June 30, 2011

Baby Furniture for my Cats? They think so!

My cousin Jessica just gave us a basically brand new baby bassinet that she used for her twins. It was sitting in a basement for a couple years but I took all the fabric off, washed it, and it's as good as new! Bill and I rearranged our bedroom and organized everything to make it perfect for our baby girl to come home to. The bassinet is placed next to my side of the bed and it's just adorable! The first night sleeping next to it, I just spent the whole night thinking about how we would really be having our own baby sleeping in there. It is still very hard to imagine but I can't wait!

Okay to my point, the funny part of this story! I woke up and looked in the baby bassinet to see my two cats curled up together sleeping in it! IT WAS SO PRECIOUS! Excluding the fact that there is a ton of cat hair on the sheet and I have to rewash it... it was so cute! They have slept in that bassinet every night now, [about 4 days]. My cats seriously think that all the baby stuff we have in our apartment belongs to them. They are SPOILED. They even think the nursery is for them. Annabelle sleeps in the new glider on the Boppy pillow. Raja sleeps on the changing table. For now it's okay but when the baby comes, they will be in for quite a surprise! I think they are going to be jealous!

Annabelle in Glider on Boppy Pillow
Close Up
Raja on Changing Table. Notice my great organization skills! ;)
Close Up
Annabelle was first to discover the new bassinet.
Then Raja joined!
"Oh yeah, it's totally comfy."

June 29, 2011

This is Me Feeling Miserable. Unpleasant Update @ 37w2d

I have been nauseous all last night and all day today. I could not sleep at all due to feeling sick to my stomach and my inability to find a comfortable position. I tossed and turned all night long, frequently changing the side I was laying on. I went to the bathroom about four times hoping maybe if I emptied my bladder I would fall asleep. No luck. Bill's alarm clock went off at 7am for work and I shot up and headed straight to the bathroom. I threw up everything I ate yesterday, including the Spicy Chipotle Chicken tacos that were so delicious yesterday. Gross. [Never again, will I eat those...] Then after vomiting, my body decides to have a fun case of diarrhea. Gross. I felt a little better after throwing up and decided to rinse my mouth and lay back in bed. I fell asleep for about two more hours until I had to get up for a doctor's appointment. I have no clue where this sickness came from. I haven't felt this nauseous since my first trimester so I was/am nervous that morning sickness is coming back at 37 weeks... :/

I told my doctor that I felt really sick. She asked me if I was having vomiting and diarrhea. I said yes... and it turns out that this is a normal end of pregnancy symptom. She said that the baby could be moving and kicking at my stomach and causing irregular bowel movements, etc. She said to focus on eating small amounts of healthy food, especially protein every couple hours instead of eating big meals. So far today, I have eaten a half bowl of cream of wheat cereal [absolutely disgusting!], crackers... more crackers, a few grapes, and a nectarine. I've been drinking a lot of water which makes me feel better but I am miserable today. I can't sleep off the pain! Here is what I look like right now. No mean comments. This is me miserable! Ha... :/

Baggy Eyed, No Sleep, Nauseous Version of ME :/
The funny thing is that yesterday I was seriously thinking that I would try and prepare myself to have a natural birth. No Epidural. Funny... I was miserable all through the night and it instantly crashed my motivation. I can't be nauseous AND going through the most intense pain of my life simultaneously. I will reconsider this option when I feel better.

Another update from my doctor's appointment. I am still 1cm dilated, 60% effaced [like last week]. The baby's heart rate is great, however she is measuring 2cm smaller. Apparently last week, she was 1cm smaller. So they ordered an ultrasound because she has been measuring normal every week until week 36. The doctor said that the baby probably has dropped down into the birth canal a little bit [?] but they want to make sure everything is fine with the placenta.

So that's it. I hope this feeling goes away soon or at least gets better!

Update: This morning I feel fine... It must have been a 24 hour stomach flu or something. IDK. But I am happy to feel better again!!

