My office is planning a shower for me before we leave for the States to have the baby. I think the receptionist is planning it, since she is really into that type of thing. She planned one recently for a coworker and his girlfriend who just had a baby. It was pretty low-key: a brunch in a private room at a deli. The couple that was expecting was there plus all of our coworkers. Everyone just paid for their own brunch (it was an order-off-the-menu thing) and we all chipped in to treat the couple. Gifts were pretty low key: cloth diapers, bottles and bottle brushes, baby shampoo, outfits, etc. And we played a few silly games. There was a contest to see who could put a cloth diaper on to a baby doll the quickest (the winner would supposedly have the next baby. I won and already knew I was pregnant, but I wasn't telling people yet.) There was also a contest where you had to tear off a length of toilet paper that you thought would accurately wrap around the mama's belly, and then we all took turns wrapping our lengths around her belly to see who guessed the closest. It was a little strange since a lot of us didn't really know the mama (we work with her boyfriend). And then at the end, everyone said something nice about the couple and their hopes that the baby would be born healthy. I'm assuming the shower they throw for me will be pretty similar.
In the US, one of my mom's friends who has known me my whole life and was present at my birth wants to throw me a shower. And another friend of my mom's has asked if she can throw a welcome party for me and my partner when we arrive. We really do need quite a lot of things for the baby, so I am planning on taking advantage of the shower and the party gifts to help us with that. I've put together a registry. It is pretty modest compared to some of the registries you see these days (mostly disposable diapers, plus some of the more expensive items we need like a car seat and stroller, bassinet, breast pump, etc.).
I'm excited. I think all of these parties and showers will be fun and make the upcoming arrival of the baby even more real. Right now we don't have anything for the baby other than some stuff my cousin gave me that she had leftover from having her son two years ago (a couple swaddling blankets, a nursing tank, and some breast pads). So starting to get more and more baby things will be exciting.
A friend of mine who just had a baby was joking around with me about the "baby industrial complex" and all the products that are now out there for baby care that people seemed to get along with just fine before. She also has a 16-year old daughter that she had when she was 16 and had no money nor friends with money to buy baby products. She was saying that as much as she loves to hate the "baby industrial complex," a lot of the products have really made her life so much easier than when she had her first daughter. The two things she was raving about were baby monitors and this little apparatus she has to steam and puree single servings of veggies for baby food. She was talking about what a pain it was before to have to steam and puree in a blender a weeks supply of food and then freeze and defrost it to give to the baby.