A few friends have asked about baby showers and nursery preparations and such. Nope, none of that will be going on in our family.

With Eleanor, we spent a fortune just acquiring furniture, car seats, and all the other necessities for a first baby, so I didn’t do much decorating with the nursery, and most of her clothes were hand-me-downs. Genevieve was the last baby we planned to have, so I splurged for her. I bought beautiful illustrations to hang in her room and expensive blackout curtains and a bunch of outfits with ruffles and baby animals.

When we came home without her, that beautiful room just sat untouched for about a year. At that point, I recognized that I wasn’t getting pregnant and that we were in for a very long wait, so I moved the art and curtains into Eleanor’s room.

People look taken aback when I tell them we’re doing nothing to prepare. Well, I am seeing both my ob/gyn and a perinatologist frequently, so I’m at least preparing from a health perspective. I’m not buying things for the baby though or making changes to the room. It’s not for a lack of love or attachment.

My expectations are just different this time. My doctors are more blunt with me, which I actually prefer to the saccharin enthusiasm of the past. Ultrasounds and tests can’t find everything; we know too well. This baby will most likely be healthy, as most babies are, but we don’t assume that. To buy clothes and toys and stencil a name on the wall feels like an invitation to disaster. I’m not preparing because all I care about is bringing home this baby alive.

I don’t let myself think ahead to November and December. I focus on getting through the present day. I plan home improvement projects. I write. I bake too much. I let Eleanor put her hands on my belly and dream for me.

And if we bring home a crying, up-all-night baby, then we can celebrate. Then I’ll take the oohing and aahing and spoiling. First, we have to get there.

3 thoughts on “Preparation

  1. I think this post would also offer a lot of insight and comfort if published in the NYTimes. Thank you for sharing your story and all the best!

  2. Oh, this was like reading my own thoughts! Kalle was stillborn 4 days before his due date May 4th last year. The only things we buy this time around are things that are useful whether she comes out alive or not. Things she can wear or to comfort her in her coffin because I was so grateful that I had bought my son Kalle his own clothes that he wore in the hospital last year. I cannot pack up borrowed clothes in a years sizes, a changing table prepared, colorful posters and a nursery again. Advice from my midwife (which in Norway is like seeing your OB-GYN) is: “You are allowed to look forward to this baby!” So we hesitantly try, but never quite believe in an ending where we take her home. Give her a bath. At home. Hear her crying. Thank you for sharing!

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