Surrounded with Love (5w2d)

As we settle into the daily routine of having a baby, it’s amazing the things we start to take for granted. The tools and gadgets that make life so much easier right now – things that we never would have given a thought to before.

We are so blessed to have friends and family who take an active interest in Kieran’s life – even before he was born! We were (and still are) blessed with gifts from family and friends throughout the pregnancy, not just at the shower – which was overwhelming in a very good way. The little gifts keep coming now, and are hugely appreciated as we discover new things that are required to keep Mr. Kieran happy and healthy.

A huge example of that right now: Kieran is getting slightly thickened feedings now due to his acid reflux – 1t of oat cereal per ounce of formula or EBM. The bottles we have for him (Born Free) don’t really support thickened feedings – which require a different type of nipple. Fortunately, Kelly (Gnoam in the comments) had just sent us yet another care package of hand-me-downs from her 9 month old daughter Kara – which included four 5oz Avent bottles. The Avent system has a FANTASTIC variable flow nipple for thickened feedings. So Kelly’s hand-me-downs saved us from having to go purchase other bottles for these next few months of feedings for Kieran. So HUGE thanks to Kelly (and hubby Peter and Ms. Kara) for the great hand-me-downs.

But even more than that – when I look around Kieran’s room I see what he cannot. That every minute he is surrounded with reminders of how much he was loved before he even arrived. That he is (literally) cradled with and wrapped in love from people who have never met him. Aunt Nita provided his crib; Auntie Lisa & Uncle Mikey provided the mattress and sheets he sleeps on; Donna, Lisa, Kym, Becky, Lisa & Tia, Aunt Cassie & Uncle Kurt, and Grammy Jeanne provided the stuffed friends who keep watch over him as he naps. Every time we change Kieran, we’re grateful to Great Grandma Cat and Grampa John for the wipes warmer which makes all the difference in the world to Mr. Sensitive Tushy. Bathtime is made possible by Uncle Oin & Aunt Cynthia who completely stocked our cabinets with baby necessities, and by Caroline who passed on her baby bath now that her little Hannah has outgrown it.

And that doesn’t even start with the clothes!! Admittedly, nearly everything he’s worn at this point was provided by Mama & Daddy (or Kelly again with the hand-me-downs in newborn sizes) but Paul and I look ahead with a bittersweet glance to the future when Kieran can wear outfits provided by everyone – from adorable onesies, to rompers and safari outfits and teeny tiny smoking jackets. (I don’t think any of us expected me to have such a tiny little peanut!) But the flannel blankets that we received from so many people have been put into daily use – as well as the burp cloths! (Admittedly, I wish the burp cloths weren’t so needed now – the reflux really made those a necessity.) Once he’s able to wear the outfits that fill his dresser and closet – we’ll think of the friends and family who gifted him with such cute togs every time we change his clothes!

The books we’ve been gifted with right before I gave birth are being put to use already – not that Kieran has much of an attention span… but it’s nice to have something to read to him.

So thank you, again, to everyone. The love and support that you have shown Paul and I since we announced our news last Thanksgiving to our family and to the world at Christmas; the care and concern and interest shown during the roller coaster ride of my pregnancy; the generosity shown as we transformed our house into a haven for our son; and the fact that you’re even reading this now… it means more to us that we can say. Kieran has no idea how lucky he is.

Talking Me Down (32w2d)

When we decided to start this blog, it was with the intention of keeping friends and family informed about the pregnancy, to keep a record of this journey for ourselves, and to have a place for it all that wouldn’t force anyone to read it who didn’t want to.

I never thought it would become such a welcome source of support and advice.

Thanks for talking me down, everyone. I know last night I just got myself all wound up a little too tight about all the options for everything. I knew I was getting to a bad place when I started crying over whether my baby would fit better in Carter’s brand onesies (which seem to be rather slim-fitting) or Circo brand onesies from Target. I feel calmer today, am confident that I can make good choices and the rest can go hang. :)

For the record, I think we’re going to go with the Bright Starts InGenunity Automatic Bouncer for the little guy. A little more pricey than some, but I think it looks more secure and comfy than models that are $10 less.

Giving Thanks for Girlfriends (23w4d)

I have been terribly lucky to have a network of friends both IRL (in real life) and online to draw on for support and wisdom and reality checks during this crazy journey I’m on.

I’ve talked about my Fairytales girls before. They continue to be a source of immeasurable help and comfort to me – if for no other reason than I know there’s nothing I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with them after 11 years of friendship. I feel like I’ve got a gaggle of auntie-friends who have all been-there, done-that and have myriad points of view on any baby-related subject. They’ve done it all for baby-wearing, breast-feeding, pumping, co-sleeping, cloth-diapering, and every other non-crunchy-granola parenting task there is. Having a one-stop-shop for several opinions really is helpful as I try to figure out what I think and believe. I’m shocked to discover I have opinions on things I’ve never really thought about before. (Oh hey! I care about this!)

But then there’s Caroline and Kelly. Current and former co-workers, who also happen to be friends. They had their first babies (daughters) within two weeks of each other last October. Since that time, I have been blessed with their first-hand experiences of what works and what doesn’t – which differ from kid to kid, I’m seeing very clearly. They both have answered myriad emails about every subject you can think of since that little stick turned pink. I continue to pester them with “OMG, what about this?!?!?” stuff at all hours – although I hope I’ve been less bothersome as of late. And what’s great is that my middle-of-the-night emails aren’t middle of the night to Kelly who moved back to Philadelphia in January of 2008.

