Childbirth Preparation--Baby's Arrival

The big day is just around the corner, and everyone is breathlessly waiting. Are you ready for baby's expected arrival?

Nine months of pregnancy seems like a long time, but it can fly by quickly. Soon you will find yourself just a few days away from your due-date, wondering if the little one will show up on time. Settling down for the final stretch of anticipation, you reflect on all the preparations you've made for this momentous occasion. As you think about the onset of labor pains and the trip to the hospital, you mentally tick off all things that have been done to welcome the new arrival. Checking your mental list, you make sure that the final plans are in place:

1. You've lined up a sitter for the other kids. Whether your new baby comes during the day or at night, someone will have to supervise your other children when they get home from school. Ask a close friend or family member in advance to handle this task, unless your spouse has arranged to take off time from work to stay with the family. Of course, when he comes to the hospital to see you and the baby and later, bring you home, someone will have to be with the other kids unless they are in school. Have the person's telephone number handy for a quick call when the time comes. Make a list of emergency contact numbers and other babysitting information that the person might need while you're gone.

2. You've prepared the baby's layette. The baby's room or sleeping area, be it crib or bassinet, is ready to welcome the new little one. Baby clothes are washed and folded, and furniture like a carrier and car seat have been cleaned and are in place. Bibs, diapers, and blankets are arranged in a convenient location. Formula, bottles, and pacifiers, if used, have been made ready.

3. You've contacted the insurance company to check your medical coverage and pre-registered with the hospital. Several weeks before the baby is due, call your insurance carrier to find out which area hospitals are covered under your plan, and then call the doctor to determine which one(s) he or she has practice rights to, as well as the preferred location for your delivery. Ask about co-pays or deductibles and make arrangements for these up front if possible.

4. You've made arrangements with your doctor for the delivery, including anesthesia and medical coverage for his or her fee. This may have been done several months earlier, but if not, don't wait until the baby is born. Ask your insurance company about the doctor's fee and anesthesia, along with other costs associated with childbirth. Fill out any necessary forms ahead of time to get the ball rolling so that payments will be made shortly after your hospitalization. You don't want to worry over these things while caring for a newborn.

5. You've worked out with your spouse how the house, kids' schedules, and home going will be managed. School events, sports practice, and rehearsal schedules are all written down for your spouse and the sitter who will look out for the kids while you're in the hospital. A list of freezer meals, family and friends to call when the baby arrives, and other sundry details have been written out or relayed in person to your spouse so he knows how to handle the things that you normally take care of.

Tending to details like these can make the hospitalization and recovery phases go much easier. Take a little time in advance to cover the basics so you can rest easy afterward.

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