My son will be born sometime in the next seven weeks, and I’m anxiously attempting to get everything ready. My husband, bless him, has dealt well with a wife whose ideas of preparation include making and freezing soups (two months in advance); stocking up on toilet paper, Ziploc bags, shampoo, laundry detergent, and stamps (two months in advance); and purchasing Vaseline and infant Tylenol (also two months in advance). I’ve seen a few eye rolls, and I did have to explain why I felt it was necessary to purchase the infant car seat/stroller system and the wearable infant carrier at 32 weeks, but overall I think he sees my preoccupation with preparation as a benign symptom of the eighth month of pregnancy. For me, however, it is something much more.
Based on my pregnancy, labor, and delivery 10 years ago, I already know that I have to have a c-section this time around. As a second timer, I’m not too worried about the surgery itself. However, I am very aware of the limitations it will place on me afterward: I cannot climb up or down stairs for two to three weeks (which will be difficult seeing as we live on the third floor); I am not supposed to do housework for at least four weeks; I cannot drive for six weeks; and I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than my baby or begin exercising for up to eight weeks after delivery. For me, this basically means I’ll be living on my couch for the first four to six weeks with an infant attached to my breast.
I also have migraines, and those migraines often affect my energy levels, my speech patterns, my vision, my concentration levels, and my ability to handle light and noise. They often come on quickly, ramping up to excruciating and debilitating within as little as 20 minutes, and they’re most frequently triggered by lack of sleep, changes in eating schedule, lack of exercise, stress, dehydration, and hormonal changes – all commonly experienced by the mothers of newborns.
Taken together, these two things (the impending c-section and the ever-present threat of migraine) mean I absolutely must be prepared for my return home before we’ve ever even left for the hospital. The more plans and preparations I can make now, the less I’ll have to worry about or tend to when we get home. Granted, if everything goes according to plan, I still have seven more weeks to wrap up any last minute food prep and laundry tasks, but – as many of us know – things rarely go according to plan, especially when infants or migraines are involved. Adding them together seems to ensure a chaotic start.
I can only hope my relentless drive to prepare helps in the months ahead. I’d hate to spend the first couple of months of my son’s life curled up in pain, unable to soothe his cries because they hurt my head too much. Just in case, though, I’ve decided I’m going to start experimenting to figure out which earplugs block the most noise. We’ll call it one final pre-baby preparation.