Co-sleeping with two: DockAtot

I had some people ask if we were co-sleeping with Marlow and if Maddox was still in our bed as well. The answer is yes and yes! And here’s how co-sleeping is different with two kids!

Co-Sleeping with Maddox was easy. We have a king size bed and there was more than enough room for us all to safely spread out and give Maddox the room he needed. Since Maddox still sleeps in bed with us, we knew we needed to have a plan in place for when Marlow came.

My plan was to have as many options as possible and figure out what worked best for us when she got here. I figured she’d sleep in bed with us like Maddox did, but just in case we needed options! We started by building a separate co-sleeper that attached to our bed. I’ll be doing a separate post about this later. We then bought a DockAtot to go in the co-sleeper.  We use this in the wooden co-sleeper (instead of a typical crib mattress) as well as on the bed with us. With Maddox still in the bed, we wanted something that we could put in the bed that had a raised edge on it for extra protection. The DockATot is a multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock you can take anywhere. We looked at lots of other moveable “bed” type things, and this one seemed perfect for our needs. The fact that I can easily move it from the co-sleeper to our bed has made it worth every penny! It’s super comfy and Marlow loves it! Check out the pictures above of Marlow and her DockAtot.

One other thing we took into consideration was sleeping position. Our bed is pushed up against the wall so only one side is open. Marlow sleeps on the outside protected by the DockAtot and the co-sleeper, then I sleep next to her, and then Maddox and Josh trade between who sleeps closest to the wall. This way I can be a barrier between Maddox and Marlow, I have easy access to the co-sleeper, and I can easily nurse her throughout the night as needed. Here’s a few more pictures of how we co-sleep!

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Lorena Canals Rugs

 

image2-2So I literally DO NOT buy rugs!

I love rugs, but with 5 dogs, a 2 1/2 year old, and one more on the way I had accepted the fact that rugs were the enemy! The one time I bought a rug, I swear my dogs had a race to see who could pee on it first and Maddox did his best to spill every possible drink, food, paint, you name it, on said rug. I can only spot clean so many things, and having rugs cleaned that often costs a fortune, so eventually I threw it away.

Then one day the rug fairies send me Lorena Canals Rugs!! First of all, their rugs are adorable! But most importantly they are MACHINE WASHABLE and they actually hold up in the wash! I kid you not. I got my new rug, waited for it to get dirty (I think it took 2 days) and poof, right in the washer it went! It came out looking exactly the same (but clean, of course).

Since Maddox still co-sleeps and Marlow will be co-sleeping there was really no need for separate bedrooms. We decided a shared bedroom for storing clothes and a shared playroom were better. So I wanted a rug that was gender neutral. When I saw this one with a boy and girl on it, I had to have it! Cute side note: When I first put the rug down he said “Look that’s Maddox, a heart, and Marlow.”

So I just had to share this rug from a great company that understands the needs of all the moms (and dads) out there who want good design in a rug they can enjoy using!

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Maddox’s Birth Story

With Marlow’s arrival getting closer and closer, many people have asked about Maddox’s delivery. Like most people, I remember it as a complete whirlwind, but here’s what I remember!

Maddox was born at 1:42 am on September 26, 2013. His due date was September 21st . That Tuesday, the 24th I went into my doctor’s office, concerned I hadn’t felt Maddox move all day. After an ultrasound and fetal heart check they determined everything was fine but he was basically out of room. Under the doctor’s advice (not my midwife) we checked into Northside Hospital that night to try to start the delivery process. Around 9pm I was given Cervidil to soften my cervix, because I wasn’t dilated or contracting (Maddox clearly wasn’t ready to make his entrance!) That night in the hospital was the worst. I couldn’t get comfortable, the nurses came to check on me every few hours, and I hardly slept at all (if any).

By the next morning, I had started to dilate and was having small, consistent contractions. My original goal had been to have a natural, drug-free delivery. After discussing everything with my midwife, we decided against Pitocin and instead to do everything possible to increase contractions naturally. This included constant walking/movement, lying in certain positions, sitting on an exercise ball, and other medical but non-drug alternatives. (Feel free to ask questions if you want more specifics).

