There are a million things to remember when you're leaving for the hospital for the birth of your baby. Many of these things you won't care about once you get there, but here are a few things you won't want to forget when it comes to being in the hospital:
1. Hospital bag
Chances are this is something you'll have packed well before it's actually time to go, but just as a precaution, get this packed before you're anywhere near dilated, remember babies come premature all the time.
2. Itemized bill
Hospitals aren't perfect and their billing system certainly isn't ideal. Make sure to ask for an itemized bill so you can see exactly what you were charged for. This will guarantee that you aren't paying for things that didn't happen.
3. Birth plan
It's important to map out your ideal birth plan so your doctor and nurses know how to proceed. Are you planning on going natural or having an epidural? Are you planning on a C-section? That being said, depending on what your baby's plan is, be ready to throw this out the window.
You'll need to be flexible with your timetable. Just because you want your baby to come on its due date doesn't mean that it's going to happen. Don't underestimate the power of will either. There are hundreds of stories of people who seem to be able to will the baby to come or wait, depending on what it is they need.
Hospital food is included for the birthing mother, however, the husband should plan on bringing something from home since hospital food can be extremely expensive and not very warm.
6. Car seat
You may or may not have known this, but hospitals are not allowed to let you leave with your baby until they see the baby in a car seat that fits them and is strapped properly. Make sure you're ready with a car seat that fits a newborn.
Some women will stay in labor for 36+ hours. Be prepared to sleep during this time period. You're going to need every ounce of energy you can get once the baby starts to come. Fathers need to keep in mind how physically and emotionally exhausting this process is for them, too. If you're laboring, he should try to get as much shut-eye as possible.
8. Extra Help
I had the blessing of having my mother nearby, and she was able to come and spell my husband so he could run home, shower, change and sleep. If you have someone that is close to you, have them come and help so you and your husband can relax a little.
The hospital will want to take your baby to the nursery so you can sleep. Depending on how you're feeling, you may want to take them up on this offer. We did not with our first, and chances are, if it's your first, you will be too excited to say goodbye so quickly.
Remember, these are moments that you'll never be able to get back. Be sure to take as many pictures as you can of your beautiful new-born baby. They grow out of their new-born stage so quickly and you'll regret it if you don't get some pictures of your baby soon after birth.
Try not to sweat the small stuff, this will be one of the greatest days of your life, so do what you can to take it all in and do what you can to remember and internalize the feelings and events that take place.