Newborn essentials – what I’ve actually needed

I had gone through all the pinterest lists and with that info made my own list with a hint of common sense and it seems I did a pretty good job. So here are the things that I have actually needed, so far!

The baby hug 4n1
We have a crib too, but we haven’t used that one yet. This one is all we use, you can move it around and you can put it high or low, on any level, so you can make it the same height as your own bed. We keep her in it at night, right next to me, and then we can roll it out to the living room and have somewhere to put her for naps and throughout the day. It’s phenomenal. The wheels make it a little clumsy though so watch out if you have a small space.

Dresser/changing table
I’m so happy that we decided to turn a dresser into a changing table instead of buying an expensive changing table, cause it works perfectly and we saved a lot of money.

Nursing basket
It doesn’t have to be a specific basket, just something to put all your breastfeeding stuff in. And possibly changing stuff if you don’t wanna have to get up and go to the changing table in the middle of the night. I keep my towel, wash cloths, my nipple cream, snacks, bottle of water, baby log book and all the stuff you might need.

Wash cloths and towels
So I didn’t get the burp cloths, because, well, why? Just have a good sized towel, small but long, to put over your shoulder when you need to burp the baby. Wash cloths have been useful to, to wipe her mouth, my boob or what ever needs wiping, and to use with a bit of cold water for when she doesn’t want to wake up to eat (luxury problem haha).

Stroller
Obviously. But we really found an amazing stroller. I’m so happy with it and it’s the perfect size because it actually fits in our elevator haha, which of course is important, and it also came with a great diaper bag!

Bath stuff
We literally got the cheapest baby bath tub we could find and it is working perfectly. I don’t see a reason to spend a whole bunch of money on this since it’s literally only to keep water in.

Coconut oil
For everything. For the boobs, the baby, the bath, as oil, lotion and cream it just an all in one. I needed to go get a special diaper cream because my nipples got ruined at first, but accept for that coconut oil for everything, all the time.

Baby wrap
I haven’t used this one too much yet, I actually got it delivered quite recently, but it felt amazing when I did. To be able to have you baby close and even comfort her while having your hands and arms free, amazing.

Pacifiers
I know some advice to not use pacifiers, and I wasn’t sure about it at first, but when our little girl started getting some stomach ache in the evenings, using the pacifier to calm her down has been golden! She is however very specific with what pacifiers she likes, so my advice would be to get a few different ones.

If you’re planning on breastfeeding I would also advice to keep some infant formula at the house just in case. If it takes some time for your milk to come through and you have a hungry, screaming baby, it might be a good idea to supplement with a little bit, or if breastfeeding is just not working. We supplemented a little bit once or twice, and both times it was in the middle of the night when we would have had no chance to go to a store and get it.

Maybe I have forgotten something, my brain is not functioning super great with the lack of sleep, so I might do an update later on! Hope it’s helpful

Postpartum essentials

Before giving birth I also read a lot about things that you should keep in the house for when you come back from the hospital. And here is a list of things that I have actually needed or been happy to have.

  • Maternity pads and big panties to go with them.
    I thought that I would be able to switch back to normal pads already in the hospital ha ha boy was I wrong.
  • Spray bottle for water
    In the hospital the shower was right next to the toilet which made it easier but at home we don’t have the luxury, so I’ve had a spray bottle to use instead of toilet paper after peeing, because, it hurts to pee.
  • Belly wrap
    I don’t know about you guys but after giving birth it literally felt like nothing in my stomach was attached, that everything was just flopping around in there. So a belly wrap made walking a lot more comfortable. I only use it when we go out for actual walks though.
  • Easy self care products
    I’m so so so happy for my skin care products that I normally use because they’re fast and they’re easy. I use a skin care device and not a 7 step skin care routine which made it a lot easier to keep taking care of my skin in this new situation.
  • Tank tops
    I went out and got those nursing tops, but to be honest a normal tank top works just as good for me. So instead I would spend that money on buying more tank tops instead. In that case I think nursing bras are more worth it.

Other things that have helped a lot is for example to get groceries delivered so we don’t have to think about that and a good big water bottle cause man does breastfeeding make you thirsty.

What I actually needed from my hospital bag

I was preparing a lot of things during my pregnancy and one of them was the hospital bag. Just type in hospital bag on pinterest and you’ll see how many different suggestions pop up. Which is of course good, but also makes it a lot harder to know what is the right things for you. So here is a list of the things that I actually needed from my hospital bag.

For baby
Now obviously this can differ a bit depending on the weather. Giving birth in the middle of summer in Spain makes it a lot easier to pack for baby.

  • Diapers
  • Cleansing wipes
  • A few onesies
  • Hat
  • Blanket
  • Car seat

For me
I read all about all the different clothes and stuff I needed to bring, and sure it’s since you don’t know it’s good to have options so that you’re comfortable.

