babyprep

#babyprep: What I used, what I didn’t

I’ve heard people say you’re never truly prepared to have children.

After having a baby, I say: “Fair statement.”

I did try to prepare some things — if not myself completely — for my baby’s impending arrival, such as bedside snack and diaper stations, freezer meals and smoothies. I also stocked up on diapers, wipes, burp clothes, pumping and milk storage supplies and coffee.

Lots and lots of coffee.

Here’s what I found useful and what I didn’t end up using:

Diaper, Snack and Other Stations

bedside-diaper-station-snack-station-nursing

My son sleeps in our bedroom in a bassinet next to our bed. Why? Because our bedroom is on the second floor of our house and the baby’s bedroom is not. I’m not walking up and down stairs in the middle of the night, half asleep and sleep-deprived, to change a baby’s diaper or feed him.

Danger is not my middle name.

I knew I would need diapers, wipes and burp clothes nearby in the middle of the night — hence, bedside diaper station, replacing the Ansel Adams print and handmade decorative bowl I put bobby pins and hair ties in that I forget to take out before bed.

Now, it doesn’t really matter what’s in my hair before bed — bobby pins, baby spit, barf — nbd.

I originally included diapers, wipes, burp clothes and nursing pads. I actually use diapers, wipes, burp clothes and a changing pad.

The changing pad is necessary. Trust me.

Guess what you don’t need in the middle of the night? Nursing pads. You won’t care.

While I also have a drawer full of water bottles next to my bed, I don’t have a bedside snack station. That’s downstairs where the majority of the feeding and pumping occur. I’m not sure if you know this, but breastfeeding (and pumping) is hunger-making.

I am hungry all. the. time.

Snacks are required.

My favorites include Cashew Cookie Larabars, trail mix and string cheese. The cheese stays in the refrigerator, of course.

snack station for breastfeeding moms

I set up a diaper station here, too, but I ended up never using it — just took the baby to his changing table in his room when I am downstairs with him.

I also set up a snack station in the nursery thinking I’d be doing a lot of breastfeeding in there. Turns out, I don’t do any breastfeeding at all in the nursery because the television is in the living room and, sometimes, mommy wants to watch Law & Order while baby eats.

With an extra basket floating around, I was able to set up another needed station: bath.

baby bath time station

Add a Command hook and we have here a space-saving bath time storage solution!

One station I hadn’t prepared but definitely needed is in the kitchen: dishes.

baby dishes station in the kitchen

Between pacifiers, bottles, droppers and pumping supplies, we’re scrubbing dishes two or three times a day.

Bottles

Speaking of bottles…

I purchased the Kiinde Twist Feeding System Starter Kit and an 80-pack of storage bags because it was so cool. I loved the idea of what it offered: a system for direct pumping to storage bag to bottle to baby without the need for milk transfers.

Perfect!

Except for just one thing…

The baby.

My son didn’t like the Kiinde Twist Feeding System bottles or nipples. He didn’t seem to care that they were designed specifically to reduce air intake and gas (so maybe his tummy troubles would be less troublesome). He didn’t seem to care that I had purchased the starter kit, pre-washed the pieces and was unable to return any of it.

Eye. Roll.

So I put the bottles and nipples into storage, filled all the bags (and ran out of room in my freezer so I can’t use the storage shelf anymore) and, now, all I use from this system is the bottle/bag/jar warmer that I purchased separately.

kiinde kozii warmer

A friend of mine warned me not to buy a bunch of bottles for the baby because the baby might not like the bottles I pick.

I should have listened instead of being sucked in by the cool-ness of this product.

We use Munchkin Latch bottles now. The baby loves them.

Sigh.

Clothes

Babies, turns out, don’t stay small for very long. ALL my newborn clothes got maybe two wears and only got those two wears because two things got worn each day (sometimes three, babies are gross). I now have overflow of newborn clothes that will never again be worn by my son.

(Including his lamb-y jammies, and I’m not OK about that. They’re still in his drawer so I can look at them.) <– This. This is why mom’s are weird.

newborn clothing hand-me-downs

A friend of mine told me the sizes on baby clothes are bonkers anyway…

If you’re OK with buying adorable things your child won’t wear more than once — unless you have a normal-sized baby, I guess, mine was large — go ahead and go crazy with the newborn outfits. They’re so small and precious and the pants are so tiny omg it’s not ok.

Smoothies

The baby requires a lot of attention early in the morning — he’s hungry.

Well, mommy is hungry in the morning, too, and smoothies are easy to spin and sip while caring for an infant.

I prep fresh or frozen berries, spinach and bananas and add extras like frozen juice or milk cubes, Greek yogurt, chia seeds and ground flax. Then, I mix them up in plastic bags and blend as needed.

smoothies in the freezer

Right now, I have Strawberry-Avocado with berry juice cubes, Blueberry-Spinach with coconut water cubes and Peanut Butter-Banana with oats and flax. I’ll add orange juice, coconut milk or almond milk to these when I blend them for breakfast or lunch.

breastfeeding breakfast
Blueberry-Spinach Smoothie featuring coconut water, coconut milk and Greek yogurt

Sometimes, they’re consumed alongside a cup of coffee and a bagel or toaster pastries. (These aren’t the Pop-Tarts brand so I’m calling them toaster pastries. These are organic toaster pastries so I feel less bad about eating them. I do not feel bad at all about drinking coffee.)

