Baby stuff — to sell or give away

As Stella grows closer to one year, the thought of “what happens to all her baby stuff?” is a reoccurring thought. Do we donate, give away to friends/family in need or sell? Do I keep some of my favorites forever or do I part ways with everything to reduce clutter? It’s all so overwhelming because we have SO much stuff. But I think I have a game plan…at least for now.

I was very fortunate to receive a plethora of clothes, toys, blankets, burp rags and shoes from family and friends. I mean, seriously. We have drawers, hampers and boxes of clothes plus outfits hanging up in her closet (some with the tag still on!). I probably have 20 blankets stacked up in her changing table and bags of shoes that don’t even fit her yet. That on top of all the gifts (crib, stroller, dresser, changing table, pack n play, video monitor, etc.) we received from our baby showers and other things I picked up garage sale-ing and consigning. We seriously lucked on and haven’t really needed to buy too many things. Unless of course you count the rare holiday outfit, toys/clothes on sale and of course, diapers/wipes.

I will gladly pay it forward to the next girl mom in need of clothes and such. I have no problem with that. But here’s the thing, some of our collection of baby stuff is sentimental and did cost us a lot of money. If I had to guess, our entire stash of baby equipment, toys, clothes and blankets probably equals more than $3,000. This includes gifts as well as things we purchased ourselves. Obviously used items lose their resale value, so I don’t intend to make that money back or sell the things I was given for free, but part of me is a little hesitant with parting with all of it – and here’s why:

Sentiment:

Her first Thanksgiving outfit, her Easter oneise, Fourth of July tutu, 1st birthday dress, her favorite books, Christmas dress, her favorite stuffed animals and blankets are all things that bring me joy. She may not care about them as she grows older, but they hold a special place in my heart. Heck, my mom even saved my Easter, Christmas and other holiday dresses along with two boxes full of old toys, blankets, baby books, stuffed animals and art work. It’s part of the sappiness of motherhood. There are just some things worth keeping and I’m perfectly OK with designating a box (or three) full of these precious memories. I want these to forever be Stella’s favorites and firsts, not anyone else’s. That may sound strange and selfish, but I want her to keep some things for her because some of these things were purchased, made and gifted just for her. Some of her things I want packed into a hope chest or box so she/we can reminisce someday – perhaps when/if she has a little girl of her own, just like my mother and me did. I want her to look back at these things as more than just “things”, I want her to be able to hold those memories forever.

Cost:

The things we purchased ourselves we saved up long and hard for – probably over the course of a year. We used my husband’s hard-earned plasma donating money and my work bonus money. I sold various things around the house, putting them on Craiglist and garage sale sites (if you don’t know, is a pain in the BUTT!). We sacrificed going out for dinner, traveling, attending concerts and buying things for ourselves so we could afford baby stuff. We didn’t want to go into debt for our baby, so we carefully saved and purchased on a budget. It was a lot of work. From her $160 bedding set to her various pieces of décor, $120 Snuza sleep system and the array of clothing, toys, swing, Boppy, Bumbo, etc. I bought new and/or used, we dropped (and will continue to drop) a lot of money. We avoided digging into our savings account and stuck to our firm budget. I’m actually really impressed that we were able to do it.

I know all parents often spend a lot on their kids. I mean, kids are super expensive! But, I’d like to get some of that money back we worked so hard to save and spend. I’d like to use the money for us this time. Vacations, new house décor, a new lawn mower, new car, new windows, new camera, new clothes, date night, etc. Things we put on the back burner to give Stella want she needs. And honestly, the things gifted to us are ours to keep and do with want we want. I don’t want to be made to feel guilty because we sell our crib or stroller or glider someday. Sure, I’ll give some of it away, but what new mom truly wants a used crib mattress, dirty old play pen or Stella’s room décor? They’ll want their own NEW stuff and want to pick out their own color scheme, décor and products for their baby – that’s what showers are for! If a close family member or friend reaches out to me for any of my baby stuff, you bet I’ll gladly oblige, but if no one asks or wants it, I’m going to sell it. Don’t assume because I sit on a wealth of baby things that I plan to just give it all to the next person in line without some kind of compensation. Stuff isn’t cheap and it certainly isn’t free. Sorry, not sorry.

