Sleep Considerations

{ Saturday, May 30, 2009 }
I've spent a good deal of time over the last couple months thinking about how we're all going to sleep after this bean arrives. I know it seems strange, since I've been told that new parents don't typically do a lot of sleeping, but still.

When I first got pregnant, there was no doubt in my mind that we'd cosleep. We planned to use a cosleeper, but the more I researched them, the more nervous I got. They aren't safety rated and there have been recalls on some models that posed strangulation hazards. OK, I thought, we'll put the baby in the bed with us. Where should she sleep? Between me and the edge of the bed and we run the risk of her rolling onto the (wood) floor. So I thought we'd get a bed rail which, aside from making it impossible to get in and out of the bed, are not recommended for use with infants. There is something like this which would stop the baby from rolling onto the floor, but isn't it also a suffocation hazard?

OK, how about putting the baby between the two of us? In that case, we run the risk of one of us rolling on top of her. (If you spend any time googling cosleeping, you'll hear so many horrific stories of parents rolling on top of and suffocating their babies, which is the biggest argument against cosleeping that I've found). I've read that this arrangement is not recommended because (apparently) the mother is very aware of the baby, but the father typically has no idea what (or who) he's sleeping on. I'm not sure how this applies to a two mom family, but I'm assuming the boy is the oblivious father in our case.

In all the research I've done, I've read over and over that cosleeping can be safe if the parents do it in a safe manner. However, when I try to find out what this "safe manner" is, all I can find is that you shouldn't smoke or do drugs (including alcohol) before you sleep with your baby and you should remove pillows and blankets from the bed. And how do we keep the little bean in the bed, preferably without an adult body on top of her? I have no clue.

For a while, we thought we'd leave the baby in the bassinet portion of a pack 'n play next to the bed, which seemed like a nice compromise. But then I got nervous because we spent so much time furnishing the bean's room with all wood furniture and we plan to buy an organic mattress with wool used as a fire retardant to minimize any toxic fumes she might be exposed to while sleeping. Then we're going to put her in a big plastic box to sleep for the first couple months? It didn't make sense to me.

Enter a further complication:

This bassinet has been in the boy's family for generations. It has, apparently, been passed around from household to household as each new baby has arrived. The boy's father slept in it, the boy and the boy's brothers slept in it and, most recently, a niece and nephew have both been in it, one of whom is currently under a year old. Its certainly not safety rated. I'm praying that its been repainted at least once since the days of lead paint. Oh yeah, its an odd size, so there were no organic mattresses to be had that would fit. Yet, there it is sitting in our house waiting for the arrival of the little bean. We're not even sure if she'll stay in it, at least at night, because I'm not sure we've completely given up on the idea of having her in the bed. (I'm still attached to the idea of sleeping, or at least lying down, while nursing in the middle of the night.) We're just not sure exactly how its going to work, which might be appropriate since we're not sure how any of this baby stuff is going to work--we're just going to have to wing it.

Another milestone

{ Wednesday, May 27, 2009 }
Today, the little bean is full-term. I've been saying for the past week that she can come whenever she wants, but its only actually true starting today (I was rounding up). I think we're ready. I KNOW I'm ready although I'm bracing myself for a long wait, since conventional wisdom is that first babies come late.

We opted to spend our last long weekend as a 2 person family hanging around the house, resting and finishing final preparations for the bean's arrival. We talked about just how strange it seems that a new person whom we haven't met will be joining our family in just a couple weeks. There's a bed and clothes and all sorts of stuff just sitting there waiting. It feels strange, but exciting too!

We finished putting together and putting away all the gifts from our shower. I washed loads and loads of baby laundry, so now all of the bedding and miscellaneous towels and blankets are clean, along with enough clothes in different sizes to get us through for a while. I still have diapers to sew (of course) but we have enough to get us through a few months. I've been stocking the freezer with meals little by little in hopes that there won't be too many "what will we eat" crises in the first month and I've been trying to keep the pantry stocked so we won't be rushing to the grocery store in the first week. The boy spent a good bit of the weekend cleaning the house top to bottom, since I've mandated that we give it a good scrub once a week so we have a better chance of it being clean when the bean arrives and everyone wants to come over to see her. We're also trying to start babyproofing by strapping large pieces of furniture to the wall and thinking about moving things to higher shelves. Of course, we have plenty of time for that, but we might as well get a jump start now while we're just waiting.

