Monday, April 16, 2012

Real Simple: Waste Reduction

When you have a child, there are many options for handling their waste. That's right - many.
The first option is generally the one people assume you will go with.

Run-of-the-mill Disposable Diapers.

This would be Huggies, Pampers, Luvs, along with store brands. 
This is the most wasteful option, as these can take quite a while to degrade.

Organic, Bio-degradable Disposable Options.

This can be diapers like Seventh Generation, or disposable inserts for cloth covers (such as Flip, GroVia, or G-Diapers). This one is still wasteful, but not as hard on the environment as the first option.

Photo credit: GroVia

Cloth Diapers.

These diapers are entirely reuseable, and can be made of things like cotton, hemp and bamboo. They are much better for the environment, but still use natural resources for production, gas for travel, and water for washing.
Another way to keep cloth diapering green is to use a clothes line and/or drying rack.

Elimination Communication.

This option consists of diaperless babies. That's right! This is the greenest option, but it's not necessarily right for everybody. If you're going this route, you learn your baby's cues and take them to the potty as needed.

There is certainly no need to go all-or-nothing. 


Some people choose a combination of disposables, and cloth. Some use cloth and elimation communication.
If you use cloth diapers, or elimination communication, even part time - you can rest assured knowing that you are putting less waste into landfills than if you were using disposables.

I often hear people complaining that they can't cloth diaper full time for one reason or another.

That's fine! Every cloth diaper you use, is one less disposable getting thrown away. And every time you use elimination communication, that is one less diaper you have to wash. Do whatever works for you, but know that every little bit counts.

Even if you use just one cloth diaper a day, that is 365 (or 366) disposables you've kept out of a landfill at the end of the year. Imagine if you use two, or three... Those numbers really add up!

For more information on how you can make a difference by using cloth diapers part time, check out Change Three Things by Cotton Babies!

Cloth 101 - Getting to know modern CD's

Used with permission.
People decide to use cloth diapers for many different reasons. Some want to reduce/reuse/recycle, or keep chemicals away from their baby. Others choose cloth to save money where they can, or even because they fall in love with the cute color and pattern options that cloth provides.

Even though cloth seems to be a growing trend these days, it's been around much longer than disposables. This might be one of the reasons people shy away from it. They've heard about having to use pins, and plastic pants. Nah, these people prefer to use "real diapers" - whatever that means. They don't want crappy diapers sitting in their toilet. You can thank my mother for the last one - apparently when she was growing up, her little brother was cloth diapered, and every time she had to use the bathroom, she had to get one of her parents to remove the diaper from the toilet. Gross!

Well, fret no more. Cloth doesn't have to be like that today. There are many different options, and with these, you can find the best system for your lifestyle.


If you are in it for the eco-friendly aspect, you might be drawn to organic products, or natural fibers like fitteds with a wool cover.
However, you don't have to go for those options to reduce the waste that disposables would create. Depending on how eco-friendly you want to be, you can even use disposable hybrid options such as Grovia or Flip.


The best way to save money is use prefolds and covers. Because of this, most people use prefolds on newborns as a cheap effective way to keep them in cloth before they would otherwise fit into one-size diapers.
Another economical option is AI2 (all-in-twos) like Best Bottoms, Grovia or Flip, which are basically a cover and a matching insert. The least economical option would be AIO (all-in-ones), or WAHM (work at home mom) fitteds. However, even using a stash entirely of AIO's will still save you money in the long run. Even WAHM diapers can save you money in the long run - as long as you don't buy more than you need.


Cloth diapers are definitely a cute alternative to disposables. Many people consider them to be a fashion accessory, or clothing item of their own. Most big name cloth brands come in a variety of colors - and some even come in patterns. If you decide to use WAHM diapers, they can come in any array of colors and patterns.
The style factor is part of what can lead to over-buying. However, even those that buy more than they need can recoup their costs by reselling them later. This is one of the amazing things about cloth diapers - the diapers do not lose much value with use.

Already interested in cloth?

If you already want to use cloth, but aren't quite sure where to start, let me help.

All-in-one's, all-in-two's and pockets are the easiest systems to use for those familiar with disposables, with AIO's and pockets in the lead as they are the most similar.

AIO's are literally one piece, which means that you wash, put on baby, take off, and repeat. However, they usually take the longest to dry, and do not have adjustable absorbancy without the use of a doubler or extra insert. However, adding something to an AIO takes away the benefit of using it. really.

AI2's can be used just like an AIO, except that you can reuse the waterproof shell until it's dirty, and simply replace the insert.

Pockets are used just like AIO's, but you have to stuff an insert into the pocket before using (or after washing). Most pockets come with microfiber, which can hold stink, and cannot be placed directly against baby's skin. However, there are other options for inserts, such as bamboo and hemp. These have adjustable absorbancy, and are much quicker at drying because the insert is not sewn in. These are probably the most popular type. Also, you can find some very cheap pockets online, such as Kawaii and Sunbaby.

These three options are your best bet to get daycare or your babysitter on board with using cloth. There is no extra work for the person changing the diaper!

I always recommend getting a variety of diaper types, even if you are completely sold on one specific kind. What if it doesn't work for your baby? What if it doesn't fit all situations? We started with prefolds, fitteds, AIO's, AI2's and pockets. I swore I was going to love AI2's and pockets. They have their place, like I love AI2's for travel, but my favorites are actually AIO's and fitteds. And even though I didn't originally have any interest in getting into wool, I do now. It works wonders - despite the fact that it doesn't make logical sense how wool can waterproof a diaper (just look up lanolizing if you want to take that route).

I wouldn't give up my variety for just one type of diaper either. Which diapers are fitting my little one best changes all the time, because babies grow quickly.

To read more about cloth diapers, check out the links below (or join in if you're a CDer and blogger!) - they are part of the Real Diaper week blog hop, which is leading up to the Great Cloth Diaper Change this Saturday.

