Preparing for the end of your pregnancy can be very busy, not to mention challenging. You may be only weeks away from delivery and then recovery. The last thing you need is to be scrambling when you’re physically and emotionally drained. Try to prepare in advance so the entire process will be easier for you.
Water often breaks in very inconvenient places, on newly laundered sheets for instance. You don’t really need the extra chore of somehow cleaning amniotic fluid out of the mattress. Consider putting plastic in between the mattress itself and the sheet. Waterproof crib sheets (cheaper) or even large garbage bags can work as well, though sheets stay put much more effectively.
You will need rest and serenity when you come home; a messy, dirty environment may cause anxiety and depression or it could just amplify stress. On the other hand, a clean, neat, accommodating environment can do wonders for your state of mind.
Think of your near-future self as the very best friend you want to pamper and comfort, then make sure the place meets your standards for her!
If you’re preparing for the end of your pregnancy, don’t do it alone if you don’t have to. Ask for help. Friends can work with you to clean the place inside and out, get all laundry done and stock the freezer and cupboard. Frozen and dried foods are ideal since you don’t know an exact delivery date (unless you’ve scheduled a c-section.)
Make sure all your paperwork is in order for the hospital. Do you have numbers for labor and delivery or the birth center, OB or midwife, doula or any other support personnel? Bring the numbers of any friends and family you will want to contact, as well as numbers for the adoptive parents. These, along with your insurance carrier’s number should be in your packed bags, easily accessible. Remember to include ID and the actual insurance card too.
If you have children or pets at home, arrange for their care now, with someone who can get to your place on short notice. If they have to go to work or might have other conflicts, be sure to have back up as well. Remind every support person now of how close you are to your due date. Time flies, especially for those who are not the pregnant ones!
Use a paper map or Map Quest to double check directions to the hospital. Determine two alternate routes in the event of accidents or road work.
Do a drive by in advance to get familiar with the labor and delivery or birthing entrance, if you have not done this already. If you haven’t had a tour yet, arrange that. Ask what the procedures are for birthing, especially for birth mothers. If you have arranged an open adoption and plan to see, hold or nurse the baby, make sure the staff is well aware of that.
Establish or refine your birth plan, print a few copies and put them in your overnight hospital bag. If you have not done any planning, consider a birthing class so you can maneuver labor a bit more easily.
Plan for therapy to help you through the emotional impact of coming home no longer pregnant. Although you’ll know you made a selfless and responsible choice, you will still have a major transition to adjust to.
Last, but definitely not least, gather the things you want to give to the adoptive parents: Any information about the pregnancy or baby that you have and they don’t yet; family photos for later; health and genetic information; a letter to them about your dreams and wishes for the baby; a letter to your birth child, to be read when the time is right; a little outfit, board book, stuffed animal or other gift you’d like to send along.
I know that preparing for the end of your pregnancy can be a challenging time. I’ve been there and I’m here to help. You can reach out to me directly, if you want, to talk through any aspect of your adoption plans. You are not alone.