When I had my first baby, I brought a giant wheelie bag to the hospital, big enough for months of international travel, or for me to crawl inside — which, come to think of it, would have been a great way to get my miserable, laboring body from the parking lot up to the maternity ward. This monster suitcase contained a pillow from home, a fluffy bathrobe, slippers, scented candles, the baby book, and some light reading, I used none of these things.
I’d packed according to a checklist I found on some website, not counting on the fact that the hospital would provide for all of my basic needs. For instance, I had no idea about those genius mesh underwear they give you. Why ruin my own skivvies with afterbirth when the hospital was providing comfie disposables?
Also, I didn’t realize that I’d never once leave my hospital room until checkout time, so it didn’t exactly matter what I was wearing. Gone are the days of visiting your newborn in the nursery. With the baby lying in with me, there wasn’t much sightseeing to do.
So as I prepare to give birth again, I’ll be bringing a much smaller and mostly empty bag — that way I can still stash some hospital-grade freebies, like the soothing coochie spray I remember fondly. Other than going-home outfits, a few electronics, and a toothbrush, my only specialty item is a framed photograph of our 4-year-old, which is supposed to make her feel good when she visits us, like we haven’t forgotten about her and replaced her with a newer model/trophy baby.
My packing list is not the only thing that’s changed since my first birth. I could sum up these finals days of pregnancy as “Less nesting, more resting.” (Though sleep is elusive, I’m terrific at laying around watching bad romantic comedies starring Kate Hudson on Netflix.) Last time, I cooked and froze complete meals and healthy snacks, like casseroles and muffins. This time, I baked a zucchini bread, only to polish it off while it was still warm. Maybe it’s because there’s no room in my freezer, what with all the chicken nuggets and kefir popsicles my preschooler requires, but I’m lacking the motivation to do all that kitchen work. I smell pizza delivery in our future.
I haven’t sterilized a damn thing, my logic being that the further in advance I clean any pacis or teethers, the more chances I’m giving my 4-year-old to “play baby” by popping them into her mouth.
I’ve also failed to refresh my knowledge of infant care. I’m sure much of it will come back to me, but then again, it has been four years. I don’t remember how to get a baby on a schedule, when to start tummy time, or what to include in a well-prepared diaper bag — and that’s one area where it never pays to be minimalist.
My husband is procrastinating in a similar manner. When I asked if maybe he’d like to set up the snap-and-go attachment we bought for the infant car seat, he said “Ughhhh, let’s wait.” He’s not looking forward to our living room once again resembling a Babies ‘R Us showroom, so he’s stalling until the last possible moment to get in gear.
Maybe we’re both in denial. It’s like if we don’t prepare for this baby, then we won’t have to commit to waking up all night, maintaining detailed poop and pee time logs, or scraping breast milk off the walls (our first kid was a projectile spitter-upper). But regardless of whether we prepare, she’s coming. And we love her already, even if it sounds like we think she’s going to be a pain in the a*s.
So it’s time for me to say ciao for now. I’ve really enjoyed writing about my pregnancy here each week. I’m going to take a baby break but then I’ll be back to gab about parenting two kids and how long I can get away with continuing to wear my maternity clothes. They’re so comfortable. Until then…