Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Baby? More Family!

One of the things I love most about having a baby is the support we receive from my parents.  

It isn't a big secret that I rely fairly- okay, quite- heavily on my parents.  

My mom & dad are excellent people.  Growing up in their love and care, I would not have changed a thing.  They are hard-working, honest, kind, and loving people.  They put the needs of their family above their own in many situations.  They are still ridiculously in love with each other and have an immense amount of respect for each other after 30+ years of marriage.  

Really, they are my idols.  

When I had little man, my parents were available at the dial of a phone.  As soon as we called them to say my water had broken, they threw their bags in the car in the middle of the night and drove down to be with us.  They came to our home, let our dogs out, stayed with the dogs, and waited very patiently for the call to join us at the hospital.  Once I was close to the pushing stage of labor, they drove to the hospital and again sat patiently in the waiting room until little man was born.  At that point, they still gave us time to spend as a little family of three before they came in.  I'm pretty sure they were at the hospital that night with us until at least 1 or 2 in the morning!  

While we were in the hospital, they stayed at our home with our dogs, visiting when we asked them to during the day, giving us complete respect of when we needed some time alone.

After we discharged from the hospital, my parents left and went back to their hometown, in order to give us time as a new family of three to figure out the logistics of having a new baby.  They stayed at their home, which I'm sure was really difficult as extremely excited new, first-time grandparents, until DH went back to work.

When DH went back to work, my parents returned and spent a week with me and little man, helping with anything I needed.  They prepared meals for us, they gave me rest and breaks to shower or sleep, they offered words of encouragement, and they helped keep our house in order.

And they planned to follow/have followed the exact same routine I just described with little lady's birth.  

Part of the reason I feel that I fell into the role of a mother so easily with little man is because of the support and example my parents have always shown me.  Having them around for the first stage (and every stage thereafter!) of my children really makes me feel so, so very lucky. 

I love you Mom & Dad!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Little lady's birth story

DH and I have been so lucky in our lives.  We found each other, we have an amazing son, and we now also have a beautiful baby girl who recently joined our family.  

Some of little lady's birth story (the introduction) was posted in a previous post the other day.  Just in case someone is new to the blog or missed that post, I've included the early parts of little lady's birth story again here.  

FYI- This post is long and may contain more information about my birthing than you want to know- there is definitely some TMI present!

Here we go!
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My due date with little lady was December 28th, 2012.  On Christmas, I was having a significant amount of contractions.  I bounced on the birth ball for a while, and then decided around 9p that I'd go lay down for a bit to see if I could get the contractions to go away and I could rest for a while.  

It worked pretty well as I was able to fall asleep for a few hours and had no further contractions.

In the morning on December 26th when I woke up, it was somewhat questionable as to if I was going into labor.  I thought that (tmi!) my water had broken, but it wasn't anything like when my water had broken with little man, so I wasn't quite sure.  

Hey, so um, did I mention we had predictions for at least 10 inches of snow and a blizzard that day?

Yep.  That was happening, too.  It was already snowing by the time I woke and where are midwife was located is supposed to get more than 13 inches. 

Because of this, and the fact that in our midwife's county they were only allowing emergency vehicles on the road, to the Ob's office we went to get checked.  Mainly because I wanted to be sure that I didn't just pee my pants and think my waters had broken when they hadn't.

So, over the river and through the woods atop ridiculously messy roads and cars planted in ditches along the entire way we went.

At the Ob's office, they confirmed that my water had in fact broken.  When they were testing to see if my waters had broken, we also did allow a cervical check and I was maybe 1-2 centimeters dilated.  At that point, I was not having significant contractions or pressure waves and I was not in 'active labor', as they call it.  The Ob (that I had not met until that day, the fourth in the group, who is married to the only male Ob in the group), listened to our concerns and was actually extremely accommodating to them.

When I birthed little man, my water broke with no contractions to follow, pretty much the same exact scenario as this birth had begun.  After 12 hours, my temperature was somewhat raised (as it had been for the past month with a consistent cold), and they really began to push the need for me to take pitocin.  As a first time mom, I was concerned for the baby and went ahead with it.  I took the pitocin for 6-7 hours prior to getting an epidural, which I also had not wanted.
  
This time around, the Ob told me that I had two options.  I could go home after our appointment and continue to labor at home until my contractions began more significantly or it hit 48 hours past my water breaking.  (Thankfully much longer than the 12 hours my old Ob previously had given me last time.)  My other option was to get admitted now, because of the storm, and they would leave me alone minus intermittent monitoring for 48 hours in the hospital.  Even if my temperature did raise or cause them concern with my waters being broken, their option was only to give me antibiotics to combat any possible infection preemptively.  She gave us some time to decide and DH and I went out to get some lunch.  

We decided over lunch that we'd prefer to just go home, and I called the Ob to let her know that we'd try to brave the weather and come back later as my birthing became closer.  However, when we called, she asked me to please go into the hospital because of the weather, reporting she was really nervous if we'd make it back in time because of how bad the roads are.  She promised that if we did, they would basically leave us alone minus the intermittent monitoring for up to 48 hours if we'd prefer, just like we'd be doing at home.  

After talking to our midwife, because of the fact that she was unable to get to us, and we were in the middle of a blizzard, we ended up just being admitted into the hospital, around maybe one o'clock in the afternoon on December 26th.  

(So thankfully at that point- my parents had been with us for Christmas and hadn't left to go home yet, so little man was quite happy and taken care of at home playing trains with Grammy & Grampy!)

When we were settled and into our birthing room, the nurse did put in a saline lock and said they'd like to do intermittent monitoring once per hour during the day.  Initially they'd asked if they could also monitor me at night, but we'd discussed with nursing who approved with the doctor that if nothing was happening by nightfall, we wouldn't have to be monitored throughout the night.

The male Ob (who again was married to the female we'd seen earlier in the day)  stopped by our room and chatted for a few minutes with us.  He said he was glad we'd come in and that he had been very nervous we'd have gone home and gotten stuck somewhere.  He also reiterated that they didn't feel any need to augment my labor with anything at that point, and would continue to let me be that way for 48 hours.  He also said that if we felt okay later that night and if the storm had cleared somewhat, he would feel okay with us going home and spending the night at home.

For the rest of the afternoon, we mainly walked the halls between monitoring.  I had intermittent contractions throughout the day, but nothing serious.  At around 6p, I ended up sending DH home for a little while.  I wanted to make sure that everything was going okay at home with little man and that my parents didn't have too rough of a time getting him to sleep for the night.  Thankfully, he did SO well for my parents and they didn't have any trouble, so DH returned later that night around 9 or 10p after doing a little more snow shoveling at our house.

While he was gone, I started to have more significant contractions while sitting on the labor ball, but nothing I couldn't just breathe through easily.  I had previously been watching some television, but at one point before DH came back, I did start putting on some of my hypnobirthing tracks and listening to those throughout some contractions.  

