What to pack for the hospital

I started this post in 2013. I started a lot of things in 2013 that I still haven’t finished – but as of today…apparently this post isn’t one of them! Giddy up.

As you hoped to never recall, my hospital stay with Amelie was less than glamorous. My stay with Cade was clunky too but I had learned a lot from my first time around. Looking back, here is what I did right and would have done differently packing for the hospital.

It doesn’t hurt to start packing well over a month before your due date. You just never know when your “time” will be. I was one week early with Amelie and two weeks early with Cade. Most importantly, get that car seat in and approved by someone official NOW because it doesn’t matter what you bring TO the hospital, you will want to bring the baby home from it and you can’t do that without a car seat. If you pack anything, it must be the car seat!

For the Mommies:

I put all of my gear in a rolling suitcase. It looked excessive but it was easy for Hubs to cart around and I could keep everything all in one place.

Insurance card and ID. ‘Cuz the hospital needs these things and you don’t want to be digging through your purse full of Tums and Target receipts in between contractions.

Cellphone and charger. Smart phones are the best invention ever. You’ll want to call family, update Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Whatever, take pictures and videos and have something to do when you can’t fall asleep after those late night feedings.

Cardigan, pj pants, a nursing tank top and slippers. I’m apologizing in advance, I’ll be overly chatty in this section. Before I had Amelie, two different friends highly recommended not just comfy pants but LOOSE pants. I didn’t listen and packed my skinny yoga pants thinking to myself “you can’t get more comfy than yoga pants!”. Actually, you can. Loose fitting is key. You may have an owie c-section incision or at the very least, you’ll be super sore and tender down under. Soft, loose pants are the way to go. Tight fitting pants around a Mommy diaper is just unfair for everyone involved.

In addition, I recommend bringing a nursing tank (or two) if you plan to breast feed. Throw in some nursing pads as well to protect your tank top from the mountains of nipple cream you slather on between feeds. A cardigan is nice to throw on yet still allows easy access. I’m a slippers person so those went with as well. It doesn’t hurt to pack old underwear but most likely you’ll be chillin’ in the gauzy underwear-shorts-thingys from the hospital instead. You don’t need much but consider the different phases and what you might want for each: laboring, delivery, post delivery, going home – but also recognize you’ll probably be either in a hospital gown or in varying levels of undress for the majority of those. Also, you probably won’t be at the hospital for very long but you never know. For both births, I was at the hospital for 4-5 days, so pack extra just in case!

cade_mommy

Water bottle and snacks. A water bottle is a must. Ice water never tasted so good until after I gave birth. Usually the hospital gives you one too. It’s nice to have both actually – especially if you find yourself alone like I was when I had Cade and can’t easily pop out to fill up when you run low. As for snacks, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything before each of the the births and was pretty satisfied with the hospital food after delivery. But it’s nice to have some snacks packed for the middle of the night when you are up feeding/Facebooking/worrying about your tiny new person.

Toiletries. This is all about personal preference. Bring what you feel comfortable with, knowing you’ll be very busy, very sore and very tired. I had packed a small amount of makeup (pared down essentials like I mentioned in this post) and even though I didn’t use it every day – I did feel better when I had a little on. Things I’d recommend: toothbrush (easy to forget as you rush to the hospital!), shower cap (if you don’t want to bother washing your hair), a really good lip balm, glasses (if you typically wear contacts like me), lotion, and flip flops for the shower.

Going home outfit for baby (including hat, mittens, and blanket). This is the fun part! I thought I’d be dressing the baby up from the very beginning but it’s easier to keep them in the hospital kimono shirt until it’s time to go home. Don’t go overboard and pack a bunch of outfits, swaddles and accessories. You’ll be promised plenty of outfit changes (and laundry) soon enough… Just make sure your sweetie is warm for the car ride home and that your outfit isn’t a replica of theirs in adult size:

stripes

Breast pump. We had forgotten to bring this when I had Amelie so Hubs had to buzz home to get it. A very helpful consultant showed us how to use it and since ours was used, she gave us new replacement tubing for it as well. I was intimated by pumping (and breast feeding in general the first time around) so this was really helpful for me.

Laptop and power cord. Is this necessary, especially since you probably have a smart phone? Nah. But I’m a geek and I like having my computer. It came in handy for the birth announcement, blogging, Facebook and email. You’ll be getting a lot of warm wishes and sometimes it’s nice to have a full sized keyboard to use for responding.

