After being told by virtually everyone that I a) have a gigantic belly – and mostly from experienced moms, not men, because they wouldn’t DARE tell a pregnant woman that she is huge b) must be due soon, I started to believe that I would deliver Noah early.
So for most of this week, I went to bed each night a nervous wreck, thinking that “tomorrow, life as we know it might change forever.” One night (or early morning, shall I say), I was so wound up that I got out of bed after some slight abdominal discomfort (which hurt tremendously at the time, of course) and promptly started gathering items for my hospital bag, 3 weeks early. Then I sat down with a pen and paper and started writing a “TO DO” list for Charlie for the things that he needs to do (important tasks like return library books, pay utility bills, etc.) while I’m recouping in case I suffer some kind of memory loss during the labor process.
In the end, nothing happened of course. So I dragged my exhausted body back to bed around 7 AM somewhat thankful that I had a chance to go through this “test run.” Perhaps it will help me panic less when the real labor begins. Through all this time, my supportive hubby slept peacefully next to me without a stir, which made me wonder if he will be able to wake up in the future for diaper duty as promised.
In any case, realizing that I am too anxious for my own good, I started working down a “TO DO” list (another, more practical one that I had drafted for myself) so that when THE day comes, I will be at peace knowing that I am more “prepared” (of course, no one can fully prepare for labor and parenthood) than I was that morning.
With the extra time, I was able to:
- Attend a Le Leche League meeting – at what turned out to be the first meeting for a new group in our area, I met a few nursing and experienced moms. It seems that people who seek out this kind of support group tend to have some kind of nursing problems so I feel bad that I wasn’t able to contribute much to helping their situations but hopefully they didn’t mind giving me advice about issues they’ve faced. What I learned was “don’t fret and don’t give up.”
- Get a haircut – I actually had to schedule the appointment twice because the stylist ran out of time for me on the first try, which added greatly to my anxiety but it turned out well because the stylist had a lot more time during my eventual appointment and we “bonded” over talks about my pending labor and his wife’s second pregnancy. So when I am ready to be beautiful again, I can count on some help…yay!
- Crash a mommy lunch – on my way out from the hair salon, I bumped into a mommy friend from church who was having lunch with two other moms. I joined in and again, promptly got some of my concerns addressed. Mainly, their advice was – epidural (good), post partum exercise (important), episiotomy (preferred), and places to eat out with children (limited).
- Get measured for nursing bras – even though I held off from buying maternity lingerie during the pregnancy, I figured that getting nursing gear would be better for both of us, not to mention any one who would be in our company in the next year. So I made an appointment with a specialist at a nearby hospital shop to get fitted. It’s incredible how much they charge for such small pieces of fabric but thanks to the wonderful world of online shopping, I was able to find some deals online and ordered a few to pack in my hospital bag.
- Confirm the hospital address for the postnatal meal delivery – Charlie and I decided to spend the big bucks and ordered the traditional Chinese postnatal meal plan (called 月子餐 in Chinese) during my 30-day recoup period (作月子 in Chinese, which means literally, “to make or sit a month”). Although they’ve been widely practiced in Chinese culture for thousands of years, the exact rules for proper nutrition/diet and activities are still a mystery. Still, there are some general and common recipes, but most can be too tedious to follow. Luckily we found a catering service that operates in our area and it turns out they make daily runs to our birthing center. [For more information on the “postnatal (home) confinement” period and general diet and practices, see Cecilia Koh’s website and articles. Interestingly, I had a hard time finding info on this topic in English until I googled “postnatal confinement” – go figure]
So Noah, mommy might still be a nervous wreck when you arrive but while you are working hard to grow and be ready for life outside the womb, mommy is working hard to be better prepared to care for and love you too.
Let’s jia yu for another week, shall we?