Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cloth Diapers

We have been cloth diapering Norah for a few weeks now, so I feel like we are experienced enough to blog about it:) I believe we started when she was about 2 1/2 weeks old.

I had originally intended to start the cloth diapers when she was big enough to exclusively wear the AIO (all in one) size pocket diapers we have. However, one of Erin's coworkers gave us 17 newborn prefolds with a variety of covers. Awesome! So, we started earlier than we had planned but we were able to do so for free :)

These are the newborn prefolds (free) and the cloth wipes I purchased from Buy Buy Baby. We have 24 flannel wipes and so far that has been a good amount. I had to wash diapers every other day when we were exclusively using the prefold diapers. About 1 1/2 weeks later, we introduced the AOI pocket diapers, too.

I honestly don't know how many diapers Norah goes through in one day. Sometimes she likes to poop in the diaper 1.5 seconds after I lift her off the changing pad. So, that throws off my count of how many she would have normally gone through :)

Anyways, this is what our diaper area looks like and the system we have.

Prefolds and wipes are stored in this drawer.

The green thing is a "insert grabber." It's really meant to be an over mit thingy, but it's perfect for grabbing wet inserts from the pocket diapers!  

The second shelf is where I store the pocket diapers.

I also store pocket diapers on this side. These diapers are already stuffed with a charcoal and microfiber insert. We double up at night time so I rarely have to change Norah's diaper unless its poopy. I stuff the diaper with both inserts in the pocket. It's so much better than waking her up more by changing her diaper. And, she has never had a diaper rash so far.

I am able to store the flannel wipes in this old wipe container that I saved. I found this awesome tutorial here that shows you how to fold them just right so they can be dispensed one by one. Brilliant. We store them dry and when we change a diaper, we just walk about 5 feet to the bathroom sink and wet it with water. Easy peasy.

I have two of these super cute wet bags. This is a small/medium size bag that will hold a days worth of diapers. I keep one in my diaper bag. I also have a larger wet bag that I use on rotation when these are dirty. I throw the wet bags in the laundry with the diapers.

This is a long wet bag I bought on Etsy that fits in the diaper genie. I wash it with the diapers as well.
My husband, who doesn't "know" how to fold his own t-shirts will fold a prefold diaper on Norah. What a man! Now we need to work on the t-shirts...

Here is what the prefold looks like on a super cute baby!
We fold them with a snappi. They are really easy to use. The 3 ends have little prongs that catch on the diaper and hold it in place. We have a 3 pack and that's really all you need. I keep an extra in the diaper bag and changing table. 
This is the cover you put around the prefold. We have a handful of these that we were given, too.
This is a AIO pocket diaper. Fishy butt!

When I'm done with diaper laundry, I sit on the couch for maybe 7 minutes and stuff the diapers. When they are stuffed in advance, it makes changing the diaper just as fast as a disposable.
 How do I wash my diapers? It's pretty simple. They all are stored in the wet bags. That doesn't mean there is any liquid or anything in the bag. You just put the dirty diaper in the bag and zip it shut. Or shove it in the diaper genie. We do remove the insert first, that way we don't have to do it two days later when they smell "nice" ;)

When it's time to wash, everything goes into the washer: the AIOs, the prefolds, the wipes, the covers and the wet bags. Rinse on COLD. Wash on HOT with detergent. Rinse on COLD again. I put the prefolds, wipes, and inserts into the dryer. The AIOs, wet bags, and outer covers get line dried. When anything has a stain, they get bleached by the sun. It does wonders I say!

After drying in the sun for a few hours.
I use Tide free & gentle laundry detergent. It's not a cloth diapering detergent but a lot of people use Tide and say it's fine. It's also very affordable.
My AIO diaper stash consists of:
-16 Alva pocket diapers with microfiber inserts
-7 Bumgenius freetimes
-2 Bumgenius 4.0s
-10 charcoal liners

That's about it! When I'm not at home, changing her diaper isn't any harder. I store dry wipes in the wipe container my diaper bag came with and throw the dirty diapers into the wet bag! For now, we are using both the prefolds and the AIO but eventually it will just be the AIO diapers. I don't plan on buying any larger prefolds.

