Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Products I Love for Baby #2

 It's no secret that having a baby quickly fills up not only your heart, but your house as well. Babies come with stuff. A LOT of stuff. Some of it neccessary, some of it completely frivolous, some of it ridiculously named (c'mon, Pee-Pee Tee-Pees?). My BFF M and I have an ongoing joke that we're going to found a company called "Crap for Kids" that features only vitally neccessary, mimimally-named well, crap for kids. For example: you need diapers? Crap for Kids carries those! Only they're called Crap Catchers, and they come in one color: white. No stupid cartoons or tooty fruity designs. But newborns actually need very little, so following is my list of essential items that I would not have made it through the first few weeks without!

I'm very conscious of what I put on and in my kids' little bodies, and whenever possible, I opt for natural products. The Earth Mama Angel Baby line is 100% natural. I discovered it with their Third Trimester Tea (yummy!) and went on to order these two products, both of which are wonderful. The bottom balm is cloth diaper safe, which is neccessary for us, smells divine, and works beautifully - a thin coating between diaper changes keeps Cole's teeny bum healthy and rash free. The nipple butter blows any other product I've tried out of the water - waaaay better than the lanolin-based creams I used the first time around, and being all natural (and vegan, to boot!), you don't have to worry about wiping it off before nursing, or about baby ingesting any of the ingredients. 

Speaking of natural products - the California Baby line is another of my absolute favorites. Cole is having some skin issues, which are common for newborns as their hormones get all adjusted post-birth. He's got some crazy combination skin happening - oily and dry all at the same time. The calendula bodywash is super gentle and non-irritating, and the cream is soothing and hydrating on all his dry patches. I use both of these products on myself and Jake as well and love them!

Even if you're breastfeeding, odds are you'll need a pump of some sort - to relieve engorgement, or pump when you're away from baby, build up a freezer stash, etc. I have a double electric pump that I purchased when I returned to work after having my first, and it will be my go-to again this time for use at work. But here at home, I find myself reaching for my manual pump almost every time. It's so quick and easy to use, and I'm finding I actually pump more with it than my electric. It's quiet and not dependent on batteries or a wall charger. I love it, and for the price (retails around $35-$40 depending on where you purchase it), you can't beat it.

And speaking of nursing - another must have are breast pads. Especially in the early days, there's a lot of leakage happening and no one needs that. Last time, I used disposable nursing pads, but along with my transition to cloth diapers and wipes, I opted for the reusable route this time. These Bamboobies pads are amazing - the daytime ones are super soft and thin but still get the job done, and the nighttime ones are so absorbent and feel wonderful next to your skin.

Ok, ok, one more nursing must-have! Good nursing bras are a breastfeeding mama's best friend. This is my new favorite - it's the "Stella" by Bravado for Target. Smooth, seamless, soft, stretchy and supportive, plus easy to use. It's a winner all around!

My first baby was born in the summer - a whole different ball game than a winter baby! Around here it's been cold, and by cold, I mean absolutely ARCTIC in the weeks since Cole was born. That's why fleece sleepers are at the top of my newborn must-have list. They are so easy to get on and off, so plush and cozy, and keep baby warm from head (well, neck, technically) to toe. I wish I had a million of them, because there's no real end to this Alaskan weather in sight.

 And last but not least, a treat for mama and baby - a glider and ottoman set. I had an upholstered rocking chair in Jake's nursery, and it was a very pretty chair, but it was not cut out for nursing. No lumbar support, the back wasn't high enough to rest my head on, and it moved all over the place when you rocked it. My parents gifted me with this set for Christmas, and it's like a little vacation every night when I nurse the baby before he goes to bed. It's likely the first time I've been able to put my feet up all day, and the nursery is quiet and dark and we're snuggled up together...I'm not going to lie, I often doze a bit myself while he finishes up his bedtime snack :)

So there's all the "Crap for Kids" that has propelled me through the newborn haze. The list of essentials will surely change as he grows so stay tuned for an update!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pregnancy Progression

Here they are - all 39 weeks worth of belly shots on the road to baby #2! Allow me to say that something got wonky with my point and shoot digital camera along the way, resulting in some blurry photos. You can definitely tell when we upgraded to a DSLR around 37 weeks!

And, I know I was done with pregnancy at the end, but watching this totally makes me miss that belly!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why natural childbirth is like Splash Mountain

It's no secret that I LOVE Disney World - it's probably my favorite vacation destination. That place is so magical, and everyone gets to be a kid, and don't even get me started on how I can't wait to take our own kids there and see it through their eyes. I'll cry for sure! But, when it comes to thrill-seeking, I am admittedly and unapologetically vanilla. Space Mountain? Never been on it. The Tower of Terror? Terrified! But somehow, my mom always manages to drag me onto Splash Mountain - the log flume ride that ends with a 53 foot drop into the brier patch below. Thrill rides. Not a fan. But I got to thinking about it the other day and I realized that natural childbirth is pretty much the most intense thrill ride you can go on. Check it out:

If you're anything like me, perhaps you begin by thinking, "hm, do I really even want to go on this ride?" There you are, standing in front of the viewing area, watching log after log of shrieking riders go plummeting to their doom, and wondering, just why, exactly you would choose this particular ride over, say, the air-conditioned Hall of Presidents. The first time you rode the ride, you really didn't know what to expect, so, sure, you were game! You naively climbed into your hollowed-out log and off you went. But, faced with riding a second time, you remembered - ""hey, that was kind of scary," (or in laborland, "hey, that hurt like a son-of-a-pup") and I'm not totally sure I want to do that again." 

Regardless of why, you find yourself in a hollowed-out log again. And the ride starts and you think "this isn't so bad, look at all the cute little singing bunnies!" You encounter the first set of mini-rapids and you're all "I can totally handle this! Look ma, no hands!" But then Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear show up and the mood gets a little darker - uh oh! The Slippin' Falls are up ahead! That more daring drop-off rocks your confidence a bit, but you press onward, because there's no getting off the ride now. And then, then, you begin your ascent to the final descent, and again, if you're anything like me, you're starting to panic. Perhaps you curse your traveling companion* who got you on this ride in the first place as your log click-click-clicks its way up the huge hill. And your mind, and in all likelihood, your mouth as well, is screaming "I don't want to do this anymore! I want to get off, get me off this ride!" Your log crests the hill, with a dazzling view of the entire theme park - perhaps the person you rode with is saying something unintelligible like "Look, isn't it pretty? Look, I can see the carousel!" "OH MY GOD, GET ME OUT OF HERE, WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS ANYWAY???" but there's nothing left to do but shut your eyes, duck and yell your head off as you careen down a 53 foot drop in a matter of seconds. 

Then...you cautiously open one eye, then the other. You survived! You're a bit wet from the giant splash, but otherwise fine. 

And your first thought is: "I have GOT to do that again!"

*To my credit at no point did I curse my husband in the delivery room. Or my mom on Splash Mountain, for that matter.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Baby G2 has arrived!

Baby G2 made his grand entrance to the world on Saturday, January 4th, 2014 at 8:15am. His birth, just like that of his big brother, was absolute perfection. Interestingly, both of my labors were nearly mirror-images of each other, with this most recent one being about 3 hours shorter. Details below!

If you've been reading along through the last few weeks of my pregnancy, you know I'd been getting increasingly impatient to meet Baby G. On Thursday the 2nd, I saw Dr. H, the OB who practices with my midwives, for my 39 week appointment. Before I could even ask her to strip my membranes and get the party started, she suggested it. She told me I was a good 2 cm dilated at that point and that she suspected the membrane sweep would move things along. A snow storm was predicted to begin that evening and she asked me how far we were from the hospital. I told her not to worry, we have all wheel drive, we'll be fine, ha ha! But I wasn't laughing later that evening when I was feeling all contracty and the roads were nearly impassable. Luckily, it wasn't the real thing that night!

Friday, January 3rd. A quiet day at home with my big boy. We had an awesome time playing Legos and keeping warm in front of the woodstove. I had started spotting a bit and was contracting regularly but didn't want to get my hopes up. So instead I forced myself to make a grocery run. This sucked big time. It was all of 4 degrees outside and I had to drag my 3 year old to the store while having contractions and feeling increasingly more uncomfortable. In hindsight, perhaps not the smartest move, but I wanted a full fridge and pantry in case this was it. I purchased a whole fresh pineapple, because I had read that it was rumored to jump start labor and I was prepared to eat the whole darn thing! By the time we got home I was exhausted and threw a couple of frozen pizzas in for dinner. I didn't have much of an appetite though and only picked at it. Later that evening, I lost my mucus plug, which is every bit as appetizing as it sounds, but was a real indicator that things were moving along. We had a dear friend who also happens to be our neighbor and Sweets' sitter, lined up to be our labor support person, so I was keeping her informed of the goings-on as well. After putting Sweets to bed I was wiped out and crashed on the couch for a bit, noticing that the contractions seemed to be picking up. When I got into bed around 10 pm to try and get some rest, they suddenly started coming very regularly. Hubs had fallen asleep out on the couch so I texted him to let him know what was up. Yep, I sure did text him when he was two rooms away ;) By 12:30 am I knew this was for real, so we called my parents, who were coming to stay with Sweets, the midwife on call, who told me to head over to the hospital, and our friend L, to let her know we would be on our way shortly. The contractions were anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart but totally manageable. Just like with my first labor, I was thinking "these need to get so much worse" before we went to the hospital, but all of my people were gently suggesting that it was probably time. They were right!

