Monday, June 30, 2014

What should go in your Maternity Labor Kit?

A Labor Kit is a preggy momma's 'suitcase' going into the hospital. Pregnancy and labor is like (especially for first-time moms) going on a mission to a foreign place; the mission being to deliver a healthy baby and aid the mom in her recovery. So you do have to be thoroughly prepared with your labor arsenal. It is very important to be well-prepared emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually and logistically! And of all the million things we need to prepare, our hospital bag would be the easiest -- and I guess it brings a certain calm knowing that you wouldn't be wracking and leaving your closets run by a 'tornado' on THE day. So whether you're aiming for a complete unmedicated birth or you've already signed off for a c-section, make sure to prepare for all eventualities.

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Like many preggy mommies, it was so scary for me to imagine that I might pop out the baby with just a moment's notice and be caught unprepared. After my minor slip at the University, I really felt the need to have our bag ready, just in case. So I started listing down everything I thought I might and they said I would need for my stay at the hospital. 

Around 7 months into my pregnancy, we started lugging around our humongous Labor Kit!! Actually it was the big labor kit and another bag for my hubby's clothes and stuff too! For some it may have been too early to be too prepared but we didn't want to leave anything to chance. And rightly so since my pregnancy was considered to be "high-risk" due to my gestational diabetes. Luckily, I was able to deliver Baby Z full-term, thank God! :)

And so everywhere we went for the last trimester, you can be sure to find the labor maleta kit at the back of the car, ready for action! I'll be listing down how we prepared for your labor kit, so you'll know just how big it will be eventually! Seriously, I'll be sharing also the list we had and some other things that we did not think to include but looking back now, is seriously essential to bring.

Preparing your Labor Kit:

1. Research

You're already one step in the right direction by surfing the web and reading this particular blog post! I'm sure there are a lot of other mom bloggers who have shared their list and it's important for you to read those too, just to be sure you have everything covered :)

What's more is again, to research on the kind of birth you are planning to have. Planning on doing the Lamaze or Bradley method and go completely unmedicated? That's good too! We planned on that as well but ended up with a c-section for reasons beyond our control. So what I'm saying is that as much as we PLAN, anything can still happen. In our case, we were totally unprepared for CS! Yikes!!!

Where do you plan to birth your baby? Have you visited the hospital already? Where is the most accessible parking space? Make sure you know how to get there and if possible, request for a quick tour around the delivery room and their maternity recovery rooms. Ask what they discourage to bring, ask how many can visit you, ask if they will allow a birth photographer. In our case, we made the mistake of confirming the photographer without double checking with the hospital if they will allow it.

Do you plan to breastfeed your child? It may have sounded sooo easy from the breastfeeding seminars but challenges can crop up too!

Not allowed to take a bath or wash your hands? So what do you do?

Make sure to talk to your health practitioner on what to expect. Ask fellow mommies/daddies about their experiences, attend classes (as much as your time, money and energy will permit). And don't skip the C-section chapter from your pregnancy book -- like what I did! Teehee..Oh, and I learned a LOOOT from the prepared childbirth class we attended with Chiqui Brosas-Hahn. Too bad we weren't able to apply the breathing methods..was looking forward to that pa naman.

2. Make your list

After researching on the internet, asking our mommy friends and aligning also with the childbirth class comes the special sauce -- what would you, the mommy, need to have there to make you feel comfortable? Your favorite blanket or probably some books? They're perfectly okay to bring..besides, we don't know what labor has in store for us, right? Of course, what things would make our baby the comfiest, second to our gentle cradling arms?

3. Run through the list with your birth partner

And check it twice, thrice. Review it with your doctor and also your partner. I admit I had a superfluous list! But that's the way I am. I'm the 5-day, 4-night packer for a 2-day getaway! As my dad would put it, dala mo na ang buong bahay! Good thing my hubby was okay with that :)

4. Get your stuff ready

Pregnancy brings a lot of expenses so in areas where we can reasonable save, let's do it. Check first what you have available at home, no need to have everything brand new. Some parents themselves might be willing to lend you stuff for your labor and delivery. Sisterhood of the traveling pregnancy pants, anyone? 

We also knew that there are some small medical supplies (e.g. alcohol, cotton, maternity pads, adult diapers) that would unnecessarily add to the bill (overpriced with some hospitals) that are cheaper when bought outside (how lucky, we live near Bambang and Tayuman!) so we got those things too!

5. Make sure your partner is the one to put them in the bag

And this is NOT a preggy prima-donna thing! With everything on our list ready on the counter, I asked my hubby to be the one to place them inside the bag. Why? Mommies' ultimate mission is to birth the baby, when we're quite indisposed, our hubby (or partner) will have to know where to take out the toiletries or your birth plan as needed.

Labor Kit Materials:

Here I'll be categorizing what we brought to the hospital. I'll also add some comments on whether they were actually useful or not for our delivery.

