Random Thoughts on Pre-Baby Preparations

So, we're gearing up for Silas' arrival (he's due Easter Sunday, in less than 4 weeks- YIPPEE!!!). Here are some things that I'm doing to get ready...

* I've washed and put away all the cloth diapers we'll be using, so they're ready to be pulled out and used whenever he comes. (Incidentally, I didn't use cloth with Maranatha until she was 9 months old, so I haven't yet used the itty-bitty ones... and let me just say: they are ABSOLUTELY adorable!)

* Yesterday, I purchased a soft-armed plush chair for nursing privately in our bedroom... I've been browsing used furniture shops here near where I take language lessons, and my language tutor went out with me yesterday and helped me find a great used chair that is not the prettiest or newest thing in the world, but is quite comfortable and will fit the bill quite nicely. We have large groups that meet here at least twice a week, so having a private, comfy place to escape to (especially in those early days of getting used to each other) will be a blessing!

* I've already sorted through the kids' dressers so that I won't have to deal with changing out their clothing sizes for at least a few months after Silas is born. (Packing away things that are too small, shifting in the new sizes, making sure everything fits and is fairly organized.)

* One thing I haven't yet done that I'm going to do is to return to a system I used when Ethan (now 5.5 years old) was 2 and 3 years old... whenever I fold laundry for toddlers, I put pre-matched/chosen outfits into gallon-sized Ziplock bags, complete with shirt, shorts/pants, undies, socks, and whatever else they need to get ready. Then I just loaded those baggies into their drawers. That way, in the morning, I didn't have to go through drawers, searching for matching socks, hoping there were pants that went with a particular shirt, etc.

So, now that I have two little people (Baxter- 3.5 years old, and Maranatha- 21 months) who are certainly old enough to grab a bag, but not old enough to choose (or consistently choose) well-matched outfits, I've decided to re-implement this great system to get through the next year or so. It will be helpful while Silas is little, to keep me from having to think so hard about what three little people will wear. Instead, I'll just pick out Silas' outfit, and Baxter and Maranatha can decide for themselves what to wear (but it will be from pre-approved choices). ;) Anyway, I'll get to work on this a few weeks after Silas is born, since my mom is bringing gallon-sized Ziplocks to me when she comes for his birth! :)

* Pre-made, frozen meal options- Here's my list of what I've started making this week:
  • 60 frozen chicken pocket sandwiches (little pastry squares filled with a seasoned chicken and cheese mixture)
  • 2 servings of pre-made spaghetti sauce (no Prego or Ragu on the store shelves here!)- finished 3/5/08
  • 4 meals' worth of marinated chicken breasts and thighs- DONE!
  • 20+ breaded chicken breasts and thighs
  • 60-80 breaded chicken nuggets
  • 2 servings of pre-cooked/flavored taco meat- DONE!
  • 40 taco pockets (pastry squares filled with taco meat and cheddar cheese)- DONE!
  • 2 batches of frozen oatmeal cookie dough- finished 3/3/08
  • bagged soup mixes (pre-portioned for 9x13 casserole dishes, for chicken spaghetti-type casseroles)
  • 2 servings sesame chicken sauce
  • 10 baggies of bread mix (so I can just add water, yeast, and butter to the bread machine)
  • 20 breakfast burritos (can't get pork products here, so these will just be egg & cheese)
  • a few baggies of prepared cornbread mix
So, these are my pre-delivery preparations! Got any other ideas for me? Anything you've done (or seen others do) that could make that post-partum time a little easier for a new mom? Please share!


Learner said...

I've been reading for some months and find your writing thought provoking and encouraging. I don't have any prep ideas for you, but I will be putting your bagged outfits idea to use as our fourth will be arriving when our middle two will the same age as your's! (3.5 & 21 mo)
Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

Um the baggie idea...INGENIUS! I am instituting that with all 6 of mine, well, no maybe 5, ASAP! :D I'm gonna have to spend a ton of $ on really big bags though!!

I don't think I could offer you any advice but love the name Baxter, that was in the running for our 2nd boy. And I have a brother named Silas. Cool

Jess said...

Well, guys, I can't take credit for the baggie idea... it totally came from my mentor, Angie, a mother of five that came (similar to mine) about every two years.

But it IS a very useful idea for moms with little ones, isn't it?!

Tracy said...

What a great idea to make baggies with outfits! I was recently asked to write a series about how to manage clothing in the house. Would you mind if I referenced this?

Jess said...

Of course you can reference this. The more people it can help, the better! :)

*~Tamara~* said...

Four weeks!?!?! OK, I knew that but when you say it like that it's just...wow! I would ask where did the time go, but I have a feeling your very pregnant self would tell me EXACTLY where it went. Ha!

Jaime said...

