Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Hotlist - Newborn edition

Babies require a lot of . . . crap. I felt like I needed every kind of equipment, every type of swaddling blanket, because you never know. After trying different things, I now know what works for me and what doesn't. Here are my favorites:

Fisher Price Rock n' Play Sleeper
I have a nice wooden modern looking cradle that matches the furniture in our bedroom. However, this things got such amazing reviews that I had to register for it. Sawyer sleeps in this every night. It's supposed to be great for babies with reflux. Even though Sawyer doesn't have reflux, I like that it keeps him somewhat upright, reducing the chance of him spitting up. It folds up and is light and portable so we can move it around the house and take it with us places, rather than packing up the bulky pack-n-play.

Britax B-Agile travel system
I dreaded getting a stroller because they all seem so bulky and cumbersome. The goal was to find a stroller that was light, easy to fold up, and looked cute. This is very similar to the Babyjogger Citiy Mini, which is extremely popular. What won me over about the Britax was 1) the price and 2) the fact that it's compatible with Britax carseats (you need to buy a $60 adapter kit with the City Mini). It steers so well, I love it.

Dr. Brown Bottles

I went with the Dr. Brown bottles because I already knew how to use them since my sister in law used them with her kids. Some people don't like them because of all the parts you have to clean, but it hasn't been a big deal for me. They are supposed to be one of the best bottles for reducing gas and fussiness and they seem to work for us.

Moby Wrap

I work from home so I need to be able to keep the baby happy and still be hands-free. It takes some trial and error to figure out how to put this thing on, but once you do it's great. There are a bunch of different ways you can hold your baby in it. This picture shows the particular hold that we like to use.

Fisher Price Snugabunny Swing

It's big, it's ugly, it place creepy church music. It has a damn canopy for god's sake. But it's magical and we can put the baby in here for a little while why we get some stuff done. 

Halo Sleep Sack

We've tried several different swaddles and this is our favorite. It's easy to use and miraculously, I can change his diaper at night without unswaddling him (it unzips from the bottom up). He sleeps soundly without flailing his arms around and waking himself up. He also looks like a little burrito in it, so bonus.

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Month

We have one month under our belts. It's completely amazing and unbelievable that Sawyer didn't exist outside my body a little over a month ago. He's our whole world now. I'm working on my birth story now, but i'm not sure if I'll share it or not. It is so deeply personal. 

Motherhood has been everything and nothing like I expected. I expected the constant cycle of bottles, diapers and naps. What I didn't expect was how much I would enjoy it. What I also didn't expect was for this all-consuming love to hit me so hard. I'm so much happier than I expected to be. I had a rough pregnancy, emotions-wise, and I spent a lot of time absolutely terrified of motherhood, scared that I wouldn't be able to bond with the baby, worried I would hate my new role and miss my old life. I didn't realize that it was absolutely out of control. I didn't really have to worry about how to become a mother, because it just happens without your consent. And I didn't have to worry about loving my baby, because no matter how hard I could have tried not to, because there is no way that I couldn't. 

That's not to say that it hasn't been challenging at times. The first few weeks were hard, really hard. It's not really the lack of sleep that was hard, but just getting used to a new sleep pattern. Sawyer was up every 2-3 hours at night to eat, and I could never really get into deep sleep. I also experience the baby blues, which most women do. It's crazy because you can actually feel the hormones rushing in and out of your body. I would burst into tears dozens of times per day, and it was totally out of my control. I would say through my sobs, "I have no idea why I'm crying right now, I'm not even sad!" The baby blues combined with complete exhaustion eventually did me in, and I was scared that PPD was starting to set in. I expected this though, and saw my doctor right away. He put me on a new med, Frank let me get a few nights of uninterrupted sleep (we're formula feeding so this was possible) and within two days things were significantly easier.

