The clock is ticking, the weeks are ticking away... the countdown has definitely begun. We've bought the stroller, we've set up the crib, we've cleaned the house and got the carpets scrubbed. We've even got the baby shower out of the way, and managed to load up on the gift registry thanks to the generosity of our friends and family. If our messy house, crowded with strange, new baby stuff is not proof enough that the baby is on its way, then there definitely are other signs. Signs that the date is near and that we need to be ready.
Despite everything that's going on around, there's a part of me that is cool, calm and fairly relaxed about it; "There are 7+ billion people on this earth. I am sure they all got here somehow and more importantly I am sure not all their parents knew what they were doing."
Then, there's another part of me that is basically just going, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" That sense of "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" comes from the pure fear of not knowing. Not knowing what's coming, what to expect, when to expect it and how things will turn out. It's a bit of that uncertainty that bothers the obsessive compulsive demon inside of me; more than bothers actually. It is bothersome because for such a big event, for such a life changing moment, there is no certainty - you simply can't plan for it. I mean you can, but there are certain things that are just purely out of your control. For instance, the biggest one, 'when is it going to happen exactly'? "Listen to your body and you will know when it's time", we've been told. Again, "AHHHHHHHHHH!!! You're not helping." The obsessive one inside me is screaming.
If my insides are screaming, I cannot even imagine what's happening to my wife, who is more of the obsessive among the two of us (I would never have thought that there would be someone like that... but from among the entire population of the world I was able to pick her out. We are truly a match made in heaven... Our kid is going to be one lucky one, eh?). What has helped calm our nerves a bit and keep that obsessive beast in chains has been another stage in this cycle... something that we can prepare, and plan for... the hospital bag!
"Get it ready", we have been told. "You're probably just going to have to grab it from beside the door and run out when it is time", we learnt at our birth preparation class.
You have to pack a bag, as if you were going on holiday for a week, or were spending a night at a five-star hotel. You have to pack clothes, toiletries and stuff you would need for an overnight stay. More importantly, you have to think about not just you, but the companion you will walk out with after this short 'holiday'... you got to pack stuff for the little one as well! And so a full suitcase it becomes. In your worry and fear that you may be missing something, or may have forgotten something, you may tend to overdo the packing a little bit... Then there are all the other external factors that influence you one way or another.
"You must take a sound system or something that will allow you to play soothing music", said one advisor. "You're not going to want to hear any sounds or music; and even if there is music, your own labour screams and shouts are going to drown them all", said another. "Take a book to read", advised one individual. "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha" responded another. "Take some candles to make the room smell nice". "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha", I laughed this time. "Carry some snacks. Labour can be long and you will need a lot of energy during the process", suggested a midwife. "You're not going to want to eat... you're too busy pushing a baby out to want to take anything in", said a friend (probably correctly too). "A back massager to relax and relieve the stress in your back", said our class instructor. "Well, what if you're getting an epidural; are you going to want anything even coming near your back", asked one blogger. There's merits in each one; which one do you listen to?
As the partner in chief (and probably silent observer here), I am a bit torn. I want to have all of the above handy and readily available, should the need arise. On the flip side, I don't want to make it seem like we are packing our bags for a good, long and comfortable stay at a five-star hotel. I mean, at the end of it, there is probably only so much we will be able to take of hospital food and the 'hospitality' of our nurses and midwifes. And so, a trolley bag it is... accompanied by a small hand carry for me... and another hand carry for my wife, with 'important stuff'.... So the 'bag' has become 'bags'... but hey, we are prepared and ready to go. Bring it on, baby!