WOW! I didn't realize how close you were to the birth already! Although I'm not sure if it seems like already to you. :) Congrats on the impending little boy.

Mrs. Brigham said...

While I have no tips to offer, I just had to tell you that I'm getting excited for you and your family, Jess. :o) Praying for the safe & smooth arrival of your new little one!

Jim&Pam said...

WOW, you are so my hero! Four weeks and planning so far ahead.
What do you bread you chicken breasts and nuggets with? Do you freeze them cooked or uncooked?
Thank you and I'm praying for you all,

Sharyn said...

Wow, you are always an inspiration on many issues, Jess, but this pre-baby post is amazing! (I'll join the chorus of others who love the baggie idea ...) Blessings to you as you enter the last few weeks before your precious new addition arrives!

Jess said...

Actually, today, it's three and a HALF weeks. ;-) And I am READY to meet this little man. If he wants to come this Sunday, I'd be just dandy with that... whenever he wants to debut, I'm all set.

It actually has come quickly. Between holidays, travel and sickness, and then trying to cram in a few last language lessons, I really don't know where this last trimester has gone.

Thanks, Amy, for your prayers and congratulations!

Don't be too impressed. This is the first one where I'll be so well-prepared. I just have known that living in a place that's so expensive to eat out, AND having three VERY healthy little eaters who will still need to eat more than baked potatoes for three months straight, I really HAD to be more prepared this go-round, particularly with meals. :-)

As for chicken cutlets/nuggets, I use bread crumbs or finely ground corn flakes to bread them, and then cook them to just BARELY being done. Then when I re-heat them, I don't have to worry about germs/bacteria, but they're also not over-done and plenty moist.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. I'll be posting in the next few weeks with one specific labor-related prayer request I'd love for as many people as possible to be lifting up. I'm definitely thankful for prayers in these last few weeks as we prepare to meet little Silas.

Blessings all!

Jess said...

I should have made it more clear, Pam, that I cook them BEFORE freezing... (just barely to being done)... then I can pull them out and re-heat them without worries. Hope that makes sense.


Megan at My Heart, My Home said...

Jess, I know you'll die when you hear this, but I think I forgot you were pregnant, and sure as heck didn't realize that you were due in 4 weeks! Forgive me! Although, I will say, it's refreshing not to hear everything being about babies. I love babies, but I purposely try to talk about 'regular' stuff to my pregnant friends, since there's more to them than just being pregnant, amen? Anyways, congratulations on the little boy. And I am in awe of your food prep. I would like to get your recipe for those pastry pockets with the chicken filling? Take care

Jess said...

I completely understand. I think it's really hard with online friends... you don't have that visual reminder that a baby is coming, and like you said, unless they talk about it, you don't have that constant verbal reminder either. All that to say, no worries!

I absolutely love babies too, but I'm definitely less all-focused on the pregnancy this time than I was my first time. :) My favorite times with this one have been laying in bed and feeling his precious little feet and knees and anticipating getting to meet him! I can't wait to see what he looks like and what his personality will be like. Instead of reading about pregnancy or learning about it, I'm really just getting to enjoy it and revel in these special moments.

As for the recipe, sure-- I'll put it up on my food blog and link it on the upcoming Show & Tell (to be posted tomorrow or the next day).


Simple Family Supper lady said...

You will be soooo blessed by all of your preparations for early baby days! I remember those blur of those days well! I have 4 children ages 10,8,4,3..... I tried to be prepared ahead of time with each of them...especially in the kitchen. One thing that I do is what I call "Efficient" and "Fast Track" cooking. I do this ALL the time, not just to prepare for a new baby. Lets face it, life with a young family is ALWAYS crazy! LOL! Anyway, efficient and fast track cooking saves me a TON of time. One example is browning hamburger (or ground turkey, pork, sausage or venison): I brown meat in BULK and then freeze it in meal size quantities... do you know how fast I can get tacos, spaghetti, chili (or anything else that calls for browned ground meat) on the table??
FAST!!! All I have to do is grab one of my pre browned bags from the freezer and thaw int the microwave. One mess... many times of eating!!
CONGRATULATIONS on the soon to be here baby! Look forward to pictures!

Charity Grace said...

Jess, love the name Silas--we have a Silas too.

And I really love your ideas! I have a lot to do in the next few weeks to get ready for #4. Baby steps...

Catherine R. said...

Do you have a massive freezer, Jess? I wish I had a big freezer. My shopping and food storage is often limited by the size of my freezer. I want to buy one of those giant separate freezers one day.

Michelle Howell said...

Jess-Thanks for the ideas. We are TTC #3 so hopefully I will be able to put them to good use soon!
Also, if you are having a natural childbirth I would love any tips/advice in a future post. I have found it hard to find "biblically" based tips for a natural birth.

Jess said...

