I'm officially 9 months pregnant and exactly 1 month from my due date. Um what?
As you might expect, I have a lot of emotions about today being September 22. I'm so incredibly excited to meet our son, but I'm also feeling scared and worried that I won't know what to do when he gets here. I have basically no newborn experience whatsoever.
What makes me feel safer about my life and more prepared? Lists. All the lists.
Here's my list of things you should do during/before your last month of pregnancy:
1. Go on dates with your husband
Yep, plural. Spend as much time as you can soaking in the quality time with your husband before you add another human to your family. Things will never be the same in your house as they are now, not that adding a baby is a bad thing (obviously), but you won't be just the two of you again for a long time. Not to mention, you're going to be stuck at home for a while after the baby is born. Go out to a nice dinner, see a movie, have a picnic, go for a hike, do the out-of-the-house things you love.
2. Pack your bags
You'll need to pack a bag for yourself, your baby, and your husband. My friends recommended that I just keep them all in the car at this point so that they're ready to go. I packed baby's bag and am almost done packing mine. You might want to check in with your hospital/birth center (if you haven't already) to see what they provide. Mine provides a ton of stuff, meaning I don't have to pack things like nursing pads and disposable undies.
3. Get a mani/pedi
Treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon at the nail salon. For starters, your feet are probably killing you at this point and could use a good soak/rub. But also, there's something about freshly painted nails that can make you feel pretty even when you look totally rough. You're going to be taking a bunch of pictures after your baby is born, and it'll just be really nice to have pretty nails in the photos.
4. Charge your camera's battery & make sure your memory card has space
I need to do this. My memory card is basically full because I'm really bad about never deleting photos from it. I also should be sure to charge my camera battery. I think we're planning to have a friend who is a photographer come to the hospital to take photos of us with our little guy, but I also want to have my own camera present so that we don't miss a moment.
5. Prep entertainment for the hospital
I didn't know this before we took our birth class, but apparently, there's a lot of waiting involved in labor. You might be in labor for days, so having entertainment options at your disposal is key. I'm planning to bring my dorky fantasy fiction book, and download some funny shows on Netflix. I might also bring some card games or two-person board games or something.
6. Assign jobs to family/friends/neighbors
- Who will take care of your pets while you are in the hospital?
- Who will be the text funnel by which people receive updates?
- Who is bringing you happy food after you deliver and are able to eat again?
- Who is guarding the door so that random people don't walk in while you're pushing?
These are things you should assign and figure out the necessary logistics. Our neighbor friends are going to take care of Morton while we are gone, so we need to make them a key. And we need to make a tiered list of phone contacts for Matt's brother Mason. That way he knows who gets all the details, who gets some details, and who just gets updated once baby arrives.
7. Take classes
Your hospital or birth center likely offers classes to prepare you for birth and for parenthood. We took a childbirth class a few weeks ago, and then I have a breastfeeding class coming up soon. We also took a tour of our hospital so that we know exactly where to go when the time comes.
8. Use a vacation day, or three
This is the calm before the storm. Don't be stressed about taking time off work before you go on maternity leave. If they care about you at all, they'll understand that this is your last pre-parenthood breather. This is the calm before the storm. You'll be so happy you took the time to relax and breathe. And de-stressing is good for you and baby at this time.
9. Wash baby's bedding/clothes
Get some baby laundry detergent (it's designed for their sensitive skin), and wash your bedding and some/all of baby's clothes. Definitely wash anything that you're packing for baby in your hospital bag. This will help prevent irritation from the coating that manufacturers put on fabrics to make it look better in stores.
10. Stock up your freezer
Go to Trader Joes and buy all of your favorite frozen goods. And then make yourself some easy casseroles/lasagnas and things so that you don't have to worry about grocery shopping/complicated food prep when you're sleep deprived at home with your newborn.
11. Install the car seat
Install the car seat and practice taking it in and out of the base. You don't want to show up at the hospital with your car seat still in a box. And you can't leave without it. One less thing to worry about if you're already good to go with the car seat.
12. Order and figure out your breast pump
Most commercial insurance companies cover a breast pump, so call and see what your insurance provides and order it. And then figure out how it works.
13. Pick a pediatrician
Ask around. If you have friends who have kids, find out who they see and if they would recommend them. Most hospitals require that you list a pediatrician's name on your hospital paperwork when you register. This pediatrician is also likely to be the person who performs a circumcision, if you're having a boy and choosing to do that.
14. Start working on your baby book
Order a baby book and go ahead and fill in the stuff you can already fill in. A lot of these books contain pages for photos of baby's parents/grandparents + ultrasound photos. You can go ahead and complete those now so that you're ready to add photos of your precious little one once they arrive.
15. Clean your house
A clean house will be refreshing when you bring your baby home from the hospital. Yeah, it's a moving target (especially if you have a German Shepherd who sheds so much), but try to stay on top of it by doing a little bit of tidying every day leading up to delivery. Keep the sink clear of dishes. Put your clothes away as soon as they're out of the dryer. You don't want to come home to a bunch of extra chores.
16. Have your husband download and learn how to use a contractions app
Our birth class recommended using an app to track the timing/duration of contractions. This sounds so much easier than using a stopwatch and figuring it out manually. This is something you can delegate to your husband, as you will likely be in too much pain during labor to be the person tracking your contractions.
What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.