Behind The Scenes Of Starting A Family – Chapter 9: The Last Month Of Pregnancy
If you haven’t started at Chapter 1 of the adventure, I recommend that you check it out–if nothing else to get to know me a little bit and figure out where we’re at on the journey to starting our family. Only missed a chapter? Press ‘end’ on your keyboard for the table of contents. Now that your caught up, let’s continue on. (full list of chapters at the end of this post)
The Last Month Of Pregnancy
I will still be writing up the weekly reports in my post about the Third Trimester, BUT this post is really to recap the last month of pregnancy, and the transition from woman to mom. I will be sharing my birth story in a separate post, but the moments leading up to it fall into this one. Whether that is preparing the final touches on the nursery decor, preparing and packing the Baby Is Coming Bag, prepping freezer meals for ourselves in that first stretch of parenthood living in our little bubble, or something else that I discover along the way–this is it. The tell-all post.
Here we go!
Prepping For Baby
The Car Seat
While everything is important in the preparation stages, doing this one properly is of the utmost importance. Making sure the car seat was purchased and installed BEFORE going into labour was vital so we did buy it in the early third trimester, and got it into the car under the wire. We made sure to follow the instructions exactly, which meant installing it a second time to conform to both manufacturer and vehicle directions. Aaaaand to be extra safe, we hired a professional (certified CPST) to come to our home and inspect it. Turns out she would have completed the install as well during the same appointment (oops!), so I highly recommend reaching out to Car Seat Maven if you’re in Ottawa or Toronto for the in-home service that will take away the majority of the worry.
The intention was to have it all done by the end of November, post a Pinterest-worthy blog post about it with a ton of photos. While I am pleased to say that it DID all get done prior to baby’s arrival, custom carpet ordered + picked up and all, it wasn’t done until less than a week before my due date. Oops. Now we just need to get the whole thing organized to our preferences as we learn the ropes of parenthood. You can check out the post in all its glory: The Official Nursery Reveal.
Baby Is Coming Bag (Checklist)
This is one thing that I’ve had ready for a while, the list that is…not so much the actual packed bag. As part of the Baby is Coming event I hosted in September, all attendees got a printable copy of the packing checklist, which was put together using the help of logic, other birth professionals, and past experiences of recent new parents. You can get the FREE printable checklist here. As for the actual packing of the bag, was left until week 38. Yep, I cut it close, but got everything ready in time for the three of us. I will also be posting another blog about what specifically made it into my birth centre experience, and what could have stayed at home.
Being that we were about to become parents for the first time, I had absolutely no clue how I was going to feel after birth, so I was very vocal about NOT wanting visitors immediately after. The thing is, I also didn’t know how my body would recover, or how my brain was going to be. I’d like to think I’d be this high-spirited, emotionally-stable new-mom, but you truly never know. That’s why both of our families were made aware early on that there would be no visitors for the first little while, and that they would be by invitation-only. Especially since we are in the height of flu-season, I wasn’t taking any chances with other children until a few weeks. Knowing this in advance made it so that nobody has bothered us with the dreaded questions: “is baby here yet?”, “when can I come see baby?”, etc. We have however been getting “how are you doing?” and “do you need anything?” messages, which have been quite comforting actually, because they can be answered at our pace, and do NOT lead to visit questions unless WE instigate the response. That has been the biggest stress-reliever yet!
The Birth Plan
Let’s face it, you cannot plan a birth the way you plan the rest of your life, so when I say “plan”, it really means “preferences”. Meaning, that I really wanted to bring my baby into the world at the Ottawa Birth Centre, and would avoid the hospital at all costs, BUT if something unforeseen were to happen that required medical attention, then duh! we would do it there for everyone’s health and well-being. With that said, it is very important for you to put together a birth plan (and a contingency plan, if you’re a paranoid freakazoid like me!), so that those around you in the moment know exactly what you want, without having to ask. THAT was the biggest thing for me, being reassured that everyone in the room knew about my water allergy and to avoid coming at me with a wet cloth for “comfort”, or that I really wanted my husband to catch my baby, or any other preference that I had. I actually found a lovely lady who offers custom colour-coded icon-based birth plans that are super simple for everyone to read and understand, and they were extremely helpful with ‘teaching’ my new midwife about my preferences when got transferred into her care at 36 weeks.
Yup, another thing that hit the back-burner until the very last minute, no pun intended, is the preparation of meals for us in that first month of parenthood when you are apparently good for nothing and don’t feel like doing anything, let alone cooking. Or so I am told… I am currently 39 weeks along, and yet to have any meals prepped or frozen. Oops. BUT the goal was to have at least 10 meals done by the time baby gets here. Beef Bourguignon was first on the list–yup, we go big or go home!–and was a great success!
Next up is Curry Pork Tenderloin Medallions, Creamy Spicy Chicken, Zucchini Lasagna, and Cajun Gumbo. The challenge is to actually keep leftovers to freeze because these are our absolute favourites! BUT as with all things in life, time passes so quickly and our little decided to show up before we had the chance. Next time, I’d start a month sooner…hind-sight is fierce!
Maternity Leave / Parental Leave
As a self-employed individual, I do not get an official maternity leave, but I do have the luxury of owning my schedule and having the flexibility of doing whatever the hell I want with it. I decided to take a month off after baby’s arrival, and take it easy the month leading up to it (no advanced bookings). I may want to take longer, so I have limited my client capacity in the first 3 months, which can easily be augmented with last-minute bookings if I am feeling up to it. This has made the transition super easy, and allows for me to do some admin work while my body heals to keep up with marketing, but without having to take time away from my new baby (maximum one sleep per day for working, the rest are to eat and sleep). When sessions start to come up, I have the luxury of a partner who has floating off-days and can help with childcare in between, and still have almost a full day to spend together as a family. Only time will tell if this continues to work as-intended, but for now, it seems to be a great plan.
As for HIS parental leave, this proved to be a little more difficult, so it ended up just being him taking 2 weeks off from work to stay home with us and settle into our new life as parents. The upside is that he still gets his full paycheques, and the downside is that he spent the last of his vacation days for the fiscal year. Oh well, at least they restart for the summer!
And with that, we continue through the adventure, hand-in-hand. Chat soon!
Ready for the next chapter? Here’s to continuing on the roller coaster of parenthood!
NEXT UP: Our Birth Story
Missed a post? Here they are: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Baby Shower & Gender Reveal, Chapter 8, Our Last Christmas, The Nursery Decor