Posted in Pre-Natal Appointments, Pregnancy

What We Actually Needed In Our Birthing Bags

I read through my old post and saw that I listed everything we packed in our bags for the birth center and said I would post an update about what we actually did use. I’m not going to go into Note’s complete birth story, but it was crazy and lasted only five hours, in which we never saw the midwife until she caught the baby. Anyway, we were never even able to bring our bags down from the car because we were rushed into one of the birthing houses, even thought we were told we could pick which one, and were waiting until we could go to the house we wanted to bring down the bags. So we really just used the bare minimum. I’ll strike out anything we didn’t use.

Carry Out: These are things daddy’s going to have to get and put in the vehicle if they’re not already in there.

  • Towel and Trashbag – apparently a lot of people throw up during the car ride. I want to protect my truck! (I did throw up during labor… A LOT. Only on the car ride over to the birthing center however.)
  • Mommy’s Bag
  • Daddy’s Bag
  • Baby’s Bag
  • Car Seat – our base is already installed, but we don’t keep the carseat in the car.
  • Nursing Pillow – I’m taking a mombo.
  • Cooler with Drinks and Meals – Since I still have morning sickness, Frank has a pre-approved list of foods that he can pack and eat that won’t make me throw up.

Mommy’s Bag: These are the things that are specifically packed in my bag.

  • Nursing Bra (This goes with the going home outfit.)
  • Sports Bra – for walking around during labor in case I feel too hot for other clothes.
  • Breast Pads
  • Night Gown/Robe (I was going to labor in this, but I labored naked because I kept going in and out of the shower.)
  • Slippers
  • Socks – some fuzzy ones in case my feet get cold!
  • Going Home Outfit – black pants, because there can be a lot of bleeding after delivery.
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, brush, gel
  • Maxi Pads – for the bleeding. I’m making “soothing” ones following these instructions. (I was given a diaper and it was so much better at containing mess.)
  • Hair Band – I’ll want my hair out of my face!
  • Contacts – I have really bad eyesight. If my glasses start to fog up, I will want to have an option that will still allow me to see.
  • Old Underwear – because I hear all the underwear in the beginning will probably get stained. (This goes with the going home outfit)
  • Birth Plan – there is one in my patient chart, but it always helps to have extra copies!

Baby’s Bag: We are using cloth diapers, so decided to take those with us so we can start right away with cloth. I don’t think the birth center provides as much as the hospital, so maybe I am overpacking if it actually does provide items for baby.

  • 2 Newborn Outfits – I think we only need one, but in case we stay overnight or have an accident in one. Hopefully Note can come home in the outfit that we picked for them to come home in! We are expecting an average-sized baby, so newborn size will be perfect. (Only one needed. Note didn’t get diapered and dress until we were about to leave.)
  • Mittens
  • 2 Swaddle Blankets
  • 1 Swaddle Wrap – in case we can’t get the swaddling down quickly enough.
  • 3 Newborn Diapers – we are using gDiapers. We will probably only experience one diaper while at the birth center, but I am taking more just in case. (Only one needed.)
  • 3 Small Diapers – just in case these fit better than the newborn diapers. They are also gDiapers.
  • 3 Extra Snap Liners – these are for the gDiapers specifically to make changes easier. They are only for the small diapers.
  • Disposable Inserts – we are using these until the meconium stage passes.
  • Baby Book – to record the birth details and get the tiny foot prints like they do on the birth certificate.
  • Hat
  • Socks
  • Nasal Aspirator
  • Comb/Brush – for that little hair.
  • Body Wash – we are still undecided if we will wait on the first bath and leave the vernix and all that stuff on until we take their first bath when the umbilical cord comes off. (We waited on the first bath.)
  • Nail Clippers – newborn nails are usually a little long and they can scratch their face.
  • Wipes – we are taking sample packs since I doubt we need much.
  • Wash Clothes
  • Towel
  • Burp Clothes
  • Wet Bag – These are to put dirty cloth diapers in. We wouldn’t need it if we were using disposables.

Daddy’s Bag: These are the things we packed in Frank’s bag. He is an extreme minimalist, so his list is extremely short.

