Packing the hospital bag: have I forgotten anything?

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 Photo: Getty Images

My plan was to enjoy my maternity leave: kick back, relax, while also getting things ready. It hasn't quite panned out as I wanted it to.

I had pictured myself lounging on the couch with my big belly, being calm and happy, drinking herbal tea, reading books about birth, and getting things organised for the arrival of our twins in less than four weeks.

But the babies had other plans. I'd been immensely proud that both babies were growing so well and were heads down, the right position for when they come out. Not that this is really my doing, but still.

That's when my more adventurous twin decided that just lying head down and wiggling one's feet is boooooring and overnight wedged him/herself into a transverse position, with the bum sticking out just above my belly button and feet poking into my side.

It's astonishing how painful it can be when someone is trying to stretch your (already incredibly stretched) uterus. After a sleepless night and a pretty painful day, the baby thankfully moved back into a more comfortable position for me.

Then I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. That became so painful that I wasn't able to continue with "Project Full Freezer" and cook up a storm. Then the adventurous twin thought it'd be fun to dig around underneath my ribs, which as it turns out is even more painful and makes it pretty difficult to breathe.

Instead of working through my to-do list so I'd be the best prepared mum ever, I spent the week moaning and swearing.

It was a good lesson for what's to come though. Pregnancy and parenthood can't be easily planned. Nothing ever works out as those happily grinning and glowing mums-to-be in the magazines will make you believe. So I wrapped up and packed away the smugness and started over again.

The only thing I did manage to do last week was pack my hospital bag.

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At first I thought I wouldn't really need that much for a few days in hospital, but after reading other lists I thought I'd better be prepared. With twins, most new mums stay in hospital for at least four or five days if everything goes to plan, and potentially much longer if the babies need some time in the neonatal intensive-care unit. Dads are usually allowed to stick around for a night or two too to lend a helping hand.

I also ended up contemplating what I would wear during labour, during birth, in those first photos and so on. It took me forever to make up my mind but now I can report that I have three bags sitting in our otherwise still very disorganised house.

So here's my packing list. For all of you who have given birth - what did you find helpful in hospital? What was the most important thing you brought and what would you leave at home next time?

Hospital bag checklist: for me

  • Maternity bras
  • Nighties
  • Underwear (style: granny, size: huge)
  • Casual day clothes (3-4 changes)
  • Slippers/shoes
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity pads
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Makeup
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Lip balm
  • Pillow
  • Bathrobe
  • Lanolin nipple cream
  • Extra soft toilet paper
  • Multivitamins
  • Notebook/pen
  • Book
  • Socks
  • Wheat bag
  • Ural
  • Phone/charger
  • Laptop
  • A little money

Food

  • Lollies (Gummi Bears)
  • Drink bottle
  • Muesli bars
  • Protein drinks
  • 2-min noodles
  • Crackers

For the babies

  • 10 onesies
  • 4 sleepies
  • 2 pants, 2 tops
  • 2 blankets for going home
  • 4 hats
  • Mittens
  • Oil
  • Nappy cream
  • Baby wipes
  • Socks
  • Nappies

For dad

  • Camera/charger
  • Snacks
  • Magazines
  • Own Pillow
  • Clean clothes
  • Toothbrush
  • Blanket
  • Painkillers
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • iPhone speaker
  • Laptop

Is there anything you think I've missed? Anything ridiculous I've included?

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