Friday, August 30, 2013

Our shy and modest child

Well, apparently our baby is either purposely uncooperative or just plain modest, because he/she did not give us a view of the parts "down there".

During the entire ultrasound, the baby was moving its hands and feet. Everything looked healthy and on track with the due date. The tech commented on how active the baby was, but then when it came time to check on the baby's sex, the cord was in between its legs. And despite repeated efforts to have it move around, the cord remained there and our view of the private parts was blocked. The tech said she thinks the baby tired itself out and fell asleep because it was not disturbed by her prodding at its butt.

We are disappointed to not know whether we have a little miss or little mister, but are thrilled beyond words to have seen the baby moving around and looking generally healthy!! One really cute thing is that the baby has long leg bones, which makes it measure slightly bigger overall. Basically, our half-Dutch child is gonna be tall & lanky. :)

18 weeks

We're actually almost 19 weeks today and hopefully by this evening we'll have seen our little one moving around via ultrasound. My bump is growing; it made an appearance last night for the parents of my students. I felt a bit awkward, but decided to just make it clear from the beginning so I wore a belt that showed it off :)

Sometimes it looks a little lumpy, dontcha think?

Week 18
20 hours spent working at the new school
5 long morning walks
1 spontaneous dinner from WaWa
60 minutes talking to co-workers who had a baby in May and gave us plenty of good advice
2 classrooms prepped and ready for students
40+ minutes watching as our little one waved arms and legs at us on the ultrasound screen! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby registry: part 2

Okay, at this point we have 80+ items on our Amazon registry. It seems like a lot, and it is I guess, but part of that number is because I hand-picked So that's like 15 items right there. :)

There are a lot of expensive things on our registry, and while we hope some will be group gifts, we also expect to purchase a bunch of them ourselves. It is our baby, after all.

Here's my thought on the pricey stuff: if we're picking items to be used for all our future children (we hope to have more some day!), we want them to be both gender-neutral and high-quality so they will last for many years. Plus, all these things will be in our home and we don't want cheap, bad-looking junk to clutter up our living space.

These are a few of the items I'm most excited about & why they're on our registry:

1. BOB Revolution SE Stroller. I can't even list how many people online have recommended this stroller. Joel loves to run and I'm all about having a stroller we can use on suburban sidewalks and/or walking trails.This is perhaps the most thrilling item on our registry. I daydream regularly about walking around our neighborhood with Joel in the evening, taking turns pushing our little mini in the BOB.

2.  Chicco Keyfit 30 with extra base. This specific car seat has excellent reviews and the color (Sedona) is gender-neutral enough to last for future kiddos.

3. Baby Mantra soap and lotion. I've read mixed reviews about chemicals in baby products and while I know this isn't something I can avoid forever/completely, I want to start our newborn off in the world with skin products that are gentle and safe. Plus, this review is adorable.

4. Bum Genius 4.0 one-size diaper with snaps. We chose a variety of colors for future use, as well. I have read a LOT about cloth diapers and have at least 10 different things pinned related to the subject. These two posts were the most helpful and basically contributed to me choosing this type of diaper. I'll write more on the subject later, but that's the basic plan.

5. 4Moms Breeze Play yard (aka: portable crib for traveling) I read this glowing review and was basically sold on this travel crib. Then we baby-sat for our friends' baby and his crib was so so so hard to set up. Then it left little pieces of itself on our floor. And I was totally sold on the Breeze. We really like to travel and all our family members live out of state; a quality place for baby to sleep away from home is important.

6. Summer Infant bouncy seat. Here's what sold me on this one: NO annoying animals or blinding colors. It's neutral and simple; no bells and whistles (and it won't clash with our paint colors;) )

7. Sakura Bloom ring sling. I have dreamed of this sling for over two years. It's gotten rave reviews and is simply beautiful. Apparently it's a discreet option for nursing on the go and can hold kids from infancy up through age 3.

*I have a love/hate relationship with online product reviews. I think they're so helpful and they have definitely impacted some of my registry decisions. On the other hand, they always involve personal opinions and it's impossible to know for sure whether something is great without trying it out myself. Tricky.

**There are definitely a few silly/adorable/totally frivolous things on our registry, too. I figure if people want to buy us cute stuff, at least I can suggest the type and style I really like :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

maternity clothing, 1

I haven't let myself buy many new things for myself so far, but I have purchased a few and also received some as gifts from my mom/mom-in-law and friends.

