For my first birth I delivered in a hospital, and I think I ended up having a lot of stuff that I didn't use, and my husband ended up going home to pick up quite a lot of stuff too. We stayed in the hospital for 2 days that time though.
This birth, I will be birthing in a birth center whose policy is pretty much come, birth, bathe and relax, go home. I suppose it depends on how long your birth is, and if there are any complications of any sort... but I think they're keen to send you home within 4-6 hours of birth.
So, what do you pack in a bag for THIS kind of delivery?
I figure definitely a change of clothes for me, and something for baby to wear home. I know part of the "package" at the birth center is some kind of herbal bath for mom and baby after the birth- but I figure I'd bring my own shampoo and soap probably as well, especially in case it was a middle of the night start.
(And I should add, maybe my midwife will give me a list... I don't know... I haven't met her yet or seen the birth center... but, I leave for home in 10 days!)
Mara & Joel, 2009
I had that sort of birth and I still packed WAY too much. All I really needed was something to labor in, something for DH to wear in the tub (he ended up just jumping in in his underwear), something to put T in to go home, and anything I wanted to augment my labor (music mostly). Ask if they have an iPOD dock or a headset. Maybe bring something cozy to wander the halls in. I wish I'd brought more for Teagan. They didn't have onesies for her to wear and I'd only brought her going home outfit so she spent her first night skin to skin with me. It would have been fine if we'd left right after her birth but she arrived at 9pm so we spent the night. My center has a boppy, a basinet, and a co-sleeper. So we were OK on those fronts. Just ask what they have and decide for yourself what you'll need. You're a pro now so your bag will be more sparse!
I have no experience, but I would probably overpack and pack like I was going to be gone at least overnight. In the rare event that you end up with a transfer to the hospital, you'd want to have maybe some extra things ready. But what you pack might also depend on what the BC provides.
I've been googling what to pack for the hospital so that I don't forget something really important. But knowing me, I'm liable to leave the house without the bag entirely!!
I did a home birth so I don't have experience with BC births. BUT my midwife owns her own birth center and the list she gave me for things I needed to get ready for my home birth also included a list of what you would need for a birth center birth, so I would venture to guess, if your midwife is like mine, that you will probably get a list of stuff from your midwife. I also know that that is not always the case though, my midwife just likes handouts, lol. I had a lovely hand out of herbal remedies for pregnancy caused issues, or illnesses while pregnant, as well as a list of medications safe to take while pregnant, sadly I have no misplaced it and am sad. I think by the end of the pregnancy she had given me at least 2 dozen hand outs with information on them.
Sorry that probably wasn't helpful at all. I think one thing my midwife did say about the birth center birth was pack as if you might end up needing a transfer because it's better to have too much then be stuck without something you might need in the hospital if you end up transferring.
My birth center required women to bring 6 bottles of gatorade or a natural alternative. It puzzled me that they didn't keep it on hand. They also "strongly" recommended Bach's Rescue Remedy - my midwife said she loved it for births. That is all I can remember that seemed off-the-wall but useful. I remember wishing I'd brought more to eat when I birthed a few months ago
Laszlo Jacob, 11/9/11
Ah yes, food! I wasn't interested in food so much throughout my birth but DH needed something and we both needed food afterwards. My birth center has a kitchen (or at least they used to, I'm not sure now that they've moved) for its families to use.
Agreed that they'll probably give you a list, but what I needed was:
- an easy on/off outfit to labor in and a robe to walk the halls, plus something easy and comfortable to nurse in to change into after the birth and wear home (I used a stretchy jersey dress)
- water-appropriate outfits for both me and DH
- two outfits for baby: one comfy, one cute going-home outfit (although we actually just ended up bringing DD home in the comfy one)
- food and drinks for DH and at least on offer for you, and definitely something to eat AFTER the birth if that's possible. Like Erin mentioned, we had a kitchen, but we'd only brought snacks and my labor was so long that we were RAVENOUS after the birth. When we called my MIL to tell her it was time to come see her grandbaby, we asked her to pick up sandwiches. Best thing I've ever eaten in my life.
- any personal products you'd go crazy without comfort-wise if you suddenly felt like you needed it, like a rubber band for your hair, chapstick, lotion, toothbrush, etc.
Honestly that was about it. I went in at 9:30pm and had DD at 3:30pm the next day, but we were so tired we ended up sleeping there until midnight. Then DD woke up and we decided it was time to go home, since we were going to have to pack up to move rooms anyway (we were in the only room with its own bath--in high demand!).
I agree that overpacking is better than underpacking, though, and now you have experience, so you should be fine!
Anyway...your suggestions help! I suppose I could have held off on asking this until I met my midwife/saw the center/saw where the center is... after my DD's birth someone brought us Panera sandwiches, and yeah, they were AWESOME. That said, I had really only missed one meal while in labor...but of course, I was hungry after that!
What makes this that much more tough is that of course, regardless of how things went with DD, this birth is going to be all its own, and could be totally different, or very similar... half as long or twice as long, etc, etc.
But also, good point about packing for the hospital anyway in case of transfer. That said, "home" is only 15 mins from the hospital if we do have to transfer, and my DH drove home to get stuff last time several times, and that was when "home" was an hour away!
Mara & Joel, 2009
I guess the main difference between a birth center--at least mine--and a hospital is that you won't be provided (or forced, depending on your POV ) with their clothes, food, etc. so you need to (can) bring your own stuff for labor. Also you're generally forbidden from eating and drinking during a hospital birth, as I understand it, but at our birth center they really encouraged eating and drinking as much as I was able. I was not interested in food at all past the first couple of hours, maybe, but they forced me to drink various juices to keep my strength up, and DH really appreciated having stuff to eat. I wish I'd brought more choices, though, since everything tasted horrible to me during labor! I ended up rejecting the coconut water I'd brought (wish I'd shopped around...it had a weird taste) so they gave me some grape juice and I kept making DH give me water chasers after every sip to get the taste out of my mouth.
But really, if you're only 15 minutes from the birth center, don't overthink it too much. Just bring a couple of comfortable outfits for everyone, some diapers, and your toothbrush, and you should be just fine.
I didnt bring much to my birth center births. I did bring, tub clothes (which consisted of a spandex tank), comfy yoga pants, nursing tank (to go home in, i was naked wearing depends while there! Lol), flip flops, camera, chapstick, outfit for baby. We also brought some snacks. The birth center is right by many food places so i knew if and when i wanted real food for after the birth someone whould go get it for me. The birth center provided anything else i needed.
DS Ethan 1/29/08,
DD Lola 2/2/10
DS2 Weston 2/18/12