Meet April. She’s the sweetest gal you’ll ever meet (it’s impossible to dislike her), she is a fantastic friend and mother, and she has a charming blog Blessed Beyond Measure. I met April in 2006 when I landed my first teaching job, and even though I moved and switched schools, we’ve kept in close contact for a number of years now. April is pregnant with baby # 2 (a girl!) so while David and I are on vacation, I asked her to come up with a baby #2 wishlist to share with all of you. Check out her picks below!
Preparing for a second baby has been completely different for me than preparing for the first. While (naturally) I had complete confidence in my parenting abilities before becoming a parent, now that I know how tough being a mama to even one child can be, I’m looking for anything that will make life a little more manageable when I’m a mama of two, particularly in the early postpartum (and likely post C-section) stage. Here are a few of the products on our registry that I hope will do just that:
1. Itzbeen Pocket Nanny Timer: When our son, Samuel, was a few months old, my husband designed a computer program we could use to keep track of our son’s sleeping and eating habits. It was color coded and detailed and exactly what I needed as a Type A mama. I religiously filled in what we did every hour of the day. It was awesome. I’m realizing, though, that I won’t have that kind of time this time around. The Itzbeen Pocket Nanny Timer has multiple timers that help you keep track of naps, feedings, medications, etc. with the touch of a button, and is great for middle of the night feedings. It may not be a need, but I can see it making our lives a lot easier.
2. Nursing scarves: I love the new nursing scarf trend. Rather than keeping a nursing cover in my diaper bag, I can turn an accessory I’m already wearing into a nursing cover on the spot. Nursing comfortably in public will be important since my schedule will not only revolve around a newborn but also a toddler who will get stir crazy if he’s home all day.
3. Marpac Dohm: We already use this white noise machine with Samuel (Rachel talks about it here, too), and we love it. Unlike other popular sound machines, it stays on all night long and is pure white noise. It has worked like a charm for us, so we plan to purchase another so we can have one in each child’s room.
4. Halo swaddle & sleep sacks: These were the only swaddlers we used at night with Samuel and they kept him swaddled all night like a charm. We love sleep, therefore we love swaddlers.
5. Trend Lab storage caddy: This fabric diaper caddy with pockets will be ideal for baby #2. It has plenty of room for cloth diapers, wipes, wipe solution, a changing pad, and rash cream, which is great since we’ll have two kids in diapers. With its big handles, Samuel can help pick it up and bring it to me, and I love how versatile this caddy will be when we no longer need it for diapers.
6. Tommee Tippee feeding bibs: We didn’t have these with Samuel, and he ended up with yeasty rashes in his neck crevices (plural) off and on for the first few months of his life. These Tommee Tippee bibs are designed to absorb moisture from milk and teething drool to prevent rashes.
7. BOB Revolution Duallie stroller: Before settling on the Bob Revolution Duallie, I did a lot of stroller research and borrowed a neighbor’s for a week to see if it was a good fit for us. Samuel is big enough that he needs the leg room provided in a side by side structure, and while I have been very happy with our current stroller, the BOB double stroller is actually easier to push (especially over rough surfaces) than my single! These are pricey strollers for sure, but we found ours used and saved
My friend Megan and I went to high school together, and we have quite a few things in common. We are both into cloth diapering, eco-friendly living and products, and we both love a good book. Megan is way cooler than I am, though: she does yoga, can rock a sock bun, and cooks real meals way more often that I do.
Ironically we weren’t great friends in high school. It’s not that we weren’t friends at all, but we weren’t close friends or in the same posse. When I became pregnant, Megan reached out to me and now we stay in pretty close contact. She’s one of my “go to” people for everything mommy related, as she has the most adorable 2 1/2 year old (Jack) and 3 month old (Molly).
Megan recently emailed me to get some “baby sleeping” advice–Oh, how the tables have turned! 9 months ago I’m sure I was emailing her the same questions. We then decided her experience could be turned into a blog post and ultimately this guest post was born.
