Saturday, December 13, 2014

4 month update

Hey everyone! Where to begin? It's almost been 2 months since I last posted here. A lot has happened. First off, the schedule thing didn't really work out. I tried and I tried and L won. However, we are starting to settle into a routine, I guess. He usually does something consistently for a week then everything changes. He's a really great night sleeper. He goes down around 6:30 pm and wakes up around 7:30 am with one feeding somewhere in there, usually around 5 am. He's also a terrible napper. Like he will only nap 30-40 minutes at a time during the day. I have tried nearly everything to lengthen that but almost nothing will and the few times I have been successful, he didn't sleep at night, so... I deal with the cat naps for now. (Pro-tip: read about baby sleep before you have the baby). Also, I can't really hold him all nap anymore because my arm falls asleep. To say that he is heavy is an understatement. I haven't weighed him since he was 3 months, but he was 16 pounds then! I estimate he's around 18 pounds now. I do plan to let him CIO (cry it out) at some point because I am still rocking him to sleep and awake but drowsy just doesn't work for us. But, he's just too young now (I'm thinking 5-6 months). I've let him fuss, but he just escalates it and won't calm down unless I go in and rock him. We've had some luck with the swing. But, as long as he is sleeping at night, we don't really have a problem, yet... 

We had a rough month in there where L was fussy a lot. I don't know if we were doing anything wrong but I tried to get him to sleep and played with him, but he was just fussy. He is starting to grow out of that now, which is nice. In the past few weeks, he has become much more interactive: he babbles, blows spit bubbles, laughs out loud, and smiles a lot. He is more social than he is into the gross motor skills, but tummy time is going much better these days. He is not rolling over, but I'm seeing definite signs towards it. I practice rolling with him, and have him lay on his side and work out how to do the rest on his own. He sometimes gets frustrated with this, but is making a lot of progress. I'm not in a huge hurry for him to be mobile (we still swaddle him and that needs to stop first), but I do want to give him time to practice. He has also started arching his back a lot, which means I have to strap him into everything now because he could launch himself out of the swing or rock and play fairly easily. He also grabs his legs a lot now. He is super into assisted sitting, but not standing. I honestly don't blame him: he's super heavy for those little legs! I got him an exersaucer, but he's not really quite ready for it. He kind of just sits in it and bobbles his head. I have to be there with him the entire time so he doesn't smash his head into something. 

I've started back at work part time, which is awesome. I, personally, really needed it. One of the things I have realized is that being a stay at home mom is really not for me. I actually give SAHMs a lot of credit -- it is exhausting to do it day after day. I find I am a lot happier if I have some time away. And part time seems to be great for this. It still gives me one-on-one time with L and a chance to continue my bible study, but also an outlet and a chance to do technical work. This month, L has been with family and a babysitter, but we have a nanny starting next month. I think she will be a great fit for our family. We actually really liked the babysitter we used this past week as well. Perhaps I am strange, but I really don't mind leaving L. I have not been upset over it once. I think it's really healthy for us. 

Breastfeeding is still going well, and my plan is to make it to 6 months and then wean him gradually (and plan to be done by 8 months). This means I will have to wean him to formula. I'm okay with BFing, but I also kind of want to stop. He still has a shallow latch, so it hurts still. I hate pumping at work (or in general). We also have a bunch of out of town weddings this summer and I don't want to be pumping all weekend. And by 6 months, I feel like I will have done my duty. 

I would love to get back to some house projects, but with my little cat napper, that hasn't been possible yet. Perhaps when we sleep train, he will start sleeping better for naps. That would be heavenly. Also, if anyone has any good advice for the cat napping problem, I'd love to know. 

Speaking of which, he's awake again... 

Bonus, pictures!

He stretches like crazy when he is released from the swaddle. 

I was burping him.

His going to the bathroom face -- cracks me up!

Tummy time!

Around 3 months

My mom made him this day gown. It would have been perfect for baptism, but we didn't get on the schedule in time...

Bath time

I love this photo

He loves being kissed on the cheeks.

Super happy in the morning.

Really enjoying his mobile.

There's more I forgot. I know there is. Babies are hard. Even easy babies are hard and a huge adjustment. But, we're taking it a day at a time. And doing the best we can. :) 

Monday, October 20, 2014

2 months and Baby Registry Advice

Hey everyone!