I feel like I've really found my footing now. I can change a poopy diaper with just one wipe, dodge a stream of pee, swaddle with one hand. I'm also not stressed out very much at all. This is largely to the credit of Sawyer, who is a dream baby. Everyone comments about how calm and happy he is all the time. I (always the pessimist) expected an extremely fussy difficult baby. What I got was a baby who only cries to let us know he's hungry or needs a diaper, can spend an hour laying on a blanket just looking around. We can take him shopping with us without worrying about a meltdown. I know his temperment could change overnight, but right now I'm enjoying this content baby. He has really helped ease us into this transition.

My physical recovery has gone quicker than I imagined as well. Labor was incredibly quick and easy (well, after the epi!) and since he was so small, I didn't tear too much. Within a week, I had cabin fever and was able to get out to do some shopping. I've lost 20 pounds but have another 20 to do, and it's holding on for dear life. 

They say having a baby changes everything. Everything it has changed has been for the better. Of course it's not as easy to run out the door to run a quick errand, and we can't decide last minute to go on a trip, but much of our life remains the same. Because of our awesome family, we have still been able to go on dates, see friends, be grownups. And we don't just talk about the baby, we still talk about everything we did before him. Our relationship is stronger because of this amazing person we made together.

What has changed is me. I have found a confidence that I didn't have before. Being pregnant and giving birth has changed me for the better. I grew and gave life to a human, a perfect human. I can do anything. I have also experienced a range of emotions that I didn't even know existed. I understand people who choose not to have kids, and sometimes I even wondered if I wanted them. But I feel like for me personally, my life experience would never have been this full without this baby. It truly is a miracle.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manboobs and Men Who Are Boobs

When I first got pregnant, I naively assumed that the biggest violation of my privacy would be people wanting to touch my belly, and doing so without asking. I'm into my 8th month, and I have to say I haven't had much of a problem with this. Not a single stranger has touched me or even asked to, and only a couple of family/friends have, and that doesn't bother me.

BUT, my privacy has been violated in a way that I definitely did not expect.

I went to a wedding last weekend, and not one but two different GUYS asked me if I planned to breastfeed. These were not close friends. One was a guy i met one time, about a year and a half ago, when we were drunk together in a limo. The other one is a neighbor down the street that I have talked to a handful of times. One guy had a six month old daughter with him and the other's girlfriends is due around the same time I am. 

The first guy, guy A, introduces us to his daughter (wife is not around because she's in the wedding) and starts spewing off random baby facts, akin to Rainman, because now that he has a baby he is the official knower of all things baby. We talk about benign things like strollers for a while until he abruptly asks, "So, are you going to breastfeed?" Frank and I look at each other like "seriously dude?" and I feel the sudden need to cross my arms over my chest. I kind of stumbled over my words and told him that I wasn't sure yet, blah blah, and he proceeded that as soon as I get past "the bloody, cracked, nipple stage" I'd be good to go and it would be super easy. Though the guy has a minor case of MB's going on, I'm pretty sure he's never nursed a baby. Thankfully, frank jumped in and said, "We plan to feed the baby." 

I may not be able to breastfeed because of some medical issues. Whatever. I don't feel like I need to explain myself or justify myself. To anyone, especially a strange guy. And no, I won't degrade myself or preface any explanation with, "I know breast is best but . . . " because there are many times that breast is NOT the best, in a particular situation, case closed. And I feel well qualified to judge my own situation and make the right decision. 

The point I'm trying to make here is not really about breastfeeding vs. formula. The point is that it has been really disconcerting to watch my body suddenly go up for public debate and judgement. No one  in their right mind would ask a woman a question about her breasts if she weren't pregnant or a mother. Or a loaded question about such a personal choice. Because you know if they're asking, they have an opinion about it. I think the next time someone asks me I'll follow up with an equally inappropriate and private question, like "How much money do you make?" Any other suggestions?

(By the way, this same guy also asked me if I planned on getting an epidural. Because his wife went all natural and it was "really easy". I like to think that if she would have been there she probably would have smacked him.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An Insider's Look at Pregnancy

I've been pregnant for over seven years months now, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. I want to share with you what I've learned so far. Although I have a feeling that I'm just now entering the "I want to die, kill me now" stage where you feel like your body is being ripped limb from limb. So I'm sure I'll have more to discuss later.

