Monday, November 15, 2010


As my 40 week due date looms right in front of me, this weekend I decided to finally get my hospital bag together, or as I call it, the "GOOOOOOOO!!!!!GET OUT NOOOOOOW!!!! LOCK AND LOOOOOOAD!!!!!" bag. For someone who tends to pack 30 minutes before a month long trip, I thought it would probably be in my best interest this time to not just wing it as forgetting toothpaste is probably slightly less of a hassle than forgetting clothes for your new human being or like, a car seat or whatever other lifesaving item I am supposed to know all about but will surely not bring. Is there really already so much to REMEMBER?

But this what I excel at.
Number one.....uh......BAG. I realized that the first thing I needed to buy for my hospital bag is an actual bag as my current options are a ratty backpack given free to FB at a science conference, my NY Knicks duffle bag that I stole from a friend in 2003 that has wiped the floor of practically every bar in New York and Paris as it has been used as my music gig gear bag (complete with gum stuck to the inside and a broken zipper), some heavy duty trash bags, or a giant four wheel suitcase with a broken wheel. Okaaaaay. I was comfortable moving across town via the metro with most of my belongings in trash bags and I have often hauled my accordion to across town gigs strapped to my back with a giant trash bag covering it like some sort of cape of yesteryear meets the homeless look.....but this time, I dunno, maybe I should present myself as a little more "professional" or something considering I will be taking a human being home with me.
"Yeah yeah, just put him the bag, he's fine there, RIGHT SON?"

So after purchasing a super cute bright purple wheely bag, I happily dropped a couple diapers in it, a blanket, one baby outfit and a shirt for myself, zipped it and called it a day.
That was easy.

Until my appointment this week. The hospital and my midwife gave me a printed out list of items to bring in TWO separate required bags (one for delivery room and one for the hospital stay). Huh? Uh......scanning the 40+ items on the list, I understood about three of them. What's a gilet? Coquilles recueil-lait? And what the hell is a gigoteuse? And why do I have to bring my own sheets? Wait, what IS this???

I enlisted the help of FB that evening to translate. I stood by the ever growing pile of "the baby crap" reading off the list, ready to pluck each item from the stack and throw it into the bag while FB put his "let's get serious" look on.

ME: OK, what's a velour pour l'hiver?
FB: A velour pour l'hiver.
ME: Yes. What is it?
FB: You know, a velour pour l'hiver. (FB's most useless learning tool for me...I ask what something means in French, he repeats it back in French. Thanks. So helpful.)
FB: know, that theeng you wear in winter.
ME: OK, is it a sweater? A shirt? A jacket? A coat?
FB: Yes.
ME: WHICH ONE?? I just said four things! A SWEATER COAT?
FB: Oui, oui, like that theeng...
ME: OK, I could be googling this WAY faster than you are helping me right now...
FB: OK! Sweater! Yes, it's a sweater. Jeez!

Item after item went on in this fashion, until we got to the brain teaser of them ALL....THE BODY.

ME: OK (scanning list)....what do they mean by "1 body"? I'm assuming it's not a corpse they are talking about and they probably don't mean "bring yourself" or "bring the body of the baby to be delivered".....
FB: Oh! Non non non, it's that theeng...
ME: Yeah ok, we've been down this THEENG road 23 times already....what makes this THEENG different from the OTHER 23 THEENGS?
FB: AAAAAAGH! Dana! It's that TIGHT theeng.
ME: Alright, I could go down about 400 inappropriate roads with that explanation....
FB: Non non! (he grabs his computer and does a quick search) It's THIS but not like this exactly! It's a body!

He passes me his computer with the following photo attached:

