Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rampant Consumerism.

So, I've decided to post some stuff about baby paraphernalia we use and like, for those of you who might be curious. And because I had a good experience with one company and want to post about it and pass on the word of mouth.

First off, absolutely we can't live without the baby papasan.

A lot of books and websites recommend getting a swing and/or vibrating chair. We went with the chair, and it's great. From the first day we brought her home, Charlotte could sit in it - at just about 6 1/2 pounds, she wasn't too small. It's pretty adjustable. And it holds her at a great angle. Not so sharply upright that her head goes funny, and not so far reclined that she can't see what's going on around her. This is a good option for if you need to put the baby down, but need him/her be able to see what's going on. When you need a potty break, but the baby cries when you put her in the crib, this is a do-able option. It vibrates, plays music, and vibrates AND plays music at the same time. It's a crappy midi lullaby sampler, but it could be much, much worse. Though just typing about the music has called the baby playlist into my head, and I can hear it playing now...

Item #2, the Jeep front pack.

Now, I am a big ol' hippie, as you all know, and so I go in for attachment parenting. For those of you who don't know (or don't care) what that is, the quick and dirty version is thus - hold your child whenever possible, it's good emotionally, physically, and developmentally. Follow the baby's cues, don't try to force your agenda on him/her. One of the major tenets of attachment parenting is babywearing. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Wear your baby in some sort of carrier as much as you possibly can. Not to mention the fact that it is just dang convenient. And it's a lot easier to maneuver around stores in Northampton with a front pack than with a stroller. Northampton just isn't very stroller friendly. (Or baby friendly, to be honest. But that's another post entirely.) That being said about baby wearing, we wanted to start w/ two baby carriers. A ring sling for me, and the front pack for Matt, since he had very little interest at first in the less conventional baby carriers. So we registered for the Jeep carrier at BabiesRUs, and Dave got me the sling as a baby shower gift. We ended up getting two Jeep carriers, and I wish now that we had kept the extra one instead of exchanging it. We really probably could have used them both. Anyway, the sling is great but tricky to use, but the Jeep carrier is fool proof. I'm not thrilled that it is so obviously, blatantly and thoroughly be-logoed, but it is incredibly easy to use, and Charlotte likes it. When it's fussy-o'clock we can pop her in it and walk around. The sling requires much adjustment, and sometimes that's just pushing your luck a little too far if she's already screaming. So, in conclusion - can't have too many baby carriers, and the Jeep front pack is a pretty good option to add to your baby carrying stable. Next up in my babycarrier fantasy league - a Moby wrap and some sort of mei tai.

Ihird item I couldn't live without - the co-sleeper.

Another tenet of attachment parenting is co-sleeping. I'm a firm believer in the benefits of co-sleeping (just ask me for some research papers, I probably still have them), but we have too many pillows and too soft a mattress to really have her in the bed safely 100% of the time. So we got the Arm's Reach co-sleeper as a really great alternative to a bassinet. Unlike the traditional bassinet, this has one side that's lower than the other three, so it can sidecar alongside your bed. The baby has a safe space without extra bedding, but is in extremely close proximity to the parents. You can just reach in and get the baby in the middle of the night to nurse him/her. Or even just so you can see each other. This works out great, because paranoid first-time parents can look over and make sure the baby is breathing without having to get out of bed. And trust me, you will check and make sure your baby is breathing. You can't help it. Also, if Charlotte starts fussing in the middle of the night, I can reach out my hand and rub her belly or hold her hand, and that calms us both down.

Baby trend play yard - aka pack n play aka playpen. (Pack N Play is the Graco version of the same thing, but it's kind of like Kleenes or Xerox, I think. Everyone just calls it a pack n play, no matter what brand it is!)

This is one of those things that I registered for the first gender neutral one I could find. Then I began comparing features and we decided on this play pen. It can be used as a traditional playpen, to put the baby in while you are making dinner or whatever, but while the baby is still small it can be used as bassinet because there is an insert to bring the bottom up to about 12" below the top railing. It also has a little waterproof changing area that can swing over, so it can be used as a changing table. In the luxury category, it has a little sound player that plays nature sounds and little midi classical music songs. It also has a vibrate function, a night light, and a jack to plug in your iPod. If you have an iPod. What this means is that this thing is PERFECT for traveling. You can put the baby to sleep in the bassinet thingy and set it to vibrate and play some sounds for white noise and calm the baby down in unfamiliar settings. It has the changing area so that you can change the baby up higher with a safety belt instead of wrangling the baby on a floor. And here is where my customer service story comes in - it is also supposed to come with a little caddy that you can put diapers in and a sort of hood/shade thingy, but ours didn't. We thought that maybe we misunderstood and that it came separate, so we went back to BabiesRUs to buy the diaper caddy. Matt and I spoke with a rep who said no, it isn't sold separately, and she gave us the Baby Trends phone number. I called them, explained the situation, and they sent out replacement parts and apologized. The parts came today, so it was about 2 weeks. Not too bad. Just in time for Christmas at the in-laws. So I was very pleased, they didn't require a receipt or a photo or anything - we just gave them the serial number requested from the bottom, and that was that.

