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Hospital Plans: What to Do with the First Baby?

We are lucky enough to live close to both sets of Jack's grandparents. (And let me acknowledge that we are lucky we can SAY we are lucky enough to live nearby.) Both my parents and Phillip's parents see Jack (and Phillip and me, although who cares about us) at least once a week. They rearranged their homes to accommodate cribs and highchairs. They have toy boxes and books. They have baby pools and baby swings, and when we are visiting the grandparents I do not lift one baby-rearing finger. No wonder we visit so often.

In the last week or two, both sets of grandparents have brought up a very important question, a question I've been putting off because I don't like thinking about it: What are we going to do with Jack when we go to the hospital?

I know perfectly well that the correct answer is: Promptly deliver him for an extended stay at Grandma and Grandpa's Toy and Ice Cream Emporium, but the truth is we haven't decided. (That and the fact that I am in a tiny bit of denial about having to do this giving birth thing all over again. You mean I'm not just going to the store and picking one out?)

I'm not sure what to do with Jack because I'm not sure when to go to the hospital. And I'm tired of everyone saying, "Oh, you'll just KNOW." You are all giving me too much credit. I am pretty sure I won't know anything. With Jack, I had my first contraction at 3 in the morning on Tuesday and he was born, oh, 2 in the morning on Thursday. That's, like, fifty gajillion hours of labor right there, people. And those contractions were either super strong and super far apart, or fairly manageable and very close together. When we called the hospital to find out if we should go in, the nurse advised my husband to stay home until my toes were curling from the pain. Wasn't that helpful? Thank goodness I had a doctor appointment already scheduled (that my husband forced me to go to, because at that point the absolute worst thing I could think of was having a contraction in the car) and my doctor gave the all-clear to go beg for drugs head over to the hospital any time we wanted.

So do I call up the grandparents when that first contraction strikes? How long do I wait? They live close, but not THAT close. What happens if we have to go to the hospital in the middle of the night? And Phillip wants to stay with me in the hospital, so who will stay with Jack?

My sister doesn't know this yet, but being the relative who lives nearest (one block away!) she is on call for middle-of-the-night duty. And then … grandparents will take over in the morning? If things are happening in the daytime, then I guess we'll call and wait for them to get here. (Although that could mean I am required to endure labor in front of the grandparents. Ugh.)

I'm just a little anxious about leaving my little guy for who knows how long. He's already unknowingly abdicating his throne, you know? But the nature of this baby thing means I've got to be flexible and trust that Jack will be fine while we're out choosing his little sister off a store shelf. I'm still not that worried about how he's going to handle a new baby at home, but I would like his little world to be as normal as possible. I don't want him to see me having contractions, or wondering why his parents haven't come home to stay with him.

On the other hand, I don't think he'll be caring much about what Mommy and Daddy are doing if the grandparents are plying him with cartloads of singing plastic toys and letting him eat cake for dinner.

What was YOUR plan, Internet? What arrangements did you make for the older sibling?

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