Saturday, November 28

The cloth I never imagined getting giddy about.

A shiny new pile of diapers came in the mail yesterday! This makes me happy for two reasons:
1. I'm addicted to cloth diapering the little baby bum! And,
2. I'm so not addicted to the nightly washing involved!
These will help it become every-other-day washing, which makes it just that much better.

I know it's out of the ordinary to cloth diaper, although it's gaining popularity these days, so this post is probably going to be blah blah blah and so on for most of you. BUT, I know a lot of people who have (or want) little babies and maybe someday some unsuspecting new Mommy will stumble on this and it'll inspire her.
Please don't mind my blogging illusions of grandeur...

I hate. Hate. HATE trash. I despise waste. I was set on creating as little as possible with this kid the moment I found out I was pregnant. Chris was sold the second I added up for him how much it would cost us over the next three years to wrap our baby in mixture of paper, plastic, chemicals and wood pulp.
The hospital had Pampers and I cringed each time they went into the waste pail. Then it got a little easier, and that lasted for a few weeks after our return home. Then the trash. Ugh. Uuuuggghhhhh... We had to borrow our neighbors' trash can since ours was nearly over flowing. Unacceptable. Granted we have tiny German trash cans that only get picked up every two weeks, but we've learned to live with that and I'm not going back!
I tried a few times with the stock pile of cloth diapers we'd accumulated but it was utter disaster, every single one leaked and I couldn't imagine how people did this! So I hit up the internets and some friends for advice, desperately, since I knew there was no way we could use throw-aways for the next 2-3 years. Lo and behold, it was simply user error. The first non-leaky one was dismissed as a lucky break. The second, maayyybe we're doing this right. By the end of the day I had a contest going with myself (and the baby) to see how many we could get through in a row.
So here we are 2 weeks later, 100% cloth diapered! It was official on Thanksgiving when I changed him in the middle of a stranger's house, among comments such as, "Is that a washable diaper? I've never actually seen one of those!" I slipped his dirty one into a wet bag and right on into my purse. Gross, I know, but I just felt so damned accomplished :) Not to mention the wipes I had stuffed into a small Ziplock baggie. We still have a container or two of throw-away wipes because Chris thinks the washables are a pain in the butt, but I think he'll get used to them, just like he has with the diapers.

If you remember, I cut and sewed 60-some-odd bamboo flannel wipes over the summer. Now they are gently floating in bath of apricot and tea tree oils serving their purpose grandly. Hey, everybody's got a purpose in life, at least the are fulfilling theirs. However humble it may be.

I like lining the covers up in a pretty row. Folks, the covers are VERY important in your cloth diapering adventures. It doesn't matter what you stuff them with, as long as you stuff them with enough. And in the right places. If you have a tiny little boy who nurses, oh I don't know, every 45 minutes or so, you may want to rethink that single prefold you just put in there. Go ahead and add a layer... or three.

Our midwife shivered every time she saw Johnny because he never has pants on. This is because we have to change diapers frequently and you can't tell if they are dirty by looking or patting. There unfortunately is no magic yellow stripe that turns blue when the time is right. Silly magic hospital diapers.
Fortunately for Johnny he was not cold because he was always wrapped in a blanket and was usually mooching off my own body heat anyway (since he hardly let me put him down until recently).
But I thought maybe as winter draws on I'd be a responsible mum an not let my little baby lounge around in a blanket all day. Insert baby leg warmers here:

I didn't make these, but I'm sure they would not be hard to make from some kids' socks. They are dern tootin' cute!

Speaking of cute, check out this ginormous night-time bum:

So, to sum it up, this is why we think you should cloth diaper your baby (I say 'we' because this benefits Johnny as well and I'm sure he would agree... in his cute little after-yawn-baby-coo, he agrees):
  • Lack of waste. Poop in landfills. Did you know it's actually illegal in the US to throw human feces away? Even with throw-away diapers we are suppose to put the solid waste in the toilet before tossing them in the trash.
  • Money an the savings thereof. There is an initial investment of course, which we offset by buying (or trading for) gently used and well taken care of diapers for the most part. Don't break the bank on this. Like I said, I think the covers are the most important part. So far my favorites are Thirsties and Popolinis. Most of these are ├╝ber adjustable and will last quite some time with the right care.
  • The soft throw-aways are full of chemicals and the eco ones are not soft. Johnny had a wicked rash that we had to slather creme on day after day until we finally went 100% cloth. Poor kid.
  • Leg warmers.
  • Personal satisfaction that you're doing the best thing for the your child and the futures of your family, bank account, planet :)
  • Did I mention cute leg warmers?

