Sunday, August 25, 2013

He's here!

Graham Frederick Rumely
August 22, 2013
8 pounds, 14 ounces
20.5 inches long

Our sweet baby is here! He arrived early after about seven and a half hours of active labor. We came home from the hospital yesterday. Breastfeeding is going way better than with Owen. We are just waiting on "evidence" that he's getting my milk. Graham has quite the fiery personality and definitely lets you know when he is not happy. His cries are high pitched and squeaky, earning him the nickname Squeaky. He is also a momma's boy and wants me most of the time. He is a little jaundiced and he has lost about a pound since birth, but the doctor isn't too concerned and we will see him again in two days. 
Big brother is doing really well. He had no interest in the baby at first, but now comes running to comfort him when he cries or to touch his head. At the hospital Owen called Graham "beautiful." The three of us sat and played cars in Owen's big boy room yesterday and later I will make brownies with Owen to give him some one-on-one Mommy time. Life is crazy and hectic now, but we are loving our newest boy. 
More details to come later. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Citrus Lane review (August 24-month-old boy and newborn box)

        My August Citrus Lane box for Owen came on Monday and I wanted to share all the great products that came inside. This box was one one of the best I have received this year. Baby brother's box also appeared at our doorstep and I will review his box at the end of the post. This month we received both a box for a 24-month-old toddler boy and a newborn baby boy. The box was Back to School themed with the hopes of helping your children "play to learn." 
       I opened Owen' s box during naptime because I was hoping to find some items to put aside for after the baby is born so Owen has some new things to play with. I was also able to squirrel away the food item so he wouldn't demand to eat it immediately. So that's why there are no photos of Owen opening his box this month. 
       Here are the details on what we received in our box for our 27-month-old son (though I aged him down to 24 months this month in hopes of getting toys he could use right away):
  • Barefoot Books Bear On the Go First Puzzles ($12.99): This is a really cute set of four four-piece puzzles featuring Bear from the Bear book series from Barefoot Books. They are a little advanced for Owen at the moment, but I am sure he will master it in the next couple months and it's good for him to have a challenge. 
  • Farber Castell Fun Things to Color A to Z ($7.99): I am so excited to have a coloring book for Owen. I am saving this for some after brother is born special mommy and Owen bonding time. Each page features a different drawing of something that begins with that letter of the alphabet. Which is great for Owen because he is all about the alphabet right now and what words start with what letter. 
  • Ouchies Jr. Bandages ($5.00): Thankfully Owen doesn't hurt himself too often, and in those cases it's generally a bump or bruise, but having some bandages on hand for that inevitable event is great. These are so cute. Owen has no clue who Paddington Bear is, but he is a pretty cute little teddy bear and I think he will like them for that reason alone. 
  • Clean Well All Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes ($5.50): I love Clean Well products. I have never bought them myself, but I have gotten them a couple times before in my Citrus Lane box. This is a new item though and I figure they will come in handy. I actually got two because one came in the baby's box as well so I might keep one in the car and one in the house. They smell really good too. 
  • Annie's Cheddar Bunnies pouch ($1): Owen already loves Annie's Cheddar Bunnies so we're not discovering a new product or anything, but it will be nice to have this pouch to give him sometime when we need a snack on the go. 
  • Fab Kids Free Outfit Offer ($39.95): This offer is for a free outfit from the subscription kid's clothes company. To redeem this code you have to sign up for their subscription and agree to be charged each month unless you decide to skip receiving an outfit for that month. You can also cancel if you don't want to remain a subscriber, but I have heard they don't make it easy on you to do this. I haven't decided if I will redeem this or not. I am not generally a fan of "free" offers that require you to sign up for a service, but at least this one features some cute outfits. 

         My verdict on Owen's box? It was one of my favorite boxes we've received all year. I love getting items that Owen can play with and learn from. Particularly books and puzzles. He still loves to play with the last puzzle they sent. And I was also pleased that we got a full-size body care product which hasn't happened as much recently. 
       The retail value of this box is about $72.43, though that's if you count the $39.95 FabKids code, which you wouldn't if you don't use it or if you are already a member since it's for first time customers. The value of Citrus Lane's boxes are always more compared to the price you pay for the items and this box was particularly good. Without the FabKids code, the value of the box is $32.48, which is more than $10 over what I paid for it since I subscribe for six months at a time and get these boxes monthly for $21 rather than the $25 if you pay monthly. 

