So… you're expecting. Congratulations! A baby on the way leaves you feeling so much love, excitement and joy. It also leaves you with a million questions and maybe even some worry. Not to fear: You aren't the only one. It's totally normal to wonder what the delivery room is going to be like. Especially if you're a first-timer!

Pro tip: Pack a Hospital Cuddle Box in your hospital bag to ensure you have everything you need for baby's first outfit.

We thought you’d want to hear about one new mom’s real-life journey to and expderience in the delivery room. This Chicago mama-to-be brought our Hospital Cuddle Box with her so she had everything she needed for baby’s first outfit. And she is giving us the 4-1-1 on what her hospital experience was like...
I realized labor was starting when:

I was 39 weeks exactly and felt some cramping early that morning. By 2 pm I was having strong contractions 12 minutes apart. 

We headed to the hospital after:

we called the doctor on call when the contractions increased and were 6 minutes apart. They instructed us to come to triage. 

The drive was:

about an hour to Prentice Women's Hospital. We ran into traffic coming from the far northwest suburbs and I think my husband was more stressed about getting there as quickly as possible than I was.

My contractions felt like: Really bad menstrual cramps.
After checking in, I: was weighed in triage, put in a room where they checked how dilated I was and immediately said I would be admitted.
Then I was: brought upstairs to the delivery room where they started an IV and the delivery doctor came in to discuss the birth plan. 
What surprised me the most is: going into labor’ your water doesn’t always break and sometimes the doctor will break it if your labor stalls. 
Pushing is: not as painful / strenuous as I ever thought it would be. Albeit, I had an epidural three times and pushed for less than 30 minutes with each baby. 
The craziest part of delivery is: the overwhelming emotions that come with delivering your baby. I could never believe my pregnancy was over after pushing and a healthy baby was finally in my arms. 
The best advice I received was: to push the button on the epidural when needed, but not too much that you couldn’t feel the contractions. 
The most painful part for me was: getting the IV and epidural since I have a phobia of needles. Once I had both, my delivery was easy. Postpartum uterine contractions with the third delivery were the most painful. 
I’m so happy I: got to experience going into labor once on my own since my other two pregnancies I was induced. I was also so happy to be lucky to have three easy deliveries with healthy babies. 
The best question I asked was: whether or not I can use formula in addition to breast milk for my third to avoid struggling mentally postpartum. 
I was so relieved I brought: cozy socks, as well as my own pillow and blanket. 
What I wish I had packed in my bag is: a heating pad for the postpartum contractions. They did provide throw away heat packs, but they don’t last very long. Overnight it would have been nice to have my own heating pad to avoid having to switch them out frequently. 
My biggest tip for first time moms about to deliver is: to have your hospital bag packed and have your postpartum toiletries purchased and organized for when you arrive back home. Both for me always made me feel less stressed about taking care of myself and allowed me to focus on the baby in addition to my own recovery.