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Top 5 Apps To Help With Baby

I know, I know, I’ve only been a parent for a little over four weeks so I’m hardly an authority here, but I’ve found a few apps that have helped me along the way. As soon as Baby R was born, the type A personality in me downloaded a bunch of apps to inform me and keep me organized.

So, without more ado, here are the top 5 apps I’ve used since Baby R was born, in no particular order:

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1. Sound Sleeper.

This app is great… when it works for Baby R. The success of this app really depends on her mood on any given night. Basically, it’s a white noise app with different options, such as rain, a thunderstorm, vacuum cleaner, and a womb sound. So far her favorite is the womb track. I like or hold her in my arms and sway back and forth while I play it. If she’s in a good mood, it knocks her out within 15 minutes. If not, she just cries, haha.

This app also has beautiful black and white images to gaze at while you’re listening, although it’s set up so you can exit out of it to do other things on your device while it plays.

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2. Baby Connect

This was a godsend in the beginning, seriously. You can track diaper changes, feedings, and nap times for your baby, as well as milestones and health information. Baby R was slow to pick up on breastfeeding and lost quite a bit of weight after birth, so the doctor wanted us to track everything for her. For the first few weeks, we were religious about tracking her feeding times and diapers but got lazy with it once we got into a better pattern.

The other bonus is that you can share the information with approved caregivers (and they can do the same with you). That way, if your baby goes to daycare or is looked after by another person, they can share the day with you so you’re never out of the loop.

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3. Baby’s First Year

The only downside to this app is that it’s expensive. At $14.99, it’ll cost you, but it’s one of the most informative apps I’ve seen out there. It’s written like a book, where you can select the week that your kid is at and it’ll give you tips and tell you some upcoming milestones to look forward to. Prior to this book I knew nothing about baby massages (they get massages?!) and how to trim their nails.

Yesterday morning I seriously learned that their jaws can get sore from sucking and that you can massage their jaw. I guess it makes sense, so I massaged Baby R ‘s jaw just in case. I’m not sure if she liked it; she just looked bewildered.

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4. Baby Pack And Go

Considering the fact that I need one of these for myself to even function when I pack for any sort of trip, it’s no wonder that I need another one for the baby. You can make packing lists for your diaper bag, or travel to Grandma’s house, or even more elaborate trips. (My list defaulted to Mexico). I like that it keeps you organized and suggests things I normally wouldn’t think of. It normally takes us a zillion years to get out the door, but this helps cut down on the time because it keeps me focused.

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5. My First Books

This app comes with several picture books. It’s free to download, but there are several other books in the app you have to pay for. There are also several free ones, so you can pick whichever types of books you want. The only problem is that several are interactive, so the ideal age is for when they get older.

Voice tired from singing lullabies over and over? You can pick an option where the computer will read for you. I think it’s annoying, so I always read the book myself. Baby R doesn’t quite get books yet, but we try to make it a habit of reading to her each night.

I hope this list helps with some suggestions of good apps! If you’re a parent, what have you used?

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Sewn nursing cover for my baby

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For my second project, I sewed up a nursing cover for my little baby. Since I’m quite committed to breastfeeding and I know we can’t stay in hibernation forever, I knew I needed something to cover up.

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The baby was actually asleep so I used a teddy bear. Forgive my insane hair.

The one thing I forgot was that cotton shrinks, so I ended up with less room than I started with. It’s also not as breathable as I would like, so I’m considering making another one in a more breathable fabric. I’m not sure how good she’d do under there for a long nursing session.

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There’s an option to make a collar, but I am sleep deprived and couldn’t figure out how to make it work, so I left it without one. I also did not quite cut the top in the shape of a circle apparently, so that’s kind of weird. Both things bugged me until I realized that I’m not wearing it for heavy use, just for a few minutes at a time, so if it’s not perfect it doesn’t really matter. This was my first sewing project that I did without my mother’s help, so I’m relatively pleased as to how it turned out. I know it’s not perfect, but it works for what it’s supposed to do and I can’t wait to try it out for real.