Medela microwave cleaning bags - These are awesome.

The way it works is you put the breastpump parts in the bag with 2 oz of water and microwave them for 3 minutes. Voila! The parts are sterilized. If the bottles you are using, either for breastmilk or for formula are microwave safe, you can put them in there, too. Or at least the nipples or any other silicone or rubber washers. Pacifiers, too. Basically, if you could boil it or microwave it to sterilize it, then you can use it in this bag. This bag really makes the whole pump/bottle/bink upkeep manageable. For a couple months we just put things out on paper towels to air dry, but a few weeks ago we got a bottle rack for $3 at BabiesRUs, and that made a world of difference. On the bag it says you can re-use each one 20 times, but when I worked for Motherwear, I met a Medela rep at a meeting, and he said they can be used pretty much until they rip. I've had mine since Charlotte was 2 weeks old, and we're only on bag #3. So it's a pretty good deal, you get a box of 5 for $5.

Oh, and of course, a good nursing bra. And a Boppy. But that's a whole 'nother post.

One last piece of advice - BabiesRUs and Walmart house brand diapers are better than Target's. I know, depressing. I like to think Target is the best at everything, but not this.

Oh, and here's a little PSA. For anyone who gets baby stuff with a registration card or something, it is important to register your baby equipment with the manufacturer, in case of recalls. I signed up for a lot of e-newsletters when I was pregnant, and let me tell you, it's worth the spam just for the recall notifications.

ETA: On the baby papasan, there is a little stuffed bunny with a bell in it that dangles from a mirror that hangs over the baby so they have something to look at. In our house, because we are total dorks, we have named him Mr. Bun and he is Charlotte's boyfriend. He is probably the first thing that she ever smiled at. Anyway, Charlotte *hearts* Mr. Bun, and so does Virgil. They have a verry Bizarre Love Triangle going on. Matt really wanted me to mention Mr. Bun, so there you go.

cross-posted to my LiveJournal

Monday, December 10, 2007

too busy to post...

But I want to mention that I've noticed Charlotte trying to hold her bink in her mouth, try to touch things on purpose, and trying to grab things. She also is almost giggling, usually at her own reflection or the Pooh mobile above her crib. She can almost roll over - if you put her down on her tummy with her arm under her body, she can roll herself onto her back. She met my paternal grandparents this weekend, and sat on Santa's lap. Charlotte is not happy that I'm working from home - I'm home, but we're not playing. She gets to sit with me whenever she wants and I sing to her, but she'd rather we were both playing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I just found out that my pregnant co-worker, who is due in March, was admitted to the hospital yesterday with complications. I am so worried for her, and also very sympathetic. She has a toddler at home, and I feel bad for him, too. It's also a little freaky, because she and I have been pregnant this year, and we both had complications. That means that 100% of the pregnant women here had problems. Which is just may way of explaining that statistics are useless. Anyway, I'm concerned, and I'll keep her in my thoughts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

being a parent means chatting about your daughter's poop schedule over MSN messenger.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

vaccination day

apparently, babies hate shots. poor thing. it was a big vaccination day, 3 shots and a dropper of medicine. i couldn't be there, and i'm simultaneously glad of it, and sorry. i don't think i'd enjoy watching Charlotte get stuck with needles, but i also hate to think that she was upset and i wasn't there. her daddy learned a valuable lesson today - always bring a bottle. because the one time you don't, that's the day the doctor is an hour and a half behind schedule. and shots are worse when you are already fussing because you're hungry.

according to matt, charlotte is in the 91st percentile for height. she's 24 inches long, and 11 lbs 10 oz at 9 weeks. go, charlotte, go! matt also discussed my trouble breastfeeding with Dr. S, who told matt to tell me to stop beating myself up about it. i'm wondering if he really said that, or if matt is paraphrasing.

matt just gave her some baby tylenol. i'm a little freaked out by giving her medicine, but i don't want her to be in pain, either. i wish that she would nurse. all the baby books say that nursing makes vaccination pain feel better.

Monday, November 26, 2007

holidays & going back to work

(cross-posted and edited from LJ)

Tomorrow I go back to work for a few weeks. Then I can work from home. It's gonna be rough.

My Christmas wishlist is brief - it mostly involves yarn, babies, and water bottles.

non-leaching Nalgene bottle
Sigg aluminum water bottle
Moby baby carrier - in moss or indigo
Moby D baby carrier - in sage silk with black, or black silk with black, or woven brown
yarn. just yarn.

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year. Gee, I wonder why.

