Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Packing a hospital bag

In a month (give or take a week or two either way), I will be meeting Little Planethalder, God willing, in the flesh for the first time. Bearing in mind that I know very few people who have given birth, bearing in mind that I am booked into a midwife-run birthing centre at my hospital with a birthing pool in my room, bearing in mind things can go differently and I could still end up on the regular labour ward or in theatre for a c-section, bearing mind the hospital will be warm and it'll be June, bearing in mind I have no clue about birth or babies... how do the contents of my hospital bag (for myself and baby) sound - what am I missing and what can I miss off?

My hospital bag
  • 6 x cheap comfy granny knickers (I don't fancy disposables)
  • 2 x packs maternity sanitary pads
  • 2 x packs night-time ultra flow sanny pads with wings (as protective base)
  • Sanny bags for disposing pads
  • 2 x nursing bras
  • Pack of absorbent breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • 2 x front-buttoning nightie for labour and breastfeeding (I'm too shy to let it all hang out for all to see)
  • 1 x lightweight dressing gown
  • Tanktini top for birthing pool
  • 2 x dark tracksuit bottoms for early/post-labour
  • 2 x dark baggy ti-shirts for early/post-labour (nursing ones or front buttoning)
  • Slippers & socks
  • Flipflops for bathroom
  • Birth ball
  • Hair scrunchie
  • Hair brush
  • Towel for bathing (I am sure my own will be more comfortable and bigger than the hospital one)
  • Lip salve
  • Face moisturiser
  • Deordorant
  • Toothbrush and tooth paste
  • Contact lenses & case & solution (want to look good for photos!)
  • Glasses
  • Kajal
  • Shampoo
  • Bodywash
  • Massage oil
  • Granola bars, crisps, apples, carton drinks, canned drinks, fizzy water, isotonic drinks, bendy straw & cup
  • iPod (with loads of music and my natal hypnotherapy meditations) & speakers & headphones
  • Book & magazines
  • Camera
  • Camcorder (not to film the birth, but post-birth)
  • TENS machine
  • Antenatal notes
  • Birth plan
  • Watch to time contractions
  • Notepad & pen
  • Clean going home clothes
  • Anti-bacterial wipes for public toilets/bathroom
  • Arnica tablets & healing (organic/herbal) wipes for soreness down below
  • Tissues
My baby's bag
  • 10 x nappies (I think the hospital may supply these, but just in case)
  • 4 x vests
  • 4 x gros
  • 2 x socks
  • 1 x mits
  • 1 x sun hat
  • 1 x cotton cardigan
  • Cotton wool
  • Baby towel
  • Baby cotton blanket
  • Carseat
  • Muslin squares
On a different note, several people have requested photos of the new house. We still need to repaint the house and change the kitchen and bathroom and some furniture is still needed, so aesthetically the house at the moment does not reflect our personal taste. When it does, the photos will come. In the meantime, here are photos from when we first saw the house.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A mother's blessing

This weekend, my mother threw me a Bengali ceremony called shaadh ("my mother's wish") to bless both her expectant daughter and her unborn grandaughter, and to wish for a successful and healthy delivery. She prepared a variety of delicious dishes for me to eat and invited my husband, father, mother-in-law and sister-in-law. My mother toasted both me and the "Little Gem" inside of me and then we feasted on: rohu fish; curried cauliflower; mixed vegetable chorchori with red leaves (lal sag), pumpkin, baby aubergines and Indian green beans (shim); channa dal with coconut and sultanas; dahi ghost - lamb stewed in a spicy yoghurt sauce; tomato chutney; and ladoos and son papri for dessert. It was simply wonderful. Thank you Ma!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

34 weeks

It's been a fraught start to my maternity leave. M was away in New Orleans and I missed him terribly. His touch would have been the perfect de-stresser as I dealt with the seemingly endless procession of John Lewis delivery men (AEG washing machine, Siemens fridge/freezer, Brabantia bin, spare double bed), house clearance men, plumbers (for defective washing machine), John Lewis after-sales clerks (for ditto) and BT. On Saturday night, I was so stressed that I was physically sick. And now it's a week of guests (though fortunately family and close friends only), antenatal visits and classes, and more deliveries.

And this house is so much bigger than I've been used to in recent years that in my heavily pregnant state it's such an effort to go up to my lovely bedroom to nap, so I catch the zzzz's on the sofa. I can't even think about cleaning and hoovering the house in preparation for all the visitors. And taking/collecting dry cleaning or shopping for food just for lunch is simply too much of an effort. I waddle heavily and feel like everyone is staring at me and I feel like an elephant. Fortunately the lovely M is now back and, as always, takes as much on as he can and never complains.

Not knowing many pregnant women before me, I didn't realise how much bigger and tireder the last month of pregnancy makes one. All I want to do is reside in the deepest silence that exists. I want no words, no sounds, no movement, no obligations to anyone. I want perfect stillness.

But inspite of this, just now I took a step back and walked around my house and stroked my huge belly and thought how lucky I am, how much my life has changed for the better these past two years, how I wouldn't have it any other way.

My daughter is growing exponentially and rolling around to her heart's content inside of me. I think about her constantly. This weekend, I attended both the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Of Taiwan's magical and ravishing Moon Water performance at the Sadler's Wells, performed to Bach's Cello Suites, and Paco Pena and Nishat Khan fusing flamenco guitar with Indian sitar (MP3 link) at the Royal Festival Hall. As well as enjoying it for myself, I kept wondering how Little Planet was enjoying the music also. Certainly throughout she was rolling around and stretching out.

I am so excited for her to be born and gaze upon her and hold her and cherish her for hours on end. But I admit I am also attached to her snuggled tightly inside of me. For while she's inside of me, it's just me and her and the bond is between just the two of us. These last few weeks are the weeks to treasure. For once she is out in the world, I will have to share her.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Quickly jumping in from work to say I'll be offline for another week. British Telecom can't seem to get their act together at all, but we are stuck with them as we don't want cable or Sky. It's perhaps a blessing in disguise though: I start maternity leave this Wednesday and have a busy start to my leave - arranging and waiting for numerous deliveries and a room clearance, having friends and family over to visit, going out and about to this or that concert and this or that restaurant, attending antenatal classes and appointments, sleeeeping... I don't need to be distracted by the net - although I still haven't bought anything for the baby, so need to be online pretty soon, eeeekkk!

See you in a week with a proper post.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

House update

The move went surprisingly well. Though we are pretty much unpacked, there is still much to do in terms of waiting on deliveries, buying new things and arranging rooms to just how we like it. We keep wandering around the house not quite believing it's all ours and also trying to work out what extra hard and soft furnishings we need now that we have so much more space. Moving from a one-bed flat to a three-bed house is quite a leap.

We're back at work now and getting back into our usual routine. I only have another week before I leave for a year's maternity leave and I am really looking forward to enjoying this house at my leisure. We won't have an internet connection until next week, so I may be offline for a while if I can't find any time to update Planethalder from work.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

On the move

We're moving on Saturday. The cleaner is in the new house sprucing it up as I type. The post is already being redirected. The new PC is on its way. We are ordering a new fridge freezer, washing machine, rug and guest bed tomorrow. These boxes (above) are filled only with books. Poor M is doing most of the packing. We've still got a long way to go.