More Kids:

Cole and I would like at least two children. We knew this when we first started talking about kids early on while dating. Ideally, we wanted a boy and a girl. Obviously that’s not the way it works, so we’re waiting to see what baby #2 will be. If it’s a girl, we’ll be set for everything! She may be off-season compared to Stella, but we have everything we’ll ever need for her. If it’s boy, we’re able to reuse a lot of things equipment as we made sure we registered and purchased gender neutral and we’d even have some neutral clothes, décor and of course toys. We would have a big pile of girly things that we wouldn’t be able to use for a boy, so we’d be open to selling/giving those away when we were done having kids, but please don’t ask or assume we’re going to shove every baby thing out the door for free once we find out baby #2 is a boy. We’d like our kids to be 2-3 years apart, meaning that once Stella is done with everything, we’ll be passing it down to baby #2. This means we can expect to get another 3-4 years out of the baby stuff we have – and we certainly will get our money’s worth!

We always said 2 kids was the limit, but how will we know for sure? God could have a plan up his sleeve for a surprise #3, and if we give everything away, we’ll be unprepared to purchase everything again. So, before we make the decision for Cole to be snipped, we want to be sure we’re completely done having kids. This mean we’re hanging onto everything just in case.

This may make me sound selfish, stingy or a hoarder, but frankly I don’t care. We worked hard to get pregnant, save up for a baby and provide her with everything she needs. We scraped, saved and sacrificed. We bought tons of things used because we couldn’t afford to buy new. I clipped coupons, searched for deals and bartered for a lot of her stuff. Like I said, I will gladly pass along the things that were generously given to me by other moms as I want to pay it forward, but, some of the things we’re either keeping or we’re selling. Simple as that. Please don’t make me feel bad for wanting to sell things for some extra cash. Isn’t that why garage sales and consignment stores exist? So moms can receive a little relief or reward from years of selflessly spending money on baby things? And in return, a mom in need gets a good-quality, gently used product for cheaper than retail. It’s a win-win in my book.

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Normal

Stella just turned 15 weeks this Sunday. She’s still petite, weighing in at a whopping 10 pounds. She’s still in 0-3 month clothes and size 1 diapers. She’s got tiny little bird legs and arms and the teeniest little tummy (which makes her hungry all the time). She doesn’t yet sleep through the night, isn’t able to sit up, roll over consistently, laugh or grab at/rattle her toys. BabyCenter, What To Expect When You’re Expecting and TheBump all tell me I should be worried. I have to admit, I am a little bummed that she’s behind her friends in both size and development, but she has come so far. I need to revel in her accomplishments and look at the positive side:

  • She’s gained a little over 5 pounds size birth
  • She’s grown tons of blonde hair in the last few weeks
  • She’s had many growth spurts (physical and developmental)
  • She loves to smile and is starting to coo
  • She recognizes faces and voices and follows things fluidly
  • She poops and pees like a champ (at least 3 blow outs a week)
  • She’s getting so long, her pants and shirts are getting short for her
  • She has exclusively breastfed since day 1 — no formula or cereal for her!
  • She grabs at my face and loves feeling textures
  • She has a mighty little grip
  • She loves playing with toys and looking at lights
  • She loves music and smiles when I sing to her
  • She can see much farther away (across the room at times)
  • She only gets up 2 times a night (compared to 4-5)
  • She isn’t colicky and is quickly soothed with a cuddle, position change or binky
  • She gets to fit in her little clothes longer (and I get to enjoy her as a peanut longer)
  • She loves to be in the sunshine and in the water (just like Mommy)
  • She smiles SO big when I sing “Patty Cake”
  • She is so ticklish on her feet and the back of her neck
  • She loves seeing the world and prefers to be carried facing out
  • She’s getting a lot better head control
  • She’s finally sleeping in a crib at daycare! Lately it’s been for 2-3 hours.

