Baby Favourites: Six Weeks In

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There are so many items one can be required/tempted to purchase before having a baby but you never really know how well these things work until you put them into action. I thought I’d share what we couldn’t do without so far:

Graco Click Connect Travel System – Aside from our cloth diapers this is probably the product I researched the most and it paid off. We are SO happy with this travel system. The click connect is crazy easy to use. The stroller is large but fast to break down and fits in my trunk well. We’ve taken it walking on all kinds of trails and roads and it rides super smooth. You can get it at Babies R Us but we got ours on sale at Target for $330 CAD when we went on our Minot trip. That’s a $300 savings! Something worth looking into.

Kidiway Leather Glider – So many moms told me to invest in a great rocker and they were right. Both Tommy and I have spent countless hours in this thing since Leo was born. It’s crazy comfortable and I love that it reclines, too. Ours is in our living room so I love that it doesn’t scream “nursery”.

Kushies Waterproof Change Pads – Nothing groundbreaking but these are super handy for a quick change anywhere and the patterns are so cute. We have two and I’d like more.

Onesies with Built-In Mitts – Those newborn mitts were constantly falling off of Leo’s little hands, especially because he always wanted to suck his fingers. Onesies with the mitt flaps were so helpful for those early newborn days to prevent scratches. Old Navy has awesome ones.

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets – All moms seem to recommend these and I agree. These blankets are thin but cozy and have so many uses.

Fisher Price Soothing Seat – Still where Leo sleeps the most soundly. This seat uses rocking and swaying motions that mimic a parent’s movements. It also has music and vibration options and I love that it plugs into the wall.

Summer Infant Baby Bather – A friend kindly lent this to us and it has made kitchen sink baths a breeze. Leo is really relaxed in it!

Jamieson Baby Probiotic Drops – Our paediatrician recommended these for Leo’s often gassy stomach and he rarely has tummy pains anymore. We’ve noticed a huge difference since starting them when he was two weeks old.

Halo Sleep Sack – Once we got one of these, Leo started sleeping in 4-5 hour stretches overnight from being up every 2 hours. Highly recommend!

What are your favourite baby products?

 

 

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Leo’s Birth Story

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It’s taken me awhile but I’m finally ready to share the details of Leo’s birthday. I still can’t believe this is the same little baby who lived in my belly these last several months! I love reading birth stories so I decided to share mine here.

Some back story. Originally I was given a due date of June 8th but both my family doctor and obstetrician flipped it a couple of times, going back and forth between the 6th and 10th as well. I stuck to June 8th as the date because it was in the middle of the two and I knew it was really just a guess anyway.

I spent a lot of time preparing myself to give birth. I said a lot of affirmations (my favourite was “the pain has a purpose”) and tried to stay as active and busy as possible to keep myself from overthinking everything. I tried to trust that my body could do the work and I just wanted to go into my labour and delivery with an open mind. I know there are so many depends in these situations and many things would be out of my control. I have yet to talk to anyone whose experience went according to “plan”. In terms of pain medication, I wanted to try to go without anything but certainly wouldn’t deny myself if I felt I had reached my limits. I often said that this was a “game day” decision and my husband encouraged me to do what I felt was right for us.

I gave June 8th as my last day of work because I wanted to avoid sitting at home for weeks on end in case I went overdue. I was also feeling pretty well and so I saw no reason not to continue. The last couple of weeks before I was done were stressful though. The dog got terribly sick and required a couple of vet visits and being up with him often for several nights made the cold I’d been dealing with rebound into something AWFUL. I literally couldn’t breathe for a week, which made sleeping impossible, which made everything worse. I couldn’t take anything for it and was petrified I’d go into labour in this condition. It took several days for me to start feeling better and baby prep was at a bit of a standstill because of it.

I got my membranes swept on the Monday before my due date. My mucous plug had started to come out a few days prior. The doctor was very excited to tell me that I was already 3 cm. dilated and 75% thinned out at that appointment and I was super encouraged by that because discomfort had been minimal. After the sweep I had some cramping and then contractions on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights that were strong enough to wake me up but they’d always go away and I’d wake up the next morning with no action.