So, L had his 2 month checkup this week -- my baby was so brave getting all his shots! I nearly cried myself. Somehow it's heartbreaking to watch their little faces break and start crying and they don't understand why. Actually the worst part was how sore he was afterwards (he's actually still really fussy 4 days later, ugh). A little Tylenol and some sleep seemed to help. But, he's gaining immunity little by little! Unfortunately, he can't get a flu shot this year, so let's pray that he doesn't get exposed to that! He's in the 80-90th percentile for pretty much everything: 14 lbs 5 ounces, 23.75 inches long, and a 16 inch head (kid has a big head). Let's see: he's in size 2 diapers at this point and wears 6 month or 3 month clothing (depends on the brand). He's rather long, so I feel like he needs 6 month clothing for the length, but it's kind of baggy on him. We have been nailing down a consistent schedule, which is going pretty well, although there are frustrating days. Right now, our schedule is like this:

7 am - wakeup, eat and play
8/8:30 - nap
10/10:30 - feed and activity
11:30ish - nap
1:30 - feed and activity
3ish - nap
4:30 - feed and activity
5:30/6 - catnap (usually in swing or on one of us), typically 30-45 minutes long
7ish - bath and massage
7:30-8 - feed (I try to have him eat as much as he can and sometimes wait 20-30 minutes and try again to fill him up). Rocking, lullabies and cuddles.

You're probably thinking, "your 2 month old sleeps 11 hours?". Well... not exactly. But, that's the goal. For instance, this morning, he woke up at 5:30 am, and we played paci-pong for an hour and a half (that's where you give him the pacifier, rub his belly, leave, 3-15 minutes later he cries again and you repeat). However, getting him off schedule is not good, and he's not starving (he doesn't even eat that much in his morning feed). And some of those naps I have to hold him for part of the time. So, we're still working on it. For the record, the schedule is straight out of the book, "Moms on Call", which puts together age appropriate schedules for babies - toddlers. Their book was super helpful.

Anyway, I actually wanted to write to tell about the stuff that we've been using and what's been really useful. If any pregnant friends are reading, these are the things I would recommend registering for.

This is mostly geared toward breastfeeding because that's what we've been doing (no judgement on how you feed your baby though).

Breast Pump - You can get this free through your insurance company. I went with the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and I really like it. The first few weeks I pumped so much that I ended up buying a second set of parts so that I didn't have to wash them every time.

Bottles - Honestly, the bottle that came with the breast pump worked pretty well for us. L didn't really have any reflux problems, so we didn't use anything special. I remember stressing about different bottles, but I don't think it really matters too much (unless you have reflux issues).

Nipple Shield - Just get one for the first few weeks. It can really save you.

Breast pads - So, I leak... a lot. I like the disposable Lansinoh ones.

Formula - I recommend having some on hand even if you plan on breastfeeding. If you've signed up for maternity stuff, you may have gotten samples in the mail. We have formula from the mail, my OB's office, and the hospital. We didn't have to buy any.

Pillow - My breast friend - love that thing. I can't get the boppy to work for me. I also use a towel to prop up his head to the right height.

Nursing Stool - I ended up buying the KidKraft one from Amazon, which really helped me get comfortable during nursing.

Burp cloths - Old school flat cloth diapers work great.

Diapers - We love Pampers Swaddlers.

Changing Pad - I love our Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer. One of our friends recommended this to us (and actually bought it for us too), and it has been awesome. No changing covers to wash. It's easy to wipe down.

Diaper Pail - Diaper Dekor. I really like the way this works and it keeps the smells away really easily.

Wipes Holder - OXO Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser.

Sleep sacks - I love the Halo ones with the swaddle arms. They work really well. Highly recommend. We used the woombie for the first few weeks and I liked it as well, but it's pretty tiny, so he outgrew it quickly. I also really like the miracle blanket. That thing is awesome for swaddling (which makes a huge difference for sleeping). I also use the Aden and Ani swaddle blankets for naptime. He can break out of my swaddle, so I'm not comfortable with him in them at night. (Actually he can break out of the Halo swaddle arms, which is downright impressive).

Pacifiers - The AAP recommends pacifiers as a protection against SIDS and it can also help with soothing for sleep. We have tried all the brands and L seems to like the MAM ones the best (every baby is different though). The soothies kind fell out of his mouth a lot (or gagged him). He liked the Nuk ones okay at first, but now he doesn't.

