No fuss for us Potty Learning

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I can't really say I ever "dreaded" potty training. Of course I also never looked forward to it. I never thought it would be easy or hard. It would just be. And it is.


Turtle-Love is 2 1/2. He is still in diapers. Disposable diapers to be specific. While moving last year we switched to them full time and when I tried to switch back he refused. I've tried a few times since then but he is not interested and I'm just not willing to go to battle about it. We tried a few times to start potty training but it never really fit our groove and he quickly lost interest. Through it he has become acquainted with the little potty, the big potty, and the potty adapter. We tried bribing him with stickers on a chart (we earned stickers to show him how it worked) and with matchbox cars and hot wheels (which sort of worked - for two days). We tried pull-ups with the fading pictures and with the cold stuff. I bought cloth trainers and underwear and he refuses to wear either with the exception of the random day here and there. All of it was a no go for us. It either didn't feel like a good fit or he wasn't interested.

And so he is still in diapers. And we are completely okay with that.

But he is still potty learning.

What? Let me give you an example.

Last week one morning we were in the pantry trying to decide what was for breakfast when he declared "I need to go potty" in a very not-a-big-deal way. Just a statement in passing. I encouraged him to go sit on his potty. Any time he says he wants to go potty we take him, no exceptions. He stopped for two seconds before we took his diaper off and I knew by the look on his face we were a little too late, but we stripped him down anyways and he finished up on the potty. I'm not talking a trickle of pee either. He pooped. Turns out he recognized the feeling, but in that two seconds of immobility in front of the potty didn't control it enough so he had a little in his diaper, but finished up on the pot.

Good for him!! He knows what his body feels like when he needs to go! I'm gonna say that is a pretty nice step in the potty learning direction.

He has plenty of examples to show him as he gets older we use the potty. We have several other children in our house, and an infant(Little Bean). Only he and Little Bean are in diapers even though his cousins aren't far from him in age.

He is a social potty goer. If his potty-using friends go potty when we are out with them, he wants to go too - and the attempt is rarely in vain.

We congratulate his potty successes and encourage his potty tries.

We never belittle him for not making it, or force him to go.

Anytime he says he wants to go potty we take him, no exceptions.

I'm not saying this is the fastest way to get things done. But I do feel like it is the most empowering for him. He is learning how to use the potty in his own time as he is ready - with our guidance and encouragement. Maybe we will be doing this for another year, or maybe he will decide he is ready for underwear next week. We are willing to wait and find out.

Birth Boot Camp Review

Monday, July 1, 2013
I am currently editing the birth story for Little Bean. In the meantime, I owe you all a review of Birth Boot Camp.

I mentioned before that we were using Birth Boot Camp to prepare for the birth of our second child. I talked about it a couple of times. Some people thought we were silly for taking birthing classes for our second child - especially since their births are only 2 1/2 years apart and we had taken a birthing class before Turtle-Love was born. I have to say, we are both very glad to have gone ahead with the Birth Boot Camp classes.

We live in Virginia, and at present there are no Birth Boot Camp Instructors here (maybe in the near future I hope), and Toad's work schedule is a bit crazy because it is event based, so we likely wouldn't have been able to attend all of the in person classes anyhow - so we went with online classes.

There are ups and downs to online classes - I do really well with them because I can take them at my own pace in my own spare time. Also because the videos are pre-recorded and available to you for 3 months (even though it is a 10 week course) you can go over them as many times and as often as needed. Toad, however, is more of a hands on learner so he found the classes a little more difficult to focus on. After a couple tries, he found what worked for him to be able to focus.

Even though we could take the classes at our own time, we still had scheduling difficulties. His schedule and my schedule rarely worked up to give us time other than at night to do the classes when we were very tired. Also, Turtle-Love is 2, and I didn't want to give up any more time with him than vitally necessary which made it difficult to do the classes as well. Imagine watching a video you need to pay attention to while your 2 year old decides he has discovered he can climb o.0 We ended up having someone watch him a couple times - which meant he was hanging out downstairs with family while we were in our apartment because of our unique living situation. There was also a tragic death in our family that kept us away from birth preperations for a bit. As we started running out of time we watched a couple videos sperately and discussed them together afterwords. Even still, I had to email in and ask for an extension to our access, which was happily granted, the week Little Bean was born because we hadn't been able to finish all the classes just yet.

Birth Boot Camp really covered so many topics and provided so much information. I really didn't expect to learn as much as I did since this was our second birth, but I was so thankful for the resources provided. My pregnancy went swimmingly well, even though we did face a couple *almost* complications. Little Bean was breech for a while, and then we thought we might have to talk about induction as we quickly approached her due date.However, we never panicked because we had all this great information right at our fingertips!

There is also a wonderful workbook that comes along with these classes. It is great for sparking conversation between you and your birth team so everyone is educated and knows what to expect, and what you want and need. There are exercises and coping techniques, diagrams and charts, and even a diet plan to help you stay on track with your prenatal vitamins, water intake etc. Don't freak out over the word diet - I looked at it more as a suggested food and servings list and it really helped. I'm not sure if that is how it is meant to be honest, but I suck at diets in general and usually eat what I'm craving ;-p Hey, while you are pregnant that is absolutely allowed!

Anyhow - as I've been trying to write this on and off for TWO WEEKS now I'll wrap this up...

Whenever I meet someone who is pregnant and interested in birth classes, I pimp Birth Boot Camp out.
Anytime I talk about the birth of Little Bean I pimp Birth Boot Camp out.

The lesson here is that Birth Boot Camp helped me rock my pregnancy and my birth.

Don't worry, that story (Little Bean's birth story) is coming soon. (Lord help me, I swear it is already typed I just have to edit it and add pictures.)

We Aren't Ready

Thursday, May 2, 2013
I was having this conversation with my little sister via AIM just a few minutes ago and realized, I should just freaking blog it.

I was whining to her that I have a ton of things to get done (both at work and at home, but since I'm at work I was speaking of work...) and that I'm lacking the motivation to get it all done. Which prompted her to ask me if I've packed my hospital bag yet. She has had her hospital bag (she isn't pregnant, she is part of my birth team) ready and in her car for several weeks now. Since I was like 34 weeks along. This is my response to her, verbatim (because I'm too lazy to recap so I just used copy pasta. Yes, pasta)

    We have clothes in a drawer waiting to be put into a bag, and I have some fo my bathroom stuff together waiting to be put into a bag. I have my rice sock and tennis ball and lotion ready to be packed and I bought the snacks I wanna take last night
    I just have to put everything together
    I'm so unorganized and all over the place and I feel like I can't find the time to get anything done. By the time I get home I look around and think of all the things I need to do and just get really frustrated because I can't do them by myself, I don't have everything I need, or I just get overwhelmed with where to start
    And every time I go downstairs to get something ready I get resistance from [names of people we live with go here] and bullshit comments - or I get sucked into some vortex of theirs
    Which I know I shouldn't let bother me but it does
    I really just want to go ahead and take off from work to try and get it all done
    but I cant
    And I feel like because I'm not ready, she isn't coming
    and so she will be late because I'm late to do everything
    its just a really big bullshit and unhealthy cycle

Here she mentions something about how I can only do one thing at a time

     Well I tried to get my bag together the night you were leaving. But then I found out my luggage of course smells like smoke so I don't want to put anything in it. So that's why everything (well... everything we have) is sitting in a drawer. I'm airing the bags out.
     But even then I don't have everything from the list together. Either I don't have it, or its on the wrong floor and when I try to collect it from said floor I get stopped to do something else and completely lose track of what I'm doing and bam. Nothing gets done
Here we talk about how I haven't put anything in my bags because they smell like smoke and I'm airing them out. She comments about how I haven't used my luggage since I quit smoking/we moved out of our old house which was smoked in(not just by me).

    My duffel bag is HUGE so I don't think I need all of that
    Maybe I'll just throw it all in there anyways and say fuck it
    because now that my luggage has been sitting outside on the front porch for 2 days I'm sure it is A- full of bugs and B- smells like smoke again

Four members of my family that we live with smoke. Which would be all the adult members that we live with, excluding my husband and I (my sister doesn't live with us - nor does she smoke). They all smoke outside but if you've ever lived with a smoker you know how the smell wiggles its way in anyways which really bugs me and makes me thankful I have my own, completely smoke free (because no one walks all the way up there) apartment to run away my duffel bag has escaped the smoke and been used a ton of times since moving so I have no issue with it aside from its very large size.