Thursday, June 8th, my last day of work came. It was bittersweet and I was sent off with lots of well wishes. I left feeling emotional and mostly in disbelief that my maternity leave had come. Tom got me a beautiful bouquet of peonies to celebrate the occasion and we went out to dinner and ran some errands. We went to bed around 10 pm and I was awoken around midnight by contractions.

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Now, this had been my normal the last couple of nights so I wasn’t overly concerned but I did eventually notice that the contractions were coming in intervals. I downloaded an app to track them at around 1 am and warned Tom around 3 am that I thought this was the real deal. I used our bathtub and a heating pad for relief. Once the contractions were about 3 minutes apart we grabbed our bag and headed out. It was around 8 am and I’d already been labouring since midnight.

A couple of comical moments: we were waiting for the elevator and a neighbour joined us. I was in the middle of a contraction and Tom explained that I was in labour. The guy proceeded to jump in with us anyway and took his sweet time riding the elevator down to the main floor while I was hunched over in pain, delaying our trip down to the parkade. I considered punching him. Then we ran into construction near the hospital and had to detour. By the time we got in, they hurried me through and I was so grateful.

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Once at labour and delivery I had to wait behind two other women to get checked. I was contracting very often now and waiting was torture. When I was finally checked I was told I was around 7 cm. dilated. The staff were excited and so were we. It seemed the baby was closer than we thought. The resident did ask if I wanted an epidural at this point and said that I would have to decide quickly as I was already so far along. I felt I was managing ok at this point and declined. After I got into my room I overheard some staff outside discussing my progress and I felt so excited. I was on my way to meeting my baby soon and so far didn’t feel the need for intervention of any kind.

By this point, the only way I felt comfortable during contractions was either on the birthing ball or standing, leaned over while Tom pressed on my lower back. The poor guy, I’m sure his hands are still numb. We walked and were upright pretty much the whole time. I was admitted at 9 am and laboured until about 2:30 pm when I was checked again. The contractions were super strong, right on top of each other and I was sweaty, shaky and nauseous. It felt like I was in transition. I started to question having the energy to push because that last hour especially had really drained my energy.

When I was checked they told me I hadn’t progressed. At all. I was still around 7 cm. after labouring from 9 am to 2:30 pm. I was devastated. Beyond this, they told me that all of my contractions with no progress were starting to affect the baby and his heart rate wasn’t recovering as quickly after each one. They said that I would need medication to speed things up and progress my labour faster. She left to give us a minute to discuss the epidural.

I was so frustrated at this development that I started to cry as soon as she left because I knew in my heart that I needed the help. I’d been labouring over fourteen hours already on two hours sleep and with little else to fuel me. My contractions were already so intense that I couldn’t imagine dealing with several more hours of stronger ones, plus pushing the baby out. I had reached my limit. The nurse came back in, and I told her I would get the epidural.

I had a spinal tap when I was four years old. Because of this I still hate needles and the thought of one in my back terrifies me. I was dreading this part of things and it was even worse than I imagined. It took him three tries to get the epidural in and it was so uncomfortable. I was contracting the entire time and was petrified about moving too much. It was stressful to say the least, but once it was placed, almost instant relief. I was finally able to lie down, rest and recharge for the work ahead. I could still feel my now amped up contractions through the epidural so I can’t imagine how they would have felt without it. This quickly affirmed my decision. My nurse also pointedly told me, “I’ve had two epidurals. You don’t get a hero cookie for going without.” I loved her for that.

I laboured for a couple additional hours after the epidural. Then I was checked and told I was fully dilated around 5:30 pm. Hallelujah! The baby started moving down quickly and more staff started coming in to assist. There was still concern about his heart rate and even mention of a c-section should things get really dire so I knew I needed to get in the game and push him out quickly.

