Monday, August 30, 2010

Nursery Ramblings

I didn't really have anything to write about when I started this and was just trying to keep occupied at work, but it looks like it turned into some baby gear ramblings.

We are just a few days away from officially finding out the sex!! Our appointment for the “big ultrasound” is this Thursday at 2:00pm. It’s at the hospital where I’ll be delivering, St. Peter’s in New Brunswick, so it will be nice to go there and see it. We have never been there but have heard only amazing things about them. As long as baby cooperates (and his/her track record is not exactly great in that department) they’ll be able to tell us whether it’s a boy or girl…and we’ll see if our instincts were right! I am looking forward to the appointment but have assumed all along that we’re having a [blank] so the suspense is less than one might think. If it’s a boy, he will have an adorable nautical nursery but may not have a name for quite some time. If it’s a girl, the name is pretty much decided, but I’ve got nothing up my sleeve for her nursery, poor gal.

Last week we took all of the measurements we needed in our second bedroom to determine if what we were envisioning would indeed fit, and thankfully, it will...and even better than I expected. My intentions all along were to continue to have a regular bed in the room. I always want to have a place for guests to sleep comfortably. My mom will probably be staying with us for the first week after the baby comes and Todd’s father and stepmom usually come to visit every few months as well. I also want the option of sleeping in there if I need to. We have a queen sized bed in there now but also own a full sized not currently being used. I thought that we would have to put the full back in to free up some space, but alas, the queen fits just fine with everything else we have planned.

Below is the nursery furniture we decided on. It looks even nicer in person than it does in the picture. It’s made of American maple and has a glossy, smooth finish. We were impressed with how solid and sturdy it is and the drawers open and close nicely. It got amazing reviews (you’ll never read so many reviews in your life as when you’re buying baby items) and that sealed our decision. Surprisingly, I didn’t venture far or drive myself crazy looking for the “perfect” nursery furniture. I wanted something solid, classic, functional, durable etc. and this fit the bill. The crib is convertible to a toddler bed and then a full size bed. I could actually take it or leave it when it comes to the toddler bed option. More than likely it will stay a crib for future babies and convert once there are no more babies to be had. I have no qualms about transitioning straight from crib to regular bed (which will already be in the room, conveniently) and actually prefer skipping the toddler bed phase altogether, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. We’ll be ordering the set in a couple of weeks and before it comes I want to get the carpet in the room steam cleaned…a lot of foster kitties have called that room home for a while.

All three nursery pieces, plus the bed and a rocker/glider will fit nicely in the room and we’ll even have some space to spare. At first I considered only getting one of the dresser pieces because we have such a big closet in the room, but everything will look nicer with all three pieces and I’m sure the space will all be utilized eventually, especially when another baby comes along. We aren’t going to be getting a separate changing table; a popular option now is to simply get a changing pad (like this) strap it to the top of the long dresser (they are very secure), and viola, you’ve got yourself a changing table for as long as you need it and not a moment longer. Perfect.

Another thing I have probably decided to forego (and believe me, I surprised myself, too) is a nursery bedding set. I am usually big on the cute factor, but surprisingly after the research I’ve done on baby stuff (and I’m not nearly done), I’ve actually found myself going more for practical than cute. Function over fashion. Even more helpful than asking a seasoned mom “What do I need?” is asking “What do I NOT need?” Your typical nursery bedding set includes a quilt, bumper, fitted sheet and dust ruffle and then has coordinating items that may come with it or be sold separately: lamp, mobile, hamper, diaper stacker, throw pillows, window valance, area rug etc.

Well, you can’t use a quilt in a baby’s crib, it’s not safe so they’re purely decorative and typically end up hung on the wall. Regular bumpers are in general not considered safe now, either, but the manufacturers still continue to put them with all of the bedding sets. I am going to buy breathable bumpers and may not even put them in the crib until the baby starts moving around and then only if we have a problem with little arms and legs getting stuck between rails. Of course we’ll use the fitted sheet, but the dust ruffle I may or may not use. All in all we’d be spending probably around $150 for the main set and only using the fitted sheet and maybe a dust ruffle. As for the other components, they don’t really interest me. I already know the lamp I want to buy, probably won’t get a mobile because they’re supposed to be taken out once baby can pull to a standing position and reach it and there are plenty of other crib toys, don’t need a hamper because I’ll have something out of sight in the closet for dirty clothes, and have no interest in a diaper stacker (but wait, where EVER will you put the diapers if not in a diaper stacker?!?!? umm…in and/or on top of the dresser). Our home already has throw pillows up the wazoo that we don’t use, so I can’t imagine our infant will need any, I doubt I’ll use a window valance, and I already have a little rug picked out. Don’t worry, I will not deprive baby of a cute nursery, the possibilities are endless, but I’m skipping the bedding set unless I stumble upon something that I just cannot resist.