After peeking in on my sleeping boy and bursting into tears at leaving him, knowing he wouldn't be my only when we returned, we were on our way. We arrived in triage around 2:30 am. My babies love these middle of the night labors! I was checked and pronounced a solid 4 cm and 100% effaced. While they readied my room, Hubs and I walked the halls for an hour or so. This definitely helped the contractions pick up even more, but I was feeling great in between. Around 5 am, I got into the whirlpool tub and let me tell you, it was blissful. As a great lover of hot baths, I was in heaven. It was a huge tub with lots of jets and I just labored away one contraction at a time, occasionally having a nurse check on the baby with a Doppler. I was also starving, which surprised me. Hubs was feeding me graham crackers and water and L was keeping me supplied with cool washcloths, and the three of us were having a merry old time in the dark tub room! I think it was around 7 am when a resident came in and said my midwife had asked her to check my progress, so I climbed out and we all trooped back to my room, where she proclaimed me 8 cm. I couldn't believe it! I was feeling awesome - how could I be at 8 already? She asked if I wanted to do some more walking and I agreed. A half lap around the floor later I was doubled over telling Hubs I couldn't do it - transition time! Back in my room the contractions got evil for that last centimeter or so. Hubs and L were praising me and telling me how great I was doing and my only response was "I can't, I can't!" I remember L saying "that means we're going to have a baby soon!" She was right! Around 8 am my water broke and with the next contraction I screeched that I had to push. No, like now. RIGHT.NOW. So I did. I could have cared less that my midwife wasn't in the room yet. I was getting that baby out! She arrived moments later and L tells me she said "oh look, there's the head!" Um, yeah, I know, I can feel it! ;) Five super intense minutes later, G2 appeared squalling and pink and I asked Hubs to tell me what we had. I'll always remember his voice cracking as he cried "it's a boy!" They handed him right to me and just like that, we were a family of four and my heart grew about a thousand times over.

It's all fun and games in triage ;)
My mama made me a couple of snazzy delivery gowns and they were a huge hit! 
Thanks, Mom, for ensuring that I labored in style! 

A gorgeous sunrise outside our window

After getting out of the tub


...the last centimeter was no fun

It's a boy!!! 

Getting acquainted...

Shhhh, sweet baby

Daddy cuts him loose!

Welcome to the family!

No one said being born was easy ;)

I didn't ask for this, people!

Ten tiny toes

Nursing for the first time - he did great!

Pure outrage

"The decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." -Elizabeth Stone

Cole Brian, 8 pounds, 5 oz and 19 inches long. We've been waiting for you and loving you for nine long months, sweet baby. Welcome to our family. And thanks for not making me eat a whole pineapple ;)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

39 Weeks

How far along? 
39 weeks...and 3 days, to be exact. This was the gestational age at which I delivered Sweets and I honestly did not think I would surpass this date with Baby #2. I'm a little annoyed. And also exhausted, apparently. Look at those bags under my eyes!

How big is baby? 
The size of a small pumpkin and around 7 pounds

Total weight gain?
Up 21 pounds at the midwife's office - no weight gain again this week, which is normal at the end

Maternity clothes?
 Wishing they still fit comfortably! 


Best moment of the week?
I have had the best time over the last two weeks soaking up the last of my one-on-one days with my sweet boy. He has been so snuggly and fun, and sleeping well too, which has allowed me to catch some cat naps - SO nice. Today when I put him down for his nap, his little head shot up from his pillow as I was leaving and he said "Mommy? I love you." :::melts:::

Food cravings?
 Granola is the flavor of the week...yum

Labor Signs?
 Ouch, those practice contractions!

I would say my most pronounced symptom this week is moodiness. I'm just large and annoyed.

Slowing down but still there, mainly in the evening

Come on out and meet us, baby, so we can find out!

What I’m looking forward to?
Meeting G2! That's all that's left to do at this point!

What I miss?
Being comfortable. I'm so not. Ever.

Weekly Wisdom?
The waiting game continues...

2 cm dilated at my appointment today and had my membranes stripped...bring it on!