart from the Arnica - you're right - it's miraculous despite lots of tearing/stitching nastiness).

Like your midwife's bag double bluff idea!

3:03 am  
Blogger Beth said...

Slippers, loose nightgown, baby's going home outfit, nursing pads. That's all I needed last time. My labor was induced and a total of 3 hours. Brutal but quickly over.
That's the way to go. Travel light.

7:30 am  
Blogger filambulle said...

Dear Alison, dear Sooz. I congratulate you for the opening of this new beautiful blog. May it be a nice and warm place for mothers and mothers-in-being to share and reconfort.
One of the very first thought I had when giving birth to my wonderful first child, was an immense respect for all mothers, and a feeling of being part of Motherhood.
Motherhood is so strong, hard and powerful; so weak, soft and powerless in its essence. May we keep our Self in view, and be nice with ourselves.

The bag? It is way more easy here: You just have to take baby clothes for the departure day. (two, in case you must wait, and the baby choose this moment to experiment extreme pissing or milk express distribution) Well, and don't forget VERY confortable clothes for the mother. Lots of them. Because feeling sweaty twenty seconds after your last shower is not helping the third-day baby-blues. And the fourth neither. (I had to stay 4 nights each time, because of the /&%ç/%&çcesarean section)

Motherhood can be a quite gory subject of discussion. I shall end here for today.

8:30 am  
Blogger jussi said...

lovely blog - Mamas need to talk it out, talk and talk until you understand what happened, talk about the changes - baby, body and life, and then when the babies are older - talk and talk with them to help avoid the subject of Sooz's movie.
As for the bag, - I never used the oil, candles, music etc - labour was either too fast or too hard - but a supply of cold faceclothes was luxury, basic baby clothes, a muslin wrap covers a multitude of sins, nappies, pads, bra pads, and of course Dad and the camera.

4:08 pm  
Blogger knittingmomma said...

The best tip given to me by my doula was to bring socks to keep my exposed feet warm. What a blessing. I also snuck in foot massage lotion to have administered to my feet by said doula and hubby while waiting for induction to progress. Couldn't have done it without my selfhypnosis CD and CD player. As for the rest... it just took up space in the small room. Oh, wait... the video camera and tripod captured the wonderful moment (and the midwives lowrise pants... grin)... but watching that video around the time of Huxleys' birthday reminds me of the strenght I am capable off. Happy packing and all the luck and energy needed for a good birth of the new life you are creating.

9:19 pm  
Blogger knittingmomma said...

The best tip given to me by my doula was to bring socks to keep my exposed feet warm. What a blessing. I also snuck in foot massage lotion to have administered to my feet by said doula and hubby while waiting for induction to progress. Couldn't have done it without my selfhypnosis CD and CD player. As for the rest... it just took up space in the small room. Oh, wait... the video camera and tripod captured the wonderful moment (and the midwives lowrise pants... grin)... but watching that video around the time of Huxleys' birthday reminds me of the strenght I am capable off. Happy packing and all the luck and energy needed for a good birth of the new life you are creating.

9:20 pm  
Anonymous arc said...

what a gift of a blog right now! thanks so much for sharing. can't wait to hear more from you two.

and oh the bag...i'm sort of packed and sort of ready but am walking around in a fog of i'll never be prepared enough and i have no idea of what i'm getting myself into!

alison...3 weeks! (funny we're due the same day!) ...arc

2:50 pm  
Blogger Iris said...

What a wonderful blog, and what a wonderful find for me in those last 2 weeks of pregnancy.

This is not my second but my first child, so I guess some things are different and a lot of things are the same - the wondering about what it will be like, the anticipation and the fretting, the excitement and the worry.

I am looking forward to hearing more from you two. :-)

Iris

3:34 am  
Blogger Love Squalor said...

yes! I am so with you on this - the lists, the bags, and life's way of ignoring all of the planning. I am loving reading all about this pregnancy and the last - can't wait for more!

9:54 am  

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