At one point last week, I Googled “How many months is 32 weeks pregnant?” because math is hard and numbers are weird, and the internet said “eight months.” That is crazy! I’m eight months pregnant?! Never in my life has time flown quite so quickly.
Meanwhile, here are just a few reasons I cried during Week 32:
- Because the curtains I was so excited about and that finally arrived were the wrong size — and it was my fault. Apparently measuring windows is hard, and I failed miserably at doing so. Brian was all set to hang them up before we left for our Labor Day getaway, and he lifted them up to meet the curtain rod…and instead of touching the floor, they touched the air high above the floor. I was livid. I handled it really well, though…
- Because I read a story about a woman whose baby was measuring small and she had to have an emergency C-section and she wrote about how hard it was watching her baby spend 10 days in the NICU and now I’m crying about this one all over again. Damnit.
- Because I was up all night Sunday, super sick and in a ton of bathroom-related pain. Everything hurt, I couldn’t get comfortable or sleep, and it made me question how in the world I’m going to be strong enough to give birth. (I know I am. But at 2 AM, on what felt like my 50th painful and exhausted trip to the bathroom, I was not so convinced.)
- Because when I finally crawled back into bed at 7 AM, feeling like I might finally be able to sleep for a bit, Ellie scooted up next to me, rested her head on my belly, and fell asleep with me.
- Because I hate Crohn’s disease.
But I laughed and smiled plenty this week, too. I promise.
BABY IS THE SIZE OF…
a large jicama. I really miss jicama. Jicama was my favorite food for a while, and during that time, my Crohn’s was really flaring. I randomly stopped eating jicama and bam, I got better. I swear. I haven’t had jicama since, and that makes me really sad. It is the perfect texture. It is the most wonderful food.
HOW I’M FEELING
Larger. Frequently out of breath when I’m just sitting. And still Crohnsing pretty hard. But I also got a wonderful prenatal massage (shout-out to Caroline at Hoboken Women’s Wellness!), met with baby’s future pediatrician (so nice, and she’s a runner!), and got out of town for a few days.
The baby is pretty firmly nestled on my right side, and my stomach is all uneven and funny looking. But when she kicks, punches, and wiggles, I feel it everywhere. So who knows where she is. I don’t really know what I’m talking about. Ever.
Our “Labor Day Babymoon” (“Get it? Labor Day? Babymoon?” —Brian Cristiano) was nice. It felt good to get away for a few days to somewhere without service or internet. I had one bad night (Sunday, ugh, so much pain) and have 101 bug bites to show for the weekend (why do they love me so much?!), but other than that, it was pretty perfect.
Meanwhile, my belly button is starting to flatten out a bit.
WHAT I’M EATING
I don’t know. I don’t remember.
ON THE WORKOUT FRONT
A few Orangetheory workouts, and then three days of zero exercise during our getaway. We did go for a hike on Sunday, but otherwise, I was horizontal all weekend. On Saturday, Ellie was too excited to sleep, and she woke up around 6:30. I woke up for a second, then Brian took her out to play and I fell back asleep until like 9:30. Then I woke up again when they came back to bed, and I slept until about noon. Then I woke up again, looked around, and kept sleeping. I think I finally dragged myself out of bed around 2:30 PM. Very out of character, and kind of awesome. And again, I got the, “Clearly you needed it” response from Brian. (It’s also much easier to snooze and relax when I’m not at home. At home, there are things to do and clean and to-do lists to tend to. But on vacation, it’s so much easier to just roll over and hug a pillow.)
WHAT I’M WEARING
These slippers. Facebook targeting works, I’ll tell ya. These kept following me around on every app, and I finally bought them a few weeks ago. And now, as long as I am home, these are on my feet. (I don’t dare bring them to the hospital with me, right? I don’t want to get any fluids on them and ruin them.) I just love being comfortable so much. (How did I ever function when I worked in an office and wore dresses and heels daily?)