Crib - Ours is from the Land of Nod. I love it.

Crib mattress - We bought a highly rated one from Amazon (foam), but I can't remember which one now. Honestly, they should all meet standards and work fine.

PJs - We use PJs under the sleep sack. I like the footed zip up kind. Snapping a gazillion snaps at 3 AM is not fun. Zippers are your friend. (Carters makes great cotton zip up footed PJs).

White noise - So, we started out with the Sleep Sheep. Which is great and super cute. But... it only goes for 45 minutes. So, we ended up buying a plain white noise machine off Amazon (myBaby SoundSpa portable) so that it can go all night. It does help with reducing noise from other sources around the house (like all of our creaky boards).
Play gym - The Fischer Price Rainforest friends one is super popular. Mostly because it has lights. Babies love lights. We also have the Kick and Play Piano gym, which I think will become more popular when L is less obsessed with lights.

Tummy time - I use a boppy for propping him up during tummy time. This helps him to look up more than if he were flat on the floor. Still, tummy time isn't super popular.

Board books - He doesn't really get them yet, but whatever. I still read to him. I also have a Children's Bible I read from.

Boppy lounger - This thing is great. We have it on our kitchen table, and L can join us for meals.

Swing - We were loaned the Snugabunny swing, which works well. He doesn't spend a ton of time in the swing.

Rock and Play - We have the Rock and Play sleeper in our living room. He doesn't ever sleep in it really, but it's good for a place to put him so he can look around and stuff. Honestly, we would be fine without this, but it's nice to have a place to put him in that room and he's tired of being on the floor.

Car seat - We have the Chicco one. I like it. We also have the stroller frame for it. I don't have any other stroller yet because I haven't decided on what I want to use when he can sit up securely on his own.

Nail clippers - I use the Piyo Piyo Baby Nail Scissors. I say "I" because I'm the only one with the guts to clip his nails. I really do like them and have yet to nick his fingers.

Nasal aspirator - We have the bulb type. People swear by the Nose Frieda. But it really grosses me out.

Portable changing pad - Definitely nice to have a diaper changing area outside of his bedroom, especially since we have multiple floors.

Bathtub - I would get one that fits in your sink so you don't have to bend into the tub when they're little.

Towels - I love the Pottery Barn kids ones. They are really soft and absorbent.

Baby Wise - Worth reading, but slightly confusing and tedious.

Moms on Call - Concise, easy to read, clear advice --> love it!

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer - Highly recommend. Great book. That with the Moms on Call book is wonderful.

What to Expect in the First Year - Good reference book. Or you could sign up for the BabyCenter weekly emails. They are pretty much the same info.

Heading Home With Your Newborn - Good book if you want to skip the parenting classes. Has a lot of information.

Alright, Gotta wake the kid for his feeding! Until next time!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Baby Update

Hey guys! It's been a while, I realize since I last updated the blog. L is almost 2 months old (on Wednesday)! Which means, we are officially past the 6 week post partum scariness, which is nice. I have more confidence that I can actually do this whole being a mom thing. That being said, I have had lots of help over the past 8 weeks. My mom was with us for 3 weeks after he was born, J's mom was here the week after and then for a day visit the week after that. My mom came again for a few days the following week, and I was up in PA with my parents 2 weeks ago. Traveling with a baby by myself was way more challenging than I had imagined. Last week was our first full week with just the 3 of us, and we made it through! We finally did get the hang of breastfeeding and I am now exclusively breastfeeding, which is nice. I know we should probably introduce bottles again soon so that he will transition to daycare okay, but I just don't want to because then I have to pump. I actually don't hate pumping, but I would miss nursing time. His latch is getting better as he gets bigger. It still sometimes hurts a lot, but there's a toughening up that happens. He also sometimes reverts to a shallow latch and then gets upset if I try to re-latch him. But, all of this is normal. I have been blessed with a good supply, and he is gaining weight like crazy. He's about 14 pounds at this point, so yea... It's actually getting hard to lift him, especially since he still has a somewhat floppy head. He can lift his head and does okay at tummy time (which isn't a popular activity), but sometimes he just decides he's done with holding his head and will let it droop.

