So a lot of women have the dilemma of what do they take to the hospital for the birth of their baby. Now it’s definitely easier after you have done it before, but what about when you are having a caesarean? or if you have a stoma or like me both! Well as I have had a caesarean before and took far too much stuff for the fact I was in for two nights I have a better idea this time round. I will only really be going into detail about the stuff for me because any list for baby you can find on the internet will be pretty much what I would write…vests, an outfit or two, a blanket, a soft toy that sort of thing. In fact your hospital may even provide you with a list of items to bring for baby so if in doubt ASK!!
Okay! Let’s talk about what is going in my bag as even though my caesarean isn’t for another four weeks I happen to be away for a couple of nights beforehand so I’m being ridiculous when it comes to the packing/list making as I need it done stupidly early in advance! This is in no way order of importance but just the order they popped into my head with the explanations of why I feel it’s important for a caesarean hospital bag.
- I suggest getting out a few bags in varying sizes so you don’t start packing stuff and realising that it isn’t big enough then do a me and get stroppy about having to stop and find another bag. I used to do that every time I would pack to go away. I have been told rolling things up saves time and there are some super nifty tricks for packing entire outfits on YouTube but that isn’t for today but could be handy for anyone going away soon!
- Carrier/laundry bag for your clothes – feel free to send this home with your partner every night if needed because people don’t remind women that have a caesarean section that they still lose blood down there let alone hospitals get warm and you may just want to change a bit more frequently. Also for a good few hours until the spinal anaesthetic wears off you won’t be moving from the bed.
- An empty bag for any gifts that visitors bring (if you are having them DO NOT FEEL PRESSURED INTO HAVING VISITORS IF YOU DON’T WANT THEM) and again feel free to send that on home with your partner too because you don’t want to take home tons of stuff in one go. It can make your partner feel useful because right now unless they do the nappy (diaper if you are American) changes or you aren’t breast feeding then they aren’t doing much. Partners of both sexes often like to feel useful when you aren’t able to do things yourself, so please don’t forget becoming a parent is just as important for them as it is for you.
- When it comes to pyjamas or the like I would suggest nighties or an oversized t-shirt. This is so you don’t have any unnecessary pressure on your new scar but they also wash you down after the caesarean. Now it isn’t always straight away but being in a nightie etc definitely makes things easier when it comes to clean up.
- Slippers, most hospitals ask you to bring slippers in for any kind of stay usually with a back on to prevent them slipping off your feet and running the risk of a fall, most definitely not what you want after surgery.
- Larger underwear, again this is so you don’t have pressure on your caesarean scar. Remember your body doesn’t spring back to pre baby weight/size (yep I know life can be cruel sometimes but baby is worth it) so these can help you feel like they hide your tummy. I would also say get them in a dark colour as even though you will be wearing maternity pads which are freaking huge, you could still stain your underwear. As for me I will be taking some of my NHS underwear from Vanilla Blush to keep my bag away from the scar regardless of the fact there will be a dressing on it. However whilst in hospital I may take full use of the oh so glamorous netty knickers!!
- A long cabled phone charger. I have been caught out in the past with having too short a cable or just point blank forgetting my charger at all. Since we all take photos on our phones these days running out of battery would be a nightmare. Plus how the heck will I be able to annoy 00Steve throughout the night? Poor guy, Ra-Ra was born on our second wedding anniversary so when he got kicked off the ward he was at home playing GTA V which was his present from me, he got phone calls and texts from me panicking about breast feeding and photos of Ra-Ra because even though I had our tiny little baby with me I was lonely and fretted about loads of stuff I probably won’t this time…I hope.
- Jelly sweets since you are starved sorry expected to fast before the caesarean and your output could go a bit haywire. The sweets could at least get things moving in the right direction consistency wise. Also I remember asking my obstetrician when he came in an hour or so later why I couldn’t eat, he was completely baffled why they hadn’t given me anything and stuck his head out the door and shouted I needed to eat ha ha. So this time having the sweets will keep me going until I can get food.
