Thoughtful Thursday: Preparation

September 23, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayOver a year ago, Mel wrote a BlogHer post on the topic of purchasing baby items during post-infertility pregnancy. Many fertiles seem to run out and create a registry before the pee stick is dry. A lot of infertiles, on the other hand, are too fearful of something going wrong to make purchases, especially if they’ve experienced prior losses. In the comment section of Mel’s BlogHer post, Lori had a turn of phrase that I particularly liked: “Don’t buy until you see the whites of their eyes.” She didn’t buy anything at all until after the birth of her daughter.

Here is the progression of my thinking about buying baby items during pregnancy.

  • Too early
  • Too early
  • Too early
  • Hmm better start thinking about it; I’ll make a registry but I won’t show it to anyone
  • I’ll get a few things but it’s still too early to make major purchases
  • Let’s see what other people give us
  • Eek! I almost went into labor and we have none of the essentials!
  • I can’t very well buy things when I’m afraid of losing one or both babies
  • We’ve passed the danger zone, I guess we’d better get moving and stock up
  • What am I waiting for?

…which brings me to now. I actually might have put off major purchases even longer, but during the drive home from the hospital on Tuesday, DH declared, “The registry. We need to get going, now.”

I had basically nothing whatsoever for the babies (if you don’t count a couple of things I bought in Spain right after the first BFP like a mobile and a rattle) until the 4th month of pregnancy. I visited a Mothers of Multiples sale (just to scope it out) and bought a few clothes and a few toys at low low prices, but nothing big.

During the 5th month of pregnancy, I visited a close friend who is parenting twins after infertility. She gave me all sorts of hand-me-downs, mostly clothes. Suddenly I had full wardrobes for the babies’ first 6 months and partial wardrobes for the next 6 months.

Then I visited my mother-in-law, who heaped all sorts of garage sale purchases upon us. We rejected about half of what she bought, and we still filled up our entire car trunk and back seat.

Then came a CraigsList phase. I checked the listings many times a day. Via 4 transactions, I filled out the rest of the babies’ wardrobes for their first year, plus a few bigger purchases like swings and slings.

Suddenly the babies’ room, my home office (which essentially serves as a big filing cabinet), and the linen closet were filled with brightly colored plastic and cozy cotton. But still, I didn’t have essential items like cribs or car seats.

It was a little embarrassing when, on the day of my big preterm labor scare, both hospitals asked if I was “prepared” for the babies and I had to say no. Not that embarrassment was my biggest concern that day.

My fear-based procrastination was vindicated somewhat when I met with a neonatologist. He commended us for not having car seats yet, because we don’t know how much the babies will weigh and many seats are too big for preemies to leave the hospital. He told us not to buy car seats until the babies are born. We will probably buy them once the babies’ weights pass the minimum size for those car seats, hopefully in a couple of weeks.

Now, at DH’s insistence, the wheels are in motion. Apparently these babies really are coming, and with (most likely) less than a month to go, I’d better get ready. Family members have started picking items off the registry, and soon the babies’ room will be bursting with paraphernalia. Any procrastination on my part at this point is based on bedrest fatigue, not fear.

Does infertility/loss affect your attitude toward preparing for a baby’s arrival?


36 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Preparation”

  1. Elana Kahn Says:

    For me, it did and didn’t. I went through the same stages as you did, but I started buying big stuff once I hit 28 weeks, I think. (It might’ve been a bit earlier.) I didn’t want to get caught with no cribs (which we nearly did) because we were ordering stuff from Babies R Us and it took FOREVER for them to get it to us. AND they forgot one of the pieces of furniture and had to get it to us later. At the beginning of March I realized just how unprepared I was and did a whole shopping spree on for things we needed. Even so my sister and brother-in-law had to go out and get diapers (whoops they bought a size too big so we had to get more). I’d say right now is a pretty good time for you to start thinking about the big stuff.

  2. Sue Says:

    Long time lurker here, 13 weeks pregnant after 1 loss and 6 years of TTC.
    I won’t be buying anything. At all. Until i see the whites of the eyes. Love that saying by the way.

    My friend has bought me a baby carriage Pandora charm and I have asked her to leave it till the baby comes and even having her bought it is freaking me out.

    I have a few fertile friends who are around the same stage as me and who have ordered thousands of dollars worth of nursery furniture. It just makes me very uneasy.

    I’m glad to hear about the baby seat thing though, I didn’t realise there was a minimum weight!! Thanks!

    I can’t wait to hear about when your babies come.
    Sue xxxx

  3. jill Says:

    Never having experienced loss, there’s the possibility that I may not be afraid to buy things. Then again, I am very aware of what could happen so I may be wary – I’m really not sure.

