Seven weeks to go and I am panicking.

We have no stroller. We have no car seat. We have no Gymini. We have no diapers. We do, however, have a mouse in what is going to be the baby's room.

Let me just repeat that for those of you who weren't paying attention: THERE IS A MOUSE IN WHAT IS GOING TO BE MY BABY'S ROOM.

I saw it this afternoon when I sat down at the computer and noticed something small and tailed and furry moving around the fireplace. I screamed. The mouse took off. So did Wendell. Worthless dog!

This does not make me happy. At all. Even though I know it's a part of city living, particularly when there's construction happening elsewhere on the block.The exterminator's coming first thing in the morning, which makes me marginally less unhappy, but still. Mouse in baby's room. Not good. And what is up with Wendell? He's allegedly a rat terrier, and what's the big difference between mice and rats? Will his union only let him do rats?

Oy vey. I'm starting to feel like my brain has been taken over by aliens who are saying things like "Never mind the book. You have no diapers! Go buy diapers! What are you going to do when the baby comes and there are no diapers?"

So I've been going slightly nuts with the ordering things. Got a Stim Mobile from Baby Center, and curtains and a curtain rod from Pottery Barn Kids and Tony the contractor's going to be installing wall-to-wall carpeting in the baby's room. Tony, by the way, says I'm nesting. Tony seems very amused by this. Wait until I tell him about the mouse. I have a feeling he's going to find me far less amusing when I'm in the grip of rodent-induced hysterics.

Anyhow. I finally read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and it was wonderful, so I went to my local Barnes & Noble to buy Tears of the Giraffe, which of course they don't have, but I did get Morality for Beautiful Girls, which I'm reading right now. How can you not love a book with sentences like "Mma Ramotswe accepted her large slice of cake and looked at the rich fruit within it. There were at least seven hundred calories in that, she thought, but it did not matter; she was a traditionally built lady and she did not have to worry about such things."

I also got the new Shopaholic book, and Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh, which was recommended to me by one of the bookseller's at Vroman's, so I'm set on books for the next little while.

Oh -- and we had our hospital tour/hospital sanctioned childbirth education class. Which you can just call "Your Epidural and You."

Seriously. The class was run by two labor-and-delivery nurses with really really thick Philadelphia accents, who began the session be asking "How many of yiz are gettin' the ep-ee-dur-al?"

And everyone in the class immediately raised her hand except for me and one other woman who's in my prenatal yoga class.

Note: I am not rigidly opposed to the notion of an epidural. It could turn out that I'm one of those women who winds up demanding her epidural in the parking lot at the first sign of something that even resembles a contraction, but I'm not completely sold on the idea that I'll automatically want medication. Adam and I took Bradley childbirth classes and are planning on having the Bun with as few interventions as possible. Which, so far, means we've hired a doula, and we're doing lots of exercises and mental imagery, and are hoping to stay home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital.

Unfortunately, the hospital seems to be all about interventions. The message we got was that nobody with a brain in her head would even so much as consider a non-epidural birth. And that pitocin is a miracle drug that safely, harmlessly moves labor along "when it's not going fast enough." ("Fast enough for who?" I wanted to ask). And that, miraculously, nothing the hospital does seems to have any kind of side effect. We asked whether anything could ever go wrong with an epidural and were told that the only thing they could think of was that sometimes it doesn't provide total pain relief and so they have to do it again. Ah.

I worry sometimes that we're overthinking this -- that, as my friend Susan says, "It's going to hurt, and then you're going to have the baby. End of story." But I'm still getting over the whiplash feeling of going from a class where we spent eight weeks learning that birth is something your body can do and that there's no reason for routine IVs or pitocin or continuous monitoring or for laboring women to be stuck in their beds, treated like patients with diseases rather than healthy women doing something amazing, and then go to a class where the message was, "Hey, why suffer when you don't have to? The drugs are wonderful!" I guess we'll see how it goes when it happens. And hope we have diapers by then.

Jen