Friday, April 13, 2012

4 months: Wakefulness, Progress and Solids

Evan turned 4 months old this week. As such, he had his 4 month ped appointment.


13 lbs 10 oz
24.5 inches

We are doing a delayed schedule for his vaccinations, so he only got one shot, and the oral vaccine. He was amazing. He was smiling immediately after - not even a hint of pain.

His doctor pointed out that he was on the low end of weight, and unlike most breastfed babies he skipped the "chunky stage" - but she isn't concerned. He is growing and reaching milestones. Also, he seems to be a mini-me for Eddie, and she assumes he will grow to have the same lean physique.
We talked about solids too. She wanted us to start between 4-6 months, and make sure he keeps gaining weight. She brought up delaying solids as well.

We decided to somewhat start solids. On Easter, Evan had a piece of broccoli accidentally. He thinks he's ready, the ped thinks he's ready... why not?

We decided awhile back that we would do BLW (Baby Led Weaning) which is letting your baby feed themselves chunks/pieces of whole foods. We're still doing that, pretty much. Evan has nommed boiled carrots (though not really ingested any), and some banana (though again - not sure he ingested much if any).
Tonight we tried avocado. I really wanted him to like it, because it's full of nutrients and healthy fats. And I don't want solids to ruin his weight gain. Well... the avocado was already mush, so he didn't get slices as planned. I spooned some, and he eagerly took over! He even spoon-fed himself a bit.

He loved it! I'm thinking this will be the only solid for awhile just because of the fatty content, and we have SO much still! I don't know what to do with it all. Though I know I can make some Paleo pudding with it


He has rolled tummy to back a few times.
He can roll back to side.
He's grabbing and holding things.
He brings things to his mouth pretty well.
He is great at lifting himself up when on his tummy, and looking around.
He has phenomenal head support.
He's taken a liking to "bubbling" moreso than babbling, but he can do that too.
He wants to stand/jump, and loves to kick off of things.
Splashing is his favorite thing.
And diaper changes. This kid loves being naked.
He's getting better at sitting, if you can tell by the pictures.
He can sit "on his own" if balanced just right.
Sleeping 8-9 hours a night (though he had a few "wakeful" nights - I don't think we've really had the 4 month wakeful...yet...)

I still find it crazy that this:

2 weeks old
Became this:

Nearly 4 months old

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

 Evan was 2 weeks old at Christmas, so at the advice of my mother - I didn't do much. He didn't have a special outfit, he didn't get any "My First Christmas" stuff... I got him a rattle, and a couple tiny board books. Eddie and I got one gift for eachother each (he got me a nursing tank, and I got him a new cordless kettle).
It was lame, and I really regret it. I always go all out for Christmas. It's a big deal.

So I decided Easter would make up for it.

Evan generally sleeps great at night, but getting him to bed for the night is a pain - and he won't nap for the life of him usually. So we got him the soothing sounds giraffe, and a couple Lullaby Renditions CD's to help. Hopefully. We also got a bowl and plate to start solids, a rattle from IKEA, a hanging thing from IKEA to put stuffed animals in, an O-ball, some teethers, and a couple extra crib sheets.

We aren't going to my family's dinner for a few reasons, so we're going to take some pictures in his Easter outfit. If all goes well, those will be posted soon too.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Super Stalker Sunday Blog Hop

Welcome to this week’s Super Stalker Sunday hop!
Super Stalk Sunday
What is Super Stalker Sunday?

Glad you asked! Super Stalker Sunday is a weekly blog hop hosted by
Mariah of Formula Mom
As you know, blogs hops are a great way to meet other bloggers, socialize and gain more followers. We created this hop as away for you to connect with other bloggers via RSS Feed, Google Friend Connect, Email Subscribers, Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, and Google+!
How to Super Stalk

Follow each host at least one way. Remember to leave a comment, as hostesses we’re committed to returning the follows. But please be patient as we are busy mamas and it may take us a few days to return the visit and follow. You will only have to link up on one of the host sites and your link will appear on all as we use the same linky. After you follow the hosts and the featured blogger, follow at least the four blogs listed above you on the linky. If your time permits, follow as many other blogs are you are willing!
Keep in mind that many bloggers have phased out GFC in recent weeks, so be sure you’re following everyone another way as well!

Remember: You will only get as much as you give. The more blogs you can visit, the more visits you will gain in return. We are all here to socialize and greet, not visit only your blog.

While we encourage sharing our button and hop with as many as possible, it is not required. The more you spread the word though, the more we socialize and all gain followers!

This week's featured blogger is:

Rachel's favorite way to stalk a blog was GFC, because it was so easy to log into blogger and see what has been posted by everyone. However, I've heard that's getting phased out (if it's true, I will be so sad), so I've taken to following on Facebook. It's easy, and convenient, and I check it a lot.

If you would like to be a featured blogger, being shared with more than 32,000 combined followers between the hosts of this hop, please link up your blog's home page! At the end of each week we will select a blog via Random.Org to be the featured blog for the following week. The featured blogger will be emailed by Wednesday morning. Please be sure to check your spam folders! This week, the linky will remain open until 12:00PM EST on Tuesday! Go ahead, stalk up a storm!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Summer Lovin' Giveaway Event

Booty Buns Cloth Diapers & Amy's Craft Bucket are collecting blogger sign-ups for the Summer Lovin' Baby Basics Giveaway Hop! This event takes place from June 6-20, 2012 & all prizes are valued at $25+. Sign up today! 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wahmies Wetbag Review & Giveaway (4/1 - 4/14)


Wetbags are a necessary part of cloth diapering, but they can be used for so much more than that. Other uses for wet bags can include swim gear, dirty clothes, makeup, and more. The convenience of a wetbag while traveling is endless.

Greenie Beanie Bottoms sent me a Wahmies wetbag to review, and they'll send one to a lucky winner as well.

