Henry David was born on July 22 and weighed in at a hefty 9 lbs 13 oz and almost 22 inches long.
No wonder I was uncomfortable!
Let me tell you, his birth experience couldn't have been more different from Evelyn's...
I had fully expected Henry to arrive early. Anecdotal evidence had convinced me that second babies usually come sooner than their older siblings. Sure, there are those that come later, but most people I know seem to have gone into labor with second and subsequent children earlier than the first kiddos. And since Evelyn had been about a week early, I thought for sure I wouldn't make it that far. But I did... My due date rolled around and I was still pregnant. What? How could this be? I was due on a Friday and we went out to a friend's place on a lake that evening and had some pizza and let the toddlers run and play. I had a glass of wine, thinking it might relax me enough to get things started.
Saturday I took some evening primrose oil as had been recommended by various friends. I tried some acupressure points throughout the day, which was kind of hilarious since you have to locate your ankle bones in order to find the proper points and my ankles were so swollen I couldn't find my ankle bones... I went to bed thinking I would wake up in the morning with no baby, yet again.
But around 3AM I woke up and had to pee, as is normal in late pregnancy. (Sleep? What's that?) But when I got up, I realized my water had broken! Not in a great gush like it did with Evelyn, but it was definitely broken nonetheless. No contractions yet, but I told M anyway and since he'd been still up in his studio, and he wisely decided he'd better go to bed and get some rest while he could. The contractions started but they were mild and far apart. I timed them and dozed in between. Then, quite suddenly, a bit before 5AM, they were intense and 3 minutes apart.
It was my greatest fear and also what I'd hoped for - that this labor would go faster than Evelyn's did. I didn't want to be in labor for days again. But at the same time, I'd done it before so I knew I could do it again. I had no road map for a fast labor and didn't know what to expect!
I woke M and called my mom so she could come watch Evelyn, who was still blissfully asleep. While M was picking up my mom, who only lives about 10 minutes away, I called our doula and had her come over. While she was on her way over, I was sitting there, alone, and thought, "Wow. I hope I last until someone comes back!" I called the midwife and told her the story so far and she said to come in right away, so as soon as M walked in the door with my mom, we were out of there! I'd had our doula help me put the last necessities in my hospital bag while waiting for M to return, so we were ready and waiting when they arrived, thank heavens.
That was not a fun ride across town.
We arrived at the hospital at about 6AM and everything was ready and waiting in my room. The nurses were ready, the tub was filled...with incredibly hot water. M went around to every ice machine on the floor and emptied all the ice into my tub. Still hot, but bearable. I labored very briefly in the shower while waiting for the ice and then climbed in.
There may have been some cursing at this point about how I couldn't possibly do this. *ahem*
Once in the water, I started pushing and let me tell you - pushing out a nearly ten pound baby is vastly different from pushing out a just over eight pounder! But just before 7AM, my beautiful baby boy was born into the water.
He was, and is, perfect. Nobody thought he was as big as he was, he didn't look like it. (Side note: apparently all the babies born that day were over 9 pounds!) He is happy and healthy and doing fine. I am recovering nicely and felt so much more alert and aware after this short labor and delivery than I did after Evelyn's marathon birth. It feels like he's been part of the family forever - I can't believe it's only been 5 short weeks!
Still awaiting the arrival of our littlest family member... (The photo is of E when she was born...)
And I must admit, I'm getting a bit impatient and, er, grumpy, about it. It's hot. It's Maine! It's not supposed to be hot! We aren't prepared for this! We have no air conditioning! I know, I know, I'm incredibly lucky not to be carrying this child in a third world country where it's hot and nobody has air conditioning...or running water...or access to healthcare...I know.
But it doesn't make me any more comfortable...
I feel a little bad for even complaining, and not just because of those reasons above. But because technically? It's not even my due date yet. Technically, I'm not due until Friday. Thing is, I fully expected this baby to be here by now. I expected little E to be late, and she surprised us all by showing up a bit early. Not much, but a bit. And, based on what little anecdotal evidence I could gather, I expected that this baby would be no later than she was.
But he is.
And I think that's why I'm frustrated. My road map is gone. For the first, I was open to anything - I expected her to be late, but I knew that really she could come at any moment and I was OK with that. However, having done it once before, I rather expected the experience to be similar. And now that it's not, I feel a little lost. (And hot. And uncomfortable. *ahem*) Rationally, I know that every baby, every pregnancy, every labor is different. And I know that this little guy will arrive as soon as he's good and ready.