Hey Michelle,
I've had a good range of experiences with labor/delivery. Perhaps I should do a post about it... but the last two I have done without an epidural, but I have had "Stadol" type narcotic IV pain meds in the last hour or so of both of my last two deliveries, to knock the edge off of the pain. I really, REALLY prefer delivering without epidurals-- there is such a HUGE difference to me in being able to work with your body, knowing what it's needing you to do, rather than just having to rely on the doc/nurses to tell you what to do (as is often the case with epidurals-- and that was my experience with my first).

That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with having an epidural-- I'm not a hardcore naturalist in that way. But I do just strive to move my body, pray, talk with my husband, and take it one contraction at a time, not focusing on the pain, but just focusing on getting past each contraction.

Different women have different pain tolerances, etc... but for me, I've found that talking with Doug about meaningful things, and getting my mind off of the actual labor itself, but just letting my body do what it was made by God to do, is the best thing. I don't do breathing or any sort of meditative stuff-- just let my body go with the flow and ride the contractions out as they come and go.

As for how I get to the point of delivery without having an epidural, I just hold out for as long as I absolutely can (I'm stubborn that way). Then I tell my husband to question me graciously but intently if I hint at asking for one... and he knows what's OK in that regard... he'll ask if there's something he can do- rub my back, help me move to a different position, turn on some music, etc. Then I try to hold out even longer (usually, talking to him motivates me to make it a little further). Then I usually get them to check me to see how far I am, and usually that's encouraging. Then I hold out a little longer. Then we just get into that mode where I know the pain is going to be there for a while. Pain and pressure. It hurts like the dickens, but it won't last forever. And then I hold out some more. When I'm about ready to lose it, I've gone ahead and asked for the stadol, as that has helped me to get from that 7/8 to 10 range.

Again, I'm not some hardcore natural childbirth person- but I also REALLY like being able to feel my body and know when I need to push, be able to get up and move to a different position if need be, etc... and honestly, just sheer determination along with a gentle and encouraging husband and realistic expectations (that this is really, Really, REALLY going to hurt) is what helps me get through it. I don't scream, I don't cuss, I don't blame Doug for "doing this to me"... that's not really my style. I just breathe quietly and bear down with each contraction and then try to enjoy the space between them as I can.

Anyway, this has gotten to be a long response. My apologies to anyone who has actually made it this far; I'm not sure I've said anything of real substance other than "be stubborn". ;-) But that's how labor (so far) has gone for me... I'm hoping for a good experience this time as well.

Blessings to you, Michelle, and I'll try to remember to do a post about labor stuff in the next week or two.

Johanna said...

Okay, so this is not going to be an original comment since I am going to be echoing what everyone else has already said, but - Wow! You are prepared! I only wish I had been so prepared with my last one because I ended up having post partem depression so badly that I couldn't keep up with anything. It would have really helped.

I'm also glad you went off about your experiences with delivering without an epidural. We have been praying and praying for God to bless us with another baby. If he chooses to, I need to deliver without an epidural because I am allergic to medical adhesive, which is unavoidable with the epidural, and because the epidural I got with my last one didn't work at all! My first one only worked a little bit! It gives me hope that I could actually do it, nowing that others have done it too!

Well, that didn't help you with your preparations...you're already doing a great job!

Michelle Howell said...

Thanks Jess. I have had two Pitocin/Epidural births that I honestly believe came out of fear and immaturity on my part. Not that I am against drugs if needed (which IMO are definately needed when being induced)but now that I am a little older and more mature I want to break through the fear and have a natural birth the way God intended. I have done a little research and there seems to be a lot of methods out there, but I would love to hear about any biblical/prayer approaches anyone has tried.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess,
Ive never commented before, so Hi! Im due with #3 at the same time as you- and not only have nothing prepared but have no names chosen! I think that I'm a bit more relaxed that everything will 'fall into place' this time. :)
Good luck.

Jess said...

Charity Grace,
I didn't know you had a Silas-- FUN!

And Catherine, no I don't have a huge freezer-- it's just a normal size fridgetop freezer. I'm just going to pack it full, and all of these things are fairly compact-- you'll notice that I'm not pre-making any casseroles-- they take up way too much space. Everything I'm making can be put into Ziplock baggies.

I've done the last two with being induced and not having an epidural-- so I really am hoping that I can have normal natural labor come on with this baby because I am pretty confident I can do natural labor (not induced labor) without any meds at all, since pitocin supposedly makes contractions so much stronger and more intense... we'll see.

Thanks for dropping by; it's funny how different couples do different things... I wouldn't be patient enough to make it this far without names. :) I literally reach for the baby name book within a day or so of getting a positive pregnancy test. But you're right, it's so much easier to be relaxed about things once you've done it a time or two.

Blessings to you and I hope you have a great experience with this delivery and baby!