Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lasts Before Firsts

Yesterday I woke up with elephant feet. It caused a minor bit of panic when I was trying to get dressed. I tried on three pairs of shoes before finding something that could fit over my foot. At that point, I didn't really care what the shoes were, just that I could leave the house without bare feet. Did I mention it was raining heavily from the newsworthy midwest storms? Once I got to work, I sent a quick SOS to my MIL, who thankfully is one of a handful of people I know who has bigger feet than me. She had a few pairs she thought might work, so I arranged to head over there after my LAST guitar lesson.

The lesson itself was anticlimactic. We ran out of time at the end of the half hour and I got the impression that my teacher doesn't really think I'm coming back. I've told him I'm taking November/December off. He's been at this longer than me, so probably there's precedent for students generally not coming back from a two month break. I certainly haven't been practicing like I ought to.

My next last is my volunteer shift on Saturday. I've also told them I'm taking a couple months. November, to wallow, nest, and rest. December, because I have no idea what's ahead of me and just want to focus on our little family. Plus, the holidays. After that, my next last, is my remaining week and a half of work. As far as I can tell, I'm about on schedule for wrapping things up there. It occurred to me that I should probably start packing things out in small handfuls so I don't end up with a big load next Friday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 35 – Already?

We seem to be gaining speed here the closer we get. The picture on baby center this week looks exactly like Potus feels, btw. I find that my belly often looks like a waterbed these days. Or a sack of angry cats. I should probably lift my shirt during the next "exercise session" to see if I can clearly see feet. Potus has definitely gotten larger and stronger. I thought the movements were supposed to get more restricted as he/she grew, however, I didn't take into account that a larger baby has stronger moves. And, I think he/she still moves sideways some because every now and then, it feels like Potus is trying to move head up.

Less than 2 weeks of work remaining and it feels weird. I've been working almost non-stop since I was 15. It's a mental adjustment for sure. I have to admit the idea of not having to leave the house holds strong appeal though, especially with snow not too far away. I've been spending more time than normal on FB and LinkedIn trying to make as many connections in anticipation of adult withdrawal. Part of me feels like it'll be an extended vacation. There are so many things I want to play around with and work on (painting, screen printing, creating my online portfolio, freelance work, trying crewel, actually practicing guitar, etc). But, I'm trying to nip that thought in the bud since the rest of me realizes I'll be a bit of a wreck with irregular sleep and caring for a new little person.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laugh and Learn

Click on the title above to read funny mistakes new and often overtired parents have made. I'm feeling a little less pressure already. Please feel free to share your own learning curves. I can always use a laugh, and may learn some great coping mechanisms for when I run out of diapers....

Eau de Bebe

Friday and Saturday, P and I went to snag most of the finishing touches from the Target and Babies R Us registries. Included were a couple bottles of HE Dreft. So, Sunday, I started washing baby clothes, blankets, bedding, diapers, etc. You wouldn't believe how many hang tags and connecting plastic tabs they use on those things. All those cunningly folded baby towels that seem to fold just right to show off the cute little animal hood are held in place by about 80 little plastic tags. And, this being a sensitive little baby, you really want to find all the little ends as you cut them off. Apparently, I got a little tunnel vision because as I moved the second load from the washer to the dryer, I noticed a few of the sticky tags like they put on blue jeans at the bottom of the the washer. Since Potus' stuff was monopolizing the laundry room, I decided to throw a few of my things in with a load. As I sit here, I wear a robe that is just oozing baby smell. So, now I know that you CAN bottle that baby scent. Personally, it's making me a little nauseous, so once we use the 120 loads or so of Dreft, I may try to seek out an unscented alternative.

Yesterday, I also went in search of nursing bras to try on. Despite the fact that there should be 100 or more nursing women at any one time in our little community, it appears there are only a couple options locally to try on. JC Penney's is the only store option and they have done their level best to hide their paltry selection of nursing bras and maternity clothes. So, it looks as though I'm back to playing Russian Roulette with non-returnable merchandise on the Interwebs. Cross your fingers for me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Surprise!

So, today was the day my office decided to throw a surprise going away/baby shower. I knew something was coming, but figured they'd put it off for a while. It kicked off with a rendition of "Take this job and shove it". I came out of an impromptu meeting and was greeted by a huge spread of food and most of the office staring at me. I thought I was just supposed to go to lunch with D, but it turns out that was a ruse so that I didn't head home for lunch at the crack of noon.

