Pardon my rant . . .

{ Tuesday, April 28, 2009 }
but I never noticed just how gendered baby clothes really are. When you walk into any baby store, you know right away which side is boy's clothes and which side is girl's because you're overwhelmed by the blue and pink before you even get through the door.

Now, I'm a fairly "girly girl" myself and trust me, I love me some pink and some dresses, but everyone has their limits. We have some dresses that are super cute that we'll definitely put the bean in, but how many dresses does one baby really need? I mean, dresses just make certain things uncomfortable (like crawling and, later, running) and it annoys me how an infant's dress rides up when you're holding her. And is it too much to ask that pink be just ONE color in her wardrobe?

I may have reached my limit the other day when the sweetie and I were shopping and I held up a very cute garment that I (wrongly) assumed was a top. I was thrilled that it was a non-pink color and feeling very proud of myself until the sweetie asked, "Is that a top?" I looked closer and answered, "No, is another @*$#ing dress!!!"


32 Weeks

{ Friday, April 24, 2009 }
We are closing in on the end of the 32nd week and I have to say that I've been extremely lucky up to this point. Aside from the horrible morning sickness (which we cannot, ever, discount because it really was THAT bad and it lasted well into the fourth month) and the aversion to drinking water that lasted another few weeks beyond that, I've felt really good. I felt so good in the second trimester that I was sometimes surprised to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and be reminded that, yes, I really was that pregnant.

I still don't have any major complaints. I'm starting to get a little bit of heartburn (and a couple episodes of reflux) and a little bit of back pain (should be doing more back exercises--shame on me!). My calves have swollen a little bit, but my hands and face look pretty good and I'm still able to wear my rings! The belly has grown to such monumental proportions that I'm no longer surprised when I see it--I'm convinced its an optical illusion. It doesn't feel like this huge bump should be part of me (and it doesn't feel that big from where I'm sitting).

I know there's still time for all the 3rd trimester discomforts to creep in, but the longer I ward them off, the better. Here's the belly at this point, I can hardly fathom it getting any bigger.

Prefolds, Covers, and Snappis . . . Oh My!

{ Tuesday, April 21, 2009 }
Don't you hate it when life gets in the way of blogging? I have so many things I've been wanting to post about here. First of all, more than you ever wanted to know about cloth diapers.

Val brought up some valid concerns in the comments of this post. Like Val, I remember my mother using cloth diapers with my younger brother and it being quite a pain. Mom rinsed the dirty diapers in the toilet (the thought of which still makes me gag) and everyone was always getting stuck with the diaper pins that inevitably ended up all over the house. I'm certainly not an expert, but here's what I've learned about how cloth diapering is different now than it was when we were babies.

First of all, our parents probably used either flat or prefold diapers. A flat diapers is essentially just a large square of fabric that is folded up and around the baby. Prefold diapers are similar, but are prefolded (clever name, huh?) and sewn into place so that there are extra thicknesses of fabric where the baby will wet. In the past, these diapers would have been folded around the baby, pinned into place and then covered with a waterproof layer which my mother called rubber pants (but were probably really plastic). These covers are still available, but something like this is more popular since it wraps around the baby, is adjustable, and the fabric is breathable. I've heard that you can just fold a prefold into thirds, lay it inside the cover and you're good to go without having to do any fancy wrap and pin action. If you prefer, you can also do the fancy wrap action without the pinning if you're using one of the wrap around covers. Finally, if you're set on pinning, an alternative to diaper pins are Snappis which are plastic devices which grab onto the diaper to keep it in place. The advantage to flat or prefold diapers is that they are relatively inexpensive and dry quickly in the dryer.

Our mothers would be happy to learn that there are other options as well! There are fitted diapers, which look like disposable diapers, but are made from absorbent cloth. They either snap or velcro around the baby and need to a diaper cover in order to be waterproof. There are also all-in-one diapers, which are the closest you can get to feeling like you're using disposables. These have the waterproof layer and absorbent inside sewn together in one piece so all you do is velcro or snap the whole shebang on the little one and you're good to go. All-in-ones are the most expensive option and I've heard complaints that they take forever to dry in the laundry due to all the different layers of fabric. This is where pocket diapers come in. They work similar to an all-in-one diaper, but there is a removable middle layer of absorbent fabric that can be washed and dried separately (which means they dry quickly).

