Five things to do before the baby comes

At thirty-three weeks pregnant, the countdown has begun. Laurence asked me yesterday if we’re in the third trimester yet. I pray he was joking. At any rate, I’m determined to make the most of these next seven (or five or nine or God alone knows how many) weeks.

This does not entail, as has been previously suggested to me, clubbing. Anyone who’s made that suggestion (and they’ve tellingly all been male) doesn’t quite understand that this thing around my middle really is as heavy as it looks.

Nope, dancing days waved goodbye a week after I peed on the sticks. Then the first trimester’s exhaustion/nausea/generally-feeling-like-I’m-dying was speedily followed by the ligaments in my pelvic girdle deciding to fall apart and do a fancy jiggle called SPD. Though that’s admittedly chilled quite a bit with exercise and listening to my body, the third trimester has brought the return of exhaustion, coupled with needing to know where the restroom is at all times.

So, in short, I’m afraid this list won’t be as active as some of my friends would probably like but it reflects how excited I am about meeting the creature. Call me 25 going on 50.

Before the baby arrives I want to:

1. Get all things “baby” ready

This might actually strike some as surprising, since I clearly have the kid on the brain rather a lot of the time, but I haven’t set up the nursery yet. Yes we’ve bought things. We even have the pram and car seat. But everything is sitting in the room, mostly in bags, unwashed and wondering if a baby is really coming. Then Braxton Hicks rudely reminds me that it’s worth getting my tush into gear, even though I do have loads of time left.

2. Learn origami

I mentioned this to a crafty friend the other day and she seemed excited that we were going to make a mobile or something (not a bad idea though, not at all). Really, I meant that we need to work this nappy situation out.

We’ve opted to do the cloth nappy thing. My brother and I wore reusable nappies and I’m keen to continue the family tradition mainly because we don’t have much money and I saw an exhibition in Bristol Zoo last year that freaked me out about what disposables do the environment.

I now have a collection of pocket nappies, all-in-ones and terry toweling but little idea of how to use them so I’ll be having some fun with Videojug and online diagrams these next few weeks. I say “I” but I do mean “we”.

3. Write a birth plan

I vaguely know this is a good idea. My midwife told me to write one and then we could discuss it, which left me with a feeling reminiscent of coming up with my thesis proposal. Where does one start? Research? Gut instinct? So far, my mental birth plan is: “Have this kid at home with a plastic sheet handy and no drugs unless she’s in trouble.” So, uh, yeah I probably should put together more than that.

4. Read books

Three weeks ago, I ambitiously considered reading a book a week. What I forgot is that it always takes me a while to fall back into the habit of reading once I’ve fallen out of it. It’s strange that something I love to do has become so difficult.

My excuse is not a lack of time so much as a lack of discipline. My attention span is shot with all the distractions around me. But with the good fortune of being married to someone who not only likes to read but is good at tuning other things out (including an occasionally nagging wife) to do it, I should take advantage of the baby-less reading time.

So, this weekend, I turned the television off, ignored Twitter and let myself fall deeply into Crime and Punishment. At first, I just couldn’t get into it. But I resisted the temptation to go browsing blogs and eventually, the words became a story. It took me by surprise when I struggled to put it down so we could go to a friend’s barbecue.

My aim is now to read four quality books before the baby comes. And only fiction; nothing birth or baby-related counts.

5. Go on a babymoon

I’m not using this word in its traditional sense as in the time a mother takes to bond with her child and recuperate from birth in seclusion. Instead, I’m using it in the trendy “let’s go on a romantic holiday” sense.

Holidaying is something Laurence has had to teach me. I’m not very good at it by nature. I think it’s because I’m just not good at relaxing in general. My brain is always full of things to do. But with his efforts, I’m fully converted. It may be a little late for that, considering that our holidays are soon to be more of the family variety rather than the romantic or sexy kind. Ah well, better late than never.

This weekend he’s taken a couple of days off and we’re just going to kick it with stylish homemade dinners, cream teas, a walk through the woods and, if the weather allows, a trip to the beach. It’s babymooning on a budget, to be sure, but I’m so looking forward to just being us two.

There are, of course, lots of little things that need to be done but these are some of the big ones that have been on my mind. If you were in the last stretch of pregnancy, what would you do?

Images by: Nuno Duarte, Robin Taylor, Mamma Loves