Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What's in a Name?

So lately, I've been struggling with the name, content and even category of my blog. Yes, I have struggled for many, many years with infertility, and it is a part of my life that I wouldn't change. I have gone through the fire, and God has seen me through it. I've come out refined, changed, stronger and more compassionate. I've learned to lean fully on God and while I may not have always understood why my life experiences included the physical and emotional pain of infertility, I had to learn to trust God's heart. His timing hasn't been my choice, but really, he has know what's best for us. The only reason we have our son is because of God's graciousness, love and mercy. He heard the cry of an old woman begging for a child, and he, in his infinite generosity, answered my pleas. On our announcement cards for our son, we used the scripture from 1 Sam 1:27 - "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him" because my life seemed to parallel Hannah's story.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to be able to share with others my experiences, and to be able to show compassion and love to those who are in the process of struggling with fertility issues. And I firmly believe that we learn from each other's experiences... and one thing I want everyone to know is that the all wonders in my life... the love of a good and faithful husband who fears the Lord and is the strong head of our household, and the sweetness of my little son ... are all gifts to me ... little ol' me ... from my heavenly maker. "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." Ps. 9:1-2 And trust me when I say, the past 14 years have been quite an emotional roller coaster ride. Not an enjoyable one, either. But through it all, I know that the Lord has never forsaken me.

But now, my life is in a new place. We have a son. I am a mother. I am a mother who battled infertility and came out a victor. But none the less, I am now a mother. So does this put my blog in a new category all together? Am I now a part of the parenting blogsphere? While I would welcome this new club with open arms, would I be leaving behind any one who continues to struggle with infertility?

This Sunday, our son will be 4 months old. This Sunday, we will be dedicating our Son at church. This Sunday is an important milestone in the lives of Christian parents, because we acknowledge that our children are gifts from God. We present our children before God and the church asking God for grace and wisdom in carrying out our responsibilities. We also pray that through our Godly teachings and rearing, our child might one day trust Jesus Christ as their Savior and ask Him for the forgiveness of their sins. Some people baptize their infant children, but we believe that baptism symbolizes that Christ is our Savior, and at that time, we publicly confess that we are a new creation in Christ. We firmly believe that a child is baptized once they are old enough to fully understand this.

Any way, now that I've gone into a theological dissertation, my point is... we are marking an important decision as parents on Sunday. Maybe it's as good a time as any to turn a new leaf with my blog?

AAARGH!!! I just don't know what to do!!! And since no one ever comments on my blog, I'm sure I won't receive any of the much needed advice I'm seeking!

What to do, what to do...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Random Thoughts

... In no particular order ...

1. I think I'd like to set up some kind of space in my home where I can begin learning how to take portraits of my son. I think I take good pictures, but I really need "a place" where to set up a wishful, yet somehow glorified studio... any thoughts on this?

2. I think I've fallen in love with one very warm, gentle, and soothing hydrotherapy table at the Chiropractors office. Uh Huh. I'm head over heals in love. It is like enveloping yourself in warmth with buoyancy, and a deliciously pulsating massage. I want one for my own house, but at about $1500 - $3000 a pop, I think I'll have to put my "want" on the back burner.

3. I came home last night from work to a nice, roaring fire in the fireplace. It was so warm, so comforting, and soooo nice. It's our first fire all season, because we had to replace the entire chimney pipe and some glass around the fireplace. I had forgotten what we were missing, and with our last gas bill at a whopping $416 bucks (cough, sputter, gag), a functioning wood burning fireplace will really come in handy now! And they smell so good!!!

4. I am tired. Plumb, tuckered out. My neck and shoulders have been incredibly stiff and sore, and the back of my head has been pounding for three weeks now. My sleep has just sucked raw eggs. It's not because I'm waking up to feed Hunter, because that really only takes 15 minutes TOPS, and he sleeps a good 7 to 8 hours a stretch. I haven't been able to get comfortable in bed because of the stiffness and soreness I'm experiencing. I finally started going to a chiropractor and I'm hoping to get enough relief between today and tomorrow so that I can sleep soundly tomorrow night, and then selfishly spend all day long in either bed or on the couch in front of the fire with my son. Oh yeah, and my husband, too.