We still have several projects we'd like to finish around the house now that there's time and energy and we don't have to worry about waking a sleeping baby, but nothing that's necessary before she comes. We're ready. We may still have a month to wait, but now would be good too.

How about some more pictures of the nursery, now that we're all done with it?

The crib still doesn't have a mattress, but we're not planning to put her in it for a while anyway, so we'll get that after she arrives. I hate to admit that we struggled an embarassingly large amount of time trying to install the mobile. Our crib doesn't have straight sides, which is what its designed to hang on. We finally resigned ourselves to hanging it on the wall above the crib, even though we thought it would be out of sight of the little bean. Then we took a trip to the store where we purchased the crib and saw the display model with a mobile attached at the back, like we have ours here. So much frustration for such a simple little thing!

The shelves on these back walls were meant to be filled with knitted toys (knitted by yours truly). Clearly, I'm not doing such a great job in that department, although there has been plenty of knitting. If she holds out a few more weeks, I may be able to get a couple done.

I love our little closet changing station! The garbage can contains a wet bag for cloth diapers and, its hard to see, but we installed a little shelf on the right side to hold lotions and pins and other diaper changing paraphenelia. The diaper hanger is stuffed full of disposables plus there are two more bins full. That diaper cake was bigger than it looked!

I believe I've lost the war on pink. There are a couple baby blue outfits (although you may notice that those are dresses) and one or two things in purple and every single other article of clothing is pink. Perhaps when she's a year old, she can wear a different color?

And the countdown continues

{ Sunday, May 17, 2009 }
Our little bean is due to arrive exactly one month from today. Of course, we all know that due dates mean nothing to the little babes who pick their own birthdays, but still. We're getting close.
This week, we finish our last childbirth class. In effort to be (over) prepared, I signed us up for 12 weeks of Bradley, 4 weeks of childbirth preparation classes at our hospital along with baby care, car seat safety and breastfeeding. I'm really glad that we tried all these out and a couple of them were really good, but most of them were, well, not. I guess there was no way to know that in advance, but it turns out we could have read all the books that we've already been working our way through and we'd have pretty much the same, if not more, information. We'll see if any of this makes one bit of difference while we're working our way through contractions, though!

The last series of classes we took were at the hospital and as sweetie and I were riding the elevator down to the lobby one evening, we stopped to pick someone up. The woman (wearing scrubs) backed up to let us off and gave us a very strange look when we told her we weren't getting off on her floor. "But THIS is the 3rd floor," she insisted. It took me a few minutes to remember that labor and delivery is on the third floor. She thought I looked pregnant enough to actually be in labor and heading in for delivery. That was a couple weeks ago and while I'm getting anxious for the little bean to show up, she still had a bit of baking left to do at that point. Not that I'm defensive or anything, but I felt an urge to explain to her how far along I was and that my midwife tells me I'm measuring right on target. But yeah, I'm big.

One more month to go . . . it simultaneously seems like a short period of time and an eternity.

Who doesn't love a shower?

{ Friday, May 15, 2009 }
I love baby showers. I'm not going to lie--I love seeing all the cute little clothes and fun baby gear and decorations and playing all the silly games (the games are really my favorite part!). I know some people hate going to them, but I've always loved them.

With my family almost entirely 3000 miles away, I knew none of them would be hosting one and no one in sweetie's family had mentioned anything to me, so I was not expecting to have one (although it was odd that the sweetie was so opposed to my buying anything for the baby--even at 34 weeks!). I should also mention that I am incredibly hard to suprise. I (usually) can tell when someone's hiding something from me and I (annoyingly) ask a lot of questions about what's going on, so I make it hard on would-be surprise planners.

