Homebirth vs. Hospital

Now really, I don’t like to face them off like that, but for the purposes of this post maybe I will.

I’ve had a few people ask which I prefer now that I’ve done both.  A few people assume that I preferred the hospital (an assumption I kind of resent) and a few people were completely baffled as to why I wouldn’t have had a second homebirth (which makes me feel like I owe some kind of apology).

Since I addressed some of my concerns in a post prior to birth I’m going to address it now:

I do not think that one is always going to be better than the other.  First, it totally depends on who is involved in each (not only the mother, but the support people and the midwives/doctors/nurses) as to which is a better option.  Second, there are so many different elements over the course of almost a year to consider that I don’t think you can flatly say one is always better in every category than the other.

I think the best way is to break it down by category:

Prenatal Care:

This is actually a tie for me.   Each time I got the type of care that I wanted and needed.  With my first pregnancy I really wanted very minimal testing and I got that.  We checked vitals at each appointment, but I did not do any ultrasounds or blood testing.  I really didn’t want them or feel I needed them.  With my second pregnancy I did more, but it was still pretty minimal.  I had routine blood testing (not a big deal) but I passed on other testing that was available.  We had three ultrasounds: one at 10 weeks (and I did feel I needed that because I was very nervous about the pregnancy being viable- being able to see a little embryo and hear the heartbeat put me at ease), one at 18 weeks (and this time I did want to know the sex, plus it was another relief to see that the basic anatomy was as it should be), and a final one at 36 weeks (that one I didn’t really feel was necessary but I didn’t really think there was a need to fight it at that point either.)

The other testing I did the second time that I did not do the first was the glucose tolerance screening (otherwise known as the 1-hr test).  I failed.  Rather than do the 3-hr test, my OB agreed to me meeting with the dietitians to discuss the GD diet and then having me test my blood sugar four times a day.  I did this for a few weeks and my numbers were great and all within the appropriate range, so after a few weeks I was able to stop doing that although he advised that I continue following the GD for the remainder of my pregnancy.  That wasn’t a big deal to me because it wasn’t too far off from how I was eating anyway.  I actually did continue to test my sugar just to hold myself accountable.   I was really thrilled with the way we were able to handle this.  I understand the importance of blood sugar being under control, but I feel that the screening test isn’t very reliable.  After all, when do I ever put 50 g of pure glucose into my body on an empty stomach without any protein to balance it out and then sit around for an hour.  No wonder my body didn’t know what to do with that sugar load, you know?  Plus I loved being able to monitor my blood sugar myself.  It was one more thing I could keep an eye on and I could see what my body was actually doing.  It turns out I was handling sugar just fine, so I didn’t get stuck with a GD diagnosis.  If  I had taken the 3-hr test and failed (and I very well might have) I would have been stuck with that GD label.

Another element is the personal connection factor.  One of the things I loved about having a midwife the first time was just the way my prenatal visits were.  I would go to my midwife’s house and sit on the couch in her living room for an hour.  She would check everything and then we could sit around and talk.  It was very relaxed, I was never rushed, I knew who I was seeing (obviously) and developed a relationship with her.  I was never sitting around in a waiting room for an hour.  I had a friend who was pregnant the same time as I was and I knew her experience with her OB was very different.

This is one of those “it depends on the doctor and the office” sort of things.  One of the reasons I can say that this category is a tie is specifically because of who I saw for my second pregnancy.  My OB has a solo practice, so I was never going to go in and get some other doctor, it was always him.  In fact, it was also always the same nurse.  I got to know everyone who works in that office.  Plus, I already knew my OB’s wife (who also works there) because she leads our local LLL.  I felt like I was me, and known for being me,  not just another pregnant woman being churned through the system.  Plus, the longest I ever had to wait was 10 minutes, and that was in part because I arrived early that particular day.  Normally I came in, checked in, stopped into the bathroom and by the time I came out they were ready for me.

