Did You Use all that Stuff??

I’ve had two babies now, and while I’m by no means an expert, I think I’ve finally figured something out, something I’ve seen on dozens of mom blogs and had my own mom tell me hundreds of times (while I’ve rocked back and forth in a corner in a panic as I wept over having nothing for the impending baby). Babies don’t really need a lot. Really. I think I might have even said this at some point, but I’m not entirely sure I believed it. You might recall my little list of stuff that I really wanted waaaaaaay back last August (wow…almost a year ago!). Now, the list wasn’t very long (unlike my registry, which was big, then small, then huge again when I was told I was having a surprise baby shower a week after M. was born and had to register for some stuff), but one has to wonder if I actually use those very particular items that I really, really wanted.

breastpump

So, first of all, the breast pump. I, very inexpensively, bought the Medela Pump In Style Advanced from my cousin several months ago and I use it three times a day, five days a week at work (and let me just say, work has been awesome about my pumping). I really like this pump. I don’t don’t get a ton when I pump – I’m lucky if I get just enough for M. for the next day while I’m at work – but I feel as though a lesser pump would probably have totally messed up my supply and we’d be formula feeding right now. It’s comfortable, efficient, and I like that it comes in a pretty discreet looking black shoulder bag. If you’re in the market for a pump, or your insurance company provides you with a choice in what you can pick, totally go for Medela.

orig-black-300

Second we had the Moby wrap. Holy freaking God-send. I love this thing. I had originally received a homemade one from my cousin (the one who sold me the breast pump) and unfortunately, I’m a bit wider than her (she’s like, a fitness rock star), and it didn’t fit me all that well. Bummer. BUT my really lovely co-workers through me a baby shower, and as one of my gifts, a friend gave me her very gently used Moby, which fits perfectly.

But back to the wrap.

I’ve read about a lot of people finding it difficult to use, lots of fabric, tough wrap around, too hot for baby, yada yada yada. I have not had any of these issues. After looking at the booklet of directions that came with it and a couple of YouTube videos, I was golden. There is a lot of fabric and I don’t consider the wrap “poppable” (i.e. you can easily put baby in and out without rewrapping), BUT the advantages (super calm, happy, sleepy baby) outweigh the disadvantages. Also, in the super hot weather we’ve had in the last couple of days, I haven’t noticed any baby discomfort and I’m not uncomfortable, either, though honestly, everywhere we go when it’s really hot is either air conditioned or in the water, so there isn’t a huge chance for baby and me to get too hot.

Third, we had the car seat, and we went with the one our friends had. It’s cute and safe – all I could ask for.

cosleeper

Fourth, the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. We did buy this and we do use it…most of the time. M. does go to bed in his own space much better than E. ever did (she was sleeping in my hospital bed after she was born, for Pete’s sake). That said, there are plenty of nights were I end up pulling M. into bed with me, letting me snuggle in the crook of my arm.

Was it worth the money spent (about $160)? Well, between the storage in the bottom (we have limited storage space) and the amount of time M. actually uses it, I’d say, so far, yes, but it also depends how long M. is able to use the co-sleeper. If I only get six months out of it, I don’t know if it will have been worth it for our family.

clothdiapers

Finally, the cloth diapers. While I had thought we would have to spend a whole bunch of money on them, it ended up not being a whole lot. I bought about 10 cloth pocket diapers (a waterproof cloth shell with a microfiber insert) from my cousin (yep, same cousin as before) for about $30 and then my mom gave me a dozen for Christmas. I was also given a dozen gDiapers from a friend at work (the same friend who gave me her Moby).

Do we use the cloth diapers? Heck yes we do! Do we use them all the time? Nope, but only because we were given a crap ton of disposables (which we STILL haven’t gotten all the way through). As soon as the disposables are gone/no longer fit, I’m cloth diapering exclusively.

I love, love, love the brand of cloth diaper we use (Kawaii). They’re inexpensive (less than $6 a diaper), hold up well, don’t leak, and are pretty cute (always important, right?). I also enjoyed the gDiapers when M. was smaller, but I felt they were a bit leakier and I didn’t like how I would have had to buy larger sizes as M. got bigger if I had decided to use those (I just had size small, which only goes up to 14 lbs., so they’re too small for M. now).

