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Week 33

Sep02

by

pregnancy calendarYour Baby:

  • Weighs over four pounds and is 17 inches long.
  • The skeleton is hardening, except for the skull, which will remain soft and flexible to allow it to fit through the birth canal, and also to grow and allow adequate space for your baby’s enormously brilliant brain.
  • Kicks and movements are practically visible from space now, and you may look down and realize that your belly is no longer round, but pointed, as a knee or elbow stretches out for a few seconds before disappearing beneath the surface again.

You:

  • Are big. Yes. And the whole world may suddenly seem like it’s got an opinion about when you’ll go into labor, and it TOTALLY DOESN’T CARE that you aren’t even full-term yet, it thinks you’ve dropped and popped and are going to give birth in like, two weeks. Tell it to shut the hell up with my blessings.
  • May be waddling more than walking, and misjudging your circumference as you bump into counters and knock things over on tables.
  • A lot of pregnant women start having strange dreams about those pronounced movements — legs and arms stretching out from under your clothes, or the perfect imprint of your baby’s face suddenly appearing next to your belly button. If these dreams creep you out, just remember that it’s your mind starting to wrap itself around the concept that there is, in fact, a actual baby in there rather than some hypothetical concept of a baby.

Packing for the Hospital
OKAY. FINE. HOSPITAL BAG PACKING TIME.

People have been begging for this one, and while I intended to save it until the week that I, you know, actually packed my hospital bag, apparently a whole lot of you prefer to be proactive and pack it super early. Or else you just plan to obsess about it for five or six more weeks. (That I kind of actually relate to.)
If you’re looking for a REALLY COMPREHENSIVE list — a list that was written for the people, by the people — look no further than this one, compiled by Emily at not that you asked… She asked for hospital bag packing tips from her readers, and OH, BUT THEY HAD TIPS. Lots and lots of tips. The resulting list is…long. Yes. And it would require quite a large suitcase to bring EVERYTHING there, but you should still definitely print that list out, read Emily’s comments and reasoning for each item, and winnow your own priorities and list down from there.

That said, I also have My Own Opinions I Must Subject You To. It’s in my contract. The one in my head. I take it very seriously.

STUFF I BROUGHT TO THE HOSPITAL THAT I COULDN’T HAVE LIVED WITHOUT:

  • Chapstick
  • Tennis ball for back massage during labor
  • Socks/slippers and a bathrobe. None of which made it home with me, thanks to The Grossness, but I was sooo glad to have them.
  • Fourteen million hair clips and rubber bands
  • Shampoo, face soap, deodorant, body lotion and makeup
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nipple cream
  • Camera, video camera, extra batteries and/or charging cord for both.
  • iPod
  • Cell phone
  • Super-stretchy non-abdomen-pinchy maternity clothes for wearing home

STUFF I BROUGHT TO THE HOSPITAL THAT I SHOULD HAVE LEFT AT HOME:

  • Books, magazines, blank thank-you cards, journal, Soduku puzzles. My brain was SO FRIED in the aftermath and I was unable to concentrate on anything, including Us Weekly. I spent my downtime staring into space or sleeping instead.
  • My own nightgown. Again, The Grossness. You simply would not believe. I would rather befoul a dozen hospital gowns than my own clothing, no matter how old and junky it is. At least it was easy to call the nurse and request my fourth new gown in two hours — I would have worn my own gown for 45 minutes before balling it up and hiding it in my room’s wastebasket, or sending it home with instructions to Burn It And Never Speak Of This Again.
  • My own underwear and pads. Ditto.
  • Snacks. We made a special trip out for snacks. I was sure Jason would need snacks. Everyone tells you that your partner needs snacks! So we ended up with an entire plastic grocery bag of snacks that ended up mostly uneaten, save for maybe one granola bar. Jason lost his appetite during my labor (HA HA), and since I was put on a liquid diet after my emergency c-section, I would have cried if he’d eaten in front of me, so he went out for quick meals at nearby fast-casual restaurants instead. Sure, he lost 10 pounds during my four-day hospital stay, but it was mostly sympathy pregnancy weight that had to go anyway.
  • Nursing bra and breast pads. My milk didn’t come in during my hospital stay. Better safe than sorry, I suppose, but I wish someone had told me that was actually even a possibility.