June 26, 2011

Why I'm Using Cloth Diapers- specifically, the gDiaper

gCloths (still needing to be washed!) on left & gPants on right
My gDiapers have finally arrived in the mail! After thinking and dreaming about using these hybrid, cloth diapers for over a year now [yes, before I even knew I would be pregnant so soon], I finally get to hold them in my hand!! I never even considered using cloth diapers until I took a Sustainability course at MSU. I did an entire research project on the gDiaper products and fell in love with the idea of using a safer, more earth-friendly product. I plan to write several posts related to my gDiaper experience. I have no doubt that it will be a positive one, but I will be sure to give an accurate account of my experiences, good and bad. Until a few days ago, I've only talked to one other person who uses cloth diapers. Everyone else absolutely despises the idea and complains to me saying I will change my mind... [Seriously people? I am highly dedicated & even more motivated by people who say I will fail. Just a quick FYI.] Anyways, I want to tell you why I am so addicted to these diapers without ever having used them yet.

Cloth Reduces Ecological Footprint
To begin, cloth diapers are much, MUCH more sustainable than disposable diapers. If you don't know anything about disposable diapers know this concept. Disposables produce too much garbage. One child alone can go through up to 8,000 diapers. This produces around 1 ton of garbage per child. In 2004, the United States alone sold between 18-24 billion disposable diapers which all ended up in landfills. Only 18 billion diapers alone use 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp -- 250,000 trees. It takes one disposable diaper 500 years to decompose! It has been said that diapers are the 3rd largest consumer waste product in our landfills... The statistics go on forever. [I have not forgot about the whole debate on filling up landfills vs laundering energy expenses... but I will not go into much detail. I have a energy efficient washer and plan to use an eco-friendly detergent. I personally believe cloth is STILL better for the environment than disposables.]

So, with that being said, my main driver to using cloth is to reduce my ecological footprint. gDiapers are not created with plastic, which is non-renewable. gRefills [the disposable option of the gDiaper] are 100% biodegradable and take 50-150 days to fully compost. COOL HUH? When I have my own house with a yard and a place to create a compost... that is what I will be doing. Another important reason I plan to use gDiapers is that the company is constantly working towards becoming more and more sustainable. Their focus is to become Cradle to Cradle certified [Good book. Read Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things]. Currently only their gRefills, the disposable option of gDiapers, are certified. This certification means to take into account all the costs of a product's lifetime. This includes the raw materials needed to create the product, how it affects the consumer, and how it is disposed of and returned back to Earth. It takes into account both human and environmental health concerns.

Cloth is Less Toxic
Disposable diapers are created with harmful chemicals and gels that are needed for the extra absorbency. They contain Dioxin, which is a highly toxic by-product of the bleaching process. Sodium Polyacrylate is the gel that makes the disposable diapers super absorbent. Just an FYI, this gel was banned from being used to create tampons in 1985 due to the increased risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. I still don't understand why disposable diaper companies are allowed to use this in an essential BABY product. Blows my mind. Also in these diapers there is the biocide, Tributylin, which is used in killing and preventing the growth of bacteria. The World Health Organization ranked this chemical as one of the most toxic substances in consumer products today. CRAZY.

There is a pitfall to using cloth too. If you are using cotton cloth diapers, you have to careful with where and how the cotton was grown. Cotton uses A LOT of pesticides to maintain and you don't want those on your baby. However, this is difficult to overcome because most of our clothing is made with cotton. It's almost a lose-lose situation unless you use only organic cotton, which is a good goal to have. I know gDiapers are made with a combination of cotton and hemp. [I am pretty sure they are organic. Anyone know for sure?] If you don't buy organic hemp, hemp alone does not require many pesticides to grow well.

Cloth is More Comfortable 
Cloth diapers are much more comfortable for babies to wear! Don't believe me? How about you wear a disposable diaper for a week straight and let me know how you like the diaper rash and itchy plastic between your legs. Next wear a cloth diaper, or a gDiaper for a week. It's made of cloth... it's softer.

