Preparing for a home birth is a unique experience. I reveled in it last time and it’s just as fresh, fun, semi-stressful, and enjoyable this time around. It reminds me of when I eagerly prepped for my first year away at college; shopping for just the right things to decorate just the right space (on Ma and Pa’s dime, of course). From the towels, to the lamps, to the push pins for the bulletin board, everything had to be perfect and considered carefully in order to set the ambiance I envisioned in my mind. Somehow, it all mattered and even the act of organizing it all and boxing it up was immensely pleasurable.
I can still recall sitting on the freshly made bunk bed in my dorm room, proudly scanning the snippet of college life I’d created, taking it all in. Even the smell lingers in my memory (which at least wasn’t the smell of dirty laundry and Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine at that particular time). Setting the stage, preparing the nest, blessing the space. Whatever you call it, it’s a part of life’s transition that I’ve always been drawn into.
This weekend, I finally completed it all. All the important phone numbers, and list of quick foods I enjoy (for during and after birth), are posted prominently on my fridge. I have the towels and baby clothes washed and sealed in paper bags. In a canvas tote, I’ve placed the older sheets I won’t mind ruining if I birth on (darker colors in case of blood and goop!), and then the luxurious sheet set that will be lovingly placed on our bed for our new little family to relax on after birth. Which reminds me that someday I’ll have to elaborate on my serious obsession with sheets…I have all the birth supplies – gloves, herbs, olive oil, hand mirror, sitz bath, lube, bendy straws, Emergen-C, chux pads, Ziploc bags, every size of maxi pad you can imagine, and more – boxed and organized. I’ve even stashed special comfort items like a rice sock, mints, lip balm, oils, and copies of the CD’s I want played. And to top it off, I’ve printed off a list of things to do once I go into labor…ya know, like charge the camera batteries, boil some eggs (quick protein), and clean the toilets (I’m obsessive about this during birth, cuz ya can really spend a heckuva lotta time in there and you really want to know it’s sanitary).
And everything is maniacally labeled. And in one big linen closet. The nesting has officially commenced! Now, it’s just time to get the birth tub in just the right location and fill that puppy up so I can float, watch movies, and eat popcorn until the big day arrives.
The birth support team has been assembled, baby sitting arranged for Kaia, and the fridge stocked with yummy, healthy items. I even went through Kaia’s clothes and stored those that she’s grown out of or that are out of season. I cleaned out 4 drawers for the new baby, who only has about 5 onesies to his/her name (I’ve lent out an entire huge storage tub of Kaia’s newborn clothes and I haven’t had time to get them back). We made a special trip to Babies R’Us to purchase a car seat (we had borrowed last time) and a box of diapers. Even though I desperately want to try cloth diapers this go around, I’m also trying to be honest about my combination of procrastination and laziness.
I laughed when I noticed how first time parents stood out from others at the store: they were the ones holding those “guns”, registering for all their baby items, beaming from ear to ear and methodically discussing every item. I remember being them. But now, on the other side of parenthood, we are the ones looking haggard and tired, pushing around a cart with items we had purchased ourselves, items we know for sure we really need. We were the ones with the messy, chatty, barefoot toddler in the cart, subduing her with berries and crackers. Subsequent babies just don’t get the same attention and spoiling as first time babies! And really, it’s all okay…you learn just how little you really need for newborns.
Of course, I got a bit of a nervous twinge when I was done with all of this, thinking “Oh geez, I hope baby doesn’t think this is permission for it to come yet!” I still need some more time; time to enjoy Kaia, time to rest, time to finish the last little bit of chores around the house. Time to get caught up on my damn laundry, for crying out loud! Because really, I won’t be doing that for, uhhhh, weeks after baby arrives. Last time…yeah, I was spoiled. Rotten. My Mom was here a week before I birthed and thus my floors were freshly mopped every day, patio swept each morning, homemade food in the fridge, kitchen and bathrooms scrubbed and sparkling, and laundry sorted, folded, and hung. I think the clothes were even – gasp – ironed!
Back to my reality for baby #2: In the middle of all this, I think I broke my freakin’ little toe. It hurt like hell as I bashed it into the corner of our wooden bed frame two days ago. I fell to the carpet pathetically, dramatically writhing in pain as I called out to Jason to please come finish whatever task I was trying to accomplish (one track mind indeed). It is swollen and barely bruised, but it is still throbbing with every step. I wobble and hobble when I attempt to walk, pausing every few minutes to rest. Even the heaviness of our comforter has me cringing at night. More than the pain, I’m embarrassed to say that this little injury has done more damage in the area of dampening my spirit.
All I could think of as I lay on the carpet post-incident was “I do not need this right now, not when my nesting instinct is in full gear; not when I’m due to birth at any time and really need to ability to move and walk without discomfort, not when I desperately need to be strong.” I’ve been soaking it in a warm, Epsom salt bath in hopes of reducing some of the swelling.
Lemme tell ya, I never knew how critical that chubby, ugly, odd-looking little toe was. My balance is totally out of whack now, as if heaving around a sinking beach ball of a belly didn’t already have me off kilter. Instead of a cute little waddling duck, I now resemble and old, crotchety, beer-bellied man. With boobs.
—-> So, to liven up the mood here, have a listen to this light-hearted (but packed with honesty) song about birth called The OB Song. Lyrics can be found here, although I noticed a few of the lines were inadvertently left out. Then share it with all you know (for more info, here’s the dude’s website).
“…To birth our babes non-violently is a must for humankind”