My map has gone out the window and I'm having to readjust and accept that things will happen when it's time!
In the mean time, though, I've been having little sales in my Etsy shop to brighten my day. (I love getting little "You've made a sale!" notifications. Also, we really could use the cash. *ahem*) So if you're in the mood for yarn - and who isn't in the middle of July, right? - head on over and enter coupon code BABY30 for 30% off anything in the shop. A few of my favorites have sold out over the past week or so but there's plenty of goodies to be had still! The sales will continue until baby H decided to come on out and meet us...
Everybody wants the best for their child. Of course. But the best doesn't have to be the most expensive. Sometime it is, true, but not always or even, dare I say, often. Here I'm going to share just some of the ways we've managed to keep costs down with our kiddo(s).
We cloth diaper. You knew I was going to lead with that one, didn't you? Smartypants. If you are interested in cloth diapering, I did a whole little series on it a while back, so I won't go into all the details again here. Cloth diapering can, if done frugally, save you a ton of money. (You could, of course, buy all very expensive, beautiful, handmade, coveted-by-all cloth diapers and spend an absolute fortune. But we won't get into that.) We use mostly prefolds at home, with Thirsties covers. For daycare and others who aren't as familiar with cloth as we are, we use almost exclusively Fuzzibunz pocket diapers. They're easy as pie to use and fit our girl just fantastically. We used a few other brands of pockets diapers, but always come back to the Fuzzibunz - they just work best for us! I've kept track of every penny we've spent on diapering - actual diapers of all kinds, cloth purchased to make diapers, wet bags, pail liners, snappis, everything. (I have not included any of the washing costs, because I wouldn't really know how to separate that out...but we don't have a dryer, so the washing costs are minimal.) The grand total (so far) for just over 25 months now of cloth diapering is a bit over $700. I bought used diapers and accessories, made my own diapers, took advantage of sales, seconds and other special offers when I did buy new things and picked up more than a few things off Freecycle. The only downside to cloth diaper expenditures is that they do largely come all at once, near the beginning of baby's life, or before they're even born, if you're a planner like me. One major bonus now is that once baby #2 makes his arrival in July, we will have next to nothing in diapering costs for the rest of the time he's in diapers! (We may need to replace a few...we'll see!) Another bonus is that there are a few diapers I already know I'll be selling, so not only will we not be buying anything (or much) new but we might also be able to make some money! $700 (give or take a bit) to get two kids from birth through potty training? I'll take it.
We buy used/get hand-me-downs. For an outfit a baby is going to only wear a few times before they outgrow it, why buy brand new? If it's something you particularly love, go ahead. Splurge. But an entire brand new baby wardrobe? Do people actually do that? We got most, and by most I mean probably upwards of 90%, of our baby clothes/accessories and gear used. Second hand children's shops can have great deals - we got a $60 playmat for E for $7. I think the only new baby gear we bought was the carseat - and a carseat is not something to mess around with. They expire and there's no way to know if it was in an accident, so a carseat is one thing that I never recommend buying used. (I'd make an exception for buying one from someone you know really well - close friends or family. You'd probably have known if they were in a car accident, right?) We have second hand nearly everything, and it all works just fine.
We make things. I'm including a lot of "things" here - diapers, clothes, plaything, etc. Yes, I made diapers. Clothes for babies, especially girls (dresses!), can be pretty easy and cheap to make. It's easy if you pick the right (simple) pattern and it's cheap because, well, they're still little and don't need much fabric to adequately cover them! At some point, probably soon, the cost of store-bought clothes will be less than the cost for me to make my own for E and that will be a sad, sad day indeed. I made several of my own stretchy wraps - for the price of a couple yards of discount jersey fabric, I have 3 lovely wraps that would have cost me an arm and a leg if they were all brand name Mobys or Sleep Wraps. (Bonus: No sewing involved!) There are a variety of other things that can be handmade, depending on what skills you and/or your loved ones have - tag blankies, wooden teethers or rattles, soft blocks and other small games and toys. And related to this...
...tissue boxes make great toys. Have you ever given a kid a nice gift only to have them be much more interested in the wrapping/box/bow? Not only can you make your own toys but you can probably repurpose lots of things in your house for a baby or small child to play with. I keep a canister of the safest kitchen utensils on the lowest shelf in the kitchen for E to play with. Rubber spatulas, wooden spoons and the like. She loves it! (Of course, I invariably end up finding kitchen implements all over the house...) Pots and pans, cardboard boxes, there is no end to a child's imagination...
