Getting Ready with the Hospital Bag for the D-Day

Now when you are nearing your 10th month or have almost completed your 35th week, it is the time to think about the D-Day. This is the time, when you need to do the final check about planning your delivery – the choice of hospital, how to reach hospital, emergency contact numbers, and so many other things.

One of the most important To-Do in the third trimester or the final month is deciding what to pack in your hospital bag, which sounds like an unimportant thing but is critical. When my sister-in-law talked about the hospital bag, my inherent reaction was “To prepare a bag for delivery? I am not going on a holiday, I am going to hospital to deliver a baby. Why will I need a bag?”, I wondered. But after understanding the objectives of the hospital bag, I understood its importance and figured out that it is going to be the lifeline for you, your partner and the baby for the days to be spent before, during and after the delivery in the hospital.

So where to start?

You don’t want to leave out any essentials, but there’s also no reason to overdo things. As soon I entered my third trimester, Ovia App (one of the App I installed and followed during pregnancy and still following it post pregnancy) suggested me to start gathering things for my hospital bag. There are many things which you can order online (Flipkart, Amazon, FirstCry, MeeMee etc.) and hence may need time up to a week for delivery, thus starting early is not a bad idea. But after doing some rather lot of research on the internet and consulting my mom, sisters and sister-in-laws, I finally made a long list of things which are essential for my days in hospital. Contents of the hospital bag depends on the view of the Gynecologist about your condition (whether it is going to be a normal or a cesarean/C-section as the days of stay in hospital is contingent to that).

When should you pack your hospital bag?

My first question to everyone was when to pack the bag? Since, I was continuing with my job till start of 10th month, the routine was quite hectic. So, to save time and be prepared for any emergency, I packed my bags when I was still in my penultimate month. It was also my excitement that soon after completing the 9th month, I started working on my packing list.  Moreover, in my view once you complete your 35th week of pregnancy, it is a good time to pack your hospital bag. Though there is still about 4-5 week in your delivery but better be prepared than in a mess (I assure you, you will count days and would not be able to control your excitement beyond this week).

How and what to pack?

My hospital bag had everything which I may need and informed about it to everyone in my family to not forget this lifeline in hurry. Believe me, the thrill and the detailing while packing a pregnancy bag was more fun than packing a bag for any holiday. But make sure not to stuff unnecessary things in your bag.

The thumb rule is to prepare a check list prior to your packing. This is easy as you can prepare the list on your mobile phone while commuting or you can even make the list in your office computer in the leisure time you get (I suggest the Notes App in your mobile phone). The reason for preparing a list in advance is that you still have time to add items and arrange the items which are not available readily. As i said earlier, you may need to order few things online. Make sure to call hospital after preparing your long list and before buying/ordering anything to ensure what all things they may provide to the mother and the baby. As in my case, hospital provided us with baby’s clothes and basic essentials items for the new born (though I did not used it much). If you are going for normal delivery, you will need to stay in hospital for a day or two. In a cesarean or C-Section delivery you might have to stay up to 5 days or more, depending on your status of post delivery recovery.

Now when you are ready with your list, here is the list things that I packed in my bag—

