In Her Words
With less than two weeks until her birth, reality is setting in
-Julie Ryan Evans
Introducing our newest blogger, Julie Ryan Evans, who aslo serves as Betty’s editor-at-large. Look for her posts each week.
Today I walked into her freshly painted closet and started taking down from the little pink hangers the newborn outfits I’ve been collecting over the past few months. I went through her drawers and pulled out the soft blankets and washcloths, the little hooded towels and tiny pink socks and started removing price tags and throwing away the receipts I had saved … just in case. Then I placed them all in the washer with the unmistakably baby scent of Dreft. They’re really not going to be returned, I thought as I watched them spin around in the soapy water.
In just about two weeks, our daughter will arrive. It’s taken a long time for it to feel like it’s really going to happen, but now with the holidays just memories and her non-stop twists and turns constantly distorting my stomach, her arrival is nearly tangible. While I’ve been preparing with the things she needs, in so many other ways I haven’t prepared at all.
I had a small panic attack the other day when I realized I have no recollection of what age you can/should give babies water. Then I started thinking about how often they’re supposed to get fed, when you’re supposed to start them on solid foods, will she need a hat in Florida, or will she overheat from one … and a slew of other things mothers need to know that I DON’T.
Because we have done it all before with our son and I thought I knew what to do, I haven’t taken the classes or read the books or even purchased any infant Tylenol (must put that on the list). But now I realize how little I remember, and I’m wishing we would have at least found a refresher course.
It’s been more than FIVE YEARS since I’ve had a baby (and even then I had three months of one-on-one, how-to instruction from nurses during our stay in the NICU). Now in just about eight days (small panic attack again just typing those words) I’ll have another little one in my hands, entrusted to my care after (hopefully) just a short hospital stay.
Because of the bigger fears surrounding this high-risk pregnancy, I haven’t, until now, had the time or mental capacity to focus on the “normal” fears – Will she catch on to breastfeeding? Will she have colic? Will she have 10 fingers and 10 toes? Will I ever sleep again? What milestones is she supposed to reach when? And, now that I can finally have some wine, how much is too much when breastfeeding?
Not to mention that fact that we haven’t even decided on a name for her. And HER … she’s a GIRL, which is another frightening, unknown frontier and another post for another time…
I know that between my husband, friends, the internet, pediatrician and my own mommy instincts we’ll figure it out and make our way. But still the anxiety and questions are swelling in my head as quickly as she is swelling in my ever-expanding tummy.