I’m only five weeks away from my delivery date now! That means all kinds of wonderful things, like that the number of times I’ll have to wear my only two pairs of pants that fit me is dwindling. I’m so sick of these pants. Also, it means that I can probably get away with only buying one more big bottle of Tums to last me the rest of the pregnancy. Woohoo!
Entering the Labor and Delivery Red Zone also means I have to get serious about prepping for baby to come home with us. I’ve been pretty lax about shopping, decorating and organizing baby stuff up until now because the end seemed like a long way off. But now that I’m just over a month out, my inner project manager is starting to scream “Deadline! Deadline! Make lists! Create spreadsheets! Organize, organize, organize!”. As a result, I’ve been shopping cleaning, decorating and laundry-ing my days away.
Here’s a list of things I’m doing in these last weeks to get ready for possible labor (even us scheduled c-section moms need to think about that), and bringing home baby!
1. PROTECT YOUR MATTRESS
You know how in the movies a woman’s water always breaks in bed? They never show how to deal with cleaning amniotic fluid out of the mattress. Better to avoid the issue altogether and add a waterproof sheet to your bed. Some people say slide a trash bag between the mattress and the sheet but I prefer to use a waterproof crib sheet. Much less crinkly!
2. CLEAN UP
If you can swing it, the last month before baby comes is a great time to bring in a cleaning service to get the house sparkling. You can sometimes find good deals on cleaning crews on Groupon or Living Social.
3. PACK THAT BAG
This is a good time to load up the hospital bag with nursing bras, going home outfits for the baby and you, a couple changes of clothes for your partner, travel sized toiletries, and copies of any paperwork you’ll need.
4. LAUNDRY TIME
Yep. It’s time to wash and fold all those darling little outfits! Enjoy them in their pristine state now. You may never see them this clean again!
5. STOCK YOUR FREEZER
Start stocking up meals in the freezer by doubling up on dinner a few nights a week. It’s extra work now but you’ll love having a lasagna or meatloaf ready to heat after you have the baby.
6. CHECK YOUR STASH
Sort through all the baby stuff you’ve been accumulating and make sure nothing major is missing. For example, if you came to my house right now, you’d be impressed with my stock of big gear but there’s a notable absence: diapers. Oops. Figure out what you don’t have and make a final shopping list!
7. BOOK A DATE NIGHT
You have no idea how you’ll feel in the months after having baby but chances are the opportunities for you and your partner to have a nice dinner out or go to a movie will be limited. Take the time now to go out once or twice and really savor the experience.
8. FILE PAPERWORK
Make sure you’ve gotten all your ducks in a row with your hospital or birthing center, your OB or midwife, and your insurance company. Call for all those pre-authorizations and keep confirmation numbers in a safe place. Get your must-call and must-email lists together so you can quickly contact all the people who will need to know when you’re in labor and when you’ve had the baby. Make sure that list includes your insurance company so you can add the baby!
9. FINALIZE CHILD AND PET CARE
If you have older kids or pets, check in with the people who will be caring for them during a hospital stay. Remind them about where you are in pregnancy and what arrangements you’ve already discussed just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Prepare a list of important phone numbers for them to have, as well.
10. MAP SEVERAL ROUTES
You already know where the hospital or birthing center is and you know the best way to get there. However, you might want to have a couple alternate routes in mind in case of traffic issues. Labor + traffic jam = EPIC road rage.