Packing the hospital bag

packing the hospital bag

So I’m 36 weeks pregnant (37 tomorrow!), and according to pretty much every book, I should have packed my hospital bag by now.

Well, good news! I mostly have. I’ve got three, actually. One for me, one for my husband and one for the baby.

Here’s what I’ve got, based on a mixture of my own common sense (such that it is!), advice from other ladies in my Mumsnet due date group, advice from my own mum, and various online articles:

Hospital bag for mummy

I’m using a suitcase for myself. Not a huge one, but I think something wheelable will be useful, especially as we have two other bags involved. We can loop the handles of at least one of the other bags around the handle of this one and transport at least two bags in one go.

Already packed:

  • Nursing bra x 2 (I’m using the soft crop top kind from M&S)
  • Button down nightie (a size bigger than normal)
  • Pyjamas – with button top (not maternity, but a couple of sizes bigger than normal)
  • Dressing gown (I say dressing gown, but it’s really a very big hoodie from Gap that I can then use as a cardigan as well)
  • Black maternity yoga pants
  • Black vests x 2
  • Socks x 4 pairs (I’m told that labouring women often have very cold feet)
  • Old slippers (doesn’t matter if I bleed on them!)
  • Black knickers x 4 (two sizes bigger than normal, and the big kind in case there’s an incision to worry about)
  • Disposable pants x 5 (just a pack from Tesco, just in case)
  • Disposable maternity pads x 20 (I have another pack of 20 waiting in the bathroom at home, and I also have all of my cloth pads ready and waiting)
  • Breast pads x 6 (three pairs, that is – another three pairs waiting at home)
  • Black towel x 2 (the cheapest ones I could find are from Tesco and also have these lovely blingy diamantes on. I’m going to be so glam!)
  • Nipple cream
  • Travel size toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, etc)
  • Toothbrush
  • Lip balm
  • Water spray
  • Hair bobbles x 5
  • Deodorant
  • Fun size snacks (I’m taking advantage of Hallowe’en and have got some packs of small Twixes and Maltesers)
  • Carrier bags for any washing

Still to come:

  • Phone and long charger cable (a friend in a different NHS Trust said she wasn’t allowed to charge her phone, so I need to talk to the midwife about that and see what the rules are – if I can’t use my own electronics, then I’ll pack a portable charger as well)
  • iPad (we’re going to load our hypnobirthing tracks onto this, and also maybe use it for Scrabble if we have any waiting around time!)
  • Ear plugs (our hospital’s maternity ward has 24 beds. Enough said!)
  • A bottle of blackcurrant squash (I can’t drink water lately!)
  • Moisturiser and face wash (I need to decant these from my usual bigger bottles)
  • Plain cheese sandwiches (my mum had me at 8.44am and missed both breakfast and lunch – she’s suggested freezing some sandwiches in advance and popping them in the bag as we leave)
  • Cereal bars
  • Brush and comb
  • Camera (I need to charge this first as well!)
  • Sports water bottles (I’m informed that these are useful to squirt at yourself as you pee afterwards)

Hospital bag for baby

I’m using baby’s changing bag for this. Unfortunately I filled it slightly too much and I’ve torn the zip, but I did get it on ebay for about £10, so it’s not the end of the world!

All of the clothes I’ve packed in two different sizes – the under 9lb ones and regular newborn.

Already packed:

  • Babygrows x 3
  • Vests x 3
  • Cardigans/little fleecy jackets x 2
  • Hat
  • Blankets x 2
  • Muslins x 5
  • Nappies x 1 pack (we’re hoping to use cloth soon, but for the early days we’ve stocked up on the Aldi kind)
  • Water Wipes x 1 pack (again, cloth wipes in the future, but don’t want to take too much washing home!)
  • Swaddle wrap
  • Bag for any soiled clothes

Still to come:

  • Snowsuit or other weather appropriate coming home outfit
  • Car seat needs to be put in the car

Hospital bag for daddy

Our hospital lets partners stay in overnight after the baby has been born which is great. It does mean we need to prepare for him as well though!

