My hospital bag (the chronic illness edition)

As preterm labour is a risk for hEDS pregnancies, my hospital bag was packed from the first time I experience Braxton-Hicks (I didn’t know that’s what they were then), which was exactly 6 weeks before Baby Lemons was born. There are a dime-a-dozen “My hospital bag” posts in the blogosphere, so don’t let me repeat what’s already out there. Nappies, wipes, comfort things etc etc. Cue: search Pinterest for “hospital bag”. That said, when you are a special case, you might need to think beyond outfits and toiletries.

hEDS

  • Birth plan in multiple copies, plus a super briefed birthing partner who can recite it in his sleep if aforementioned plan should be ignored (it wasn’t)
  • Hypnobirthing book and tracks (part of my approach to pain management). We also brought bluetooth speakers to play music I meditated to in the lead up to the big day: Max Richter’s Sleep
  • My orthopaedic pillow to support my many popping joints
  • Arnica pillules, a homeopathic medicinal product to help with the bruising or swelling after contusions

I cannot emphasise enough how important your written documents AND your birth partner are in ensuring that your voice is heard. I was in a pain- and then love-induced delirium and couldn’t very well advocate for myself when it came to postnatal care (e.g. stitches and local anaesthetic), positioning to support joints, anything really. The Northerner gently yet confidently questioned decisions, sought my opinion (he reads me well) and stood the ground we’d previously decided upon.

Low FODMAP

During labour

  • Carby and crunchy: Gluten free crackers, e.g. Gratify, granola bars, nuts
  • Fresh: Carrot batons, pineapple
  • Sour and sugary: ‘Safe’ gums, e.g. M&S Percy Phizzy Pig Tails (check for no-go sweeteners, in particular)
  • Bottle (for water)

I also packed plenty of treats for the Northerner. There’s no point in having him low-blood-sugar cranky or running out to get food while the show is underway. He supported me and the baby like the wonderful Daddy he was yet to become, best fuel him up, so he’s got the physical strength to match mine… Just being honest here 😏.

Postnatal

I wasn’t hungry at all as love filled my every crevice. But after 30 hours of labouring, I suppose I needed a bite of something to sustain myself. As they say, put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. ‘Others’ being your minute-old baby.

Chances are that the hospital doesn’t know what to do with you if your diet is as restricted as mine. You really don’t want to risk an IBS flare on top of everything your body is going through postnatally.

We didn’t think to pack anything for afterwards though… Oops. Our amazing midwife, however, scoured the hospital (even the private fridges of the midwives and doctors) to find something suitable and eventually persuaded the canteen to make me a plain baked potato. By the time she returned, we were ready to leave though, so I quickly stuffed my cheeks and made sure I showed her my gratitude in word and deed. Did I mention how amazing she was?! No? SO amazing.

What’s in your special edition hospital bag?

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