Prep is the highlight of pregnancy

Preparation is to pregnancy as, well, commercials are to the Super Bowl?that?s what it?s all about.

Think about it for a second. In 2009, NBC said the Super Bowl averaged 95.4 million viewers during the four-hour-plus showdown between the Steelers and the Cardinals. But when did the majority of those viewers leave the comfort of the couch in search of little smokies, chips and Dr. Pepper? My guess, it was probably not during the commercials.

The same is true for pregnancy. The main attraction?a growing belly?is overshadowed by the planning efforts that parents-to-be invest into nine months.

The preparation begins the moment parents know a baby is on the way. With both our daughter and our soon-to-be addition, my husband and I tried to plan creative ways to divulge the information to family and friends. Amid the initial excitement, parents also call to schedule the essential 10-week prenatal appointment?a key to preparing for childbirth.

With our daughter, I put much thought into nursery color schemes, coordinating bedding and the best schematic for arranging all the pieces of furniture that needed to fit in the 14×12 foot room. My husband did research on the mechanics of all the baby items we would need?crib, stroller, car seat.

Meanwhile, throughout our home?s transformation from adult decor to daycare, baby names were tossed about, baby showers were planned, childbirth classes were taken and books were read.

And even though purchasing baby items takes a severe nosedive in the second pregnancy, preparation doesn?t disappear. It just looks different, and still circles around the first child.

In my 23 weeks of pregnancy this time, we?ve only made one purchase revolving completely around the baby. I found a plush Christmas doll at an after-Christmas sale for the baby to play with next December. Except my daughter has already played with it, so I guess that makes the doll second-hand.

My husband and I spent weeks researching double strollers. After becoming a stroller-snob, I realized that one necessary feature would have to be dual sunshades. The driving factor: My toddler hates having a sunshade blocking her view. No wonder oldest children think the world should revolve around them.

Moving on to the bedroom plans, we again looked to our daughter. The new baby won?t be getting a new crib or new bedding. Instead, our daughter will get a toddler bed with new sheets, a new comforter and a new pillow.

The baby name search isn?t even exempt from our daughter?s influence. All potential baby names are weighed not only by whether my husband and I like them, but also whether the names blend appropriately with our daughter?s name.

And the books I?ve been reading aren?t exactly pregnancy-driven either, although, in time the knowledge I?m gleaning can be applied to the new baby. But because my daughter is nearing her second birthday, I feel more compelled to learn about reigning in a toddler rather than, ?What to Expect when you?re Expecting.?

But even though my daughter?s influence has largely directed the preparation of this pregnancy, there are things I want to do for our new family member just as I did for her.

A month or two into the pregnancy, I purchased a pregnancy journal that I?ve been writing in. I?ve been keeping track of momentous pregnancy events and routine doctor visits. I?ve also been trying to take a monthly pregnancy photo to place in the journal. And I?m planning to create a scrapbook for at least the first year of the baby?s life.

And even though the Super Bowl shares the limelight with the commercials, and preparation often overshadows a pregnancy, in the end the score matters. My husband and I will wear our championship rings with pride, sporting not only one gem, but two.