Freezer Meals

I am not emotionally prepared to tell you about the freezer meals I prepared, but I will try, and I will also try not to use a bunch of words not suitable for ears or eyes.

Here goes.

freezer meal prep ingredients

In December, I prepped 13 crockpot meals and stored them in our deep-freeze. These freezer meals were to feed my husband and I without requiring us to go to the grocery store, cook or order pizza.

crockpot freezer meals

I cannot tell you how many times we ordered pizza.

Honestly, I don’t know what I did wrong.

So far, every chicken meal has been bland or… just… wrong. If the freezer didn’t ruin the food, the crockpot did (and the crockpot is 9-1 against the freezer). Some food, such as the tomato-based soup with Italian sausage and tortellini, was OK. Other food, such as the chicken noodle soup, Mexican chicken soup, turkey chili and chicken pot pie, among almost all the other ones, either could not be consumed or tasted so bland no one wanted to consume it anyway.

When I read about crockpot meals, when I see my friends and family talk about their crockpot cooking, when I see entire cookbooks dedicated to the art of the crockpot… I just want to know the secret.

What’s the secret? Tell me, world!

I am occasionally successful at a crockpot meal, but nine times out of 10, I made something so inedible that we end up ordering pizza, takeout or subs to go.

While waxing woefully about my crockpot culinary challenges, a few of my friends shared their own.

Remember the Lampoon’s Christmas? How the turkey was so dry it kinda poofed into dust? Did that with some chicken in the crockpot. — K

I liquefied cheese. And before you say cheese is already liquid… no. No, it’s not. Not like this. — T

I’m glad I’m not alone.

I forced a few of the chicken soups and chicken chilies down my face. Hunger and sleep-deprivation are great motivators for eating whatever you have. Some of the meals, though, I just… couldn’t.

*hork*

One of the roasts turned out OK so I’m hoping my other two roasts also turn out OK. I also have a Honey Dijon Pork Loin I’m not confident about, but we’ll see.

One thing is for sure: I am never doing that again.

(I’m also never doing pregnancy again or childbirth so hopefully I won’t need to! Ha!)

sleep-schedules

Putting the baby on a sleep schedule

I have to admit: I didn’t do a lot of research into parenting styles, philosophies or how I planned to parent my infant. Mostly just Pinterest.

I knew I was going to do three things:

  1. Breastfeed
  2. Sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed
  3. Take six to eight weeks off work to parent

Infants, turns out, don’t need a whole lot of parenting. I don’t think you parent infants anyway. I think you just have to keep them alive — well fed, well napped and clean pants.

Bam. Parented.

However, in my Pinterest-level research, I discovered these amazing schedules for babies developed by parents and specialists and child psychologists. I thought: “Man! These are great! I would love for my baby to be on one of these sleep schedules.”

Since I had already preordered the “chill baby” — I know, right? — I figured I could implement a schedule for my baby in the six to eight weeks I would be home with him.

Well, guess what…

I did not have a chill baby. He’s mostly NOT chill MOST of the ENTIRE day. No chill at all, this kid ;)

I also did not have a baby who wants to follow a schedule I found on the internet. Oh, no.

The schedule above was my first attempt at putting the baby on a sleep schedule. Look at all those naps! Look at how I can schedule the rest of my at-home activities, such as showering and eating and going to the bathroom without juggling a screaming newborn. And, look! I will know exactly when he’s going to be hungry.

F-in genius.

Except for a few things…

First, remember how my baby is sort of lazy when it comes to eating? He likes to fall asleep and wake up on his terms — in the middle of his meal. He does not need my help — nor does he appreciate being woken up for a feeding. It’s actually the worst thing ever to wake him up to eat because he throws a right fit.

Just gets pissed.

And it’s a little funny.

But it’s a lot torture.

Second, I am not awesome at waking up in the middle of the night if the baby or my very full not-been-emptied-in-hours boobs don’t wake me up. The nurses woke me up at the hospital. Unfortunately, a team of helpful nurses do not live in my house to wake me to feed a sleeping (read: DO NOT WAKE  HIM UP OMG WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU) baby.

I’m not setting an alarm either. I’d just sleep through it or snooze it because tired.

And I refuse to wake my baby when he’s sleeping (ever again) if he’s not showing signs of discomfort.

Seriously. A LOT torture.

Third, sometimes my baby will sleep for five, six or — gasp! — seven hours at a time at night. (He only slept for seven hours once, and it was glorious — after I panicked, of course.)

So my dreams of scheduled 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. feedings were dashed by my precious infant who wanted to be awake from 7 to 11 p.m. (uuuuugggghhhh) and up again an hour later or maybe 3:30 a.m., depending on his mood, for a feeding/comfort session involving using me as a pacifier.

mommy and baby
“I wasn’t really hungry. I just wanted to snuggle.”

Thanks, little dude.

An attempt to put him on his very own special sleep schedule also failed.