First, let me start off by saying that I absolutely love this print. It is just so pretty, I wish I had other things in the same fabric! I immediately could tell the wetbag was a good quality one, just from touching it. It's thicker and almost seems better than my Planetwise to the touch. I couldn't wait to try it out!
One of the first things I did was compare size. I have a medium Planetwise wetbag, so I lined the two up to see how they compared.

Wahmies regular size wet bag over Planetwise medium wetbag.
The Wahmies wetbag is only slightly smaller than the Planetwise, measuring at 13" by 15". Perfect.
They say it can hold 6-8 diapers, and it definitely did for us with newborn and then one-sized diapers. If you have a toddler in a larger size, it may not hold quite that many.
One feature that this wetbag comes with is a small piece of fabric inside, meant to put an essential oil on to keep it from getting stinky. I haven't needed to add any essential oils because this bag can keep the stench of dirty diapers inside for days if you let it! I know this because I let it stew a couple days, and it didn't let out the slightest odor, while zipped.


Totally leak proof - for both smell and water!
Small and convenient for travel - but can also work for part-time home use.
Swatch of fabric for essential oils to keep smells away.
Cute designs.


Slightly smaller than Planetwise medium wetbag, if you need just a little extra room.
Not as many designs to choose from.
No handle on this size (their larger one does have a handle though). 

Buy It

You can buy the Wahmies regular wetbag here for $16.50 from Greenie Beanie Bottoms. They have free shipping on all orders!

Win it

The winner will get to choose from any of the prints that are in stock for a regular size Wahmies wetbag.
Must be 18+ and have an address within the United States to enter.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Milestones: Rolling and Grabbing!

Evan first rolled back in December. I was returning a Redbox movie, and Eddie was home with him. He decided to give him tummy time, and wham! Well, we couldn't recreate it, so we decided it was a fluke. However, in a month, he did it again! He was on his tummy on the Boppy in the crib while I used the bathroom, and he hit the side of the crib. And started screaming. Then, he did it again. He was having tummy time on the Boppy in the crib, while I put away diapers.
Then he stopped. Those are all probably flukes, right?
Well, no more flukes. Tonight, after his diaper, I gave him tummy time in the crib. He was trying to roll, but I had laid him down awkwardly. I moved his hand out from under him, and he rolled to his side. That wasn't good enough, so he kept trying.
Next thing I knew, he was on his back! I was so excited.

And on Tuesday, March 27th...


That ladybug plays music if you pull it. I wasn't paying attention, and then all of a sudden I heard it go off. I looked and there he was! He did it a few times, so I was able to snap a ton of pictures. Evan was so excited at his new discovery! He has since taken to holding other toys on occasion.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stash Update

Our camera recently stopped working. We bought a new one, but it didn't come with a memory card and isn't compatible with the one from the other camera. So, we have a memory card on the way.

This picture was taken after the old camera died, but before the new one arrived. That means, this picture was taken with my phone!

Since taking this picture, we've gotten a second hanging wetbag (the first isn't in the photo), new wipes from Sweetbobbins, bamboo inserts, and three Monkey Snuggles fitteds. We have another Monkey Snuggles fitted on the way, along with wool! So excited.
We don't use the Lovely Pocket diapers (bottom left) or the Happy Heiny's (bottom right). The fitted and prefolds on the bottom are newborn, so they are out of use as well. The Batman diaper (Little American Pocket Diaper) will likely be used as a swim diaper because we're having some odd leaking... maybe wicking? I might give it another shot first.

You can see the new hanging wetbag in this picture. We recently went to Ikea and I found these baskets I love. Originally, they were going to be for the changing table... but they don't fit. So I decided to use them for clothes. The left is pants/shorts he can probably fit into, and the right is anything that is a long way from being worn.

Can you think of anything else I can do with these? I have cats that love to scratch, so I'm hesitant to place them out in the open.

(Note on the weigh ins... I haven't been doing anything to lose weight lately. Super slacker here.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nursery Decor

Evan's nursery has been in dire need of some decorations to liven it up for awhile now. I've looked on Pinterest, and seen some things I like:

Quotes, books, shelves... I had even found some cute prints on Etsy that I considered. However, I wanted cheap, and easy.

Yesterday, I found the solution.

Eddie had an interview, so I took Evan to Michael's. I actually had him in a sling out in public for the first time, and oh boy, did a lot of people come up to me. One woman actually touched him. And here I thought people were less likely to touch babies when they were being worn - but that would mean people have to respect bubble space. They clearly do not.

For Christmas, my mother gifted me two 8.5" by 11" frames to use in Evan's bedroom. Now I just had to fill them.

Two frames from my mother, one cricut paper cutter, and what we got at Michael's.
 I walked up and down aisles, looking for big stickers, decals, anything that would look alright. Eventually, I thought that maybe I could find some plain scrapbook paper to use.

First, I saw birds. I do love simple birds. Then I saw rainbows. While they would match nicely, in my opinion, I didn't really think they looked right for the room. However, I loved them.

Then, I found something perfect. A sailboat paper. It was on clearance for 29 cents! Soon after, I found a paper with miscellaneous forms of transportation in cartoon form. While they didn't quite match each other - they worked for a boy's room.

The four different scrapbook pages, size 12x12.
Maybe someday I'll do something that matches the room and theme more - or maybe not. I like the idea of a random pop to them. Especially now that Evan is noticing more colors and patterns.

We want to put something between them, but we aren't quite sure. Also, on the opposite wall, above the changing table, we want to put shelves of some sort. And yes, we currently "line dry" our diapers over the edge of the crib - Evan isn't sleeping in it yet, and it works. We'll get a drying rack some time before he does.

As for the theme of the room, another Christmas gift from my mom was a Scentsy monkey. He lives on top of the armoire. Along with some random bears, also from my mother.


I think I'll use the other two scrapbook papers to decorate my desk area in the basement. It's currently unused and a total mess. Maybe if it were brighter, I would be more inclined to do something with it. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's new?

Evan had his 2 month appointment last week.

