There they are — those two pink lines you’ve been waiting for! You’ve been dreaming about being pregnant, and it’s finally happened! But now what??
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as a first-time mom when you first see that positive test. You’ve imagined what it would be like to rock your newborn in your arms, but maybe you haven’t quite thought through the actual pregnancy and your checklist of to-dos before the baby arrives. Read on for a list of common questions (and answers).
When should I tell other people?
Let’s start off by saying all decisions regarding your pregnancy are super personal, and you should do your best not to feel outside pressure to conform to what is “right.” This includes when you want to share your special news! Some people feel fiercely protective and would rather hold back until they’ve safely made it to their second trimester (when the risk of miscarriage drastically decreases). Others immediately want to shout it from the rooftops and celebrate the impending new life. As someone who went through infertility treatments, I was in the “fiercely protective” category, but I completely understand others making the announcement earlier and taking comfort in knowing that you will have a built-in support system around you should you go through a loss. Either way, do what feels right for YOU!
What hospital should I deliver in?
There are several things to consider when picking a hospital where your baby will be born: Driving distance from your home? Are you high-risk and have special considerations? What hospital does your OB deliver at? Being pregnant with twins, delivering in a hospital with a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) was a must for me. Even if you are planning on a home birth, make sure you have a hospital planned as a backup in case of emergency.
When do I need to select a pediatrician?
It is best to start researching pediatricians sooner rather than later as some practices limit the number of new patients they will accept. The hospital will also require you to have a check-up appointment booked prior to your baby being discharged after birth. Ask around with fellow parent friends for recommendations or make a post in your Jacksonville Mom Neighborhood Facebook Group to ask who they use and what their experience has been with their pediatrician.
What is my plan for time-off/childcare after the baby is born?
If you have an employer who offers paid maternity leave, consider yourself very lucky! If you are not as lucky, start saving up your PTO now (your partner should do the same)! If you will return to work and need to secure childcare, do that early. Quality daycares typically have LONG waiting lists, so you are going to want to start doing tours and get your name on a waiting list ASAP. I recently toured a daycare with a waiting list of 9-10 months. That’s right, longer than it takes to even grow your baby. Yikes!
What is my birth plan?
Do you want an epidural, or do you want to try for an unmedicated birth? Who do you want in the delivery room? Will you use a doula? There are a lot of things to consider, and it’s good to at least have an idea in your head of how you would like to experience your child’s birth. You can certainly discuss this with your OB ahead of time, but it is also smart to put a few printed copies in your hospital bag so that it can be distributed to your medical team when the day comes. That being said, there is a very good chance that your birth experience will not go exactly according to plan (as I know all too well), but try to remind yourself that, at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is getting your baby out safely (for both you and baby).
All in all, pregnancy is a wild time filled with exciting, stressful, uncomfortable, and beautiful moments. It can be easy to get wrapped up in everything that needs to be accomplished before your baby arrives, but try to soak in the good times and appreciate the miraculous experience that is growing your own tiny human.