Thursday, February 27, 2014

Better be a GIRL!

Remember the recent update about Week 15 and buying some baby clothes? Yeah... guilty as charged.
SO... I was at Nordstrom Last Chance with some friends recently and decided to buy some adorable baby girl clothes. I will be out of luck if baby is a boy, but, conveniently, a lot of my friends and students are having girls so the clothes won't go to waste regardless. I couldn't resist between the cuteness and the prices!!!

Here are the purchases!

Adorbs, right!? I can't get over those socks and that dress!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Baby Mine: A Borrowed Post from Modern Mom, Redefined

I took this post from my old blog, Modern Mom Redefined, because I found it inspiring and still completely true/relevant. I seriously can't wait to be able to nurse again!!

One of my favorite things is breastfeeding. With it's quite significantly obvious financial benefits, loving health benefits for the baby, and it's weight loss and varying benefits for mom.... I am definitely pro-boobs.

 But, perhaps one of my favorite parts? How cuddly and loving it's made Caydon.

I know that some kids are just naturally cuddly. Some will cuddle without breast-is-best-ing it. While others, regardless of how much mom and dad try, won't cuddle at all. I get it.

But Caydon?
His social and communication delays, as well as his Sensory Perception Disorder, would point to him NOT wanting to cuddle. It's very atypical for a child on the spectrum to want to be touched, let alone cuddled up to on the regular.  Caydon is, still, quite the contradiction. He is the most cuddly little guy I know.

His favorite movie is Dumbo. Why? Well, Dumbo is a great movie. Duh. But, he also has this ritual that involves cuddling up to me when all the other animals are cuddling with their mommy during the song "Baby Mine".

He insists, every time. Sometimes he'll even talk about how he's Dumbo and I'm "Dumbo Mommy Elephant that makes Dumbo no more sad". I melt. Quite cute, if I may say with my totally biased opinion.

 I thank every one of the 17 months that I breastfed for that my baby loves to cuddle so much, even against the odds. When he couldn't tell me he loved me because of his delays, and wouldn't look me in the eyes because eye contact hurt too much of him, we always had cuddling.

 Will I do breasted again? 
Even with the mastitis, 
a horrible latch, 
[his] gassy days, 
and teething? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 15 Update

Besides being miserably sick, we've had a really good week.
Caydon, in particular, had a REALLY good week... as noted by his "mommy sized" steak dinner he chose as a reward.

 I also made some baby purchases... specifically some GIRL purchases. I know, I am crazy... what if it's not a girl!? But I really do think it is one... I also made a section of my closet for baby since ALL babies deserve a closet for pretty things ;)
Here are some of the bigger items. I just purchased the crib and carseat from a friend.. and yes, that's a super cute gold and pink polka dot ruffle bathing suit!!

Here is a silly update picture for size. My student always makes fun of me being pregnant... apparently I rub my stomach a lot because it always itches!

baby/pregnancy stats:

How far along?  15 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 10 lbs
Working Out: 1 day :-/
Maternity clothes? pretty much only maternity, or larger clothes
Stretch marks? no but my boobs won't stop itching! (TMI?)
Sleep: Nonstop
Labor Signs: no way!
Belly Button in or out? in still
Best moment this week: Celebrating my first born
Miss Anything? wine
Movement: a lot!
Symptoms: throwing up all-the-time... it's not just "morning" sickness!
Food cravings: In and Out... Particularly their "animal style" secret menu items!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Everything
Anything make you emotional?: Not really
Bump Alert: Definitely growing
Gender prediction: Still thinking girl
Happy or Moody most of the time: Primarily sick and miserable
Pregnancy Dreams: Not really. Too sick to dream?
Fearing: Doing this alone.

Anticipating: Not being sick anymore!!

Baby Shower Theme: Pat the Bunny

I may have a thing for children's books, but this Pat the Bunny Baby Shower makes me drool way more than I'd like to admit. I am also finding inspiration in when thinking about nursery potential. Seriously hoping baby is a girl!!

See for yourself:

Monday, February 24, 2014

DIY: Silhouette Portraits

I made this a while ago *hence the poor photo quality!*, but I thought I would share it since I think the end result is great and the craft itself is easy. I am seriously smitten with silhouettes, still, and can't wait to make one of baby and another of big brother. ((I'm stocking up fun activities to do on my maternity leave since I really struggle at just being home!))

1. Take a photo of your kiddo (or whoever's silhouette you want)'s profile. Make sure they have their chin out enough... so it should like like this:

Not this:

2. Print out the picture, keeping in mind that you may have to enlarge it enough to fit the size frame you have in mind.  Then, cut the outline of the head. Trace the cut picture onto a piece of paper (the paper you want to be the silhouette itself).

3. Paste the new, pretty paper cutout onto a scrapbook piece of paper that is the size of the frame. You may want to play around with the picture and scrapbook paper before pasting. See how the two background options change the look?

4. Frame, and hang or gift. There you go! Super easy craft for your home or for a family member that loves your babe as much as you do.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Home Birth Questions

There is a power to women 
that comes when they give birth. 
They don't ask for it; 
it simply invades them. 
Accumulates like clouds on the horizon 
and passes through, 
carrying the child with it. 