WHAT I’M READING
Still plugging away at Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, but it’s a huge book, so I didn’t feel like packing it for our trip, and instead started The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. So far I like the idea, but don’t love the book itself. I’m only on chapter four, though.
HOW I’M SLEEPING
Not great, but not terrible. I fall asleep easily most nights, and don’t wake up to pee very often, which is nice. I actually feel like I was doing that more in the first trimester than I am now!
WHAT I’M WONDERING
Do I have enough stuff? Do I have the right stuff? I know I won’t know if a lot of it is the “right stuff” until after the baby is here and she gets to decide which bottles and swaddles she likes. But it’s hard not to second-guess stuff at this stage.
When, realistically, do I want to start having some sort of childcare ready to go? (I picked the place I like, but in order to register and secure our spot, we need to pick a start date, and I honestly don’t know. This one is all on me, and I don’t knooooow.)
I haven’t said the baby’s name out loud yet. I mean I have in discussing it with Brian, but since we definitely settled on it a few weeks ago, I haven’t said it out loud or called her by her name. Because what if we meet her and the name just doesn’t fit? What if she’s actually a boy? So I’m just going to wait on actually using her name until we meet in a few weeks.
This is a big, exciting week: I’m recording a bunch of really fun podcast episodes during the week, we have an appointment with the doctor on Friday (always fun getting to see baby on the big screen!), the Ali on the Run Show is going LIVE on Saturday (will you be there?!), and my mom and BFF are throwing me a baby shower on Saturday. I’m so excited to get to see my friends and family all in one place, and to celebrate this little bundle of kicks.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU: It’s almost time to pack my hospital bag! I’ve read a million different checklists and blog posts about what to pack. I’ve read what women say they didn’t end up using or needing, and what they wish they’d brought. But since you’re my people, tell me: What were your hospital bag must-haves? What did you ACTUALLY wear when you were in labor and when you delivered? When, post-delivery, did you change out of a hospital gown (if that’s what you wore) and into something else? Did you wear some kind of bra when you delivered? Or were you rocking out topless? Do I need to bring a Boppy or My Brest Friend to the hospital or nah? And was anyone able to successfully sneak their 55-pound puppy into their hospital bag without the staff noticing?
More Baby on the Run:
And if you don’t fall in love with your baby right away that is normal and ok. You may be exhausted, feeling sick, sore, struggling with breastfeeding, and trying to care of baby. Give it time and make sure to take care of yourself.
I had planned on wearing a tank top, sports bra that zipped in the front, bikini bottoms and loose pants because I was wanting to do a water birth but still be covered a bit. Well I ended up throwing up all over myself so I had to change into a hospital gown. I ended up getting an epidural so no water birth. I vomited again right after giving birth. Luckily I turned away from baby to do it this time but still got it all over me and had to change again. After I wore nursing camis, and some shorts.
I WAY over packed. Just pack like you’re going on a short trip but maybe pack some nipple care items. Your hospital will probably provide you with some of those things but you’ll want to have them on hand if they don’t. You’ll want a few outfits for baby and some cute blankets if you want to take photos. I wouldn’t worry about pillows, towels and such. You’re only there for a night or two.
My Brest Friend was essential for those early days of breastfeeding – definitely bring it!! It’s SO much better than the Boppy for the early days. Other essentials – toiletries, flip flops (that I threw away), snacks for throughout the stay, my Yeti cup (staying super hydrated is really key for breastfeeding and recovery), and a few soft tops and pants. I mainly stayed in the hospital gowns, but by the 2nd or 3rd day it felt really good to shower and put on my own clothes for a few hours at a time.
I didn’t use ANY of the stuff I packed in my hospital bag. If I do it again I’d bring my own pillow, a change of clothes (comfy stuff), a tank top for delivery and baby clothes. That’s it. LOL I used the hospital gown for delivery.