5. We are dedicating our son at church on February 5... Super Bowl Sunday. A couple things we/I hadn't thought about except for just now... the 5th is his birthdate -- sort of -- he'll be 4 months old. Not 3-1/2, not 4-1/4, but exactly 4 months. Nice. I like round numbers. Also, it's Super Bowl Sunday. I know it doesn't really mean much, other than just being so"appropriate!" Why, you might ask? Well, you'd just have to see how fixated he gets on the TV when a football game is on. Basketball... not so much. Tennis ... why bother. But football? You'd better make sure there's a clear path to the TV for him, or he gets upset. Really! He's only (almost) 4 months old! It's the strangest thing I've ever seen. Even all my in-laws have commented on it! So, maybe he'll end up really liking football so much that he'll find a lucrative career in either playing or announcing it when he grows up, and he'll take good care of his mom and dad in their old age.

Oh, wait a minute. I'm already in my 'old age.'

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Power of Suggestion...

When I was pregnant, my husband and I agreed (against my better judgment) to wait and NOT find out the sex of our baby until it was born. Well... that was the hardest thing I ever had to do, because ... well ... I'm anal like that.

Anyway, at one point or another, I found the most adorable socks in the entire world. Of course, they are for girls... and the company (Trumpette) didn't have any as cute as these for boys. And of course, I had a boy. So, once our bundle of joy was born, and I decided that it would be unwise to dress him in Maryjane (http://www.trumpette.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=38) or Ballerina (http://www.trumpette.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=46) socks, I wrote the company and suggested that they make something suitable for boys like saddle shoe socks or something along those lines. Yes, I actually emailed them with this suggestion.

They emailed me back a few weeks later and said that they were creating a new sock for boys... a high top sneaker sock that looked like a pair of chucks! They said they would be available in February. Can you believe it? Is it possible that I may have been a part of their decision making process??? Naturally, I was so excited when I heard this news, and I have stalked their website religiously ... until ... FINALLY ... they have posted the new sock ... and it's so adorable (as are all their products! I've ordered some for Hunter, because face it... he HAS to be the coolest kid on the block! They are called "Johnny's" and come in a box of 6 in green, yellow, blue, orange, red and black. So cute! Check it out! http://www.trumpette.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=98

So, yeah ... I'm feeling like hot stuff right now!

Monday, January 23, 2006

To Teeth or Not to Teeth... That is the Question

Is my son really teething? I just can't tell... He runs a very slight fever on and off. He's drooling so much and he's actually perfected blowing multiple bubbles out of his mouth. He has a horrifies drool rash on his chin. He's pooping a lot of wet stuff that runs up his back ... of course, that might be directly related to the fact that we started feeding him stage one foods on Wednesday, 1/18/06! Who really knows? He quiets down when I stick my knuckle in his mouth, but then all he does is suck, not really rub or chew. He rejects all cold teethers... too big for his mouth. I haven't seen any raised "blistery" looking things on his gums, or any really "white bumps" -- well, maybe I see a little bit of white -- MAYBE. It's almost like it comes and it goes.

Um ... did I mention he's only 3 months & 3 weeks old! I know that I had my first tooth at 3 months, and my husband had his first tooth at 4 months, so... dare I say that it's possible that my little boy is actually teething?

I called the doctor's office, and they said that it was possible that he could very well be teething and to give him Tylenol. I almost hesitate to give him Tylenol. Especially if I'm not "certain" that he's teething. I don't want to get into the habit of "medicating" him whenever he cries... but at the same time, I don't want him to suffer. But how do I know if he's suffering or just venting some steam?

UGGH!!! This mothering stuff is killing me because I'm not a frikin mind reader!!!

My poor babe.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I Loves Me Some Hunter!

