20 Weeks In, 20 Weeks Out

This is actually from a few weeks ago, but I realized that I never shared it here. It was a lot of fun putting it together, and it’s amazing how quickly the time passes and how much changes along the way! The 39th week of my pregnancy seemed to take forever; and despite knowing I had an end date with the c-section, I felt like the baby was never going to arrive. But these last 23 weeks? Holy moly has it been a blur!



Making a Baby Registry – aka Do I REALLY One?

You just got the news that you are pregnant with your first child, you are excited! You have been waiting for this for a long time. And you have a need to turn your adult oriented house into one suitable for a baby. Which means shopping! Yay! Except others will want to shop for you too and share in your excitement. And so you will need to create a baby registry. Yes, you should make one. A lot of people will start this as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Some will wait until they know the sex of the baby. Or, if you are me, you will be afraid of jinxing things and wait until well after your first trimester.

Regardless of when you make it, you will be asked if you have one, and unless you want the ire of your relatives and friends, your answer should be “of course!”. But let me share a few things that I learned about registries to try and help your sanity a little bit.

  1. Treat it like a check list for yourself, so you remember what you want to buy. Because the truth is that it is likely that 50% of the people purchasing things for your little one will look at your registry and then decide to buy you something else. In fact, I am very recently guilty of doing this very thing for my cousin’s wife who is expecting her first!  You will save yourself a lot of sanity by just creating it as “my shopping list” in your mind, and anything you receive from it is just a bonus. Plus, you will get your completion discount after your shower for when you enevitably purchase the remaining 75% of the items on your list!
  2. Do not put clothes on it. I mean, you can, since it’s YOUR shopping list. But people will want to go out and buy the clothes they think are cute. Everyone loves shopping for baby clothes! You will be showered in all kinds of clothes! The same with blankets. No need to add blankets, you will receive plenty of flannel receiving blankets along the way.All of that being said – you should still go shopping for baby clothes yourself. Because it’s an amazing experience, and you are entitled to have it!
  3. Managing multiple registries is hard. If you opt to register at more than one place, I recommend not duplicating items. We chose to register only at Amazon, figuring that people could access that registry and buy locally if they didn’t want to shop online. Amazon also has a few great features! It gives the option for someone to indicate they purchased the item elsewhere, so you don’t get a duplicate. It also keeps a “thank you” list for you – showing who purchased what and providing their address to mail a thank you card.  The other perk to Amazon is Prime. When we did our registry completion (and they do have a discount), all my shipping was free!
  4. Make a seperate, private registry for personalized or monogramed items that you might want. I did this a Pottery Barn Kids and I didn’t share it with anyone and didn’t make the registry public.   I used this to buy anything I wanted with Kerrigan’s name on it.
  5. Put your big pieces, like cribs, dressers and changing tables on your registry. While it’s not as likely you will receive these items as gifts – or that you will want to wait for your shower to have them, you can get a registry discount for them. We bought ours at Pottery Barn Kids, and had them on our private registry. When we purchased them, we got a completion discount on them, which saved us quite a bit given the total bill off all of the items. On the topic of baby furniture, I strongly recommend going to the store and picking it out. You will want to FEEL it and SHAKE it and make sure you are comfortable with the quality of the items. This is not an area to cut corners – they will be expensive, and that is okay.
  6. Test out car seats and strollers! And do your research. There are a lot of sets that may be sold as “pairs”, but there are also lots of better items out there and many strollers sell adapters for car seats. Just pick one that is compatable (the car seat lady has a great list!). And don’t limit yourself to Babies R Us – they actually don’t have a really great selection and are laking a lot of the really great higher end brands. Buy Buy Baby has a huge selection of both strollers and car seats, and oddly, Nordstrom’s does as well. Also be on the look out for 20% off coupons that you can use at Buy Buy Baby – they accept their own AND Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, since they are a subsidiary company.
  7. Do not put bottles on your registry! (Wait, what?) You do not know what kind your kid will like! And it would really suck to have 15 bottles that your baby won’t use and have to go buy more. Buy a single (or two pack) of a few different brands of bottles if you intend to bottle feed to see what the baby favors and then buy enough for every day use. And on the topic of bottles – if you plan to breastfeed, you will still want some bottles! Especially if you will be returning to work. I will talk about this more in another post – but if you want to long term breastfeed and your baby will need bottles, we love the Dr. Brown’s with the preemie nipple. We are STILL using the preemie nipple – Kerrigan has to WORK to get her milk from the bottle and still prefers the breast because she’s not getting milk super easily from the bottle. This was a tip from our lactation consultant, and I am ever so grateful that we received it.
  8. Those weird “Lawn” drying racks? They are amazing. Put some on your registy along with a few of the components like the flower and the twigs!
  9. Check to see if your insurance covers a breastpump, and what kind of pump is covered, before adding one to your registry!
  10. It’s okay to buy things off of your own registry for yourself. I did this. Every paycheck I had a certain amount that was earmarked for “baby” – and I started with the most expensive items that were the least likely to be gifted to me, and worked my way down. This worked out really well for us, and allowed us to spread out buying more expensive things over a six month window, while still leaving plenty on the registry for others.
  11. There will inevitibly be things you thought you wanted, bought or were gifted, that your baby hates or doesn’t use as much as you’d have thought. It’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up over it – every baby has a different personality and each will like different things.
  12. Ignore the “you don’t need these” or “you must have this item” lists. I have found things on the “don’t need” list that I bought to be invaluable and things on the “must have” lists to be a waste of money. Just buy what you want. I will say that I found CONVERSATIONS with other moms on what to buy helpful, and did take their opinions into consideration.
  13. Lastly, there will ALWAYS be something you wish you’d had or thought to buy and didn’t. I’m pretty sure our UPS guy is at our house at least three times a week with deliveries. And that’s okay! There is no way to know ahead of time every last thing that you will want.

