Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:50PM
I know it's been ages and a LOT has happened, but I'm just going to jump right in. Our daughter's pregnant! Due in September and we all couldn't be more thrilled! I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago, helping get the nursery ready. Thank goodness my son inlaw is "handy" because just about everything rquires some sort of assembling. We checked off most of every list our daughter had. And believe me, with all of the friends, family, medical people and apps (oh yes, "there's an app for that!") that had tips and suggestions, the lists were long. I had a ball, it was great and they're ready! But the baby needs a little more time to bake, so I'm sending nothing but positive thoughts and prayers their way!
In the meantime, I'll share a very helpful list provided by my cousin Aimee (and her bffs), with 3 kids (a set of twins) in 3 years all under the age of 4.
BEFORE THE BIG DAY
- Schedule to have your house cleaned a week before your due date, then 3 weeks later, and then 3 weeks after that. And pay ahead on bills.
- Write all your thank you notes now. You'll have zero interest in using what free time you no longer have, to write thank you notes after the lil' one shows up.
- Scan your ultrasound pictures and print them out. The originals will fade and crack overtime if filed away or put in the baby book.
- Confirm who's enlisted to make the calls re: food deliveries, so that everyone isn't calling you and spouse. Tip: tell baby shower organizers to advocate for restaurant gift cards for take out too.
- SIDEBAR: food deliveries during the first few weeks are not "shin digs." They do not require you to clean the house or drop everything to show off the baby. Your husband's job: answer the door, take the food, allow you to chit chat for the length of a commercial, and be the closer (the door closer ;)-
- Take some time to journal, at least once, in the days leading up to delivery. Or think of writing the baby a note. You'll reflect fondly on the exercise and it will be written from a special point of view, that has a way of dissipating (sadly) after it's all over.
- Paying for a good car seat and stroller are worth the money. Sadly, you will not know what constitutes a "good" stroller until you've had your first baby. So ask your friends.
- Did anyone else think the chair - that was sure to be the most comfortable to breastfeed in - was, instead, a sink hole? Straight back - padded arms, that's all I have to say. Agreed. Yes...agreed.
- Poetic reference from Liz, regarding the first 6 weeks: "Live frugally on surprise," specifically amid recovery (short or long), potential trials with breastfeeding, irritation with hubby or the grandparents, and sleep deprivation. There's beauty all around you and it's a personal test to see if you can appreciate it despite everything else.
AT THE HOSPITAL
First things first: Every moment of your life as a woman [thus far anyway] is coming to a big climax. Take a deep breath and revel in it. Then give your spouse a HUGE, HEARTFELT, hug. -- Sidebar: this is a good idea, because your husband will likely be so anxious and stressed out, he'll forget to do the same for you. Do this, and watch him relax, regain focus, and be reminded, that you're amazing.
Call your parents (mom), if not near by. Make sure your hubby calls his parents too, at least once!
- Take with you 3-5 pairs of good quality, high wasted, Lycra/cotton underpants to the hospital. IN BLACK! They'll hug your tummy post-delivery and will make you feel like wonder woman. Plus, what will be given to you at the hospital as "underwear" doesn't even deserve to be referred to as "underwear."
- Bring two pairs of cute "day" clothes + jammies, with EASY access to the boobs. No cute pull over tops or dresses.
- Pack your own pillow.
- Pack the same dopp kit you would otherwise travel with. Don't skimp. There won't be any counter room, but you'll feel better if you have everything you would otherwise use/need, and you'll look back on pictures without wincing. ...This includes your hair dryer.
- This point is not fully appreciated/understood by first timers until post-delivery: Take the squeegee bottle home with you.
- There's an expression: shit happens... sometimes in labor.
- Here's a new expression: hemorrhoids happen, afterwards. So sad, but true.
- Suggestion: if possible, have someone deliver your first meal, for after delivery. It can be packed in Tupperware and nuked there. Healthy snacks, fresh fruit, and refreshments always good too. Otherwise, you'll be reduced to eating hospital food and sending hubby out.
- RE: Your first time breast feeding. It hurts. Period. If the pain persists and feels "hot," like a blister forming on your ankle in tight ski boots = not good. This is true. But in the beginning, don't kid yourself - your nips need to callus. Anyone who says different is delusional. This includes the lactation consultant. Focus on the latch, not on whether baby is getting enough or if s/he is starving. It's all about the latch, nothing else.
- It is not weird or out of line to demand that people wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer before holding the baby.
- Your spouse should play goalie on this point. Communicate this to him ahead of time.
- HOT TOPIC: Should the grandparents be present at the hospital? Arrive a few days later? Arrive 3-6 weeks later? Ask the veterans, i.e. your friends. Then decide and communicate your expectations clearly to loved ones. If you have a good delivery and everyone is healthy, you'll feel better than you might imagine, by day 3-4, and you'll want the people you love around. Share the experience, at least to whatever degree makes you comfortable and happy.
- It's cliche - but "sleep when the baby sleeps" is actually really good advice.
- Walk and walk often. WALKING WILL MAKE YOU REGULAR AGAIN, speed up recovery, and get your head straight. -- AMEN.
- Kiss and hug your spouse. Tell him he's doing a good job. It will remind them to do the same for you.
- Spandex and Lycra are wonderful. Invest in some good yoga wear, one size larger than pre-pregnancy.
- Call the pediatrician, without hesitation, if you need expert advice, even on the mundane.
- Starting on the first night, check your attitude as often as you check the diaper. If you're short, it's probably just exhaustion. If your spouse is short, it's probably just exhaustion. Keep it in perspective.
- Head's up: you're husband will defer to you when he doesn't know how to calm the baby, as if YOU have ALL the answers. Keep calm and just brainstorm.
- Take heart. There really are a limited number of reasons why a healthy new born cries: Dirty diaper, wet diaper, hungry, gassy, extremely tired, irritated (noise/hot/cold), or injured/in pain (rash, pinched skin from diaper, etc.). Your job isn't to respond, as much as it is to forecast and prevent.
- DON'T HESITATE to ask Mom, MIL, or anyone else visiting, to pitch in with the housekeeping. Your job: hold and feed the baby - and rest. Visitors can do the dishes and laundry for you, and hold the baby while you're sleeping.
- Take baby outside in the early mornings, between naps, AND (as often as you can) before sun down. Research shows that babies exposed to lots of afternoon sunlight sleep better at night. Healthy circadian rhythms are a must.
- Criticism has a way of popping up in the implicit comments of unexpected people - this can include family members and even close friends. Just ignore it, and try not to file it away. If they've got kids of their own, they're not you. And if they don't, then they don't know what they're talking about.
- At six weeks, send your OB a thank you note with a picture of the baby. And send your primary L&D nurses a thank you note too.
- Smooch, hug, whisper to, fawn over, smile at, coo to, and love on the gift you've been given! GREAT JOB MOMMY! YOU'RE AMAZING!
Great advice, all of it! If you've got some other tips, please share!