We decided to do an alternate vaccine schedule for two reasons:
  1. I'm not 100% comfortable with vaccines.
  2. Evan's dad had "absent seizures" as a kid.
Also, his ped assured me that his weight gain was fine. He was 1 ounce shy of 11 pounds.
He's also smiling, cooing, laughing in his sleep, trying to laugh while awake, awesome at almost rolling over, and lifting his head pretty amazingly.

 Exclusive breastfeeding for the win.

On another note, I'm trying to change my lifestyle. I've been overweight since pre-baby, and I'm lucky enough that I lost all the weight as soon as he was born, and immediately fit into clothes pretty much the same as before. However, they've always been tight because of pre-baby weight gain, and now my stomach is... well, weird. Ever seen The Shape of a Mother? Well...I would easily fit in around there. And my stretch marks are not  fading. So it's time to do something about it.

First, a new diet. I've read a bit about paleo and primal "diets", and we're going to take bits and pieces from them. So, we're cutting out dairy (for the most part), among other changes. We bought coconut oil, coconut milk, almond milk, and applesauce (for healthier baking). We've had a lot of stir fried dinners of chicken and veggeis, and before were doing a lot of chinese (home-made) - so that will continue. However, we've cut down on grains, and will slowly phase them out. Maybe not entirely, but mostly.
We also looked at coconut and almond flour.

Monday, I weighed myself and came in at 254 lbs exactly. I want to lose 100 lbs, and it won't be easy. Especially not with Evan, and breastfeeding. I've never been as hungry as I am now that I am breastfeeding.
I've decided to start working out. Monday, I was only able to do about 3 minutes of cardio before I was exhausted. It's pretty pathetic, but I suppose 3 minutes is better than no minutes. Yesterday, we had to go downtown and pay property taxes. With the way it's laid out, one way roads and all, we ended up walking two blocks from the car to the building. Last night I was feeling it. Oh man, I remember walking farther with our dog pre-pregnancy, and even a few times during pregnancy - even at the end. But, I haven't done anything in the 10 weeks Evan has been here, until now. So, I suppose it's understandable.
I need to work up to more.

I've worked out a rewards system to keep me motivated - I hope it works!

240 - Go to the movies
220 - New Twinkie Tush Diaper (Stalking and all!)
 200 - A casual dress
180 - Dinner out
160 - Paint the trim in the bedroom, finally! (Or...have Eddie do it. :) )
140 - Shopping for new clothes

Here's to hoping I see some results! I know, I know... it'll take time. I can't let myself give up. I think I'll do weigh-in's on Wednesday, and update here to keep myself motivated.
Also! Early April I will be posting a review and giveaway for a Wahmies wet bag, size medium. Be sure to check that out!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Patterns & Schedules

I would like to have one.

Usually these days, Evan goes to sleep around 1 or 2am. Sometimes he wakes up 3 hours later, sometimes not for 5 or 7 (it all depends on the diaper, or if he has to poop). However, I'm not sleeping well, so he gets a diaper change, and I nurse him back to sleep each time he wakes up - until I decide to come downstairs around noon or one in the afternoon. Then he stays on my lap for most of the rest of the night.
His daddy holds and plays with him multiple times throughout the day, and he's occasionally set in the crib on his tummy while I use the bathroom, or placed in his rocker to look at the fishy for a few minutes. But honestly, I feel like he's always on my lap, and I'm always immobile.

Wraps and slings don't seem to work for him, because they take work to put on, and then if he's awake, he doesn't want to be in them right now. He may be content for a couple minutes, but then he wants to move! He wants to walk, stand, crawl. Too bad he's a long ways from being able to do any of it.

Some days he sleeps a ton, others he happily stays awake, and others he is grumpy and overtired and won't get to sleep. So, I think we really need a schedule. I know I have to actually wake up earlier, and start the process of getting into a schedule. But it's hard. And I'm not quite sure where to start without it making everyone miserable and grumpy.

Also, I only know how to nurse him to sleep. Rocking, shhshing, and all those other things don't work. I guess it's fine for now, but what about as he gets older?

Evan is 2 months old on Friday, and I think it's time to try something. Momma needs to start a routine of her own, but she can't if she's glued to the baby.

Any tips or advice?

Monday, February 6, 2012

For the love of sleep: SttN Update

We purchased some Thirsties doublers to use alternately with our lone Joey-Bunz premium, and then my darling son became even more of a heavy wetter. Doublers don't work anymore, they get soaked in a matter of hours.

Our Best Bottom inserts still work somewhat. Not as long as 7 hours, but about 5ish; however we would like to use those with the Best Bottom cover, at least sometimes!

So we made a new purchase.

A used Twinkie Tush, and it is amazing! I can't wait to get more. This is the real deal now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Giveaway!

Interested in winning 3 books, 2 shirts, Zombie Candy, a Zombie Poster, a Zombie Sticker and a Zombie Magnet? Then click the button.

Who doesn't love zombies?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Super Stalker Sunday Blog Hop

As you know, blogs hops are a great way to meet other bloggers, socialize and gain more followers. We created this hop as away for you to connect with other bloggers via RSS Feed, Google Friend Connect, Email Subscribers, Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, and the new Google+!

Click the button to read more and join in. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Milestone: Sleeping through the Night

I am excited to say that last night, I had a theory.

The night before last was horrible. Evan fell asleep on me while we watched movies, and then after, I had to take him upstairs to bed.
Well, he started doing his uncomfortable grunt (usually means he needs a diaper change). I laid him down and went to the bathroom, and he was awake before I came back. I stayed up with him until 5am. Then, he seemed kind've sleepy. So I laid him down, content and quiet, and went to the bathroom. When I came back, he was asleep. So I went to bed.

As soon as I laid down, he woke up. Seriously? So I was up for a few more hours.

Well, my theory was that he gets TOO soaked. Because after I brought him to bed, I woke up and saw the back of his onesie had a HUGE wet spot. Hmm... (User error: Eddie didn't have the cover covering the whole fitted... but the fitted WAS dripping wet, so not entirely his fault.)

