Monday, January 31, 2011

Hospital tour.

Friday night we went to tour one of the two hospitals we can give birth at. I was TOTALLY going to take pictures of our hospital tour, but, uh, I didn’t. More of that whole fear of photographing in public- and with a huge tour group of 12+ FAMILIES I didn’t think I’d be able to get the shots I wanted, so you’ll have to wait to see the hospital until I deliver. ;)

When I delivered Jackson here in Germany there was literally NO info, no hospital tour, no ‘this is what you should know printout’, nada. It was all on your own to figure everything out. Thankfully I had a good friend who had recently given birth and clued me into many key factors- where the hospital was/where the delivery ward was, what to expect, the fact that they don’t give out peri bottles (ha) ect.

I still have to finish editing and writing the ending to my birth story for Jackson that I actually wrote most of immediately after his birth. But to sum up my birth experience, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but in all honestly I hadn’t planned appropriately or was firm enough in my decisions going into it. It’s hard to say it didn’t go exactly how I wanted because my two priorities were a vaginal birth and my beautiful boy- both accomplished, so I can’t say it was all bad :).

Things I loved about delivering in Germany? They give you the baby. After delivery there are no shots, eye meds, or CLEANING. They just thrust this slimy little friend right to your chest and he stays there for as long as you decide. Jackson actually never got a real bath until the next morning, yeah a little gross, but whatever, having my baby with me was well worth it, lol. I had the chance to try to breastfeed as soon as I liked, however Jackson had different plans. Generally I enjoyed the care of the midwives- who check and monitor you throughout your labor- the doctor was there for the delivery but most of the work falls on the midwives. I was naïve and assumed having midwives give primary care meant they would be more like a midwife in the US- suggesting birthing positions/generally supportive, NOT pushing pain meds every time I saw them. Not the case, live and learn.

Things I didn’t love about the hospital I had Jackson at? Aside from the things mentioned above the biggest hang up was breastfeeding support. I never saw a lactation consultant, and generally felt like no one at all could/would help me. When Jackson got jaundice I was encouraged NOT to breastfeed, given bad advice about pumping, not woken up to feed my baby (and pump) like I was told they would when he was hungry, the list goes on, most of all that was my biggest complaint. The birth experience I take most responsibility for, but this? I needed help desperately and didn’t get it. Jackson was also tongue tied at birth and this was a huge problem on latching (especially without help) which was just ignored. Bah. I eventually hunted down the closest lactation consultant and had to be persistent until I was able to meet with her. I also called countless LCs in the us looking for support and advice. It all worked out eventually, but it was a rough road.

Back to the NEW hospital we took a tour of Friday night. The BIGGEST positive? Other than the very friendly staff, beautiful birthing rooms, and better parking availability ;) They are a WHO certified baby friendly hospital. They WANT you to breastfeed and WANT you to succeed. I’m really looking to having that support this time around.

I also plan on going in with the mindset of ‘no pain meds’ instead of ‘we’ll see’. Do I know that it will change the outcome? No. Will I still end up with an epidural? Maybe, but I think I will get more support to go without if I come in prepared to do it, and tell my midwives that is what I want.

The hospital tour got me kinda really excited for this little one, even though we have a long way to go. I looked through our long list of baby names that night and smiled thinking about what the future holds. Still trying to work on a list of what we need to get for this baby (shouldn’t be much, but I want to be prepared). I have another friend who is pregnant and I’d love to make a list of the ‘must have’ items for her- so you experienced mamas. What are the things you think are MUST HAVES with a newborn? I’d love your input!

Today was our doctor appt and ultrasound. Baby looks great, and it was probably the quickest appointment ever (in a good way) there was almost no waiting. I got my lab work done and was in the Dr’s office before I had a chance to sit down.

Big 'Ol 17 week belly.

Oh and my precious 'baby' boy? He amazes me everyday. I love watching him learn new things, his little brain firing away making connections with words and actions. He will now also sign ‘please’ ‘car’ and ‘shhh’. . .all after I show or ask him, but man it’s cute! His favorite book right now is 'Go Dog Go' and he 'says' the name when he brings it to you :) Here is a pic, just for your enjoyment.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Am I the only one?

Subject: Maternity clothes.