We’ve not packed any of this yet:

  • T-shirt x 2
  • Shorts (I hear hospitals are warm)
  • Jogging bottoms
  • Pants x 2
  • Loose change for vending machines etc
  • Phone and charger
  • Sketchbook and pencils (to keep him occupied during any bits of downtime – he’s a keen artist)
  • Hypnobirthing books

I’ll probably let him share my snacks!

We’re very lucky in that we live a five minute walk from the hospital, so if there is anything we find that we desperately need that we don’t have, my husband can always pop home and get it.

Whew. It’s a lot, though, isn’t it? I’m curious to know what we’ll end up needing and what will turn out to be a waste of time – I’m sure I’ll do an update post!

Is there anything really obvious or important that I’m missing? What did you really need and what was completely unnecessary?



Happy gotcha day, Ned and Gingee!

adopting rabbits - gotcha day

Today is two years exactly since Ned and Gingee’s “gotcha day”! In other words, it’s two years since we adopted them and they came home to live with us.

Dear Ned and Gingee,

It’s hard to believe, in a way, how fast these two years have gone. It feels like you’ve been part of our family forever. But it also feels like only yesterday that I felt so apprehensive as I waited for a response to find out if you’d be able to come and live with us. It’s funny how time works like that!

I can honestly say that you’ve changed our lives for the better. You made us a family, rather than just a couple.

Driving home with you in the car for the first time felt much how I imagine it will be when we bring your human sibling home in a few weeks. I knew everything had changed, but I had no comprehension of just how much. We didn’t know quite what we were doing at first, but the four (now five, soon to be six) of us have figured it out together.

Ned, you’ve caused us so much worry that it’s unbelievable. So many times we’ve thought we might lose you, but you keep on persevering, and now you’re so strong.

You are an inspiration to me, little man. How can you have gone through so much pain and discomfort and come out the other end still so happy and trusting? The last time you had your vaccinations, you were purring as the vet was putting the needle in you!

You’re an unusual little bunny. You love car rides, being brushed with a wet comb, all kinds of things that rabbits aren’t supposed to. Maybe you’re part kitten or puppy. You’ve still got an adorable little baby face, and I know that it causes problems for your health, but I think you are one of the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen.

You’re much tinier than you should be, but your intense personality more than makes up for it. We know you can’t hear us very well, but we also know that you know how much we love you.

I love how you climb up onto my lap when I’m feeling sad, and how you enjoy playing with our hands. You’re the tiniest, greediest little thing, and I know that’s probably my fault because I spoil you. I just love to see you so excited!

You are such a good brother to Barbara, and it’s so nice to see you take care of her.

I didn’t know it was possible to love anyone so much until you came into my life.

Gingee, you are the bravest and cleverest rabbit in the world. You know that you’re the best therapy bunny anyone could ever want, don’t you?

You keep us going when we’re feeling down, and I know you understand emotions far more than anyone could believe. It doesn’t even have to be us. I see your concern for TV characters dealing with depression. I’ve seen you try to get to them to help them. (And I think it’s a good thing we’ve cut back on your TV viewing a bit!)

You’re definitely the one in charge, despite what Barbara might think. You’re so good at trying to take care of her and Ned, and I’m so proud of you for persisting in grooming their eyes when they need it.

I can’t believe how clever you are. You’ve eaten more cables than I can count, broken out of so many cages, and understand so many words. You’ve even learnt to train Ned – although we really don’t mind if he goes on the stairs!

I know you love me, Gingee, even if your daddy is your favourite person in the whole world.

I’m so pleased that the two of you get on again. Seeing you interact is one of my favourite things in the world, because for so long I thought you’d hate each other forever. I know you didn’t enjoy us persevering and repeatedly trying to bond you, but I think you’re happy about it now, aren’t you? You love cuddling each other these days!

I can’t believe it’s been two years since your gotcha day, and I can’t wait to have many more years of adventures with you both.

Love from your human mum xxx


I would like a rabbit pet #barbarablogs

Barbara Rabbit

Hello friends. It’s me, Barbara Rabbit, here again. Catch up on my older posts here!

So, I’ve been thinking. I would like a rabbit pet. Not a pet rabbit – I’m a pet rabbit myself. I would like a pet for myself. I know I’m getting a baby human soon and that will be lovely. But I think there are lots of other animals out there that I would enjoy living with as well.

