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1 Nov

hospital bag update & my post-delivery experience

a bunch of you have been asking what I did end up using in the hospital and what I didn’t end up using. so, I’m going through the original list and sharing some more insight, now that I made it through birth in a hospital!

post-delivery experience

speaking of, I had a tough experience post-delivery. when I first arrived, I was 4cm and my water had broken, so they rushed me right into a delivery room, thankfully. the delivery room was HUGE – I remember my OB-GYN, on our hospital tour, telling me that this hospital has the biggest delivery rooms of the NYC hospitals. not sure if that’s true or not, BUT, it was definitely large. the delivery experience was amazing, my nurses were incredible, and I felt so calm, relaxed, and empowered. I couldn’t have asked for a better delivery! 40 minutes of pushing and my baby boy was out!

however, what wasn’t great was my post-delivery experience. in NYC hospitals, it’s very hard to get a private room. it’s expensive (we were willing to pay for it!) and since space is limited and it’s a densely populated city, the rooms are limited and hard to get. basically it’s first come, first serve and you can’t request a room until the baby is literally out! we knew this all going in, but we were blissful optimists and thought, “I bet we’ll luck out!”

well, we were wrong and we did not get a private room – we got a room that we shared with another new mama and it was a tiny, tiny room separated by a single curtain. the bathroom was the tiniest bathroom ever, you could barely stand up in it (and not to TMI, but you need plenty of maneuvering room after delivery, because you have to change your pads, use a washer, and I was applying witch hazel pads to my underwear, etc etc etc). needless to say, it wasn’t a comfortable situation. my family came and I felt bad the whole time because of all the noise we were making. I’d get woken up every time a nurse came in to check on the other patient. I’d hear her baby cry and it would wake me up. it was just so cramped and uncomfortable.

AND the worst part: Lu couldn’t stay. SO, that meant he had to leave around 8-10pm every night and I was alone in a tiny, cramped space (literally if you moved the separator curtain, I could touch the other new mama next to me). it was tough for me, to say the least.

thank GOD my OB-GYN was in on Monday and came over to see me and schedule Luca’s circumcision and could see the look on my face and said, “do you want to get out of here?” and she discharged me a day early so I could be at home comfortable. the moment I left the hospital, my spirits lifted and I became excited to be a Mom!

now, as for my hospital bag – I definitely did not use anything, but this had something to do with the fact that I didn’t shower while there (I didn’t have a private room and the showers were outside our room, so I’d have to walk outside to get to the shower – no way) and I only stayed less than two days. here’s the update:

hospital bag – updated

  • Photo ID & Insurance card – of course!
  • Printed birth plan – I never took this out! 
  • Wireless speaker- yes, we used this during my labor! it was so nice to have comforting music.
  • Protein bars & raw nut mix for post-partum recovery, so Lu doesn’t have to leave to grab me something (although NYC has things like Postmates and anything can be delivered!) – yes, I ate this mainly for breakfast and about an hour after delivery! I was so glad I had these easy grab options, because hospital food is not healthy! 
  • Blanket & pillow – I’ve just heard that hospitals have the most uncomfortable bedding and I have extra blankets and pillows in the nursery, so I’m going to bring one of each. – I ended up forgetting these at home, but I wish I had brought them! the hospital pillows are so uncomfortable and I ended up using the sweater I came in as a blanket.
  • Nursing gown & robe – I bought this robe and this nursing gown so I have something nice for the hospital – and post-hospital, of course. I stayed in the hospital gown the whole time, there was so many liquids coming out of me, I didn’t want to ruin any nice robes/nighties.
  • Newborn scratch mittens – I love these by Goumikids. I didn’t even think to use them in the hospital, because his arms were always tightly swaddled in! 
  • Nursing top & comfy sweatpants – for while I’m at the hospital, if I feel like I need to feel more human, I have a super comfy lounge outfit. This top and these pants. Ha, nope! Per my comment above re: nightgown, I stayed in the hospital gown the whole time. 
  • Going home outfit – I packed high-waisted maternity leggings, my Boob nursing tank, and a sweater cardigan. This I did use! I finally changed and it felt so great!
  • 2 Nursing bras – I’m loving Bravado Designs, and I am bringing them in two different sizes, in case my milk supply comes in early and my boobs grow another cup size (ugh!) I went braless the whole time!
  • Nursing pads – there was no need for these, because my milk didn’t come in at the hospital, so I wasn’t leaking.
  • Diapers – I’d like the nurses to teach me how to change a diaper using the diapers I’ll be using, so I brought a few. I have a few different brands, but am bringing Bamboo Nature. The hospital stay was such a whirlwind, I didn’t even think to grab these diapers, I just went with what the hospital used – Pampers. Plus, all diapers are the same I quickly realized! 
  • iPhone charger with extra long cord – this one, thanks to Julia for the recommendation! YES, this was great!! The charger was very far away from my hospital bed, so this was very helpful.
  • Dirty laundry ‘bag’ – I had this lying around, so I packed it. Didn’t need it, because I didn’t have any dirty clothes!
  • Frida Mom Washer – I’ve heard that this is much easier to use than the one they give you in the hospital, so it’s packed. OMG, if there’s one thing I’d recommend bringing (besides the long phone charger), it would be this. It worked so much better than the hospital one! And I felt more comfortable using my own.
  • Personal hand fan – I get super cranky when I’m overheated, so I’m sure I’ll be having Lu use this on me, Cleopatra style. I used this post-delivery, because my hormones were crazy and I was getting severe hot flashes. I was so happy to have this and I didn’t think I’d use it for post-delivery!
  • Sleep mask – yes, very helpful, especially because I was in a shared room! 
  • Grip socks – to walk around during delivery and post-partum. Yup, I loved having these, because the hospital socks were scratchy and oversized. These socks were great.
  • Flip flops for the shower – I never showered, so I didn’t use these!
  • Swaddle blanket – I know they provide everything, but I’d like to take the baby’s first picture in the hospital in a swaddle of my choice! Yup, I brought him home in the swaddle I brought!
  • 1 Newborn short sleeve onesie – if it’s a warm September day! I didn’t use this, but would have if it was super warm.
  • 1 newborn long-sleeve onesie with footies – in case it’s a freakishly cold September day! I ended up using this!
  • Baby cap – to cover his head. I ended up using the hospital beanie, because mine was too big for his little head!

And in my toiletries bag/dopp kit, I’m bringing:

  • ACURE travel pack – face wash, body moisturizer, shampoo, & conditioner – I didn’t shower, so I didn’t use the shampoo & conditioner, but I did wash my face, so I used that!
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste – yes, used!
  • Deodorant – yes, used!
  • Bar of soap – I didn’t shower, so I didn’t use!
  • Belly butter – nope, didn’t use!
  • Mints – nope, didn’t use!
  • Hair ties – yes, used!
  • My glasses (fun fact: I have bad vision!)  – yes, used! I’ve been wearing glasses mostly since I got back from the hospital! 
  • Nipple cream – yes, used!
  • Contact lenses – yes, used! 
  • Razor- I didn’t shower, so I didn’t use!
  • Facial wipes – these ones, for cleaning my face while I’m laying in bed and don’t want to take a shower. – yes, used! these were great to have when I didn’t feel like fully washing my face and just needed a wipe down.
  • Q-tips (I can’t live without them!) – I didn’t shower, so I didn’t use!
  • Lip balm  – yes, used!
  • Hair band to keep the hair out of my face – I love these. – yes, used! very helpful for post-delivery, especially since I didn’t shower.

UPDATE: also bringing the following, based on suggestions from all of you (thank you!):

  • Depends Silhouettes   – yes, used!
  • Ear plugs  – I didn’t use these because I wanted to hear my baby in case he cried/squirmed/etc.
  • Large bath towels (for Lu and I)- I didn’t shower, so I didn’t use!
  • Facial spray – nope! I found the facial wipes got the job done!

hope this was helpful for all you mamas-to-be!

  • seestarrs

    You are always so helpful! I had a similar great med-free delivery and it all changed, post-delivery. I had posted my birth plan at the door & on my bedside clip-board which insured me & baby didn’t get their products ised on us and he stayed on my chest the whole time. But even though I had my own room, no one sleeps in a hospital room. They come in at all hours banging stuff around and fussing with baby. I also had a faulty heart monitor (I had passed out so it was precaitionary) and if I barely moved it would sound an alarm and all the nurses would drop their trays and run in… until it got old. They also poked baby’s foot twice for blood instead of getting one blood sample for two tests at once. The head nurse cane in early the next day and have them all a tongue lashing and got me out of there! Thank you for sharing… it got me reminiscing!