  1. Linen: Hospitals usually provide essential linen to the mother and baby, but it is advisable to include one or two essential bedding items in the bag, for yourself, baby and attendant.
  2. Toiletries: This includes toothbrush, hand wash, hand sanitizer, face wash, body wash, cream or moisturizer, towel, comb and last but not the least sanitary pads. Most hospital do provide sanitary pads but it is always better to stick to the one you are already using and comfortable with (the pads provided by the hospitals are conventional cotton ones and I do not find them comfortable to use).
  3. Clothes: Though you will get a standard clothes from the hospital which they provide to the admission holders but a pair of cloth is needed in which you will return home with the new family member (take a loose fit dress, ironically, the one you wore in your 8th or 9th month will still be ok!!!). Pack few pair of clothes for the attendant too including one for night change.
  4. Medicines: Only if you are on a regular dose. Although, it is advisable not to take any medicine without your Gynecologist’s consultation. Also, do not forget to keep medicine of your partner/attendant (if any).
  5. Socks: Keep at least two pairs of socks (cushioned), as your body will be weak and exhausted after labor pain and you might feel cold (in hospitals, there is generally centralized Air Conditioning and it is difficult to turn it off). Socks was my savior post delivery.
  6. Footwear: I don’t think you need an additional pair of slippers. Go to hospital in a comfortable slippers, one that can be used in the toilets as well.
  7. Maternity wear: This includes a good nursing bra (a size higher than the usual), feeding gowns and comfortable underwear. A good nursing bra and feeding gown eases your nursing time in hospital and even after you come back home.
  8. Feeding cover: Initially feeding is the most tiresome job. For the first time mommies and the new born, this is the most difficult thing to get used to during the initial days. Post-delivery, when you are surrounded by friends and relatives, you need a feeding cover (the baby is to be breast fed every hour or may be shorter than that). Initially you feel awkward to feed in front of anyone but gradually you will become a pro in feeding the baby in public, without letting anyone know ;). So, feeding cover can be of a great help.
  9. Breast Pump and Infant Feeding Bottle– Though the requirement may vary from case to case, but if your or baby’s condition is not well post delivery, the milk for the baby can be pumped and stored in refrigerators. Babies do catch Jaundice post delivery and is common. In my case, the baby was required to be kept in ICCU for few days and the breast pump and feeding bottle was must for me. Post delivery too, the breast pump will be helpful for you to store the milk.
  10. Snacks: Keep some biscuits or other baked quick bites in the bag (popcorn, makhana, almonds etc.). The hospital food sometime is not enough for you and you may feel hungry especially during night time (the initial few days, you have to spend sleepless nights to feed and to pacify the baby).
  11. Health card/ Insurance paper: Do not forget to make a file folder containing all your medical records and reports and take a photocopy of all the documents needed for the purpose of insurance.
  12. Wallet/ cash/ ATM: Generally, you are not in a position (health wise) to takes care of the payments at the hospital, but if you feel then you should also keep your wallet with some emergency cash/ATM and a photocopy of your ID proof.
  13. Mobile and chargers: Please free up your mobile phone memory space and don’t forget to keep the charger (the numbers of call you are going to receive during that time will drain the batteries within few hours). You need mobile to spread the good news and now a days to capture the rare moments too.
  14. Baby Clothes: Keep some comfortable light cotton clothes which is washed many a times in mild detergent (you can also use an old cloth of sibling or a cousin). Please keep a soft and warm baby wrap/blanket to wrap and to cover the infant. Mittens, socks, 3-4 pair of clothing (rompers meant for infants), soft baby towels, nappies, diapers/cloth nappies, and a cotton cap to cover the baby’s head (generally, hospital provides baby essentials).

My words

Last but not the least, the most important thing to pack in your hospital bag is confidence and positivity. Do not forget to keep smile, faith and love handy, for any emergency!!!

From home to hospital, to labor, to labor pain, to delivering baby is not everyone cup of tea. Your positivity and confidence will definitely make this journey much easier.

 

The Nav-Durga in every Woman

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Durga, goddess of power, eternity and tranquility. Goddess who lead us to the path of wisdom and galore.

During my childhood days, Durga puja was the most awaited festival. It was the time when my whole family use to go for puja pandal (temporary shed) hopping. From one pandal to another admiring the decoration, the scintillating lights, the giant image of goddess, the flower works etc. As a child I used to jump up to the fence surrounding the awe image of Durga and used to look intently at her benevolent face. The colourful and huge backdrop, baskets full of colourful flowers and fruits, plate full of red, orange and yellow sindoor (silica powder), hypnotic sound of gong and the festive hum of the crowd each adding a different colour to my trans state. The great spear held in her raised hand and the demon being slaughtered, looked frightening. Yet,the divinity in the eye of the goddess was something that has always made me feel happy, safe and invincible. How lustrous and omnipresent she looked, her aura, her dark hair cascading in waves, her ten arms raised with effortless power and the calmness in her eyes, everything is mesmerising.

Sneak-peek into Mythology

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In mythology, what happened with Mahishasura is a clear example of how men have discounted women and thus faced fatal consequences. Demon Mahishasura being vain, sought immunity only from men and gods, never ever considering the existance of women. When every other god failed to defeat Mahishasura, goddess Durga battled him single-handedly for continuous nine days and on the final day, she slit his throat with her trident. Such was the valour of the almighty Durga and the victory is till date celebrated as Dussehra across India. Dussehra depicts the power of women when every other power has failed to fight.