She mentions that means I can fit my pillows inside it. Sweet. Done. I'll do that.

Anyhow - the problem is that I just have so much to do still! We haven't gotten the house ready or finished getting the things we need for Little Bean.  We still haven't finished our damn birth classes. Seriously - my husband's schedule sucks for finding time to do this when paired with the other timing crap we deal with. And it is pretty difficult to pay attention to a birth video while you or your husband is falling asleep. Or while your toddler is running around like a crazy person. I don't want to send him downstairs to be with someone else I want to spend time with him! I'm away from him all day at work, I miss him while I'm at my prenatal exercise classes, and then I have to try and squeeze this video in... it's just rough.

Never mind. I'm done whining. I need to try and get something accomplished at work today. Make that several things. Maybe then I can feel a little bit better.

Trying to relax

Monday, April 8, 2013
Turtle-Love was born 32 days before his due date.

I have 2 due dates with this kiddo - my due date via my last menstrual cycle (LMP) that the Dr's office si going by - and my due date via first ultrasound that the Ultrasound/Diagnosis center is going by (which is run by the lead Dr at my office).

We all know due dates are estimates. Or, at least we should. But that doesn't keep the majority of us (in my experience) from using them, relying on them, stressing out about them.

According to one due date (via ultrasound) I'm due 5/9 and that means yesterday I was 32 days out til my due date. CUE PANIC

Yesterday morning, despite how much I tried to relax, I was just maxed out in the stress department. It took a good cry, family support, my mother and chocolate. To finally get a good chunk of it out of my system. My little sister and I took off with Turtle-Love to my Dad's for the day. I stopped and got the yarn I needed to work on Little Bean's outfit I'm crocheting on the way out of town. I relaxed inside crocheting before lunch, and after lunch took my crocheting outside to soak up some much needed Vitamin D. My sister kept up with Turtle-Love for me while we were there - along with my Dad and Step-Mom of course - and they all came outside to play while I took in the sunshine. The weather was amazing yesterday. It was great to relax and crochet while listening and peaking at the giggles from my son while he played. I felt immensely better by the time we got home, and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and watching Army Wives on Netflix, while cuddling with Turtle-Love or watching him play with Toad.

According to my other due date (via LMP) I'll be 32 days out on Thursday. I'm referring to this 5 day period as "Doom week". The funny thing is though, I can't figure out what I'm more worried about - if she comes early or if she doesn't. Weird. I know. No one wants their baby to come early. Especially a mother who has already been through having a baby hooked up to machines in the NICU. It is terrifying to see your child that way. At the same time though - I would know what to expect. I could guesstimate at the labor and how it would go. I would know what to expect would happen once she was born. I know how the NICU works. How transferring works. How pumping and sitting at my child's side aching and waiting for it to be safe to hold them works. I know what it is like to have to leave during shift change - and using that time to finally eat more than a snack in the hall way. I know what it is like to feel guilty for sleeping too late and missing morning rounds. Or for not waking up to the alarm to pump in the middle of the night. I know what it is like to admit you are too tired to stay, that it is too late for you to be at your child's bedside anymore and that you have to go home - without them. I know what it is like to call the nurse's station before you go to sleep - before you can sleep - to check on your baby. No one wants that. But at the same time, I don't know what happens past this point. Will she be slightly early? On time? Late? What then? What will labor be like? Can I handle it? Can I birth a full term baby, or at least one that is bigger? How will I feel? Will I really wish her out before she is ready because I cannot imagine that. What is it like to be able to keep your baby with you after birth? Can I handle it? Can I handle these next few weeks and keep up with my 28 month old?? Can I keep up after she is born? It just goes on. I know, logically, that I will adjust. It might take time but I will inevitable be a mother to two children and I will absolutely love it. That doesn't keep me  from being worried about it and a thousand other things.

And so... at 35 weeks today (or 36 weeks on Thursday) I'm a little stressed out. I'm trying really really hard not to be - and just getting past yesterday was one big hurdle. I suspect Thursday may be another. Right now I'm doing okay. I have work to throw my self in to, and crocheting to do. Once this "doom week" passes, I think I'll feel up to tackling the list of things we didn't finish by this time like I had hoped.

Side note: It really sucks to have these nesting urges and be too scared to clean your house because it might cause labor -_- Slightly irrational fear? You bet'cha. Doesn't mean it isn't valid.

The Big Boy Bed Adventures: Night 5

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
We have been putting Turtle-Love in his own bed for the past five nights. Errr, well okay actually night 4 no one slept in a bed. We all fell asleep in the living room after a very very busy and enjoyable Easter Day. I happened to wake up just in time to get around for work Monday morning, thank goodness. Toad put Turtle-Love in bed with him since it was already morning. I'm not sure how much longer they slept but I'm sure it wasn't too long. So... the past 4 of 5 nights Turtle-Love has been put in his bed. As well as spending nap time in his bed rather than the couch.

It has been going great! His naps are slightly shorter than if I were to hold him, of course. If I hold him while he naps he will sleep for hours. On the couch, he sleeps 1-2 hours, and in his bed he has also been sleeping 1-2 hours. Yesterday his nap time was a little shorter than it could have been, as he woke himself up when his diaper leaked. (He was in a disposable by the way, just throwing that out there...) So we changed the sheets on his bed and our bed last night. We all got showers so we could enjoy clean sheets with clean bodies. Is that not one of the best feelings ever?? I love it! Turtle-Love and Toad took their shower together, as per the usual. When it was time to take my shower Toad made the beds up with Turtle-Love's help. By the time I got out of the shower, Turtle-Love was asleep, in his bed. Toad then informed me how this happened....

Toad finished making up Turtle-Love's bed while Turtle-Love sat at the foot of our bed, snuggling a fleece sheet and sitting on top of my husband pillow(those chair-like pillows, the kinds with backs and arms...). When Toad finished with Turtle-Love's bed he told Turtle-Love he needed to move so he could make our bed. He suggested Turtle-Love sit in his bed and watch, to which he Turtle-Love agreed. Toad reminded him a minute later it was okay to lay down, Turtle-Love said "Oh" and laid down. He got a little frustrated because he couldn't get the sheets up just right so Toad helped to cover him up, and a minute or so later the kid was out. Just like that.

My big boy! Falling asleep all on his own, in his own bed!

Turtle-Love did wake up last night. He didn't get out of the bed though, he was more half-asleep and fussy. I checked to make sure his diaper hadn't leaked and had Daddy cover him back up (per Turtle-Love's request that "Daddy do it") and then "shhhhhhhhhh"d him back to sleep. That was actually at 6am this morning. He was stirring a little again when I got up for work a bit later. He called out "Mommy? Mommy!" with his eyes shut, like he was just looking for me and couldn't feel me in the bed. I spoke to him and let him know I was right there and he went right back to sleep. When I was leaving for work he was still sleeping just fine, he and his daddy would be waking up about 45 minutes later anyhow.

So - this transition thing so far has been a breeze. I slept incredibly well last night. Partly from the awesomeness that is fresh clean sheets and a clean body - partly because Toad and I actually managed to play a bit of catch up on our birth classes during nap time - and partly because Toad was kind enough to lotion me after my shower and give me a light massage. Swoon. It was lovely and soooooo relaxing.

So, now I give you pictures!

How Turtle-Love put himself to sleep :: How he was positioned when I was leaving for work
When going to sleep he insisted he sleep with one of his matchbox cars. It was in the bed next to him when he went to sleep, I moved it over to the edge of his bed where he wanted his goggles to be. Note the bean bag is still there... lol

And me! This is a picture I took for you all yesterday. Facebook hasn't been letting me upload photos lately -_- so I'll just stick this right here.

The Big Boy Bed Adventures: Night 1

Thursday, March 28, 2013
In case you guys didn't know, we are avid co-sleepers, bed sharers, family bed style people.
We did not start off this way.