L is a great baby. He has been sleeping through the night (defined as a 6 hour stretch) since about a month old, and he will do 8 hours some nights (which is totally awesome, even though it feels like my boobs might explode by the time he wakes up). I have been focusing this past week on getting him on a schedule, which has been slightly challenging. It sometimes feels like 2 steps forward, one step back. One of our challenges was getting him to nap in the crib. He sleeps in the crib well at night, but he was taking most of his naps in the carseat, carrier, or on me after nursing, which made getting anything done difficult. One of my friends gave me the book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, which has been hugely helpful. I also started reading Baby Wise, which I didn't find as helpful. It laid out a similar scheduling plan, but was not flexible at all (after describing how it was flexible). We don't necessarily have a schedule the same time each day, but we are trying to follow the EASY approach she lays out (E-eat, A-activity, S-sleep, Y-you time). The cycle basically repeats itself every 2.5-3 hours during the day. The activity can be varied. For instance, this morning it was watch mommy eat breakfast, storytime from the children's Bible I have, and tummy time. However, this afternoon's activity was mostly trying to get him to calm down since he was trying to work out a poop and had lots of gas after eating. Getting him to nap in the crib was facilitated a lot by swaddling. He keeps punching himself in the face if he isn't swaddled. I've been putting him down to sleep awake, which took a few days to get him okay with that and lots of coming back to reassure him (this is not crying it out). What else? He likes a pacifier, which is great because he was using me as a human pacifier for a while. I've joined a nursing moms Bible Study, which is super nice. I'm also part of a new mom's group which organizes a lot of fun activities. I try to get out of the house pretty frequently, which helps.

L is socially smiling now, which is super awesome. The other morning (at like 4 AM) when J and I were in his room to see why L wasn't sleeping, he just looked up at us and started grinning away. Made the early wake up much less painful. :) I find I am praying much more these days. I think parenting makes you realize how much is totally out of your control. God has blessed us with a wonderful baby. And He has gotten me through some pretty hard days (I don't function well on little sleep). Anyway, that's what's going on in our neck of the woods: eating, burping, diapers, playtime, baths, and sleeping.

And now, a few pictures...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Birth Story Time!

Since baby is currently sleeping, I thought I would take a minute to write out the birth story since people have been asking me. L was born on August 15th at around 8 AM: 7 lbs 9 ounces, 20.75 inches long. We are so in love with our little baby boy. But let's back up. Due to having gestational diabetes, I was scheduled to be induced on August 15th, three days prior to my due date. I was set to start what is known as cervical ripening on August 14th at 8 pm. Cervical ripening is what they do if you need to be induced and your cervix is long and closed (like mine). The week leading up to induction, I kept hoping that I would go into spontaneous labor. Spoiler alert: I actually never was induced. The morning of the 14th, I woke up around 5 am with very sporadic contractions. I bounced on my exercise ball for a while, but nothing happened, so I went back to bed and slept for a while. I knew that inductions can take a long time, so I wanted to save my energy. When I woke up, I felt completely normal. My parents came down that afternoon, we had a nice dinner together and then J and I made our way over to the hospital. When we got there, Labor and Delivery was dealing with an emergency c-section, so we had to wait a bit for our room. They monitored me for a bit in triage. My blood pressure was a bit elevated and I was actually having contractions that I wasn't feeling. Other than that, baby and I were doing great. Around 9:30ish, we got back to our room and I got setup with an IV, more monitoring, etc. Around 10 pm, the nurse placed cervadil, which is used to soften (or efface) the cervix. The idea is that it will soften the cervix so that when pitocin is started, the cervix will dilate. They monitored me until 11 pm. Everything looked great, so they took off the monitors, gave me an Ambien and told me that they would start pitocin at 6 AM. I sort of dozed until around 1:30 AM. At that point, I really woke up in enormous pain. I was still pretty drowzy from the Ambien, but the pain was winning. I walked around a bit and woke up J, who thought it was 6 AM. I called the nurse in and told her I was having contractions. She basically told me that it was too early for medication and I should just breathe and walk through them. They were coming around 3 minutes apart and breathing through them sucked a lot. I spent the next hour and a half trying to deal with them before calling the nurse in again. I told her I needed something for pain. She checked me, told me that I hadn't dilated at all, that it was early for an epidural, but I could get one if I wanted. I told her I wanted one. She started me on fluids and then put the monitors back on me. Within 10 minutes, she was back in the room saying that the baby wasn't handling contractions very well (his heartrate was dropping) and the OB wanted the cervadil removed. Great! I wanted it removed too. Around 3:30 AM, the anesthesiologist came in for the epidural. I had to sign some consent form that I didn't read and then they placed the epidural. J almost passed out at the sight of the needle. The worst part was having a contraction while it was being placed. You can't really move when they are inserting a needle into your back, so you just have to deal with this terrible pain and being completely stationary. Around 4 AM, the epidural was doing its magic and I was able to relax for the first time in hours. The nurse came back in to check me. "Oh! You're 4 cm!" Between 4 and 5, I mostly just sort of dozed. I could still feel contractions, but they weren't that bad. Around 5 AM, I started to be in significant pain again. I called the nurse in. She was about to check me when my water broke. I was 6 cm. There was meconium in the waters. You might be wondering what meconium is? It's the baby's first bowel movement. So, basically, baby wasn't tolerating the contractions well and he had a bowel movement. If the baby swallows the meconium, he can aspirate on it during birth, so NICU was informed that they needed to be present.

