Hospital Bag?! What Hospital Bag? – Bee’s Labour & Delivery Story

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I realize that this story comes close to 2 years late, but I came across something the other day that brought it all back to me.  So, I finally decided to share the series of events that make up the story that is, “My Labour & Delivery of Bee”.

*****

I’m 31 weeks along as of Wednesday, so I thought to ask Babycenter what Pelé is up to these days besides constantly and continuously kicking the crap out of me.  Apparently he is now the weight of a coconut and is “heading into a growth spurt” – which totally answers the question of how I can still possibly be hungry for a chocolate croissant after inhaling a large quiche.

Mmmmmm…. coconut quiche croissant….

As I scrolled to the bottom of the post I came across their suggestion for “This Week’s Activity.”  They say that, although I don’t need to pack it just yet, I might want to start making a list of things I’d like to have in my hospital bag.

And I have to say, reminiscing about how my labour and delivery with Bee went down, this list made me L-O-L.

Here is what the site actually says:

This Week’s Activity:

You don’t need to pack your bag yet, but start making a list of items to bring to the hospital. Besides a change of clothes and a toothbrush, some items to include:

  • A photograph or object to focus on during labor
  • Snacks to keep your energy up and gum or mints for bad breath
  • Cozy socks and slippers
  • Your favorite pillow
  • Some light reading material
  • A nursing nightie and nursing bra
  • A going-home outfit for your baby
  • A camera or camcorder, fresh batteries, and film, if necessary

*****

Okay.  Now, after reading this, I’m fully aware that this specific list is targeted towards women who are planning on staying in the hospital longer than it takes to push the baby out, get stitched up while said baby gets cleaned and checked, then be awkwardly dressed by their partner and placed dizzily into the backseat of the car on a giant maxi pad next to the baby who’s now screaming and strapped into it’s seat to go home where no one will ever sleep again.

Ehem.

This list is for mamas who are going to have a c-section, or have to be induced, or who just choose to stay over a night or two.  For women who want and have that option, and who will have time peruse some “light reading material” at some point over the course of their stay, however long it may be….

*****

I was not like that with Bee.

With Bee I laboured at home for as long as I could before transition happened, which was when my water broke all over the couch and I barfed into one of my favourite red bowls because oh my GOD the pain…..

My midwife “checked” me and was like, “yeah, we gotta go to the hospital.  NOW!”  So into the car I went; my husband drove us through Chinatown where along the way, between dry heaving into the red bowl, I had flashes of having to pull over to the side of the road to deliver the baby.  Hubs, realizing we couldn’t turn left where we thought we could turn left, made an illegal left – nearly running over a man sleeping on a subway grate – and got us there pretty much as safely as possible.

After wrenching into the red bowl and moaning like a large animal in heat as my husband did something at a front desk (I still to this day don’t know what ahas going on), up to the maternity ward I went!

It was Thanksgiving Monday, which apparently meant that no other women were giving birth that day because it was a holiday and why would you ruin a day off of work by having your baby!?  So, I got a “big” room!…

Which really, I couldn’t have cared less about, because now the contractions were coming one on top of the other and I was swaying around the room making guttural, unholy noises from the depths of my soul, unable to communicate with anyone – and at one point I laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of what was happening, although I’m pretty sure no one noticed because I may have just laughed internally and for some reason thought I’d LOL’d.

I remember occasionally seeing my husband through half-closed, rolled back eyes, usually as he was trying to feed me orange Gatorade – which I never enjoyed to begin with and will never ingest in my life again, thankyouverymuch.

At one point, when I thought I had reached the summit of my pain tolerance, I asked my midwife for an epidural.  But since we had talked at length leading up to this about how much I actually DID NOT want an epidural, and that I desperately wanted to do it all naturally, she stalled.  And thankfully, I quickly forgot all about it.

Besides, that summit of pain?  Yeah, turns out I had a looo-OOOng way to go.

