Suddenly it’s there!
Two lines! What you have been waiting for, for what seems like eternity has happened!
Excitement sets in…
- What will pregnancy be like?
- Will I be a good parent?
- How will I cope with labor?
- There is so much to do…where do I start?
This is just a sampling of questions I had running through my head as I stared at those pink lines…and assuming there are some similar ones running through yours!
Fortunately, I have some answers!
Yes, I’m still a new momma, but I have gone through pregnancy, birth and the first three months of living with a baby and I have found the answers to all of those questions.
Here are 10 ways to prepare yourself for baby’s arrival!
Choose your health care provider for you and baby: It might seem a little bit early to be thinking about this, but you want to give yourself time to research your options. Which providers are accepting new patients, which ones are covered by your insurance policy, and one who aligns with your plans and desires for your pregnancy and birth. It’s important to take the time to find a physician who fits the needs of your family.
Consider how you yourself personally want your birth experience:
- Are you extremely nervous about the birthing process and worried about complications? Perhaps, you should consider a hospital birth.
- Looking for a more natural birth in relaxed environment that still provides some security and accessibility to some medical assistance if necessary? A birthing center might be the right choice for you.
- Do you have a completely healthy pregnancy and you feel confident in the birthing process? Maybe this means you could birth at home with the help of a doula.
There are quite a few options, but with a few simple questions and a little bit of research you’ll be able to decide the right method for you.
(I personally saw a midwife during my pregnancy and had a hospital birth assisted by the midwife and not an OBGYN. This was the best option for me as I wanted as natural a birth as possible, but was nervous about the process as a first time mom.)
Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy: Yes, insurance is confusing. I’m still trying to learn how to interpret everything!
Though it might be something you are dreading, it is extremely important to become familiar with your insurance policy. Here are a few questions to help you get more comfortable with your insurance:
- What is your deductible?
(A specified amount of money that the insured must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim)
- What is your total out of pocket?
(The most you have to pay for covered services in a plan year. After you spend this amount on deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, your health plan pays 100% of the costs of covered benefits.)
Which providers does your insurance cover?
- How do you add your baby to your insurance policy?
- Does your insurance cover breast pumps?
Having a general idea of your deductible and your total out of pocket will help you as you plan out your expenses and savings plan for baby.
Talk to veteran moms: Yes, everyone’s experience is different; however, having someone to talk to and sympathize with you about things such as diminished bladder control and lack of sleep can go quite a ways to easing those pregnancy worries and feeling like you are all alone.
There is a tremendous bond between mothers. If you don’t have any mothers to connect with in your area there are many areas where you can get connected online! There are a plethora of mommy discussion forums, mommy Facebook groups and Pinterest boards. Finding moms who are willing to share their real experiences can help adjust your expectations for pregnancy and birth.
However, if there is a friend or family member who insists on sharing all of the rare and terrifying birth experiences she has heard of feel free to graciously put a stop to it and ask them for their advice on baby registry items instead.
Use pregnancy printables: I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love all things planning and organization! I loved looking for weekly pregnancy trackers and hospital checklists. Anything to help me wrap my mind around what I needed to do and when I needed to do it. Having registry checklists or a hospital checklist helps to set your mind at ease, not worrying that you will have forgotten something important. In fact, I love printables so much I created a few of my own!
Create your registry: This is one of the more fun aspects of baby prep! It is so fun to go through the store or scroll through websites looking at the cute baby outfits and newest baby items. Here are few steps to make it even easier:
- Decide where to create your registry.
- Ask friends about their favorite/most used baby items.
- Download a registry checklist
Yes, there are a million items! It helps to ask friends about what items they are in love with. And don’t forget about checking out the reviews! This really helped me to narrow down what I wanted on my registry.
Go for a tour of the hospital/birthing center: My husband and I did this when I was around 7 months pregnant. I can’t tell you how much it relieved our minds and made our birthing experience go so much smoother!
The last thing you want is to arrive at the hospital and not know where the parking is or what entrance you are supposed to go in! And once your inside you’ll want to know where you are headed!
The orientation at our hospital when over the entire process, explaining where to park and what entrance to go in depending on the time of day. They led us to where we would check in and then showed us the triage, birthing and recovery rooms. It helped me to feel a lot more comfortable about what to expect once we would head to the hospital. Knowing where to go and what the rooms looked like also helped my husband feel much more at ease about the process as well. It’s important hubby knows where to go in case you are to preoccupied with contractions!
Learn about the birthing process: Birthing Classes! Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobabies…whatever birthing technique you decide to go with, there is a class for it! I highly recommend looking online to see what classes are offered in your area. This will help to relieve your mind as to what to expect during the labor and birthing process. I still recommend attending classes even if you feel like have a general idea of what will go on due to the books you have been reading or research you have been doing.
There is something about hearing someone explain the process and even talk about their own experience that will make you feel more prepared for birth than reading it in a book. Plus, it is a great experience for hubby, because most likely he is just as nervous (if not more) about this experience and chances are he hasn’t really done any reading up on it. Going to classes together will give you time to bond and help prepare hubby so that he feels like he can be a better caregiver to you while you are in labor.
Stock up on the essentials: The last thing you want to have to do is run out of postpartum necessities, diapers, or even toilet paper and toothpaste while you are home with baby those first few weeks!
To make life easier stock up on all those household necessities before hand. Make sure you have all those baby necessities crossed off your registry and the postpartum needs all ready to go in a basket in your bathroom. You could even get enrolled in a subscription service through Amazon to have those items delivered to your house monthly!
Spend time with your husband: Once baby comes, even with your best effort to include daddy, it is very easy for him to feel a bit left out. Spend some extra one on one time with him now. It doesn’t have to be an expensive date night, curled up on the couch watching his favorite movie is just fine! This is something I wish I had taken more time to do. Here are a few ideas to help hubby feel loved.
- Extra date nights before baby arrives.
- Before baby arrives write weekly love letters to give him after baby is born.
- If he has any favorites (food, music, books) purchase those little gifts to give him once baby is here.
- Get a matching shirt for daddy and onesie for baby.
- Create a dad basket to give him at the baby shower.
(A friend of ours did this and it was great! It had some funny things like goggles, a mask and gloves for diaper changes, but a few useful things like diapers and wipes as well)
- Once baby is here include daddy as much as possible in taking care of the little one (feedings and yes, even diaper changes! Daddy likes to feel needed and useful!).
I am so very thankful for my husband and how he has been my strength and encourager in this journey. He is a wonderful daddy and we are so blessed to have him!
Take time for yourself: The weeks leading up to when baby arrived I took a little extra time to take care of myself. I knew that once he arrived there would be very little “me-time”. Indulge in a new hairstyle or pedicure (most likely you can’t reach your feet at this point!). Go to your favorite coffee shop and get your favorite cup of joe and read your favorite novel. Indulge yourself in that eyeshadow pallete or highlighter you have been eyeing (once baby gets here it’s all about diapers and wipes…enjoy that special purchase without guilt…you have a hard job growing and birthing that baby!)
Enjoy this time! Pregnancy is a wonderful experience despite the morning sickness, food aversions, and aches and pains. It is filled with amazing firsts that both you and those around you can enjoy: telling your husband and then loved ones, hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time, seeing the little profile light up on the ultrasound, and feeling those first flutters in your tummy.
Yes, it is scary!
But, it is oh so worth it when that precious baby is placed on your chest and snuggles into you for the first time!