THINGS I DID NOT BRING TO THE HOSPITAL LAST TIME BUT WOULD HAVE KILLED FOR (aka Stuff I’m Bringing This Time, Yippee!):

  • Towels. I was so very excited about my first post-birth shower. I felt so gross and oily and dirty and…what the hell? All my hospital would offer me was ONE small, thin, scraggly-looking hand towel and a washcloth. No full-size towels. Useless. Yuck.
  • My own pillow. Hospital pillows are uncomfortable and flat. And I’m pretty sure I can keep a pillow clear of The Grossness. (I will probably bring it but leave it in the car until fully assessing the Pillow Situation and then demand it if I need it.)
  • Laptop. My hospital has wifi now! Maybe my brain will at least be capable of reading Us Magazine ONLINE.
  • Dry shampoo/baby powder. For making my oil-slick-head vaguely presentable before I’m allowed to take a shower.
  • Probiotic powder. This is mostly a c-section necessity — you’re given a round of antibiotics afterwards and this can increase your chances of getting a thrush/yeast infection from nursing.
  • Pacifier. I KNOW. Bad. Wrong. Nipple confusion, despair, woe, etc. I let my baby nurse and suck on me for hours and hours on end, even when my boobs were bone dry. I cracked and bled and almost quit nursing then and there. I’m giving myself permission to at least THINK about offering a pacifier instead of my nipple this time.
  • Sleep mask. Stupid lights and sunshine and whatever, I need mah SLEEP.

Another thing to consider bringing to the hospital? EXTRA SPACE IN YOUR BAG. You’ll want to thoroughly ransack your room before you leave. I cannot stress this enough. Take everything. Diapers, wipes, nasal aspirators, plastic bins first-aid items, sanitary pads, mesh panties, bed pads, nipple creams, WHATEVER ISN’T NAILED DOWN. My nurse awesomely helped shove everything into a bag for me, explaining that my insurance technically paid for all this stuff already, and that they weren’t allowed to reuse any of it for other patients. So take it! Take it all! It’s swag! Only more…sterile.

Related Articles:
- Cute but comfy clothes to wear in the hospital and the first few days at home
- How to Respond to Dumb Things People Say to You When Pregnant

Finished with the Pregnancy Calendar and want more? Visit Amalah’s postpartum weekly column, Bounce Back. Bounce Back is about the postpartum experience — the good, the bad and the gory.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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21 Responses to “Week 33”

  1. thora Sep 03 at 10:29 am Reply Reply

    Is this column going to be preserved for posterity? Or any other purpose? I don’t plan on getting pregnant for another year or so and would love to be able to retroactively follow along…
    Editor: Yes! once it is complete, there will be an ability to plug in your due date and receive your respective weekly email

  2. Hilary Sep 03 at 11:22 am Reply Reply

    Okay it’s hitting me: you are having a baby in seven weeks. Whoa!

  3. WabiSabiLife Sep 03 at 1:03 pm Reply Reply

    I am totally going to brain the next stranger who sees fit to comment on my size. It’s been going on for a month already, and I still have 4-6 weeks to go! I *hate* pretending to have more manners than them. Especially because I know they are trying to be kind, but none of them is saying a single thing I haven’t already heard. AAUUGHH!!

  4. cagey Sep 03 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    Regarding underwear: That was the one thing I did bring with me the 2nd time around. I decided life is too frockin’ short to wear mesh undies. I bought a brand-new, squeaky-clean set of undies and stuffed them in my dresser AFTER taking out some old, ratty ones to take to the hospital with me. I threw the old ratty ones away at the hospital after every change. Seriously, it was worth it. Those mesh undies were MISERY.

  5. charlotte Sep 03 at 7:49 pm Reply Reply

    MESH undies? I thought they’d gone out of style in the 80s, along with mullets.
    Boy, all of this sounds scary. I’m only 25 weeks along, and, of course, pathologically overprepared. So, I’ve been following your shopping lists and adding everything to the registry and buying plain cotton onesies and whatnot, but I’ll be damned before anybody sees me in MESH undies. What’s next? Jefferson Starship in the delivery room?

  6. Crystal Sep 04 at 1:26 am Reply Reply

    Don’t knock the mesh undies!
    When I had the D&C with my first pregnancy (I’m 30 weeks with my second pregnancy currently) I bled so much more than I ever imagined was possible. My thought when it finally started to slow was that “wow, I must be running out of blood.” Absolutely DISGUSTING and that was after only 10 weeks of pregnancy…I’ve mentally multiplied it by 4 and am cringeing. The nurse who gave us the hospital tour also casually said something about “golf ball sized clots” being normal. EWWWWWWWWWW. Seriously…stain the hell out of the stretchy mesh panties and keep your own at home.
    My hospital has a vhs player in every post-partum room. Talk about adorably 80′s. I think the only movies I own on VHS are french films…which I will SO not be up to after giving birth. I think we’re just bringing the laptop and some dvds.

