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It Finally Happened!

We are thrilled to announce that our Joey was born 9/3 at 8:34 AM. She weighed a whopping 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 21 inches in length!! She is here! We are in love, ecstatic, and exhausted–which is why we are very tardy to announce our fantastic news with you, our supportive blog pals!

Hours after delivery…still staring at baby

Daddy and Joey

Just arrived!

Did the title make you hungry? That is why you are reading this post. Welcome!

Today, I want to share a lesson with you: A step-by-step guide on how to make your ordinarily boney feet swell like… well, things that are known for being super swollen.

1. Get pregnant. This may take a while. (See archived posts)

2. Brag about how you haven’t had swollen appendages so far, then begin week 38.

Gorgeous veggies and herbs!

3. Decide to make an Asian-inspired sesame peanut noodle salad.

4. Drive to local Asian market for green onion and cilantro. Easy peasy! It is only 5 mins away! And for a bushel of both you only pay $1.50. Cash only.

5. Cook pasta. We had linguine, so I used that.

6. Cook edamame.

7. Chop raw veggies and herbs: garlic, cilantro, red peppers, green peppers, green onion. Omit carrots since they went bad.  Oops! Omit bean sprouts because you just aren’t into them.

8. Shell edamame to add to veggies (pictured to the left). Eat extra edamame and share with Patrick. If you don’t have a Patrick, all the better, more for you!

Chicken in some foil

9. Grill chicken flavored with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, curry powder, and coriander. Have Patrick help you with this stage because the grill pan is splattering and you can’t handle it. If you still haven’t got a Patrick, deal with oil splatter or use sparingly to avoid this problem altogether.

10. When linguine is finished, add a bit of sesame oil to noodles to prevent from sticking. Pop in fridge.

11. Put veggies in fridge. Keep them crispy!

12. Slice cooked chicken into thin slices and add to fridge too. I stored these in tin foil since I ran out of room in fridge. (See blurry picture to right.)

Saucy!

13. Kill this healthy collection of ingredients by making this fabulously fatty dressing: 1tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, a 1tsp of chili oil, a squeeze of honey, juice from 1 lime, and 1/3 cup of peanut butter. Stir it up.

14. Combine pasta, veggies, chicken, and toss with dressing. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top!

15. Put finished product in fridge. Allow flavors to mix and mingle and chum up before eating.

Salad for days!

16. Suddenly become aware of the fact that you have been on your feet for 2+ hours (world’s slowest cook?) and they hurt REALLY, REALLY bad.

17. Look down at feet and notice they have ballooned! You now have fat balloon animal feet! But you have also made a great noodle dish. So kick your feet up and come to terms with the fact that you have 0-28 more days of fat feet to look forward to. But bonus, you also have 1-3 days of peanut sesame noodles to look forward to!

18. If you follow this guide, more or less, you too can have delicious peanut sesame noodles and swollen feet. Now it is your turn to give it a go!

Two-A-Days

It is that time of the year! When summer break is ending and Captain’s Practice and Two-A-Days begin! Not one to be left out just because I’m no longer in high school, I weigh more than a football player, and have the lung capacity of… well, a pregnant person, Patrick and I started our own two-a-days on Saturday. Yes, that does sound a bit untoward, but we are firm in our commitment to not over-share, so read on.

I do, in fact, weigh more than #13 but not my favorite nose tackle, Big Snack (#98).

I should note that I took a hiatus from anything resembling exercise during the majority of July. It was too hot to walk — morning, noon, and night. And to top it all off, I had overdosed on my Prenatal Fitness with Summer Sanders DVD. I think I could still pop in the  DVD and recite the workout dialogue with the TV on mute.

Anyway, last week Patrick suggested that we start walking since the temps were passing for cool in the late evenings. In an effort to stay close to home, we walk a .5-mile loop around our home twice each night. Most of the walk is uphill, so even though we are clocking in barely a mile, believe me, with the extra girth I’m lugging around, loosening joints, and my lung expansion problems, it feels like  quite the challenge!

Reflective sneakers and a huge pink belly

On Saturday, I decided to kick it up a notch and get into shape for labor with a two-a-day workout. Two miles in 40+ non-consecutive  minutes… I’m not sure if this will gear my body up for the marathon that is labor, but it is getting me into the spirit of sport and training from which I will be drawing during labor.