It's no secret that this pregnancy has been hard for me, super hard. I think I said in a previous post (although this might have been a blog post i wrote in my mind and never actually wrote, that happens a lot) that the hardest thing about this so far has been the hormones f-ing with me. I've gone to the brink of crazy and (almost) back and it's been horrifying. But I don't feel like writing a post about the really hard stuff so I'll stick to the normal pregnancy stuff.

  • Pregnancy will go a lot faster than you think it will. It will also go a lot slower than you think it will.
  • Cravings: For me at least, the cravings were not extreme and there hasn't really been one single craving that has lasted for a while. The way I explain it is that these are things that I crave when I'm not pregnant, I just give in to the cravings more now because food is ALL I HAVE.
  • Maternity Clothes: When you're not pregnant, you think all these stores have the cutest maternity clothes. I always thought, "I can't wait to be pregnant, this Liz Lange shit is cute!" Then you actually have to shop for maternity clothes and you realize that target has two racks of maternity clothes and they are all size XL. You have to drive 45 min away to the only Old Navy in your city that has maternity clothes, and they have about 3 racks, all size XL. Your standards for fashion go way down because you have nothing to pick from. Before, I could have walked into a Motherhood Maternity and said "I will never wear this fugly stuff," and now I'm all like "Oh, a plain t-shirt with side ruching? JACKPOT!" I really feel for the women who have to leave their house to go to their job, because I have literally been living in the same pair of leggings and rotating between three tank tops for the entire summer. My theory is that a lot of women fall into the "mom clothes" rut because they get so used to having to wear crap during pregnancy. I'm countering this by pinning tons of real people clothes. 
  • More on Maternity Clothes: I (naively) said at the beginning of the pregnancy that my goal was to not wear maternity clothes at all. HAHAHAHA. So smug. It lasted for a while, but I eventually realized that despite the lack of selection and style, maternity clothes actually do flatter more than "regular" clothes. If you compare a plain white tee to a plain white maternity tee, the maternity one will make you look ten times better. I could probably still wear regular jeans, unbuttoned, with a belly band right now (in a few sizes up from my old size, RIP) but I don't want any kind of stuff touching my stomach besides the glorious spandex panel of maternity pants. I just feel more sensitive there and don't want things all bunched up and pinching my gut.
  • The strangers-touching-your-belly thing has not been an issue for me so far. It hasn't even happened once. 
  • Stretch Marks: None yet, but I know that most of the time they happen in the last couple weeks.  I also know that it's mostly genetic, so I don't go crazy with the belly butter etc. What did freak me out was that my mom told me she practically erupted in stretch marks at 5 months and the doctor told her it was one of the worst cases he's ever seen.
  • My goal was to be one of those women who work out until they give birth. I thought that those who didn't were mostly just lazy. Not true. One day I woke up and my body had broken overnight. My SI joint went out of place and hasn't gone back, so for a while I could barely walk, had excruciating pain, and sleeping was a joke. Since I've been going to a chiropractor and getting massages, it's been downgraded to a constant pain and annoyance that only wakes me up every 2 hours rather than every half hour. But it makes regular yoga impossible and I can only walk about a mile or so now. It also feels like my hips are being ripped apart with a crowbar. 
  • Feeling the baby move: A lot of people who have never been pregnant ask me what it feels like to have a baby inside you. Well. . . it feels like you have a baby inside you. Imagine taking a newborn squirming jerky-limbed baby and putting it inside yourself. I get kicked in the ribs on the hour and have to push him out of there. It's kind of cool but it kind of sucks also. It feels like all my internal organs are in different places than they used to be. I got food poisoning a few weeks ago (yeah seriously) and I could feel the intestinal cramps in my chest.
  • Peeing my pants: This started pretty early for me. Anytime I sneeze, I pee myself. The only way I don't is if my bladder is empty and I have enough warning to cross my legs tightly. I've peed on the new glider for the baby's room. I've peed 
There's one more big one, but that requires it's own post. Hopefully I get around to writing it and not just writing it in my head. It's a doozy. In the meantime, here are some pictures to prove that I'm actually pregnant. The whole "take a photo each week of pregnancy" thing only lasted for a few weeks.

