When teaching a birth class, one of the questions I am asked the most is
To answer this, I think back to a very found doula memory of mine so let me take you on a short journey to the only time I have ever needed to aid in transportation into the hospital with a wheel chair.
*Cue the music you hear when someone goes back to a memory on TV*
I once had to get a wheel chair when I was helping a mama in labor get from her car to the hospital entrance. Describe to me, what's the first image that pops into your head? You likely see this laboring person breathing with her eyes closed, maybe even moaning a little, perhaps even yelling and twisting as she is having a wave hit. However you see her, she is likely sitting on the wheel chair, right? Someone is wheeling her inside so she can be in her birth place and FAST!
This common cultural image that we see in the movies and on TV is probably what you would expect BUT its not accurate in this case!
The reason I had a wheel chair was for the couples luggage! That's right. There were so many bags to carry that I became a bell hop for this couple, using a wheel chair to carry everything, just to get them safely into their birthing place! For me, as their doula, this situation, although comical for me, was not an issue at all since I'm sure any doulas reading this can attest that we wear many, many hats to support our clients, and, at times, do become a vessel to happily transport things for our clients. However, as I learned at this client's postpartum visit, the amount of luggage that this couple had packed with them, that they didn't even need for the most part, became an issue a few times after they had given birth. After getting through check in, triage and to their birth room with me - they needed to move it all, almost all by themselves, from their birth room to the postpartum room and then to the car (in shifts) to get home. Then at home, back into their home! All with a newborn baby in tow.
Let's learn from this! After supporting over 100 births as a doula, most in the hospital setting, and having three hospital births of my own, I have been able to dwindle this answer down to five magic items.
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Have you given birth before? Leave a comment below about the items you felt most helpful to you and ones that could have stayed home.
Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!