I think I personally have spent about $200 for my diaper stash. I used 20% off coupons for all my bumgenius diapers since I bought them at Buy Buy Baby. I did have a giftcard or two from baby showers, too. I bought 10 alva diapers from a diaper exchange facebook group for $50. Only 2 had been used. The other six I bought new for $50 (these ones have the fun designs: fish, owls and chevron). The charcoal liners I bought from either Amazon or Mot's Tot's Diaper Boutique on facebook. That is also where I bought the owl wet bags ($6 each). The diaper genie bag was from Etsy and I think it was $10.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Norah's Birth Story

     I really loved reading other women's birth stories while I was pregnant. It helped me understand how every woman is different and I learned a lot about ways to birth, how to labor, and what medical interventions I did or did not want. I want to share Norah's birth story with anybody who wants to read it. I will be honest and open, so if you think you might not want to know the little details, maybe you shouldn't read it :) Also, my sister took some really great pictures of her birth and I will put in the tasteful/web appropriate ones that are very special!

     Norah's birth was no cake walk but I absolutely love that I brought her into this world myself, as a woman doing what my body was designed to do and as her mother, bringing her into my arms and finding out our little rice cake was a girl :) You might want to get comfortable, this is one lengthy post.

     Thursday, June 19th was a pretty relaxing day for me. Erin went to work in Sacramento. I had a lazy morning in our apartment. I took a belly shot of me (my last one). I met my mom for pedicures around 12:30. It was a really nice pedicure! I had been wanting to get one all week. After that, I went to 5 guys and got a hot dog with everything on it except pickles. This girl has never liked them and pregnancy did not change that. I also asked for jalapenos. Praise Jesus I NEVER had heartburn while I was pregnant. Then I went and grabbed a coffee from Peet's.
     Later, I met Erin in Sacramento and we drove together up to Roseville where we grabbed Thai food for dinner and then headed over to a family's home from our church and we had a meeting that ended about 9:30pm. We drove back to Dixon and crawled into bed at 11pm.

     At exactly 1:45am on Friday, my water broke. I woke up to warm water gushing and said "oh my god" and jumped (as good as a extra pregnant girl can jump/flop/roll) out of bed, then ran to the bathroom, which happens to be all of 7 feet from the bed. Erin was up right away and it was obvious that we knew what just happened. I think we laughed a little and were like, "Ok, now the sheets are all wet and the bathroom floor has puddles." We immediately washed the sheets and made the bed again. I put on a pad, only to have my water keep gushing every contraction for a while. I went through a lot of pads :) I called my mom first at 2 am and told her my water broke and I would keep her posted. Then I called my doula Michelle and told her the facts, "I was having contractions but they are irregular and not painful, just like a braxton hicks." By 2:45am, they were painful and there was no doubt this was the real deal!

     I remember reading a lot and people saying to go back to bed if you can. Ya right! I was so excited. I think I laid in the bed for all of 10 minutes and then got up. I took a shower and shaved my legs and washed my hair. The contractions were totally manageable. I texted my doula later, not sure what time and told her my contractions were about every 5 minutes. She said she was on her way!

     Erin and I had breakfast at about 2:30 am lol.  I sat on my ball and was able to be comfortable. Michelle arrived around 5 am and suggested we walk around the block. That was nice and we walked for about 15 minutes. When I had a contraction, we stopped and I tried not to look like a crazy bent over pregnant woman, but that's probably what I looked like. When we got back,we popped in a movie and sat in the living room. I tried getting on all fours and sticking my butt in the air but really sitting on my ball was most comfortable. We decided to head to the hospital about 7:30 am when my contractions were between 3 1/2 -4 minutes apart and consistently 1 minute long.

     We checked into the hospital at 8 am. I kid you not, it was the busiest day the birthing center has since they opened in November. They finally checked me and I was at 4 1/2 centimeters. Not bad! The baby's heart rate was dropping a little during contractions when they first started monitoring me and that concerned them (however, I think that is very common to have their heart rate drop a little and then pick back up after the contraction). Unfortunately, it concerned them enough to keep me hooked up to the monitors and they started a IV in my arm but didn't connect me to anything. I didn't want to be hooked up and wanted wireless monitoring, but oh well. Mind you, I was planning on having a natural birth with as little medical intervention as possible.

     I had to labor in the triage room for 5 hours! They did not have any labor suites open because there were so many women in labor. I sat on my ball for the few hours and would stand up and sway my hips during contractions. I kept having to go pee and would have to disconnect from the monitor and walk across the hall to the bathroom, since our room was so small and not a labor room. My water was still just gushing with contractions and I was constantly drinking water to stay hydrated. I did eat half of a granola bar sometime after 9 I think. It made me a little nauseous so I only ate half.  Sometimes during contractions I would lean across the bed and someone would hold my hands on the other side (my mom or Michelle) and Erin started applying pressure to my lower back at this point. They checked me again and I was 6 1/2 centimeters dilated. After 12:30pm, they finally said there was a room ready and we eventually made it to the labor suite.