ME: Are you fucking kidding me?
FB: Non, non, but's that tight theeng....
ME: A sexy swimsuit. You are ACTUALLY saying that the hospital wants me to make ABSOLUTELY certain that I bring my sexy swimsuit to BIRTH MY CHILD IN. Do I need hooker heels too????
FB: NON!!! It's that THEEEENG...(he shakes his hands with frustration)
ME: Ohhhhhhhhh wait, do you mean a BODYSUIT?
FB: (with great relief) YES! YES! THAT'S IT! A BODYSUIT!
ME: (pause) Ok, well...that is actually EQUALLY as ridiculous as the sexy swimsuit. WHY would I need to bring a bodysuit to give BIRTH in?? I actually can't think of another type of clothing I would rather NOT try and give birth in...where is the baby supposed to go? Am I supposed to squeeze it into the bodysuit like some horrible modern dance gone awry? And more importantly, do I need to bring Jazz shoes?
FB: Non! You know, like maybe if you want to cover up something or something...
ME: What??? For like, modesty purposes? I'm GIVING BIRTH! Do I need a sheet with a hole in it too? OK, they can't POSSIBLY mean that....forget it....ok, moving on. Last item for the delivery room...what's a brumisateur d'eau?
FB: Oh! It's that theeng that puts water into the air.
ME: A humidifier?
ME: They want me to bring an actual HUMIDIFIER? Like, the machine??
FB: Yes!
ME: And that is supposed to fit in my bag? OK, do I need to bring a heating unit too? And some nurses uniforms? And lunch for 6? And a doctor? And some walls? And...
FB: I don't know why they put that but yes, it means a humidifier.
ME: Dude, you are worse than I am at this and it's your native language.
FB: Yeah well, whatever. How am I supposed to know what all this is either?? And it DOES mean humidifier. Hmpf.

I consulted FB's mother the next day who gave me all the answers I needed including the two major revelations that a BODY is actually a baby ONESIE, NOT a sexy swimsuit. And a brumisateur d'eau is the little water spritzer bottle you buy to spray on your face when you get overheated, NOT an actual humidifier machine.

Ahhhhh, the theengs you learn together along the way.....come on little rocker, we're waiting for you now in our sexy swimsuits.....and yes, I'm using the NY Knicks bag for the delivery room, gum and all. :)


Kelly said...

I'm laughing so hard I just peed a little. Bon chance at the birth xoxo Kel

MaTaCo dot com said...

please stop. i peed in my chair. "just put him in the bag.." haaaaa haaa haaaaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

good luck, darlin. Clearly, you'll be amazing at this.
I did every. single. thing. at the last minute. I did NOT have a hospital bag, we didn't actually own any diapers when our son emerged into the world. You're a fucking rock star.

Karen said...

you can do it. you can do it. you can do it. you can do it. you can do it.

Laura said...

all the best with birth!
we had a beautiful baby girl, Emma.
take care
Laura (the one sitting next to you at Message breastfeeding class)

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...


I just caught this post from lurking your FB page (November was a bit of a bust, blog-reading-wise, for me). I have died laughing at this. :)

"it's that theeng..."

I'm going to be saying this all night to myself. :)

So, if you have that kiddo today (6th) or tomorrow (7th), it's gonna be on either my S.O. or his 16-year-old son's b-day! Your kiddo will be in good company. In any case, that little Sagittarius kid has a lot to look forward to in the coming days, meeting such a funny mom & dad. :)

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

*reading again 'cause I just could not get enough the first time*

"Do I need hooker heels too????"

I'm actually cackling out loud in a freakish manner. :D

Oh girl. I cannot wait to get the birthing story!

Amber said...

Love this! You had me doubled over in laughter -- literally -- because I had a c-section here in France last week and just lived this same experience.
I keep thinking i'm going to do a blog post about what you need to bring to the hospital and give my two cents about it all because there's a lot of stuff that nobody showed me how to use (those coquille things, for example) and were thus worthless.

DO get the brumisateur d'eau -- if your labor lasts a long time like mine did, you can't eat or drink, and this is France so no ice chips -- they will let you spray this thing in your mouth (Try a brand like Evian if you want -- it's just water) and it'll be a big relief, especially if you have to have an IV and start to taste the medicine.. ick.

If you have any other vocab questions feel free to shoot me an email -- . I'd be more than happy to give you any explanations or translations that I can.

And gigoteuse -- my hospital called that a "turbulette" -- I was super confused. And you know what? They didn't even use it. They wrapped the kid in a blanket, after telling me that you absolutely should not ever do that. Huh.

My best advice, don't look for logic anywhere in the process and you'll be good to go. And don't worry about your operating block/delivery room bag, because you're going to hand it all to the midwife as it is, and not in a bag, because that's just one more thing to keep track of. it's more the idea of just "setting it aside".

Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I love that FB was totally confident in his translation of the sexy sex outfit necessary for having a baby. That's my favorite part.

A Seattleite in Paris said...

Too funny! I had images of a very pregnant woman wheeling multiple suitcases and a humidifier into the delivery room.

Kelly said...

I just directed a friend who is very pregnant to this post, and decided to reread it again. Again, as the first ten times I read it, laughing so hard I'm crying and making weird squeaky noises. Love you girl :)