A list! While I was pregnant with Cade, I made a list of things to pack that I couldn’t do ahead of time like my toothbrush and phone. When I went into labor, I went right down the list and it made the last minute packing/prepping/panicking go much smoother. And if labor is really gnarly, your partner can pack these things for you!

For the Daddies/partners:

Unlike me, Hubs did not pack ahead of time. It doesn’t take him very long to do so but I still would recommend having a bag packed. There is a lot to get ready besides packing up the car, like taking out the trash and tidying up. Why not make this very exciting day a little easier on yourself by packing in advance?

Camera (charged and ready), USB cord, and extra battery. YOU WILL WANT TO TAKE A BILLION PICTURES so don’t be an idiot and bring a half-charged camera to the hospital. Pack it now!

Laptop and charger Again with the geekry. Hubs doesn’t leave home without it. When I was in labor with Cade, it took 7 hours after I received the epidural before I started pushing so Hubs actually worked from the hospital. Might as well! If you can’t work, it’d be nice to pop in a movie or something to pass the time.

Pillow/blanket. Hospital beds are not all that comfy but the little cot/couches that the partners sleep on are much worse! A pillow and a blanket will help you get better rest. Not good rest probably, but better. Good rest is a thing of the past once you have a baby.

Toiletries. A toothbrush is a good idea for Dads too! Who knew?

Snacks & water bottle. Your food may or may not be covered by insurance so I’d pack some goodies to help get you by. Be considerate of your partner and eat somewhere else if she’s not allowed anything while in labor.

Comfortable clothes. This is obvious but Hubs didn’t anticipate us staying as long as we did when I had Amelie and he ran out of underwear! Overpacking a little doesn’t hurt.

Anything I’ve forgotten or that you found helpful that I didn’t mention? I’m curious to see what others couldn’t have gone without.

And boom, just like that, this post is over.

 

My Amelie

It’s been a little while since the last My Amelie post, I figured I was due. I can barely remember week to week so I need to take the time to write things down.

AGE: 25 months. A two year old. With opinions.

We had family pictures taken recently. I spent my very valuable free time hunting for an outfit for Amelie. I scored one for 40% off but she flat out refused to wear any of it! Not a single thing: the dress, the jean vest or the shoes. It’s all being returned. Instead, I had to dig through Amelie’s old clothes and pull something together last minute. On the plus side, I saved myself over $50?

Although Amelie was mostly uncooperative during the session, our photographer managed to get a cute picture of us together:

mommy_amelie

Speaking of clothes, my MIL mentioned she used to take the tags off of any new items and sneak them into Hub’s drawers so he could get used to them being there first. I’ve been doing something similar. And if I make any remark while getting her dressed (which I try not to), I only comment on functionality, like “Brrrr, it’s chilly outside! Well, I guess we need a shirt today, huh? You don’t want to be cold, do you?” It’s been only recently that she has opinions about what she wears. I didn’t know it would start this young!

Play: Amelie is still quite the little Mommy. She doesn’t bother much with Cade besides bringing him his nuk. But, she spends a lot of time taking care of her babies and having Daddy take care of them too. Diaper changes, suctioning their nose, wiping their poopies, swaddling, feeding and rocking them.

Here she is, feeding “Ducky”.

She even cups the back of their head when she lays them down, just like I do with Cade. She’s watching me closer than I realize.

 Tantrums? I’m lucky, Amelie doesn’t tantrum. She does throw little fits, usually crying and asking for her sleepsack and nuk but no flailing on the floor and howling episodes…yet. She’s been seriously crabby though. Everything frustrates her. A crabby toddler makes for a crabby Mommy. :(

On a related note, she’s been more disagreeable lately. If I ask her a question, she used to respond with a considerate yes or no but recently she’s been flip flopping. I’ll ask her to get her shoes on and first she’ll want the gold shoes and then no, not the gold but her purple shoes instead and then she’ll insist – INSIST- gold again. It can be very tiring. She is fairly obedient for a toddler but this game drives me crazy.

Verbal: Each day, I’m amazed by the small sentences she’s stringing together. “Silly Mama!” “Night night, Natalie” (her baby doll) “I walk” (when she doesn’t want to be carried) “I watch TV” (I let her watch TV when I feed Cade or when she’s feeling under the weather…we’ve been doing a lot of TV watching lately) “Help Mama!” (if she needs assistance). She says something new hourly it seems and it’s so cute! I love talking with her. She can count to three and knows A-B-C (and which letters are which). She attempts the rest of the alphabet but it gets kinda messy before and after “LMNOP”.