         And here is what came in baby brother's newborn box:

  • Barefoot Books "Cleo's Alphabet" board book ($6.99): I love getting books in my subscription boxes for the boys. I would be happy to get a book every month. We really love Barefoot Books and actually Owen totally loves this book. He knows his alphabet now and we've been working on teaching him about the different sounds that the letters make and this book features a different item that begins with the letter on each page so it goes right along with what we've been teaching him. And it's just a really cute book in general. I kind-of want to order the Cleo's Colors book to go with it and just might since a 20 percent off code was included on my box insert. 
  • Rich Frog Little Stacker ($12.95): Stackers are such a common baby toy, but because this one is animal shaped and soft fabric as opposed to plastic or wood, it's completely different from all the other ones we already have. We got the lion, which is super cute, but they also have it in a frog, rabbit, monkey, and maybe one other version. The ring piece fits around the bottom piece and the top one velcros on. 
  • Organic Socks from iPlay ($5.50): These little socks are so cute and soft. And you can never have too many pairs of baby socks. Older infants received the same box with the exception of getting a sippy cup holder instead of the socks. I prefer the socks. 
  • CleanWell Hand Sanitizing Wipes ($5.50): We got these in Owen's box too and I'm happy to have two canisters. 
  • Weleda Diaper Cream Samples and Fab Kids offer: I am a little bummed about receiving samples of this instead of a tube because I never seem to actually use samples. They just get tossed into a basket in the linen closet and hang out there forever. And the FabKids offer is kind-of weird since the smallest size they offer is size 2 so the baby couldn't wear it for a long time. Also, I don't think it would allow you to redeem two vouchers under the same name and e-mail address anyway. 
     The retail value of this box is about $30.94. I didn't count the samples because I have no idea their value or the FabKids offer because I can't redeem two of them and because the smallest size they offer is size 2 and the baby won't be that size for years. 

         If you would like to try Citrus Lane, you can use the code TAKEHALF to receive half off your first month in a month-by-month subscription (making your first month $12.50). Multi-month subscriptions are already discounted and there are currently no coupon codes for a discount on those. Though, if you sign up using a referral link, you will receive a $10 credit in your account. You can find my referral HERE if you wish to use it. I really love Citrus Lane and highly recommend it. I already can't wait for next month!

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Newborn Cloth Diaper Stash

        From all the research I have done, cloth diapering a newborn can be tricky. It's mainly a guessing game since you don't know how big your baby will be or what their build will be like. Most newborn all-in-one or pocket diapers fit a baby up to 12 pounds. If I had cloth diapered Owen from the beginning, those diapers would have lasted him maybe a month and a half. There are also tons of one sized diapers that claim to fit a baby starting at about 8 pounds and while that is true, the excess fabric can be bulky under newborn clothes and you can get leaks around the leg holes if you have skinny-legged babies. And I do have a good stash of those that I use for Owen and will use for new baby, but not until he is bigger. 
       Because I know that I will be most likely having another eight pound plus baby, I decided that I wanted to try to cloth diaper our newest little guy as economically as possible. And I wanted to try a couple different things too instead of investing entirely in one style of cloth diaper that might not work. I may not have a huge stash for the little guy (as compared to some), but I figured I could always get more of what works for us best after he is born and then sell whatever isn't working for us on a cloth diaper resale website (since newborn cloth diapers have an especially good resale value). 
       So here is what we'll be working with when we start cloth diapering our newborn:
GroVia AIO newborn diaper (2): This all-in-one diaper (meaning you don't have to do anything to it except put it on your baby just like a disposable) fits babies from 5 pounds to 12 pounds or so. They are made of multiple layers of a cotton/hemp blend and covered with micro fleece. They are very soft and cute. I probably would not have bought them, but they were 30 percent off and I decided it would be interesting to try a newborn AIO.  

Thirsties AIO diapers in Size One (2): I bought these all-in-one diapers to try out during a sale on Thirsties diapers. The size one is supposed to fit babies from 6 pounds to 18 pounds. I bought them in the Hoot print and Ocean Blue color. I liked that these were sized diapers and not newborn sized diapers because I am hoping we will get more use out of them that way. I am a little concerned about them because the way the soaker (the absorbant part) is sewn in, it looks like it doesn't come far enough forward to work well for a boy. We'll see. 

