hospital birth

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Woohoooo! You've made it to the third trimester and the reality that your baby is arriving soon has probably hit you like a ton of bricks! If you're like most of our clients, you want to be as prepared as possible for your birth and this means getting your hospital bag packed and organized by 36 or 37 weeks. If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by this task - we’ve created an easy, but comprehensive list to make it easier on you. Having your bag packed and ready to go will help you feel more at ease as you enter these last few weeks of pregnancy and prepare to meet your sweet baby!

Depositphotos_120439426_s-2015.jpg

Hospital Bag Must Haves:

These are the things you shouldn't skip! Even if this is the bare minimum that you pack - don't forget these items! 

  • Prescription Medications

  • Toiletry Items: Face wash, moisturizer, tooth brush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, contact solution, etc. (They do not have most of these items at the hospital so definitely bring your own!)

  • Glasses (if you're a contact-lense wearer)

  • Slippers (we recommend throwing them away after)

  • Comfortable clothing: if you're not interested in wearing a hospital gown for birth or postpartum then make sure you have clothing that allows for easy access to your belly and your nether-regions.

  • Chapstick or lip moisturizer

  • Hair ties

  • Outfit to wear home: non-restrictive clothing is best!

  • 1 or 2 extra pillows (covered in old or dark pillow cases that can be tossed afterwards)

  • Cell phone/Tablet chargers

  • Nursing tanks & bras

  • Ear plugs & eye mask (helpful for those that need a little extra help to fall asleep!)

  • Several copies of your birth/baby care plan

  • Photo ID and insurance card

  • Snacks for you and your partner! (grab our free printable for packing labor snacks here!)

Some Convenient Extras

These are great options to have for comfort in labor.

  • Blue Tooth speaker

  • Pre-prepped play lists (we recommend creating several - some with upbeat songs to energize you, others with relaxing sounds and no lyrics to help you focus)

  • Fitness Ball (some hospitals have these, but they may not always be available or be the right size. When in doubt, it's helpful to bring your own).

  • Essential Oils for labor

  • Rebozo or a long scarf

  • Christmas lights (read more about why here)

Partner Essentials

We haven't forgotten about your awesome partner! The following is helpful to have on hand to make their experience enjoyable!

  • Snacks!! (we take eating seriously, don't forget food!)

  • Hydrating beverages

  • Personal toiletries

  • Comfy clothing

  • Breath mints or gum

  • Comfy shoes

  • Text/Call/Email list to announce the birth

  • Extra layers (hospitals get cold then hot then cold again - dress in layers!)

  • Phone/Tablet charger

  • Treats for the nurses (protein bars, cookies, chocolate, etc. are all big hits!)

Baby Needs

Your little one doesn't need much and the hospital has most of it especially diapers, wipes and swaddles! Many of these items are optional.

  • Cloth diapers/wipes (if you're choosing to use cloth, you'll need approximately 10-12 diapers per day to be safe). Don't forget your wet bag for storage!

  • Soft swaddles

  • Going home outfit

  • Socks

  • Onesies (2)

  • Infant car seat

We hope this list is helpful as you get ready for your baby's birth day! Is there a "must-have" that we missed? We'd love to hear from you! Share your ideas in the comments!

The Marathon of Birth: Part 2, Active Labor

Welcome back to the Marathon of Birth, an overview of the stages of labor plus tips & tricks from your favorite Birth Doulas! If you haven't already done so, review Part 1: Early Labor to get a good understanding of how to manage that phase of labor. 

Remember that birth has 3 distinct stages: Labor, Pushing, & Birth of the Placenta. The first stage of labor is broken down into 3 parts: Early, Active, and Transition... I know, it's kind of confusing. Today, we'll share all about the Active Phase of labor to better prepare you for your own birth marathon. If you're interested in delving further into the stages of labor, we recommend registering for our Confident Birth series or Weekend Intensive, offered in group & private settings. 

If you recall, we compared Early Labor to the first few miles of the marathon where you're finding your stride and own unique rhythm. When active labor hits, you'll begin to tap into your instincts and all the mental and physical training you've accomplished in pregnancy. 

Why a Judgment-Free Doula Matters

You'll here us talk about non-judgmental support A LOT in our work as doulas. This is the pillar on which our agency stands. But we're often asked, what does non-judmental support really mean? 

I remember the exact moment when I realized how important being a judgment-free doula was. I was at a baby shower chatting it up with some friends, including the guest of honor, the mama-to-be. Someone in the group asked if she had a birth plan. I saw her face fall as she looked directly at me, then looked quickly away. Her demeanor changed as she told us that she had already scheduled a repeat cesarean. 

Earlier in her pregnancy she had come to me asking about VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I remember gushing about how amazing VBACs were and how empowering they can be. I remember telling her that she should go for it! I recall side-stepping her fears about uterine rupture, explaining that they are a rarity and I recall dismissing her fears about going past her estimated due date and needing to be induced. I cringe now thinking about the assumptions I made and how I projected my personal beliefs onto her. 

It was there at that baby shower that she held a mirror up to my face. After sharing that she was choosing to have a cesarean, she shared that she was nervous to tell me. She was scared that I wasn't going to be supportive or that I would try to talk her into having a VBAC. 

My spirit was crushed.