Saturday, November 21

I love technology.

Not as much as you, you see. But I still love technology....
For the most part... I love my Macbook (and everything that entails, such as internet). That's about as far as the technology thing goes for me tho! Anyway, the camera is handy and I'm going to learn how to use iMovie so I can make a DVD for Grandparents, ect.

Here's a start anyway:

How unbearably cute is he?! I love this kid! ;D

Friday, November 20

Gifts of art.

I got the most incredible surprise in the mail this week!! All the way from England, a delicately handmade clutch by the lovely Di of RubyRuby:

This is being posted as art instead of simply handmade because I've never seen fabric so beautifully manipulated into something as useful as a handbag. The details are perfect :)

I've honestly been lusting after her bags for a few years and dreamed of one day having the perfect reason to buy one (although I would seriously carry this to the grocery store just to show it off!)...

This is the most luxurious thing in the house, I only wish I had had one on my wedding day ;>
I <3 RubyRuby!

And then our neighbor/friend Zak bestowed this awesome piece upon the house:
He's hanging above the baby's changing table. How creative is that!? I love the balloons the absolute most! Also a time consuming and detailed project due to the great stencil work.

Last but not least, our friend Beth sent these cards from Georgia. There's three sets with different themes and he really does like looking at them! :D

I love the people who make this world such an interesting and beautiful place! Xoxo!!

Wednesday, November 18

One month!

Johnathan is one month old today (tomorrow for those of you in the States..) so I thought I would share some new photos:

I bought him a $7 Moses basket before he was born, I like it because I can carry him from the kitchen to the living room without waking him up :) Important because I love cooking!

He loves being on his belly (and being naked, hence the numerous blankets), it's almost the only way he will lie while awake.

Today I noticed he always calms down if he can see one of the dogs. Very cute because there is no doubt Luckie wants to be his dog!


We are learning A LOT! haha... Naturally! And this week I finally feel as if we are getting a bit of a routine. I'm not pushing it either way, I sleep in the evening and then am up until 4 a.m. and then sleep again until noon. He sleeps every two to three hours and eats every two hours. Last night/early morning he slept for five hours!

We are co-sleeping for now. I didn't plan on it but it's so easy! I feel like I'm getting enough sleep and he hardly ever wakes up all the way to nurse, so it's not often that he gets upset and starts crying in the middle of the night, which certainly saves our nerves :)

I also have to add that after weeks of falling asleep in peoples' arms, today he fell asleep on his own for the first time! This is good news to me, who does not have the eight to ten arms that have occupied our house in the past month.

We are learning about cloth diapers. Thanks to friends' support and websites it's finally going well, they are leaky bitches! But I feel it's worth the trial and error to save the mountain of disposables we've already started creating; Chris takes the trash out twice as much and that really bothers me. I don't think we'll do them at night or in public for a little while longer, until we really get the hang of them, but at home during the day is a great start. We started ECing last night, I'm impressed by that to no end already... It will take a lot of dedication on my part but he already seems pretty comfortable with it :) No kidding, my one month old baby pooped in the toilet 4 times in the past 2 days!

My mom says I've now graduated to the 'parent that talks about poop'. So be it! I'm so happy to be home with him and to be able to pick up on his nuances and habits. Hopefully he'll understand as he grows older that his needs come first and he will never go long without them being met. People do no less for their puppies, they take them outside when they ask and feed them often (and I am now reminded by my dogs when it is time to eat, just as I am by Johnny!).

*Oh, and Meredith, the diapers we buy him (the only cost of his right now, and one which my goal is to cut in half by using washables) run us about $60 a month. The dogs' food is about $80 a month, so one month into it he is officially less expensive than owning a dog (well, three dogs)! Haha...*


One goal it seems I've had throughout the whole pregnancy was to have the cheapest baby in town. Meaning, I do not think one needs to spend loads of money to have a child and I think that there is too much waste tied up into the consumerism of new parents (and the families of new parents). I'm seriously not knocking my family members and friends who purchased stuff for us! A little goes a long way and they all know and respect that :) Handed down gifts abounded, as well as fabric and patterns and very useful items like books, diapers, music and other learning tools and toys for future use.