I slipped in and out of consciousness from exhaustion, somehow able to, for a time, ignore the wave upon wave of contractions that washed over me….

The next couple of hours were spent on another planet, in another realm, in another universe.  It’s not pain you feel when you’re going through labour.  It’s your body going to another place, another level of existence – where it has one very earth-shattering job to do, so it morphs and contracts and expands and becomes something super human-like.  It ignores every cry for help that comes from within and continues to do what it was created to do: to get that baby out.

Eventually, I asked for the laughing gas.

Ladies, here’s the truth about laughing gas during an otherwise drug-free labour:  IT DOES NOTHING.

Okay, wait.  That’s not entirely true.

It makes you stoned.

Your voice suddenly sounds three octaves lower than it actually is and you’re finally able to be a bit more communicative with everyone in the room, so you’re asking someone every ten seconds if your voice sounds super weird but keep being told that no, it sounds perfectly normal, and you just laugh at how people don’t know anything and continue to take deep breaths from the mask.

But the contractions?  When you’re on the gas?  Yeah, they’re still there.  You can still feel them.  Maybe, possibly, the gas takes a teeny, tiny edge off, but they keep on coming, as strong as ever.

And then suddenly, out of the blue, I had to push.

I had this URGE that came from the darkness in the bowels of somewhere deep within me that took over my whole body, and I screamed through the mask, “I HAVE TO PUSH.  OH MY GOD, I HAVE TO PUSH!!!”

My midwife doubted this was possible since it’d been “too short a time” (whatever that means!  Time?  What’s TIME?)  since she’d last checked me, when I was only 8 or 9 cm dilated.  But my body was HOWLING that I HAD TO PUSH!!  I shouted it again – my midwife checked me and declared, “wow!  Okay!  It’s time to push!”

So I pushed.

And these were the moments where I thank the GODS I wasn’t on any sort of numbing medication, because I could feel exactly when the urge was coming on, and when it did by holy mother of EARTH, I PUSHED.

In just under 20 minutes, I pushed my baby out.  Hubs was right there to catch her; he was the first person to have his hands on her, to touch her skin, to lift her to her new life and place her gently on my naked chest, where she immediately looked at me and changed my whole world forever.

Just like that, the pain was gone.  And I’d had a baby.  My husband and I had a daughter.  We were a family.

And that’s when I said her name out loud, with her in the room, for the very first time.  I announced it to everyone, through exhaustion and pure, sheer joy.  Through a sort of euphoria that made every second of everything I had just been through, 100%, completely worth it.

The midwife took Bee to clean her up and check to make sure everything was in order.  She weighed a wee 6 pounds 2 ounces, which basically means she was small and I didn’t require any stitches (PHEWWWWWPH).  For about 2 hours I caught my breath, was instilled with a new sense of exhilaration, and adrenaline pumped through me like I had just jumped to earth from the moon.

I was a mom.  My husband was a dad.

He stood next to Bee the entire time she was being wiped down, measured, picked up and put down.  He hovered over her protectively with a look I had never seen before on any person’s face… a look of pride, love and wonderment, all at once.

And then, after everyone was cleaned up, we went home.

My husband helped get me and Bee dressed, took us gently down to the car, and as incredibly safely as possible, drove us home.

*****

I guess we had a hospital bag.  I suppose my husband brought something that contained some clothes and a diaper or two.  But I can guarantee, if there was anything from that list in there, aside from the going home outfits, I certainly never saw it.

There was no time for me to focus on a picture during labour, I would have torn up anything that had been put in front of me, including “light reading material” (I could barely open my eyes to focus on anything, anyway).  Mints for bad breath?!  WHO THE F*** CARES ABOUT BAD BREATH!?  Get these itchy clothes off of me and get this baby out of me!!  Slippers??  I can’t even remember if I was barefoot or had socks on… oh, and GET THAT CAMERA OUT OF MY FACE before I SMASH YOU.