Tonight I caught myself in a funny position…literally. In a desperate move to get my 3 month old to sleep (somewhere that wasn’t on me), I could be found on my tippiest tip toes, bending over a co-sleeper, boob out, mapping out the easiest way to get my daughter to latch without falling on top of her…all this while patting her butt and shhhushing. The only thing that went through my mind during that moment? “Damn, I’m getting a super intense calf workout right now”. I then came to the conclusion that I am the most bad ass multi-tasker ever. Oh, the late night thoughts of the sleep deprived mama.
Baby sleep… a very stressful part of being a new parent. Very stressful for me because I like to sleep and so does my husband and we’re both animals on little sleep. I have read all the books. (I’m a knowledge seeker when I’m stressed out about something) I devoured Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, stayed up way too late one night reading Dr Sears The Baby Book, and sped through The Baby Whisperer. I have perused the interwebs and mom boards, and sent desperate emails to my mom friends. I know you’re with me here ladies!
So what did I learn after all the research?
I’ve written a little about Diana before, and I asked her to share her experience/perspective about something that created a visible wedge between our friendship: my miscarriage (written about here and here and specifically in reference to Diana here). Want more of Diana? Visit her blog, Losing It where she writes about weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle after pregnancy.
On a Sunday in January of 2012, I found out I was pregnant. The next day, I told only my family and one very dear friend, Rachel. I will never forget our conversation. I sat down in her classroom before school started and I said, “So, I am pregnant.” She responded with a “Shut-up!” It was an awesome BFF moment. All throughout the day via email, and later that night over text, she asked me a variety of questions. Actually, she asked me A LOT of questions, things like “How are you feeling?” to “How dark was the line on the pregnancy test?” I just assumed she was curious.
The next day at school, Rachel came into my room and shut the door. I didn’t think anything of it: we do stuff like that all the time. She handed me a card, which I assumed was a written congrats. Rachel is a generous and thoughtful friend, and one of her trademarks is surprise gifting and affirmations. I read the card quickly and looked up at her. Then I said, “Wait!” I read it again. The card was not from Rachel; it was from Baby B. My own personal joy of being pregnant had just been amplified. My best friend was pregnant, too! She energetically pulled out multiple pregnancy tests from her purse and showed me each one. She told me that she found out she was pregnant on the exact same day that I found out I was. Suddenly, all of the questions from the day before made sense. I had never felt so connected to a friend. I already had so much in common with Rachel, but we were about to experience the most amazing time in our lives, together.
Rewind just a bit. I typically am difficult to get to know. I would imagine that my first impression can sometimes be read as stuck-up, standoffish, and distant. I don’t always do well during social situations and I don’t open up for a long time to people. So, you can imagine my surprise when I first met Rachel and I immediately knew we would be friends. We have joked about how we are seriously like friend soul-mates and that we were meant to meet each other by working at CHS. Another coworker actually bought us a paper gift for our first friend-iversary.
Rachel started trying to get pregnant around the same time that I started trying. This was not some weird pregnancy pact thing, although multiple students have asked me if it was. We just happened to be in similar places in our lives. (We each got married in June of 2009.) We spoke a lot about how exciting the prospect of becoming pregnant was, and we shared concerns that it seemed to be taking longer than either of us thought it would. One day at lunch, I remember Rachel saying, “I hope that no matter what, we can be happy for each other.” I never felt like it was a competition or a race to become pregnant, but I did wonder how I would feel if she got pregnant first, or vice-versa.
Over the next two weeks, Rachel and I exchanged emails throughout the day guessing at each other’s due dates and speculating on the size of our tiny babies. We talked about birth plans, names, worries, maternity leaves, etc. It was so nice to be able to talk about it with her because I was keeping it a secret from everyone else until it was appropriate to share.
One day during the last block of the day, Rachel came to my room. She asked to talk to me, so I went out into the hallway and shut the door. She told me that she had spoken to her OBGYN office, and they asked that she go to the hospital for some tests. She was fighting back tears, and I could tell that she was trying very hard to not jump to any conclusions. I did not want her to drive herself, so I insisted that I drive her home so she could leave for the hospital with her husband. I had a team teacher in the room with me during that class, so I told her I was leaving and we got in the car. It was an icy day. The roads were not clean and it was snowing. I don’t remember exactly what Rachel and I talked about in the fifteen minute car ride, but I do know that I was trying to stay hopeful for Rachel. Like Rachel, I had been pouring over pregnancy articles, blogs, and books from the moment I started trying to become pregnant. She had shared her symptoms with me, and the word we avoided saying out loud was bouncing around in my mind. I was very scared for her.
