We are in the middle of the third trimester now and I think I’m starting to hit a wall. While the weeks approaching delivery seem to be flying by, I’m definitely starting to run low on energy and I can feel the hormones kicking up a notch or two. Everything (except my sweet husband—seriously, he’s a rock star) seems to annoy or make me want to cry.
I definitely teared up a couple of times in our midwife appointment this week as we were talking about the stages of delivery and what happens with our baby after she is born. I want to bawl my eyes out at the thought of the midwives taking my little girl away from me—even if just for a few minutes to weigh and do the initial birth tests. Though my French is definitely improving, I’m also starting to get a bit anxious about being able to communicate with the midwives (and doctor, if mine is not on duty when I go into labor) in the hospital.
Nerves aside, I’m ready—and I’m sure little girl is too. She is pretty much out of room and lets me know so morning, noon and night. As I write this post, she is squirming around and pushing her feet as hard as she can up into my ribs and against my stomach. I picture her as a mime trapped in a box–white face paint and all! “Mama, help! I’m trapped and I can’t get out!” Though I’m definitely enjoying the closeness we share right now, I think she and I are both ready to enjoy that bond with her on the outside very soon.
Over the weekend, Matt and I went shopping to pick up the rest of the supplies we need for the hospital. At our first midwife appointment, we were given a list of what to bring to the hospital. Though some of the translations were a bit confusing at first (ie. serviettes éponges, or “sponge towels,” are basically just bath towels), most of the items were pretty familiar to us.
There were, however, a few doozies.
It’s called a “gigoteuse” and there’s no real English translation. Yep, we’ll be putting our baby in the equivalent of a padded, potato sack.
We also need velour pajamas. That’s right–velour. Our little one is starting out life in style.
Then there’s the liniment oleo-calcaire. It’s basically a mixture of olive oil and lime water and it’s used with cotton wipes to clean a baby’s bottom. It sounds like it’s a “must have” product for parents in France, so I’m excited to see how well it works.
We also have to bring our own crib sheets to the hospital (baby and I will stay for a minimum of three days after the birth—five if I need a C-section). This was a bit surprising to us until our midwife explained that parents kept taking the sheets home with them, so the hospital decided they weren’t going to supply them anymore. Plus, hospitals can use harsh chemicals to disinfect their sheets, so we can wash the sheets in our own gentle solution that shouldn’t irritate our baby’s skin.
The list also included a few interesting needs “pour maman,” including mineral water spray (gotta stay posh, even in the heat of labor) and a special feminine soap to use after delivery.
We were pretty loaded down when we left the pharmacy on Saturday. Thankfully, France is pretty good about taking care of pregnant ladies, so we were pulled from the long line for the cash registers and directed to the first open clerk. We’d already spent a good part of the day shopping, so I was exhausted and ready to go home. Skipping the line was an absolute Godsend.
So now we have pretty much everything we think we need for at least the hospital and first few days. I’ve started washing the baby clothes and we’re going to try to get the hospital bag packed sooner rather than later. Even if baby girl decides to go 40+ weeks, at least we won’t have a last-minute scramble. This is how I picture my last few weeks of pregnancy.
For any of you veteran mama’s out there, please feel free to share in the comments if there are products you just couldn’t live without at the hospital or during the first few weeks with the baby.
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My firstborn was a ten pounder and I had him naturally. No epidural. Nothing. I’ll admit, I was sore after I gave birth but while I was in the hospital, all I wanted to do was just relax. I had “rooming in” which meant my son was with me in the room. The nurses were great though because they would take him from me at various points during the day so that I could just sleep. Quite honestly, I didn’t need much at the hospital. My attention span wasn’t that great so trashy gossip magazines were about all I could handle.
When I came home, it was a godsend that my mother-in-law came to visit for a couple of days since my parents lived out of state. But I looked forward to the time I would just be alone with him. NYC is a great place to be a new mom. In my walks I met other moms and we started a mother’s support group. We all became very good friends too. I also breastfed. Hands down, it was THE best way to lose the weight!
Looking back, having a ten-pounder paved the way for the next two! Labor with the second was two hours and with my third, 12 minutes after arriving at the hospital, she was born. It’s all good.
Remember though, don’t get overwhelmed. If you baby is crying, don’t take it personal and don’t stress. Babies cry. Either they are hungry, or need a diaper change or they just want to be held! All my children are now adults and I cannot begin to tell you enough–enjoy every single second. They grow up way too fast. You need to make great memories beginning now because the memories are what you will have after your children are grown and out of the house. And if those memories are great ones, you will look back fondly.
Be lucky you are giving birth in France. France is far more birth friendly than here in the States. New moms are practically shoved out of the hospitals just hours after giving birth. As in the words of my wonder doctor, Richard Levine. “It took you nine months to become this big. Don’t try to become small over night! And drink a nice glass of wine!”
Enjoy–these are the best years of your life! (sorry I rambled!)
Thanks for sharing your story and for the words of wisdom, Catherine! I’m happy to hear you had a successful delivery (and without an epidural at that!) of a larger baby. That gives me much hope. 🙂 As far as the glass of wine, that’s one of the benefits of being in France I can’t wait to enjoy after baby girl is born. 🙂