Things I remember I actually used and was really glad to have with me:
–this labor and delivery gown but I only wore after delivery for nursing/skin to skin etc. I didn’t want to get it dirty during actual labor and delivery so I wore a hospital gown for all that. But I felt like this one with the velcro was a lot easier for nursing and skin to skin than the actual hospital gowns and it was cuter which not that it matters really but I appreciated it.
–a diffuser with lavender and some other stress relieving oils. had it going almost the whole hospital stay!
–my own heating pad that plugged in — not sure what the hospital would have offered me but probably not a plug-in one and this was very helpful.
I brought lots of other lounge type clothes and wore tanktop and shorts for labor. I did have the baby going home outfit and 5 other outfits (just in case!!!) but really didn’t need all that.
I only wore a hospital gown my entire stay (for both deliveries). I thought it was the easiest thing to wear because it allowed me to breastfeed easily and also have skin-to-skin contact. I think I wore a sports bra during delivery… I was busty like you and there was no way I was going “free” wth the girls. Lol!
I brought my own toiletries and a change of clothes (a dress for the first birth, yoga pants and tee my second). A change of clothes for the baby but honestly, I didn’t dress them until we left the hospital since I pretty much had them swaddled the entire time. And a car seat! That’s about it, I think. I defintiely broigh more with me for my first delivery because I was induced and knew I would be in labor for quite a while so I brought magazines thinking I would read them but I was honestly too excited about finally having my baby (he was a week late) that I barely looked at them. For my second baby (she came right on time in the middle of the night in a fury) I didn’t bring anything because I was rushing to get to the hospital.
And for both kids, I was busy cuddling, resting, being monitored by nurses, seeing visitors, etc, that I didn’t have time for anything else while at the hospital (and I was totally happy with that ?).
Good luck!!! The last month is a special time! Soak up all the memories you can of being pregnant and all the motions of your baby. ❤️
I didn’t pack much and found that the hospital had pretty much everything I needed, but I highly recommend bringing lots of snacks for both you and Brian! I got to the recovery room around midnight and the nurse scrounged up a (terrible) sandwich for me…but I hadn’t eaten all day and definitely needed more. And my poor husband was basically left to starve, haha
I have no experience with births… but am dropping a note to say that yes I will be at your show!! ❤️
Boppy for sure! Your own pillow…maybe double up on the cases (mine still has a drop of blood on it…ewww). I had so many intentions of wearing a sports bra during labor, I mean by then the girls are big and move just looking at them so I figured they would need contained, but when it all went down it all came off for me. I really couldn’t have anything touching my body…including my the super hot, wooly sweater that my husband wore (tell Brian not to wear one, ugh). You really need a lot less than you think. Some comfy PJ’s, some big underwear (they give you a few pairs, but you will want to live in them for a while). A good playlist and maybe some shows queued up on Netflix. You’ve got this!!!
For labor/delivery I wore a comfy sports bra and the rest of my stay I wore nursing tanks and the mesh underwear the hospital provides (stalk up on these before you leave). I had a robe to wear when I wasn’t in bed and for when visitors came but I didn’t put leggings on until we went home. One piece of advice I was given and continue to pass on is have your pants (for me this was legging to go home in and wear days after) and robe be black it hides stains 😉
#1 on my packing list: my own pillow. Hospital pilllows are flat and terrible. 2) sweatpants, 3) nursing bras (used one through labor), 4) zip up sweatshirt, 5) snacks for me (I snuck granola bars during the first part of labor because I was so hungry and you’re there for so long), 6) snacks for my husband (i.e. individual Mac and cheese), 7) extra long iPhone charging cord, 8) my own big towel (hospital towels are small), 9) sticky socks, 10) hair tie, and 11) a cute “outfit” for you (and cute blanket/outfit for baby) for pictures if your hospital offers a newborn photo shoot. I didn’t use anything else, but I sure packed a lot more…
My best advice is pack the bag early! My son was a month early, and I had started my bag, but it was not complete, and my husband did not have a bag packed at all. I packed nursing tanks and joggers and those were great. I wish I had packed more of my own face lotion, hair product, etc. Lots of grippy socks. Bring pads ( I didn’t). Also for the baby, our going home outfit was way too big since was so tiny. So I would bring a few choices 🙂
Also don’t stress about measuring small. I did my whole pregnancy and my son was only 4 lbs 8 oz. He as the tiniest peanut, but was healthy and came home with us. I wish I had stressed less about his size, I’m small and he just takes after me.