Yeah, I'm quoting the now famous words of Terrel Owens from the Eagles ("I loves me some me"), with my own spin, of course... because face it ... I just loves me some Hunter! I can't get enough of him. He is just the sweetest thing next to sugar. I love it when I pick him up out of his crib after a nap or in the morning when he wakes up, and he stretches his whole body -- arms and legs spread up and out -- and then curls his knees up under his belly and lays his head against my shoulder poking his round little bottom up in the air. And when I lay him down to change his diaper, he stretches again, and then looks up at me out of the tops of his eyes like he's flirting with me and smiles at me... oh, my... I loves me some Hunter.

I knew I would love my son fiercely, but no one ever warned me how hard I would fall! Or that I would catch my breath every time I peek in on him when he's sleeping, or when I see his long eyelashes sweep up and down, or whenever my lips touch the top of his downy head, or when he smiles broadly at me like I'm the only one that matters to him (yeah, okay... so he does it to his dad, too -- whatever -- this is all about me)... And no one told me just how my heart would heal after I held him for the first time in my arms!

Infertility is a long and ugly battle filled with horrible and undignified treatments, procedures, and outcomes ... I found that I was always thinking (in the back of my head), "maybe this time I'll get pregnant and it will stick..." and when "this time" finally happened, I would suddenly become too terrified to even breath for fear that I might miscarry. And when I did miscarry, my heart would shatter into a million pieces, and with each time, the healing process would take longer... and my poor, perfect husband would be at a loss of words and not know how to comfort me.

This time last year, I was in the middle of an IVF cycle. This time last year, I was feeling hope again. This time last year, I was thinking "maybe this time I'll get pregnant ... and it'll be viable, and healthy ... and soon I'll have a baby." This time last year, was my last IVF cycle ... ahem ... for the year, that is ... we still have some frozen ebryoes, and Hunter might want a baby sister some day...

This time, THIS year, 1/20/2006, I have a babyboy. He's beautiful, and perfect, and ... well ... he's Hunter. I always thought I would have a girl first, and I never could imagine being the mother of a boy, but this boy has captured my heart with one flirty look and a wet, drooling smile. Who cares that I'm not athletic, or that I don't know the first things about sports statistics, or that I don't even know how to hit a golf ball, throw a football, or do an alley-ooup (?) -- I do know how to love, cuddle, nurture, encourage, and thank goodness, my husband can fill in all the other blanks. The point is... I can't imagine my life any other way than right now. With my boy, my husband, and my dog.

Life is good. And I loves me some Hunter!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Roll Over, Big Boy!!!

Yesterday, my big boy rolled over from his back to his belly for the first time in his life! I was so excited! Then, he proceeded to do it again, then again, and then ... he began to scream because he wasn't as excited as I was about it, and he was bored! So much for entertaining mom! Of course, Dad wasn't home, and he missed all the fun, so... after his warm bath (when Dad FINALLY got home), I made him do it all over again. He wasn't too happy about it, and I actually had to scoot him a little bit onto his side so he could show off for Dad, but he obediently flipped over to his belly! Then -- he began to cry -- again -- because at this point, it was bed time, and the little man was tuckered out from all that work!

Speaking of which, I usually give him 5 to 6 ounces of formula with 4 to 4 & 1/2 tablespoons of rice cereal mixed in it as his last bed time bottle. It's about the consistency of a thick melted milkshake, and he just loves it... He's only 3 & 1/2 months old, but I really think he's ready for solids... I'm so nervous about starting him on solids before the 4 month mark because I'm afraid his pediatrician will lecture me about it ... okay, not really. What I'm REALLY afraid of is that at that point my husband will turn to me and say "I Told You So" -- man I hate those words.

I really need other opinions on this! So, please feel free to delurk and comment. Thanks a ton!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Created My Baby Registry

Yes, this is a loooong post, but this is a Baby Stuff Review that I wish I had before I created my baby registry or purchased stuff for the baby -- Categorized in Must-Haves, Try-N-Borrow for your baby, Decide On your Own, Don't-Gets, and Extra (my baby is now three months old, so keep that in mind as you read this). I hope that this will help even one person who is scratching their head about what to register for like I did.

