Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Packing for the Hospital When You're Expecting Twins

So, I hung out with a friend tonight who was asking 'How many weeks are you now?'. I just hit 37. "Any Day now!" she said. I've been telling people that if I were the 'betting type' I wouldn't put any money down until August! (My due date is July 26). I told her that I didn't even have my bags packed yet, nor the crib up...she said I was crazy. No. I'm just busy, and after carrying 2 sets of twins full term only to be induced at 38 and 39 weeks, I figure my chances of having a singleton before her due date just aren't very good. Though, I suppose something flukey could always happen, but I'm not anticipating it! Anyway, on the way home, I decided tonight would be a good night to pack my bags. Correction, tonight would be a good night to sit here and type what my husband is packing as I dictate it to him :)

If you are expecting twins, you should DEFINITELY pack your bag before 37 weeks, as the average twin mom has had her babies by then! I think it was just after 30 weeks that I packed my bags when I was having twins.

1. My Nightgown. 
I didn't get through either of my first two labors in the hospital gown - too hot and uncomfortable. The first time I ended up nude (long story - I had been in the shower for a while and never got dressed afterward) the second time I shed the hospital gown after a few hours in favor of my strapless, much lighter, cooler nightgown - which we had to cut the strap and re-tie in order to get it on over the IV drip machine.

2. Microwaveable Heat-pack
Though the hospital staff frowned upon us using this (I'm sure we could sue them if my husband heated it up too hot and burned me or something asinine). I consider it an absolute necessity. It is great both during labor to help relax muscles and definitely afterward when the cramps kick in and the ibuprofen wears off. Of course the hospital has heat packs, but they are the chemical kind that are about the size of your hand and get about as warm as your armpit on a summer's day. You can make your own simply by buying a large tightly-knit tube and filling it with rice or flax seed or corn and knotting the opening. Simply heat until desired temperature in the microwave at 30-second intervals.

3. Slippers
For sliding on and getting around the hospital and not having to mess with tying shoes. Dad might want to bring his too. This is especially useful if you are there for a longer stay if you have a C-section.

4. My 'Away Bag'
This is just my toiletry travel bag which I always keep fully loaded and ready-to-go in under my bathroom sink. It has all the necessities like shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, lotion, hairbrush, etc. It also has all my husband's similar necessities so we don't have to lug two bags everywhere we go.

5. Some labor necessities
This is mostly things that are already in your 'away bag' but that I wanted  to point them out individually, because to be without them can be torture. a) chapstick (need I say more?) b) hair bands or ties. I had some brand new ones during my first birth and I didn't realize that they were too stretchy and wouldn't keep them pigtails in my hair! c) your preferred nipple cream...I think most hospitals provide lanolin, but I am not sure! d) glasses AND contacts if you wear both (you may find one or the other hard to manage during labor...especially if you get hot or in the tub/shower and your glasses fog up! It was SO annoying to have then constantly falling out and in every picture you can hardly see my face because it is usually covered by my hair! If there is anything else you personally want that would be helpful during labor, like a photo to focus on, or a squishy stress ball to squeeze, or massage oil or scented oils, or music, or WHATEVER...jot it down, or put it in your bag now.

6. For Dad
Change of clothes, including sweatshirt! (can you tell I am a freeze-baby!), slippers, glasses &/or contacts, snacks, pillow, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, razer, shampoo, etc. I think many of these things are mentioned elsewhere, but I wanted to put a summary here!

7. A Book, movie, or some knitting, just in case
Not that you expect to go have a baby in the hospital and have a lot of time to kill in the meanwhile. BUT let's just say, you never know. I was admitted with my second set of twins being told I was to be induced straight away. After a night of Cervadil, my care got transferred to a different doctor who sent me home to take some medication before being induced again a few days later. But not after spending about 18 hours in the hospital just sitting around waiting to consult with various doctors and specialists and for discharge papers and such! I was so glad I had brought a book and some tinkering projects. I thought they were maybe trying to squeeze another night's billing out of me...