So, I think that about covers it all. There are a few other things I had wanted and ended up getting and loving (my Boppy, for one), but this post is already way too long. So far, I’m really happy that I don’t have any useless baby items, and I’m hoping when we go round three (yep, I’m already thinking about another kiddo) we won’t have much of anything to buy!

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Week 33

Week 33 (December 21 – December 28) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’ve been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks. Also, breast tenderness has resurfaced.

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  Christmas came and went, and it was lovely. I couldn’t help but think (and hear from lots of people) that this time next year we’d have another little one to shower with love and junk amazing gifts. It has been hard to believe that this was our last holiday season as a family of three.

Low Point: It’s been smooth sailing here.

What I did to prepare this week: I got a really super awesome gift of a TON of cloth diapers (this brand, specifically) from my mom and dad. I also got to officially open my gifts from the hub’s grandparents, my Boppy pillow and some bottles. It was exciting to finally take home a substantial amount of baby gear!

Paranoid Moment: Paranoia manifested itself very differently this pregnancy versus my last. With E., I was constantly afraid something horrible was wrong with her. It got ridiculous, actually, and I blame a lot of that on my watching waaaaay too much Law and Order: SVU. This time around, I’m confident that the baby will be very healthy and totally fine, but I’m having a hard time doing things like driving places and not worrying about possible risks to myself, my daughter, and husband. I go through spouts where I’m afraid something terrible will happen to one of us and it’s almost immobilizing. It’s only been recently that I’ve realized this is probably my late pregnancy paranoia setting in and will clear within a few weeks to a month or so after the baby is born (just like it did with E.). For now I just have to ignore that nagging voice in my head.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He’s rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren’t fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don’t entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.”

Week 32

Week 32 (December 14 – December 21) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: The babe is starting to do those twisty movements where I feel like my entire belly is shifting position. I’ve also been getting really crampy, as well as have more Braxton Hicks.

Body Changes: Achey hips and pelvic joints

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  We had many lovely festivities at school and then Christmas break began! And I had a lovely appointment with my midwives in Bridgton. As always, it went well.

Low Point: Things have been cruising along nicely, and other than starting to feel a wee bit crampy (like, menstrual cramps), things have been good. I have been worrying that the cramps could be an indicator of early labor, but so far so good.

What I did to prepare this week: While I am very much aware of my pregnancy, Christmas has overshadowed a lot.

Paranoid Moment: None that I can think of.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You’re gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she’ll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.”

Week 29

*Note: I’m about six weeks behind at this point…which is crazy to think about, because I’ve only got about six weeks left!

Week 29 (November 23 – November 30) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Braxton-Hicks and lots and lots of movement!

Body Changes: Growing a belly and more milk production

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  My mom got to come with me to one of my birth classes this week! The hubs had to work and since my mom is my fill in birth partner until the hubs is able to show up, should he be at work when the whole show starts, I thought it would be cool for her to go (rather than be alone). My mom has such a great sense of humor about stuff and is really supportive, so having her there was really nice. I think my birth classmates enjoyed having her there, as well.

Oh, and update – I passed my glucose test 🙂

Low Point: Overall, this was a pretty great week.

What I did to prepare this week:  Some organization, making of lists…the usual.

Paranoid Moment: None that I can think of.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet his increasing nutritional demands, you’ll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because his bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby’s hardening skeleton each day.”

Week 26

Week 26 (November 2 – November 9) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: About the same

Body Changes: I might be the cutest pregnant lady ever. Or at least the cutest pregnant me.

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point:  We started our birth ed. classes this week! We’re taking them through the Birth House in Bridgton, ME and the first class left a great impression on us. It was a much more intimate and relaxed set up than the class we took when I was pregnant with E. (which I took mostly because it was free) and I feel like the focus was far more on the inner workings of your mind rather than just the mechanics of birth (which I’m pretty familiar with at this point). While it was definitely a different experience for the hubs, I think he appreciates the fact that taking class styled as this one is helping me deal with my fears about labor and attempting a VBAC.

Low Point: A pretty good week overall.