Photo from The Little Bee Co. 
Bitty Bee Changed Bamboo AIO diapers (3): After hearing about this brand of diapers, I decided recently to order a small set of them to try out. The Little Bee Co. donates one diaper to an orphaned child for every diaper you buy from them. They are a Christian company that helps orphanages all around the world and each color or print of their diapers is named after a certain country and they urge buyers to remember to pray for that country whenever you change a particular color diaper. Pretty cool, huh? These diapers fit a baby up to 12 pounds. I still have not received mine yet and I can't wait to see them in person. I am not sure what colors I will receive since they try to accommodate your requests, but can't always. 

Softbums Echos and Omnis shells (4) with newborn bamboo inserts (7): These are the only one-size diapers that I have in my newborn stash. They fit a baby from six pounds to potty-training. They have a special toggle system that you use to adjust their size and they get really small compared to other one-size diapers. Supposedly you can reuse the cover if just the insert is wet, but we'll see how well that works. The bamboo is super soft though and I am happy for that part to be against baby's skin. Two of these diapers were gifts and the other two were special edition diapers that I bought. 

Fuzzibunz Perfect Size diapers in size small (10): I was interested in these sized pocket diapers because you don't have to adjust anything to make them fit and they seem really simple to use. Plus I have heard some good reviews about them. I decided to go with the size small instead of the extra small so that we would hopefully get more use out of them. The size small is said to fit a baby from 7 to 18 pounds. My mom bought these diapers for use. They are super soft and trim. 

Osocozy Unbleached Indian Prefolds (Size 1) and Stay Dry Better Fit Prefolds (Infant sized) + Four Snappis: I have heard that when diapering a newborn, prefolds and covers are the way to go to achieve the best and trimmest fit. I didn't have a lot of luck when I tried this with Owen, but I bought better prefolds this time around and I have been practicing my folding skills on his stuffed animals. Prefolds are great because they are really inexpensive and are generally made of cotton which washes well and soaks up a lot. Snappis are used to fasten the prefolds instead of diaper pins. Four should be a good number and most of these were leftover from our attempts to cloth diaper Owen as a baby.  

Thirsties Duo Diaper Covers (5) and Bumgenius Flip (1): These are the waterproof covers that go over the prefolds. Four of the Thirsties covers are leftover from when Owen was a baby and one I just recently bought. The Flip was a free diaper from a Kelly's Closet order that my sister-in-law sent me. It is a one-size cover so it is not as small as the others, but can still be used for a smaller baby. The Thirsties covers are size one and will fit a baby from 6-18 pounds. I prefer snaps with diapers for older babies because they last longer and are harder for the baby or toddler to unfasten, but I prefer aplix (aka Velcro) for little babies because you can get a better fit and they are easier for quicker changes. 

Large Planet Wise Wetbag: We will use a Planet Wise in our bedroom for diaper changes we do in there. This fairly large bag is waterproof and has a convenient strap so I can attach it to the baby's bed. That way, when laundry time comes around, I can just grab this and dump it and its contents along with our regular hanging diaper pail (in the nursery) in the washer. I have been really happy with the quality of Planet Wise's wetbags since we have been using a medium size one when out and about with Owen. We will also be using cloth wipes, but I didn't take a photo of those. I have an assortment of brands, including Thirsties, GroVia, and Planet Wise. 

And just to be completely realistic, we also have several packs of newborn and size one disposable diapers just in case. I am really excited about trying cloth diapering on a newborn again. I know so much more about cloth diapering than I did when we had Owen and I am enjoying it with him so much that I can't imagine not loving it with the new baby too. I will keep everyone up to date with how my above choices worked for us after we have a bum to actually put them on! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bump update: 37 Weeks