First of all -- don't register for diapers or clothes. You'll receive them at your shower with or without registering for them anyway, and you'll end up getting what everyone else wants to give you, not specifically what you want!

If you really want to purchase something for the baby before it's born, then make sure it has a really cute NEWBORN size outfit and some onesies in newborn size to bring the baby home from the hospital in. Even if you think you're having a really big baby. My son was 8 lbs. 9 oz., and didn't fit into anything we had for him. We were expecting a big baby, and all the clothing and sleepers I received were 0-3 months or bigger. I thought for sure my son would be too big for the 0-3 month sizes, but it turned out that we had to go out and get several items of clothing (sleepers, onesies, etc.) in a newborn size for the first three weeks of his life. I was disappointeded, because the cute outfit I had for him to come home in (0-3 months) was so big he got swallowed up in it. I ended up having to bring him home in a gown and a t-shirt that the hospital put him in -- not as cute!

Must-Haves -- Here are eight things I absolutely love and can't live without --

1. A Digital Camera -- why? Because it is so convenient. The camera I have is a Konica/Minolta DiMage Z6. You never need to purchase film, and as long as the batteries are fresh, you're ready to go. And the thing I absolutely LOVE the most is that you can keep the pictures you want/like, delete the duds, and upload your pictures onto your computer and send them off to print either at http://www.kodakgallery.com/ (they have really great products), http://www.costco.com/PhotoCenter (need a Costco membership), or even at http://www.walmart.com/photo-center?path=0:5426&dept=5426 . I love the fact that you can have the pictures printed at any Wal-Mart or Costco across the country -- great for sharing pics with grandparents or friends and family, because they can pick them up and pay for them! Or, Kodak will mail them anywhere! Major highlights of this camera are 6 megapixels, 12X optical zoom, Anti-Shake Technology, and video ability up to 3 minutes on an empty card! How much can you expect to pay? About $300 - $350

2. A Bouncy Seat -- I chose the Infant To Toddler Bouncy/Rocker Seat by Fisher-Price -- I love this bouncy seat/rocker because it can go from infant to toddler (maximum weight of child: 40 lbs). It has calming vibrations to soothe an infant (like a ride in the car) and can also rock (like a rocking chair), three-point restraint holds baby securely in place, fold-out kickstand for feeding or sleeping, removable machine-washable seat pad, two-position recline seat, converts from infant seat to toddler rocking chair. Especially good if you had/have an enormous baby like I did! Very roomy. How much can you expect to pay? About $35

3. A Cradle Swing - Ocean Wonders Aquarium Cradle Swing by Fisher-Price -- If you have plenty of space, this is an awesome swing to get. It has beautiful and vibrant colors that have captured my sons attention -- and pictures of little neon colored fish swimming around. This swing soothes my son in two ways -- back and forth like a swing or side-to-side like a cradle (a push-button control turns the seat 90° to switch from swing to cradle). Music, soft lights and tranquil aquatic sounds also help soothe him. This swing has a water globe with changing lights & swimming characters, motorized mobile with four plush fish in bright Neon colors, eight songs & three aquatic sounds with volume control, six soothing swing speeds, deluxe machine-washable pad with infant head support, two-position reclining seat keeps baby comfy, removable toy tray with bead bar, sturdy frame legs, folds for storage & portability. How much can you expect to pay? About $99.

