Tag Archives: Relaxation

What’s In My Hospital Bag for Baby #3

It’s nice to have some extra clothes and home comforts in the hospital with you when it’s time to deliver your baby. And of course there are the things you need, which is actually a lot less than you might think (especially for a baby born during warm weather).

I’m speaking from the vantage point of delivering a baby in a hospital as opposed to anywhere else because a hospital is where I birthed my previous two babies and plan to birth my third. I really have no idea what other situations might be like or the accessories they might entail. Judging from experience, I like how easy my hospital makes it for me.

First, a list of what is in my bag.

The Essentials

  • A postpartum outfit. For me, this summer, this means maternity waisted (as in not full-panel elastics) shorts and maternity waisted jeans (I highly doubt I’ll wear the jeans, but who knows, maybe there will be a cool night); a loose v-neck t-shirt; and one nursing bra. I will have the shoes I wear to the hospital – either sandals or flip-flops. A nice summer dress would also do nicely, but I’m wearing them constantly pre-delivery and I don’t want to take even one out of rotation to make sure it’s clean and packed and ready to go.
  • 2 outfits for the baby. Outfit 1: A Newborn Size short-sleeve onesie; tiny shorts; a thin cotton hat; and Outfit 2: a Size 0-3 Months short-sleeve shorts romper; with previously mentioned thin cotton hat.
  • Baby mittens. So the silly baby doesn’t scratch himself up with his newly exposed fingernails.
  • 2 thin baby blankets. Many people take the blanket from the hospital, but they really don’t want you to. I use hospital blankets whenever possible, however, so if they get messy they will be laundered right away. I wrap my newborn in one blanket for a while and then send it home with visiting family so they can introduce the scent of the new family member to our cats. The other thin baby blanket should be more than enough to keep the baby warm if his outfits aren’t enough.
  • Extra contact case and solution. I am in the habit of removing and cleaning my contacts every night and I suspect my eyes would hate it if I kept them in for 2-3 days straight in the hospital. I just don’t like sleeping with contacts in either. I want to be able to put them back in during the day, though, because my glasses aren’t comfortable enough to wear all day.
  • Eyeglasses and case. Okay, these aren’t technically in my bag yet because I still wear them every night. But I have a Post-it Note next to my bag reminding me to grab them out of my nightstand before leaving for the hospital. As it gets closer to my due date, I will just store them in my hospital bag, taking them out for whenever I need to use them at night.
  • My purse. This includes my wallet with all necessary ID, insurance cards, and money, and my cell phone.

The Comforts

  • Nursing pads. At home I use washable organic cotton nursing pads. A cousin had given me a box of disposable ones that I kept forgetting to use at home when Pigpen was nursing. I’m packing them mostly so they’ll get used, and somewhat because I think they might be convenient to have.
  • Cell phone charger.
  • Camera and charger.

Now a list of things I am not bringing.

  • Diapers/feminine pads/disposable underwear. The hospital provides all we need and more to take home with us.
  • Toiletries. The hospital provides it all. And I’ve actually never showered in the 2 days spent at the hospital after giving birth. I’m too busy sleeping, nursing, interacting with doctors and nurses, and generally recovering. I’ve already established that I don’t need to shower very often to feel good. You may want to shower, but the hospital should provide all you need to do so.
  • Slippers or socks. My hospital provides comfy, fuzzy, grip-y socks with my gown as soon as I get a room.
  • Baby socks. Summer here is quite warm and, again, the baby blanket can pick up any slack.
  • Book or magazine and journal. I’ve brought these before and never used them. During the day, I’m busy. At night, I try to sleep. For entertainment, I talk with my husband or we watch the luxury of cable tv, which we don’t have at home.
  • Snacks. The hospital provides me with all the food I need. Andrew isn’t included in the meal plan, but that’s up to him. I’ve got enough to worry about. If I get hungry, I send Andrew out to bring me extra food.
  • iPod.