When DH got back up to our L&D room, we began to walk the halls again for a little while.  Walking really, really seemed to help me not only get through the early labor stages, but actually progress some in my birthing.  DH was actually teasing me at one point, because in our loops around the circular L&D unit, I was having contractions almost consistently at the same point in the hallway on each loop for some time.  

Because it was later on at night at that point, we hadn't been monitored for several hours, and the nursing staff was keeping to their promise and mainly leaving us be.  However, as my contractions began to progress, I'd needed for them to wrap the saline lock one time for me to get into the bathtub and then we'd also asked for some heating packs for my back and lower stomach.  I initially was nervous to get into the bath because I was concerned it was too early in labor and I may stall or slow things after all of the walking had picked up my contractions in both intensity and frequency.  When I first got into the tub, that was the case.  I was really comfortable in the bath though, so I tried massaging a few pressure points on my feet and ankles just to see if that would work.  Surprisingly to me, I began to have significant contractions again almost immediately after massaging my ankles in a few spots, to the point where I needed to get up on my knees and lean over in the tub to get through them.
  
After sitting in the tub for a little while, I got back out of the tub and my contractions REALLY began to kick in.  I believe it was at this point where the nurse came in and asked to check my progress.  Per DH, this was probably around one o'clock in the morning on Thursday, December 27th.  Initially, I was somewhat reluctant to be checked, as I didn't feel anywhere close to pushing and did not want to increase the chance of infection as I'd already been checked once on Wednesday morning at the Ob office appointment.  However, the nurse said that I was obviously moving into active labor and she'd like to know what my body was doing before I walked myself into fully dilated around my room without ever being checked or monitored.  I understood her reasoning, so we went ahead and she checked my dilation at that point.  I believe at around 1 a.m. she told me that I was between 4-5 centimeters dilated.    

For a while after that I pretty much paced back and forth in the room, applying heat packs to both my lower back and lower belly.  I also put on a few of my hypnobirthing tracks, which helped me quite a bit during the next hour or two.  I completed some of the visualization tasks from the hypnobirthing tracks while pacing the room, and for whatever reason, a few words stuck out in my head from the tracks.  As I walked the room, I kept repeating in my head over and over throughout the contractions 'soft, flexible, open, relaxed.'

There was a short period of time in which I sat and bounced on the labor ball with DH pressing my back and pressing in on the sides of my hips, but that quickly became uncomfortable, so I went back to standing and walking and listening to my hypnobirthing tracks.

Very soon after my check at 1 a.m., the pressure became much more uncomfortable than it previously had been.  I was trying everything I could remember, including positioning, heat, pressure, movement, etc.- and nothing seemed to be helping.  Unfortunately, during this point in my birthing process, I became very nauseated on top of the contractions, and began to vomit several times as well.  However, it was very uncomfortable to be still, so I basically walked around the room throwing up, with one hand holding a bucket and one hand continuing to apply heat on my back.    

At that point I called the nurse in and asked what my options were for pain.  She said that mainly with how far along I was, the only thing that they would do was an epidural.  I had asked if they had the option of a 'walking epidural', but was told they were not able to do so.  We briefly discussed my getting back into the tub again, but after another contraction hit, I asked them to call for the epidural.  

While waiting for the anesthesiologist, I became extremely shaky.  The nausea stopped, but my whole body began to shake uncontrollably and I couldn't do anything to stop it.  A new nurse came in to begin to prepare me for the epidural, I believe her name was Mel, and she'd asked me to sit on the side of the bed.  The anesthesiologist came in and began to set up as well.  All throughout this time, I was trying my best to sit on the edge of the bed but shaking like a leaf.  The doctor actually made me more nervous at that point by asking the nurse several times if it was normal for someone to shake that much in labor.  Thankfully, Mel the nurse was extremely calm natured and explained to him that could happen with many women in labor.  

Having the epidural placed was really difficult, as I could not sit still for the life of me while the doctor attempted to place it.  He asked a few times for me to be still, but there was no way that I could with all of my shaking.  He finally was able to place it and they asked me to lay flat on the bed while we waited for it to kick in, which was possibly the hardest point of my birthing process.  I was exhausted, shaking like crazy, feeling a bit sick again, feeling every ounce of contraction I was having, and lying still was miserable.  During this time the nurse checked my dilation and in the past hour I'd gone from around a four and a half to a seven.  

Finally, after what seemed like hours, but probably was mere minutes, the medicine began to work and my pain started to decrease slowly.  I continued to shake for at least the next half hour or hour, but it decreased as well.  I remember the anesthesiologist becoming somewhat frustrated as they couldn't get an accurate read on my blood pressure because my arm was shaking so badly.  Again, thankfully, Mel the nurse was able to reassure him that it obviously wasn't an accurate read and they weren't going to get an accurate read at that point, but that was okay.  

Once the pain began to abate, the doctor left and Mel the nurse told us that they'd be back to check on me in one hour, and to try and rest until that time.  This was at about 2:30 or 3 a.m., I believe.  

(Obviously, I'd gone into this birthing not wanting any medical interventions, as I'd gone into my last birthing with little man.  And, obviously, I'd just asked for an epidural.  This time, though, I felt much, much better about getting the epidural, to be totally honest.  Instead of being pumped with pitocin to begin my labor progression, my body was able to do everything on it's own.  Instead of progressing on someone else's schedule and needs, I was able to let my own body progress on its own and on my baby's own time.  She knew when she wanted to come into this world, and we were allowing my body and her movements to get us there.  When I took the epidural, I had gone through everything I'd remembered in my head to try and get myself through laboring on my own, some more than once.  I really wish our midwife had been able to join us, especially during this portion of my labor, as she is wise to the ways of birthing and always seemed to have an extremely helpful suggestion or technique during little man's birthing.  Again, though, she was not able to make it out due to the inclement weather.  Overall, though I was happy with the medication choice that I made.  I was happy because I'd made it on my own terms, being educated and aware of what my options were, and making an informed decision at that point.)

DH and I both almost immediately fell asleep at around 3 a.m. as we were pretty exhausted.  The nurse let us sleep until about 4:15a, and then returned to check on me.  When she woke us, I realized something pretty wonderful this time around- that I could feel and move both of my legs.  During my last epidural, I couldn't move my left leg at all, and only felt sensation in a portion of my right hip.  This time, I could feel my contractions and pressure and I could move my legs.

When Mel the nurse checked me again, I was 10 cm dilated and little lady was at a +1 station.  Since she needed to move down just a little bit more to a +2 station, we were asked to put on the call button as soon as I started feeling pressure and they would start preparing the room for pushing.  

As soon as I sat the bed up a little bit when we woke, I felt immediate pressure and knew my body was getting ready to push.  I put the button back on and Mel the nurse returned to get started.  This was right about 5 a.m.  She had me do two 'test' pushes to see where I was on my next contraction, and then immediately had me stop and try to just breathe through the next few contractions while she got the doctor, which was the female Ob I'd seen for my labor check that morning.  