I’ve been keeping a notebook of when he sleeps, eats and plays as well as for diaper changes, spit ups and screaming sessions. I used the information I gathered from about a week of his activity to predict his activity moving forward.

I thought: “I’m f-in genius.”

Except for a few things…

First, remember I did not have a chill baby so, of course, he could care less that I documented his every snore to develop his very own special sleep schedule.

Second, he got older, developed new skills — like this amazing shrieking noise to indicate hunger or irritation or the fact that he’s a baby — and changed his very own schedule so I couldn’t predict when he would get tired or when he would get hungry.

I had to wait for the shriek.

Third, “wake/diaper/feed” doesn’t really work for my baby on his very special sleep schedule because sometimes it’s “wake/feed me now before I scream/oops too late screaming/good luck changing my diaper while I mad-kick at nothing.”

Of course, predicting when an infant will poo is impossible, but it will likely happen immediately after changing a wet diaper and buttoning him back into his onesie or in the middle of changing a diaper so it just gets everywhere. (ALWAYS lay the new diaper down before taking off the old one. Always.)

So you’re spending a lot of “nap time” cleaning up messes because of your special sleep schedule.

I think you know where this is going…

I did not put my baby on a sleep schedule.

four week old baby

Four weeks

Today is a wonderful and sad day.

Today is wonderful because Henry is four weeks old (shut up, no he’s not) and growing well. He’s a healthy, squishy, little nugget.

Today is sad because Henry is four weeks old, and you can tell.

Please excuse me while I sob.

He’s bigger, taller — er, longer? — and chubbier, and his head isn’t cone-shaped anymore. Little rolls are forming on his arms and legs, and he’s growing another chin without a neck in sight.

Infant one week old
One week.
one month old baby photo
One month.

His hair is getting lighter, and it’s patchy — falling out — from sleeping with his head turned one way or the other or not at all. His eyebrows and eyelashes, however, are still thin and almost too light to see.

mom and baby
The hair near the ears is going fast on my soon-to-be-bald baby boy. (Explaining my face: We cried and cried so we got picked up for nursing during which we promptly fell asleep.)

His mouth doesn’t pull inward anymore, and he has a defined lower lip that seemed to be missing when he was born.

newborn baby
No lip.
sleeping baby
Bam! There it is.

His eyes are still blue, but they’re open a lot more often, especially at night… when he’s not sleeping.

baby monthly photo ideas

He’s still a newborn, falling in the 0-3 months category, but he grew out of all of his newborn clothes (except his lamb-y jammies) and is rocking 3-month onesies like a champ.

newborn baby
Four days old in his lamb-y jammies, which he technically doesn’t fit in… just when buttoned as a gown and when his legs are all tucked up. I’m going to lose it when he outgrows this.

Today is wonderful because Henry is four weeks old. Today is sad — for mom — because Henry is four weeks old.

One month.

Again, please excuse me while I sob.

breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard

Like legit hard.

When we were in the hospital, my son lost 11 percent of his birth weight. Remember, though, he started at 9 pounds, 5 ounces so I wasn’t too worried until Day #3 of our hospital stay — my milk had not come in.

It was totally supposed to come in by then…

…or maybe it wasn’t.

I guess it really depends on who you ask because they all had different answers — nurses, lactation consultants, doctors, pediatricians… all of them! I choose to believe my OB who told me that delays in milk coming in are totally normal for women who give birth via C-section because of some hormonal nonsense I don’t remember because those four days are  still pretty foggy.

Anyway…

The hospital pediatricians were concerned since he was weighing in at 8 pounds, 1 ounce on Day #3 so I started to worry, too.

A lot.

I already have a problem with fretting, and I was near an emotional mess (hormones, folks), so having pediatricians tell me we had to stay in the hospital for another day so he could gain weight — and he didn’t — made me cry.

Pediatricians made me cry.

They’re like the nicest of all doctors!

We spent our last night in the hospital learning how to supplement our son with formula using this weird cup thing.

It did not go well.

My son also had a difficult time latching, which — if you know a thing or two about breastfeeding — is the most important part. Next to the milk coming in, of course. We had to improvise so six pillows, three or four helping hands and something called a “nipple shield” later, we got him latched in the “Football Hold.” I say we because I required the help of my nurse, the lactation consultant and my husband to be something close to successful.

It was a team effort.

A team effort completely impossible to duplicate at home.

For example, there are only four pillows in my house, and my husband sleeps on two… actually, just one now… of them. Plus, I don’t have a nurse and a lactation consultant on-hand at home.

Three pillows and a Boppy (and sometimes a folded up blanket) made due for the first two nights at home… but my milk still had not come in.

I couldn’t breastfeed my son until he was nearly six days old so, when he got weighed at his first doctor’s appointment, he hadn’t gained back anything near his birth weight. (He did by the time he was two weeks old.)

Because I was so worried about his weight loss and because I knew nothing about breastfeeding, my husband and I went to the lactation clinic where a very nice woman helped me get the baby to latch and feed successfully for an hour. Woohoo! We weighed him before and after he ate to make sure he was “transferring milk.” He got an ounce off just one boob, and my milk had just come in that morning!

