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10/18/12

Tip of the Week: Baby Delivery Preparedness

It's been an eventful week for us. New son #2 has been home from the hospital for a week now, and we've been getting adjusted to have another little one around. Sleep has been hit or miss. Little guy has been doing pretty good all around though.

I thought it might be helpful to pass along some notes to those who are getting ready to go through the whole adventure on their own. I'm not going to talk about the medical side of it -- that should come from mom's doctor and nurses, not a blog on the interwebs, but rather a few takeaways from our experience.

First up: have your bags packed well before the due date. Son #1 was two days late, this baby was 11 days early. My wife & sons "baby bugout bags" were packed beforehand, but only a few days. We were a bit lucky, there.

Son #1's "baby bugout bag" had some snacks, toys and change of clothes, which helped keep him happy while playing at friend's houses.

Wife's bag had mostly clothes for her and the baby, some snack and toiletries -- the hospital will provide most of the medical supplies needed.

I just brought my standard everyday carry bag (need to update ya'll, but it's the same basic bag I've had for a while), plus the camera, extra batteries, a sleeping bag, and a small blow up pillow. I had to spend a couple minutes rounding these things up.

You have a couple of hours, typically, to get to the hospital. The wife will be of varying degrees of "with it" during that time - depending on contractions and what not. You can do some running around/grabbing stuff if needed, but I'd have a checklist handy if that was the plan.

Have backup plans. We had triple backup plans for people to watch Son #1 while we were at the hospital, and those were well squared away, too. We'd e-mailed everyone and coordinated several week prior. Definitely try to have more than one option, though - two of our three were out of town a few days later. 

Have the "new baby" stuff ready to go. This was kid #2 for us, so we had most of what we needed and only bought one or two new things. But a couple things were buried in storage bins/boxes from the move--namely, the car seat in one box and the infant inserts for the car seat in another box. Inserts were forgotten on the way to the hospital, so I had to run back home after delivery and dig through a couple closets before finding 'em. Dropped the ball there, too.

Notes on stuff that I brought:
  • Food. They're not liberal with food in the ol' delivery wing, especially for dad. Had an energy bar somewhere around 2 am and a Mountain House Granola for breakfast.
  • Sleeping bag. A Snugpak Jungle Bag, which is quite nice, packs down ridiculously small, folds out into a blanket and is not too warm for sleeping in a room. I'll do a full write up on it in the near future. The hospital had some crappy blankets, but this was helpful for getting some rest.
  • Blow up pillow. A Cocoon Air Core. Really comfortable. My wife actually stole it and used it throughout most of the stay. Unfortunately, the valve has a slight leak to it, so the pillow needed to be reinflated every hour or two. Lame. We had a problem with stitching on another one. Good design, QC problems.
  • Phone and charger was a must have.
One area that I failed in was having caffeine on hand for me--I don't drink coffee, but I appreciate the extra boost from an energy drink when it's early in the morning or late at night. Babies like to come at odd hours of the day, and ours was no different - we went into the hospital at 11pm, and it was clear that it was going to be a long night. At wife's insistence, we stopped by a convenience store and grabbed a couple energy drinks to help with the all-nighter.

I usually have a few energy drinks around the house, or some energy drink mixes in my bag, and I've had No-Doze type pills in the past, but I dropped the ball this time. Good thing to have on hand if you might be facing an overnighter, long distance drive, etc.

Overall, figure out what you're going to need and have it ready to go about a month before the due date, maybe sooner. Write out a check list for when the baby evac comes.

That's about it off the top of my head. We had a pretty low-key experience - delivery and recovery went smoothly, we live about 4 minutes from the hospital, and are fortunate to have some good friends around to help out. And, we'd been-there-done-that and largely knew what to expect.

Glad to answer any questions in the comments section, and I know there's more than a few regular readers who have been through childbirth a time or two, who can provide plenty more insight and advice.

7 comments :

  1. Unless I forgot, congratulations on your #2 !!Hope mom and the babies are all doing well. You've been thru it before, so you know what to expect. Again, congrats !!!

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  2. Where did you get to sleep as dad? Just a chair I assume? Was that easy with the sleeping bag?

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    1. There's usually a couch that sort of transforms into a bed...to varying degrees. Not the best...and with everything else going on, don't expect to get much sleep. I was about 48 hours on maybe 2-3 hours of sleep.

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  3. Congrats, man. Beautiful healthy baby!

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  4. Congrats! A growing family is a true blessing.

    I do carry a couple singles packets of starbucks Via Coffee, the walmart brand energy drink singles and some kool aid singles. It sure makes a rough day in the field go better when you can get the juices flowing in the early AM. I even carry some singles packets of sugar for the coffee. It's saved the day on several occasions camping when the weather kept me up all night and I needed to be sharp in the AM.

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  5. Congrats on the new addition.

    Typically, after the first one, babies come earlier and the delivery is easier. Not always though, but just something to keep in mind if you are on your second baby, etc.

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  6. Congratulations!!! As a midwife's assistant/doula/retired paramedic I would suggest a printout on emergency delivery including what to with the cord and placenta and if there is extra bleeding (very common). Have a basic birth kit in your preps. Umbilical cord clamps, baby blankets, bulb syringe, sharp scissors or knife at a minimum. You can get these at online midwifery shops and sometimes amazon. Just got home from a delivery :)

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