During the test pushes, they'd already wheeled the mirror over to the edge of the bed, and I was able to see little lady's head.  Yeah.  Last birth with little man, I pushed for over an hour before I saw anything happening down there.  

The female Ob and Mel the nurse came back in at 5:05 or 5:10a.  I began to push on my next contraction.  I don't remember exactly how many times I pushed, but it was not long at all.  Little lady was born at 5:19a.  She was placed on my chest immediately after she was born and was absolutely perfect.  When little man was born, I remember immediately feeling this rush of love, emotion, and amazingness, and the feeling with little lady was no different.  The first few moments with her in my arms were just as life changing as the first few moments with little man.

Little lady and I were left to cuddle while the Ob did her thing down in my nether regions (I had one very small tear that required a stitch or two) and Mel the nurse assisted her.  This time, as opposed to little man's birth, the nursing staff was very supportive and encouraged me to breastfeed little lady almost immediately after birth, which she did for at least a half hour.  After that, we cuddled for a bit more and then DH went with little lady and Mel the nurse over to the weighing station in our room and checked her out.  Little lady is at least two inches shorter than little man was, and almost a full pound lighter than he was.  I can't remember what her head size was right now, but I know just by looking at it that she is also smaller than what little man was when he was born as well.  Her feet are also quite a bit bigger than his were (sorry, little lady, you inherited your mom & dad's wide feet as well!) and her fingernails and nail beds are much longer than his were at birth.  Overall, though, DH and I agree that she looks very much like little man did when he was born.  Same nose, same mouth, maybe a twidge bit more of DH's eyes, but very similar overall.  Little lady has a full head of brown hair just like little man did, as well as deep blue eyes.  

We were transported to the postpartum unit at about 7 or 8 on Thursday, December 27th, and will be here for one more day, until December 29th.  I have to say that I am 100% ready to go home now, but DH asked if we could stay until tomorrow morning.  I'm ready for our own home, my own bed, my own shower, and most of all to be back with the little man I am missing so ridiculously much at this point.  But, DH does make his own point that it was kind of a pain when we left the hospital early last time around and had to bring DS back for a repeat newborn test a few days later, which is what we'd have to do again.  I guess we can stick it out here for one more day!

After 9 long months of uncertainty, confusion, love, hope, and waiting, our baby girl is here.  I cannot be more overfilled with happiness or joy at this point and am 100% satisfied and thankful for the birthing experience we were able to have.  My healthy, sweet, squishy baby is now in my arms and I couldn't ask for anything more.





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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Greetings from L&D

So, obviously, not exactly the place we hoped to be at this point, but here we are.

We are definitely going to have baby soon, but while we're here and not much is happening, I thought I'd update.  

Last night, on Christmas, I was having a significant amount of contractions.  I bounced on the birth ball for a while, and then decided around 9p that I'd go lay down for a bit to see if I could get the contractions to go away and I could rest for a while.  

It worked pretty well as I was able to fall asleep for a few hours and had no further contractions.

This morning, when I woke up, it was somewhat questionable as to if I was going into labor.  I thought that (tmi!) my water had broken, but it wasn't anything like when my water had broken with little man, so I wasn't quite sure.  

Hey, so um, did I mention we're in the middle of a blizzard here?

Yep.  That's happening, too.  At this point, we are supposed to get up to 10+ inches of snow today.  Where are midwife is located is supposed to get more than 13 inches. 

Because of this, and the fact that in our midwife's county they are only allowing emergency vehicles on the road, to the Ob's office we went to get checked.  Mainly because I wanted to be sure that I didn't just pee my pants and think my waters had broken when they hadn't.

So, over the river and through the woods atop ridiculously messy roads and cars planted in ditches along the entire way we went.

At the Ob's office, they confirmed that my water had in fact broken.  Pretty obviously at this point, I am not having significant contractions or pressure waves and I am not in 'active labor', as they call it.  The Ob (that I had not met until today, the fourth in the group), listened to our concerns and was actually extremely accommodating to them.

When I birthed little man, my water broke with no contractions to follow, pretty much the same exact scenario as this birth has begun.  After 12 hours, my temperature was somewhat raised (as it had been for the past month with a consistent cold), and they really began to push the need for me to take pitocin.  As a first time mom, I was concerned for the baby and went ahead with it.  I took the pitocin for 6-7 hours prior to getting an epidural, which I also had not wanted.  

This time around, the Ob told me that I had two options.  I could go home after our appointment and continue to labor at home until my contractions began more significantly or it hit 48 hours past my water breaking.  (Thankfully much longer than the 12 hours they previously had given me last time.)  My other option was to get admitted now, because of the storm, and they would leave me alone minus intermittent monitoring for 48 hours in the hospital.  Even if my temperature did raise or cause them concern with my waters being broken, their option was only to give me antibiotics to combat any possible infection preemptively.  She gave us some time to decide and DH and I went out to get some lunch.  

We decided over lunch that we'd prefer to just go home, and I called the Ob to let her know that we'd try to brave the weather and come back later as my birthing became closer.  However, when we called, she asked me to please go into the hospital because of the weather, reporting she was really nervous if we'd make it back in time because of how bad the roads are.  She promised that if we did, they would basically leave us alone minus the intermittent monitoring for up to 48 hours if we'd prefer, just like we'd be doing at home.  

After talking to our midwife, because of the fact that she is currently unable to get to us, and we are in the middle of a blizzard, we ended up just being admitted into the hospital.  

So, for right now, that's where we're at.

Little man was an ice storm baby, and this baby appears to have decided to be a blizzard baby.  DH and I have already decided our next child is going to be a summer baby, if we're able to have anything to do with the spacing.  

I'll keep you all posted!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

For those of you who celebrate Christmas or any other holiday this season...


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

I've been so lucky to have such great blog followers and readers this past year, and I hope that each and every one of you has an exceptional holiday with your family and friends.  Wishing you all warm thoughts, hot cocoa, and sparkling holiday lights today!!!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

A 39 week 3 day pregnancy update

I'm officially more pregnant than I've ever been before.  

I went into labor with little man at 39 weeks and 1 day and birthed him at 39 weeks 2 days.  Yesterday was 39 weeks and 2 days for this pregnancy, and it came and went without anything unusual happening.  

DH, little man, and I spent the weekend running errands, getting groceries, finishing up last minute Christmas tasks, cleaning, etc.  While I have to say it was somewhat tough because I am so excited to meet our new baby, it was actually really nice to have the weekend to ourselves to finish up getting the house ready for visitors and the family we'll have on Christmas- especially since I'm used to working weekends and then cramming all of our errands into the late afternoon/evenings.  