She’s learning so much and has grown so big since birth. I need to step back and realize that every baby is different. People come in all shapes and sizes. She was a little early and was small in utero — and is still small now. She’s perfect in every way and I’m so incredibly blessed to have such a beautiful, healthy little girl. She is the apple of my eye and makes my day, every day.

So what if she’s not considered “normal” to others’ standards. Normal is overrated.

I’ll take perfection, quirkiness and pure love any day over worrying about milestones.

I love you to the moon and back, Stella Claire. Mom and Dad are SO proud of you!

Three months

It has been almost three months since I gave birth to my daughter. THREE. I cannot believe how fast time has flown. Although she’s still the size of a newborn (9.25 pounds), she has learned and can do so much!

She certainly has developed her own little personality. She loves her mama and smiles whenever she hears my voice. She loves her tongue and sticks it out whenever she smiles. She’s starting to coo and “laugh” and even rolled over for the first time this week!

I have finally come to the fact that I no longer have a newborn. I’m just a mom now. There’s nothing special about me now that I’m no longer carrying a baby or am getting my bearings on parenthood. I’m just another mom and I’m strangely OK with it. We’ve developed a great routine and it has come SO naturally. During maternity leave, I didn’t think I’d ever figure out how/when to feed her, when to wake up, how often I should check in, etc., but it’s really worked out. We’ve got it down to a science.

Speaking of daycare, she’s adjusting well. She doesn’t really sleep much during the day, so she’s crabby at night. It’s been almost 2.5 weeks and she still fights it. Other than that, she takes a bottle like a champ and I enjoy seeing her every three hours. Did I mention it’s an on-site daycare? It’s an awesome perk that I’m able to nurse her and get cuddles in every day. If it wasn’t for that, I’m not sure I’d be able to handle dropping her off to strangers.

We just got over a sick bug she got from germy daycare. She passed it to my husband and I. Being sick already sucks, but when you have to be a mom and a wife, it’s really hard. I was almost in tears one night because I just wanted to sleep. I wanted to rub Vicks all over my body and sleep for 12 hours, but alas, I have a baby who needs me and is also sick. It took all I had to keep it together for us all.

She also just got thrush. I’m not sure how, but she did — so that’s been fun. Cherry-mint flavored liquid medication 4x a day. She hates it and so do I. She’s had it for a week and a half and it’s still there. I’ve sanitized her bottles/pacifiers, her blankets, my nursing tanks/bras and even my nipples after every feeding. Ugh. Luckily it doesn’t seem to affect her feeding at all, which is good!

She’s a very happy baby, I have to say. We’ve been blessed. She’s not colicky or needy. She loves looking around and being warm and swaddled. She also loves bath time and funny noises, music, nursing and playing “airplane” with Daddy. We’ve adjusted so well to parenthood. It just came naturally to both of us, which I’m so thankful for.

The only thing that’s been challenging is dealing with people pointing out how tiny she is. Ok people, she was 6.1 when she was born and 5.10 when we left the hospital. She’s small. She’s petite. BUT she was full term and has a clean bill of health. She eats every 2-3 hours and is almost always content. Yes, I feed her. Yes, I’m aware she’s small. Yes, I know your baby was 9 pounds as a newborn and she’s 9 pounds as a three month old. Yes, my doctor knows and is completely fine with it. I used to be really scared to tell people what she weighed and I’d question if I was producing enough for her, but now I say screw it. She’s healthy and happy and that’s all that matters. I don’t really appreciate people coming up to me and saying “oh, that’s a sweet newborn. She’s so alert!” or “that’s the smallest baby I’ve ever seen!” What if she was early or had a condition? I would be totally offended and pissed off. Just keep your commentary about my baby’s size to yourself, kthanks.

Also, I’m still not down to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is REALLY frustrating considering I’m eating super healthy and exclusively breastfeeding (which is said to burn 500 calories a day — lies!). I want to fit into my old clothes so badly and feel good about myself, but I look down and still see flab and pink stretch marks. I’m not yet to the point where I want to claim them as my “stripes”. I’m young and want to actually wear a swimsuit again. I don’t want to surrender to the mom bod! 🙂

All in all, I’m happy and so in love with my baby. I can’t imagine life without her. She has truly been our missing puzzle piece and was totally worth the wait.

