I wrote this post on Sunday, February 22, the day before we had our baby. I meant to post it that day, but that didn’t work out, and now we ended up being in the hospital for ten days after the delivery. Yes, life is full of the unexpected. You can make plans and have expectations, but not everything is in our control. Having a baby does give us time to plan and prepare, so this is my story of preparing for the birth of our baby.
I woke up really early this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I have so much on my mind. After all, we are having our baby tomorrow morning!
Even though I’ve had nine months to get used to the idea, it still doesn’t seem real that we’re actually going to have a son. I guess it will sink in once he’s born and in our arms. Throughout this challenging, eventful but very exciting pregnancy, I have seen God’s hand in our life in so many ways. Now that we are just a day away from the finish line, I can truly say that He has brought us this far and I am so thankful.
As we’ve been preparing for the arrival of our new family member, my type A personality has been kicked into high gear. I have been making my lists, checking them twice and getting the greatest satisfaction from checking things off. I thought it might be fun to share what I have been doing recently to prepare for the baby. I realize that to be prepared for a baby, you only NEED a few very minor things and the to-do list in actuality is short. What can I say? The nesting bug has hit me with full force!
Preparing for a baby can seem very overwhelming, but you don’t have to get it all done in one day. That’s why you have more than 9 months, right? With the way I’ve been feeling throughout this pregnancy, I only had 2-3 good days per week, and on those days, I only felt good for 4 hours, max. It took me months to get things done, and I’ve had to write the same things over and over again in my planner, because the way I feel is very unpredictable. Oh, well. You learn to make do the best that you can.
I’ll start with what is important and actually DOES need to get done before you have a baby.
1. Pre-register at the hospital.
This was required in the hospital where we are having our baby. It might not be for you, but I would recommend doing so if you have the option, or at least get all your information in a convenient place, like a folder, which will make checking in and getting admitted go so much smoother. I did mine online. Easy, peasy. Make sure to have your ID and insurance card with you when you are ready to give birth.
2. Car Seat
In America, they will not discharge you out of the hospital if you don’t have a car seat installed in your car. We already had a car seat, since we’ve had two baby boys that we fostered for more than a year, so Sergi brought the car seat down from the attic, washed it and installed it in our car.
3. Pack My Hospital Bag
I’ve had a list going for months where I would jot things down that I didn’t want to forget to take with us. I’ve had lots of experience as a patient in the hospital, so I have a pretty good idea of what will be good to have. This includes things for myself, Sergi and the baby too. During the last few days, I’ve been setting all these things aside in our guest room. Sergi is the packer in our family. That man has a talent for fitting things in perfectly.
4. Washing Baby Clothes
We still had a whole box full of newborn baby boy clothes, so Sergi also brought that down from the attic. I am not particularly fond of doing laundry, but I got a bizarre amount of pleasure from washing all those cute baby outfits, blankets, burp cloths and tiny socks. That’s another thing I could do without too much effort and folded all the clothes while relaxing in bed. We were also very generously gifted with so many new baby clothes from our family and friends at our Baby Shower too. Our Nathaniel will be a very well dressed little man.
5. Go on a Hospital Tour
Most hospitals, (at least the ones that I know of) offer hospital tours for expectant parents. If that’s not something that you’re interested in, at least know where you’re going, how long it will take you to get to the hospital, where to park the car, etc.
The rest of the list isn’t NECESSARY, but nice to have done.
1. Find a Pediatrician
Of course, you can have a baby without having a pediatrician lined up. They will have a pediatrician in the hospital where your baby is born, but it’s nice not to have to look for one once you get discharged. The baby will need to follow up with a pediatrician very quickly, so it’s one less thing for us to worry about when we come home.
2. Clean the House and Car
I’ve been cleaning for the last few months. Since there are so many days when I don’t feel good, it has taken me much longer than normal. Instead of one good weekend of pulling up my sleeves and getting it done, I only did a few things at a time, whenever I could bolster up a little energy.
I’ve had this inner urge to clean every nook and cranny, every closet, appliance and room. It’s really funny, I don’t even know where it’s coming from, but I guess that’s what they call “nesting”. It’s as though I want to impress the baby with how clean our house is:). Ha ha. I admit that it’s MUCH easier to clean a house where there are only two adults and no children to mess it up all the time. Anyway, it feels AMAZING to have a clean and organized home. I always feel so much more relaxed and happy when my surroundings are clean. Sergi and I have that in common, so he’s been a huge help and he also made sure to have the car spotless. Is it necessary? Not at all. I absolutely get it, but I’m still thrilled that we got it done.
3. Stock up on Freezer and Pantry Staples, Including Freezer Cooking
Since I plan on taking it easy for the first few weeks that we are home, I wanted to have as much freezer and pantry items on hand as I could. This is also something very easy to do and it will be so convenient not to have too much grocery shopping to do once we are home from the hospital.