I was mortified that my passion for supporting natural birth had come across as judgmental and that my words and actions had caused shame and fear. As a doula, I often touted myself as non-judgmental and while I intentionally never made anyone feel bad about their birth experience, it was at this baby shower that I began to wonder just how non-judgmental my support really was. 

Talk about a wake up call!

In that moment I made a decision that changed my approach as a doula. As I apologized to my friend for my judgments and for making her experience seem less than, I made a commitment to myself to do better and be better. I became a doula to make a positive impact on birth and the best way I know how to do that is to be open and unconditionally supportive of all choices. And it is that attitude that we look for in all the doulas we bring onto our team. 

Our support involves no judgment.

None. Nada.

zip. zilch.

completely, 100% Judgment free.

Your birth is yours and yours alone. Yes, there will be family, friends, care providers, and your doulas surrounding you with support and love. But it is your body and your baby, therefore the choices you make are yours. We vow not to project any certain agenda or philosophy onto your unique experience.

Our doulas offer a safe space to share your beliefs about birth and parenting, your fears, and your desires.  Together, you and your doula will create a birth and postpartum plan that encompasses all your needs. And while she is there to answer your questions and offer guidance, she trusts in your capacity to make the informed decisions that are right for you. Even if your plans change down the line, the non-judgmental support will continue. 

It is our belief that with the support of your judgment-free doula positivity will surround your pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey. It is our belief that in providing space to learn and make your own decisions you will find confidence. It is our believe that in being there 100%, no questions asked, you will find comfort and peace of mind. 

The birth of your baby will forever change you. This is your experience, and we will be by your side, no matter what. Your choices are yours, not ours. Your birth is yours, not ours. Your body is yours, not ours. Your baby is yours, not ours. What is ours is our desire and passion for spending this time with you, your partner and your family, offering unconditional support and care. And we offer it happily.

Eating and Drinking During Labor:: Nourishing Snacks

We are often asked by our clients what they should eat and drink during labor, so we decided to provide you with our favorite round up and a free printable! Labor is (most often) a process covering the span of many hours, with your body constantly working towards the end goal of a healthy baby and mom. You will be walking, squatting, rocking and swaying as you move through your contractions. Your body temperature will increase as labor progresses and you will need nourishing food and restorative liquids to sustain you during early and active labor stages. When the body doesn't have proper nourishment, it can cause dehydration and ketosis, a metabolic state that makes your body utilize fat stores for energy when there aren't enough carbohydrates to pull from. Dehydration and Ketosis can lead to increased vomiting, nausea, headaches and sheer exhaustion. Not what you what during labor! 

Labor Snacks.png

Am I Allowed to Eat During Labor? 

The standards vary widely, so speak to your Doctor or Midwife about eating and drinking during labor and ask your hospital about their current policies. If you want to do more research, Rebecca Decker does a great analysis of the current studies available over at Evidence Based Birth.  If you just want the delicious snack ideas, then we've got you covered! 

What should I eat?

Nourishing Labor Snacks

  • Broth / Miso Soup

  • Yogurt - dairy or alternative

  • Fruit - Bananas, Apples, Berries

  • Protein and Granola Bars

  • Energy Chews

  • Salty Crackers

  • String Cheese

  • Toast, Bagel or English Muffin

  • Peanut Butter Packets

  • Honey or Agave Sticks

  • Applesauce or Fruit Squeezers

  • Natural Fruit Popsicles

  • Scrambled or Boiled Egg

  • Brown Rice or Plain Pasta

  • Oatmeal

  • Trail Mix

  • Protein Muffins

 

  • What should I drink during Labor?

Restorative Labor Drinks

  • Coconut Water

  • Electrolyte Water

  • Hot/Cold Water

  • Hot/Cold Tea (Nettle & Raspberry Leaf)

  • Ice Chips

  • Electrolyte/Emergen-C Powder

  • Natural Calm Powder

You're all set to keep yourself hydrated and nourished during the amazing and long race of labor. Don't Forget about that post birth meal! You will be absolutely ravenous for a hearty meal after you give birth. Write down some ideas for food delivery near your birth location (hello door dash!) and pack a frozen meal in case you have your baby in the middle of the night.  

In the Spotlight :: Tawnya Guimond, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Welcome Back to our "In the Spotlight" series! Here you will learn more about the members of the Doulas of Orange County team as well as members of the vast birth & parenting community in Orange County. 

We love meeting new people and hearing the unique wisdom each person has for how to navigate this season of life. The childbearing years are no joke and we think you deserve all the support you can get. It is our hope that with these spotlight introductions you'll find the well-rounded support you need to embark on this journey with confidence and excitement.

Without further ado, we'd like you to meet Tawnya Guimond, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and Parenting Educator. Tawnya is one of the most amazing and committed Doulas we've ever had the pleasure to work with. She works tirelessly to provide nonjudgmental, consistent support to birthing & new families. Her warm & bubbly personality draws people to her and her thirst for knowledge is inspiring. Tawnya teaches our monthly Baby Care Basics class in Irvine and helps guide expectant parents through the ups and downs of early postpartum and parenting. She is a favorite at our weekly New Mama Cafe group and is an integral part of the DOC team. We adore her and know that you will too! 

Today, Tawnya shares a bit more about her passion for life as a Doula, a mom and the many things that make her joy so contagious!