Okay, I must admit expecting baby #3 has been quite different in so many ways. Forget the fact that this was a surprise baby for us (which seems like most #3's I know are - LOL) but, I've definitely been more relaxed and so much busier with life whereas the first pregnancy I had more time on my hands to be a perfectionist about every little detail. Running after two kids day in and day out makes you occupied in so many ways that you tend to "forget" you're even pregnant sometimes. This pregnancy has flown by so fast, with only 2 weeks left until baby is here, and I still have not packed the hospital bag or washed the newborn essentials. During the first two pregnancies, I had everything ready, ordered and assembled two months before. And, OMG, we almost forgot about the belly cast that we did with pregnancy #1 and #2. I just thought of it the other day and immediately ordered it. Now that I have the kit, we still have to make time to actually do the cast. Can you imagine if we ended up forgetting? Baby #3 would've killed us about that in the future. Here are some things we've prepared for (or not) for the arrival of our third baby.
Baby Nursery: Say what? Baby will not have a nursery. We only have three bedrooms and Mason and Katherine share the biggest room in the house as their bedroom/playroom. So, baby #3 will be sleeping in the bassinet in my room for a few months but after that we either need to buy a new crib for the baby while Katherine continues sleeping in her convertible crib or buy a toddler bed for Katherine. Then, trying to fit three kids and their belongings into one room will definitely be a challenge of its own. Yikes!
Stroller: Another obstacle we've had to work out is the stroller system situation. While baby #3 will have the original infant car-seat as well as the matching stroller base, now Katherine is left without her stroller since it's the same stroller base used for the toddler seat. I still have to research to find the best option for us, either a double tandem stroller or another single stroller. I am not sure how I feel about double strollers yet, but if we're going that route, it's definitely tandem and not side by side stroller.
Hospital bag: Okay, so I have the list that was put together from 20 months ago before Katherine was born and the checklist is here if you're interested. But, I have not collected the items yet to be put into a bag. I have pretty much everything I need but it's just a matter of putting it together and packing. Okay, I lied - I'm still waiting for the newborn diapers and some other baby essentials from Amazon Prime to be delivered then we're good to go. But, seriously what am I waiting for? Especially that I keep getting false labor scares and think baby is coming any minute.
Ways we are prepared (somewhat): The bassinet is out of the box and the bedding is all washed and ready to go. I have received the cord blood/tissue kit and it's ready by the door. We have installed the infant car-seat in the car - pretty tight and cozy back there with two car-seats and one booster but that should be manageable for now. The house is pretty ready for the last phase of cleaning (tidy and organized for a nice deep cleaning). I have registered and updated all information at the hospital for my cesarean delivery. Good enough, no?
Transitioning older siblings: And, finally, the last and most important one I would think is working on preparing the children for the arrival of their new baby. Mason is five years old and he is so aware of everything going on with the pregnancy and the arrival of the baby. Even when Katherine was born, he did so well and did not show any jealousy or throw tantrums - in actuality he was so helpful in so many ways. As last time, Mason wanted to get a small gift (a stuffed animal) for the baby to bring to the hospital when he meets him/her and I thought that was the sweetest thing ever. He thought of it all by himself. He chose a stuffed bunny for Katherine when she was born and to this day that's the only thing she needs to sleep with from the beginning. She actually associates "bunny time" with sleep. So cute! And as like last time, I got small presents and goodies in little baggies prepared for them "from" the baby. These are just small and nice gestures that I'd like to do to help them transition to big brother (again) and big sister roles. Big brother and big sister books, some puzzles, Legos, and their favorite snacks are what I've included in their bags. So, my worry is not Mason this time around either but Katherine as she is only a year old. She is still a baby and still very needy. Don't get me wrong, girlfriend is very independent and has a sassy personality going on but still a baby and wants to be carried from time to time or sit on my lap when I'm sitting down. We've been telling her about the baby in my tummy for a few months now and she hugs and kisses my bump when I ask her "where is the baby?". It's the sweetest ever. But, the other day, my husband and I were both in their room playing with them when I asked her where the baby is and she went to my husband and petted, hugged and kissed his tummy. That's when I was convinced this girl has NO CLUE. She even got a baby doll as one of her Christmas presents. It comes with a baby cradle crib and a milk bottle. So, that is sort of helping her come to terms as to what a baby is or looks like. But, I know for sure once the real baby is here we will probably have some corrections to deal with - e.g. like flipping the baby's eye lid open and close from the lashes is not OK or making her understand the baby bottle does not go up the nose. LOL. I guess with everything else, timing is key, and with lots of patience and explaining, things will all work out in the end. Crossing my fingers and legs everything and everyone will transition smoothly.
When I was pregnant with Katherine, people would often tell me how you forget to do the same things you did with child #1 for child #2. Ever since I heard that, I promised myself that I will not be that parent and I will always keep myself in check that everything I do for baby #1 will be the same for the rest. From all the photos, memories, keepsakes, parties, whatever. So far so good, but I better not slack off with the third. LOL.
So, definitely this time around I've been much more relaxed and stress free to get things ready. I'm freaking out about the actual labor and delivery but not the preparation because I know I already have everything I need from the previous pregnancies. By the third baby, there really isn't much assembly of baby gears and furniture, especially that this pregnancy is so close to my last baby - everything was accessible, if not already being used. So, in that sense, it's been nice and easy. Maybe the most time consuming part of the preparation for this pregnancy has been figuring out the older kids' schedules, where they will spend the nights, prepare home meals (to be frozen and heated) for them and those sorts of things.
If you're pregnant with your second, third or fourth or already a parent to two children or more, I'd love to hear in the comments below how you prepared and how your first pregnancy experience was any different from your second, third, etc.