His previous "nighttime diaper" was a KL0 (fitted) with a cover.

I decided he gets too wet to be comfortable asleep. So I bought THIS, a 3-pack of Thirsties doublers, and can't wait to get it.
However, we DO have one of THIS, a Joey-Bunz premium insert, it's just too expensive to buy more right now. Unless the Thirsties doesn't work.

Evan fell asleep around 1, I think. I know I didn't go to bed until 2, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch a movie or not. And either way, I wasn't prepared to go another night without sleep.

It's safe to say, I didn't have to. Because 5 1/2 hours of sleep for me later, and my baby is still asleep. How exciting! And he was asleep at least an hour before me.

So now I pump.

PS - Who knew a letdown hurt? It feels like this giant pinching feeling. Hm.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Learning Experience; Evan's Birth Story

Today was my 6 week postpartum visit, so it's about time I finished this. I wrote most of it the morning after he was born, while I was still in the hospital. As a forewarning, it is long, and not very eloquently written.
I'm not happy with how it went, but I know that if I had to redo it, I wouldn't change anything really. Not on that day. But, next time things will go differently. Things will be better.

Evan Carlisle was born at 9:41pm, December 10th. He weighed 8 lbs 3 oz, and was 21 inches long.
I woke up at 8:45 in the morning from a contraction, and went back to bed, only to wake again at 8:59. I sat in bed, timing contractions for a little while, before waking my husband, Eddie, up. He wasn’t very happy, especially when I announced that we weren’t going anywhere just yet though.

I continued to have contractions about 7 minutes apart for most of the day, with some 5 minutes, and some as far as 15. I used the time to clean up, and get some last minute things done. Also, one of our cats was sick with no appetite, so we waited for that to be resolved first.

I drove myself to the hospital around 4:30. When they took me back to check me, they first explained how things would go. They would check dilation, then monitor the baby and contractions for half an hour, then have me walk for two hours, then check again. If no progress, I would be sent home.

So when she checked my dilation, she was really surprised. 6cm with a bulging bag of water, 90% effaced. I was definitely in labor. So she decided to skip over all that stuff she had just explained, and admit me. She also said they would probably want to break my water pretty soon. So we head over to the room I'm going to labor in, and the nurses are commenting that they're impressed, and I don't look like I'm 6cm in hard labor, because I'm walking fine, talking, just breathing through contractions. I also told her I wanted to avoid meds if I could, and she said that it seemed like I would be able to no problem.

We get to the room and they hook me up to monitor contractions and fetal heart rate. I'm told I'll only be on this for 20 minutes, but I never get taken off. I later learned that it was because his heart rate was dropping with contractions, but it wasn't "too bad" - they just wanted to keep an eye on it at this point. This definitely changed my plans, as I really wanted to be able to adjust and move around, but instead I was glued to the bed.

After I was set up, I had Eddie text my mom and brother finally that I was in labor at the hospital. Then the doctor comes in; not my normal doctor (or even from my practice) because he's covering for her until 10. He comments that not many people in hard labor are sitting up, laughing, texting, etc.

So he goes to check me before breaking my water, and I'm at 8cm. Progress, and all I've been doing is sitting. Awesome, and surprising.

He goes on to break the water, which wasn't bad. There was a gush of extremely warm liquid, and no obvious difference in contractions right away.

Contractions started to get more intense, but nothing unbearable. They also are getting closer together, but I really have no sense of how close.

I labor for awhile, being able to move a little - but I have to be careful not to disrupt the readings. I've also got two medical students, who are really excited because they've never witnessed a delivery.
I get checked again, still the same.

After awhile, things are a lot more intense. I get checked again. 8 and a half. So some progress. Labor gets a lot more intense when I get the shakes, because it's much more physically exhausting. After a bit they check again, and I'm at 9cm. I stayed at 9 for quite awhile, as contractions starting to run into each other. They wanted me to rock my hips in bed, but between the monitor, and still being limited to the bed, it just wasn't working well for me. The monitor kept getting shifted, so a nurse had to hold it on my stomach. 

They decided to place something on Evan’s head to monitor his heart rate, because I was moving too much for the one on my stomach to be accurate.

After another check where I was still at 9, I asked if I could have something for pain. I knew that I didn’t want to be stalled at a 9, and that if I could manage the pain, and get a break between contractions again, I could do what they needed me to so that things could get going again. Especially as they had now mentioned pitocin, and honestly, I didn't think contractions could get worse at this point (mostly because I was unable to get my bearings in between).

They said they didn't think they could give me anything, but they would check. After a little bit, they brought something in, along with pitocin. I was getting the narcotic, which was fine with me.

Now I could tell where my contractions began and ended, and I could adjust myself. After awhile, I still wasn't progressing well, so they upped the pitocin, and as the pain meds were wearing off, they gave me twice as much as they had before. And no, I wasn’t asked before they did this.

Also, somewhere in between, I had been told if I felt I needed to push, let them know. Then my doctor came in early, so she was going to be able to deliver. The rest is a bit fuzzy, and may be out of order.

I was out of it now, either in pain, or sleepy, and she wanted me to try pushing. I wasn't doing well, because I didn't feel an urge. I even told them it was only intermittent. They were pretty insistent, but I refused to push for an hour - then I finally got the urge! Apparently he had been posterior the whole time (we knew that because of u/s three weeks ago, and back pain I had been having), but had rotated. During the rotation, because of how his head was placed, I wasn't feeling the urge consistently. So basically, it was a good thing I waited. Honestly, it felt like something was wrong when I tried to push before. Granted, how I vocalized that was "it hurts" to which they said it would only stop if I pushed him out, and I responded with "no"... They probably thought I was crazy.

