Monday, September 28, 2015

What's In My Hospital Bag?


We have approximately 1.5 weeks to go before this baby comes. I'm telling myself it could be any day now.....but it could also be 3 weeks from now. Reeeeally trying to remind myself it really could be 3 weeks from now.  But I sure hope not.

In any case. I thought it was about time to think about what to bring to the hospital. I already tend to over pack and I also struggle with indecision, so trying to plan out what goes in my hospital bag has not been easy. I found these posts by Jacqui, Nell, and Gina to be really helpful and I think now my bag is in order.

First off, the bag:

 I have never had a nice over night bag. I've always just used whatever cast aside gym bags and totes I found lying around. But being *almost 30* has made me feel like getting my act together and getting some grown-up luggage. (For aaaall the traveling I do;)  Alex delivered by getting me this bag for my birthday. I love it. It's huge so I can over pack all I want. And the trip to the hospital will be her maiden voyage.

Inside the bag I have...

For Laboring:
My own night gown and robe to wear (both knee length)
socks
slippers
sports bra for (hopefully) water birth
plenty of hair ties and bobby pins, hair in my face is one of my biggest pet peeves.
lip balm, chapped lips is another pet peeve.
phone already synced with playlists, one classical, one acoustic-y folksy.
Hot/cold pack
healthy snacks for energy, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.
rosary, hoping to offer some intentions for loved ones.
journal, I've been keeping a list of scriptures to meditate on while laboring.
picture of Johnny, he's my inspiration.

For After delivery:
more socks
my own underwear, for when I'm done with the fun mesh ones.
two pairs of yoga pants, because you never know.
nursing bra
nursing tank
comfy open front sweater
presentable t-shirt to wear home
clean change of clothes for Alex
camera, to get some band spanking new baby photos
toiletries, including my own shampoo, conditioner, soap, and Alex's tooth brush
make-up bag

And while I've mentioned make-up bag and wanting to have real grown-up luggage....I have had the same make-up back for, oh....probably 15 years. Does anyone else remember this?


I think my aunt must have have gotten some Clinique samples, including this bag. She gave it to me when I was just a tween and I've used for my make up ever since. Until.....

A few week ago when I won this make-up bag as a prize at a bridal shower!


Going through my make-up, tossing out the old stuff I don't use, and putting everything in a nice new bag was such a cathartic experience. I feel like a new woman. If you need a little pick-me -up, I highly recommend a new make-up bag.

Ok, where were we? Oh yes, hospital bag. 

For the baby:
3 onesies
2 sleeper jammies
a couple of swaddling blankets
car seat, of course.
handmade hat. I'd love it if baby could wear a handmade hat home from the hospital.  I haven't actually made one for this purpose yet, so I suppose I should get on that. 

And while we are talking about stuff for the baby. I have been trying to not spend all of my money buying baby girl clothes off of Kidizen.  But I did find a set of darling Petunia Pickle Bottom onesies for a steal. Alex didn't believe me when I told him the brand name was Petunia Pickle Bottom, and still laughs out loud whenever I say. So I made sure one of those made it into the hospital bag.


Anything else you think I should have with me? There's still room in my enormous bag!

//

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nesting. Knitting.


I love knitting. It's my creative outlet, my therapy, my stress reliever. Knitting is my love language. If I have knit you something, it means I love you.

I have been doing a lot of knitting this pregnancy. I think that knitting has replaced the usual pregnancy inclination of nesting. I've felt this great urgency to do all the knitting, before it's too late. So here's what I've done since this bun has been in the oven.

First there was this scarf. I actually started it long before I was pregnant, it was my project that I worked on between other projects. But I thought it was time to finish it up.


It currently lives in the Etsy Shop. We'll see if I don't keep it for myself once cold weather hits. 


Then I made a sweater for myself with some yarn that I bought over two years ago. 


I haven't been able to try it on yet, tummy too big. So I have no idea if it will look good. We'll see after the baby comes.


Then I made a sweater for baby girl out of the softest merino wool I have ever used.  It was heaven. 



I had some extra yarn, so, matching hat!


Then for some reason I felt like I really needed to knit/crochet some dish clothes. None of them turned out the same size. But I use them and they get the job done. 


This pink sweater for baby girl was supposed to be 6-12 months but came out so big Johnny could wear it now. So I guess she will wear it when she's 2?


Then I started feeling bad that baby girl was getting all the hand knits. So I made Johnny this sweater. I love it! And I was so excited for him to wear it this fall. Until....I tried it on him the other day and it almost comes down to his knees! I don't know how this happens. My things turn out way too big! So I guess it's next winter for this one too. 