      As of Saturday, I am now 37 weeks pregnant. I am still feeling pretty uncomfortable and I have definitely started to waddle. Our weekly doctor's appointment was pretty uneventful. We waited a really long time to see the doctor for maybe five minutes. My blood pressure was low, the baby's heart rate was good, and I was measuring right on track (not that I trust this because they already told me after my ultrasound last week that the baby was big so having my belly measure average means nothing). We also toured the women's hospital, which is located on the second and third floors of the building our doctor's office is in. It was pretty straight forward and looked like most other hospitals, but it was still nice to be able to check it out. 
      I am having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Getting comfortable is difficult and I am frequently waking up because I have to use the bathroom, my arm has fallen asleep, or I am having a practice contraction. Nothing regular yet. My hands and feet are frequently swollen and uncomfortable, which is different from my pregnancy with Owen. Summertime pregnancies are definitely different. I feel ginormous, but have been told that I'm "all belly" and that people can't tell I'm pregnant from behind. I suspect they are just being nice. I am really thirsty most of the time and have been drinking a ton. I am not super hungry most of the time, but have still been trying to eat regularly. 
    The baby is still moving a lot, unlike Owen who seemed to calm down at the end of my pregnancy or else grow so big he couldn't move much anymore. 
     Our pre-baby to do list is quickly being completed. I have a list of must-dos and a list of "would be nice to have done before baby" items as well. Most of the must-dos are done, i.e. packing for the hospital, cleaning out the car and installing the carseat, washing baby clothes, setting up the Pack n Play and diaper changing area in our bedroom, washing Owen's old playmat and bouncer seat, and things like that. I have also frozen lots of meals and bought presents and cards for most of the birthdays and other events coming up in the months after the baby is born so that I don't forget anything or leave anything to the last minute when I in full-on caring for a newborn mode. 
       Other than that, I just need to write some thank you cards and stay on top of our laundry and housekeeping so the house isn't a huge mess whenever I go into labor. I haven't had the urge to clean the whole house top to bottom yet, so I don't think I'll go into labor in the next few days anyway. I definitely had that urge with Owen and two days later, there he was! Though my sudden urge to clean out our fridge did have Tim freaked out a little on Sunday, but really it was just gross in there. 
        I am trying not to wear myself out with too much all in one day, but it's in my nature to want to be super prepared before the baby comes. I also am trying to spend a lot of one-on-one time with Owen. On Saturday, we took Owen to his first movie theater movie. We saw Planes, which honestly wasn't that great, but watching Owen enjoy the movie was totally worth it. He had such a fun time and did so well. He's a little younger than I probably would have planned for his first movie, but I figured after his brother is born we won't be making it to many movies for a while. Other than that, we've been trying to do a lot of Owen's favorite things: playing in the pool, playing with cars, and making cookies. And we've been working on his big boy room. Tim finished refinishing the dresser for his room yesterday so I'm excited about getting to fill it with his clothes and then stow away baby clothes in the dresser in the nursery. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Postpartum Freezer Meals (Preparing for Baby)

          One of the biggest ways I prepare for baby is to make ahead freezer meals for us to eat after the baby's arrival. Because we live far from family, this is especially important. And even if you have a meal support system of church family and friends in place, that will eventually come to an end and it's still nice to have a week or more worth of meals in your freezer during such a busy time. And it's especially important for new moms to have healthy meals to eat and not have to resort to take-out. 
          Normally I am not a fan of freezer meals and prefer to cook and eat our meals fresh, but considering I will be a momma of two in just a few weeks, I think having some freezer meals stocked away is going to be so great. I began last week by making a grocery list for the recipes what I wanted to make and took advantage of a sale on ground beef and chicken breasts at Kroger. 
        I currently have almost three weeks of meals in my freezer, but will continue to add to that over the next couple weeks depending on when I go into labor (and how much my freezer will hold). My parents will be visiting for a week after the baby is born and my mom will for sure help out with dinner and we have some friends who may bring meals as well, but I definitely want to be prepared for the time when all the family and friends have gone home and we have to function as parents of a toddler and newborn on our own. 
         Picking out meals to freeze is not that hard. Tons of things freeze fairly well. Though I would avoid making a lasagna as that is a common meal that people bring to new parents. Otherwise, just try freezing most of your favorite meals. Casseroles freeze well in addition to many meat dishes, soups, and sauces. 

