If you want to make god laugh, just tell him your plans.
March 1, 2012
© Sarah Preston Gorenstein
He must be having a field day with me. This quote hits particularly close to home, for me and probably other women like me going through infertility or trying to conceive. Another unfortunate side effect of this process? You can’t help but fantasize about your unborn, not-yet-conceived child, and plan for your uncertain future.
I don’t know anyone (except maybe my husband) who can just go with the flow of life without making plans. That is where my husband and I are very different—or perhaps how we balance each other out. I’m a long-term planner; he’s a no-worries, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-ripped jeans kind of guy. (I’d be replacing the jeans and/or patching up the rips before they get even worse—see what I mean?)
Something I’ve fallen prey to throughout this process is not just fantasizing about baby no. 2, but how said baby is going to impact our lives, and how we’ll deal with all those (theoretical) changes.
Here are some of the things I’ve either thought, stressed over, or actually talked about at length with my husband, since we started trying to conceive:
1. Girl names. We have a running list from when Preston was born (we didn’t know his sex), and we’ve since revised that list several times. We’re down to the top 2-3 names now.
Healthy or unhealthy? Well, first of all, I’m very superstitious about this baby stuff (it comes with the territory of being Jewish), so even letting my mind go there means I’m not only possibly jinxing our chances of having another baby, I’m probably jinxing our chances of ever having a girl. Two things I don’t want to jinx. (And yes, I believe in jinxes, which is totally counter-intuitive to this blog.)
2. We also have boy names picked out, which we’ve debated as though we actually had a reason to debate them.
Healthy or unhealthy? I guess it’s good to remain hopeful, but the same worries as above: Are we jinxing ourselves?
3. I can’t walk into a baby store without looking at strollers, and this has been going on since before Preston was born. As anyone who knows me can attest, I became obsessed with researching baby strollers for Preston (the one we utlimately picked he no longer even uses!). I was so well versed on them, I wrote a story about all the newest baby strollers for a local glossy, Michigan Avenue Magazine (about the different brands, what each of their strengths were, how much they cost, where to get them, and which celebrities were using them). When we started trying to conceive, I even started looking into double strollers (crazytown I know), as though I needed one immediately. When Bugaboo came out with the Donkey, I signed up for a sweeps on Facebook to win one. I figured, why not?
Healthy or unhealthy? I can hear god laughing at me right now. He's cackling in fact.
4. Whenever there’s a baby nursery story in a parenting magazine or website—like this one by Deputy Editor Sasha Emmons, which I've read a dozen times—I study it as though I’m planning one myself. Whenever someone I know posts pics of their baby nursery on Facebook, I do the same. In fact, I’ve never stopped collecting ideas for a baby nursery, since I was pregnant with Preston. What can I say? I love baby stuff.
Healthy or unhealthy? Is it so wrong to be prepared?
5. Before Preston was born, I was also a tad infatuated with watching TLC’s “A Baby Story.” Jay used to get mad at me for watching it because A) It showed in pretty gory detail the deliveries and C-sections, and B) It made me very squeamish. (We knew early on I was probably having a C-section due to marginal placenta previa, and I was terrified.) Despite how anxious and squeamish the shows made me, I wanted to know what to expect, not only in the delivery room, but also what to expect immediately following—nothing shows the truth about those first 36 hours like TLC. I’m such a fan of the show, I actually thought about submitting our story. TLC producers: What up!
Healthy or unhealthy? In my defense, I don’t watch it as much now. But when I do it’s because it chronicles the most amazing time of a couple's life and I'm a sucker for reality shows, especially the ones I can relate to. What could be better than watching people go through the exciting months leading up to the birth of a baby, and the hours and days that follow—I relate to the show on a whole new level now; it's still a guilty pleasure.
6. I’ve held on to every piece of clothing of Preston’s (including his plain white Carter’s onesies), organized in cedar-lined bins by size (0-3 months; 3-6 months; 6-9 months; 9-12 months, and so on), and I also have every infant toy, book and baby gear. Our third bedroom, which was supposed to be an office until we needed it for something (or someone) else, has become a time capsule of Preston's infant life. It’s stacked to the ceiling with baby toys, swings, rockers, bathtubs, jumpers, infant car seats, everything you can imagine.
Healthy or unhealthy? We're not hoarders, I swear. I assumed we'd be using this stuff again by now, but since we're not I always lend it to friends for their new babies—Preston’s adorable white wicker bassinet is going to my “womb friend” Robin for her baby girl who’s due this month. But I’m not ready to donate the rest of it just yet, or give it away for good. We’re not done having kids (I hope). I also like having some of this stuff around for when friends come over with their babies so we have toys for them to play with.
7. Planning our childcare arrangements around a baby that doesn’t exist, after our longtime nanny quit, sent me into a tailspin of uncertainty. To hire another full-time nanny, or not to hire another full-time nanny? (Up until December I was working full time.) I stressed hard about this one, but ultimately found a solution that's working for us, at least for now: We hired a part-time nanny two days a week, and Preston is in preschool two half-days a week. I work from home now so I needed the childcare help, but I don’t need it full time right now. And since there’s no other baby around (like I thought there would be at this point), and I'm not working full time at the moment (like I thought I would be), it was a hard decision to make, because it might only be temporary. (I don't do very well with "temporary.") You see the dilemma, right?
Healthy or unhealthy? I learned several months ago that I simply cannot plan for something that I can’t control. It’s been a hard lesson for me. I like to have a five- and 10-year plan laid out, but when things don't go exactly as planned (like fertility and employment, in my case) you have no choice but to take it day by day. Early last year we were talking about taking a trip this spring, but I was hesitant to plan it because I thought I might be “due.” And now? We’re going on a 10-day family vacation to Scottsdale this month to see our parents, both of whom live there part of the year (two blocks away from each other!). Hey, plans change.
Bottom line: I’m still learning how to roll with the punches, and curveballs, that life throws at you. To be more resilient, and flexible, and let go of the things I can't control.
What plans have you made on your TTC journey that you’ve had to “tweak” along the way?