Jess, you are probably ready to pack now, with only about a month before your due date. Heather, I'm sure you aren't even thinking of this yet, at least I hope not! However, it's something you both will need to consider, so I'm including it on this blog.
Some tips for what to pack for your hospital stay:
1. Snacks and cash for the middle of the night when the cafe is not open, and of course for Dad. To our dismay, the hospital only gave Jared one meal the first day... so the rest of the time he needed cash to buy his own food. One friend brought us a box of Cheez-its the third day we were in the hospital. What a lifesaver! Pack some of your own.
2. A newborn size small outfit for the baby, and then one a tiny bit bigger. You don't know what size s/he will be, so pack a couple of things.
3. The car seat with a blanket. (But you can leave this in the car and send Dad out to get it the day you are ready to leave.)
4. Your cell phone chargers.
5. Camera, and if you want to post some photos then bring your lap top and the cord from the camera to the computer.
6. A pad of paper and pen (to write down all of those great gifts you will receive in the hospital and who they are from so you can later send thank you notes).
7. The baby book for people to sign in the hospital (that's what we had people do when they visited, they signed the inside front and back covers of the baby book. We love those notes of "Welcome to the world, baby!"). Also bring the baby book so the doctors can put your baby's foot print into the book.
8. Very comfortable maternity clothes, pants for Mom (sweatpants, drawstring pants, etc.). Also, nursing tank tops (even if you aren't going to nurse, it's not comfortable those first few days to put on a real bra, so get those built-in bra tank tops). Then the most comfy shoes you own and a big sweatshirt. I went home in all maternity stuff. It's the most comfortable to wear those first few weeks afterward.
9. Toiletries (deodorant, face wash, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.).
10. Any labor assisting devices like iPod for music. I didn't go through labor so not sure what to say on this one. Ask someone who has done it before, but I know I've heard music helps some people!
11. A gift for Daddy. My boss at work told me to do this and so I got Jared a small gift for the hospital to open after our baby was born and we returned to our hospital room. He was so happy I had thought ahead about him. So much of the pregnancy and labor is all about the Mom, rightfully so, it's hard work that we do! However, it's important not to forget the Dad because this is a huge deal to him, too. I gave Jared a baby book of a book he'd given me in high school, a t-shirt that said Super Dad (easy to order online), a sweet card that I wrote in my ninth month of pregnancy and totally sobbed through writing about how grateful I was for him being there for me all those hormonal pregnant months, a couple of snack foods I knew he'd appreciate, and two bibs - one that said "Daddy's girl" and one that said "Daddy's big boy!". I just packed it under all the clothes in the hospital bag. He didn't even know it was there!
12. Your medical insurance card.
13. A sense of humor, patience, courage, strength, and few expectations. Just go with the flow. Walk into the hospital just telling yourself that it will be over before you know it, you can do it, and that it'll be the best thing you have ever worked so hard for in your life. Then laugh at all the crazy moments in between!