1. Documentation

  • Birth Plan - 1 for mother's chart, 1 for baby's chart, 1 own copy. Make sure this is reviewed and signed by your doctor. This is basically your preferences for labor like the pain relief to be administered, where baby will be brought, who will be allowed inside, if you are availing of cord blood banking, etc.
  • Health Insurance - Bring your proper ID's. Make sure you are also updated with your SSS and Philhealth payments and forms.
  • Doctor's admission slip - OB will give this on your last check-up. This is to be given to the attending nurse in the delivery room, upon arrival.
  • Lamaze / Bradley certificate - so they will allow you to use the birthing room. It means you and your birth partner are trained and well-equipped with the method of choice.
  • Progress report - similar to a medical file. Basic info would be LMP, blood type, allergies, health concerns, contractions, etc.
  • Valid ID's
  • Class manual and notes - from childbirth or breastfeeding classes
  • Marriage contract and copy - as applicable
  • Birth Certificate and copy
  • Mobile Phones and list of phone numbers to call - family, OB, pedia, lactation consultant
  • Pen and Paper
  • Camera / Video Equipment
  • Baby book - although the nurses didn't want to be the ones to do the stamping for me :(
  • Money, Credit card/ATM - for parking and food, and of course to pay for your bills!
  • Stopwatch or watch with second hand - to help in monitoring contractions

2. Mommy's Outfit and Toiletries

  • Bath robe - I don't like the "backless" hospital gowns :) this helped me feel a bit warm and less dyahe than walking around with a very thin hospital gown!
  • Comfy sleepwear ---> Pajama sets with button down tops, also practical for breastfeeding. Underwear and Socks. I like my thermal socks as it keeps me warm, less jittery nerves!
  • Slippers - I have 2 pairs for wet and dry purposes
  • Body towels
  • Face towels - bring extra in case your water bag breaks en route to the hospital; and if it does, another one for when you are in the wheel chair
  • Soap - hand soap esp for guests, Cetaphil as gentle facial soap, and detergent soap for when you need to wash clothes in the hospital
  • Shampoo - I brought regular sachets for my hubby and dry/rinse-free shampoo for myself
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Floss --> I still had braces then so I have to be OC!
  • Deodorant - I would say skip this first because the baby might be nauseated when breastfeeding but then again, there are visitors too!
  • Baby powder - unscented
  • Cleansing toner, moisturizer, lip balm --> I used Clinique
  • Concealer ---> i know, i know...didn't want to look too zombified in the pictures!
  • Pony tails and head band
  • A few underpads (like a rectangular diaper spread on your bed, near your bottom), a few adult diapers (promise, you'll need this for the lochia) and sets of maternity pads (yep, lochia again)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol - if possible have the one in the spray container. Put one near your bedside and one in the comfort room
  • Light and effective hand sanitizer - because too much alcohol is soo drying to the skin
  • Lysol and detergent soap --> to disinfect the toilet area and trashcan
  • Toilet paper, facial tissue, wet wipes
  • Nursing bra
  • Breast pads 
  • Going home outfit - something light and won't brush on your scar in case you'll have a c-section
  • Eyeglasses and drops - because they say that pregnancy affects a woman's vision. I use the tears naturele drops

3. Baby's Outfit and Toiletries

  • Receiving blankets - we brought 4, the ones you can get at Divisoria may be cheaper. While you're at it, practice how to swaddle using a doll or your fave teddy bear
  • Towel blankets - we brought 2, in terry cloth
  • Halo Sleepsack - we had 2 sets. Especially useful was the one which can be used for swaddling baby. We like this because Z was fond of kicking about; this tired mommy didn't have to worry that her newborn would have a blanket all over her face! This also reduces the chances of her waking up to her own Moro (startle) reflex and thus ensures a good night's sleep for baby!
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  • Newborn diapers - we like MamyPoko because of the nice velcro-like adhesive and Huggies because of the wetness indicator strip
  • White Kimono-style tops - in short sleeves and long sleeves
  • White cotton pajama pants
  • White mittens and booties and additional warm socks
  • White cap
  • Set of shampoo, body wash, sponge - we actually brought even her powder, lotion and baby oil but we were discouraged to use those on a newborn. We used the Pigeon Sakura line

4. Miscellaneous

  • Diversions for mommy or daddy - iPad, books
  • Back labor aids or massager - I brought my hubby! hahaha..
  • Lollipop, hard candy - can be used in lieu of IV, but ask your doctor first
  • Mirror - for those brave enough to take a peek as baby emerges
  • Hand fan
  • Flashlight

So there you have it! I hope my list would be useful for you as well. Please stay tuned for my next post on THINGS I WISH WE BROUGHT BUT DIDN'T. 

So mommies, continue eating healthy, hydrate yourself, have ample rest and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Daddies, please lavish your baby mama with love and care (gentle lower back massage would be lovely for her too!) :) And dare I forget? Kegels, kegels, kegels!! :D


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