I grew up in a family bed. My mom had a crib for me and my little sister, but neither of us ever slept in it. Maybe she (my sister) did a time or two for a nap, but not so much. As we got bigger we also got our own beds in our own room (we shared a room in those early years) and we were free to travel between them. We were still living in that house when I started Kindergarden, but I couldn't for the life of me tell you where I slept most nights. I remember braiding my own very long hair in my bedroom, and playing in my bedroom. I remember my mom snuggling my little sister on our couch taking a nap while I camped out behind the crooks of her knees and watched TV, or dozed leaned on her butt. Or my sister sleeping near by, and not in Mom's arms, while Mom napped on the couch and I hung out in the space behind her knees warm and cozy. My mom worked nights while my dad worked days so they didn't have to try and afford a sitter too very often, so Mom's day sleep was vital to her sanity I'm sure. She tells me I was always excellent as a small child and very helpful with my baby sister (we are two years apart, almost to the day). We have tons of pictures of us sleeping in Mom and Dad's bed when we were little. We moved the summer I turned 6, and when we moved we moved in to a much larger house. Both of my sisters (I have an older half sister who mostly spent the weekends with us) and I got our own rooms. I remember sleeping in my own bed, and sleeping in the family bed. Especially if we were sick, but even if we were just lonely, or hadn't cleaned off our beds to be able to sleep on them - we were welcomed into the family bed. Even now, as an adult, one of the most comforting places I can find in our house is my mother's bed. She doesn't have to be in it of course, but her sheets are always warmer and her pillows are always softer. I haven't slept in my mother's bed in many many years - after all I am 26 years old and married - but that place of safety and comfort is engrained deeply in me. It doesn't matter that her bed is actually a couch now (it is more comfortable and convenient for her) or that we have moved several times and her bedroom isn't what I remember. The atmosphere in general is completely different. However, on those really tough days - those high stress days - I know what my mother is going to recommend to me. Hugs, a shoulder to cry on, and relaxing in her bed while I regroup. Oh man, does it work Every. Single. Time. The perks of co-inhabiting with your mother ;-) (PS writing that and reading it back to myself totally makes me cry. Stupid hormones...)

Slightly off topic but not really. My bad on that. Anyhow - so I obviously grew up with co-sleeping. That was the point, to stress that it is very normal to me.

When Toad and I found out we were pregnant with Turtle-Love, our first, we of course talked about a thousand or so parenting decisions that had to be made. One that we had decided on quickly was that co-sleeping was not for us. The bed sharing variety anyhow. Before we moved we had set up Turtle-Love's room with his crib and furniture, etc. and a day bed that I would sleep on for at least the first few weeks in his room. (Which, by the way, is a form of co-sleeping). We thought that this way I could get up with the baby, and Toad could still sleep so he could be functional for work. No point in having two sleep deprived parents. My mother tried to convince us we shouldn't spend the money on a crib - but we were very firm in our decision that we would not bed share. We did not want our child in the bed with us. Ohhhhh how things change. Turtle-Love was born early. You all probably know that story by now. He spent his first two weeks sleeping alone in a bassinet in the NICU. Our first night sleeping together, in a family suite in the NICU, he slept alone in his bassinet next to my side of the bed. To my surprise I actually did wake up to every single sound he made, even though I doubted my ability to hear him in my sleep. (After all, I perfected the art of missing my alarm clock over the years) So when we brought him home we planned to put him to sleep in his crib, alone. We had moved though, and his crib was actually in our bedroom. We got home and he just seemed so tiny in his very large crib, I couldn't leave him there. I was really happy a friend had given us a bassinet. I pulled it up close to our bed, and put him to sleep in it. Over the next few nights...

Scratch that just remembered I already wrote this part of the story! Two years ago! You can read it here: We bedshare - do you?

Anyhow... we tried a couple times and a couple different things in that first year of life to transition Turtle-Love into his own sleeping space, but nothing worked. Part of that was probably that we just weren't that committed to it. I didn't mind bedsharing after all, and it meant we actually got sleep. I've come to very much enjoy bedsharing with our son. I love the cuddles, and the snuggles, and having him lay next to me at night while I sing him the moon song, or we read books to the moon. (Our bed is under a sky light). However, in the past month I've woken up numerous times to my husband sleeping on the couch because Turtle-Love kicked him out of the bed. Toad doesn't mind, sometimes he sleeps better on the couch that he can spread out in compared to the measly edge of bed he grips each night with us. A few nights I actually woke up to Turtle-Love whining, and then pushing on Toad with his feet telling him to move, to get out of the bed. While it is actually really funny to witness that and have Toad listen, it was a big sign to us that Turtle-Love is looking for more space. I can't blame him. Our set up is pretty crowded right now. Toad, then Turtle-Love, then me and my pregnant belly, then my pregnancy body pillow. We planned to side car the crib to make more space when Little Bean arrives. With this new realization from Turtle-Love however, we needed to make new plans. Recently, our family also experienced a tragedy that has shaken us to the core, and it has helped us to open our eyes up to things that we have become a bit laxed in - areas we need improvement as all people do over time. So between this and Turtle-Love's obvious need for more space, we decided to put the crib up, converted as a toddler day bed.

We put Turtle-Love's big boy bed off my side of our bed, against the wall. There is maybe 1.5 - 2 feet of space between the edge of his bed and the edge of our bed. We put his bed together Tuesday night, but with having an early morning appointment the next day we didn't want to risk not sleeping and decided to try out the big boy bed for the first time at night last night - mainly because Toad is off today and could be up with him if need be. Turtle-Love has slept on his mattress in the floor for naps a handful of times, but never as a bed off the ground, and never at night. Turtle-Love, and Toad, fell asleep together while cuddling on the couch last night. He hadn't been asleep long when I decided to risk picking him up and moving him to his bed. Turtle-Love, not Toad ;-) On the way to the bedroom he barely woke up, just long enough for me to steal a kiss and he promptly laid down on my shoulder. The transition to his bed went smoothly too and he snuggled right in. I had made his bed up the same way I make ours so the weight would feel familiar - fitted sheet, flat sheet, blanket, comforter, pillow case on his pillow (which is actually super flat and used to be mine, I got it at a birthday party when I was 5). I had Toad move to the bed too, and then I got in bed myself. I decided to leave our light on, but dimmed down. Just in case Turtle-Love woke up so he could see us. I also moved his bean bag chair in front of his bed in case he rolled. I didn't think he would, but didn't want him to just crash to the ground either if he did.

I then laid down in bed myself, facing Turtle-Love and snuggling my body pillow. I got really sad and a little anxious. What if something happened? He seemed so far away. There were no little toes in the backs of my knees. No little fingers on my back. No little wisps of hair tickling me. No leg thrown over my side. No tiny hot breaths on my skin. I tried distracting myself on my phone, which didn't work. I ended up just laying there, watching Turtle-Love sleep for what felt like a really long time before I finally drifted off with tears threatening my eyes the whole time. My baby boy is getting so big!

I woke up in the middle of the night - as most pregnant women do - and Turtle-Love had barely moved. His covers were undisturbed, he had only turned his head the other direction and I could now see his little face. I drifted between awake and asleep from then til it was time to get ready for work. I waited as long as I could, laying in bed, just in case he woke up. I really wanted to be there if he did, but he didn't and I had to leave.

I got a Tango (its a video chat program for smart phones - free!) from Toad a little while ago. Turtle-Love was all smiles and happy voice and in the best mood. He had just woken up about ten minutes before they called. Toad report Turtle-Love walked into the living room looking for him, and when he called out "Daddy?" Toad answered - from the bed - and he quickly climbed in with him, but carrying their matching baseball caps. All smiles. All happy boy.

My baby boy is so big!
Did I mention he didn't even nurse last night? 
No one warns you the hard part of this transition is your own emotions when your baby is ready!

