A couple years ago I bought a journal from Ex Libris Anonymous as a gift for a friend who was expecting. The good people at E.L.A. make journals out of discarded old books, leaving a few key pages of the original inside along with the blank paper. The book I bought was Mother and Baby Care in Pictures by Louise Zabriskie, RN, a sort of proto-What to Expect when You're Expecting published in 1935 (this edition was from the '40s). I spent some time browsing before I wrapped it up for my pregnant friend, and it was so terrific I found myself wishing they'd left more pages intact. Although this review of the book from 1935 suggests that I should be grateful to have missed pages 68-71. Imagine, giving people detailed information on what the labor and delivery process involves! That might fly with your "younger generation," but no "old family doctor" would stand for it. Parents-to-be should be either zonked on drugs or barred from the hospital entirely, the way God intended.
I had a feeling I'd find this book helpful someday, so I scanned a few illustrations for future reference. And now that my own pregnancy is nearly at an end -- and by that I mean the baby is arriving tomorrow -- let's take a moment to see how I've done.
Check. Of course, in the case of this book "throughout pregnancy" basically meant "from about the 20th week," since they didn't seem to expect a woman to know for sure she was pregnant until she was fully showing and wearing maternity clothes, like Lucy Ricardo. (One of the signs of pregnancy listed in the book was that the doctor could feel the baby by palpating the patient's abdomen.) So on this one I was way ahead of the game. My doctor is a woman, though: points off for that?
Here are some other recommendations for the mommy-to-be (click to enlarge):
I can't say I've been much for camping, but I did roast a marshmallow just this weekend. I even went to the dentist during trimester two! And "resting frequently" was definitely on my agenda.
The one area where I've been negligent: "Sponge baths after the seventh month." If the kid is all screwed up I will know what I did wrong.
As for "Nutrition aids health," let's get more detail on what that involves:
Now all that's left is the baby-having, which begins when I check in to the hospital tonight. Apparently my child is already an overachiever, because s/he is much bigger than a 38-week-old fetus has any right to be. We are talking "one ounce shy of ten pounds," according to the doctor who read my last few ultrasounds. He was plainly amused by this state of affairs (and yes, that doctor was a man). I'm torn between proud and terrified of my giant newborn, who, if the predictions are correct, will not be fitting into any newborn clothes. The books (this one and the other, more modern ones I've consulted) did not tell me to expect that.
But anyway, the kid is more than ready to go, and by tomorrow night Baby O. should be here. And after that I understand it's all a matter of sticking to the schedule.
But I think my favorite piece of advice is this: "Baby may be held, to change his position, before preparing for bed." I can't wait for those brief afternoon position-changing sessions! In fact, I suspect Baby O. will be held a lot more than that -- as much as my weak arms can support his or her enormous frame. (And not just by Daddy and me: Aunt Amy is also ready to disobey this chart.) If he or she is spoiled by all the attention, we'll just have to blame it on my skipping the sponge baths.