    Wed November 1 at 3:57 pm
  • clarisse

    I don’t know how you delivered in NYC i would be petrified to commute /have visitors. I had a great experience at st barnabas in livingston. You get a private room, lots of toiletries, supplies, food all day, valet parking and great staff. I’m glad you only stayed a short time. I also didn’t use half the stuff i brought to the hospital!!

    Wed November 1 at 4:16 pm
  • Rose

    I’m Really Sorry you and Lu had to get all that stuff together and carry it everywhere. All the “stuff” they push on New Momma’s these days & most of which isn’t necessary & doesn’t get used. It’s more of a hindrance & a bunch of un needed stuff for Parents to pack around for nothing. Especially since with Insurance they shove you out the door within 48 hours of having your New Bundle Of Joy, with little to no time for instruction. Having babies back in the early 80’s was so much easier lol Less stress, Less bs, More learning time. And if by chance you got a nurse that you just couldn’t agree with or personality clashes you could ask for a different nurse and instantly it was done. Parents & Babies came 1st and foremost – not insurance companies and the bottom dollar.

    Wed November 1 at 4:19 pm
  • Kristin S

    Ugh. I feel your pain! My post delivery experience was also very bad (even though my delivery wasn’t bad with zero interventions) —which made me decide on a home birth for my second. I’m glad you got to go home early. Also, I’m in love with your beautiful little guy. SO cute!

    Wed November 1 at 4:53 pm
  • Liz

    Sharing a hospital room post delivery seems part and parcel with the experience of delivering at a NYC hospital. I shared a room post delivery with both of my sons and really didn’t think anything of it. Being in the hospital is never a relaxing experience so it didn’t really matter to me. NYU allows spouses to stay overnight which is super nice!

    Wed November 1 at 4:57 pm
  • Marie

    This is super helpful, thank you! It is so great to be able to learn from other women so easily now. I appreciate you doing this! Its interesting to see that you chose circumcision. Its your business- I’m not judging!- but I do find it interesting, with all the information ‘out there’ now about how it is completely unnecessary. (Again, not judging- it’s your business!) I wonder if you are interested in sharing why you chose that. (If I were you- I wouldn’t be!) You are blessed to be home with a healthy baby, I’m so happy for you!

    Wed November 1 at 5:02 pm
  • Frances

    That last photo is beautiful! What a blissful expression you have!!!

    Wed November 1 at 6:35 pm
  • Judy

    It’s so interesting to see what giving birth is like today vs. 50 years ago. It’s very generous of you to share with other moms-to-be, especially in the midst of all you’re experiencing. So happy for you and Lou; love the pictures of you obviously enjoying the baby. fyi – having a son is a wonderful adventure…just ask Lou’s mom????

    Wed November 1 at 8:21 pm
  • L

    A ward with 6, 8, 10 of more women and dividing curtains is the norm over here in the uk. One shower between all of these, zero sleep because of snoring/crying of other babies/parents and partners being sent home. I sympathise A LOT!

    Wed November 1 at 11:17 pm
  • Lucy

    Dear Ali,
    Congrats on such a sweet bub and I LOVE his name! 🙂
    I know this isn’t the focus of this post – but I’m really interested in your decision to circumcise him, if you’re willing to discuss?
    To explain… I’m English, but have been living in the US for 5 years and now married to my American husband, and we are pregnant with a baby boy! In England, circumcision is not at all the norm – it’s an exclusively religious practice for Jews or Muslims. It would maybe be done in the case of an abnormality necessitating it, but otherwise would be virtually unheard of, as it wouldn’t be done as a matter of course. My American husband, on the other hand, is circumcised, and I’ve been told that it’s the norm here. My OBGYN mentioned it in passing like it was as routine as vaccinations, but I’m really unsure. My husband and I are very divided on it – he can’t imagine not doing it, but I’m really not at all sure about. Not sure how much to put down to cultural differences / societal norms, or who is right! Would love to hear your decision process 🙂

    Wed November 1 at 11:21 pm
    • Megan

      Hi Lucy!

      I’m not Ali, but figured I’d weigh in here and share my thoughts as I’m also currently pregnant with a baby boy and am definitely planning to have him circumcised. I am half American but my two brothers and I were not born in the USA, and neither of them was circumcised at birth. One brother had to have it done at age 6 due to an infection, and then the other brother opted to do it at age 15 for comfort, hygiene, and "wanting to fit in" reasons (we lived in the USA by then). It was painful and difficult for both of them to go through it later, and they both have expressed that they wish my parents had just done it when they were born, even though it wasn’t the norm where my dad is from.

      For our baby, my husband is circumcised (as are most men in the USA, regardless of religion, I think?) and it wasn’t even a question, we were both in agreement. I think everyone has to do what feels right to them, so hopefully my experience can give you another data point as you and your husband consider what you want to do! Good luck, and congratulations on your upcoming baby!

      Sat November 4 at 8:13 pm
    • Andrea

      My husband and I are both American, and he is circumcised. We have two sons (2.5 years and 3 months) but opted to leave both intact. After reading up on circumcision, I decided against it. Most uncircumcised males will never have any medical problems relating to being uncircumcised, and it’s becoming way more common in the US for baby boys to not be circumcised, especially since Medicaid no longer covers circumcisions in many states. If I were you, I would have my husband read some articles about circumcision and what it entails so that whatever decision you guys make is an informed one.

      Sun November 5 at 5:50 am
  • Monica S

    I’m not currently a mama to be although I suppose since I want to have kiddos someday maybe I am? Haha! Thank you for sharing your story. Birthings are so wildly different from woman to woman but Its comforting to know there are women and men too that are open with their experience because hello you just gave life and that’s freaking beautiful!

    Thu November 2 at 12:15 am
  • Nora

    Congrats on your sweet little one! As a second time mom whose first son was taken to the NICU after birth and stayed there for three weeks I was just so relieved and grateful that my second born got to stay with me the whole time and come home with me, shared room or not all that mattered was that we were together. Hospitals are definitely not restful places!

    Thu November 2 at 3:01 am
  • Deborah

    I agree with what everyone else is saying. You can’t really rest in the hospital no matter how much room you have. I was lucky to have our kids in a new mom/baby ward at our hospital that is only 15 minutes away. That being said, I arrived at 6pm, had the baby at 9 pm, and was in a private room. There was no food. I hadn’t eaten dinner. The nurses across the hall were having a little party so I didn’t sleep. The constant monitoring of my vitals was appreciated, but always occurred right when I was about to doze off. Combined with the excitement of being a mom, there was no sleep. It’s so nice to get home, isn’t it? So glad you can share this knowledge with other women so they know too!

    Thu November 2 at 11:19 am
  • Laurie

    Congratulations – beautiful baby and momma!!

    Thu November 2 at 6:24 pm
  • Francesca

    Congratulations on your beautiful healthy baby and your easy birth. Please keep in mind when you say your post-delivery experience was "brutal", some of the women who are allocated the private rooms are those who are going home without their babies and need privacy to grieve.

    Sat November 4 at 1:27 am
  • Nadya

    Omg about the room that’s so crazy! I can’t imagine having to share. It’s bad enough you can barely sleep being checked on lol the time but with someone else there and their baby and lu not being able to stay and help!!! Unbelievable yikes! Good thing you didn’t have a csection they keep you there forever it feels!

    Sat November 4 at 3:05 am
  • Anna

    Oh my goodness I can’t believe you are getting any hate! Yes, you had a normal pregnancy and statistically that’s what the rest of us will have too! I think the part about Lu not being able to stay is super weird and really sad 🙁 Just out of curiosity, why did you use an OB in NYC if it’s so crowded? I’m guessing the best of the best are there?
    I’m pregnant with my first and I thought this was super helpful. Keep them coming!

    Sun November 5 at 3:39 am
  • Kim

    Ali- Thanks for sharing. My daughter will be delivering in April, and it’s nice to get a modern perspective on what it’s like these days. Way back when, I had a c-section and the ICU nurses were great; when I was moved to the regular ward, it seemed no one could be bothered to help me. I was so glad to get home after four days! Please don’t let that negativity get to you. I think your posts are very positive and filled with love in a very healthy way. I wish you all the best!

    Sun November 5 at 11:21 pm
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