What's In My Hospital Bag

>> Monday, October 1, 2018

So,  I'm now 36 weeks -- NINE months. I delivered both Ada and Eloise at 38 weeks, and I figured I'd better pack just to be safe. And this means packing a bag for myself, a few things for baby, and then bags for both girls. Not that they're necessarily going anywhere, but I find it helpful to gather a few things to help whoever ends up caring for them while we're in the hospital.

(14 weeks, 24 weeks, 36 weeks)


I haven't yet had my GBS test (this week!), so I'm not sure of my status. If I'm positive, I know they'll keep me a bit longer in the hospital. Or if I for some reason have a c-section or other complication. Basically, I don't know how many days I'll be at the hospital.

With Ada, it was short and sweet.

With Eloise, we were there three nights.

My bag . . . 

I was surprised when Ada came before my due date and went to the hospital without a hospital bag as a first-time mom. I over-compensated when planning for Eloise and brought a lot of stuff I didn't need. Regardless, each time I've had a baby, I wear the hospital gown during labor and after birth. I use the mesh underwear they provide for me as long as possible. I use the gigantic pads gladly. I don't bring much from home because I don't want it getting bloody and gross.

I may not look cute, but it makes things very simple.

(PS: I am just using an old duffle bag I've had for over 10 years. I resisted buying a cuter one because we're trying to save money. And I have fallen in love with inexpensive packing cubes to keep things separated. They are so worth it.)


Here's what's in my bag:
  • Nursing cami
  • Nursing bra
  • 2 pairs of black underwear
  • Black yoga pants
  • Loose shirt
  • 2 crop tops (for during labor)
  • Robe (in case it's cold)
  • Muslin blanket (for nursing coverage if/when company is around)
  • FitKicks Slippers (I wear the hospital socks during labor, though)
  • Travel toiletries (our hospital doesn't provide any)
  • Lavender EO mist (because it calms me)
  • Wet brush (I forgot any kind of comb/brush last time!)
  • Hair ties
  • Phone charger
  • Sleep eye mask (I have trouble sleeping with lights on)
  • VERY basic makeup (mascara, eyebrow pencil, and light foundation)
  • DSLR -- maybe
  • Snacks (Mama Chia packs, organic Pop-Tarts, sparkling water, maybe a beer!)
  • I may also bring my ancient Boppy Pillow


I'll admit it seems like a lot of clothing. I truly don't feel I need this many options unless we end up having to stay for several days. With Eloise, it was nice to have different tops as options. As far as pants go, though, I basically don't wear any until leaving the hospital.

Oh, and WHY CROP TOPS?! I saw them at Target . . . and they seem genius for wearing underneath the hospital gown during delivery. I tend to get totally undressed at some point, but would prefer to have something on top. The crop will allow them to monitor me easily. And I also plan to use the tops as nightshirts and under button-down shirts for nursing. It's a personal choice, but I like feeding below a shirt instead of above it. It's like a mini nursing cover -- LOL!

Things I'm leaving at home that I had brought in the past:

Jewelry, pads (you get plenty in the hospital), nursing pads (milk doesn't usually come in till I'm home), fancy going home outfit, any personal care or makeup more than the basics, any electronics beyond a camera and phone, books, candles, birth soundtrack, etc.

I also have never had a written birth plan. My plan is healthy mom, healthy baby. My two births were so different. So, I am open-minded. That said, I always try to avoid an epidural simply because I'm uncomfortable with needles.

For the baby . . . 

I always see people pack tons of stuff for baby. In our hospital -- for safety reasons -- we're required to dress baby in hospital-marked onesies and blankets at all times. So, the clothing I'm bringing is solely for the last day right before we go home. The hospital also supplies diapers, pacifiers, and pretty much anything else we need.


What's in my bag:
  • Two going home outfits (one lighter, one heavier -- no idea on weather)
  • Zutano booties (THE BEST!)
  • Hat (again, for if it's cold)
  • Muslin blanket 
  • Wipes (the hospital ones were weird and we had to manually wet them last time)

That's it.

For the girls . . . 


I suppose for the girls it's not as much packing a bag . . . but just making the following things easy to find. I may have a small box in their room with these essentials so my parents or in-laws don't have to hunt around. I will have a bag at the ready if I go into labor early and they need to go with friends for a few hours until the grandparents can get here.

  • A pair of pajamas
  • Slippers or socks
  • Favorite book
  • Favorite stuffed animal
  • Comfort blanket (both my girls love blankets)
  • Easy foods (Mac and cheese, PB&J, grilled cheese, lots of fruit, granola bars)
  • A written list of routines for each girl for wakeup, nap, and nighttime

Also:

I got a special present for Ada and Eloise. Ada is getting this gorgeous fairy magnetic dress-up doll set from Melissa and Doug. Eloise is getting this cute Play-Doh Sesame Street set. I kept these gifts inexpensive and activity oriented to help their caregivers occupy them.