I really liked having a zip-front sports bra on to go to the hospital, and I ended up delivering in only the zip-front sports bra. (I could not, in my labor haze, figure out how to put on the hospital gown, so I was like “guess we’re doing this nearly nude.”) Zip-front makes for easier skin-to-skin/breastfeeding. I ended up having my husband go home to get the My Brest Friend since even a little 8-pound nugget feels heavy after labor and lack of sleep, and it really helped with early breastfeeding.
I brought a robe, only because a hospital gown seemed icky. Also, throw away slippers, socks, anything that touches the floor, make sure you can throw it away. Stretchy nursing bras, tee shirts and sweat pants are great to feel a little more at home!
My only recommendation is…don’t over pack, you wont need it! I believe I didn’t have anything on when I labored. I was induced so I had a loooong wait (we watched Dexter for like 12 hours) and was confined to my bed once I was hooked up to everything.
Definitely bring your own toiletries, you will feel like a new person once you shower. I believe I just wore the hospital gown (it was really like a nice robe) for majority of my stay. The morning I was released, I changed into a dress (I delivered in the summer and it was 90 outside!) and it was super easy. Also, stock up on pads and witch hazel pads for home for after delivery. It helps with the healing down there!
essentials: nursing pillow, couple warm outfits for baby, gatorade or whatever fuel you’re using for labor (it’s a long distance event!), sweater for yourself (hospitals are chilly), grandma undies for post-labor, nursing dress (i liked this option because no waist band, easy access for nursing)
I think over-packing is a better approach for the first baby – only you will know what you’ll want while you are there. I showered and changed into short, flowy dresses each day, but others choose to stay in their gowns. If you end up with a c-section, you will not be able to wear anything with a waistband (except the hospital mesh underwear which you should definitely steal MANY pairs of!) so I would bring flowy dresses just in case.
Definitely bring the nursing pillow, lanolin, an extra-long phone charger, flip flops, hair ties/a hair band, any toiletries you need, and a going-home outfit for you and the baby. Keep the baby’s outfit simple – dressing a newborn is hard, and I still remember trying to get my newborn daughter into a poofy dress and a cardigan (impossible). Also, I brought a book with my 2nd and read the entire thing – I got soooo sick of TV.
Final recommendation is a neck pillow like we wear on long flights. Hospital beds aren’t the most comfortable, and you’ll be sitting up nursing a lot. I used that pillow a ton with both babies.
Best of luck for a safe and healthy delivery!
I wore the hospital gown when I was in labor (no need to yuck up your own clothes and it’s easy for the nurses/doctors/midwives to access what they need to). As soon as I had that first glorious shower, I changed into stretchy shorts and a nursing tank top. I brought a nice zip up top to wear over which was nice because you could just unzip and unhook for skin to skin. I honestly don’t remember if I had a bra on or not, but I would guess not. I know someone said the nail clippers/file, but also bring some of those baby mittens – I swear they scratch their face right before you want those cute coming home from the hospital pictures. Definitely bring your own toiletries and I brought my own washcloth for my face (knowing where those washcloths could have been – gross). Some other things – flip flops, your own snacks, and a long phone cord. Take as many pairs of those mesh undies and ice pack liners as they give you, I definitely rocked those undies for like a month. Good luck!!!!
