All of the pregnancy books recommend packing the bag for the hospital well in advance. We’ve all heard about this bag – it’s the one that sitcom husbands routinely forget to grab as they’re frantically rushing to the hospital with their laboring wives (alternately, it’s the one they remember to bring at the expense of the laboring wife herself, who is comically left behind at the house – oh, those zany sitcom husbands!).
However, nobody’s offering much in the way of guidance of what goes in the bag – with the exception of the anal-retentive-to-a-fault What To Expect When You’re Expecting, which recommends among other myriad things that you pack, natch, your copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting. It seems to me that by the time you’re clocking your contractions, that ship has sailed, but kudos to the authors for their shameless efforts at self-promotion right up to the very end. (They’re not the #1 best-selling pregnancy book for nothing.)
Some things are obvious essentials: Car seat, going-home clothes for baby, going-home clothes for mommy (not her snuggest pre-pregnancy jeans, certainly, unless mommy is a masochist seeking a real blow to her self-esteem). Other things should clearly be left at home: Ski boots, power tools, and anything easily ruined by contact with various bodily fluids.
The rest is sort of a crap shoot. I for one am bringing snacks – I have a great fear of waking up ravenous and bedbound in the middle of the night. Eric has already made me promise that I’m not going to eat during labor without the express knowledge and permission of my ob-gyn. He is worried about losing me to a complication that would be relatively routine, but for the fact that they cannot anesthetize me as I have just snarfed down a huge meatball sub. I would be indignant that this scenario has even occurred to him, if I didn’t know me well enough to know that it could plausibly play out exactly as he’s described.