This was just the first night. It went great but I know the following nights might not. It just seems like Turtle-Love is so happy today already. My little guy who isn't so much a morning person lately. My mom even called to tell me how chipper and non-whiney Turtle-Love is this morning for breakfast. ♥

 Toad and Turtle-Love immediately after falling asleep on the couch :: Turtle-Love immediately after being moved to his big boy bed (note the bean bag chair lol) :: Turtle-Love this morning, from where I lay to sleep the last moment before I had to get up for work

Cloth Diaper Stash Post

Monday, March 25, 2013
I have decided that I want to get almost everything ready for our new addition by the time I hit 35 weeks. Two reasons - 1, Turtle Love was born at 35 weeks so it's kind of a precaution. 2, I would like to relax and enjoy the last month of my pregnancy while crafting to my hearts content.

We may or may not be slightly behind on our task list now.... All last week we were out with a stomach bug and got pretty much nothing accomplished. Saturday I wore my self out entirely too much to do a whole lot yesterday. So I sat on my pregnant behind while Turtle-Love had a lazy, TV filled day (don't judge me!) and the hubz recovered from two days of hard work without sleep by napping in the recliner. While on my behind, I decided to be somewhat productive and went through and folded, organized, and cataloged our entire cloth diaper stash. Oh yeah, I did that! In fact, this may be the first time... ever that I have taken a picture of our entire stash. Every single cloth diaper we own was clean, and I hadn't put them together or folded them since they came out of the drier a week... maybe two... ago and I was tired of watching them scatter further and further in our bedroom. We had also just dug out all of the sized diapers Turtle-Love outgrew, so I literally had every piece in our stash right there in front of me.

**I'd like to quickly mention that nearly every diaper in this stash was purchased on-sale, or second hand. I like good deals :-)**

You want the pic first, or the list first?
Yeah, yeah... pic. Duh.

There you have it.... Our cloth diaper stash - currently. There are a handful of things not pictured, including fleece liners, some disposable inserts, trainers, snappis, and a few diapers that need repair. Let's go ahead and break down what is in the picture...

1- 4 Target Flour Sack Towels
2- 10 Diaper Rite 27x27 Flats
3- 6 Mother-Ease doublers
14 Mama's Simple Solutions zorb inserts
 5 Mama's Simple Solution's nighttime inserts
4- Mabu Baby
 4 Newborn outters
 4 Newborn washable pads
 4 Newborn disposable pads
 8 Size 1 washable pads
 4 Size 3/4 washable pads
 10 liners
5- 7 Flip covers
 8 Flip Stay-Dry inserts
6- 3 BumGenius Freetimes
 1 BottomBumpers - Small
 1 BottomBumpers - Medium
 1 Bummis AIO - Medium
 1 Kissaluvs Marvel
7- GroVia
 3 Newborn AIOs
 5 OS AIOs
 6 Shells
 2 soakers
8- 1 Alva Baby
 2 Fuzzibunz Elites (Diaper Talk series)
 2 FuzziBunz OS
 1 Thirsties Duo Diaper - Size 2
 2 Mommy's Touch Tape pocket diapers
9- 8 itti bitti tuttos
10- 3 Sunbaby 2.0s
 5 Sunbaby 3.0s
11- Oeko Popo
 2 covers - Size 2
 2 beltable prefolds - Medium
 1 pre/flat
 1 belt - Medium
12- Rumparooz
 3 OS pocket diapers with 6r Soakers
 4 Lil Joeys AIOs
13- AppleCheeks
 4 envelope covers - Size 1
 5 envelope covers - Size 2
 7 microterry inserts
 6 bamboo inserts
14- 1 Mama's Simple Solution fitted
 2 BagShotRowBaby fitteds
15- 2 Econobum covers with prefolds
16- 1 GoodMama fitted - Newborn
 1 Dream-Eze fitted - Small
 1 Dream-Eze fitted - Medium
 2 Bumboo fitteds - Size 1
17- 5 Kissaluvs fitteds - Size 0
 2 Kissaluvs fitteds - Size1
 1 Sandy's Mother-Ease fitted - Small
18- 2 unknown WAHM fitteds, sized
19- 3 unknown WAHM fitteds with doublers, one size
20- 2 Baby SoftWraps - Small
 2 Bummis Super Whisper Wraps - Newborn
 1 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap - Small
 1 Thirsties wrap - X-small
 3 Thirsties Duo Wraps - Size 1
 2 Thirsties Duo Wraps - Size 2

Missing from picture
50 Grovia Biosoakers
22 Mabu Baby disposable pads - Size 3/4
1 Bummis Swim Diaper - Large
1 Fuzzibunz Trickle-Free Trainer - Small
1 Flip Trainer with 3 inserts
2 EcoPosh Trainers - Small (Easter basket goodie!)
2 AppleCheeks doublers
1 AppleCheeks extender tabs set
2 Fuzzibunz Elite minkee inserts
2 Fuzzibunz microfiber inserts
4 Fuzzibunz replacement leg elastic sets
1 unknown microfiber insert (appeared out of no where, I suspect it belongs to a friend who stripped my diapers for me a while ago)
13 fleece liners
1 roll disposable liners
5 Mama's Simple Solutions zorb squares
1 PlanetWise pail liner
1 GoGreenPocketDiapers vinyl pail liner
2 GoGreenPocketDiapers wet bags
1 KangaCare/Rumparooz wet bag
1 itti bitti luxury wet bag
2 Bubu Bibi wet bags (One we are actually using to hold Turtle-Love's inhaler and spacer)
4 Snappis
Missing from stash entirely
3 Diaper Rite 27x27 flats
1 Flip cover
1 Bumboo fitted - Size 1
1 Fuzzibunz Trickle-Free Trainer - Small
1 EcoPosh Trainer - Medium
1 AppleCheeks Swim Diaper - Size 1
1 Bubu Bibi Wet Bag
2 Snappis
In need of repair
2 BumGenius 2/3.0s (not sure, very worn)
3 Sunbaby 2.0s (de-laminated)

So there we have it! Our cloth diaper stash. I'll admit we aren't done. After all, we will be diapering 2 soon. I'd like to have more tiny diapers for the newborn phase, and I'd like to add a couple of girlie diapers to the mix - we are lacking a splash of pink and purple. Also, I'll be participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge for the third year in a row, and I'll have two then. Need to add a few more flats to the stash! Some newborn size and some toddler size. I'd also like to get 2 sets of boingos to try out, and maybe a couple newborn covers :-)

Any suggestions for WAHM shops I should try? Brands I don't have that you recommend? Trainer recommendations? I'll take 'em!

Planning Our Natural Hospital Birth: The Tour

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I should say, our second natural hospital birth.

You may remember my post a couple weeks ago, Struggle, where I talked about how I was struggling with where we are birthing. I really wanted a birth center birth the second time around. Unfortunately it just isn't in the cards for us between our finances and my insurance coverage. So,I'm we are doing everything we can to give us the best opportunity for a completely intervention free hospital birth. (Last time I had an IV for antibiotics - my strep test hadn't come back and he was 5 weeks early - but that was my only intervention)

Last night we went on a tour of the hospital we will be birthing at. I was delivered at this hospital, as were both of my sisters, my niece, a couple of my cousins, several of my friend's children, and I delivered Turtle-Love at this hospital too. We are lucky enough to have two amazing hospitals in town, but I've always loved this one. Of course, the other hospital has a special place in our hearts as their NICU took care of Turtle-Love his first two weeks.You may be wondering why on earth we were touring a hospital I've already spent so much time in, and that we already have experience with. Oh, well in the last two years the new building for the hospital has been completed and they have moved. So technically, we have no experience in this actual building - just with the hospital as a business now. Which has also changed, as they switched.... uhh I'll say powers? owners? Something like that. Anyhow - even if they hadn't we would have still taken the tour just to re-familiarize ourselves and brush up on any new policies.

Before going to the tour I took the time to come up with a list of questions I wanted answered. Then I checked the hospital's website to make sure some of them couldn't be answered there. Some of them could! Like... (What I had a question about is in bold, the answer is in italics. Of course, not every hospital will have the same answers.)

•Labor Support
You may have 2-3 support people with you during labor.
•Visiting Hours and Policy
No one under 14 is allowed to visit unless they are a sibling. Specific hours are encouraged abut exceptions can be made.
•Can Turtle-Love stay over-night with me? This was a big question for us, especially since we co-sleep. (Dang I forgot to ask about co-sleeping with Bean)
No. They of course use more expressive language to soften that lol
•Do you have showers or baths I can use during labor?
Yes, whirlpool tubs are available. 