Okay, gotta get ready for bed and *sob* work.

Oh yeah, and Thanksgiving was okay. I was gratified at how excited my dad and stepsisters were to see the baby. My stepmother, too. I was tired and sore from the trip, and particularly frustrated with trying to nurse and pump. For some reason, though, Charlotte nursed better there than she does at home. I think maybe because it was unfamiliar surroundings that she really wanted the quiet time and cuddle time. Who knows what really goes on in the minds of babies? But it sounds like a sound theory to me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

short and grumpy

(cross-posted and edited)

Not much to say, Charlotte is currently napping, and I am cranky because we are going to my dad's for Thanksgiving from Thursday to Saturday. And I have to go to work again next week. But I made a cute new Charlotte icon for LiveJournal. It only took what, eight weeks? I'm a bad mommy. Well, to soothe my conscience, here's a picture of Charlotte from last week, when she turned seven weeks old.

Monday, November 19, 2007

As much as I like Cooley Dick...

...I'm tired of being a patient there. For those of you who aren't on Matt's friends' list, I was in the hospital again from last Tuesday to Sunday.

Apparently this pain that I've been having periodically since Charlotte was born wasn't weird abdominal things from picking up and holding the baby, but actually gallstones. Oops. On Tuesday I woke up in HORRIBLE pain, and called my sister to come watch the baby so Matt could take me to the hospital. By the time we got there it was so bad that Matt filled out my paperwork and I just moaned in a room. It was relatively quickly diagnosed as my gallbladder, and I was given sweet, sweet, morphine.

Long story short, I was treated with antibiotics and painkillers all day on Tuesday to reduce inflammation, and the gall bladder came out Wednesday. Bad news was that a renegade gallstone escaped, they had to go back in on Thursday. It proved complicated and elusive on Thursday, so on Friday I got my first ever ambulance ride down to Baystate to have the super cool doctor there try and capture the gallstone. He did. Saturday was spent recuperating, and I came home Sunday afternoon.

I'm always really flattered when doctors are impressed by my condition. Like, when the doctor says, "Wow, that gallbladder was really inflamed and full of sludge!", I'm kind of like, "Aw, shucks, I do what I can." Or when two doctors tell you that you look REALLY yellow, because your liver is starting to not work properly because of the goddamned sneaky gallstone. Or when the doctor they sent me to down at Baystate was like, "Whoa, that was a lot trickier than I thought it was going to be." I guess I like impressing authority figures. Lame, but true.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and out of it, and not even going to bother trying to catch up with everyone's livejournal posts from the last week. I've spent a really traumatic 6 days completely away from my daughter, and I need to go snuggle her as much as I can before I have to go back to work next week. God, those two sentences make me want to cry my brains out. Anyway, just wanted to let you all know what's up, and to apologize for continuing to kinda fly below the radar.

(cross-posted and edited from the original LJ post)

Friday, October 5, 2007


It's virtually impossible to know where to start. I guess first an official announcement - Charlotte Emily was born on September 24th, 2007 at 11:14 pm by emergency C-section. She was 6 lbs, 15 1/4 oz at birth, and 20 1/2 inches long. She was born at 36 1/2 weeks, or about 3 1/2 weeks early.

Charlotte's doing very well, and is just about the sweetest, cutest, funniest baby ever. She has light brown hair with even lighter spots - if she ever gets some sun, I suspect she will have blond highlights. Unless all her hair falls out and we start over with a different color - not unknown in babies. Her eyes are a muddy dark blue/brown. For those of you who don't know, pretty much all babies are born with blue eyes, and they change to their regular color over time. It can take up to a year for the color to really "set".

She is a little jaundiced, which isn't that unusual or surprising. She is slow to gain weight, which is nerve-wracking, but overall, she's pretty healthy.

We were in the hospital for days and days - because of me, not the baby. The only relief I have is that the baby was fine - I'd much rather be sick than have the baby be sick. There were a number of concerns, starting with my blood pressure and ending with fluid surrounding my lungs. Let's just say that nothing is completely resolved, but I have a plan of action, and apparently I have been sicker than I knew for a while now.

We got to come home Tuesday this week, and I'm just now getting settled in. Charlotte's very good and would sleep pretty much all day if I let her, which is not a good thing. This kid needs to bulk up! Plus, I just like to hang out with her. As a result, not surprisingly, I won't be online all that often. I'll read my email and TRY to reply, but I probably won't be able to keep up with LJ for a while. And I definitely don't think I can guarantee that I'll ever catch up with the 9 days that I was in the hospital.

Well, it's time to feed the babe, but I wanted to catch everyone up.