Quote: “Amelie, are you sleepy?” “No, I happy!”  😀

Sleeping: Ugh. She has never been a great sleeper. February was a rough month with croup, the flu and hives. And since then, her cough has never gone away. She’s up most nights coughing, with new cold piled on top of the old cold. It’s been really hard on all of us. We’ll be up three times for Amelie and then Cade will wake at 5am-ish for his first feeding. It’s been a long two weeks. Actually, it’s been a long few months! Thank goodness for the Nose Frida thingy – best/grossest purchase ever…

Naps: She’s still napping late in the day. I’d like to move it up but for now it’s 2ish to 5ish. We wake her at 5.15pm if she’s not up yet. Her naps have been all over the place since she’s been sick.

Mommy stuff: She’s been showing preference to Daddy still. She’s fine when Daddy’s gone but the moment he’s home, she doesn’t want much to do with me. It can get me really down. I’m exhausted and therefore feeling especially vulnerable to moments like this.  I’m struggling to balance both Cade and her – making sure they get the attention they need. But I’m only one person and usually they need me simultaneously. It’s hard work!

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there in the world!

I woke up to this pretty view…just like last year.

It’s my first Mother’s Day with this little guy…

I mean, come on! He is so cute!

We were supposed to have family pictures taken but the photo shoot got rained out – a total bummer considering how much effort it took to get everyone ready at the same time! It was probably best because homegirl was in a mood and was only willing to take a picture with Daddy (and SleepSack and Puppy)…

I’m planning to bribe her with marshmallows to get a picture with me…

Update. I was able to coerce Amelie into getting a picture with me using marshmallow bribery. This is what we ended up with.

Be sure to celebrate all of the Moms in your life today and everyday. <3

Mother’s Days of yore: 2013, 2014

Dinosaur Party!

Amelie’s 2nd birthday party was Dinomite!

The reason I’m sharing the details? I want to remember. Most likely Amelie won’t so this will be a nice way for us to look back on how we celebrated her. <3

I was going for a blush, gold, white and gray (of course) theme. I’ll be sad when I’m not in charge of the theme and Amelie wants Dora everything. Until then, Mommy calls the shots!

My first project: transform these plastic dinosaurs into a pretty, pretty gold. It took me a long time. I made them into a cute dinosaur banner: The decorations continued. Poofs for over the table:

It’s hard to tell but the gray is actually gray and white polka dot. It’s so adorable in person and a fun way to mix in some pattern.

Fringe garlands. I love these, I think I’ll make them every year!

They are putzy but cheap and easy to make. I couldn’t help but add a mini fringe to our hutch too…

Rawr!

To serve as a distraction from our gross countertops:

Cupcakes topped with white chocolate dinosaurs and edible glitter.

A glittery shout out to The Birthday Girl: The outside got some fancying too with dinosaur tracks and a birthday message! Except the rain washed them away by the time the party started. Phooey. BUT. DINOSAUR SHIRTS HAPPENED. They were an Etsy splurge. My littlest dino: I’m new to this kid-birthday-party-throwing-business but I tried to think of a few activities to keep busy toddlers, well, busy. Half of the kids were into them, half of them couldn’t have cared less. Amelie was mostly planted in the second camp.

The first was a Build Your Own Stegosaurus station. You could do this project a million different ways but I tried to keep it simple. Although looking at this picture makes it seem otherwise… I cut out all of the pieces beforehand to save time and to avoid a Toddler with Scissors Scenario. Also, an excuse to use washi tape! *claps* Everything was ready for them to piece together their very own menacing Stegosaurus! Best of all, I had all of the supplies already on hand. Attention spans were a little short for this craft so the moms ended up finishing them. Nonetheless, I hope the kids enjoyed taking home something that they made. Amelie and I made ours ahead of time and she loves playing with her paper dinosaur!

The second was a Dinosaur Tattoo station.

Amelie chose a Brontosaurus for both hands. Then she added more later that evening.  Cade got tatted too.   The last station was out on our deck. A Fossil Dig! I made the fossils out of salt dough. Super easy (although they took forever to bake). Each “archaeologist” was allowed to bring home two foot prints, a dinosaur skull and a mini T Rex in their own fossil bag: Unfortunately, it was raining out so the fossil dig was a little soggy. Most of the kids didn’t much care about finding the fossils but enjoying digging in the sand.