All that I am bringing fits in a medium-sized backpack with room to spare. I am a minimalist so I am not bringing much. But I will definitely have everything I need. I’ve learned I don’t need other “comforting” items, because as long as my husband is there and my baby is healthy, I’m good.

2-3 days is not a long time and there is actually a lot to do. Mind you, I believe that rest is a very important thing to do in the hospital. (Especially before we bring our tiny new infant home to two toddlers.) I don’t need my hospital room to emulate a luxurious hotel room or spa experience to accomplish the simple act of resting. We are there to get our baby safely from my belly into the world and to ensure he’s healthy enough to go home. Then we get comfortable, in our family home, together.

Dealing With Overwhelm

I get overwhelmed sometimes and I must admit that I’m not always the greatest at dealing with it. But I’m working on it. I have identified where some of my weaknesses are, and I’m trying new things to better handle it.

Right now, when I get overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start and it practically paralyzes me. So when I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed, I immediately take a step back and decide to take some time to relax instead. Letting my body rest and relax is better than accumulating the negative affects of stress, right?

Except, relaxing in the face of overwhelm is just a form of avoidance and it makes the problem worse in the long run. I need to relax, of course, but I need to be mindful about it, too. I can’t just relax when things get too hectic because then I would just relax more and more while the chore pile grew and grew to ever more unmanageable heights. I need to take steps toward the top of my to-do mountain with realistic mental-health breaks along the way.

I’ve tried scheduling things out during the week to help spread the busyness. Budget balancing on Mondays, vacuuming on Tuesdays, appointments on Wednesday, laundry day, etc. But I had trouble sticking with it. In reality, the circumstances of my life right now are just too unpredictable to fit in daily boxes. So I created weekly task-lists instead.

I find using a Bullet Journal helps in determining what is really important. If it gets written down, it is priority. (I only allow 1 page for my weekly to-do list, with items written on every other line. That creates a max of 15 tasks per week, or an average of 3 per day.) This helps clear some of the mental clutter. If something doesn’t make the list, it’s easier for me to remember that I don’t have to give it any mental thought power — at least until a later date. This gives structure, but isn’t too rigid. A rigid structure is inherently fragile; When there is more room for improvisation, there is more room to succeed.

When things get to be just too too much, and I find my frazzled mind is affecting my mood, I find stream-of-consciousness journaling helps a lot, too. I’ll take some time — maybe 20 to 30 minutes — to just write about how I’m feeling. I’m not consciously trying to figure out why I’m feeling a certain way, but sometimes it emerges on its own. I mostly just complain. I write about how things are (not great) and how I want them to be instead (wonderful). Just getting those concerns (complaints) out somewhere helps me get past them and move on. I no longer feel bogged down by the weight of the suckiness and feel free enough to do something, anything, and that sets me on my way to a more productive day.

I must say, though, that I don’t only journal to complain. I probably complain for a few pages once every few months. But I compile a list of daily gratitude every night before I go to sleep. I think this is important to note as gratitude journaling is also beneficial. If complaints are the only thing we’re writing into our expressive universe, our energy is unbalanced. Daily thankfulness (or other affirmative expression) tips our expressive energy scale to the positive, making it more likely for the wonderful to come into our lives.

Learning how to successfully deal with overwhelm will be a lifelong feat. As we grow, we learn, we change. It is important to adapt as we realize certain practices are no longer serving us and continually explore ways to cultivate the best lives for ourselves.

The Importance of Rest

I’m not an expert on anything. But I do know that when it comes to myself (I guess I am kind of an expert on myself), rest is key.

For me, the daily rest I need is at least 7 hours, preferably 8 hours, or sleep per night. But when I’m feeling exhausted, I need to take a break — even if it’s just sitting on the couch for 5 minutes. Rest is the only thing that can properly recharge me.

Now that I’m pregnant with my third child (surprise!), rest is even more important. Hurray naps! And we all need to remember to pay attention to any special situations that may require more rest for our bodies.

