Labor Pains: The Recovery Room Didn’t Have Shit

laborI was induced at 41 weeks and, unlike most women I’ve met, I was thrilled. Finally, we were going to get some answers from this kid! I had been having serious Braxton-Hicks-type contractions for two weeks and very little sleep. I was so grateful for the Ambien they gave me to go with the induction medication that I sent my husband home for the night so I could just pass out.

The next day, they started the epidural and the Pitocin drip at the same time. For the rest of the day, my husband and I watched TV, played with the heart monitor (the nursing staff does not think it is funny), and waited for our daughter who finally arrived, conveniently, right after my doctor got back from her dinner break. She’s a great kid even to this day.

It was a very easy and pleasant labor experience. I’m going to leave out the part where my daughter’s heart rate kept dropping because, although it was a little scary, I was never really worried. Since I had an epidural, they could cut me open and deliver my daughter at a moment’s notice. It wasn’t necessary in the end: she just sort of popped out while this doctor kept yelling, “Good push!” Well, no shit, she’s out! It was a great push!

BUT THE RECOVERY ROOM WAS A NIGHTMARE. Scratchy towels, no blankets, and the only “product” that was in the bathroom was hand soap. So all those magazine articles and blog posts that say, “you don’t need to bring anything! The hospital has it all,” are LIARS. I had checked out the towel/sheet/pillow situation when I did my tour, so I was prepared. I neglected to check the toiletries since I just assumed they were part of some kind of new mommy room product placement for after labor. They were not. There is nothing more aggravating after enduring labor, swelling up like a balloon from the epidural, and having nurses refuse you nipple soreness assistance than to have horrible, dry unmanageable hair for the remainder of your stay.

Bring shampoo and conditioner.

This is a reader submission for Labor Pains Week.

(photo: Invisible/ Shutterstock)

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  • Christine

    Is this a joke? Did you seriously think that you were going to a hotel?

    • Judgey McJudgerson

      The hospital I had my kids in had soap and towels in at least. And a lot of those dumb parenting magazines and blogs do tell naive new mothers not to worry about that stuff.

    • DMH

      This was my thought, exactly. I mean, it’s a freaking hospital. Not the Hilton.

  • Lindsay Curtis

    Entitled white princess, no doubt.

    • SCErRN

      Bitter hag, no doubt.

    • Lindsay Curtis

      Not so much, but thanks for the laugh!

    • Kat G

      Actually, I am a bit of an entitled princess and yes, it is a first world problem. Damn we are lucky to live in a time where the worst thing that happened during an induced pregnancy with some complications was that I was uncomfortable. That was sort of the point of my story… it was subtle, but it was there.

  • Patricia Psomas

    I went into labor 5 weeks early and was life flighted to a hospital 2 hours and a state away. I was totally unprepared and was frustrated that there was no shampoo or towels larger than your average napkin available. After 30+ hours of labor with complications all I wanted -other than a healthy happy baby- was a shower to feel clean. I also wish something had been in the room to help welcome me to motherhood -especially since my hubby couldn’t be with me- and something as simple as shampoo and soap would have helped. Instead, I got hand soap and a constant flow of nurses who’s job was to make me feel terrible for not being able to produce breast milk. For a life changing and special experience, it was marred by lack of simple necessities and a serious lack of compassion from the staff.

  • ElisaBeth

    When I delivered those things weren’t in my room, but at my request they were brought to me. Also most gift shops carry things like that, although really over-priced…
    This has NOTHING to do with being a ‘white princess’ or thinking you are checking into a hotel… hygiene is important anytime, but especially after having a baby… who wants to look and feel gross with visitors and pictures going on, not to mention all of the touching that goes on between mom and baby.
    I know better this time and have packed my own toiletries in small travel tubes; but you did remind me to bring my own LARGE towel :D

    • Christine

      Yes, I understand that hygiene is important but this woman was induced at 41 weeks – obviously she had time to pack a bag. When I delivered, I didn’t expect those things to be in my room and I brought my own from home. I’m so tired of the entitlement by new moms, “I neglected to check the toiletries since I just assumed they were part of some kind of new mommy room product placement for after labor. They were not.” I’m so sick of people expecting everything to be done for them and I honestly did expect this article to be a joke. I wasn’t trying to be offensive but seriously, bring your own or go to the gift shop downstairs if it’s that important to you.

  • DMH

    I’m just going to say this. The hospital I delivered at was pretty awesome– “room service” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the stay (and I’ve gotta say, the food was pretty good), comfortable room, and great staff. However… even I knew to check the hospital’s website for a recommended packing list and to bring my own toiletries and things that would make me comfortable. You’re staying at a hospital; not a hotel. First world problems, I guess.

  • SCErRN

    I work in a hospital and even I didn’t realize I needed to bring a bigger towel. I brought my own shampoo and condition because I AM a princess and wouldn’t use whatever shit the hospital had out for regular people anyway.

  • Another Steph

    First world problems.

  • Guest

    When I did the childbirth class/hospital tour, the nurse running it said the hospital could get you just about anything you’d forgotten to pack, but she recommended not using the toothbrushes they give you. She said they are rough and awful. My hospital had good enough towels (like a mid-level hotel), but that was about all that was provided other than soap. I had packed well, but we lived super close to the hospital (as did my brother and my sister), and drugstores were not far off, so if I’d forgotten anything, it wouldn’t have been that difficult to get what I needed. Yes, it is easier if it’s in your bag, but if it’s not, it’s not the end of the world.

    My recommendation? Snacks! They tell you to eat and drink a lot of water so you can breastfeed, and while the nurses were great about bringing me ice water non-stop, the food service was lacking. One day they came in with breakfast at 6AM and then lunch at 1:30PM! Plus, as most of us know, with a newborn, you quickly learn that eating a hot meal at your desired pace is now a luxury. Anyway, my sister brought me snacks (as I did for her when she had her second baby), which was a lifesaver, since meals were often too far apart and not always appetizing when they got cold.

    Oh, and don’t forget to raid the diapers and stuff from the bassinet and the mesh panties and pads!!!

  • BBJim’s Mam

    I’m with Judgey. Every thing I’ve read up to now has said not to worry. It’s not about assuming, it’s about being, apparently, misled.

  • Jen Clark

    I guess I just got lucky, I didn’t have a hospital picked out, so I went to one on a whim during labor, everyone kept refusing me because I had medicaid, or would lie to me claiming they didnt do child birth and maternity care. My doctors were amazing, my nurses were amazing except 1. The recovery room was HUGE, fabulous, and well decorated, and all sorts of infant freebies placed about. I had a soft bed and the fluffiest pillows you could find, a fluffy blanket with extra blankets, breakfast, lunch and dinner, when I craved sweets my nurse would bring me a huge brownie. all the toiletries I needed, plenty of help and support with breastfeeding, there was even a bench in the shower and a garden out front and a little food shop restaurant on the first floor. My recovery was amazing and comfortable. I’m really sorry for those of you who had a shitty hospital, I believe it’s very important to be as comfortable as possible during recovery, it has nothing to do with being an entitled princess, it is in fact important for the mother and baby to be cared for and as stress free as possible, I wish everyone was able to have the same experience I did.