-Sheryl Feldman

I have been asked a ton of questions in regards to planning on having this baby at home, so I figured I would answer the questions on here. I am excited to share with you my perspective on something that I find so very empowering for us mommies, but please also know that I respect all choices and viewpoints... this is just, by far, what is best for my family. Thank you for the same respect!

Here are a few of the questions I am asked on the regular regarding the home birth:

Why a home birth? Home birth has been something that always fascinated me, but I always thought that it was for "crunchy, granola mommies" and I never categorized myself with that label, though I starting to see it more so now (baby wearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, and birthing at home... most of which were unintentional but ended up being so, as I will someday explain in a cosleeping post.) I do recall being pregnant with Caydon and thinking that this concept was crazy, but I also didn't know enough about it. After Caydon's birth; however, I found a growing interest due to the fact that Caydon's labor, delivery, and postnatal care ended up being exactly the opposite of my birth plan. It's as if everything I had hoped for and meticulously planned with him was thrown out the window. It's not like I was too specific- quite frankly, I had no idea what to ask for-, but I never received any spray/care for my sutures, wasn't supported with bathing, and never saw a lactation consultant after 3 days of asking repeatedly in the hospital. I felt so disrespected, low, and afraid leaving the hospital with my new baby. I remember trying to be strong because I knew I needed to be, but feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with a newborn. It was just the two of us at night since day one. I was waaay too exhausted, but refused to put him in the nursery due to the potential of Caydon being adopted. I didn't sleep for 56 hours after my 13 hour labor because of trying to care for Caydon or entertaining visitors. I didn't shower for longer because I couldn't figure out how to get Caydon to sleep long enough to allow me to get out of my bed and clean up. I remember so badly wanting to just be in my own bed, in my own home, and starting my own life with Caydon, but I was too afraid to ask for it.

I also view this pregnancy as "high risk" for autism. There are various studies that suggest the idea of autism being connected to things that occur during pregnancy, labor, or post birth, so this has also pushed me against the encouraged idea of hospital birth. I could go on for days about the controversies out there, but the way that I see it is that if there is a risk, and the risk exceeds the why, then it isn't something I am interested in. This has resulted in denying the majority of testing including genetic and ultrasound. I explained this concept more in this previous post.

Finally, I simply find home birthing to be beyond beautiful. It seems so relaxing, even though the mom is in excruciating pain, because the mother is in control and full informed. I honestly feel that the sense of control behind the labor and the sense of being where you are most comfortable, your home,  as well as being "in the know" at all times, makes for this image of peace. I am excited to be empowered, respected, and in control, while giving homage to an art form that has been done since the beginning of time.

But, WHERE (insert emphasis here) at home do you have the baby? Honestly, I can labor and birth wherever I choose to be. That can be in our backyard, in my bed, Caydon's room (as if the mess brings comfort, hah), my roman tub/shower, the living room, the garage, my office... wherever. The beauty about not having an IV or any medical intervention is that I can move however I am comfortable. Oh, and I can eat as much as I please throughout the labor!
I have a girlfriend whose friend birthed in her SUV's trunk at the the local community college, since it is directly across the street from the children's hospital. She hoped to be in control of a natural labor and her midwife wanted to give her that, even though baby needed NICU care after birth. This was the best of both worlds for them, where the midwife felt comfortable with the compromise. How amazing is that?!

What about a water birth? Are you doing that, too? I am. I'm actually supposed to keep the room warm to help keep the water room temperature, or warmer, which makes sense being that the baby is due during the summer in Arizona. I love being in the water when it is warm outside, or when I am feeling stressed or crampy. Water birth is also supposed to better prepare your... ahem... "body" for stretching while reducing the pain 30-40% naturally. I would be lying to deny my thinking that babies coming out of water to greet the world makes for the perfect moment.

What about the risks? Well, I think there is empowerment to understanding what is said to be a "risk" and the truth behind it. For example, 1/3 babies are born with the cord wrapped around it's neck, and this isn't truly deemed as a medical emergency, as much as it is a scapegoat. The risk of a c-section by just entering a hospital is 33% and that number drastically increases the more medical interventions you receive. While I recognize that this procedure is a trend and people actually elect to have surgery vs going the natural way, I personally believe that they bring more risk to the mom and baby than people like to acknowledge and would rather do all things to avoid a surgery. I also like to acknowledge what the rest of the world is doing... something I do regularly when it comes to vaccines and the foods we consume... because I think the rest of the world is much more "with it" than the US tends to be in many aspects. Home birthing is the norm in many places.

How did you find your midwife?  Actually, my ex before my most recent (baby's daddy)'s sister... or, to put it simply, another teacher in my district who has become a great friend of mine!, had done her research and chose to have her baby with Mary, our midwife. She actually ended up being breech and unable to have the home birth, but was still completely amazed by the outpouring of love Mary and her team gave my friend and her baby anyway.  When I got pregnant with this baby, I decided to do some research and ask for friend referrals. The night that I met Mary, I went in with a ton of research on her, plans to continue shopping, and an undecided mindset when it came to home birthing. I left with a hug from her team, knowing that not only did I want HER to deliver my baby, but I also knowing that I absolutely wanted a home birth. She more than reassured me; there was something about her sparkle that gave me comfort amid the chaos. Every appointment is based on how I am doing holistically (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) and she completely understands my concerns regarding this baby potentially having autism. Her team embraces children of the laboring mother to be involved every step of the way, and her office feels more like a home than a medical facility that gives Caydon anxiety (and me, as a result). I am so so SO happy that I just followed my gut and "knew" when I did, as I'm certain the end result would have been the same. They even give me support on the stress of this breakup and remind me how strong I am. Amazing.