Just remember, your registry is about you and your family. Make it what you want and where you want. Have fun with it and don’t hesitate to put “dream” items on it! Remember that you will likely be the person purchasing a majority of the items on your registy, so it’s okay to add every last thing you can think of to it!

Shopping for Maternity Clothes as a Full Figured Woman

In the world of plus sizes, I’m not really that plus sized. I’m currently on the cusp of the higher end non-plus size clothing and the lowest end of the plus sizes. Neither really seem to fit me right, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today!  I wanted to share my adventures on shopping for maternity clothes as a full figured pregnant woman.

While lots of places have super cute maternity clothes, a lot of them don’t take into account that full figured women also get pregnant and want to wear clothes that accentuate their bump as well, not walk around in mumus for nine months. I know I certainly did. I was happy to be pregnant and excited to show off my bump and the baby growing inside of me. And so I went on a search for clothes that did just that.

I ultimately purchased clothes from three places: Motherhood Maternity, JC Penny and Bravado Designs.

I loved the clothes from Motherhood, and they were what I wore throughout my entire pregnancy. I purchased everything in their 1x size, and in hindsight, I bet I could have worn their largest non-plus size, but the plus clothes fit me very well and I was happy with everything that I purchased. I loved the way the pants fit, and the variety of clothes that were available. I even bought a maxidress that I ended up being able to pair up with one of my suit jackets to dress it up for client meetings. I was able to find a local store to try the clothes on, most importantly the pants! But I also purchased items online throughout my pregnancy. The only complaint that I had was that I apparently wasn’t as busty as many women, because I didn’t fill out some of the tops as well as I’d have liked.

I did need some nicer clothes for work, and while I was able to find some at Motherhood, I actually found that JC Penny had a good selection of dress clothes appropriate for work that worked out well for me. They were not quite as nice quality as the clothes from Motherhood, but they were still nice clothes! They were less expensive, and often on sale, which was nice. I definitely liked the Motherhood clothing better, but a few of the items I bought at JC Penny did become favorites in my maternity wardrobe.

About the end of my first Trimester, I grew out of my bras. When looking for new bras, I wanted something less structured (i.e. without an underwire) for comfort, but that still provided support. I also was getting chaffed nipples (solved with applying lanolin after my shower every morning and wearing a softer bra), so I wanted something softer and cotton. I went to the mom and baby center at the hospital to be fitted for some nursing bras – even though they recommend waiting for your milk to come in before purchasing very many. I found some fantastic Bravado Designs bras, the Body Silk Seamless Bra, that were fantastic. They were soft, comfortable and stretchy so that they grew with me. Additionally, I could still use them after the baby was born. I purchased them in the XL size, and I have three of them that I still use today.

Speaking of Bravado Designs, and somewhat not related, their nursing tanks are FABULOUS! I wore them the entire three months of my maternity leave, and they are still part of my “weekend uniform”. I cannot recommend them enough. They are absolutely worth the money.

On the topic of undergarments, I never did find any “maternity” underwear that I liked. I bought some from Motherhood in two different styles, but I hated them. Several ladies suggested trying some Belevation panties, but I simply couldn’t justify the cost (maybe I should have, I might have loved them!). I ended up just buying a larger size of some Hanes granny panties that were super soft and comfortable and worked through the end of my pregnancy without problem.

