Here I am just 2 days shy of 39 weeks! I know a lot of ladies go late their first time around, but my doctor was feeling pretty good about this one making a debut in August! I am eagerly anticipating baby boy's arrival - I feel like a kid with a bad concept of time and Christmas is on the horizon. Every day you wake up hoping it's Christmas morning only to find out you have to wait just a little bit longer.
To pass the time I was working on the baby book (I've got to keep the First Time Parent tradition alive of getting a few pages into it before I get overwhelmed and leave it incomplete for 18 years), and on two separate pages was essentially the same question, "what preparations have been made for baby's arrival?" and "what has your family done to prepare for baby's arrival?" I had to scratch my head at this, because it seems really silly to put that in there twice, I mean we have a nursery together, what else could there be to warrant two answers? Maybe the double question is legitimately an editing mistake, but I wanted a unique answer for both spaces (gotta be thorough for possibly the only 3 pages I'll ever finish) so it got me brainstorming all the ways in which Troy and I have gotten ready for our son. Turns out the answer is more varied than I would have thought!
How We Have Prepared for Baby
1. Finished 99% of our major house projects. This is top of the list because it required pretty much all our free time all summer to do! We knew that when baby got here all construction type activity would be at a standstill because a) who wants that noise and dust around a baby? And b) how could you possibly want to do anything besides sleep and coddle your newborn? #aintnobodygottimeforthat. Pretty much every weekend has been completely dedicated to home improvement with Troy doing much of the work by himself. I am very proud of all that I was able to accomplish given my Delicate State, but I can't kid myself into believing that I did anywhere close to 50% of the work (which would ordinarily be the goal). And a huge SHOUT OUT goes to Troy's dad, Dave, as he gave up several weekend days to come over and help. We are forever grateful for his efficiency and wisdom (aahh, so good having an engineer in the family!). Here's the final tally of what was completed (feel free to skip this part, dear Stranger, it's mostly for my own pride that I'm writing this all down):
- Cleaned and reorganized the garage (seems easy when it's typed out, in actuality it took about 3 weeks with multiple trips to Goodwill, electronics recycling, paper recycling, sorting our remaining shit errr "stuff" into well-labeled boxes, a lot of grunt work tearing down shelves, patching and repainting the walls, putting new racks up, and cleaning endlessly - but as a result we can park a car in the garage, who would have thought?!)
- Replaced flooring and heater in nursery (this included tearing out carpet, fixing our hot mess of a subfloor, prepping for new floor, laying new floor, cutting and installing baseboards, and fighting with electricity to install a new heater)
- Replaced all of the interior trim around our doors
- Replaced two of the doors
- Cleaned out and moved furniture out of our office (another way more lengthy process than it needed to be, that room was the junk drawer of rooms)
- Replaced flooring and heater in our office (just like nursery, no small task!)
- Bought a full sized dumpster (20 footer!!) to clear out the last of the trash in the garage (mainly the carpet we removed)
- Cut down a tree in our front yard (to go in the dumpster while we had it)
- Replaced exterior trim (we hadn't gotten it back up from when we repainted our house LAST YEAR)
- Patched and repainted the office walls
- Moved furniture back into office (really our furniture has been playing musical chairs all summer)
- Weed whacked and power washed the driveway (we had an almost-thriving meadow between the cracks in the cement)
- And all the menial in between tasks that comes from homeownership like picking up apples from the apple tree in our backyard (ideally before it starts smelling like a distillery...didn't quite achieve that this year), and fixing random things that are broken/need paint/squeak too much/etc
2. Finished the nursery! This is where I was most involved this summer. While Troy was using power tools LIKE A BOSS I was cleaning, decorating, and organizing everything for the baby's room. Sometimes traditional gender roles just work out, you know? I love how it came together. I went in with no idea of a theme and just wanted to fill his space with things that I find inspirational. Turns out that is a lot of vintage animal art (go figure). I hope he is as big of an animal lover as I am because there are literally like 2 things that don't have animals all over them...Regardless he has a safe place to sleep (although he will be in a co-sleeper in our room for the first few months), plenty of supplies for us to lovingly tend to his poopy butt, and a ton of books that he won't be able to read for half a decade at least... I loved getting all of his things together and doing loads of super tiny laundry!
We also made sure to have space in our bathroom, cupboards, and closets for baby gear that doesn't belong in the nursery. It's not a huge house, so it took awhile to find dedicated space for a third person!
