Pre­par­ing to be pre­pared

Maryland Independent - - Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

We’re in the fi­nal weeks, friends.

Though I’ve tried not to be the eas­ily an­noyed preg­nant wo­man, Preg Meg has emerged many times — es­pe­cially in stress­ful sit­u­a­tions. Mi­nor in­con­ve­niences quickly be­come code-red melt­downs, even when I know (in­tel­lec­tu­ally, any­way) that I’m blow­ing things way out of pro­por­tion. I’ve al­ways been good at that. Have I ever told you about the time I was voted “mood­i­est” in my high school drama depart- ment’s end-of-year awards? Giv- en it was, in fact, an af­ter-school club filled with hor­monal teenagers al­ways in the midst of some per­sonal cri­sis, that “honor” re­ally meant some­thing.

I prob­a­bly still have the cer- tifi­cate some­where. Likely in the guest room, which has now be­come the haven of all the ran­dom be­long­ings and mem- ora­bilia we were pre­vi­ously stor­ing in the new baby’s room. Mov­ing junk 10 times be­fore fi­nally just get­ting rid of it is a great calo­rie-burner, you know? Have to stay fit some­how.

The baby’s nurs­ery is def­i­nitely shap­ing up. It feels good to con­tinue check­ing projects off our lists: all prep work for when Baby No. 2 makes her ap­pear- ance. As we get closer to my March due date with­out com- pli­ca­tions (knock on wood), I’m ac­tu­ally al­low­ing my­self to day- dream about hav­ing a “nor­mal” de­liv­ery. My doc­tor re­cently de­clared there to be no rea­son to sus­pect I won’t go full-term — a sweet re­lief.

Rec­og­niz­ing that life and ba- bies are un­pre­dictable, I’m not mar­ried to the idea of a birth plan. I mean, if my ex­pe­ri­ences with Oliver are any in­di­ca­tion, that would be fool­ish. I spent more time griev­ing the “nor- mal” (what’s nor­mal?) birth ex­pe­ri­ence I did not have than I did fo­cus­ing on the many pos­i­tives af­ter our pre­emie was born in 2015.

I don’t want to do that again. I promised my­self I wouldn’t.

While there is, of course, noth­ing wrong with plan­ning ahead, I need to stay loose. I can’t let my­self fall into the abyss of want­ing to pre­dict any of the myr­iad sit­u­a­tions in which I could bring this lit­tle girl into the world. There’s just no way to know, and I’ll make my­self crazy. Easy to say. Harder to do. Be­cause I was in­duced with Oliver, I never “went into la- bor” in the tra­di­tional sense. There was no cine­matic “My wa­ter broke!” mo­ment; no fran- tic phone calls to rel­a­tives or fight­ing traf­fic to reach the ma- ter­nity wing. I’d al­ready been hos­pi­tal­ized for days at the point in which my preeclamp­sia be­came se­vere enough to re­quire an early de­liv­ery. I was 32 weeks along with Ol­lie — two months be­fore my due date. We were not ready. This time? Well, this is a doover. My chance to tend to all the house­keep­ing items — dec- orat­ing the nurs­ery; putting to­gether the crib; heck, even pack­ing an ac­tual hospi­tal bag — that we put off in 2015, think- ing we had plenty of time.

My sis­ter bugs me end­lessly about the hospi­tal bag; the “friendly re­minders” started early with baby girl. Be­cause I’d never got­ten around to throw- ing toi­letries, clothes and other ne­ces­si­ties into a tote last time, my hus­band was left to gather ev­ery­thing with­out guid­ance af- ter I was hos­pi­tal­ized lo­cally. It was tense and stress­ful; things were for­got­ten, of course.

Then I was taken by am­bu­lance to a med­i­cal cen­ter in Bal- tim­ore with a Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit (“just in case” of a pre­ma­ture baby, though the case came sooner than later). With no time to go home, Spencer ac- com­panied me with­out his own clean cloth­ing, toi­letries and any­thing en­ter­tain­ing to help pass the long, long days wait­ing around in our hospi­tal room.

In our de­fense, we couldn’t have known that we’d have been bet­ter off pack­ing a full suit­case from the be­gin­ning. But could I have been bet­ter pre­pared — es­pe­cially given I was in my third trimester? Ab­so­lutely.

It was strange be­hav­ior for me, ac­tu­ally, given I’m typ­i­cally very or­ga­nized. I was try­ing to be laid back . . . for the first and only time in my life. See where it got me?

This go ’round, the hospi­tal bag has been loosely packed — for Spencer, baby and me — for a month. As I ap­proached the 32-week mark, I be­came in­creas­ingly anx­ious about hav­ing projects done in case “some­thing hap­pened.” Now weeks beyond that mile­stone, I’m still grate­ful to have started pre­par­ing. If only for my own peace of mind.

We do have an added fac­tor to con­sider now: sweet Ol­lie, the soon-to-be big brother. When I needed to head to La­bor & De­liv­ery at 2 a.m. last preg­nancy, Spencer and I just went. But now? Well, co­or­di­na­tion will be key.

I’m hope­ful I’ll go into la­bor dur­ing day­light hours, but who knows. So I started jot­ting down thoughts (let’s not call them “in­struc­tions”) for my par­ents, sis­ter and brother-in-law — not know­ing who will ar­rive to help us out with Oliver or how long we’ll be away from him.

I sat down to type out Ol­lie’s sched­ule, naps, eat­ing habits, en­ter­tain­ment pref­er­ences and more. Though I re­al­ized about 400 words into my 800-word di­a­tribe that I might be go­ing over­board, I know that my mother — like me — ap­preci- ates hav­ing more in­for­ma­tion than less.

Should this email fall into the wrong hands, I would proba- bly be fea­tured promi­nently in snarky on­line ar­ti­cles about crazy he­li­copter par­ents. Still, it made me feel bet­ter to or­ga­nize and share this stuff. My fam­ily mem­bers are fully ca­pa­ble of tend­ing to an al­most 2-yearold, but I haven’t spent a night away from Ol­lie since he was re­leased from the NICU.

So maybe the “in­struc­tions” were more for me than them. But that’s OK. As we’ve seen, it never hurts to have a (loose) plan.

Te­dious tod­dler notes, a packed hospi­tal bag . . . we only re­gret the prepa­ra­tions we don’t make, right?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.