Then Vs now

The god did not consider themselves small in seeking help from a female (goddess Durga) or acknowledging her strengths. When god were willing to accept the incredible strength that a women has, why we could not? Why have women been labelled as weak? Why do people have so much trouble accepting the power women? Why women today are striving to get an equal level as that of men, when they already are?

Ironically, today Durga is worshiped with pomp and splendor but women are considered weak and less competent. People try their best to make goddess happy during these nine days but take the women around them for granted. Why indulge in the hypocrisy of worshiping the female form?

History testifies the fact that a women if challenged, can be fiercest creature you will ever see. There are hundred of times in a women’s life when she has been the emblem of courage and determination, that ray of hope and the ultimate resolve when all seems lost. If you talk about physical strength, child-birth is the prime example among others. Look around you, your mother, sister, wife, teacher, maid and every single female you know has fought a battle, battle of strength, battle of emotion and a battle of existance. But does not even wear the scars.

The Nav-durga in every Woman

Each of the nine days of Navratri is associated with one of the innumerable forms of the supreme goddess that bears great resonance with different stages of a woman’s life and her position in the society.

The first three forms depicts the transformation of a young girl whose identity depends on her parents, to an adolescent who perseveres to fulfill her desire and then to a grown up woman who has stepped into her new role of matrimony with finesse.

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The first day is dedicated to Shailputri, the daughter of the mountains. The purity, the innocence on the face of Shailputri is like that of a child, the untouched and unadulterated heart. That is unaware of the demands and greed of the world. Shailputri is the first stage of every woman, when she is what her parents are. Pure at heart and leading the world with her innocence and tenderness.

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The second form is Brahmacharini. It is that stage of a woman life when she remains devoted to her career her studies. Every girl has a dream, a dream to succeed, to win, to face challenges, to fly and with the help of her parents, a girl devotes this part of their life to achieve all these dreams.

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Third day of Navratri is dedicated to Chandraghanta, the goddess who is married and ride a tiger, carrying the weapons. She is believed to reward people with grace, bravery and courage. This form of goddess Durga depicts a woman in the stage when she is married. When she starts an all new phase of her life leaving a family that belong to her from the day she came into existnace. A woman does that with a grace. Being accepted in a new family is a daunting task and a woman remains in her cocoon for long. Searching for the same mulberry leaves as she had earlier is what every woman strives for. Everyone considers them strong and happy but truth lies far beyond. Like Chandraghanta, in this phase of woman’s life, her third eye remained open to see all odds and to tackle every situation with calmness and divinity on face.

The next three forms – Kushmanda, Skandamata and Katyayani of the goddess reflects three facets of a woman’s social persona.

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Kushmanda, the goddess of fourth day, wears an enigmatic smile and shines with the splendour of the sun. She is the woman who has gradually mastered the ways of the world and is not only thriving but also sharing her magnificence with the entire creation. The stage when she finally decide to shine, to shine on everything that comes her way, to light up others and the path she walk upon. This is the phase of a woman’s life when she has fought her initial challenge post marriage and is sparkling again. Ready to face the world and shine upon.

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The fifth form of Skandamata shows the goddess as the nurturer, holding her infant son Skanda (Kartikey) in her lap, devoid of any weapons, yet riding a fierce lion. The stage of woman life, when she is blessed with a child. Birth of child gives tremendous power and strength to a woman. The strength to tackle everything and anything that comes in the way of her child and family. She is furious at one moment and calm on another. Every mother has the power to fight the world without any weapon just like Skandamata.

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The sixth form of Katyayani is associated with something momentous. She is the one who appeared as Durga to destroy the demon Mahishasura and her victory is the most depicted view in all Durga puja pandals. It highlights the inherent potential inside a woman- she is not just equal to men but is in fact superior. This is the stage of a woman’s life when she bears the power to care for her family and manages her professional life as well. Maa Katyayani symbolises the inner power every women posses.

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The seventh depiction is Kalratri, She is dark, threatening and has blood dripping from her fangs. Parvati, the beautiful wife who expertly balances her personal and professional life is transformed into dark destroyer Kali who does not give a hoot about how she looks or what social obligation she has to fulfil. She reveals she can become the destroyer for every demon that comes in her way. She can be fiercest if her family is at stake. She can go to any level to protect her family.

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Kalratri returns to benign aspect of Mahagauri, the goddess of eighth day. Bringing respite to a bewildered world, she ride the bull that is the vehicle of her husband and holds his trident, once again showing the world that Shakti and Shiva are two different halves of the same whole. Incomplete with just one half.

