Pregnancy: My labour hospital bag - what I found most useful

I thought it would be helpful to write a post about what I found useful, and not so useful in my hospital bag during and after labour. I did lots of research about what to put in my hospital bag, reading blogposts and watching videos on YouTube so there wasn't much that I didn't use. I've also added a section about Florence's bag and some thoughts around this.

My hospital bag - I used a hand luggage suitcase
  • A handheld fan* - I had this on me through labour as I got so hot. Chris or my Mum would hold it in my face and it was amazing.
  • Cold face spray/cold flannel - I took a flannel which we drenched in cold water and that felt so nice on my head when I was really hot.
  • A mixture of snacks and drinks - I found that I wasn't hungry at all but it's so important to try and keep your energy level ups. It's hard to pack as you have no idea what you will fancy. I packed lots of sweets but didn't want them at all! My Mum had bought some grapes for her to snack on and that's what I ended up having as Chris could easily feed me them and they were easy to digest. So I'd bring a mix of food so there is likely to be something you can eat. Drinks wise I had a Lucozade sports drink but that was horrid (even though it's great for energy) so just stuck to water.
  • A water bottle which is easy to drink from - I used my Love Island one and it was great. It's also handy for if you breastfeed as you get ridiculously thirsty and it doesn't spill as you just suck it from the straw. 
  • A tangle teezer* (or any brush really) - especially if you go in the pool. My hair was like a birds nest afterwards!
  • Nice toiletries for the first shower/bath after birth - that first shower was so good and it was lovely to have special toiletries to use.
  • Flip flops - I took these rather than slippers for the ward and just used the £1 ones from Primark
  • Lip balm - your lips get super dry in labour, especially if you use gas & air so this is a must.
  • Nipple cream - Lansinoh* is amazing and an essential for breastfeeding
  • Tena lady pants - I bought these instead of maternity pads (which I did use a few days) as they were so easy. You don't have to faff with big pants and a massive maternity pad - it's basically just a big nappy. Oh the glamour!
  • Spritz for bits - does what it says on the tin and works like a charm!
  • Tens machine - I hired one from Boots and it got me to 4cm. It really helped.

What I packed and didn't use

  • Dressing gown - luckily I'd only packed a thin one which didn't take up much space but the ward was far too hot to need it
  • Fluffy socks - same reason as above
  • Front opening nightie - I ended up sleeping in leggings and a maternity vest which I found easy for breastfeeding.
  • Make-up - I bought a few basics with me but didn't touch it, I couldn't have cared less!  

Baby's bag - I packed everything into her changing bag

Most baby stuff is covered in all of the lists you can find online so my extra thoughts are below. 
  • Nappies - take lots of nappies! We used the number 1 sizes from Aldi and Pampers when she was a newborn.
  • Nappy bags - I didn't think to take these but it was fine as the hospital had them, and have lots of stuff if you do forget something
  • Water wipes or cotton wool - I took both but ended up just using the water wipes as they were more convenient and great for the early meconium poos (which look like black tar!)
  • A tiny hat - we bought a 0-3month size hat which was massive for her teeny little head so my sister had to buy a tiny baby one from H&M which was perfect
  • Sleepsuits in different sizes - again you don't know how big the baby will be so bring some up to 1 month/tiny baby, and also some 0-3 months. And bring quite a few in case of poo explosions and if you're in hospital for longer than planned.
  • Cellular blankets to wrap them in and to cover them when they're sleeping - these are best as they don't overheat the baby and also cool them down if it's hot. My favourites are the ones from Asda as they are cheap and super soft.
So that rounds up my thoughts! I hope you found this helpful and please do add anything you found useful that I may have missed.

*This post includes affiliate links

Daisy x

Baby: My positive birth story

From l-r: the last bump shot at 38 weeks pregnant; where I spent most of my labour - loved the birthing pool; first family photo

Birth story time- and it's a long one! When I was pregnant I loved reading birth stories and wanted to make sure I had shared mine, and also had it written down for myself. My birth was really positive, and I did the Positive Birth Company hypnobirthing digital pack which I feel contributed massively towards how my labour went. I can't recommend it enough and am going to do a whole post on it soon.

So, here we go. I'd had no early labour signs like braxton hicks and so was fully expecting to be late- on Tuesday that week I'd been out with my family to a garden centre and was feeling fit as a fiddle;  well, as fit as a fiddle as you can be when you're 39 weeks pregnant! However, on Thursday 17th August, 3 days before my due date I woke up at 11.30pm with period like pains. I thought it was stomach ache at first but soon realised that the cramps were coming regularly and that this was probably early labour. I was excited but knew how important getting rest was so tried to sleep as much as I could, and didn’t tell Chris until the early morning. 

The whole of the following day was spent in early labour. I took it easy and pottered around the house, doing up breathing (basically breathing in for 4, and out for 8), bouncing on my exercise ball and also using the tens machine. Chris was working from home and so was able to tie up everything and do a proper handover before going on paternity. My Mum came over too and kept me company. I had a tuna pitta for lunch and this was my last proper meal as I hardly ate throughout labour.