Pushing was a wonderful experience. I was shaky but I had feeling in spite of the epidural and I felt very alert and in control. The team was also incredible and very positive and encouraging while I pushed. The pressure was intense, particularly when his head was coming out. Tommy had been unsure of whether he would watch the baby come out but when the time came he held my leg and watched the whole time. It was motivating to see his reactions also. He was so excited and that gave me the energy I needed.

I only pushed for a few minutes and the baby flew out quickly. I had been so scared to get the head and shoulders out but it happened so fast and before I knew it he was on my chest, wailing and wide eyed.

Leo Thomas Erwin
June 9, 2017
5:56 pm
6 lb. 9 oz.
18.5 in.

I couldn’t believe he was ours. He had so much hair and the biggest hands. After he was out, my placenta was delivered with a quick push. I had some tearing and that was stitched up while I held Leo on my chest skin to skin. I barely felt a thing.

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Our parents arrived soon after, just before we were moved to the mother baby unit. I was starving and we begged my in-laws to bring some food. I was pushed to our new room in a wheelchair, shoving pizza into my mouth, and feeling like I was on top of the world. We spent two nights in the hospital which felt so long. We weren’t sleeping there and couldn’t wait to be home. Breastfeeding is going well, which I’m so grateful for. This boy eats constantly and still has his days and nights mixed up but he is the sweetest thing in the world.

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Thank you so much for all of your support and well wishes, it truly means the world to us. Also, a special thank you to my husband. I knew he would be the perfect “coach” and he truly was. I could not have made it through this experience without him.

What a blessing to have a healthy baby! We don’t take it for granted for a second how fortunate we are to have this little guy join our family.

 

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The Third Trimester

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Now that I’m full term I thought I’d better share this post before I give birth!

At the beginning of my third trimester I made a quilt for the baby. It was my first one, and I had no idea what I was doing but it does look like a usable blanket which is all I could ask for considering my level of expertise (read: none). The solid gray squares are from Tommy’s old uniform shirts, which I love.

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We started and completed our prenatal classes with Sally at the YMCA and both of us learned so, so much. Maybe too much. Every week I felt like I left with so much helpful information. We also took Sally’s hospital tour and there’s something about visualizing where I’m giving birth that puts me at ease. The facilities are much nicer than I’d anticipated and I feel good about delivering there.

I dealt with more aches and pains in my third trimester which resulted in my trying prenatal massage. I found it uncomfortable but I feel like just lying on my belly for an hour in the special pillow was worth it. I miss sleeping on my stomach so much. I also saw my chiropractor a couple of times, which always helps.

Tommy and I took a quick trip to Minot at the end of March. We knew we wanted to get one in before the baby came but I found out that my work travel insurance wouldn’t cover me for much longer in my pregnancy and we had to throw together a plan fast. We stayed for two nights and even knocked some big items off of our baby shopping list. It was a fun little getaway and something I’m so glad we prioritized. Target, I miss you so.

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I met my obstetrician, and have been seeing him regularly. All of my tests and stats have been good throughout my pregnancy and I’m so grateful for that. With his OK, I started drinking raspberry leaf tea around 35 weeks and started having occasional contractions around this time as well. Eek.

Sleep and my energy levels in general have been weird. I’ve never been much of a side sleeper and having that as my only option has really affected my sleep this last while. I’ve gone through a weird phase of crashing and sleeping all day every Sunday, and also dealt with bouts of insomnia from 3-5 am. I either have great energy and want to do everything or feel like a total zombie.

We finished the majority of our baby shopping in early May but I keep thinking of small things to add. Is this ever done? I’m guessing not. There has been lots of nesting these days, reorganizing the condo, and doing donation runs to make more space. I also planted a pot for our balcony, because why not when I have all summer to enjoy it?

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The baby dropped at 36 weeks and I got a cold that I couldn’t shake. I felt really uncomfortable for a bit and was scared I’d feel that way for the rest of the time but he seems to have settled in his new spot, although my cold has been hanging on for-ev-er. I’ve been praying that I can get healthy before I have to deliver and in truth, I know that I just need to slow the heck down.