  • Change of Clothes
  • Pajamas – he only wants these because he gets extremely cold at night.
  • Toiletries
  • Snacks – he gets to carry any snacks we want that don’t go in the cooler in his bag.
  • Massage Oil – This is for me, but I’m putting it in his bag.
  • Props – he has a special scene he wants to set up for a right after birth picture.
  • Kindle + Charger – he can be pretty restless when he is just sitting down, so he needs something to distract himself.
  • Phone Chargers – These are really important! We have one back up in the car already in case we forget. This is probably an item we might forget to pack since we use them every day.

So, as you can see, I was completely overpacked. We stayed for about five hours of labor and then another two to three hours after the birth before we were discharged. I felt strangely dirty and just wanted to go home as quickly as possible! I hope this will help other parents see what they really need, especially when using cloth diapers and giving birth at a birth center.

Posted in Personal

Hope Box

IMG_5335
First outfit in the Hope Box. Note has a matching outfit too.

I started a Hope Box, filled with all the things I wanted my future child to have, when I was around sixteen, so way before Note was even born and I could even think about having children. Now, Note has used everything in that box and left it as hand-me-downs for a second child. I’ve decided to start another hope Box, filled with things I want for my second child. I’m not sure what exactly will go in it as I already have almost everything for a second baby when I have one. Baby #2 is affectionately nicknamed “Numero Dos” until the time of conception (hopefully soon!), then we’ll give them a real nickname like we gave Note.

So far the box contains one outfit, pictured on the left, and a pretty nice newborn stash of cloth diapers, primarily BumGenius newborn AIOs. We used tiny gDiapers with Note, and I just remember hating them, but a year and a half later, I can’t remember why I hated them. We never had a blow out, so it can’t be that. We used them on Note for a week, until the umbilical stump fell off, then switched to small gDiapers and one-size Charlie Banana. I loved the small gDiapers, which was strange considering I hated the tiny ones. My newborn stash is far from complete. I know myself, and I know I’ll be buying many more diapers before I finally decide “This is a good stash.”

At this point, we primarily have a stash consisting of pocket diapers, but their need to be stuffed before use has proven too time consuming to keep up with now that I have a child who runs around (and likes to disorganize and sometimes unstuff said diapers). Because of this, the covers and AIOs in our stash are what we use the most. I decided to go the AIO route for the next kid as I doubt with two children I’ll have the time to be stuffing diapers. I know I have a few pictures of my stash laying around somewhere, but I can’t find them in the massive sea of Note pictures.

While I feel absolutely and positively ready for another child, something in the back of my mind has also left me wondering if I should hold off on another. If Frank has his way, as he probably will, we won’t have another for a few years anyway. This would probably be better for Note as we’re still breastfeeding. I’m not quite ready to give up that bond yet, but I am 100% most definitely ready for night weaning to happen. Note wakes up 3-5 times a night, which is really starting to take its toll on me. Honestly, I got more rest when Note was a newborn.

Posted in Note, Parenting, Pregnancy

Note’s Birth Story

And here it is, for the first time in print ANYWHERE, a year and a half later, Note’s birth story. Eventually I’ll repeat this to Note every year on their birthday. It’s a tradition I picked up from my mother in law (she even made up a fake birth story to tell me on my birthday) that I absolutely love.


I went to bed on April 20th, 2014 filled with relief that I had reached full term and finally letting go some of the anxiety about having a baby before my due date (which isn’t actually bad, but I’m quite neurotic after all). I remember my last thought before I drifted off to sleep was “You can come any time you want now, baby.”

I woke up the next morning feeling strange. It is a feeling I can’t quite describe and I’ve never felt before, but I just felt inexplicably different. I knew, without knowing how I knew, that I would be holding a baby in my arms instead of my belly by the end of the day. I got up, went to the bathroom, and lost my mucus plug. That must have been some time around nine am. I was getting belly aches, which I suppose were contractions, but they didn’t actually hurt. They were a strange sensation that made me uncomfortable and not want to be sitting, but they weren’t actually painful. Frank still had days off at the time (how I long for those once more now!) so we had a pre-natal appointment scheduled for two pm. We called the midwife and told her what was going on. She asked how far apart my contractions were, and when I said three minutes, she didn’t believe me and told me I must be counting wrong (bitch please, I’m an engineer) and said to just wait for my appointment.