     This part of the labor is kind of hard to remember all the details. I was in full on active labor and had to close my eyes and really concentrate during contractions. My mom and sister were there in the labor room, I remember them sitting on the couch and talking and they would take turns holding my hands while Erin or Michelle pushed on my back. I would get up to use the bathroom and then cry out that I was having a contraction and Erin was always right there waiting to help me through it.

Erin looks exhausted too. I could tell my sister was starting to take pictures but I seriously didn't open my eyes for 3 hours. It was easier for me to keep them closed and concentrate.

     There came a point where I was just exhausted and Michelle recommended I lay on the bed and try to sleep during contractions. I didn't want to at first because I knew I would be really uncomfortable but sure enough, I fell asleep during every contraction for over an hour and would wake up when one came, grab onto someones arms and Erin would push on my back. When it would pass, I would lay down and fall asleep! My contractions slowed back down to 5 minutes apart but I was still progressing. They checked me and I was at 8 1/2.

      I then moved to my knees and leaned over the back of the bed and labored for awhile. I was now at 9 centimeters. This was the one time I asked for something for the pain. It went something like, "Is there anything you can give me now? Just anything right now?" He he. The answer was gently no and that was that. I didn't cry or beg, I was going to have to keep going. In my mind I had wanted to ask for a while but I never said it out loud until this point. I started second guessing my ability to continue because I hadn't even started pushing yet and that scared me. I kept saying, "I don't know. I don't know." My sweet husband just kept holding my hand. I know it put him in a hard place to stand there and watch me say that and be in pain.

      Then I started involuntarily pushing and they told me not to and to try and breathe through the urge. I kept saying how I needed to poop haha. It seriously is the exact same feeling. I tried not to push but at the same time I really tried to poop. I didn't even care who would see or that I was still in the bed, that's what I wanted to do! Don't worry, I didn't :) Next thing I know, I was at 10 centimeters and it was time to push.
Michelle fanned me for hours. She is a really sweet and awesome doula.

     I turned around and started to push the baby down. This was hard but not the hardest part :) They brought over a mirror and I was able to start seeing the baby's head come down more and more. I started pushing on my back but I didn't like that. I ended up turning onto my left side and holding my legs up myself and leaning forward. Eventually, the head started to crown and I started screaming. Like full on wild animal screams every time a contraction came and I would push. I could tell I was going to tear, I said it out loud how I knew it and it hurt but everyone said, "It's the ring of fire. It's going to hurt." Well, it hurts!

     Eventually, I pushed the head came out, and the cord was wrapped around her neck once. Her hand was also at her head as she was born. Ouch. I stopped pushing so the midwife could move the cord and a few more pushes and her body came out. I pulled her up onto my chest and said, "It's a girl!" I loved that we were able to see for ourselves that it was a baby girl. I didn't wait 9 months for someone else to tell me! I looked at her and said, "Hello Norah." Erin thought it was a girl as I was pulling her towards me, but then the cord was between her legs and he second guessed for second :)

Norah Amelia Rice was born at 5:11 pm Friday, June 20, 2014 weighing 7 lbs 14oz and 21" long

     Erin cut the cord after it was done pulsating. We weren't sure he would want to do it, but they handed him the scissors and he just did it like it was no big deal. I did skin to skin for a long time and then passed her off to Erin, who also did skin to skin for a while. My labor was 15 1/2 hours and I pushed for 1 hour.

     Right after the cord cutting, they focused on me. I had a lot of bleeding. They gave me 2 different pitocin treatments, a shot in my leg and one through an IV. Good thing I already had the IV started just in case.  I immediately had more cramps/contractions that hurt. Then, they had to empty my bladder and put a catheter in me for only a minute. I pushed out the placenta and we kept it. We plan on planting it at our new house. I had 3rd degree tearing and needed stitches in my rectal sphincter muscle. That required a different doctor to come and do that repair. Ouch. I could definitely feel some of the stitches and kept asking for more lidocain. I wanted a natural birth but I'm not a martyr:)

    After an hour, I was all ready to go! I feel very blessed to have the support of my husband and family and my doula. They really helped me get through it all.
And yes, I would do it again :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Full term baby... And my bags are packed!