Life is blissful

I can’t believe it’s been a little over two weeks since I gave birth to my daughter. Even saying “I gave birth” astounds me. I still feel like I’m in still in shock. I’m a mother. I have a dependent. I have someone who loves me unconditionally and who thinks of me as their hero — my sweet little girl.

Life at home has been pretty blissful. I’m getting a little stir crazy because Stella is such a good baby. She rarely cries or fusses and eats every 3 hours, sometimes  4 and then I have to pester her to eat because she’s still so tiny. Breastfeeding is going well. She eats like a champ. At first my nips were sore, but now they’re pretty desensitized. I’ve been pumping once a day after feeding her to build supply and storage, too. I’m very fortunate it has come easy to me. There are times I question how much she’s getting or why she’s spitting up so much, but we’re growing and learning together.

We had her first doctor appointment yesterday. She’s up to her birth weight plus an ounce and grew 1/2 inch — 6 lbs. 2 oz. 20.5 inches long. Doctor is glad she’s gaining, but would like to see her gain an ounce a day. So now we have to come back again next week for a follow up to be sure she’s gaining. If not, they talked about looking into my supply (which is just fine, by the way), having me pump the fore milk so she gets more of the hind milk and/or supplementing (which isn’t going to happen). It’s very frustrating because she eats so well. She gulps and spits up, sure, but what newborn doesn’t? She has plenty of wet and poopy diapers and is a happy, content baby, so I don’t see the worry. So what, she’s a little on the small side…As long as she’s healthy and growing at her own pace, let her be!

We took her newborn pictures last week and that was fun! My mother in law did them and it made it that much more special (and cheap!). She was pretty good until she got cold and then it was game over. She hates being cold. It’s the one thing that always makes her whimper. I have to admit, it’s kind of adorable when she cries. It’s very wimpy and sounds similar to a lamb (laaaaa). It’s not annoying at all, just cute and pathetic.

She makes the funniest faces, too. Daddy and I just laugh and her monkey, stretch and old man faces. Newborns are so expressive! And although it doesn’t mean anything yet, when she smirks/smiles, it just melts my heart. She does it when I sing or when she’s done eating most of the time. I can’t wait for the real thing and the first giggle!

I thought I’d be super protective of her time and cuddles, and I was in the beginning, but with all the love and support from all sides of the family, it’s a welcomed break. I think it helps knowing she is still ours and we get to keep her. I get all the cuddle time in during the day when others are at work. Unless they stop by (and they always text to be sure), Stella is with me all day every day and I love it. During Thanksgiving, I was nervous to have her passed around, but it warmed my heart to see how many people love her already— and most of these family members have never met her or will see her a handful of times during the year. They offered to hold her while we ate, made up a nursing room complete with a rocking chair and pillows and even changed and rocked her when she was fussing. It’s refreshing to have a mini break with her still in the room with me.

We’ve even ventured out to Target, went out to dinner with family WITHOUT her, out to lunch with my mom and to the grocery store. It’s not as scary as it sounds. She sleeps wonderfully in the car and fits so snug in my Ergo carrier. It’s nice having mommy daughter dates already 🙂 I think this whole being a mom thing has come pretty easy to me. I mean, it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time and pretended to be with my dolls since I was 2. My real doll is finally in my arms. In fact, she’s laying here on my chest as I type this. I look down and can’t help but tear up. She’s absolutely perfect and I can’t imagine my life without her.

My sweet Stella Claire.

your first breath took ours away

After starting early labor on Friday evening until Saturday morning, I was in excruciating pain and experienced leaking. I thought we should go into L&D to be certain. Turns out it wasn’t amniotic fluid, just bloody mucus built up, but I was experiencing contractions every 3-5 minutes and they were 40-50 seconds each. After some tests and walking the hall, I was sent home. They thought I should relax at home and come back if things got worse.

Well, naturally I was discouraged because things were obviously happening and I was progressing from 2 to 3.5 in a matter of hours, but it just wasn’t enough to keep me. After taking a bath, trying to take a nap and trying to bounce on a ball to relieve the pain, I decided to go in again at 7:30 PM due to contraction pain radiating to my thighs and the pain getting unbearable. The timing was continuously 3-5 min apart and were a 45 seconds tonminute long.