After that session, I felt I had nothing to worry about. He did so well! We did so well! I told my husband everything was fine.

I was wrong.

Side Note: Never brag on your child. It’ll backfire. 
(This will be a recurring theme.)

momma and baby
There’s a filter or something on my phone that smooths out the skin on my face so I look waaaay less gross in selfies than I actually am.

When we got home, I attempted to replicate our feeding at the lactation clinic only to have my son scream at my boob and fight me for 20 minutes before finally latching. Every time he lost the latch, which happened often, the whole screaming-fighting-latching thing would start over.

Super fun.

When a baby is hungry, he will give you clues, such as rooting, sucking on his little hands and, yes, even licking his lips. (This is pretty cute.) If you don’t respond right away, the baby gets pissed and refuses to latch until he’s been calmed.

My son went from sleeping to screaming with no “hunger cues” in between. Getting him to latch at home was a nightmare.

An absolute, 20-minute-every-time nightmare.

Getting into the Football Hold position, too, was a nightmare. So many pillows, so many props, so many hands!

Luckily, as he got bigger and as I got better at controlling his limbs, the nightmare faded into one of those dreams that’s not really scary, just weird, and you wake up very confused.

sleeping baby baseball onesie
It’s hard to tell how much he’s actually eating when I breastfeed him, unlike when we bottle-feed measured out expressed breast milk, so seeing him fall asleep on the boob is my best way of telling he’s full.

He’s nearly four weeks old (shut up, no he’s not), and we are breastfeeding champions. I’m a pro; he still kinda sucks at it. Not bragging on the kid, here. We’ve graduated from screaming at the boob for 20 minutes to latching it without too much ceremony. Sometimes, we huff, but it’s cool. Mom is patient… OK, mom is more patient.

We’ve also adapted to new holds. Necessity put us in the “Side-Lying Hold.” Necessity, also know as, I was so tired I couldn’t keep my head up so he had to figure it out. This hold would have worked in the hospital, but my C-section incision was so new and so painful that I couldn’t turn to lay on my side. I could barely get out of bed.

Now, we’re practiced and near-perfect at the “Cross-Cradle Hold,” which is, by far, the easiest one to do that requires the least amount of props. Just a Boppy! (And three pillows for me to lean against in bed.)

We’re not so great that I’m willing to make an attempt to breastfeed in public. I’m not taking him out of the house yet anyway. HOWEVER, when he’s got some head control and I’m able to carry him about for long periods of time without getting tired and he’s hungry and we’re in public, um, yeah, I’m gonna feed him.

And I’m not going in a bathroom to do it.

He was back at his birth weight — at least nearly at 9 pounds, 3 ounces — at his two-week checkup. At his two-month check up (shut up, that’s 10 years from now), we hope he’ll have gained another two to three pounds.

I think.

The chart is very confusing.

Unfortunately, breastfeeding is going to take a hit by the time his two-month checkup rolls around. Mommy has to go back to work, which is eight hours — technically it’s nine hours, plus drive time and getting ready time, so let’s round up to 10 hours — away from my son. Instead of nursing, I’ll be pumping.

Which brings me to my next point…

Pumping is not fun. In fact, it’s awful.

Imagine being stuck in one spot attached to a machine with one hand completely immobilized while the machine squeezes the life out of your chest over and over and over…

Now, imagine doing that twice.

medela pump in style breast pump
Medela Pump In Style breast pump pictured with oatmeal, which is apparently really good for lactation.

You can do one of three things with your free hand:

  1. Hold a book. A small book. Fumble to turn the pages.
  2. Scroll through your social. Follow more people on Instagram because this gets old fast and the news is too depressing to read more than once a day.
  3. Hold your head up because it’s 3 a.m., and the baby didn’t wake up to eat but your boobs did.

(You can also eat oatmeal.)

Guess what you can’t do. 

Sleep.

Of all the motherly things that have come into my life since having my son, pumping is by far my least favorite.

I hate it.

But I’m going to keep doing it because I go back to work in two weeks, which means my son is going to need a milk supply without me around and I’m going to need to keep my supply up… which means I need to pump.

medela breast milk containers with breast milk
Hashtag: Meal Prepping

For like four hours a day, I’ll be stuck in the same spot. Hooked up to that machine. Probably without oatmeal.

Even though pumping is terrible and breastfeeding is hard — like legitimately hard — it’s the best thing for me and for the baby (who screams at me) so I’m going to keep doing it until I don’t need to anymore.

…probably when he gets teeth, yeah?

:)

 

 

three weeks postpartum

Postpartum

The reason I did not want a C-section was its recovery period and process.

With a conventional delivery, a woman will stay in the hospital overnight — longer, if there were complications, of course.

When delivering surgically — this is my new favorite way to refer to my son’s birth — a woman might stay in the hospital for FOUR DAYS OMG.

I was in the hospital for four days. (The last day was technically my son’s fault.)

