Preparing the madhouse
Depending on how your pregnancy is progressing and how many babies you are carrying, you may want to start preparing for your madhouse well before any suggested due date. As I have previously mentioned, I was told that it was unlikely I would be ‘allowed’ past 32 weeks (however with my ‘Go-Gadget’ tummy, the regular scans showed that my babies were still growing fine so I was allowed to go to 35). Full term is normally considered at 40 weeks for a singleton, with twins considered full term at 37 weeks, triplets at 34 weeks and quads at 31 weeks.
In terms of keeping on top of the house, we did have a short spurt of cleaners when I worked part-time with my first child but I put an end to that into my second pregnancy. I found it all to stressful being in or being out, being in which room when, and then when they had left I ran around the house seeing what kind of job they had done and always being disappointed that something hadn’t been done or it wasn’t to my standard. So between us we decided we could do it alone, and if it didn’t get done, well it would one day.
The only ironing that had to be done was my husband’s work shirts (although I did suggest this could be speeded up by just ironing the front bit if he didn’t take his jacket off for the day – I am not looking forward to the hormonal teenage school boys days when in addition to husband, I could be looking at 25 shirts a week). Anyway, my husband helpfully took it upon himself to take his dirty shirts to a local dry cleaner on a weekly basis that washed and ironed them for a £1 each. Perfect. Job done.
Lots of people advise to fill up your freezer with nice homemade meals before having a baby. Also consider filling it up with your toddler’s meals too if necessary. You may not have time to make these up for a while so get a few batches in the freezer so you can relax that he/she is eating well.
Get into the habit of internet shopping, if you don’t already do it. Set up the accounts you think you will need. Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Boots, Mothercare. You may not have time to pop out but you can always click away and answer the door. Make sure you sign up for loyalty cards – Tesco, Sainsbury Nectar, and Boots – and join their parenting clubs. You will need to shop around for the best offers when buying nappies etc, so good to have your accounts set up. When internet shopping, always look for a promotional voucher first (myvoucherscodes.co.uk; vouchercodes.co.uk) and use a cash back site (topcashback.co.uk; kidstart.co.uk). Don’t forget to check the TAMBA website too for member discounts.
The Hospital list
It’s a good idea to get your bag ready well in advance, with a little list on top of what else needs to go in it, to help your partner in case of an emergency.
I have included my hospital list which I had for my first child (singleton) and there really isn’t anything different for a multiple labour, except quantity.
The Singleton Hospital List
2-3 x maternity/feeding nightie (don’t take your favourite for the actual labour part – you won’t want to bring it home to wash)
1-2 x feeding bras (buy as late as possible to ensure appropriate size)
Dressing gown (don’t take anything nice as you won’t want to wear it again)
Slippers (as above)
Flip-flops (for showers)
Bed socks (just a me thing)
Clothes to come home in (comfy and roomy)
Pants (proper pants for maternity pads; also consider mesh pants (available from the NCT on-line shop) which promote healing of a c-section scar)
Old towel (for bath/showers)
Toiletries & basic make-up, hairbrush, hair bands, lipsalve
Hot water bottle (no idea how this ended up on my list and in hindsight what I was hoping I would do with it)
Breast pads, maternity pads & nipple cream (you will need a good supply of maternity pads for either a vaginal or c-section delivery. I don’t think I really appreciated this for a c-section, but it still all has to come out).
Pregnancy notes & birth plan
Name list or book (in case of any last minute changes – Timothy may just not look like a Timothy)
Drinks – bottled water, juice
Snacks – muesli bars, sweets, chocolate (don’t tell the NCT teacher that is on your list)
Mobile & charger
Vitamins (and any other prescribed medication)
Small amount of money (including change for the car park)
CDs (this was 2007 – during my first labour there was a CD player in the labour room so I listened to Norah Jones in the early stages of labour. How very sophisticated and pleasant).
Games (cards and Yahtzee – I think me and my husband must have thought it would be like waiting around for a flight)
Books, magazines (more sensible, but again, really?)
For the small person
Vests, baby-gros (all washed, and the first time round when I obviously had too much time on my hands, ironed)
Hat, scratch mitts, coat/jacket (for coming home in), bibs, muslins
Nappies (newborn or premature size), nappy bags, cotton wool balls, Sudacrem
Extras for second multiple labour
Little soft toys to personalise cots (if/when in neo-natal unit)
Partner’s extras (clean shirt, pants, toothbrush, phone & charger)
(Breast pump, steriliser and bottles – these don’t need to be packed ready to go, but it may be useful to have them at home ready. As you will come on to read, with my multiple birth, I was in hospital for a fair few days so my husband brought these things in so I could express away in the comfort of my own room).
Right, so house prepared, bags packed…check, and cross check….