These are the recipes that I have frozen so far:
1. Chicken Spaghetti Casserole. This is originally a Pioneer Woman recipe, but I have altered the recipe to suit our family's tastes like leaving out the cayenne pepper so it's not too spicy for Owen. I froze this meal when I was pregnant with Owen and it reheats really well. Just add a bagged salad mix for a side after baby arrives and you have a complete meal. To make this meal, just assemble the casserole up until the point where you would bake it and then freeze it. When it's time to eat it, just let it thaw in the fridge for a day or so and then cook as usual. I made two disposable aluminum foil pans of this recipe. 
2. Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken: This was one of the easiest recipes to prep for freezing. I just put the chicken breasts in a freezer bag and added all the sauce ingredients and threw it in the freezer. When it comes time to make it, I will let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then toss it in the crock pot the next day. I am looking for more crock pot recipes to add to my freezer stash since this one was so easy to make. I made two bags of this recipe. 
3. Black Bean Burgers: This is a Skinny Taste recipe that we make frequently and because the burgers hold together better if you grill them from a frozen state, we already know that they taste fine out of the freezer. I made 12 burgers to freeze and packaged them in sets of four. 
4. Hawaiian Teriyaki Burgers: This is a fairly recent Skinny Taste recipe that we really enjoy. I bought a couple pounds of meat and made eight burgers using this recipe. I wrapped each burger separately in plastic wrap and then put them into a freezer bag. 
5. Spaghetti Sauce: I based my recipe for spaghetti sauce off this one from the Pioneer Woman. I made four quarts of spaghetti sauce which I figure can be used over spaghetti noodles or in an Italian casserole of some sort. I will probably be sick of spaghetti after the baby is born, but it is a simple recipe to make a lot of and it freezes well. Plus I think spaghetti sauce for some reason tastes better if it's been frozen as if the flavors get to blend together somehow while it's frozen or maybe as it's reheating. 
6. Taco Meatloaf: This is a Paula Deen recipe that is one of Tim's favorites. I can't seem to find it on the Internet though. Basically it's like a normal meatloaf recipe except instead of the normal spices and breadcrumbs, you use taco seasoning, cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips. I made two of these to freeze. 
7. Chili. This is Pioneer Woman's recipe for chili and one that I have liked the best of all the ones I've tried (other than my mom's). I made two quarts of it. 
8. Chicken Enchiladas: This is a Skinny Taste recipe that we really enjoy. I have never tried freezing it though I have seen many articles about freezing meals that including recipes for chicken enchiladas so I thought I would give it a try. Like with other casseroles, I assemble this up until the point of baking and then freeze it uncooked. I froze two pans of these and I decided to freeze the sauce separately to try to keep the enchiladas from getting too mushy when I thaw them. 
9. Pizza dough (not pictured): I made and froze three dough balls, which each make two crusts. We love making homemade pizza and it's much healthier for us than ordering out pizza. Plus, Owen loves helping top the pizzas and it will be a fun thing to do with him once brother is born and he is needing attention. 
10. Chicken breast marinated in Stubb's marinade (not pictured): I froze two large chicken breasts in our favorite marinade for Tim to grill at some point. As they thaw in the fridge, they marinate. Simple! If I get another good deal on chicken breasts, I might make another bag of these. 
11. Cookie dough (not pictured): I may or may not have also frozen balls of oatmeal coconut chocolate chunk cookies....
My favorite kitchen helper enjoyed helping me make freezer meals. 

Here are some additional tips for freezing meals or if you are planning to take some freezer meals to a pregnant friend (who will love you forever and maybe name the baby after you):
  • Label each meal not just with its name, but with cooking instructions so you don't have to look them up later. A date also helps so you don't leave them in the freezer too long. 
  • Spread the workload over a few weeks toward the end of your pregnancy so you don't wear yourself out. 
  • Double recipes you are already making for dinner.
  • Pick up some paper plates and other disposable dinnerware to make clean-up even easier.
  • Don't make too many of one type of meal or else you will get sick of it. If you are the kind of person who hates leftovers, freeze casseroles in really small pans like loaf pans so you only have enough for one night and maybe a lunch or two.
  • If you have time and space, you can also make some breakfasts recipes. Most breads freeze well. You can also make sure to have lots of frozen fruit on hand for smoothies. 
  • If you are taking meals to a new mother, don't forget side dishes like a fresh salad. You will get bonus points if you bring a jug of sweet tea or lemonade and dessert. If you want to be extra nice, you can also bring some snacks for the new mom and dad to eat during the day like fresh veggies and dip or cut up fruit. A breakfast of muffins or zucchini bread would also be good ideas. Having people bring us meals and other treats after Owen was born was some of the biggest help we received with a new baby.
  • If you are taking meals to a friend, you may want to ask beforehand about any specific dislikes or food allergies their family may have. Also nursing mothers sometimes avoid certain foods which might affect their babies so you may want to ask about that as well.  
Do you have any favorite freezer meals? Let me know in the comments. I could still use a few more ideas. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hospital Bag Essentials for Mama and Baby