Once I was pushing, I was totally out of it. My eyes were closed pretty much the whole time. It was 3 or 4 good pushes, with a break halfway through for oxygen... which I noticed they put on me at some point, but I have no clue when. It was a lot of work, but I made sure to "hold" the pushes in between, in an attempt to not let him slide back in. I just wanted to be done.

Then I heard my doctor say she had to do an episiotomy, and I didn't care at that point. I thought I heard the cut, but I know I didn't feel it.

When he came out, it was like time slowed down. My eyes were shut, and when I opened them, I was confused. They didn’t give him to me right away.

taken by Eddie when they whisked him away -  I still hadn't seen him at this point
His cord had been wrapped twice around his neck, and then his breathing wasn’t regular. Evan was over getting examined by the staff. They told me that they were going to take him for an hour to monitor his breathing, and I asked to see him. I still hadn’t seen him.
They let me see him for a second – but not hold him – then they took him off to the NICU.

taken by Eddie in the NICU, where he sat with him, while I slept in L&D
Before long, I was alone in the room. I texted my mom to let her know that he’d been born, and was going to be gone for an hour, and then I wanted time with him before she and my brother came back.

I was in and out of sleep until they finally brought him back to me. It had been longer than an hour. We attempted breastfeeding, and it seemed to go well, and then I was told that he would be taken back to the NICU for a bath and some tests. I wanted my husband to go with them, but he couldn’t. There was something emergent going on with a premie.

We were moved to the room we would spend the rest of our stay in, and then it was a waiting game. My mom found her way back to us, and I got to inform her that we didn’t have the baby yet. My brother and his girlfriend ended up going home around this time, because they had a long day and were exhausted. And we still had no idea when Evan would be back. My mom took my husband to get something to eat, and check on our cats, and then while I was alone, they brought Evan to me. It felt odd, to be perfectly honest.
I didn’t get any of those feelings people claim to get after they have a baby. I felt pretty disconnected from him for at least a day.

I’ve learned from my experience now. Because of the Nubain, he didn’t nurse effectively at the hospital, in addition to how it affected both him and I during his delivery. However, if I hadn’t had the Nubain, things could have gone worse. I could have ended up with a c-section, because I probably would have stayed stalled for awhile, plus his heart rate had been dropping with contractions.

Next time, I would like to have a doula, and have a written birth plan. I do appreciate that they didn’t push medication on me, until of course I asked for it. Overall, the pain wasn’t bad though, and I want to truly go natural next time.  I just need to remember that it’s just transition, and that it’s almost over, next time it gets that intense.

Meanwhile, Eddie’s mentioned that we should do a home birth next time. With our pets, that seems like a bad idea. But, I wouldn’t mind a non-hospital birthing center. Something more comfortable. And I would love to actually have some alone time with my husband during the next labor.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Breastfeeding: The Road So Far

Warning: This post is extremely long.

Early in pregnancy, I was asked if I was planning on breastfeeding, or formula feeding. I assumed I would do both at the time, having no concept of exclusive breastfeeding, and it's benefits. Honestly, I had no idea it was even possible. I had never known anybody to exclusively breastfeed.
Then I began reading forums, articles, blogs... And I realized that breastfeeding was important to me. I hoped I wouldn't be one of the few who was unable to breastfeed exclusively, or at all.

Then, when my niece was born, 6 months before I was due, I decided to take a frozen homemade three-cheese lasagna over to my brother and his girlfriend. His girlfriend's mom was staying with them, and cooking for them at the time, but she would soon go home, and I knew my brother didn't cook.
Eddie and I are close with my brother and his girlfriend. There are a lot of things that we about, and we have a lot of common interests.
So we took the lasagna over, and spent some time with them and their new baby, Lily. They lived about an hour from us, so we decidedly made the most of the trip.
Toward the end of the evening, my brother's future mother-in-law asked if I was planning on breastfeeding.
"Yeah, if I can," was my response. I mean, how could I know at 3 months pregnant if it was going to work out? Everybody told me that I couldn't possibly know. I had even read that people shouldn't buy a pump before they form a good breastfeeding relationship post partum and are positive that it's going to work out.
"Everyone can breastfeed," was her response. Um, I'm sorry, but no. I didn't voice my strongly opposite opinion at the time, but I sure thought it. Most women can breastfeed. Some with problems, some with none. But there are also people who can't breastfeed, at all.
I took a class on breastfeeding through WIC, and didn't learn much - I had already read it all. But I did get to meet their lactation consultant. I liked her, and hoped I wouldn't need her much as she said due to budget constraints, she was only allowed one home visit now.