We are going to be registering this weekend once we know for sure what we’re having, although it doesn’t make much of a difference in what we’re picking. We’re going gender neutral with most things so they can be used for future babies. I would say I already have 50% of things picked out and will have another 40% by the time we go, so it’s just a matter of scanning. Still, much of it will have to be done online because Babies ‘R’ Us doesn’t seem to like to carry much in their actual stores. I used to say I loved that store; that was before I was pregnant. When I would walk through the store, dream about having a baby and wallow in what seemed to be baby stuff overload. Now, I go there looking for specific things so that I can see them in-person and try them out and zero times have I found what I was looking for, which at one point included the #1 selling stroller and one of the highest safety rated infant seats. You’d think they would carry floor models of those. My dislike for the store grew even more when, bored one Saturday, I decided to venture an hour out to the nearest Buy Buy Baby, another baby store I had heard great things about. Well, it was even more amazing than I had imagined. It’s owned by Bed Bath and Beyond and set up the same way, so just imagine Bed Bath and Beyond, packed full and stocked to the limit as they always are, but every item is baby. It puts Babies ‘R’ Us to shame. They had floor models of all the car seats I wanted to see and strollers I wanted to take on joyrides through the store check out, also. Thankfully, they are building one just 15 minutes away from us which should be opening next month, and I am ridiculously excited. My friend Angelina just got a job there for when it does open, so now I have the inside scoop on the exact minute their doors will open and I am so there.

Making a real, comprehensive list of everything we plan to get is fun but difficult. There are plenty of checklists available to help you remember everything, but deciding which jumperoo, which car seat, which pacifiers to get is the difficult part. The bigger things are hard to decide on because they require the safety research and review reading and are just bigger purchases in general. I can’t tell you how many times I was 100% decided on something I wanted only to change my mind completely the next day. The smaller things, like pacifiers, are just guesses anyway, who knows what baby will like. I know I can go out and get different things later if I need to, but I’d like to get it right the first time wherever possible. And to be honest, sometimes I picture myself locked up in the house in “survival mode” with a screaming infant and am afraid I will never, ever be able to go to a store again or will need something in a pinch that I forgot to get (hysterical, teething baby in the dead of night and I forgot to get baby Orajel…great). Of course, babies are all different and may not like everything we get, so I fully expect to be running out to get different things and ending up with my own list of “things I bought but never used.” It wouldn’t be any fun if we knew exactly what to expect, right?

Well, enough about baby gear for now. No huge updates on baby. His/her movements have become a little less predictable than they were when they first began, which is a little odd. The first couple weeks I would feel the same kind of movement pretty consistently, but now it’s pretty random. They still aren’t strong kicks and punches, except for one time, a little over a week ago. I was sitting on the couch relaxing and all of a sudden wham, what had to be a foot, right in my side. It scared the hell out of me because I had no idea what it was. I thought something had come up out of the couch cushion and poked me, it was so fast that my brain didn’t have time to register whether it came from the inside of the outside. My heart was racing and it took me a few seconds to realize what it was. Something must have really startled him/her because I haven’t felt anything like that since. There was quite a bit of movement today, some days there is more than others. If I don’t feel much one day I just use my Doppler. I rarely use it for finding the heartbeat anymore, I just turn it on and can hear him/her moving around flailing arms and legs and I know all is well. It’s amazing how much they can move without you feeling it.

I’m finally starting to get a taste of what the insatiable hunger is like. Not every day, thankfully. Last week I came home from work, ate a big bagel with cream cheese followed by a Boston crème doughnut and the second I was done polishing those off, my stomach was growling in hunger and I felt like I hadn’t eaten in over a week. I couldn’t believe that was even possible. Suffice it to say my weight gain is no longer in the negatives, but I still think just a few lbs. during my first bimester is pretty darn good. Did I mention we’re half-baked on Thursday??

Here I thought I had nothing to talk about but this was probably my longest entry yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

17w5d Survey & The "New" Nesting

How far along? 17 weeks 5 days

Total weight gain/loss: -1 lb. Which means that by the time I’m halfway through, I may have broken even and not gained anything. I know more weight gain is coming, but hey, to hold it at bay for the first 20 weeks? I’m pretty proud of that!

Maternity clothes? Pants and capris are maternity 100% of the time now. I have some maternity shirts but for the most part am still wearing my normal shirts (not all of them, of course).

Stretch marks? Yeah…old news!

Sleep: Very unpredictable lately. I went through an entire week of sleeping horribly followed by an entire week of sleeping great. I don’t usually sleep flat on my stomach or back, but having to now be conscious of not doing it (neither is safe at this point in pregnant, especially back) is difficult.

Best moment this week: Just the movements getting a bit stronger.

Still hard to explain what they feel like. It’s more than little tickles now, but still not full on kicks and punches. He/she is getting so big that I can now feel movement in two places, 5-6 inches apart, at once, which is pretty neat!