    At the beginning of TTC I figured I may as well stock up on baby items (just small things) and now, 10-13 years later, all those items sit in a box and make me long to take them out and admire them. But I haven’t taken them out in a long time, it gets more and more painful as time goes on.

    If I ever get pregnant, I might not be running out right away to buy baby things, but I imagine I will take out my boxes early on and cry some very happy tears.

  4. staciet Says:

    My short answer? Hell yes it affected my attitude, especially after things started to go south at around week 16. That’s pretty sad when we had only just told people we were pregnant at week 11 (and only because I was outed by my belly).

    The long answer? I can’t wait to get pregnant again, throw caution to the wind, spend like crazy, and truly live in the moment during a pregnancy! I want to enjoy it all!

    Looking back now, I cheated myself out of so much of that because of my fear. My fear of losing it all ruled my life. I never let myself buy anything because all I could focus on was the “what ifs.” I couldn’t even think of names for the fear of jinxing things and “making” something go wrong. It is one of my biggest regrets.

  5. Nishkanu Says:

    Oh, holy poop, yes.

    We didn’t buy anything for the baby until last week, when I was at 29 weeks. Now I am trying to rip the band-aid and get everything because my rational mind knows that it is a good idea to be prepared even while my emotional mind finds it impossible to believe I will need any of this stuff. To be honest, buying baby stuff is torture for me, in part because it requires believing that a baby will come and in part just because I hate the whole consumerist orientation around baby stuff (why spend $500-1000 on a crib your baby will sleep in for all of 1 year?!).

  6. At first I was very cautious and didn’t want to buy anything. Then, when the pregnancy progressed without problems, I relaxed and started to buy things. It was also made a bit easier by the fact that almost all of the big items – crib, car seat, stroller – came from family members, so didn’t need to be bought new (and if things would have gone down, those items could stay with/be returned to their respective owners). The baby room was ready when I was about 7 months pregnant.

    That said, I wouldn’t be comfortable with having a baby shower before the birth – but that wasn’t an issue either as baby showers are not a custom in Holland and France.

  7. Kami Says:

    I still can’t buy things. I am so scared that if I do, I will jinx myself. It freaks me out. I have some hand me downs and two onsies that I purchased. But nothing else. I did register but of course no one will see that until right before the shower. I totally understand where you are coming from!

    I can’t wait to see your little miracles!!!


  8. Lisa RM Says:

    I never dealt with infertility, and I still had a hard time buying before my son was born. But I’m also really lazy, so I chalk it up to that. With my surrogacy (and friends’ babies), I have to be tied down to stop me from buying little things. I know. Weird.

  9. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Does infertility/loss affect your attitude toward preparing for a baby’s arrival?

    How can I say anything here? I have no baby in sight. I am not expecting. I am still reeling from yesterday morning’s BFN.

    Well, I have not started preparing at all, and I have none of the essentials…but I bought a toy for my baby – a cute pink bunny. And for me that purchase was an affirmation of the hope that I will get to give it to my baby, or lay it by the side of my baby and tell him/her that the bunny is his/hers.

    I bought the bunny in March 2009, and I have not still had any impulse to purchase anything after that, and I have no cause to, as of now.

    Soon, hopefully!

  10. Kristin Says:

    You know, for me, because it was secondary infertility, it didn’t really affect getting ready for the baby. I still had all my baby clothes from before so that wasn’t an issue.

  11. rosesdaughter Says:

    I was in denial up until about 22/23 weeks. Then my husband forced me to register. It was so hard. I felt like I was jinxing myself by just signing up for stuff. Even now at 30 weeks 6 days, I don’t buy anything. I just talked myself into buying a Moby wrap last week. I loved it when the crib came(my parents ordered it). But after it was set up, I had this indescrible fear that something would go wrong now that I have the crib up. I probably won’t personally buy anything until the baby is out. I know it’s irrational, but I just can’t help myself!

  12. We didn’t buy much, if anything for the first few months. I had a pair of booties and that was IT! Then preterm labor hit and Dirty got to painting Zilla’s room and we bought some items and/or got some things out of storage.

    YAY for being home! I hope you’re enjoying everything home has to offer.

  13. Shinejil Says:

    I haven’t really bought a thing, except some used maternity clothes and a few odd onsies from a consignment store. Oh, except the car seat, which in my IF-induced paranoia I had installed and ready to go by 24 weeks (just in case).