So I bought a ton of maternity clothes for the summer before last when I was pregnant with Jack. Not that I really needed them, because I had a pretty much non existant belly until at LEAST 20 weeks. Now I’m having a SUMMER baby, and it's going to be a big one :), so I need more winter-ish clothes for the next 3 months and have exactly 4 pairs of jeans. Somehow these jeans (that fit me when I was BIG and pregnant Fall of ’09) don’t fit now. I know I’m not that much smaller this time around (from my pre-pregnancy weight) but these pants totally don’t fit in the butt/thigh area. The slide off all. day. long. Am I the only one who seems to need two sets of sizes? I only gained 30lbs last time, which I thought was pretty reasonable, but apparently I was in denial as to how much of that weight was just ‘momma pounds’ and not baby/amniotic fluid/placenta pounds.

So I need maternity pants, off to Old (can you say free shipping and returns?) I go. . .or maybe I can just live in these yoga pants until I gain those 'much needed' pounds? Hmm.

Here's a webcam belly pic from last week. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Microfibers STINK.

That title is totally misleading. We love our cloth diapers. I’m actually making this post as an excuse to post some of my fav CD pictures. . .because HOW cute is that fluffy butt?

Almost exactly a year ago... my boys! I know. Adorable

I don't think I've ever posted this adorable picture- facebook or otherwise. I USED to think I was a little nuts for wanting to do the whole CD thing, ok sometimes I still do. . . but once we got into it, we loved it. I still had that moment of sheepish embarrassment when people unknowing we CD would say "Ew, I could never do that" and I responded with "We do." :) Now it seems more and more friends have stopped looking at me funny and thinking maybe there is something to it!

and from my 365 project Wednesday.

We use Bumgenuis 3.0 (with Velcro) and love them. We don’t love washing them, because who would *love* doing laundry? It is, however, totally worth the trade off, and really isn’t that bad. The first 6 months are bliss. . .breast milk poo just washes away, poof. Solid poo? Not as fun, but really it’s not too much more work. With a dirty disposable I have to take it outside because of the stink factor. With cloth you just flush the poo, throw the diaper in a bin and run the wash every other day. I think the trade off is totally worth it, for us. Especially financially. We live in government housing and don’t pay our water bill, bonus. We also have to pay more for disposables with only the commissary or PX to buy them from. I know many friends in the states who get GREAT deals on disposables, but without that option disposables are SO expensive! stock up (sometimes too much!) when there is a ‘good sale’ but the savings certainly don’t match up. We still use disposables for trips, busy weekends, and overnight. . .it’s just what works for us.

Washing: we do a cold cycle with soap, a hot cycle with soap, and an additional rinse. We use Rockin’ Green Soft Rock (even though we have crazy hard water) because Jackson’s skin is sensitive. I think if we could use the regular or even hard rock, it would be better, but we stick with what works.

Back to the stink. I actually didn’t use cloth diapers in November or December. Andy went out of town for two weeks, my mom came over to Germany for Jackson’s first birthday, I battled morning sickness, and we were gearing up for the vacations of all vacations- The Cruise. I think I was also tired of ‘The Stink’. Microfiber inserts are notorious for smelling bad. Like really bad. Some have problems with ammonia. I have problems with the dingy- I sometimes leave them in the washer too long smell. I honestly think the difference between loving and hating these diapers is** being able to conquer the stink. We ‘strip’ our diapers and liners with Dawn dishwashing liquid and chlorine free bleach about once a month. THEN I regular bleach the crap out of the inserts (and then rinse at least 3 times). I’m pretty sure cottonbabies condones this, and if not, I don’t care. It’s what works to get the smell out. I also know the sun has amazing bleaching factors, but we don’t really have a clothesline. . .

Velcro vs snaps. I’ve never tried snaps, and would like to. We haven’t had problems with the Velcro wearing out. (The laundry tabs never work well- those are little tabs that you are supposed to be able to attach the sticky part of the Velcro to so you don’t get a ‘diaper chain’ where all your diapers connect together. . .we have those often, but it’s not a big complaint). I really feel the Velcro was necessary for an itty bitty baby. I just don’t see how the snaps would work when at times I had to literally overlap the tabs. It DID scratch his stomach at times when he had nothing else on. With an older baby it isn’t an issue. I guess my concern would be getting the ‘perfect’ fit with snaps- and the amount of time it takes to snap- not much, but more than the Velcro and with my wiggly man, that’s almost too long :).

Ok, that’s what I have for now. Just wanted all of my thoughts in one place. Feel free to ask questions!

PS- another great thing about the diapers? Just the cover makes a PERFECT swim suit. It doesn't absorb (like all swim diapers) but does a good job of keeping 'things' in! I KNOW this isn't condoned by cottonbabies so don't do this if you want your warranty to be valid!