What I’ve really been blessed with recently though, is hand-me-downs. This month, Kelly sent two boxes (!) of clothes that her little one (K) has already outgrown. One box included a pair of overalls that still send me into paradoxical squeeing every time I see them. (Babies in overalls, does it get any cuter?)

In addition to baby clothes (which started shortly after I announced was pregnant) Caroline has been handing down gear (like a tub and a bumpo seat) in addition to diapers! Caroline’s little girl (H) is growing like a weed and has outgrown diaper sizes faster than her mom and dad can strap them onto her little bum. So I have multiple packages in multiple sizes of Pampers Swaddlers – which is apparently what EVERYBODY uses.

I am so lucky to have these ladies with such fresh experience (not only of babies, but of actually BEING pregnant!) available to me and so willing to share in their knowledge. Plus, it’s really, really great to be able to chat with them both about baby stuff and have an understanding ear. They know what it’s like to have this overwhelming amount of information and questions and AWE at what’s happening to you – and the NEED to talk about it to someone who won’t run screaming after 30 seconds.

That’s not to say that I’m not grateful for the advice and responses I get here on this blog, either! While Caroline and Kelly both post here, so do Kim, Kym, Kristy, April and so many other friends who have provided insight and support. I really do appreciate each and every one of you who come here and take the time to read my blatherings, let alone respond to them. I need to get better about responding directly to responses, but please know that the comments we get here do mean the world to Paul and I, to know that so many people are already involved in our son’s life.

We’re having a BOY!! (21w2d)

So this week has been kinda a rough week, with Paul’s job going bust and all. (It was a hellish 2 weeks, actually.) Combined with our slight annoyance/disappointment that we didn’t get confirmation of the baby’s sex at this week’s appointment; and well…. we were looking for a happy.

I was looking into 3D ultrasound places here in Las Vegas and found one with great rates AND a coupon! They were able to get us in this morning at 10:30 for a basic package of 2D and 3D images and a guaranteed gender confirmation. (Seriously, if they can’t tell 100% for sure you get to come back for free and if they’re wrong you get your money back or another free 4D session. We were pretty stoked about our chances of finding out with policies like that!)

So this morning our friends Sibyana and Cheri met us at Miracle in Progress (it was like 5 minutes from their house – on the other side of the valley for us) and we had ourselves a little viewing party! The tech was really great – more gentle than the nurses at Dr. Schwartz’s office to tell the truth. She ended up working with us for 30 minutes instead of the 15 minutes our session was supposed to be. She wasn’t able to really do any of the 3D or 4D stuff because of the placement of the baby in relation to the placenta. The baby was laying *on* the placenta, using it for a pillow. But she kept trying and trying to get the baby to turn and “look” at her so she could get some 3D images.

So even though we only got one 3D image, we’re still stoked because we got the one thing we came for:

It's a BOY

It’s a boy for sure. I commented on the ‘tiny wang’ and the tech replied that it wasn’t small at all. Paul, ever the proud Papa, was beaming as we all collapsed into giggles.

We got a great view of our son as he waved his arms, yawned, gulped amniotic fluid, kicked, and wiggled. It was the first time that I’ve watched him moving around and was able to feel some of it. SO COOL.

3D image of baby's profile

So we have a DVD of the whole 28 minute session, and a CD with some pictures. I’ve culled the best of the pictures and put them in a gallery. I label one picture and then place the original behind it in the gallery so you can flip back and forth to see what’s what. For most of the session, the baby kept his back to us, so that’s why some of the best shots don’t have his face in them. (We’re gonna see about editing down the DVD of the ultrasound and posting some of that. A lot of it is kinda boring, but some of it is amazing – like watching him yawn right at us.)

Afterwards, we had brunch with Sibyana and Cheri, and then Paul let me hit the nearby Target to add blue things to the registry. :)

But yep. We’re having a Boy. And no, we have no idea for names yet at all.

Gifts for baby at Christmastime (11w4d)

This year’s Christmas was very family-centric. Gifts were not a priority, and it was kinda nice actually.

But we have received baby things from two good friends, so it’s kinda like the critter already has had a Christmas!

Kelly & Caroline both had their first babies this October. Kelly (Gnome around these parts) was a co-worker who abandoned me to go back home to her beloved Philly. I tease. I miss her terribly, but am comforted by the fact that she’s eminently happier back in her hometown than she ever was here in Vegas. Caroline is a current co-worker here in LV. Funny how they both got pregnant within two weeks of each other.

So I am very lucky to have two friends who are a WEALTH of recent pregnancy knowledge. I can e-mail them with “OMG, what is happening to me?!?” questions and get immediate reassurance that I’m not about to explode or anything. Kelly has been great about giving details of what it’s really like to live with a kidlet – Paul has been especially glad to read her e-mails about that.

What this also means is that I am the prime recipient of hand-me-downs already! Kelly & Peter sent a care package as soon as I told her the good news (yes, she knew well before the rest of the world – sorry, but not everyone could know at once!) with a couple of books, a DVD on how the heck to care for the critter and the first baby blanket we’ve received. We’re looking forward to digging into the “What the heck you really need for this kid” book. Caroline’s little girl has outgrown her size1 diapers already, so Caroline gifted me last week with a big bag of packages of diapers, some pacifiers, and other random baby stuff that isn’t needed anymore.

It’s really very neat to already have baby stuff. Granted, I have nowhere to *put* any of it yet, but it’s still neat to have. And if it turns out I’m having a girl, I’m already signed up for hand-me-downs aplenty! :)

Thanks, girls. I really appreciate everything.