Hello. I have two children and am about to have a third. It’s a lot, but here we are.
How pregnant am I? Today, while doing errands, I peed in the following public restrooms:
- Babies ‘R’ Us
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- a grocery store
- a gas station
I also unabashedly ate a mini-croissant while pumping gas. That’s how pregnant I am.
But don’t let this little flurry of errands fool you. In no way am I ready, logistically, for the arrival of the blessed child. No way, no how.
It’s not that I have been sitting around with my feet up (though, there has been some of that). It’s more that I/we have been doing all kinds of things except for the normal and important pre-baby things. Allow me to explain.
Instead of nesting, I have been pretending that nothing is happening
So, there is no nest this time around. Our house has three bedrooms and all of them are in use.
I continue to prioritize child and toddler sleep above all else, and as such, we have chosen to leave our 2 year old in his bedroom, rather than move him to share his older brother’s room. Eventually, these guys will share a room. But not yet. You see, both of my existing children (as I lovingly refer to them), sleep like perfect angels. It might be my favourite thing about them (is she kidding?). We are not willing to risk upsetting their sleep by throwing them into the same room a moment before we feel we have to. I also know that newborns sleep like garbage, and that the new baby will be in our room, torturing us, for months.
So, there is no nursery. There are no Pinterest boards coming to life, no new rug, no decals being carefully adhered to the walls. There is a ~space~ for the baby, and that’s it. Minimalism is trendy, right?
There is one new thing en route – in a brave departure from our usual habit of buying secondhand furniture, we bought a new dresser, from an actual store (MAKE WAY, PEASANTS!). However, the dresser, being new and from a reputable store, won’t be delivered for another three weeks (#rude). So, while this new baby will share our room, there is nothing that would lead you to believe this is about to happen. For now, there is a bassinet (in our storage room), with a sheet that I probably should wash. That’s it. There is nothing else. And that will be fine.
Instead of baby-proofing, we have been excavating toxic chemicals from our home
Speaking of nests, our home is a disaster zone right now. It’s usually messy, granted, but recently it has been a full-on construction site. Why? Because we make poor decisions about timing. Like deciding to have three kids within four years.
To us, it seemed fine to renovate our kitchen a few weeks before the arrival of our baby. Bonus points: the contractors found asbestos under the many layers of kitchen floor tiles. It was a whole thing. It’s almost over now, but it put us out of our house, took many extra days and aged me several years in anxiety. Good times.
As I type this, there is a painter in our kitchen removing the cabinet doors to take them away to be painted. We will have no cabinet doors or drawer fronts for 2-3 weeks. What we will have, however, are two very grabby little boys running around. I’m hoping they beat the odds of natural selection and choose not to reach into the knife drawer.
That’s right, we have a knife drawer.
Welcome to the jungle.
Instead of prenatal yoga to prepare for labour, I have been allowing my muscles to atrophy
Midway through the kitchen renovation, we went to a cottage for a week. The cottage rental was booked before I got pregnant (because, despite my lack of baby prepping, I’m Type A when it comes to trip planning). We spent a week at the cottage, got covered in mosquito and deer fly bites, accidentally caught (and released, unharmed!) a snapping turtle, and had a wonderful time.
As always, we “travelled” with other adults, to keep things fun and less tedious than if it were just us with our heathen children.
I joked that it was like “Weekend At Bernie’s,” and that I was Bernie.
But it wasn’t a joke because I did nothing except sit in the water, pee in the water, eat chips, and receive bug bites. It was glorious (for me), and I regret nothing.
Since returning from the cottage, I have continued to seek out water to float in. I spend my days moving from my couch to various lakes, rivers, and kiddie pools. My body weight is high and my flexibility is low. Not ideal for embarking upon the physical demands of labour, but oh well.
Instead of enjoying peace and quiet, I have been an emotional wreck
Instead of soaking up the pre-baby mat leave, I have been driving myself to drink (but not actually drinking) with worry over my older son starting at a new daycare. So far, it’s been… a transition.
I am not great with change, and this has been a big change for him and for all of us. He is processing it and adjusting. He is entering a large, loud, somewhat crowded place from a very small home-based daycare, at which there were five children in total, one of whom was his best friend, another his own younger brother. It’s been an emotional time. These past couple of weeks have taught me that there is a new layer of dread reserved in our brains for things that involve our kids, but which we are not present for and cannot control.