After we got checked in, I thought for sure they’d keep me as I had to be at least 4. I was 8 — EIGHT centimeters!! I labored naturally at home for more than 6 hours without pain meds or knowing that I even had the pain tolerance to handle it all for more than 18 continuous hours.

After 24 hours of not sleeping and the immense pain building up, I requested some Fetenyol as I needed a pick me up and some relief from the pain. It made me very sleepy and helped me breathe through contractions. Get this– I actually used the breathing techniques I learned from class! Riding each one out like a wave, listening to relaxing music and picturing myself elsewhere. Lights were kept dim and everyone was quiet and positive — exactly how I wanted it in my birth plan. Now, there are only three doses max of this magic drug, so I wanted to use it wisely, but at the same time I needed that relief. After a few hours of consistent contractions, I was at a 9, then soon after, a 9.5. They broke my water at midnight and by 1 I was ready to push. I think the reason they waited so long to break my water and all that was because my doctor was delivering someone else at the exact same time and they wanted to give me that extra day in the hospital, so they waited until midnight.

The bad news was the pain relief drugs were out around 12:10 and pushing was done au naturale. Let me tell you, the urge to push is real. It’s like having to take a massive shit but it hurts so bad because you’re extremely constipated and you’re shaking, thighs are burning and in overall pain. After 5 minutes of intense pushing, I was crowning. The nurse was the one encouraging me to bear down and go for it. She was right there. I felt her little head and my husband watched! After a few minutes, I grunted “where’s the doctor, don’t I need her here to deliver?” Turns out she was on her way, but the nurse wanted to get me started. She tarped l and gloved up and turned the stage lights on. It was go time.

The pain of the perinium ripping and stretching was enough to put me into shock. I started shaking and lost my cool. I did good with my breathing before then. I was “that one first time mom who didn’t scream, swear or cause a scene.”!I was a legend on the floor, I guess. Most moms would have lost their cool, requested an epidural or swore like a sailor. But no, ten minutes later (6 total pushes), she was out. She was put on my chest and cried right away. I was in complete disbelief at how perfect she was. She was so tiny, completely developed and a living being that my husband and I created. She checked out healthy and scored a perfect APGAR score.

She was 20 inches long and 6 lbs. 1 oz. born at 1:16 AM. She fed right away but was a little grouchy, so we didn’t push things. I don’t blame her. She went through a lot! We did skin to skin for awhile and I just took her in. She is mine. I birthed her. I grew her. Completely amazing experience. Best of all? I did it without an epidural and was told I had an extraordinary pain tolerance and kept it together. I stuck to my birth plan, even though I was begging for one by the end of it.

I knew I loved her in my belly, but the love you feel for your newly born baby is something I can’t even describe. I would do anything for her. I can’t get enough. And because I didn’t have a C section or epidural, I got up right away and feel pretty good for just giving birth 11 hours ago. I tore a bit and needed 2 stitches, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. They give you a shot in your hoo-hah and sew it all up. I’m wearing adult diapers/maternity pants, have no bladder control (I peed the bed shortly after delivering) and can’t wipe to pee, but it was totally worth it. I’m a mom!

Now, we spend our day with visitors, napping and taking our daughter in. I will post more as we experience more of her firsts through this miraculous experience.

Mommy and Daddy love you so much, Stella Claire. You are so wanted, loved and treasured. A true gift and we can’t believe you’re finally here in our arms. You’re absolutely perfect in every way.

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Mucus plug and/or water breaking!

I’m 90% sure I lost my mucus plug this morning.

