Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

A fabulous gal  (hi Lainey!) asked a great question on Facebook the other day and I wrote out an answer that was waaaay longer than what she was probably looking for, and I thought it would make a good blog post. So....I'm cheating and copying and pasting it here  :-)

She had heard that I was planning to use cloth diapers for Baby Girl, especially once we were past the newborn sizes. Overall, the opinions I've received when people hear that I'm planning to do this have been pretty mixed, ranging from "you're crazy" to "you're naive" to "that's awesome". Lainey was curious as to why we had decided to go the cloth route, and here is my book-length answer:
 
 I'm pretty sold on using cloth diapers. I've been doing a lot of research on it and it just makes so much sense, especially since I'll be staying at home and will have time to keep up with the wash. The main reason that we're doing it is to save $$$...it's crazy how much money you can save by cloth diapering, esp. because if you keep them in good condition, you can reuse them for future babies. Even just with the first baby, you save at least a couple of thousand dollars over the course of the diaper-wearing period.

Another part of it is the environmental aspect- babies can use literally thousands of diapers every year, and the thought of putting that much non-disposable plastic into the landfills really doesn't sit too well with me, especially with how far cloth diapers have come since our parents' days (no stiff cotton and safety pins anymore!). They apparently aren't that much more difficult to keep up with, so unless we're on some kind of trip or vacation or something, it will be worth the minor inconvenience to stick with cloth vs. disposable.

I also like knowing that the chemicals and plastics used to create disposable diapers won't be consistently next to my baby's skin...babies that use cloth diapers tend to have less allergic reactions and less diaper rash, so I like knowing that the cloth diapers are a healthier option.

I will say that we are going to use disposables for the newborn sizes, since the baby outgrows them so fast and goes through so many. As soon as she's out of the newborn sizes though, it'll be cloth all the way :-).

That was probably way longer than you were wanting but it's something that is very interesting and a lot of people our age don't really think about it...Cloth diapering is getting more and more popular though so I figure if I can help pave the path faster and help convince other moms that it's really not that bad, we can all save money and help the environment at the same time!!
 



Whew!

So...people have been asking since we announced the pregnancy where we are registered, and now we finally have an answer (can you believe the announcement happened 15 weeks ago?? yikes!!). Steve and I finally made the voyage out to the store armed with heaps of supposedly helpful internet info, spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get the car seats off their bases, promptly ruled out everything we had preliminarily picked out, and then selected new things. While we are nowhere near the 150+ items that Babies R Us recommended (yeah not gonna happen, lady!), we had fun looking at everything and feel pretty confident with the items we picked, plus we've added some useful items recommended by fellow new moms (thanks Kelly!!). And then of course added some fun things too  :-). Even if nobody buys anything off of it (our friends and family have been so generous already!), it was extremely helpful to narrow down what we liked and what was important to us...and the completion discount will be nice too!

I had my doubts about BRU because I had rarely gone in there before, but it's surprisingly not as overwhelming as I thought it would be, plus it's nice that they have most of the stuff actually in stock...I heart Target but their baby sections are woefully inconsistent and I know from prior baby shopping experience that it's hard to actually find the stuff in stock! So, I'm now a BRU fan. 

One other unexpected benefit of our 2.5 hours at BRU was that it finally hit home for Steve that he's going to be a daddy- so I happily put him in charge of the registry gun and we had fun!

If you want to see what we picked out you can see our registries:

Babies R Us

Target

27 weeks = Maybe Third Trimester?

I had a doctor's appointment this morning and my doctor said "Happy Third Trimester!" to me...but it seems also widely accepted that the third trimester starts at 28 weeks, so who the heck knows. Regardless, I'm either at the end of the 2nd Trimester or the beginning of the Third, so I'm happy!

Today's doctor's appointment was quite eventful. I started the morning off by downing a lovely little drink called glucola:


In order to test for gestational diabetes, the doctor has her patients drink this drink, and then exactly one hour later, they do a blood draw and test your blood glucose levels. If you're over a certain level, then you might have gestational diabetes and they do further testing. GD can be dangerous for a mom or her unborn baby so the doctors are proactive about helping you manage it with specific diets. Although the drink wasn't bad (it tastes like an uncarbonated, syrupy orange soda), I definitely hope I pass and don't have to do the three hour version of the test!!

I also got a painful little prick right in my back today called a rhogam shot. Since my blood is o-negative and there is a chance that the baby's blood is positive, the shot will help protect against bad blood interactions. I have to have another one after I deliver.

The doctor also did the standard doppler check and belly measuring. The doppler check doesn't hold much magic for me given that we have our own at home that I may or may not still use on a regular basis (ha) although now that Baby Girl is kicking so often, I don't feel the need to pull out the doppler as much.