I also just used my regular yoga pants and a pair of sweatpants that were a little large on me for working out and lounging around the house. Towards the end of my pregnancy they started to feel a little more snug, but never to the point they were uncomfortable to wear. I found that my regular t-shirts worked fine as loungewear early in my pregnancy, but were woefully short by my third trimester.

All in all, the maternity clothes I purchased were fairly expensive relative to the short period of time that you wear them, and you could probably find some cheaper if you looked, but after trying so hard to get pregnant I spoiled myself and I don’t have a single regret about it. I didn’t have any problems finding things to fit me, you just had to shop around to find what you wanted.

It’s Been Three Months Since My Last Post

Some of you might have already guessed what the prolonged silence here meant. Some of you may have thought that I’d just been busy or forgotten about the blog. And some of you may have keyed into my lack of frustration and ranting on other social media venues. And for those who haven’t, or would just like some confirmation, here you go:

I am (finally) Pregnant!

(it’s a girl!)

It has been a completely nerve wracking, terrifying and exciting three months. Constantly questioning if this is really happening. Waiting for something to inevitably go wrong. Being hyper sensitive to every little ache and twinge in my body. But here I am, successfully through the end of the first trimester. And, well, I think this is really going to happen!

I suppose that maybe I should turn back time about three months, and start from there. We completed our fifth and final IUI in August, just before my birthday. We had a reconference with the doctor regarding our most recent lab results, and had decided that we were ready to go ahead with the jump into IVF. We would complete this current cycle, make sure that we’d done everything the insurance required for IVF coverage, and start the IVF process our next cycle. It was a done deal. We were ready to move forward and as my 37th birthday passed me by, we were keenly aware the time was not on our side for this adventure.

On August 24th, I received some lab results back from my hematologist. Of note was that my CRP, which was 5.1 and greatly improved in my last reading, had doubled and was back up to 11.2. We had known from the conversations with the RE that pregnancy itself might bring on some autoimmune responses, so I rushed down the block to the drug store and bought a pregnancy test. I sat in the bathroom at work afraid to be optimistic – and yet when that three minute marker passed, there was a definitive second line present.

Even though I wasn’t supposed to do a urine test for another day, I know from experience that the HCG from my trigger shots are out of my system 10 days after administration. So despite being a day early, I called the clinic, explained that I was a little concerned because my CRP was up again (and my WBC for that matter) but had gotten a positive pregnancy test and was worried this was indicative of an autoimmune response and that I was concerned about another loss. They had me come in that afternoon for an HCG and Progesterone blood draw, and sure enough it said I was pregnant. The RE said we can expect my CRP to rise with pregnancy, so he wasn’t concerned about that – but he wasn’t sure what would be causing the elevated WBC. They had me come back in 2 days later for another HCG draw, and my numbers had more than doubled. Another two days after that, and they had doubled again. It looked like this pregnancy was going to hold!

I went in at 5 weeks to have an ultrasound and look for the gestational sac and egg yolk, and sure enough, there it was. It had good placement within my uterus and everything seemed to be progressing as it should be. A week and a half or so later, I went back in for another ultrasound to look for a heartbeat. And there it was, beating away. I was told to schedule an appointment with my OB – who had me come in around 7 weeks 3 days, and there was that little heartbeat again. 9 weeks I had another scan at the clinic, and everything was progressing as it should. The clinic left it up to me if I was ready to graduate yet, but still nervous that something was going to go wrong I asked to come back one more time before the appointment for our genetic testing – just to make sure that everything was still okay. And sure enough, that little heart was chugging away and everything was perfect! An appointment the following week with the OB at 11 weeks 4 days and things were still progressing, with the OB advising me that it would be safe to share our news.

Wanting to wait until we had our genetic results back (I will write another post on this experience in the next few days), we held out another week and a half before sharing the news with family. Which we did this weekend. Which means that it’s time to share the good news with everyone else!

Even though I’m posting this today, I will probably wait until tomorrow to announce on my twitter account. I just thought it would be awkward to have added a few new pages to the blog here…and not say anything! Additionally, I will not be posting updates on my main twitter account. I have created a separate, private account for baby related updates (@MyPapoose) that you are welcome to follow if you’d like. (If you follow, and I don’t follow back, you may want to give me a nudge and let me know who you are!).

I’m sure now that it’s no longer a secret, I will have more regular updates to the blog – and already have a whole list of posts that have been rattling around in my head! Needless to say, I am really excited and can’t wait to chat a little more about everything!