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The final form of ninth day is that of Shiddhidatri. She holds the conch, lotus, club and discus in her four hands. She is the final form that has come gradually through evolution from a daughter to a lover to a wife to a mother to a wildling. She is the epitome of divine feminine carying with her the power to create and destroy.

The Nav-durga, therefore depicts the stages of woman’s divinity and none of them is inferior to the other. Just as a woman taking care of her family is no less than the one who frequents the corporate boardrooms.

My generous words

This Durga puja lets take a pledge to not only worship the goddess Durga but also accept the incredible strength of Nav-Durga in every woman around us.

What to expect when you are expecting?

For us and I guess for every couple, expecting first child is undoubtedly the happiest thing. But generally, they remain perplexed on how to react and how to show their emotions. The truth is, in the beginning I hardly felt any change. Apart from restrictions from eating few things there was hardly any change. I have always heard of so many pregnancy tantrums, mood swings, taste change, vomiting and don’t know what, but in my case, nothing happened. It was frustrating at times because I waited for the pampering after mood swings and prega-tantrums but nothing like that happened. I guess that depends completely on individual. So, all you expecting mommies, do not feel bad if you don’t get any such mood swing and prega-tantrums (as you must have heard of) or my suggestion is even if you don’t get any such feeling, just pretend to be in the mood-swing zone. Moreover, who don’t love to get pampered during pregnancy!!!

Well, getting to the exact situation then, I was literally waiting for the change in my body but it took me as long as six and half months for the baby tummy to show. Until then everything was as it used to be (managing kitchen, family, going to office, field reporting, live news telecast and everything). Only the near and dear ones knew that I was on my family way.

But, it is said “Intezar ka phal hamesha meetha hota hai” … Similarly, the long wait was undoubtedly the best wait for me. The moment i got the baby tummy showing and the moment I felt that slight kick, I was the happiest person on earth. I remember, me and my better half waited for hours with our hands on my tummy to feel our little bundle of joy. It may sound silly but the would-be dad uses to put his ears on my tummy to listen to baby. I guess he was waiting for the baby to say ‘Love you Papa’!!! Those days were wonderful. Twinkle-Twinkle little star was my babies favourite rhyme and baby kicked every time he listened the rhyme.

The Chinese calendar

If you walk with your left foot first you will have baby girl!! If you like eating Sweets during pregnancy you will have baby boy!! There are numerous myths that you will listen when carrying a baby. These predictions are age long. And undoubtedly elders have experience and expertise in predicting your baby gender!! Though I scarcely believe in all these prediction and myths but at times even i was persuadedaawith the prediction. One such instance was when I was suggested to check the gender of my baby in Chinese calendar. Yes I was all excited to predict if I will have a beautiful daughter or a handsome son. I searched it on google. Filled all those parameters and dates. Me and my husband were waiting patiently, when the result came and it was a baby girl…We were happy and more excited now. I called my mom and ran to my mom-in-law and told them the result. And to melt my excitement, both the mommies had another prediction and they said ‘ye to galat hai’. Now we were in dilemma whom to believe. The much talked about Chinese calendar or the words of experience. We finally decided to forget about it and enjoy the phase. Though on 8thof July, mommies experienced prediction won over Chinese calendar.

First visit to doctor

Your doctor will become your best friend during those days (though this was not so in my case). As she will be the one who will know you inside-out. First visit to doctor, is a huge excitement initially but it won’t give you much to feel excited about. My first interaction with doctor resulted in zero excitement. I was one of the fifty would-be mommies she(doctor) was meeting that day and she saw my report and told me to eat Iron calcium and not to exert much during first three months. My first visit to doctor lasted for 5mins. That’s it!!

The First Dub-Dub sound

I still remember my third visit to doctor, when we heard our baby. Yes! You read it right. We heard baby’s heart beat for the first time. Baby’s heart starts to beat at around 6th week and the dub-dub sound of hear will give you goose-bumps, believe me. Doctor made us hear that wonderful sound in her clinic and we were out of the world. I remember me and my husband did not have a word after that till we reached home. Both of kept mum throughout the way back home. As we wanted to preserve that sound in our ears and heart for as long as possible. “The best music I ever heard was the heartbeat of my baby”

The First look

People generally ask, how can you love someone without seeing them even once. But ask any parents, they are the one who love their kid from the inception, from the time baby is just a cluster of few cells. And gradually there comes a day when you look at your baby for the first time. When you witness the life growing inside you. I remember I had tears in my eyes when I saw the little heart beating inside me. The image that has captured my mind forever. First USG is generally done in 11-12th week. Though you won’t be able to see a clear image but that little cluster of cells with beating heart will give your life a new meaning.