I was still in a good amount of pain, but it was decided to keep the epidural level where it was so that I could feel for pushing. We both called our parents to let them know that the birth was going to happen soon. My parents got there around 6 AM. I was checked again and this time I was 9.5 cm. The OB came in and said, "Who goes from nothing to fully dilated in 3 hours from cervadil?" Around 10 minutes later, it was time to start pushing. Pushing took forever. Since the baby hadn't dropped, there was a long way to push, and I felt like he kind of got stuck in one spot for a long time. I was having to breathe oxygen between contractions to help with the baby's heartrate. During this, there was a shift change and I got a new nurse. Around 8, I started telling the nurse, I am getting really tired, can we do anything to speed things up? She then called in the OB who helped me when pushing to sort of push back on me. That really worked and L was born at 8:09 AM. He hadn't swallowed any meconium so he was put on my chest right away. He was perfect and crying and I just got to hold him for a bit. At some point, he was cleaned up and weighed and all that. Then, J got to hold him for a while. I got a second degree tear and had to be stitched up. About an hour after he was born, we were moved to recovery. My legs were still numb and weird for a while. I was in a lot of pain the first 24 hours, but it got significantly better each day. L's blood sugars were monitored due to my gestational diabetes. Sure enough, they started falling, so he was transferred down to the NICU and given formula for the first day while they monitored him. I felt so bad for all the heel pricks, but his sugars stabilized and he went back to our room. We went down to the NICU as much as we could when he was there. He was by far the big kid in the room. I was totally blown away by some of the preemies in there. They were just so tiny and fragile.

With the bottles of formula, breastfeeding did not get off to a good start. He also had a tongue tie we had to get clipped. There was a lot of frustration for both of us to get to breastfeeding. First there was formula feeding, pumping and feeding what I pumped, and trying to latch (which seemed to never work those first few days). Once my milk came in, I was able to pump enough that we didn't need to use formula anymore. But it was still torture trying to get him latched on. We eventually turned a corner when one of my friends suggested paced bottle feeding, which essentially really limits the flow the baby gets and mimics breastfeeding much better. Well, this got the baby frustrated with the bottle and I was able to start latching him on. I would feed him like an ounce from the bottle and then switch to boob. This was still frustrating for both of us because I would essentially bottle feed a little, try latching on as much as I could and then pump to get milk for the next feeding. Feedings would take an hour and a half or more. And then I was trying to start the process all over again an hour and a half later. So, this past Monday, I decided enough was enough: we were switching to breastfeeding. There was a battle for at least 24 hours. My mom says we essentially got into a fight because he was screaming, just wailing at me and I was trying to get him on the boob with everything I had. There were tears for both of us and lots of calming down before trying again. Once we made up, he started latching. He would get pissed, I would have to calm him down and we would start over again, but we made it through. It's been about 5 days without any bottle feedings! And once he got the hang of breastfeeding, he started gaining weight like crazy. He went from 7 lbs 5 ounces at 5 days old to about 8 lbs on Tuesday to a whopping 8 lbs 12 ounces yesterday! We had a lactation visit on Tuesday, and he took in 5 ounces on the breast! So, he's chowing down. Our next hurdle is not using a nipple shield, but I'm giving us some space. He will latch on without it if he's nice and calm, so I am not too worried. I'm just happy I'm not pumping all the time anymore. One of my friends said the first two weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest. Based on what we've been through, I tend to agree. J kept playing this youtube video for me when we were really struggling. It did help to lighten the mood.

