Packing my Hospital Bag: Covid Edition

You know one thing you can’t reschedule? Babies. I’m 35 weeks and waiting on my little turkey. I am beyond excited to meet the little bub and finally tell everyone the sex and name. I can’t wait to see who it looks like and count it’s little fingers and toes.

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This baby has moved low this week. Last night, the pressure on my pubic bone was so intense I swore I could’ve reached up there and pulled this jelly bean out by the hair. So, at 35 weeks I find myself in the in-between. It still feels too early to wash all the clothes, too late to start a big project. Everything that technically needs to be done is done (I say technically because the nesting instinct has me thinking completely irrationally).

The baby could come in 6 weeks. Or it could come in 4. Or 3. Or tonight. I oscillate between seeing this as a one of life’s most magical mysteries or a very, very cruel joke from the universe.

Having a baby during a pandemic is definitely not what we expected. I found out that I was pregnant on March 12th.  I remember going to Target to get a First Response test be sure that I wasn’t seeing ghost lines on my cheap Amazon test strip. All I wanted was a pregnancy test and a seltzer. My normally quiet Target was PACKED with shoppers rifling for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and cans of soup.

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I had been so busy lately that I hadn’t really been following the news. So, you can imagine my shock at 9pm in Target looking for the right test in the pharmacy section thinking that I’m finally pregnant after all this time and the world is ending. I started crying and then I waited on line for twenty minutes. That was a Thursday. My last day of work was Friday. The last time I hugged my friends was Saturday. My last time inside of a restaurant was Sunday. And on Monday, the world shut down.

I was horrified by the pandemic and tried my best to limit the amount of news I was consuming. I still feel like if you were a New Yorker during the spring of 2020 you’ve suffered a collective trauma and will always have some hesitation about touching your face and a different level of respect for healthcare workers.

My heart goes out to the brave women who gave birth at the beginning of this mess. The women who had the terror of a deadly pandemic slapped on to the already astounding uncertainty of childbirth. The women who gave birth in comas, or sick, or with loved ones in ICU down the hall. The women who gave birth alone.

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To be pregnant and isolated with hundreds of people dying a day was definitely an experience. There was nothing in my books about how to labor in a mask or what to do if you test positive for Covid. There was nothing about going into every doctor’s appointment alone. We don’t get to have visitors at the hospital. I don’t get to meet the pediatrician before baby is here. 

All I do know is that my husband and I will be quarantining two weeks before baby’s due date. He can go to work but this means no more outdoor dining, trips to Target or seeing friends. Luckily, we had a few months there where we were able to have a sense of “normalcy” thanks to the good weather and New York’s low positivity rate.

So, with all that being said, my hospital bag looks a little different. As much as I hoped Covid would have just “disappeared” by now, it looks like it’s just going to get worse. But, I’m prepared.

For reference, we are planning on having a hospital birth and I’ve pretty much pre-ordered that epidural. We live very close to the hospital and I am hoping to labor as much as I can at home.

Now that it’s only a few weeks away, my doctor is pretty confident that the rules now will remain in November, unless we have a surge here on Long Island. Right now that means no visitors, and only one birth partner. We will both be rapid testing at admission. We will have to wear masks even if we test negative, and I can take it off to push. Here’s what’s driving me crazy: if my husband tests positive, but doesn’t have symptoms, he can stay for the delivery.

Now, of course I want my husband there, but the idea of Covid-positive partners walking around a maternity ward freaks me out. This means our plan is basically “get in, get out”. We will be stripping down and washing everything as soon as we get home. This obviously has me very conscious of how much we bring in to the hospital and what can or can’t be sanitized.

Our hospital provides everything we’ll need except for a going home outfit. I have a separate bag packed with more clothes and snacks in case I need a C-section and have a longer hospital stay.

Here is what I’ve packed in my hospital bag so far:

For me:

For baby:

For my husband:

I’m hoping that we will have everything we need and for a smooth, simple delivery. Are you giving birth soon and have you modified your go-bag due to the pandemic? What are you packing? Let me know below.

Stay Safe.

O.

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