I should probably add here that both my pregnancies were free of complications and that we (myself and my babies) were blessed with good health.  If the need for medical intervention had arisen during my first pregnancy, I was aware that my midwife had a back-up OB that she would have sent me to.  Not all midwives use a back-up OB.  This time I was afraid that I would have some complications and although I didn’t, starting out seeing an OB was a relief to me because I knew he would be able to help me if something came up.

Labor

Homebirth wins hands down for this one.  (Once again, both my labors were spontaneous so I didn’t need any interventions.  It think that makes a difference since  I didn’t need an induction.)  I would always want to labor at  home if I could.  Sure, you have to protect your floors and mattress, but laboring at home is SO.MUCH.BETTER.

At home I was free to move around as needed, I could drink and eat as I pleased.   I felt comfortable being on the floor to kneel and lean against the ball or the bed.  Probably most importantly, my husband was much more relaxed and comfortable supporting me at home.

The hospital scores negative points for automatically insisting I lay in bed hooked up to an IV of fluid and tied to the EFM.  I get why they do it, but blech!  It was very uncomfortable to labor like that.  Even though I was taken off the IV and allowed to move around, I still had to periodically be hooked back up to the monitor…or I would have if I had labored longer.  As it was there wasn’t much time for a second monitoring period.  Also, trying to answer questions and have blood drawn as well as an IV started while having major contractions just plain sucks.  Not to mention that M wasn’t anywhere near me during all this, instead he had to get out of the way and so I had less physical support from him once at the hospital.

Birth/Immediately After

The home experience wins here too.  Basically as soon as he was out I got to hold my baby.  He was there for us to cradle he had to be taken away so that I could get the attention I needed.

As for the hospital experience: I am still a little perturbed that they took him right away instead of giving him to me and then it was a good 10-15 before I finally got to hold him.  To be clear, he didn’t need any special attention, I think the nurses flipped out because the doctor wasn’t there when I delivered.  At least M went over there and when little I opened his eyes for the first time he saw his daddy.  When I did finally get him he latched on right away and we had a good long time together and it was good, which despite getting E right away at birth we kind of missed that at home with him.  So I guess it all evens out.  Home was much calmer, much more affirming though.  My midwife was encouraging and there was such excitement in the room, especially when M could see E’s head.  In contrast, at the hospital they were flipping out and telling me not to push (yeah, right!) and M was actually freaked out by all the flurry.  I was fine and wanted to touch him as he came out (and did actually) and the one nurse (same one who took I away right away) pushed my hand away and snapped at me.  Please!  It was my body and my baby!

I did find that my body was given more care and attention at the hospital.  I really appreciated that because I kind of feel that was lacking at home.  We were trying to spread the good news and then I was getting instructions for myself that only half registered and since it was my first birth I didn’t know exactly what to expect or how to care for myself.  I mean I figured it out ok, but I certainly feel it could have been better.

First 24-36 hours Post-Partum

Hospital wins on this one.  Despite the lack of sleep because of the constant interruptions in the hospital, the truth is we didn’t sleep the night after E was born either.  I think we were terrified for one thing because there we were all alone with a newborn who was only a few hours old(!!!) and for another I know that I was really keyed up from everything that had happened and kept replaying it in my head.  Basically I don’t think the adrenaline had died down enough to let me sleep.

I say the hospital wins because it was such a relief to be able to send little I to the nursery once he was asleep and know he was being watched.  They were really good about bringing him back to me to nurse (see the lack of sleep I was able to get).  I didn’t need it this time so much, but there was all kinds of little how-to videos that were at least a good refresher and something to watch when I was bored.  A nurse came in and spend a good amount of time just reviewing basic care things with us.  She had great bedside manor, so it was mostly like “I’m sure you know this, we just go over this with everyone” and not condescending at all.  Even M remarked to me that it would have been nice to have had that the first time.

I already touched on my care, but as much as I hated being hooked up to the pitocin drip for 12 hours after birth, I definitely felt like I was being monitored and cared for at the hospital too.

I guess the truth is I felt a little overwhelmed and abandoned even after the home birth.  I will take some responsibility for that because maybe I needed to be clearer about what I needed, however, I don’t think I even knew what I needed.  It would probably have been different too if I had a doula and really I probably should have looked into that more, but I don’t think there are too many around us.

