Friday, June 29, 2012

The Baby's Room: Diapering Station

As I mentioned in a previous post, MM and I lit a fire under our own asses and really cranked out the house projects in May and June. Of course, one of these projects was fixing up the baby's room--obtaining and putting together furniture, moving the furniture around, decorating, organizing.

Since I have a tendency to be a fair-weather blogger who's mind is even further compromised these days from a little thing call "pregnancy brain," I did not have the forethought/foresight to take before and after photos. But hey, never late than better... or something like that.

We'll start in the corner where my husband will do the majority of the heavy lifting: the diapering station:

Changing table: I actually attempted to save money on some of the furniture in the baby's room and found very gently used Pottery Barn furniture on Craigslist. It still wasn't cheap (and we did not buy the crib secondhand), but I'm pretty thrilled with the purchase. People have differing opinions about whether true changing tables are necessary (vs. dressers that can be converted after the babe is no longer in diapers or just changing the baby on other surfaces), but we already had a dresser for her room and I am loving the extra storage space and cute baskets.

Decor: I had "big plans" for a theme in the baby's room, but ultimately, I'm not really a theme person or a crafty person or a person with buckets of patience. Instead, I took some random crap from our house and some random crap from my mom's house and used that instead. The framed picture over the changing tables is of my hand prints with a cute little poem about being small. The hooks on the right side of the crib (which I could have taken a better picture of) is something I picked up in Mexico on our honeymoon. It works for me.

Diapering: After a lot of thought and research, back when I had time at work to surf the Internet, I decided that I wanted to try cloth diapering. I'm not generally a gung-ho environmental type, but it seemed like a good idea to save some money, save some space in a landfill, and save our sanity so that there are no "Oh shit we're out of diapers and it's 2 a.m." emergencies (does that even really happen?).

Exclusively cloth diaper was never the plan, partially because most daycares won't do it, but also because I'm realistic about me. However, I hope to cloth diaper mainly at home, and I hope that having a stash of cloth diapers means that we never have to run out in the middle of the night to avert a diaper crisis. Plus, they are pretty freaking cute:

So far my cloth diaper "stash" is pretty light, but I have four BumGenius All-In-Ones (AIOs); two Flip diaper covers, which are basically reusable covers with inserts (I think I have six inserts), and two Thirties diaper covers, which really won't do me much good until a get a few fitted diapers to go under the covers. The whole cloth diapering this is really confusing--so many kinds--but I think I have it figured out to the point where we can at least give it a shot. I'll probably purchase a few more types of cloth diapers, but really, what I have now (enough for 10 changes) would probably, maybe get us through a day. If I love it and want to do it more, I'll probably purchase enough to get us through two days, to lighten the amount of laundry I need to do. As for the disposables, we received tons of diapers as gifts, which I was not expecting. These will not go to waste. 

Diaper Pail: For the cloth diapers, I have a "wet bag" that you can't see in the photo. This will basically function as a hamper for soiled diapers only. For disposables (and wipes and maybe general trash), I received the Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail, which is reasonably priced and seems to get good reviews. My limited research on diapers pails led me to this conclusion: Diaper pails are nice to have, but do not perform miracles, so there's no reason to blow the bank on a Diaper Genie or other fancy brand.

And finally, this isn't really part of the room, but it's diapering-related. I decided "the hell with it," and I ordered the expensive diaper bag I really wanted. It showed up yesterday (which happened to be my 33rd birthday, so happy birthday to me!). I hope it lives up to my expectations in the field because looks-wise and comfort-wise, I already am in love with it and completely comfortable I spent a stupid amount of money on this bag. Hey, it's going to get use, a lot, and to be fair, I had a pretty substantial Pottery Barn Kids store credit.

Front. Plenty of inside and outside pockets for bottles, diapers, wipes, etc.
Changing pad. This detaches as well.
Backpack or shoulder bag. This was a key selling feature for me.

So, uh... diapering? Check. We're good to go.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Inside the 50: 34 Weeks and Counting

I realize that my posting has become more sporadic. June is a very busy month at work, and MM and I have been diligently marking shit off of our pre-baby to do list. We had our first baby class. We had some baby showers -- including a surprise shower thrown for us by his place of business. We finished every last house project we set out to do before baby (seriously, I didn't even think that was possible).