Cheaper- More $$$ For the Fun Things in Life!
While gDiapers are not the cheapest method of cloth diapering, they are definitely more affordable than using disposable diapers. At one point I calculated out all the savings we will have using gDiapers and it's AMAZING. We will save around $1000 in diapering costs for one child. We plan on having 2 children total [though you never know what will happen]. But the awesome thing is that we won't have to buy diapers for our second child because we have already purchased them for the first! So really we are saving between $2500-$3000.

Cloth Helps Potty Train Toddlers Faster
Cloth diapers allow children to potty train faster because the child will be able to feel the wetness and bowel movements better. If they are more aware of their icky diaper, they will become more uncomfortable, which gives them incentive to potty train faster. This may sound a bit cruel but regardless on whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, babies do not like sitting around in a messy diaper... It's gross.

While each child varies in the time it takes to be fully potty trained, cloth diapers can help a child potty train up to 6 months earlier! This factor alone gives me motivation to use cloth diapers! Why volunteer to change diapers for more months than you have to???? Silly parents.

gDiapers are Cute
These diapers are just so fricken' adorable! I plan on having my baby girl wear these with only a little shirt on this summer. No one will ever know she doesn't have bottoms on because it will look like a complete outfit.

I purchased the green and orange gDiapers because they come in a 6-pack, which makes them cheaper and gender neutral [in case our 2nd child is a boy]. But gDiapers come in many different colors and prints if you don't like those colors. I MIGHT end up buying a cute purple one just for the fun of it... but for now I am content with the ones I have and can't wait to use them!

Keep checking in for more updates with my gDiaper experience. For now, all I can say is that I really like the idea of them and they seem like a very convenient introduction to cloth diapering. I will post more on this subject once my baby is born and she begins wearing them!

3 Weeks & 2 Days Until My Due Date! ♥

June 19, 2011

Luckiest Baby Ever. [to have such a wonderful father]

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful fiancé who will meet his daughter in approximately one month!

She is going to be one of the luckiest babies ever. She has a father who is not only the nicest and most caring guy ever, but someone who will effortlessly be involved throughout her entire life. She is lucky to have a father who is already sacrificing his time worrying about diaper changes, health and safety, preventing possible cat scratches, family vacations involving her, and more. I have no doubt in mind that she will easily feel her father's love throughout each and every day. I am grateful to bring my daughter into the world with such a loving father and family.

Happy Father's Day to ALL Fathers & Fathers-To-Be!

June 18, 2011

Ease of Self Consciousness

Normally I am fairly self-conscious and try my best to look well everyday unless I don't go out in public all day. This means I make my hair presentable, dress nicely, and put on at least some eye liner. But lately, as I've become more and more pregnant I don't care as much about what other people think of me. This is relieving because I can just get up and go out in public without worrying too much about my hair, etc. Maybe it's because I feel so huge already that I can't improve my looks that much anyways??? I don't know but I went out garage saling early this morning with my hair flowing everywhere like crazy [lots of frizz/waves] and it didn't bother me. I went to the beach today and I didn't care too much about my stretch marks & baby belly being present. AND I didn't care about my legs peeling. I am always concerned about the appearance of peeling skin in the summer and my worries never even came this year. Another big thing I usually worry about is my tan lines. I could care less this summer about what my tan lines look like. I was sporting about 5 different tan lines last month... crisscross, halter, normal spaghetti straps, etc. I even had a pair of "white shorts" underneath my bikini bottoms. I didn't care. It could be because I am just too tired too worry about such petty things. Or that I clearly have better things to occupy my mind with like What do I do with my baby girl once she's born... and all the normal first time parent worries. Regardless I do like the easing off of my self-consciousness. It can get pretty cruel sometimes.

June 14, 2011

Do Babies Dream in the Womb?

Someone at work asked me if I knew the answer to this question. Do Babies Dream in the Womb? My first instinct would be: Yes, babies do dream in the womb. I think this because there is evidence of babies dreaming after birth. Also, newborn puppies and kittens dream. You can tell because they will be sleeping while kicking their paws and squealing at the same time. I just assume that a developing human being would start dreaming in the womb since they do once they are born.