Conclusion

So all in all I really had good experiences with both pregnancies and births.  There were elements I really liked in with each experience and each experience had negatives too.  What will I do again?   I’ll do OB/hospital.  It isn’t that I wouldn’t want another homebirth, I wish I had the option of seeing my OB but having a midwife be there for a homebirth as long as everything was ok.  That isn’t how it works here, I suppose I could try to set something like that up but it would be a lot of extra appointments, extra money, and a little difficult to navigate considering the midwife/homebirth vs. OB/hospital culture that exists here.

At this point even though I’ve not had major pregnancy complications, I have had some things come up that make me feel that I’m not really low-risk enough to be completely confident in staying home or at the very least not be under the care of someone who can actually write me prescriptions if I need them.  I don’t think homebirth is dangerous when you honestly access a situation and the woman is really low-risk, but I do think that it requires you to be really honest and not deny reality so that you can have a homebirth.  In order for it be safe we need to be honest with ourselves and with out providers.

Another big issue for me is that it is really hard to have to travel half an hour to an hour away for an appointment that will last at least an hour when you have other small children.  It wasn’t a big deal when it was our first, but with one or two kids…it gets complicated, and even if they are welcome at the visit, do you really want them there every time?  I really didn’t.  I wanted my prenatals visits to be about me and the baby and how we were doing.  I didn’t want to worry about corralling a 2-year old.  It just isn’t good for those blood pressure readings.

The last thing is that I find that I really do need to have an OB/GYN for my own health concerns and even for the breastfeeding support (as in help with breast issues, not baby feeding issues) and I didn’t have that connection when I used a midwife.  When I was about 5 weeks post-partum with E and got mastitis I had to go to Urgent Care instead of calling a doctor I knew.  Thankfully I didn’t have those issues the second time around, but it was reassuring to know help was only a phone call away.  If I were to go back to the homebirth/midwife route I would kind be severing those ties and I really don’t want to do that!

Life with a new baby

Oh I have so much I want to say, so many blog post ideas.  Here is reality:

I don’t get that much time to be able to sit down and actually type.  I have plenty of time to read a hundred different things while I sit and nurse, but if I type it is often one-handed.  A facebook update, a quick email reply, or a short forum post is about as much as I can manage.

It isn’t that I don’t have any time with both my hands free.  It is just that when I do I have a few choices: sleep, shower, eat, cook, spend time with E so he doesn’t feel neglected, spend time with M so our marriage does not become neglected, try and do some housework so I don’t feel useless (this is a problem for me), play with the cat so she doesn’t get too crazy…

Things like knitting and blogging get shoved to the bottom.

I don’t worry about it too much, I know that I will get those things back in time.  I have to shelve some of my activities for awhile and as my baby grows older I’m able to slowly pick things back up.  I think I knew that last time, it just seemed like it would be forever before it actually happened.  Now I realize how short of a time it really will be before I can make time for certain things again.

The problem with the blogging is that, as I said, I have so many things I would love to blog about and by the time I’m able to sit down and type them up the moment has passed.

In the meantime, I will give an update on my (non-existent) knitting.  I totally failed at the knitting during the Olympics.  I got the cuff to one sleeve of I’s sweater done.  That is 12 rows of ribbing.  Woo-hoo.  Did I mention that I finished E’s sweater?  I finished it the night before I had little I.  It still isn’t blocked.  Maybe that should be my goal for the week: block E’s sweater and take a picture so I can post it here and on Ravelry.

I actually have managed to knit one thing since I has been born.  I’ve completed another bib.  I bought a couple more skeins of cotton at JoAnn’s a week or so before I was born to give myself something quick and mindless to work on while I was waiting to go into labor for real.  I finished up the first bib, but the second was knit entirely after his birth.  It stayed up in the playroom and I would get a few rows here and there while he slept for a few minutes before E woke him up with his noisy 2-yo play or while he laid on a blanket on the floor and had some tummy time.  It is just  a simple garter stitch bib (from Mason Dixon Knitting) and it took me about 3 or 4 weeks to complete, but it feels like such an accomplishment.  Although I’m not sure it is technically done.  I haven’t weaved in ends or sewn a button on yet.  I should get on that too.

