Baby will come when baby is ready and you need to be prepared!
By RACHEL COLLISON
Attending a family wedding in the country at 37-and-a-half weeks pregnant was always going to be interesting. From jokes about not upstaging the bride and warnings to hubbie not to drink too much, everyone seemed to think fate had already decided the birth date. On top of this, one of the surprises of our NCT pre-natal course was the knowledge that your baby can come anytime between 37 and 42 weeks. Apparently this is when your baby is considered ‘term’, a five-week window of your life where you shouldn’t plan for anything. Having already RSVP’d to weddings at either end of the spectrum, this was news to me.
And so it was, following a fabulous baby shower at work which initiated my maternity leave, we headed down the M4 for my sister-in-law’s wedding the following day. With hospital bag packed, there was two days of relaxation planned in Herefordshire before the weekend’s festivities. At the time I thought my biggest challenge would be getting through the weekend with massive bump in tow. Admittedly, I was looking forward to getting back home, nesting, resting and getting ready for the birth.
Whether it was the thunderstorms, winding country roads, that large pothole or the delicious piece of dark chocolate, I just don’t know. What I can be sure of is my father-in-law’s face when my waters broke in front of him on the eve of the wedding. That image will stay with me forever.
As the in-laws rushed around in a frenzy, I looked into my husband’s wide and frightened eyes as my hynobirthing CD rang in my ears, ‘Baby will come when baby is ready,’ and my baby was ready now! What I never imagined would happen was breaking into fits of laughter but I did, you honestly can’t predict how you will react. To cut a long a story short, after jumping in the car and dashing back up the M4, my beautiful daughter was born. Needless to say, we missed the wedding.
A wonderful surprise but after arriving two-and-a-half weeks early, my little girl didn’t give me any time to prepare for actually having a baby. Thankfully, despite a huge list of products needed to create the perfect nursery, it turns out newborn babies need very little. Baby’s needs equal milk and sleep. Mum’s needs equal pretty much the same thing, particularly in those first few weeks. ‘Sleep when your baby sleeps,’ is the advice, but you won’t.
There is a point to my ramblings, and I hope they can help you one day. The question is, ‘what couldn’t I have lived without in those first few weeks?’ and here they are:
- Presents – everyone is super generous when there’s a baby involved. I have never received so many cards and gifts (mostly for her), it was a total outpouring of love for a new life. Apparently everyone goes a little bit gaga for cute baby clothes.
- Hand me downs – thank goodness for my sisters, who each have children and have given me so much equipment and clothing, and friends who have little ones and share top tips and paraphernalia.
- Lansinoh nipple cream – everyone’s experience of breastfeeding is different, I have been very lucky but still in need of this absolute essential.
- Tiny lavender cushion – I picked this up at a little market and I’m not sure why but I have been sniffing it like an addict! Taking in a deep breath of the lavender fragrance has helped keep me calm in times of need.
- From day four I had to be out and about to go for my midwife appointments at the hospital therefore a buggy or ‘travel system’, as their known in the industry, was an obvious must-have. We chose the Baby Style Oyster. They come in lots of colours but as we didn’t know what we were having we stuck with black, which also enhances my funky changing bag, which fits nicely on the handle.
- The Oyster also fits with the essential Maxi Cosi – car seat and isofix which, as far as I researched, was one of the safest and most popular choices of car seat. No faffing about, you just click it straight into the base. You will need to have this in plenty of time so that you can leave hospital for your baby’s first journey home.
- Changing Bag – I discovered the fabulous brand Nova Harley who specialise in baby changing bags and WOW! This is my all-time favourite life addition since having my baby. I chose this funky design and it honestly makes me smile whenever I see it/ use it, which is a lot. It looks like a designer bag but has all the essential pockets and space for everything you need when you are out and about with your baby (cutely marked with icons for nappies, dirty clothes, keys, milk, wipes).
- TIVO (Virgin Media) – programme repeats that I didn’t get around to watching the first time like GLEE and Sex and the City. Honestly watching these in the early hours while feeding my baby has literally been a lifesaver. In fact, it has helped me look forward to those clandestine moments (guilty pleasures) in the middle of the night, the witching hour when everyone who doesn’t have a baby is sleeping.
- My mobile phone – As above, when you are stuck unable to move for about an hour every two to three hours you need a bottle of water close by, your TV remotes and your mobile phone. Endlessly flicking through Facebook, Twitter, the internet, your emails or purchase your endless nappy and cotton wool supply on Amazon suddenly becomes a joy.
- And my final thing I now could not live without is Twitter! This has really surprised me, I have always liked a dabble on Twitter but now I have a whole new understanding, appreciation and love for the social media platform. It really is a resource and a community. To tap into like-minded people or people focused on the same passion/ goal/ interest. Now that all I can think of is babies, babies, babies, I need to know as much information about them as possible and share this information with others and finding other sharers is amazing. Some of my favourite tweeps are…