I also got good news from the office manager today regarding our insurance coverage. It turns out that almost everything doctor-related is covered by our insurance - the only portion we had to pay was $100. This doesn't apply to any hospital expenses, we'd still have our normal deductible there, but considering that the doctor's non-insurance rates are several thousand dollars, we'll happily take the $100 charge. So, good job BCBS!

And what's Baby Girl up to this week? BabyCenter, hook us up:

This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle. 

And because this post isn't long enough already, here's a pic of my big belly:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

26 Week Check-In

I missed my usual Tuesday update because I was at the beach, so here's a belated Babycenter.com update on what the baby's doing: 

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. 





We had a great time at the beach-  it was VERY nice to get away from work for a week and de-stress with friends. This weekend will be a long weekend again (yay for the 4th of July!) so we will be up at the lake with the rest of the Forbes crew.


July 1st also kicks off my 2 month countdown until my last day at work, so we've been outlining to-do lists, carefully scrutinizing our budgets, and figuring out what we want to accomplish before Baby Girl makes her grand arrival. Hopefully she will give us our full month, but we've been measuring a week or two ahead pretty consistently now so who knows. I have another doctor's appointment on Wednesday and I'm curious to see how big she's grown- I feel enormous and she's definitely gotten stronger.










Monday, June 21, 2010

99 Bottles of Beer on the wall....

That's right folks, we're officially in the double digits in our Baby Countdown. I'm 25 weeks and 6 days along...99 days to go!

My little family is happily at the beach this week and I've been keeping cool with lots of sunscreen, floating in the water, and some strategically placed beach umbrellas. Tonight we're going to do some surf fishing- maybe we'll catch a shark??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maternity Clothes...as if I needed another excuse to go shopping!

Maternity clothes have come a long way over the course of fashion history (need some examples? okay!):

Colonial Williamsburg maternity clothes- really just the same dresses let out to accommodate expanding bellies:













Early 1900's the first commercially available maternity clothes are sold- and incidentally, Lane Bryant was one of the front runners of the mass produced maternity apparel. Pregnancy was considered a taboo topic to discuss publicly, so Lane Bryant had to plead with the New York papers to let them advertise. And it's a good thing they did- within a day of their ads running, Lane Bryant sold out of their stock! Most Lane Bryant maternity customers apparently preferred shopping via mail order as to avoid "having to go out in their condition".

Maternity fashion really started to pick up with the advent of television. Lucille Ball was the first television character to show a pregnancy on a show....and no surprise, with the amount of women pregnant from the WWII Baby Boom, Lucy's maternity wardrobe became quite a topic of interest. Clothing manufacturers began producing clothing that was specifically shaped for a woman's pregnant belly, including mix and match top/bottom separates and dresses with belly panels. You could even find maternity underwear!

Although tweaks and changes were made since the 1950's, for the most part the clothes remained voluminous and avoided hugging the figure. Thankfully, however, maternity clothes have gotten renewed attention from clothing designers, and I think it's largely in part to the baby bump watch that Hollywood paparazzi have started. Our favorite celebrities looked FABULOUS and well-dressed, even at their heaviest pregnancy points, and pregnant women all over America realized that they can look well-dressed too. Many of the celebrities went on to design their own maternity lines, helping to bring tailored, fun, and non-matronly options to the preggo masses.
One thing that I've discovered as I've gotten bigger, more self-conscious, and endured other physical changes is that putting myself together every day really makes a difference in feeling better about myself. If I focus on "dressing up the bump" and finding cute clothes to accentuate my growing belly (vs. other growing parts of my anatomy), doing my makeup, and looking presentable, I really do feel more confident and better about the way I look. Gaining weight is still a hard thing emotionally to deal with, but at least I can look good doing it, right?

I do have a few shopping tips for other fellow preggos. The main thing I've discovered is that it's often better to buy a few pieces as you move along in the pregnancy, vs. one major shopping spree at the beginning. You get sick of your limited wardrobe VERY quickly, and being able to add a few new tops or dresses every month is a fun thing to look forward to. Also, you never know what shape your belly is going to take, and you might find that some tops or pants fit you better than others. I have found that I prefer the full-panel pants and shorts best- although the mid-rise panel was okay early on, it because increasingly uncomfortable because the waistband seemed to press right across my stomach. So, it might not be as sexy, but I'm a full-panel girl!