I’ve been trying to think over the advantages to each one and work out which would be best for me. Of course, I doubt my humans will let me have any kind of new animal. They can be so unreasonable at times. I mean, it would only be a bit of extra work for them.

They wouldn’t have to do any of the training. My brother Gingee has learnt to do animal training. He copies what the humans do and he’s taught Ned to keep away from the stairs by doing a little growl and then moving him. It’s very clever.

So honestly, all it would really be would be a bit more cleaning and perhaps some more food and maybe transporting them on a very occasional vet visit. Hardly anything at all, really.

Rabbit Pet Idea 1: A chick

rabbit pet idea 1: a chickThey can fly, you know. I’d be able to train it to fetch me the treats that my parents insist on keeping on high shelves that I can’t reach.

I’ve tried to get Ned and Gingee to do some sort of obstacle course run onto the top of the chest of drawers where the fenugreek cookies live, but they just keep on looking at me as though I’m mad. I can’t imagine why. As young rabbits (they’re only two), I think they should be taking plenty of exercise to keep supple and not develop arthritis like I have. Yes, there’s a bit of risk, but boys are meant to enjoy that!

Also, chicks are really fluffy, so it would be a bit like having another rabbit around. We’d take turns to groom it. And I bet the beak would be useful at times – we could train it to attack if needed!

Rabbit Pet Idea 2: A monkey

rabbit pet idea 2: monkeyOpposable thumbs. Enough said.

I’m only thinking of a small monkey. I wouldn’t want an ape or a gorilla or anything huge like that. But a tiny little monkey that I could train to open doors and food containers for me would be really useful. And I bet they’d be absolutely brilliant at grooming!

They’d probably also be quite good at giving cuddles if I needed them when my humans weren’t available. At times, I do really like cuddles.

However, I think a monkey might be rendered irrelevant by my upcoming human baby. She’ll be able to perform most of the monkey’s tasks, I think.

Rabbit Pet Idea 3: A small pony or miniature horse

rabbit pet idea 3: horseI could sit on its back and be a lot faster than my brothers when it ran.

Did you know that rabbits and horses are actually fairly similar? Yes, I know we don’t look at all alike, but our digestive systems are pretty much the same, and we could share our hay.

I’ve even heard that if you can’t find a rabbit specialist vet, you should try and make sure your parents take you to an equine vet if you need some sort of specialist treatment, as they’re more likely to know what to do on you than a cat and dog vet.

Horses and ponies even binky like us bunnies do!

Also, as someone who once lived outside, I think I’d be doing a tiny little horse a really good deed by adopting one and letting it live inside with me. I did not like being outside, so I bet my future tiny horse doesn’t either. Maybe I’ll present it to my parents as a completely altruistic act…

Rabbit Pet Idea 4: A small goat

rabbit pet idea 4: goatYes, I have Ned and he’s pretty much like a little goat.

But think about it: goats are pretty similar to us rabbits. They’re determined and feisty and furry and I hear they have a great sense of humour.

And they’re really destructive and sometimes I’d like some help in trying to dig up the carpet or tear up all the newspaper in the world. A goat could be a really good asset to me there!

The horns do scare me a bit though.

Well, those are my ideas, anyway. Does anybun else have any good suggestions?

Until next time, my long-eared friends!

30th birthday thoughts and dreams

30th birthday thoughts

Friday was my 30th birthday.

It’s strange, I’ve never really been one to get too upset about birthdays, but I did feel rather wobbly on Thursday night and Friday morning. I could always put it down to pregnancy hormones, I suppose, but quite apart from that, I think there’s something about 30 that does make you think.

It’s the kind of age that you think about  and have ideas of where you’d like to be. I mean, obviously this varies from year to year. Last week, I was fairly sure I’d be in pretty much the position I was in on my 30th. But when I was younger, I had all these ideas of how life was going to work out.

Some of them have happened and some haven’t.