3. Worked out a birthing plan, sort of. So the first two points are how we physically changed our space to get ready for baby, and that is what I thought of immediately when I read the question. Of course, there are more abstract ways we have prepared also. First and foremost, was figuring out how we were going to bring him into the world in the first place! Now granted, I type this from the easy-going perspective of a first time mom that has never experienced labor. I can't guarantee how it's going to go and I am fully aware of that, the important point is that we have thought about it, talked about it, and I feel ready physically and emotionally to take on the challenge of delivery day! I'm going to save the details for a future post wherein I shall discuss my dream birth versus reality birth ('cause I know y'all will be dying for all the gory details).
4. Bump bonding. What better way to prepare for a baby than to start bonding with them? By all accounts (aka random web articles) it's a good idea to talk to your bump since your babe can hear you from about 23 weeks on. They get to know your voice, and you get into a good routine of communicating to your child (I hear it is appropriate parenting to talk to your kids on occasion). It's sort of like getting ready to meet someone IRL (Nana and Mom, that stands for "in real life") that you have only talked to through the Internet, except their online bio is a mix of super vague cliches and a language you don't understand. Somehow they still seem cool and the two pictures they have posted are goddamn adorable - you can't wait to see what they are actually like! I talk to my bump a lot, and I'm glad for it. It's gotten me used to referring to him by name, and it keeps me daydreaming about the person he will be when he gets here, which is a fun past time.
I also spend a lot of time just staring at my stomach for movement. In my head I lovingly refer to it as "whale watching" because once you start you can't stop, like having lunch on the coast and wanting to participate in conversation but you just can't put down the binoculars because what if there are whales out there? Luckily, watching for kicks has become increasingly more successful, and fills me with happiness every single time.
5. Husband and wife bonding. We are absolutely thrilled to start sharing our life with our son, but we realize that this is going to throw a wrench into our marriage dynamic for better and for worse. We have been dating/seriously committed/married for 15 years all told, and have created an effing fantastic relationship. It's time for us to raise our glasses and salute the Partnership That Was because it's gonna change any minute now. I know we will get through it all together, but the blissful couple-centered lifestyle we have been living will be no more. So we are getting in all the date nights we can and savoring the last of our calm, free, childless moments.
6. Planning on the fact that he will be an adult some day. If this whole baby thing goes well I should successfully have an adult son in 18-45 years (define: adult). It may sound crazy to start preparing for a time so far away, but a lot of us do, what are baby books for anyway? Babies can't read, so the whole purpose is to create sentimental nostalgia for an adult that can't remember this part of their life. When I was 18 my mom one-upped the baby book concept and gifted me a beautiful chest full books that touched her heart in some way (that she personalized by writing notes to me in the covers of them all), artwork I had done as a child, and most meaningful, a journal of my childhood from her perspective. It wasn't long, an entry or two every few years, but they were glimpses into a part of my life I have only vague recollections of. She wrote about dreams I had told her, funny stories of daily antics, and how she felt about me growing up. It is a possession I cherish, one of the things I would save from a fire. I want to pass on the same memories to my son and have already started his book. The nice thing is that it's a more relaxed platform than a baby book (I don't have to answer the same question twice!). Similar to talking to him in utero, having this book already makes me feel more connected to the individual that will be receiving it one day!
7. Having others dream for him too. Our whole family is excited to meet this boy. As we have all counted down the months, then weeks, now days to his arrival it's been fun to hear how the rest of the clan is dreaming of their relationship with him. He has a lot of people wanting to teach and spend time with him in many different ways. For me as a mother that has translated into knowing I have strong support system in place, which alleviates all of my fears about the future. Getting the house and nursery ready have been the most practical ways of preparing for him to get here, but having everyone share their already growing love for this guy has been one of the most rewarding. I know the joint excitement of his arrival will keep me positive and motivated as we make the transition from pre-birth to post-birth! We are lucky to have so many people rooting for us!
Especially now that I'm wrapping up this blog, hopefully my last pregnancy-related one (I'll update in a week if he's still cookin'!), I feel super eager for him to be born. The house is clean, my maternity leave (so to speak) has started, and I'm mentally prepared for a challenging yet successful labor. I'm ready when you are kiddo!
To my pregnant Perfect Strangers, are you at the end of your pregnancy and feel ready for baby to come? How about those that are still preparing? Mom's that have been through this all before, is there anything else you wish you had done before having your baby?
Non pregnant Strangers, is there anything in your life you are getting ready for? Back to school? Traveling? I'd love to hear what important things are happening!