Preparing to be prepared
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?