A Flaming Astro Weenie Pineapple by coworker Jake. He's only been talking about making one for 3+ years. He apparently just needed the proper motivation to get around to it.
I filled a plate to overflowing and when done, was instructed to open the gifts which consisted of a few smaller packages and a really large box. The theme was apparently feeding baby as the gifts included a couple freezer trays for baby food, spoons, bowls with handy suction cups, a cookbook, bibs, and in the big box, a Boon highchair. P even showed up to throw some barbs back at Jake and help get the highchair into my car.

Thank you coworkers!

Breastfeeding Class for Grownups

Last night, I went to a Breastfeeding Class put on by my doctor's office. As a friend had suggested, it was a much different experience than the AM La Leche League. First, there was only one infant. They encourage you to come to the class once before baby and once after. The idea being that after baby, you can bring up any additional questions or simply act as a confirmation to the "counselors" leading the session that yes, what they are telling all the soon-to-be moms is true and helpful.

These volunteer counselors (moms who have been through the same practice) put on a video and then followed it up with a more in depth discussion/demonstration of holding techniques, coping mechanisms, self-expression, etc. And, there was a little booklet with a lot of the same info, even including pictures of poop so I can tell what is normal and what warrants a call to the doctor.

One thing I thought was interesting was that they tucked in a hot pink card for us to take to the hospital. It has hunger cues on one side and basically a warning for the nursing staff on the other that this child (we're supposed to put it in Potus' bed/cart) is a breastfed baby from the XYZ practice and should not be given bottles, pacifiers, or anything else that might impede a successful breastfeeding relationship. Since accidents do sometimes happen, we've been informed that in the rare case that someone misses or disregards the implications of the card, we are to find out who, if possible, and report back to the doctor when I go back for my 6 week post-partum appointment. The doctor will then follow up and make clear to the staff member that no means no.

After the class section, they encouraged us to eat the refreshments while our assigned counselors sought us out, introduced themselves, and gave us their contact info. Mine is an outgoing mother of four who knows P's family and sometimes hangs out with my brother and sister-in-law. She was probably a little chagrined to find me so shy, but she did encourage me to call her with any questions, no matter how stupid they seemed to me, and at whatever time of day or night they came up. Like she was reading my mind, she said it was better to call than to try to work something out until the point that Potus and I became frustrated.

At this point, I'm glad I went to the class and am inclined to use these resources rather than La Leche League. However, I will probably still give LLL a couple more chances, especially the evening sessions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chore Wars

Apparently, parenthood comes with a number of built in conflicts (mommy wars, etc). One of the pleasant surprises when I moved in with P was that he was a willing participant in household chores. Mind, we are fortunate to be able to hire someone to come in every other week and do a thorough clean. However, P does his own laundry, puts dishes away, loads the dishwasher, cleans up if I cook, bakes, takes out the trash, collects the mail, vacuums when asked, loves shoveling snow, and is generally agreeable to any chore I ask him to do. I'm not sure how his mom did it, but I intend to sit down and have a chat with her before Potus gets to walking.

Somehow, in my house, things didn't go so smoothly. We had chores, sure, but it was like pulling teeth to get any of us to do them. I "roomed" with my sister until I lived on my own, so my attitude was still pretty combative until I lived with P. His attitude really positively impacted mine. He was a grown up, so I became one too. Anyhow, I'm curious, did anyone notice a decrease in domestic harmony when kids came along? Obviously, you get a lot more stuff, and mess, and have additional family members who cannot always be reasoned with. And, since I'll be staying home, there are the potential powder kegs of me being home all the time, P being the sole breadwinner, and the like. I expect any future conflict to mostly be a result of other issues instead of actual lack of help. Anyone have any experiences they want to share? Drop a comment or email....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doc Appointment Week 34

Just got back from the first doctor visit without P. He had to work. So, for him and anyone else who cares, today's stats are:
Fundal height: 30 cm (average should be around 34 cm, but doc says he thinks Potus is plenty big, just dropping already)
Potus' Heartbeat: Right around 130
Weight gained: 38 lbs.
Stretch marks so far: 0 (knock on wood)

Dr. W2 is "90% sure" that Potus is head down.

The only issue is the fact that my right foot is noticeably more swollen than my left. However, that could be explained by my habit of sitting on my right foot at the kitchen table. My dad tried to break me of that, but it didn't take. Otherwise, my blood pressure is good, I'm not dropping protein, and have no other noticeable issues. In 2-4 weeks, they will give me a Strep B test. I sent in my pre-registration to the hospital last week, so now, I just need to keep waiting, maybe pack a hospital bag, and take it easy as much as possible.