Last weekend, we were planning to go to my mother-in-law's house for Mother's day brunch on Sunday morning, but Friday afternoon the boy called to tell me that there was a change in plans and that mother-in-law would like to have everyone over for brunch on Saturday instead. (I'm not sure how to feel about the fact that the boy is getting better at hiding things from me, but I'm choosing to see it as a good thing in this context.)

So, Saturday morning we arrived at mother-in-law's house, walked in, and I immediately see a bunch of stuff in her entry (mother-in-law's house is always exceptionally tidy). I say hello and then all of a sudden a bunch of people come out of the dining room and yell surprise and I realize that the "stuff" in the entry is a bunch of gifts. Yay, a surprise shower complete with the games that I love so much! I really had no idea and I have to say, after experiencing it for the first time, that I'm now a fan of being surprised. It was so much fun!

Opening presents--I don't know where everyone found such cute clothes, but we were given stuff that is so much cuter than what I bought.

Gotta love a diaper cake! Even though we're planning to use cloth, I think we'll end up putting the bean in disposables occasionally, so these are perfect!

Apparently, you're supposed to make a hat out of the ribbons and wear it for good luck.

It was so much fun and so good to see everyone. And now we really do have everything we need for the little bean, we just need to spend this weekend organizing and putting everything away!

California Dreamin'

{ Thursday, May 07, 2009 }
At my review in January, my boss asked me to attend a two week training in CA at some point during the year and wanted to know whether I preferred to go before or after the baby. At the time, I was only thinking about being uncomfortable on the plane and of how much work we had to do before the baby came, so I decided to put it off. The farther along I got, the idea of being away from a nursing infant caused me to reconsider. So, off I went to the bay area at 32 weeks pregnant. (A lot of people asked me if it was still safe to fly. I wondered the same thing, but its OK to fly up to 36 weeks--I made it just under the wire.)

At the same time, I was complaining to the boy that I was regretting our decision not to take any vacations this year and that I wanted one last weekend away before the baby came. This was the perfect opportunity for the sweetie to fly out and spend the weekend with me for a mini babymoon!

We didn't do much of anything exciting, but ventured to Santa Cruz to hang out at the beach. We stumbled upon a great vegetarian restaurant that had veggie corn dogs on the menu (something I was just telling the boy that I sometimes missed from my meat eating days). We loved the place so much that we came back the next day for a veggie bacon cheeseburger with an onion ring and BBQ sauce on top (another guilty pleasure from the past). The place was like a pregnancy craving nirvana, I've got to tell you.

When I left for the trip I was 32 weeks pregnant, which made our due date seem so much farther away than it seems now at 34 weeks. I came back to a very relaxed partner who was saying, "don't worry, we'll get everything done" so I had to put a rush on things by pointing out that if the baby decides to come at 36 weeks, the doctors won't stop her. Saying that even put a panic into me! Even more scary is that when I asked our midwife about it this week, she said that even at 34 weeks, they'll only do a half ass job of trying to stop labor. I fully expect bean to make a late arrival, but I'd still like to be prepared in case she surprises me! We've been picking up things that we need here and there, but this weekend we'll do one last massive shopping spree and then I'll work on the mad dash to sew diapers.

In addition to time somehow moving faster while I was away, my belly growth seems to have also accelerated. People are now either asking me when the due date is (immediately followed by, "you must be getting close") or just flat out telling me that I look like I'm ready to go at any minute. People at work are also becoming hesitant to plan anything with me because they're not sure I'll be around much longer.

I have to say that there has been an amazing symmetry to this pregnancy. The first couple months were full of worry, nausea and wonder and I could have told you at any given time how far along I was, down to the day (when we toured the birth center, I proudly announced that I was 4weeks 3days). The second trimester flew by with me sometimes forgetting what week we were on, but now I'm back to paying attention to the exact number of days we have left to go. The worry and nausea are back and after having been told that I likely wouldn't be able to get pregnant, I never allowed myself to even imagine what it would be like to be in this position. I just can't believe there's a near full-term baby in my belly! Just a few more weeks until we get a look at this little bean.