By Alesandra Dubin
March 23, 2015
Countdown to baby

If you've been following newlywed Jill Duggar's pregnancy—and let's be honest, a lot of people have—you know she's getting very close now to that midwife-assisted home birth she hopes to have, with husband Derick Dillard as labor coach.

She's juuuuuust shy of that full-term 40-week mark now, and her family members are making every last preparatory detail easy for us all to follow, thanks to their continually updated social media feeds.

Hubby Derick recently posted an Instagram collage of photos showing the parents-to-be getting excited, captioning the images: "Happy 9 monthiversary @JillMDillard !!! A LOT has happened since June 21! I am blessed beyond measure and every day is even better with you baby! You're my best friend, and I love you with all my heart! #newlyweds #newdad."

Brother-in-law Ben Seewald posted also a photo over the weekend that showed he and wife Jessa Duggar having dinner with the expecting pair.

As I reached those final days before my scheduled c-section last year, I too was carefully photographing and documenting that big pregnancy belly. And like the Duggars, I was gathering amid friends and family for casual dinners—even getting those paper plates ready for the crazier days ahead, just like Ben's photo shows!

Looking back on that surreal leadup period, I think I did a pretty good job of getting set for D-day; I was well prepared, and don't have too many regrets. (I wrote a lot about that here.) But watching Jill's pregnancy countdown has brought back poignant memories of that time, and has me thinking about even a few more things I could have added to my list to ease and honor the transition:

  • I should have set up the changing table just so. Yes, I had diapers and wipes and all that jazz. But given that the changing station is pretty much the first thing you need when you walk in the door from the hospital—many of the other registry items wait weeks or months—I would have opened all the packages, put a liner bag in the diaper pail, and gotten everything just precisely right.
  • I should have seen, like, five movies in a row by myself. It was July and it was hot. I was so big, I could hardly walk. It was the perfect time to waddle into an air-conditioned movie theater and watch hours of back-to-back flicks. The next movie I'd see would be many months later, and I would be rushing home to relieve grandparent babysitters.
  • I should have had some postpartum clothes at the ready. In the weeks following delivery, I still looked pregnant. (If you didn't know, sorry to be the one to break the news.) I could wear my maternity clothes, of course, but that only encouraged strangers to remark on my "pregnancy," and that was no fun. I wish I had bought some breezy trapeze-cut dresses on hand that gave me a dose of new-mom confidence.
  • I should have reconsidered video. My husband and I were singularly focused on getting through the scheduled delivery the next day with two healthy babies and a healthy mama on the other side. We didn't get wrapped up in peripherals like plans for operating-room videography and the like. In the intensity of the moment, my husband snapped just one few-second video. In it, I have my brand new daughter on my chest, and I'm asking only, "She's five-twelve?," a question referring to her weight. That's it, and it's gold. It's enough—maybe even more special by its rareness—but it would have been precious to have a little more.

What did you do —or what are you planning to do — in the last days of your pregnancy?

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock