God writes our story.
I am still learning to surrender the pen.

Friday, January 24, 2014

10 Baby Items You Do Not Need!

Alright, I may not be an expert on mommyhood (just yet- ha!) but I am an expert of buying unnecessary things. All too often I get caught up in whatever season of life I'm in and all of a sudden I'm like "Buy ALL the things!". It's unfortunate. Just like a bride, who buys everything white and wedding related, when I found out I was (finally) going to become a mom I just KNEW I had to have it ALL. Because, let's be honest, if my son wasn't going to come into the world having a spa-like bathtub, what kind of mom would I be?!
Truth is, I wish I would have read this blog I'm about to write. Well, that would have been impossible, but I think you know what I mean! Anyway, as moms-to-be we are swept up in the ads and the commercials and what our other mom-to-be friends have/had/dreamed about having and we want to give our unborn child it all! However, I suggest doing yourself a favor and skipping the 10 items I've listed here (because the more money you save on unnecessary items, the more money you can blow on all-too-adorable clothes! ... Let's be honest... the more money you'll have for take-out when you are just too tired to cook).

WARNING: These are my personal opinions. I am not a doctor or a baby guru. This is what worked for me, and this is what I've learned shortly after being a FTM myself. Please do not come to me three months after having your child swearing at me and telling me I need to pay your child's therapy bills because you feel like he missed out on the fancy-schmancies of life. Also, please don't be offended if you happen to get me these things on this list. You got me something far more valuable than an item, but you gave me wisdom. Most items were returned/sold to the next guy and I got something else for lil man.

1) Everything but the kitchen sink.
I registered for:

What I should have used instead:

When it comes to bathing baby you envision sweet bubbles and stroking your child's wet little hairs... but in all reality most of the time it's a get-in-and-get-out situation. I registered for this beautiful whirlpool spa bathtub before even thinking where I would put it in our home. It didn't fit on our kitchen counters, and I didn't want to stoop over and have it on the floor. So I cleaned off the dining room table and went from there. Just as I was elbows deep in water and suds and having 'that' moment with my sweet baby boy I hear my husband (who is running around us taking 'candid' snapshots of the moment) say "Um, where is all this water coming from?!" and then I realize it... I forgot to make sure the drainage plug was snug. The water line around my son was shrinking every moment and soon my toes were wet. I used that tub a few more times before I realized co-bathing was sooo much easier and totally the choice for me. The times I didn't co-bathe I just used the seat that came with the "spa tub" (literally 1/6th the cost!) and put him in the tub. When Nana wanted to bathe him she plopped him in the sink. In short, there are just more practical options when it comes to bathing your baby. Get the basics (if anything), it's just going to wash off spit up and poop.

2) Sweet dreams:
What I thought I needed:

What I should have used instead:

Oh my goodness the co-sleeper... You know it worked great for a while or two, but most of the nights he just wanted to be on ME. I got the co-sleeper for the nights when my son just wouldn't give it up, and I thought "oh he needs that warmth and that smell of me... I'll just get this glorified box and put it in between hubby and I and we will all snooze right into dreamland!" Nope. I was right about one thing: he did want that warmth and scent, but if he was going to sleep in a box his crib would do just fine. When the crib wasn't working he *GASP* slept on mine (or more often Daddy's) chest. I know. It was something I swore I would never do before I was a parent... but that's a whole other blog in itself. 

3) Sitting pretty:
What I registered for:

What I should have used:

This will teach him to sit, they said. It will keep him entertained for hours, they said. You've got to have it, they said. He sat in it a handful of times and each time it looked like a torture device. He couldn't sit straight up so he sat hunched over like an old man at Denny's over the last of the burnt coffee of the day. He didn't look comfortable. Instead, I did a lot of tummy time. It worked out his little tummy muscles just as much as everyone said the Bumbo would, yet the floor is FREE!

4) Excuse yourself:
What I stocked up on: 

What ultimately was used instead:
Oh man I swore I would be one of those moms that would still look decent and look like I had it put together still after baby... and then I had one. I couldn't believe how elusive these burp cloths (all ONE MILLION) seemed to be. When spit happens, it happens and it usually comes with no warning. Instead of burp cloths, but extra outfit changes for yourself (and maybe a tarp, apron, or poncho...).