I actually have been feeling pretty comfortable this weekend as well.  I've been able to nap a few times and by putting my feet up, have kept the swelling down.  I've found that I am running to pee just about every 20 minutes at this point, but with how low little lady is resting, that doesn't surprise me.  I've had Braxton Hicks contractions on and off, but not so many that they bother me and never enough to time or track.  

Little man has gotten a little feistier with diaper changes recently, where he thinks it is a fun game to try to run away or get up at every change, so it's been wonderful having DH at home to take care of little man's changes so I don't have to do so.  

Other than that, now that we've actually made it through when little man was born, it would be kind of nice for little lady to hold out until after Christmas.  I was somewhat sad at the prospect that we wouldn't get to celebrate Christmas with little man like we normally do, especially because this year I think he will be MUCH more into it than last year.  Now that we are so close to Christmas, it'd be great if little lady could just hang in there for a few more days at least.

Although, DH and I were talking, and we're both now betting she's going to be past due.  

We hadn't thought about it much- or talked about it before- but we both wonder if since they had so much trouble at the beginning of our pregnancy finding little lady until our later early ultrasounds, if she just needed the extra time to develop.  That would also explain some of the later ultrasounds where her growth wasn't quite as much as they'd expected either.  I know that my estimated due date is correct because I was charting when I became pregnant and I know the date of my ovulation, but I think that was part of the reason why we were told we'd miscarry in the beginning.  She just was taking her own time and hadn't developed as fast as the doctors thought she should have been.  It wouldn't surprise either DH or I if the same thing happened with her birthing.  

Until little lady decides to join us, we'll patiently and happily wait until she is ready- while simultaneously soaking in the last few days of being a family of three.

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Little man's FINISHED toddler room!

It's taken me a little while to get these pictures taken and posted, but little man's toddler room is 100% finished and in use!  Here are some pictures below!






We were really, really lucky that I have amazing friends and family who are super crafty and who love us enough to spend a ton of time putting things together for us for little man's room!  Here are some of the details:

- Bed and Dresser were purchased from Ikea, as well as table and chair set.

- Bookshelf was purchased from Target.

- Lamps, floor poof, and fan purchased from Target.

- Bedding was made by my amazing Aunt Lynn.

- Curtains were made by my mom's wonderful best friend (and my second mom!) Paula.

- Bunting flags were made by the super sweet and ridiculously crafty PJM from The Pajama Mama blog.

- Pillows were made by the awesomely fast and caring Melinda from Life with Blog.

- Accessories (wooden balls, wall words) purchased at Meijer.

- Wicker baskets were really old that we already had, just spray painted to the correct  colors by DH.

- Wooden fish were purchased from Etsy from The Seaside Collection.

- Wooden oars were purchased from Etsy and painted by me.

- Canvases were purchased from Joann Fabrics and painted by me.

- Striped initial was purchased from Joann Fabrics and painted by me.

Overall, I'm really happy with the way the room turned out.  It took quite a bit of work from our friends and family on the fabric projects as well as for DH and I on the crafts and furniture building.  If you remember, you also saw in my preview post the amount of storage we created in bins in little man's closet.  You can find that post here.  We were actually able to fit 90% of his toys into the closet in his toddler room, which has decreased the amount of toys in our living room and office by leaps and bounds.  

As for safety, all of the furniture is tacked to the walls, including the dresser, bookshelf, and storage bins in the closet.  The closet door now has a lock on it, as well as the inside of the bedroom door- so that little man cannot get out into the hallway near the stairs during the night.  (The stairs are also baby-gated as well, just in case.)  The lamp and electronic cords are all tacked to the walls and all the plugs are either covered by furniture or with plug covers.  Thankfully, the lovely Paula lined our curtains with blackout liner, so we can leave the blinds up and the cords secured away from little man's reach at this time.  

As I've mentioned previously, we have also been able to move little man into his toddler bed relatively easily.  We've had one fall out of the bed so far in the past few weeks (which required a few kisses and hugs, but then he was fine), but otherwise it's been smooth sailing- no pun intended.

What do you guys think?

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Friday, December 21, 2012

A walk down memory lane

We've been on team get-stuff-done lately.  The other day, as I was changing the sheets and setting up the bassinet for little lady's upcoming arrival- I found myself folding newborn sleepers and clothing at our dresser, in front of our mirror.

It's funny the little things that remind you of a memory or a feeling.

As I stood in front of the mirror, quite pregnant with baby number two, I had a deja-vu moment of watching myself rock little man and walk him around the room to get him to sleep as an infant.  At that time, when he was so little, I remember watching myself in the mirror rocking and shushing to calm him.  Little man couldn't have been more than a month or two old at that point, and I was still adjusting to the sight of myself caring for a baby.  Watching myself rock him in the middle of the night in a dimly lit room, while DH slept for his next day at work was almost like peeling back the layers of an onion.

In some of those moments, I was discovering myself as a mother.  I was coming to terms with who I was after having a child.  I was realizing just what role I played at that point- and just how much I'd changed already.  

Those were really calm, quiet moments that little man and I shared together in the night.  Moments that I hope I never forget.  Because- in those quiet moments- I learned just what type of a parent I wanted to be.  I learned to be thankful for those times when we were awake together when the whole world seemed to be sleeping.  I learned to breathe in his little body and feel his soft skin nestled next to mine, like there was nowhere else in the world he wanted to be.  I was truly able to learn each and every detail of his beautiful face and sweet little hands.  I learned to thank my lucky stars for somehow stumbling into this life that was better than I ever could have imagined.  

After I put away little lady's linens and clothing, I stood in the mirror for a few minutes more.

I looked over my belly and felt for baby kicks.  

I connected deeply with the child in my belly and just took in the moment of being with her in the silence of a dimly lit room at night.

If she is anything like little man was and is, little lady and I will have plenty of those late-night moments to discover each other and ourselves.  

And- just like I have with little man- I hope I remember every single moment of it with the new baby.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The "Almost There" Feeling!

Being pregnant and almost due for a second time is completely different.

While I know that my estimated due date is December 28th, I also know that my labor process began with little man at 39 weeks and one day.  Even though I am trying really hard to understand that each pregnancy is a new and unique pregnancy, I'm finding it hard not to associate when I think I'll go into labor with when little man was born.

For example: I am due on the 28th of December, but because little man was born 5 days before his due date, I can't help thinking in my head that I'll have this baby on or around December 23rd.  

Logically, I know this doesn't make sense.  Just because little man was born early doesn't mean that little lady will come early as well.  If anything, her pregnancy has been a bit of chaos from the beginning, while little man's (with a few minor problems) was relatively easy.  Their pregnancies have been completely opposite, and their birthing will probably be very different as well.  

But, I still can't quite get it out of my mind that I'm expecting her to arrive in around 5-6 days, when it could still be weeks at this point.

