I can't tell you just how fucking liberating it is not to worry about being prepared for a baby. The annoying question de jour is "Are you ready?" and I shrug my shoulders -- I mean, I'll never be ready for delivering a baby that may or may not live, right? Who's ready for THAT? What exactly can you do to prepare? Put a casserole in the freezer? I suppose that covers you either way.
Oh right, I suppose there is one thing: I've called Children's back because my OB would like a 24/7 contact number in my file because he kinda made a funny face when I suggested that Hospital-Next-Door-NICU would promptly move a sick kid over. I think his underlying motivation was actually sparing Mr. ABF and me from rummaging through our wallets and cell-phone caller id's (in a sea of exhaustion after delivering said baby) to find names and corresponding numbers which -- Nice. Thank you. So I now have emergency contact information to load up into my file regarding how to get all the peculiar specialty fellows who are on call in the middle of the night. What, that's not in your birth plan?
This has left April free for doing what should be done in April: Finding summer camps for Bella. Oh, and we hosted a big neighborhood fundraiser last week which was an enormous time-suck but really tons of fun. And getting Max to rehab -- jeez, talk about one step forward three back. Every time I think he's looking great he wipes out on the hardwood or bolts off leash and pulls up gimpy for a day. And getting indoor seeds sowed and monitored for garden planting. All of which is super crazy when you're planning around two NST's and one OB appointment per week.
But in terms of the other stuff? The stuff that people think you should be doing? I'm ready, completely. Hell I was ready last September. Which is to say, I've done absolutely nothing and nor will I. I like to think of it as Un-nesting.
Here's a game I like to play: You know the whole "In Bed" add-on funtime feature for fortune cookies? When someone delivers a typical pregnancy declaration, I always add on "If He Lives." Usually in my head, but sometimes it slips. For example:
May is such a nice time to have a baby! If He Lives.
Haha, boy you'd better get ready for not sleeping for two years! If He Lives.
Bella must be over the moon. If He Lives.
Gosh, you guys must be going crazy trying to get everything done. We will. If He Lives.
Wow, summer is going to be nuts! If He Lives. Wait a minute . . . . .
Ok, to say I've done nothing is a wee stretch of the truth. I have ordered precisely one thing: A "Carry On My Wayward Son" sling from C's old outfit. I figured at the very least it's a great donation to a wonderful cause in memory of someone I care deeply about. And if the sling goes to an anonymous mom at a shelter here in town, well, so be it -- that's not such a terrible thing in the big karma wheel.
I've also organized precisely one thing. An online DBM who I'll keep anonymous for the moment in the event that she doesn't want people to know (if she'd like to out herself in the comments, that's fine -- or if she's ok I'll out her in a future post) sent me "a few things" that she had purchased for her son who never wore them. She said she'd like me to have them, and I was so humbled and honored and touched I really couldn't say no even though the whole thought of fingering baby clothes kinda gave me the willies.
I was expecting a few things in a padded envelope and received an enormous box with a wardrobe for a boy through about age two. It was so wonderful and heartbreaking to see all of these tiny clothes with the tags still on them. It was also really the only way I could receive baby clothes into my home. I wouldn't dare buy anything myself, and I think getting clothes from people who haven't been through the same would set me on edge. (I could see myself waving a onesie at some poor, unassuming person screaming, "What the fuck are you thinking?!") This for some reason seemed right. Or as right as it can be, touching soft clothing covered with puppies that were never worn by the intended. I like to think I'm remembering this baby because certainly if I have something live to put in them, I won't need reminded of my own. And I think that's lovely.
Bella and I went down to the basement and pulled up the bins with her things through the same era (for some reason I didn't have a downstream for hand-me-downs at that point) and we sorted everything by size and then by gender neutrality. Since we didn't know what Bella would be, there's a fair amount a boy can wear. I bought only a few things for Maddy, and I'm pretty sure I crammed them into a box of clothes a friend had loaned me when I sent them back seeing as she was now pregnant. I really only recognized two things that were expressly bought for her.
We repacked everything back into the bins including the lovely new boy's clothes; donated the girl's clothing; saved a few nice Bella items for some baby girls who might enjoy them; labeled everything; and then stashed the bins away again.
We'll pull them out next month If He Lives.
If not, all clothes, bins and all, will take a trip in the truck to the shelter.
I suppose that's something, but honestly that's where I'm stopping. There will be no painting, no changing table set up, no car seat purchase or even diapers. I plan on just going full-tilt boogie until delivery and dealing with the consequences afterwards.
And the ultimate date of those consequences just got very tangible: At yesterday's OB appointment, I had a lovely midwife whom I've seen a few times before. She's now familiar with my past and my way of talking about it and like my high-risk guy, I appreciate her ability to balance affability and kindness without blowing sunshine and roses up my rear. She saw in my chart that a doc had marked "Patient will Not Go Beyond Due Date." And she gently segued into how I feel about induction (like all things birth now I could care less if they deliver this child through my left nostril), and then said look: why don't we pick a date the week before your due date? That way you'll know, we'll get it scheduled to make sure you're on the books, and you can even maybe pick your doctor. I asked when she was on (strangely, my High Risk guy doesn't deliver I found out recently; I guess he's all about the getting-you-there danger, and then hands off the ball. Which seems very modest to me), and it turns out she is with another hot-doc from the practice during the penultimate week. We put it in the computer.
Obviously this is one of those deals where I call in the morning to make sure they're not slammed and have room so it could drift a day or two, but we have a birthday. After trying to forget my due date (fairly successfully I might add) this one is much harder to blank out. I've told a few people and am equally relieved and nauseated, so I think I'll wait to set it down in print here. So you're going to have to wait. Mid May. Maybe a bit early-Mid-May.
Baby's been cooperating with my attempts to change his schedule and I've been trying to ramp down what it is that wakes him up. Sugar does nothing apparently. And before you roll your eyes and assume that I'm some donut-eating-juice-swishing-fructose inhaler for whom a handful of chocolate-chip-studded trail mix and a frappucino has zero effect, I really don't have much sugar in my diet nor have I since Bella. If anything, I'm especially careful during pregnancies. So much so that an OJ and a banana should be like an electric shock to both of our systems and keep us humming for 36 hours, but not so much. Caffeine seems to do the trick, and although my high-risk guy gave me permission to drink a cup a day, I admit to doing a fair amount of half-caf and de-caf and even milking that down into au lait's which are barely brown. The first time I went to an NST after "my usual," the baby napped per usual. So I'm now trying to scale up the caffeine a bit on NST mornings but not so much his poor heart goes off like a racehorse.
This is my life.
In the fluid check yesterday he was sucking his thumb, and you could see his lips and cheeks moving and my head immediately filled with the Maggie Simpson sound-track. And I forbade my brain from taking the next step, which was . . . certainly a baby with a fried neurological system wouldn't be sucking his thumb, would he?
If He Lives. If He Lives.