Five things to do before the baby comes

At thirty-three weeks pregnant, the countdown has begun. Laurence asked me yesterday if we’re in the third trimester yet. I pray he was joking. At any rate, I’m determined to make the most of these next seven (or five or nine or God alone knows how many) weeks.

This does not entail, as has been previously suggested to me, clubbing. Anyone who’s made that suggestion (and they’ve tellingly all been male) doesn’t quite understand that this thing around my middle really is as heavy as it looks.

Nope, dancing days waved goodbye a week after I peed on the sticks. Then the first trimester’s exhaustion/nausea/generally-feeling-like-I’m-dying was speedily followed by the ligaments in my pelvic girdle deciding to fall apart and do a fancy jiggle called SPD. Though that’s admittedly chilled quite a bit with exercise and listening to my body, the third trimester has brought the return of exhaustion, coupled with needing to know where the restroom is at all times.

So, in short, I’m afraid this list won’t be as active as some of my friends would probably like but it reflects how excited I am about meeting the creature. Call me 25 going on 50.

Before the baby arrives I want to:

1. Get all things “baby” ready

This might actually strike some as surprising, since I clearly have the kid on the brain rather a lot of the time, but I haven’t set up the nursery yet. Yes we’ve bought things. We even have the pram and car seat. But everything is sitting in the room, mostly in bags, unwashed and wondering if a baby is really coming. Then Braxton Hicks rudely reminds me that it’s worth getting my tush into gear, even though I do have loads of time left.

2. Learn origami

I mentioned this to a crafty friend the other day and she seemed excited that we were going to make a mobile or something (not a bad idea though, not at all). Really, I meant that we need to work this nappy situation out.

We’ve opted to do the cloth nappy thing. My brother and I wore reusable nappies and I’m keen to continue the family tradition mainly because we don’t have much money and I saw an exhibition in Bristol Zoo last year that freaked me out about what disposables do the environment.

I now have a collection of pocket nappies, all-in-ones and terry toweling but little idea of how to use them so I’ll be having some fun with Videojug and online diagrams these next few weeks. I say “I” but I do mean “we”.

3. Write a birth plan

I vaguely know this is a good idea. My midwife told me to write one and then we could discuss it, which left me with a feeling reminiscent of coming up with my thesis proposal. Where does one start? Research? Gut instinct? So far, my mental birth plan is: “Have this kid at home with a plastic sheet handy and no drugs unless she’s in trouble.” So, uh, yeah I probably should put together more than that.

4. Read books

Three weeks ago, I ambitiously considered reading a book a week. What I forgot is that it always takes me a while to fall back into the habit of reading once I’ve fallen out of it. It’s strange that something I love to do has become so difficult.

My excuse is not a lack of time so much as a lack of discipline. My attention span is shot with all the distractions around me. But with the good fortune of being married to someone who not only likes to read but is good at tuning other things out (including an occasionally nagging wife) to do it, I should take advantage of the baby-less reading time.

So, this weekend, I turned the television off, ignored Twitter and let myself fall deeply into Crime and Punishment. At first, I just couldn’t get into it. But I resisted the temptation to go browsing blogs and eventually, the words became a story. It took me by surprise when I struggled to put it down so we could go to a friend’s barbecue.

My aim is now to read four quality books before the baby comes. And only fiction; nothing birth or baby-related counts.

5. Go on a babymoon

I’m not using this word in its traditional sense as in the time a mother takes to bond with her child and recuperate from birth in seclusion. Instead, I’m using it in the trendy “let’s go on a romantic holiday” sense.

Holidaying is something Laurence has had to teach me. I’m not very good at it by nature. I think it’s because I’m just not good at relaxing in general. My brain is always full of things to do. But with his efforts, I’m fully converted. It may be a little late for that, considering that our holidays are soon to be more of the family variety rather than the romantic or sexy kind. Ah well, better late than never.

This weekend he’s taken a couple of days off and we’re just going to kick it with stylish homemade dinners, cream teas, a walk through the woods and, if the weather allows, a trip to the beach. It’s babymooning on a budget, to be sure, but I’m so looking forward to just being us two.

There are, of course, lots of little things that need to be done but these are some of the big ones that have been on my mind. If you were in the last stretch of pregnancy, what would you do?

Images by: Nuno Duarte, Robin Taylor, Mamma Loves

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  • HerMelness has a good point. Enjoy baths, lie ins, walks (or waddles) in the sun along or with t’other half. You will have good times with a baby, but they will be different good times.

    Oh, and learn about wraps. Baby wearing is utterly fantastic, and a life saver if you get a small person who is into body contact.