I'm probably forgetting something, but this is the main gist.

Now if I could only find our carseat base!

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Nesting: What's In My Freezer

>> Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My in-laws were up visitng over the weekend. While I hadn't planned on it at all, I woke up Saturday morning with this INTENSE NEED to make all the freezer meals I could -- as quickly as possible. I don't really like freezer meals, truth be told. But I have had good success in the past with the dump -- raw ingredients -- freezer meals method. So you basically chop everything, put it in a bag, but you don't pre-cook. Then you freeze and thaw it out the night before you dump it into the crock pot.

I learned this method years ago from New Leaf Wellness. They have a great post with 31 vegetarian meals you can make this way. I didn't use any of those recipes -- I mostly stuck to those tried-and-true meals that we know we like. It's too risky for me to branch out and make unfamiliar fare. Anyway, the dump method is legit. I feel like it makes everything taste fresher. It's also wicked fast.

Rather than getting long-winded, I thought I would just share with you everything I was able to cram into my freezer this weekend. As far as cost, it's tricky because I had some of these ingredients on hand. I can tell you that I spent $65 at the grocery store getting produce, more beans, and some random ingredients. But I made 12 meals (some will have lunch leftovers), several batches of cookies, and a bunch of other items, like freezer waffles.


WHAT I MADE





Tikka Masala with Chickpeas, sweet potatoes, peas, etc. x 2

Note: For this recipe, I just chopped an onion and two sweet potatoes, then I added a can of drained chickpeas and a heaping cup of frozen peas. I plan to just use Aldi Tikka Masala sauce when it comes time to cook.

Irish Italian Spaghetti Sauce x 2

Note: This is a family recipe. It's a can of tomato soup, can of cream of mushroom soup, onion, some Italian spices, and traditionally some ground beef. I used Aldi "meat"balls instead. You just simmer and reduce and then use it to top spaghetti.


Note: I added a heaping helping of ginger to this mix.



Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies x 2

Note: this is a variation of the Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe above. If you're interested, I could post it. I mostly just replaced all sugar with brown sugar and did half Earth Balance, half Peanut Butter for the "butter". The rest is the same, minus pecans.


Bag of mixed veggies (kale, cauliflower, celery) to add to smoothies

Gigantic bag of frozen bananas 

36 Padsicles for the lady bits

TIPS


// My favorite storage device for an activity like this is the humble gallon freezer bag. I know they're not low waste, but they stack flat and I don't have to worry about glass breaking (I've never had an issue with it -- but it's always a possibility. I also think it's easier to thaw things that have frozen flat).

// I like to turn the top of the bag (the zipper) inside out so it stands up straight while I toss everything in the bag.

// I made two of each meal because it was easier to buy ingredients in bulk and then chop them all in an assembly line. Likewise, I found it most easy to make meals with similar ingredients (lots of carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, onions, beans, etc.).

// I left out wet ingredients like vegetable stock or Aldi sauces (here's more #notsponsored posts about my Aldi love). I did put in some wetter ingredients, like tomatoes, in. There wasn't too much method to the madness, but it made sense that way. OH! And while we're on stock/broth. I actually bought a stock concentrate and put in the correct amount of that versus planning to use packaged stock/broth. When I go to make the meal, I'll just add water in the amount of stock needed.

// When you're freezing stuff like waffles, naan, cookie dough, cookies, etc., it's best to freeze them first laying flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment or some other  non-stick layer. Then once they're fully frozen you can transfer to bags.

// Try to get as much air out of the bags as possible to help prevent freezer burn. I do the fancy method of actually sucking the air out myself!

// Some of those recipes above are not crock pot recipes. But they work in the crock pot! Trust me. And several of the soups will require blending afterward. Which is annoying. I'm considering getting an immersion blender.

WHAT'S NEXT?


I don't have a clear plan. Obviously I did a lot of soups and stews already. I'm not a big casserole person. I also really don't love pasta. I know I want to make 100 pieces of homemade naan for sides or pizzas. I'd also like to whip up some Sweet potato + beet veggie burgers (x 4).

Otherwise, I'm also planning to get a few very large bags of assorted frozen fruits for smoothies, several bags of Aldi's "meat"balls, and a few convenience things. If you have suggestions or a recipe that you particularly loved, PLEASE SHARE! Space is getting short, but I'm happy to have done so much on this project in just one weekend.

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them either on here (I know my comments app can be weird) or on Instagram.

