Excess baggage – what’s in my hospital bag?

Five days until d-day and my hospital bag is packed and ready to go. But what should you pack for your trip to the delivery suite? Like everything else to do with pregnancy advice, if you ask google, there are a million and one different versions  (mostly seeming to require luggage the size of a steamer trunk). As I read through the lists, I realised that all I needed to do was apply my runner’s head to the problem, so in my bag there is…

Kit – This has to be something comfy and it can’t matter if gets sweaty and mucky. Ideally, it should be long enough cover all your bumpy bits (my running kit does not involve anything cropped), this is not the time to live out that anxiety dream of being out in public wearing something inappropriately short (or is that one just me….?).

Footwear – Something appropriate for the terrain. I have mostly been wearing flipflops since May (fat feet and an increasing reluctance to have to deal with laces) but have invested in a cheap stretchy pair of slippers from Tesco. I encountered hospital issue slippers and want nothing to do with them, mainly because I would trip over them and end up in A&E.

Unglamorous underwear – The top half requires supportive, well-fitting specialist scaffolding with technical bits (flaps in this case). Like sports bras, in terms of design and fabrics nursing bras do come in a variety of styles ranging from the practical to the more exotic. Like sports bras, I think you need a certain type of confidence to carry off one in leopard print. Especially as a novice. Bottom half (if you pardon the pun) requires large comfy pants. Let’s leave that one there.

Snacks – I’ll admit that my bag packing started with the snacks. This was a combination of the fact that food is usually a priority for me and it was less traumatic to consider food than some of the stuff that’s required for the business end of things. Snack-wise, the books stress how much energy you use during labour and are full of suggestions that sound familiar from long runs. For this reason, I have dried fruit, jelly sweets and cereal bars stuffed in my side pocket. I am willing to share these with Ginge if he asks nicely (if only to avoid the risk of him following the example of my friend’s other half who disappeared for a quick chicken kiev and chips in the midst of her labour).

Drinks – It has to be my usual race day selection – water for during, orange Caprisun and chocolate milk for after. Do not judge me.

Change of clothes – Something warm and comfy to change into after the event. Hopefully I won’t have to do this in the car park.

Safety pins – Oh. Actually, I don’t need those, must be force of habit…

In which I have a go with two new bits of kit and also don’t fall over

I started this post last week, but then Christmas intervened and it went into the folder of forgotten drafts. If I’m honest, in our house Christmas has actually got in the way of Christmas at times – my Christmas cake remains naked and the marzipan and icing remain unopened… ah well.

Anyway, the events of this post took place on December 18th.

On Sunday, I was giddy with the excitement of being able to run in daylight (it’s the small things that matter most) and settled on a precise distance of ‘somewhere between six and nine miles’. It was both bloomin’ freezing and slippy out there after a flurry of snow, so I decided to be turn the threats of personal injury and general mardiness into the opportunity of trying out new gizmos.

Firstly, my eGloves – after I was sent these, the weather became unseasonably warm and I hadn’t had a good opportunity to try them out. Since then, the temperature has dropped (anyone would think that it’s winter) and I’ve worn them purely for the simple function of keeping my hands warm. For the majority of the time, I have incredibly cold hands (good for making pastry, less good for making friends) and so far, the gloves have kept them toasty. My worry was that they might keep my hands too warm while running as this is the only time that my hands defrost somewhat. In fact, they kept me at a perfect temperature until I had about a mile to go and then I tucked them in the waistband of my tights until I got home.

Clearly keeping hands warm is the primary objective for most gloves, but the e-glove has some nifty science bits (apologies if this is too technical) on the fingertips, which allow you to paw at your smartphone and stay warm in all weathers. I don’t usually run with my iPhone,being somewhat accident-prone I can’t help thinking that it would all end in tears. However, I was running alone, Ginge was at work, it was icy underfoot and if I was going to fall on my arse, I wanted to be able to summon help.

Luckily, I had recently acquired an armband for my phone and this seemed the ideal opportunity to give it a whirl. My first challenge was to get the phone into its little neoprene papoose. I failed this challenge on the first attempt. Being somewhat accident-prone, I have a robust rubbery bumper on my phone which takes the sleek, iconic piece of design that Apple intended and turns it into something from the Fisher Price range. Only after I had tried to stuff the phone and its bumper into the case, only after I had sworn a bit, only after I had declared it to be a flawed design, did I realise that the problem was user error. I removed the bumper and it fitted in neatly…

It took a bit of fettling to get the armband securely velcroed onto my arm (turns out that they’re not as big as I think) and I suspect that I’ll need a bit of practice to be able to use my phone effectively while it’s on my arm. Having said that, the eGloves worked really well through the plastic screen and I was able to run to the Infinite Monkey Cage podcast, making me fitterer, strongerer and cleverer by the end of my run.

Oh and I ended up erring on the side of caution and only ran 6 miles. As home came into sight, the pavements became treacherous and I did a marvellous Bambi on ice impression but managed to stay on my feet. Result.