What I haven’t done by my 30th birthday

Let’s see, some of my dreams were:

  • I’d have had children by now. I’m working on this one, obviously. And technically I do have a child, just not a born one yet. I’m not exactly upset about this, because I know why we didn’t try for a baby earlier. And if any earlier baby wouldn’t have been this one. And I love this particular baby.
  • I’d have a more successful career – or be independently wealthy and not need to work. Okay, so the “independently wealthy” idea was always a long shot. I’m not too sure how I pictured it happening. Maybe a lottery win? Or perhaps I was going to write an amazing novel and be a fabulously published author by now. Either way, it didn’t happen. I have a job I quite enjoy, colleagues I get on with, we have enough money to get by, and while I do have some career hopes and dreams for the future, I suppose I’m averagely content with where I am on this one. It would be nice to have a bit more spare cash, but maybe that’ll come in the future.
  • I’d be calmer. Small things still irritate me. Bad drivers. Birds singing and waking me up. Whistling. That sort of thing. I really hoped I’d be over this by now, because it certainly doesn’t make me happy! I also thought I’d be over a lot of my fears – instead, I seem to be picking up new ones. Developing a fear of needles during pregnancy is a great idea, brain.
  • I’d have more friends. At school I had a fairly large crowd of friends and we thought we’d be there forever. (Spoiler alert: doesn’t always happen.) I found some more amazing friends at uni, and to be fair, we do keep in touch very well, considering we live all across the country. But I don’t have many local friends that I can just call up for a chat, or anyone who’ll pop in for a visit. I mainly have my husband and my parents. Also, my husband is some sort of friend-making genius, which does make me feel worse about it.
  • I’d be more generally “together”. It’s hard to put exactly what I mean into words. I thought I’d be able to do things like easily keep on top of the laundry, fold a fitted sheet, have a clean house all the time, not feel stressed when parking the car, that sort of thing. But I’ve come to realise that maybe all of the adults who looked like they had it together when I was younger were all pretending. We’re all just putting on an act, aren’t we?

But in general, it’s best to focus on the good. And there is a lot of good in my life.

What I have done by my 30th birthday

  • Married my best friend. Yes, he drives me crazy from time to time, but he’s generally a rather nice chap. Living with anyone would have been an adjustment, let alone starting a family and dealing with all of the general crap that goes on in daily life, but there’s no one I’d rather have tackled it with than him. We are about to embark on a new adventure and I’m nervous but excited. We can do this.
  • Bought a house. We chose to live in an area with a very low cost of living and low house prices. It might not be the most glamorous of towns but we like it. We paid our deposit through an inheritance and my living at home with my parents and saving like mad until I was 27. But we can see ourselves staying here for the forseeable future. We love our house.
  • I got two degrees. I studied English Language as an undergraduate and then did an MA in Journalism, and did well in both, although I didn’t enjoy the journalism course one bit. But it did lead on to the next one:
  • I have a job. I know this sort of falls under both categories. But I am employed and I do quite enjoy what I do. I’ve been there for over six years at this point so it can’t be too bad, I suppose!
  • Passed my driving test. Learning to drive scared me, but I did it. I’ve just passed the sixth anniversary of passing my test, and driving has given me a lot of freedom.
  • I have three beautiful rabbits. And we’ve nursed them through some serious illnesses, and quite honestly kept them alive when other people might not have persevered. Ned in particular. I look at them and feel proud.
  • My body has grown and carried a baby nearly to term. We’re nearly there – 35 weeks! I’m proud of how my body has done this.

How do I feel now?

So, a couple of days after my 30th birthday, and having experienced a few days of actually being the scary age, I feel okay about it.

On my actual birthday, my husband brought me breakfast in bed, and then we played a nice competitive game of Scrabble before getting on with the day.

I spent the day with my mum, where we developed an unhealthy addiction to watching Yummy Mummies on ITV – seriously, we went through three episodes in one afternoon!

Then my husband and I went to my favourite restaurant that evening to celebrate, and ate ourselves absolutely silly. Probably our last chance for a night out before baby! And we need to save the pennies now. But it was nice to celebrate and spend an evening together, even if it did end with us both feeling uncomfortably full!

And then I rounded off the day with rabbit cuddles and a long candlelit bath, just me and baby and a book. It was all very low-key and relaxing, which is what I need right now that I’m approximately 7536 weeks pregnant!

To be honest, it feels absolutely no different to being 29. I’m not sure what my wobble was about!

Have you felt like this over a milestone birthday? What happened?