You are not a patient!

Many women believe they need to remain in complete rest and not do anything during pregnancy but this is generally not the case, unless there is any complication. In my pregnancy, i remained busy throughout the 9 months. I do not remember a single day of rest. I remember I cooked yummiest chicken curry a night before my baby was born! Yes, at times I felt lethargic, weak and felt like spending the whole day on my bed but never did so. And I guess if you remain busy throughout 9 months, you will have a happy mind, away from all the negativity which might have cropped otherwise.

My generous words

Pregnancy is a beautiful phase of life, enjoy it. Do what you love to do. Ignore all the negativity around. If u feel you are healthy and fine, you actually are. So, listen to your heart. Cherish the changes in your body. Feel the Dub-Dub sound. Capture the first sight. Time will fly with a blink so love every bit of those 9 months.

Also, do not google everything. During my days, we use to google everything. That resulted in nothing but confusion. For instance, we found videos on YouTube that showed baby foot and palm impression clearly visible on tummy wall. We waited for that moment eagerly but never got to see those impressions. Also, none of my known have visualized any such impression.

So, enjoy your moment. Cherish every day. Enjoy those lovely kicks as you will miss those kicks once baby is in your arm.

And do not forget to go on Babymoon (as I went to Darjeeling, queen of hills)

Stay tuned for more of mommy-baby experience and a lot more.

Mommy to-be or not-to-be

“It is like pumping blood to the little heart inside you. It is like passing air to the little lungs. It is like loving the unknown with all your heart and soul. This is what being mommy is.”

In country like India and family like mine (upper middle class) parents tend to take all tension for their daughter’s marriage and as soon as the vermilion appears on her head, parents tension deviates from marriage to the grandchildren. I got married at the age of 29, in a perfect arranged marriage scenario. And by the time I learnt to put a perfect straight line of vermilion on my head, I was expected to give the good news!!

I am a Journalist, professionally and mentally. So, prior to marriage i remained busy in political news coverage, war reporting and so many other things and whenever i get leisure time, I use to spend it sleeping. Sleeping for hours. But after marriage the scenario changed completely, my priority shifted from Career-Work-News to Family-Work-Family. Being an ideal Indian Bahu, became my new KRA. But achieving this KRA is not an easy task. Life after marriage is not a cake walk, trust me. Similarly, for me, it was difficult rather very difficult to get accustomed with all the changes. Mentality, routine, habits, thinking, the way I dress up (!!!) and lot more things. I took months to get settled in my new family. But Yes, I did it.

The Dilemma

Once I got settled in my new world, began the never-ending discussion of family planning. Like every other couple we were in Dilemma to plan a baby now or later. Several questioned cropped in our mind, what is the right time? What about my Journalism career if I plan a baby right away? What about our saving for the new addition in family? Is my body ready for all the changes? If not now then when? We spend many nights discussing ‘now or later’ and finally decided to plan it now(!). Why? Because our heart told us to plan it right away! (4 months after marriage). We decide to have baby as we thought baby will add more color

to our relationship. Baby will strengthen our bond. And believe me IT DID. You will not realize it initially but once u will get your bundle of joy, u will experience that your relationship has reached a new level.

The good news!

Ironically rather fortunately, the aashirvad of ‘Doodho nahao puto Phalo’, worked perfectly in me and my husband’s case and soon we were all set on our family way. I remember it was the month of November when the cool morning breeze and the two lines on the Prega-stripe made us the happiest couple. Few initial blood tests and we were sure that we are on our family way. We shared the good news with both the families. The news was like the best thing ever happened to them. Everyone was on cloud 9. Though we were happy as well but I guess our happiness was still few steps behind than that of our parents.

adult affection baby belly
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My words

Now or later, you will have to plan it. You will have to take a break from everything. And trust me, the feeling of being mommy is worth sacrificing your work for a while. Its worth taking a break from everything. Moreover, If you have the will and passion you can always resume your career.

Then came my first trimester… first visit to doctor… first USG… first look of the life inside me…the Chinese calendar… and a lot more in my next blog. Stay tuned!!!