Monday, January 10, 2011

My baby is a genius

I say this in jest. Well, actually I do believe he is quite smart, but I’m pretty sure every parent feels that way about their children. I realize Jackson isn’t hitting any of these milestones at an age that will put him in the Guinness Book of World Records, but every milestone IS an amazing thing, no matter when they are reached. So horray to ALL little baby geniuses out there.

Today Jackson has totally wowed me. I am well overdue for a milestone update. . .so here it is. Jackson now has 8 teeth and SEEMS to be working hard on his molars. He started taking steps right around a year. . though it was mostly the lunging-hoping-you-catch-me kind of way J It took him a while to find his balance and just recently over the past week he really got the hang of walking and walks almost all of the time. Babies are so cute when they are upright. His gait is still pretty funny, and he trips over dogs, toys, and his own feet, but it hasn’t slowed him down a bit.

He’s started saying things. . or at least trying to. He waved and said ‘bye to Andy the other morning while Andy was putting on his uniform, and makes sounds like ball, more, all done, and his favorite- dog. I have no doubt he is saying a lot more than this but I have yet to catch on ;)

We’ve worked sporadically with baby signing but regularly watch the Baby Signing Time DVDs. Today Jackson did the more sign and I caught it on video. We had been eating pudding and I decided he had had probably had (more than) enough and set it on the coffee table behind me, trying to convince him it was all gone. A few minutes later he started signing ‘more’ very clearly. (Usually it’s more of a clapping/bringing hands together IF he ever does it and it’s very encouraged). . .after realizing what he wanted I quickly grabbed the video camera and persuaded him to do it some MORE. Ha.

Later he was playing in the kitchen and I was in the living room with my sister (on Skype). I was trying to get Jackson to come play on the floor with me. Well the kitchen holds terribly interesting things- pots to bang, food packages to destroy, and a really fun cooking pot toy. So to get his attention I started reading out loud one of his books I had memorized (I use this trick a lot on long car rides too.) He came to find me, walked to the book shelf and pulled THE book I was ‘reading’ and brought it to me. That wowed me. What book you ask? None other than our favorite Barnyard Dance, a gift from baby Will.

Today he also figured out how to open the trash can. . .and thinks it’s fun to ‘throw’ things away. . .so helpful ;) All that genius must have wore him out because the next thing I found him doing? Chewing on the furniture. Better than this I suppose.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

According to this study. . .

I'm pretty sure I'm giving birth to a grilled cheese sandwich.

Well before this baby was conceived I decided, I mean, Andy and I decided, we wouldn't be finding out the sex. Don't get me wrong, I was THRILLED to know Jackson was indeed a Jack at only 16 weeks, and wouldn't do it any other way. But this time I feel more prepared. I don't think it will change very much. And who doesn't LOVE a surprise?

The reason(s) I'm nervous. 1. Ultrasounds. In Germany we get them every visit, and while it hasn't been an issue yet, I know it will get more difficult as the time and numbers tally up. We all know pregnant women can be a little irrational at times and often change their mind at a split second. I just hope I can stick with my decision for the next 10? u/s. The other reason is the language difference. Germans are GREAT at English. However, with learning any second language, there are always the 'minor' pronoun issues. I just hope no one says the word 'he' or 'she' to me. If I started to think I had 'accidentally' been told what it was I might decide to find out. . .but again, hopefully not.

So we have ALLL our baby stuff for Jackson, and I plan on picking up a few things for (what I think) will be our baby girl . . . Another great thing about having a surprise is not having to pick a name until the baby comes. I wanted to do this with Jackson, but his name was the first one we liked, always the clear 'leader;, and ultimately decided on early on. PLUS I wanted to make this :)

(Uh, totally hoping I get some of that shiny pregnancy hair again!)

So, if you ask us our name choices, our pre-determined answer will be "Jackson II, cause we liked it so much the first time!" My mom insists we will have to call him J^2, or J Squared, so there isn't any confusion :)

My to buy list for this baby?

A couple of cute bows, one or two pink things, a super cute neutral newborn knit hat (I so wanted one for Jackson but never bought it) and a couple of neutral pajamas/sleep and plays.

