35 WEEKS: REALITIES, ANXIETIES AND WAY TOO MUCH MONEY

35 Weeks

Earlier this week, two of the nine couples in our prenatal class had their babies, each about a week early. Knowing that just over a week prior, we were all sitting in class together with our big bellies, and now suddenly there are two babies, makes everything suddenly seem very, very real — and very imminent! And although we learned in class that most first babies are born an average of five days late, meaning that a whole lot of them show up even later than that, the first two babies from our class have certainly defied those odds.

Our baby will technically be considered full-term in less than two weeks, and could arrive any time after that. Realistically, he could even be born as early as now — lots of babies are born within the “slightly premature” 34 to 37 week timeframe — and that thought makes me somewhat anxious because, quite frankly, we are simply not organized yet.

Although we have been slowly and steadily making our way down the “to do” list, we have dozens of things remaining to be figured out, accomplished and/or bought before he shows up.

We need to prepare a stockpile of freezer-friendly Paleo meals (chilli, stews, soups, etc.) to have on hand for those exhausting early weeks. Otherwise we’ll just end up eating crappy take-out and feeling awful. For me especially, food and moods are inextricably linked, and I know that my best chance of effectively coping with hormonal swings and sleep deprivation lies with a proper diet. We’ve started as of this evening, with J cooking six pounds of ground beef and a bunch of vegetables into a mild, breastfeeding-friendly chilli. Tomorrow, we’re making lamb stew.

The baby’s room is currently empty (a huge improvement over last weekend, when it was still filled with office furniture, books and a guest bed), but the painter hasn’t started painting, even though we’d talked to him more than a month ago and asked for it to be finished by this weekend. He says he will be able to have it done by the end of the coming week, and I really hope he can make good on that promise.

We are still waiting for the back-ordered car seat and adaptor to arrive. Our stroller is only compatible with three seats, one of which we ruled out because it seemed cheaply made and the other because it was ridiculously expensive, leaving us with only one option — which was of course out of stock. The store is unable to tell us exactly when they expect it, and we absolutely need to have it as soon as possible, because it must be properly installed and inspected before the hospital will let us bring the baby home.

All the baby stuff we’ve bought thus far is sitting in a big pile in our bedroom. We haven’t purchased the dresser because we’ve nowhere to put it until the room is painted, and consequently, I haven’t washed all of the clothes, blankets, towels and washcloths because I can’t properly organize and store them without the dresser.

My hospital bag is not packed; nor is the baby’s. We do have most of what we need for the baby’s bag, save for a few toiletry items (oh, and that darn car seat), but I don’t even have a bathrobe, slippers or lounge clothes for myself, and I refuse to walk around the hospital bare-assed in one of those horrible gowns! 🙂

And at this point, both J and I are getting tired of the constant outlay of ridiculous amounts of cash for seemingly mundane items. Slap the word baby on anything and suddenly it costs four times as much as it ought to. A toothbrush costs $3.00; a baby toothbrush costs $12.00. A certain popular teething toy (or as J so amusingly referred to it as, “a rubber chew toy”) costs $22.00. I have tried to be as frugal as possible — avoiding potentially frivolous items (like bouncer seats, baby gyms and the like), researching prices online, sourcing items secondhand from Craigslist and Value Village, or ordering from the U.S., where prices are much lower — but even so, I cannot believe how much we’ve had to spend thus far. And there will be a few major expenses yet to come, such as the purchase of our cloth diaper system.

All that said, we have made progress. Things are starting to come together, and as long as the baby gives us even two more weeks, we should be just fine.

10 responses to “35 WEEKS: REALITIES, ANXIETIES AND WAY TOO MUCH MONEY

  1. I hear you! I had a mini breakdown in IKEA yesterday when we FINALLY went out to buy our crib and dresser, only for both to be unavailable. We ended up with something different that actually works better in the room, but I guess my emotions got the best of me in the moment.

    I feel a lot better knowing that the furniture is there and I can stash away his clothing, blankets, etc someplace permanent!

    Which stroller did you choose?

  2. Haha, we’re doing the IKEA run next weekend (for the baby’s dresser, among other things), and I’m sure it will be delightfully aggravating in that special IKEA way. Although I did find someone selling the exact dresser we want on Craigslist for $125 (it’s $299 in store), so I’m holding out hope that he or she will get back to me this week and maybe we can avoid the experience altogether.

