We have now entered the same month as our due date, the official sign that we are in the pregnancy home stretch. Soon we will reach the surreal point where the milk in the fridge has a later expiration date than this pregnancy.
My wife’s now impossible-to-miss pregnant belly has led friends, family, coworkers and random strangers to routinely ask us that old familiar question: Are you ready?
Well, are we? I had delusions that with our second child I would have more answers than questions this time around, and I guess I do…to a point. I know what the birth process could look like—if it goes exactly like the birth1 of our daughter. But we had tons of notice and annoying back labor leading up to Maddie’s delivery—and it all started on a weekend. The odds seem much greater that I will be at work downtown or we’ll be asleep when things start to escalate, which would add a new wrinkle of adventure.
Heck, the very existence of Maddie adds so many variables that this is basically an entirely new experience. We will have to drop her off at my parents’ house2 with everything she needs before heading off to meet her little brother. We have yet to pack a bag of stuff for her or our hospital bag, so I guess we’re still living on the edge. Maddie has also never gone to sleep without one of us putting her down, so that’s going to be a conundrum for my family to figure out in our absence. With the way Maddie has recently forgotten how to fall asleep without first starting a riot, it could be extra fun.
On the homefront, I guess we are more prepared. We still have all the stuff we had when Maddie was a newborn, some new boy stuff, and a decent stash of male clothing hand-me-downs. We converted our office/guest room into a baby’s room3 and moved the guest room into the basement. We got a convertible crib/bed for Maddie off of Facebook Marketplace and recently assembled it in her room. We had to disassemble her crib to get it out of her room and have since reassembled it in the new baby’s room.4
On the work front, I am once again blessed that my employer offers 12 weeks of leave for mothers and fathers, so I will be escaping for a full month after the birth, then returning for two days a week for one month and three days a week for the month after that, before returning to full-time duty around August. While there are a lot of preparations to be made at the office so that my absence won’t hurt as much, I am grateful for the opportunity to be around for the early days of my son’s existence and to spend uninterrupted quality time with the people who matter most to me. I wish all employers could see the emotional and social value of offering such a policy.
The element of this impending birth story that is the most uncertain—and also the most exciting—will be having a newborn with a big sister. Maddie has become such a funny little person in recent months who can much more easily communicate her thoughts, opinions and needs to us.
After they ask us if we are ready, people usually ask us if Maddie understands what’s happening. I think it’s asking a lot of a 1.5-year-old to understand that when we point to her mom’s belly and say “baby” it means there will be a real version of her baby doll living in her house and competing for her parents’ time and attention, but she definitely understands that something is afoot. She definitely says that there is a baby in Theresa’s belly, but I have no idea what she thinks that actually means.
She says her version his name—since we call him by his name when no one else is around to hear it—and prays for him whenever we do night prayers. When we moved the crib around and gave her a new bed, we told her that her old bed is now the new baby’s bed and she has started repeating that fact in her toddler broken English.
Regardless of what she comprehends at the moment, she will definitely notice when we have a new baby coexisting in the house. I honestly can’t wait to see her interacting with her little brother, even at this incredibly young age. She is so engaged with everything about her world, so I know that he is going to be a major curiosity for her. With her undying love for her baby dolls, I’m sure she is going to be excited to try to take care of the new baby in any way that we allow. As a heretofore only child who gets a lot of attention from her parents and her nearby uncles and grandparents, I think it will be good for her to have to share the limelight a bit as well.
So…do we sound ready? We are definitely aware of how close we are to the finish line—especially Theresa, as she carries a rapidly growing baby who already tips the scales past Maddie’s measly 7-pound birth weight.
We had our 36-week ultrasound this past week, and seeing the kid lounging around in Hotel Utero makes me all the more excited for his debut and also realize that I am way more mentally prepared this time around. Having witnessed the joy of Maddie’s birth and experienced all the highs and lows5 of parenting through the first year of life, I am psyched to do it again—revisiting all the different stages of infanthood—as well as experiencing it anew with my daughter.
See you soon, sonny boy!
- which was honestly about as by-the-book as it comes
- who fortunately live two minutes from the hospital
- That still has a desktop computer in it…
- If I had a dime for every crib or bed I have assembled, disassembled and reassembled in the last four years, I would have at least $.50
- Honestly…almost exclusively highs!