I organized the nursery much earlier this time. I thought my preparation schedule last time was appropriate, but I was wrong. We ended up in the hospital for an emergency delivery on the day that the crib was scheduled to be delivered and we were (translation: my mom was) sewing curtains while I nursed and pumped madly. Babies have their own schedules.
The truth is that I didn't want to be a mom until later in my life. Somewhere around thirty-three or so is when I got curious, and it wasn't until thirty-five that I felt confident in wanting to go for it, or at least in opening the door to it. Kids were, in the opinion of the members of my marriage, messy, expensive, and not suitable for travel. No fun, and not worth the trouble, we had concluded. I'm still not sure exactly, but I think what happened next is that biology took control of my brain.
I rationalized these new, illogical maternal urges by reasoning that I typically get more done when I'm busier so therefore having a baby would not necessarily mean that I couldn't continue to reach other goals. In fact, maybe I would even reach them more forcefully, propelled by the need to both support life and to set a good example for an impressionable young human. Instead of wanting large chunks of time to pursue every curiosity, I wanted to learn how to be more specific in my achievements, and to blend my pursuit of them with the project of growing something in our home that felt meaningful and optimistic. Maybe along the way I would even (gasp) to have to let go of things occasionally.
While I have never been fooled by the notion that we can "have it all", I have admired many women around me while they have worked hard and achieved both professional progress and rich family lives. I was so intrigued. I wanted to push myself down this scary but simultaneously ever-so-common path. In other words, slowly, slowly, I came to want what many others have always known that they wanted.
But I was stumped when it came to the logistics. While I was confident that I wanted to have a baby, I was also terrified, for all of the reasons that I hadn't wanted one for all the years before. As a result, I was preparing for a baby with no compass...absolutely no idea what I was doing. Also, he was a boy baby, which really made it feel confusing to me, because I had also never pictured that. While I was sure that I had never been a pink princess type of girl, I was equally confused by the notion of how to enjoy and engage little boys. So tricky.
Fast forward to the reality of pregnancy and the way babies happen. As I was going about my business, gradually sorting the overwhelming details one category at a time, I was stricken with life-threatening extreme high blood pressure, and he had to be delivered five and a half weeks early. We were sent to the hospital in a do-not-pass-go situation the very same week that we were scheduled to attend our birth and CPR classes, and only two days after my husband had returned from two months of overseas work.
This time I was not fooling around; I had the nursery largely set up by the beginning of my third trimester. The crib is in place and the curtains are hung. I won't be totally content until even the diaper cream is in place, and we are still fine-tuning his name. But at least the crib is set up.