They have other information that I already knew was policy that you may want to ask your hospital...
Are doulas allowed? Yes
Can my baby room-in with me 24/7? Yes, it is highly encouraged though the nursery is available and nearby.
Are there conveniences like cable, wireless internet, etc.? In labor and delivery as well as postpartum? Yes, though DVD players, CD players, docking stations etc. need to be brought.
Are you supportive of breastfeeding? How do you support mothers with this? Yes, very. You will not be offered formula unless there is a medical reason or you request it. A lactation consultant will visit you to make sure you are doing well and answer any questions you have. One is always available as well. Pumping supplies are also available.
Do I go through the Emergency Room or the main entrance? In the middle of the night? The main entrance is always available for use. Valet parking is offered during standard hours, and after hours you can park in the drop off circle and leave your keys with security - they will park your car for you and your keys will be brought to your room.

We were late arriving for the tour. Yoga lasted a little longer than I thought, and hubz was late leaving a family night for a friend's grandfather. Everyone was really friendly and helpful in assisting us to find the tour in progress. Little did we know the tour was being conducted by the woman who taught our last birthing class that we adored! It was nice catching up with her, hugs all around. (She is also a doula!) The first thing we noticed though, which was a nice turn around to a rough start (I was cranky because we were late)... the wing of the hospital for labor, delivery, and postpartum is actually called The Birthing Center.

Some nifty things I learned on the tour (that I did not ask/have to ask)
•The Birthing Center is located behind a locked door. All postpartum and birthing suites are located behind the locked door with the waiting room NOT behind the locked door. Before allowing anyone in to see you you are called and asked if you are available, and if you would like to see whoever it is.
•You are allowed to have up to 3 labor support people. Each person is provided a band that allows them access behind the doors at anytime during your birth - so food runs, store trips, etc. can go smoothly and quickly.
•They have a snack kitchen, equipped with ice cream, water, ice, dry goods, etc.
•They will not keep you from eating or drinking during labor. She did mention that there may be times clear liquids are best and suggested.
•Each birthing suite has it's own whirlpool tub that is very large and deep, as well as handheld showers.
•A variety of birthing balls are available.
•The bed drops down and a squat bar is available for pushing in a squatted position, or for mom's who are too tired or having a hard time finding the right muscles.
•The number of people who visit you at one time in postpartum is unlimited, though they do recommend you limit your visits so you can rest and bond.

Things that I did ask
•What is the monitoring policy?
A standard belt monitor is available - usually upon arrival they like to get a solid 20 minute reading though it isn't mandatory to be that way. Then and every other time tele-monitors are available, as well as just a hand held doplar. Monitoring can be done in whatever position you like as long as the baby's heart beat can be found. 
•What is the IV policy?
Not mandatory or procedure unless medically necessary. If you must receive antibiotics, a Hep lock can be used after administration.
•What birthing positions are permitted?
This one is up to your delivering doctor. The hospital it self doesn't mind any position or place - though in your own birthing suite rather than the hall is encouraged.
•Can my son(or other siblings) be present during birth?
Absolutely, he just needs one specific person that is not Mom or Dad assigned to him. He will get his own band (not part of the three) as will his person (is apart of the three).
•Baby care policy immediately following birth?
Baby is placed directly on Mom's chest.
•Does baby ever have to be separated from me?
No. All tests can be done with baby on your chest.
•Can we delay cord clamping?
Absolutely, just make sure it is in your birth plan and that your doctor and the pediatrician know. Dad - this is a good job for you, remind them as soon as baby is out.
•What about the placenta? Can we bring it home?
Yep! Make sure you bring a cooler it needs to go on ice immediately and be taken home soon after.
•Policy regarding vitamin K shot, eye goop, vaccines?
They are all standard procedure but you can absolutely decline them. You just have to sign a waiver, we have no problems with any of that.
•How long is labor allowed to go before interventions are pushed?
As long as it takes. If baby is doing fine there is no reason to intervene. That doesn't mean it wont be offered or suggested by your doctor. If your water has been broken for 24 hours antibiotics will likely be administered but you are free to labor for as long as it takes. 
•What is the video and photo policy?
Video is not permitted, and photos have to be from above the legs perspective.
•Are there ever breech births here?
•Can we bring and use cloth diapers right away?

So all of our questions got answered. I was really impressed by the actual facility and how friendly everyone was. There was a nurse actually snuggling a baby in the nursery, so the babies that are taken there aren't just left to hang out which makes me feel good too. We left the hospital feel much better about our decision, happy about it actually. We realize that these are just words and things that sound good now - and it will be the people we have contact with when the time comes and testing the policies rather than smiling at the theory of them. But we are hopeful, and happy.

Now to ask my doctor's office a ton of questions at our next visit!

Our unusual living arrangement

Monday, March 11, 2013
Of course as soon as I posted my last entry we lost power where I am. Sooo I'm writing this via my phone while I wait to see if my day resumes here or I head out to pick up my lovey.

Hubz and I have always lived with my mom. First because that is where I was living and it made sense for him to move in with me in town. Then because we were unexpectedly expecting Turtle-Love and needed all the help we could get. Then we all needed each other while during my pregnancy my mom's house,  the one I grew up in, was foreclosed on because one thing after the other kept falling apart and financially things couldn't keep up. I ended up delivering Turtle-Love a month early from all of this stress and we needed my mom more than ever.
When our lease was up at the rental place we decided to find somewhere affordable where we could continue living with my mom but have more separated space. We found that, and then soon after circumstances changed and my aunt (my mom's sister) her oldest daughter with her three kids, and her son came to stay with us while my cousin waited to accept a job in town. They looked for their own place but couldn't find anything suitable. A joke was made that we should all live together in one big house (our current house was feeling very very cramped) and the funny thing was, we found one. The house we found had several separate living areas, including a walk out basement that was very large that Hubz, Turtle-Love and I, along with our large dog, could occupy. Away from everyone else so we could build our family relationships further. We were in our first year of marriage after all, but still with my family.
Unfortunately the day after we signed the lease and terminated our previous one we discovered mold in the basement. We ended up living in the formal dinning room while everyone else settled in and we waited to hear what would be done about the basement. I had enough and was increasingly irritated with our single space and we made the decision to move to the top floor, the converted attic space. The attic apartment we live in is great! We have a sky light directly over our bed that makes going to sleep so calming and wonderful. Turtle-Love loves finding and saying goodnight to the moon and stars. We have our own kitchen(ette), living room, bathroom, and ample storage space. It is only one bedroom but it is spacious and all we need considering we co-sleep. There are two big disadvantages though. Our dog isn't allowed in the house (he was going to be allowed in the basement) and it is a steep walk up 36 stairs from the main living area we all share. Realistically we need the exercise, and Char (our pup) has a friend that he stays with - my cousins dog - in the garage. We have a fenced yard they play in, so we figured we would make the best of it. We've been here since June of last year. In January our landlord wanted our (the whole family's) decision about our lease renewal. As I'm pregnant, I refused to move anywhere near my due date (early May) this time - just in case. We would either move in February or not at all. Our family decided they wanted to stay as well, and so our lease has been renewed.

There are several advantages to living with so many people. Decreased financial burden, help with Turtle-Love when hubz is out of town or at work, my aunt cooks dinner nearly every night and does the majority of the grocery shopping. My mom does most of the laundry (I wash our cloth diapers), after dinner clean up is split among those who did not cook while someone else watches the kids. Turtle-Love has play mates, my cousin's kids are 10, 4, and 3. His vocabulary has skyrocketed with her little chatterboxes around! The list goes on, it really does. I'm grateful for this opportunity and generally enjoy our "village" lifestyle. That doesn't mean it doesn't come with it's woes. Unfortunately that is most of the point of this particular blog post.

There is a really big difference between the ideal village lifestyle - where you live in very close proximity to your support system but in separate houses - and the all-in-one house village lifestyle we currently participate it.