We made our own baby food. E is past the age now, but for a while, I would simmer some pears, whir them with the blender and pop them in ice cube trays to freeze every week or so. Making baby food, especially simple fruit and veggie purees, is really, really easy and so much cheaper. Plus, you have the added warm fuzzy of not buying a million little jars and packages that might end up in a landfill.
These are just a few of the ways that fit with our lifestyle to save money with a baby. There are tons more! Do you have a favorite? Share in the comments!
What am I thankful for today?
I'm just getting home after a long day of working, playing, cooking and attending my Mothering Daughters class but I had to stop in to tell you all about this wonderful organization. I've probably mentioned them before...it's the reason I stayed sane during E's early months.
I've met so many awesome mamas through this group, people I consider good friends and I hope to keep in touch with for years to come! Our infants have drooled together, our babies have played together and now our toddlers are running around together.
So my heartfelt thanks goes out to Birth Roots, just for existing, and for welcoming me and my little one into the fold along with so many others.
In theory, this post is about a sheep and wool festival and some sweaters. In reality, it's about those things and toddlers.
Last weekend at this time, I was in Rhinebeck, NY for a sheep and wool festival. Now, if you knit, you might know what a big deal this is. It seems like nearly everyone I know was there. I met so! many! knitters! People I'd known for years online, but had never met in person. It was awesome. And, oh yeah, there were sheep. And tons of wool. I'm not a spinner, though sometimes I pretend to be, so I focused on the already-spun wool and browsed the booths and booths of yarn. (Booths and booths. Holy crap, I don't think I've ever seen so much yarn in one place! And I didn't even get to see it all!) I managed to keep my purchases small(ish) and only came home with two skeins of yarn. I'm going to knit me some socks this winter!
We had a great time. Though I wouldn't recommend traveling 6 hours in a car with two toddlers on a regular basis. All in all, they were fairly well-behaved, but between trying to get them to sleep in the car, nap in the stroller, or to sleep in a room with other toddlers, it was...a challenge...to put it politely. Good times were had, but not relaxing times, if you know what I mean! Travel with the little ones can be fun, certainly, but stressful too.
We had some truly wonderful moments though. I took E on the merry-go-round for the very first time. And oh, how I wish I had photos of it! Alas, I was holding on to both her and the neighboring horse to keep us all from falling off. If you had been watching, you would have seen my little girl literally shaking with a combination of glee and terror. I've never seen her so excited! We did, however, confirm her fear of sheep. *sigh* Apparently alpacas are pretty terrifying too.
I knit both of us Rhinebeck sweaters, which sounds a bit more impressive than it really is. Mine I started nearly a year ago and E's began life in March of this year. But I did finish them both! Although I fully admit to sewing the buttons on in the car and finishing the last buttonhole mere minutes before arrival at the Rhinebeck house.
E's sweater was the Eyelet Yoke Baby Cardigan which I modified somehow to make toddler-sized but I can't remember for the life of me now what I did. (Whatever it was, I did it in the springtime. And forgot to write it down. Silly me!) I used Knit Picks Swish Worsted in cornmeal, which was left over from part of a baby blanket. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough to knit a whole sweater, so I had to order more! And now I have extra. Again. The pattern is super simple, even with fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants toddler mods. As you can see, it's a bit long on her - I was worried about it being too short, with her being such a tall kiddo and all, so I erred on the side of long. This way, she can wear it for a long time!
I love the eyelet details at the yoke and hems. They add just a touch of loveliness to an otherwise not-very-girly sweater.
My own sweater was the very popular Coraline. I knit it using my own hand dyed DK weight yarn in a 70% merino/30% silk blend. The only major modification was to make 3/4 length sleeves, for a couple of reasons. One, I was very afraid (needlessly, it turned out) that I was going to run out of yarn. And if I had, there was no just hopping to the store to buy more - I only had a certain number of skeins, and I didn't trust my ability to recreate the colors exactly! And the second reason was that I just generally prefer shorter sleeves. If my sweaters and tops are long-sleeved, you will almost always see me push them up. These sleeves hit just below my elbow, which is pretty much perfect for me.
The pattern has you knitting the bottom of the sweater then turning it over on itself and knitting it together before continuing up the length of the body. It makes for a wonderful turned hem, though I cursed at the time because all of sudden, you're knitting along and it's like you've only done half of what you've actually done! Not very satisfying. But it looks wonderful.
So now I'm missing my Rhinebeck friends but thoroughly enjoying some quiet time at home. And E and I both have gorgeous sweaters to wear! I admit - I've been wearing mine nearly every day since our return. And it's been glorious.