Otherwise, everything has been going pretty well at this stage in the pregnancy.  I'm between 38 and 39 weeks with the most uncomfortable occurrence being my swelling.  I mean, my feet are HUGE.  But since I stopped working, I've been able to keep some of the swelling at bay, or at least to a less significant extent.

I'm at the point in pregnancy where I cease to have eyes.  I hate swelling.
I've been having a notably increased amount of Braxton Hicks contractions and cramping the past day or two, but that hasn't led to anything at this point.  I'm still hoping that my birthing experience will begin with contractions this time around instead of my water breaking.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

And speaking of crossing, we have gotten almost all of the things on our to-do list crossed off.  I've made great progress with insurance on getting a pump, which I'll update after the first of the year when I'm actually in possession of the pump, since my insurance policy doesn't change until the first of the year.  I've done all the shopping I need to at this point, including some extras that our midwife asked us to have around the house in case we birth at home.  The only thing I have left to do is wrap maybe one or two gifts and stick them under the tree.  

I'm really glad I've taken a bit of time off before little lady is born for all of the reasons above.  I'm feeling better physically, I'm feeling less pressured or rushed emotionally seeing as I'm getting everything done, and I've been able to spend more quality time with both DH and little man which has been wonderful and ever-so-needed.  

All that's left to do?

Wait for little lady to come!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Random updates!

Hey all!  

Before I go into labor and have this new baby, I have a few updates to post here, as I know life gets chaotic very fast with a new little babe and I want to make sure you all have warning before I go through a few transitions!

First off, if you follow the blog mainly by coming to the page from directly typing in the web address, follow on Bloglovin', Google Friend Connect (see my right hand sidebar), or other method than my Facebook page, you may want to like the Facebook page if you're interested in getting new baby pictures and updates!  

I will continue to post after having the new baby, but will be featuring a number of guest posts from some excellent writers over the first few weeks/months while we adjust to being a family of four.  Typically, the Facebook page is the first place I'm able to update one-handed from my phone with pictures, as well as will be the first place I update with labor/delivery information, if you're wanting to follow our journey!

(If you're a follower from Twitter, my Facebook page automatically syncs to my Twitter account, so you will receive all the updates there!)

Also- in big news- I'm getting a face lift.  

In the coming month or so, not only will I very likely be transitioning to TheNaptownOrganizer.com instead of TheNaptownOrganizer.blogspot.com, but the blog will also be getting a new, schnazzy design!

So, if you're randomly stopping in one day to read a few posts, and the page looks a bit different, don't worry, I promise it is still me!

I'm really excited to get a few of these changes going very soon, but there may be a few bumps in the process as well, so bear with me during the 'construction' process!!!

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last day of work!!!

Yesterday officially marked two milestones for me:

I didn't wear this to work, obviously as I wear scrubs, but this is the latest picture this slacking second time mama has of my bump!
- I'm 38 weeks pregnant.

&

- Yesterday was my last day of work before little lady is born!

Last pregnancy with little man, I worked up until he was born.  Little man was born on a Sunday night after my water broke on Saturday night.  I had worked a 10 hour shift that Friday, and then DH and I spent the day deep cleaning our house all day Saturday.  (Nest, much?)

Needless to say, I wasn't very relaxed or well-rested when I went into labor.  I basically had worked my full amount of hours with longer shifts Wednesday through Friday, cleaned all day Saturday, was up walking all night Saturday night, labored all day Sunday, and had little man on Sunday night.  

Thankfully, I had the new-baby-love-high going on which carried me through literally several weeks of little man's new life, but it would have been nice to get a little more rest in those days before he was born.

This time around, things are a bit different.

For starters, I don't have a 12 week deadline.  Since I'll be returning to work only PRN, or as needed help, I can go back to work as early or as late as I'd like to start.  If I take an extra week or two before the baby is born, I'm not going to lose my job(s) if I still take 12 weeks off, which is amazing.  If I didn't have the guaranteed time, I would not be finishing work early, which is also why I worked right up until my water broke with little man.  At that time, I wanted to make sure as much of my time off as possible was with HIM and not just because I was uncomfortable.

Also, I didn't have a toddler at home.

Any time that I took before little man was born was spent on myself or with DH.  This time around, I really want to have some time to spend with little man.  I want to be able to get everything done so that we can just play, cuddle, and be at home just the two of us for a few days before our daily routines are thrown into crazy-new-baby-territory.  I want him just to have some time spent with only me, to sort of fill up his love tank before the new baby arrives.  

Needless to say, even though little man came early and I wouldn't mind if little lady came early as well- I'm really hoping to at least get a few days off prior to her birth.  

I can't believe we are this close!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

What is so controversial about having a birth plan?

Being a medical professional, it seems like most people I encounter give a major side eye to birth plans.

I've even heard recently that nurses will "mark" longer than normal birth plans with the comment "C-section" at some hospitals.  

I guess my question is: what is so wrong about having a plan?  

Sure, there are tons of things that could go differently than you'd wanted them to, but isn't going in without any frame of expectation or desired outcome just setting yourself up for the ideal birth of your doctors and nurses?  To me- that seems off.  They're obviously not the ones lying in the bed, birthing the baby!

Obviously- when you're considering a birth plan, you have to be flexible.  That's understood.  I don't know of any mother who would say, "Um, that's not on my birth plan, so even if the baby is in danger- I'm not interested," for no concrete or educated reason. 

With little man, we had a birth plan laid out.  

Things didn't go as planned.

My water broke on a Saturday night at 9p.  By the next morning at 7a, I was being pressured to take Pitocin due to my contractions "not being strong enough."  I stalled for a few hours at that point.  But being a first time mom, and not really being all that well-educated on that specific situation, I went ahead and agreed.  I made it probably 6 or so hours on Pitocin before I had the epidural.  

My birth plan had clearly stated that I did not want any medicine for laboring or pain if possible.  But obviously, that didn't happen, and it's okay.  I still birthed a beautiful, amazing little man who was perfectly healthy and I came out of it with no lasting effects.

However, even when I bent and agreed to things I had to compromise on, the medical staff continued to press me on other portions of my birth plan.  I was asked several times about an episiotomy- even after it was discussed with my Ob prior to labor/birthing, it was on my birth plan, and I explicitly stated that I did not want one when getting ready to push.  As mentioned previously, I also asked the nursing staff not to count and to let me push on my own schedule.  They again didn't listen, and I feel like this is why I did tear more than I probably would have otherwise.  

A birth plan is just that- a plan.  

Considering the fact that I am the mother, the "patient", and the person undergoing the medical treatment while in a hospital to birth my child, I don't think it's an insane request to have my wishes known. 

Or respected.

And- to be totally honest- if you are either a doctor OR a labor and delivery/postpartum nurse and you DON'T respect birth plans or individual mother's wishes?

You are 100% in the wrong field.  

I'm serious here.  If you scoff at birth plans or women's requests during birth, then I will say it outright.  You probably suck at your job and you should consider switching specializations or possibly even careers.  

