What I'm Packing in my "Hospital Bag"

This post was drafted about one day before I was recently admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor.  So I got to use my hospital bag a little sooner than I expected.  I was very pleased with everything we had stashed away, and didn't need Brad to go home and get me a bunch of other random items.  So I still stand by this list and hope that by our 3rd visit, we have bag packing down to a science.
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I wasn't exactly prepared when my water broke with Lewis at 36 weeks.  While I'd done some google searches about what to bring in my bag to the hospital, I had no list and no bag ready to go.  When the time came to leave, packing for the hospital meant rambling off random items for Brad to shove in our bag as I thew on some sweatpants.  After our stay, I realized that while we definitely got by just fine, I had a lot of things I didn't need and didn't have a lot of things I would have liked.

Subsequently, this time I've made an extensive list of things to pack in our hospital bag.  I hope the list will prove helpful if for some reason I'm not able to pack my own bag and someone else has to go to our house to pick up what we need.

Here are a few things I'm packing this time around:

Nursing bras and nursing tank tops - I totally spaced this off with my first delivery and it would have been nice to wear some nursing friendly undergarments (besides just my hospital gown) after the delivery.
Comfortable pants and a nursing friendly shirt - Again, it didn't really occur to me that I might want to be dressed in something other than a hospital gown beyond day one when I started seeing a lot of visitors.
Warm socks or slippers - Okay, so basically unless you want to be tucked under your blanket in your bed the whole time, pack your own socks...and slippers would be a great way to walk around the room without having to put on real shoes or slip around in your socks.
A decent "going home" outfit - It feels just AWESOME to put on your clothes after giving birth because you are comparatively back to your normal self.  I had to go home in the same outfit I arrived in with Lewis, but it would have felt much better to slip into some non-maternity clothes (although stretchy pants and a loose top are still a must).
Toiletries and makeup - This time around, I'm determined to take a real shower with my own toiletries and maybe even put on some makeup.  If I'm feeling really ambitious, I might dry my hair with a blow dryer and feel completely refreshed.  I've visited a lot of moms in the hospital in the last year, and I have been encouraged by how many seem to be in better spirits because they are showered and somewhat pulled themselves together (even though inside I'm sure they are dog tired).
My pillow from home and an eye mask - I brought my own pillow to the hospital last time, and I will definitely do it again.  There are enough obstacles to getting good sleep in the hospital, so there is great advantage to having a comfort from home to help you get some much needed rest.  Also, the eye mask will block out the ambient light from the equipment in the room so the hours (or minutes) spent sleeping are quality.
My pump and a nursing cover - So, I couldn't have had this with Lewis because I didn't get my pump until a couple of weeks after he was born.  BUT, this time I'm coming armed and ready.  If by some miracle these babies are born at 36 weeks or later, I'm doubting I'll have to use it.  However, chances are that they will have some problems nursing due to prematurity and I'll be relying on my pump more heavily.  I know the hospital will have a pump available for me to use, but I'd almost be just as happy to use my own...so I'm bringing it.

Here are some things I'm going to skip this time around:

A "focus object" - In our birthing class they told us to have a "focus object" for use during contractions.  I was not distracted by this so called "focus object".  For me, breathing, thinking about relaxing, counting in my head, and taking a hot bath were much more helpful than the "focus object" I had with me.
Lots of newborn clothes - It's fun to take the baby home in a new outfit, but other than that, I didn't really find it to be that fun to put a sleeper on my newborn at the hospital.  They provide gowns, and the newborns are messed with so frequently, they really don't need to wear very much anyway.  I think I'll bring a couple options for the trip home, but not as much as I packed last time.
Diapers, or other baby care items -  Once again, the hospital had everything Lewis needed in those early days...plus, you pay lots of money to be there so it's nice to just take advantage of the "free" diapers while you can.
Things to do - I think with Lewis we had Downton Abbey on our iPad ready to go in case we needed "something to do".  The reality is that there was no down time...I was either having contractions, birthing a baby, nursing a baby, seeing guests, or sleeping the entire time I was at the hospital.  I don't remember feeling bored.  However, I think Brad appreciated having the iPad available :-).

Other things I'm planning to do / bring:
  • Take pictures with our camera (maybe even a video!)
  • Have a list of people we can call to watch Lewis when we need to go to the hospital
  • Have a list of people to text / email updates to along the way
  • Create a to-go bag for Lewis so he is prepared to stay a couple days with someone without much warning
  • Be more comfortable turning away guests if I am completely exhausted
  • Not feel afraid to buzz the nurses because I'm worried I might be bothering them
  • Spend more time consulting with the lactation specialists while their services are available to me in the hospital
Of course, I know that all of these plans to make my hospital stay more comfortable could all be in vain and thrown out the window with one unexpected event.  Sooo...I'm trying to find some balance between being more prepared this time, and also knowing that ultimately God is the one who will take care of me and provide my every need.  

If you've had a baby, what was the best thing you brought to the hospital?  OR what is something you won't bring again?
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