4. A Take-Along Swing - If you're short on space, but still want a swing, the Take-Along Sensory Swing by Fisher-Price is awesome! We got the Linkadoos Take-Along swing for the nursery at our church, and I borrowed one for a trip I made, and my son just loved it. The Sensory Swing seems to have replaced the Linkadoos swing, but has all the same features. Even though it sits low to the ground, it has a lot going on for a small swing -- open top design making it easy to take baby in and out, a toy bar that gives baby fun things to look at with a cute black & white panda and a mirror, seven fun songs, sounds and rattles, crinkle and clacker toys, that have different textures for baby to explore which are interchangeable, and of course, five swing speeds. You can fold it up and travel very easily with it. It also has convenient carry handles on each side to let you carry it from room to room even with baby in it. It's much more affordable than the cradle swing, and saves big on space. How much can you expect to pay? About $55 http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=2001&e=detail&site=us&pid=34844&selcat=bgsw

5. A Microwave Sterilizer -- I got the Express Microwave Steam Sterilizer by Avent - Many pediatricians recommend sterilizing feeding accessories and breast pump accessories to eliminate harmful bacteria. I was originally sterilizing the old fashioned way -- boiling. Hated it, and it took so long! I also found out thdoesn'te dishwasher doesn't reach the recommended temps for sterilizing, and I hated the thought of having to wait until my dishwasher was full to run it! Now, I use this on a daily basis, about 3-4 times a day (that's how much I love this product). The Avent Express Steam Sterilizers reach the recommended maximum sustained temperature of 212° (depending on the wattage of your microwave), for the fastest, easiest and safest form of home sterilization in 4 to 6 minutes. How much can you expect to pay? About $30

6. A Bumbo Baby Seat -- This seat is so awesome -- it was invented by a physical therapist in South Africa and has been used by Europeans for a long time, but has just recently become known here in America. The Bumbo Seat is designed to fit a baby's posture. Babies can sit upright in a Bumbo Seat as soon as they have head control. More importantly, it helps them develop the trunk control they need to sit up on their own. It is recommended by pediatricians, orthopedists, and physical therapists so you know it is good for your baby. The Bumbo Seat is made from a low-density foam material, which makes it lightweight and portable. It is soft and comfortable for the baby, and it is designed so that the baby's own body weight keeps baby in place. The Bumbo Seat's key feature is that it places your baby's bottom at a lower level than the leg openings. This seating position provides excellent support for the lumbar area of the vertebral column. Suggested Age (8 weeks to 12 months) How much can you expect to pay? About $40 - $45 http://www.bumboseat.com/

7. A good Monitor -- We got the Private Connection Monitor with Dual Receivers - This is a great monitor that allows you to have as private a connection as possible. This monitor gives you a choice of 10 channels choose from to reduce the likelihood of someone picking up your transmission. Plus, 900 MHz technology offers a more powerful signal, with excellent clarity and greater range than most nursery monitors. The monitors also have sound lights and rechargeable batteries, and dual receivers for added convenience. How much can you expect to pay? About $55 - $60

8. A portable Bath Tub -- We have the Sure Comfort Newborn-to-Toddler Tub -- This newborn-to-toddler tub has an awesome mesh cradle/sling/hammock thing that attaches onto the tub so that you can give your very new new-born a bath and they just float on the water with no fear of them sliding under! My son loved the feeling! The tub also has foam pads that cradle infants, and an upright backrest which provides additional support for toddlers. Toys, wash towel or rinse water can be held in the built-in basin. Mildew-resistant pads are machine washable and quick drying for easy clean up. A temperature guard drain plug changes color to indicate when water is too hot. Fits double and single kitchen sinks. How much can you expect to pay? About $17


1. A bassinet -- They are costly, and the baby is not in them long enough to really make it a worthwhile expense. My son moved out of his and into his crib after 2-1/2 months -- thank goodness my sister loaned me hers.
2. A Pack-N-Play with a Bassinet feature if you have a two story home so that you can have an extra place to place the baby when they sleep. You end up having to get so much, that I would have saved $100 if I had borrowed one instead of purchased one!
3. Boppy nursing pillow -- you may or may not end up using this or even liking this product. I was so excited about nursing, but my milk never quite came in, so I ended up formula feeding. I had registered for this item and received it as a shower gift, but when I was able to nurse (first 5 weeks of his life), my son liked to nurse in the football hold, and I just found it a bit awkward with the Boppy. For a while, I would use it to lay him on so he was slightly elevated and could look around. Now, it just sits in the corner.