Last week I used a gift card from Target and a coupon we got for registering there and stocked up on two long maternity tank tops to wear all winter/spring. Then I got a reddish men's zip up (size small) to pair with tanks in the cooler weather and long sleeve Ts in the cold weather. I made my belly stick out in the mirror to make sure it would fit over a bigger bump :)

My favorite places for maternity wear (so far!) are Target and I got three new sweaters for fall from Motherhood Maternity as gifts and they are all awesome, but I wasn't impressed with their pants selection. I'm excited for the weather to get cool so I can wear long sleeves comfortably.

Asos has a great selection of sale items! Just be careful: they tend to run big. I bought my normal size and both the jacket and t-shirt are a tiny bit big.... they should be fine as my bump grows, but I'm very glad I didn't order them any larger!
P.S. Here are some links I found helpful when making decisions regarding maternity clothing... It's all so darn expensive and I certainly don't want to break the bank when I still have five months left ever. 
What Not to Wear- Maternity Edition.
Maternity Must-Haves.
No Brainer Maternity Wardrobe.
Snappy Casual (search results: maternity)

Monday, August 26, 2013

A quick PSA

We interrupt regularly schedule programming for a quick PSA:

This morning Baby 'Berts kicked me. And I felt it!!!!

My mind is completely blown at three things:

1. How obvious it was when I felt it. Like DUH, that's a kick.
2. The way this feels so much more like a real child inside now that he/she is clearly moving.
3. That nobody told me how amazing it would be!

I actually felt it multiple times, but most strongly around 10am while talking to a co-worker in her classroom. I told Joel it was as if the baby just woke up (and decided to go for a quick morning swim).

Friday, August 23, 2013

ohhh, the baby clothes!

So far the only thing I've bought for our baby is this adorable elephant onesie (which actually wasn't just for our baby-- it came in a package of 5 and I gave 4 away to babies coming next month & saved my fav. ha).

It's hard to resist the sweet, sweet clothing, but I've been doing my best because I know people love to give baby clothes (I sure do!) and I expect we'll get a lot in the coming months. My friend Rachel said because experienced parents knew to give clothes in bigger sizes, she'll be able to clothe her son for his first year without buying him anything. Amazing!

If I were made of money and thought it was wise to spend it all on baby clothes, here are some fun things I'd buy. Don't worry, I won't really buy them all any.

Any of these GAP pieces for little guys.

Skinny jeans for a baby. 10 bucks on sale at Old Navy right now. Steal.

Skinny jeans for an older kid. Could be for a boy or girl, I'd say. 

Darling dress for a little lady (in 3 pretty colors).

What an adorable swimsuit!!

Sweet little gender-neutral T-shirt. With fish!

pregnancy: week 17

Week 17
40 minutes spent at our prenatal appointment with the midwife
2 long morning walks
1 care package received in the mail
8+ hours spent at the beach with junior high kids
1 very happy dad who got to hear his little one's speedy heartbeat
6 hours in new job training

We went to our first regular prenatal appointment at the birth center this week. Everything was fine (the heartbeat was awesome!) and the midwife gave us a lot of good information about what to expect, what to watch for, etc. In an attempt to make scheduling simple from here on, I made the rest of my appointments up until mid-January. That's nuts!

If all goes well, we have an ultrasound at the end of next week to reveal the baby's sex. It's on the early side (not quite 19 weeks at that point), but the office closes at 2:30 each afternoon so we want to get it in before school starts. The midwife said sometimes babies have tiny cysts on their heads at 18 weeks that will disappear later, so she didn't want us to be alarmed. I had never heard that before, but we are going to the ultrasound prepared and hoping we get to know the sex and don't have to get another ultrasound later on.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

pregnancy: week 16

Week 16
1 “Sprout” baby app downloaded on the iPad
3 pairs of maternity jeans tried on (one fit great, but it's probably too early to bite the bullet and get them!)
4 dinner guests
10+ servings of natural tonic water + cran-raspberry juice 
8 minutes on the phone with the insurance company, attempting to figure out the best place to have our anatomic ultrasound
2 books received from sweet local friends

I have gained about 5 pounds in the second trimester (!!!) Looking at the scale is actually startling since I went about 13+ weeks without gaining any weight at all. Guess I better get used to this!

