Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cloth Diaper Update

We started using cloth diapers around 3 weeks of life. If I had it to do over again, I would have waited a little bit longer. We go through so many diapers every day when they are that young.

24 Bum Genius diapers
2 spray bottles
2 wet bags
2 trash can liners
Charlies soap

Micah & I have spent very little money on this experiment. We bought all of our diapers from Buy Buy Baby using gift cards or were given the diapers at showers.

I wash the diapers every other day. When I wake up for the 5 AM feed I try and throw the diapers in the wash. I empty the trash can liner into the washer. I don't pull apart the diapers or anything, that happens on it's own during the wash. I have a top loader washer, and I run 3 cycles. I run an entire cycle on cold/cold. Then I run an entire cycle on hot/cold. Lastly I start the cycle at rinse/soak and let it go from there on hot/cold. Am I doing this right? I'm basing this off the information on the bum genius website. I don't know how ladies with HE machines get these done every other day. The HE machines take forever per load.  I've been hanging the diapers and liners to dry outside. I takes almost 2 cycles in the dryer for the liners to dry.

What I don't like:
The diapers smell like wet dog. Every time I walk past them as they are drying I smell my stinky dog Barley. Is this normal?! I think not. I need some help on how to get these diapers smelling better. Once they are dry they don't smell bad.

I've had problems with leaks. I'm not sure if his legs are too skinny, or what. I've taken to adding a little bit of Dawn every SINGLE load. Some days we have no leaks, and some days I have a leak at every diaper change. Any hints with leaks?

Future Problems:
I can see it being very difficult to get the diaper laundry done when I have a full time job. I'm planning on returning to work part-time in September. I could work the schedule where I do diaper laundry on my days off.

Next Steps:
  • Make my own detergent and add an Essential Oil for fragrance
  • Buy different liners
  • Buy more diapers
Any other helpful hints, suggestions, comments, concerns? HELP!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2 Months

Jack is 2 months! Hooray we made it another month. I think that Jack is finally figuring out that sleep is glorious. His first month of life, he thought sleep was for the birds. He's getting with the program. FINALLY.

We went to the pediatrician on Friday and Jack is doing great. He weighs 11 lbs 3 oz and is 24 inches long. He was 20 inches when he was born. He's really growing in length. It's getting to be a bit tricky to find clothes that fit him because he's too long for the 0-3 month onesies. Some of the 3-6 month onesies fit him! He's growing fast! His head circumference is 10th percentile, which shocked me. All week I've been commenting on how big is head looks. I guess it's just my imagination!

He loves bath time, but hates getting out of the bath. He is improving in car rides. We took a trip to Jasper and he did really well in the car. We had to leave during the morning, because that is when he is most likely to take a nap. If we get on the highway he does much better than in town trips.

We are settling into a routine for the morning time, but each day is a surprise. I never know what the schedule will be like. This makes it difficult to make plans and appointments. It'll get better with time, and it already improves week to week.

Jack makes all kinds of silly faces. He likes to "talk". He raises his eyebrows as if he's really listening to what you have to say. He'll laugh at you when you tickle him sometimes. He makes big smiles when he's in a great mood. Before he's about to fall asleep he'll smile and sometimes laugh.
We love him, and I guess we'll keep him. We aren't going to put him on the curb just yet. My cousin Cooper looks at Belinda and says, "Mom, we'd pick up a baby if it was on the side of the road, right?" Cooper also informed me that if I didn't want Jack anymore he'd take him.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who Does He Look Like?

By Natalie

Everyone thinks that Jack looks like Micah. What do you think?
  More Micah

Here's me and my brother. I'm in the top left and bottom. My brother is the baby in the top right. I think Jack resembles my brother quite a bit. Micah and my brother looked a lot alike when they were younger. Both blonde!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Favorite Things

By Natalie

In all my wisdom as a parent, here are some of my favorite things:

Aden + Anais muslim swaddling blankets
I love these blankets! They are thin enough to swaddle during the Texas summers. They are bigger than most blankets and allow you to make a really tight swaddle. I recommend buying at least 10.  I also love their burp cloths!

H&M socksMy cousin bought me some newborn socks, and they are so thick and comfy. They don't have much variety in the thick newborn ones, but I bought all the different styles I could find. They are about $4.95 for 2 pairs. They don't fall off and they don't slip down.

