I was about six months pregnant with our first child when my husband and I got around to discussing where the baby was going to sleep.
“Well, I suppose we could just keep the bassinet in our room,” I said as we paced our cozy, 800-square-foot one-bedroom house.
But was that a forever solution? Were we on board with sharing a bedroom with our daughter for the foreseeable future?
“Or I suppose this could be her ‘room,’” I said, gesturing at the tiny alcove that was then functioning as a small office directly outside our bedroom.
As we say here in Minnesota, the look on my husband’s face following this suggestion was “interesting.”
By which I mean, I think the reality of our situation — the full catastrophe, you might say — was finally sinking in.
I could tell he was visualizing a lifetime spent with one’s child essentially living in one’s walk-in closet.
Need to hit the bathroom in the middle of the night? No problem, just take a quick stroll through your teenage daughter’s bedroom!
Head versus heart
We contacted a real state agent right away and started checking out houses within a few days of this revelation.
As far as I can remember, our criteria were vague.
What we wanted was along the lines of “bigger than 800 square feet, at least two bedrooms, somewhere in Minneapolis.”
We visited a ton of dumps before coming across “the one” — a Dutch colonial in the Lyn/ Lake area of Minneapolis. It was huge — or at least it felt that way, because it was completely empty.
Plus, it featured many of the architectural details that have long seduced me — original, ornate woodwork, leaded glass windows, a lovely built-in buffet.
And it was so close to everything! We could walk to Lake Calhoun and the Bryant-Lake Bowl! Pizza Luce was just around the corner!
Sure, it had its downsides — there was no garage; the bedrooms were miniscule and each one had only one window; the bathroom featured a grimy old shower stall in lieu of a tub and would need to be completely redone in order to not be disgusting.
But whatever, it felt right and that’s all that mattered!
Closing the deal
So we put in an offer, it was accepted, and we scheduled Oct. 5 for the closing date — a good three weeks before my due date. Plenty of time to pack up, move everything and settle in to our new place before our little bundle of love came on the scene, right?
I’m sure it’s obvious that wasn’t the case at all.
On Oct. 4, I was meeting with a client in a coffee shop when I started sweating profusely and feeling generally out of sorts. But as a true professional, I kept my arms locked to my sides, wrapped things up quickly and staggered off to my car ASAP.
I was in labor, of course.
The morning of Oct. 5 found me reclining in my hospital bed, floating on morphine in the aftermath of an unplanned C-section.
My husband made the necessary calls and it was determined that we could close on the house in the hospital.
Pro tip: As long as general anesthesia isn’t a factor, you can totally sign important paperwork mere hours after major surgery!
Keep it simple
If someone had suggested to me that buying a house in late pregnancy might not be the best idea, I would’ve rolled my eyes and tuned them out.
That said, I wish I could go back five years and tell my pregnant self that waiting was totally an option.
Babies are small and they don’t immediately need their own nurseries, playrooms, massive backyards with swings and more.
Plus, being pregnant can be stressful, delivery can be stressful, the newborn stage can be stressful — and moving can be stressful, too.
So do what you need to do, of course, but while you do it — try to keep things simple and feel free to embrace a “wait and see” attitude.
Shannon Keough lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to [email protected].