Readers: I'd love to know who you are and what you're interested in reading. Leave a comment introducing yourselves and letting me know some topics or questions I should write about. Thanks, y'all!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A very special package

Today I hit the mail jackpot. A HUGE box arrived from the Buffalo, NY area, from my sweet college roommate Ashley. I've been waiting almost nine months to meet her soon-to-arrive baby boy and I'm so excited Baby 'Berts will have a friend to learn from someday.

Anyway, Ashley sent me four new books, a maternity skirt, and some body cream I've been wanting to try on my already-itchy baby bump. Hooray!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

pregnancy: weeks 14 and 15

Whew, we're almost caught up here, folks!
This whole keep-the-baby-a-secret-till-the-second-trimester thing is TOUGH! :) There are a lot of weeks to make up for.

Week 14 was a real turning point in the pregnancy. After returning home from Granada, I had about three straight days of feeling nauseous and tired. Part of that may have been recovering from jet lag, but I think it was also baby-related. Despite not feeling great, we had a bunch of fun with our friends around the Philadelphia area. We took a walking food tour in the pouring rain and went to a baseball game. Nice classic Philly summer fun. :)

Week 14
1 Phillies vs. Giants game attended
2 mornings of training for a new teaching job
61 items added to an Amazon baby registry
10+ hours online reading reviews on baby gear

During week 15 we drove to visit Joel's family. We had a full week there to spend time with his parents, brothers, other relatives, and friends. The weather was gorgeous and I felt awesome. No nausea and just a little bit of tiredness and aching joints. AND, look who decided to show up, at the very end of week 15:
(See that real live baby bump there?!)
Week 15

720+ miles in the car to Michigan

6 stops on the way to Michigan

1 set of sweet little baby utensils + 1 soft blanket received

0 nights of sleep uninterrupted by bathroom breaks
3 new maternity sweaters for work (early birthday gift from Grandma Alberts!)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Boys and girls

In the next few weeks we will have an ultrasound that should allow us to see if our baby is a little miss or a little mister. It's funny: people keep asking if we have a preference and I just say no. Which is true. We don't care; we just want him/her to be healthy. BUT we do imagine that it's a girl.

Growing up I had a younger brother and often wondered what it would be like to have an older brother, too. So when I daydreamed about having my own kids, I thought I would want a boy first so if I had a girl later, she would get a big bro. Joel grew up with two brothers and has 13 male cousins on his dad's side of the family (and only 2 girls!!). He thinks it would be so interesting to have a girl because he has no experience with that and the idea just intrigues him.

One day early on he told me "I think our baby is a girl. It's just father's intuition." That is, of course, hilarious, but after the conversation I started picturing a baby girl growing inside. Now that we are getting close to halfway in the pregnancy, I'm so so so curious!

Something funny: our church nursery will soon have an influx of baby girls. One is due in September, another in October, and another in early November. It would be truly hilarious if we give them yet another girl in late January.

Or, if it's a boy, he'll have a bunch of pretty prom dates to choose from ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reflections on pregnancy

Well, here I am again, avoiding things that probably need to get done, so I decide to write a blog post. Classic. If I analyze myself, I get the hunch that I'm overwhelmed by all that could be done for school (which starts on September 2nd!!) and my natural response is to avoid avoid avoid.

This whole pregnancy thing, now that I'm no longer nauseous, feels a little easier to handle because there is nothing pressing to be done.

The registry is started, the baby's room doesn't need any work for now, I have a midwife appointment next Tuesday, and I'm just waiting to hear back from an ultrasound office so we can schedule the time to find out if this little one is a boy baby or a girl.

Anyway, I can't believe how good I've been feeling! It's amazing to be able to go hours between meals without being sick! Plus, lazy summer mornings mean I get plenty of sleep.

The timing of this baby blows my mind. I can't believe we found out about him/her just weeks before getting a full-time teaching job. But really, how blessed could I be? My worst moments of sickness were during vacation when I could rest and really take care of myself. Now that school is starting, I'm in the second trimester and have lots of energy and excitement. I didn't need to buy many maternity clothes for summer because my body hasn't grown much yet. When I am big and hot in the last few weeks of pregnancy, it will be cold here. Amazing.

Watching Joel fall for this baby has been so so sweet. When we were first getting to know each other I felt confident he would be an awesome dad and now that it's starting to be a reality, I'm even more sure. He is attentive to my feelings and my health and often kisses the baby goodnight and good morning. We are blessed.