I only did a small amount of Freezer Cooking. I chose to cook things that were really easy. Having them in stock will be a big help though. My Mom will be staying with us for a while and Sergi is taking some time off work too, so I’m sure they will take great care of me.
Here are some things that I cooked:
- Chicken Broth – This was the most important thing for me to stock up on. Besides, it takes almost no time at all – place all the ingredients in the pot, cover with water and let it cook. I have just lived on Chicken Broth and soup for months now and it’s one of the things I can eat that at least gives me some nutrients, even when I can’t eat anything else.
- Savory Crepes – I had cooked chicken from all the Chicken Broth I made, so I saved it and made some of these crepes.
- Breakfast Burritos – Another super easy recipe that freezes really well.
- Lasagna and Stuffed Shells – It took me a few days to make this too, but since they both freeze really well and you need practically the same ingredients for both, it was a two for one deal. I made the same sauce and filling for both, making the sauce on one day, the filling on another and assembling it on still another day.
- Blueberry Muffins – To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have stocked up on these, but I had some blueberries that I needed to use up and I didn’t have the appetite to eat them, so into the freezer they went. I’m hoping to get my appetite back once the baby is born, so they will be a nice treat.
- Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Banana Bread – The same goes for this as well. Actually, I needed to use up bananas, Nutella and peanut butter. Can you believe it? I found this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction and it was perfect. It was really easy to make too. Sergi loved it and we have a nice loaf that just needs to thaw and be enjoyed.
- English Muffins – besides Chicken Broth and Soups, the other food group that I’ve been existing on is toast of some sort. English Muffins freeze really well too.
I have A LOT of other recipes and tips about Freezer Cooking, so if you’re interested, here are more posts and recipe ideas:
4. Utilize All Your Perishable Food
Since we’ll be in the hospital for a few days and then I don’t know when I’ll have the energy to cook again, I didn’t want to chance having a lot of food spoil. I’ve been getting really creative lately by using up everything that could possibly go bad. I didn’t buy any fresh ingredients since the week before, unless I knew for sure we would use it up this week. Our fridge looks very bare.
6. Pregnancy Photos
This is one thing that I really wanted to do, since I wanted to capture the memory of having a pregnant belly. We didn’t do anything too extravagant. On Saturday, Sergi and I took the pictures right next to our house, using a tripod and spent about 30-40 minutes only. On Sunday, we took a couple more shots, also not too far from our house. Not bad, huh? Keep it simple, Sally:). It sure is nice to have a husband with such awesome photography skills.
Since we had the nursery partially set up already for the foster children, (it was completely done in our apartment, but we never got the chance to finish it once we moved into our house this past summer) we didn’t have to do too much. We already had most of the furniture, and just needed to rearrange a few things and add a few new additions to make it fit the new room better. I’ve been having fun browsing through different cute ideas on Pinterest and most of the new things that I got were ordered online. Amazon is a wonderful thing. The nursery isn’t completely finished, but the baby will be sleeping in a bassinet in our room for the first few months anyway. I’ll share some pictures once we have it done.
8. Make Very Good Use of the Library
We have a phenomenal library system in our county. Not only can I read the books in the library that’s closest to us, but if one a book is not available in my local library but another library in county that is part of their system has it, I can order it and it will be delivered to my local library. I love this system and take advantage of it all the time. It sure saves us lots of money:).
Recently, I haven’t been to the library that often. Most of the time, I just ordered the books online and Sergi picked them up for me. I’ve collected quite a stash to await my recuperation time. I know, I know. Some of you will tell me that I won’t have time to read once the baby arrives. I’m one of the odd people that reads all the time. Even with two foster babies that we had before, I still enjoyed reading, so that’s something I’m sure won’t change. My books and I are just meant to be. It’s my favorite way to relax and I’m looking forward to enjoying all those new tomes.
The last thing on the list is the most important of them all:
Prayer, Practicing a Sprit of Gratitude and Having the Right Attitude
I can’t tell you how much it means to me that SO MANY people have been praying for us and our baby this whole time. Sometimes it’s hard to give up control and trust that God has our best interest in mind.
There are so many things that have happened throughout this pregnancy and so many things that are still unknown. The only way to staying sane and feel at peace is to be very conscious about keeping my mind on things that will build up and inspire. My secret is lots of prayer, reading the Bible, listening to my favorite music and hanging around encouraging people. I also love our church and our church small group. All of this has really kept my spirits up and helped me to stay calm and excited, not scared and anxious.
We have a chalkboard in our dining room and I like to write down different Bible verses on it. It’s a great reminder that we see all the time. For the past few weeks, I have had this verse from Isaiah 26:3 up on the board:
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Our son is 10 days old today. I wrote more about his birth in this post – Welcome to the World, Nathaniel Caleb. My heart is brimming over with thankfulness that he was born healthy and even though we had some little bumps in the road, it was all temporary and nothing serious. I will be forever grateful for God’s goodness and mercy and that He answers prayer.