Birth Story

I would like to share little I’s birth story.  I can’t really help to give some details, so if you are squeamish you might want to skip.

I woke up on Friday, July 13th feeling kind of crampy sometime around 4:30 and I was up by before 5 a.m. with some mild contractions. After weeks of Braxton Hicks/pre-labor contractions mostly in my back these finally felt real. I could feel these all the way through my abdomen and back.  I brought my big exercise ball downstairs and leaned over it rocking back and forth for awhile. It was soothing and I had enjoyed that last time as well. There is something peaceful about laboring in the early morning hours before anyone else is up. This happened last time too. Actually, I was really amused because although my first labor had actually started up in the evening, it had also been a Friday the 13th.

When my husband woke up an hour later I told him he had better put in a load of E’s diapers right away! I wasn’t sure how long labor would be or if it might start and stall, but I knew if we were going to have success with it I was going to need my mom to come get him. Having a 2-yo tell you “stop mommy” when you moan through a contraction isn’t very helpful! He also thought I was playing a game by rocking on the ball.

Thankfully it just happened to work out that my husband had nothing on his work schedule for the day. I called my mom around 7 and suggested that she get to our house around 9 (had to give the diapers time to finish so she would have enough!) By the time she got there I was having some definite regular contractions, but they were only about 30-40 seconds long and coming every 4-5 minutes.

When my parents left with E it was almost 10 a.m. and I decided to head up to the bedroom and labor up there. For awhile I started having more intense contractions, some lasting 2 minutes, but they spaced themselves out more. I tried getting in the bath just to see how that would be, but I couldn’t really get comfortable in there. I went back to the bedroom and laid down but the contractions were really slowing down. I thought maybe I was putting to much pressure on myself to be in labor so I suggested to my husband that we go back downstairs and maybe just watch something funny for awhile. We put in a season of Scrubs and started watching. I think we got through about an episode and a half. The contractions picked up, I think laughing helped! Since we were alone too I felt more comfortable trying things like dancing and kissing through contractions. I think that helped a lot. Pretty soon I decided to head back upstairs where the ball was and I had some floor covering in case my water broke. It was almost noon and then things got really intense. The contractions were lasting a minute and coming every 2 minutes. I told my husband to call the OB’s office and just let him know that I wasn’t ready to come in but that I was definitely in active labor.
A few minutes later they called back and said that my OB was going to be leaving town over the weekend so maybe I should go ahead and come in just to make sure things got going. I rejected that idea because I didn’t think I would need any intervention at that point and I wanted to stay home as long as possible. I changed my mind within about 10 minutes. I started feeling like I was going to throw up and got really hot and sweaty. I did throw up. This had been my predetermined “go to the hospital now” signal because when I got to that point last time I was about 8 cm dilated. I didn’t think I could possibly be that far that soon, I had only figured I was in actual Active Labor for about an hour.
But we went and mercifully I only had a few contractions in the car on the way over. I remember looking at the clock as we pulled out of the driveway and it as 1:17 p.m. We got to the hospital and the wheeled me up to the maternity ward. I started having intense contractions again. Then they wanted me to lay down in bed so they could hook me up to an IV for fluids and the fetal monitor. It was near impossible for me to stay down in bed at that point and I got worried because not only was I worried I was there too early, I was also worried that I wasn’t going to be able to move around and just have a hep lock like we had discussed. I asked about this and was told that was the policy, but they called my OB and I was given the OK to do the heplock and get off the IV and move around so long as I didn’t want any pain medicine. I still had to do the monitors every so often but I had some freedom of movement back! They checked me and I was 3-4 cm dilated. I was like “I knew I came too early!”
Laboring there was tough. I couldn’t find a good rhythm, the contractions were so intense and completely racking my body, and I could tell my husband didn’t know what to do either. I hung off him for some, walked around for some, tried getting on my hands and knees on the bed for some. Then I went to the bathroom and I heard a pop and figured my water must have broke. We called the nurse and when she checked me again and I was at 5. The baby had descended a little bit.