  • A top that will be easy to breastfeed in if you’re planning on doing that
  • Big as panties for those big as pads (the pads I got at the hospital)
  • Slippers
  • Shower products
  • A few skincare products
  • Contact and glasses
  • Clothes to go home in, comfortable clothes, no tight pants!

This is different for all people, but straightening iron, make-up and all that was definitely not something I needed.

Other stuff you might need, dependent on what you like and usually use and need. We spend a lot of time watching Netflix, but I also loved having my journal so I could right about all the things I had just gone through and was going through.

  • Speaker to play music (I didn’t use mine)
  • Laptop (with Netflix)
  • A book
  • Notebook
  • Baby book/journal
  • A lot of liquids, vitamin drinks and water
  • Some snacks

If I would pack my bag again I would definitely go more basic. But it’s also different for us who don’t really have anyone here. We couldn’t just ask someone to bring us something, we had what we had haha. And having never given birth before, obviously I had no idea. So hopefully this can be of help to someone else!

Giving birth with a doula

So as you might know we decided to hire a doula pretty early in the pregnancy and we have been happy about it throughout. We’ve gotten great support, we had a great birth class and most of all it was just nice to have one person that was constant since we got different midwifes through the whole pregnancy. But by the time of the birth we really realized what an amazing decision it actually was.

First of all, we would have gone to the hospital a few times and been sent home if it wasn’t for her advise. We were in contact from when the contractions started and she helped us with advise on how to handle the pain. She came to meet us at the hospital and she helped out with the language and with explaining everything that was happening and what has about to happen.

She was an amazing support through the birth. I feel like I literally couldn’t have done it without her. She was there with us, talking us through it all, helping me handle the pain and understanding what was going on. And especially when pushing, Odi didn’t really know what to do, obviously, and she helped both him with what to do and me with surviving haha. She just knew what to do and say and how to say it to make me feel like I could actually do it! She also helped a lot just afterwards with just being there and being supportive. And in a little bit she’ll also do a home visit.

I am so happy that we made the decision to work with a doula and specifically with our doula, it was literally a perfect match and I am so grateful for her help that I don’t even know how to express myself. So if you’re in Barcelona, in need of a doula recommendation, you know who to ask!

The first days in the hospital

So I meet our daughter for the first time, and we stayed in the birth room for a while to just be and let it all sink in. After a while they came to move us up to our room. And during the next 48 hours that’s where we were. I’m really happy with our choice of hospital, it was such a great choice. The hospital and the personal were really amazing. But spending 48 hours in a room is not fun, no matter if the room is good and the personal is nice.

I got a proper bed, Emma got a proper bed and Odi got a sofa bed. We got checked on and we got served food. We got to sleep and shower and rest. And we got to start to get to know our little girl. We also of course called around to everyone to let them know that she had arrived and all the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles were overjoyed.

It’s all kind of confusing and overwhelming. I all of a sudden life was completely changed and there was this little creature needing us and non of us ever changed a diaper before. But slowly but surely we started figuring it out. It is a bit stressful to have people running in and out all the time and you feel a little watched. So eventually we were just longing to get home to get some space and find our own way.

It was a huge relief to get to leave the hospital. They had us waiting for like 4-5 hours more than they initially said so by that point we weren’t really nervous anymore but just impatient. And finally we got to leave. She slept the whole trip home and it was amazing to come home with our new little family member.

Meeting my daughter for the first time

After 36 hours and the traumatic experience of pushing a baby out of your body, and all of a sudden she’s there. She’s just there. And all the movies show you that as soon as they give her to you all the pain goes away and you just sit there and cuddle your beautiful baby. What the movies don’t tell you is that there is still a placenta to give birth to, and probably stitches to get, and that the baby actually almost looks dead when it first comes out.

For me it was so hard to understand that what they put on my stomach was actually a baby, and that it was my baby, and that I just gave birth to her. I was dizzy and confused and exhausted and I just wanted to lay down properly without my legs in the air. But I needed to stay where I was. So she was laying on me but my arms were weak and my mind was focused on getting the rest of the pain over with. So our doula made sure she stayed there.

All I could think was just that I didn’t want this painful moment to be the first meeting with my baby. I wanted to be done with all of that so I could focus on her and it felt like it took forever. Finally, it was done and I could put my legs down and lay in a some what okay position and even if I was obviously still in pain, there wasn’t more to be done by me or to me. And I could hold my baby girl properly for the first time and really look at her.

It was actually really scary to feel that way. To feel like I didn’t want to hold her at first. It felt wrong somehow. And especially since you have this picture in your mind of it all being happiness and smiles as soon as she’s out. And the picture of feeling that instant connection. It really had me worried that something was wrong with me.