The original pin here:

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Recently, I started following A Wee Nest, who set the challenge of doing 12 DIY projects this Christmas season. Well, my husband and I completed our first project over the past week.

Whenever we attempted to close our kitchen drawer, we ended up jamming all of our measuring cups since the cup measure was honestly a little bit big for the depths of our drawers. So, we ended up hanging our spoons and cups on the insides of our cabinet as part of our ungoing effort to get the cabinets organized.

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The original pin, which you can find here.

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Getting the baby book together

Happy Friday!

Today, I worked on getting the baby book together. I used a Smash scrapbook. They’re very handy for people who aren’t big scrapbookers, as the pages come with designs already on them. You just put your pictures or mementos on the pages. I think it looks cute so far. The only problem is I couldn’t find the baby themed Smash book, so I had to make do with the regular themed one. I did find a few baby themed stickers to add to my pages, though.

The Facebook page with my announcement:

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The very first ultrasound, which I’m sure you can’t see that well, since I was 10 weeks and she was so little:

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The other ultrasounds:

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And we have one of my contraction charts, as well as her birth stats and a sweet note from a member of the church. I’m sure I’ll be adding more in the future, but I like having the progression of ultrasounds. My eventual goal is to keep updating these until she’s much older and give it to baby R as a present when she’s 18. I don’t know if it’ll mean anything to her, but I know if it were me, I’d think it was cool.

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5 Things I’ve Learned During My (Very Short) Parenthood

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1. The Rules Change. Constantly.
— You may think you have your kid figured out. In your sleep deprived haze, you realize she responds really, really well to your white noise app, or music, or being swaddled. Being a creature of habit, you try to repeat what you’ve learned, only to discover that your child no longer likes white noise. Or music. Or swaddling.

2. Your day takes more planning than usual.
–I’m a ditz so I need a constant to-do list. Otherwise, nothing ever gets done. I now realize everything takes much longer to get things done than usual. I can guarantee that halfway through working on a Christmas gift for your parents, your child will need to eat. It’s just how this works.

3. There are simple rules your child will have to life, and no matter how many times she tells you about it, YOU WILL BREAK THEM.
–Mine doesn’t like having her feet hanging out. She likes to have them touching something at all times. Changing her diaper means it’s time to eat. We eat every 2 and a half hours. She will only go into her bassinet if swaddled. Why this is so hard for me to remember, I’ll never know.

4. Breastfeeding is harder than everyone lets on.
–No one tells you until after the fact that yes, breastfeeding can hurt and nothing is wrong. It takes a little over two weeks to feel like your nipples aren’t on fire every time your baby latches on. I used to dread feeding times, until the pediatrician and OB prescribed lotion to put on my nipples. They don’t tell you that some babies take days to learn how to breastfeed, and that doesn’t make you a bad mother, or a failure as a woman. Thankfully, once my kid figured it out, she went at it like a champ.

Also, I am always hungry. Always.

5. Your baby will make your heart melt.
— Lack of sleep, breastfeeding, and listening to her cry (without being able to figure out what’s wrong) can be frustrating and hard, and, okay, I’ve melted down a few times since her birth. But then she smiles while I hold her in my arms after a good feeding. Okay, I know it’s not a social smile and she doesn’t really know what she’s doing.

But it makes my heart melt.

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Happy birthday — a birth story

WARNING: This birth story does not have a clean, happy ending where I got the beautiful birth of my dreams. It was messy and sometimes quite scary. Having said that, if you happen to be pregnant when you come across this blog post, don’t panic. Judging from my Google research, this happens in, like, 4 percent of all births ever.

It all started October 22, when I went in for my 39 week exam. I had an ultrasound scheduled to check my fluid levels. They were at a 4.1. They start to worry at 5. So, I got scheduled for an induction! I had two choices– I could either go in later that afternoon or early the next morning. It seemed like a little much to get my head around doing it that afternoon, so I got scheduled for 2 AM the next day.

