Friday, October 17, 2014

Wipes and Wipe Solution

I researched quite a bit about cloth wipes when I decided to cloth diaper. If I was already going to wash the diapers why not give reusable wipes a shot too. I knew I didn't want to make wipes from paper towels, just as much waste and more work. I purchased one package of twelve from Amazon, Bumkins brand, but made the rest myself out of remnants I purchased from JoAnn Fabrics and an old t-shirt. I've read that other parents use anything from baby washcloths to old receiving blankets to fleece. If you don't have a sewing machine fleece would work great because it doesn't fray. I have three different sizes/sets of wipes. The Bumkins flannel, long ones with one side micro fleece and the other side terry cloth and small ones with one side old t-shirt and the other side terry cloth. The old t-shirt is so very soft and it cleans very nicely. You might be surprised that you already have supplies to make your own.
Generally I use the terry cloth side for poop and the other sides for pee or light clean up. That system has worked for us for a year, although I do grab a disposable wipe sometimes when I'm feeling lazy, when my solution bottle is empty or when Kai had a disposable diaper on. I honestly feel the longer ones are a bit too long and the Bumkins flannel ones are wider than I'd like. The midsize wipe is perfect  but their sizes don't stop me from using them. Another note is that the terry needs to be pretty wet to slide across Kai's skin. When it's not wet enough it doesn't clean as well. I stack all my wipes in a pile next to my solution on our changing table. 
As for my solution I use baby wash, coconut oil and water. I have read a large number of wipe solution "recipes" on the Internet that include some kind of oil, different soaps, essential oils and more. When I first made it I just wanted to use products I already had on hand. I don't really measure anything because I'm still trying to find a good amount of each. Generally I put a little soap, a little oil and fill the rest of the bottle with water and shake it up. I have found the products below go well together. Aveno Baby Wash in place of the Johnson and Johnson wash smells awful! I've also tried the lavender scented Target brand wash and that works well. If you don't like the coconut smell, refined coconut oil or baby oil can be used. The bottle I use is a Windex Touch Up bottle. It works phenomenally! I just dumped the cleaner into another bottle and washed it up good and made my solution. (I found the idea from another great cloth diapering momma, but I can't find the blog post now! If anyone knows where it is let me know. I'd love to credit her.)
Do you use cloth wipes and homemade solution? What have you found that works? Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 6, 2014

To My 27th Year: Monthly Follow-Up

So much for posting even a few times through the Hopes and Plans link-up. This month has been crazy and I had intentions of blogging on Mondays, but the free time just didn't present itself. Due to that I decided that I want to commit to writing a follow up to my post To My 27th Year the first Monday of each month. I hope that I'm able to follow through for the whole year, so I can look back and see how I've done.  I'm already happy about my first month!  Since I'm linking up, go check out Amanda's blog Marry Mint :)
Hopes and Plans

Here's to the September of my 27th year...

1. Use Less Technology - I feel great about this goal, so great that I think I want to take it further!  I haven't brought my phone into our bedroom once since starting my goal.  I turn it off before going to bed and it has its own little spot on the island in the kitchen.  It also sits there a lot of the day as well.  If we're going out I take it with me, but if we're home it sits in its spot.  I can tell I've been using it less because I can now get three days out of a charge instead of two.  I can't tell if I've been sleeping better because Kai still gets me up in the night, but I do feel I've been falling asleep easier.  I've also been trying to be very conscious of how much time I spend mindlessly using my devices.  I think that's still a work in progress.
     For this next month I'm going to try and turn my phone and iPad off by 9pm, as well as keeping to my other goals.  I hope this starts feeling good to me and I'll make the time earlier.  I've also been thinking about not allowing myself access to my devices while Kai is awake, but he's so busy that sometimes a little check of Instagram makes my heart happy.  We'll see how this month goes and go from there!     

2. Bake My Little Heart Out - I've made some yummy goodies this month!  I found this recipe for Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Bread on Pinterest and no lie I believe it is one of the best recipes I've ever made.  I wanted to make muffins instead of bread so I did and it made twenty four.  The baking time was about 25 minutes if you want to give them a try.  They're so good I've actually made it twice this month.  I also made the standard Banana Muffins, but forgot the chocolate chips and sure missed them.  Whenever I've baked I've been able to share as well!  I have brought muffins to friends and to a MOPs group I tried out.  Makes my little heart happy!  Not sure what I'll decide to try this month, but John's aunt gave us 7 bags of apples (not exaggerating!) so it's safe to say I'll be looking for apple recipes!  I actually want to try this one out for our pup :)

3. Take Advantage of Snail Mail - I've sent five letters this month!  Kai even helped by coloring some pictures to include in the envelopes!  I'm just going to keep on sending mail this coming month.  I like including Kai because it gives us a little art time together.  That's become an unexpected plus!