Then I had some incredible contractions. When I hung off Mark during a couple I couldn’t help but fall into a squat and I felt like I had to push. I could tell I was moving the baby’s head lower. I called the nurses in again because I felt like I had to push but it couldn’t be right! I had just been checked not 10 minutes earlier!

They rushed in to check me and I only had a little bit of cervix left, I was nearly complete. Unfortunately it was also swelling from the pushing urge I couldn’t stop and the one nurse said that there was more blood than she liked to see. They kept telling me not to bear down and not to push, but you try not pushing when you have the urge! I couldn’t help it, I pushed and felt him crown. The whole time they were telling me not to bear down and not push, I assumed because there wasn’t a doctor there.  I thought that maybe they couldn’t catch the baby without the doctor there and as I did not have a problem catching my own baby. I reached down to grab him and I got to touch his head as he came out, but was told to get my hands away. So I just finished pushing him out. It seemed like he might get stuck for awhile but I got him out pretty fast. It was 2:40 p.m. Unfortunately since my OB wasn’t there I didn’t get him up on my belly like I should have. Also they clamped the cord right away and I wanted to have it wait to stop pulsing first, but there was not time to express my wishes before hand and try asking that stuff once the nurses were on autopilot! So it was 10 minutes before I finally got to hold him, but Mark went over and when he opened his eyes it was his daddy that he saw. I think I’ll always be a little bummed that I didn’t get him right away like I was able to hold E, but when I did get him he was alert and looking at me and he only needed minimal persuasion from me to latch on and nurse! We nursed for a lot of the time that I was in recovery.
My OB did show up a few minutes after delivery and everything was taken care of. I didn’t really tear, I just had a small 1st degree laceration and got one little stitch.
Little “I” weighed 8 lbs, 10.9 oz. and was 20” long.

Even though some things didn’t go exactly as I would have liked them to (but really, when does birth ever go “exactly” as desired.  E’s birth was wonderful but there was stuff that didn’t go as I would have liked with it too) I felt really wonderful after it was over.  I just felt so amazed at how fast it went and I felt that euphoria afterwards that I’ve read about.  I remember feeling that way after E’s birth too, but this time I think it lasted longer.  Having success with nursing right away made a big difference (I attribute the difference to their different gestational ages at birth- E was 38w 3d and I was 39w 6d) and I think just having done this once before has made me more relaxed and confident this time.  Plus, I was really ready for I to be born.  E came early enough that even though I was ready for him to come, I wasn’t as prepared because I thought I probably had another week at least.

Now that I’ve had a home birth and a hospital birth, I can’t say that one is definitely better than another, but there were elements of each I liked better.  I have another post coming to discuss that in more depth.

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Time to start

So yes, I disappeared for awhile in that month and half I had between the time that I quit working and I had a baby.  Now that the little guy is a couple weeks old I figure it is time to add the blog back into my routine.  Once again I’ve been composing many entries in my head, unfortunately they just haven’t been typed out.  So here we go.

Also speaking of time to start…

Today the Olympics starts and so does the Ravellenic games.  I’ve been hem-hawing about joining.  After all, finding the time to knit when my arms are full most of the time is a bit challenging.  On the other hand I’ve always thought that it is fun to participate.  I think I’m going to go ahead and try to knit a baby sweater.

I don’t know if it is “baby brain” or what, but I’m seriously confused about how to actually officially participate.  The teams and events and tagging is confusing me.  It probably isn’t that complicated, but it feels like it to me right now!

The start of summer

Even though I still have next week to work, it feels like summer has really begun.

If there was any doubt, it was erased last night when M and I saw the first lightening bugs of summer as we sat out on our upstairs porch.

