PC Diary: Planning for Rocky’s arrival

The Pudding Club Diary @ 19w2d (08 Aug 2016)

I’ve either had my head buried in the sand in denial that this is a viable pregnancy, or I am using the excuse of a house move to have done very little for preparing for Rocky’s arrival in 20 weeks time. I think it is probably a combination of both.

Today it’s 137 sleeps to Christmas, and Christmas means Rocky will be making her appearance into the big wide scary world.  137 sleeps sounds like aaaaaages away – it is, unless you have 136 days to fit in preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby.  And even worse when you are someone like me who needs to be informed as much as possible about different options! I would rather go to several shops (online or physically) before making my decision.  And I (we) still have a lot of decisions to make in preparation for Rocky’s arrival!  Here are some of the major things we need to decide on (some of which we have already done -phew!)

Picking an OBGYN or midwife (I didn’t have an OBGYN before).  Things we considered: distance to home and work, hospitals they work with, insurance coverage (in-network), experience offered, reviews from friends, reviews online. I found that it’s a chicken and egg scenario.  You need to pick an OBGYN quite early in your pregnancy so you can start your prenatal care, but that also means picking which hospital or birthing centre you want to go with (although of course you can change your healthcare provider through your pregnancy easily if you change your mind).  So then I needed to think about where I wanted to give birth.  We decided that a hospital is our preference as first timers, we felt more comfortable choosing this birthing experience.  Again, we asked our friends for recommendations, looked at location, insurance coverage and reviews online.  With that decision made, choosing my OBGYN was much easier.

Deciding which prenatal tests to have.  I already wrote a blog post about this one.  But this took time to research…our family history being one of the key factors in our decision.  Followed by what was covered by our insurance.  I liked that our doctor left this completely up to us.

Choosing a child care provider.  Chris and I have talked about this one waaaaay before we started to trying for a baby, because this is fundamentally something I felt we should be on the same page on!  For example, if Chris had strong expectations that I would quit work for a few years to look after baby, we would have problems.  Now that we live in the US on a Visa that is dependent on my job our options are actually quite limited.  We even discussed Chris taking time out of work and being a stay-at-home dad.  Ultimately, we decided that we both wanted to continue to work and believe our child will be well cared for in the care of someone else during the week as they grow up.  Choosing that person is tough!  Our first preference was to hire an Au Pair.  The idea of having an extended member of our family living with us who is culturally different to us is something we are very comfortable with, whilst also supporting the Au pair’s education.  Unfortunately, we are not able to sponsor an Au pair on our visas as we are considered legal aliens here in the US.  So that left us with the choice of a nanny or day care (nursery).  Because Chris and I work hours that are not consistent a nanny was just too expensive for the amount of time we would need one for.  So that left us with the day care option.

How did we choose day care?  So this one we were told DO THIS EARLY!!!! There are waiting lists for the best ones!  Especially if we wanted to use a day care on base.  So the week that we closed on our new house we started our hunt for day care. We asked friends, but no one could help us with advice on day care near where our new house was.  But we did get advice on first checking out the state’s department of social services child care portal to see child care providers and their registration status.  Virginia has a very handy portal that provides a search facility based on zip code, with links to all inspection reports.  We started here and narrowed our search down on this.  Then we looked at location.  Close to home was the most important criteria.  We found three that were three within 3-7 minutes drive from us that we liked and so arranged visits.  Once we saw all three it was easy to rule out one – as soon as we walked in we wanted to walk out, we immediately turned to each other and wondered if it was rude to do that! The other two we would have been quite happy with, in the end we chose between those two based on the teachers in the nursery.  Their passion put them slightly above the rest.  So put our deposit down to hold our spot for March/April 2017.

Baby moon.  Some would say not a vital part of preparing for Rocky’s arrival!  But for us it was, especially as we feel like we need a holiday after buying a house that needed doing up! We have worked very hard and still have some work to do.  Planning for the baby moon is not quite so simple.  Our criteria was limited.  No travel to Zika affected areas.  No flying more than 4 hours.  Relaxing, but not boring (we are not sit on beach for a week type of people!). Originally the earliest we could get away was going to be October hence limitations on travel, but fortunately one of my work trips was cancelled in August.  So the other week we booked a last minute cruise from Boston to Montreal.  Everyday the cruise ship stops some where new along the north west coast of US and Canada, so it was perfect for us.  I managed to pay for our flights using air miles and hotels using credit card points!  So all that money spent on IVF bills and miles traveled for work finally pay off 🙂 BTW – if you are planning a baby moon on  a cruise there are limitations on when you can go…the liner we are going with states that you cannot be more than 24 weeks pregnant, and you also need a letter from the doctor before you cruise to confirm your due date and that you are in good health.  Just as well August became came free, any later and we wouldn’t have been able to cruise!

So that is really as far as we have got….and there is so much more we need to decide on – it looks like a short list, but even if we tackled one item off this list each week that would be a miracle:

  • Pediatrician
  • Doula
  • Nursery decoration and furniture
  • Classes for childbirth, nursing and infant care
  • Maternity leave
  • Baby shower – I have still yet to decide on this one.  I am erring towards a welcome party instead after Rocky arrives.
  • Our ‘Layette’….did you know that was a word? I didn’t until I read my pregnancy book – this is a traditional word for all baby stuff that parents ‘lay up’ before baby arrival.  Although I do like the advice the book offers that ‘the stores will still be open after your baby arrives’.  We aim to get most things except for crib, car seat and breast pump second hand.  Other things we will need are nappies/diapers, bottles, clothes, change table, bassinet or side sleeper, diaper bags (one for Chris, one for me!), monitor, carrier/sling, stroller/pushchair.

You may be surprised to hear that we have yet to go shopping for our ‘layette’…the only thing we have bought was after our day trip to ikea (a 4 hour drive away!) where we bought crib, mattress, and sheets and some storage units  – that was only because we had gone there for other things for our new house and thought we should buy the basics. But they are all in boxes still.  After our 20 week scan next week, we can go shopping!

With only 20 weeks left, 4 of those I will be travelling for work, 1 of those we are baby-mooning it, 2 weeks Chris is travelling for work and each of those weeks eats into two weekends either side oh and I am starting my Executive Development Programme too – aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

And BREATHE Dani…..just breathe….!!!

I’m sure there is something else important I am missing from this list???!!!!!