I have been a mother to children I did not carry in my belly for years, last year however, I had the privilege of carrying life inside me. For forty-one weeks I marvelled at God’s invisible qualities. I downloaded the baby apps and every week I would check to see what size my baby was. From a tiny seed to the size of a watermelon. That really used to fascinate me. Every first time mom can relate. Apart from the apps though I consciously stayed away from google and didn’t pay much attention to all the unsolicited motherhood advice I got. I didn’t want to know the nitty-gritty details of pregnancy and motherhood. I was happy just carrying this tiny human inside me. I was satisfied when my doctor summed up my visits in one line “You and the baby are fine”. That was what was important to me.
When I made it to thirty-eight weeks, I started getting the famous ‘have you packed your hospital bag?’ question. I hadn’t. Not sure why I kept procrastinating. When week forty came along with zero signs of labor, the panic monster checked in and I decided may be it was about time I packed that bag, so I did what any first time mom would do. I googled. Printed a check list and packed all the items on it. Weeks after I came home from the hospital when I was unpacking this bag I realised all the useless things that I packed and never got to use. We had a good laugh with my hubby when I explained why each of those items was in the bag. I had a full proof labor and new mom starter kit.
The book, preferably a new mom book would help me get to know all the basics that a new mom needs to know. Stuff about breastfeeding, expressing, baby routines and all that. I didn’t have one of those so instead I packed ‘Year of yes’ by Shonda Rhimes. I bought this book just before I discovered I was pregnant and for the life of me I couldn’t read more than one page without falling asleep. I carried it everywhere and in nine months only managed seventeen pages so this was an opportune time to catch up. NOOOOT! the book never made it out of the bag. I was tired and too busy worrying about breast milk supply. All my energy was directed towards that otherwise I would not be discharged. Or so they threatened but I really did not want to find out.
Not to mention all the visitors I received. That book didn’t stand a chance. It’s still on my bedside table with the bookmark on page seventeen.
During labor you are encouraged to walk around. I read that it helps, that gravity works to your advantage. The iPod was to play my favourite songs to help me relax and distract me from the pain as I paced around the hospital ward. Visions of YouTube women in labor dancing in hospital corridors ran through my mind as I packed it. Cool! I thought. I even downloaded Salt n Pepa’s ‘Push It’. That would me my song. That would be my motivation to get this baby out. I practised in front of my husband and instructed him to play it for me in case I forgot. He laughed, and just shook his head with a look on his face like “who on earth did I marry”? It might have been my first time on this journey but it wasn’t his. He had an idea of how it would go down but he humoured me.
The iPod never made it outside the bag either. I ended up having a precipitate delivery. Which basically means that I experienced an unusually rapid labor where all stages of labor happen at once. One minute I was fine, the next I was yelling profanities I didn’t even know I had in me and just before I swore that was my first and last child mama bear was holding her cub.
Essential oils were to help facilitate labor and relax me through whole ordeal. A week earlier I had bought some Clary sage and jasmine which I had read would help induce labor now that my little one was in no particular hurry to see the world. They didn’t induce anything. Nevertheless I threw these into my bag. I also made a massage oil with sweet almond oil, 20 drops of Clary sage, 20 drops of jasmine and 20 drops of lavender. The instructions said 15 drops but I’m badass like that. At the hospital as we waited for my doctor to come and induce me I gave my hubby and my best friend who would be my birth partner directions on where this magical massage oil that was to be used on my back would be. They were also supposed to put a few drops of the lavender on a cotton ball for me to inhale during labor.
Again, precipitate labor threw all that nonsense out the window
Sugar free chewing gum
Finally the chewing gum was for me to chew on (obviously) in order to quench my thirst because of all the saliva I would swallow. It had to be sugar-free because anything with sugar would automatically make me thirsty. Yeah, I didn’t remember that either.
Looking back I cant help but laugh at myself. If I get a second chance, I know exactly what to NOT pack.
What crazy things did you do when you were carrying your first child that you look back on now and wonder “what the hell was I doing?