5) Like out of a magazine: 
What I got: 

What I used: 

One of the first things I thought of getting when I found out I was pregnant was "THE Bedding Set". It had to be perfect, and it would make any room look like it came out of a magazine. Over $100 (for itty bitty blankets) was the norm, and it didn't matter if it was more than I paid for the bedding on my Queen size. I set it all up on the crib and took a picture. *Click* Then the baby books came... I read about no blanket until at least after 6 months. So I took that off. Then I read that the bumpers are now a hazard as well, so they came off. Soon I was left with the fitted sheet only, and I was feeling like I was a little ripped off. After grabbing a few more fitted sheets for less than 1/10th of the cost of the crib set I decided that I was officially stupid. I got so many amazing blankets (and even learned, and crocheted him one myself) that he hasn't really gotten to the bed set one yet and he is already nine months old. The picture of the crib waiting for baby may be worth a thousand words, but save yourself the "thousand" bucks.

6) Royal tush: 
What everyone is getting now-a-days:

What I was smart enough to get instead (whew, I finally got one!):

Sure, the wipes get cold. Sure, he fussed every now and then early on. BUT (ha), he sweet little tush must have gotten tougher because soon he didn't mind the mildly cool wipe to clean his tush. I could only imagine how the babies react when they are used to their warm towelette and have to get a butt change out there in "the real world". My God, hold on to your seats! No thank you wipe warmer!

7) Piggly-wiggly: 
The dream I dreamed: 

The reality:

Know what I found out? The best shoes for baby from birth until about one year old is... NO shoes. Bare feet help them get their bearings easier, and are proven to help reach milestones earlier such as pulling up and walking. After getting about 10 pairs of too teeny tiny tootsie covers I found this out. Besides out growing them before you can cut the tag off, it's just not realistic to spend crazy amounts of baby shoes. One (two at the most) are totally enough. Seriously. Everyone thinks their cute when you take little picture of them when you are pregnant, but no one tells you just how many times your child will actually wear them (once in a blue moon) or how much time you'll spend looking for the "other one" (a bajillion hours), or just how silly you'll feel when you're wearing your $2 clearance flip flops from Old Navy and you try to put on your baby Chuck Taylors, Toms, or Hunter rain boots and they don't fit. Fail. Go with the sweet tootsies their born with, and for a second option go with thick socks from Target. The Circo ones are the best and they are sold in a 6 pack. 

8) Snug as a bug:
What we got a lot of:

What they are used for:

Seriously tell me the reason for receiving blankets. They were too small to swaddle my child in, too big for burp cloths, and too thin to use for warmth in the car. I really have no idea what these are for and why everyone decides they are an awesome gift to give. They are not. Sorry, but maybe just grab a $10 gift card instead. I wound up cutting a few of ours up and using them for cloth wipes. In that case, they are super cute!

9) Oh boy:
Cute impulse purchase:

What actually saw the light of day:
(or of course any diaper will do!) 
When I found out I was having a boy I found this cutest little basketball pee pee teepee. I brought it home with pride and showed my husband. "This goes on his penis so he doesn't pee on us during diaper changes" I explained... HA! That cute little basketball teepee hasn't left it's drawer since that day. Because you know why? 1) They really never stay on and 2) You are too busy CHANGING A DIAPER to use one! I don't know what I thought I was going to do while my son's dirty diaper was off, but apparently it might have been making a sandwich or painting my nails. Just take the dirty off, wipe, and throw that clean one on. Soon it'll be in record time, and whether you have a bundle of boy or a sweet bundle of girl you WILL get peed on. There aren't enough teepees or diapers or whatever to save you from it. AND that's just the beginning of the fluids. 

10) Knowledge is power:
What I thought I wouldn't be able to live without:

What I learned:

As Spock said (no, not the Star Trek guy), "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." At nine months I just found my "What to Expect" book and realized that I had made it three quarters of the way through without no book at all. Sure, Google and WebMD and other mommies on Instagram helped me from time to time... but in the end I learned that my son isn't a statistic. He isn't going to grow in a way ALL the babies grow, and he isn't going to learn how EVERY baby learns. In the end, I am his and he is mine and we will figure it out as we get to know each other. 