For example, when we’re sick, especially with something as seemingly harmless as a cold, we sometimes kind of just power through it. We acknowledge we’re sick, feel miserable, maybe take some drugs, and then slog through so our daily lives aren’t interrupted. We may want to just magically feel better, but we need to take care of ourselves.

I think this may be because we’re afraid of seeming weak, or asking for help, or just dealing with an inconvenience in our lives. But the truth is, sometimes we just need rest. Science has come a long way, but there is still no substitute for some good, solid, rest.

And, man, do we need it sometimes. Let’s give it to ourselves! Just like our bodies need food, water, and activity, they need rest. Let’s not forget this important part of our lively balance. Sometimes, I even schedule it right into my day.

Remember, balance is poise — a graceful and elegant bearing in a person.

Simple Makeup

I don’t use makeup to alter my appearance — covering something up or creating something that isn’t there. I use makeup to enhance my appearance. And in the 15 years or so since I started experimenting with makeup, I think I’ve finally found something that works for me.

The key to the eventual success of my experimentation was to stop comparing myself to others. Stop trying to make what worked for others work for me. Stop trying to use makeup how other people were and figure out how I wanted to use it.

Despite what the cosmetics industry would like us to believe, we are all very unique and there is no one product or set of products that work for everyone. There is no wonder product for all — stop believing them when they tell you that it is! There is no makeup “essential” for everyone.

The truth is, just by sheer statistical probability, most products either won’t work for you, shouldn’t be used by you, or you just won’t like them (application, color, etc.). Finding your own “essentials” list might be an ever-changing life-long process. But coming from the viewpoint where you have complete control and final say, I think you will enjoy the process much more than if you are constantly chasing what other people say or do.

I feel so confident and comfortable in where I’ve come with my makeup. It makes me feel good, beautiful, and relaxed — and that feeling can do more good for my appearance than a product ever could.

My makeup:

  • mascara – I have quite light eyelashes so I like to emphasize what I’ve got by making them a bit darker. I use a brown color so it isn’t so bold and thus looks a bit more natural next to my skin tone.
  • eyebrow filler – I also have quite light eyebrows so I like to emphasize what I’ve got by making them a bit darker. To look as natural as possible, I use a light brown powder gel to fill in and accent. (I do not change their shape at all.)
  • lipstick – I like to only have 2 or 3 colors per season to keep decision-fatigue low. I like a subtle color and a slightly more bold or bright color for when I’m feeling flashy. I’ll usually have some sort of lip gloss available, too, just because I seem to receive them as gifts.

And that’s it. No eyeliner — because it looks terrible on me, no foundation — because I don’t like the feeling, no blush — because I could never really figure it out, no lots of products — because I don’t need them or want them. Simple — for me.

6 Benefits of Quietude

Quietude isn’t talked about much outside of meditation, but I think there are benefits to it, even in a passive and unstructured manner.

I’m talking about the kind of quietude that comes from natural surroundings, even if the noises that are present aren’t completely natural. I’m not saying you have to be deep in the forest or on the top of a mountain to appreciate quietude. I’m thinking more along the lines of turn off the music/tv/radio, log off of social media/mass media/niche media, stop reading/listening/skimming/consumingstop looking at your damn phone — just slow down the amount of information coming in so that you can let your mind slow down, too.

I’m encouraging the kind of quietude you can find anywhere. Just sit in a waiting room without checking your phone or flipping through a magazine. Just wash as you stand over that pile of dishes in the sink. Just drive while you’re in your car (or just passenge). Just stand outside your house. Just lie in bed.

Just be in the moment.

Here are a few benefits:

  1. You don’t really have to think about anything. You’ll go on breathing and not falling over — I mean, unless you have some sort of condition for that sort of thing.
  2. If you are not saying anything, you cannot say anything stupid.
  3. If you are not taking anything in, you will not feel any stress induced by disagreement, worry, or misunderstanding.
  4. More focus — on something in particular or nothing at all.
  5. It is truly relaxing.
  6. It is simply pleasurable. At least, I personally find it to be so.

So go forth and make an effort to enjoy some quietude today.