Later that night, Rachel called
me. She did not have any results back, but she told me a few details from being at the hospital. While we were on the phone, her doctor called her, so we hung up. A while later, Rachel sent me a text telling me that the worst had happened: she was miscarrying. I don’t remember how I responded, I just remember feeling so sad for my friend. I do remember suggesting that she take some time off, but she told me that she needed to move on and live as normal, and I knew in that moment that she was incredibly brave.
The next day at work, I knew that something had shifted. I did not know how to act around Rachel. She was visibly drained. She was broken. I was the only one at work that knew what she was going through, but I also knew that I was probably the last person she wanted to be around. I couldn’t help but feel like the enemy. I was pregnant, and she was not. I decided it would be best to give Rachel space. I felt so conflicted. I argued with myself. I thought, maybe I should do something for her. I should pamper her. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that just my presence pained her somehow. I tried to consider how I would feel. If she did have any negative feelings towards me, I completely understood. I read the signs as best I could and I tried to give Rachel space while letting her know I was there when she was ready. This strange friendship limbo went on for awhile. People at work started to notice. After I announced my own pregnancy, a coworker actually approached me and guessed the entire situation. She somehow knew just by our actions that Rachel had experienced a miscarriage. I, of course, did not share Rachel’s story, but I dismissed the claim. Women know.
It felt very strange to be so happy for myself and so very sad for my friend at the same time. Although I was not mourning the loss of my pregnancy, I was mourning for a friend, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was mourning the loss of our friendship. The overwhelming emotion during this time was guilt. When it was safe for me to announce my own pregnancy, I felt guilty that I did. I wanted to be happy for myself. I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted to do all of the things I planned on doing as I waited to become pregnant. I told myself that I couldn’t continue to compare Rachel’s situation to mine and I needed to enjoy the experience I was having. Every time I did though, I felt like the most selfish person alive. I convinced myself that I would also suffer a miscarriage. In a weird way, I felt like I almost deserved it. At one point, my husband confronted me and told me that I was never going to experience being pregnant for the first time again, so I had to stop analyzing everything as though I had had a miscarriage. I knew that I had to just try to separate our two situations.
I eventually had distanced myself so far from Rachel that she confronted me. “It seemed like you stopped being my friend.” I was so afraid of hurting her that I actually did. I continued to hope that after some time, Rachel and I would be able to be as close as we were before. It was through honesty and a few letters that we were able to express to each other how we each felt about the situation. As time went on, things started to feel more and more normal between us. When Rachel found out that she was pregnant with Porter, I was overjoyed. I know that she was very worried and did not have the easiest pregnancy, but I felt so happy that she was going to become a mother, and that we would still get to go through the process together.
Now, Rachel and I talk daily about the joys and struggles of being new mothers. Rachel and I get our babies together as often as we can. Porter is the most amazing little man. He has beautiful skin and eyes, just like his momma. She is Auntie Rachel in our house. Although our friendship has mended, that difficult time has not been erased. Whenever I share something with Rachel about McKenna, I worry that I might be reminding her of what she went through. If Rachel did not experience a miscarriage, our babies would be exactly the same age. I can say that Rachel and I are now very honest with each other, and we are able to share these thoughts instead of letting them stew.
I can’t say that any of my other friendships have been through something like this. I am forever thankful that I met Rachel. I am a better teacher, friend, and person than I would be never having met her. She challenges me. She gets me. She is my sister, a supporter, and an incredible friend. Most of all, she is an amazing mother to Porter. I have a lot of regret from how I handled myself during this complicated situation, but I know that Rachel forgives me. That is what sisters do.
Also, don’t forget to enter my first giveaway! You have until August 3 to enter and you have three chances to win!