Moreover, our little girl's room is decorated. Her clothes are washed and put away. With the exception of a few minor items, we have everything we need to welcome her home. I've even put together the major baby items -- the co-sleeper, the swing, and the bouncy seat are ready to go. And now... we wait.

The Waiting Game
Don't get me wrong--there's still shit to do, but the list really isn't that long. We're really in a place where we could have this kid tomorrow (hopefully we won't) and be in pretty good shape.

Mentally, however, I'm not quite there. Part of me is very much looking forward to not being pregnant. But that's the part of me that thinks pre-pregnancy thoughts like, "I can't wait to go back to Bikram yoga!" Then the part of me that knows that I won't be sweating it out in yoga any time in the foreseeable future chimes in, and I have the obvious and yet still startling revelation that NOTHING is going to be the same ever again once she is here. And the ways in which it will change--no matter how much of a heads up everyone gives us about the sleepless nights and the emotional ups and downs and the feelings of isolation and the lack of routine and the endless eat, sleep, poop cycles--are so completely unknown.

Part of me is very much terrified to not be pregnant. Eight or so months later, pregnancy (especially since I still feel pretty good) is a fairly predictable if slightly uncomfortable reality that I can deal with. But now, I'm pretty much in front of the firing squad...not understanding what I've signed up for... not really convinced that I should have made the decisions I made without all the facts. And the outcome is pretty much already decided.

I know. These thoughts aren't the thoughts I'm supposed to having. I'm supposed to be "done" being pregnant. I'm supposed to just want to meet my baby. Make no mistake--I have very strong feelings about my baby. I want to meet my baby. I tear up (read: become nearly inconsolable) at the thought of seeing her and holding her for the first time. I would go so far as to say I already love my little girl. I just also happen to be scared to death of her.

How I Fear Thee, Let Me Count the Ways
The focus of my fear changes quite a bit. One day, it was labor and delivery. I became convinced during our baby class that I would be paralyzed permanently from an epidural. The next it's that I'll have the worst baby on the block -- the one who is constantly fussy and cannot be soothed by anyone but mom. All my new mom friends who seem to be settling into a new normal six to eight weeks in, that won't be me. I'll be a frazzled nightmare until my kid is five. Sometimes I'm worried that I'll only be good with an infant, and I'll be completely incapable of being able to parent a child that actively interacts with me. Other times I freak about my relationship with my husband and how our baby is going to change that. What if we can't share the responsibility or agree on how to parent? What if our marriage falls apart?

All of these scenarios end the same way. I cry and ask MM, "Did we make a mistake?" And he says, "No." He's right, and I know that. I just need another few weeks or six, and then I'll be ready.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Dressing for Succ--Pregnancy

I’ve officially given up on my wardrobe. Today, I looked at my floor (yes, my floor, go ahead and judge me) and decided that a pair of black yoga capris would pass as “business casual” when paired with a longer top.

But do they actually work? Here’s how many fucks I give about the answer to that question: 0.

I still have some time left on this pregnancy journey—seven weeks and three days, if you’re counting—which means I still have some growing to do, but I figured with the entrance of workout gear into the work wardrobe, it was time to put down some thoughts about I have worn during pregnancy.

Buying Maternity Clothes
Sometimes my mom asks questions that are more like statements I’m supposed to agree with based on things she heard somewhere once, but have now been filed away as facts about what the young people do nowadays. Early on in my pregnancy my mom said to me, “No one buys maternity clothes anymore, do they?” First of all, who are they? Second of all, I’m not sure how I would make it through pregnancy without maternity clothes. And third, I’m pretty sure I’m not an anomaly. The individual who told my mom that “no one wears maternity clothes” is.

I recommend investing in maternity clothes. If you know someone who can loan you items even better, but I didn’t, so I took the plunge and bought a few key pieces—and then I bought a few more pieces. Here’s the number one reason to buy maternity clothes: As your regular clothes get tighter, you start feel less like a human being and more like an exhausted sausage who barely looks presentable in front of other people. Have you ever worn pants that are a wee bit too tight and throughout the day, instead of stretching, they felt more constricting, especially after that burrito you had for lunch? It’s like that, only the burrito is a baby… and a burrito. Spending the day being all-too-aware of your clothes means you don’t feel comfortable or good about yourself. Maternity clothing made me feel more comfortable, yes, but also like I could pull together a semi-cute outfit that I wasn’t tugging at or walking funny in. It made me feel better.