The first week of my maternity leave was spent trying to get in and out of an uncomfortable hospital bed using abdominal muscles to which I no longer had immediate access to check on my son who’s little nugget-ness lost too much weight (See? His fault.) laying in his baby Tupperware of a bed while my poor husband tried to sleep on what I can only assume was a Styrofoam couch.

baby in the hospital
My husband called this sleeping contraption “baby Tupperware,” and our nurse lost it laughing.

Plus, my legs were the size and shape of tree trunks from the swelling. I not only didn’t have ankles, I also didn’t have knees. The swelling was real, y’all. It’s called pitting edema, and it comes with a heart murmur. Fun!

Not my ideal first week of maternity leave.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad.

Our night nurse the entire time we were in the hospital was the single most amazing human being in the entire world.

I loved her.

Plus, a fleet of nurses and doctors made sure my son and I were healthy, recovering well and getting proper treatment. They were also in charge of my pain medication, which was good because — left up to me — I would forget to take it until I was kneeling in pain unable to move <– First day back at the house… (My husband did have to take over the scheduling of my pain medication for a while.)

But I didn’t prepare for a C-section delivery; I prepared for a normal delivery because, after all, I have the anatomy for it and my baby measured appropriately during the entire pregnancy.

Then, my appropriately-measuring baby boy turned out to be not at all small at 9 pounds, 5 ounces and facing the wrong direction — effectively getting stuck. My doctor called me a “hider” and plans to do an ultrasound before I deliver any more babies so we can get an actual size. (This won’t be a problem. I’m never doing this again.)

So mommy had a C-section, and she was not prepared.

My bathroom was stocked with Tucks, aloe vera and witch hazel; my wardrobe consisted of comfy lounge pants that would fit (probably) snug against my incision; and I anticipated returning to near-active-Shae-duty pretty quickly.

No.

Turns out, I wouldn’t need Tucks, aloe vera or witch hazel. Turns out, I wouldn’t be able to wear pants. (Extra large sweat pants, yes. Regular pants, no. Nearly nothing fit over the girdle — OMG, the girdle — nor my tree trunk legs.)

Returning to duty was the farthest thing from my mind.

Three weeks later, it still is.

Of course, three weeks later, and I’m recovering quite well. My pain is managed, and I think I’m finally finished with those awful after-birth contractions for which no one offers an epidural — rude — and no one really warned me about. While I’m not wearing my comfy lounge pants — they do fit a little too snug against my incision — I’m also not wearing the god-awful girdle anymore so breathing is a thing again.

I also sweat out all the swelling so my legs fit in my stretchy pants again, and my heart no longer murmurs. Yay!

My last three weeks of maternity leave can now take on the difficult task of preparing my body, mind and baby to go back to work. Wowzers.

We’re working on getting the baby on a schedule (more on this later), breastfeeding and pumping successfully (more on this later) and enjoying as much of our time together as we possible can :) More on this below!

baby laying on gray chevron crib sheet
I could watch him sleep for hours… you know, if he slept for hours…
baby jammies
He’s wearing his lamb-y jammies. When he grows out of these I’m going to lose my mind.
baby making faces
We’ve got some pretty killer facial expressions for being a newborn.
let me sing you the song of my people onesie
I listened to this tune all day yesterday…

Due Date #3

TL;DR: I HAD A BABY!

16123155_1237463312957248_6595787293716381696_n
Nine pounds, five ounces, 21 inches long and ALL the hair

Four days overdue, we went to the hospital for our scheduled birth. There wasn’t any rushing — we woke up early, made breakfast, loaded the car and left.

hospital bag for dad

My room wasn’t quite clean when we got there so we got a later start than we thought, but, in the end, that wouldn’t matter.

Thirteen hours of pitocin and (medicated) back labor later, I was wheeled into the operating room for a C-section to remove surgically the stubborn mule that is my son.

He didn’t want to come out, you see.

My birth plan had one thing on it: I don’t want a C-section.

Turns out, he was a little too big for me to birth him conventionally — nine pounds, five ounces with me measuring normal the entire pregnancy. Too big and face-up — hence, back labor.

So I had a C-section.

I didn’t get the birth I wanted, but that didn’t matter in the end either because I got something a hell of a lot better than the birth that I wanted.

 

20170119_07284820170121_125224

16142221_10210889358083493_7987829344908777225_n

15876006_961528903979897_8068421881755074560_n16123033_402706793395135_8355879198153244672_n

I got Henry.

 

40 weeks pregnant full term

Due Dates

Forty weeks is  full term.

Forty weeks is 10 months.

Forty weeks is a long time to be pregnant.

I’m 40 weeks today.

According to fancy pregnancy math, today was my due date. Little one didn’t show up today — perhaps because my due date was pushed back two days at my 20-week anatomy scan — or perhaps because half of all pregnancies run long.

Ugh.

After Week 39, I am ready not to be pregnant. Not that I want to rush him, but I wouldn’t be too made if he showed up before Monday. I don’t feel good. Five days of cramps, nausea, discomfort, sleeplessness and random pains… I’ve been sitting against an ice pack until it’s not cold anymore. Plus, I’m fighting a terrible head cold — or just the major mucus bomb that is my body prepping for labor and delivery.

Sorry, it’s a thing.