Fisher Price bouncer
Heather, from book club, loaned me this bouncer. It is a life saver. It's pretty much all Jack sleeps in. Jack sleeps where ever he'll stay asleep, and at the moment it's the bouncer. I bought a newer fancier bouncer,  that actually bounces on it's own, but I don't love it.  He has to be buckled in, and it's hard to swaddle and buckle. Jack is one of those babies that has to be swaddled at night to stay asleep for any amount of time. He seems to like it if he's pretty calm when I'm putting him down. He's actually fallen asleep in the new bouncer a few times being wide awake.
And he's wearing his "born in 2012" H&M socks!

Kimono Style Shirts
Jack's uniform for bed is a cloth diaper, socks, and a kimono style shirt. I find that these are easiest to deal with in the middle of the night. I can check his diaper easily without having to unsnap anything. If we have a diaper leak we don't have to change outfits entirely. I don't enjoy pulling clothes over his head, so the snaps are perfect.  These work well in the Texas heat.

What's your must favorite baby gadget?
Photo Credit: buy buy baby and me

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1 Month

By Natalie
Jack turns 1 month old today! Yay, we made it an entire month. Jack is sleeping more over night and in the morning. Yesterday was the first time I had slept for longer than 2 hours at a time. It was quite refreshing. Now, if we can get these troublesome evenings under control....

Jack still loves his bouncer and the swing. He is looking around all the time. He loves to look at the owls on his swing. If they make him mad he shakes his fist at them.

He is starting to track objects. He loves ceiling fans. He has been doing some tummy time, and is super strong! He wants to hold his head up like a crazy man. When you put him over your shoulder he's trying to hold his head up and climb over your shoulder.

Walks are getting easier. We made it twice around the block yesterday without Jack screaming. It was a miracle. I've been playing white noise on the iPhone while we go for walks. I guess Jack isn't that into nature.
Micah is the swaddle master. Jack spends most of his evenings trying to break his hands free from the swaddle, but Micah has him in there good and tight!

I spend quite a bit of time bouncing Jack in the bouncer. It vibrates but this isn't enough, he wants to be bounced vigorously. I have a blanket in the nursery so I can try and sleep while using one arm to bounce the bouncer.

Becoming a Milk Cow

By Natalie

Breastfeeding is tough. I'm amazed at my friends who have stuck with it an entire year. These early days are especially hard. I'm feeding him every 2-3 hours, and it feels like I do nothing else. I'm not sure how you do it when you have 2 children. It takes me about 40 minutes to breastfeed. It takes about 5 minutes for me to give him a bottle (of breast milk!).

The past month I've been pretty chained to Jack. If I do leave the house I can't leave for longer than 2 hours, and the entire time I'm afraid that he's hungry. Or I'm stressed that I'll get called back to the house. Micah does a really good job of not bothering me when I'm out. He wants me to get some time away.

It's hard to work in any extra pumping time to get a supply going. I've been trying to pump everyday at 10 to build up extra supply. This didn't work out too well last week because of appointments at 10 and his schedule was very bizarre this weekend. Then I had an unfortunate incident where the freezer broke with my extra milk. It wasn't that much, but it was my FREEDOM.

How do you build up your extra supply? I don't want to get engorged. He really doesn't nap in the afternoon, my only shot is in the morning.  He wants to nurse continuously in the evenings. I barely have time to make more milk. Evenings are not Jack's strong suit.

I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  He has slept for 5 hours straight the past 2 nights. So I've been able to pump over night and then give him a bottle. I'm lucky because he has no problem taking a bottle from me. I'm determined to stick with it. It's just rough! I've been told it will get better.

Milk drunk!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2 Weeks Update

By Natalie
Jack is 2 weeks old this week. Hard to believe! He'll be 3 weeks on Monday, so this update is a little tardy.  One afternoon I decided to take matters into my own hands and take some pictures. If I waited around for Micah to get to it, I'd still be waiting. These are supposed to be newborn pictures, but Jack is already too alert! I think I missed the newborn window.

Jack's best time of day is early morning. His not so great time is from 9-11 or 12 or 1 AM. I think he takes after the Kemp side of the family of being a night owl. Micah spends his evenings swaddling Jack and playing white noise. Jack is soothed best in the bouncer and the box fan close by. Jack likes lots of noise!