I have NEVER met a patient or client whom I've been able to progress through therapy without being respectful to their specific needs, personal desires for outcome, and wishes during treatment.  It just isn't successful when I'm the dictator and they are the peon.  That's not how effective healthcare works.
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That being said (rant off?  lol)- if we do end up in the hospital this time around, here is our plan:

- Labor at home as long as possible, if not birth at home.

- If that is not possible for whatever reason, we'll go to the hospital.

- While in the hospital, I do not want any interventions I do not ask for or deem medically necessary.  Please do not offer me pain medication.

- Any interventions you do suggest or state that I need must be accompanied with a reason for that procedure as well as a list of possible outcomes if I choose to refuse that intervention.

- I do not want a million people in my room during birthing.  This includes students and residents.  I apologize, I realize everyone has to learn, but to me, birth is private and if you're not necessary- you're not invited.

- I would like the room to be dimly lit and my choice of music to be playing.

- I would like to be free to labor in the tub and shower as desired.  

- I would like to be free to move around the room while laboring.  If monitoring is required, I would prefer intermittent monitoring.  

- I would like a mirror while pushing.

- I would like to push in my chosen position as able- not to be lying on my back.

- I do not want anyone counting while I push.

- I do not want an episiotomy.

- I would prefer to catch my own baby.  I want the first hands that hold her in this world to be mine.

- I would like immediate skin to skin after birthing.  All testing/procedures may be done while she is in my arms or may be delayed.  Eye drops will be delayed if not declined.

- No bath is necessary until we leave the hospital.
___________________________________

So far, that is where I'm headed with the birth plan.  I'm still kind of sticking my head into the sand and hoping that we won't need it and we'll be able to home birth with the midwife and her assistant.  However, as I mentioned before and as we understood last time around, I will to be open minded to all of the possibilities and be prepared for whatever direction this baby takes us during her birthing.  

Did you have a birth plan?  Were you able to stick to it?  What were the areas in which you needed to be flexible?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Preparing our toddler for the new baby

In just a few short days (!!!!), little man's life is probably going to be thrown upside down for a little while.

He is used to having either my or DH's attention 100% of the time.  When we are home with him for our days off- which right now is 4-5 days a week- we follow his schedule to a T.  Basically everything we've done so far in his little life, with our schedule, has been to preserve his sleep habits.  Because he's always been such an excellent sleeper, DH & I didn't want to throw him off his great schedule.  

Sure, there have been times that we've had to wake him early, put him to a nap or bed late, or even skip a nap- things happen and sometimes it is out of our control as parents and we just have to go with the flow.  But- overall, we've really tried to preserve his schedule as much as we can.  

While we will try our best to keep him on his schedule, we obviously understand that bringing a new baby into the picture is going to blur the lines of normal for little man for quite some time, especially in the beginning when there will be many doctor's appointments, visitors, and overall more things to do.  However, in saying that, we will plan the new baby appointments around his nap schedule instead of hers.  Because- as most of you parents know- planning around a newborn's schedule is like trying to win the lottery, you never seem to win!

It is also going to be a huge adjustment for him that we can't give him 100% of our attention 100% of the time when little lady comes home.  It's, sadly, just not possible.

Many parents discuss preparing their older child for a new addition to the family by reading books, talking about changes that may happen, and roll-playing situations with toys.  We've done a little bit of that- but honestly, little man is quite young to be able to understand fully because he isn't even two years old.

Little man has been really good at diapering, rocking, swinging, and being gentle with his dolls.  We've also been working on what toys and equipment (swing, bouncy seat, crib, etc.) are "baby's" things.  We've started to use the terms of "Little man's room" versus "Baby's room" or "the nursery."  Little man also sees babies frequently in day care and will identify babies in car seats or strollers at the store, which we've tried to link to pointing to my belly.  (I don't think he quite gets that part yet, but we're trying just in case!)

The main planning we've done for little man in relation to little lady's arrival is to work on the art of distraction.  Knowing what kind of a child he is- distraction is the BEST tool at the moment to help us move quickly away from a toddler tantrum.  So, we're stocking up on new items and toys to help.  Thankfully, as Christmas is approaching, little man will have several new toys shortly to help us occupy him when little lady needs attention.  I believe for Christmas he is getting a vacuum cleaner, an art easel, a play gym with swing and slide, and a letter magnet set.  We've also purchased a few new books, DVD's (because even some days now we need a little Curious George!), and small toys.  Also, since his birthday is coming up in February, his amazing grandparents purchased him a play kitchen and we're going about getting all the accessories that go with (pots, pans, play food, plates, silverware, cups, etc.).  

A friend of mine with two babes around the same age range has also given me some great ideas of excellent play opportunities to keep little man happy, such as letting little man "paint" the tub with washable paints, doing sensory play like rice, or even having him 'sort' cotton balls into ice cube trays.  There are tons of new games and toys we can make up just from things we have around the house!

So, he will certainly have some great fine and gross motor skill toys to play when we're having a rough day.  I plan to keep these in separate rooms and play areas so that he doesn't have access to all of the toys all of the time and they'll have novelty when we play them.  

One of the other main things I plan to do is just be with little man.

I know that there are going to be days where it's rough.  I expect that.  I'm sure after full nights of being up all night with little lady, when she naps I'm going to want to plunk that DVD in and turn on cartoons or sit little man in front of a new toy and lay my head on the couch.  

But, again, knowing my child- that's not what he needs.  He is going to need time with just the two of us.  He's going to need to cuddle.  He's going to need to sit in my lap while he's playing a toy to fulfill his need of my being physically present with him.  He's going to need me to sit with him during his snacks and talk about the ducks in the pond behind our house.  


He's just going to need me.  

And that's okay!

Even when he was little, I recognized very early on that he will only stay so little for so long.  Even if I'm exhausted, if I can have a half hour more of bonding with my child, I'll take that any day over a nap.  

Thankfully, I do have an extremely supportive husband who is excellent at giving me breaks and me time, so I know that when I do need a break, both little man & little lady will be getting just as much attention as they're used to.  (Love you DH!)

But, pretty much, that's all we're planning and doing to prepare little man for the new baby.  No complicated story we're reading every night.  No big plan for other family or friends to be taking him out or away from our home to give "him" a break from the situation.  No fancy rewards for his being helpful or patient- just a pretty simple, straightforward plan and a few things to aid in distraction when days get tough.  

What have you/had you done to prepare your first child for their new sibling?  How did your transition go?

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

To-do list update number three!

One more random to-do list update, I think.  We're so almost there!
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- Call insurance company, try to get started on getting my new pump.  This will be a whole new post.  I've been encountering a few issues here and am waiting on a call back from an insurance rep.

- Pack hospital bag.  The baby's outfit is now in the bag!  Does that count?