Anyway, that's pretty much my updates. There's a lot of diapers, boob, and sleeping (for the baby) around here. I can't complain though. He's a good baby and I just love cuddling him. It's worth all the interrupted sleep. :)


The day we brought him home (2 days old)

Just born

4 or 5 days old. 

I was proud of my swaddling in this picture.

He was literally sleeping on me like this. Lol.

Picture today - he's getting bigger!

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent us well wishes, flowers, gifts, and food. It is all so much appreciated! (And I may eventually get to writing thank yous). And now, I must go. I'm pretty sure there's a diaper that needs changing. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DIY High Chair Cover

So, I lied in my last post when I said that it would be it before I delivered. Turns out, our kid is far too comfortable in there. As our induction (aka eviction) date draws nearer, I thought I would share a little last minute project. I ended up taking this week off from work. I am pretty happy that I did because I have been spending most of the week sleeping. Seriously, my body cannot seem to handle being 39 weeks pregnant. And for the record, I never thought I would be this pregnant. It makes me have much greater sympathy for the ladies that go overdue. I have been getting up to eat breakfast and then falling back asleep for a few hours every day this week. I have also gotten at least one thing cleaned, too, which I am sure will make me feel better after delivery. Monday was bathrooms and yesterday was laundry. It's always nice coming home to a clean house. Everything is set up and ready to go at this point. We're just missing a baby...

Anyway, on Sunday and Monday, I ended up making new high chair covers. The high chair we will eventually use comes from my parents. My dad recently refinished it. You can't really find very many wooden high chairs anymore, so we're pretty grateful that my parents kept it. We also have a plastic space saver high chair that can attach to an existing seat. We plan on using that for earlier on (it reclines) and for trips since we can easily bring it with us places. I figure we'll start using the wooden chair once baby is a little bigger and can sit up easily on his own.

The padding for the wooden high chair was looking a little worn and outdated (sorry mom).

But, I had batting and the fabric that we used in our dining room on hand and figured I could easily make new covers that matched.

I used the old covers as a pattern for the new ones. I think my new ones are slightly smaller, but should still work fine.

To sew, I sewed the outside pieces together with the batting, leaving one end open so I could turn it.

Making the little strings was the most annoying part of the whole process. Getting them to fold in on themselves and stitch was frustrating.

Seats side-by-side.

I basically did the same thing for the top piece (following the pattern from the original). I made a small mistake, but I don't think it's super noticeable, so I won't point it out.

I think the new one looks a little smaller since I didn't include the ruffle.

That's all from me. I don't have the high chair here yet, so I can't show you the two together, but I think my new padding turned out pretty well. I'm pretty sure the baby won't care one way or the other, though! Ha. Okay, kid, we have all the things ready. You can make your appearance now! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Maternity Essentials

So... it's August!! The last few days where it's just the two of us. We've been enjoying a pretty lazy weekend of some errands and going to the movies (Guardians of the Galaxy was super fun). Most of the things on our to-do list are done, so I don't feel guilty about lying around a bit. Sure, I could be cleaning more, but the house is in decent shape, and bending over is super hard work right now. Every time I drop something, I have to make the decision whether I'm going to squat down or ask J to come help me. I try to get one thing clean when I get home from work, and that has been working out pretty well. J also helps out a lot around the house, which helps. He jokes with me about the laundry because it usually goes like this: Me, "Hey, would you mind throwing the clothes in the wash. I'll take care of them after that." Him, "Sure." Me, later, "Would you mind throwing the wash in the dryer?" Him, "Sure." Me, even later, "Hey, would you mind bringing the clothes up from the dryer? I'll help you put them away." (I do help him put them away). Me, later on, "I'm so glad I got the laundry done!" He gives me a look. Okay, maybe I didn't do the laundry. :)

Anyway, since I am finally at the end of pregnancy, I thought I would do a post to share what has been helpful for me in getting through it. I realize that almost everyone is different, so if you ask a different pregnant woman her pregnancy essentials, I could almost guarantee she might have a completely different list. I'm going to try to organize it by trimester (meaning when I started needing the items).