What I did to prepare this week: Started those birth classes!!

Paranoid Moment: I’ve been feeling pretty good about life and pregnancy this week.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “The network of nerves in your baby’s ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner’s as you chat with each other. He’s inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he’s born and takes that first gulp of air. And he’s continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you’re having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.”

Week 25 (and I’m way behind!!)

Week 25  (October 27 – November 2) 

Estimated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Movement and some minor milk production (very exciting)

Body Changes: Nothing huge this week

Cravings: Carby carb carb carbs

High Point: My really awesome cousin, Kate, sent me a package that had a Moby wrap, a breast pump with all the essential gear, and some cloth diapers. I’m pretty sure I posted about this before and how much of a HUGE life saver this was (I paid –  or will pay when my check finally reaches her – a mere fraction of the price for those things than I would have if I bought everything new or even used from a stranger…and I wouldn’t have bought a used breast pump from someone I didn’t completely trust), but it’s worth saying again. It was a HUGE life saver.

Low Point: This was a pretty good, easy going week.

What I did to prepare this week: I got my goodies from my cousin, put them away, and did my best to see if I could figure out how the breast pump worked – think I got it covered.

Paranoid Moment: Feeling pretty good about life this week.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn’t much more than an average rutabaga, but she’s beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she’ll start to look more and more like a newborn. She’s also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you’d now be able to discern its color and texture.”

Week 20

Week 20  (September 24 – October 1)

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Lots and lots of movement! And I’m starting to get Braxton-Hicks contractions…more on that in a bit!

Body Changes: My belly be popping…but I still feel like I look just fat sometimes 😦

Cravings: Carbs, meat, and my sweet tooth is starting to resurface a bit, mostly wanting chocolate.

High Point: I saw my OB this week and I love how every time I leave her office I feel great about my pregnancy. She said I looked great, the baby looked great (based on my ultrasound results from the week before), and that everything appeared to be going well. As confident as I feel most of the time during this pregnancy, nothing quite compares to your doctor telling you that everything is just fine. It was also really good to know that my weight gain is on par with what my OB wants to see, both because I don’t want to gain a lot of weight during this pregnancy and also because it will help with my chances in having a VBAC.

Low Point: I had to get a flu shot :-(. Also, I had a scare on the 28th. I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions that morning as I was driving to work, though, at the time, I didn’t fully realize they were just Braxton-Hicks. I didn’t have contractions like that when I was pregnant with E. Maybe some light cramping, but not actual contractions of my uterus. While painless, they felt really, really weird and made me nervous. I called my OB’s office after I got to work and they recommended that I drink lots of fluids (I had been drinking ALL morning) and that I get some rest or at least try to sit a lot. I tried not to laugh really hard at these suggestions (I work in special education…we don’t sit) and talked to my head teacher. She told me to go home. I did. I went home and pretty much slept from 10 to 2 and woke up having more painless contractions. Thoroughly unnerved, I called my OB’s office and the nurse I spoke with suggested I head to a local ER.

At the ER they checked all the goods and the baby’s heart rate. Everything looked good. Michael sounded perfect (though it took the ER doc FOREVER to find the heartbeat because I’m pretty sure he’d never used a doppler before in his life). While I was told several times everything was fine, they weren’t exactly reassuring when I asked why I was having these contractions. They said it wasn’t uncommon for women to have Braxton-Hicks at this point in pregnancy (and my mom said she had the same kind of contractions with me around the same point in her pregnancy), but if I were in preterm labor there wasn’t a whole lot they could do for me. Well, geez, thanks. That’s reassuring.

I get that at twenty weeks a baby’s viability is virtually non-existant, but I sort of feel like when you’re telling a pregnant lady who’s just had a scare that she’s just having Braxton-Hicks contractions and to chill, you shouldn’t add that had she had a real problem you wouldn’t have been able to do anything to help. A little annoying.

What I did to prepare this week: Not a whole lot… We’re at the point where we need to buy a LOT of stuff, but we’ve pretty much been told to wait until after Christmas to make most of our purchases. Ugh. It’s hard to wait.

