Today I thought I’d share some of my planning strategies for my pregnancy so far. I started off using the bullet journal system, but ended up in my Decade Thirty planner, which has a week on two pages format. There’s no right or wrong way to do any of this, I just found that future planning was a major roadblock in the bullet journal system (despite experimenting with all of the future planning hacks!), and a pre-made dated planner worked better for keeping on track of appointments and tasks that needed to be completed on certain days. In addition to the analogue systems, hubby and I have been using Google iCal to keep on track with appointments and tasks between the both of us. This post is text-heavy rather than image-heavy, and I’ve substituted live bullet journal pages for mock-up pages. There are obviously some pregnancy details that I’d prefer to keep private.
I’ll start off with what I initially had in my bullet journal, which was back to my Piccadilly notebook after working in my Atoma discbound. I thought I’d give a bound notebook another go, for whatever reason at that time. I basically had a series of Collections for separate lists. If you want to get an idea of what Collections are all about, visit Kim Alvarez’s fantastic, explicit and easy-to-understand post.
These are the Collections for my pregnancy planning:
- Ongoing pregnancy checklist (aka Pregnancy Runsheet): This is akin to the runsheet that I talked about in this post. I basically write down everything pregnancy related here, and allocate to a daily page or another Collection. This can be everything from booking a doctor appointment, to buying a particular baby item.
- Antenatal appointment planner: The hospital that I’m booked in have been wonderfully organised, and as part of my welcome pack and administration papers, they included a week-by-week break down of all the appointments that I’ll need to book and attend. I ended up writing the week beginning dates for easier reference so that I wouldn’t miss any of them. I wrote these out in my bullet journal with a little check box, but when I transferred to the Decade Thirty planner, I ended up using the original sheet they gave me, and wrote down all the appointments in advance.
- Appointment log: This is where I logged all of the information and outcomes from the various appointments that I’ve attended. Sometimes there might be details that I need to remember or tasks that I need to complete, so I’ll write that down here and also in the Pregnancy Runsheet. The picture below is a mock-up. I’ll show you later on how this changed when I transferred to the Decade Thirty planner.
- Baby essentials: I started off with a Collection for this but then ended up using Google Sheets for ease of budgetting and calculating where we’re up to. This Collection is where I planned for different items for our baby – cot, pram, nappies, baby clothes, etc. – and I had four columns which included Estimated Price, Actual Price, Item description and Notes (e.g. website links, non-negotiable specifications, etc.), with a running total of Estimated and Actual Prices. Hubby had already budgetted for all these expenses on the YNAB app, but this was just how I wanted to keep track of it, and was a good way of reconciling expenses.
- Hospital bag checklist: Again this checklist was provided to me by the hospital, but there are extensive lists you can Google online about what to pack in your hospital bag. You know, the one you bring with you to the hospital when you’re in labour.
- Childcare checklist: I had to Google some of this information. I didn’t know what to look for in a childcare centre, and in Australia, there are some subsidies you can claim from the government. All of this information along with details of childcare centres around my area went into this list. It’s a bit of a hybrid at the moment – part checklist, part rapid logging of impressions of childcare centres – but it works.
So those are the main Collections I have so far, and I’m sure I’m probably going to need other ones once baby arrives, although several people have told me that all this planning will go out the window :P But I’m happy to play it by ear for now.
My Daily Pages remained relatively the same, but I would also track some of the following:
- Pregnancy symptoms especially during the first trimester when I was feeling ridiculously nauseous. I found that this helped in the long term to track when nausea hit me the most and I would be able to adjust work schedules and the amount and type of food I would eat
- Food intake: really simply tracker of what I ate, and if we ate at a restaurant/cafe. There’s a higher risk in pregnant women of getting listeriosis, so I was a bit hypervigilant with this when we ate out. I was in the throes of pregnancy during Christmas celebrations, and being invited to several work and family functions at restaurants/cafes got me a bit worried with food poisoning, so I tracked EVERYTHING like a freaken hawk!
- During the week, I would also fill out a little Collection called ‘Pregnancy Highlights‘ noting down anything that the baby would do, such as feeling the first kick or bonding time with me and the hubby. It was something that quelled the anxiety and helped me focus on the beautiful journey that is carrying a child :)
I mentioned above that I transferred to the Decade Thirty planner, and to be honest the only changes that occurred was that every Collection was on a separate sheet of paper. I carry around a tabbed A5 size folder, which carries all my pregnancy-related documents – prescriptions, pathology requests, billing info/receipts, etc. – and this is where I keep the Collections above. I also transferred the Appointment Log into separate index cards.
I got this idea from a client I treated many years ago. He had a relatively mild speech disorder after a stroke, but he found that prior to this, he couldn’t rely on his memory to keep track of the different specialist/doctor’s appointments that he attended. He would often say that he was kept alive by drugs, and saw the medical staff more than his children. Ah bless – he was a lark to work with. Anyway, he kept this Rolodex in his kitchen of all the appointments that he’d attended in the last year. Each card had the date/time of the appointment at the top, a space where he could write questions for the doctor, and then on the back of the card were instructions/outcomes from the doctor/specialist all written in plain English terms as opposed to medical terms. His wife had started it up for him after his first heart surgery, and he kept up with it long after she had passed away. She’s a woman after my own heart, I tell you! Each part of the Rolodex was sectioned off into different specialists, too – doctors, heart surgeon, physio, etc. – and I had my own section that year that he would ask me to fill out after every session. I thought it would be a good idea to adopt to keep track of pregnancy related appointments because sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming keeping up with all the information that’s been thrown at you. So this is what I came up with:
It’s pretty self-explanatory in the image itself above, and although I don’t have a Rolodex, I keep these index cards in a little box on my desk at home. Then when I’m off to my next appointment, I just grab the card and slip it into my Decade Thirty planner. I’m seriously considering continuing with this practice when baby comes to help track of vaccinations, other doctor/specialist appointments, etc., and then maybe she can have it as a record of her health when she’s older. Sometimes it’s hard to recall a clear medical history because everything is kept at the hospital or medical centre. Anyway, just an idea :)
And that concludes my pregnancy planning. I’d love for you to share some of your own experiences with planning a pregnancy and planning with newborns/kids – what do you track, what do you plan for, what has/hasn’t worked?