Jack and I went to the 2 week appointment and he weighs 8 lbs 1 oz. His birth weight was 8 lbs even. The pediatrician said that they just want him to be back to birth weight at 2 weeks. He's right on track.  He's measuring 21 inches, he's grown an inch! The pediatrician appointment was not fun for either of us. Jack had 2 shots and I had to soothe him on 4 different occasions as the nurse and doctor were in and out of the room. We go back in June!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jack's Birth Story

By Natalie

On Saturday, April 28th around 2 AM I started timing contractions. We called Amy, my midwife around 7:00 AM and told her that the contractions were coming 5 minutes apart and were fairly strong. We decided to meet at Allen Birthing Center at 8:00 AM. We arrive at the birthing center and I'm only dilated to a 3.  We had called my parents to meet us up there, and called Micah's parents to start heading to Dallas.  Amy sends us back home.

I continue to labor at home, and am in quite a bit of pain because of my hips. The contractions aren't miserable it was the continuous pain of my hips. I never got relief between contractions. Micah and I would rest every 2-5 minutes and then when a contraction would hit Micah would come and sit on my hips while I'm laying on my side. We did this for hours. The contractions get pretty regular again and we meet Amy up at the birthing center at 8:00 PM. I was only dilated to 3 and half. I could've cried. Amy gave me a shot for the hip pain and told me to get some rest.

I go home and get some relief from the shot. Praise Jesus. I'm able to take a 3 hour nap with some pain relief. Then I wake up around 11:45 PM on Saturday night and it's back to painful contractions because of my hips. At 1:45 AM on Sunday, April 29th my water breaks. I continue to labor at home. We meet Amy at the birthing center at 4:00 AM and I'm dilated to a 7. Time to go into real labor! Yay, we can stay at the birthing center. Amy gives me another 1/2 dose of pain medicine for my hips. I get in the pool and feel awesome. I don't have anymore pain during the contractions in the water. I am able to rest in between each contractions and breathe through the contractions.

Around 10:25 AM I feel the urge to push. Amy examines me and I'm dilated to a 10. It's time to push. I push in the water for awhile, and am not making much progress. I still feel great. Then we decide to push while squatting for awhile. My hip pain returns. After an hour or two nothing happens. We send everyone home and I take a nap.  I have about 7 contractions during my nap. When I wake up the contractions have pretty much left me. I have reverse dilated to a 6! We start doing EVERYTHING you can think of to jump start labor again. We went on a walk. Nothing. Use a hand pump to express breast milk. Nothing.

We make the decision to transfer to Allen Presby to get pitosin to jump start labor again. Amy, my midwife transfers with us. She is wonderful, and encourages me the entire time. As I knew they would be it is terrible, awful contractions with no relief on pitosin.  Since I've been now laboring for 2 days straight I get an epidural. I dilate to a 10 around 11 PM on Sunday night, and it's time to push. My mom is holding one leg, and Micah holds the other leg. They push on my back to help my curl into the contraction. My mom said it was the most heartbreaking thing to watch. She said I pushed for 2 hours every 2 minutes. At 1:00 AM on Monday morning I ask to take a break from pushing and pull myself together. The doctor comes back and says it's time for c-section. At this point my water has almost been broken for 24 hours.  I ask for 15 more minutes to push, and get no where. Amy gives me a hug with tears in her eyes and they wheel me to the OR. Amy is present during the surgery and takes pictures for us.

Jack is born on Monday, April 30th 1:34 AM weighing 8 lbs 0 oz and 20 inches via c-section. I was 41 weeks and 5 days at this point!

This is obviously not my labor plan. Who wants to endure 48 hours of labor? Nothing worked out how I thought it would. I felt pretty sad about the way it turned out especially after having a version to turn him. During the c-section, the doctor said there was a band around my uterus. This band could've prevented Jack from coming down the birth canal. The band could've been there the entire time or was created during the very stressful labor. I'm so thankful to my midwife, Amy. I couldn't done it without her.

The silver lining, this face......

Monday, April 23, 2012

What I'm Looking Forward To

By Natalie
Here I am at 40 weeks, which was 5 days ago!

I gave Jack his eviction notice a few days ago, and he is not listening! I can already see he is going to be one stubborn little boy. He gets it from his dad, I of course am completely agreeable.

Here's what I'm looking forward to when I have an outside of the body baby:

10. Drinking adult beverages. I can't wait to have something alcoholic. I have some champagne chilling in the fridge once Jack comes on the scene.

