The big day has arrived! No matter if you go into labor on your own, or as a planned induction, delivering your “SurroBabe” is a big day! Most surrogates tell us that, no matter how many times they’ve given birth before, it’s always a bit overwhelming when it comes time to pack your hospital bag for this delivery. Let’s take a look at what goes into the surrogates hospital bag:
First of all, take a deep breath. You’ve done this before, and for the most part you know what to expect. We get it though, this is your FIRST surrogate birth. It just feels different, new. It might make things easier if you start your packing by breaking down your list into two parts: labor & delivery and recovery.
Surrogates Hospital Bag: Labor & Delivery
Start with the big things: your insurance card, identification, and legal paperwork. It’s not a bad idea to have a photocopy of your driver’s license in your hospital bag, in case you forget to grab your purse in the rush to get to the hospital. Having these items accounted for, and at a hand’s reach, can streamline your admissions process.
Next, make sure to have your legal paperwork handy. Your hospital will likely already have copies of your contract and, if applicable, your pre-birth order on file before you arrive. However, it’s always better to have too much information than too little. It’s possible that this unique birth story will lead to confusion over parentage, and having these documents that are legally binding and notarized an help establish your case and clear up any potential miscommunications.
Now that the big things are out of the way, think about your comfort. Just like with your own labor process, you’ll find that you likely want to have several items nearby to keep you comfortable Things like a bathrobe, slippers, or your own pillow can really make your labor process much more comfortable. You could also consider crossword puzzles, a book or an iPad, or even an iPod to play music and pass the time.
Another thing to consider- a lot of surrogates opt to deliver their surrogate baby in an aftermarket labor gown, as opposed to the hospital issued gown. Hospital gowns are famous for fitting badly, and leaving patients over exposed at the worst moments possible. For modesty reasons, many surrogates find that after-market gowns like the ones produced by Gownies or Pretty Pushers offer more discretion. If you want to plan to wear an after-market gown, check with your hospital first to make sure it’s allowed, and then make sure the gown makes it into your bag.
If you intended to keep the placenta for encapsulation, you’ll want to plan accordingly for that in your hospital bag as well. Every placenta provider has different preparation guidelines, but in general, you should plan on packing two gallon sized Ziploc bags and an insulated, sealable, picnic style bag.
Now is a great time to make your own postpartum “padsicles” if you haven’t already done so. They’re a lifesaver for when you return home!
Finally, you may want to pack a small toiletries bag. Packing eye glasses or contact lens solution as well as a toothbrush can help you feel fresh through the process. Other surrogates bring extra hair ties, lip gloss, and a hairbrush. Others find that they want their own shampoo and conditioners, deodorant, and makeup for the day after delivery.
After the Birth
Depending on the policy at the hospital where you deliver, you’ll be spending anywhere between 24 to 72 hours in the hospital after the birth. You’ll likely begin producing milk during this period, and will want to pack accordingly, especially if you plan to pump breastmilk for the baby. Make sure you pack nursing bras or bras without under wires to help with the pain associated with milk production, as well as breast pads to help with any potential leaks. Many surrogates also pack a nipple ointment or Lanolin as well.
You may also want to bring your camera along. Of course you’ll need to ask permission first, but this may be your last shot to get great photos of the family you helped to create. Snapping a few photos now can help with your post belly life in a few weeks as you adjust to not being pregnant. This can also be a great way to help your own children gain closure.
Finally, think about comfort. You may find that, while the hospital often provides undergarments to you, that you’re more comfortable using familiar items from home. This can include everything from your own underwear to a preferred brand of pad. It’s also nice to splurge on some new loungewear for around the room. Choose loose fitting garments than will be comfortable.
Grab your free Surrogates Hospital Bag Checklist printable below!
(Click on the checklist below to get your free copy.)