If you are having your baby at a hospital or birth center you will need to pack a bag.  You are welcome to take whatever will help that hospital room become your birthing environment.  As you think about what to take consider the five senses.  What do you want to see, feel, smell, hear, and taste?  Think of colors.  Colors evoke emotion.  Red can be powerful.  Light blue can be calming.  Take pillows or blankets that are familiar and comforting to you.  Consider texture.  One woman I worked with took a very soft periwinkle baby blanket she had received as a shower gift.  She washed it in baby detergent and as she labored she had it draped across her abdomen, she felt its softness with her fingers and smelled the baby detergent.  It helped remind her of what her end goal was.  Another woman had pictures of the women in her family who lived out of state.  Their pictures reminded her of their love, support, and strength.  Several couples have had pictures of their dog or cat.  One woman had a picture of a 14,000 ft. peak she had hiked.  It reminded her that, much like her hike, she knew her end goal and although the way was challenging, she was curious to see what was around each bend on her way to the top.  Many couples who already have children will have a picture their older child.  Some have had pictures of great mentors or teachers.  One woman had a vase of flowers.  Aromas can also be helpful.  Take some essential oils you enjoy.  Some may be calming, others envigorating.  Music is powerful.  Create a playlist of relaxing music as well as one of energizing music.  Lighting is important.  Most hospital rooms have various lighting options.  Open flames are not permitted in hospitals but battery-powered candles can help create a comfortable environment.  As far as taste is concerned, there is a wide variety of options.  Take Gatorade, or something similar–a couple of your favorite flavors.  Jolley Ranchers or gum can also be useful.  As far as toiletries go, take enough for mom and her support partner for 2-3 days.  Take comfort measures such as a massage tool, any relaxation scripts you may enjoy, massage lotions or oils, and comfortable clothes for mom and dad.  A camera that is ready to go with plenty of memory space and batteries is important as well as a phone charger.  The hospital won’t let you take your baby home without a car seat so be sure to have that ready along with the clothes your baby will wear home.  The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, and baby clothes and blankets while you are there.  Hospital rooms are nice, but you can create it to be your own place with a few things from home.

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