This weekend is kind of packed but also kind of relaxed for us.  We don’t have any official obligations, so everything we do is dependent only on if we are feeling up to it.  Our town’s annual festival is this weekend.  We just got back from the parade and having our annual stromboli and large lemonade.  I would have liked to have walked down, but since it is over 85 degrees I decided I better not push myself too much.  It is only a mile to downtown, but in the heat and sun of mid-day it can be a little much, at least when I’m 33 weeks pregnant!

I also made one of my needed trips to the greenhouse.  I think that between seeds and plants I have everything I need now for my garden.  Everything except rain that is!  I need to weed my garden one more time before I plant the rest of the stuff that is going in (garlic, lettuce, radishes, and peas are already in).  Unfortunately the ground is so hard right now I can’t really get the roots up.  I feel really behind, but the one weekend that would have been good to work in the garden wasn’t a good weekend for us.  At least I’ll have some produce this year.  My peas are looking great!  I’m excited because I haven’t grown peas before and my mom and dad haven’t had peas in their garden since I was little.

Anyway, as much as I would like to get some things planted I’m not sure much of that is going to get done this weekend.

I would like to make it to the park this weekend too.  This particular park has rides and I’m excited to see what E is interested in riding this year.  Last year he liked the little airplanes and while he would ride in the train, Ferris wheel, and carousel (only in a chariot, not on a horse!) with us last year he didn’t get too excited about them.  He told me last week he wanted to ride on a horse this year, but we’ll see.  I think  he didn’t like it before because he didn’t feel stable enough.  I couldn’t convince him to hold on to the pole.  I figured out he likes things he can climb on, but he doesn’t like to be sat on something that is higher than he can climb up on himself.  I wonder if that has changed.

The other big Memorial Day weekend thing is the Great Lakes Fiber Show.  In some ways I prefer going on Saturday.  It is more exciting to be there the first day.  It is so hot at the fairgrounds though!  Since this is another 90 degree Memorial Day weekend there is incentive to go tomorrow instead!  Saturday morning is kind of crowded- nothing like Rhinebeck of MDSW I would imagine, but crowded enough that it isn’t comfortable to browse when it is that hot.  Unfortunately, waiting until Sunday means I miss the Cleveland group I met a few years back.  I think it is likely that with the festival and parade on Saturday I’ll end up being a Sunday attender most years now.

On Memorial Day itself we will watch the parade.  After that I don’t know what we’ll do.  M was thinking about an Ice Cream festival he read about, but who knows if that will happen or not.  It is at least an hour away.  I guess we’ll have to see what we’re up for.

In the meantime I had better get to work on some laundry or else I’m not going to have anything to wear!

Maternity Leave in the U.S.

Yesterday a friend of mine posted a link to this blog post on her business’s web site.  I can’t seem to stop reading different takes on this (because so many people are making such good points!) so I of course clicked and read.  I also happen to agree.

Then something hit me as I read.

I knew to be eligible for FMLA you need to be with your employer for at least 12 months.  That is why I had a 6 week maternity leave after E’s birth and not 12 weeks.  I didn’t qualify for FMLA because I was only there for about 9 months before I had him.

I had completely forgotten about the required hours worked in the last 52 weeks.  I guess that is because when I was thinking about that when I was pregnant last time I was working 25 hours a week and working that many hours will get you to the requirement.

I wasn’t really worried about it this time since I made the decision that if we had a second child I would not return to work. (Haha!  That sounds so much simpler than the whole decision actually was!)   In my mind I was thinking that of course if I were staying I would get 12 weeks this time since I’ve worked at my company for over 3 years.

Yeah, no I wouldn’t.

I still wouldn’t qualify for FMLA.

You see, when I went back to work after E was born I worked it out with my boss that I would go down to 15 hours a week, working only 3 days a week.  Now I’ve added some time in the last year by working some at home, but that still comes out to only about 17 hours a week at most.  Guess what?  17×52 does not add up to 1250 hours.

You know what?  This pisses me off.

6 weeks is NOT enough time for any maternity leave.  It is definitely not enough time when you are trying to exclusively breastfeed.