       I recently finished packing our bags for the hospital. I have enjoyed looking over different hospital packing lists on the Internet as I've been preparing for baby boy's arrival. Using some good ideas I found online and after finding some new products to try, I made my list and started packing my bags. I also took into account some of the things that I packed or forgot to pack with Owen and have changed some of the things I have packed based on those preferences. My bag is packed mainly for a normal woman who expects a vaginal delivery. I didn't pack a lot of natural labor devices like birthing balls and massage tools because I found that most didn't help me when I was in labor with Owen. And I left out a lot of items that the hospital provides because I never unpacked my ones from home from my bags with Owen. I am generally a bit of an overpacker, but I feel my bags are a little more stream-lined this time around. I also recommend making a list of last-minute things to pack so you can throw those things in your bag as your rushing out of the house to the hospital and not forget anything majorly important (like your camera!).  
       Everyone's needs are a little different and each person's labor experience is different (for instance, I can't recommend anything for a C-section mommy), but I thought it would be fun to share my list. 

My Bag:
1. Labor and delivery gown: I am not sure of my hospital's policy when it comes to wearing a gown from home, but even if I can't wear it during labor I can wear it afterwards so that I look cuter in photos. I didn't buy one of these with Owen and have seen so many people's pictures on Facebook where they had cute delivery gowns on so I splurged this time around. This is absolutely not a necessity though. 
2. Pajamas and robe: After delivery, I mostly wore pajamas after having Owen. They were more comfortable than anything else. I have both a nightgown with a robe and a pair of maternity pajamas to wear. Both are nursing friendly and comfortable. I will wear the nightgown first after I have my first shower because it is more accessible for nurses who have to come back to check me after delivery. 
3. Flip flops or other flats: These are just comfortable to wear when walking around the hospital. While lots of people like to pack socks in their hospital bag, I prefer having bare feet most of the time. But I don't want to walk barefoot on a hospital floor either so having some type of slip on shoe is great.
4. Comfy panties: The hospital provides mesh boy short panties after you give birth vaginally that I used after having Owen, but I like to be prepared with some of my own just in case. I love the hip hugger maternity panties from Motherhood Maternity. They are the comfiest. But then again, don't pack anything you don't mind getting stained. 
5. Nursing bras: I packed two different nursing sleep bras that I used with Owen. I recommend no underwire in the early days when your milk is coming in and you may become engorged. 
6. Notebook and pen: I made sure to bring a small notebook and pen when I was in labor with Owen so that we could keep track of my labor and write down things to remember. It's a great way to be able to look back at your progress and helps when you want to remember little details about your labor later. We also use it once the baby is born to track feedings and wet/dirty diapers. 
7. Toiletries: You know, the usual. I pack little travel sized bottles as if I'm going on vacation. The hospital may have stuff for you to use, but after being through labor before, that first shower after Owen was born was the best of my life (regardless of the fact that I was so sore I could hardly stand and Tim had to help me) and it was nice to use quality products that I enjoyed the scent of. Remember shampoo and conditioner, lotion, soap, face wash, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush, make-up, shaving cream and razor (if you feel like shaving), and a couple hair ties or headbands. I also bring lip balm. I bought a toiletry kit from Love and Toast and then bought travel sized of everything else I needed so I didn't have to pack any of those things last minute. You may even want to bring your own wash cloth or a shower pouf. Some people like to bring their own towels, but I never used mine with Owen and it takes up a lot of space. 
8. Hair dryer/straighener: These are things that I pack at the last minute. But ones that I definitely used since I wanted to feel like a normal human being again after labor. 
9. Snacks: This was something that I did not bring with Owen and something that I definitely wished that I had. I was starving after Owen was born, but hospital food is not that great and if you give birth in the middle of the night your choices are pretty limited anyway. I am bringing snack bars, nuts, and a bar of chocolate to the hospital. 
10. Postpartum Care and Nursing Accessories: Because I had a vaginal delivery with Owen, I am expecting the same with this baby. I am packing Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Spray to help soothe my downstairs area after having the baby. I didn't know about this product the first time around and honestly, I had no idea how much pain I would be in after giving birth (silly me thought all the pain would be during labor). The soreness and pain from giving birth to an almost nine-pounder combined with my episiotomy made for some definite discomfort. I highly recommend some type of cooling spray or something like Tuck's witch hazel pads. Also, if your hospital has these icepack-type things that you crack like a glow stick and put in your panties, definitely use those and steal any extras to take home with you. They should also give you a peri bottle to use after going to the bathroom, which you should also take home with you. In addition to postpartum care for me, I am bringing some items to help with breastfeeding, including Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream (lanolin-free and safe for babies to ingest, plus it kind-of smells like chocolate). I am also bringing some Mother's Milk Tea and Milky! supplement which helps with breast milk supply. My supply took four days to come in with Owen so I'm hoping I can coax it to come in earlier this time. I am also bringing my copy of "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" because it has a lot of helpful check-lists in the back. The one that I particularly may want to reference is the one that tells you what to do to keep your supply up and prepare for breastfeeding even if your baby won't latch right away. We had issues with this with Owen and I believe there were several things we did or didn't do that lead us to fail at breastfeeding. 
11. Pads: Gigantic overnight maxi pads. The hospital also supplies these and I used them with Owen so I don't know if I will use the ones I packed. But in case I don't like the hospital ones this time around, I will have a few of my own with me. Whether you pack them for the hospital or not, make sure to have some at home. 
12. Going home outfit: You will need an outfit to wear home from the hospital. Be aware that you will not automatically be your pre-pregnancy size and that you may still be in pain from either a C-section or a vaginal birth (I was still really sore the day I went home). Also, your belly will still be pretty big and feel like a deflated balloon so you will want to avoid anything too tight. This time, I am packing the super comfortable maxi dress above to wear home from the hospital. 

