I'll be packing some snacks for myself and the kids, because I know they won't feed any of us while I'm in labor. A couple of my cute nightgowns that can be tossed if necessary since they were bought at Wal-Mart. I can nurse in them too, which is a bonus. My own shampoo, conditioner, and soap (in small containers) since the hospital stuff is atrocious. Hair brush, tooth brush, tooth paste. Clean comfy clothes for baby and I to go home in. Camera & charger. iPhone & charger w/ cord extension. Sports bra/bikini top for the tub. A pad of paper and some pens, since I always seem to need paper and pens where ever I am and I hate to be left without it. I might also bring some colored cardstock cut into small rectangles, like business card sized, so people who visit can write little notes on them to baby. I had a friend who did that and she would take a picture of the visitor holding baby and the pictures were matched with the card and put into the baby's scrapbook. It was super cute. LOTS of my favorite Burt's Bees chapstick. A trashy romance novel to read and entertain myself with. I know there is a TV there, but there's never anything good on and after a while the noise from the TV is totally annoying. Maybe my iPod dock thingy so I can hear my music through bigger speakers. It's kind of bulky though and it doesn't work all that great. Maybe I'll use a gift card I got to buy something more portable. I also have a pack of Depends that I'll pull a few out of and bring with me. They just work so much better for the first 24-48 hours after birth than pads do. Especially those mesh panties with a pad. Yuck. Oh, and my good lotion.
All in all, it's really not a lot. All of that will fit neatly into one bag, which is ideal. The last thing you want is to have to haul a bunch of stuff in to the hospital while in labor, and then have to haul it all back out again, plus all the stuff that visitors usually bring like flowers, plants, stuffed animals and balloons.
With my doula clients, I would wait to head in to the hospital until they would stop speaking during each contraction. If you can't talk through a contraction at all because you're focusing so much on it, that's usually a pretty good indicator that there is some real progress being made.