We packed up the car and headed to the hospital, where they took my medical history and inserted the Cervidil, which would soften my cervix and get it ready for actual labor. This was about 3 AM. I probably should have slept, but we were too excited, so we ended up watching How I Met Your Mother episodes on DVD. This part wasn’t a whole lot of fun, since I was constantly monitored and pretty much confined to bed unless I had to go to the bathroom.

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Finally, at 3 PM, they took out the Cervidil and I got to eat a baked potato, which was awesome, because I was absolutely STARVING.

I had progressed to 1 1/2 centimeters dilated and 60 percent effaced, so the nurse said she felt I would do quite well on the Pitocin. They knew I wanted a natural labor, so they started out with the smallest dose and went on from there. The nurse on duty taught me several pain management techniques… and I would end up using them all. Throughout the next several hours, I rotated between walking the halls (thanks to a portable fetal monitor), sitting on the couch, sitting on the glider, and the birthing ball while my husband rubbed my back. (Honestly, I thought the back pain was the worst part.)

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About 6 PM, I labored in the shower, which was… wonderful. I didn’t want to get out, but after awhile the hot water made my husband uncomfortable, so we took a break. I warned him I would probably want to get back in.

I am a Jeopardy nerd, so I thought playing along would get my mind off of things. Instead, labor got… real. I went from mildly uncomfortable to feeling some pain. We decided to ‘slow dance’, where I held on to my husband and we swayed back and forth. The nurse brought in a labor bar to attach to my bed, and I managed the pain by holding myself up and moaning through each contraction.

Just before midnight, things got weird. We slow danced for a good thirty minutes, but I started to feel sore, so I told my husband that I needed to sit down. Once I sat on the glider, my water broke. They checked me one more time and I was at 4 1/2 centimeters. About ten minutes later, the pain was horrific. My husband asked if I wanted the epidural, since I told him I didn’t think I could do this anymore.

I hesitated, but when the nurse came in, he asked her about it. I hesitated again, since I really, really wanted a natural birth. “The pain you’re experiencing isn’t your body’s reaction to labor,” she said. “It’s medicated, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting help.”

I gave in. At this point, I would have described the pain as a 12 on their 10 point scale. As she got the IV adjusted for the epidural, I felt a bizarre urge to push something out. I told her, but she told me it was just stuff related to my water breaking.

They were just getting ready for the anesthesiologist to come in when I felt the urge to push again. She gave me a quick look and decided it was still due to my water breaking.

When I had to sit up in bed and adjust my position for the epidural, I experienced an earth-shattering contraction. I bit my husband’s hand, because all I could think was maybe I could transfer some of my pain to someone else. The pain was probably a 20 out of a possible 10.

If this is a 4 centimeter level contraction, I don’t understand the natural birth movement at all, I thought.

After they administered the epidural, they advised my husband to try and get some sleep, since it would probably be at least another 5 hours. This was at 1:45 AM.

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They asked me about my level of pain and I cried out, “10!” They started to think that it was a failed epidural and considered the possibility of redoing it. It’s rare, but apparently it does happen.

Finally, my contractions started to subside, but I felt a strong pain in my hip. When I told the nurse, her eyes widened as she checked me. Unbelievably, I had progressed to 10 centimeters in less than an hour. Whether we were ready or not, it was time to push. I’m pretty sure they were supposed to have checked me once more before they actually administered the epidural, and they didn’t. So… there was that.

At this time, I was completely numb. I pushed twice and the doctor stepped out to change shoes. I think at this time, things were starting to feel out of control. Since they administered the epidural so late, I couldn’t feel when to push at all. Literally, the nurses had to feel my belly and watch the monitor to tell me when to push.