Here are some other things we will pack that I didn't include in the photo: camera and charger, extra camera card, video camera, laptop, cell phones and chargers. We also need to bring our pre-registration forms that we have filled out for the hospital already. I may also take a pillow from home (if you do so, pack one that is colored so it doesn't get mixed up with the white hospital pillows). 

Baby's Bag:
1. Baby clothes: I am bringing four different outfits for the baby: one gown for easy diaper changes, one pair of pajamas that his Nana bought him, a cute outfit with a onesie that says "Little Brother," and the cute striped one piece in the above photo. I didn't bring any clothes (other than a going home outfit) for Owen when he was born and just had him wear what the hospital provided. Clothes are totally not necessary to pack, but I just like the idea of him having clothes that we or other family members have bought for him. Four outfits is probably overkill, but I had trouble just narrowing it down to four. All outfits are size 0-3 months because we just don't bother buying newborn sizes since Owen was so big at birth. I will also be doing a lot of skin-to-skin contact with baby so he will probably be mostly naked a lot too. 
2. Baby mittens: Owen had some super long fingernails when he was born and scratched his poor little face so I packed a couple pairs of newborn mittens to protect his skin until his nails are cut. 
3. Hats: I didn't put hats on Owen much once we brought him home from the hospital since it was warm, but in the hospital they are great. Especially for poor vaginal birth babies who have major coneheads. I bought the above elephant hat to match the pajamas that my mother-in-law bought him. 
4. Socks: I brought socks to match each of the outfits that I brought for the baby to wear. 
5. Blanket: My mother-in-law bought this blanket for the baby and it is very similar to one that we had for Owen when he was born. Owen's had lions and this baby has elephants. 
6. Diapers and wipes: This is not necessary to bring as the hospital will provide diapers and wipes. But because we area switching to cloth, I decided to bring some of our small stash of The Honest Company diapers and wipes to use right off with the baby. We have two packs of newborn size and we need to use them quick before he outgrows them. They are so tiny! 
7. Swaddlers: There are eight thousand different types of swaddlers and receiving blankets. We prefer Aden+Anais swaddling blankets. They are super big which makes them great for swaddling and a dozen other things and they are really soft. For this baby I bought the four pack of Liam the Brave prints. I can also use them as a nursing cover if we have visitors. 
8. Mambino Mommy and Baby Bonding Kit: I packed this kit of baby skin care products to use after the baby is born. It has baby wash, lotions, massage oils, diaper cream, and more to use on the baby. 
9. Burp cloths: We are bringing two Aden+Anais burpy bibs. They make great burp cloths because they are so large. 
10. Breastfeeding pillow: We have a Boppy, but any breastfeeding pillow would be great. I can imagine that this is especially helpful to C-section mommies to help them hold the baby. 
11. Going home outfit: Our baby is going home wearing this super sweet outfit my mom bought from Janie and Jack. Owen went home in something a lot more simple, but this time I wanted something a little bit fancier. 
12. Carseat. Not pictured, but a necessity for taking the baby home. We are reusing the carseat that we used with Owen, a Chicco Keyfit 30. 
Optional: Pacifiers. The hospital supplies these, but we aren't bringing any because we want to avoid them as long as possible while the baby is learning to breastfeed. 
       Owen honestly has no clue what this whole big brother thing is about and he has shown a little bit of anxiety when we are at the doctor's sometimes so I wanted to have something to give him at the hospital to entertain him. We will say it is a gift from his little brother. 

