Well, here I am at 35 weeks, pretty much packed and ready to go. My carry-on sized bag is sitting in the mudroom, ready for a quick exit when the time comes. Figured I’d share my list and ask for some suggestions from y’all if there’s anything else I might not have thought of, since there is still (hopefully) plenty of time to tweak.
So yes, this is what I have prepared! Please note that Finnish hospitals typically have you stay 3-4 days after the birth, especially for first-time parents and definitely if it’s a c-section. (Hopefully I will avoid surgery, but we’ll see. This thing is getting pretty big.) They use the time for observation of the infant and so they can teach you all the skills necessary to take care of the little monkey before it goes home. Which is something of a comfort to us, since both the hubby and I are rather clueless about these logistics and could use a few live demonstrations by capable professionals. I’m crossing my fingers for a family room, which tend to be given to first-timers.
Universal health care covers almost everything and the room/board charges were something ridiculous like €8/day out of pocket on my last bill, so there is pretty much nothing to worry about in terms of fees. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Finnish health care? It’s been amazingly good to me from the moment we moved here.
Fair warning – if you’re a dude, you might want to skip this post. Nothing graphic, but more sensitive souls might perceive some of these items as bordering on TMI 😉
A roll-up duffle bag, to fill with diapers, pads and other take-home stuff we’ll receive at the hospital.
A pair of cushioned flip-flops. To go home in, if my feet are too swollen for shoes/boots (this totally happened last time and I ended up swapping one of the sis-in-law’s boots, so we were both walking around in a mismatched pair). Also, for walking around the ward or using in the shower, if it turns out that such a thing is needed. In their own plastic pouch and kept in the front compartment to keep them from dirtying anything else.
Homecoming outfit. A roomy dress and cozy lace cardigan. Cardi can also be worn at the hospital, when the robe gets too warm. Also packed but not pictured for obvious reasons, 5 pairs of roomy underpants that I won’t miss if they get destroyed in the birth aftermath. (Yeah, you know what I mean.) The hospital provides those giant meshy granny panties, which I actually don’t mind that much, but I like to have options.
Homecoming outfit for baby. A kimono-style bodysuit and patterned romper with feet, both from the Kela maternity package. Size 50. The wrap-around style is good so we don’t have to mess around with pulling anything over his head and more adjustable should he be on the larger side. The romper has adjustable shoulder snaps, in case he’s on the long side. Footies mean no additional socks needed! Knit hat (courtesy of an enthusiastic soon-to-be great-grandma) and little mittens (courtesy of my shop-happy sis-in-law :-D).
Also, a muslin swaddling blanket (adorable IKEA Vandring pattern) and toy lamb (another gift from the sis-in-law). I’m still considering whether or not we need a thicker blanket, since early May can sometimes be on the cold side in the mornings. It’s been an unusually warm year, though, and he will already be wearing a couple layers under this. Hubby can bring an extra blanket from our stash if weather conditions require. I’m sure the hospital would also have something, if it came to that.
Nursing supplies. 4 pairs of breast pads and some lanolin cream. Also packed and not pictured, 2 nursing bras (which I really hope will fit correctly once the time comes, because I feel ridiculously inadequate in them currently). I base the 4 pairs of pads estimate on the fact that most people have said milk doesn’t really come in until a couple of days after the baby, so there shouldn’t be any mess to worry about until the end of the stay. Still, if there is going to be a critter gnawing on my chest all that time, I’m gonna play it safe and have some soothing cream ready to go.
Two pairs of comfy socks to lounge around in. They provide socks and slippers at the hospital, but these fleecy ones make my toes happy.
A variety pack of Three Lollie’s Preggie Pops. The name is silly, but these things helped me during first trimester all-day sickness like nothing else could. I foretell plenty of nausea and dry mouth to come during labor, so a bag of these will probably come in handy.
4 juice boxes. I will most likely send the hubby out for more over the course of my stay, but these should get me through labor, at least. You’re not allowed to drink much during that time, but these are small enough to be inoffensive. I even checked with my nurse. Last time I was in the hospital, I developed a desperate craving for apple juice, so I’m heading this one off at the pass.
No explanation needed for anybody who knows what the birth process entails. I don’t know if they provide these at Finnish hospitals, but it’s another case of playing it safe. I know I haven’t seen them at Finnish supermarkets, but I’m pretty sure I’m just looking in the wrong place or not understanding the labeling. Will have to ask the pharmacy to be sure, since I’ll probably need more than one box before the month is out. I got these from Amazon, just to be prepared.
Toiletries! Deodorant, raspberry rose lip balm (dry hospital air, yo), almond body butter, Lush Chou Chou Toothy Tabs (good for traveling, though they take a bit of practice to get used to), toothbrush, travel hair brush, 2 sturdy hair elastics, pack of sensitive skin wet wipes (I prefer these to facial wash for travel, since you don’t need a sink and they are disposable).
Since most of my small electronics will be in use right up until we leave, I’ve centralized them all on one tray that can be picked up and dumped into my purse or the front pocket of the suitcase when the time comes. We are attached enough to these items that I doubt I will forget even if in a panic 😉 My Kindle Fire HD (loaded with magazines, books, games, TV and music), charging cables, spare earbuds, charged battery packs, camera with video capabilities (used to take this photo :-P), cell phone and charger.
Items that are not in daily use (camera battery charger and Kindle keyboard) have been pre-packed in the suitcase.
The finished suitcase. There’s even still room in there for a few snacks and additional items that pop into my head later!
I should note that there are still at least two additional bags we are packing – my purse and a small bag of supplies for the hubby. I might get around to posting about those as well, but those are more personalized (medications, makeup, paperwork etc.) and don’t rely as much on the checklists that I went through to get this hospital bag ready.
Stuff provided at the hospital that I don’t see a need to replace with my own (I availed myself of everything but the diapers and they all seemed perfectly serviceable last time around):
- hospital gown
- sanitary pads
Stuff that I will hopefully get or make and pack if there is time:
- Cooling gel pads for nursing (these are getting ordered with my next Amazon shipment, but I’m still putting together the list and don’t plan on ordering for another week).
- A mirowavable flannel hot pack filled with lavender essential oil scented rice (I have all the materials laid out, just need the energy).
So how about it? Can you think of anything I might be missing? Suggestions greatly appreciated!
Edited 4/6/2015: Many of the above items now available at the VK Store!