Wonder Toy

Click on the title to read a recent NYT article about iPhone use for babies and toddlers. We've decided to limit TV use when Potus arrives, but thus far haven't talked about video games, iPads, and iPhones. I've seen the immediate peace these devices can bring about, but the article makes some good points about kids needing to interact. Where to draw the line....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Week 34

Well, not much to report this week. I had an epiphany while lifting a pumpkin into the grocery cart that I really shouldn't be lifting anything that heavy. Each time I lift something a bit heavier than I should, I feel some tightening and it makes me freak out (a little). So, all that stuff that people have been trying to carry for the last 5 months or so, it's cool if they carry it now. I've finally got to the point where I will accept and even request help.

We (meaning P) got the baby seat installed in the back seat. He then brought the seat back into the house and left the base in the car. I think he's a little weirded out to drive around with the carseat just yet. I would be too at this point. However, since Potus will ride in Dad's car first, P gets the honors. We're looking at possibly upgrading my car to something a little more winter hardy and spacious, but if we do, it probably won't happen until January. So, if anyone wants to purchase a slightly used 2008 red Prius (option 2), shoot me a line. It has 4 season tires and an ipod/phone dock installed. It's great for hauling stuff and only has about 16,000 miles. The way I drive, it gets about 43 mpg in town.

I felt Potus kick while I was practicing guitar yesterday morning. Not sure if it was a happy kick or a "geez mom, play something catchy" kick. Poor kid will get to hear a lot of subpar practicing before it gets better. However, I already have trouble keeping the guitar on my lap, so the kicking didn't help any. I'm going to try using a smaller guitar at my next lesson, so we'll see if it helps any. I also find I get a twinge of carpal tunnel in my left wrist. But, it only flares up when I practice. Go figure.

It occurred to me today that the whiny coworker who has begun to frustrate me is good training for a fussy baby. I'm trying to put a good spin on it for sanity's sake. I'm just hoping that Potus is a lot more endearing. Either that or this easy irritation I've begun to notice subsides some once I quit work. The dogs bring it out too though, so I may be out of luck there. Speaking of irritating animals, the cat began a new campaign of clinginess this morning. She came up to me no less than 5 times before I left for work demanding head rubs, letting me pick her up and pet her on my lap (which she NEVER does), etc. I was actually running early yesterday, but because of all the affection, I left at my now normal time of 10 till. Usually, she just bugs me to get her treats in the morning and then she's done with me. I think she suspects something. We'll see how long this new found affection lasts.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

La Leche Madness

This morning, I took an hour or so off of work and wandered over to the AM La Leche League meeting at nearby church hall. I had absolutely no idea of what to expect. That was probably a good thing. I was about the 4th person to get there. As I found out, the more kids you have, the less likely you are to be on-time for anything. So, the people with no children or 1 were there on time. Then, waves of mothers kept coming in, until at least halfway through the hour with 2 or 3 children in tow. By the end, there had to have been at least 20 kids ranging in age from 8 months to 7 years.

When I got there, I thought it was strange to have just a circle of a dozen chairs or so in such a big room. The rest of the room was for the kids. As for the meeting itself, I was a little uncomfortable with all the moms periodically breastfeeding their kids even while they had the floor. They were all very discreet and matter of fact, but it was a little surreal. The topic was "Bringing Baby Home." And, since only 3 of us were expecting (the leader with her 4th), I spent a lot of the meeting with everyone staring in my general direction. The other newbie is due Sunday, so she had specific questions. I paid attention, but didn't speak up since that's a scenario I'm not really comfortable in. The conversation was all over the place, but it became clear that there are some very extreme beliefs in that group. I got the impression some of the mothers were a bit more moderate, but also quiet. I came away with some tips for getting off to a good start with breastfeeding as well as a couple suggestions for BF friendly pediatricians. The doctor we interviewed wasn't one of them, but then I wasn't thinking that far ahead when we met him. He may still be okay though. I asked a friend about her experience when I got back to the office. He seemed to support BF and wasn't quick to prescribe supplementation. I was also curious about cloth diapering experiences since some of the babies there were sporting them, but I needed to get back to work.

