After years of hearing others say it - "Wait 'til you have your own children. Your life will change!" - Shannon and I are less than one week from the change. We still don't know the sex of our baby and have no assurances of his/her general health and well being, but one way or the other we've got a baby on our hands in less time than it takes to send a letter to Mumbai by regular post.
Yesterday was our last work day without a child. Thursday night was our last American Idol while seated on our own couch without a child. We're currently in the midst of our last weekend without a child. Sunday is the last 24 hours I'll ever have to goof off irresponsibly without consideration for a child. And so on....
We've been spared another scare as R has gone above and beyond, confined to bed in a hospital for over three weeks now, bearing up with the discomfort and dislocation. This bonus time has allowed us to reach the point where we don't fear being unprepared. Like Santa before his big day, we've checked our lists twice and feel fairly confident that we're ready for the predictable and unpredictable.
Folks have asked how long we think we'll be out there. Heck, even Shannon's asked about twenty or so times! The fact is there's just no way to know; there's too many assumings. Assuming the baby is born on the 18th and assuming he/she is healthy and requires minimal if any stay in the NICU and assuming all of our paperwork is in order and assuming we hit no red tape speed bumps THEN we're thinking ten days to two weeks would be the optimistic ideal. Don't tell this to anybody from Europe or elsewhere because their hurdles are much steeper than for us US-based folks. UK-based blogosphere friends of ours required over EIGHT WEEKS to get things in order. We keep telling ourselves ten days to two weeks but have mentally prepared ourselves for up to a month. Beyond that .... well, like it makes a difference. We're going to hang around as long as is necessary. As Shannon jokes, if the expenses keep mounting, we'll just have to work a corner. What do politicians say? Do it for the children!
For the sake of sanity over such an extended stay - and in anticipation of sleepless days and nights - we've focused on addressing two issues: comfort food and tv/movie entertainment. On the food front we're packing nutritious essentials such as, for Geoff, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls & Peanut M&Ms / for Shannon, microwave popcorn & gummi bears. For tv/movies it's trickier. US sites like Neflix and Hulu prevent overseas video streaming, meaning that attempts to access those sites from India will fail with a "Sorry but you're not allowed to watch" rejection. I believe I've found a workaround but I can't tell for sure until we're actually out there. If it works, I'll let you know.
Our destination is the Marriott Courtyard, a supposed hotspot for intended parents nestled in the heart of Mumbai. In India, such nestling pretty much means we're not taking our little one out for any walks beyond the perimeter. The hotel does have a pool, however, so we'll be able to escape the confines without having to dodge tuk-tuks. This fairly new hotel has made itself amenable to expectant parents - e.g. microwaves and cribs are available - and is closely situated to the birthing hospital. Interestingly, like most intended parents, Shannon and I will actually be spending a night or two in the hospital itself following our baby's birth. It's a nice perk allowing us to stay close by until our little one is ready to leave. We'll just hang on to our Mariott room, going back-and-forth if (heaven forbid) our hospital stay stretches a bit.
We're ready for this all to be over but can't shake the nerves that come from dealing with the unknown. Look, it's just odd to have never actually seen or felt the pregnancy in person. It's all been emails and photographs. We're pregnant but haven't had the slow dawning realization of this fact provided by a patiently growing belly standing at your side - or above your belt - for nine months. No morning sickness, no kicks, no strangers putting their hands all over Shannon. Well, not that I know of..... It's still a little academic so we can't help but ask - are we really ready?
Less than one week from now we'll be asking ourselves that question for the last time. Slowly but surely, we're running out of lasts.
3 years ago