Everyone is aware of the bags that most moms- and dads-to-be bring to the hospital for the arrival of their babies. (Some people choose to wait until the last minute to pack these bags, but as my personal experience shows, you can't really know when exactly that baby is coming. Even when you have scheduled c-sections.) What many people do not know, however, is that it is essential for those who will be hanging out in the maternity waiting room to have some level of preparedness as well. And so, I've put together a little list of things you might find handy when the time comes. It goes without saying that, like the hospital bag for mom and dad, you should not wait until the last minute to assemble most of this stuff.
I call it: The Baby Watch Survival Kit.
You will need to place the following in your kit:
- Non-perishable snacks (vending machines eat your money. Which is why I paid $1.25 for a small bag of M&Ms). This should ALWAYS include chocolate. Nothing soothes the savage beast like chocolate.
- Bottled water. If you are lucky enough to have a hospital that provides free beverages for family members, yay for you. But this is not always the case.
- A light-weight blanket. I can't prove it, but I have the sneaking suspicion the nursing staff cranks up the air-conditioning in the waiting room to discourage families from completely camping out.
- A travel pillow. When The Call comes in the wee hours of the morning, or labor progresses into the night, you will be tired. And a backpack filled with snacks, magazines, an iPad, an overstuffed wallet (well, due to the vending machine's earlier snack, it wasn't as overstuffed as it could've been) and rolls of breath mints does not a pillow make.
- Reading material. And plenty of it.
- A camera with extra batteries. To record for posterity (or Facebook) the waiting room hijinks. And---oh yeah, the baby's birth.
- Headphones. Because someone will invariably drag out the "River Sounds" deluxe MP3 set and that only makes you want to pee (this may or may not have been me. I admit to nothing).
- Card games like Uno, Skip-bo, Phase 10, etc. If you really want to get to know the obscure relatives you never see, bring out Apples to Apples----but only if your laboring family member is the only laboring Mama on the maternity floor and is stationed at the polar opposite corner of the hospital from you, OR if the waiting room is soundproof. Which, c'mon. Really, they should be.