But nothing was wrong with me, I was traumatized from the experience, completely exhausted, confused and dizzy and in a hell of a lot of pain. But as soon as it was all over with, really over with, I did get to feel that connection, however unreal it felt to be holding a baby that is your own child. Seriously does it ever start making sense?

And still, she’s completely unreal to me. Sometimes I just need to sit and stare at her for a while. It completely blows my mind that it was her in there all this time. And now she’s here. And today we’re leaving the hospital to take her home!

She’s here and this is how it all went down

It all started Sunday morning, I had somewhat regular contractions and timed them for a few hours but eventually they stopped. They started up again in the evening stronger than before. Odi came home from work around 11 and we went to sleep but I couldn’t. The contractions were too strong and painful. They were around 7-8 minutes apart and we were in contact with our doula telling us there was no point in going to the hospital until they were 5-1-1, 1 minute long, 5 minutes apart, for 1 hour. If not for that we would probably have gone to the hospital right then, and been sent home, of course haha. So no sleep, and the contractions continued all day Monday. I was already exhausted from lack of sleep and the contractions was getting harder to handle and more painful, on top of that I also started vomiting.

We tried going to bed again after we had dinner but I still couldn’t sleep, I would fall asleep for about 5 minutes and then wake up from a contraction. I tried walking around when they hit, and that was fine for a while, and I tried taking a warm bath, which felt a little better for a little. When they got really strong I would flush warm water on my stomach, scream into the wall and try to breathe until it stopped and in between I would sit barely able to keep my eyes opened.

Around 1-2 at night the contractions were close enough together for us to head to the hospital. We got to go straight through and I was about 3cm dilated. After 24 hours of contractions, vomiting and pain and 36 hours without sleep I made the decision to take the epidural. I just needed to get all my piercings out first. Which was more problematic than one would think. I couldn’t get my piercing under my lip out, my earring was stuck and my finger was too swollen to get my ring off. And this with the help of about 3 people. I was just longing for that pain relief and started getting frustrated as the contractions kept coming.

With some tools we got the piercing out, cut the earring off and cut my ring, thankfully I had put a thin silver ring to stop my engagement ring from falling off as it was too big, so we just needed to cut that one the engagement ring came off with vaseline. So eventually I got the epidural, and I am so so so happy about that decision, oh how I needed that break. The epidural didn’t really function as it only worked fully on the right side and not on the left. They tried with putting more in, but still the same result. I was basically without pain though and got to sleep and rest a little. They effect of the epidural wore off and since it wasn’t working properly they needed to re-do it. That time it worked, but wore off faster so I needed several doses.

Around 7 in the morning I was about 4 cm dilated. It all slowed down a bit with the epidural. But then it went quite fast. At 10 I was fully dilated and a little while after that I started feeling a lot of pressure. The epidural didn’t work as it should that time either. So as the pressure and pain started coming stronger the epidural was wearing off and I ended up having a more or less natural birth anyway haha.

She had he mind made up, she was coming. And when it started it didn’t take more than 30 minutes until she was out. Oh my god, the pain. What’s interesting is how much it’s psychological. Being in pain for such a long time and knowing that there is a lot more coming, and knowing that there’s no going back. Or when pushing, that it’s not just about enduring the pain but actually having to push. I was close to breaking down and completely panic. I did not wanna do it anymore. I would say that giving birth actually takes a lot more mental strength than physical.

Not to mention that it’s not over when it’s over. They put her on me, and I was so confused and exhausted and I couldn’t for a second understand that it was her, that she was mine. And there was still the placenta to come. It was almost the worst part to stay in that awful position, in a lot of pain, waiting to give birth to the placenta. It didn’t take too long, but enough time for me to get super annoyed with the midwifes, like there was anything they could do about it. After the placenta it was the stitches… Kill me. Well for giving birth to a 4400 gram baby, only needing a few internal stitches is apparently pretty impressive, but it still hurt like a motherf’ and by that point I didn’t wanna be screaming from pain. I just wanted to meet my daughter. She was laying on me but I couldn’t focus on anything else but being done.

So after all of this, there we were. With our daughter. And it still didn’t make any sense what so ever. And it still doesn’t. She’s laying here next to me sleeping, in our hospital room. I’m exhausted and she’s perfect. We’re staying here another day and before we’re heading home.

There are a lot more to say about this, and over the next few days I will. But here is how it all went down. Written in exhaustion I hope it makes some sense. I’m so happy and filled with love and confusion. I am eternally grateful to our doula and to Odi who has been so great with his little girl while I have gotten some time to rest.

We’re healthy and happy and grateful for all your messages!