Camera equipment. Have you seen my 'new' blog? One of my resolutions this year was to work hard on my photography skills. I started this blog and my goal is to take a picture every day using the manual settings of my camera. . .BUT no stressing if it doesn't happen, or if I have to post two pictures a day to make up, I mean, I already started 'A Day Late', get it? I really hope this encourages me to learn the settings on my camera better. I want to get some awesome shots of our new little bundle, and will quite possibly want/NEED a new lens or flash or some other piece of fancy photography equipment that will only help me if I actually know what I'm doing.

A scale. Jackson had trouble gaining weight in the beginning and I took him in frequently to be weighed- it would be so much nicer to do it at home, you know instead of dragging out the newborn and active toddler. But as sure as I buy a scale, I'll have a little porker and no need for it. Maybe just a food scale that goes up to 10lbs?

We are planning on moving back to the states in the fall, so this baby will likely be born over here (Germany), but with the military anything can change. Just wanted you to know where we were with all the baby crazies.

And for those who want to see the ever expanding pooch? (Ahem, Dena) Here is a picture. 13w 5d, crazy.

They aren't kidding when they say you show faster with your second! I've been saying for a while I'm TWICE as big as I was with Jackson. Maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Random Musing

Does anyone else sleep with their feet off the bed? Cause I do and I wonder if this is possibly an anomaly I only share with incredibly tall people.

I sleep on my stomach (soon to change) but I like my right foot hanging off the bed. Like the top of my foot is on the mattress and my toes hang off at least 2 or 3 inches. I mean, I have to scoot down that far, because obviously I'm not a giant. (Obviously).

I read this to my husband and he looked at me like I was crazy. No, I'm not joking that was my blog for the day.

As I watch Grover talk about Cairo on Sesame Street it reminds me I need to tell your our Egypt story. . .remind me. I promise it's slightly better than feet off the bed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You know what that means.

I’m pretty much bursting with excitement.

We took lots of *this* type of picture during our cruise.

You know what that means.

I was DOUBLY sea sick when the boat was moving.

And THIS has been growing in my belly for the last 13 weeks!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 of '10

Really. Do you have any idea how impossibly hard it is to pick only 10 of my favorite pictures from the past year? Tell me you feel my pain. My friend Carrie did this and I loved looking back over her handpicked favorites.

Somehow I narrowed it down to these, but it was tough. The decisions were made slightly easier by choosing only pictures with Jackson (and Patton or Bentley). Once I cut out the numerous baby/daddy pictures (read: baby and daddy, not Baby Daddy) it was slightly easier.

I love this picture of Bently and Jackson. Jack is 2 months old and they both share the same bemused expression. Priceless.

Oh. Baby. I miss those sleep-anywhere times. Stretched out with a belly full of milk. It was so easy to get caught up just watching him sleep. The sleep grins turned sleep giggles and the precious yawns and stretches? Baby fever, much?

Ok, I'm cheating. But these pictures were taken less than 2 weeks apart and are so similar, yet I could NOT choose between the two- so you get both. I love his expressions in both pictures. So Jack.

Jackson was 4 months old and I saw a friend post a picture of their baby about the same age sitting. Immediately I wanted to try it so we took off upstairs to our king sized super soft pillow top and low and behold I got this first upright (unsupported) picture of my guy. No matter he could only hold this position for exactly 2.5 seconds, he was adorable. With his bald everywhere but on top head and his heavenly chubbiness. Sigh.

Pretzels are one of Jackson's favorite foods (living in Germany that's not too much of a surprise). This picture was actually taken in France on a trip we took over Labor Day Weekend. We were at a small sidewalk cafe on the main thoroughfare sipping champagne and snacking before dinner.

We have this beautiful woods behind our house (our street name Zum Spitzberg literally means to the woods). Can't wait until spring when Jackson can really get out and explore.

Favorite cold weather picture taken just before (or after) Jackson's first birthday.

My new 50mm 1.8/f took this picture. This is exactly why I wanted the lens, yet I have no idea how I did it. Must learn.

Just about a week ago I took this picture on our cruise. Our last port was Dubrovnik, Croatia, a city I never knew I wanted to visit. Now, I think I must go back. The views from the city walls were breath-taking.

Phew. So those are my top ten! The good news? Next year I should get to pick ELEVEN! Right?

And in mostly related news, because I likely won't get around to posting my New Year's resolutions here is one. Learn to shoot in manual mode. . . (if you have any tips or resources I'd love to hear them!!) I'm one of those shoot and hope kinda photographers. I'd love to be one who KNOWS they are getting the perfect shot. This has actually been a goal for a long time, but hey, this could  WILL be the year. Need to sharpen my skills for all those precious moments to come!