    After much research and deliberation, we chose the UppaBaby Vista, as it gets fantastic reviews, comes with all the bits that usually cost extra (bassinet, rain cover, etc.), is convertible to a double later, and has great warranty service. And we managed to get it for $100 off MSRP, which was a bonus! I was torn between that and a jogging stroller (Mountain Buggy or Baby Jogger), but in the end, I figured we’d be better off with the stroller best suited to our day-to-day activities downtown, and if I end up really wanting to jog with the baby later on, we can always buy something secondhand for that purpose.

    • Was going to ask what stroller you went with. You won’t regret the UPPA. That’s what I went with and it was fantastic and a great value. The basket is HUGE and you can do a decent grocery shop with it. I even jogged a bit with mine when my son was little. The reversible seat came in handy for the fussy, need to see parent, stage (for us 3-8 months).

      Had the Jolly Jumper bassinet stand too and sold it when we left Vancouver.

      You are so close! I’m excited to see an arrival post. Hoping you will share labor details as I am really interested to hear your athlete take on contractions.

      Good luck in the coming weeks.

      • I will definitely write a post about the labour and delivery. Even though there is a small part of me that is utterly terrified (haha, too late now!), I’m actually looking forward to seeing how I manage the challenge, and whether the same techniques I use to cope with exhaustion/pain/discomfort in my workouts are transferrable to an experience as physically and emotionally intense as labour.

  3. I LOVE my UppaBaby Vista. For our next kid (in Sept) we are getting the bassinet holder to put the stroller bassinet in our room. Last time we just took the whole stroller up and down the stairs, which was kind of annoying, but worked great for having him close at night, and no matter where he was, he was in his same bed. For the car seat, maybe you can borrow one from a friend or something now, until yours comes in, to take some of the stress off. We also didn’t buy any of those things like the baby gym at first, but I wish I had at least tested them out at other people’s houses earlier. I found out when the baby was 3 months (in gym daycare) that he LOVED the baby gym, and it would have been money to have that earlier. Same for the swing – by the time we figured out he loved swinging and bought a swing (at 4 months) he outgrew it super fast. Testing/ figuring that out earlier would have probably made for some more peaceful naps earlier on. (Also that was pretty much the only new item we bought him, and with only 2 months of use, it reminded us why Craigslist is the BEST) One more quick recommendation on the food – I totally thought I would want lots of stored up meals for the beginning, but the baby slept a lot the first few weeks and I didn’t mind cooking. Also we had food brought by friends/ neighbors/ family staying with us, so we didn’t need to cook for ourselves at all. Definitely make meals, but unless you need to, I would save them for later when he’s more like 6-8 weeks, when you still aren’t sleeping but the help has tapered off. If it makes you feel better, this time I have bought literally nothing, and we could bring the baby home tomorrow, so it isn’t like this for every kid!

    • Thanks for all the fantastic tips!! 🙂

      A lot of people say they never end up using the stroller bassinets, but I think we’ll actually get some good use out of it for a few months, since we tend to do a lot of walking downtown and not a huge amount of car travel. We’ve bought one of the cheapo Jolly Jumper universal bassinet stands ($40, versus $200 for UppaBaby’s very attractive, but somewhat pricey laundry hamper bassinet stand), and are planning to use the bassinet as his bed until he’s big enough to be in the crib.

      It’s really good to know we won’t need all that food right away and can keep stockpiling it for later. That definitely takes some of the time pressure away (and allows us to make even more food for when we really need it!).

      • I will look for that Jolly Jumper one – hadn’t heard of it, and I have been holding off, hoping to find the UppaBaby one on Craigslist or for our parents to buy it, but $40 would be sweet deal! We did the same thing you are planning – our baby slept in the bassinet exclusively at home for 6 weeks, then we put him in his crib in his own room because he was sleeping a little longer. We traveled a lot though, and he still slept in the bassinet on trips until he was 3 months. That was definitely what made the expensive stroller system worthwhile!

  4. You will get it all done. Also, the time doesn’t stop once the baby arrives, lots of these things can be dealt with later on and as needed. Keep a list, so when people ask you if they can help with anything you can say: “as a matter of fact…”

    BTW, I had a fairly minimalist bouncer seat, and it was invaluable for about age 4mo to a year. It allowed me to put him down and have my hands free without him being able to wander off. I could maybe even turn my back for 6 seconds without catastrophe immediately ensuing. But every baby is different, so that is good thing to wait and see about.

    • I definitely haven’t ruled out the possibility of buying bouncers etc. later on. I’ve just seen too many of my friends buy a whole bunch of stuff that they thought they needed, only to find out after the baby was born that they either didn’t use it, or needed something different altogether. I think once we get to know the baby a little bit, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what will work for him.

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