    Our relatives and friends have showered us in nice hand-me-downs, basic necessities, and other stuff. I’m saving our shekels for when the kid actually has opinions about stuff and when he’s really ready for his own room (i.e. in our book, sometime after age 1 or so). Until then, he’s in a co-sleeper and then a gifted crib in our room. And so is all his stuff.

    I don’t get all the hubbub about decorating a nursery. Perhaps it’s my stingy Polish-Prussian blood, but I’d rather put thousands of dollars in an ESA and/or say goodbye to my income for a bit than buy a bunch of furniture to use for just a few months. I’ve worked so hard to have this kid; I’m sure as hell going to make sure I enjoy raising him. That means economizing, for us at least.

  14. BB Says:

    Good questions… I think I am in a confused state of mind. I am still living day by day! Every “next” appointment makes me wanna believe that things will be okay and then something hits me! I am a control freak and I need things prep’ed and organized, this nature of mine wants me to get started as soon as I am out of my 1st trimester (cause who knows how 3rd trimester will be (assuming I get there))… but it might all stay in boxes and bags (stored in the garage) till the item are required (to be installed)! I guess the real answer is – I am still not sure!

  15. Magsy Says:

    Not an answer to your question, just some well wishes for you and you babies.

  16. bigmamacass Says:

    Yes. Been riding the fertility roller coaster for 7 years. 6th pregnancy now and it isn’t looking very good. I was petrified to buy anything for my son when that pregnancy was working. But by about 7 months I went hog wild and bought EVERYTHING in like a week. LOL Good thing too cause he was born a few weeks later at 36 weeks gest. (He was the only successful pregnancy)

  17. Wishing4One Says:

    I havent had the wonderful opportunity yet of being pregnant, at least for long and my ectopic at 6 weeks I was unaware of. So being infertile and hopefully eventually (next month) being pregnant, I think will totally wait at least for awhile. But at the same time I will be so excited if I pass 3 months I may go crazy and just start buying everything. What a great question, one I will remember next month when i get my BFP… xoxoxoxoxo

    Cant wait to see your little miracles and get that registry done with girl!

  18. Cara Says:

    The loss prevented me from buying anything new – but we had a fully stocked nursery waiting for us when we came home from the hospital, empty handed.

    My difficulty was unearthing the boxes, handling all Emma’s things again for her soon to be sister, deciding what was transferrable and what would always be, just Emma’s.

    *sigh* – what memories

  19. Brenna Says:

    Absolutely, our loss has had a huge effect on my ability to shop/prepare/plan for an actual live baby who might come home with us! I’ve had two offers from family and friends wanting to plan a baby shower, and as of right now I can’t imagine it. Not yet. Maybe never. Or maybe once the kiddo is born. We’ll see. Lori’s “don’t buy ’til you see the whites of their eyes” comment jives with Jewish tradition anyway (or so I’m told) to not buy anything before the baby arrives. I think I’m fine with that.

  20. Julie Says:

    At first I didn’t buy anything – a close friend had had two m/c and that in itself had me worried / didn’t want to jinx anything. Also spent the first few months in twin-shock and really didn’t know what to think. The first things I did buy were around the 18 week scan when we “for sure” knew one was a girl so I bought a few non-pink outfits for hubby since he seemed a bit let down for a short time that we weren’t going to have a boy most likely.

    After that it was only a week or so until I was put on the couch so instead of buying anything I just filled out the registry for the shower. Once or twice I had the thought when I saw the nursery that “what if we’re buying things for babies that never come home” but I tried to keep that train of thought to a minimum.

    (In our case we lost track of time. Made it to a great week for delivery and still had nothing ready to go / set up.)

  21. Cat Says:

    Yes, yes, yes, it most certainly did. I didn’t make my registry until I was forced to because my friend was ready to send out the shower invitations. I put off buying anything and then ended up on restricted activity and couldn’t go shopping. I wish I’d been able to relax and enjoy my pregnancy more, like by going a little nuts buying cute baby stuff, but I just couldn’t. We also ended up having the babies before we had everything, nor was the nursery finished yet. They’re now eight weeks old and we’re still finishing up the details of their room. Good thing they don’t really care.

  22. Heather Says:

    Absolutely! I’ve had 3 losses in the first trimester. The oldest miscarriage was 10 weeks, but I was petrified much longer. I think I finally registered in one trip around 28 weeks and my friends through me a baby shower at 30 weeks. I went into labor the next week. I didn’t have anything unpacked from the shower. I did it in between visiting the babies at the hospital.

  23. Lavender Luz Says:

    Oh my, yes. But you already knew that about me.

    You know when it’s right for you…and I can tell that’s now because your thoughts are not based in fear.