At around 5pm the contractions were coming very regularly so we decided to head to my Mum’s house as she was my other birth partner and was driving us to hospital. Typically as we got to her house, my contractions became a lot less regular and so we stayed there for the night. They ramped up overnight and at 4am we were told to come in to hospital.

The journey in was tough- I was knelt down over the back seat, doing my up breathing. I was so glad that it was the middle of the night as the roads were clear, and no-one was around to see me crouching on the floor outside the car! Poor Chris had to try and push me in a wheelchair, whilst also wangling my suitcase, the baby bag and my exercise ball - I think I even laughed at the time as it was so funny. 

A couple of hours after arriving I was examined and was 4cm- I found the examinations really hard as couldn’t bear to be laid on my back. At this point I could have gas and air and I was so thankful - I felt the effect straight away, it was like being really really drunk! The next day my jaw ached from clamping down on it so hard! The pool was also filled - I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in as hadn’t enjoyed a bath in early labour but the midwife was amazing and said they’d get it ready but no problem at all if I didn’t want to go in, or if I went in and came straight out. Anyway, I went in and the relief as I hit the water was amazing! It relaxed me so much and I stayed in there for almost the rest of my labour. I was using my up breathing throughout with Chris counting me through it - he basically counted me through my whole labour!

The midwives were amazing and read my birth preferences thoroughly- it saved them having to ask me questions as everything was on there too. They had aromatherapy in the hospital and so put a diffuser in the room, and also oils in the pool, as could see I was into hypnobirthing and it being as relaxed as possible. 

At this point it’s a bit blurry as I just went into my own world and all I could do was focus on breathing (with the gas and air). Chris kept force feeding me grapes (a brilliant labour snack as easy to be fed and not hard to digest) and water, knowing I needed to keep my energy up, and my Mum was on hand with the gas and air and cold flannels. They were a dream team! 

After my last examination at 6cm (I didn’t have another as they could tell my body was ready to push) things seem to calm down and then suddenly speed up and I had a big wobble - this was definitely transition. I said that I had had enough, couldn’t do it and wanted an epidural! Shortly after my body started to push. My breathing went a bit out of the window at this point but Chris was great at reminding me to breathe during pushes - all learnt from the course we did.

I pushed for an hour and a half in the pool, but right at the end her heart rate dropped a little so I had to get out and walk to another room as they wanted to monitor me - the walk was an experience! Walking, and gravity did the trick though as as soon as I was on the bed on all fours, I started pushing and the head was out and then she was here! No monitoring needed! She was born at 2.35pm on Saturday 18th August and weighed 6lb12 (exactly what I weighed when I was born). My labour was technically 8 hours long (as they count it from when you're 4cm dilated) but was 36 hours from the first contraction.

I can’t describe the feeling of seeing her for the first time and finding out that we had a girl! It was such a rush of love and emotion, and everything in our world changed in a split second. We had delayed cord clamping, Chris then cut the cord and I had a managed third stage but it was all fine and I was so pleased to be told I didn’t need any stitches and hadn’t torn at all. The worst bit was having a catheter put in as we couldn't work out when I'd last been to the toilet. It was uncomfortable but super quick luckily.

The hospital were fab (have so so much respect for midwives, they are superheroes) and we were left for over an hour (and could have had longer) to have skin to skin and to recover. I ended up staying in hospital for two nights as the midwives wanted to see me breastfeeding from my left boob (she couldn't latch on to it for some reason!) and I also had the results back from a private Strep B test I'd had done (please do one if your NHS trust doesn't offer them!) and it was positive so they wanted to monitor Florence for 12 hours to check she was ok. Thankfully she was fine and we could go home on Monday 20th August to start navigating our new life!

Daisy x

Life: I'm back!

Hi guys!'s been a while. The last time I posted I was 33 weeks pregnant and now our little girl has arrived and has been in the world for almost three months!

Introducing our beautiful daughter, Florence Olivia who was born on the 18th August 2018 (such a great birthday); two days before her due date. I always thought she'd be really late so it was quite a surprise. This photo was taken when she was a week old - she's grown just a little bit since then! 

A lot has happened since my last post.  I finished work (walking out of the office was so strange!) and the next day, we moved up to Lincoln so the following few weeks were spent getting the new house ready and settling in. It felt like home very quickly as we'd had it mostly painted before moving in and had new carpets, wardrobes and flooring put in - so felt like we'd put our stamp on it. I really enjoyed my month of maternity leave before Florence arrived - it was spent doing lots of house shopping with my Mum, painting, sitting in the garden (although not for long as the heatwave was in full swing!), watching lots of Love Island Australia and enjoying getting the house, and nursery all homely. Nesting was in full swing! 

Since Florence has arrived we have been adjusting to our new life and spending 90% of our time just staring at this tiny little being that we created. It's the best thing ever! Yes, it's tiring and life is very different, but it's also made everything so much more fun. Moving up here and having family nearby has also been invaluable and has helped make it a whole lot easier- it was definitely the right decision and Florence has been showered in love since being born.

Now that life has settled down, I feel like I'm brimming with words and want to share lots of posts about this crazy new world I'm in - from my birth story and hospital bag contents, to the best newborn buys. It's going to be very baby focused as that's my life at the moment but hopefully it will be useful for anyone pregnant, or with children.

Let's do this!

Daisy x