- Finish little man's toddler room.  Secure dresser to wall, finish spray painting wicker baskets, finish painting oars, finish organizing book shelf, find picture frames and pictures for book shelf.  Send out fabric for bunting flags and hang them when they are done.   Done!  I'll be posting a blog update of little man's toddler room as soon as I get some pictures taken, likely to be done this weekend!

- Make freezer meals.  Does it count that I bought a few premade Stouffer's meals?  ;)
- Stock up on groceries/pantry staples we'll need after the baby (such as milk for little man, snacks, bread to freeze, easy dinner options like macaroni & cheese, etc.).  Halfway done!

- Submit all required FMLA/STD paperwork.  Finish all discharged charts, orient maternity leave coverage SLP to all of my clients.  Finish getting all co-workers competencied on the Visi-Pitch equipment.    Close to done.  I still have to submit some paperwork, but I'm mainly done.

- Clean the carpets.  DH has been fabulous and is coming home from work every night and cleaning one more room of carpet.  This should be done by the end of the weekend!

- Deep clean the heck out of the house.   Done.  My amazing mother hired a cleaning service to come out and clean our house!  Baseboards were cleaned, windows were cleaned, and blinds were cleaned as well as the normal every day cleaning to be done.  It.was.wonderful!!!!

-Stock up on all new baby basic need stuff that I used last time around, like breastmilk storage bags, newborn disposables for the hospital, Lansinoh soothing gel pads, etc.  Partially done.  I've also been thinking about trying Earth Mama Angel Baby's booby tube things that are supposed to help with engorgement/clogged ducts/etc.  Has anyone used those?  Are they worth the cash?

- Finish all of the little baby proofing tasks we've been putting off because we're able to keep an eye on little man all the time now.  Done!  All furniture is secured in his room, TV is finally secured in the living room.  Well, almost done, I think there is one more drawer DH has to put a lock on in the kitchen, but only because little man realized he could get the spoon drawer open a week or so ago.

- Even if we can't get out for a real date, at least order in pizza one night and watch a few movies just DH and I after little man goes to bed.  Partially done.  We've been catching up on our Top Gear episodes!

- Put my feet up for like 10 minutes before this baby comes?  Hopefully this will happen as well, as I've planned my last official day of work to be at 38 weeks pregnant.  Although, because of this, I'm either predicting baby girl will be born at like 38 weeks and one day, or she'll be born in January, because- you know- that's just how this stuff works!

(Not that I'm counting or anything, but I officially have 3 days left of work!  Wooooo!)

- Stock up on more sleep sacks.  I think we picked up a few more.  I could always use more sleep sacks, but we'll see where we're at the first few weeks and if not DH can make a run.

- Stock up on more 0-3 and 3 month clothing.  My awesome mom brought over a ton of 0-3 month sleepers and I was able to pick up a few off of one of my Facebook Marketplaces for cheap.  Win!

- Finish purchasing Christmas gifts and wrap said gifts.  Halfway done.  Of the gifts we have, I'm 75% done with wrapping.  I only also have I think two gifts to buy at this point.

We are really chugging along!  I think that when I finally get finished with work, I'll have a little more time to focus on some of these things.  I also think that DH has really kicked into high gear lately and has been so awesome at helping me cross a ton of things off of our to-do list.  

Less than 20 days left to go until my due date!

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Things someone should tell you about pregnancy with a toddler at home...

When I first became pregnant with our soon-to-be daughter, I had assumed that little man wouldn't have to adjust until she was born.

Boy, was that an incorrect assumption.  

From the beginning of pregnancy until now- getting close to the end- there have been adjustments on both his side and mine.  Some of them were frustrating for either one or both of us, some were not so huge of a deal, and some were downright funny.  I'll share a few things I've discovered along the way here:

- Sickness.

Most people who know me well know that I'm not the most fun in my first trimester.  I tend to have a lot of morning sickness, very frequently.  I was very nervous about being sick in front of little man and just how he'd react.  At first, he reacted just like I thought he would, as he often does.  Little man kind of sat back, observed what I was doing while hanging over the pot in the bathroom, and watched me for a few moments. Realizing this wasn't a fun thing, he became scared, and- like he normally does- he began to cry and reached out for physical comfort.  That was, um, interesting...trying to throw up with a crying toddler nestled in my lap.  

Soon though, he became accustomed to my sickness, and would often just grab a few toys and play beside me.  Once he realized it was a normal thing, little man was okay.  But goodness- hearing your child cry as you are unable to comfort them is possibly one of the hardest things I've had to deal with this pregnancy.

- Logistics.

As mentioned, little man requires physical touch frequently to feel comfort.  In the early stages of pregnancy, this wasn't a huge deal, because I was small enough for it not to matter.  As I've grown with our daughter's pregnancy, it has become harder and harder to meet those needs.  Babywearing is still comfortable and helps greatly, but I can't wear him 100% of the time.  And, yes, it is somewhat uncomfortable to pick your child up and down at this stage of the pregnancy, but that actually hasn't been my biggest concern.

Something I'd love to have heard from second time mothers is the effect carrying your toddler has on your pregnant bladder.  Because, yikes!  As soon as I pick little man up, he seems to nestle his little legs around my belly and almost take a seat on the top.  However, that puts pressure on new baby, which puts pressure on my bladder.  And I thought I had discomfort from one babe seated on my bladder!!!

- Play.

Playing one of our favorite games- "Put the squeeze pouch caps into the old oatmeal container!"  You can find more information and ideas about great DIY toys on TheKavanaughReport.blogspot.com.
I've found that to succeed in keeping little man happy through some of my more rough days of pregnancy, everything has been turned into a game.  Peek a boo over lunches so that he will eat without a fight, seeing how far he can walk away from me while holding onto a string or shoelace so I can lay on the couch but still be present in play, and even buying him a potty specifically so we can "play" bathroom and "go" at the same time.  (He now will give me a cheer when I'm successful in the bathroom, lol, which I appreciate because in pregnancy your bathroom habits are not always guaranteed!)

No matter what we are doing, if I can find some way to turn it into a game, he is more entertained and less likely to recognize that I'm not feeling quite up to par at the moment.  Being able to continually try and make things fun for him is important to me- even when I'm not feeling fun or even comfortable.  

- Love.

I didn't expect my feelings for little man to change at all with this new baby on the way.  I've always felt a very strong connection with little man and he opened up my eyes to a new way of loving someone the second he was born.  However, since becoming pregnant with baby number two, my love for him has only intensified, and I believe two things to be the culprit for this change.

The first is I've realized even more how to enjoy every single moment with my child, to savor each smile, to try and remember each word.  I realized very early on that I would only have a finite amount of time left as a family of three, and each moment that I was able to share only with him became so much more precious.  I truly believe that when you understand that time moves quickly as your children grow, you appreciate them more- even on the bad days.  You try to understand better why they are not happy, you try to hold more patience for them and calmly respond, and you turn into a better parent.