(This blog post could save you literally $405.71 if you follow it according to Amazon.com as of this moment. You are most welcome. Please make checks payable to me instead if you wish!)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Where Are We Now?

I can't type the title without thinking of some cheesy VH1 special of where "that one guy in that one movie is", however some days I feel like that's pretty relate-able at best.
When Walter and I were TTC we were THAT couple. The couple that people talked about, mostly behind our backs, either good or bad. We got the hushed stares of strangers and the comments about how we were "too young" and "not giving it enough time". We didn't know anyone our age who had done IVF and we felt pretty lost. I spent a lot of time google-ing and reading  blogs and studies. I wished so badly to be able to go and get coffee with someone who had "gone before me", but there was no one around to fill those shoes.
There are times I think of how sad and scary that sounds, and I am so proud we made it through... but there are also times I am so very thankful to have known no one. I had no one to compare embryo grades with; I had no one to tell me what I should expect; I had so much confidence. The first round I was so ignorant to the cruel world of IVF. I thought, "We are young, and we are doing IVF... we most definitely will get pregnant this first try!" But then I didn't. And this world came shattering around me. I wondered if anything would ever work for us. All hope and ignorance was lost.
Going into the second round was almost the opposite. I was so sure we were doing this second round as a failsafe. I was going through this round, betting myself I would come out on the other side to look at Walter and say, "See?! I TOLD you so!" when another round had failed. But it didn't.
Since our IVF rounds I have met so so SO many amazing women who have also endured the IVF waters. This community has accepted me and we encourage each other to keep trying, and to never give up. Some of us have had our miracle babies, and some of us are still waiting. Keep trying! Never give up!
Now I have this blessing of a baby boy in my home, and time has just been FLYING by! Next week he'll already be nine months old! I cannot tell you what joy this boy has brought me! Oftentimes I could still, without warning, break into happy tears as I did just a few nights ago when we took our sweet Sullivan to see Sesame Street LIVE. It's silly, but this is what I have been dreaming of! Not Sesame Street, but the "mundane", "everyday" life of being a mother. I think to myself, maybe if I hadn't experienced infertility I would moan about taking him to such a show. The kids are loud and packing him up is such a chore. Instead, I cried. Cried to see his face light up. Cried to hold him close and be known to the world as his Mommy.

And now I wonder... could I share this joy, this love, with another baby?
Do I soak in every moment of this sweet boy, who I have waited so long for, and wait to give him a sibling until after he is in school and my days and filled with waiting again? Or do I start trying now, because the veil of immediate success has been removed?

I'm sure many mommies have been in this spot. Anxious to grow the family, and yet wondering when would be the best time.
When I was pregnant with Sullivan, I used to fear having a rough day with my boy and someone coming along saying, "You asked for this". I most definitely did. I wanted it more than I have ever wanted something in my life. Even on his rough days, I can't look into his face and not completely melt. However, did that mean I had all my ducks in a row? Absolutely not. Is space and time and money tight already? Most definitely. When I think of starting the journey to a second child the numbers just don't add up. Where will we put all the extra stuff? Sullivan is already capitalizing on most of the space we have. What about the budget? Where will we afford even more for another? What about time? My goodness, where would I get the time? I'm still rocking Sully to sleep most naps and barely getting a chance to pee during the day as is! Clearly a second child isn't in the picture right now... right?

I now fear pursuing treatments or adoption for #2 and yet again getting the "You asked for this" snide comments. Sometimes I still ache that the decision can't be made for me and an "opps" would appear in our lives. However, a baby must be planned for us and there just is no right answer when it comes to timeline I have found.

I still haven't had AF since our IVF-induced AF in July 2012, and I wonder when the best time to seek medical help in having AF return.

For now we are trying to eat healthy, love on our boy, train the dogs, organize the house, enjoy our free time, and be content in being a family of three (/five). It's easier than it sounds. We still have our rough days, but nothing that ever makes us think we are finished growing our family.

Thanks for being patient in being a blog reader (if you're still out there!). My family and I are transitioning and trying to figure out just exactly where ARE we now?! I hope you continue to read along for the journey, whatever (whenever) it may be.

Love to you!

(Sully is now 38 weeks at the time of blog)