Okay, I can now say that I am ready to have this baby. When I say "ready," I don't mean ready in the sense of being willing to do anything to get this baby out of me, because I've been at that point for a couple of weeks already. I mean "ready" in the sense of finally feeling prepared for her arrival.
Several things happened this week to make me feel this way. Number one, DH Andrew will return home early tomorrow (Saturday) morning from his last long trip of this pregnancy, this one to China for a week. He was in the States for a week in the first part of September for a combiination family wedding/business trip. And I was of course worried that the baby would choose to make her debut during one of these trips when Andrew was a good 12 hours away from home, even though we went so far as to clear this last trip with our doctor, and she said there was no reason that Andrew shouldn't go to China.
The second thing that happened this week to make me feel ready for the baby's arrival was my completing the handover of the various aspects of my job to the three other people in my office. I had been working on a breakdown of assignments for each of them since the spring but wanted to review the individual lists with each of them before forwarding the lists on to our Director and HR department. And I finally finished these reviews this week and sent the final lists off to the powers that be. So, while I still have a few small things to wrap up at work, none of them are major, and I could disappear tomorrow and everything would be set.
I've also booked the midwife for well baby visits when we get home from the hospital. This concept of midwife home visits is a smashing one, in my opinion, and one that I feel should be covered by insurance in all Western countries as it is here.
In Switzerland, a midwife will visit the mother and baby at home at least once a week following the birth for as long as she and the mother feel is necessary. She weighs the baby, makes sure that the umbilical cord is healing properly, answers any questions that the mother may have about breastfeeding or addresses any problems in this regard, and generally serves as a sounding board for any and all questions regarding the new baby. It's a wonderful concept, because so many of the questions that new mothers have don't necessarily warrant a trip to the doctor's office but still deserve an answer. For the mother, the midwife will also check to make sure both that any episiotomy or c-section incisions are healing properly and that the uterus is going back down to its normal size.
On the home front, things are also pretty much set for the baby's arrival. The nursery has been ready for a while -- the crib is back up on its highest level with clean sheets (and no blankets or pillows!), and I dug out all of our newborn clothes, washed them, and put them away in the changing table. I was marveling at how tiny all of the onesies, nightgowns, pajamas, and outfits were, and found it a bit hard to believe that these little items will not only fit the baby but likely be too big for her when she gets home from the hospital.
I've packed my bag to go to the hospital. Packing a bag for the post-natal hospital stay here is a bit more substantive of a task than packing for this same stay in the States, since I'll be in the hospital for five days after the birth. I've also packed Spencer's bag in the event that he needs to spend the night with our friends who will be watching him while Andrew and I are in the hospital having the baby.
I haven't packed a bag for the baby but know from my experience with Spencer that I don't really need to do this. Each morning the hospital provides the baby with a gender-appropriate outfit for the day (complete with booties and hat) plus diapers, etc., so all we need to worry about is the going-home outfit, which we can discuss while I'm in the hospital.
So I'm feeling pretty ready for the baby to arrive. Of course, whether SHE is feeling ready to arrive is a different matter altogether!