No recommendations for labor and birth from me, since I am childless, but one story I love: my brother and his girlfriend are expecting their first child, due around September 23rd, and since month four they knew it was a girl. Four weeks before the due date they had one last ultrasound, and the doctor let them know casually that she could see his testicles, so: a boy! I told them he’s bound to be a spy, since he’s so good at hiding his identity … [jk, I don’t think the biological sex defines one’s identity]
I have both pillows and recommend the Brest Friend for the hospital. Babies are pretty floppy when they’re brand new and the Brest friend is a harder surface, so easier to keep them supported. The boppy is more squishy and better for when both you and Baby are better at nursing and you don’t need a million hands helping prop the baby up/getting baby latched, etc. My daughter is 8 weeks old and was much quicker to get the hang of nursing than my son was at the same age (he’s almost 4) so we actually use both pillows easily now, but it’s worth hauling the BF to the hospital IMO. Feel free to email questions about nursing supplies in the early days. I’m no expert but just went through helping a baby learn to nurse for a second time so it’s all fresh in my mind.
Loved the San Diego life show and sad to miss the next one! Good luck!
I was definitely an over-packer. Rock as much hospital gear as possible, there’s just so many fluids and stuff it’s not worth ruining your own clothes. That said, having a robe from home was clutch. Having the Boppy was also really nice. Don’t over think the bag too much, just focus on that sweet baby girl!
I don’t know if I’m dumb or what but for some reason I thought I wasn’t allowed to change out of the gown. All the nurses check your vitals 24.7 after birth…i didn’t even think of changing lol. So I wore the gross ugly gown for like 72 hours. Yay me! And I didn’t really bring anything. Maybe a toothbrush? Lol. I wouldn’t sweat the bag too much 🙂
Hospital gown is fine for nearly your whole stay! Don’t want to dirty up your clothes, and hospital gown makes skin to skin easier immediately after birth. If you bring clothes, bring tops you can easily breastfeed in and comfy loose bottoms (I got elastic shorts from old navy). Agreed that hair tie is a must.
You will almost certainly bring things to the hospital that you don’t need, because you’ll be packing your bag before you know what kind of labor you’re going to have, and by the time you’re actually in labor repacking will not be at the top of the list. I had something called a “labor dress” to give birth in. The idea being that I could wear something soft and comfy, with easy access for exams and post-birth breastfeeding. I wore this the first three times I went to the hospital, and when I went for real I wore random maternity clothes that they ended up cutting off me, and presumably replacing with a hospital gown. (I still think the labor dress was a good idea.)
You really don’t need to take much with you. Snacks are good. A long cord and/or extra power supply for your phone. Nursing bra, although in the beginning you may find it easier to go without. Don’t bother with the boppy – your setup at the hospital won’t be like at home anyway.
While you’re at the hospital, you should do the following:
– If you’re breastfeeding, talk to every lactation consultant you can. They’ll all give you different advice, some of which will be helpful.
– Ask every nurse for tips. Most of them are very nice and super-knowledgeable.
– If they give you a breast pump in your room, most likely the tubes and flanges are yours to keep. They’ll be useful if you end up renting a hospital grade pump later.
– Grab all the samples and random supplies you can, especially the disposable underwear.
I wore a sports bra during labor and the entire time at hospital, but didn’t nurse. My labor was really long, but stayed in sweats/pjs most of the time and put them immediately back on when could. I hated the hospital gown.
We brought too much crap to the hospital… like I brought my Kindle. Lolz. Didn’t even touch my phone in 4 days there… busy. The one thing I loved were the fake candles. They were so nice for during labor and 1st night with baby to have mellow light. We also used them at home at night with a newborn to teach night vs day and she learned that really fast.
I wore the hospital gown(s) until I changed into tank tops and soft, elastic waist, maternity shorts. I brought a robe but didn’t use it. The only things I really needed were my phone, tooth brush, face wash, moisturizer, and flip flops to wear to the bathroom. I also used ear plugs. I had to share a room with a patient who (in violation of the rules) had visitors around the clock, which was awful, but I assume in NJ you’ll have a private room!