Maternity clothes are also pretty pricey. Even up until this point, I've had decent luck finding cute tops here and there in the maternity sections at discount department stores like Ross and Marshall's, or even looser regular tops that worked really well in the first and 2nd trimester- and their $8 price tags are much easier to stomach (heh) than the $30 or $40 price tags at Motherhood Maternity. I will say though that I'm glad I bought well-made maternity work pants (I have black, gray, and brown long pants, and khaki and black capris, in addition to a few pairs of jeans) because they hold up well, and I'm able to mix and match less expensive tops to put together different outfits. A Pea in the Pod is definitely pricier than their sister company, Motherhood Maternity, but I do think their clothes fit a little bit better. I own a few dresses and a few tops from there that I enjoy wearing, but overall it's a little harder for me to justify the price difference. Old Navy Maternity and Target Maternity are great places to stock up on casual items and lounge wear, and Target Maternity swim suits worked well for me! I also suggest checking out consignment stores and online shopping like eBay, but you probably should get a good feel for the different fits of brands before you venture online because I definitely like some more than others!

25 Weeks and Ready for a Vacation!

Steve and I have been getting ready all this week for our big beach trip to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. This vacation is very much needed, especially since work is trying to be as stressful as humanly possible and it's been insanely hot this week. We're going with our wonderful Tennessee friends and are very excited- I'm ready to relax!!

Let's check in really quick and see what the baby's up to- we hit 25 weeks this week!

13 inch boot? You know what
they say… Your baby is about
this long during these weeks.


Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture. (anyone want to bet on a redhead?)














Baby Girl has been kicking up a storm although she really quiets down in the heat. I've been feeling the heat pretty hard too, but still doing my best to keep my feet up, body hydrated, and out of the sun. I was relieved when it stormed last night because I think it help broke some of the humidity.

Any major nursery decorating is going to happen after the beach, but I did spend some time this weekend washing all of the baby's clothes and blankets and everything- it was fun going back through and seeing the adorable little wardrobe that this baby is going to have. Her personal shoppers have excellent taste! All of them are now hanging up on her little infant-sized hangers in the closet, ready to be worn. I've also started taking baby steps (heh) on working on a registry and looking at nursery furniture, but I have a feeling all of that's going to wait until after the beach too...I just don't have the mental energy this week!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Product Rave

My very dear friend Kelly Hayes joined me for lunch the other day with Baby Girl's future boyfriend Jackson, and when I told her that I'm feeling great but starting to not sleep so well, she recommended a product that she really liked and I am SO glad I took her advice!

My main issue sleeping is surprisingly staying on my side...which is weird given that I've been a solid side sleeper pretty much my entire life. Who knew that this would suddenly become an issue, right? I keep waking up on my back, which isn't good for the baby especially now that she's getting heavier, so I knew I had to find a way to stay comfortable on my side.

So, thanks to Kelly, I am now the happy owner of the Boppy Pregnancy Wedge Pillow. It might look a little goofy, but it essentially wedges underneath your big old pregnant belly to help support it while you're lying on your side. And I will give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up...I wish I had actually started using it a few weeks ago. So fellow preggos, take note and go get yourself one!

(Oh- I ended up buying mine on Amazon, but in theory you can find them at Motherhood Maternity and Target. I'd call around and ask to see if they have them in stock, if you want to buy it in store.).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grab your Glitter Kids, it's time for Arts & Crafts!

The nesting impulse is starting to kick in and I've been working a couple of projects to help until we can get the nursery rolling.

One is a changing table that we bought at a neighborhood garage sale- we are planning to use it as storage shelf in the nursery closet. We painted it white, painted the side bars green, and added a pink and green paisley paper to the shelves. Add baskets and something cute on top, and voila! Functional, cute shelving for the nursery closet, for less than $30, including paint and materials.




























The baskets were found for cheap at Marshall's- although an A name is top of the list right now, we're not 100% settled still so if we change our minds, we can easily pull the letters off and keep the baskets.

The second project is still a work in progress, but since it's Arts & Crafts hour at the Forbes house, I'll go ahead and share. I always thought the neatest baby keepsakes were the ones that were handmade, and I was hellbent on making SOMETHING for Baby Girl, even with my rudimentary crafting skills. So I'm taking my knitting skills (learned freshman year of college courtesy of the East Cobb Martha Stewart, Liz Boyer) and knitting the baby her very own little blanket. Still got a ways to go but here what I've got so far:

 Any other fun project suggestions welcome!

24 Weeks!

Today we hit the 24 week mark, which is also referred to as Viability Week. This is generally the week that the medical community agrees is the earliest a baby can survive if born prematurely....so if, God forbid, Baby Girl were to be born anytime after today, the doctors would make every effort to keep her alive and growing. Every week we can keep her safe and warm in my belly is a marked percentage in her likelihood to survive, so stay in there, Baby!!