What kind of medical intervention do you plan on having? To put it bluntly, as little as possible. If I could have the baby born in the caul, which is done by not breaking water until post birth, I would in a heartbeat. It's also supposed to bring good luck, which is kind of fun, as well as further protect the baby... sort of like cushioning. My plan is to trust my midwife, who is beyond amazing. She actually had my friend go to an OBGYN for a C-Section because of foreseen risks aka she doesn't "play god" and is humble enough to know when to ask for mainstream medical help. My midwife also sent me on my way to mainstream medicine during my 1st trimester when my UTI and funky symptoms got a little out of control. I appreciate that she recognizes the need for mainstream medicine, but also embraces the power of human strength and nature's way when possible.

What kind of birthing style do you plan to use? I honestly haven't firmly decided yet, but hypnobirthing and yoga birthing both sound great so far. I will be researching these, and other options, shortly.

Are you planning on photography? Or a recording?
I figure that some shorter parts will be recorded, but I am definitely planning on hiring a professional photographer there for the larger length of it. I actually have already found this person (go figure) since I am really excited about it. I do all of the fun stuff first ;)  This photographer is creating a "Birth Story," which consists of maternity,  labor, and newborn photos for baby... something I regret not doing with Caydon... so she will be there snapping away memories of the magic moment, as well as before and after.

Who is going to be there? This is actually a great question! Obviously, my midwife and her midwife assistant will be there.  One of my closest friends and mentors, Ashley, will also be there as my labor partner. I am not sure yet if Luke, the father, will be there. Luke's girlfriend will, under no circumstances, be present as she purposefully causes me a great deal of stress... she sounds quite charming (hah). (And yes, I have been asked this... why, I'm not sure, since I think it's easy to assume that I have a strong disinterest in this woman, especially considering she discourages a cordial relationship between Luke and I out of her own selfish ambition, whereas my approach to dating single dads has always been to respect and, hopefully, befriend the mother. So yeah, she will be as far away from birthing and this baby as I can keep her!)   My therapist says not to worry about Luke and his choices right now and just to give myself space to heal, so that's what I am doing before I decide on if I want him around. And, obviously, my photographer will be present.

So are you going to allow Caydon and Eva present?
It kind of depends on when I go in to labor. I am thinking that I don't want them to be there for the entire thing (sounds kind of boring or stressful for them) so Caydon will go to my parents' and Eva will go wherever Luke has in mind, if Luke is even there. If Caydon is asleep, though, I won't be waking him up to leave. I am not opposed to having either one of them around when the baby is born (granted that Eva's mom would want her there.. it's kind of on them, though I am not about to discourage her from being a part of the birth of her sibling), but I know that I won't be able to take care of them as much as I would like. Time will tell!

Any more questions, feel free to ask!

I will eventually answer questions in regards to how long baby will be under water, delayed cord clamping, and the placenta. Stay tuned if you are interested in these answers, but know these are areas that I am still researching and deciding on :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Window Shopping: Girl Nursery Inspiration

I would be completely lying if I said that I don't want a girl. I want a girl so much that I am already dreaming up a girl nursery and buying girl clothes (I figure that if baby is a boy, I can gift these clothes at showers...)

That being said, here are some of the ideas that I am toying around with in regards to the nursery.

Color Scheme  I am loving the pink and gold trend, but am contemplating adding some apple, mint, or navy to it. There will also be grey in it since most of our house is grey, and mostly likely I will be sharing room with baby regardless of if we move or not.  I would probably stick with the softer pinks and gold, with touches of the others so it looks put together but not too matchy matchy.
I plan to keep the walls white, but will have a touch of these colors throughout. I am thinking something soft like this:

Great Quotes with a touch of World/Floral  I love having great quotes to read. I will probably make a sign similar to this:

...and have already bought this print for myself. If baby is lucky, I might share!

Pattern   I am not a fan of little kid prints. As a matter of fact, Caydon's room doesn't have anything except for little dinosaur accents here and there (because, let's face it, someone is obsessed!)  But his curtains are solid stripes and his bed has been chevron for years. I'm just not a "character theme" type of person. For the baby, I love all of the trendy patterns, but I can't decide of the ombre, chevron, and aztec is here to stay or if it will be gone by the time baby is a week old.  What do you think??  I am definitely loving the triangle, arrows, and gold dots trend, though, and will probably never stop loving girly floral or anything that reminds me of Kate Spade.