Unfortunately, the Breastfeeding "Tea" put on by the doctor's office coincides with the next evening meeting, because I'd like to see how different the dynamics are in a public coffee shop. I'll get a chance later though.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Used Pumps

Found an article that clearly spells out the hazards of used pumps. Apparently, used pumps can really be bad. I'm convinced. We'll buy our own....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 33 Update

According to Baby Center, Potus is about as heavy as a 4 pound pineapple. And, about 17" long, which seems incredibly tall for as long as I have left (49 days est.). I guess he/she will mostly plump up from here on out.

My second lead on a possible breast pump didn't pan out. If anyone has alternate suggestions, please let me know. I think I'll see what resources La Leche League may have. Supposedly, a breast pump with multiple users is unhygienic. That, of course, is coming from the manufacturer, so they could have ulterior motives for saying so. I haven't cracked the Breastfeeding book yet. Guess I should to see where LLL stands on that. And, the doctor-sponsored breastfeeding "tea" session is coming up next week. If all other options fail, we could break down and purchase one. I did find an online distributor that charges about $50 less and is located in NJ, so they don't charge sales tax or shipping.

In other news, I'm still feeling good and Potus is still kicking around. My ankles have started to swell pretty regularly. We're getting to be kind of boring. But, that's better than being interesting at this point.

The Aftermath

Saturday was the shower and P was out of town, so yesterday, we went through the gifts together. Surprisingly, we only got a couple duplicates, so the returns won't be nightmarish. Everyone was very generous and a few people were creative and crafty. A few highlights:

A starter kit for cloth diapering - One whole table at the shower seemed dismissive of the cloth diapering idea. P keeps surveying dads he knows and most say, "my wife tried that for like 2 weeks and then got tired of all the laundry." I'm trying to keep an open mind and like an epidural or breastfeeding, not be disappointed if it doesn't play out according to how I think it will. However, all these people being negative about it makes me more determined to give it a shot and at least TRY to make it work. Call me perverse.

A Handprint kit for baby - One of the family friends has proven to be consistently creative and thoughtful with her gifts. I really liked her bridal shower gift too. This kit has four little canvases and paints to do a grouping of hand or footprints either at the beginning or to show a progression as Potus grows.

A video baby monitor - One of the aunts was sooooo excited to get this for us that word was passed down to take the sound monitor we'd registered for off the registry almost as soon as the invites went out. Apparently, I imagined the conversation with P where we discussed pros and cons and settled on the voice monitor as perfectly adequate. He was STOKED about the monitor set and it was one of the first things he put up. There was some discussion about using it to monitor the pets to see who poops in the spare room. But, for now, we're monitoring the crib to see if we've managed to dissuade the cat from using the crib as her own personal palace. He's determined there is internet monitoring available, and I know he was going to see if there was an app to go with....

 The BOB stroller - Grandma asked what we still needed and we told her a stroller, so she and Grandpa bought the stroller, carseat adapter, and console, along with some busy toys to attach. P had that put together faster than all the other things he assembled and then proceeded to try to terrify the dogs with it. Really, it's quite a piece of engineering. It moves super smoothly and turns well. It does actually have a few plastic pieces, but all the crucial tightening and adjustment bits are metal, so we're looking forward to a stroller that might last until we're done with babies. When folded, it does still take up a bit of room though, so that'll be fun in the back of my Prius. I can't really imagine a stroller that takes up less room though, short of an umbrella type design.

A tie-dye outfit - One of the other aunts went looking for gender neutral baby clothes at the local baby boutique, where apparently they don't believe in gender neutral. The best she could find was an adorable little outfit of beautiful tie-dye. I kind of want to put it on Potus right away because I think it'll just look hilarious. He/she will be rainbow from head to toe since it came with pants, a shirt, a hat, and then, if we want to carry the look out when the outfit is in the wash, we can always use the matching blanket to swaddle our little one. You won't be able to miss the kid.

So, after the wrapping paper cleared I started to take inventory of what we still lacked. There are all sorts of little things, like a few bottles, some creams and toiletries, and things for baby proofing, but the major pieces we were still missing were the infant car seat and a breast pump. We ordered the car seat yesterday, but I'm still looking for a breast pump if anyone knows someone I can borrow from.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bebe Shower

Today was the baby shower and I'm just knackered. Attendance was around 25, far higher than I dared to expect. We had the ladies from work, family, family friends, the usual. The menu was a salad/fruit bar with a plethora of fixins. The gifts were overwhelmingly generous and I've got to get started on some thank you notes.  See pics below. To see the full gallery of pics, click here.
Cute onesie centerpieces and favors (jelly beans and tea).

