Both of my previous pregnancies resulted in c-section deliveries. With my last pregnancy, I planned for a VBAC homebirth. My house was set up, our supplies were purchased, we had a midwife, doula, and hypnobirthing techniques waiting ready for “d-day”. Life had other plans, and I ended up delivering a month early via c-section due to preeclampsia with severe features.
On the day of my son’s birth, we rushed to the hospital thinking I had the flu and a terrible headache. We were sent to a hospital about an hour away from home without any essentials, not knowing that the stay would last 6 full days. I’m pretty sure my husband wore the same shirt for 3 days! Our friend visited and brought us some of our necessities after a couple of days. However, being stuck without your essentials is a mild form of torture.
I spent a bit of time mourning my desired delivery outcome and even debating if we would ever have another baby. Well, here I am– less than 2 years later preparing for the arrival of baby #3. This time, we are doing things differently. I am under the care of an OB/GYN, and I am not attempting a natural delivery. Sometime soon, we will schedule a good day in May to deliver our daughter. I am at peace with this decision and am happy to have a plan, and can have my bag packed!
I want to share what to pack for scheduled surgery. The hospital stay is longer than a regular vaginal delivery, so proper necessities and comfort items are ideal for this time away from home.
1. Mama’s Essentials
When preparing for a C-Section you prepare similarly as you would for a vaginal birth, just remembering that you will have an incision and a longer hospital stay. The typical length of stay is 3-4 days, so packing for that length of time would be ideal.
- Comfy Clothes and Pajamas— You will of course, have accessibility to unlimited hospital gowns that can be handy when you are still attached to IV fluids. I personally feel more human and able to recover in my own wardrobe. Dressing in layers is wise. The temperature in a hospital, hormone fluctuations, etc can all be unpredictable. Tank tops or nursing camis, hoodies or cardigans, high-waisted leggings, pajamas, robe, high-waisted undies, and nursing bras will be my goto’s. I will choose loose, comfortable clothing that I don’t mind getting dirty. My going home outfit will be the most presentable. Also, prepare for swollen legs. Very shortly after both births I ended up with major Shrek feet! Loose, comfortable socks, slippers or flip-flops may be all that your feet will fit in!
- Adult Diapers–Mesh panties and pads will be available from the hospital. They work well, but I found after several days they would bunch in the back with the way the hospital bed inclines. These worked well for me.
- Phone/Camera, Charger, Tablet/Laptop— An extra long cord for the charger is nice since outlets are oddly placed in hospital rooms. Having a device loaded with Netflix is wonderful to help those long hospital days pass. This is time for guilt-free binge-watching in between naps, feedings, visitors, and diaper changes!
- Toiletries/Grooming Supplies— Bring whatever makes you feel pretty! There will be visitors and photos taken and I personally always like to feel clean and somewhat put together. Dry shampoo can be handy in case you can’t shower initially.
- Insurance card, ID, Notebook and Pen— A notebook and pen were invaluable for us in the beginning days. It is nice to jot down any questions or concerns, feeds and diaper changes.
- Blanket, Pillow, Nursing Pillow— Being comfortable in your bed is a plus! You can keep these things in your car until after the birth and you are settled into your final room.
- Belly Binder— It is possible that your hospital will provide one. Asking your doctor what his standard of practice is will help you prepare. Having compression support allows you to have a full range of motion and makes mobility so much easier after surgery. Laughing and coughing will also be tolerable with a belly binder!
- Ice Pack, Heating Pad, Pain Cream— These are also necessities for my impending delivery! After each birth I have ended up with muscle pain or a vertebral misalignment. I am guessing it is caused from numbing of the epidural and bed transfers. After my last birth, my neck and shoulder were in worse pain than my surgery! It was miserable, so this time I will be prepared. The cold packs the hospital provided did not get as cold as an ice bag and weren’t as effective. And my go-to pain cream will be on hand… Just in case!