Grown Up Sophisticated   Along with the "character theme," I just can't get into the baby looking gear. I love the more modern, "tech" gear that is solid black or has a more mature vibe. I also love the more "glam" and "sophisticated" looks with a touch of country/antique. I'm kind of an undecided mix of styles, hah. That being said, I will definitely be making something like these in leu of a mobile:

Being Inspired  I find inspiration from a lot of different pieces,  but I am overly inspired by little unexpected, unrelated to baby pieces like these:

I am also completely obsessed with the following nursery pictures, which are bundles of inspiration in and of themselves. How beautiful are these rooms? And so simple yet such beautiful details!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 14 Update

This is a tad late. I have been swamped trying to stay caught up at work and focus on the three of us... my babies and I. I can't believe baby is as big as one of my favorite desserts! Time is seriously flying!!

baby/pregnancy stats:

How far along?  14 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 6 lbs total... starting to gradually pack on the pounds. I think I jinxed myself the other day on Facebook when I mentioned that I don't feel like I gain nearly as much as I eat. Lesson learned!
Maternity clothes? pretty much only maternity, or larger clothes
Stretch marks? nope, but itchy skin is in full effect... definitely growing!
Sleep: A lot, again. Weird pregnancy dreams have resumed and I am still waking up to go to the restroom, but it's a lot better than it's been.
Labor Signs: no way!
Belly Button in or out? in; I can officially see the bottom of it so who knows how much longer this will last.
Best moment this week: time with Caydon and I got a HUGE kudos at work for IEP completion (3 in one day... this mommy got down to business!)  I am happy to say I am still definitely working away even though I am exhausted and threw up twice during a department meeting. Yuck.
Miss Anything? coffee.
Movement: officially felt a kick! Otherwise, I think I have a little ballerina or a soccer player with all those sweet taps :)
Symptoms: Hunger, vomiting, nausea, and my boobs are hurting a lot again.
Food cravings: steak & thai food. Nothing like being pregnant and craving curry. mango curry with chicken to be exact.
Anything making you queasy or sick: a lot, but not food as often as just moving. 
Anything make you emotional?: ohh yeah. I started BAWLING on the way to work listening to people talk about the olympics. It was just... so "sad" or so "exciting". Actually, I'm not even sure what emotion it was, but there were more than enough tears. hah!
Bump Alert: yep, and that sucker is rock hard. 
Gender prediction: hoping for a girl, as evidenced by all the clothes I have bought lately. :o
Happy or Moody most of the time: happy, but I am trying very hard to focus on myself, my friends/family, and obv my kids. No time to not be happy regardless of circumstances.
Pregnancy Dreams: a lot that make absolutely no sense. One was when I lost my belly band and I woke up bawling. What!? That could be a commercial for the belly band companies, I tell ya!
Fearing: finances. It's hard to number crunch this baby in, and I am trying to do it without relying on child support (just like I have done with my son... I refuse to rely on other people especially since both babies' daddies have proven unreliable due to their interest in other women taking priority... so, while I intend to receive child support from the get go, I am also doing my best not to count on him in any way).
Anticipating: meeting baby. finding out the gender! our small gender reveal party for friends and family... I am so ready to get over the surprise and move on to enjoying the baby, and am hoping this party will help others follow suit.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Week 13

The second trimester is finally here!

Although, I'm trying to figure out why the only difference I have been feeling the last few days is the urge to gnaw off my arm in crazy hunger. Otherwise, my morning sickness has increased instead of tapering off, as have my headaches. Boo.

I've also started to start gaining weight. I continue to workout, but I think I need to change my routine again because it is rather stagnant. I hit the elliptical for 30 minutes of moderate cardio (they say you should be able to hold a conversation while working out and pregnant, but I push myself to right above that. I hate not getting a good workout in!), hit the weight room to rotate arms and legs depending on the day, and finish with a 20 minute yoga session. I am doing this about 3 times a week and walk a lot at work. I know I should do something else, but I can't figure out what that something else should be. Longer yoga sessions? Swimming? Longer walks? Ugh, the joy of working out while pregnant (yawn!)

I had a blast with my girlfriends this week. I helped the bride, Jenna, pick out her beautiful white dress, and then we had a "blast" trying to find a dress that will fit over this bump come late May/early June. We ended up buying a size 16 (I usually wear an 8!) which is HUGE around the boobs but enough fabric for the bump. We are anticipating having it taken in a tad so that the empire waist chiffon dress doesn't slide down while Jenna and Ben are saying their "I do"s.

Jenna and I went to Christina's Bachelorette party. We went to a gay bar... So MUCH FUN. I was the only sober one and had alcohol spilled on my legs a few times (girls and heels don't mix too well, but they are sweet girls so it's ok hah).

The beautiful brides and this preggo mommy.

I also attended a Gourmet Chocolate Tasting party. The idea behind it is that a dozen girls each bring a chocolate to share with the other girls, so we all get 12 different types to try. It was a blast! We ended up talking about dating and how waaaay off modern society has gotten. I discovered what Tender is... woah! I have honestly never looked at dating as a "hookup" sort of ideal, but it doesn't surprise me one bit!

baby/pregnancy stats:

How far along?  13 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 4 lbs total... I am already hating this scale ordeal hah
Maternity clothes? Yep, but I am still trying to push my regular clothes to their maximum use
Stretch marks? nope.
Sleep: not waking up crying like I was. That's a step. Now I wake up to throw up, brush my teeth, pee, then go back to sleep.
Labor Signs: no way!
Belly Button in or out? in, but ever shrinking
Best moment this week: all the girl time, and time with Caydon
Miss Anything? I am starting to miss Luke a lot more because I've been ignoring him/not starting convo/giving him his "space". It sucks. I am also missing holding down food.
Movement: some flutters, and I think a kick or two.
Symptoms: HUNGER! gosh, I am so hungry. I also still have heartburn and fatigue, but not like it was.
Food cravings: red meat. STEAK! and pretty much everything at Trader Joe's, as evidenced by this picture:

Anything making you queasy or sick:  Still struggling with that hit in the gut feeling of thinking about Luke with his new girlfriend, but time will get me over that hopefully. My medicine has also been making me full on vomit vs just being nauseous. Yuck.
Anything make you emotional?: My amazing friends.
Bump Alert: yep! I was even asked by a stranger how far along I am (and this time, I wasn't buying a belly belt from Target and didn't start crying! hah!)
Gender prediction: thinking PINK, but just wanting healthy
Happy or Moody most of the time: happy!! SO much excitement and love in the world even if my life plans don't go as I would hope.
Pregnancy Dreams: one where I was mean to a little girl (I asked her if her mom was as snotty as she is. What??) because she 
wouldn't share with Caydon and baby since they were "different" (both had autism... a very real fear of mine, honestly) but then her hood mom wanted to beat me up so we all hid in the men's restroom for a day. Very weird. I woke up bawling, go figure, and wondering why in the world I was being mean to a little girl.
Fearing: being sick all of my pregnancy. this baby's health.
Anticipating: meeting baby. finding out the gender (Yep, I definitely can't wait if my midwife wants to get the anatomic ultrasound!!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Caydon's "Very Important Job"

As I shared yesterday, I am having Caydon read to the baby in secret hopes of getting him re-motivated and back up to grade level. I decided to make this a "Very Important Job" in order to stir up some excitement.

This is how our conversation went down:

Me: "Hey, Caydon. I have a really important question to ask you. Can we talk?"

Caydon: "Yes" (clearly unfamiliar with my approach, which is why I asked that way. Social skill building, ya'll!)

Me: "Well, I have a really important favor to ask of you. It has to do with the baby, but it is a VERY important job. Would you want to hear about it?"

Caydon: "Yes"

Me: "Ok, so. You know how mommy is going to be feeding the baby her mommy milk? Well, another super important job is reading to the baby. It is so important that the baby have someone to read to him or her because it will help teach baby how to talk and will help baby learn about the world. It would mean that you would have to practice reading a lot now so that when baby is born you can read really with excitement and confidence. Do you think you'd be up for it? If not, it's ok. I just know it's SUCH an important job and I think you would be perfect for it! It would also help mommy SO much."

Caydon: Pausing to think about it for a little moment.  "Yes, I can be the reader. AND, excuse me? (his trademark phrase is "excuse me"). "AND I can be the diaper changer. I can be the diaper changer because that is the baby's private parts and no one else is supposed to see private parts, so I will help baby keep private parts private. Ok? I can do both and then you can do mommy milk and taking care of us. Is that a good idea?"

He has officially again melted my heart. Of course, I am not about to make the diaper changing his duty, especially with cloth diapering, but the thought behind it is so sincerely sweet that I just couldn't resist sharing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Single Mom Becoming of Two

I've decided that I have a few goals that I want to work on with Cay, as well as some plans for the two of us to do before this baby comes and changes both of our lives radically.

I think I should first start off by saying how far Caydon has come. It's amazing to me to think that just 1 year ago, Caydon was in the hospital in the Pediatric Neurological Health Unit for 10 extremely long days (visitation was only 2.5 hours for me... complete torched for any parent, let alone a single mom with full custody!), but he has come such a long way. He is working on making friends, he speaks clearer, responds to me faster... typically on the first time, is finally settled in at a new school, makes better eye contact, shows more empathy, does his homework without meltdowns, is sweet to people, and (I know it's weird to mention it, but it's very new for us) I actually get a ton of compliments on how well he is behaved all the time. It baffles me to know how much my TLC plus his great teachers and therapists could make him come. He continues to receive Special Ed services in the Autism program, yet is in inclusion for gen ed about 80% of the time, and receives about 19-23 hours per week of therapy.

I asked Caydon what he was interested in doing before baby was born. His response: "I want to buy some baby some toys, but you probably will do most of that. I want to save money for Disneyland so that when baby is born we can go there right when baby is born. Ok?"

That being said,

here are our goals/plans for the next 7 months:

Increase his ability to do chores. Vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, and folding laundry are just to name a few. He also needs to consistently make his bed. I want him to be aware of how to do this not only because it will make my life easier, but, well, it will make both of our lives' easier while teaching him responsibility. Yes, that's it. To teach him responsibility! hah.

Go Camping. This has been on our to-do list for some time and it keeps on popping back up. Definitely a plan for before we have 6,000 extra doodads to take on a trip! I am hoping for it to be more of the backpacking style!

Progress back up to reading at grade level. Because he had a terrible teacher, Caydon regressed fairly hard in reading. He wouldn't even look at books. Thanks to my pregnancy books and books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Caydon has started to read a lot more.  I know this will involve a lot of tutoring on my end, but I am up for it. The bonus will be that he could read to his baby sibling. :)

Tie his shoes independently. I think this is a pretty perfect goal for a kiddo going into Second Grade. It will also simplify our life so that I'm not rushing to get him on to the bus, nursing a baby, getting myself ready for work and then having to tie his shoes.

