Four years ago, I remember how nervous I felt as my first baby’s due date approached. “I can’t believe I have to get this baby out of me,” I said to friends, looking down at my huge belly. Of course, he did come out—at 41 weeks—and luckily he was healthy and wailing.
But looking back, I marvel at how uptight I was during, well, my entire first pregnancy. I kind of can't believe all of the little things I did to prepare. I backed off with baby No. 2, but nothing on the order of what I'm doing (or, more specifically, not doing now). As I get ready to give birth yet again, I’m achy, exhausted and … aloof.
Here are nine signs that make it so obvious I'm having my third baby.
1. No plastic sheeting on our bed
At about 36 weeks with my first, my husband and I spread a huge piece of plastic under the sheets on our king-size bed. It was in case my water broke and ruined the mattress. But let me tell you, sleeping on plastic isn’t comfortable—it’s noisy and hot. Only 15 percent of the time will your water break before contractions, and I’m willing to take my chances for more comfortable sleep.
2. Tour of the labor and delivery ward? I have better things to do with my Saturdays
I gave birth to my first in Washington, D.C., my second in a small desert town in Ridgecrest, Calif. This time, I’m in Albuquerque, N.M. With my first, I knew where to go at least 20 weeks into my pregnancy. For the second, I was at tiny regional hospital, and I had no other choice unless I wanted to drive an hour and 15 minutes during labor (I didn’t). This time, I didn’t sign up for a tour. Or classes. Heck, I didn’t even register at the hospital until I was 37 weeks.
3. Birth plan? Nope.
For our first, we went to Bradley classes. We were the only couple of eight who were low risk and still planned to give birth in a hospital. We were prepared, having written down our wishes for the birth: no medication, don’t let the doctors cut the cord too soon, etc. Of course, I knew I had to be flexible. Of course, everything I wanted didn’t happen. I was induced, I eventually got an epidural, and the doctor cut the cord quickly. By then all I cared about was that our baby was out of me.
Four years ago, someone bought me Dreft laundry detergent as a shower present. Dutifully, I washed all of the newborn clothes with it—maybe twice.
For my second, I went into labor at home and made it to the hospital about an hour and a half before my kid was born.
This time? Who knows what will happen. I’ll play it by ear.
4. No special detergent for the newborn clothes
Four years ago, someone bought me Dreft laundry detergent as a shower present. Dutifully, I washed all of the newborn clothes with it—maybe twice. I continued to use it till my first-born was about 6 months old. This time? Forget about it.
5. My husband doesn’t come to any of the appointments—and I don’t care
He came to every appointment the first time around. This time—the one time he came?—he complained he had to wait for 15 minutes. I'm over it and going solo until showtime.
We don’t even want a sprinkle.
6. I’m not baking cookies for the labor and delivery nurses
I took a whole container of buttery oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to the hospital the first time, and they tormented me from the wardrobe while we played Hearts and waited for my contractions to start. (My water had broken.) Then, after all the chaos and drama that comes with giving birth, I forgot to offer cookies to the nurses anyway. Now, I don’t want those calories—and I don’t have the freakin’ time or energy to make them.
7. When people ask me if I’m having a shower, I outright laugh at them
And then I feel bad about it. Because it’s such a nice question. But we had three showers for our first, and now we’re having our third boy, so a shower doesn’t make sense. At least, not to us. We don’t even want a sprinkle.
You know what I’m talking about. There’s always that woman who tells you her scary birth story (“I almost died!”) weeks before you’re ready to give birth to your first. And you say, “Oh, wow, that’s terrible.” And she says, “Oh, it was, it was, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.” And then you go and freak out and wonder if you’ll almost die while giving birth.
9. We don’t have a name
Eh, the kid will get named, eventually. And I might forget his name during those first weeks where my brain is foggy from lack of sleep. What I know now that I didn't know then, way back in the first baby days, is that “Hey, you,” will totally suffice. Right?