First Trimester

1. Prenatal vitamins - All of them pretty much have the same things in them, so it doesn't really matter which one you pick, but there are a few differences. I couldn't do any of the ones with DHA in them (DHA is fish oil). It's supposed to be super good for the baby, but I couldn't keep them down. After trying a few brands, I ended up really liking the Rainbow Light prenatal vitamin. If you can't swallow large pills, be forewarned. The pills are enormous. However, the formula didn't irritate my stomach like most other prenatals, so it worked for me. (I also tried One-a-Day, Nature Made, and the Vita-fusion brands). The Vita-fusion one contains DHA but no iron, so be aware (even in gummy form, I couldn't stomach the DHA). The Nature Made one didn't have DHA, but the iron irritated my stomach. The one-a-day one was okay.

2. Grocery bags - I was always carrying around plastic grocery bags in case I needed to vomit. Yes, I used them.

3. Bra extender and new bras- One of the first changes I had was that my bras were suddenly way too small. I'm pretty sure this is super common in pregnancy. I ended up having to use both a bra extender and buy some new (stretchy) bras from Target. I mostly went for nursing bras, which were already a bit wider than normal ones, and in the hopes that I might be able to use them post-partum as well.

4. Bella band - There is this awkward time where your pants don't really fit, but you aren't ready to buy maternity jeans yet. The bella band helps solve this issue. Some people fit fine in their clothes into the second trimester. I started having issues around week 7-8 (mostly bloating). I didn't wear the bella band for all that long (I haven't used it since I bought maternity jeans), but I hear it's good for the deflation stage too, so maybe I will be using it again.

5. Juice - I couldn't drink water in the first trimester. It made me super sick. Diluted juice literally saved me from dehydration, although I was on the edge of dehydration the entire first trimester. My main goal was to avoid having to get IV fluids. Gatorade also helped. I think I started being able to stomach plain water around weeks 14-16 and it was so glorious.

6. Unisom - Unisom + B6 has been used for years in the battle against morning sickness and probably the only medication that actually did anything for me (it's now sold as the prescription drug Diclegis, but the OTC version is way cheaper). The B6 never really helped me all that much, but the Unisom did. The only problem is that it's also a sleep aid, so taking it during the day was not really an option. I (still) take one of the sleeptabs every night to help with nausea the next day. It doesn't even act as a sleep aid for me anymore since I have taken it so long. I will randomly try not taking it, and the nausea and vomiting return with a vengeance, so it really has been helping.

7. Exercise! So, I am more than slightly anal when it comes to exercise. I do something physical every day, and didn't stop when I got pregnant. My exercises changed over time, but I found that some physical activity made me feel like a person. I even exercised while super sick, pausing to go vomit. I also am really paranoid about blood clots and high blood pressure. Exercising keeps both in check. I am also hoping it will help me bounce back post-baby. The exercises I have done:

Elliptical - first and second trimesters
Summer Sanders Prenatal workout - second trimester (I found the third trimester one too boring)
What to Expect workout - third trimester (I would have used this in the second if I had found it sooner)
Walking - second and third trimesters (as soon as it was warm enough)
Swimming - third trimester

I also tried a few prenatal yoga videos, but I couldn't really find one I liked. They were either way too slow (and put me to sleep) or I was too far along and just couldn't bend the way the person with the tiny bump was bending.

Second Trimester

8. Maternity jeans! - Once you make the switch, you won't want to wear anything else. I suggest the ones with the full panel because the underbelly ones can get really uncomfortable as you get bigger. I personally bought mine from Motherhood Maternity and Target. The ones from Target were actually my favorite pair. As you grow, jeans can get more uncomfortable, so you may have to buy the size up. Being pregnant in the summer has a definite advantage - I don't need to wear jeans, so I don't. :)

9. Maternity tops - Eventually, your pre-pregnancy clothes will just be too tight or uncomfortable. My pregnancy started in November, so I really focused on spring and summer clothing for maternity wear. I was able to get by with just maternity jeans for a long time, but definitely was needing maternity tops by April. I have gotten a lot of use out of my maternity tops by layering (maternity tank top + pre-pregnancy cardigan). However, I am starting to get super tired of maternity clothes by this point, and there is no way I am buying any more at this stage. Another suggestion is getting stretchy maternity t-shirts. They have lasted me the entire time, and don't break the bank. Target and Gap have nice long ones. Anything that isn't tight fitting at the bottom becomes a problem in the late third trimester (caution: underbump showing).

10. Maternity yoga pants - They are so, so comfy and worth every penny. Also, you will want them post-partum (I am told).