Luckily, my doctor doesn’t want me to be pregnant too long after my due date either. It’s not safe for the baby. Now, my baby has a scheduled birthday if he doesn’t show up on his previously assigned birthday via induction. (That’s due date No. 3.)

 

Who’s excited?

Yay. Me.

I’m not terribly excited about being induced even if I am super excited not to be pregnant. Induction might not work, but I’ll have to have the baby after starting the whole process so… a C-section might happen.

I don’t want a C-section.

Here’s my birth plan: I don’t want a C-section. Everything else is fair game.

I’m going to stay positive though. He’s either going to come on his own (on Monday) or induction will work, and I will not have to have a C-section.

To encourage his arrival, I’ve been thinking baby thoughts and nesting and telling him aaaaalll about it.

newborn clothing hand-me-downs
Newborn clothes are stupid cute.

 

His room is pretty much done. I haven’t hung the shelves, and I’m probably not going to hang the shelves before he gets here. He’ll be fine without shelves for a while.

bedside-diaper-station-snack-station-nursing

I’ve got diaper and breastfeeding snack stations in the living room, nursery and next to my bed. Granola bars, nuts and trail mix to munch and bottles of water and boxes of juice to keep me hydrated. Diapers, wipes and burp cloths for him.

freezer meal prep ingredients

crockpot freezer meals

I also prepared 13 crockpot meals to consume during my maternity leave so I can spend all my time with him — not worrying about feeding myself and my husband.

And we installed the forsaken car seat.

 

hospital bags packed
My hospital bags are packed, too.

I’m a planner, folks.

But my little one doesn’t seem to care that I’ve made a lovely home for him. He seems pretty content to enjoy the first home I made for him. (Seriously, every time he moves, it feels like he’s just getting more comfy. Like snuggling in.)

It’s like he doesn’t know how many adorable onesies are in his drawers or how many tiny diapers are spread throughout my house or how many times I packed and repacked his hospital bag.

I’ve been telling him.

He’s not listening.

Jeesh.

Three due dates for one baby. I’ll let everyone know when he gets here.

 

week

Pregnancy symptoms by trimester

I am 39 weeks today, and my due date is just nine days away. I’ve already had a serious conversation with the baby — making sure he knows that he’s supposed to come out in nine days — not before, not after. Nine days.

Considering he speaks no language and understands nothing, I’m not sure how effective our conversation was…

My doctor told me that — if the baby didn’t show up in nine days — we would discuss eviction notices. He’s not allowed to stay in there for too much longer than 41 weeks. Too long and the risk to the fetus outside of the womb increases.

So I continue to let him know that he has nine more days of cushy womb life before he has to come out and join the rest of us.

When he does come out, I’ve been told I am going to forget about all the awful symptoms I suffered during his time in gestation — so I’m going to tell you about it now. (I need a written record of how much I don’t like being pregnant so as not to suffer it again.)

trimesters of pregnancy

FIRST TRIMESTER

“Sick and tired” is an accurate description for the first trimester of pregnancy. The most unfortunate feeling I’ve experienced is being nauseous without the ability to cure myself of said nausea — meaning vomiting didn’t make it go away.

Holding my breath, cursing the baby, TUMS… Nothing made it go away. Just coooonstant nausea and dizziness. Occasional vertigo.

Super fun.

I was nauseous for months, and then, suddenly, it went away. I was one of the lucky ones. Some women suffer from nausea and vomiting of pregnancy for the entire pregnancy.

I don’t wish that on my enemies.

I only had reprieve from the epic nausea when I was asleep… and, y’all, I could sleep.

Baby building is hard work, especially in the first trimester. You’d think because you’re still small that you still have tons of energy to… you know… exercise, do the things you’re supposed to do to keep yourself and your fetus healthy, move, breathe, exist.

But, no.

You don’t.

busy being pregnant ecard

Any and all energy diverts to building baby parts, and you don’t have much energy to spare because you can’t eat anything — it’s all gross — or you just throw it up.

Yaaaaayyy.

Speaking of eating… there’s a long list of stuff you’re no longer allowed to consume, and that list is not limited to coffee and alcohol. Oh, no.

Deli meat.

Hot dogs.

Certain cheeses.

Under-cooked eggs.

Not-all-the-way cooked meat, such as cow or venison steaks.

I’ve never wanted red meat or a cold sandwich more in my life than when I was told I couldn’t have them.

Add to the list you’re not allowed to eat the foods you simply no longer can eat. For me, that list included: leafy greens, especially spinach — hork; salmon, and all fish for a little while; chicken on the bone; eggs; mushy food, such as yogurt; and any food with a strong smell.

Guess what I could eat…

Sugar.

ALL the sugar.

I wanted ice cream, cookies, donuts (more than I usually did), chocolate, candy… the list of sweets I suddenly wanted goes on and on and on.

I had no idea cravings and aversions would be so intense.

The first trimester of pregnancy, in my opinion, ranks as the worst trimester in whole. (However, the final weeks of pregnancy rank as the worst time ever. Again, my opinion.)

SECOND TRIMESTER 

Many of my first trimester symptoms disappeared in the second trimester. I was no longer (always) nauseous; my food aversions lessened — though I still can’t eat salmon; and I got some energy back.

