How do you prepare yourself for the day your baby arrives? I’m not talking about birthing classes, a secure crib, or one of the many steps you can take to baby proof your home. I am referring to the moment your wife goes into labor.
Our bundle of joy is due on Christmas and just the other day a commercial popped up and said “Just 16 days until Christmas” my wife and I looked at each other, not in anticipation for the biggest holiday, but because the countdown is on to delivery day.
Alabama and Notre Dame have a date, location, and know exactly when the BCS National Championship game will kickoff. We might have a “due date” but really it could happen at any time before or after December 25th. It’s like my wife and I are at the fifty yard line of the Super Bowl and the ref has flipped the coin and it’s stuck in mid-air. Let’s just hope we won’t have replacement refs during “our” big game since it is holiday season!
The “Boss” has asked me several times how I am feeling as we get closer and I’m oddly calm. I often review my days, like today, and realize I will no longer be able to plop on the couch and waste a day, won’t be able to watch an entire game without hitting pause to change a diaper (what did we do before DVR?!), and the days of jumping in the car to run to the store are numbered. It’s as if a boulder is teetering at the top of a cliff and I am confident I will be able to handle what happens when that rock starts to roll. Most laugh when I say that, and I am sure you are doing the same.
Most of my comfort comes from the fact that we are 100% prepared for everything other than caring for a child. I credit my wife for that. She has been nesting since the day we found out she was pregnant. I dodged endless lists early on and guaranteed we would be fine. Then I buckled and within weeks we had a completed nursery, showers, a diaper party, bought a camera and computer, acquired all the swings, strollers, car seats, and jumperoo’s suggested, took birthing classes, and even bought and wrapped Christmas gifts and celebrated the holidays early to get them out-of-the-way. Family members ask where my wife went and at what point we took a turn for the responsible. It happened when we realized a more important and rewarding life lay ahead.
The drawback is that we have completed all the necessary prep work one month early and now we sit and wait. We talk about what if’s. Like could this be our last weekend as just “us.” We also dissect every baby kick, pain, burn, and craving to figure out if this might signal the next stage, labor.
I truly believe pregnancy is nine months for a reason. So that you have ample time to ready your home, your work, your family, and yourself for the beautiful moment your life changes forever. I suggest you take every minute and enjoy it. Don’t miss a baby appointment, go to bed early with her for support, and fill your free time in the early stages with every pre-baby chore imaginable. That way, like us, you’re done early and can enjoy the final days of being a couple.
There will come a time when my wife and I know no other life than as a trio, but these last few days as a duo are crucial. The extra free time also has given us the chance to ask each other every question about labor day and what we want out of life directly after she is born.
As a dad-to-be my only concern is what the big day will hold. Where will my wife be, how long will delivery take, will we overreact and be that couple the hospital sends home for misunderstanding the pain, will we be able to remember every step we were advised on along the way. The answers to those questions are to-be-determined.
For now my bags are packed, the car seat installed, and my ringer on high in anticipation for the call of my life.