What you need to do before giving birth

I heart being pregnant.  I remember the anticipation, the excitement, counting down to the day of the baby's arrival.  But before you can hold your bundle of joy and inhale in their wonderfully addicting baby smell, there are a few things you need to do to help prepare for their big debut.

In no particular order:

- Write a birthing plan
http://www.messymommy.com/2013/08/how-do-you-want-to-delivery-your-baby.html

Purchase newborn essentials:  MY LIST: approved car seat, crib, stroller, change table & pad, diapers, wipes, baby bath tub, organic body wash, bum cream (for rash), bibs, burp cloths (10 or more), receiving blankets, onesies, socks, mitts, hats, baby bottles, breast bump, nursing pad, soother/pacifier and thermometer. 

I feel these were what I needed right away after I bring baby home (breast feeding).  If you're going the formula route then stock up on newborn formula .  I didn't like diaper bag so I just used my carry-all bag.  I bought more baby stuff as we go along, as needed.  It works for me but in case you like to have everything prepared in advance, check out the link below for a more detailed/complete list:
http://www.todaysparent.com/checklists/newborn-checklist/

- Attend Lamaze class.  I know some people who opted out.  Personally I think it's good to attend one.  I found it beneficial to us.  Our instructor was very detailed, giving the class info. on all the pros. and cons. of birthing methods, pain relief options, the dos and don'ts, and best practices.  We even have a short briefing on infant CPR.  The question period was great and we learned a lot.  If anything, it's good to know what to expect leading to your birthing date !

- Take a hospital tourNot necessary but if you have time, I think it's good to take a tour of the hospital before you deliver.  Note where to sign in, emergency entrance, parking lot, delivering unit, etc.  Do a brief drive by around the hospital too, to figure out the best location to park, nearest entrance to delivering unit, etc. 

- Decide if you want private or shared overnight hospital room.  Is your partner going to sleep there with you and baby the first day or two ? 

I had a private room with my first and a shared room with my 2nd.  I recommend the private room (extended health care coverage paid for it).  The benefit is huge !  No one to worry about when you try to latch baby, when you nurse, when hubby help massage to get milk down, etc !!!  Also, the best part, you can use the bathroom whenever you want and take your time (trust me, you can't pee too fast in the first day or two !!!  your body is a bit lost on its ability to send messages to your brain:-) 
Also, hubby was sleeping over so in the private room, there were extra seats for him to stretch out and sleep.

The shared room is ok, you have SOME privacy but I dread waiting for the bathroom.  I also hate it when my baby just fall asleep and theirs decided to wake up and cry thunders & storms right then !  obviously my baby decided to wake up and join the fun.  No one gets a wink and if any one of us do, none get to shut their eyes for longer than 15 !!!