Lately, especially given my premonition that Baby B will arrive earlier than her actual due date, I've become obsessed with making a list of what I'll need for myself once she's here. I mean, there are books and premade lists and gobs of advice on what you need for baby, but there isn't nearly as much info on hand about what you need for you. That's when I decided to intervene. This list will likely be edited weekly until d-day, but for now, here's what you should be stocking up on:
1. Granny panties (AKA panties with a booty). If you find a way to finnagle the type of heavy-duty maxi pads they'll be sending us home from the hospital with into a thong, let me know. Except you'll be miserably uncomfortable, so on second thought I'll stick with my recently purchased Hanes bikinis, thank you very much.
2. The aforementioned heavy-duty maxi pads. I don't know a damn thing about pads, so take my advice as the blind leading the blind, but I've heard that Depends may be a worthwhile investment for the first couple of days, and then after that you should be able to switch to any sort of overnight, heavy maxi-pad you prefer. Any feedback from moms who've had babies here would be appreciated. Just know that you'll need them, and probably in bulk. Also know that most hospitals will send you home with quite a bit, as well as the little (read: big) mesh undies that you'll spend your recovery in. Yes, I'm sure you're all feeling as squeamish as I am just thinking about this, but ignorance will not be bliss in the post-delivery haze, so better to be prepared than oblivious, yes?
3. Nursing bras, if you plan to nurse. If not, you'll still be engorged, so sub nursing bras for sports bras to ensure you're not pulling a Janet Jackson as you're wheeled (do they still do that?!) out of the hospital!
(*Important note: If you're like me and your bust size hasn't grown by leaps and bounds, a.) I'm sorry, and b.) here's the advice my mother passed on to me: Since you can hardly stock up on nursing bras in an A/B cup and expect them to fit when you leave the hospital, buy a couple of sleep nursing bras (like sports bras, but equipped for nursing and roomier to accomodate burgeoning boobies) for the first few days until your milk comes in, and then, once you have a good idea of what size you'll be, you can purchase more long-term bras. You'll need the sleep ones anyways, unless you can imagine either sleeping in an underwire or bra-less....ha.)
4. Another one for nursing mothers and formula feeders alike - nursing pads. If you don't plan to breastfeed you'll only need about a weeks worth, until your supply dries up. If you do, plan on owning stock in these. From everything I've heard, (and I've been asking so you don't have to!) Lansinoh is the very best, and the Gerber ultra-thin are worthless. Be that as it may, everyone has their preferences, and maybe you'll find it's the other way around :)
5. Some comfy, loose-fitting pants you don't mind sacrificing if need be. You know how the last time you were in Garden Ridge you realized that besides selling amazing home and holiday items they also sold $5 black velour pants and you asked yourself (probably out loud), "What the hell?" Here is a GREAT use for those $5 crappy black pants. Stock up on a few pairs, and you won't end up crying when your favorite Juicy sweatsuit gets any number of gross substances on it! You'll be glad you did. (Note: Walmart, Target, Old Navy, etc. - all great places to find throwaway black pants as well!)
6. An assortment of pain relief methods. Since as individuals we run the gamot with regards to beliefs and sensitivites to pain medications, here's a few suggestions, in order of strength and...chemicality :)(Yes, I know that's not a word!)
*Cramp Bark (Vitanica or Wise Woman Herbals are the brands recommended to me - apparently the all-natural and super-charged Midol. I've never tried it, but considering most laboring women reach a point where they are more than willing to beg their doctors to pull the baby out through their noses if need be, I'm sure I won't be opposed to a little herbal supplement!)
*Extra-strength Tylenol or like product (though, if breastfeeding, you need to continue to steer clear of Aspirin-containing products)
*You/your husband/significant other's/WHOMEVER's leftover pain killers (think vicodin, percocet, anything you can get your hands on!) from your/their wisdom tooth/gallbladder/appendix/whatever removal. I have a stash of painkillers from random surgeries & broken bones throughout my life, and have been stockpiling them for exactly this occasion (mainly in case of a C-section). Judge if you must, but my periods were killer enough - I can only imagine how I'll feel after the marathon iron man that is childbirth!
7. Tucks pads and/or spray. Episiotomy or not, tear or not, things aren't going to be feeling too fine and dandy down there for a little bit, but your body isn't going to veto certain functions just by your sheer will. All that fluid you're currently retaining? It's going to exit your system, and you're going to want to be prepared! Of equal, if not higher, importance? The peri-spray the hospital gives you to use directly after birth. They're not going to reuse any of that, so feel free to take both the spray and the bottle with you when you're checking home. My hospital went as far as to say, "If it's not nailed down, you can take it with you." WILL. DO.
8. Nursing cream for you breastfeeders out there. I've heard the first few days are the worst, while your nipples adjust to both feeding another life and doing their best impression of Dolly Parton, so come prepared. Know that you probably won't need more than a tube, though, barring any cases of mastitis or serious nursing issues, so don't go buck wild at Babies R Us! (And no, Lansinoh isn't sponsoring this little list of mine, though I'd be happy to receive a check!)
9. If you get the chance to stockpile meals and freeze them prior to birth, more power to you! I'm going to try, but we don't have a heavy-duty freezer, so we won't be able to fit too much in there. I definitely plan to at least make a few casseroles, soups, pasta dishes, etc., though to get us through those first few days/weeks! If you don't have time/energy/whatever, Schwan's is a nice alternative. And some of the delivery guys are pretty dang cute, just FYI.
I'm sure I'm leaving out significant items, and I also realize that these are not very c-section specific (with the exception of percocet!). As much as I would love to blindly hope that all of us who want to avoid a c-section will be able to, the truth is that 1 in 5 women who were planning to deliver vaginally end up with one, and so I think it's important to address those needs/special circumstances as well. Please, please, please feel free to comment on anything you feel I should add/that was surprisingly helpful to you after delivery, and I'll gladly edit the post to include them! Hope this helps!
(Note: Things like hygiene products, your favorite nightgowns, etc, that you might need for the hospital I left off, since those all a.) go without saying, and b.) you're ready for. It's the things I think may get overlooked or that some of us haven't bought in a while that I put on here.)