This has been and is time for making sure the last minute things are in order. Some days it seems like there is still so much to do. But it's really not that it's so much to do, it's the importance of these last few th

This has been and is time for making sure the last minute things are in order. Some days it seems like there is still so much to do. But it's really not that it's so much to do, it's the importance of these last few things.Last night I finally wrote a birth plan. I'd been putting it off, questioning whether I really needed one, but finally just did it. It felt good to do it. It reaffirmed my own feelings of flexibility about what may or may not happen and allowed me to emphasize what I think are my most important wants for this birth: communication and the safe arrival of our new son.

I didn't write a birth plan when Aaron was born. I was comfortable enough with my doctor and the hospital that I was fairly confident in communication on the fly. It ended up working for us just fine. I didn't approach the birth with any great expectations other than delivering a healthy baby. For the most part, our wishes were honored. Any complaints I have are truly minor.

In fact, the only complaint that I can recall now, three and a half years later, is about the nurse who ended up being our labor nurse. She was also the woman who had conducted our childbirth class and she had been vocally anti-epidural in that class. I was having my epidural shortly after arriving at labor and delivery and during a shift change (thanks to back labor) when she arrived on the scene, and I think she was less supportive of my decision than she could have been. It was my choice afterall, not hers. But that's water under the bridge and we have a healthy son.

Our refresher childbirth class recently left us feeling more open about possibilities for the birth than we felt last time. The class was balanced and respectful of all kinds of birthing decisions, and generally more informative than the one we took during my first pregnancy. It was given by a staff certified nurse midwife and it was actually the first time I had heard of a major medical center encouraging couples to write and fax a birth plan in advance.

I finally decided to do it after hearing that there are a few not as good nurses on staff who are less than consistent about listening and communicating. Nobody who is awful, apparently, but some who are better (and worse) than others. Although I doubt this will be a problem for us as an anesthesiologist friend has asked me to call her as we leave for the hospital so she can call ahead for me and get me a really good nurse, I figured having a few things written couldn't hurt. I've tried to be open in the plan, and say straight out that my wishes could change depending on how the labor is going. I really don't know what it will be like if I don't have back labor this time. After another look at it tonight, I'm faxing it off. Another milestone to be checked off the list!

Another bit of paperwork I am trying to sort out is for my maternity leave from my company. A serious miscommunication between our remote (physically) human resources representative and me and another pregnant colleague in this satellite office in April led to a horrid conference call in July when the issues were "clarified" and we learned we had far less paid leave than we were originally led to believe. It still makes me angry to think about it, and certainly made me procrastinate in terms of filling out the proper forms and getting the right letters. But I think that I have that under control now. At least I hope I do. I half dread that as soon as I send it in to the HR representative I'll get another phone calls that starts out, "What the policy really means´┐Ż."

And last, but certainly the most important thing, is sorting out how Aaron will be taken care of when I am in labor. We have something of a plan in place, but my gut is telling me that it isn't quite the right thing. I can't even articulate why. Sort of a maternal instinct saying, "No!" I was near tears about it driving home tonight. Trying to explain it to my husband was frustrating. He kept looking at me as if I was completely irrational - we have something planned, let's just go with it, he said. I may be hormonally challenged right now, but this is something more.

We don't have family in the area, and although we have some solid acquaintances, no truly close friends here yet. Those who have offered to help are being taken up on their offers, bit it doesn't quite cover the spectrum of possibilities. Our plan for those other times will work, I guess, but it just doesn't feel "right."

I'm sure we'll sort it out over the next few days, and after a serious talk or two, but in the meantime, it's stressful. I need to have some quiet time to figure out just what my misgivings are, and what is it I am really looking for for Aaron. Maternal instinct is wonderful at times, and maddening at others.

And so, bit by bit, the to do list is dwindling.

By the way, to follow up on a couple of recent entries, Sprout decided to turn recently and currently is head down. Please stay that way! And my brother and his wife became the parents of a healthy baby girl last Wednesday. I've talked to the new mom and everyone is doing well. I'm looking forward to meeting this little person sometime this winter. My mother (and father, for that matter) are behaving much as I expected them to. For my own sanity, a little distance from them for a week or so isn't a bad


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