After a little research, I have come to a more definite conclusion. According to the article, Baby's First Dreams from the American Institute of Physics, a 7 month old human fetus spends most of its time asleep. During sleep, they are cycling back and forth through states of rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. Since we know that humans dream during the REM state and that 7 month old fetuses experience REM, I conclude that babies do dream in the womb.

Steve Marshall, a self-help and spiritual writer claims to have personally recalled a couple dreams he experienced while he was in the womb. He was able to remember these dreams through the practice of Rebirthing, a New Age breathing technique. His article is titled Why Do We Dream. I don't know if there is anyone else that claims to remember their dreams, let alone any experience in the womb but I found this very interesting.

The next question to ask is: If babies can dream in the womb, what do they dream about? My guess is that babies dream about sounds they hear and things they feel and see in the womb. A baby is able to follow a flashlight moving across the mother's stomach, which means they can at least see different shades of things. Babies must dream about whatever they are sensing.

After writing my post on pregnancy & dreams, Pregnancy Brings Vivid, Real Like Dreams I'm surprised this question never came to mind. I'm glad someone asked me because I am obsessed with dream research and meaning!

June 13, 2011

I've Been Showered With Baby Supplies!

[35 weeks today. Exactly 5 weeks to go!]

Bill and I are so fortunate to have such supportive family and friends. I can't tell you enough how much they love and care to keep connected with our lives. I am not only lucky to have my family but to soon be able to officially join his family. This weekend I was given two baby showers. The first one was held by my mom, grandma, and a long time family friend. The second one was held by all of Bill's aunts. Between the two parties we have collected pretty much everything that we need (and more!) to care for our baby girl. I do have one more baby shower that will be hosted by my step mom and step sister soon. I still need gDiapers, a diaper bag, a couple nursing bras, cushions for my glider, wetbags, a washable laundry pail liner, and a nice baby album. We have a beautiful nursery filled with baby supplies!

I will be writing personal baby product reviews on all our items once we start using everything and have made a concrete opinion on their reliability, etc. Here is a list of everything I received so far, including what we have picked up at garage sales for cheap. [I'm sure I'm missing some things though...]

·      Baby Books- Chewable & Non-Chewable
·      Baby Bowls
·      Baby Spoons
·      Baby Towels
·      Baby Wash Cloths
·      Bassinet
·      Bibs
·      Blankets (Several Hand Crocheted!! Quilted!! Sewn!!)
·      Bottles
·      Burp Rags (Hand-made!!)
·      Changing Table
·      Crib
·      Crib Bedding- Winnie the Pooh
·      Crinkle (Noise Making) Toys
·      Disposable Diapers (216) Size 1-2
·      Glider
·      Hair Accessories
·      Health & Grooming Kit
·      High Chair
·      Infant/Toddler Bath Tub
·      Leap Frog Learning Stuffed Dog
·      Mirror (to see Infant in Rearview Mirror of car!)
·      Mobile
·      Monitors
·      Musical Pull Toys
·      Nursing Pads
·      Outfits & Onesies (SO MANY. I have started making totes of them… All sizes!)
·      Pacifiers
·      Receiving Blankets
·      Single Electric Breast Pump
·      Sippy Cups
·      Stroller & Car Seat Travel System
·      Teethers
·      Wipes (900!) & Cloth Wipes (I made from flannel material)

All these baby things make everything feel even more real. This is a good thing... but it's making me question myself. I hope I am ready to have a baby. It is kinda scary knowing that in about a month I will have a baby depending on me every second of her life for many, many years! It is nerve-racking... I am hoping my motherly instincts will kick in ASAP when she is born!

June 9, 2011

Mentally Preparing for Labor

5 weeks 5 days to go! It would be nice to cut one week off from that count down!!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I never really asked my doctors any questions. I think I was still in shock about being pregnant and also, everything that I wanted to know I found in my baby books and online. But now every time I visit the doctor's office, I go through never-ending lists of questions I feel the need to ask... and re-ask. I'm getting really exciting to meet my daughter. MY DAUGHTER. How strange does that sound!? Crazy!! I will officially have my own family. Mommy, Daddy, & Baby. I've been excitedly asking more and more questions about the process of labor and delivery. I want to know as much as I can before I go into labor...