These are from a wedding I went to this weekend:

And this is what I more typically look like:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hidden Talent

I swear that I'm going to start regularly posting real posts. Soon. Very soon.

In the mean time, I'm mastering my latest talent, peeing my pants when I sneeze. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Where do I start?

I've been thinking about this blog post for about three months. You know, the one where you come back from a big hiatus? How do I explain why I haven't been on here for months? Well to be honest, it's not that exciting, it was more laziness than anything else. Sometimes I go through bouts of anxiety and depression, and that happened this winter, which blows. I had gone years without a panic attack and then boom. It had a lot to do with hormones and going off my birth control (you see where this is going?), but also my constant worrying and neurotic thinking didn't help. Turns out hormones are more powerful than I could ever imagine, as I would find out throughout late winter and spring as well.

I found out that I was pregnant in February, and honestly it was a huge surprise. It shouldn't have been that big of a surprise, because well, I know how these things work. But still, when you've never been pregnant before, seeing those two pink lines can be an incredibly shocking experience, it doesn't seem like a possibility. It took a while to get used to (and I'm still getting used to it, I'm 16 weeks along) but things are starting to sink in a little more and I'm adjusting better than I thought. The first few months were rough, I admit, and I went through even more depression and anxiety. Hello hormones, and the fact that my crackpot doctor put me on an antidepressant that I had a bad reaction to. It basically did the opposite of what it's supposed to. Yes, I would love to not be on any meds at all while pregnant, but for me this proved to be an impossibility. My hormones do crazy things to my brain. I now have a better doctor who got me on the right medication, a therapist who I LOVE, and I'm doing a lot of work on myself, learning how to stop my negative thinking, live in the moment rather than the future.

Enough brain talk. What about this baby? Well the sonogram picture I put in the last post was about 8 weeks ago, so I imagine it looks much more human-like and bigger now. I get my next sonogram in three weeks, the big one where they make sure all the parts are there and in working order. And of course . . . gender! Yes, we're finding out. I'm a planner. I need to know. I have a list of names, and this is embarrassing to admit, but this list of baby names has been in progress for about ten years. The same little Word document has traveled from computer to computer and college, to apartments, etc. It's not that I've always been baby crazy, its more that I wanted to remember a name when I heard a good one. I probably won't be sharing it on this blog and I'm thinking about keeping the name a secret even from family and friends until birth. 

The baby is measuring perfectly. Although my original estimated due date got pushed back 9 days because I measured small on the sonogram. The due date calculated from the sonogram is November 3, but the due date calculated from my last period is October 25. The explanation is that I probably ovulated late in my cycle, but i'm not sure if I believe that. The due date we're telling everyone is November 3, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came in October.  Heartbeat is great, and fast. 

So yes, the focus of this blog is probably going to change quite a bit. To be totally honest, when I started this blog it was because I was reading so many pregnancy/baby blogs. I knew I wanted to blog my pregnancy and baby, and I wanted to get started before that so that I could learn how to blog, connect with other people, etc., before it happened. It definitely won't be all baby talk all the time though, because right now, it's just in there marinating and I'm pretty much going on with normal life. I don't read all the baby books and I try to stay away from the Babycenter message boards and everything. When I do that, I find myself comparing my situation to others and constantly feel like I'm thinking and feeling the wrong things. So I'm just letting nature take it's course and letting this be my experience. That means not obsessing over every little feeling and bodily change. But this blog has always been about my life, and this is my life right now. 

New Growth

I love spring. Everything is green and fresh and new. New things are growing.