I can't believe I am full term! This pregnancy has been wonderful, seriously. Yes, I had a little bit of morning sickness (but no throwing up) and some aches and pains but I absolutely LOVE being pregnant. This kid has been good to me :)

So far, I have gained 22 pounds. Not too bad! I haven't had any heartburn, praise Jesus! And this girl likes spicy foods too, so I haven't had to sacrifice in that department :) The only stretch mark I can see is right above my belly button and it's about 1/4" long. I will tell you I have got quite the outtie and this pregnancy has done a number on my cute little belly button that I used to have...oh well :)

My 36 week appointment went well! The baby is head down. What a relief! I honestly thought they were sideways sometimes by the way I could feel movement on both sides of my bump when baby was practicing some dance moves. So, I don't have to worry about the baby being in the wrong position for delivery! My midwife thinks the baby is about 6-6 1/2 pounds. I tested negative for Strep B, so no antibiotics! Yay! And I'm 50% effaced and she thinks 1 1/2 centimeters dilated. That's 1 less I have to go during labor ;)

Erin and I have hired a Doula to help us with the birth and we are really learning a lot from her and feeling confident about the whole birth process. We just have to make sure we bring our hospital bags with us for the next few weekends. We are going to a wedding on the 14th and Erin is in a wedding on the 21st. Remember my due date is the 22nd? Oh boy!

Speaking of hospital bags...they are all packed!
Birthing ball, diaper bag, and suitcase all ready to go
I was originally going to pack in an over-the-shoulder, cute duffel bag but then realized a rolling suitcase will be much easier for us to take in/out of the hospital. And by us, I mean Erin :) I also thought about bringing my nursing pillow but feel like that's a luxury I can save for home and I can just use pillows in the hospital. Plus, it's one less thing to carry. That ball is awkward enough, haha.

The car seat has been in my car for a few weeks now, so we're all set there! We'll have to carry that in/out of the hospital, too!

Did I show you my diaper bag yet?!! It's adorable and I am so blessed to have amazing friends :)
Petunia Pickle Bottom is the cutest!

 This is what I have packed in my diaper bag with lots of room to spare:

Nursing cover, 1 set of disposable nursing pads and a pair of reusable pads. Pretty sure my milk won't be in but I thought I would pack them just in case. I also have some Earth Mama nipple butter.
Girl socks and boy socks! Since we don't know what we're having, I'm bringing them both :)  

Vaseline to put on their butt before the meconium diaper! I hear it helps clean it up so much easier. Earth Mama bottom butter, Honest Company hand sanitizer and a pacifier just in case. I actually don't plan on using one for a while but thought I would throw it in my bag. 
Little hair bows, another neutral pair of socks and baby mittens. Also, 2 white onesies.
I'm bringing one Aden & Anais swaddling blanket and a burp cloth.

A going home outfit for baby boy or baby girl :)
I read a lot of posts on Pinterest about what to pack and felt like there is plenty the hospital will provide and I don't need to waste space packing my own. I'm not about to bring my own  diapers!They will be taking care of that for me. In fact, I'm sure I'll be stocking up on things to take home :)

As for "our" bag, here's what we got:
For me:
-1 pair of sweatpants
-1 tank top
-sports bra
-nursing bra
-1 pair of underwear- I am planning on stocking up on lots of mesh panties to take home
-1 pair of socks
-flip flops
-going home maxi dress

For Erin:
-1 t-shirt
-swimsuit and flip flops-in case he helps me labor in the shower or wants to shower himself

Other things:
-birth plan
-medicine ball pump
-toiletry bag for me
-phone chargers

Toiletry bag:
-shower cap
-make-up remover towels
-small mirror

Not yet packed: make-up bag and hair brush. I'll grab those hopefully at the last minute :)

Things I might still pack: laptop. But, I will have my iphone if we think we want to send out a quick e-mail or something. We only live 15 minutes from the hospital, so if there's anything we think we can't live without or need to stay longer than overnight, Erin can easily grab it or family can help us out :)

Anything I am clearly missing? Help me out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guess What!?!

Guess what???

…I’m pregnant! Just kidding, you already knew that:) The short answer is: we moved! To Dixon! Because that’s so much more fun than Midtown, Sac :) This last week was one of the busiest weeks of my life and definitely the most challenging one of my entire pregnancy. And wouldn’t you know it, my most hormonal one, of course.

Why the move? A couple of factors helped us make the decision.
1.     I want to quit working as a waitress. I have definitely been cutting back on my hours at Black Bear and was ready to stop all together. There aren’t really any opportunities throughout my 6-7 hour shift to sit and rest. I have to carry heavy plates of food all day long, which was really killing my back at the end of my shift. And pregnant hormones don’t allow me to put up with much crap from stupid customers ha-ha. Let’s be honest. I was over it. And it is physically hard on this mama.