I second the moisturizer too! I never use it, but the hospital air is all filtered and super dry, my husband did a lotion run because we were all so dried out!
I did not wear a bra during labor–I am not generously endowed and didn’t need one. I don’t remember really what I wore for my first three births, but for my last one I found a very comfortable kind of pajama tank at Motherhood Maternity, and wore that with a short black jersey skirt. so I’d be decent enough to walk around the ward while I labored. My doulas thought it was brilliant, and I was comfortable throughout. When it got serious I took the skirt off because I was staying in the room and by that time who cares because the only people seeing me were my husband and the doctor and the doulas and a few nurses. But you really don’t care at that point!
And…I know you’re kind of kidding about bringing the dog to the hospital, but please don’t. A maternity ward should be restful as possible, and you don’t know if there are people staying or visiting who are fearful of dogs, or who might have dog allergies. There’s a reason hospitals have rules about animals. I know you love Ellie, but she doesn’t have to go everywhere.
I am one million percent kidding about bringing Ellie to the hospital!
Thank goodness 🙂 I only said something because I have seen people try to smuggle their pups into the hospital, and I know animals give great comfort at certain times, but the nurses were very much Not Happy about it.
I wore a lulu energy bra during labor. Kinda forgot I had it on until I saw pics after?? During the hospital stay I wore normal clothes (very very loose pajamas and loungewear) ASAP because hospital gowns are not my jam, but make sure anything you wear is disposable because post birth bleeding is really intense. Sorry for the graphic description haha.
You may be astonished by how quickly you are ready to get back to work. I hate to say it, but as cozy and awe-inspiring and joyous as newborns are, they doesn’t provide much in the way of mental stimulation. And for me, I couldn’t get my 3 month old on a schedule to save my life which was making it impossible for me to do anything outside of baby care. I was (almost) champing at the bit for my day care start date to start so I could do *anything*. I’d say allow yourself a standard maternity leave of 6-12 weeks or so (from your due date), and then book your day care start date. At a minimum, it will give you flexibility to gear your work life up or down based on how you feel at the time.
I wore a sports bra while delivering and then I just lived in nursing tanks and yoga pants for the rest of my stay. (And like the next year honestly). I love having my own toiletries with me…. Taking that first shower after delivery and having nice conditioner and lotion was heavenly. I wish I had brought my pump so lactation could have showed me how to use it.
I wore a normal bra during labor and then forgot to take it off before pushing and she came SO FAST (second baby), and it was really hard to get it off once she was on my chest and we were trying to nurse. I would just go without.
Also I wore the hospital gowns all the time until it was time to leave. I didn’t want to worry about bleeding on my own clothes.
I was induced both times, and the first time I brought a knitting project to work on, which seemed kind of insane and I didn’t really get anything done… but the second time, I kind of wished I’d had something to do! Since I didn’t do any laboring at home, I was there for a long time just hanging out. So if that’s your situation, I’d recommend crosswords or something to do before it gets too intense. I also watched a lot of Netflix on my phone with the headphones in, and just tuned everyone out, which was nice.
Also, my baby came out with long scratchy fingernails and kept scratching their face, and the hospital had no baby nail clippers/scissors, so I wished I’d had some so she’d stop scratching herself.
I wore sports bras or nursing bras during my labors. I usually like going without when I can, but I couldn’t do it during labor. You get hot and the sweat… I stayed in the hospital gown until it was time to get dressed and go home. Even once you’re cleaned up from birth, you’re bleeding and hot and feeling gross and why not get someone else’s laundry dirty so you don’t have to wash it yourself? Bring your slippers to the hospital! AND DON’T FORGET A HAIR TIE or headband, something to try and keep your hair out of your face. I managed to go more minimalist when I was packing for my third birth in April, but I didn’t end up getting out my laptop at all (thought I’d plug in and upload photos, didn’t even think about it).