Packing Our Birth Go Bag

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Looking back on my pregnancy, packing our birth bag(s) was so exciting!! I had packed baby Enolia’s weeks in advance, but I had put off packing mine for a while.

When I initially started I wasn’t exactly sure what to bring.  So over the months when anyone gave me a suggestion or I thought of something- I added it to my list. I wanted to include the most repeatedly given advice for anyone else who may want some insight! The following list is the final product:



    Mom:

  • Gown for birthing (optional, if you’re in a traditional hospital you will have a gown provided)
  • Coming home outfit (loose pants or dress)
  • Robe
  • Slippers
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Brush
  • Contact case and contact solution
  • Hair ties
  • Shampoo & conditioner (mini)
  • Socks (several people suggested compression socks)
  • Granny panties
  • Pads
  • Distractions (book, music, iPad, etc)
  • Nursing pads
  • Nursing cream
  • Nursing bra
  • Dry shampoo
  • Chapstick
  • Gum
  • Essential oils
  • Massage oil

Baby:

  • Coming home outfit
  • Baby onsie
  • Pacifier
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Blanket/swaddler x 2
  • Burp cloth
  • Car seat
  • Mittens

Dad:

  • Sweatshirt
  • Snacks – Gatorade & food
  • iPad/book (I thought this was a weird recommendation. However, they said afterwards when mom is sleeping and dad can’t he will appreciate it).
  • Toothbrush
  • Pillow (we didn’t need one because they gave us a ton, but some hospital births may)
  • Electronic chargers
  • Extra shirt
  • Deodorant

Miscellaneous:

  • Birth plan
  • Insurance card
  • License
  • Wallets
  • Camera & charger
  • Baby book (footprint)

 

We ended up packing all of the little one’s stuff in her diaper bag- it’s a gorgeous Kate Spade bag (see a similar bag here). Then we packed all of our stuff in a duffel. The only thing I wish I had done differently is that I packed the bags to the brim. So then when we were trying to leave it was impossible to fit all of the gifts and such in the bags! So I would bring an extra bag or leave some space. Let me know if any of you have any other suggestions you think I should add! I hope you have as much fun packing as I ended up having.

 

 

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Nolie’s Birth Story 

Thursday May 11th:

Thursday I woke up relatively calm. I had an ultrasound at 1pm and an appointment at Baby and Company at 2:30pm to go over the results. We needed the ultrasound because they thought Nolie was breeched. If she was breeched we could try an inversion over the next few weeks. However if that failed, we would be transferred from our birth center into the care of Vanderbilt for a C section. (Baby and Company as a rule does not handle complicated pregnancies, and this definitely qualified).

I had been extremely emotional, however that morning I woke up calm. I just knew in my heart that she had flipped! I spent the morning doing the usual and then Michael took me to lunch at one of my favorites, Chuy’s. We went to the ultrasound and she was perfectly positioned! I was so happy. We celebrated with ice cream and then headed to Baby & Company. The appointment started out great. We all celebrated her flip. However, suddenly everything changed. We mentioned some weird symptoms I was having and all of the sudden I was hearing words like“preeclampsia” and “emergency transfer”. 

They quickly started drawing blood and asking for samples. I was told that if I had it, we would almost definitely be sent to Vanderbilt the next day to be induced. We scheduled our appointment to check back in and they told us to bring our hospital bag.

That night we spent wandering around our house trying to stay calm. We both tried to come to grips with the fact that we could be having a baby in a few hours. We also tried to hold on to the fact that everything could be fine, so we shouldn’t get too worked up. (Guess how easy it is for a very hormonal, very pregnant woman to stay rational…)

Friday May 12:

I barely slept a wink, but Friday morning I still felt like I had ample energy. I couldn’t sit still! I did all the laundry and dishes in the house. I swept and mopped. I vacuumed and scrubbed. My house was spotless and it was only 9am. I went to the chiropractor and then to get my nails done. Finally, it was time to go to the doctors. When we got there our midwife came out to greet us. She informed us she wasn’t going to be the one meeting with us, but wanted to say hi. In my head I immediately thought, this is an indicator that I have it.