We are having trouble establishing and maintaining our individual family dynamic. Turtle-Love knows who each of us are. He knows his relationship beyond a doubt with me, with hubz, and with my mom. The other roles and influences in his life though I'm not so sure of. We spend a lot of time downstairs with everyone. Turtle-Love plays with the other kids every day. He really enjoys the time he spends with them, and talks about them often when we aren't with them. The trouble is that I'm worried about how he identifies himself with them.

*Okay, so I wrote all of that from my phone Friday afternoon. I've obviously lost some of my gusto but I'll keep expressing my point from here

I am concerned that if we do not separate ourselves from the rest of the family more that Turtle-Love wont bond with our baby the same way. That he will see himself as the same as the other kids in the house and how they relate to the child I am carrying, rather than seeing himself as the big brother, a sibling. The four of us will make up our individual family, but I am worried about how he will perceive that if we don't make the effort to separate ourselves, relationally and spatially, from the rest of the family. Going further - I'm not sure how to create balance in this situation.

Does anyone reading this happen to have experience with village style living? Ideas on how to help build our individual family's relationships without creating a rift with the rest of the household? Does anyone else even live like this?!

A Quickish Update

Friday, March 8, 2013
Alright - a quickish update and then on to THE POST.

I'm 30 weeks (31 by ultrasound) and doing well! My blood pressure is good, Bean's heart rate has been good. No real complaints, nothing major happening. The ultrasound I had a couple weeks ago showed no premature cervical shortening which is awesome. It did, however, show us that Little Bean was breech. She was hanging out yogi style, with at least one heal near her bum, sitting on my right side facing my left. I had an appointment the following Friday, at which her heart beat was found below my belly button (which to me says she is transverse or head down, not breech) but the OB I saw said that if she hadn't turned by 37 weeks we would talk about external versions and then a c-section at 39 weeks. Aaawwweeesssooommmmeeee. NOT.

The day after was a local birth expo which worked out great for us. We found some awesome places to take Turtle-Love for play time, met an acupuncturist, two chiropractors, a doula in training who I happen to know (but didn't know was a doula!), and a bunch of other local resources for families and pregnant women. We also each scored an Under The Nile cloth teething toy for visiting 10 vendors, and my name was drawn during a "Grand Prize Drawing" so I got to pick a prize from the good stuff. I chose a gift bag put together by another local doula, who happened to be the birth class instructor we loved from our last pregnancy. The bag included two Earth Mama Angel Baby gift packs, one set of newborn goodies and one set of pregnant mama goodies, a lavender and flax seed eye pillow for stress relief, two ribbon edged burp rags, and a rice sock. Very sweet and super helpful!

I really liked one of the chiropractors we met. She not only explained to me how my sciatic nerve pain could be telling us that my pelvis is out of alignment likely adding to or even causing the breech issue (and explained it awesomely well I will add) but also offered to work with us on payment if my insurance doesn't cover her office. In fact, her business card actually says "Insurance - Cash - Charity" as payment options. She said there was no reason to let something like money get in the way of helping me with the sciatic pain and hopefully preventing a c-section. So, I now have an appointment with her next week. Also, my doula friend is currently in the process of completing her training and offered her services to us gratis. These are the kind of people I like meeting in the world. Can we please have more of them? Okay, great! We had an official meeting with her at our place yesterday and I'll be contacting her in just a bit to let her know we would love to have her on our "birth team". And before everyone wonders, no it isn't just because her services will not cost us in cash. We actually feel that we connected well with her. And HELLO she actually swayed hubz to team doula and got him on board! Ummm, big score there. I also love the idea that we can help her get the hands on experience she needs for her certification. I actually hope to complete doula certification myself in the nearish future (potentially through where she is - the program sounded pretty awesome) and hope that other people will grant me the same kindness. Plus, the one birth she has already attended as a doula was with my OB's practice and at the hospital we will be going to, which is excellent luck.

We've fallen behind on our birth classes through Birth Boot Camp, but we are determined to catch up! PS - go check them out. Use the buttons up there ^ (see top of post) and over there --> (see side bar next to post). So far we are LOVING these classes. Very informative, hubz is staying focused and learning, and there was a bunch of stuff I didn't really know - or at least didn't know this much about! 

Turtle-Love is doing excellently and enjoys singing, dancing, playing with his matchbox cars, the occasional movie, and generally shocking us with his adorable banter and delighted playfulness. Of course it isn't all peaches, but the good and fun far outweighs the tough and rough spots. He is also addicted to my belly. If he can see any belly skin he has to touch my belly, hold my belly, kiss my belly, poke my belly button and exclaim "Baaayyy Beeee! I kiss baby. Hi baby! Mama baby belly!" Sometimes he tells us he has a baby in his belly too *snicker*. Sure thing kiddo, sure thing. He has also gained an interest in princesses, including dressing up as one, and now owns a pink lady bug shirt with red glitter on it. *shrug* Hey, the kid likes what he likes and we wont stand in the way of that. I think he is rather well rounded :-) I suppose that is what happens when you spend a ton of your time with girls your age but really admire your daddy. ;-)
In other news, the babywearing group a good friend of mine and I are starting up locally is having our first meeting on St. Patrick's Day. So excited! If you are in or near central VA contact me for specifics!

Alright, so that actually wasn't terribly quick was it? Oops. Oh well. On to The Post. Actually. I'm going to write it as a separate post. I'll link it up here when I'm done.

For giggles... a picture of hubz and Turtle-Love the other morning...

My co-sleeping ninja Turtle-Love, and Daddy


Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Today, I struggle.

Pregnancy is somewhat blissful for me. As an adolescent I had pretty severe depression. It was heavier in the Spring, which is unusual. I was medicated, somewhat heavily, through the end of middle school to help me but nothing ever worked they way one wants it to. The depression was never really gone. As a teenager my depression was triggered by nearly everything, but especially social interaction. Add to that low self-esteem and body image issues because I was a big girl surrounded by tiny girl friends, and you get a bit of a recipe for disaster, in my case at least. This isn't the time for all the hairy details, but it got bad. Really bad. I reached a turning point after a slight disaster and then a bit of a miracle - the opportunity to spend time with my newborn niece. Everything didn't magically get better overnight, but slowly the changes came. It was this time in my life that I started going the more natural route. I stopped taking the medications (that weren't working) and I was more aware of the over the counter pain killers and cold remedies that I chose. I'm not saying I always made good choices, but the awareness started then.

Alright so that is a little off topic, but the point is... emotionally things were rough for a really long time. Things were still rough, mainly in the spring, as I came into adulthood. There were still rough patches and times of depression in the year I became pregnant with my son.

After discovering we were pregnant the first time, I was terrified. I was worried I would be more susceptible to postpartum depression. I worried what life would be like having a low point with a new baby. I worried I would fail as a mother.

To my surprise, and the surprise of my now husband and likely my family as well, pregnancy was mostly happiness. Rainbows, unicorns, you get the picture. Of course there were stresses. Actually, there were extreme stresses (thus the preterm birth). But in spite of all the stress and the emotions and hormones from those stress there were no low times. None, nada, nilche. It was like... I was normal.Okay seriously, what is really normal. But for the sake of delivering this message we will just stick with that analogy. Even after the birth of my son, there came no low points. There was definite hardship, and struggle, and stress. I did have some self doubts, and blame, and many other not so pleasant emotions surrounding his birth, or really the fact that he was 5 weeks early. But even with all of that there was no depression. In fact, 2 years later and some change there still hasn't been any actual depression. At least, nothing that lasted longer than a day or so, or that wasn't cured by chocolate or ice cream or a day out with the girls. You know... normal things. Well... I assume they are normal I guess. Again, you get the picture. (I hope).

This pregnancy has also been happiness. Unicorns, and rainbows, and puffy clouds, and puddles to jump in, rain to dance in, etc. These are a few of my favorite things... you get it? In fact... there hasn't been any serious stress like during my last pregnancy. The only real stress that I feel is worry. I am worried about having another preterm birth. This is a normal worry. Through the worry, and through some modern medical technologies, I am trusting my body. I learning to trust that my body knows when and how to deliver this baby. That my body and the baby I am growing inside me will be able to decide when it is right to be born. My son did, he needed to be born and so together with my body that happened. It happened early, but I can see and accept, now, that there was a reason for that.