Complete a Big Brother Class. I'll need to research where he can take one locally, but I have a feeling I will need to also attend because of his needs. I might even make him take two so that he can retain more of the information plus get excited.

Mommy and son photo session. This will probably end up being our maternity, too, but I definitely want something.

Learn a song to sing to baby. Caydon always wants to sing to this sweet little baby. I think it would be pretty special if he knew a song that we could memorize for when the baby is born.

A "Baby Moon" of some sort. I need one last little trip with my sidekick before it becomes my sidekicks. Something relaxing and fun that involves water and sand.

Overload on movies and sporting events, etc. I know these will become a rare treat to us sooner than later. Time to overload now on things that are hard to take baby to!

Anything else we should add to the list?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Surviving Valentine's Day Single and Pregnant OR Surviving Valentine's Day as a Single Mom

Let's face it, Valentine's Day is a miserable day if you are single.

Now if you're pregnant and single, or a single mom, or both on this day, it's the equivalent to putting the lemon (that you should be making lemonade with) on a bad wound. Ouch.

But... it doesn't have to be that way. Not at all. You, too, can totally enjoy the day. Trust me. It is one of my favorite days of the year and I have spent it alone for over 4 years now. I still highly anticipate this day and you should, too, regardless of how long you have been single.

You have a certain someone in your life who has taught you unconditional love, which is exactly what you're holding out for. Someone who isn't going anywhere. 

You have someone to love on and who loves you back.
I repeat.

You have someone to love on 
who loves you back.

(Flashback 2 years ago... My hair was so blonde and his hair was so long!)

Over the years, I have found a few different tricks of the trade that make Valentine's Day much more bearable for us single ladies who also possess mommy hormones of some sort. Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to not just stay at home or think about the "what ifs" because, let's face it, that gets us nowhere and you have much better things to do with your time.

  1. Create a tradition of some sort to do. Every year, Caydon and I go to a tempanyaki grill (a Japanese food restaurant where the chef cooks at your table and puts on a show). He looks forward to this one time that I'll spend $15 on a kid's meal, and I look forward to his expressions all year. Nope, we do not go to this restaurant any other time BUT for Valentine's Day. Now that he is older and this is established as what we do on Valentine's Day, I'd actually rather do this than go on a date with some guy I barely know. True story. You better be all that and a bag of chips to take over join our tradition.  Tip: I would suggestion an earlier than usual dinner for your little one because of both the crowds and the fact that most couples want to be child-free. That being said, I have never gotten any dirty looks from people when I take Caydon here at 4pm. And, really, if they do give you a dirty look and you gave them this curtesy, just know that you were the one making effort to be kind and keep your head high. Take out is another valid option for those with babies that get fussy/need to stay on their bed time routine. A home cooked, heart shaped dinner (red foods?) is another budget friendly option.
  2. Treat yourself to some pampering. Hello, spa day!!! Since I'm budget happy right now, my cousin is coming over and giving me an hour long massage for $20 with me leaned up into my pregnancy pillow. Look around for deals via groupon or just give yourself a full on pedicure with the warm water soak. And don't forget the power of a lukewarm (not hot if you're preggo!) bubble bath. I'm also going to do attend my first prenatal yoga session, instead of just doing it post work out at the gym.
  3. Buy yourself some pretties. Be it a plant, flowers, whatever you fancy. I wish peonies were in season, but I absolutely "settle" for some ranunculus right about now.  I always take Caydon to the store to pick out a bouquet of flowers for me. It completely melts me seeing how excited he is to give them to me, even if I am the one who paid. Seeing what either you picked out or what your child(ren) picked out is definitely a huge pick me up and a way to feel girly, in my book.
  4. Get a gift for your little one. There is nothing like seeing your child's face lighten up, or buying something and anticipating how cute your baking baby will be when she/he uses it. Both of my babes are getting a present this year. Knowing that I have a surprise for the little people I am seriously head over heels for makes me giddy.
  5. Get yourself a little something, too. Whatever you've been eyeing, treat yourself. You absolutely, 150% deserve it. I think us single mommies deserve it more than someone in a relationship because we put others first so much more often than we should have to. Single parenting, regardless of the dad's involvement, is not just a 50/50 job. It's like a 80-120/20-(neg)40 job, especially if you have an ex like my son's dad who doesn't do anything, ever, besides argue child support and owe me $40k+.  So get yourself something you've been yearning for. Why? because this mommy said so, is that enough justification? Caydon votes yes.
  6. Stay busy. Play a board game, see the latest kid's movie or stay in and watch a chickflick post bedtime, read a steamy story once the kids are asleep, craft with the kids, craft by yourself post bedtime, or bake away. Whatever suits your fancy. Just don't do laundry, work, or clean because today is a day to remind yourself how much you love you, and how much your kids love you.
  7. Indulge in some chocolate or your favorite dessert. Screw the diet for the day. It's VDay, and that means you deserve some chocolate. Buy yourself a high quality kind and savor the moment, preferably after kiddo bedtime.
We are independent women who know how to buy our own chocolate, gifts, and flowers. Thank-You-Very-Much.  Bonus: We know exactly what we want!