4. No Picking - I completely and utterly failed at this one.  Sometimes I'm not even sure why I try.  I've thought about trying to keep my heels on the edge of the rug (can't see my face close up that way), but I don't know if that'll work.  My only other hope might be to take down all the mirrors in the house.  Argh.  I just want this one to stick.  Any ideas?
5. Church - This one was sadly a fail too, but we've had family visiting or other commitments.  It feels yucky to say that though.  I feel that church should be our number one commitment.  We did watch it once on Sunday morning, but it's just not the same.  We have nothing on the calendar this Saturday night, so I really hope we make it. 
6. See a Friend - I have done great with this one too.  Kai and I see/visit/meet with a friend at least once a week.  We also tried out a MOPs group.  We went twice.  The first time went kind of poorly.  It was pretty much all social hour for the moms and Kai cried a lot of the time upstairs (At least the one time I checked on him and when I picked him up.  The sweet girl holding him also said he missed his mom a lot, so I assumed that meant he fussed)  The second time we went he was crying when I checked on him and then playing when I picked him up.  I was so happy!  Yay Kai!  Sadly I spent most of my time in a social hour again.  I also realized I was looking for a place to connect with God and other godly women, but there was no scripture reading or relating our discussions back to God.  I've prayed about it and I've decided we won't be heading back there.  If anyone knows of any other groups I'd love to hear suggestions!
7. Go Walking/Exploring - Just last week we walked ten miles!  We also went to the zoo, the library (for the first time!), storytime at Barnes and Noble and SeaLife at Mall of America. (See multiple Instagram photos of our adventures!)  One of the most fun was when we were at Target it had started to rain, so we got a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a pumpkin cookie at the Starbucks inside, ran to the car and shared our cookie.  I love my boy!  As it gets colder I know we'll be exploring more indoors and I'm so excited!
8. Sew/Craft:  Not sure why this didn't make the first round of goals, but it needs to be here.  Sewing/crafting make me warm and fuzzy inside.  I've made a ton of projects recently including reusable baby wipes, tag blankets, tablet covers and reusable napkins.  Most of these were gifts too, which helps fill my heart.  I have a monogram I'm going to try and work on this month, possibly using wine corks.  I have lots of friends having babies soon too, so I can just be crafting up a storm if I want to.  Kai also got to experience the sewing machine for the first time and loved pushing the back stitch button when I needed him too.  Seeing things through his eyes is so much fun!   
9. Savor - All of the above goals have allowed me to savor.  I feel so blessed and lucky to be where I'm at and to have the people I do in my life.  All I can hope is that I spend a little time each day taking in the wonder and love and laughter that life has to offer!

Do you have anything great you've baked recently?  Have you crafted any fun projects?  How do you allow yourself to savor?    

Thanks for reading!  I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures from the last month.  Sorry if there's errors in this post as I'm finishing Kai is yelling "mama" from his crib so no proofreading for me :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Losing Baby #2

Disclaimer: I plan to be very honest and descriptive when I talk about our miscarriage experience. I don't mean to sadden, gross out or offend anyone. Everything I write are my own feelings or John's. I want to be helpful to anyone going through a similar experience. While we were going through it I couldn't find any personal stories that were detailed enough to relate to which is what lead me to post. I know it will also be healing for me. Thanks for reading!

My period didn't come back after having Kai until he was almost eleven months old. John and I knew we wanted to have our babies close together so I was relieved I wouldn't have to choose between breastfeeding (which can delay the return) my sweet boy and conceiving another little one. I have a history of an irregular cycle so we figured it was our cue to try and if we hit the magic day great, if not we had time. I started getting negative tests mid-July. I was bummed, but figured it was our first try and I was focusing on the trip to St. Thomas we had planned. I packed pregnancy tests and other "supplies" to be prepared for both scenarios. After a few days on vacay, Aunt Flo still hadn't visited, so I took a test, negative. A few days later another test and a faint positive!  I took the test again very early in the morning (Here's the blog about finding out about Kai!) It took a little while to sink in, but I felt happy. John woke up right on cue, so I was able to let him in on our secret. We were unable to celebrate out loud because we had brought my youngest sister on vacation with to help with Kai.  We only had a few more days of vacation so we soaked in the sun, sand and beautiful Caribbean ocean water and then it was time to go home.  Here's a little tidbit I wrote on vacation for our sweet baby:

"Yesterday we found out you were coming. You are an answer to prayer sweet baby! The night before I prayed for a sign either way because I hadn't gotten my period and all the tests I had taken were negative. I took a test at 4am and surprise you're inside growing!  We love you already! Can't wait to meet you!"

After we got home I called the midwives to schedule my first prenatal appointment.  They don't see you until 8-10 weeks so I scheduled my appointment for August 28.  We had decided to tell people on Kai's first birthday August 23 because my sister was getting married on August 16th and we didn't want to take away any of their thunder :)  I was so excited to keep our secret just for us.  John and I could smile at each other and no one else knew our sweet news just yet.  I bought some big brother books to wrap for Kai for his birthday and we would let everyone find out that way. 