This is a broad category. It could be snacks you prefer for during labor, if you are lucky enough to have a care provider who will let you eat (or plan to anyway). Snacks for after delivery when the hospital meal just doesn't quite cut it. And don't forget dad...after all, the hospital doesn't bring him a lukewarm plate of slop every 4 hours, so if the cafeteria isn't open, he's on his own looking for a Taco Bell all-night drive thru or grabbing a granola bar! It's also a good idea to make sure you have some small bills and change for vending machines.

9. Cell Phone & Charger
After all, you might like to make some phone calls about your new arrival! And even if you can't use your mobile phone in the hospital, you'll probably need the phone numbers from it, so make sure they are all in there!

10. Your favorite pillow
Make sure it is in a notable pillow case so it doesn't get mixed up with the hospital pillows. It will be handy when you need 100 pillows to tandem nurse, should you get that ambitious while you are there! AND if your hubby stays overnight with you, he will really appreciate it too!

11. Nursing Bras
This will be nice to make you feel like a 'real person' again under that hospital gown or pajamas you brought!

12. Some nice granny undies
The hospital will provide you with these lovely, massive, disposable grandma underwear things. They are ok. If you would rather wear your own actual cotton massive granny undies, be sure to bring them with - and be sure they are big enough to house a sanitary pad with built-in cold pack that is the size of a phone book!

13. Clothes to wear home
Just don't get too optimistic about getting into your favorite jeans again...definitely bring something with an elastic waste-band or better yet, a maternity dress.

14. Camera/Video Camera/Charger/ Batteries!
Don't forget, you'll want to have a few pics or videos to remember your babies' special day! It is also good to bring some disposable cameras, as nurses and friends are more inclined to pick those up and snap some memorable shots than they are your big breakable, confusing DSLR. If you are delivering in an operating room (standard procedure often times even for vaginal twin births), make sure film exposure for the throw-away camera is for outdoor use  because the lights in there are BRIGHT and if you get a camera for indoor use that has better film exposure, your pics will all be washed out like ours were. :(

15. Your birth preferences or birth plan
If you have one...this is a handy way to communicate to nurses and staff what your preferences are for labor and delivery, without having to state them 100 times - which is kind of tuff when you are having a contraction anyway!

What to pack for your babies...

16. Special baby blankets, if you have them
Here, it is COLD in hospitals, in winter, it's cold because it's winter. In summer, it's cold because the air conditioning is set to keep it winter inside. The hospital blankets are simply cotton, so you may want a little heavier one for your little bundles. If you have a special blanket you made or were given for them, it will be precious to have in photos, and if the blankets are a little different, it will help you tell whose bassinet is whose as just a glance without having to read the 'fine print' on the bassinet tag. We actually made simple little name tags for in our bassinets cut out in the shape of a heart with some little stickers.

17. Special baby hats, if you have them
Your babies will each get a little hat when they are born to help them maintain their body temperature. If you have special baby hats that someone gave you or you purchased, now is a perfect time to use them! And again, if they are slightly different, it is handy to help you tell them apart without looking at their wrist bands, in case they happen to look alot alike!

18. 1-2 simple outfits to wear at the hospital
As I said before, where i am from, hospitals are cold. Here they provide a tiny wrap around shirt for your baby to wear, but that doesn't do much if their toes are cold! We brought a simple snap or zip up sleeper jamma for them to wear. Some hospitals also have volunteers or services that will take your babies' photos so you may want to bring a special outfit for that.

19. Special going home outfits
Again, you may want this to be weather appropriate. As much as I may have loved to have cute dresses for them with matching bonnets and pinafores, it just wasn't going to work with Minnesota February when the temperature ranges from minus 20 to about plus 20. Our special 'coming home' outfits were a cute pair of soft fleece polka dot pajamas!

20. Car seats
Where I am from, you can't leave the hospital with your baby without one...need I say more?


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