Last time I had a baby, I was prepared. I took all the classes, read all the books, filled out all the forms, joined all the mailing lists. I preregistered for the hospital 6 months in advance. Thanks to flooding near our home, my hospital bag was packed and by the door in late April (I gave birth in late August). If it could be scheduled, I scheduled it. I had a birth plan, a postpartum plan, a battle plan.

And everything pretty much went awry anyway.

This time, I’ve been too busy for such preparations. Long hours and a toddler and a rough pregnancy have eaten away at my free time. And then there’s the false sense of security in having done this before. I felt I knew what to expect. Not that I’ve made no preparations, but I’ve been pretty lax about it.

Last night, I had some bloody show. First time ever; I didn’t dilate at all last time, even with help, so I never lost my mucus plug. In fact, I was under the impression that I couldn’t dilate. (I’m still not sure if I can or not, to be honest. With my reproductive history, it’s entirely possible that it’s a permanent physical issue.) And Valentine’s weekend I had several bouts of contractions — not the painless Braxton-Hicks variety, but hard, painful contractions almost regular enough for me to go to the hospital.

If I’m going to do this stuff, my body’s telling me, I’d better do it now.

So I’m aflutter in forms and packing lists and last-minute preparations. Making sure everyone has their vaccinations — the adults, not my daughter. (She is already fully vaccinated, because that’s how I roll. Not that I put much stock in the antivax movement, but even if they were right, I’d rather have an autistic child than a dead one.) Setting up bill payments and cleaning the house and making sure everything I need is at the ready, should I go into labor tonight.

The one thing I feel certain of is that I am forgetting something. But if I learned anything last time around, it’s that you cannot be fully prepared. Having a baby is messy. Life is messy. You do the best you can; the rest sorts itself out one way or another.


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