Extra yarn means matching hat. The hat fits him now. So at least he can wear that this year.



I had extra pink yarn so I tried really hard to make a newborn sized sweater.  I think it's pretty good size-wise and I'm really hoping baby girl will be able to wear it right away.


Oh, and I love the buttons.


Then I made a bunch of baby hats.  They may go in the Etsy shop or they may end up being gifts. We'll see.





Then I realized I still haven't made anything for Alex! Poor Alex. I'm currently working on this sweater for him.  I'm about half way done and need to crank it out before the baby gets here.

Winter is such a great time for knitting.  I'm hoping I can still get some done after baby comes.  But in case I can't you know what I'll be doing for the next 2 weeks!

//

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Preparing for Labor After a Traumatic Birth


My belly is getting huge. Even the maternity clothes I have are starting to feel snug. I bend over to pick up something off the floor, setting off the tightness of a Braxton Hicks contraction. My body is preparing to give birth. My hips and ligaments are loose and stretchy, my belly is riding low, so that when I sit I can literally feel the baby sitting on my lap. I'm too uncomfortable to sleep, my body's subtle way of reminding me what sleepless nights with a newborn are like. 

I know my body is preparing to give birth, but I can't seem to get my mind to follow. Even though my first baby was born over two years ago, I can't seem to get the 50 hours of labor and 5 hours of pushing out of my head. Not to mention the sickening feeling of having my son rushed to the NICU when he was just one day old.  All these memories have me shoving thoughts about labor and delivery to the back of my mind. I'm very excited to have another baby, but don't really want to think about having another baby.

How do you approach labor and delivery after going through a very traumatic one?

For me it's been something like this:

After Johnny was born and the dust had settled the OB came in told me that the next one wouldn't be this hard, and I shouldn't let this experience discourage me from having other kids

crickets.

And then, Don't even talk to me about having other kids. Don't. Even. 

Over the course of the next year I went from feeling like I could never have another baby, to feeling like I could, but would just induce and have an epidural right away, to finally feeling like I would attempt natural childbirth again.

Key word being attempt.  I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, and if things aren't going well I will have no trouble calling in the anesthesiologist.

But the truth is, I'd like to prove to myself that I can deliver a baby naturally. Partly because I think it's good to avoid unnecessary medical expenses, but more so because I believe we, women, are capable of doing it. Sometimes things don't go well, and when that's the case I'm thankful for modern medicine. But I'd kind of like to do things the way countless generation of women before me have done them.

So now it's game time. One month to go. I'm acknowledging that I'm scared to give birth again, but I'm also doing things to help myself prepare for it.

First off, we are changing locations. The hospital where Johnny was born is a beautiful hospital with wonderful labor and delivery nurses. But through nobody's fault, we had a terrible experience there, and now there's bad juju. So we will be delivering at a different hospital, with a beautiful mother-baby center and that is connected to a level IV NICU and the children's hospital where Johnny had his second, third, and fourth surgeries. Lord willing we won't be needing the NICU this time around, but it gives some peace of mind knowing it's just an elevator ride away. New hospital = new start.

In addition to switching locations, I decided to switch from an OB to a midwife and I feel SO GOOD about this decision. I'm going to a small clinic, only four midwives, and they only deliver at one hospital. They have all said that they want this birth to be redemptive, and that they want to advocate for me. They know I'm nervous and that I haven't ruled out medication, and they're ok with that. I'm already feeling more confident and assured knowing that they will be with the entire time I'm at the hospital.

We are also using a doula this time around. When I was pregnant with Johnny I specifically decided against a doula because I thought Alex and I had everything under control and a doula would be an invasion of privacy and an extra body in the room. We had done Bradley Method childbirth classes, and while they were great and we learned a lot, I think they gave a false sense of confidence.  We thought we were prepared for something we had never experienced.  Maybe if it I had had a textbook labor we would have been able to handle it on our own, but 50 hours? I don't think anything could have prepared us for that. I think a doula or a midwife would have helped us get past some of the humps, or helped us see earlier that things were not going well, and would have helped me make the decision sooner to get some help.

We've met with our doula a couple times now to talk about the up-coming labor.  Aside from helping me process Johnny's birth a little more she has helped me realize that I really have been avoiding thinking about this birth.  I think I've been telling myself that it's not a big deal because it's not my first. But it is a big deal.  Childbirth, however you go about it, is a huge feat! It is always a big deal and it's ok, even good, to treat it as such in your mind.