Speaking of bags, I put together treat bags for the kids too: Up close because I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to use googly eyes. It was supposed to be a T-rex but kinda looks like a lizard. I figured two year olds won’t judge my dinosaur free-handing.

This one was for “Ameliesaurus” Here’s what went inside: Dinosaur tattoos and dinosaur stamps (both from Amazon) and the dinosaur crayons I made tucked into a golden “dinosaur” egg. Normally I would not have bought each child a stuffie, but these were 50% off in the after Easter sales AND there were exactly five of them. It was too perfect. That’s the advantage of having a small party. Thanks to my MIL for finding these!

Lastly, coordinating Thank You cards for any gifts Amelie received. 

It was so fun to plan and craft and decorate. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves, especially the birthday girl.

I love you, Amelie. Rawr.

For the memories: Amelie’s first birthday

Friday Tidbits

Sorry to inundate you with more Easter related things but since it was such a fun day, I couldn’t help but share a few more pics. Indulge me?

Amelie got sunnies in her Easter basket and put them on all by herself. Bunny noses too!

Amelie thoroughly enjoyed the Easter egg hunt.

I loved every minute of it too. It was so adorable!

In other random Easter news, bunny socks happened.

And now Spring is officially in full swing

so Amelie did some “planting”:

Let’s hope it sprouts!

Lastly, I scored this adorable ceramic bunny on Easter clearance. Do you think my washi tape collection has gotten out of hand?

I don’t think so either. The more rolls the better, I say!

Happy Friday! Tomorrow, Amelie turns TWO!!!

And then there were four

Most likely you’re haunted by the uncomfortable pictures from this post, describing my hospital stay after giving birth to Amelie. Although somewhat similar, it’s only fair to share my stay with Cade too. This story promises to be less gory and far less detailed; partly because you probably don’t have much time to waste but mostly because I can hardly remember anything about it.

As you may recall, I was in the hospital almost 24 hours before actually giving birth to Cade. After his birth, there wasn’t time for lingering and celebrating. The nurses worked on cleaning Cade, the doctor sewed my tear and Hubs packed up all of our things so we could be transferred out of Labor and Delivery and into a recovery room. My epidural was already wearing off and I was able to walk – with caution – to the restroom. Then they put Cade in my arms (along with that amazing turkey sandwich) and wheeled me to my new room while Hubs followed with our gear. I kinda felt like a celebrity!

That night, surprisingly, was fairly unremarkable. With the nurses help, Cade would wake to feed every few hours and then go back to sleep. Considering Amelie screamed all night long the first night of her life, this was a very pleasant surprise. Hubs slept near by and I slept in between feeds.

My hemorrhoid did not sleep, however. It was very angry. Oh so angry!

It’s still angry sometimes.

Thursday morning came and I couldn’t wait to order breakfast. I ordered Cream of Wheat of all things, just like I did when I had Amelie. Unfortunately my MIL had to work so Hubs went home to relieve her of babysitting duties, leaving Cade and I alone.

Just the two of us.

That’s how it was for the rest of our hospital stay. Turns out, the stay was longer than expected.

Cade was born with a mysteriously low platelet count. The doctors first noticed there was something amiss because he had tiny bruises all over his body. It was terrifying to see his little foot prick still bleeding a few hours later when the nurses removed his bandaid. One night, I had given him my finger to suck on to see if I could coax him to sleep. The next day, the roof of his mouth was black and blue. Because of his peculiarly low platelet count, the doctors wanted us to stay so they could monitor him. My MIL had already booked her flight to MN so Hubs and I had to split duties: him with Amelie and me with Cade.

I spent those days fretting and snuggling.

Hospital stays are busy, busy, busy. I don’t like the commotion. I wanted to take my sweetie away from the blood draws, the checkups and the prodding. I missed Hubs. I missed Amelie. I wanted to go home.

But as each day set, his platelet count got stronger. He was going to be ok.

Finally we were clear to discharge on Sunday morning. It had been a long week for all of us. We were so thankful to be home and together…as a family of four.

I must admit, I was very fearful of his birth and how I would be able to handle it all. Realizing Hubs would not be able to help me at the hospital only worried me more. But sometimes you don’t realize how much leaning you’re doing until you don’t have someone to lean on. As each day passed, I was reminded that I can stand on my own. I can learn. I can do this. I only had one job: to fall in love with Cade. So that’s what I did.

