Over the holiday break, I had a lot time to myself (read: a lot of time spent lying around feeling crappy and not able to do anything). When I wasn’t busy sleeping, my mind was busy racing, racing, racing. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things we needed to do to get ready for Turtle’s arrival.
We’ve been advised that we might need to deliver early, perhaps as early as 36 weeks. That puts me at about mid-May. I figure I’d like to get everything as baby ready as possible by May 1st , just so there’s no stress and we’re prepared for an early arrival. Once he’s born, we’ll essentially be living in the hospital for two months or more, so everything needs to be pretty much set by then.
Here are the major things on our list:
Daycare: This is something that needs to start now. I’ve read about how daycares around here book up very early. We’re not sure at this point if we want a regular daycare center or a home daycare to start. As a child, I went to both (started in a home daycare, then to a center when I started school) and see the benefits of both. We’re looking into all options at this point. This is going to be a significant new monthly expense so we’re trying to find an option that we can afford, but also one that we feel very comfortable with. I started making some calls to local places last week and whoa. This is crazy expensive, practically another mortgage payment. I’m planning a whole post on this soon, once we’ve done a bit more research and (hopefully!) reserved a fall daycare spot for Turtle somewhere wonderful.
Maternity leave: I need to sit down with my supervisor to find out exactly what my maternity benefits are. My understanding from a former employee is that I’ll wind up with six weeks paid, six weeks unpaid. I’m hoping I can also tack onto that my three weeks paid vacation, for a total maternity leave of 15 weeks. My biggest worry right now is that Turtle will require a longer hospital stay than that, or will come home right around that time. I’m not sure how I’ll fare having to go back to work without ever having time at home with him. So I also want to talk with work about a backup plan, in case that happens. I’m hoping there’s some sort of unpaid disability leave option available to me that will allow me to still be able to come back to my job when I’m ready. I’m scheduled to have this talk with them in about a week so I’ll report back!
Refinance/Budget: Everyone is talking about refinancing these days. From what we understand, we’ll be able to save a good deal on a month to month basis by getting a lower interest rate. This is going to be hugely important to us as we’re about to bump up our monthly expenses significantly! So we’re seriously looking into this and I’ve asked DH to spearhead this to-do. Once we figure out how much our new mortgage payment will be, how much daycare will likely cost and how much unpaid leave I need to plan for, we need to sit down and revise our family budget. There may be some things we’re paying for now (ahem, expensive HD cable bill) that we simply won’t be able to afford for awhile. We’re not the best at personal finance planning but whenever we have put some thought into a budget, I’ve always felt so much better knowing that we can afford our expenses and don’t have to stress out about them.
Nursery: This is the fun one! I have a bit of a decorating thumb and have been dreaming of putting together a nursery for years now. We’ve already started putting together some ideas on a secret pinboard and my parents have already offered to pick up the cost of the crib (which we’ve already picked out). We need to paint three walls, wallpaper one wall, and locate and buy all the new furniture in order to pull this together. We’d like to get a new light fixture, a crib, changing table, dresser, daybed, armchair and possibly a small bookcase. So much to do and buy! Fortunately I have some of our wedding money stashed away for this very purpose that I’ve been saving all this time. But first! We need to fix the adjoining closet. It’s a very large walk in closet that we’ve been using for storage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t finished very well and there are gaps in the walls where flies, ladybugs and other crawly things have been able to come through. DH will need to work on getting someone to come in and fix that. I won’t be able to sleep comfortably knowing that bugs could be crawling into my baby’s room. Once the closet is secured, we’ll need to install some shelving and other storage stuff for Turtle’s wardrobe. Eventually, we hope to have this space double as a playspace. It even has a neat old half moon window.
Call insurance: I recently discovered that my insurance has a special program for high-risk pregnancies. I need to call them and find out exactly what benefits this entails. I also want to see how it will work when Turtle is born with enrolling him with my insurance and getting his surgery, NICU and hospital stay covered. Children’s assured us this wouldn’t be an issue but I just need to understand for myself how it all works. This is not an immediate priority but just something I need to get done. I’m targeting February for this to-do.
Register for/attend baby shower: My mom is already planning a shower for late March or sometime in April. Knowing this, I am trying not to run out and buy much right now, except what we know we’ll need for the nursery. My plan is to wait until after the shower, then see what we need and fill in the holes from there. That’s why I’d kind of like to have the shower earlier rather than later. I’m excited as I know we’ll be having this at our house and that much of my family and some friends from out of town have never been to our house before. My only request for the shower is that there’s cake. Good cake.
Purchase breastfeeding/pumping necessities: I already know I’ll be pumping like crazy while Turtle’s in the hospital. I’ve bookmarked some great recommendations on this front, but I know we’ll need to buy a pump and that that can be sort of pricey. I’ve also heard, though, that sometimes insurance covers part of this cost, which is another question to ask my insurance company when I call. March or April is the target for this.
Take infant CPR/First Aid class: This is something both DH and I want to do. While I’m still torn on whether or not to take any birthing classes (not sure I want to get my hope up/mind set for a natural birth if we end up having to go the C-section route), but I know I want to take this class. I’ve taken it before from my nannying days but of course have mostly forgotten everything I learned. Hoping to do this in March or April.
Pack hospital bags: Since I will be at the hospital for such an extended period of time, I’m sure my hospital bag will be bigger and unlike most others. I’ll be less concerned with magazines and snacks, more with having enough clothes, toiletries, etc. Of course I’ll make a few trips home to do laundry and refresh my supplies, but I’d like to have a decent amount with me from the start just in case. I’ll worry about this in April.
Prepare office as guest room: My parents are already generously planning to essentially move into our house while Turtle is in the hospital. We have a cat and a dog who need daily care, plus it will be important to have someone here to keep the place clean, help with laundry, pack some meals for us, etc. Since our guest room is becoming Turtle’s room though, we need to turn our office into a guest room. We already know exactly how we’re going to do this (mostly just need to tidy up, clear out a closet, and rearrange some furniture), but I’d like to have it done by late April.
Loose ends: Some other smaller tasks we’ll need to accomplish toward the end include purchasing any remaining necessary baby/layette items, figuring out our diaper situation (we’re leaning toward The Honest Company, have you heard of it?), purchasing a car seat, and possibly developing a birth plan (this is truly TBD at this point).
Looking back over this list, part of me feels relieved to have a plan in place for everything, while another part feels anxious at all we have to do, while yet another stands removed in disbelief that we’ve even reached this point and can be planning like this. That part reads back over this and is like, crib!? Diapers?! HOW CAN YOU EVEN SPEAK THOSE WORDS? The emotional adventures of pregnancy after infertility press on.
In the meantime, mamas, pregnant ladies, what am I forgetting here? I know there must be something. Please help!