Fast forward 6 months to December. I had decided that I would breastfeed no matter what. I had been leaking colostrum for months already (in the future, I will find a way to store the leaked colostrum), and had no doubt that my milk would come in.
Evan was born, and already things weren't going as planned. He wasn't placed on my stomach immediately, and they instead took him off to the table to do the APGAR. I was confused, but exhausted so it didn't really hit me right away, except as disappointment. I wondered when I would get my baby back, figuring that it would only be a matter of moments. I hadn't even caught a glimpse of him yet, as he was taken that quickly, and I didn't have my glasses on so I couldn't see across the room.
I have no idea how long it was, but I was told that they were going to take him to the "Special Care Nursery" (read: NICU) to monitor his breathing. Something was wrong. I asked if I could see him, and they said of course (although I have a feeling I wouldn't have had a chance if I didn't ask). They held him just barely in my reach, and I touched his face before they took him away. I was told he would only be gone for an hour.
I told Eddie to go with them, and I texted my mom in the waiting room saying that they were taking him for an hour, and then I wanted a little bit of time with him before she, my brother and his girlfriend could come back and meet him.
I was in and out of sleep for that hour, waking multiple times to find myself alone in the room. It was these moments that it hit me what had happened, but I was honestly too tired to care much at the time. At one point, a friendly nurse from the NICU came in and asked if I wanted my husband with me, or in the NICU because he wasn't sure. I told her to tell him to stay. Somebody had to be with our son, and I was sleeping anyway.
The hour came and went, and my son wasn't back. I had read that those first moments, and that first hour, were crucial when it came to breastfeeding. Multiple times nurses would come to check something in the room, and when they first came in, I hoped they were bringing Evan to me. They weren't.
Then the same NICU nurse that had come to ask if Eddie should stay came back, and she wasn't alone. Evan was handed to me, and she helped direct me in how to begin breastfeeding. It was easy and natural. She made a comment about how I had more grace than some mothers who had done it before. We were given a few minutes, and then told that they were going to take him back while I moved out of the birthing room. I was assured that it would only be an hour tops, and also Eddie couldn't go with them because of something going on in the NICU.
We went to our new room, where I discovered that my phone had died. It was late now, and I couldn't update my family in the waiting room. Not long after settling into the new, much comfier bed (at the time it seemed that way), my mother found her way back to us. She wasn't supposed to be there, but a nurse allowed an exception. I asked how long she could stay, and was told about 20 minutes. I asked if she would see the baby, and the nurse said she could wait for the baby to be brought back, but she wouldn't get long.
We waited, and waited. Meanwhile my brother and his girlfriend had already left because they had a long day. It had definitely been over an hour, again. Frustrated, my mom took Eddie out to get food, and check on our pets. I filled out paperwork, until finally around 3am, Evan was brought back to me. At this point, we had been separated so much. My plan to never let him wear a disposable diaper had already been foiled.
I attempted breastfeeding, and I held him. I didn't feel right. There was no sudden click, I didn't feel that wave of love and completion that most people claimed. There was no attachment. Just a desire to sleep, and wishing that my mom would bring Eddie back already. But, my phone was dead.
They were gone for what seemed like forever. And I didn't know what I was doing. I knew that he should eat every 2-3 hours, but that was it. So that night, we slept. All three of us. And five hours later, I woke up to a nurse coming to take Evan for some tests. I was panicked. "But I haven't fed him, I slept 5 hours straight!" They acted like it was no big deal and took him for his tests. An hour later, he was brought back, and another nurse came to check me. Later that day, I was given a sheet to fill out with the times he ate, along with a diaper count. They wanted me to rate how well he fed, but I had no idea how to do that either, so I guessed.
Later that day, a nurse told me that if he didn't eat well soon, we would have to supplement. Say what? No, I knew it took awhile for milk to come in. But they were worried he wasn't even getting colostrum.
Another nurse said I could just hand-express and we could spoonfeed or something so that we saw how much he was getting. She clearly "got" breastfeeding moreso than the other nurse who jumped to formula.
My mom thought I was being hysterical about it all.
The best part was that it was Sunday, and apparently there is no lactation consultant on Sunday. And I was being discharged Monday.
Monday came around, I avoided having to supplement by getting one "good" feeding in (actually courtesy of the soothie pacifier - it helped him get a stronger suck). A lactation consultant came by, but she couldn't stay long. She promised she would  come back, but must have gotten tied up because she didn't come back before we were discharged. Meanwhile, we almost didn't get to take Evan home because his jaundice (usually normal in newborns) was still getting worse. Instead, they let us take him home, but we had to bring him back the next day to get checked.
When we came home from the hospital, I sat down on the couch with Evan and fed him. I would doze off, feed him, doze off... I was there until bed time, and then I realized he wouldn't sleep without me. He slept fine at the hospital though. So I ended up in the nursery rocker all night, at first crying because I had no idea what I was doing, then sleeping, nursing, sleeping... Until finally he stopped nursing. Evan was screaming, and would wake up, scream, half-nurse, sleep, repeat. In the morning, we took him to get his biliruben levels checked, and they were 16. Still getting worse. The nurse said that we shouldn't have been able to take him home until they were improving. Insert worry. Evan slept so well while we were there, probably exhausted from all that screaming at home!
They ordered us a bili-blanket, and said that we would need to supplement for now. I asked if that could be why he was so horribly fussy and inconsolable all morning, and they said probably. At that moment, I didn't mind that they were going to give him formula. I just wanted my baby to be happy, and healthy.
After that bottle, he wouldn't latch at all. So I called the WIC lactation consultant that I had met a couple months previously. She was going on vacation for the holidays, but could come see how things were going before she left. That would be my one home visit, which I desperately needed. I was losing confidence with breastfeeding every time I tried, and every time Evan screamed, fought, and rejected me. Formula was just so easy, and tempting. But, luckily I had begun pumping with my "occasional use" electric pump. It was a cheap Evenflo pump, but it worked. It took a lot of work, but I started to get 1 ounce per feeding for him, while he was taking 2 ounces.
So I had her come Thursday before she left, and when she came, I could get him to latch - for about two seconds. She said that it looked like a decent latch, but he was just impatient for letdown. Denise, the lactation consultant, referred me to one of the hospital lactation consultants, Julia. She said they sell some things that could help - one of which was a supplemental system that would allow him to drink his needed formula from the breast. Denise also wondered why they bottle-fed Evan, knowing that I was breastfeeding. She said they should have used a syringe or something, and that I could ask about that as well.
I regained some of that confidence.

We went to the hospital for his bili-check, again. While they tested his blood, we got to meet with a lactation consultant - Julia. She had us attempt to feed him at the breast, and she pointed out that he wasn't latching correctly. His tongue was going to the roof of his mouth while he was latching. No matter what I did, it wasn't working, and so we couldn't have the supplemental system. She tried a nipple shield, and it still didn't help. Finally, she tried the Haberman bottle. It required a good latch to work, and thus would "teach" him to latch correctly. So we bought it for $24. She also had me pump with the hospital pump. I got 1 ounce from both sides, which is what I got at home too, just it didn't take as long with the Medela.
I left with a follow-up appointment for the next week.
Within a couple days, one of our cats found the Haberman bottle, and tore the nipple up. I ordered a replacement from Amazon (which wasn't cheap), and was forced to give him normal bottles until then. I worried that it would set him back. Meanwhile, I stopped having the heart to attempt breastfeeding him directly. He acted like it was torture, and I just couldn't do it. I also wasn't good about pumping religiously. I noticed in the following days that my pump wasn't sounding quite right, but it still worked, so I still used it.
Meanwhile, I was told we didn't have to supplement once he was back to birth weight because his jaundice was improving.
Two days before our follow-up appointment with the lactation consultant, I tried breastfeeding and he suddenly latched. It finally clicked. And then we had a weight check. He was up to 8lbs 10oz. Evan surpassed his birth weight, and I said goodbye to the formula.