Third Trimester

11. The snoogle - This is the most awesome body pillow in the world. J got it for me for Mother's Day, and it's been awesome. I credit this pillow for my lack of back and hip pain. It keeps your body aligned while sleeping, which makes sleeping way easier.

12. Tums - for heartburn. I don't really feel like I need to explain this.

13. Snacks - Even without the gestational diabetes, you get hungry way more frequently as baby is putting on weight. And your stomach is getting squished, making big meals difficult. Lots of healthy snacks makes this problem a little easier. If I didn't have GD, I would probably eat fruit all day long.

14. Comfortable shoes - I can't stress enough how important this one has been for me. My feet ache all the time right now. It must be something about putting on 30+ pounds in nine months, but it's super hard to do stuff when your feet feel terrible. My mom ended up buying me a pair of flip flops from Clarks, which have saved my life this summer. Arch support is awesome.

I hope you enjoyed! What are some of your maternity essentials? Anything I missed?

Bonus story (completely unrelated): Last night, I decided I was going to make Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese. Well, I didn't think that the peppers would hurt my hands while I was cutting them. Wrong. So wrong. My hands were on fire for about 3 hours after cutting the peppers. I tried everything to make it better - vinegar, oil, lemon juice, sour cream, rubbing alcohol, aloe, and milk. The milk worked over time. It took about 3 30 minute soaks to get it under control and my fingertips were still hurting. I mixed baking soda and milk into a paste for my fingers, which actually did work pretty well. Next time - gloves! (For the record, the mac and cheese wasn't even spicy).

This will probably be my last post until baby is on the outside. Prayers for an easy labor are welcome - I've been eating dates and sipping on red raspberry leaf tea! (Plus, lots of walking)

Monday, July 21, 2014

State of the bump

It's about time for me to do some updating. It's been almost a month?!? What? I don't even know how that's possible. We've been having a pretty good July, despite the fact that I am slowly turning into Jabba the Hut. Seriously.

Some highlights... going to the fireworks locally (this is the first year we have actually been in the area for the 4th), going to see the Lion King (which was totally awesome), and another baby shower thrown by my MIL's friends. I meant to take pictures, but I totally didn't. Thankfully, my mother in law took a few before the shower.

3 of the 4 hostesses.

They did a lovely job and it was a very nice shower. We feel very blessed by all the love. They also did a book theme, so we now have a ton of great baby books to read to the baby! :) Good times.

Now that the showers are done, we have been able to finish up getting the last minute things we need and get them set up throughout the house. We have baby areas on the first and upper floors.

Baby gym on the first floor.

Other play things (books, toys, etc)

Stroller ready to go


Moses basket. I figured it would be good to have a place to sleep on the first floor since we have the pack and play set up in our room. Of course, if he likes sleeping in it, we can always relocate it to our bedroom. Also, breast pump stuff is currently on the dining room table because I haven't figured out where to put it yet. I did sterilize everything this past weekend.

Completed nursery. We are still waiting on a bookrack from Pottery Barn Kids. I ordered it in May, but apparently they want to wait until the baby is in college to deliver it. Sigh. I love our new elephant hamper though!

So, we're pretty well setup. I have my hospital stuff together, although not actually in a bag. I don't feel very near labor, so I'm not too concerned, but I'll probably be throwing it in the bag between contractions. haha. I've actually enjoyed being local this summer. Normally, we are doing a billion trips over the summer, and it's rather nice to be able to see friends, go to the neighborhood pool and hang out.

The popular question seems to be how am I feeling. I feel very pregnant. It's the last month... end game. So, basically everything hurts and I'm uncomfortable. But, that's pretty typical. Still dealing with the gestational diabetes. It hasn't been terrible, but I do sometimes get some high numbers, which are always upsetting. My doctors wanted to start me on medicine, but I have been having a lot of heart palpitations and the medication and palpitations don't really mix well (you aren't supposed to be on beta-blockers and glyburide at the same time, apparently). So, I am doing my best with the diet. The heart thing is fine (for those in the medical field, I have been having lots of PVCs), and I got an echo for it (woo - another ultrasound, but not of the baby!). Today, I found out the peaches I have been eating from Wegman's may be contaminated with listera (they issued a huge recall which includes Costco and Trader Joe's - check it out). So, I've been completely paranoid about that. All this microwaving deli meat, and it's the fruit! Urgh! Also, I'm a bit swollen, but my blood pressure seems okay, so whatever. One day at a time... Getting closer!