Food cravings: I still wouldn’t say I have cravings, but I sure do eat a lot of cheddar cheese melted into Tostito scoop chips….oh, heavenly.

Gender: We’ll find out on September 2nd!!

Labor Signs: No!

Belly Button in or out? In, and I intend for it to stay that way, thankyouverymuch.

Wedding rings on or off? On…admittedly, only because I got them resized! I am being told this is a lost cause and that they will come off eventually. Well, for now they’re still on, suckers.

What I miss: Coke Zero, scalding hot baths and my husband cracking my back for me.

What I am looking forward to: Feeling strong kicks, finding out the sex and getting some new ultrasound pictures (maybe even 3D??)

Weekly Wisdom: I don’t feel all that wise, yet, so how about some advice that’s been given to me. I’m being told “sleep when the baby sleeps” by many people and I sure hope that works, because one thing that’s always on my mind is “How do you take care of a baby if you haven’t slept in a week?” Seriously, moms, stop telling me you haven’t slept in 10 days or since your baby (who is now 2, 4, 8 years old etc.) was born. You’re scaring the crap out of me.

Milestones: Every week is another milestone right now!

Aside from the movements getting a bit stronger, there is one pretty significant change since the last time I updated…I have my appetite back!! Woohoo!! This could be a blessing and a curse, but right now I’m loving it (the weight gain question above is probably why I have no remorse yet). I’m not eating us out of house and home, but I can eat bigger portions again and don’t lose my appetite around dinnertime (and at other random times) like I had been for a long time. Sometimes I am hungry again an hour after I eat a meal…that was unheard of until I was 16 weeks. Before that, I could eat a cracker and feel like I was good for 3 days.

Another strange thing has started to happen which may or may not be pregnancy related but is so out of character for me that, coupled with the fact you can never underestimate what pregnancy can do to you, very well may be. I have started to actually cook. As in, look up recipes, buy the ingredients, actually make them, cook them and eat them. I did this on occasion before, but for the most part I have always gotten overwhelmed by the fact that I didn’t know how to make anything off the top of my head that I wouldn’t even try. We had pretty simple dinners, and a lot of the same ones over and over, if we ate at home. I would go to the food store, spend $200 and come home with nothing to actually make meals with. Typically when I left work I would be so tired that I just wanted to relax and not cook. Now all of a sudden I am even going to the grocery store after work and then coming home and whipping up new recipes for dinner. Often, I even whip up a dessert after that.

Granted, like I said, this may have nothing to do with pregnancy, but I’ve never been like that and it started pretty suddenly so I have to wonder…what if this is its own kind of “nesting”? When you have kids, you can’t come home and sit on the couch every night. You usually have to come home and cook, and sometimes go to the food store in between. There’s mouths to feed no matter how tired you are or how much you don’t feel like cooking. So even though this little mouth is still in utero, who knows? Maybe it really is some kind of motherly instinct kicking in and getting me ready. I think I may be on to something here, folks.


It only makes sense that I would have a winter baby. I was born in the winter, and if you know me, you probably know how much I adore the season. I love fall, too, but winter has a special place in my heart. While everyone else is basking in the sun on the beach and wishing summer could last forever, I am daydreaming about the first snowfall of the year.

Everything about winter is magical to me. The snow, the ice, the bitter cold. I watch the weather and wait for any news of the next snowfall on the way, and the bigger the better. I love falling asleep and waking up to the hissing, beeping and scraping of salt trucks and snow plows. I love going to the window constantly to watch for the first flurries, knowing the snow will be falling quietly all night long and waking up to the blanket of silence that seems to cover the entire world. Sure, it’s cold, we have to shovel out, stay inside, cancel plans. There may be no school. There may be no work. It creates unpredictability, but that’s what I like. I like that when a big snowstorm is on the horizon, all bets are off.

Of course, I don’t think it would be nearly as magical without the holidays. I like Thanksgiving and New Year’s is great, too, but I l-o-v-e Christmas. While I’m watching the weather forecasts I’m also waiting for and soaking up the Christmas commercials on TV. Christmas commercials have got to be the best out there (maybe second-best to all you Superbowl fans, but first best to me!). I love when the previews for the holiday movies coming out in theaters starts. I love when the Christmas displays go up in the stores and strings of lights start to go up on the houses. And if you combine all of this with snow, there’s just no way to make me happier.

I ought to do my Christmas shopping early this year (but don’t we all vow to do that every year?). I’m not quite sure how it feels to waddle around the stores when you’re 7-8 months pregnant, but just in case it doesn’t feel fabulous, I should start early. I can only imagine how much more magical this winter and holiday season will be for us…and how different it will be. To think that by the following Christmas we’ll have a baby that is [at least close to] walking just blows my mind.