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The Blissed-Out-Freakout Cycle

31w1d - Thanks, all, for your sound advice on birthing classes: I'm grateful for each of your opinions, especially those that specifically advocate dumping any guilt right down the Who Needs It? ravine. After much consideration—and scrutinizing the two remaining calendar pages of this pregnancy—The Mister and I have decided to blend our options, lining up several private sessions at home with the doula/teacher we wanted on nights we know we won't reschedule and reserving some library videos for light (and laughable) watching in between classes. It's the option that ultimately feels like it will work best for our style/schedules/sanity, and all of your insights offered heaps of help while we got there.

Depending on what time of day you ask me, I'll tell you that I am so looking forward to these labor and delivery lessons, that they're yet another milestone to anticipate on the tail end of this baby-housing journey. Setting up the crib falls under the same category, as does boxing up the scant maternity clothes I bought at the beginning of this pregnancy and sending them off to newly knocked-up friends for whom under-belly panels are still wearable.

This week, my mom and I will giddily finish appliquéing the burp cloths we've spent the last two weeks piecing together—the only actual craft project I, myself, have worked on for this child. (Six years after learning to knit, I still have yet to get purling down. Ergo, any handmade pretties for this baby will be fashioned by, uh, hands other than my own.)

When I get home from this extended sunny Southwest sojourn next week, I'll bake, mash, and freeze the last of the winter squashes and root veggies into soups so the Mister and I have sustenance at the ready this spring, when I can only imagine the kid currently scaling my ribs will have us mesmerized into near-dinner-omission most nights.

These final tasks will be little triumphs: We are so close, I think as I consider them, feeling what I can only describe as absolute glee. We have wanted, tried for, worked at this baby for seemingly so, so long. And now, if the universe continues to spin in our favor, we are almost there.

And then I think: Holyjeez, we're almost there.

Then, once again, the list of pre-delivery should-do's begins to suffocate me, and the trepidation of keeping another human being alive swells, and every thump and languid churn of this baby—sensations I hope never, ever to forget—fill me with absolute terror. What if we really aren't ready for this mammoth life change? What if, despite having literally made parenting my job for the last decade, I am utterly at a loss when they eject us from the birthing suite and out into the world with our screaming lump? What if our last two years of angling to get exactly where we are right now still leaves us unprepared for this child?

The Mister reassures me, "Everything we could possibly need, we could pick up on the way home from the hospital. Don't worry."

But since when does Target sell confidence? Which aisle holds Instant Instincts?

Because it's not just the practical stuff that is keeping me unnerved right now, though that, too, is hollering for attention. Third trimester nesting-ness is settling in right as I'm thousands of miles from my own home. So my usual tactics for quelling panic while simultaneously tackling the Big Problems—do something practical: Organize something! Complete a task!—feel out of reach this week. The taking inventory of hand-me-down newborn clothes and clearing out storage space for off-season baby gear will need to wait another week, and in the meantime, I know, I just need to calm down

Recently upon hearing me (annoyingly) wax on about feeling insecure and feeling embarrassed about feeling insecure, a wise mom friend thwapped me with the reality stick. "Remember, you are an animal," she said. "You already know what to do with a baby; you know how to keep it alive, you know what is best for both of you. When it comes down to it, dump everything you think you know and just start listening."

I'm trying, I'm trying!

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