Instead, a brand new fleet of symptoms attacked — the worst of which was whatever the hell my hormones were doing.

Other than wreaking havoc on your body, pregnancy also does a great deal of damage to your mental and emotional well-being.

cried at work today ecard

I do not know how to explain the brand new feelings I got, but, oh boy! Were they a trip.

Sadness about nothing, epic pregnancy rage, hyperactive happiness — and that was just my morning.

Add to that fun-filled emotional roller coaster the fact that my brain broke. I couldn’t remember anything, especially if you just told it me. I didn’t get jokes anymore. I couldn’t tell the difference between “just kidding” and “take this as fact.”

I got dumb.

Mental and emotional recovery, I hear, happens after the baby is born. Long after the baby is born.

Lucky for me, my brain function returned — for the most part — and my mood swings have swung out a bit. (No promises for that to continue into what they call the “fourth trimester.”)

Physically, the second trimester was less mean to me than the first trimester, but something new and awful did strike.

pregnancy heartburn ecard

I love spicy food. My love of spicy food did not change when I got pregnant. I still really love spicy food. The more burn-y the better!

But spicy food did not love me in the second trimester. (It still doesn’t love me.)

I did not know heartburn before pregnancy. I also did not know there was a limit to how many TUMS you could take in day… I’d never reached it before. The feeling is indescribable. “Burn” isn’t the right word because it’s not a strong enough word. “Raging inferno from hell” is a more accurate description — just centrally located and radiating out from the chest into my throat, lungs, stomach and all the other organs my sweet child forced into my rib cage.

organs moving into rib cage during pregnancy

Have you seen what a growing fetus does to the internal organs of its host? You should. (The baby also causes a great deal of nerve pain in some women. Some women including me.)

The heartburn was so bad it would keep me up at night and wake me up in the middle of the night, but that wasn’t the only thing interrupting my sleep.

Pregnancy insomnia struck aggressively in the second trimester and has not let up since its onset — life’s cruel way of preparing women to function on very little sleep, I suppose.

Shockingly, while I still don’t function super great without sleep (and without nearly as much coffee as I used to get — two cups compared to… like… eight), this symptom hasn’t affected me nearly as horribly as all the other ones.

It’s one thing that I’ll actually need when my son is born — the ability to exist without sleep.

If you were curious, that’s an actual super power.

THIRD TRIMESTER

The first weeks of the third trimester are largely the same as the second trimester. It doesn’t get truly awful until about the last month and a half — and it is truly awful.

4a1cb8d420bb161b11401513049dd6ca

Everything does hurt, and I feel like I’m dying.

First trimester symptoms have returned — food aversions, nausea and cravings along with the constant need to pee. Back pain has intensified to levels that cannot be corrected by physical therapy exercises — mostly because I can’t get up and down from the floor anymore. Sleep deprivation is at its highest level with my waking up every two hours — on. the. dot. — to pee or drink water or to adjust my body because it feels like its in a vice grip. Oh, and the swelling.

I have giant hippo foot.

Foot. Not feet. Just one of them looks absolutely ridiculous, but I’ve begun to puff up in my face and upper body, too, so yay.

Snoring is new this trimester, which doesn’t so much affect me as it does my poor husband. I can snore through extra strength nasal strips designed to hold the entire nasal cavity open. (These things are the size of my nose and do nothing.)

My abdominal wall is useless. I have to roll and heave and pull myself out of bed, cars, chairs, etc. I’m sure it’s just my enlarged uterus holding the rest of my organs in my body at this point because abs… no. My cousin said she sat down one day and couldn’t get back up.

That’s how it feels to lose the ability to use your core muscles.

Oh, and I’m constantly out of breath from movements as simple as shifting.

No wonder women inhale spicy food, walk as much as they can (despite the size of their bellies and water-retaining ankles) and drink special teas in attempt to induce labor naturally… early.

pregnancy takes forever

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but even though I feel like I’ve been pregnant for three years, I’m not ready for him to come out.

Taking care of a fetus is way easier than taking care of a newborn — forced sobriety and all. Baby kicks are a comforting reminder that he’s healthy, and I get to carry him around with me all day feeling his baby kicks, rolls and wiggles. I know when he’s sleeping, when he’s awake, when he has the hiccups… When he’s born, I’ll get to see him, but I have to watch him to know when he’s sleeping, when he’s awake, when he has the hiccups. I won’t be able to feel him anymore — and I think that’s going to be so much weirder than when I first felt him move.

All that being said… pregnancy is still pretty awful on the body and the mind, and I’d still like it to be over soon.

Nine days, to be exact.

38 weeks pregnant

A new year with two weeks to go

Happy New Year.

I need a nap.

My husband and I accidentally stayed up until midnight New Year’s Eve. We were watching the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven — good movie — and sorting, washing and folding/hanging baby clothes from my sister-in-law.

And then, suddenly, fireworks!

We’re super exciting, folks.

Side Note: My kid has clothes for daaaaaaaaays. Some of the outfits have been through five or six boys; most have been through four (his cousins). I found a “Cool like my Auntie” shirt that no longer applies to me. Ha! I do not anticipate needing additional clothing items until he’s about nine months old… depending on how big he is and how fast he grows.

