The weeks and days leading up to the time you are due to give birth can be really stressful and scary. I know that I am currently in a state for being excited to meet our little bundle, terrified in case I go in to labour alone, and fretting that I don't have everything ready. However, not one to be defeated, Ryan and I have put some measures in place to ensure that we are both as prepared as we can be for when the time comes to head off to the hospital.
Batch Cook Your Meals
This was an early tip that we both decided was a fantastic idea. Picking up a whole load of supplies from the supermarket, Ryan put on his chef hat and spent the weekend cooking meals to freeze that we can whip out and prepare in an instant. We have enough in the freezer to last us a week and a bit, and also have stocked up on essentials like long-life milk, snacks, coffee and soup so that there are lots of options for us in the house and we don't have to worry about having to nip out to grab things if we are both in a state of delirious, sleep-deprived zombie-ness.
Shop For Your Post-Bump Self
This was something that didn't really register with me until I realised the weather was slowly getting warmer. But I haven't bought any Spring/Summer clothes for non-pregnant me in a year, thus meaning that my post-bump wardrobe is completely non-existent. Aside from maternity leggings and cami tops, I'd be rather stuck for things to wear. So I hit up Boohoo (my main lifesaver when it comes to clothes) and ordered a few bits and pieces that will spruce up things already in my wardrobe, that are "grab and go" items if time is limited, and that are easily adaptable if I am breastfeeding and need to whip out a boob at a second's notice. You don't need to spend a fortune, but if the seasons have come back round full circle by the time you drop, having a little wardrobe update will not only be practical, but might make you feel heaps better about having more fun and feminine pieces to wear again.
Do A Hospital Test Run
Always a good idea. Look up the best and quickest routes to your hospital on Google and give them a test run. That way you're not going to find yourself in a frazzle when it comes time to do the real thing. And don't rely on just one route - you never know when road closures or road works may pop up and you don't want to find yourself getting lost trying to find an alternative way round everything.
Pack Your Hospital Bag
...And then unpack it. Lay everything out and ask your other half / birthing partner to pack it instead. This means that they know where everything is you need, where to find the important things, and will pack according to the time you may ask them to grab different bits and pieces. After they've packed away everything, give them an on-the-spot quiz every now and again to ensure they have all the important bits committed to memory.
Take Some Together Time
Whether that's with your other half, family or friends, I think this is really, really important. Pregnancy can be a very lonely thing, but Maternity Leave can be something much worse. With everyone working when you are at home with a newborn, life can get very quiet, and isolation soon creeps in. And to top it off, you will gain a hat you never had before - "Mummy". And whereas this is such a blessing, it can also mean that the old you gets forgotten, even though she never went anywhere to begin with. In the last few weeks leading up to having a baby, try and spend as much time as you can with everyone who loves you - you will rely on them a lot after you've given birth, and opportunity may not arise so easily as before. It is also a test of the strengths of all your friendships - of who will be there to readily come over and make you a cup of tea, to listen to you vent, or be that shoulder to cry on. If you have a partner, rekindle that flame over and over again together, because, like it or not, soon there will be times where you can't stand the sight of one another. This is why friendships are so important too - to enjoy that break away, even if it's just for five minutes, to remind everybody that you are still you underneath it all.
This is also a time to research mum and baby groups in your local area so you can reach out and make new friends too. For support. For play dates, and for those numbers on your phone you can text at 3am and know somebody will answer you, sharing in your despair over a stubborn baby who refuses to settle,
Get Into A Good Routine
A cleaning routine that is. Having the house spick and span on the lead up to having your baby will make you feel loads better, and mean that whenever you go, you'll always be coming back to a tidy house. The first few days / weeks with a newborn will be really trying, and the last thing you want is to be arguing about a dirty bathroom, an un-made bed, or laundry. To not overwhelm myself I've been doing little jobs everyday to keep on top of the tidying, and then asked Ryan to pitch in on the things I find tricky (usually the sweeping / taking out the bin bags). Don't forget, it's one thing to keep a house tidy now, but with a baby it's a completely different kettle of fish.