Anyway, Johnny has ended up becoming the handmade baby poster child! Everyday his outfits consist of new, handed down and handmade elements, most of his blankets are handmade (with love!) and I've had fun working on things for him as well.

This hat I made from some fabric my grandmother gave me. She purchased it when my dad was born if I recall correctly. Those little hospital slip-on caps don't stay on his head so I'll be making more of these soon, some with fleece or felt to prepare for the upcoming winter.

These boots are made with fabric sent from my Aunt and some cozy cotton batting. It's a bad picture but they have little doggies on them!

I bought these at the BX, but instead of buying expensive baby chucks in the color I wanted, I just dyed them green!

This blanket was made by a friend's grandma and passed onto us. The bunny was made by Johnny's Oma, who re-learned to knit just for him! (She was then inspired to hand make her Christmas gifts this year- I'm proud of you mom!)

Oma also crocheted this adorable bear hat for his first Halloween. Needless to say he wears it regularly now :) (The yarn I purchased at a flomarkt, it's hand-spun from a black sheep!)

Almost three years ago I was at the Base bazaar and my friend Beth introduced me to her impromptu friend Katie, a lot of you know her as the genius behind FatPatch. She made the most adorable frog blanket and it was the first thing I purchased from her in the hopes that I'd soon use it for a new baby... It graced my living room wall for some time but now it's being used for its appropriate purpose!

The spouses of the squadron my husband belongs to gave us this other sweet frog blanket, I'm not sure who it's made by, but thank you! I love that they give each new baby a hand made blanket :)

*There are a few more photos I wanted to share of handmade goodies, like a cute hat made by Emi and a lovely blanket made by my great Aunt, but the photo uploader just stopped working :(


I feel very blessed to have this tiny baby boy in my arms every day, and to have everyone's support and love on top of it is more than I could ask for! Xoxox!!!

Thursday, November 5

The baby boy <3

I apologize ahead of time to any of my friends who are soon-to-be mothers. This isn't the happiest birth story, although it does have a great ending :) I really feel like it'll help me to write this all down. So go ahead and continue reading if you like, but please don't feel obliged...

I want to write some beautiful poetic post on the birth of our son a few weeks ago, but I unfortunately was asleep, and my husband Chris was not even in the room. Not what was expected, but so it goes.
We had planned and prepared for a home birth and as the time approached I was getting more excited and more relaxed about it. Friday I was dilated to four centimeters but wasn't really feeling any contractions yet. Saturday morning, October 17th, my contractions started and I was feeling really well and rested. I wanted to go walk around Trier with my mum and sister a bit, but things went faster than I expected and by lunch time my water had broken.
I waited a few more hours to call our midwife, and she came around dinner time just as we were sitting down to some Chinese food (I was trying to get some food in my system but it didn't end up being much, and I threw that up almost immediately). I then spent much of the evening rolling around on Danielle's huge exercise ball in front of the fireplace in our living room. It was strangely a wonderful and relaxing time as I mentally prepared for the night ahead. I read about how you can open your throat and your cervix will follow and so I chanted "Ommmmm" in a low, deep voice over and over (which actually annoyed me quite a bit by the end of the night but I just didn't know what else to do by then, haha..) Chris and Tricia helped out greatly by massaging my lower back through each contraction and I was able to get in the tub for a while. For hours I envisioned flowers and wiggly newborns and relaxing places....

Fast forward to almost 4 a.m. The midwife had taken a bit of a nap and Tricia woke her up because it seemed that my contractions were almost 10 minutes... or numerous with no breaks in between, I honestly couldn't tell you. I had been sleeping in between them and was throwing up some more and wasn't paying attention to times. When she checked my cervix again it was.... four centimeters.... Still.