The woman who came to take us back had a Vanderbilt badge. In my mind I thought another indicator. At this point I finally gave in and let myself believe that it was happening. She had me lay down and said she would be back in ten minutes to check my blood pressure.

When she came back she checked and it was high. However, she also informed me that my preliminary labs came back clean! AKA no baby that day! To be honest, I was a little disappointed. After spending the whole night imagining what holding my baby would feel like it was hard to hear we still had almost four weeks to go. Michael was disappointed too, but he was adorably happy. He probably had a better mindset- he was just rejoicing that I was healthy! They asked for one more sample so they could run another test, but told me to just go about life normally and not to over do it.

Saturday May 13th:

Saturday was hard. I woke up sad because I thought I would have my baby. I also still had to waddle to the bathroom every hour, which was now becoming one of my biggest sources of frustration. We spent the day unpacking the car and running errands. It was so weird but the house felt incredibly empty.

Sunday May 14th: 

Sunday was Mother’s Day!! After spending Saturday dealing with all of my emotions I finally felt better. Michael gave me the sweetest day (you can read about it here). About ten minutes after I published that post we headed down to the pool. Michael took a nap and I played solitaire. Then I braved the chilly water and waded around. The weightlessness of the water felt AMAZING on my back. And the cold water gave me so much relief in my feet. When it was finally time to head home we gathered our stuff. I checked my phone and I had a voicemail. It was our midwife.
She had asked me to call her back to discuss my final lab results. I called and she informed me that there was a problem with protein in my urine. Over the phone we were told that at this point I would not be allowed to deliver at the birth center. She asked if I was having any severe symptoms and if I felt we should go into Vanderbilt today. I wasn’t, so we scheduled for me to come in Monday to discuss the transfer process and to check my blood pressure again.  I hung up the phone in shock. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing. She made reference to inducing in the next week or so.

Emotionally I just felt numb. I think the on and off of the last two weeks had left me drained! We made a few calls, but decided not to deal with any of it until we had more information.

Monday May 15th:

Monday I woke up bright and early. My stomach was in knots. I just didn’t know how to feel! I didn’t want to get myself worked up, but the uncertainty of everything had really taken its toll. I waddled around the house cleaning up. (I figured if they put me in bed rest at least my house would be clean). Then I went and sat beside the pool to soak up some sunshine. Finally it was time to leave for my appointment.

At the appointment they informed me that I did have preeclampsia. They told me I was now a higher risk and couldn’t deliver there, but would be transferred to Vanderbilt. They scheduled me for a more in depth ultrasound Thursday morning and then an appointment with the Vanderbilt midwives that afternoon to officially complete the transfer process. We were told to bring our go bag again with us Thursday because the ultrasound results would set the stage for what day they induced. They said they like to induce as soon as baby is full term, and I would be full term – 37 weeks- this Wednesday. (The day before that appointment). Once again I was faced with a lot of uncertainty!

After the appointment I made my way over to Vanderbilt’s OB/Maternity ward. My dad came with me since Michael needed to be at work! He had called ahead and asked if someone could give us an unofficial tour. We walked around and then he bought me ice cream. What a good dad!

Tuesday May 16th: 

Restless does not even begin to explain how I felt when I woke up and realized I would have no more information about baby girl for two days! However, it was Michael and I’s two year wedding anniversary. So I did have that to celebrate! Michael had to work so I spent the entire day by the pool with a friend.

That night Michael let me pick dinner – I chose the Cheesecake Factory. I had been craving cheesecake for WEEKS, but had been trying to stay on my healthy eating. However, this seemed like a great excuse to cheat. We had a whole evening planned, but I felt really weird and tired so we ended up eating dinner and taking the cheesecake to go.