Frank loaded everything up into the car that I had listed for our bags, which we were going to find out was a really unnecessary amount of stuff. It felt like an eternity to have to wait for our appointment, but we somehow managed. Frank tried to force me to eat, but I really didn’t want to put anything in my mouth at the time. We left around noon to go to Wesleco and get to the birth center. I threw up along the way, and I was so glad I had decided to keep trash bags and towels in the truck in fear of this.

Our appointment went well. Wight, blood pressure, listening to Note’s heart, etc. They did a cervical check and I had just barely entered active labor at four centimeters dilated. By this time, the contractions had started to pick up (and they finally believed that they were coming three to four minutes apart) and actually started to cause pain. Heather, the midwife and the only one on duty, told me it would be a while before I had a baby, so I could go home and wait or stay there and wait. Luckily, I’m extremely stubborn and I decided not to leave. This decision was probably the best one I made throughout the whole ordeal. We were ushered into a random birth house and told to wait there and take a nap and rest up. I somehow managed to sleep a bit between contractions, but most of the time I was crying and screaming that I wouldn’t be able to do this and I wanted an epidural. I went into the shower every time there was hot water and took a nap in the tub for a while too. We called and asked for Heather a few times, asking her to bring some Tylenol for pain relief, but she never showed up. We just kept being told she was really busy.

At some point a little after 5:30 I really felt like I had to poop. I went to the toilet and started trying to have a bowel movement, but couldn’t force it out. I went to cry (literally cry) to Frank about how I just really wanted to poop and he told me to try again, so I went back to the bathroom. I couldn’t force anything out yet again, and something just clicked in me to reach into my vagina and check for the baby. I almost fainted when I could feel the bag of waters around Note’s head. I yelled for Frank and told him to call Heather now because I was having that baby if she was there to catch it or not.

First latch.
First latch.

Heather (finally) arrived about ten minutes later. Her nurse started getting the tub ready for a water birth. At first, before later, I had been quite against a water birth just for fear, but once I was in labor I found that water was the only thing that soothed my misery. She was leading me to the tub when she decided to check my cervix instead, so we went back to the bed. I was fully dilated and effaced and she could easily feel Note’s head.

I could barely walk to the tub and climb in, but somehow I made it, whining all the while about how I wanted some pain relief and asking if I had other options than having a baby, as well as, very awkwardly, asking “why is this happening?” Luckily, everyone was smart enough to leave that question alone. The water barely covered anything at all, and my greatest fear was realized: I pooped in the water. I didn’t care at the time, and I don’t really care now. But before labor I was really worried about it.

It took two pushes, one for the head and one for the body, and then Note was born at 5:55 pm.My water never broke, and Note was born en caul, a quite rare and special experience. Note’s umbilical cord was also wrapped around their neck twice, which was scary, and I tried to unwrap it myself but they were slick with birth stuff. Heather was great at this point, freeing Note without pushing my fumbling hands away. While waiting to deliver the placenta, I took Note in my arms and tried to latch them for the first time. They did it and nursed like a champ. It was such a magical moment, and all the fears and reservations I had about being a mother simply melted away in that moment. That was when I knew that Note would be my child forever.

IMG_6619At some point, I wanted relief from the awkward position we were sitting in, so we migrated everything to the bed. The placenta still wasn’t ready to be delivered, but the cord had stopped pulsating so we were ready to cut it. We had discussed with Heather before that Frank would be cutting the umbilical cord with his chef knife, and he did. He still uses that knife as his primary knife to this day. He does want to retire it until he begins working somewhere else, but he hasn’t found a knife he likes enough to replace it with yet.

Once the umbilical cord was cut, Note was taken to be weighed and measured (7 lbs 7 oz and 19 3/4 in long) with Frank watching while I delivered the placenta. That wasn’t a painful experience at all, except for Heather’s hand pressing on my mid-section. After it was delivered, she showed it to me and explained how healthy it looked and what made it so. That was a really interesting lesson as I love learning all sorts of new things, and I had never read any of that in the pregnancy and childbirth books.

First diaper change.
First diaper change.