That’s Cade’s story. Scary and sweet. Clunky yet empowering. I wish I had taken more pictures but you can only do so much with a burning hemorrhoid hotdog between your buns, you know?

You don’t?

Happy Easter!

I’m so excited for Easter especially now that Amelie is a little older. She’s at such a fun age. I put together a basket for her and of course it’s all things bunny for my Bunny. Target dollar section is always on point!

I couldn’t help but test out the bunny ears a little early (she loved them)…

I may have also bought bunny ear barrettes too. Because I had to.

We also decorated the house with a few Easter crafts:

And the outside too:

Cupcakes also happened:

And little Cade seems to be enjoying his first Easter as well:

Hoppy Easter, everyone!

Home Sweat Home: Playroom

Over a year ago, we put up a wall between our main level and our lower level den. Even though the handy man was super hesitant, I still don’t regret it. A while after that, I finally painted it

And then it sat like this for forever, acting as a catch all for anything that didn’t belong. It drove me crazy but the annoyance obviously didn’t stir up enough motivation to change it.

This summer, we attended a birthday party at a house that has the exact same layout as ours. And the SuperMom Neighbor created the most heavenly play place down here in her home! She actually dedicated the entire den to Toddler Awesome. It served as plenty of inspiration for me so we have been – albeit very slowly – trying to create a play place for Amelie. Here is where we are at currently:

We scored a used play kitchen for Amelie. I love it so. It was dirty but Amelie and I scrubbed it until it sparkled! We purchased a rug from Land Of Nod for way too much money and I wish it were white, not cream. Ah, well. The table and chairs are from consignment that I plan to makeover one day. Maybe yellow? I plan to do a lot of things “one day”…

Just recently, we picked up two STUVAs from Ikea. They are actually intended as wall cabinets but I liked that their depth was almost the same as the play kitchen. I need to purchase legs so they stand up taller. Although I wanted a lot of storage to stash toys, I’m debating on moving one out (or putting it on the wall) because I think two looks weird. I think they’d look better on either side of the crawl space door but those spaces are too small and not symmetrical. Darn!

I do love the lantern cluster though. I scored most of them on clearance. The mint one was originally lime green so I painted it with my Martha Stewart craft paint in Beach Glass, which I had purchased for this Christmas craft fail. I knew it’d come in handy someday!

Originally I wasn’t going to post these pictures because the lighting is so crappy but I decided to anyway because that’s an issue that needs resolving…we need light down here! I’d love to scrape the horrible popcorn ceiling (one day, but not anytime soon) and put in recessed lights and maybe a chandelier.

Amelie hasn’t spent much time here yet, but she ventures down more often each week.

I’m hoping as she gets older, she’ll be able to keep herself busy for longer periods of time and that this playroom will evolve into a fun and creative place for her – and eventually Cade. Although that kid pukes on anything remotely near him so I keep him far away from this over-priced rug!

What you can’t see is all of the toy organizing I’ve been doing lately. It sneaks up on you, I swear. You’re zooming along in Toddlerdom and all of a sudden you start collecting literally anything that will hold her attention for a few moments. I’ve grabbed a bunch of assorted sized bins and now most of her toys have a home. Just like anything, but especially since littles change so fast, her toy collection needs constant attention and pruning.

I’m dreaming of big cork board loaded with art (made by my Amelie, of course!) and I have grand plans for a dollhouse, teepee, art and craft station, a pretend school and much more! The only thing lacking is execution. And money. And talent. And time.

It’s a start though?

 

Friday Tidbits

Amelie is quickly approaching the big TWO! Two years old. Such a big girl!

Last year, I put together a (subpar) “pink theme” and this year…a (possibly also subpar) dinosaur birthday party is in the works! I’ve been working on decorations and gift bags – trying to do as much ahead of time as I can. And because it’s fun!

Remember my craft bin?

If you look closely, you may spy a big bag of crayons. As it turns out, they are broken crayons. Broken crayons are sad but it comes with toddler territory.

I bought these adorable dinosaur molds from Amazon to bring new life into those broken pieces. Behold, mini-dinosaur crayons!

Didn’t they turned out cute? And I was able to recycle lots of random crayon bits – weeee! I bought big gold Easter eggs (aka, “dinosaur eggs”) to tuck the crayons into for the treat bags. I’ll be sharing more as the party planning progresses…if you care?

Until then, happy Friday from us!