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Ready or Not

Does anyone ever feel prepared for the baby to arrive? No matter what I do to get things ready (classes, reading, research, organizing frenzies, trips to Buy Buy Baby, etc.), I cannot seem to relax and feel ready. The other night I couldn't sleep again so I finally gave up on the idea of shuteye at 5 a.m., and instead organized my hospital bag and cleared out the hand-me-down maternity clothes I never wore that were cluttering up the nursery closet. Did I feel any sense of relief after having checked those things off my list? Strangely, no. Despite repeated attempts like these to get things done, everything still feels so unsettled and overwhelming.

Granted, I have just under four weeks to go before my due date, so I'm supposed to have a little more time to prepare, but I'm very aware of the fact that my baby will technically be full term (37 weeks) in less than ONE week and it's not beyond the realm of possibilities that she could decide to arrive then -- or sooner!

So I'm continually obsessed with the following things:

Getting the birth plan down. My husband and I DID type up a cheat sheet for him to consult while I'm in labor (things to do to help ease the pain of contractions, items to remember to bring to the hospital, important phone numbers, etc.), but I still feel like I need to prepare more for labor. This is an annoying feeling considering that we took a five-week birthing class. I suppose I won't feel prepared until after I've gone through it, huh?

Organizing the nursery. This is a never-ending process because gifts and hand-me-downs keep rolling in. And while these items are much appreciated, most of the nursery furniture isn't set up yet so all of the baby gear is sprawled on the nursery floor. All I have to do is look in that room and my blood pressure rises. One positive note: The crib IS assembled in our room; we just need to put the mattress in it.

Washing the baby clothes and crib sheets. My mother-in-law did thankfully wash the hand-me-down clothes that her daughter gave me, but I still have many new clothes, sheets, towels, and blankets to wash. But with no drawers yet in which to put these things (and keep them clean), I keep putting off the washing. I'm kind of waiting for my mom to come to town (this weekend -- yay!) to help me deal with that.

Figuring out the breast pump. My brother's wife gave me her Medela breast pump, which is great, but I had the hardest time figuring out which new attachments I needed to get. I went so far as to bring the pump to our birth class center (where I also took a breastfeeding class) so they could tell me what I needed, and I still didn't quite get it. There's something about handling gadgets -- it never fully computes in my head. Plus, the Buy Buy Baby near me didn't even sell the attachments I think I need. My mom finally figured something out at a store in Ann Arbor, Michigan (where I'm from) and is mailing me what we hope are the right items.

Practicing our CPR. We took an infant CPR/choking class and I think I already forgot how to do it. I have to consult the book to make sure I'm ready for an emergency -- the instructor told us to practice. But at least I typed up the master list of emergency numbers (our cells, our pediatrician, poison control, and more). That actually did make me feel a little better.

Preparing the cloth diapers. I ordered a bunch of cloth diapers (after much research on which ones I wanted to try) but I still need to wash them and figure them out. I know it's not brain surgery, but the concept of diapering with them is feeling more complicated than just going to the store and buying Pampers. I know I want to go the cloth diaper route -- and I'm told that they're easy to get used to -- but right now this eco-friendly choice I've made seems a little daunting. And since I realize that diapering is going to be one of my primary activities soon I'm feeling the pressure to work this issue out fast. Thank goodness, again, that my mom is coming into town to help me deal with this one. Moms just have a way of making life easier.

Hmm. Moms make life easier. I hope that will be me one day -- a mom making life easier for my daughter. I guess for now, I just have to go through all of these things (with lots of help from my husband, family, and friends) and learn how to do them as I go. And surprisingly, despite all of my frenetic worrying, on good days I sometimes actually feel confident that I'll be able to do it.