Number one craving these days: ice cream. Typical.

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I’ve been reading a ton of information about childbirth in particular. I’m really big on affirmations and have some that I remind myself to focus on when I’m feeling anxious about the coming event. One of the hardest parts of this whole thing is definitely the lack of control. I have to sit back and wait for this baby to decide when he is ready to be born and as a planner, I’ve found it challenging to just sit back and trust the process. I feel like a ticking time bomb these days. I’ve had some random episodes of anxiety about connecting with the baby, getting everything done and trying not to take to heart the constant opinions one can hear as a pregnant woman.

In terms of what’s left to do, our hospital bag is packed but we still need to install our car seat. I also have a long list of cleaning items I want to tackle but all of that will probably just come down to when he actually arrives. Washing floors at 38 weeks pregnant sounds like fun, no?

Oh, and one more sweet thing: I received my first Mother’s Day card, signed from the baby. So surreal, this experience.

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Wish us luck! We can’t wait to meet our little guy.

 

 

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Pregnancy Related Reads

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You may recall me saying in my second trimester recap that reading anything about pregnancy had not been my cup of tea but once we started prenatal classes I felt much more inspired to read up on everything I could. Here is what I’ve read so far and my thoughts on each selection:

Books:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

My mom got me a copy of this book soon after we announced and in the early stages of my pregnancy I found it very alarming to read. There were too many extra possible problems that it alerted me to and as a notorious over thinker I didn’t need extra reason to worry. Later in my pregnancy I’ve found it much less upsetting to read. I also like that there is detailed information about labour and delivery, breastfeeding and postpartum care that will be nice to have on hand.

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding

This book is amazing and so helpful. I truly felt like it taught me a lot. I understand the importance of breastfeeding and wasn’t needing to be sold on that, but I did find a lot of practical advice and troubleshooting tips that I hope will be helpful after I deliver should we run into any issues with breastfeeding.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

I struggled with this one, especially after loving Ina May’s breastfeeding book so much. The first half of the book is full of all natural birth stories, none of which happened in a traditional hospital setting and so I found that hard to relate to. The second half of the book has some good, encouraging info, particularly about the ability for us to birth naturally but some of the chapters were just weird. An entire chapter dedicated to “sphincter law” and another on “orgasmic birth” left me skeptical. I also found the information on medical interventions such as C-section, episiotomy and epidural VERY biased and as my personal goal is to go into my delivery with an open mind, I found her strong opinions discouraging. I didn’t end up finishing this one.

The Mindful Mom-to-Be

This is the best book I’ve read during my pregnancy and I wish I’d found it right at the beginning, as it is broken down into chapters month by month. I loved the voice of the author, and found that she gave advice in a gentle, nonjudgmental way. The book includes exercises, meditations, DIY’s, recipes and some great tips I plan to use during my labour and delivery.

The Honest Life

This book isn’t a pregnancy or motherhood read specifically but it includes chapters on pregnancy and lots of helpful information regarding chemicals in the home and healthier alternatives. I started to pay much more attention to these things once I became pregnant and I wish I had found this book sooner when I started to eliminate these things in our home.

Articles:

Baby on a Budget: What Do You Really Need?

This helped me from going crazy when shopping for baby. So. Many. Options.

The Joy of Having Boys

The comments on this one are great, too.

10 Tips for a Mindful Birth

I LOVED this article and found it very encouraging and enlightening.

That One Time I Made Ten Million Freezer Meals, Part One and Two

I’ve read Jessica’s blog forever and found these tips helpful for planning some freezer meals.

Also:

Something else that helped me was reading the manual for our hospital’s labour and delivery unit specifically. As lovely as it is to read about home births and birthing centers, I need to be realistic about what my birth experience will look like in the specific hospital I plan to deliver in. In addition to prenatal classes and a hospital tour, I’ve thoroughly read up on my hospital’s policies and procedures and found that very comforting just to have a better idea of what to expect.

What was your favourite pregnancy related read? I still have some time for more!

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