My belly is starting to feel enormous (I actually saw my stomach moving the other day when Baby Girl was kicking- she's getting strong!), so here's some bump pics, courtesy of Angela and the work photo studio:
 

Let's see what Babycenter.com says is going on this week:

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts her at just over a pound. Since she's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but her body is filling out proportionally and she'll soon start to plump up. Her brain is also growing quickly now, and her taste buds are continuing to develop. Her lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help her air sacs inflate once she hits the outside world. Her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon. In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Email Updates for the Blog

I've had a couple of folks say they don't get email updates for new blog posts ever since I switched from wordpress. And, I don't really know how to fix that, I'm sure that there's some way to do it directly through blogger, but I did add a "Subscribe by Email" gadget over there on the right...if you would prefer to get a handy-dandy email on the days we post a new blog, sign up! I do believe though that you have to click back to the actual blog to leave comments...I know, it's a rough life. Sorry charlie.

To cord or not to cord? A long and maybe boring post

As we get further along in the pregnancy, we're running up against some major decisions on our baby to-do list, and one of those is whether or not we want to bank our baby's umbilical cord blood. There is a lot of research going on right now involving the stem cells found in cord blood and its potential uses in treating a myriad of very devastating and possibly deadly illnesses. Sounds like a slam-dunk decision, right?

Unfortunately, I'm an over-thinker (what?? who knew??). And right now, a lot of the logical points of this decision are pointing towards No. But then there's the emotional side of the argument that says if there's a chance this decision could make a life-changing difference in the health of my little one, shouldn't I go for it?

Here are my arguments against banking my baby's cord blood:

1) It's pretty crazy expensive. Most of the cord blood banks charge upwards of $2,000 to enroll and process the blood, and then you pay a storage fee of $125-$150+ per year. The banks recommend that you store the blood until the baby turns 18, so you're looking at several thousand more dollars.

2) It's a gamble that the scientists will even a) find a use for the blood and b) be ready to use it if my baby needs it. Right now you're saving and storing the blood solely in the hopes that if your baby needs it, there will be a use for it. You're also gambling on the varied risks that your child will actually get any of these diseases, which are pretty low to begin with...not that that makes it any less devastating if your child were to develop any of these conditions.

3) Pretty much all of the diseases that are front-runners for this research have no history in either of our families, including the types of cancer.

4) For some of the diseases that are getting the most attention, it seems like it's actually better to NOT use your baby's own blood to treat them. You would be better off to try to be matched in the blood donor system and use donated blood cells to try to treat the disease.

5) Call me a cynic, but the cord blood centers have spent a LOT of time, energy and money to promote themselves and their services. And they are extremely competitive with each other. It seems like several times a week, there's some kind of pamphlet in the mailbox, every other doctor appointment includes some kind of promotional flyer about it, there are posters in the doctors' office, full page ads run in almost every pregnancy magazine, elaborate websites are set up...if it was such a slam-dunk decision, why would they need to spend millions of dollars convincing me?

Right now, and especially looking at factors 4 and 5, I am leaning towards one of the lesser-known options and looking into donating the cord blood. To me, it seems like everyone would be better off if more and more people started donating this blood. We'd build up the supplies for researchers, we'd boost potential donor matches for kids who currently have an actual need for these cells, and we could help diminish the power of the marketing dollars. I'm sure the cord blood centers are still making a nice profit by selling the donated blood, but at least they aren't making thousands of dollars by preying on the emotional and protective fears of soon-to-be-parents. Again, call me a cynic, but that's pretty much what they're doing.

We've still got a few more weeks to decide (although not many! 3rd trimester is right around the corner), and there's still a small part of me that is worried something will happen and I will regret not banking the blood. So...thoughts and opinions are welcome!!

23 weeks

So my regular fruit and non-fruit size guides get lazy right around this point and just start lumping months into each other, so unfortunately I don't have new size comparison pics to post (lame, right?). But I will post a belly pic, since I think it's been a while. Pardon my "walked in the door after a very long day at work and promptly changed into PJ's" outfit.



Babycenter.com does offer some insights on Baby Girl's development this week:

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (Angela and I decided that's about as big as one of those jumbo Toblerone chocolate bars you can buy), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

We were able to go to the lake for the first time this past weekend, and it was heavenly- even with the scattered showers. Floating in the cool water was very relaxing and I definitely look forward to doing that a lot this summer. Although I will offer a silly PSA to fellow preggos out there: Don't forget to rub sunscreen on your belly, even if you're wearing a one-piece, haha. Sorry baby. 

In depressing news, I finally bit the bullet and took off my rings, although I will flatter myself and think that it's due more to the summer heat. They still fit fine in the mornings but by the end of the day, it takes some wrenching to get them off. So to be on the safe side, they are now kept on the necklace that I always wear. Still, it feels very odd to not have them on my fingers!!