On Saturday, August 10th in the evening I started spotting.  It's not unusual during pregnancy, so John was sweet and kept encouraging me not to worry about it.  It felt off and yucky and not right to me.  I was headed home Sunday afternoon to help finish up a few last wedding details and by that point it still hadn't stopped but it was very light.  Everything I read online said to call your provider if bleeding is present so I called Monday morning.  I was transferred here and there and everywhere on the phone, until finally I left a message with the midwife nurse line and then all I had to do was wait for the midwife to call back.  She did finally call back and reassure me again that everything sounded fine because I wasn't experiencing heavy bleeding or cramping.  She said our best plan of action was to schedule an ultrasound.  That would be able to tell us if we were losing the baby or if the spotting was normal. If the spotting was normal it would just be considered our "dating ultrasound" to figure out how far along we were. We scheduled it for the next day, so I headed home Monday night.

Tuesday morning came and I was full of nerves and water. I still think asking a pregnant lady to drink 16 oz of water an hour before an ultrasound and then keep it in while the technician pushes her her bladder is crazy. John stayed home to hang out with Kai since still hadn't told any of our family about the pregnancy. I went to my appointment feeling like I was going to pee my pants the whole way. Since I had gone through a dating ultrasound with Kai I knew what I would be looking for. First they did an outer ultrasound, then she let me pee. Sweet relief! Second a transvaginal ultrasound, basically an inner ultrasound to see what's going on in there better. The tech said she had hoped to tell me something either way (if we were miscarrying or if everything looked good). Kai looked like this at his dating ultrasound at 9 weeks. Sweet little gummy bear, kicking and punching with a beautifully visible beating heart! 

She said they first look for the sac, then fetal pole, fetus and lastly heartbeat. She found the gestational sac and it was an empty, just black and empty. The technician told me that I wasn't even measuring 5 weeks and I knew that wasn't possible. Let's just say the dates didn't line up with what she was telling me. She said the sac was in a great position high up in my uterus and that the midwife would look over the results and get back to me. I appreciated her kind and encouraging words, but still felt defeated. The pregnancy didn't feel right to me and neither did the bleeding.

(Warning: Graphic details ahead.) I got home around lunchtime and John got ready for work. When he left I told him that I was feeling pretty awful. He told me to call if I needed him to come home. I was cramping, nauseous and flu-like. I started to bleed heavier and pass larger and larger clots. I knew something was going on. That continued throughout the day not getting better or worse. Around 7pm I sneezed and felt something come out. It was a feeling I've never felt before. I went to the bathroom and turns out it was the gestational sac, all the tissue that was in there suppose to be making a baby. It was like a tissue blob. I honestly didn't know what to do with. It felt so wrong to throw it away and felt even worse to flush it down the toilet. I didn't know how to properly get rid of it without feeling like I was discarding a child. I felt numb. We ended up burying it in the backyard. That felt weird too, but it was the best solution John and I could come up with. After I passed that my body felt so much better. It was strangly a relief. 

I felt peace about losing the baby although it stung. We wanted him/her! It was possibly a blighted ovum which is a baby that implanted but didn't start forming because of a genetic mutation. I think the biggest hardship was not being able to talk to my mom about it. She is fabulous and would've been great and supportive but I didn't want to bother her or anyone else right before the wedding. (I ended up spilling the beans the morning of the wedding. I know right right?!?! I just couldn't do the day without her knowing.) Wednesday was like any other. I felt a little sore but with Kai consuming all of my energy I got through the day. 

We decided to go to  Bruggers for supper. Nothing like a little food to heal wounds (John got me a DQ blizzard the night before). While we were there the midwife called. She started to tell me how everything from the ultrasound looked good and it was okay that my dates were off. I had to stop her mid sentence to tell her that I had miscarried. She was so very empathetic. I only talk about this part because of the necessity of another Rhogam shot. A Rhogam shot is a shot a pregnant woman has to get before and after her first pregnancy and after every subsequent pregnancy if her blood type is the opposite of her baby's father. It helps her body not to attack the baby if their bloods come in contact with one another. I had one before and after Kai, but it didn't even cross my mind that I'd need one after our miscarriage. I went in for that the following morning bright and early before going to work. A nurse gave me the shot and after that the midwife I'd been talking to brought me back to a room just to see how I was. She gave us the go ahead to not wait to try for another one :) 

We made it through the wedding and the following week I got a care package from the midwife. I cannot rave enough about their personal care. They are the best ever! On August 28 I had a blood test to check my hCG level to make sure the miscarriage was complete and my numbers were good. Now we're praying for Baby #3! 

Please don't hesitate to post questions here or to email me. Thanks again for reading and allowing myself to heal :) 

I've thought of a few more details I wanted to share:

1. In case I didn't remember the miscarriage happened my insurance thought they'd send lots of mail explaining our benefits and what we owed them.
2. I'm thankful for the friends that shared their stories of loss with me before it happened in my life. That's another reason I'm sharing. 

Here's a website for Rhogam FAQs: