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What to Expect When You are an Expectant

There are many preparations to be made when a family is expecting its first baby. There's all the reading that must be done like What to Expect When Expecting, the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and The Expectant Dad's Guide to Pregnancy. There are the websites to sign up for to track the growth of mom and baby and to compare the size of the baby to various vegetables. There are the monthly, then bi-weekly, visits to the doctor or midwife that must be attended by the couple. There are ultrasounds and glucose tests and genetic tests and parenting, labor and breastfeeding classes. Lamaze, yoga and prenatal massage are all options that become requirements as not to miss out on anything that might later impact the birth of the baby.

And let's not forget the shopping! Hours must be spent online or in-store searching Babies 'R Us for the perfect matching crib, changing table and glider. Websites must be consulted to determine the safest and cutest stroller/car seat combo and high chair. Friends must be contacted to determine the necessity of purchasing a breast pump, bottle sterilizer and Diaper Genie. Friends will tell the expectant family to borrow or not buy at all and the Expectants will go ahead and register for them all anyway. After all, they want to make sure they have everything Baby Perfect will need.

Mommy-to-be will need to be outfitted. This requires purchases from Motherhood Maternity and Pea in the Pod for the latest, most fashionable duds to show off the growing beach ball in addition to being signed up, without the mom's permission, for Parenting Magazine and a variety of retail lists that flood the Expectants' mail box with free samples and coupons for diapers, formula and cord blood banks.

Birth plans need to be written and labor coaches consulted. Special music play lists need to be downloaded to provide labor room ambiance. Bags need to be packed with slippers, robe and camera.

The nursery must be ready at least four months prior to Baby Perfect's arrival. Themes will be determined based on the latest Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Diapers, swaddle-me's and burp cloths will be folded (and pre-washed in Dreft if using washables) and placed with care in the changing table/later to be used as a dresser. The wipe warmer and forehead thermometer will sit on the table top, shiny, new and awaiting use. The crib will be fully outfitted with matching sheet, skirt, bumper and a quilt made by grandma just for Baby Perfect. The glider will reside in the corner, an 800 dollar must-have splurge. The nest will be nested.

Classical music must be played on the ipod with head phones placed gingerly on Mom's belly. The Rosetta Stone for Families will be listened to each night after dinner so that the Expectants can ensure that the family is prepped and ready to have a bilingual family. Baby Original: 3.5 Million Baby Names, None of Which Are Being Used By Any One Else on the Planet will be utilized to create the lists that the Expectants will use to select Baby Perfect's perfectly original and nickname-free name.

It's a good thing that full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks because each week is needed to prepare and carefully plan. Plan, that is, you silly Expectants, for the one thing in life that no amount of planning can prepare you for.

We did all of these things the first time around. I loved every single minute of it and I'd never take back how I felt, dreamed and planned for my very first Baby Perfect because the waiting period will never, ever be like that again.

There are many preparations to be made when a family is expecting again. And on a good day, some of those preparations may take place. Here's what more likely to happen for the 40 weeks leading up to Baby Perfect 2, 3, 4, etc.

1. Recall reading in What to Expect When Expecting, with perfect clarity as you pray to the porcelain god, that nausea and vomiting frequently occur during the first trimester.
2. Sign up for the weekly baby emails and bet one another which vegetable will be referenced in the upcoming week.
3. Hope all of Baby Perfect One's "stuff" hasn't been eaten by bugs or mice and plan to pull it out of the attic before the baby comes home, at least the car seat.
4. Find space in Toddler Perfect's (formerly known as Baby Perfect, sorry, move on over, kid!) room for a crib and plan to get that spare room/office cleaned up by the time you are ready to stop co-sleeping and get at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
5. Give the unused Diaper Genie and baby carrier to the Expectants down the street, even though they'll likely go out and buy brand new ones.
6. Pull out the old maternity clothes and try to place a decorative pin over the ice cream stain on the left breast.
7. Feel the baby kick along to "I love you. You love me." as it plays on Toddler Perfect's portable DVD player for the 10th time in one car ride. Sell the Rosetta Stone for Families on Ebay.
8. Pick a name that you saw embroidered on a quilt in the Pottery Barn for Kids catalog that you glance at while in the bathroom, with door locked, hiding from the toddler who is learning the meaning of privacy.
9. Sleep, people! Dear God, SLEEP!!! Enjoy every minute of uninterrupted sleep. Slip on your jammies at the same time as Toddler Perfect, read her some stories, kiss her good night and get in bed by 8:30. Relish this slumber.
10. Try to relax and enjoy this time because being an Expectant is one of the best times in your life and while no amount of planning can prepare you, life with Baby, Toddler and Kid Perfect will be the most perfect part of your imperfect, unpredictable life.


phoeberl said…
Ha ha! All so very true. So, what are you naming this rutabaga? ;)

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