In the third trimester of my pregnancy, especially those last five weeks, I recall feeling so much anticipation and anxiousness along with so much excitement. Some of it was anxiety-ridden, but mostly it was just pure joy at what was to come. I’d go to bed thinking about meeting Hudson and wake up thinking about how I was one day closer to meeting him. During this time I was also pretty nervous about the stay at the hospital. What would it be like? How long would it take to check in? Do we know where to go? What the hell goes into a “hospital bag”? Do I need to write a birth plan? All the things! But mostly just wanting to be ready.
To help combat my worried-ness and help make sure we were ready to go when the big day arrived, I started to do some research and actually prepare for our hospital stay around week 35 of pregnancy. The things we did were just right and overall this is something I feel like we did really well in the grand scheme of things.
Here’s the breakdown of how we prepared for our hospital stay.
- We scheduled a visit to the Women’s Center. Our hospital is a campus-like facility. Different treatments or procedures occur in different buildings. So, when it came time for delivery, we’d head to the Women’s Center. Our facility offered free tours and I signed us up immediately. The tour talked us through where to register once we arrived, what we needed to bring with us, what a delivery room looked like as well a recovery room, and where and when our visitors could wait and arrive. It took about an hour and helped us to wrap our heads around the experience and start to understand what to expect.
- Hospital pre-registration was key. In about 15 minutes online, I pre-registered myself with the hospital. This basically meant that I provided all my insurance, personal, and medical history information up front. I also disclosed that I would be coming to the hospital for labor and delivery, things like that. On the day I went into labor, our registration took less than 10 minutes and before we knew it I was in a labor and delivery room getting hooked up to all the good stuff.
- A well-packed hospital bag. Everything I read online when I googled, “what to pack in a hospital bag” was a combination of “the hospital will have everything you need” and “bring things that will make you comfortable.” I landed somewhere right in the middle. I kept our bag really organized by using packing cubes – one for me, one for the baby, one for my husband, and one for toiletries – and packed enough things for a 3-night stay (in case I had a c-section). I packed the bag by week 37 so everything would be ready to go should we go into labor early and kept it by the door to our bedroom.
- Pre-approval by insurance. Along with hospital pre-registration, you can also get everything pre-approved by your insurance. Our claim for my delivery, even the worst-case scenario (a c-section) was pre-approved before we walked into the hospital. This meant that as the bills rolled in post-delivery there were no issues or confusion over what was or wasn’t covered.
- Printed documentation for proceeding with maternity leave, insurance, and work notifications. One of the things that was a shock to me was the simple fact that basically immediately after having a baby (and I mean pretty immediately) you’re required to call your employer, insurance, and short-term disability provider to tell them that you indeed did have your baby so that your benefits kick in. Interesting, yes? I’m here to tell you that after having a baby there is no way you’re going to be coherent enough to remember or search through email to find the contact info. Having this printed out and highlighting exactly who I needed to call for what and for whom was perfect. It ended up taking me just a few minutes and was completely stress free.
With absolute certainty I can tell you that there will be multiple things to stress out about or that will cause you stress from the time you get pregnant to the time you go into labor and finally get to meet the sweet face of your little one. The hospital stuff and your stay at the hospital doesn’t need to be one.