What I Bought
I purchased two pairs of jeans, a pair of dress pants, a pair of dressier capris, leggings, two pairs of shorts, two wrap dresses, and several tops, most “tunic” length so they could be paired with all bottoms. This seems like a lot, and to be honest, it’s more than I wanted to buy, but I didn’t really factor in that I would need to dress for both the middle of winter and the middle of summer. Oh, and for the record, my favorite piece of clothing are the leggings. They may not be the most flattering thing I own, but they are comfy.

Demi or Full
Here’s the most important decision you’ll make regarding your maternity bottoms: full panel or demi panel, meaning, do you want that stretchy band for your growing belly to stop around your hips or do you want it go up to your boobs? My advice (and everyone feels differently about this) is to go full panel. It is much more comfortable for me. The demi-panel bottoms feel constricting around my hips (especially now) and have a tendency to roll down, which is annoying. I even tried a size larger with the demi panel (it seems to be a popular option) and they are still uncomfortable and awkward. So there’s that.

Where to Shop
I had my best luck at Gap. I hit a few sales, got some stuff on the cheap, and Gap jeans are always a solid choice. I tried Pea in a Pod and never really found anything I liked, but those maternity specialty stores are good for bras and undergarments. Old Navy’s maternity clothing felt frumpy and shapeless. The biggest surprise was H&M. My favorite maternity tops came from there, though I wasn’t thrilled with their bottoms. The key is to not dress too differently than how you would dress normally. Normally, I would buy clothes at Gap.

Under Things
You will need new bras. Do yourself a favor and get the most comfortable bras you can find—screw trying to lift those puppies up. Go up a cup size or two and maybe even go up in the band size. No joke. I bought three new bras. One I rarely wear because it’s underwire, and it takes about three hours before I feel like I can no longer breath while wearing it. The other two are better, but as the realities of breastfeeding become more clear, I know I made a mistake by not going even bigger than I did. And you might as well buy nursing bras. You’re going to need them anyway.

And what about maternity underwear? Is that even a thing? Everything is a thing these days. I actually bought maternity underwear. I needed some underwear anyway, so I bought some. I am more happy with that decision than I thought I would be. They are the most comfortable underwear I own. I also bought maternity Spanx. No joke. I don’t LOVE them because I don’t love wearing Spanx, but they do the job and it’s nice to feel not lumpy under the wrap dresses I wear for special occasions.

The Bellaband
Do yourself a favor and get a Bellaband. For $30 this continues to extend my wardrobe options. I actually didn’t think it would help much beyond the first and early- to mid-second trimester, and I put it away for a month or so. But in a pinch, I tried with some work pants early in the third trimester and realized, I can still use this. This makes it possible for me to still wear my pre-pregnancy jeans, and I am H-U-G-E. Some people aren’t super fans of these bands, but mine has served me well.

Workout Gear
Call me crazy and go ahead and assume that fancy, schmancy expensive workout clothes aren’t worth it, but my lululemon yoga pants, capris and tops continue to fit me. I still wear all of it, and I even supplement my non-workout wardrobe with lululemon tops. And, they do not stretch out, and they will fit me post-pregnancy. If working out if a part of your life like it is mine, I wouldn’t recommend buying any maternity-specific workout clothing, instead I would invest in a few lululemon items (or for slightly cheaper options Athleta or Lucy) that can be worn always.

That said, I'm kind of getting down to desperate. Even though I feel like I've bought too much, I rotate the same three pairs of pants for five days of work. The thing is, at this point, I barely want to put on pants in the morning, much less pants that are not stretchy. Hence, black yoga capris for work today, and I know I'll be bringing these back (frankly, I'm a little annoyed I didn't use these for work sooner). You got to do what you got to do, and let's face it, no one is going to question the pregnant lady. I might as well take advantage while I still can.