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.

Storytime? (37w)

We have been incredibly blessed by friends and family during this pregnancy and showered with gifts. Our nursery is in fantastic shape, just waiting for us to bring our little man home in a few days.

Except for one thing, that I’m really only realizing now with all the parenting and baby care stuff I’m reading. (My reading material has shifted from pregnancy-related to labor/delivery and now to ‘how the heck do we take care of this thing?’ type titles and magazines.) We have like NO BOOKS for the little guy. Apparently we’re supposed to start reading to him nearly immediately – and seriously, we have like two books! (Including Goodnight Moon.)

So, friends and family: suggestions please! We’re huge fans of Amazon, but the selection is so overwhelming when I go to look at kid’s books. I need guidance! What do you have fond memories of reading to your children? What books do your babies/toddlers/kids love? What book will you go all Van Gogh on yourself if you have to read aloud one more time? I’ll probably just build a huge wishlist to whittle down with all your suggestions, so all types of books are welcome – stuff to read to baby, stuff to let baby actually get his moist little hands on: all of it!

Thanks in advance once again for your help, everyone. I cannot believe that the little critter that is kicking me on the inside as I type this will be on the outside in a matter of a day or two.

Cleared for the Weekend, take II (35w6d)

Wow. Possibly our last kid-free weekend. EVER. This is kinda hitting me all right now.

Today’s monitoring was pretty routine. The office was INSANE busy, but they were kind enough to squeeze me in early as Paul’s cousin Mike came in for a surprise visit this morning. (My 2:30 appointment wouldn’t have worked so well today.) My fluid was up to 7.4 – which is still crappy, but better than it has been in over a week; so maybe forcing fluids is helping the teeniest bit? Baby showed off his breathing skills and happily kicked at the monitor, so he didn’t have to get buzzed today. (He was doing some serious headspins on my bladder while I was on the monitor though – I actually thought I was gonna wet my pants at one point!!) My BP was not so hot though, 147/97 and 165/103. They took more blood to run my PIH levels, but since I’m scheduled for the amniocentesis on Monday they didn’t feel the need to get uppity about the BP.

So we’re in the clear for Monday morning. No change to the usual routine for this weekend – stay off my feet as much as I can (ha!) and force fluids. The better my fluid is on Monday, the easier it is for Dr. Schwartz to do the amnio. He says he likes a challenge, but I’d prefer that my son not get poked if possible. :)

This weekend…. I dunno. Paul and I still need to pack our hospital bags (I just *hate* packing for anything…) but other than that we’re pretty good. Oh, I need to prep/boil the premie-sized prefolds that Kelly sent us. I’ll boil the hell outta them and then throw them in the wash with the other infant-sized prefolds to make a full load. (At least the half-dozen premie PFs will easily fit into my regular stock pot!) I’m hoping Paul and I can spend some “quality” time together – not that we haven’t been enjoying our time together anyway. But maybe just spend some time together where we’re not running any errands or putting something together – no agenda. Gonna be a long time before we have the opportunity again, methinks.

Paul’s cousin Mike is out for a visit, so Sunday (Father’s Day) will be spent at Paul’s parent’s place. I’m writing this from their patio on Friday evening actually. Paul is on his laptop, Jeanne’s on her iPad and Mike is doing his insane-O workout routine for our comedy enjoyment. The dogs are happily racing around our feet and the breeze is blowing. Ya know, adding a baby to this mix isn’t gonna be a problem at all. :)

Weekend Plans (35w)

I have to keep reminding myself that this weekend isn’t necessarily our “last” weekend. I’m thinking it would be nice for Paul and I to go out or something – like on a date while we still can, either this weekend or next weekend. We’ll see.

This weekend is errands and more prep.

  • I have a coupon for USA Baby for 20% off any one thing. I called, and that includes breast pumps – which is unheard of. Babies R Us (BRU) has a coupon right now for 15% off breast pumps, and I was crazy excited about that. But when the dang thing starts at $280, I’ll take another 5% and smile. The plan is to rent a hospital-grade pump for the first month, and then switch to the personal style if everything is working OK. If for whatever reason I can’t used the personal pump, I’ll return it since the box will be unopened. Yes, my cheapness knows no bounds.
  • Gotta swing by BRU anyway to try to exchange some clothes that we bought in April. They had an incredible sale that we took advantage of, as a hedge against the shower. I assumed most of it would get returned (or at least half) because of the bounty we got at the shower, but when Paul and I sorted through it all this week, he convinced me to keep all of it. There’s a couple of heavier terrycloth sleepers and an adorable sweatsuit that are in 6mo sizes that I’d like to swap for 9mo, since I’m afraid that the little man will be a size 6 in like September or October when it would still be too warm to wear them. I am hoping to keep my resolve and not make any other purchases while I’m there. Heh. We’ll see how that goes. (The little guy’s closet is pretty full now though – so I keep reminding myself of that.)
  • Groceries for dinners gotta happen today. I’m gonna make a couple of our favorite dinners in bulk this weekend (Ragu Bolognese and Creamy Italian Chicken at least) and freeze them in containers so we can have some home-cooked meals for a bit after the little guy comes home. So a bit of groceries and a grip of rubbermaid containers are on the list as well.

Other than that…. I’ve got one more load of baby laundry to do: all the receiving blankets and burp cloths and baby socks. I’ve been enjoying doing this laundry this week, folding and putting away the clothes that will be in the first pictures of my son’s life. Reveling in the fact that I have these tiny clothes at all in my house. Smiling smugly that I now have opinions on brands and know that Carter’s runs tall and skinny, Gerber runs even skinnier and smaller and Circo seems to be made for Amazons. Even with my rock-hard belly as a constant reminder, I’m still caught off guard by the knowledge that we’re having a baby.