- Snacks— Having some good quality, high fiber snacks are a must! Hospital food is less than nutritious or desirable, and giving birth makes you hungrier than you have ever been (especially if you had to fast the night before). I will make a batch of date nut bites, and take some Flax 4 Life muffins for after delivery. Dried fruits, nuts, nut butters, or any other non-perishable snack will be welcomed, trust me 🙂
2. Dad’s Essentials
- A Comfortable Change of Clothes— My husband will likely stay for the first 24 hours without leaving to go home to freshen up. I do not want him to end up in the same shirt for 3 days, so I will make sure we are prepared.
- Toothbrush/Toiletries— Anything to allow dad to freshen up after being in delivery.
- Snacks/Water Bottle— In our last experience, my husband was a weird, neglected, third-party. His meals were not provided, and the cafeteria was closed occasionally at my meal times. This time we will make sure to have plenty of snacks and a water bottle so that he is not dependent on vending machines for his sustenance.
- Phone Numbers/Contact List— Everyone is going to want to know the news. Our family and friends are scattered across the U.S. so having a master list of who to contact first (you know, the ones who need to know the news before it is leaked on Facebook?!) will be stored in my husband’s phone.
3. Baby’s Essentials
The babies are pretty well set for their hospital stays. They are provided diapers, wipes, clothes, blankets, and bottles.
- A Coming Home Outfit— Baby’s dress up debut will be on release day! Choose something seasonal appropriate and remember baby needs to dress about a layer heavier than you would dress yourself.
- A Receiving Blanket— A nice blanket is great to cover the baby with for their first moments in the outdoors. There are so many nice types, and you can even find a blanket to coordinate with the coming home outfit!
- A Properly Installed Infant Seat— You must have a carseat to take baby home in. I suggest an infant seat, that is properly installed (and even safety checked). If the weather is cold, a carseat cover can help avoid the elements. In our experience, we had a convertible seat installed and we were not allowed to take our son home in it. The weight requirement on the convertible seat was 5-65 lbs. I was sure that would take us all the way through carseat days. Our son was a preemie and didn’t make the 5 lb. weight requirement so we had to send our friend out on a search for an appropriate infant seat.
- Nail Clippers/Emery Board— Both of my boys were born with long, sharp fingernails! Packing nail clippers and an emery board will prevent your little one from scratching their face!
4. Essential Oils and Supplements
If you’ve read anything I have written, you know that I am an essential oil nut. I buy mine here. There are many resources about using oils in labor/birth, pregnancy, postpartum, and on babies. I will share with you what I am packing, since I am working to pack only the essentials.
- DiGize— For preventing gas/constipation after birth
- Frankincense, Idaho Balsam Fir, Copaiba— These will be applied topically to reduce discomfort. I may even take frankincense & copaiba internally. I also apply frankincense to the crown of the baby’s head shortly after birth.
- Deep Relief— A great roll-on to use anywhere there is muscle discomfort.
- Lemon— For removing adhesive left overs! It works like a charm!
- Thieves— I will apply this to my feet (and I will carry Thieves Spray and Hand Sanitizer as well) to help boost my immunity and to keep my environment sanitary. Hospitals have a lot of ick!
- Lavender— I will use this to promote rest and relaxation. Hospitals are difficult to rest in with the noises and interruptions.
- Peace and Calming— Ditto.
- Stress Away— For keeping me calm when the hormones drastically drop causing tears and anxiety!
- Fennel— This is a great oil for promoting lactation. I take 5 drops of fennel vitality directly on my tongue and follow with a large glass of water as often as I need to until I notice an increase in my supply.
- My Own Special Anti-Shrek Foot Blend:
10 drops tangerine
5 drop lemon
20 drops cypress
20 drops lavender
15 drops geranium
2 oz of carrier oil
I mix this in a small bottle and apply every 3 hours or so until I notice relief.
For my supplements, I will take my daily multiple, individual packets of collagen to help hasten the healing of connective tissues, and my protein shake for extra nutrition post surgery and for breastfeeding.