9. Sleeping in whatever position my little heart desires. If I lay on my right side, this greatly upsets Jack and he starts kicking and punching. When I lay on my left side, my arm goes numb. Oh, sleeping any which way sounds like heaven even if it is only in 2 hour batches.

8. Not having insomnia. At this point I'm looking forward to sleep deprivation so at least I won't be up for stupid reasons browsing the internet. I feel like I've conquered the internet.

7. Running. I can't wait to start getting back into shape. I know I have a few more weeks until I'm cleared, but at least it's on the horizon.

6.  Significantly less doctor appointments. I rarely get sick (knock on wood). During this pregnancy I had to get way out of my comfort zone and make 1,000 appointments.  I hate calling strangers. I really don't like talking on the phone at all. I think I have a phobia.

5.  Using the bathroom less. I'm just blowing through the toilet paper around here. I need to go back to work, so I can use the school's toilet paper.

4. Using the bathroom only. I'm looking forward to not analyzing my urine and searching for mucous plugs or spotting.

3. I'm ready to stop talking about all the nasty things associated with pregnancy. I've heard enough about Preparation H, stool softener, Depends, and TUCs pads, thank you very much.

2. No more maternity clothes. I hate elastic waists. I want to wear my own clothes and not constantly pulling them up.

1. Meeting Jack. I can't wait to hold him and love him. Jack-we are beyond ready for you. Please make an appearance soon. I'm begging you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lymphedema Update

By Natalie

I have lymphedema in my left leg. Mine is congenital and had a late onset in my 20's, which is very rare. Most people get lymphedema because they've experienced some sort of trauma. It is most common with breast cancer patients, because there is a huge lymphatic drain under your arm pit. When patients undergo a mastectomy they remove some of the lymph nodes and this causes swelling.  I knew that it was going to be a problem during pregnancy, and in reality my case is minor. If you Google lymphedema you can see some very severe cases.

I went to physical therapy 5 times total. At the sessions the occupational and physical therapists perform a lymphatic massage. It's a very light massage, and I do usually notice a change. I've been doing this to myself once or twice a day. I think it helps.

One day the therapist decided to wrap me and then I went to work. My foot ached the entire day. I think part of the problem is that I don't have any big enough shoes that will fit with the thick bandaging. When I got home and took the bandaging off, this is what I found:

 Does that look normal to you? I was pretty upset. I think that throughout the day the bandaging started loosening and there was some room for the fluid to collect in the ankle. I've decided to wrap it at night and then wear compression stocking during the day. This plan has been working pretty well.

I'm just hoping and praying that after the pregnancy things go back to being much more manageable. Currently I'm able to wear 2 pairs of closed toed shoes. I need to wear jeans or pants at all times because I'm wearing old lady stockings. I love shoes, and would hate to be stuck to tennis shoes for the rest of my life. With summer coming, I'll suffocate in jeans. This is one of the reasons that I was very concerned about having a c-section. There is another lymphatic drain at the hip, and surgery could affect the fluid from draining permanently.

There is no cure for lymphedema just on going treatment. Staying a healthy weight, being active, and maintaining a healthy diet are all ways to manage.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Coach

By Natalie

 After the version on Tuesday, I'm feeling much more confident in Micah and I as a team. Micah did a great job in helping me remain calm. I imagine it was really hard on him to watch me in so much pain. He reminded me that I'm strong and that I can do it.

When I was feeling very sad about Jack being breeched, and the possibility of a c-section looming, he was there for me. He bought me flowers to make me feel better.

He's done an awesome job at sitting through our hippy Bradley Birthing classes. He's seen more diagrams of vaginas and heard some pretty gnarly stuff these past few weeks. Things that make your toes curl. He's handled most of it except the presentation of encapsulating your placenta. But, who wants to hear about that anyways?

He's wrapped my legs, which is getting harder and harder for me to bend that way every day. He helped me work on relaxation and stretching poses.

When I thought that managing the house and being in my 3rd trimester would be too hard; he's stepped up. I'm pleasantly surprised!

I love you, and thank you for taking care of me. It's wonderful to be on the same page about the birth we want, and I know that we'll work together to achieve it. I can't wait to see you as Dad.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Turn Baby Turn

By Natalie
On Tuesday, I went to the hospital and had a external cephalic version (ECV). It was successful! The above picture is Jack in the head down position. This picture tells me little except that it's a picture of his head, I can't tell where it's positioned. Maybe you are a better sonographer than me!

