Even though a cesarean was not my original birth plan, my little breech baby had snuggled down too far in my hips for any of the methods to flip baby to work. I tried an ECV(without an epidural), spinning babies website, pool handstands, chiropractor, moxibustion, acupuncture, and everything in between. I even tried hypnosis to turn her. After all of those methods failed, I decided that my last stand would be to wait for labor to happen naturally and see if the little one would flip that way. She did not.
So off to the hospital after nearly two hours of labor at home, after my water had broken just as my husband was getting ready to play his last round of pre-baby golf, and contractions one minute apart. She was checked via ultrasound and her butt was still down. Resident walked out of the room and the anesthesiologist walked in. Nearly thirty minutes later and little Lucy was born weighing 6lbs 4oz.
I went into labor a week early and didn't have my bag packed. I had started thinking about what I would need and had made several trips to my local Target to stock up on what I had read I would need in the hospital if I were to have a c-section. I was still in denial about the whole thing, but thought I should probably be prepared if it were to happen.
I failed miserably at getting clothes that would actually be comfortable to wear post section. Here is a list of things I wish I had bought/known beforehand, for you to learn from my mistakes and for me to remember for next time, should the need arise.
Hospital bag and on the way home (c-section mommies)
1. Someone to document the event-It depends on how much pain medication you use afterwards, but I think the most important thing for the hospital is a dependable friend or family member that can discreetly take video and photos while you and your husband (or wife) enjoy the birth of your baby. The last thing you're partner is going to want to do is take photos and video while everything is happening. I don't remember the birth very well because I felt pretty drugged during the procedure and afterwards. I can't tell you what I would give to have had video of my daughters first moments after the birth while my husband was with getting evaluated. I felt very alone on the table and it would really mean a lot if I could have those moments captured on film or with pictures.
2. Outfits for the hospital that are very loose and comfy-I thought I had planned for this, but the underwear and pants I bought were not practical for my c-section. If I were to go back, I would have bought some maternity pj's with the stretchy panel to wear after the section, nursing bras, and some nursing nightgowns for the hospital. I did bring comfy slippers, makeup, and perfume, which made me feel better when we were preparing to leave.
3. An outfit for baby to leave in and baby blankets-I did skin to skin basically the entire time in the hospital, so we really didn't need any outfits for her while she was there. I loved doing it, but it's your decision on what you feel comfortable with. In terms of outfits for her to leave in, I wish I had made more of an effort to find something special for her to wear on the ride home. I didn't even bring a baby blanket so she ended up wrapped up in the maternity shirt I wore to the hospital. Cute in retrospect, but it almost brought me to tears as I fretted about how I was going to keep her warm and covered for her first car ride and introduction to the outdoors.
4. Know how the car seat works, really.- We had installed the seat a few weeks prior, but never thought to learn how it functioned. We didn't know how to buckle her in properly and sat outside in the Texas heat with the baby trying to buckle her in properly blocking the parking garage traffic. Whoops.
5. Map out your trip home-Thank goodness we found the least bumpy way home beforehand. I also recommend a pillow to put in the car that you can hold up against your guts. (Thank you Katie for that pearl of wisdom!)
6. Buy a stretchy support belt to wear.- This support belt saved my life. I didn't get it until a few days after the section, but it really made all the difference in the world. Some doctors and hospitals issue them standard, but my doctor did not. I tried the bellyband or bellybandit, but it pushed down on my scar. This will be in my bag for the next baby, even though I'm hoping for an HBAC.
7. Get a pedicure beforehand- I did this and it made me feel so much more human.
8. Bring all the toiletries you normally use-I can't stress this enough. I also pampered myself while in labor at home and went to the hospital all dolled up. It really helped my mood and took my mind off of the labor.
I'm sure there are a ton more things I'm missing. This list is by no means exhaustive. Do your own research and find what works for you. A lot of websites I read said snacks, which I didn't really care about and books to read, which I didn't have time for. Feel free to add to my list in the comments if you'd like. I'd love to have more thoughts on what makes up the perfect hospital/birthing center bag!