With the first child you pack your bag for the hospital months in advance, using the list provided in "What to Expect When You're Expecting". You may go so far as to buy lotion to pack, even though you hate lotion, you never use lotion, and it costs money you could use on other things. The book says to bring it, and it knows things you don't. You pack an outfit to come home in, baby clothes, clothes to labor in. You pack a tennis ball and music. Diapers. A burp cloth. A baby blanket.
By the time you get to number three you're nine months pregnant and still haven't packed. When you do get around to it, you pack snack bars because you know the nurses won't feed you, and socks because you hate those booty things they give you. You don't pack any clothes other than a baby outfit and some clothes to come home in, because you figure if you don't pack anything else you won't have a lot of laundry to do when you get home. You do not pack lotion. Or tennis balls. Or music. Or diapers. You may not even pack a toothbrush, because you know they have a stash there. You fully intend to steal at least a baby blanket, and you're hoping to score one of those hideously pink basins. Technically this means you intend to return with more shit than you went in with.
With the first child you buy a ton of shit. Everyone gives you all kinds of advice on the best strollers-baby baths-cribs-walkers-toys to buy. You work and you scrimp and you buy one of each.
By the time you get to number three you have, like, four or five baby tools you use, and those are hand-me-downs from the other two. You feel sad you can't get the money back from the crap you bought for the first one.
For me, those tools are a sling, a bouncy seat, and a bumbo. If I must travel, I am glad I have a pack and play and an umbrella stroller. Seriously, the rest of babies-r-us is a racket designed to empty your pocket.
GETTING OFF MY HIGH HORSE:
With the first child you show up for every appointment on time. You follow all the advice your OB gives. You read like a fiend. You worry.
With the third you find ways to miss an appointment here or there, because it eats half your damn day packing the famdamnily up to get there and back, whilst only managing to last for five minutes. You don't panic over most things your body does, even if they involve blood. You still read and worry though, because (in this case) you are me, but no more than usual.
With the first child you take a Lamaze class. You kegel. You squat. You practice your lamaze. You do the perineal massage.
By number three you figure everything's got to be stretched out already. If it's not supposed to be stretched out, you figure it's made it this far and seems to be holding up just fine.
With number one you worry about labor and whether you're strong enough for it.
With number three you know what to expect, you just wonder if you have enough energy.
Haiku for the day:
During labor you
focus. Breathe. Relax. Pulse.
You're busy. Consumed.
Afterwards you hold
your baby and pictures and
wish you'd done your hair.
Having discovered iced coffee and how much more you can consume when the lovely brown stuff isn't hot, for once she isn't feeling the least bit sleepy and is going to go get some more shit done before the caffeine wears off,