What makes it hard is that in some ways I feel like I don’t have much right to complain.  My boss was more than willing to work with me and accommodate a schedule that allowed me to have my mother watch my baby.  Which had to happen for me to continue to work because I would have spent my whole paycheck, probably more, to pay for childcare otherwise unless I went to working full time.  Still, it would have taken up a significant portion of it.

Also, I was able to pump.  In my office, not a bathroom stall, when I needed without any trouble.  No one EVER gave me a hard time about it.

I happen to live less than 10 minutes from work and have an hour lunch break.  I could nurse E up until 15-20 minutes before I needed to be at work, come home and nurse on my lunch break, and be home again less than 3 hours later.

Do you know how lucky I felt and still feel that I was able to do that?  I think of jobs I’ve had in the past and can’t imagine any of them being so accommodating for what I was trying to do.  That is why I feel like I don’t have any room to complain.

But it is ridiculous too.

My milk supply wasn’t fully established.  I still think that even though I was pumping in the morning and afternoon while I was at work (and for awhile when I was trying so hard to boost supply, twice in the morning) that my supply suffered because I went back to work too soon.  I don’t think it was the only factor in the slow weight gain problems E had between 2-6 months, but I can’t ignore that piece of the puzzle.

I was still in pain from breastfeeding when I went back to work.  Real pain.  Turns out I had some damage that gave me vasospasms.  That was hard enough to deal with but I would finish pumping and have to lay down at my desk and not cry out in pain for 5 minutes afterwards.

E was still so little I was getting up and going to the recliner multiple times at night because I hadn’t figured out/he wasn’t quite big enough to reliably latch on while lying in bed.

I spent most of December 2009 wondering how the hell I was going to manage going back to work at the end of the month.

Go back I did and we made it work.  I’m convinced the only reason it did at all is because of the aforementioned graciousness of my boss and his willingness to find a way to make it work for me.  But we still had those snags too.  I cannot fathom how anyone goes back full time after 6 weeks and makes it work.

I have to say that all the while I’m wondering how we are really going to get along without my paycheck and if we can really make it work with me staying home the one thing I keep thinking is “thank God I don’t have to deal with going back to work after 6 weeks!”

Garage Sale Season

Traditionally  this has been my best weekend of the year for garage sales.  This weekend was no exception.  There is a neighborhood in the next town over that always has their garage sales the third Saturday of May, so we made sure to hit those up today.  I did OK with some stuff- found some clothes for E and some books.

I really did good in town this weekend!  I found some baby clothes yesterday and even a really cute pair of baby dress shoes, but my best deal of the day was the $3 box of rubbermaid hangers (kid-sized).  I ended up counting and there were 82 hangers in there.  We have had a hanger shortage in E’s closet constantly and most of them in there are those cheap store hangers that snap easily.  Now I have plenty of hangers for both kids’ closets.

Today my deal of the day was the play mat/activity gym.  We have one from E, but I never really liked the design of it.  There were two hoops on it but they didn’t cross, they were parallel and the idea is that it can convert to a tunnel later on for the baby to crawl through.  Well E wasn’t a crawler so he never had any interest in it.  Plus once you laid him there the stuff was right in front of him but it was only one or two things and there was no motivation to try and roll another direction.  Anyway, I liked the one a friend of mine had a lot better because the hoops crossed and there were extra loops to add toys and switch them around and E had liked playing under that a lot better.  The thing was though, I didn’t want to pay $60 for one of them- not really worth it in my opinion, especially when I already had one, even if it wasn’t one I loved.  Today I found one that is exactly what I wanted and it was clean(!) and it was $15.  Maybe not the deal of the century, but certainly a much more decent price for what I wanted.

Most of my luck (including the activity gym) was this morning in town.  I hit up a couple of sales that were Saturday only, so they weren’t picked over already when I got there.  I was in luck too because BOTH of the sales this morning I hit first were heavy on the boy clothes and even better- the moms said they had boys in July too!  It can be hard enough to find the boy stuff as it is and in the sizes I’m looking for on top of that so finding seasonally appropriate clothing in the right sizes was great!

Plus, these garage sales were clean, well labeled, and they were advertised accurately in the classified this weekend!