Oh! And labor will be soonish. I’m 38 weeks. We are taking bets. I say between weeks 41 and 42. Patrick says between 39 and 40. OB/GYN, just for fun, chimed in with 40-41weeks. Please let Patrick be right!

38 weeks

Hi everybody! How have you been?

These past few weekends, Gilly and I have been taking classes on childbirth, newborn care, and breastfeeding. These are all very important classes to take. If you miss one, you won’t know how to deliver your baby, you won’t know what all those blankets you just received are for, and your baby will never know the importance of squirrels.

Placenta, baby, and pelvis, minus stovepipe.

I may have my facts a little bit jumbled. Bear with me, they’ve been throwing a lot of information at us.

Did you know that…a baby makes its journey through a 90-degree elbow stovepipe? At least, that’s what the display model seemed to indicate.

Did you know that…swaddling a newborn is easy? First, you need a swaddling blanket and a newborn. Second, you need to fill out a job application at your local Qdoba, Chipotle, or favorite Mexican restaurant of choice. Step three, ask to be placed on the burrito line. Step four, go home, substitute the tortilla and fillings for your swaddle blanket and baby, and you’re all set! NOTE: Do not follow step five, which might involve you accidentally eating your spicy little baby burrito.

Did you know that…girls are made of sugar, spice, and everything nice? You just need to go easy on the “honey boo boo.”

Did you know that…a father plays an important role in breastfeeding? According to our lactation consultant, a man’s job is to be the FUN one. And, evidently, “fun” constitutes one very important skill: We must be expert squirrel spotters. (I believe, if I got this straight, I am also *required* to say, “Lookit! A squirrel!” if my baby is to have her full measure of fun.)

Men find breastfeeding more comfortable in side-lying position

Did you know that…our lives will never be the same again?

Finally, we learned our most invaluable lesson of all: We’re ready to be parents.

Now, c’mon, baby, let’s get this show on the road. I’ve got some squirrels to show you.

Golden Showers

Yesterday at 36w4d, I spent the day alternating between naps and baby laundry. I love washing and folding these little baby clothes, blankets, and towels. How can socks be so little? It is noticeably quiet during this last month and I am stopping to smell the roses (and absence of baby poo). This is a definite calm before the storm.

How did a hoarding phobic, non-shopper end up with so many goodies to wash? Baby Showers!

Happily overwhelmed at Pittsburgh “Jack and Jill” shower!

Baby clothes for months!

Red, White, and Blue!

Thanks to the goodwill of our friends and family, we had three showers!! Thank you notes all written and baby treasures sorted, I am still surprised and in awe of the thoughtfulness and generosity of the wonderful people we know.

Mugging at office shower!

Patrick shows off new onesies!

Surprise! Our faces as the stroller of our dreams is presented.

I expected we’d drop quite a bit of money on the big items, and just as much on the small stuff, in typical first-time parent fashion. But I never anticipated that the majority of the big and little items would be purchased for our lil dragon by friends and fam!

Connecticut shower hostesses!

Opening gifts at my ladies’ luncheon!

Hamming it up!

I think this onesie fits her already!

Thanks everyone! I just felt like we needed to say it again. Also, wow! It is such a powerful feeling to receive all this love for our little baby dragon!

Invites with dragons are difficult to find, but pink giraffe theme is just as cute!

Baby dragon, you can come out soon! Lots of loving people are waiting for you! Especially your mommy and daddy!

Oh No You Didn’t!

When I posted about hospitals in Massachusetts no longer sending new parents home with formula samples, I did not expect some of the reactions I got — mostly via private communication, not blog comments.

“Free To Be You And Me” does not seem to apply to parenting choices. I’m starting to keep a list of things not to discuss with other parents: labor plans, feeding, diapering, pacifying, baby transport systems…

I love having options because we are all different parents, with varying needs, interests, and preferences. Do I think my preferences are better than all the rest? Not in the slightest. I don’t even know if my prenatal preferences will be best for my postpartum life.

That being said, we got a “gift” in the mail yesterday. Patrick and I just sort of stared at it dumbfounded…

G: Is that what I think it is?

P: Yup!

