My relationship with my partner moved fast. We knew right away that we wanted to spend our lives together, and since we'd both been married and had children we felt like we knew what we were getting into. (Spoiler alert: we didn't). Then I got pregnant and our life became a roller coaster, only slowing down when we tried to fit everything we could into the last month of a pregnancy that felt like it lasted 30 years. There are things couples should do in the last month of pregnancy, though, and we were bound and determined to do them all.
So my partner and I made some plans — for our baby's birth, the trip to the hospital, and our home — and did some serious nesting. We got on the same page about a few things we had yet to discuss, like my plans for breastfeeding and who I wanted (and didn't want) to visit us at the hospital. Most importantly, we tried to have some fun. I had a high-risk pregnancy, and as uncomfortable as I was I knew we needed to find ways to enjoy each other's company before we added a baby to the mix.
Some of the things we ended up doing were on accident (like our trip to the hospital at 2:00 a.m. with four kids when I had pre-term labor), and others went exactly as planned (like our New Year's Eve "babymoon"). While I don't think it's possible to ever be 100 percent ready for a new baby, thanks to all the things we did during the last month of my pregnancy, my partner and I were pretty darn close. Here's a few things we did to make that happen:
Go To A Movie
If you don't go see a movie in the theater before your baby is born, you might not see one that doesn't have singing animals or talking cars until your kids are out of diapers. We made a point of seeing some films that we really wanted to see while eating a ton of movie popcorn.
Have Lots Of Sex
My partner and I tried to have as much sex as we could before our baby arrived, mostly because we didn't know how things would be afterwards. I personally think pregnancy sex is so much better than postpartum sex, at least for the first few weeks.
Eat At A Restaurant
Do yourself a favor and go out for dinner at a restaurant without a kids' menu. Order all the damn courses and dessert. Talk. Stay out late while you can and without having to worry about a babysitter and whether they'll be able to get your baby to fall asleep. Trust me.
Take A Babymoon
I had not been in a position to take a babymoon during my previous pregnancies, and I totally didn't know what I was missing. My partner and I got a hotel room for New Year's Eve, complete with a fancy shower, Indian take out, and uninterrupted sex. It was magical.
Sleep, my long lost friend: I think I will miss you most of all. Sleep while you can, as much as you can, and while I know that can be hard when you're in your final month of pregnancy, trust me when I say it's worth a shot.
Make Important Decisions About Your Baby
Just in case, it's a good idea for both of you to know what your plans are for the upcoming birth. I was sure to let my husband know that I wanted an epidural as soon as humanly possible this time around, and that I didn't want to receive any flack from lactation consultants about our decision to combo-feed. We were also both against circumcision and wanted to be sure that our baby got all recommended vaccinations while we were at the hospital.
Take Some Fun Pictures
I didn't take many pics at all when I was pregnant the first two times, and I will forever cherish all of the silly pics my partner and I took during the last month of my final pregnancy.
Pack A Hospital Bag For Both Of You
I don't mean to sound condescending when I say that both of you need to pack a hospital bag but, well, both of you need to pack a hospital bag. The last thing you want your partner to have to do while you are in labor is go on a snack run or have to go home to grab their cell phone charger. Make a checklist, pack your bag, and put it in the car.
Practice For The Big Day
My partner and I totally took our practice run on accident, but it was awesome that we did. We practiced getting the kids up in the middle of the night, then calling my parents and meeting them at the hospital. It turned out to be a false alarm, but we had our route to the hospital down as a result.
Get On The Same Page
If you haven't already, the last month is a really good time to get on the same page about your baby and what you want to do after their arrival. Things like what will the baby eat, who will get up with them at night, who will change diapers, and any other decisions that will aid you and your partner in working as a cohesive parenting unit, are too important to wait until the first night home from the hospital. Trust me when I say that sleep deprivation will make these conversations all the more difficult to have, so take the time to get them over with before labor starts. Hey, no one says you can't have this talk over a nice, fancy, four course, kid-free meal!