Staying up late Saturday is not the only reason I need a nap. The holidays have been busy. Family, family, family… work, work, work… nesting, nesting, nesting. And, oh boy, am I nesting.

Annoyingly nesting…

I want everything to be clean, including things I can’t reach or actually clean… like my wet basement — it’s always going to be a wet basement.

I want everything to be organized, including things I’ve already organized… like the baby’s dresser and the baby’s closet and the baby’s everything. I’ve reorganized those things too many times to count, and they’ll never look as nice as they do right now again.

Most of all, I want the nursery to be complete, and, thankfully, we’re nearly there.

baby changing table
Do you see the adorable stuffed animal my mother-in-law got us? It’s a German Shepherd puppy giving kisses to a little yellow tabby kitten!
german shepherd dog and cat
Ivan and Zuzu!

My coworkers threw me a baby shower in October, and they created a beautiful wreath decoration I tried to recreate. In opposition to my Pinterest account, I am not very crafty :\ I’ll have to go back to Michael’s…

nursery wreath
Brown or birch? I can’t decide.
nursery dresser and closet
This dresser will be the death of me…

I still have shelves and picture frames to hang above the dresser, and I have to find something to put the humidifier on top of because IN CONTRAST TO THE PICTURE ON THE BOX IT CAME IN, it can’t go on the floor.

Meh.

But there are four full drawers of baby clothes in that dresser — organized by size — newborn to three months, three to six months and six or more months. The last drawer is just full of sleepers. With lots and lots of snaps. We’ve got a full closet, too, containing baby clothes I’ve decided are impossible to fold. (Note: All baby clothes are impossible to fold.)

baby clothes hanging in a closet
Do you see the black and yellow Shocker sweatshirt leading the line? It’s got matching pants! He will wear it always and often.

My greatest success? Curtains.

crib and rocking chair in nursery
I went through three different sets of curtains before finding ones I liked.

After two sets of failed attempts at getting curtains to go in this room… I found these pretty white ones from Target. (Not really blackout, though, nice try.) They’ve got a nearly woodland look with a soft twig pattern.

Perfect.

Finally.

Except for the length…

At 96 inches, these did not fit in the previously allotted space between curtain rod and floor.

Eh, oops.

Luckily, my loving husband handled my near meltdown — I’m pregnant, it’s a thing — with finesse and rehung the curtain rod eight inches higher.

Looking at those compared to curtains in other rooms, I think I prefer the higher rod.

However, any other re-hanging of rods and buying of new curtains will have to wait until the baby gets here… a while after the baby gets here.

Because, after all this, I need a nap.

Christmas Coffee by Reverie Coffee Roasters Wichita KS

No Christmas baby

My little one doesn’t look like he’s planning to show up early — Thank goodness!

What is it about the holiday season (and having less than three weeks before the baby joins us) that makes me feel so far behind?

Christmas presents for the family

All the family gifts are wrapped, but I still have so much to do.

  • Install. The. Forsaken. Car seat.
  • Schedule a house cleaning
  • Hang shelves and artwork in the nursery — it’s almost done!
  • Fix the upstairs shower
  • Prep freezer meals and smoothies
  • …I’m sure there’s more

Since we had a warm but gloomy, rainy, windy, potentially tornado-y Christmas in Kansas, I stayed in and got to cross one of these these to-do’s off my list.

Prepping freezer meals and smoothies for non-fast food fast.

I braved the grocery store on Christmas Eve to pick up the ingredients for the 15 freezer meals I planned so the husband and I aren’t ordering takeout every night when we’re both too tired to remember how the oven works.

I say “braved” because it was absolute chaos. Nonsense-making chaos. I’m never doing it again.

I also went to Costco. I am bad at Costco. I can’t figure out how to make the price per carrot worth it to buy food I’ll never be able to eat before it goes bad…

I just want to buy less food.

freezer meal prep ingredients

Anyway, a separate blog will detail this adventure. I might never do this again, either… One ingredient not found killed one of my freezer meals; and another ingredient forgotten killed a second. Instead of 15, I only have 13.

Plus, I’ve never touched so much raw chicken in my life… hork.

And my feet are kiiiiiiiling me.

Like, they’re so mad.

Fingers crossed each of these freezer meals are edible. After meal prepping for seven hours today (including tonight’s dinner!), I do not care if they taste good.

I’ll care tomorrow.

When my feet don’t hurt.

If I did my math correctly, and if I don’t cook anything to go with any of these freezer meals (though I plan to), each serving costs approximately $2.60 — assuming each freezer meal yields four servings. I’m going to keep track of costs as best I can because I want to know if freezer meals are worth more than time.

To plan and prep these meals, I used a bunch of plans and recipes I found on Pinterest. Because Pinterest. Find them –>>

I hope you all had a Happy Christmas! We’re celebrating next week (pending fetus).

Ivan the German Shepherd with his Christmas toy
Ivan says “Happy Christmas!” (as he demolishes a stuffed animal, leaving its entrails all around my once clean house)