Paranoid Moment: Other than the Braxton-Hicks incident on the 28th, not a whole lot of paranoia going on. And after the trip to the ER, I’ve felt pretty confident.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He’s also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby’s legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the “crown to rump” measurement. After 20 weeks, he’s measured from head to toe.)

He’s swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He’s also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you’ll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).”

 

Seventeen!!

Week 17  (September 1 – 7)

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Still feeling pretty great, if occasionally a bit tired. Not a whole lot has changed here.

Body Changes: My eggo is pretty much preggo. I’m starting to show a bit more and I’m hoping that I’m maybe looking more pregnant than just extra chubby around the middle. I haven’t gained a ton of weight, at least in comparison to my pregnancy with E. (7 lbs. now vs. 20 lbs. then). But I’m still no skinny mini, so it’s hard to say, objectively, if I really look all that pregnant. Also, my skin is starting to get uncomfortably itchy at times on my tummy. I haven’t bothered with cocoa butter this time around because, frankly, it’s a lost cause – I’ve got enough stripes to put a tiger to shame – but, I bet that stuff would help with the itchies.

Cravings: Sour, salty, carbs. And cheese. You can never have enough cheese.

High Point: Primarily, I went to see my OB (well, I intended to see my OB, but instead saw a CNM, because my OB was called to do a delivery) and got to hear the baby’s heart beat (a solid and consistent 150 bpm). I got a concern cleared up (more on that in a minute) and left feeling pretty good about everything. In addition to that, I made my first solo trip (and actually my first trip driving period) into the “city” (it’s really, in comparison to most cities, just a very large town). This was a huge deal, because I get tons and tons of anxiety from driving to and through unfamiliar places, so the fact that I accomplished this without trying my damnedest to get someone else to take me first is a pretty huge deal.

Low Point: This was actually a pretty awesome week all around…Wait until you hear about week 18…Slightly less awesome 😦

What I did to prepare this week: Not a whole lot got done. I continued on my laundry/cleaning schedule and it’s worked out really well so far. I’ve also been getting into the habit of giving E. a bath every other night, which is perfect and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do double bath duty with the kids once the baby comes, or maybe have them switch off nights…not sure yet, but having this habit ingrained by the time February rolls around will be good.

Paranoid Moment: So, as my good friend Bobbi put it, I’m in a pretty fertile household. Why, might you ask? Oh, because my cat had kittens behind our living room chair on September 2nd. I seriously went upstairs to take a shower and when I got out E. was shouting, “Mama!! Rosie had kittens!!” Now, we pretty much new Rosie was pregnant (and subsequently kicked ourselves for not getting her fixed sooner – we were waiting for me to get paid again before we did it…bad idea), but hadn’t figured she would deliver so soon, as we had only realized it a couple of weeks ago (and, keep in mind, she was barely a year old, had never seemed like she was in heat, AND we never saw any other cats around).

Anyway, what’s my point in all this? Well, the big pregnancy no-no is cats…or, more specifically, cat feces. And the hubs has been on cat poop duty all along, but I failed to consider until my mom exasperatedly pointed it out, was that kittens are like human babies – they poop and pee at will…all over themselves. And here I was holding those pwecious widdle kittens. Stupid, I know, but I will also point out that I wore gloves *most* of the time AND basically bathed myself and E. in hand sanitizer after spending any time with the cats, but still…I was really, really worried.

When I finally got in to see the doctor (or CNM in this case) I explained the situation. Her response is best summed up with an, “Eh…” Since I’ve had continual exposure to cats for the last four years or so, I’ve likely has exposure and built up an immunity to toxoplasmosis, which is the icky stuff cat feces can infect you and your fetus with and cause some serious problems. She said considering that and the fact that I had been washing my hands, wearing clothes, etc., I really didn’t have anything to worry about…so I stopped worrying. Well, you know, within what’s reasonable for a pregnant lady to “stop” worrying.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “Your baby’s skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she’s around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.

14 and counting…

Week 14 (August 9 – 16 )

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: Still feeling pretty great, if occasionally a bit tired. Not a whole lot has changed here.

Body Changes: I’m gonna say the bump has officially made it’s appearance, though, for the most part, I just look extra chubby around the belly (but I’m tired of saying it’s all the fat’s fault and give the baby some credit).