P.S. Isn't this outfit adorable? Hope Baby 'Berts looks good in yellow!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

pregnancy: weeks 12 + 13

Week 12
25 hours spent withSpanish teenagers 
2 stressful bus rides where the Daddy-to-be was sicker than the Momma-to-be
20+ new friends in Granada informed of the bundle of joy on his/her way
1 hilariously candid“announcement” photo taken
Week 13
1 break-up visit at the OB’s office
8 seconds listening to a beautiful, strong, amazing baby heartbeat
45 minutes spent meeting a midwife and touring the birth center where we hope to deliver
984+ excited responses to our announcement on Facebook
291 miles traveled to Rhode Island so Uncle Allen could meet his unborn niece/nephew
3 bathroom trips in said 291 mile road trip
2 new skirts purchased in the hopes that they’ll stretch with this growing belly

Monday, August 12, 2013

why I broke up with my OB

Long ago, before we were trying to have a baby, I read two articles on natural childbirth, written by two of my favorite bloggers. Their words really resonated with me and I thought, "I believe my body was designed for this. If I get the chance to have a baby some day, natural birth makes perfect sense to me."

(Quick disclaimer: I am not writing this to prove any points or to pass any judgement. I'm no expert on this subject. I believe parents should be able to do what they think is best for themselves and their baby. But, I do feel strongly about the choices I have made so far. And this is my blog, so I can write what I choose. :))

Anyway, the first post, written by a nurse, explains why the author chose to have a home birth with her son. She talks about how labor & delivery is the "money-maker" of hospitals. She shares her own experience birthing naturally and how much freedom and flexibility she had during labor. I wanted that, too.

The second post, written by a mom of two children (both born without medication), basically just challenges women to be educated: to know their options, to ask questions, to think through common interventions, and to use natural "labor aids" to help you in the process of giving birth. I didn't want to be pushed around or bullied into anything; her suggestions hooked me. 

When we got pregnant, I started talking to Joel about my understanding of natural childbirth, my reading about midwifery, my desire to question what was considered "normal" in terms of hospital birth, etc. We watched the documentary, "The Business of Being Born" and continued to discuss the subject. Joel agreed to check out a local birth center (run by two midwives) after we went to the first scheduled appointment with my OB.

I think I went into that OB appointment already convinced I wanted to continue care elsewhere. However, three small annoyances sealed the deal:
1. The nurse who checked me in was adamant about estimating the baby's due date based on my last period. I really didn't want to do that because I had been tracking my cycle and knew that date wouldn't be accurate based on the typical 28-day calendar used by doctor's offices. Plus, it would have put me two weeks ahead of schedule and could have resulted in a way-too-early induction of labor.
2. The OB, who I've been seeing for GYN care for at least three years, asked if I was still taking blood pressure medicine... "Really, lady? I've never once been on blood pressure medicine."
3. Because the office is large, they told me they'd try to have me meet with all 6 of their doctors because there was no guarantee who'd be on call when I went into labor. So potentially I could be in labor and delivering my first child at this hospital with a caregiver I'd never.even.met. No thanks.

After that, I went to to one more appointment there and it sucked. Two days later we visited a local birth center and asked a million questions before taking a tour and deciding to continue care there.

At this point, unless something changes and the pregnancy becomes high risk, we'll meet with a midwife for all regular prenatal appointments from now on. Our baby will be born at a birth center 12 minutes from our home. So.freaking.excited.

P.S. If you're interested in the subject, I suggest reading this post and then checking out some more posts about home birth and natural living. Look for the post about her recent VBAC... this lady rocks the whole birthing thang!
P.S.S. A short, semi-humorous post on why another of my fav bloggers chose to give birth with a midwife. 

pregnancy: weeks 10 and 11

Week 10
3 new maternity pieces arrived in the mail (courtesy of Grandmom Nelson)
4 days straight of cloudy, gloomy weather
1 night with just ONE wake-up-to-pee sleep interruption
7+ servings of regular, 100% cows’ milk (I may officially be off soy milk)
892 trips to the bathroom
2+ hours talking birth stories with a friend over a decaf Starbucks drink

Week 11
1 baby shower attended, for one of baby Berts’ future friends
2 big suitcases packed and ready for Granada
15+ hours sitting on a plane
45+ minutes of sleep on the floor of the Paris airport
3 hours sitting on a Granada rooftop, enjoying tapas and a few sips of Spanish wine