    **Extra Tip! Raid the VDay section the day after VDay. Seriously the best deals on candy all year!

Reader Q: Water Birth, Screenings, Sonograms, Strollers

My lovely, mommy-to-be girlfriend sent me an email with some mommy questions. She would like to be anonymous; however, I have had a few people ask me questions along the same lines and I figure why not answer it all at once (with her permission, of course)? :)

Here is her letter to me:

"Hi! I hope you and your little family are doing well!! Are you going to find out the sex soon?? I have a few questions for you/your opinion. I read somewhere you are not doing there something I should know about using them? I watched a water birth last night. The lady looked so relaxed, I would like to try that if I have another baby. I feel like I really hate being "pinned" down to the hospital bed!! I was also wondering if you are doing/did any of the screenings and your opinion on that. Strollers. (Sorry this is getting random, I have so many questions I am having a hard time controlling my thoughts. I have the worst pregnancy brain, I forget words all day and I am so scattered brain!) anyways, back to strollers. I like the JJ cole broadway stroller. It is $400. Do you think it is worth investing in one that expensive? I have more questions for you, you are like the "all knowing mom" to me!! ! I need to go get ready for work and cry because I can not fit in anything! I still have not told the majority of my work; have you told yours? I love how open you are on yours."

-Anonymous (you know who you are and I adore you)

I do solemnly swear that I didn't pay her to be so sweet. "All knowing mom" is up there on my biggest compliment ever list. Maybe she just doesn't know many moms? Haha kidding... kind of ;)


My response (or at least the pieces you'd care to know about, broken down by category for ease of reading/scrolling):

Home Water Birth

In all honesty, this subject probably should have it's own post because of how much there is to my thought process. However, the basics consist of the fact that I don't have maternity insurance or leave (teacher insurance is not all that unless you elect to pay a lot more each paycheck... and I never anticipated this baby's pending arrival), as well as the fact that I want to go natural since my labor with Caydon was horrendous, and am pretty much "over" mainstream medical care because of my fight for Cay's health. This topic is very much my own personal opinion with both how beautiful natural laboring is, as well as what I simply view as "right" combined with being "economical". I also have done a ton of research (which I will elaborate on in the coming post) that has me much more excited than just intrigued about having this baby at home. I hope that kind of makes sense... stay tuned is all I can say here!

The Sonogram

No, I never intended to do any sonograms. I am keeping the pregnancy as "minimally invasive" as possible because of the risk of Autism and other developmental delays. This, in addition to a curiosity that got the best of me (and maybe a tad more, but that's another post for another day), led me to going the midwifery and "all-natural" route. While I would love to find out the sex of the baby because I am terribly impatient, a sonogram just isn't worth the risk to me. However, because of my decision to deliver at home and without direct access to medical intervention should the baby seriously need it (as in, heaven forbid, it's bladder didn't go back inside it's abdomen, it has heart problems, etc.), my midwife does insist on the anatomic ultrasound. This will be the only "test" and "ultrasound" we will have unless she deems it necessary further on in the pregnancy for whatever reason. I trust her :)

If you research autism and sonograms (HERE is a great article I pulled up quickly via google. seriously... do google it. You'll be amazed... it is one of the many hot topics), you will find that it is a known fact that ultrasounds create and energy and heat. It's how the technology works. What is controversial is how harmful the effects are especially in early fetal development when the brain and parts are growing so rapidly. I am just not willing to take that risk, especially since I know that we have some sort of genetic predisposition for autism. 

With my pregnancy with Caydon, I had an ultrasound every few weeks. At first it was to see if he was ok while I was deciding whether or not to keep the pregnancy (just being honest), then it was the "basic" screenings, then it was to find out the gender, then it was was anatomic, and THEN I had high fluid and he was facing the wrong way. So, needless to say, I loved the ultrasounds at the time... but now I seriously regret it. 

We ask ourselves, "Is it worth the risk?" with everything, especially when pregnant. Caffeine, wine, drugs, fake sugars, hot tubs, cheese, horseback riding, sushi, deli meat, bikram yoga, sleeping on our stomachs or backs, etc. Yes, it seems like we are directed to stop doing so many things, yet there is a reason behind the advice... we just have to dissect it. We have to realize that the advice is there for a reason... but that's all it is: advice. I do eat cheeses, minimal mercury sushi, and deli meats, but I trust my source vs eating it at, say, a potluck or a hole in the wall restaurant (which I do still love.. just not for risky food!). I treat myself to a half diet/half regular soda probably once a week to every other week. I don't go near bikram (sad face), hot tubs (sad face), or horseback riding/extreme sports (another sad face) but I don't view it worth the risk. 

I try to process all the advice that I'm given with a "why am I being advised this?" perspective. I honestly don't trust my source when it comes to mainstream medicine telling me what is "possibly safe" for my baby and a lot of that is based off of my experience with Caydon. I've made a lot of doctors mad by not taking their advice and searching deeply for other opinions, but I feel my job as a mother is to do what I think is best for my child... not what others think is best. That's like trusting the FDA when it comes to "possibly safe" foods or medicines when the rest of the world thinks we are insane of consuming X, Y, and Z on the daily because it's banned in their part of the world. I'd just rather not trust people who have other agendas such as money or "preventative" medicine (thank you for stopping my heartburn but giving me anal leakage... no, thank you...). That's my own personal opinion on the matter... I choose my risks and I would rather be safe than sorry.

Which leads me to discussing my next question..