After pee break #2, I woke to this wet feeling down there. Like when you start your period. It dribbled out of my downstairs and down my butt, onto the sheets. It wasn’t a A LOT , a lot but enough for me to notice that something was going on. At first, I was like “oh, great my period started,” then I thought, “no you don’t have one of those, you’re pregnant…”

So I immediately felt around and used a flashlight to see quickly what this wet, warm feeling was. It was slimy, slippery and clear, but it was more than typical discharge. It was semi-sweet smelling and was similar to feeling extremely turned on (even though I definitely was not LOL). I went to the bathroom to wipe more and this half dollar sized snot-like pink-tinged mucus glob came out. It was the consistency of EWCM, but a bit thicker and darker. I knew it had to be my plug or at least part of it. I continued wiping because I still felt ‘wet’. There was more of this pink-tinged slippery mucus. I was checked yesterday, so I thought it could be from that, but the check was more than 16 hours ago, so I wasn’t sure if she knocked something loose down there when she was knuckle-fisting my cervix (seriously).

I went back to bed after Googling “mucus plug” and “water breaking” (naturally) to find that some women have their hind water break after their plug is lost. This kind of leaking starts at the top, so you won’t have a gush of water, just a small trickle. And it only happens when you’re laying down as the leak is at the top. I have no idea if that is what the wetness was or if it was simply from the mucus plug, but it’s still exciting!

I called my nurse and she wasn’t concerned with me losing my plug or the pink-tinged mucus. She said mucus plugs can regenerate. Well, thanks. It’s been almost 8 hours later and I’m still having pink mucus come out of me. Not as much, of course, but it’s still there when I wipe. The ‘wet’ feeling went away, but I am sitting up, so who knows. She said if I continue feeling leaky, I should go into L&D to get checked. I decided against it. Until I feel more come out and I start to have more consistent contractions, I’m chalking it up to it being my mucus plug and/or discharge.

I’ve talked to my mom, my mother-in-law and a few veteran moms about it and they all think that it’s a good sign of labor to come within the next few days. Obviously I’m not getting my hopes up because every woman and body are different, but still, it’s exciting knowing that my body is progressing and doing what it’s supposed to.

Who knows, I could go into labor today or a week from now! Either way, less than 10-12 days maximum until I hold my precious baby girl.

Any veteran moms or new moms experience this pink-tinged mucus and wetness feeling and found it to be the starting of labor? I don’t feel any different right now, so I’ll continue to wait.

39 week update

So, I had my 39-week appointment and don’t know what to think.

Good news is I’m progressing each time I go in. I’m 70% effaced, 2 centimeters dilated and baby is in the -1 to -2 station, meaning she’s still “floating”, even though doc said she was “engaged”. She said it’s not common for babies to get much lower before actually going into labor. She is still head down. Doctor can even feel her head — so trippy!

Bad news is my cervix, while very, very soft, is still posterior and high. It’s not the end of the world, but it means if I were to want my membranes sweeped or be induced, it would be challenging and very painful. Getting checked today was the most painful it’s ever been because my she has to go knuckles deep and to the left to find my cervix since it decided to move around. Seriously, ouch. I cramped up and bled for like 4 hours after that.

I mean, I’m happy with the progress. Little progress is progress. And I’m happy with what my body is doing, but I wish it was more. Been having a lot more contractions this week that are timeable (3-15 min apart for 30 seconds) and strong, but alas, not enough to put me into labor 😦 Doc thinks it may be a mix of real contractions and Braxton Hicks, but it’s hard to know for sure. She said “you’ll know when you know”. UGH. That saying gets really old really fast.

I’m excited about my progress, but no one else seems to be. Everyone keeps saying “oh, you can be like that for weeks” or “you still have a ways to go”.  I’m 39, (3-9) weeks, people! Like, I can go at anytime. She’s full term, I’m dilated and effaced and having consistent contractions!! I really would like some encouraging words and positive affirmation right now. Not more of this “you won’t go on time” crapola. I honestly think if I do go late, it will be by a few days. I cannot imagine myself waiting until after Thanksgiving, especially given the state of my cervix and that I’m having contractions.

As for this weekend, I plan to go to town doing the “natural induction” myths — taking a few mile long walks, bouncing on my ball, eating spicy foods and pineapple. Supposed to be our last beautiful weekend ,so I’m taking full advantage of it before we have to hibernate until April.

Here’s to Stella’s eviction notice coming up soon! You have 7 days, baby girl. Please, please come on time. Mommy’s sanity is at stake here 🙂