Decide on Your Own:

1. You're on your own when it comes to Infant Car Seats and strollers. I was given the Graco SnugRide infant car seat in the Central Park Pattern for a shower gift (I registered for it), and I have to say that I'm really disappointed with it. First of all, it sits at such a steep angle that the baby is sitting almost upright. My son hates that. Second of all, it had the wrong parts for the Canopy, and since my son came early, I didn't have time to exchange it and had to use it right away. Now I'm stuck with it. Finally, it is recommended for up to 22 pounds and 29 inches. My son is at 16 pounds right now (not quite 4 months old), and is really, really long -- the doctor told us he'll be out of it very soon, and he can't even sit on his own yet! At $150, it's a big investment to not be totally happy with it. Ask around for other parent's opinions before you make such a big purchase (on the other hand, you may be totally happy with it!). (I think Graco has just changed their seats within the past three years or so -- not as comfortable as they used to be)
2. While I am disappointed with the Graco SnugRide infant car seat, I absolutely love the Graco Quattro Tour LX. I love the look of it, the feel of it, it is very sturdy, rugged, and has an excellent braking system on it. It is compatible with the Graco SnugRide infant car seat, and while I hate the car seat, I love that they work together. It has a combination 3 point/5 point harness that keeps the baby snug and safe, a removable weather protection boot for chilly or windy days, advanced durable aluminum frame for years of use, 4-position flat recline with occupant retention creates cocoon like environment, one hand Gravity Fold, child's tray with snack and cup holder pivots open with one hand for easy entry, parent organizer tray has a secure accessory compartment for keys and cell phones that you can access even after you fold it, infant head support and deep side wings for extra napping support and comfort, reversible canopy with peek-a-boo window, front suspension with lockable front swivel wheels, ergonomically designed handle for easy steering, awesome one touch brake that uses the bottom of your shoe both when locking and unlocking the stroller, large drop down storage basket, and for the gadget inclined daddy -- it comes with a time and temp comfort tracker. For $160, it is quite a luxurious purchase, but well worth the expense. I feel that this particular stroller will last me a long, long time.
3. Another thing for you to decide on your own about... Onesies. I love long-sleeved onesies - especially since my son was born in October, and it's only January right now. He'll wear short sleeved onesies in the spring and summer, but for now, I want to make sure he's warm enough. I found that Carters makes long sleeved onesies that are not finished very well whreputationy surprised me, given Carter's reputaton. The sleeves aren't even hemmed well stitchhey are simply surged (the zig-zag stich). They are made of a cheap cotton that disappointedut of shape, too. I was very disapointed in Carters. Gerber, on the other hand, has beautifully finished long-gaugee onesies in a nice, durable heavy guage cotton (which is so soft) with double hems around the collar, sleeves and legs. They keep their shape nicely, and they come in all white (which is what I like to put on him under all his sleepers or clothing) or color. Long-sleeved onesies of any kind are very hard to find ... especially newborn size, so if you see them, grab them up. While I prefer Gerber brand, I do have many Carter long-sleeve onesies because I just couldn't find them when he changed sizes, but like I said, it's up to you what brand you'll like better! (I found that Target had the best inventory of Gerber long-sleeved onesies.)