What are the signs of labor?
What do contractions feel like?
Who do I call to see if it's a good time to go into the hospital for delivery?
When is a good time to go to the hospital?
When will I get an epidural? Do I have to wait until I'm dilated to a certain extent first? When do most women choose to have an epidural?
Why do women have Cesarean sections?
Who exactly will be helping delivery my baby? 
How long will I be in the hospital for recovery?
What doctor visits do I have to go to after delivery?
Are their vaccinations my fiancé and I will be recommended to take to prevent the baby from getting any possible sicknesses?

My list goes on and on! All these answers make me more excited but nervous as well. My doctor says that I should wait until my contractions are 5-10 minutes apart before coming into the ER. She says that I can call the OB nurse on call for any questions after hours. If my water breaks, I need to come into the hospital immediately and will most likely be induced to avoid infections since the amniotic sac won't be there to protect against germs. Apparently there is no pressure to wait extra long before I get an epidural. On average, women wait until they are between 3-5cm dilated before getting an epidural but they want me to be as comfortable as possible so I can have it whenever. After reading about epidurals, I'm kinda scared of the idea of having my entire lower body paralyzed. This makes me more motivated to have a natural birth... ha. I probably will not feel this way when my body trying to force a baby out of me... but anyways. C-Sections are necessary when the doctors think the baby will not be able to undergo a normal birthing process for various different reasons. [I made my mom have a C-Section... Wow in a way that means I failed at life... Thank you technology or I may not have been here!] As long as everything goes normal I can expect to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 48 hours. I will have a check up 2 and 6 weeks after delivery. Then I will go back to my regular caretaker. [I will have a baby to take to a pediatrician!! Aww.... I'm super excited & giddy I know.]

June 8, 2011

"Pregnancy is the closest thing to death that a women will ever experience...!"

Today at work, a group of us were talking about how women go through more stressful life changes compared to men. Women have puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Men have puberty. This lady is rattling off all her reasons why women have it harder than men when she says, "Pregnancy is the closest thing to death that a woman will ever experience!" I'm sitting in the circle, 34 weeks pregnant, thinking oh god, not another pessimistic view on labor. I'm already beginning to get nervous about the whole baby delivery thing. I don't need anyone telling me their own personal horror stories!! All the women closest to me say I have nothing to worry about. And that it will be fine and it's not as bad as the delivery experiences shown on television.

So just a bit of friendly advice. Don't scare new moms to be. Let them remain in their blissful state of mind until the pain comes... There's no use having women dread something that will end up being beautiful in the end.

June 7, 2011

My "ER" Story

Being in my third trimester, I am more worried than usual about my health and safety. I have already gone through an early miscarriage [after six or seven weeks in] which took me over a year to recover from so I am easily panicked when it comes to unusual symptoms, pregnancy related or not. I will start off my ER story with the fact that there is nothing wrong with me other than I am really pregnant, and my baby's just getting big!

The end of last week I had a day where I was having trouble breathing. I had to concentrate on breathing in and out slowly. It actually hurt when I was breathing in. Let me tell you, this was not fun. It was scary as heck! I was out crib hunting with my mom and I kept telling her that it was hard to breathe. She said to lay on my left side (in the passenger seat of the car). I did and it wasn't helping. We continued looking at cribs and ended up purchasing one but when I got home, as thrilled as I was, I couldn't do anything but lay on the floor and try to get a fulfilling breath of air. No luck. My mom suggested I call the doctor's office. I did and I was to be transferred to the ER department so I decided to hang up instead. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, and plus I never called the ER department before. I didn't know what I would say. I felt dumb because I knew I was in my third trimester and that it is supposed to get harder and harder to breathe due to the baby pressing against my diaphragm. After awhile my mom went home. I decided I was just going to go to bed early and hope I was able to breathe smoother the next day. Before I laid down, I called a few people to see if they experienced what I was going through. Some told me they couldn't remember having difficulty breathing in their pregnancy. My sister said she became out of breath easier but couldn't remember having any actual pain accompanied with her breathing. These stories frightened me so I became panicky. I started crying. Being panicky while crying never ever helps ease the difficulty of breathing!