  7. Sarah Sep 04 at 10:57 am Reply Reply

    Funny, I just had a strange dream last night where I was able to see the baby’s entire legs and feet through my belly. And I also had one earlier this week about seeing the face. Glad to know that this is “normal”, haha.
    Excellent packing suggestions. I will be referring back in a few weeks when it’s time to pack!

  8. Diana Sep 04 at 11:55 am Reply Reply

    I have to agree with Cagey about bringing your own undies. With my first they didn’t have any mesh undies and wanted me to use…a belt! I didn’t even think they made them anymore! I needed my own granny panties to put the pads in. The second time I did use the mesh undies but still used my own pads in addition to the hospital ones. I put a thin overnight one with wings under two hospital pads and it kept all the leaking caused by shifting around at bay. Also with the first c-section I stayed in the hospital gown the entire time and felt like hell. The second time I changed into some super strechy lounge wear I picked up cheap with the idea id toss it. It was a god send I felt HUMAN. I didn’t even end up ruining it. But who knows, its all just chaos that first week anyway!

  9. april Sep 04 at 3:27 pm Reply Reply

    Regarding bringing your own pajamas, I was one of those that felt SO much better in a comfy pair from home. I went to Target and bought a Gillian O’Malley spaghetti strap gown and a robe, for around $30. They come out with a few new colors and patterns every few months, and they are so comfy. The spaghetti straps also allow for easy breastfeeding. I knew I would be okay with tossing it in the trash if I had to. But, it lasted me through the hospital and for weeks afterwards. I bled VERY heavily, so I made sure to just raise it up a little when I was in the hospital before getting in bed. I didn’t have any problems. If you think you are the type that would feel much better in your own gown, then I think it’s a worthy buy.

  10. Emily Sep 04 at 8:33 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for the props!
    I am always amazed at the comments on that post about the hospital bag… so many people wanted to know HOW MANY SUITCASES I WAS BRINGING. I thought it was SO OBVIOUS that it was a pick and choose kind of thing, but some people got the wrong idea and assumed I was packing each item on the list and bringing it with me.
    And then the hilarious part was that I was ordered straight to the hospital from the doctor’s office and never ended up packing a single thing. Except, wait. Not so hilarious when my husband was home GETTING THINGS while I was requesting my epidural for all the PAIN.

  11. Patti Sep 07 at 10:30 am Reply Reply

    Bring Poise Undergarments (not the pads, the whole panty). Hear me out. They capture THE GROSSNESS so much better than any combination of mesh panty and hospital grade pad ever could. I stumbled upon this right after the birth of son #1 when I was on my way home and forced husband to stop in at a CVS so I could find something… anything… to make me feel better. The second time around I brought an entire pack with me to the hospital. I used the whole thing, saying no thanks to hospital grade mesh the whole time. Can I tell you how many nurses asked me what the heck was I wearing and how did I come across that particular solution? They thought I was so cool.
    The poise panties are 1) stylish compared to mesh 2) much more absorbent and can contain SO MUCH more grossness 3) able to be torn off one’s body in a neat fashion 4) way more comfortable than mesh and 5) accidentally provide postpartum / post-csection tummy support. Dude. Really. I am so serious here. Poise Undergarments. Don’t hate.

    • Maree Feb 03 at 8:48 am Reply Reply

      I second this, here is Australia this is recommended in ante-natal classes. I don’t know how you could manage with anything else.

  12. Kiki Sep 08 at 1:10 pm Reply Reply

    I would leave the option open to bring a nursing bra and pads. If you are going to try nursing you will most certainly start while you are in the hospital and the baby will be getting the colostrum in those first few days before your milk comes in. and if you are like me and have a 9 lb-er who is working on giving you two cracked nipples before you even leave the hospital, you will be slathering on the Lansinoh every five minutes and that stuff STAINS. So breast pads are a must. It is something that would be a much bigger pain to need and not have, so I say bring it. Besides at the end of my pregnancy I was only fitting in the gigantic E cup nursing bras anyway.
    And I think the mesh underwear rocks too. Comfortable and can be thrown away every time you pee. love it.

