Horror stories and hospital bags.(Don't worry, there are no horror stories in this entry!)
Telling friends and family that I was pregnant was definitely one of, if not the greatest thing about being pregnant. Everyone was so full of love and it made you feel like you were definitely doing the right thing. Making people cry tears of joy (for a change!) will always stay with me and make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
However... get to the third trimester and a lot of people suddenly change from "congratulations/ I bet you can't wait / what wonderful news! / Wow a new baby" to seemingly wanting to make you terrified and full of regret. Now, this is my first baby so my experiences of a new born are very VERY limited - I don't know many babies, and I've never changed a nappy, but I think of myself as a bright and capable girl. I know that my life will never be the same, I know I'll be up several times in the night to see to baby, I can see how leaving the house in the mornings will be much more challenging. I don't need people to keep reminding me that "Oh you won't be able to do that when the baby comes/ make the most of your sleep now because you won't get any when the baby comes / When the baby comes you know you'll have no time for yourself right?"
I don't know what makes people think that these kinds of comments are helpful. Why anyone would want to worry a mum to be very soon that filling her with a sense of dread is beyond my comprehension. It does nothing but make me want to walk away from them and if anything, makes me feel that if I want to ask for help, I'm backed into a corner because I don't want to hear those words "I told you so".
So if you find that you're about to say anything along these lines to a soon to be parent, just don't! Be helpful, offer words of encouragement. Don't get me wrong, this is not what everyone does. We've found now that we only talk about the impending arrival with positive people and we're starting to shut the negative nancys out. Lots of people keep reminding us it's the best thing ever and agree that they had so many scary comments from others, their advice; just ignore them, life is going to be different, but different doesn't mean bad. Let us enjoy the moment.
Other than if I have particular questions about labour, particularly as I fill out my birth plan, I've also banned people from talking about their birth stories. It's hard to vet what they will say before it's too late and you have a horror story engraved in the back of your head.
As a first time mum, I feel, this may vary from area to area, that midwives seem to have a pretty high expectation of my knowledge of what happens during birth. At my 34/40 appointment I was given a bounty pack and told to read the magazine which had lots of info on labour and begin thinking about my birth plan. Well the magazine inside was a product guide, so that was no help. At my 36/40 appointment, my usual midwife wad away. I explained that the pack given to me had no info on birth plans but was advised to have it written be the next appointment. Luckily I'm literate and have access to the internet. For women who can't read I can only imagine their frustration. I certainly know I left feeling upset that no one was prepared to go through my options with me for what is going to be one of the biggest moments of my life.
Fortunately, parent information class began that week and we were able to discuss labour. My birth plan is complete, yet to be read by my midwife but ready to go for the appointment in week 38/40. For more information on labour and birth plans visit Nhs choices which also allows you to type you birth plan covering all different aspects in an easy to use pro forma. A bit like applying for a job. I also found The Labour information pack from Emma's diary to be helpful and informative. I decided this is what my midwife had meant to give me at my 34 week appointment.
But remember, birth plans are there so that health professionals know what your wishes are. It may not always be possible to follow through with all or any of which you have planned. I have complete faith in the NHS and am sure those looking after me will do their best to see us all through the birth safely.
So my hospital bags are packed! Well partially. I've looked several places for advice on how to pack your hospital bag, but really nothing is better than asking those who've been there and done that. My bag is about 30% snacks at the moment. High protein bars and sweets to give me the energy boost in probably going to need. I've also had lip balm from friends who've told me just how much gas and air dries your lips, and dry shampoo, to refresh yourself if you can't get to the shower.
I've also packed a bag for the baby. It's hard to know how long we could be at the hospital for so I've packed about 4 muslin squares, about 4 body suits and 3 spacesuits. Even though he's due in "summer" -British summer lets not forget, I was advised to pack a hat or two and a cardigan. It's easy to forget this little one has been living in a very warm place for the last 9 months and has never felt a cool breeze.
Do you have any other handy tips or advice for hospital bags? I've read there should be one for the birth partner too, but he's a grown man, he can sort out his own.