Even though we just went home, I don’t think I would have traded those peaceful moments with my sweet husband for anything.

Wednesday May 17th: 

Wednesday was perfect. I woke up and did some work and then met Sophie at the pool around eleven. We ordered lunch poolside and spent the afternoon day dreaming about our perfect little babies! We headed home around four and I showered. Michael was going out to dinner with a friend so I settled in for a quiet night. I made my dinner (peas and cheesecake- hey I was pregnant!) and started my Netflix binge. Around seven I started feeling weird again. I had a slight headache, but nothing major. I don’t know why, but suddenly I found myself calling the midwife. I told her when she answered that I wasn’t super worried but I did feel a little off. I remember even saying that since I had an appointment the next day that I was just updating her. She didn’t seem concerned at all, but said to be safe to run to one of the clinics by my house and check my blood pressure.

So I ran across the street. As instructed, I sat for a good ten minutes just breathing before taking it. The result was 176/119. The machine popped up a warning saying to go to the emergency room immediately. Surely, I thought, this was a mistake. I took it again three separate times over 45 minutes. Deep breathing between each time. I think I was in denial, so there I was yoga breathing and stretching in the corner of the clinic. My best result was still a 168/116. (185/120 at worst). I text the midwife and she called me back to say she let Vanderbilt know I was coming in. She said bring your husband and your go bag! I called Michael and he headed home.

I waddled around the house getting things ready. I finished the laundry just in time! When he got home we packs the car and headed down! We had to check into the emergency room, which at first was really intimidating. However, I ran into a friendly face from my dad’s church! My youth leaders husband was the one who triaged us! Then we got the okay to head upstairs.  When we got up they said they were very busy. Four women had arrived to the labor unit within ten minutes before me!

However, everyone seemed super calm. Honestly, it felt a little like they thought I was an over reacting young pregnant woman. (Michael and I laughing and smiling probably didn’t help- but we were nervous!) However, when they took my blood pressure the nurse got a lot more serious. They hooked me up to monitor baby, my contractions, and then a machine that took my blood pressure every fifteen minutes. Someone else came in and said we were inducing. And within an hour and a half we had a room and they were coming in to make a plan.


Thursday May 18th:

At midnight we began the pitocin. We were incredibly lucky in that when we arrived I was already dilated to a 2.5 and 70% effaced! So I didn’t have to take any medications to soften my cervix and we could just jump right in to the pitocin. She said that I would probably not feel any contractions for a while, but after thirty minutes it felt like my worst cramps. I labored from midnight until 11am. Then they came in to talk about an epidural. Apparently, they help lower blood pressure (mine was still dangerously high). Michael and I talked about it and we decided that even though I was terrified of the idea, that we would try it. Also, the fact they said I could have another DAY or so of labor was not very appealing. (Especially since I was experiencing what the nurse called back labor). At Baby and Company you can walk around and cope. I was hooked up to so much machinery I could barely sit up! All my ideas about pain management were not attainable.

Our amazing nurse, Vanessa, said she would get her favorite, Justin, to be our anastesiologist. He was a bright, happy man and put us at ease! There was a little concern because apparently the space where they put epidurals was incredibly small and tight in me compared to most people’s. But we got everything set up and we were good to go! Then I got my catheter. Michael laughed but that was the BEST part. The past nine or so months I’ve had to go to the bathroom at least once an hour. And while I was laboring that cut down to maybe thirty minutes. The problem was that I was hooked up to a lot of stationary machinery. I know the nurses were sick of coming in and helping me because one taught me how to unplug everything and said she couldn’t keep coming back in. (Embarrassing!!!) I was so thirsty, but I felt like I needed to limit my intake so I wasn’t constantly trying to to get to the bathroom.The second that catheter was in I drank an entire bottle of water and I was never so happy!!! Catheters rock. No shame!