Note footprints and handprints were taken for the baby book, and after that we were left to be a family. Maribel arrived late, so she completely missed the birth, but it was nice to have her there for support once Note was born. She took a couple of pictures and helped us out with packing things up once more. We barely got any of the thousand items I thought we would need down, and didn’t use almost any of them at all. Really, all that was needed was some clothes for me, a diaper, and an outfit for Note. And don’t forget the always-important carseat.

We left as soon as we were discharged. We thought about staying the night because Frank was on house arrest at the time and this was our chance to be out and also be alone as a family. We ultimately decided against it and just went straight home. Note didn’t mind the carseat or car ride, and I sat in the back with them.

Once we got home, Frank’s mom was waiting for us. She didn’t impose, just wanted to see the baby, know how it went, etc. She has become like a surrogate mother to me, so I was more than happy to have her there. I couldn’t imagine having to stay in the hospital for three days with my newborn. The next day, Frank and I were out and about showing Note off and running errands. I can’t imagine being bed-ridden due to a c-section either. Overall, a vaginal delivery was amazing. I loved giving birth and would do it a hundred thousand times if my body would let me. More than anything, I loved becoming a mother, and I absolutely cannot wait to do it again.

Frank holding Note for the first time.
Frank holding Note for the first time.
Posted in Health, Personal, Polyamory, Relationships

Keeping Up

I’ve never been good with keeping up with writing on a schedule. Every time I make a blog, it seems to fall flat due to my own inability to set aside some time to do one of the things I love the most – WRITE! (Un)fortunately, I’m at a point in my life where a lot of things are about to start changing. Some of these changes will be positive, while others will be negative. This means that I will NOT allow this blog to die like I have let it for the past year and a half.

I don’t believe I’ve ever gone into the details of my relationship situation/structure on this blog, and I hardly ever disclose the details in my real life unless such a question or situation arises where a clarification is needed. Frank and I are in an open and poly-amorous relationship. I will go more into what this means and how our relationship works in another blog post, but for now I will keep this shorter and simpler.

Frank was diagnosed with herpes this past Saturday. We get the official results this Saturday, but at this point we are pretty certain that he is going through a herpes outbreak. The bad news? We never bothered using condoms with each other (which would have only helped a little, since condoms only reduce the risk of getting herpes by 50%). Now, I’m going through a herpes outbreak myself… without health insurance. It’s not that bad yet, but I’m a few days behind Frank in terms of symptoms, and he’s getting pretty bad while taking medication. I’m not looking forward to facing the same fate without anything to curb the effects. That’s one of the negative changes in my life.

But now let me move onto the positive. His name is Charles and he’s positively wonderful. I haven’t dated outside of my marriage in quite some, so this all feels like new territory to me once again. I met him on the notorious Tinder, infamous for being a cesspool of fuckboys (have I mentioned this is my new favorite word?) and hook ups. Okay, that’s not always as bad as it sounds, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Either way, I decided to give the app a shot and I met a couple of cool people on there who weren’t total fuckboys. One of these gems was Charles, who instantly caught my eye as he enjoyed reading, writing, and had been in a polyamorous relationship before. Yeah, the beard threw me off a little (I hate facial hair), but it was a small trade off for the personality under the hair.

The only person I have been with since my pregnancy has been T.C. I love his company and we share many interests. He’s kind and respectful. But I always felt there was just a small something missing between us. Not something easily tangible or anything I could put my finger on, probably something that wouldn’t ever cause problems due to being missing, but just enough to cause me to never want to jump fully back into polyamory after my pregnancy. Charles has that little something.

Charles and I are far from an official anything, but we’re both very excited to explore the possibility of something between us. Even if nothing happens, he has reopened my eyes to the beautiful and fulfilling life I can have should I continue down the polyamorous path. I had begun to stray, not necessarily wanting our relationship to become monogamous, but allowing myself to fall into a typical monogamous relationship on my side while Frank went out, flirted, and dated (never mind that one of the two guys he recently dated gave him herpes… Can you tell I’m bitter?).

And another (huge) plus for Charles is that Note absolutely loves him. Note never really liked T.C., and I’ve never been sure why. Note doesn’t like a lot of people though, to be honest, so it’s not usually something I hold against people, but it’s definitely a big positive..

Well, that will be it for my little update this time around. Maybe next time I’ll go into the endless amount of fuckboys I’ve met and the ridiculous amount of laughs they’ve given me.