Ninth-Month Freak Out
I’m 36 weeks along now–in layman’s terms, that means I’ve officially entered the ninth month of my pregnancy. But it really feels as though I just found out I was pregnant. I mean, was it really that long ago that I went through first-trimester morning sickness every day, commuting to work two hours by train? Has it been that long since my husband and I were separated by more than one thousand miles because the only work he could find was out of state and didn’t pay enough for us to live together? But here I am, living with my husband in yet another state, devouring peanut butter (with a side of apple slices) as my unborn baby stretches inside of me.
Life is good. So why am I freaking out?
It started when I received an email congratulating me on the imminent arrival of my baby. The email then told me it was time to install the baby’s car seat and pack my hospital bag. Say what? I’m still dilly-dallying with nursery decorations. And I’m still, somehow, in denial about the baby inside me ever being outside of me. So far, pregnancy has just involved decorating and playing with baby clothes, swings, cribs, etc. Installing a car seat and packing my bag means that I’ll actually be delivering a baby and putting it into my car. As Chris from Family Guy once said, FREAK OUT.
Very well. I’ll start with the hospital check-list that I received in another email to help me pack my bag. Wait, I need something to labor in… I wear pants to sleep. Quick! Amazon to the rescue! I hope my maternity/nursing gown arrives in time. Okay, next item… Something for the baby to wear home. I’ve received tons of hand-me-downs from my brother, who lives in San Diego, California. But I don’t live there. My newly adopted city has just experienced a cold snap: It was 16 degrees the other night. Do I possess anything warm enough to bring my baby home without turning him into a baby-sicle? And what if the clothes I bring for the baby don’t fit? Well, at least I’ve washed all of the baby clothes that I do have…But I haven’t washed the fitted sheet for the bassinet! And do I really only have one sheet? I have no back-ups, oh my god.
And just like that, I’m faced with the daunting fact that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. No amount of helpful emails and books can prepare me for the gargantuan task ahead of me. Being pregnant has been the easy part; the prospect of birthing and raising this baby has me wondering how I can possibly pull it off–without physically/mentally maiming my child.
So on the recommendation of my OB, I’m reading Baby 411 by Denise Fields and Dr. Ari Brown, a how-to manual for new parents that covers everything from parenting styles to vaccinations, how to change a diaper to breastfeeding techniques, and common illnesses to first aid. While I’m sure I won’t remember half of the information contained in this book, it’s comforting to know that it’s there as a reference for when I feel like screaming, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”
I also felt strangely comforted by today’s delivery of a diaper genie, a car seat mirror, a mobile, and an extra package of burp cloths. And the UPS guy was incredibly kind to boot, asking me how much longer I had to go (we’ve developed a friendly rapport over the months) and wishing me an easy delivery just in case he didn’t see me beforehand (ha ha, I have more items still to be delivered…).
I have to remind myself that not everything will go according to plan, but nothing is likely to lead to spontaneous explosions or the apocalypse. It just feels like it could.