Don't-Gets -- Don't wast your money or time on these products

1. Wipes Warmer -- Waste of money-- Really, it is.
2. Sounds 'n Lights Monitor by Fisher-Price -- picks up a lot of static and background noise -- not great -- inexpensive, but not worth it.
3. Crib CD Player with Light -- not loud enough -- go with a regular portable boom-box.
4. Grab N Go Bottle Warmer doesn't concept, it's a neat idea -- in reality -- it doesn't really work well. Especially if your baby likes the Playtex nursers like mine does. It doesn't heat through the hard plastic bottle part to the drop-in. I find that a cup of hot water from a restaurant heats the bottle much faster.
5. Don't commit yourself to any particular bottle until you know exactly what your baby will like. I registered for Avent bottles, and ended up with tons of them, and while they are great bottles, my son hated them. Whenever he used the Avent bottles, formula would pour out of the nipple and down his face. He needed a bigger, rounder nipple that he could get a better latch on, so we ended up using the Playtex nursers with the drop-in bags. Less to sterilize, and his mouth fit perfectly around the nipple (soft and shaped more like the breast). Now we have a lot of Avent bottles we can't return. I just use them to heat his formula in. What a waste!
6. Specialty diaper pails -- Why bother? The Sassy Diaper Sacks work really well, and if you don't want to use those, you can always use zip-loc baggies from the dollar store. I prefer the convenience of the sacks, and since we only have one, maybe two poopy diapers per day, I'd rather tie them off and toss them in the kitchen trash (it gets taken out daily). The bags smell like baby powder and neutralize the stinky smell. I use a regular trash can with a lid in the nursery for wet diapers and empty it every two to three days. No smells and much more convenient for me (and cheaper) than using a diaper pail that has to be twisted, cut, or have filters replaced, etc. They run about $2.50 for 50 Sassy Diaper Sacks.
7. Disposable Changing Pads - waste of money. I found that Fisher Price has a really nice folding portable changing pad that fits neatly in my diaper bag. It is bright blue, and again, has those lovely neon fishies on it. I love it because it has a container for wipes and pockets for diapers. If I'm out and need to change a diaper, I'll grab only this out of my diaper bag (as opposed to carrying the whole bag), go into the public restroom and use their public diaper station with my portable changing pad. I'll even use it on a couch or bed to protect the fabric. I keep a cloth diaper inside so the baby isn't sitting on vinyl (or whatever it's made out of). It's much more economical for me.
8. Don't get any blankets, onesies, or clothing (in fact, don't get any baby things) until AFTER your shower(s). You will get a lot of everything, and may even get duplicates. I ended up doing a lot of returns. Target will allow you to return without a receipt as long as you have a registry with them. You just print out your registry and take it to the counter - it doesn't matter whether the item is on the regreceiptr not. Wal-Mart allows you to return items without a reciept three times in one year, so gather everything together and make one receiptturn. Toys-R-Us allows you to return items without a reciept and no questions asked. As long as each of these stores carries the item you are returning, then it doesn't matter that the person didn't actually purchase it there. They'll take it back.

Extra --

1. I found Pampers Swadlers to be the very best diaper for infants. They say they go up to 18 pounds, but trust me, they don't. My son was out of stage 2 Swadlers at 13 pounds. They are nice and thick, and have stretchy sides. I NEVER had any leaks with them.
2. I found Pampers Baby Dry diapers to be just awful. My son leaked in them all the time. I had to throw away an entire pack because I was so unhappy with them.
3. Luvs Diapers in general are awful... leaks, leaks, leaks. Threw away a whole package of these, too. They are thin and just plain yucky feeling.
4. Huggies "Baby-Shaped" Diapers are awesome! They are contoured, and have elastic around the back to fit the baby snuggly without being tight. Very nice and thick. I haven't had any leaks with them. They fit my growing boy ever so well. I love, love, love them. I only wish I had tried the Newborn diapers.
5. I really love Huggies Shea Butter Wipes - they say that they help maintain naturally healthy skin. They also have a very pleasant soothing scent -- kind of like suntan lotion. Plus, they're cushiony thick for a gentle cleaning and are alcohol free. They come in the easy, one-handed Pop-Up dispensing, and they are the only wipes available with Shea Butter.
6. I really love the Lavender Baby Wash and baby lotion - I love how the lavender baby wash smells - very gentle and soft, and it really does seem to relax my son after a bath. I have used both Huggies and Johnson & Johnson brands, and they both seem to be the same.
7. DON'T RETURN ANY MEDICATION YOU MIGHT GET AT YOUR SHOWER (i.e.: Mylecon, Infant Tylenol, etc.). I made this mistake and ended up having to re-purchase what I returned, and then some. You WILL need the meds at some point, and they are not cheap. Keep them tucked away in a medicine chest until you need them -- babies get gassy, and you can't overdose with Mylecon-- you'll go through it quickly. Tylenol is expensive, and unbelievably, my son started teething at 2-1/2 months old... I went through a bottle of Tylenol in less than three days.