So I have been preparing, physically by trying to eat well (sugar, you are my kryptonite), getting enough sleep, and trying (emphasis on trying) to exercise, because after delivering Johnny every muscle in my body was sore.  Muscles I didn't even know I had were sore. I'm convinced childbirth is the ultimate insanity workout, and the more in shape you are for it, the better.

I've been preparing mentally.  I'm borrowing Ina May's Guide to Childbirth from my friend Jacqui who said reading positive birth stories really helped her prepare for labor. I'm finding them to be so encouraging. I'm thinking about music I might want to listen to, or snacks I might want to eat while laboring. I'm using visualization, which is something I used a lot in my music major days. But now instead of visualizing a good performance, I'm visualizing dealing with contractions in a non-freak out way.


I've also been preparing spiritually. I don't stop and think often enough about the miracle of life and how amazing it is that God lets us assist in creation. I think birth has a spiritual side to it, so I have been gathering scriptures to meditate on over these next few weeks. I've had Psalm 139 memorized since I was in grade school, but focusing on it through the lens of labor and delivery has made it new and profound. I've also been lifting up this birth in prayer, and simply telling God I'm excited, and I'm scared, and asking for His protection. One thing my past experience has taught me for certain is that whatever happens I will be able to handle it, with His grace.

//

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

august recap

If I've been a little quiet over here it's because Alex has been on break and I have been way too busy enjoying time with my husband to even think about blogging.

But now he's back in school, so, hello internet, my dear friend!

Here's what happened over break: Alex had three weeks off and our time-allocation plan was as follows:

Week 1; do as many house projects as possible.
Week 2: do as many social things as possible.
Week 3: veg out and watch as much Netflix as possible.

And we stuck to the plan pretty well!

During week 1 we got some yard work done, cleaned out and organized three closets, organized Johnny's baby clothes, set aside everything gender neutral for baby-girl, and put everything into nice stacking bins instead of garbage bags.

Before:


After:


 And we completely re-did the bar situation in our dining room. I have been dreaming about doing this for months. We had a very cute but very rickety wine rack that Johnny would shake until the wine glasses came flying off and pull the wine bottles off and roll them around on the floor. We've had to take everything breakable off of it, and in the end it was just a catch-all for junk.


Now (thanks to Ikea) we have wall mounted shelves that are completely out of Johnny's reach and that make us look a little more like lushes than is actually accurate. I love it.



Also, while Alex was putting up all the shelves I was assembling our Ikea impulse buy: a little table and chairs set for Johnny. When Johnny realized that I had "built" him a chair he was so impressed that he clapped for me.  Thank you, Ikea, for making me feel like the coolest mom on the block.


During week 2 we took a mini road trip to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  in La Crosse, WI. with our friends Ian and Jacqui. It was the perfect distance to travel with babies. The site of the shrine was so scenic and beautiful, and our 2-days-apart toddlers had a blast with each other running around outside and splashing in the hotel pool. All in all, a great success. Jacqui has tons more beautiful pictures on her blog, so check it. 







I also had my birthday during week 2 so we saw some family and I celebrated with a few girlfriends.

Week 3 was great. We watched (all of) The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. It was pretty funny. It also felt strangely familiar, like I knew it from somewhere else, Then I saw Tina Fey's name on the producer's credit and it all made sense. If you like 30 Rock then you will like Kimmy Schmidt.

After that we started watching House of Cards. I usually can't handle the kind of shows where the protagonists are actually just really terrible people, but this is one is so interesting (also not gory like Breaking Bad) that I can handle it.  Alex and I have also had some good moral discussions about our sinful natures and a person's capacity for good vs. evil, which helps me digest everything. It is still pretty depressing so if you're looking for a pick me up, go back to Kimmy Schmidt.

We made it through the first season of House of Cards before classes resumed, so now our progress will be really slow. Maybe an episode on Sundays if we are lucky. Since I'm waiting for Alex to continue House of Cards I needed a show to watch by myself, and Foyle's War is not disappointing. Netflix has been suggesting it to me forever, and I finally took the bait. It's SO the opposite of House of Cards. Our hero searches for truth and always does the right thing. Every episode has a satisfying (though sometimes a little sad, as it is set in WWII) ending. It's pretty slow paced, which is perfect for me because I like to knit while I watch and that's hard to do if there's a lot of action to keep up with.

Well, this post has turned into mostly TV commentary so I'll quit now. Johnny and I are doing just fine on day 2 without Alex. But I'm sure a tearful, venting session of a post will be coming your way before too long. Just hang in there.


(Here's a photo Alex took of Johnny and me searching for tomatoes in our jungle of a garden.)

//

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