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Catching Up

>> Thursday, September 6, 2018

I basically took the last month completely off from writing -- had you noticed? I was trying to rest up as much as possible before today. The start of school. The start of true cross-country season (it's been going on with practices for the last month). The final countdown in my pregnancy (I'm 32.5 weeks!). It's all a little overwhelming. But I used the time wisely. I worked a lot this summer (freelance-wise AND with nesting projects). It feels good, but I'd be lying if I told you I'm happy to be back in the normal swing of things.

Here's what's up -- with a dose of cuteness from when Eloise was just five days old.


School


Ada starts first grade today. She's incredibly excited and apprehensive all at the same time. I don't blame her because I'm notoriously anxious with good and bad energy during big transitions. She enjoys being home in the summers and getting down time, but I think she's going to love being back in a routine with her friends. I'm having some feelings this year because usually I try to help out in the school a bit and pop in from time to time, but I am not sure how that will work with a new baby and a toddler. I suppose we'll see!

I may have already mentioned that Eloise is starting "school" this year as well. I have enrolled her in a program that meets two mornings each week for 2.5 hours each morning. It's more for me than her, obviously. But I do hope she gains some feelings of comfort being out and about with other adults and kids. She starts next Tuesday. I didn't send Ada to preschool until she was closer to three, so I'm really hoping for a smooth transition. Again, I guess we'll see what happens.


Pregnancy


I think I'm in denial that I'm this far along already. This pregnancy actually went by quite quickly for me, in a start contrast to the extreme anxiety that plagued my pregnancy with Eloise. With her, every second seemed to just tick by so slowly. This time around, I haven't had any complaints physically until more recently. And those are only the "normal" third trimester woes. I've been incredibly fortunate in that regard . . . and I feel like it's a very good note to leave my childbearing years on. That said, I have started getting a bit nervous for birth. Both how it will happen/when it will happen and the actual physical act.

I have a doctor appointment on Friday complete with an ultrasound. Questions I have regard delayed cord clamping (something I've never specifically requested, but I think maybe has been done automatically by my midwives in the past) and timing for when to come in during labor (because my water broke first last time and I have this fear of not recognizing I'm having contractions until it's too late). I keep hearing that third babies are total wildcards, so while I want to believe this baby will arrive neatly like her sisters early in the 38th week, I'm trying to prepare myself for anything.

Work


Freelancing is winding down for me and I have lots of mixed feelings about it. I'm trying to lighten the load in preparation for the baby . . . but I actually like working and I always fear that taking time off will mean I lose jobs or can't find work when I'm ready. In the past, I really lucked into my gigs. As I've become more entrenched as a mom versus a freelancer, my connections have somewhat faded. And my professional mojo is definitely not what it used to be. Right now I'm not sure how I envision working with having three kids and little childcare. In my head, I can see being back at writing very lightly once the baby is three months old . . . ramping up to more "normal" levels when Stephen is home for the summer.

Do any of you work similar gigs? I used to try to make early mornings and nap times work, but I am seeing that that's definitely not going to fly when I have two little ones with different nap schedules and breastfeeding -- as well as a school-aged kid who needs me during the early mornings and late afternoons. I imagine I'll have to make blocks of time for work when Stephen is home and I can physically get out of the house. This is, of course, provided work is still available when I'm ready to return.


Simplification


I dropped my microblogging, and I am hoping to return back to that series now. My goal is to write twice a week. Bonus points if I get to it more often, but no pressure if not. We left off with simple cleaning tricks and how I was possibly considering hiring someone to come once a month to help out. I've dropped that idea because preschool costs money and, well, there's only so much money. What's actually really simplified my cleaning process and made a huge difference at this stage isn't the most eco-friendly thing in the world. But I bought a huge pack of Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes. I just go around the house attacking everything with those. It's so easy and everything is so clean.

I don't necessarily want to continue using disposable wipes forever, but right now it's what I need to get a handle on things. Otherwise, we've organized things so well (and it's taken SO long) that I can get the entire house tidy AND clean in about an hour. This may be longer or shorter than it takes you, but it's liberating. Before, just getting all the clutter in some random holding place (usually laundry baskets stashed in the 4th bedroom) took forever. Then I never quite got to the cleaning.

Another random bit of information is that I did all the Christmas shopping for the girls in August this year. My family thinks I'm a bit crazy, but it feels good to have that out of the way.


What's Up Next?


Alright! Thanks for catching up with me. I'll return back to the simplify series again soon. If you have anything you'd like me to cover sooner rather than later, let me know. A few of you requested hearing about our back-to-school routine and how we manage all that. So, I think that's what I'll cover next. Otherwise, I need to power through the rest of the week, power through the first long XC meet on Saturday, and keep on with my to-do list to prepare for Baby E!

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