Take Seven

March 15, 2014
Our seventh baby is due in mid-April. 
I sometimes catch myself thinking, “Wait, seven? Is that right? Yes, it is. Yes, this is #7.” This pregnancy is just one of the many ways 2013 was an unreal year. Even though 2013 is over, my family is still playing catch-up. I slipped into nesting mode soon after Christmas, but the world has not allowed me to do what I need and want to do, so I feel like I’m scrambling to get ready.
What does a seventh- time mother need to do to get ready for a new baby? I have a list and some items are already completed. We are planning our second home birth, which explains some items that may seem odd. Other things may not seem related to a new baby, but they are in this house. 
The Baby Prep List (in no particular order)
Print off this list for Hubby
Move Ducky into big girl bed
Dismantle crib
Talk to older children about what to expect from our home birth. Most of them are pretty aware already.
Tell everyone I’m pregnant (not an easy task with baby #7)
Buy new crib mattress
Clean pack and play
Make space for birth pool
Rent birth pool
Clean my bedroom
Prepare guest room
Re-organize bathroom cabinets
Re-organize linen closet
Re-organize storage areas
Clean bathrooms thoroughly
Get laundry basket for new baby
Add shelves in laundry room
Get maternity photos taken
Buy disposable newborn diapers
Borrow cloth newborn diapers
Install living room baby gate
Clean stand fan and place in closet 
Order birth kit and After Ease Tincture
Restock all vitamins and supplements
Buy medicinal teas
Order herbal labor prep
Gather birth related items: towels, washcloths, crockpot, cookie sheet (holds midwife’s supplies), heating pad,
baby blankets, shower curtains, extra sheets, garbage cans with liners, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, Ziploc bags, arnica cream, bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and birth kit. Place in a storage tub.
Pick outfit for baby’s first photos 
Clean infant car seat
Clean out Behemoth
Install car seat
Stock up on paper products, toiletries and non-perishables
Buy nursing tanks
Make labor drink mix
Prep snacks for labor
Wash baby-wearing items and stash one in Behemoth
Attend my baby shower - baby #7 gets a shower!
Freeze meals for after baby - so behind on this
Wash baby clothes
Wash baby linens 
Assess kids’ spring clothes and shop
Take kids shoe shopping
Knit newborn hat for photos
Enlist photographer to capture the birth
Line up doula and midwife
Arrange for kid and dog wranglers
Make phone list for when labor starts
Have Hubby review how to catch a baby, just in case he has to … again.
Set up the birth pool
Call the doula, midwife, and wranglers, protect the bed, fill the pool
Have a baby!
For kicks, I checked out some other to-do lists available on the web. I had to laugh at all the things I don’t need to do.
Things I Do NOT Have To Do
Tell my boss – No need, unless you want to call Hubby my boss. (He’d laugh.)
Buy maternity clothes – I did have to replace a few worn out items. 
Start a baby registry – After seven babies, my list of must have items is minimal. Diapers, Boppy, baby clothes, car
seat, sling, that’s pretty much it. We do have a swing, but it probably won’t get used much this time.
Stop working – This is a perk you only enjoy with your first pregnancy. After the birth of your first child, you never ever stop working. I try to reduce my schedule as I get closer to delivery, but some work never stops.
Attend a childbirth class – Hubby and I could teach a childbirth class. That might be fun.
Prepare for breastfeeding – I’ve spent approximately 108 months breastfeeding. I feel prepared. 
Pick a doctor – Our family doctor loves my kids. She has fussed at me for not asking her to make a house call on a weekend. Dinosaur invited her to his last birthday party. We’re not changing doctors and she is not allowed to retire until all of my children are grown.
Learn about coping with labor pain – I’ve done labor with pain meds and without. My preference is a deep birth pool full of warm water. It’s very effective and the only side effect is pruny fingers.
Pack a hospital bag – If we end up at the hospital, there will either be plenty of time to pack a bag, or it will be an emergency and the bag won’t matter.
Pack a diaper bag – We keep a bag perpetually packed. Now, remember to take the diaper bag out of the house and bring it home again. That’s the challenge and the reason we keep back-up stuff in the Behemoth.
Tour the maternity ward where you will deliver – OK, here’s my bed, there’s where the birth pool will go, the bathroom is over there and food is kept in the kitchen downstairs. Done. Whew.
Read a parenting book – I have read enough books and been at this job long enough now, I could draw up a list of books I feel are worth reading and which ones make great kindling. That could be fun.
Familiarize myself with stages of labor – They are as follows - 
Stage 1 - “Oh, yay, the baby is coming!” Contractions have finally started and you are all smiles.
Stage 2 - “I need someone to rub my back right now.” Definition of labor is becoming clearer and you’re feeling serious.
Stage 3 - “What the hell was I thinking?” Things are uncomfortable and you’re a little cranky.
Stage 4 - “I change my mind, please don’t make me do this.” This whole baby thing was a really bad idea. You don’t give a flying fruit that your midwife, doula and husband all think this means baby is nearly here. They need to shut up, put the camera down and make the pain stop now!
Stage 5 - “My baby!” You are so tired, but look at this beautiful baby. This whole thing was such an amazing experience and just look at that gorgeous baby! Get the camera!
These, of course, are not the official stages of labor. Some moms may skip some stages, but over all, that's pretty much how labor goes. 
Actually, those are all good things for a new mom to do. At this point, though, it’s nice to know there are things I do not have to do. Our little girl is head down and seems to be staying in a good position. Hubby is trying to rebuild his leave so he can stay home and help out after baby is born. We have a name for her and even a nickname, which we will keep to ourselves until she is born.  We just need to keep chipping away at the list.
Just under six weeks and counting down!
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