I know this particular topic - preparing for an impending labor - will apply to about 0.01% of my readers, but this has been the majority of what I've been thinking about lately, so I thought it share it anyway! As I mentioned here, my second labor was EXTREMELY fast and my first labor happened a couple of weeks early. What I've learned from these experiences? It is good to be EXTREMELY prepared! Having two toddlers to worry about this time around only complicates the process more, so planning is everything!
That being said, here are the "rules" I live by when labor could happen at any time:
- Never get too hungry. You will NEED your energy for labor!
- Never get too full. You don't want to feel sick during labor either! Eek!
- Stay hydrated! I always remember being super thirsty during labor and Lord knows nursing makes you parched! Drink water 24/7.
- Stay well rested. With both of my boys I went into labor at around 10:00 at night. With Miles, my first, I didn't sleep well the night before, had worked all day, and was exhausted before labor even started. With Leo, my second, thankfully I had napped during the day and felt way better going into labor. Nowadays, I try to nap every day and put my feet up when I feel tired. Try to preserve some energy at all times!
- Keep your cell phone charged at ALL TIMES! I even keep a portable power battery in my purse just in case!
- Have your hospital bags completely packed and ready to go. And not like 80% packed, but 99% packed! I have EVERY SINGLE thing I will need in my bag except for my make-up bag, pillow, and cell phone (since I use these on a daily basis). Clothes, baby stuff, toiletries = all packed for go-time. I got duplicates of almost every item I could (toiletries, cell phone charger) since with Leo and my false alarm (see below) there wasn't a minute to spare between feeling signs of labor and feeling like I needed to go to the hospital. I just want to be able to grab my bags and go!
- Always make sure you have a decent amount of gas in the car.
- Pick up the house every night before bed. Don't underestimate the peace of mind that a clean house can bring! I think it makes everything less stressful and chaotic, not to mention more welcoming and comfortable for guests. Along with this, I also make the beds every morning.
- Stay stocked up on groceries. This way you can be certain your child's caregivers (In our case, Evan's parent's initially will stay when we go to the hospital and then my mom will come up from Columbus as soon as she is able) while you are in the hospital has food on hand to feed everyone, and that it is an easy task!
- Never get too far behind on laundry or other chores. Figure you will be in the hospital for about 3-days. You want to make sure your kiddos have plenty of clean clothes/pajamas/undies to make things easy for the caregivers while you are gone. Plus, you don't want to come home to tons of laundry to do. The same goes for cleaning bathrooms, mowing the lawn, making sure bills are paid, etc. So much easier to be a step ahead of these tasks before you leave!
- Have a plan A, plan B, and plan C when it comes to who you can call during the middle of the day/middle of the night to stay with your kids when you go to the hospital! With Leo and with our false alarm (see below), plan A did NOT work out! Plan A = Evan's mom comes over to baby-sit while we go to the hospital. With Leo, we knew there wasn't enough time for Evan's mom to come over from her house so we had our next door neighbor come over until Evan's mom could get here. With our false alarm, Evan's mom was downtown so again, we called a friend until she could arrive. Good to prepare a list of a few people ahead of time who are willing to help out!
- Write notes with instructions for your older kids... lots of notes! Even your caregiver may be relatively familiar with your kids and their schedules, it helps to have things written out and laid out in case there are questions (especially if your kids are really little and may be somewhat difficult/finicky when it comes to certain things, or if they are only used to caring for them during the day and not giving them baths and putting them to bed, etc.!) I feel more calm knowing that I have important aspects of their routine spelled out and I know our caregivers will appreciate it too. I also laid our pajamas in both kids rooms, make sure their night time "lovies" are easy to spot next to their beds, and labeled their special milk cups (because they will lose their minds if they don't have things just right!)
- Have comfortable sleeping arrangements ready for last minute guests. We have our guest room completely ready with fresh sheets, fresh towels, and the works! In case we have a middle of the night emergency,we also have washed some extra blankets and pillowcases for someone who may just be here an hour or two late at night or early in the morning and want to crash on the couch.
- Have all your baby clothes washed and baby-stuff out and ready for use when you get home from the hospital. After having the baby, it can be hard to move around. You're tired. Having everything you can set out and prepared ahead of time can make for an easy transition! With our first this was EASY! We were super ready way ahead of time! With our third, its taken more time to get everything ready.. we're ALMOST there!
- REST! I know I already said this, but this is the best thing you can do! I have a lot of my first time mom friends focused on how they can get the baby to come sooner, and they are walking/exercising/eating spicy food, etc.... My advice? Baby will be here soon enough, get your rest while you can!
As I mentioned above, we had a little scare (thankfully a false alarm!) at 34-weeks. We were driving home from a family trip to the ice cream shop with friends when all the sudden I started having INSANE contractions! They were super strong and were coming about 5-minutes apart. And when I say strong, I mean STRONG! I could barely breathe, could barely move, and I was shaking like a leaf. Under strict instructions not to take any chances, we high tailed it to the hospital. We had nothing packed, we had nothing planned. Our house was a disaster. We had our friend Justin come over because we couldn't get ahold of Evan's mom, and God bless him for what he walked into! (He earned his role as baby #3's Godfather that night, that is for sure!) Our cell phones were both almost dead, the kids had no clean pajamas, there were no bedtime instructions.. Thankfully it was a false alarm (my contractions literally stopped the minute we entered labor & delivery) and we were home within a few hours. However, it was a good lesson to stick to my rules above!
What do you think? Anything else would add to this list?