~ Nesting Under Duress
I wonder if there's a name for this phase of a pregnancy: when the birth of the baby ceases to be a hazy, distant event far in the future, and begins to conceptually be Something That Is Really About To Happen Soon. What would it be called? "Wake up to Reality Week"…? "Buy the Baby Wipes Day"…?
My regular OB had suggested that I meet the other two doctors who may be on duty when I deliver, so I saw a different doctor at my appointment this week. I liked her a lot as well, and she started out by saying that she had reviewed my chart and ultrasounds, everything looked good, and at 34 weeks, we are now practically "home free." Apparently a baby born at this point is usually mature enough not to need the shots that are given to speed up lung development, and that the next magic signpost is 37 weeks, when the baby would typically be mature enough to go home when you do, not even needing extra time at the hospital, if born at that point. Not that she was proposing anything drastic to speed up the process, just being reassuring.
At the time she was telling me all of this, there may have been an audible click as I suddenly realized that there's nothing inherently magic about 40 weeks, much less January 6th; it's a bell curve, not an alarm-clock deadline, which I've known all along but obviously hadn't absorbed properly. The exact distribution varies depending on whose data you're looking at, but the point is, it's really not a countdown to 40 weeks but a daily increase in the likelihood that it's going to be THE day the baby arrives. A subtle conceptual difference, perhaps, but it definitely put things in a different light when I realized that our camping and snowboarding gear was still "temporarily" stashed in the baby room from the move, nothing was pre-washed, and I still hadn't gotten around to picking up the "little things" I was meaning to buy locally, like diaper wipes and Q-tips and such. So. I whipped everything into shape over a couple of days, whereupon I was accused of "nesting," which, ok, describes the symptoms but not the motivation.
Did I miss it? Is it still on its way in the remaining 3-8 weeks? Looking at the purported evolutionary roots of "the nesting instinct," of course I want a safe, cozy place for my baby to sleep; of course I want it to be neat and free of dust; and it goes without saying that I'm out-of-my-mind cuted out by the array of tiny little baby shirts and socks, and tend to get the giggles when taking them out of the dryer. But folding and re-folding and cooing over them for hours at a time? Scrubbing the floors and Windexing the windows? Uuhhhh…. doesn't sound like me. I'm usually the one who schedules our weekly housecleaning with the front desk, does that count? Well, if we were home in Connecticut, I'd be painting the nursery and decoupaging things onto walls and furniture for sure, but since we're here in Beijing, with maid service and non-paintable walls, maybe the nesting instinct is manifesting itself differently. Who knows, between the knitting (see Week 19) and the reading of child development books up to the age of 7, maybe I've actually been in a state of perma-nest for months now.
At any rate, and no matter how we got here, I think we're finally all set: got the crib; humidifier and air cleaner (both essential for the BJ winter); the Cadillac of a stroller, which has more cupholders than both our cars combined; the very cool car-seat-that-converts-to-a-stroller for taxi and plane rides; the Baby Bjorn; bunting bags to fit stroller, car seat, and Baby Bjorn; masses of baby clothes; three kinds of cloth diapers; sheets and enough receiving blankets and lap pads for five babies (thanks again to my mom); breast pump and bottles and associated accoutrements; baby medicines and cleaning tools; and the aforementioned baby wipes and Q-tips.
This is kind of funny, though: anyone see a pattern emerging in our stuffed animal collection?
Last Saturday we went to an all-day childbirth preparation class, the "crash course" version of the six-week class that the hospital normally holds. It was pretty much what I expected, and in many ways I'm relieved that we only invested one day into it: a lot of it was redundant, and kind of just common sense, and even the breathing and relaxation methods they taught weren't really anything groundbreaking. I have a feeling the class may have been more helpful for the dads in the group, since they probably haven't been researching everything to death the way the women probably have. But it was nice to be able to ask some questions specific to giving birth in Beijing, particularly with the pediatrician. With the exception of some extra concern about exposure to the cold, dry air (since everyone in the class will be having winter babies), it doesn't seem like it'll be much different from having a newborn anywhere else, but it was nice to be reassured nonetheless.
So far, I'm not very worried about much of anything at all. It's not that I expect everything to be easy; far from it. In fact, I expect a lot of things to be difficult, and some things to be painful, but I figure that's just the way it is and we can prepare for it, but on the whole we'll have to deal with it when we get there.
So I've been telling the kid during our daily mutual poking sessions, maybe best to stay in a little longer, just to get a little bigger and stronger and lose some of that lanugo, but in a few weeks, feel free to come on out anytime. As I said to my friend Jen, who was trying to find a weekend to visit us this December: "We'll be around - just book your ticket, no need to check with us first, just get a good fare and let us know when you're coming."