Genetic Testing

Alright, so this topic is also very personal. My midwife was "the one" and I searched no further when she told me that she believes in informed choice medicine. Which means that she gives me the pros and cons of everything while encouraging my own independent research, and I work through the questions to come to an answer. This topic was my first... I wish I had taken a picture of the "flow chart process" for my questioning. 

That being said... while I totally get the hype on knowing if there is something wrong with my baby, I have asked myself the following two basic questions:

  • What would I do if there IS something wrong with my baby?
    • If my baby has a few hours to live, will I want to continue the pregnancy?
    • If my baby has a lifelong disability, will I want to continue the pregnancy?
  • Is the testing, be it ultrasound, amniocentesis, or CVS, worth the potential risks? Again, there are risks to everything (even basics like staying at home vs getting into my car... or drinking regular water vs bottled... everything)
My personal feelings on the matter is that I would want my baby to have a fighting chance. I would be ok with a lifelong disability. I would do everything in my power to help my child, and I know this because I did exactly so for Caydon. Would I ever take Caydon back? Absolutely not. Once you have your baby, you will find that you will love every little thing about them... perfections, typicalities, and flaws. I wouldn't change Cayd for the world. Obviously you try to protect your child, so it's not as if you are supposed to snort a line thinking that you'll love your child with the brain damage you caused. But, when your child has flaws.. because he/she WILL have something, eventually, that isn't perfect. **It's called being human**... you'll love your baby no less and know you did everything you could to help be it behavior management, therapy, surgery, tutoring, or simple guidance. 

I also want to know I did everything to prevent what I was aware of as being a risk, and I know that I will love my child regardless of the abilities. Going with ultrasounds, the "cons" outweigh the "pros" that mainstream medicine throws at us.

Strollers (and other Gear Investments)
When buying anything.. not just baby gear... I ask myself:
  • Does the cost fit my budget? 
    • If not, could I somehow get it cheaper?
    • If not, could I cut other areas of my budget to justify this expense?
  • Will the use exceed the money spent?
  • Could I get the same thing for less by buying a more basic brand? (If it's a function/flavor/quality you want, are you sure there isn't a better option that has the feature but is less money aka a knock off or generic brand?)
  • Is this my one and only splurge because it is a "must have" in my mind for whatever reason??
Work through those questions. I don't think there is anything wrong with a $400 stroller that you view as eye candy and that has great functionality. You will definitely get a lot of use out of a stroller, no doubt, while there are other items that aren't even worth registering for. However, if it causes you to have to cut groceries for a week or take out a cash advancement... it's not worth it. I really can't tell you want you can and can't afford, but I do completely understand that certain objects are so incredibly tempting and likely worth it that it IS worth the purchase.

With my budget and trying to balance cheapness with my taste (I can be kind of snotty when it comes to brands or looks, but I also love functionality!), I have found myself going on major deal hunts. A lot of items that you buy for the baby can be bought for half-off. There are reused baby stores, craigslist ads, and an abundance of "pages" on Facebook that sell baby items gently used. Babies don't use most of what they "need" to justify what the products cost.  So far, I have bought a MamaRoo and Ergo, both being items that I wanted specifically for functionality even though they are at the top of the line. I didn't want to spend full price on them because it didn't work for me budget wise, so I bought them gently used for over half off. They still function exactly how I would want them to. I can overlook the one scratch because I saved $130. I also have a Britax carseat that I believe I am picking up today (I am buying it from a girlfriend who I can trust hasn't been in a car accident... used carseats can be a grey area if it's from a stranger!). I'm also buying a cheap Ikea crib from her because I know that I won't be needing the crib that frequently, as we are a co-sleeping family and it's not worth the investment to buy something better.

Does that make sense? I would LOVE to have a Bugaboo Buffalo, but unless I can find it used for a fourth of it's retail value at $1,129.00, it just isn't happening.

I'm keeping my eye open and have a back up stroller in mind that is in my budget should that route be   impossible. I'm just not willing to spend that much.

One thing I WILL be splurging on is a Kate Spade (my favorite brand) Diaper Bag. I love Kate Spade and I am a total name brand purse person... it's my weakness. So I'm not saying it isn't bad to splurge here and there... you just can't do it on everything.  I will do my research to try to find what I want on sale somehow, but I'm anticipating paying full price because it is worth it to me. I'm already tucking money away for it so that it doesn't hurt my budget when it happens, and view the money saved via gently used items as money that can go towards my new purse... I mean, baby's diaper bag.

So, if you can't find what you want for less, it fits your budget, AND it's your one (or few) big splurge(s), do it and don't regret it. Enjoy it so much that you definitely get your money's worth. 

There you are, sweet friend. Hopefully this kind of helps you see my perspective and answers to your questions. Remember that you do the best YOU can with the information you are given.. so it's not like you are ruining your child if you go against a friend or a doctor's advice. There is so much to think about during a first pregnancy that it is overwhelming to try to process it all! Choose the topics that you view the most important/relevant for you and weed through it from there. 

I do intend on getting back to you about the openness of my pregnancy, so hang tight. It is so important to not find shame in your pregnancy regardless of the circumstance, which is something I have learned by feeling shameful throughout my entire pregnancy with Cay. Any more q's, feel free to ask. Take care and rub that belly for me!