Everything went smoothly until around 3pm. All of the sudden I could start feeling my contractions again and they were getting stronger and stronger! I let the nurse know and she called anesthesia team. We spent the next painful hour watching a lot of very confused faces and having them poke me asking if I could feel things. (The answer was yes. And mostly IN MY UTERUS). After a while they started something new in one of my IVs and said it was “the stronger stuff.” I don’t know what that means and I didn’t care to ask. After several hours of feeling nothing to suddenly feeling my labor I was so tired!! Thirty minutes later it was working a lot better. They gave me a button and said push it until it “won’t give you anymore!” I could still feel my contractions, but they were incredibly dulled- back to feeling like cramps. My own medical mystery, I guess!

Michael and I played some phase ten until around six. The midwife came in and said that when she checked me during the epidural event around 4pm, I was fully effaced but still not very dilated. She said she suspected that the baby wasn’t coming until Friday. Our nurse agreed and said if we got lucky maybe early morning. I was stuck at 5cm dilated. I asked if Michael should go get food now then. I could hear his stomach and I was in good shape. They said he had plenty of time! So I got my sodoku book out and Michael headed downstairs to the Caf. About twenty or thirty minutes later my nurse came in and I asked her to help me roll over. She started to when she suddenly gasped. She asked if I heard that pop? I said no, and she pulled back my blankets. Apparently my water had burst!! (Side note, she said she’s never heard one pop and the midwife later told us that in her several decade long career she’s only heard an audible pop twice before. How cool!!) It had “exploded” and sprayed everywhere.

She looked up and excitedly asked where Michael was. I told her he was at dinner, and asked why. She happily, and a little frantically said, “Because I see her head!”

At 6:46pm I called Michael and told him to run. By the time he got upstairs they had everything set up, a nurse was holding one leg up and instructing him to grab the other. According to our nurse, Vanessa, at 6:58pm we started pushing (she was laughing because the first thing she told me when we met was she didn’t deliver babies after 6:45pm because shift change was at 7pm and that is too difficult. Oh the irony). I pushed for 32 minutes and at 7:29pm our gorgeous baby girl was born.  (The average first time mom statistically pushes two to three hours so I was so lucky!! That was seriously not a fun part).

They later told me she would have come out faster, but she had her little fist balled up against her cheek! They immediately put her on my chest and for a few seconds I couldn’t see anything else. She was so perfect.

However, I was pulled back into reality when the NICU team came in. Suddenly, I could hear people saying she’s not screaming. Someone kept giving time, like they were watching a stop watch. They took her from me and suddenly she was lost in a sea of people. My nurse must have seen my panic. She told me Nolie was pinking up and had a great pulse, but they just needed her to make noise. All I remember is closing my eyes and in a whisper repeating the only prayer I could think of. “Dear God, please don’t take my baby away from me.” It feels like I laid there for hours- closing my eyes, praying with my entire soul, and straining my ears to hear that cry. After several minutes we got a whimper and then finally a scream. I’ve never felt so much relief in my life. I don’t know if anything could ever feel that scary to me as those moments.

When I was finally holding that sweet baby girl in my arms again I couldn’t comprehend how much I love her. She immediately latched on and I just stared at this perfect little person. I don’t even remember what happened until the next day. I just couldn’t stop staring and kissing her!

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// Enolia’s first picture! //
The next few days were incredibly stressful.  I was discharged Saturday morning, but baby girl had some more health concerns. They found us a “family room” to sleep in while she was a patient. Those were painful hours.  We were finally released Sunday afternoon, with appointments already scheduled for Monday morning.  However, I was just so happy we got to go home. She is doing okay now! Nolie is still jaundice and is losing too much weight (jaundice makes her sleepy, she won’t eat, it’s a bad cycle!) so any prayers would be appreciated.

Anyways. That’s how I met my baby.  ❤

 

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// Dress & Bow: CharlieandWill