A few weeks went by, and I thought that everything was going well. Evan was having more and more awake time. He would look around, even smile at me and Eddie. I thought it was normal for him to want to nurse almost all the time.
We went to his one month weight check this past Thursday (Jan. 12th), and he was 8lb 15oz. It had been 20 days since his last weight check, and he only gained 5oz. If he was gaining the minimum healthy amount (1/2 oz per day) then he would have gained 10oz, but he didn't even meet that. The nurse told us that we would have to supplement every 3 hours with formula. I asked how much, and she said 2-3 ounces. I asked if we had to do it at night and she responded, "If he's hungry."
I left that appointment pissed. I had gone through so much, and he seemed fine! Why should I have to supplement, again?!? At least he was, in fact, gaining weight. Plus, there are other factors. He hadn't been pooping regularly at his first weight check, for one. For two, I knew for a fact he had grown. I clothe him, I put diapers on him... he's bigger. He smiles. He's attentive.

When we got home, I first posted a complaint on a facebook group that I'm a part of. They validated my opinion, and assured me to wait until I talk to my lactation consultant, because supplementing formula would hurt my supply.
Then I posted on the wall for my local chapter of Eats on Feets, a mother-to-mother milksharing group. Then I began reading about what a breastfed baby should be gaining. He definitely wasn't gaining enough. Meanwhile, I kept track of how often he was eating. 5:40-6:15. Then again at 6:55. Then again around an hour later. Every hour? No wonder I was going crazy, I thought this was normal! I left a voicemail for my lactation consultant from WIC and went on with my night.
We gave him one bottle of formula that night, and I pumped, reassuring myself that it was only temporary.
He slept better than usual that night, and by the morning, I had a message on facebook. A stay-at-home mother of three wanted to donate to us.

The lactation consultant hasn't called back, but she should after the weekend. Melissa, the donor mom, and I have spoken on facebook and on the phone. She's also given me advice to help get my supply up. We're going to get together in the spring.
And of course, my mother was disapproving at first, but she got over it. Now, my brother's girlfriend is voicing her opinion as well. But you know what? I'm happy with this situation, finally.
I'm finally comfortable supplementing. I know that it's not forever, and I finally have support, something that I've been lacking until now.

Eddie and I are happy in our decision to receive donor milk, and that's all that matters.

Next time around, I will save leaky colostrum from pregnancy. I will pump from day one (which I was advised not to do by a nurse at the hospital). I will set an alarm those first nights in the hospital. And hopefully, things will go better. Hopefully, I'll be the one with milk to spare.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Milestone: Smile for Me

Today, at 4 weeks and one day, Evan smiled at me. He was grumpy, looking around, and I moved into his view. A smile flickered across his face, and then it turned into a grin. It didn't last long, definitely not long enough to get a picture, but it happened.
He's been smiling at random for the past week, while he was awake even. But Eddie and I both knew those smiles didn't mean anything - they were like random twitches, not connected to anything that was actually going on around Evan.

And I hate to admit it, but I wasn't the first person he smiled at. Evan smiled at his daddy first, which was also today. I couldn't be happier.

Next up: Catching a photo of him in the act.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cloth Diapers: 3 week Update

Our original plan was to cloth diaper at the hospital,  but that didn't work out. Evan was whisked away to the NICU (they said only for an hour to monitor him, but it was longer than that) - then he was brought to me for the first time, and taken back again. I didn't get him back again until after 3am.

Needless to say, my goal of keeping disposables off of him didn't work, because he wasn't even with me. We decided to leave him in disposables for the rest of our stay, and we took the remaining disposables home, and used them each time we brought him back for Bili checks, or other appointments. However, he was in cloth from his first diaper change at home, and we loved it. We stopped using disposables on trips out once his cord stump fell off, so we can put him in BumGenius 3.0 size smalls (not meant for newborns) on trips to the doctor and anywhere they will want to take his diaper off.

He currently goes through 11 newborn fitteds, 5 BumGenius All-in-Ones, 1 Best Bottom (with 3 inserts), 1 small (can be sized up some) Pocket/All-in-Two. This can be as many as 21 diapers, or as few as 18, depending on if our All-in-Two shells are salvageable after changes. As of last night, we've begun using prefolds as well (we didn't feel comfortable with them when he had a cord stump, or even when his belly button was healing after it came off). We have 16 prefolds.

We are currently doing laundry mostly every day, because he goes through so many diapers. We may change him a tad bit more than necessary though. Better safe than sorry.

After a full day of diapering (since laundry was done), his bag was nearly full.
We're also using cloth wipes. We have 10 Spasilk baby washcloths, 3 random baby washcloths, and 7 bamboo velour/flannel wipes. The velour/flannel are our favorite, but they all get the job done.

Our favorite wipes, which we only realized we loved because we got this one as a freebie on Black Friday.

The wipe solution we're currently using, but I use so much that I'll have to get the concentrated version next time.
We also have three Kawaii Pure & Natural - but Evan is lean, so they don't fit yet.

It overlaps very minorly, but not enough to hold. Oh well, maybe soon.
And Evan's first time in a prefold:

Pardon the shadows, he was starting to be squirmy because I took too long with the pictures!

Overall we love the diapers right now. We have only had one leak, which was a BG all-in-one that wasn't on tight enough. User error.

Next time around we will get more fitteds though, because they fold down for the cord stump and we find them bulletproof.