I’ve had three amazing girls.  And one thing I’ve learned: birth is simultaneously the most common and most miraculous of occurrences.  You will find no end of blogs on what to bring to the hospital.  I just want to tell you what I brought, why, and how it helped.  

MUSIC - My father-in-law is a recently retired anesthesiologist.  When we told him that we brought music into labor and delivery, his first comment was, “And you didn’t use it did you?”  He was surprised (and happy) to hear that YES, we did use it and it was awesome.  Creating a playlist for my child, specific to them, has now become one of the last things I do before giving birth.  I include worship, inspiration, and songs that are soft enough to calm me and strong enough to give me what I need.  We always bring a portable speaker and iPod/old iPhone so we aren’t reliant on our own phones.  I can’t tell you what a difference this has made.  And, I kept the music playing the whole time we were in the hospital and for weeks after.  I like to think of it as my “welcome to the world” soundtrack.  No time like the beginning to be intentional about the environment this baby will be raised in. 

Cute HOSPITAL GOWN - Now, before you go all “that’s just a waste of money” on me, I’ve used the same one for three kids.  Why? Because I LOVE my birth pics and I like purple much better than institutional blue!  The nurses have all been so sweet to help me change while the baby was being bathed. I never even had to ask. They were in on the fun too. And it makes me feel more like myself wearing my own clothes - even if it is a hospital gown. 

BLANKET/PILLOW - I can’t tell you how much I LOVED having my own pillow and blanket.  First, it was just comfier.  Second, the blanket made the room look more homey.  Third, its my own pillow! It just needs to be with me. 

PJs, comfy go-home clothes, and SLIPPERS! - I wanted to look cute but be comfy in the hospital. Having my own clothes as early in the process as possible was key for me.  Don’t bring silk or satin.  Bring cotton or a yummy fabric.  And bring a couple changes just in case.  Slippers will help you WANT to take those important early walks. 

CHARGERS - For all the things. Don’t forget them. You need them. There is a lot of down time in a hospital. 

SNACKS - Hospital food isn’t all that awesome.  And you may get hungry when no one else is around.  So, load up on snacks you enjoy.  And DON’T stress about losing weight right now. Enjoy some dark chocolate, almonds, or something delicious that reminds you of what a rockstar you truly are. 

A Belly Bandit or equivalently tight TUMMY WRAP - I have used everything from a tightly wound sheet to a Gold’s Gym weight loss wrap (I don’t recommend it).  If you will wrap  your tummy after birth, it will feel so much better and I think it made a difference in the way my body healed afterwards.  It also gives that much needed supported feeling that I always lack after birth. 

AN AMAZING ATTITUDE - When I go into the hospital, my goal is to love as big as I can everyone that I can.  I want to make the nurses and doctors and lab techs and everyone in-between feel loved and appreciated for what they do.  If you are looking to complain, a hospital is a great place to find complaints.  People will wake you up when they shouldn’t, be rougher than they should be, maybe even not listen like you want them to.  You can just complain, or you can choose to care about the people who are caring for you.  Speak up, but do it from a place of respect, kindness and love.  Over three births, I’ve had the chance to pray with nurses, encourage aides, and celebrate social workers.  The people I’ve met have become some of my favorite memories.  Why not look for the humanity in every person, no matter how gruff, and be the bright spot in their day.  That is the most important thing that I always try to bring to the hospital. 

What are some of your favorite things you brought to the hospital?

[Photo compliments of Heather McKinney Photography]