  13. boofyq Sep 08 at 9:35 pm Reply Reply

    Oh yes, the mesh undies. They rock! The poise undies do sound intriguing though (though I wonder if they come in plus sizes?) No one told me how much I’d bleed after a c-section — I thought that was just for vaginal births. I mean, after they remove the baby (or in my case, babies…twins) they wipe out the insides of your uterus before putting everything back together. But there were still 6 weeks of bleeding after that, not to mention the extra fun of having my incision open up not once, but twice. With all the blood from place A, I didn’t realize I was bleeding from place B until the next day when I took a shower and got brave enough to finally look at my incision. Hey!
    And yes, the nurses will gladly pack all the goodies in your room and in the crib “dresser” – in fact, at our hospital they gave you bags to put it all in! They gave us everything including the little rectangular pink basin, which I still use daily to wash bottles.
    Even though the hospital will stamp “Property of XYZ Hospital” all over the swaddling blankets, steal them anyway — I wish I had. They’re bigger, softer and “grippier” than any of the little receiving blankets we were given. Awesome for swaddling. Which is another MUST. The nurses will teach you and DH how to swaddle the baby. Learn it. Live it. Babies love it!
    I’m so excited for you Amalah! (and expecting commenters here) I’ll live vicariously through you — we’ve used up all our good luck getting those two healthy little girls in one shot!

  14. Linsey Dec 03 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    Re: the “really comprehensive list” above. Before getting too neurotic, one might want to read the most current thoughts from the author of said list who is expecting baby #2 shortly:
    http://captainhambone.typepad.com/not_that_you_asked/2008/12/packing-a-hospital-bag-is-impossible.html

  15. Emily Dec 08 at 4:34 pm Reply Reply

    About this whole nursing situation… Do you bring the breast pump to the hospital? I know the milk isn’t in yet but just so they can show you how to do it? Or maybe it’s easier than it looks sitting in it’s little bag right now? I’m borrowing my sister-in-law’s so should I bring it to the hospital? Am overwhelmed by so much right now and it just dawned on me that I’m having a baby in less than two months. Thanks!

  16. Amber Mar 28 at 5:37 pm Reply Reply

    Re: Emily’s question about breast pumps…
    You’ve probably already had yours, but for anyone else who has the same question:
    Our first time around, we bought the pump on the way out the door of the hospital. I won’t probably bring mine with me for #2, but I’m thinking about it, because my milk did come in at the hospital the first time… although I didn’t *need* the pump until a week PP.
    Our hospitals both do home visits to check up on the baby and give you a chance to ask questions a week after you are sent home. If your hospital does this (I hope they do!) that’s the best time to ask questions about the pump. At the hospital you don’t really probably have enough milk to try it out and get a feel for what questions to even ask. It is indeed simpler than it looks, though. Usually you can also find a breastfeeding club at your hospital that you are welcome to stop by with questions- even before the baby is born. I really recomend the club, too, if you have one in the area- having peer support was the only reason I was able to nurse for longer than a couple weeks, I swear.

  17. Tiffany Jul 03 at 9:36 am Reply Reply

    Ladies,
    I’m an L&D RN expecting my first and at my hospital we give out mesh underwear which are fine (you will ruin your personal underwear I promise you), but the one thing I think that is of really poor quality in most hospitals are the pads – Bring Your Own Pads the overnight heavy flow ones. That’s what I’ll be doing because I’ve seen enough leakage to know better than to trust theirs!

  18. Lexi Feb 17 at 5:58 pm Reply Reply

    I had to give my daughter a pacy on the second day because she was using me as one. Depending on the kid is if she/he will have trouble :P

  19. Pam Nov 18 at 11:42 pm Reply Reply

    Definitely agree to bring my own pads this time. The ones from the hospital felt like diapers. I found myself leaking from everywhere with baby #1, so breast pads are a must this time too. There are also these little discs that you can buy to put over your nipples that are cooling, moisturizing, etc so they don’t feel like they’re going to burn/crack off when you’re attempting breastfeeding. (See a lactation consultant in the hospital if you can!!! And believe me, it will get better!) Lastly, I was so thankful for the neck support pillow-you know the ones you buy at the airport-so I could have something to perch on without any of my lady parts touching anything for a few days. Truly a life-saver in my opinion. And yes, take everything that’s not nailed down ;)

  20. heather Feb 12 at 10:48 pm Reply Reply

    Me and my fiance’ are talking about having a baby after we get married and this list is the most helpful one that I’ve came across. Thanks.

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