Owen's Big Brother Gift:
1. Books: Owen loves Barefoot Books so we bought him two more to add to his collection. We got him "We All Go Traveling By" and "Driving My Tractor." He already knows the songs that go with them because we listen to them on Youtube, but I know he will be psyched to get them in book form. I am excited to read them with him after I have the baby when I get to see my firstborn again. I have never been away from Owen for very long and my hormonal pregnant self gets kind-of emotional thinking about being away from him while I'm in labor. He will be in good hands though with some local friends and then my parents once they get into town. 
2. Green Toys Tractor: This is a newly released toy from Green Toys. We love these great recycled plastic toys and Owen is so into all types of vehicles right now. He had a ton of fun playing with some tractors at his great-grandma's house in Montana so I thought he would enjoy having a tractor of his own. 
3. Mudpuppy Puzzle: Owen already has a 7-piece puzzle from Mudpuppy that he has mastered so I figured it was time to give him the next harder puzzle from the same company. It is a 12 piece puzzle and I figure it will give him something new to play with and something new to learn during the first several weeks with the new baby where he might not get as much one-on-one attention as usual. 

          So there are my packing lists for the hospital. Tim will pack his own bag at some point. I also packed a bag for Owen since he will be going to our friends' house until my parents get into town. I packed him a couple outfits, a pair of pajamas, diapers and wipes, toiletries, and a drink cup. I am so happy to have packing finished because I have no idea when I will go into labor and after going into labor early with Owen, I am trying to have everything ready by 37 weeks just in case. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bump update: 36 Weeks

       I am officially 36 weeks pregnant as of Saturday and I am definitely into the not-honeymoon stage of pregnancy. I feel pretty good most of the time, but I do suffer from bouts of insomnia, breathlessness, heartburn, soreness, and lots of fatigue. My stomach feels gigantic and my hands and feet are swollen frequently. I haven't worn my wedding rings in a couple weeks. My abdomen is so full of baby at the moment that I haven't been able to eat very much at one time anymore. I haven't really gained any weight in the last couple weeks and I am still a little ways off from what I weighted when I had Owen. I have no stretch marks. My belly button is basically completely flat, though the top half likes to try to poke out a little. I do not feel like the baby has dropped yet because breathing is still difficult and it still seems like the baby's legs are crammed up near my ribs. 
       I had an ultrasound and doctor's appointment last Friday to check on the baby. According to the ultrasound tech, the baby is already about 7 pounds. This estimate could be off by a pound either way. Regardless, this means that my baby is way bigger than any pregnancy app says for 36 weeks. Everything else looked good though. My blood pressure was great as usual. I still have plenty of amniotic fluid, my placenta is in the right place, and the baby is head down. When I met with my doctor, she didn't seem worried at all about the baby's size or my ability to deliver him. She said babies tend to gain about half a pound per week at the end of pregnancy, so if I make it full term, then the baby would be about nine pounds. She even guessed that he could weigh a little less than Owen. That would obviously be fantastic, but I am not too worried about him being overly large. His heart rate was 151 beats per minute, which is a lot higher than Owen's was toward the end of my pregnancy with him. I will continue having once a week appointments until the baby is born. Here is a picture from the ultrasound.
         Things are slowly, but surely coming along at the house as we prepare for baby. Tim has been working diligently on refinishing a dresser for Owen's big boy room so that I can move most of his clothes and things over and start filling up the dresser in the nursery with the baby's things. I have already washed most of the baby clothes, but I am just waiting for a place to put them. Owen loves his big boy room so far. We haven't really tried to get him to sleep in the bed and probably won't anytime soon, but he loves having all the space to play in there. 
       I am working on preparing for baby by making freezer meals and packing our hospital bags. I started making freezer meals last week because I started later with Owen and since he came early, I never made everything that I had planned to make. So far, I have made about 11 meals. I will continue to make a few extra meals here and there over the next week or so. I also have almost finished packing our hospital bags. I am waiting on something I ordered to come in the mail and then I should be able to pack most everything. 
      Tim watched Owen for me a few days ago so that I could go get a pedicure, which was a really nice treat. So even though I can't see my toes most of the time, they do look nice!