G: How did they get our address?

P: No idea.

G: Is this from our hospital?

P: Or a pregnancy group you are a member of?

The offender:

Enfamil found a way around Mass hospital formula policy?

More logical people than ourselves would say, “Hey neat! A box of three samples, just in case.” But part of my breast feeding approach is not to have alternatives handy until I know there is no other way.

More considerate people than ourselves would say, “Hey, let’s see if any of our parent or parent-to-be friends would like some of this formula!”  But we are just a little ticked off. So, we’ll be returning to sender.

No one asked us if we wanted this formula. Had it been offered in the hospital, we could have declined and moved on. But this direct shipment has rubbed us the wrong way. Furthermore, it seems just plain wasteful to blindly send these heavy, large boxes out to third-trimester moms unaware of their feeding plans/desires. Here is an idea, Enfamil — don’t waste money sending huge boxes of food to parents that don’t need them and lower your crazy high prices so parents buying your food can afford it.

I previously admitted that I am majorly afraid of hoarding. I always say, when in doubt, donate and let someone else get all hoard-y with it. So dealing with the reality of all the stuff babies come with has been a bit tough for me.

Lulu guards my diaper stash

I have already set up a fully-equipped baby room with necessities and niceties: crib; changing table stocked with cloth diapers, wipes, and swaddling blankets; bookshelf already full of fantastic books; futon for feedings and mommy-naps; bouncy chair with mobile attachment; and a space-themed baby “gym” including a space-monkey toy hanging from it (how cool is that?). Stocked up!

However, there are items my friends SWEAR by, that I refuse to buy. I am stubborn and I accept that about myself. I hope you can too. I do realize that I may very well buy these items later, but I’d rather it be an organic, need-based purchase, not a registry frenzy/naive new parent sort of thing.

Essential Items I Stubbornly Refuse To Purchase Now (And Forever?)

Baby Monitor: I have crazy good ears. I have mentioned that here. I will hear that baby crying down the hall. My experience is that babies are not shy about crying, so I’m certain I’ll hear her when I’m downstairs too. I am also slightly neurotic — it is the American woman way. So hearing any movements on that monitor will drive me bananas and send me running to the baby’s room. Not doing it. Ever. Stubborn.

Breast pump: What if I can’t do it? That’s $250 wasted! Then what do I do with it afterward? We may be a one-and-done family. My hospital rents them, so I may look into that option if the need arises.

Bottles: I know, know. I’ve done lost my ever-lovin’ mind!  But here’s the thing: If my breast milk already comes with two easily-accessible, temp-controlled feeding devices, shouldn’t I just use those? I’m going to give it a go with the handy milk sacks I already have and wait and see. That is $ saved and time saved — from pumping, fetching, washing, heating, sorting between nipple types and flow options, etc. We’ll see how long this lasts.

An Infant Car Seat: The convertible car seat I bought accommodates a baby between 5-70 pounds. However, many folks buy an infant seat (5-25/30 pounds) first and then move baby to the convertible seat. Experienced parents insist that the infant seat, which doubles as a bulky bassinet-type carrier and fits onto different stroller systems, is better than sliced bread. I hear you, experienced parents. I even believe you!! But I would rather jostle my baby when getting in and out of the car, and wear her when I go out, just to avoid getting the infant car seat. Stubborn.

Two Car Seats: Can a couple survive with just one? The overwhelming majority say, “No way, you weird hippies!” This may be true (not the hippie part), but our friends all bought two seats or two bases before baby arrived. Sure, you are going to use something you already have. I would like to see if we can be a two-car but one car-seat family. So interested to see how this plays out!

A Second or Third Stroller: One kid, one stroller. We got a lightweight but sturdy and maneuverable collapsible stroller. And it is black!  No thank you, bulky, multi-colored, heavy travel system. No thank you, teeny umbrella stroller, I’ll pass on you too. Many flexible parents purchase additional strollers as their children grow and their needs change. Makes sense, but I just plan to be stubborn about this too.

In sum, I’m stubborn.  If you see a woman in line at Target with a screaming infant attached to her chest, purchasing 20 bottles, a baby monitor, and an infant car seat… that isn’t me. I’m stubborn.

Space monkeys can be stubborn too