Meanwhile, my right arm begins tingling and goes numb. My arm felt weird all day. It felt like it was dead. This is how I describe the annoying heavy, kinda painful feeling. That scared me because my entire arm has never gone numb before. So my sister-in-law "to be" talked to me on the phone and recommended I call the hospital back to see if I should go in to the ER. She said she would take me if necessary. I called, and of course I was crying out of fear so the nurse said that I needed to call an ambulance right away since my pain was so bad. She assumed my pain was bad because I was crying... I am a baby... Crying does not equal physical pain. I said okay and hanged up. Instead of calling an ambulance, I waited for my sister-in-law to be [haha long title] to pick me up. She came and I had my first experience in the Emergency Room.

First, they began by checking all my vitals [heart rate, blood pressure, whatever else that means]. They stuck a bunch of sticky things all over my body that were hooked to cords... they monitored something. My breathing? Heart rate? [I am not a medical expert by any means. I have no clue what they were doing half the time. I studied social science...] Then they said they needed to give me an IV. I have never had an IV before. This was one of my worst fears for going into actual labor!! I was more afraid of the IV than actually giving birth! I always thought that with an IV, the needle actually stayed inside my arm so I would be able to feel it when I needed to move my arm. Instead it's just a catheter. For some reason, a bendable tube in my vein is a much nicer mental image than a pointed, metal object in my vein. It calms me... slightly. Anyways, when the IV was all set I was wheeled down the hall on my bed [lifetime fantasy fulfilled!]. I was going to have a cat scan to make sure there were no blood clots on my lung. The nurse gave me some medicine with iodine in it that warmed up my entire body. It felt like I peed my pants because it was an instant rush of heat... unexplainable. It took 5 minutes. I was pushed in and out of a round doughnut shaped machine. And then I was pushed back to my room. Thirty minutes later, I found out there was nothing wrong with me and that I could go home.
I was at the hospital for about two hours around 12am that night. They had me hooked to so many cords, I felt like I was in a movie and that something was severely wrong with me. All in all I am still glad to have gone to the hospital because it was comforting to know that nothing was wrong. I still get easily out of breath, [example: winded from walking 3 flights of stairs to my apartment]. But I haven't had as much difficulty with breathing since that day. I wonder if the baby was in some weird position. The doctor never said what the problem was. He said my numb arm was likely due to carpal tunnel syndrome which occurs often in pregnant women. My arm, nor any other limbs have not gone numb either since that day.

What an experience! I would like to have a smoother 6 weeks and leave the real suffering until it's baby delivery time!

34 Weeks. Oh How I've Grown!

I know many people want to see pictures of me & my baby bump. Well I am finally willing to post a few pictures of my "growth". Unfortunately I didn't think to take better quality pictures of myself during pregnancy until now but here are some pictures I snapped quickly to show off my bump!

5 months
6 months
33 weeks (7 months)
33 weeks (7 months)
34 weeks at Beach!  (7 months)

June 4, 2011

Baby Cribs from a Fairy Tale

Finding the perfect crib to fit the theme of the nursery is not only challenging, but mentally draining! I did not know so many different styles of cribs existed. My mom was constantly pressuring me to make sure I'd get my "dream" crib because she wanted me to like it enough to use for my second child too. I was given a $150 budget by my mother-in-law to be so that makes finding a dream crib impossible with all the high prices out there. Regardless I want to show you some of the amazing cribs I found. In my mind the only home these cribs could ever fit in would be those in fairy tales. They are absolutely gorgeous. [Prices begin at $690 and end at $19,995!]

Crazy beautiful crib designs! 
After shopping online at Babies"R"Us, IKEA, Walmart, Target, Meijer, Khols, JC Penneys, Craigslist, Ebay, Amazon, and other baby boutiques I did find the perfect one for us. It's simple in design but it is very cute and I love it! We are using Winnie the Pooh bedding but I am going to find a better crib skirt. I want one of those poofy, ruffled ones like in the pictures above.

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