Well ... this is all I can think of right now. I hope this has been helpful to you! Let me know if you have any questions or have anything you want to add.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reflections and Comfort

What? You expected me to post regularly? People, all my free time is consumed with bogies, poopies, and burpies! And man, don't I love it!

In case you were wondering ... My Christmas was absolutely w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l !!! I got to spend 10 whole days with my boys ... my ever doting husband, and my very delightful son. I could just smooch his chubby cheeks all day long (my son's, that is)! But, as luck would have it ... I'm back at work now, and trust me when I say ... depression has set in! But, fortunately, I've spared the people around me and taken my frustrations out on food ... in fact, just today I had a large popcorn chicken, a side of coleslaw, and two dessert buckets from KFC --- ah, comfort food! Seriously, though... I'd much rather be nibbling on chubby little toes and fingers!

Seriously -- My husband and I are so blessed with our son -- he is so easy going, so good natured, and so happy. He has started cooing, chit chatting, and squealing... he even surprises himself sometimes with the sounds he makes. He laughs, giggles, and smiles all the time, and he even flirts by peeking out of the tops of his eyes! He has found his chubby little hands now, and clasps them together like he IS the champion of the Hand Finding event. He is so adorable.

I can honestly say that he is truly an answer to many prayers, and a delightful gift from God. I faced so many un-knowns and scary things while I was pregnant in 2005, but even with all the trials we had throughout the pregnancy, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to bless us with a wonderful, beautiful, calm and happy baby boy.

Man, how my life has changed in the space of twelve months! This time last year, I was going through my second IVF, and was actually told that it would have to be postponed or possibly cancelled because I had a rather large ovarian cyst. I was so depressed, but my wonderful, wonderful and most awesome RE said she would aspirate the cyst, and after a few delays, our transfer took place on 1/30/05, and lo and behold... I became pregnant and carried the baby until he was healthy and ready to come out on his own... all happy and chubby!!!

It breaks my heart to know that so many women, both friend and stranger, still struggle with the curse of infertility. But know that you are not alone. There are so many people that love you, understand what you are going through, and are praying for you. And although I hadn't really given it much thought ... I guess having my son takes me out of the rankings of an infertile now, but for anyone reading this post that struggles with infertility, whether it is primary or secondary, I have one message I want you to walk away with... You may be in the beginning of your struggle with infertility, and may not know what's ahead of you, or you may be stuck in the quicksand of despair, heartbreak and discouragement after having struggled for months, or years of infertility and numerous treatments... KNOW THAT EVEN WHILE YOU STRUGGLE, THERE IS HOPE, AND THERE IS SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU AND WANTS THE VERY BEST FOR YOU.

Many times I questioned God's timing ... why did I have so many miscarriages? Why were the best 15 years of my life consumed with infertility? Why did it take so many treatments, IUI's and IVF's before finally getting pregnant? But looking back, even though it seemed like I was in my blackest hole of despair, I can honestly say that God never left me. He always sent me his love in ways I never expected ... through my loving and devoted husband, who truly is the love of my life (with my son at a close second), through the gentle touch of a close friend, through the words of a poem or scripture, through the tunes of a favored song, through a freshly cut flower from the garden, or through the quiet message sent through a sermon ... I was never alone. When I couldn't see God next to me, I knew he was carrying me (as the old poem Footprints in the Sand tells us).

There is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. There is someone who cares for you. There is someone that knows and understands what you're going through. And... there is a Greater Someone who wants to surround you with His grace and love.

Please ... if you are struggling ... reach out and let me know. I would love to be a comfort to you, and hopefully, reach out God's love to you in a soft and caring way.

Have a blessed New Year.