Or possibly better asked: how to make your hospital birth less...hospital-y?
While I have generously debated and ruminated on a home birth in these recent weeks, we are still planning a hospital birth. (I'm 33 weeks.) I have composed a birth plan (for an unmedicated birth, using Hypnobabies, have a doula, etc.) and have reviewed this with my OB twice. One hopeful advantage that I have is that I actually work on the L&D and mother-baby unit, so I am friendly with most of the staff (well, day shift staff, that is). I have discussed my birth plan with the nurse managers on both units, and both are really receptive. Pending staff availability, I believe that there is a very good chance that my baby won't have to go to the nursery and can actually be admitted while still in the room with me. I have been acquainted with one of the L&D nurses (who is a retired nurse midwife) and enjoys working with mothers going for a more natural birthing. I'm very friendly with several of the LCs, as well. I feel like I have some good connections that hopeful with smooth the way for my birth plan.
I am really interested in hearing what others may have done to create a more homey atmosphere in their hospital room on L&D. I plan to bring my own gown and pillow from home. I'm thinking of bringing some flameless candles and keeping the lights low, turning off the sound of any monitors, covering the wall clock, bringing my own iPod dock.
I'm hoping some of you have some good thoughts about what else I may be able to do to create a bit more comfort and make the room/atmosphere more personable... Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
I took a bag of my own food, including fresh fruit and homemade cookies (I'm sure there were other things in the bag, but those were the things I ate during my labor).
I am looking for ideas as well. I was thinking of bringing a little stool to sit on, something rugish like an old blanket to put down on the cold floor to walk around on so I am not stuck on a hospital bed, my own slippers.
Definitely food and your own clothing and bedding. Hubby brought the ipod stereo but I ended up preferring headphones (great during change of shift or other distractions). My robe was so comforting, whether on my body or hiding the crash cart. We had an unplanned transfer so I hadn't packed as much as I would have otherwise... wish I'd brought more undies and definitely wish i'd had mama cloth! Those nasty hospital nylon undies gave me the WORST rash! Hth!
The best things I brought were a favourite blanket & pillow. We were very fortunate to be able to keep the room dark - they simply turned on one lamp so the doctor could see when I was pushing - I didn't even notice it. I would definitely consider packing a small lamp next time just in case the overhead lights are the only ones available in the room. I wish I had brought more/different food (a protein shake or gatorade type of beverage would have been better than the granola bars I had). Appropriate clothing to wear home. I brought along a dress I knew would fit nicely but didn't take into account nursing - I had to hike the whole dress up to get at my chest!
I had a fantastic hospital birth 2 months ago. One of the things that would have made it even better would have been some comfortable/clean spots to labor on. The bed was extremely hard and the chairs were not comfortable either. I had this totally weird and unexpected pain in my side that I had trouble coping with while in labor (this pain was a zillion times worse that any contraction). The only thing that helped was to lie on my side and the bed was so hard. Ideally I would have liked to be more mobile, but that strange pain confined me to the hard bed for most of the last hours of my labor. So knowing what I know now, I would have brought something soft to lie on, maybe a foamie? I don't know how that would work, but it would have been nicer than the uncomfortable furniture in the room. Looking back on it, my biggest problem with laboring in the hospital was not having enough places to throw myself down on during contractions. Oh, and I had sandals to wear in the hospital shower. Slippers would have been a good idea too.
I remember packing some PB&Js for energy. My boyfriend ate one, I don't think I ate anything.... But next time maybe I'll take a kefir smoothie and some coconut water. Yum yum.
I was so zoned out in labor I don't think I noticed my surroundings at all. I sang for a while, then spent most of my labor-time in the hospital just crawling around on the floor between the bed and the shower and screaming, and was pretty much perfectly satisfied by that. At one point, the nurse encouraged my boyfriend to let me lean on him. So we tried that and I was like, "Its okay, I think I'll go back to crawling around completely naked and dripping fluids on the floor, thanks." So he slept in the chair next to the bed. He probably could have used a blanket.
Wish I would have brought:
rebozo/scarf/wrap for belly jiggling, and wrapping the baby afterwards (we actually had a sling in the car, but never thought to bring it up - but I didn't really know how to use it yet)
music for dancing or distracting
Nice comfy clothes to wear afterwards instead of my ratty old sweats, and earrings to wear after so I could feel pretty (money was really tight; I didn't want to be "frivolous" but it's a celebration!)
ace bandage to bind my belly
cute coming home outfit instead of a plain onesie
my breastfeeding plan
massage oil and someone to rub my back! lol
I'm on the fence as to whether or not a doula would have been helpful
I used the hospital shampoo to bathe myself and DD, but maybe having my own stuff would have been nice. Just taking a bath was nice, TBH.
Brought and used - we stayed 3 days
a cozy blanket (someone brought this to me after DD was born)
BF brought his laptop. He probably could have used a book too.
I literally walked in with the clothes I was wearing and some sandwiches. Left a few days later with same, minus sandwiches, plus baby. Next time I'm probably not going to be quite as simple.
I actually saw on a blog a family that took champagne with them. I thought that was a sweet, neat idea.
Here are a few Mothering articles you might find helpful:
I second (third) the advice to bring a rug/blanket or something similar to labor on. I probably would have spent more time on the floor laboring if there had been something instead of cold linoleum! I remember being really conscious of how cold and hard the floor was, and wanting to totally stay away from it. Would have been nice to do some more squatting or hands and knees positions . . . .
I was considering a hospital birth and here are the things that I was going to bring to make it more homey:
With my first L&D I was in the hospital for 5+ days, and NOTHING can make that feel like home, but the above things would have definately helped me to relax more!
Good luck with your delivery, I hope it goes well!!!
As a doula attending both hospital and home births as well as mama to two of my own, I always advise lavishly at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. There are a lot of good suggestions here for what to bring to the hospital, especially food, rugs or floor blankets, clothes of your own, music etc. But the longer you stay home to labor the easier the hospital portion is likely to be.