(cross-posted and edited from LJ)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

baby prep and moving stuff

I know this is a stretch, but does anyone have the Lori Pappajohn CD "Celtic Harp of Dreams"? Or any of her stuff? My childbirth class instructor always uses that CD for our relaxation breating, and I feel like I would really benefit from having it during actual labor. I'm waffling between downloading it from iTunes and sending people to look for it at Mystery Train and Turn It Up, but to be honest, if I could just borrow it, that would be better, what with not working right now and all.

Preparations for baby move on apace - according to my countdown on my Google homepage I have 32 days until this baby is due. And I know my doctor really just wants two and a half more weeks. My goal is to make it to October, at least for the shallow reason that I want opal to be this baby's birthstone, and I think that October is a better birthmonth than September. No real reason, I just like October better. I mean, yes, my wedding anniversary is in September, which is nice, but Halloween is in October.

I dearly like our friend/landlord, but I wish he was a little more aggressive about fighting with the plumber to get our washer/dryer installed. I feel like we made the effort to get a washer and dryer here (they were in Matt's parent's basement - his dad rented a truck and drove them here, then he and Matt took the door to the basement off its hinges to get the w/d down there), and it's now been two weeks since we've been paying rent, three weeks since the w/d was dropped off, and there is still no laundry. I really can't do laundry anyway, for the simple reason that I can't reach into the bottom of the washing machine over my belly. But other people could do laundry for me, and I really wish that was an option, rather than sending Matt hither and yon to do my laundry, and getting my sister to do all the baby's laundry.

I'm stupidly upset about not getting to do the baby's laundry, but maybe that will be an entry for the baby journal, if I can bring myself to actually write another entry.

Other than that little complaint, I really am enjoying the new apartment. Stuff is still getting moved in, and things have to be re-arranged, but it is still nice here. Perhaps it is a bit smaller, but it's so hard to tell. Both bedrooms are bigger, so even if the living room/kitchen area is set up differently, it still seems like plenty of room. Unfortunately, that's because so much of our stuff is still in boxes. We're wrestling with how much stuff we can actually unpack vs. how much stuff needs to go into storage. Luckily my sister is very generous with her storage space, and we do have space in the basement here. Also, due to the friend/landlord relationship, we are able to keep things up in the attic here, too, which is nice.

Okay, that's enough time sitting for now. Back to the bed rest.

(cross-posted and edited from LJ)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

clothing ramblings

There is a lot going on right now, but I’m concerned about jinxing anything, so I’ll stay quiet. But the pregnancy is going well, I haven’t gained any weight, my blood pressure is under control, and the doctor thinks everything is going as well as it can be, better than it probably should be, considering that I’m technically high-risk. More about that in another entry. I don’t feel like going on and on about medical stuff just now.

In lieu of a real entry, I am going to post about one of my major pregnancy frustrations – finding plus sized maternity clothes. I realize that fat women aren’t supposed to reproduce, but really, there is not a single place in the Valley where I can try on plus sized maternity clothes. Any store that has a maternity section doesn’t carry anything in plus sizes – Target, in particular, goes up to XXL (which doesn’t fit my upper arms, thighs, or across my chest) and most other places I look only go to XL. According to Motherhood Maternity, they do not carry plus sizes in the Holyoke Mall location. The specialty plus size stores, such as Lane Bryant, The Avenue, and Dress Barn Woman do not have maternity clothes in their Holyoke and West Springfield locations. I’ve been reduced to shopping online, and hoping that things fit.

So far I’ve patronized JCPenney’s online maternity store and Fashion Bug’s online maternity store. [aside: I am also sincerely regretting that I did not register when I first thought of it (the initials of my maiden name) because JCPenney uses that as their main domain and probably would have tried to by it from me. Damn.] I shop at JCPenney online for the same reason I would shop at JCPenney in real life - I need work-appropriate, boring, functional clothes. I have been pretty satisfied with my clothes from them, especially in that I don't expect their maternity clothes for fat ladies to look any better than their regular clothes for fat ladies. And the clothes I wanted to be work appropriate ARE work appropriate, so that's good. Fashion Bug was a great find - they were putting their winter/fall clothes on clearance, so I got 4 tops with shipping included for $40.98. They are all very cute and make me feel better about being fat and pregnant. A bonus is that the tops are just as long as they should be, which is excellent design. I have a hard time finding regular plus size tops that cover my torso, so I was VERY concerned about torso+baby. So far, so good.

Thus ends my brief, boring post about maternity clothes. Tune in next time when I lament the flip-flops are not appropriate for work or church, because that is all my swollen pregnant lady feet want to be in.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oops, I did it again...created a new blog, that is.

Well, I got a new blog when I got married, when I joined roller derby, when I went on a was only a matter of time until I added a new blog because I got pregnant. Matt and I are due October 17th, 2007 with a (as yet un-named) girl baby expected.

More later - this is just the beginning.

And here is a picture of the first sonogram. Doesn't look like much, but the ones that you can actually tell it's a baby aren't scanned in.