I wanted to be relaxed and just let this baby flow out of me into the world, but I started to get scared. All the meditations I know, all the visualizations, all the little things that we learned to help the baby out, none of it relaxed me enough to simply have him there in our bedroom.
The midwife recommended we go to the hospital for a little pain medicine to maybe help with relaxing. I really, really didn't want to go, in fact I told her I didn't because I was afraid of having a C-section. But in the end I felt like he wasn't coming on his own. I was sick to the point of throwing up nothing and having these long contractions that were doing nothing to help things along and I just knew he should have been there but wasn't coming. We could have waited a few more hours but I think they would have had to call an ambulance to get me downstairs and into a car. So while I was still mobile we headed to Trier. That wasn't the hospital we had been seen at for the whole pregnancy, but it's the one the midwife worked out of and I wanted to stick with her as opposed to going somewhere where I didn't really know the nurses or most of the doctors. So we made our way out there, it was about a 20 minute drive ~ but my car has heated seats :) and thankfully I didn't get sick IN the car.

Once there she administered a pain reliever which worked nicely, took the edge off anyway. I still felt everything but was much more calm about it. But then it all stopped. One contraction an hour was about how it was going. I've heard of that happening to women once they get to the hospital, it's a fight or flight reaction if they don't feel safe or comfortable. I thought it strange though because I felt okay being there with her and Chris and Tricia. It was quiet and the lights were not too bright and there were no doctors or nurses in and out, so I'm not sure what happened to stall my labor. In any case, it was stalled long enough for her to recommend pitocin, which meant an epidural (artificial contractions are more painful than natural contractions, and can cause stress on the baby so an epidural is given to help with the extra pain and to help calm the mother). I put it off by trying acupuncture and walking up and down the stairs with Chris, but I was very, very tired as well and once I settled down again they all but stopped once more. Finally, I relented. An ultrasound had shown that the baby's head was twisted in the wrong direction to descend into the birth canal and after hours and hours of changing positions, walking, dancing, rolling around on the ball, ect., he hadn't budged.

The pitocin worked, and the epidural was not so bad since it was a "walking" one and I could still move around. My contractions started up and were regular for the duration of the epidural, which eventually started to wear off and had to be re-administered. The second time was not as fun since something was blocked and I felt everything on the right side of my body by then. The entire labor at home wasn't as bad as that hour!
Still though I was only six centimetres when they checked me again. The baby was still in his stuck position, although his heart rate was fine throughout.
Finally I just realized that he wasn't moving. I had been talking to him all day, asking him to drop. Without his help my body wasn't going to open up enough to be ready for his birth. He was not too big, just in such a strange position.

Tricia and Chris trying to pass the time while I'm sleeping!

The head doctor of gynecology came in and checked things out and she was very kind. She said that he wasn't moving and that a C-section would be the last option here. I felt it really was the last option, and at that point I was worried about the loss of fluids, the artificial contractions around the baby, the drugs... I wanted him out safe and sound where we couldn't meddle with him anymore. I knew that he would have been there at 4 a.m. had it all gone well, but it hadn't and this was it.

So off we went. Chris and the midwife got scrubbed up and someone prepped me, they didn't waste any time! I was okay knowing Chris would be there, nervous but it would all be done soon I kept thinking. I'd see our squirmy baby emerge and he'd be in his dad's arms and everything would be fine soon.
I was strapped down to the table, legs and arms spread eagle, and the docs and anesthesiologist started on the numbing. The epidural wasn't working so I thought I'd be getting a spinal block. Nope. I had already had the highest dose of epidural meds so a spinal block was out of the question since it can travel up too far and cause you to stop breathing. This is the hard part for me. I had to be put under general anesthesia and Chris then had to leave the room. The midwife was still there and it was nice to have her by my side, but I was terrified nonetheless. As I was falling asleep I was sobbing and I'm sure it was a sad sight!
So thirty hours after my labor started Johnathan made it safely into the world- with both his parents sadly missing it.
The first thing I said as I woke up was, "Is the baby okay?" The man watching over me smiled and said, "Of course."

Chris holding my place as I recover- what a great dad!

In the hospital, five days old.

Finally at home!

He stretched and landed like that, haha...

I had five long days in the hospital to spend thinking about how things went, but mostly I sat with Johnny and just loved on him. I'm still quite sad about it, even though it all resulted in a lovely and healthy baby boy. I feel like a huge part of our lives is completely missing from our big picture and I would do almost anything to be able to go back and witness him being born. Many times I think that I didn't do enough, that I could have waited longer or calmed myself more. And then the rest of the time I'm able to remind myself that, regardless of what I could or couldn't do, it's done and past and the best thing I can do for Johnathan and myself is simply move on and make the most of now. :)