A test of this trust in my body is coming up. One that will either reassure me, or could potentially leave me doubting my body and its ability to properly house and grow and protect my baby. On Friday I have an ultrasound scheduled. One extra ultrasound. How can an ultrasound be such a test in this trust? The ultrasound isn't to check on Little Bean, to see her little toes or watch her precious heart beat. This ultrasound is to measure the length of my cervix. You see, in some women, preterm labor can be caused by an early shortening of the cervix. The closer you get to birth, the shorter the cervix becomes. With that is softening and dilating and all of that great stuff. But when that great stuff starts to happen too early, it can mean trouble. Can. Not always, not with everyone, but sometimes.

And so.... I'm nervous. I'm anxious. But I'm not struggling because of that.

Well then what was the show for, hmmm?! I'm getting there.

I'm struggling over the birth path we are on. This appointment seems to be contributing to it, obviously since I intended to come here and just complain about our birth arrangement and out came all of that.

Initially, I wanted my second birth to be at the Birth Center. With a midwife, and a doula, in a peaceful and serene environment. With water, and candles, and music, etc. You know, very zen, very empowering. Unfortunately, our finances have yet to align with the cosmos for our birth. They likely wont. We don't have insurance, and since we can't afford to pay for this out of pocket we applied for and received FAMIS coverage. It's like a step above medicaid. State provided (or is it federal? I'm pretty sure it is state) medical coverage - with a co-pay and a deductible. Sort of an in-between insurance set up. I am beyond grateful for this.  Unfortunately, this also meant the Birth Center birth was taken off the table. FAMIS doesn't cover birth centers, and we can't afford that out of pocket either.

I'm becoming increasingly frustrated this week with not being able to have the birth I feel is right for us and this baby, because of money. It troubles me to my core that the barrier between the wonderful zen birth I have imagined and the birth we are planning is a little bit of cash. Okay, it is quite a bit of cash. That doesn't mean we aren't still planning an awesome hospital birth, because we are. I'm still planning candles and music and hopefully water. While we are delivering at the same hospital as we did before, it is a new building. We haven't toured it yet but from what I hear it is very beautiful, with wonderful views and a peaceful setting in the delivery rooms. We will see. In fact... I'm going to schedule that tour today.... Anyhow, I am struggling and a little down in the dumps today because I suppose I am pouting. My husband doesn't want a doula, I can't have a midwife, and the facility I wanted to birth in and the care difference I hoped to receive this time is not available to us because of finances. 

It is time to just put my big girl panties on and deal. But for today, I'll pout.

Side note: I bought some maternity panties the other day. WHOAH the difference. Fluffy moms... I'm highly recommending this thing called the foldover brief. It is a panty with a waist that can be folded and tucked below belly (or under the hang as I say - some of you will get that) OR you can leave it up... and guess what happens when you leave it up??? It stays!!! I'm amazed. I found mine at Motherhood Maternity, but I'm sure they are available elsewhere too.

Birth Prep Classes

Thursday, January 31, 2013
If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen that we have been looking into birth prep classes.

Yes, yes. I know I've already given birth once, I should know what I'm doing, blah blah blah.

Here is how I see it.

You cannot be too prepared for birthing your baby

Just my humble opinion on the subject matter. However, us personally... well we could use the refresher.

See.... when I was pregnant with Turtle-Love we took some birth classes offered through the hospital we were using. The classes were actually amazing. They were taught by a local doula who was also an OB nurse, with two natural births under her own belt - one outside of the country while her family was on some type of mission? To be honest those details are hazey... We went over not only the basic information of how birth happens, but the hospitals policies, how to get what you want from them, and several coping and relaxation techniques - the class was designed with natural birth in mind. We learned a ton and felt fairly prepared. I had also done some light reading about ideas for labor, and we constructed a birth plan.

Que in the unforeseen issues..... like our house foreclosing. Which lead to us moving. Which was when we realized there was no way  we were moving out of a substantially sized house I had lived in for 10+ years of my life and into something much smaller and in our price range. With a giant dog. Oh yeah.... we also had to be out a month before my due date. Anyone wanna guess what happened next? No? Oh.. its okay.. I'll tell you.

I of course went into labor a couple days before our move out deadline, while we were in a mad rush to get moved into a place we finally found with less than a third of the square footage we were used to because we recently with a stroke of luck found the place, qualified for it, and signed the dang lease. I had also jinxed myself because it snowed the night before and I stupidly made a comment about how Turtle-Love would come now just because of the weather. -_________- (That is a very unamused face in case you were wondering). 

And so, we of course ended up going to the hospital after waking up in a giant pool of liquid which we determined was my water that had broken. We left sans anything we meant to take with us. I had no bag packed, we forgot the birth plan or anything else for that matter, I was in my dang pajamas with messy hair, leaking fluid with every little wiggle, and wondering if that slight tingle in my mid section was my first contraction. Skip to the hospital where we were told we might be there for weeks before the baby is actually born... blah blah blah.... and ... drum roll please....
I sent my husband home.

Yep. Idiot.... a long story kind of shortened ... Toad missed all of my labor, which was super fast. I got lost in what was happening and forgot most of my coping techniques, but at least I had my sister! Who has never been pregnant or attended a birth class, ever. No worries, she did well. The birth went well aside from the being 5 weeks early part and somethings that go with that ... yada yada..... SO. Because of all that, and I like to keep my self informed, and... HELLLOOOOO that was over 2 years ago.... we are taking another class.

We tried for the same class, because we liked it. But of course by the time we got our schedules together the class was booked. I started doing research online to find a class that would work for us. I created a birth board on Pinterest even! It was after a few pins and a recommendation from one of my Facebook page followers (and hopeful readers, lol) that I reached out to Birth Boot Camp.

Their program seems amazing. Check them out HERE <-- That would be my affiliate link :-)
We are doing the online course. We don't live anywhere near any of the current in-person classes, but because their program includes videos I think we will do really well with it. You get access to all of the information for 3 months, including being able to chat with them whenever about whatever comes up along the way. BONUS... I found this blog post by Mama Birth that got me an awesome discount! All pregnant bloggers.. check that out! SO.. what this all means is we are going to be awesomely educated, well prepared for birth, and you guys get to read my review when it is all said and done with! I'll likely blog along the way too :-)

Natural Birth Classes NBC120x240

Planning for our second birth

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I've seen this blog post making the rounds on the Facebook pages I follow the past couple days.

Five Ways to Prepare for Natural Birth in a Hospital

Initially I was just going to share it on my own Facebook page, but when I went to type my own little remark about it I realized I was writing several paragraphs. And so... this blog post was born, naturally. (bahahahahahaha, funny!)

Turtle-Love was a natural hospital birth. I'm certain that I've written his birth story - but I'm pretty sure it has not been published here. That is on my to-do list in the next couple weeks. Anyhow, I've never wanted any birth other than a non-medicated vaginal delivery. At the very most basic of planning, that has always been it. The details of shots and goop and interventions and cord cutting and the labor and the delivery positions and whatever else were always extras, extras I hadn't ever considered until becoming pregnant. Even as a child playing doctor though, I delivered my babies as naturally as one can with a stuffed animal tucked under your t-shirt - au-natural.

Turtle-Love's birth was a bit more complicated than I hoped it would be. Being 5 weeks early will do that. We forgot our birth plan, which we had only just finished. Toad (the hubz) missed the majority of my labor (saving the details for the birth story people) and only arrived in time for the actual delivery. I was on IV antibiotics because my strep test hadn't come back yet, and my labor progressed much faster than the doctors and nurses thought it would. I went from broken water (it broke at home - which is why we went in) and no contractions to delivering my baby in about 8 hours. Just 3 days before at my prenatal exam I had a soft cervix, but the baby was high and I was not at all dilated. As I had hoped, I was able to labor and birth without pain medications and delivered my child vaginally - without tearing even, and in just one push. Though, I'm pretty sure I had been ready to push for a few contractions at the least. Even though Toad was absent for my labor, he made it for the birth and my little sister did a great job of helping me during labor.