Suddenly, the nurse told me to turn to my side and breathe into an oxygen mask. I was too scared to ask why, I just did what I was told. Turns out, they had lost the baby’s heartbeat. After what seemed like an eternity, it came back on the monitor, but was only beating at a 44. (Average is 150s.) The doctor came running back in, barking, “I don’t care what happens, I want to find that heartbeat!”

Then she said, “Who told this woman her fluid was low? Her fluid is not low!”

Great. So I had been induced for no reason.

They were also having trouble locating contractions, which compounded the problem. They just had no idea when to tell me to push. I was positive I was about to have an emergency c-section.

Instead, the doctor pulled out the forceps and said, “These are forceps. Usually in cases like these, we worry about cord compression. They will likely do more damage to you than to the baby. Do I have your consent to use them?”

Dazed and terrified, I agreed. She asked me to give the push of my life, which is darned near impossible when you can’t feel anything.

I pushed as hard as I could… I think. But, despite everything, she was able to rip the baby out… And place her on the bassinet. To horrible, horrible silence. My baby didn’t cry. My husband and I looked at each other in fear. An eternity seemed to pass — neither of us could believe we had made it through 40 weeks of pregnancy only to potentially lose this child. I asked a passing nurse if everything was okay. She just said, “It’s okay, sweetie. We’re working on it.”

Oh, God.

It was still silent.

I made eye contact with the doctor and asked if everything was okay, desperate for some kind of reassurance. She just said, “They’re working on it.”

She worked on stitching me up and made sure I understood that I had just had a third degree episiotomy (out of a possible four.) Thank goodness for epidurals, is all I have to say.

But then I stopped paying attention because then I heard the sweetest sound– my daughter crying. She was born at 3:14 AM at 6 lbs 4 oz and 20 inches, very much alive.

She was perfect.

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We also have a picture of the placenta, but I doubt you want to see that.

By the way, the cord wasn’t around her neck. We may never know what happened there.

Anyway, for me the birth experience was frightening, and for much of the last part I felt like everything was spiraling out of control. I’m healing well, and feeling a bit better about the birth, although I keep reliving it in my mind. I do think the staff at the hospital saved my daughter’s life, but without all those interventions, would we have had to go through all of that? I know I’m probably being annoying to those I’m close to, but I keep running through “if only” scenarios in my head. If only I hadn’t been induced. If only they had checked me before the epidural. If only we hadn’t lost her on the monitor. Maybe I shouldn’t have consented to the forceps so easily. I know it’s silly to ask myself these questions, but I can’t help it.

At least I have a beautiful baby girl.

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Sewing machine review

This is a review done for the sew mama sew sewing machine reviews.

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What brand and model do you have?

I have a Bernina 215.

How long have you had it?

I got it as a present from my parents last year for Christmas.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

I honestly can’t remember how much we paid for it… I know it was on sale at the sewing machine store by the mall.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

Mainly clothing, with a few home dec projects. I’d like to branch out and work on handbags as well.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

A few times a week, when I can get the opportunity. For a long time, the machine was at my mom’s house and I wasn’t able to access it regularly. I’m hoping to work on it a lot more now that it’s finally in my craft room!

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I don’t have a name for her, but I LOVE my machine. I think I’m pretty fortunate that ALL the machines I’ve ever sewn on have been Berninas. I learned how to sew on my mom’s Bernina, and we managed to find this one at a decent price. It’s definitely a work horse, and has been great as a beginner’s machine. It’s very forgiving and easy to use.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

Easy threading, and all the stitches are very easy to switch over to. It’s also easy to change the needle to up/down, or adjust the length, whatever you need. There’s also an automatic threader, but I’ve actually never used it.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

Not so far!

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

Yes! Like I said before, it makes a great beginner’s machine and it very forgiving. Considering the fact I had never threaded a machine before I got this one, I can say first hand how easy it is to use.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Take into consideration what kind of sewing you’d like to do. Visit a variety of different places, and try out the machines when you can. One person’s dream machine might not work for you.

Do you have a dream machine?

Maybe an upper end Bernina? I have been converted and likely won’t go back!