In celebration of the 100th post, part seven in a ten-part series.
Around here, we answer the phone with the preface “Baby on the inside.” Thus, in a sing-song: “Baby on the inside; hello.” Not that friends and family wouldn’t expect to have been informed somehow or another that the baby got himself on the outside. But for some reason, since he dropped into ready position several weeks ago, and he’s already way bigger than the biggest bowling ball any amateur would want to bowl with, it is a matter of widespread bamboozlement that he’s still snacking on the inside. But I’d be doing that if I were him. It’s a Caddy in there.
Meanwhile we try hard not to devolve into staring alternately at the clock and the belly, lunging for the hospital bag every time another “Braxton Hicks” passive labor contraction comes along. Instead, I try to keep focussed on these
Ten things to do whilst waiting the sweet eternity for baby #2 to emerge:
1. Anything the obscenely pregnant mum wants; anything at all. Repeat when necessary. Mutter passive-aggressively under your breath if the request seems unreasonable, but do it anyway. Because being this pregnant is unreasonable. She is within a stone’s throw of a nine month-long ascent of Everest, and you can’t blame her if the thin air is making her brain do funny things. You may find yourself hallucinating, too. Be kind to yourself, and then SNAP OUT OF IT! Look at her! She hasn’t been capable of seeing anything south of her belly button for months!
2. Arrange care for kid #1 for the duration of your time away at the birth and afterward. But work to make peace with the inevitability that no matter how seamlessly you try to ensure that her routine will be undisturbed, bringing home a whole new person – who, much to her dismay, will not be returned after a trial period –is going to be anything but routine. Adjust your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.
3. Attempt to do absolutely every backed up repair job (a.k.a. “honey do” jobs) around the house. Call in every favor you can with every handy friend you have, if you got ’em (both favors and handy friends, that is). Then give up on fixing everything and settle for the three things your sweetie is most likely to notice over the next few months.
4. Arrange for food delivery from friends and family for at least a week, maybe two following the birth. The upside of this is, you have the opportunity to introduce your fresh baby to friends and family, but not all of them on the same day. We had “latching issues” with kid #1, and were so stressed out about it that we really could only handle an hour at a time of anyone’s company after we left the safe haven of the hospital.
The idea of a self-imposed house arrest was an idea we got from the childbirth education class we took in anticipation of our first birth; we did it then and were massively grateful for every hour of peace we had as a new trio. For a body recovering from the major event of childbirth, it’s a medical necessity. For anyone properly in awe of the arrival of a new life, however it finds its way into your home, it’s an emotional necessity.
5. Rummage around and find all the little bitty fresh newborn paraphernalia that you packed away when kid #1 outgrew it, get all teary and nostalgic and hum “Sunrise, Sunse” from Fiddler on the Roof as you slowly unpack it. [Thanks to The Heavenly Harpist for her rendition of this classic.]
6. Arrange for the first supply of diaper deliveries if you’re doing cloth, or go get a bunch of the disposable kind if you really despise Mother Earth and want her to die a slow, miserable death smothered under tons and tons of non-biodegradable diapers. If you are going the cloth route, try to conceal from your eco-chums that on kid #1 you threw cloth overboard after a year and a half, opting instead for chlorine-free, bio-degradable, free-range paper diapers simply because they’re so gosh darn convenient.
7. Write down the phone numbers of everyone you’re going to call from the hospital with the good news (presuming it’s a hospital birth, and of course presuming it’s good news). Before you put the list in your wallet, laminate it if at all possible, just so’s not to leave any obsessive-compulsive stones unturned. Because what if you forget your cell phone (presuming you have one)? Or what if you remember your cell phone and it forgets all the numbers? Anything can happen, people. You may even forget your fingers so be prepared to dial with your nose or a pencil held in your teeth.
8. Go get a double stroller on Craigslist, or
eBay [oops! never mind! check this out], or some place sensible. Whatever you do, don’t go to some bourgeois baby boutique and pay retail, just because it’s more expedient and you and the Big Missus are going stir-crazy waiting for the kid to come out. You’ll totally regret it. That is, unless you get an orange Phil & Ted’s baby buggie that pops into a dozen different two-kid configurations and drives like a Beemer, man. Meep meep!
9. Get a haircut, dude! Because you are soooo not doing anything but wall-to-wall childcare for six weeks after the birth, and by then your hair will be all huge and Shaun Cassidy-like, at which point no matter how adorable your newborn is, you will pray not to be seen by friends out on the street.
10. Appreciate your remaining time together as a trio. This first kid has been gently drawing your parenthood out of you for the past two plus years, and nothing — aside from coming out, or falling in love, or living through the deaths of loved ones — has changed you so profoundly. Look into her eyes, and the eyes of your beloved, and give thanks.