Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Having a Paddy...

This week, I decided it was time to start preparing my hospital bag.  Yes, I'm not due for a few weeks yet but I just can't break years of anal-retentiveness and must be prepared. Well in advance.  With a list.

But where to start.  Having had a home-birth with my daughter and limited hospital experiences, I was at a loss.  So I decided to follow the wise advice of my 6 year old, and 'just google it'.

Gosh.  What a revelation.

I am glad my husband has a station wagon - as this is going to be one rather large bag. Maybe a small suitcase.  Who are we kidding - I'm getting the international travel sized monster suitcase on wheels out for this.

Must haves include cheap underwear (seriously, they used the word cheap!), unscented body lotion and a mesh sponge.  I do not own any of these 3 items (and never plan to). What was most alarming was the order of the list - of the 20 'Must Haves for Mum' a digital camera with spare batteries was first, and a copy of the birth plan was last.  I'm not quite sure that I concur with those priorities.

The 'Must Haves for Baby' list is equally riveting reading... the 13 far more reasonable items include clothes, socks, and a going-home outfit.  But no nappies...  

Then we get to the 'Nice to Have' section which includes some new personal favourites such as 'a razor in case you feel like shaving' and a Bikini.  Nice to have when packing for a weekend at the beach - YES, nice to have whilst squeezing a watermelon sized human out your veejayjay - NO.

So now that I have my list I've been able to start collating the various items, and of course use the list as a very flimsy excuse for more shopping.  Which, to be fair, is about the only activity I am still able to undertake with any guarantee of success.

At the local supermarket I purchased 3 packets of maternity pads.  

[Men Warning (gosh - I could go anywhere with that headline - note to self for future blog topic): You might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs as it will completely destroy the mystery that is feminine hygiene.]

The first little shock was that I had to crouch down and discreetly snatch the pads from the bottom shelf.  Now, I understand retail display tactics - you put your biggest sellers with the highest margins front and centre.  But seriously, if you are needing to purchase maternity pads, chances are your bladder control isn't at its peak.  So squatting in the middle of a busy supermarket aisle (accompanied by the requisite grunting) is not ideal. I'm confident that the Head Merchandiser for Countdown will read this blog and take some action.  

The second little shock is that they are huge.  Actually, beyond huge.  They are monstrous.  To be precise, 30 cm long x 10 cm wide x 2cm deep (yes I did get the ruler out and measure).  They are bigger than my shoes.  Up until this point, I had been very relaxed about the whole giving-birth thing, but now I'm freaking out due to the size of the pads. How many litres of blood are we expecting here?  Google tells me that I can expect to go through between 30 and 40 of these giant absorbent planks in the first two weeks.  Bloody hell (literally!).

[Men - you can rejoin us now].

So in pondering the enormity of the product, I have come up with five alternative uses for Maternity Pads;

1.  Shin Pads.  Whether it be cricket, soccer or hockey, these puppies will cushion your shins and stop the bruising... and with their unique self-adhesive backing you can even use them without the obligatory knee-length socks.

2.  Chemical Spill Cleanups.  With all this kerfuffle over deep sea oil drilling, I have the obvious solution.  A floating ring of pads around each of the drilling rigs will be sure to soak up any escaping oil.  And at less than $5 a packet, that has to be cheaper than the traditional methods.  

3.  Gumboot Liners.  Nothing worse than getting damp feet at your annual gumboot outing (also known as "visiting the Fieldays to demonstrate you're a 'real' kiwi").  Stuff one of these beauties into each of your Red Bands and not only will they absorb the sneaky water that finds its way in through the teeny crack you didn't realise was in your left boot, but they will also provide some lovely cushioning as you trudge through the mud.

4.  Building Insulation.  A disclaimer - I haven't checked fire retardancy of the product. However, logic would say that maternity pads would be awesome insulators.  Stick 'em to the outside of your hot water cylinder.  Wrap them around your pipes.  Climb under the house and adhere them to the underside of your floor.  The options are virtually endless.

5.  Teenage Baby Repellent.  There is much dialogue about how to reduce unwanted teenage pregnancy in NZ (see footnote).  I think compulsory maternity pad wearing is worthy of trial.  Simple enough - all young teenage women must purchase and then wear said product. Ideally, the wearing aspect would be undertaken whilst on every date.  Let's see how far things progress when that little treasure is discovered.

But for now, it's back to the Hospital Bag List for me... maybe I'll go bikini shopping just to scare the salespeople...


In the early 21st century New Zealand had one of the highest rates of teenage births of the high-income countries in the OECD. The rate of births for women aged 15–19 years was 28.4 per 1,000 women in this age group, exceeded only by the US (41.9 per 1,000). The New Zealand rate was similar to the rate for the United Kingdom (26.1).

Rates of births to younger women were lowest in Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. These countries all had rates of six per 1,000 or less, despite reported youthful sexual experience in Scandinavian countries.
While the rate of teenage pregnancy is high in New Zealand relative to other OECD countries, the percentage of all births that are to women under 20 years old has dropped dramatically since the 1970s.
Source: UNICEF, Child poverty in perspective: an overview of child well-being in rich countries. Innocenti report card 7. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2007. 

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