I have probably a skewed idea of getting ready now, because my first child...Okay, it was not what we all hope for. The first year of her life was basically hell for everyone. We took turns bouncing the baby and eating to the sounds of irate screaming, for example, and she never slept. Turns out she was gluten intolerant and it kept her in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. So for that sort of baby, there is no being prepared. I keep reassuring myself that at a minimum, this baby is likely to be easier than THAT, but of course there's a preschooler to keep track of and clean up after, too. So I focus on having the house as organized as possible--you know, a place for everything so that at least it's not some huge mental exercise to have everything in its place...especially when the baby gets mobile, my experience is that there is no such thing as babyproofing if the house isn't moderately clean. I'm going to try to make sure that my husband really knows where everything goes, because right now he doesn't, and he's really crippled when it comes to cleaning up. He's great about doing what needs to be done, but he was living/working elsewhere part-time for a lot of this year and things moved and he lost track, you know? I might even label cabinets and such, to help take advantage of whatever help is offered.
The BEST advice I got last time I was pregnant, bar none, was to stock the freezer with ready-made meals, and I want to do even more of that this time. The greatest ideas I've seen for helping a new mom have been things like providing freezer meals at showers instead of gifts, or churches or other circles of friends bringing meals to the new family, but the gluten thing makes that harder for us now, unfortunately.
Speaking of health, though, I wish I'd been better prepared to take care of myself last time immediately postpartum, because I was pretty wrecked. It was a natural homebirth and all, but pregnancy was pretty brutal on me (this time, too) and so was the birth, and I had to be helped around the house for over a week. Maybe liquid chlorophyll to help perk my red blood cells back up, some cod liver oil...just some high-impact, easily consumed foods to help me get back on my feet faster. Dang girl wanted nothing but to be held and walked with, and I could barely stay upright! So this time, I'll spend a little extra to hedge my bets health-wise.
I coulda stood to spend some extra time practicing diaper folds. We had prefolds, which I like, but maaaaaan, looking back at the pictures, there were some seriously sad diapering jobs there. This time I confess I splurged on some strictly unnecessary fitteds just becase newborns are REALLY SMALL and fiddly and floppy. :-P
Also, last time I was minimalist with the stuff we bought...okay, maybe a bit cheap...and this time I'm allowing myself to splurge on more things that I hope will help. For example, if we hadn't gotten a hand-me-down swing, we never would have known that Evelyn LOVED it...when we busted that thing out, suddenly the house got clean and dinner got cooked. But the bouncy seat we bought because everyone said they were great was a total bust--you just have to accept that it's hit-and-miss, I think, and try to find things used or hand-me-down if you can.
That's enough outta me.