As soon as I learned I was pregnant, I had frantic notions of birthing my baby in the Holland Tunnel. My OB, located near my office in New York City, assured me that as long as I headed into the hospital from my home in Central Jersey once the contractions were regularly five minutes apart, I’d have no problem. But years of experience with NJ Transit and the Turnpike made me anxious. How’d I allow myself to feel a teensy bit of control? I packed my hospital bag, somewhere around, oh, 20 weeks. However, I packed WAY too many items. Some words to the wise: You won’t need, or even think about, your favorite pillow, framed photos of loved ones, or relaxation CDs of dolphin sounds (all of which I had on me).
Here’s what you’ll actually use:
• Several copies of your birth plan, if you have one.
• Your cellphone and charger. (If you have a smartphone, there’s no need for your fancy camera.)
• Snacks and drinks for your partner (your own snacks may be limited).
• Snacks for after delivery. (Don’t count on the hospital or birthing center to provide them, especially in the middle of the night.)
• A toiletry kit that includes: several hair ties (you may not shower for a while), hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste and super-absorbent maxi-pads.
• Your everyday skincare products. (You’ll want to feel like you look great in the pics.)
• Extra pairs of underwear suitable for wearing with maxi-pads.
• Comfortable outfit to head home in (plan to still look/feel about six months pregnant). Skip the jeans—think yoga pants and T-shirts.
• A going-home outfit for baby. (Don’t forget socks or booties and a receiving blanket, plus extra layers if it’s cold. Bring along a few newborn
• Already-created email list of everyone you want to send the “She’s here!” email to—Your partner can do it once you approve the picture.