    Are you able to be upright for long? I hope you and DH have a blast with that shopping-gun thingy at the baby stores. It sure was fun to go through the store with that!

  24. Enna Says:

    I’m so happy for you that you’re home from the hospital and able to buy things for your babies, what a wonderful place to be!

    Before my last miscarriage I had just allowed myself to buy a book about pregnancy… this pregnancy I won’t be buying anything for a very long time (assuming I get to stay pregnant this time!).

  25. samcy Says:

    I’ll have to answer this one when I actually have a pregnancy… that being said I do have some stuff packed in a box tucked away in a spare cupboard that I bought early on in our journey when I still thought it would be easy to fall pregnant. I just can’t bear to look at them though.


  26. samcy Says:

    Oh and also can’t bear the thought of throwing them out or giving them away…

  27. Michele Says:

    I think one of the things that it IF/loss did was made me more aware to make each minute count. We would always buy something in the beginning that belonged to that specific baby. I treasure those things now. When I went into the hospital with Bobby and Maya this time and they asked if we had carseats, I was shocked. It was so early! We had everything else, just no carseats. (We have them now, since folks bought them from our registry). I know why they asked. The babies have to pass a carseat test before they can go home from the NICU. But we still have weeks for that!

  28. cheryllookingforward Says:

    I’m still early on in my pregnancy after 2 losses. I try not to think that far ahead, but I’ve been wondering if I could handle getting a nursery ready. Could I have a baby shower and and then face all of those people again if I lose this baby, too? I can’t even imagine it. I hope this gets easier.

    I’m a huge planner and not planning more than a week ahead for this possible huge life changing event is against everything I know. But even scheduling doctor’s appointments a few weeks in advance scares me.

  29. Jamie Says:

    With my first pregnancy I did not purchase anything until after we reached 20 weeks. However, this pregnancy I began preparing much earlier. Granted, I didn’t have nearly as much to purchase, but I was worried about bedrest, pre-term labor, and other issues that would hinder my productivity at the end.

  30. Carrie Says:

    YAY! I love this- I am writing about a similarly related subject. I have JUST, at nearly 30 weeks, started taking tags off.

    When I got pregnant with my daughter, I bought a baby outfit THAT day. Second pregnancy, same thing. Miscarriage soon followed. Third pregnancy, hesitant until we saw the heartbeat. Miscarriage. Fourth pregnancy did not last long enough to buy anything, but it would’ve been around 24 weeks, I am guessing. Miscarriages do that. They take away the reckless excitement, the trust that EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY. Because it wasn’t for me.

    With this wild triplet pregnancy, I allowed nothing to be purchased until 24 weeks. Some things were not allowed until 28 weeks. And now, I am going for it. I had a wonderful appointment today and while I am nervous each time I pull off a tag, I am doing it. And asking everyone, “Is it too early?” I hope not.

  31. Amy Says:

    I lost my baby at 7 1/2 weeks. I bought one baby blanket. I was so nervous the entire time to buy anything or tell anyone. However, I kind of wish I had bought a couple things. I want to put aside memories of my pregnancy, and I wish I had some items that I specifically bought for this baby.

    I do find myself amazed at the loss of innocence that infertility causes. I never realized it until I got pregnant. It’s another loss as well.

  32. Photogrl Says:

    I’m not sure what I’ll do.

    My gut tells me I’ll prolly hold out until the last trimester now. Too many losses, now I’m gunshy.

    But, who knows?

  33. Katie Says:

    I can so relate to this post. I wrote about something similar recently….. so i take it you did not and will not have a baby shower?

    Good luck in your journey!


  34. FET Accompli Says:

    Congrats on being 32 weeks! We are almost 30 weeks, and have only bought the bare essentials. We didn’t buy anything until about 6.5 months. Then, we bought two cribs on Craigslist (for twins, even though they sleep in the same crib for the first few months), and I bought a few other items on Craigslist: a bouncer/infant seat, some grobags and swaddlers. We have a long list of things to buy, and we’ll get through it, but only to the extent they are essentials. We aren’t really buying any baby clothes, other than some onesies closer to the time. We haven’t bought carseats – interesting through what your doctor says about waiting to determine what size they’ll be.

  35. nancy Says:

    It did bother me. While I bought lots of stuff, I always kept the receipt. And I didn’t wash all the clothes until that magical mark when the chances of survival where better than average.

    fucking infertility.

  36. I didn’t buy anything until Betty was 3 months along. And then I couldn’t bring myself to help my husband set up the nursery or even to go into in for more than a few seconds. Preparing for the baby filled me w/ both excitement and dread.

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