I am told that there is no need to soak or rinse cloth diapers before washing them. There shouldn't be any, ahem, solid waste for the first several months and after that, the solids can just be dumped in the toilet and the diapers washed with an extra rinse. I was also concerned about soaking because I seem to remember my mom having bucket full of water and diapers waiting to be washed (which is not only a safety concern, but an aesthetic one as well). They say the dirty diapers can just go in a waterproof bag inside an airtight garbage can until laundry day, when the whole mess gets thrown in the washer. We shall soon find out if "they" know what they're talking about.

I've been researching diaper options for months now and it seems like most people have the hardest time finding the right fit during the first few months. I'm hoping that we can avoid that problem by using prefolds since we have so many options for folding. Also, the covers are what prevent leaks and they're relatively inexpensive so we can afford to try out a few different brands until we find something that works. Prefolds are also the most economical option to get us through that period when the bean will be using 2 (or more?) dozen diapers a day. After that, we're switching to homemade pocket diapers. There's a little anxiety for me around this topic because its quite an investment, both in time and materials, to make these puppies and there's really no guarantee that they'll fit or work for us. I guess its like everything else with this baby--we can plan all we want but we really have no idea how this whole thing is going to go until she gets here.

That being said (and no one accused me of being brief), I've made our very first diaper. I really stressed about what fabrics to make it out of. The waterproof outer layer is PUL (polyester polyurethane laminated fabric), that was an easy choice. The inner layer, the part that touches the bean's skin, is organic hemp fleece. From what I've learned, microfleece or suedecloth are better choices in terms of wicking moisture away from the baby and I debated for quite a while about whether that should outweigh my aversion to covering our child's nether regions with synthetic fabric but, in the end, the hippie in me won out. I really hope we don't have a ton of leaky diapers and an unhappy baby. The synthetic fabric won out for the inner layer, which is three layers of a microfiber dish towel that I stitched together.
The microfiber "stuffing."

Inside view--all stuffed.

And all folded up. Its a bit sloppy, but not bad for a first try.

Interestingly enough, after all that debating about fiber content, I didn't give much thought to fabric color. I picked what I thought was pretty and bought it. It wasn't until the sweetie noticed the outer layer fabric sitting on my sewing table and asked, "What if baby #2 is a boy?" that I realized I should have picked something a bit more neutral.

Swimming Lessons

{ Thursday, April 09, 2009 }
Going to see my cardiologist is sort of an all day event. His office is in New York, so getting there requires me to take the day off work and commute into the city with the sweetie. After spending five minutes in his office, during which he gave me my "get out of a c-section free" card, I went shopping. I've been growing out of my first batch of maternity clothes and needed a couple more things to last me through the end. I hope I have everything I need now-I hate buying maternity clothes. I'm too cheap to spend a ton of money on clothes I'll only wear for a few months, and the cheap clothes are all really frumpy looking. I'd much rather be spending the money on bean clothes.

Speaking of the little one--apparently week 30 is the week she learns to swim. I was a little concerned on Monday because I hadn't felt her move as much as usual. The next couple days, where I had been feeling kicks in my ribs, I was feeling them near my hips. I told the boy I was pretty sure she had turned breech and the midwife confirmed it at my appointment last night. I was pretty bummed out, I mean, she stayed head down for all this time just to turn now? She couldn't hold still for a couple more months? Then, later in the night, I felt reassuring kicks at the top of my belly. For a minute. Then she somersaulted back around for the rest of the evening but this morning I think she's head down again. I believe at this point she is just messing with me. I had heard women talk about being able to tell what position their babies were in, but I didn't think I would be able to. The midwife even tried to show me how to feel for the head, but I just nodded along with what she was saying. From the outside, everything feels like one big lump, but it turns out those feet in your crotch are pretty unmistakable.