- A book, I like having a book with me when I go into hospital just because I would prefer to read than watch TV and the TV at the hospital I will be at you have to pay for…
- Notepad and pen, now I am very rarely without one of these as you never know when inspiration may strike or you want to jot down feelings, questions for the nurses or doctors, or just write a list! I remember when I was a teen and on a feed line I wrote down/tortured myself with a list of things I wanted to eat when I got home.
- Air freshener, now this may sound silly to anyone reading that doesn’t have a stoma. But you won’t be able to go empty your bag in the toilet for a few hours you or a midwife will have to empty whilst you are in the bed. I actually gave myself nightmares about this and I think it kicked off my panic attacks when I try to sleep. But I spoke to 00Steve about it and he doesn’t see a problem however he said if it put my mind at rest when I need to empty he will take the kid(s) out of the room so I can do it with some relative privacy. Now my dignity learnt not to give two hoots years ago (cue my mam and sister having to clean me up after being left in my own excrement after the nursing staff didn’t want to keep cleaning me up when my bowel catheter leaked after my jpouch surgery. I wasn’t even talking to my sister at the time, we are like children we fight A LOT or used too) but even though dignity takes a back seat my senses don’t. Its like when someone breastfeeds in public (good for you! babies should be fed by any means but not in a god damn toilet sorry rant over) and you have the uncomfortable moment of where do you look for instance at something else or the uneasy looking straight at their eyes and not blinking (or myself and friends have found this yet it is clearly down to society making this taboo, okay rant really over). The same goes for someone emptying a bag its the unknown or just curiosity that makes you not know where to look. Now 00Steve had to come to the toilet with me when I had just had my ileostomy surgery as I was weak but I don’t really want an audience again (which he is happy about!). Back to the air freshener the room will essentially have become my toilet so I would rather spray something to take the unpleasant odour away, they don’t like you having windows open etc on maternity wards either!
- Peppermint capsules, now these are often given to try and help prevent too much gas, now they didn’t help too much with that BUT they made my output smell less rancid, lets face it everyone’s poop stinks!
- Toiletries are usually a given but don’t forget you will only be able to shower and you may feel weak. If you have had abdominal surgery before you know what I’m talking about. I suggest plain or fragrance free shower gel to prevent any irritation but that doesn’t stop you using nice shampoo/conditioner/deodorant. I will be taking some make up not a lot just the basics I use, this is just to help me feel more me and less like I’ve been hit by a bus.
- Clothes, I would highly suggest a dress because jeans/joggers/leggings can all put pressure on your caesarean scar. Even skirts will as I learnt last time so for me I will be taking a dark coloured dress in case of the pad moving. Flat comfortable shoes are also recommended as we aren’t on a fashion cat walk and you may find it hard to walk as it is! Pretty sure until I got used to walking I looked like a shuffling Frankenstein’s monster!
- A pillow or a cushion that you put in between your seat belt and you comes in quite handy, but also if you are going to cough or laugh holding a pillow/cushion helps to stop any pain. I learnt this again from GTA V on my arrival back at home, 00Steve was playing it and repeating certain points he found funny so that cushion got a lot of use. Seriously sometimes I wish I didn’t marry a funny twat.
- Now here is the stoma supplies I will be packing. Now I have a go bag in the car so if I needed extra bits 00Steve could just grab them out of the boot rather than having to guess at home. But I will be in at least two nights (or that’s how long I was in last time) so I will be taking 3 bags, 6 disposable bags, wet wipes, a strip of barrier seals just in case, gelling agent for peace of mind during the surgery, 3 barrier wipes, adhesive remover spray and 6 tape extenders. So I am hoping they only get used once but I would prefer to be safe than sorry, heck I am probably going to stock up my go bag with extra of these just to be ultra safe. Especially since I don’t know the stoma nurses at this hospital (well other than one of mine is up on certain days) I don’t want to have to explain my routine to others that don’t already know me.
I hope that has been useful to those ladies going in for a caesarean stoma or not because it’s mainly down to common sense and things I learnt from last time. Is there things you found helpful when you went in or wished you had? Please feel free to comment below!