chattanooga doula

A Doula's List of Stuff You Should Really Pack in Your Hospital Bag, (Part 1: The Labor Bag)

what to pack in your hospital bag

I'm not sure how I've never written about this on my doula blog, since I get asked about it all the time! The hospital bag. What do you really need? I'm totally an overpacker, which is fine. So, overpack until your heart's content if that's what comforts you, but don't overlook these essentials (and a few organizing tips from a obsessive organizer, as well!)

I recommend using several small(er) bags, each with a dedicated purpose. After one part of your hospital stay is over, that bag can be re-packed and even loaded in your car. It also helps when you're in the thick of things to be able to tell your doula -- "it's in my labor bag", instead of us rummaging through a super oversized duffle bag that has your stuff for labor, your postpartum stay, and your husband's skivvies. 

1. The Labor Bag

* Small Snacks to keep your energy up. Honey sticks are great. Small packs of Nutella or Peanut Butter are perfect. A banana? Yes! Remember that your hospital may still be stuck in the past and have rules against eating during labor. But, if you choose you can eat these small snacks indiscreetly and still get that boast that your body needs to work it!

*Hair Ties / Hair Band / Hair Clips / Socks / Chapstick in a Ziploc Bag (so they don't get lost in your bag, and you can easily tell your doula "My hair tie is in the ziploc bag"): 

* A Funny/Cute Game to pass the time and loosen you up. This one may seem odd. But... sometimes you get to the hospital and labor stalls, and your stuck walking halls or sitting around worrying. Or, perhaps you're getting induced and trying to kill some time. Or, maybe your water broke, and you're GBS positive, so your doctor recommends you go in to receive your antibiotics, but your contractions haven't started yet. A card game that gets your mind free and your heart laughing with your partner can absolutely kick start labor by loosening you up!!! I suggest the card game, Battle of the Sexes.

A Lightweight Robe to wear to cover your rear end if you're wearing a hospital gown OR, if you decide to get in the tub, you can put this back on, instead of getting fully dressed (which may feel better to you, especially if you're in intense labor.)

* Sports Bra and/or Swim Top for getting in the water. Usually, if you're ready for relief in the tub, you won't care if you're wearing something on your bottom half, but most women still like to have their breasts covered (but, if you don't care, that's totally cool, too!).

2 Sets of Clothes to Labor In. I recommend a loose, cotton jersey skirt for your bottom half (easy access for pelvic exams, if needed!) and whatever is comfy for your top.

*Comfort Measures --- if you have a doula, you probably don't need to pack these things. I know that as long as I have time to grab my doula bag, I show up to every birth with the following things: essential oils, massage oil, rebozo, heat pack, tennis balls (for massaging). If there's anything else you think of that would be helpful for your comfort, then bring it!

 

Sure... there are other things that you could bring... such as your own pillow, items to make your room more "homey", etc.. but the above list are my "must-packs"!

Part 2 (the hospital stay), to come soon!

Introducing ... Exclusive Doula Client Resource Pages!

This has been on my "to-do" list for awhile, but that list grows and grows with every new client that I walk along side (which is a GOOD thing). But, I finally did it! I now have all of my resource packet ONLINE for my doula clients!

The resource area (found in the upper tabs of the website) is now one of my perks for clients --- it's not available to the general public -- it's a result of many hours culling through the best evidence based research, recommendations for Chattanooga & Knoxville complementary care providers, and more. 

This "client resource" section is password protected (I email you the password when you become my client).

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you'll find this useful during your preparation for your birth and postpartum period, and I'm so excited it's now at your digital fingertips. 

Do you have suggestions for things I can add? Just let me know! I <3 My East Tennessee Doula clients, so I'll pretty much do anything you ask! (Within reason, lol!)

<3 Your East Tennessee Doula,
Martha

Doulas Can Help Turn Lemons into Lemonade

Having a doula is not a magic wand. Sometimes I dearly wish it was. However, things don't always go how you/we planned --- whether it's in birth or postpartum / physical or emotional. But, even though I can't guarantee outcomes, I can guarantee support. And with that support, I can provide you with options, choices, and resources to make the best of any situation. 

doula support in knoxville and chattanooga

I'm your professional doula lemonade maker, if you will. 

If you're handed "lemons" during labor, as your doula, I can give you options and alternatives and support to make the difficult decisions.

If you're handed "lemons" after labor, again, as your doula, I can give you options and alternatives, as well as outside resources (I have a huge list of support persons in the area ranging from postpartum counselors to lactation consultants). 

However your birth goes --- beautifully as planned or beautifully as unplanned --- I'll be there for you. Holding that beautiful pitcher of lemonade begging you to drink from it.

<3 Your Chattanooga & Knoxville Doula,
Martha

My Promise As Your Doula

baby doula knoxville chattanooga

I take my job as your doula seriously. When I began birth work I don't think I truly understand the impact that doulas can potentially make -- for good and for bad. 

So, here are some promises that as your doula I make to you...

I PROMISE TO...

  • Never judge your decisions. I may push back if you've indicated you want me to. But judge? Nope. Never.
  • Tell you that you are amazing. Always. No matter what.
  • Let you tell your own birth story. I'm not going to take to Facebook, etc and even give vague details about your birth without your explicit permission.
  • Validate your inner feelings and decisions. Whatever you are feeling is true. Whatever decision you make is the right one for you.
  • Not replace your partner. 
  • Be your biggest cheerleader (but not the annoying kind).
  • Give you options, choices, risks, benefits, and alternatives throughout your entire labor.
  • Hold your birth in my heart and treasure the sacred time you've allowed me to be a part of. 

Those are just a few things you can expect from me as your doula. Doula work is such important work. I don't take it lightly. 

<3 Your Doula for Knoxville, Chattanooga, Athens, & Beyond
Martha H.


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