There is one aspect of labor preparation that always eluded me – the packing of the hospital bag. What is with the emphasis on the hospital bag? Why do we act like a trip to the hospital is akin to traveling to a third world country, where we’ll need to bring everything we’ll possibly need for fear it won’t exist there?

I guess the huge list of things they tell you you’ll need during labor escaped me because I ended up with two c-sections. I had no use for the massage oil and special slippers, the soothing music and birth ball. So I won’t address that part of the hospital bag, because for all I know you really need all that stuff. I just want to talk about what they tell you you’ll need after labor and for your baby.

If you were to pack all of the stuff they tell you you need for your trip to the hospital, you would be rolling in there with the biggest suitcase you’ve ever seen. The truth is, most hospitals provide pretty much everything you need, from diapers, to maxi-pads to underwear. As far as snacks are concerned there are vending machines and this little thing called the outside world where your loved ones can acquire you food.

You’ll probably feel like more of a human if you bring your own nightgown and slippers – so definitely do that. Forget your own underwear, just use the mesh garbage the hospital supplies because you are going to be bleeding all over it anyway. Bring a little face wash and shampoo for your own sanity. Do not look in a mirror.

Planning on catching up on your reading or bringing those baby books you never got to during pregnancy? Forget it. Whatever time you’re not spending staring at this little human you just created wondering how you are going to keep it alive, you’ll probably just be staring into space out of pure exhaustion, since the nurses will be waking you up every hour for one thing or another.

Definitely bring a cell phone charger so you can call someone to demand all the things that you don’t have. For baby – something to leave the hospital in.

So, to recap – night gown, slippers, some toiletries, cell phone and charger and an outfit for you and the baby. Voila! List complete.

(photo: Getty Images)