Anyhow - the point of all this is....
We are planning another natural hospital birth.

I had really really wanted to deliver our second child at a birth center, attended by a midwife and have a doula present to help with labor. I looked into the birth center we have here - and it is a fantastic facility. One I was really excited about using! However, Neither Toad nor myself have insurance. Turtle-Love and I are receiving medical assistance through FAMIS. It is like medicaid but you have a co-pay, we didn't qualify for medicaid this time because we are married. At least I assume that is why because our income hasn't changed since our last pregnancy and birth, which I received medicaid coverage for. Anyhow, the birth center doesn't take FAMIS and we couldn't afford the expense out of pocket. I tried to come up with ways that we could afford it, but it never really worked out in my favor. So, we - or rather I, because this is my body and Toad supports that - decided to go back to the same OB office, through which we would deliver at the hospital.

There was another big factor in this decision though, and that is the possibility of delivering early again. The birth center wont let you deliver there unless you are at least 36 weeks. I delivered Turtle-Love at 35 weeks, and there is a chance I could deliver earlier this time around. I don't know the percentage of that potentially happening but it is a reality I have to face. As it stands the hospital we are using will not allow you to deliver there unless you have reached at least 34 weeks. If I go into labor prior to 34 weeks, I'll have to go to the other hospital in town. Don't get me wrong - that hospital is great! In fact, Turtle-Love was transferred to their amazing NICU the day after he was born, and stayed there for close to 2 weeks. I have plenty of friends who have delivered there and very few of them have poor things to say. But it is a teaching hospital meaning there would be multiple medical students present. The hospital we are planning to use is a private facility and is known to be natural birth friendly.

And so... we are planning a natural hospital birth.

We are taking a number of steps to get ready for this go round. In fact, all five of the steps listed in the above blog post at Natural Parents Network.

We are educating ourselves. I have researched and pinned a ton of things onto a "Birth board" on Pinterest - let me know if you want a link! Of course I'm looking at multiple resources, books, websites, videos, etc. Hubz and I started watch The Business of Being Born last night and will continue it tonight.

I know that while someone attending our birth may have an opinion that differs from mine, I don't necessarily need to make waves about it. If it isn't effecting my care, or support, or myself or my child - that person's opinion is just an opinion and nothing more. Anything more than that and I know it is MY CHOICE. I will be at a facility that is working for me. These doctors and nurses will be working for me and my baby. If at anytime I'm not comfortable with them, I can request new care attendants.

We are making a birth plan - and having it handy in multiple formats. Including, a quick and concise version that fits on a dang index card for quick reference. Have you guys seen these? I found them both on Pinterest... PS I ♥ Plus Size Birth and Plus Size Mommy Memoirs

This is on the PSMM Facebook page as well as their Pinterest

I'm not sure where this one came from at all, but I found it on Pinterest
I have a fantastic support team. Every single one of them knows what I want, and how badly I want it, and are learning how to help me advocate for it when the time comes. ♥

We are also going to be taking a child birth prep course. I'll tell you which one very soon! Some people think this is silly because we have done this already - classes and actually birthing of a child - but I think it is important to learn as much as possible and have a refresher course. After all, I gave birth over 2 years ago now. You cannot be too prepared for birth.

Gender Reveal + Party details

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Hey guys!

So my sisters threw us a big Gender Reveal Party, and it was great. We thought it would be a great idea to have a gender reveal party, mostly because it looked like fun and I like parties! Also because my little sister is apparently a stickler for tradition and thinks you shouldn't have baby showers for your second baby - unless it is a different sex from your first child or there is a significant age gap. -_- Meh. I say parties for all! Buuut, just in case we were having a boy I didn't want my baby to get skipped on the festivites and celebrations... so a gender reveal party was the most awesome idea ever.

Here are the details::

My little sister threw this together after what I'm sure amounted to more than several inspiration hours on sites like Pinterest and Etsy. Oh, we are BIG Pinterest and Etsy fans over here folks, just so you know. Isn't this adorable?! I'm not the biggest supporter of traditional gender roles and colors etc. However, I agreed with her that somethings are better to conform to society with for the sake of the party. Woot for her decision to go with a blue and pink that aren't so pastel-y baby-licious ♥

Aside from deciding I liked the mustache vs bow idea, my older sister wanted to keep nearly everything else about the party a secret. So I didn't get to see anything or know anything about the party! We didn't even get to find out the sex at our ultrasound, only my older sister did! I have to admit, it made things pretty exciting :-)

Anyhow - let's dive into the party details! NOTE: These pictures were taken with a not-so-awesome camera phone. I'm still waiting to find out if anyone else at the party got better shots but these will do for sharing. I'm impatient and didn't want to wait any longer to tell you all!

When the guests walked in they were faced with a choice: If they thought I was having a boy they chose a mustache, and is they thought I was having a girl they chose a bow. They also had to write their names on the board so we could keep score, of course. Also on the table were tiny wooden clothes pins for the "Don't say baby" game, booklets full of the other games to play, as well as pens. PS: The containers the booklets and pens are in are definitely little claw foot bathtubs. Cute!
It is hard to see, but there were more people on Team Bow than Team Mustache. The hubz and I grabbed one of each, he a bow and I a mustache, just for the heck of it. I wasn't telling anyone what my motherly intuition told me. At least, not at the party ;-)

One of the games we played had everyone write down up to three old wives tales about gender prediction. Some of them included baby's heart rate, activity level, the one about having your "beauty stolen", being sick all the time, the wedding ring suspended over your belly button bit, and the list goes on. Finally tally was 7 Mustache, and 6 Bow.

Other games included the one pictured above, Name That 'Stache! (or lips) where you had to name the celebrity the 'stache or lips belonged to; a bottle chugging contest, celebrity baby name match up (match the baby's name to the celebrity parent), three separate diaper games - The first blind folded with flat cloth diapers and diaper pins, five women (actually 3 women 1 preteen girl and an honorary dad) had to put the diaper on a balloon without popping it, while blind folded. The second blind folded with disposable diapers and baby dolls, for the men (actually 4 men and 1 preteen boy) to compete with. The third was that game where you melt different chocolate bars into a diaper and everyone has to guess "what baby ate". I think that was all of the games, but I may be missing one or two.

My older sister made these "Baby Game Trophies" for the game winners to receive along with their winning prize. They were pretty dang cute actually, and made me giggle.

Of course no party is complete without food! Here is the spread, pre aditional pinwheel wraps, veggie tray, fruit tray, and chocolate dip.The table was split into to sides...

"Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of"
On the boy's side we had pinwheel wraps to represent the snails portion. Chicken salad with apple, plain chicken salad, and this chicken taco style one? It has chicken, cream cheese, and taco seasoning in it. All delicious. We also had pigs in a blanket - or hot dogs rolled in crescent roll like bread for the puppy dog tails bit. Note the more masculine food stands -> cake stands my little sister made for my bridal shower last September out of ceramic plates and candlesticks.

 "Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of"
On the girl's side we had powdered sugar donuts, of course for the sugar portion, and Boston Cream Pie cupcakes made by yours truly (me) for the all things nice bit. Chocolate, cake..... what isn't nice about that?! Note the more decadent and feminine food stands on this side, something my older sister had on hand from previous functions.

Of course in the center was the drinks. Water and punch, complete with striped straws, green on the boys side and purple on the girls. (Two of my favorite colors!)
The water bottles were covered in duck tape - lips for girls and mustaches for boys. Cute!

Party favors were also provided, sets of magnets my little sister made. Everyone got a bow and a mustache magnet, and they are freaking adorable.

After fun, games, socializing, and delicious food and cake there was only one thing left to do....
This is the box my older sister and her boyfriend built for the occasion. She filled it with balloons and had it placed at the top of our stairs....







Are you ready?!



We are having a little girl!!!

The hubz and I are both very excited! In fact, nearly everyone is excited. We keep hearing how we are "so lucky to get one of each" etc. etc. .... it is great to feel all the excitement from everyone. Of course, our biggest thing isn't the sex of our child... we are just hoping for a full term, healthy, baby.

But you know adorably cute tiny dresses don't hurt.....