Cravings: Sour, salty, carbs.

High Point: Hearing that beautiful galloping sound of our little baby’s heart beat when I visited the midwives. It’s very reassuring at this point, where the little flutters you feel *might* be baby…or not. And they aren’t all that consistent to begin with. I couldn’t help but breathe a huge sigh of relief when my midwife pulled out that doppler and quickly found the baby’s heart beat.

Low Point: School is just around the corner and it’s hard to imagine going back to work with all this stuff going on inside of me. Part of me is really happy I’ll be busy doing something that I enjoy, but another part of my likes the ease and comfort of being home and I’ll hate to lose that.

What I did to prepare this week: Honestly, not a whole lot…but I’ll have something to report for week 15!

Paranoid Moment: I’ve been feeling surprisingly calm, cool, and collected this week. 🙂

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at Baby Center say: This week’s big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb! Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him — a process he’ll keep up until birth. He can grasp, too, and if you’re having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him sucking his thumb.

In other news: Your baby’s stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches — about the size of a lemon — and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces. His body’s growing faster than his head, which now sits upon a more distinct neck. By the end of this week, his arms will have grown to a length that’s in proportion to the rest of his body. (His legs still have some lengthening to do.) He’s starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair, called lanugo, all over his body. Your baby’s liver starts making bile this week — a sign that it’s doing its job right — and his spleen starts helping in the production of red blood cells. Though you can’t feel his tiny punches and kicks yet, your little pugilist’s hands and feet (which now measure about 1/2 inch long) are more flexible and active.”

 

Lucky Thirteen

Week 13 (August 1-8)

Esitmated Due Date: February 8th, 2013

Symptoms: I’m feeling 100% better, which is great, but means my appetite is back in full force, so I have to be very careful about not overeating and gaining weight too quickly. Other than some twinges in my belly (baby movement maybe?) and sore breasts I almost feel not pregnant.

Body Changes: My mom insists I’m beginning to show, but I’m reluctant to say the extra chub on my belly is a result of a baby. That said, I’ve not really gained any weight and my belly is sticking out more, so…maybe a baby bump?

Cravings: Bread and cheese. Greek olives. Chicken and tuna salad with lots and lots of veggies. Vinegar (well, vinegar on and in things). Sour, salty, carbs. Aren’t those supposed to be signs of a boy?

High Point: There’s definitely something going on in my tummy! I am, on occasion, getting a little fluttering feeling just below my belly button. I know some of these flutters are definitely muscle spasms, so my belly is stretching out, getting ready to accommodate this new passenger, but there have been other twinges that feel pretty distinct from the muscle spasms, so I think I’m getting some movement.

Low Point: As you may recall, we had a camping trip to Vermont. Camping trip itself: awesome. Driving to Vermont? Sucky. It was a bad combination of a pregnant lady, and 4 year old who hates car trips, and another lady who gets stressed out driving places she isn’t familiar with or when she’s following her husband somewhere…or both (I’m talking about my mom). I don’t think there was any amount of preparation I could have done to make that car trip go better. I think it was sort of destined for disaster. But we got to Vermont and we got home, and in the end, we can all say we had a good time.

What I did to prepare this week: We believe we’ve secured a car seat! E.’s old car seat is just that, old. After five years it’s recommended that you trash the car seat you’ve got, and E.’s car seat will be exactly five years old when the baby is born. Friends of ours had a baby back in January, so by the time this kiddo arrives their car seat will only be a year old. They’ve offered it to us with three bases for a mere $60 (versus the $100 I was going to spend, and that would be with only one base). I’m pretty excited!

Paranoid Moment: The hubs purchased a home doppler from a friend at work a while ago. Occasionally we pull it out to try to find a heartbeat, but we haven’t had much luck. While it’s still early, I’m on the chubby side, and it’s a cheapo doppler, it’s a bit disheartening to not be able to find the heartbeat!! (Spoiler alert: This week, I heard the heartbeat at my midwives’ office – sounded great!)

What’s going on “in there”: I just realized that I accidentally posted week 13 details last week, so if you’re curious as to what’s happening in week 13, consult my last post!!