 

Under the weather

It has been a tough week.  Not in a really serious hard-stuff-in-life way thank goodness, but in one of those “is this week over yet?” sort of ways.

E is always a little clingy when we get back from a weekend with M’s family.  It seems he was extra clingy earlier this week because he was getting sick.  It started Wednesday and is just a cold that even appears to pretty light at this point.  The worst part is that his face gets so raw under his nose because he constantly is wanting to wipe his nose (and it is not done gently!) even when he is congested rather than having a runny nose.

Unfortunately, I definitely have something now too.  It is more sinus congestion for me right now.  My head hurt so badly I could barely sleep last night.

I’m not happy about this (obviously) but even less so because there is a ton of stuff I wanted to do this weekend.  I’m still doing the garage sales this morning, but I don’t know that I’m going to be able to get the yard stuff done I want to.

Organization and Technology

One of the things I struggle with is the desire to be super organized but being overwhelmed by all the organization options that are out there.  Especially now with websites, computer programs, and phone/tablet apps there are just so many options to choose from.  Trying to figure out what works best is a task!

There are times good old pen and paper works best.  My grocery list will probably always be kept on a magnetic paper shopping list on the fridge.  It is easy to write things down there as I use them up in the kitchen and then I can just grab the list and go, or my husband can.  If I tried to keep a list somewhere electronic first of all I don’t think half the things that need to be put on the list would make it there and second of all it wouldn’t be accessible for everyone in the house to see and add to.

My own lists of random things I often keep on my computer.  They are only for me and I can easily add and delete things off of them.

The calender one is something I can’t quite figure out.  For the last two years I’ve bought this handy calender that is a traditional month calender that hangs on the fridge- but at the bottom there is a pad of weekly planners that can be completed each week and there are like 4 or 5 rows for different family members and the columns are the days of the week so you can get a little more in depth on variations in the daily schedule without cluttering up the whole month.  I really like this and it works pretty well for me being able to see how M’s schedule will effect when he is home.  For instance if he has 8 a.m. court, if he has noon court of not (and therefore might be home for lunch), when he has a late appointment at his private office 30 minutes away…

I feel like we could do better for him though.  He is always trying to balance his P.D. schedule with his private schedule with our own family schedule.  If there is something I need him to be his schedule allows enough flexible time that we can make an appointment happen during the business day, but I hate to be the one to schedule it, because I never know what is on his book and what can be moved and what can’t.  His schedule changes often enough and there are enough different client meetings and court appearances that it isn’t as simple as saying he is working from 8-11 a.m. Wednesday morning, you know?  This creates problems for the office secretaries too because he can add something with a private case and then court will schedule him something and then there is a conflict because the calender can’t be updated instantly.  This is where paper fails.  I think it would be great if he an electronic web-based calender, but I’m not sure what could be used at his office (that wouldn’t cost the office money, there is no budget for stuff like that) and could still be easily accessed by him or even by me if I needed to see when he was free.

Mother’s Day Weekend

We’ve been gone all weekend and just got home tonight.  It was our last trip to see my husband’s family before the baby is born.  Normally Mother’s Day is my weekend and we go see M’s family for Father’s Day; however, Father’s Day I’ll be 36 weeks and in my opinion that is too pregnant to want to make a 3 hour trip in the car.

It worked out nice because we also were able to celebrate M’s grandparent’s 65th wedding anniversary with them.  Well, we went to the Mass this morning where they were honored.  They were married 65 years ago May 10th.

M always does a really good job of making Mother’s Day special for me.  This year I was shocked and thrilled, he got me an Kindle Fire like I wanted!  I was really hoping it might make some things easier when the baby is here.  For one thing, it will be more portable than my laptop so I should be able to do a little browsing or reading when I’ve got those late night feedings.  I also really wanted something I could download apps on and am excited to try out some an app to keep track of nursing and diapers in those first few weeks.

Best of all today was right before bed.  I was helping E with his pajamas and he looked at me and said “Mommy, I love you so much!” and gave me a big hug.  It was just the perfect end to the day.

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