As promised (at least I think I promised), I finally have pictures of the nursery.

I'm starting to rethink the mirrors on the wall--any thoughts? I wonder if we should just lose them and either leave that wall empty or move the shelf over. Funny story about the diaper bag--I didn't intend to get one that matched the room but, obviously, I love green and brown. I was actually looking for something a little less "girly" so that the boy could also carry it without being embarrassed, but I was informed that its a rite of passage for men to carry hideous girly diaper bags, so the pretty brown and green one it is!

I love these little rug dots. They serve absolutely no function whatsoever, but they're so darn cute! Sweetie still needs to paint the side table--the drawers will all be the same green as the upper half of the wall.

We went back and forth about the changing table a couple times. First, we planned to buy a low dresser and change the baby on the top, but we realized that there's no way we'd fit all that furniture in the room. My frugal side was loath to spend money on a changing table that we'd only use for a few months and, despite being pretty spendy, most changing tables are so rickety that I wouldn't want to put a baby on one anyway. Finally, we found this one at Ikea. Its solid wood and the top comes off so that the bean can use it for a bookshelf or toy storage later. We thought about adding it to the boy's painting list, but since it doesn't really fit in the room anyway, we ended up hiding it in the closet. I think its perfect in there, because we can hang a shelf on one of the side walls and have stuff handy without worrying about things dropping from above onto her head. I'm so happy with how it all turned out!

False Advertising

{ Thursday, April 02, 2009 }
Even though this blog claims to be all about crafting and cooking, I haven't been making much of anything lately aside from this big belly. Maybe I should change the subtitle to bulleted points on house renovation and Bradley class bitching? Well, at least that should be the title of this post.

  • After all my complaining last week, the Bradley class ended up being not half bad. An acupuncturist visited to demonstrate pressure points that ease contractions and it was nice to meet her just in case we need to call on her services for baby turning or induction help later.

  • I needn't have worried about our hospital's birth policies. Last week, we finally met the third midwife in the practice (who we really liked) and she eased all of our concerns. A midwife will deliver our baby at the hospital and the change in location is pretty much the only difference between that and the birth center. (Except that I can't deliver in the tub, but I wasn't sure that was something we'd want anyway.)

  • I "passed" the gestational diabetes test with a result of 113 (anything less than 140 is passing). That's 113 mg/dL of glucose in the blood, if you're curious.

  • We are STILL working on getting this house into shape, although we're hopeful that we can finish this weekend. Last weekend my coworker came by with a helper to install the toilet that had been sitting in our hallway for weeks and to do some electrical work and other odds and ends. Its so nice to have that stuff done and to see this place starting to look more like a home than a construction area.

  • The midwives have been hinting that I may need a medicated birth or the dreaded c-section unless my cardiologist gives me a note saying its OK to have a natural birth. I feel a little bit like an 8th grader getting a permission slip signed to go on the school field trip and it actually angers me if I think about it too long. Um, he needs to give me permission to give birth? He didn't seem at all concerned when I discussed a potential pregnancy with him last fall, so I'm hoping there won't be an issue when I ask for my permission slip tomorrow.

  • Finally, there was a huge package of cloth diapers waiting for me when I arrived home today. I always knew that I wanted to cloth diaper, but I had no idea how complicated it was. There are so many options and so many different opinions on what works best. I finally placed an order for 36 unbleached, Indian prefold diapers, along with a couple diaper covers and snappis. We'll use those for the first couple weeks when the bean is blowing through diapers like they're going out of style and it'll be hardest to get a good fit. After that, we'll use pocket diapers that I plan to sew in a couple different sizes. I think the boy is still a little unsure about this whole thing, but hopefully it will work for us and we'll both get the hang of it. For now, the prefolds are in wash #1 out of the 5 they'll need before they can be used. After that, we gotta learn how to actually put these things on the kid!