An Early Wee Green Mummy Column
My hospital bag for having Sam was packed on the same basis - I probably won’t need it unless I don’t pack it. There are lots of helpful websites that will suggest what to take, but don’t feel obliged to follow them to the letter. Some of them are based on healthcare providers elsewhere in the world and some of them are written by people who are even more excessive than me at packing bags! The best advice I can give is to make two lists, one for you and one for the baby. And if you’ve already packed spares, don’t pack more spares!! If you’re really struggling for something, they’ll probably be able to lend you it at the hospital and if not, there’s a big supermarket five minutes away, birth partners and new grandparents make excellent errand boys!
One thing I did have with me was a TENS machine which relieves pain by sending electrical pulses to your lower back via sticky pads. I didn’t use it in hospital as I was past the stage where it would have helped but it was amazing in the week leading to the birth as it helped with niggling back pains without me needing to take any painkillers. I’ve mentioned before that I had a relatively easy birth, my waters broke at half past one in the morning and I had a beautiful baby nine hours later.
I have a theory that I might have been in labour for a full day beforehand though. I put the severe lower back pain down to an unstable pelvis and went for a brisk walk to my parents’ house, got my sister to paint my toenails (they were a great comfort when I was staring down at them during contractions!) and then went for a massive cheeseburger when Euan got home. On reflection, I’m glad that I carried on as normal instead of worrying over every little twinge but I still like to tell people that having a midwife as a mother meant I was too afraid to say anything until I was very sure!
While you write your packing list, have a look at your options for pain relief. I was fairly keen to try without diamorphine, I wrote that in my birth plan and let Euan know too. It’s a good idea to let your birth partner know what you want as they tend to be the ones talking to the midwife or doctor while you’re concentrating on not letting loose with every swear word you’ve ever heard. My aversion to diamorphine lasted all of three seconds when I was offered it as I was panicked by the sudden change in intensity of contractions as I moved into the pushing a baby out phase of labour! And poor Euan got shouted at for helpfully letting the midwife know that I had planned not to use it.
Coming back to the swear words, I surprised myself by not using any (out loud) I just kept saying sorry because I thought I’d said them. But feel free, it’s one of the only times where you can express yourself any way you want. Best piece of advice I got at time though, all the power you put into screaming is wasted in your throat…send it all down the way instead!