    • Ah yes, baths for sure. I’ll dig out the candles and make the most of it. We’re looking forward to a good waddle along this weekend. I like what you’ve said about them being “different good times”. That’s encouraging.

      Actually, learning to wrap should be on that list. I haven’t bought one yet though. Still putting together my options. Any you’d suggest?

  • Yes, do enjoy your babymoon!! And also cloth nappies rock! Just make sure you have the bucket system down, and you’ll be fine! There’s something aesthetically fulfilling about pegging nappies on a line (though will English weather and your recalcitrant washing line allow that, I wonder?) Then taking them in (wonderful smell), and folding them neatly in a pile. I used to like looking at the neat pile in the cupboard – I guess it is a but like origami. Plus you can fold differently for boys and girls (I’m an expert at folding for boys!)

    • I can see what you mean about the aesthetic appeal! I imagine I’ll love that. My bucket and net are there but I haven’t quite sussed how it all works yet. It’s great hearing from mothers who’ve done the cloth nappy thing and loved it. I know quite a lot of people think I’m just giving us unnecessary work! But you managed it for three boys so, hey, it can work, right? Also, I am *trying* to train myself to fold laundry but good grief it goes against my nature!

      • Thanks for helping me change the pic (sorry mr dali!)
        The biggest help EVER in cloth nappies is to use nappy liners – but I guess you know this! Yep, cloth nappies can def work – you need at least 2 dozen for starters – and sometimes use 2 at night (or the thick terry kind) – impossible to get in Trinidad, where you can buy nappy cloth by the yard at any number of stores on High Street and stich your own!! (So easy to sew it makes even a novice feel like a seamstress!!)
        Just make sure you have the bucket routine going and do some washing – even if it’s just nappies – at least every second day, or it will pile up unbelievably!!

        • I just loved that you described Salvador Dali as a middle-aged clown!
          I was got the impression talking to my mum that liners weren’t around back in the day! My mum’s sewn me some terries with nappy cloth from self same High Street. And I anticipate they’ll need doubling up at night though I’ve also got some boosters from someone on freecycle. I fully take on board what you say about the washing. Our machine’s ready!

  • Oooh, not long now, how exciting! I would watch some films. It may be a long time before you can watch one uninterrupted. I actually found that I had loads of time to read books for the first four months or so of baby being here, as I used to feed him off to sleep then let him sleep in my lap for hours (no such luxury with baby2!). I second the wrap suggestion – especially as you’re homebirthing and cloth nappying, I sense babywearing might be your kind of thing! 😉

    • That’s interesting about the books. That’s a luxury I’ll be sure to grab hold of. A friend of mine is gearing up to have baby number two and I’m looking forward to seeing how the newborn plus toddler thing works. My own mum did newborn plus older baby. Mental. You’re wright, babywearing is something both my husband and I are keen on giving a go. Any suggestions for type of wrap?

      • Yes, for newborns I’d say a stretchy wrap. I had a Moby, which I loved, although a Kari-Me is similar I think and probably just as good. You could also try a Close carrier which looks a similar shape but is more ‘fixed together’. I also had a couple of linen wraps which are ideal for really hot weather, and a woven wrap which is gorgeous but a bit heavy for a newborn. Can you tell I love slings, haha! You can see a couple of mine here (in fact, I have the Moby and a couple of linen wraps to sell, although I don’t want you to think I’m posting about them just to try to sell them to you!)

        The best thing with babywearing, if you can, is to test things out with someone who has used them, to see what works best for you. Try to see if you can find something near you.

        • Like those who use cloth nappies, babywearers seem to love wraps evangelistically! Thanks for the link. Out of interest, where are you selling your wraps? Are they listed on your blog? I’ve heard that about slingmeets but does that mean you’ve got test things out with your baby or will someone else’s baby do?

          • oohhh…I loved my Hug-a-bub wrap, although it was an effort to get it on, I think there are now better versions on the market. I was a complete avid baby wearer but couldn’t stand the thought of cloth nappies (the anorak speaks…) from a chemical and envirnomental perspective, there’s actually not much difference between the cloth and the disposable nappy…although a friend of mine did Elimination Communication ( not because it’s a fancy idea, but because she was skint and wanted to save on both washing and buying disposables.

          • Thanks for the wrap suggestion. I know the environmental impact is debatable. Surely that’s also affected by whether you tumble dry, what temperature you wash them at, what materials you choose and what happens to them when you’re done using them? Most of it for me is money though and so far, if we do manage the reusable way, it looks like quite a saving. I imagine I’d also feel odd about using disposables considering that I don’t use pads and tampons but am all about my mooncup. Elimination communication sounds hardcore! Very interesting though and a surefire way to avoid nappy rash!

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