The second reason I believe my love for him has grown is seeing the connection he already is forming with the new baby.  While the new baby is still just a confusing concept in his mind, he has recently begun to point at things surfacing around the house for little babes, and exclaim, "Baby!"  The tummy time mat, the swing, the tiny pink clothes... he knows they all belong to "Baby!"  Seeing him recognize things are not only his any more, even if it is more conceptual than concrete, makes my heart swell.

There have been many changes occurring in our lives as we prepare for the new baby.  Thankfully, pregnancy is long enough (for the most part) that you're able to enjoy them, learn from them, and reflect on them.

How did your relationship change with your first child before or after your second child was born?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Privacy after baby's birth- a novel concept?

When little man was born, we limited the amount of visitors we had at the hospital.

During the actual labor and delivery, the only person in the room with DH & I (aside from the hospital staff) was our doula.  When I was getting ready to push, my parents drove to the hospital and waited in the waiting room.  After little man was born, we had a little time to ourselves as a family of three and then brought my parents in to meet little man.  

My mom with a very small little man the day he was born
For the rest of our hospital stay, the only other people to visit were my sister and one close friend who works with me at the hospital where I delivered, who happens to be a mother of three and a rock star at breastfeeding and all things baby.  All other friends and family were asked to please refrain from visiting until we arrived at home.  

(To be clear- we love and welcome DH's family at any time like my family, but they are all long distance- much further than my family's proximity which doesn't happen to be very close either- so they are unable to be with us at the drop of a hat when I go into labor.  Also, our close family happens to be extremely helpful and would be welcome to stay for a much longer time than they are able to, sadly!)

And, around our area, we don't have boatloads of friends just knocking on our doors.  We keep a few very close friends and appreciate them grandly, but also appreciate our time with a new baby as sacred.
While limiting our visitors only to close or immediate family members and close friends (and for us- this number can be counted on two hands) is somewhat isolating at first, it is also extremely helpful as a new family and especially as a new mother.

Emotions are high during that period of time for me.  I didn't want my child constantly being passed around like a hot potato, nor did I want to have to give up holding him all the time.  I wanted to bond with my child and offer my husband time to bond with his new child.  I wanted the main people our son to know initially to be us, and us only.  

I also highly recognize the benefit of allowing myself to heal and recover from the birth while not feeling like I had to put on make-up or get dressed or have the house clean all the time.  Because I know myself, and when we have visitors, I do feel the need to do all of those.  And, as a new mom, just the act of cleaning your home or getting yourself presentable can be exhausting.  

For our little family, limiting the amount of visitors also meant that I didn't have to be uncomfortable all the time.  As a new mom who had just begun our journey to breastfeeding, I was often in nursing tanks and schlumpy pajamas- basically anything that was comfortable and had easy access to my breasts.  With only extremely close family and friends visiting, I didn't have to constantly worry about who was seeing what and would little man latch or would I get let-down while I was so tense.  

It was just comfortable.  

It seems though, that whenever I speak to friends, not many have the same experience of limited visitors after birth, and actually most have a seemingly opposite experience.  Many of my friends have at least 10-20 people visiting at the hospital, with loads more to follow once they return home, including family and friends.  I see pictures on social media such as Facebook or Twitter where new baby is in the arms of about 30 people in the first few days, everyone getting in their picture with the sweet, squishy, little one.

While I find nothing wrong with that amount of visitors should the new mother and father appreciate and accept that as their normal circumstance, I find that it would be an extremely uncomfortable situation for us.  I am noticing more and more frequently though that we are the exception rather than the rule.

With new baby, we plan on the exact same scenario if we end up birthing in the hospital.  My parents will come down to watch little man while we're in the hospital, with DH splitting his time between hospital and home and staying home at night with little man.  My sister may come depending on her work schedule and holiday schedule to see the new baby again.  DH's family has discussed coming out when new baby is a few months old to meet her at that point.  And we will have some friends stop by the house after we're home from the hospital.  

Overall, I'd consider that a pretty private postpartum time.

How many visitors did you have in the hospital or at home in the days and weeks following your child's birth?  Would you or have you done anything differently with a subsequent pregnancy?

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Cloth Diapering- Wool Soakers

Many parents- whether they cloth diaper or use disposables- run across the problem of heavy wetting at night.  No matter which diaper you use, it seems that some children are just prone to saturating their diaper, clothing, sheets, pillows, and blankets at night.  

This can be extremely uncomfortable to our babes and frustrating to us as parents.  Because, really, who wants to have to tear apart baby's entire crib or bed in the middle of the night during a diaper change.  I know I don't.   

Our solution?  

Wool Soakers.

A wool soaker is a diaper cover made either by machine (see the Kissaluvs diaper above) or by hand.  There are many types of wool that can be used to make a wool soaker, including recycling an old wool sweater.  You can use a wool cover over a prefold diaper with a pin or snappi, a fitted diaper, or even a disposable diaper.  

Basically, what the wool cover does is work really well at holding in any liquids that escape your little one's diaper.  Honestly, it's just that simple.  If little man is having a period of heavy wetting, we just put a soaker on over a cloth (or disposable) diaper and he wakes up without a wet sleeper or sheets in the morning.
  
It is an extremely breathable fabric and it is antibacterial, so the even better thing about wool soakers is that as long as the diaper is just wet from excess urinating on the inside, you can flip it inside out and hang it to dry for the next night.  You really only should wash your wool covers every 2-3 weeks, unless it is soiled by solid material.  

(I am trying to be polite about saying poo.  Yep.)  

To clean our wool soakers, I use Eucalan Wool Wash.  Prior to finding Eucalan, I made my own wool wash.  However, after finding Eucalan, I probably won't go back, because it's just too easy.  I throw a half capful of the wool wash into the sink with cool or cold water, submerge my wool covers in, and let them sit for a period of at least 15 minutes.  The covers soak in all of the lavendar and lanolin in my specific wash until I pull them out and roll them gently into a towel.  No rinsing, no squeezing out the water.  Just roll gently in a towel and lay flat to dry.  So simple and easy.  Some wool enthusiasts will discuss lanolizing your wool, but with the Eucalan wash, I haven't had to do so.  
We have several kinds of wool at home currently.  We have the cream Kissaluvs cover seen a few paragraphs above, the brown EcoPosh Wool Cover directly above this paragraph, as well as some home-made wool soakers lovingly knitted by friends for little man.  

To be totally honest, I really don't have a preference between the brands in terms of function, as they all work, and work well.  I will say that the homemade knitted soakers are my favorite in terms of look.  (Thank you Beth!)  

If you have a heavy wetter at night, whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, I'd consider wool.  It can really save on the amount of sheets, blankets, and sleepers you are constantly washing due to wetting through a diaper at night.  Wool covers are a great option to keep your child dry but protect their skin from irritation at the same time.

Do you use wool covers at home?  Would you consider it?

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