What is it?
Externally turning the baby into the head down position. The doctor or midwife finds the baby's bottom and head. The doctor starts pushing the bottom first and then moves the head. My doctor ended up using his fists to get the bottom out of my pelvis. Baby's heart beat, your blood pressure, and contractions are continuously monitored. The doctor takes frequent sonograms.

When should I have it done?
I think most versions are successful between 37 and 38 weeks.

How successful is it?
According to Fit Pregnancy magazine it's about 58% effective. The Webster technique had a better success rate. I visited a chiropractor 9 times for the Webster technique and he wouldn't turn. When I was 37 weeks, we decided to start finding a doctor to turn him. We had a consultation appointment on Monday at 4:00 and did the procedure on Tuesday at 7:30 AM.

How long does it take?
Some of the videos on you tube take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Mine took about 30 minutes, and Micah estimates that it took 6-7 tries before he would turn.

When we headed out for the procedure, our bags were packed and the car seat was installed. They tell you to plan for going into labor or having an emergency C-section. Neither of those happened to us luckily! Worst case scenario is emergency c-section because the placenta detaches. Other side effects are bruising.

How painful is it?
VERY. Some women elect to have an epidural during the procedure. Dr. Downey informed us of a study that says that the version can be more successful with an epidural, this could be in part that the doctor is willing to try more times and be a little rougher since the woman isn't in agony. Despite this information, I elected not to have an epidural. I was hooked up to an IV just in case of an emergency and was given a shot to relax the uterus. I do not like IVs! I concentrated on breathing deeply and not passing out. Micah held my hand or my foot. The nurse was very helpful in keeping me calm. I don't know how in the world I didn't end up with any bruising, since I bruise so easily. I was very sore the next few days, and was ready to block the belly from anyone touching me. I returned to work the next day. 

Thank you Dr. Downey for turning Jack!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baby Showers!

By Natalie

I had two wonderful baby showers. I had a work shower and a shower at Brandi's. My hostesses really outdid themselves, and made me and the baby feel loved. I got so many wonderful things. Everything is ready for baby, now he just needs to arrive.

Work Decos:

 Friends & Family Decos:

There were non-alcoholic mimosas and cappuccino milkshakes. Very tasty!

Work Cake:
 My mom came to the shower!
 Costco cakes, they are truly the best!

Family & Friends Cupcakes, made by cousin Katy:

Favors made by Jennie: home-made caramels, they were delicious! I was able to take home all the extras!

Hostesses from Work:
 Whitney hard at work, not pictured Kim, Shirley, Phyllis, Cindi, Yessica, Connie, Susana, Maria Elena

Hostesses from family and friends shower:
Shannon, me, Jennie & Brandi

A big thank you to everyone who attended and of course to the wonderful hostesses!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Just Jack

By Natalie
We have finally come to a decision on a name. Jack Sullivan!

We are choosing Sullivan as a nod to A&M. Lawrence Sullivan Ross, or Sul Ross was a former president of A&M. He has a statue on campus, where students put a penny at his feet for good luck before an exam. I like the nickname Sully too.

P.S. If you have a negative opinion keep it to yourself. ;)

Thursday, March 15, 2012


By Natalie

I had big plans to work on the nursery during spring break, but it's pretty much complete. My mom is still working on some turtle art. It's awesome to have such a crafty mom. I'm pleased as punch on how it turned out.

We bought the furniture from Lone Star Baby. This is the Ragazzi collection. I bought the knobs from Target. I didn't like the clunky brown knobs it came with.
The bedding is CoCaLo, which my mom bought from Buy Buy Baby. Thanks mom! I hear that you can find the same bedding at Burlington Coat Factory.

I love the ABC wall! I bought all the letters from Hobby Lobby. The wooden ones I painted the edges, then modge podged the scrapbook paper on there. One layer of modge podge to glue the paper, and then one thin top coat. I added buttons and ribbon that I had on hand. The biggest problem was how to keep the letters from falling off. First, I tried command strips, I probably spent over $20. They stayed for a few weeks, until we had a humid day. Then they were falling off left and right. Then I tried industrial strength velcro. Finally, I drilled tiny holes through the letters and nailed all of them up there.
We bought this organization system at Target first, and then found it much cheaper at Home Depot.