However, on a nice busy day I would make around $20 an hour. So in order to help our household income stay afloat, we decided to cut back.  We found a much more affordable place to live with utilities and laundry (and free pool access) included :) And it’s sooo much more quite than midtown.
2.     We have been thinking about moving out of our side of the duplex for a while and knew we could bring in more money if we rented it out to other people and we lived somewhere cheaper. Make sense?
3.     We have some friends who have a granny flat/1 bedroom apartment on their property in Dixon and were looking to rent it out. So we jumped on it. Did I say 1 bedroom? Yep. Talk about downsize ;) But we really like it and it brings me to point 4.
4.     We are closer to family. My mother in law lives in Dixon and my parents and father in law live in Vacaville, which is 15 minutes away! And with the baby coming, that will be nice to be closer so we can take the kid to them and take a nap. Hey Grandma!
5.     But the most exciting reason of all is: WE ARE BUILDING A HOUSE IN VACAVILLE THIS YEAR!!!! This has been a plan of ours for a few years now. We will be able to save money for the house/make new house payments on that while I can stay home with the baby! Praise the Lord! We have officially got the financing done and contractor ready to go. We are hoping to have it done within a year. No problem right? Because everything in new construction is totally easy and always on time ;) Right….

That about sums it up! My main concern is the small space with the baby. But, I am excited to downsize, minimize and do something new. The baby wasn’t enough change this year, so we added a few more things...

I’m glad this week is over. Last Saturday, we hosted a dinner at our house. It was my last night of the house being cute and hosting in our home. Waaaaahh. Then on Sunday, we started packing after church. We singed the lease on the apartment Tuesday night and got the keys. We stayed in Dixon Friday night and finished moving everything out of our home by Sunday. DANG! 7 days. A lot of our stuff is being stored at my father in laws, which is where we are building the house. Makes sense to store it there: free and that’s where the new house will go, so we won’t have far to move it all next time. Bonus.

My sweet husband worked so hard and we had some nice friends help lighten the load. Did I mention our house is 95% move in ready, too? We moved out and cleaned it in 7 days. Since I can’t do any heavy lifting, I puttied, painted, scrubbed, dusted, and vacuumed like a maniac so that we could get it ready to show as fast a possible. And I worked 3 days last week at my job. Dang. We are hoping to get it rented out in early April and start making some mulah. 

Ok, this post is long enough. I will keep you all updated on the new house plans soon. But right now I need to unpack our apartment. Wish me luck! And energy. And storage space miracles.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pregnancy Update! 22 Weeks

I'm not that great at blogging regularly. I know, big shock if you've read my blog over the last few years. Ha ha. Being pregnant isn't really changing that. I'll try and fill you in on the last few months!

I'm now 22 weeks and 4 days along in this pregnancy! I had a super easy first trimester, with only 2 weeks of "morning sickness" like symptoms but never any throwing up. The second trimester is going just as great! I am still working about 20 hours a week at the diner and 4 hours a week with my friend Amy who runs her own Etsy shop out of her home (The Belle and The Beau). Working at the diner is definitely getting harder. I'm pretty beat after I get home.

The baby is doing great! I always hear really positive things at all my appointments. Thank you Lord! Baby Rice was measuring a week ahead at my last appointment, so it may be possible that my due date could be as early as June 15. My normal due date is June 22. I won't hold my breath. This baby will come whenever baby wants to come (or so I hear that's how it goes). :)

We did not find out the sex of the baby. We held strong! For someone who doesn't want to find out, we have sure had plenty of opportunities. I had food poisoning last week which brought me to the ER for fluids and then back again 2 days later for pain management. I am all well and recovered now and the baby was doing perfect the whole time. They did 2 more ultrasounds last week just to make sure, making our total at 6 ultrasounds this pregnancy! Ha ha that is at least 3 opportunities we had to find out and luckily no one slipped up and told us :)

Here are my "bumpdate" pictures!

16 Weeks
17 Weeks

18 Weeks. This is the week we felt the baby move for the first time!
19 Weeks

20 Weeks!!
20 Week Ultrasound

21 Weeks! A little small after all the food poisoning issues lol

22 Weeks!
We have been making some progress on the nursery! We moved out the guest bed and some smaller bookshelves. Now we need to install our new window, pack up the last books and swap out the last bookcase. All we need is the crib and it's pretty much done!

I didn't paint the room since I really liked the existing color and it's gender neutral. I got our changing table/dresser from a friend who was moving and didn't want it anymore (thanks Leslie!). I painted it and love how it turned out. My Nana bought me the white chair from Ikea and my Aunt bought the rug from Target. My parents are getting us the crib! We are so blessed and are feeling the love.