Dealing with this transition has left little space in my heart for any worries about the new baby, but has also quelled my ability to experience that blissful “me” time prior to delivery. On the other hand, it has made the stress of the kitchen renovation seem inconsequential. Pros and cons!
Instead of relaxing and visualizing an open cervix, I am yelling slanderous insults at my fetus
Last week, we had family in town visiting, and we took them to swim at a nearby quarry. It’s a beautiful place, and I knew it would allow me to get my daily fill of floating in water.
Part of the day, which I planned, involved a picnic lunch. Despite everyone’s protests, I insisted on making sandwiches for 11 people. While doing this, I found myself doubled-over with Braxton-Hicks contractions, yelling out, “Not today, Satan!”
I had forgotten that my almost 4-year old was in the next room. He called out, “Mummy, who is Satan?” Without thinking, I replied, “The new baby!”
And so, through sheer force of will, and by maintaining a low-key base level of constant stress, I am keeping my cervix high and tight for the time being.
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. The illusion of control is very powerful. I know this from raising two small children and giving them the perception of control over certain things.
Last weekend, I thought my water broke. This happened with my first baby – my water broke, but I was not in labour. Movies would lead you to believe that this is how labour begins. They are lying. It is actually rare. I’ll spare you the details (something I rarely do), but it was a false alarm.
However, it was enough to truly alarm me and my husband into realizing that we are not ready for the baby. It’s fine and a little bit fun to feel laissez-faire about the arrival of a third child. It’s not fine to almost leave the house, thinking you are about to deliver, without having gathered up so much as a diaper. Or a car seat.
A few days prior to this false alarm, my midwife asked if I had packed my birth bag. I said, “Nah, I’ll probably just wing it.” She replied, “I do not recommend that approach.”
I laughed it off, but she was right. Because during the false alarm, I waddled around, explaining to my small children that I was leaving and may return with a baby or maybe not, while throwing various items into a grocery bag, sweating profusely and feeling stressed. It was not fun.
Among the things I could not find as I rattled through the house like a wide, slow-moving tornado:
- even one single piece of clothing that would fit a newborn
- newborn diapers
- a baby blanket
- the f*cking infant car seat (my husband knew where it was, but I didn’t know that)
At one point, my mum, who had rushed over, said, “I’ll grab some clothes for the baby. Where are you storing those onesies you got as gifts?” And I replied, “Theoretically, in the dresser, which arrives in 3 weeks. Other than that, I have no idea.”
Luckily, my husband spotted a box of hand-me-down clothes that a dear friend had shipped to us.
He ripped it open with his bare hands, and said, “Here is a newborn onesie and a hat. They smell clean. Do we care if they are clean? I do not.”
As we got into the car, I noticed a disturbing sight and a disturbing smell. The sight was that the tires on our car were, somehow, still our snow tires. It is mid-July.
The smell – well, that was me. I recently decided that being 100 years pregnant would be a sensical time to try using a ~natural~ deodorant. It’s actually lovely, and I’m finding it works well, but like anything, it has its limit. Apparently, a mid-July stress frenzy in 30-degree heat is that limit.
The sight of winter tires in sweltering summer heat, accompanied by the sickly sweet smell of body odour felt like an accurate snapshot of how woefully unprepared we are for this baby.
Jesus take the wheel.
“Ready” is a relative term
I would like to say that since the false alarm, we have snapped into shape and have done everything we can to get ready for the birth of our baby.
Of course, this is not the case.
But, we have done some things:
- The newborn clothes have been located (WHERE IS MY MEDAL?)
- The car seat is near the front door
- The bassinet sheet is on the floor of the laundry room (it’s getting closer to being washed, look at it go!)
- Newborn diapers have been procured
- The birth bag has been packed
We may not be “prepared” in the traditional way of having a beautiful nursery ready, or having things washed and laid out. However, we know that we thrive in chaos, and we have the incredible gift of experience – we know that most newborn problems can be solved with help, time, or a bit of money.
And we know that we are fully prepared with love in our hearts for this new little one to join our circus. Perhaps, the only thing we are truly ready for is love.
And snow. We are extremely prepared for snow.