Congratulations, you’re expecting! The surrogacy journey is an exhilarating but nerve-racking time. The waiting period can feel like an eternity, but the good news is that there are many things you can do to help prepare for your baby. As you’re designing the nursery, tackling your home projects, baby-proofing everything, and creating memories along the way, before you know it, the baby’s arrival date will be here. From beginning to end, here’s everything you should do to help prepare for your new family addition.

Update your financials

Don’t forget to update your financial information. Start by tweaking or creating a new budget if you don’t have one already. Factors to include in your budget are car payments, mortgage, child care, groceries, student loans, retirement accounts, your FSC surrogacy program cost, and any other expenses you might have. This budget might seem like a lot of hefty bills to cover, especially with all the home updates you need to make before the arrival of your newborn. To pay for everything and not sink your financial standings, you should start thinking of ways to cover all the fees.

In a perfect world, you would have been saving up well in advance to help ease the cost of the surrogacy bill, but no worries if you weren’t able to. One way to help cover the cost of all the bills piling up is to apply for a home equity line of credit. This is a great resource to consider because you’ll be provided with the funds as needed, and your home improvement projects will be tax-deductible. Another way to help cover the fees is by contributing an amount from each paycheck to a specific category each week, such as groceries, baby essentials, or miscellaneous costs.

Design the nursery

Decorating the nursery is a great way to start preparing for your baby’s arrival. Start by cleaning out the room and eliminating unnecessary clutter. You might want to create a mood board of ideas and themes for the nursery. For inspiration, search Pinterest for fun and creative nursery ideas. Once you have an idea in mind, paint the room your desired color. Don’t forget to order or shop for the nursery furniture ahead of time. Items such as the crib, changing table, and rocking chair take time to assemble, so you’ll want to order them early to ensure you have time to set it all up before the baby arrives. Lastly, stock up on the must-have newborn essentials. Diapers, baby wipes, pacifiers, strollers, car seats, clothes, and baby monitors should all be on your checklist. Preparing the nursery shouldn’t be the only project on your to-do list. Don’t forget to tackle the other long-awaited home projects while there’s still free time on your hands.

Tackle home projects

One thing about home projects is the to-do list adds up, but the projects never seem to get done right away. Before the baby arrives, it’s crucial to tackle all the home chores you’ve been putting off. Depending on the weather or time of year, you might want to tackle either the indoor or outdoor to-do list first. For inside projects, start by updating or changing all the locks on the windows and doors. This is important, especially if you live in a one-story home. If a window or door seems to be outdated or a pain to open and shut, you might want to consider purchasing new ones. Next, eliminate clutter and throw away or donate any unused items and clothes. This will open up more space for storage.

Moving to the exterior of your home, start by cleaning out the gutters. This can be a difficult task, so you might want to consider hiring a professional for help. If you don’t have one already, install a fence in the backyard to create a more safe and secure space. The landscaping might not be a priority on the to-do list, but you won’t have as much time to tackle it when the baby comes, so weeding and mulching are projects to consider now. These home projects can add up fast, so it’s crucial to budget and prepare for these expenses.

Baby-proof the house

Although the baby won’t be mobile for a while, it’s better to be prepared ahead of time. Walk through your home and make a note of anything that seems unsafe for a small child. Deep cleaning, putting electrical outlet covers in every room, and getting baby gates for stairs or steep drop-offs are ways to start baby-proofing your space. You might also want to consider installing an outdoor security system, like a Ring security camera, so you can feel extra safe when the baby arrives. Slowly implementing safe spaces in your home will save you the headache down the road.

Create memories

It’s important to spend as much quality time with your significant other before the baby arrives because you might not have time for date nights when the baby arrives. Create a fun to-do list to tackle just the two of you. Some activities to include are going out to dinner, seeing a movie, taking a quick weekend trip, or going on a longer “babymoon” if your budget allows it. You’ll also want to get as much sleep as possible because there will be barely any time for that when the baby is here. Taking parenting classes together is another great way to bond, especially because no matter how well you think you’re prepared, there’s always something new to learn.

To help document all the memories, create a surrogacy journey album and add the ultrasounds and pregnancy updates, and if you’re comfortable, include a picture and bio of your surrogate, so your child can look back on the process when they’re older.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other intended parents about their surrogacy journey. Learning as much as possible about what to expect and how to best prepare will only help ease the exciting but stressful time.

And, of course, your FSC case manager is available at any time to answer any questions you may have along the way!

Staci Swiderski, CEO and owner of Family Source Consultants has been involved in the field of reproductive medicine since 2002. Staci has vigorously grown the comprehensive egg donation and gestational surrogacy agency to become a worldwide leader in the third-party reproduction field. Staci is a former intended parent herself. She and her husband welcomed their son via gestational surrogacy in 2005. Additionally, Staci had the experience of assisting an infertile couple (AKA Recipient Parents) build their family through her efforts as an egg donor, with her donation resulting in the births of their son and daughter.