I need to pack my hospital bag and the little bag for baby. We have a total of three Newborn sized outfits to choose from to bring the baby home in, and Paul already has veto’d one. (“My son isn’t coming home in something that looks suspiciously like a Dodgers uniform!”) That’s fine, one of remaining two outfits has stripes AND a dinosaur. I think we all know what the little guy will come home in. :)

This weekend we’ll build the bouncer and set up the Pack and Play – all the random stuff we’ve been putting off. Oh, and I’m bringing up the whole idea of actually having a name for the child several times a day. Not getting very far, but I figure Paul will get sick of me bugging him eventually and we’ll figure something out. hee!

Busy Week Ahead! (32w2d)

This week is gonna be a busy one, but I’m excited for it all!

Last week was our final “Prepared Childbirth” class. I think we both learned a lot about exactly what to expect at the hospital. I know I feel a lot more empowered about some things (like my right to refuse *any* intervention I don’t want used on the baby – like the vacuum or forceps) and more alarmed about other things (like how much of a crapshoot it will be as to whether I can prevent the hospital from giving my son a bottle of formula, or whether I’ll be able to have him and breastfeed immediately after birth.) I think Paul learned A LOT about what really goes on before, during and after labor. His comment to me after class last week (which focused on delivery and aftercare) was “There really is no way that this isn’t going to suck for you, is there?” Nice to know I have his full support and understanding. Ha!

Edited to add: The formula/BF thing is mostly a factor of whether I end up with a C-section. It’s just not possible for them to let me have the gooey baby on my chest try to BF when my lower half is still open to the world. The formula part (which honestly is what I’m most worried about) is a diabetic thing. They’ll test his blood sugar once he comes out and if they don’t like it, he’ll get a bottle. I was under the impression that maybe they’d give him a bottle of glucose water, but apparently St. Rose Hospitals doesn’t do glucose water – only formula. I’m very concerned about this because of the whole “Open Gut” thing, but there doesn’t appear to be much I can do about it. Not much I can do to control the baby’s blood sugar during the rigors of labor, but Paul and I will make sure that everyone on my delivery team knows that I want to avoid giving our son formula (or any other nipple but the ones attached to me) at ALL COSTS. We’ll just pray that I don’t end up with a C-section and hope for the best.

So tonight is our hospital tour and registration. We’ll tour the labor and delivery ward, hopefully seeing an unused room and meeting some of the nurses. (Actually, our Prepared Childbirth class was taught by 3 different nurses from our hospital, so here’s hoping that we might get one of them when the time comes!) I don’t know what the registration process entails, I’m assuming just sitting there and filling out a bunch of paperwork and letting them photocopy my entire wallet. I’m HUGELY looking forward to it though. Knowing exactly *where* to go and where I’ll be helps me visualize things better and makes it a lot easier for me to be calm about how the event will shake out – whenever it happens.

Wednesday is a big day too. I have my first weekly appointment with Dr. Schwartz for fetal monitoring. Non-Stress tests start this week – so I’ve gotta get used to longer appointments based on how cooperative the little man feels like being. Dr. Schwartz has been up front about these appointments, so while I’m concerned (as usual) about using too much paid leave to go to them – I knew they were coming, which helps in being prepared. I’m hoping we can keep these appointments down to once a week, but they might move to twice a week as I get further along. We’ll see. So that fetal monitoring appointment is as 2:30.

Then at 6:00 on Wednesday is our “Baby Basics” class, wherein we learn (refresher for me, 1st time for Paul) how to take care of our little bundle of joy. Feeding, diapering, dressing, washing… I assume this will all be covered. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s a 3 hour, one-time class. I think it will be a good place to start at least. Paul is convinced that the knowledge will just come to him when he’s presented with the baby. I’d like him to have at least a little instruction to build on. :) (Fortunately, there’s a lot of YouTube videos on how to properly apply a cloth diaper – complete with the various folds used. So that will be a help.)

In between all of these classes, there’s lots to do at home in the nursery with washing and sorting baby clothes. I need to get over to Paul’s parent’s house with the unwashed stack of diapers to borrow Jeanne’s sewing machine. I want to run a zig-zag stitch of color down the serged edges of the diapers to make the sizes easier to tell apart at a glance. And I figure this will be easier to do while they’re still very flat, before washing & drying them multiple times quilts them up nicely.

Work is busy this week too. My Executive Director is in the office this week, so that’s always exciting. But the official meeting to discuss my maternity leave duties while I’m gone will happen this week at some point. That’s a little stressful, just to have it all laid out. My boss and I have talked at length about it, and we’re both comfortable with what we’ve concluded about the work that I’ll do while I’m out. (My key duties are best continued by me so an outside person doesn’t need to be brought in, and I can not burn as much paid leave since I’ll be doing Accounts Payable and Payroll twice a month each while I’m out. Telecommuting is a beautiful thing.) I’m glad to be able to work somewhere that is as flexible as my agency is. They don’t have to be – FMLA doesn’t apply here because we’re so small. So I’m appreciative that management is willing to work with me to find an acceptable solution for both sides.

OK, lunchtime is over so I should wrap this up! I PROMISE that sorting through pictures and building a Nursery gallery is very very high on my priorities list. I’ll have it done before the end of the week, I promise – but I’ll aim for sooner than that. Your patience is appreciated. :)