Really, nothing mattered during those 7 hours.  Nothing.  No object, no article of clothing, no personal treasure…

I wanted to have my baby and get home with her and my husband, to start our new life together.

Which we did.

*****

I get it, though.  I really, truly do and I completely respect any decision each and every woman makes when it comes to their birth plan.  If they have to, or even want to stay for a few days after the birth, then I’m sure the Babycenter list is a great thing to refer to when packing that bag.

But I’m curious, if you had a natural labour and delivery like I did, did you utilize your hospital bag?  What did you have in there?  Was it useful?  I’d love to know!

6 thoughts on “Hospital Bag?! What Hospital Bag? – Bee’s Labour & Delivery Story

    Lauren Lawrence said:
    July 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I loved reading this…hilarious!! I packed a hospital bag and stayed over (it was nice to have the nurses to help look after baby at night while I recovered. I think the only things I found truly useful were my nursing pillow, my toiletries (for when I finally showered) and my camera of course. Who cares about breath mints?!?! Agree with you on that 🙂

      mamabethbarnes said:
      July 28, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Lauren! I’ve heard from so many women who found staying in the hospital for a night or two to be incredibly helpful. If I had gone the ob-gyn route I probably would have made that choice – but since the care is so different with midwives I was actually quite confident in going straight home. And yeah, breath mints!? That’s hilarious!! I think out of all the potentially embarrassing things that are happening with your body as you go through labour, bad breath shouldn’t even make the list!! Lol!

    henryshighchair said:
    July 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Three drug free ‘natural’ deliveries (OMG am I mad??) First: my son was 3 weeks early, 5lbs 3oz, and I had BF issues, so we were in hospital for 3 nights. Honestly, I barely remember what was in my hospital bag … ? Second: two nights, I remember needing to ask for more pjs from home because, ahem, yeah. So apparently I brought pjs? Third: one night, and I brought something for the new wee girl to wear home. By the third I think I used my kindle, but good god not during labour. I’m with you on the ‘get everything out of my face don’t touch me don’t talk to me just get this baby out’ state during labour. And the laughing gas? Ha. By the third I didn’t even bother.

      mamabethbarnes said:
      July 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      OMG, you are mad. You ARE!! But also, totally amazing! I’m *hoping* to go natural again, but obviously with the open mind that anything can happen! At the end of the day, it’s just about whatever it takes to get the baby safely out of you. Yes, a change of pjs would be crucial because… yep. Totally got ya on that. I had a comfy “going to the hospital” outfit laying out for a week or so leading up to the labour, but of course as soon as I put it on, THAT’S when my water broke all over the place. Hubs was an angel and threw it in the dryer for me so I could still wear it, but by the time we were heading out the door I could have been naked for all I cared. And seriously, the laughing gas. Why is it even an option? To distract?? For something to do besides wail and moan and clutch the backs of beds?? Perhaps if I use it this time I’ll be stoned enough to ask someone about it 😉 Thanks so much for the comment!

    nburnie said:
    July 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I love the way you have described this, but I’m not sure it’s helping to calm my nerves! With baby on the way any time now, yes, my hospital bag is packed and ready to go…and no, it does not include breath mints!

      mamabethbarnes said:
      July 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Nooo! Don’t be afraid!! Every woman is different, and if you’re going in there with a plan to get drugs, AMAZING! From what I hear it is THE game changer! And if you are by chance hoping to go the natural route, I salute you and offer this tiny bit of advice: this is literally what we were MADE to do, mama. As long as you and your baby are safe and things are going smoothly, you will get through it – the pain is finite and you WILL be amazing and powerful and you WILL have the most incredible experience of your life. But that’s regardless of drugs vs. no drugs. Giving birth is totally the sh*t. You can DO THIS!!! And GOOD LUCK!!
      P.S. I’d love to hear back after to see if you used everything in the bag 😉

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