For three weeks now we've had a bag packed and ready to take the birth center at a moment's notice. I get a little thrill seeing the bag waiting in the corner of our room, especially when I think about the tiny baby clothes that are tucked inside for our daughter. As we've waited (and waited) it also helps remind me that our baby IS coming.
I loved thinking about what to pack in our bag so let me show you what we've included:
Clothing for me
One of my late pregnancy obsessions has been researching and deciding on the perfect clothes to bring to the birth center. I learned from my first two births that I want to feel as pulled together and pretty as possible after potentially being up all night and going through such a huge physical feat. Having clothing that feels good, fits well, and is functional for nursing is a simple luxury that I want to give myself. I ordered several postpartum/nursing items for myself and am bringing them all to the birth center. I'm sure it will be too much especially since you can usually go home about six hours after giving birth. But I'd rather have options and of course I'll be wearing all of these things in the weeks to come.
+ Soft nursing nightgown. This is what I plan to wear to the birth center. I'm not sure how long I'll stay clothed once I arrive but I love how comfortable it is while still feeling feminine. I can definitely see it getting a lot of use after coming home too. The top pulls down for easy nursing. I bought a medium and it fits well.
+ Scoopback nursing and sleep bra. I was so happy to discover the brand Kindred Bravely (via Abby) which makes beautiful + functional nursing bras and clothing. Among my purchases are two of these nursing/sleep bras and I will bring both. I plan to wear one to the birth center and have a second one to wear post-birth. I'm hoping this will be comfortable to wear even if I'm in the tub at the birth center and it gets wet.
+ Criss-cross nursing gown. This was a specific recommendation from Abby and it is so lovely. It's really comfortable and looks nice enough that I can see this gown easily going from nightgown to daygown.
+ Everyday nursing t-shirt. I purchased a medium and love the fit. It's a bit flowy without looking frumpy and the side nursing access is smart and discrete. I might have to purchase a second one if I find myself wearing this all the time.
+ High-waisted underwear. It's pretty likely that I will only be wearing disposable underwear after the birth but I packed these pretty and comfortable ones just in case.
+ Soft and pretty robe. I have a soft, lightweight robe that is seven years old and this is the loveliest update. In my opinion a pretty robe is a must-have for any new mama. Perfect for feeling pulled together on mornings after a night of little sleep.
Clothing for Chris
He doesn't need much!
+ Swim trunks. In case I labor in the shower and need his support.
+ Extra shirt
+ Change of underwear (not pictured ;) )
Similar to my outlook on birth center clothing, I want the toiletries that will make me feel my best after giving birth and potentially being sleep deprived. What I remember from my previous births is that the first shower after giving birth feels like a spa experience. So even though our birth center provides shampoo, conditioner, and body wash I still packed my own body wash just because I found one that smelled so nice. I thought I might also buy myself some fancy shampoo, like Aveda Shampure, but now that I'm not running errands the provided shampoo will be fine. Bringing makeup might also seem unnecessary but I don't mind a little help considering the combination of tired eyes + lots of pictures.
+ Cleansing face wipes
+ Small brush
+ Dry shampoo
+ Hair ties and bobby pins
Clothes for baby
Holding these sweet, soft outfits and blanket is surreal. I can still barely believe we'll have a little baby to put in them soon! In my opinion, newborns are so perfect just as they are and I didn't want any big patterns or colors in her first outfits competing with that perfection. The gown and sleeper set I found from Solly Baby feel just right.
Similar to the first shower, eating after giving birth feels like an elevated experience. I remember everything that I ate after my first two births tasting amazing even though it was just hospital cafeteria food. I also remember feeling voracious. At our birth center we'll be given a meal after the birth but I wanted a few indulgences and additional snacks as well. Chocolate has been giving me such bad heartburn and you can see that I'm eager to rekindle my relationship.
+ Trail mix
+ Dark chocolate with hazelnuts
+ Oatmega bar (for Chris)
+ Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
+ Bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies (frozen, not pictured). How delicious will those be after giving birth??
A few other things
I've been keeping my purse next to the bag so it's easy for Chris to grab. We also have a phone charge cord tucked into the bag. On top of the birth center bag I have a half sheet of paper with a little list of things for Chris to remember to pack or put in the car. I tucked a postcard from Kindred Bravely in too that says, "You are strong, important, magical, and brave." A sweet and powerful reminder. This is what the list says:
+ Pack Kelsey's pajama pants. (Since I wear these to bed but plan to change into the maternity dress for the birth center)
+ Car sear. Already in the trunk!
+ Breast Friend. Also already in the trunk! The Breast Friend nursing pillow was essential for me while nursing both Dash and Cedric. I learned from my post-birth experience with Dash that trying to prop up a newborn with only hospital-provided pillows while learning to breastfeed is...so uncomfortable. I highly recommend taking a nursing pillow with you to the hospital or birth center and in my opinion the Breast Friend is the best.
+ Suitcase. Essential.
+ Bag of cookies (in freezer). Perhaps even more essential. ;)
On the back of the packing list is a list of birth wishes and phrases that I'd love for Chris and the midwife to use during birth. These include:
+ "Trust your body." TRUST has been my mantra and meditation for this birth.
+ Help Kelsey count three deep breaths through a contraction. This is a technique I used during my previous births.
+ "Stay in this moment"
+ Remind Kelsey to relax her shoulders and her jaw in between contractions.
+ "Every breath and every contraction is bringing you closer to your baby."
We feel ready. Just waiting for our baby to be ready!