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!

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!

She’s supposed to come today!

We’ve gotten a few different due dates during this pregnancy. First it was the 21st, then the 19th, and the latest one… today!! And of course, this is just as much a guess as anything else, but it still feels totally crazy. I was of course sure she’d be early, so for me it feels like I’m already late. And I am so ready for this pregnancy to be over.

We’re going to the hospital to day, to do a 20-30 min monitoring of the baby and a visit with the midwife. Apparently they have a tendency to advise induction when they think the baby is big, and since they’re saying this baby is huge, that might the case. If there’s no other medical reason to induce I do believe it’s better to wait and see if she’ll want to come on her own.

It feels completely crazy still that I’m gonna be a mother. And it’s hard to understand what everyone says, that it all comes so naturally. I do have a lot of trust and believe in myself and in Odi as well, so I do believe that we’re gonna do great. I guess it’s just like with other things in life, you have this image of what it’s gonna feel like when you’re there and then it turns out you’re completely wrong. Kind of like when you were young and thought that those who graduated high school was all grown up, ha ha ha. I kind of feel like that, like shouldn’t I feel more like an adult by now? I mean I’m having a baby like TODAY, and I still feel like I just graduated high school.

I still have such a hard time connecting to that it’s an actual person in there. An actual person who’s gonna be here soon. A person that’s gonna be a mix of me and Odi, that we’ve created, that we’re responsible for. I guess it all falls into place when we see her, when she’s here. But for me, it’s still super alien.

How did you feel at the end of your pregnancy?
Did you feel ready?
Did it all really come all the naturally?

What we learn about giving birth – from the movies

I had a talk with a friend recently about all my feelings regarding this birth. And she said something like “and then the water breaks and it’s time”. And I started telling her about these new facts about giving birth that I have learned during this pregnancy. Which doesn’t really go with the scenes we see in the movies.

Before I thought it happened like in the movies, just like most of us do, unless maybe we have someone close who had a baby. Isn’t it crazy that we actually have no idea how this works? And that it’s being portrayed exactly the same in all movies? Superpregnant, water breaks like a splash on the floor, everyone panics, pregnant lady starts screaming, everyone drops everything and runs to the hospital, gets there, screams, baby comes out, done.

THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. Maybe it is for some. According to my grandma I’ll probably barely make it to the hospital before the baby’s out cause we have fast births in our family (might not apply to me, who’s knows, grandma does, apparently haha). Trying to ask her questions regarding good things to bring to the hospital or how long to wait to go there and so on was just pointless, her respons to everything was “oh you won’t have time for that”.

But seriously, I literally thought that the water breaks in 100% of the cases, according to what I’ve read it’s actually only in 15% of the cases. And even if it does you’re probably already in pre-labor. I get it, they need the dramatics for good TV, but can we at least get to see a variety of how it works. We need the real deal. Like when Rachel in friends is in the hospital and like 6 women come and go when she’s barely dilated.

I do wish that it did happen like on TV. Knowing that it might not just makes you walk around all nervous, super attentive to everything you’re feeling, wondering if it might be sign. This whole thing really is a good challenge for me, to learn to let go of the things I can not control.

Third trimester ultrasound – we’re having a giant

Wow, was this a fun experience? Oh yes it was. I have noticed that they don’t do things here like I would expect they do in Sweden. Which is not super surprising. And these Spanish ways are usually something I appreciate, but regarding this pregnancy I have to say I do miss the delicate Swedish ways a little bit. I mean, I do love honest, but maybe not someone quite literally dropping their jaw when you’re standing on the scale because they can’t believe you gained so much weight, which is also what they say, out loud, to your face, and then ask you to get on the scale again just to make sure it was actually true.

So to the ultrasound. I have been a little on edge the last few days, there is just something about an ultrasound that is scary. It’s so exciting, and it’s also I guess here you would find out if something is seriously wrong. So it freaks you out a bit. Turns out everything was completely fine, she’s all good, in position, ready to get out. And then to the problem. She’s apparently a giant.

Now I have of course checked with my Swedish midwife, and google, and all the pregnancy apps too, and she is, of course, not a giant. But Spanish people in general being a little smaller than us swedes, from their perspective, she is very very very big. Which, of course, is exactly what you want to hear when you are already dreading the day she decides to enter the world through you body (yey). So before being reassured that everything is fine by someone else than the Spanish little man, he was over there just going on and on about how huge this baby is, and me too for that matter. I think the term used was “big woman” oh yea, that was a good one. He suggested that I seriously decrease my eating, cause neither me or this baby could gain any more weight, that would not be good for anyone, basically stop eating. And he even went as far as wanting to do another ultrasound in 3 weeks, to check on this ginormous baby growing inside me. To make sure it won’t get too big? I guess?

Thank god for my doula, having warned me before about them saying things like this, and me being aware of their tendency to exaggerate or I might actually have fainted on the spot. So couldn’t be more excited about the miracle of life growing inside me, and one way or another, getting out.

How and why we chose to work with a doula

So we have decided to work with a doula. A doula is a non-medical person who helps, supports and cares for your during pregnancy, birth and sometimes after. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a doula was before I got pregnant. But like you might have red in previous posts like Tips for having a baby in another country our situation was a bit messy in the beginning.

We were completely lost and scared and I also made the choice to not tell my family (as you can read more about in Telling the family) before I saw them face to face. Not that they could have helped us navigate our way in Spain anyway.

Working with networking I do have a Facebook filled with different people. And one day when I was scrolling I saw a woman who was pregnant and I immediately messaged her and asked for help. She recommended me a doula, that was working specifically with expats in Barcelona. So I contacted them and we went for a meeting.

They explained how they worked and what they did. And it was like a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. Cause all of a sudden we felt like if there was something we couldn’t figure out we would get help, if we had problems with the language, we could get help, and what scared me the most, if we would end up in an emergency situation or just in the situation of giving birth surrounded with people who didn’t speak any English and just not knowing what was happening, well we wouldn’t, cause we would have our doula there, helping us through.

So we decided then and there to go for the program they were offering and we have not regretted it so far. She came with us to the doctors appointment when we were feeling uncomfortable. We have gotten a prenatal course to prepare us for birth and what’s to come. We have someone to message as soon as we need help or advice on something. And we’re gonna have someone we feel comfortable with coming with us when it’s time for this baby girl to be born.

We have chosen one of the doulas in the group we’re working with, but they are three doulas just in case the one that is our main one wouldn’t be available for the birth or something like that.

I feel so much more comfortable and prepared for this with knowing I have a support system. I don’t know if I would have hired one if I still lived in Sweden, or if I spoke fluent Spanish, but in the situation we’re in, especially being far from our families and loved ones, we are so happy we made this decision.

Did/would you want to work with a doula?
If so, what are you looking for in a doula?
If you did work with a doula, are you happy you did?