Delicious Strongbow cake (buttercream frosting, sour cream chocolate cake with strawberries).

The gift table.

From left to right:  Alicia (the hostess), me, Ginny, Nancy (Sister-in-law), Stacia, Cathy.

The coworker table:  Erin, Amanda, Cheryl, Linda, Karen, Clara, and Dannette with baby Rigby.

The family table (mostly), front left to front right:  Heather, Joann, Marlene, Sherry, Elena, Cinda, Karen.

Aunt Cinda provided a presidential onsie and bib for Potus....

Opening gifts from my Aunt Deni. This photo makes me realize how much I resemble my mom.

A birdie throw pillow from my Aunt.

Modeling P's slice of cake.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Like a Nursery

My MiL announced yesterday that she was done with the crib bedding. Needless to say, we set up the crib last night....
The quilt. Love the variety of birds. P and I both gravitated to the Dodo bird right away...

My favorite panel of the bumper.

The opposite panel of the bumper.

An overall picture of the crib. Note the cloud sheet to match the reverse side of the bumper and the ties that match the tailored bedskirt (unfortunately mostly hidden at this mattress height).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 32

Today marks 32 weeks. The crib and changing table are now upstairs. P has a couple minor adjustments to make to the crib and then we can start putting it together. I finally started painting the mobile and abacus wall art. Hopefully, this weekend I'll get those finished and hung. The baby shower is Saturday, although I've heard from several people that they won't be attending. I'm beginning to think it could have been held at a smaller location. But, I'm not super surprised, it seems to be a family trait, low party turnout.

Healthwise, I'm still feeling good. I feel like my speed keeps going down each week in direct proportion to my weight. I'll be at a turtle crawl before long. As of yesterday, my weight gain was 33 pounds which positions me to be a little above the recommended 25-35 pound gain. However, people still keep telling me I'm small for this far along, so I guess it's all relative. Back pain started up late last week, but I find if I rest or move around, it's not as bad. Sitting all day (as my job requires) seems to aggravate my posture and makes it impossible to think about anything else. I've grown an appreciation for naps when I can get them. An hour laying down actually refreshes me instead of making me cranky like it used to.

Had a conversation last night with a friend. She had good things to say about the local La Leche League, which I plan to start going to this month. Apparently they are the model for all La Leche groups in the region. This friend was also excited to see via our registries that I'm going to try cloth diapering. My mom used it on all of us, at least at home, so I figured I'd try the same. However, cloth diapers have changed significantly in the last 20 years or so. There's all these proprietary "systems". So, after reading the amazon reviews, I decided on Fuzzibunz (they all have goofy names) since they were repeatedly referred to as having above average absorbency which is especially good in the beginning when most elimination is of the non-solid variety. Our friend, S, also recommended Rumparooz. I may order a couple samples to try. Or, I found this store, Granola Babies, that offers a 14 day trial of several different brands for a deposit and $25.

The kicker for all this talk of cloth diapers is that DH (Dear Husband, as all the forum users abbreviate) absolutely positively refuses to use any cloth diapering. And, it looks like he may be digging his heels in on this one. He seems to think they'll be a huge hassle. Perhaps he'll change his tune after we have to buy a few cases of Pampers. However, if anyone out there feels the urge to try to change his mind, have at it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Little Pampering

Wednesday, I broke down and got a pedicure for the first time in a very long time. A new salon opened up on the north end of town. It appears to be run by several young Vietnamese men. The people watching was entertaining. There was a group of 4 flirtatious women who kept up a running dialogue with a couple of the techs. The men kept changing their stories as far as whether they were single or not. It made for some good-natured banter that was more fun than the news.

The pedicure was pretty nice too. It came with a full foot and calf massage/exfoliation. I had a little trouble understanding my tech, but did manage to get that he was recently of San Jose, California and was apprehensive of the winter. I could identify, but didn't really have any words of wisdom to offer. You just have to get used to it, really.

I missed a key step in the pedicure process though. Apparently, you are supposed to pick a color first thing when you get there. I neglected that step and then compromised by picking one of the cast-offs from the work table adjacent to me. It looked red, but must have been blood red, because  after two coats dried, it was scab color. It seems to be a popular color for fall, but I still would have preferred something a bit brighter. Other than that, I was happy with my investment.