Luckily, all our efforts worked and I progressed slowly throughout the day! Unfortunately, due to all our efforts, lack of sleep, and intense back labor I was exhausted! I tried different positions, taking a hot shower, laying in the bathtub, and various breathing/massage techniques to cope. But eventually I decided to change my original drug-free plan and get a “walking epidural.” That was the best decision for me! It allowed me to sleep for about 3 hours. When I woke up I felt rested, but by that time I was in full-blown labor! The epidural had worn off, and I had the intense urge to push! Around 11pm I couldn’t take the back labor anymore, and I told the nurse to call in my midwife. The labor pain was unlike anything I ever expected. I had expected labor pain to be intense contractions around my stomach/diaphragm that would come and go, but that wasn’t the case at all. All my pain was concentrated in my back. It was intense, constant shooting pain and pressure that felt like I was being ripped open from the inside out. There was never any relief or moments to catch my breath as I had assumed I would have in between contractions.

When my midwife came in around 11:30, I started to push. Maddox hadn’t progressed far enough down, and I still wasn’t completely dilated yet, but the uncontrollable urge to push took over. With my mom and Josh each holding a leg, I started pushing (against my midwife’s advice to wait a little longer). After over two hours of actual pushing, repeating many times “This isn’t going to happen… He’s stuck… This isn’t working… and… I can’t do this” they finally saw the top of Maddox’s head! At that point I leaned back on the bed and said “SO PULL HIM OUT! GRAB HIS HEAD AND JUST PULL HIM OUT!” I’m pretty sure everyone in the room laughed as my midwife explained that it wouldn’t work like that…I wasn’t done. Soon after they convinced me to keep pushing, and a few minutes later Maddox was born! He came out calm and serene with eyes wide open! He didn’t make a sound (which scared the hell out of me) and I swear he looked right at us! Maddox weighted 9lbs 1.2oz and was 21in long. He also had a head full of fiery red hair!

We were very lucky, having had no complications, and Maddox’s heart rate stayed steady and calm through the entire delivery! The pain was unlike anything I ever imagined, but I had an overall feeling of surreal calmness throughout the delivery. I was surrounded by extremely supportive, loving family, had an incredible midwife and I couldn’t have done it without them! Did I follow my original “birth plan”? Not exactly. Do I wish I had gotten an epidural for the actual delivery? Maybe a little, but I’m happy with all the decisions I made at the time! Mostly importantly, I’m glad Maddox was happy and healthy!

So my birth advice. Make a birth plan if you like, but don’t be disappointed if things don’t go according to plan. Listen to your midwife/doctor. Accept support from those around you. And look forward to your own happy outcome! Every birth is different, so we’ll see how it all goes with Marlow!

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“It’s a girl!” and I almost cried.

So I have to admit… when I initially found out we were having a girl my chest tightened, and I almost cried. After we left the ultrasound we went straight to Target, and as we were walking around the baby girls clothes section, I almost broke down in tears. I was surrounded by all the super girly things I hate… bright pink, huge bows, ruffles, and princess everything!

It seemed like it was about the clothes, but I knew it actually wasn’t. When I found out we were having a girl, I immediately felt an enormous amount of pressure! Pressure to make her confident, self-sufficient, independent, and strong. Pressure to make her comfortable with who she is. Pressure to make her stand up for herself! Pressure to make her stand up to boys. Pressure to make her happy. I don’t know why, but these were things that didn’t cross my mind when I had Maddox.

It’s always the joke that the women in my family are all stubborn, strong-willed, independent, and self-sufficient. We stand up for ourselves, we can change our own tires, we all have our own tools and can build/put together things we need. I instantly knew this was how I wanted Marlow to be, but I hadn’t the slightest idea how to do it. That pressure to help her become a strong woman was overwhelming. I saw all these uber feminine clothes and princess items as things that would prevent me from raising Marlow the way I wanted to. I have no idea why these things symbolized weakness at that moment because there’s nothing wrong with any of it, but it did. I mean hell, my mom loved everything pink and frilly as a child, but she grew up to be a dominant, strong-willed, hard working, feminist, lesbian! Haha ;-P

Josh could tell I was upset! He looked right at me, showing no sympathy, and said “Kira, this is our kid! We don’t have to do any of that stuff!” And that was all I needed to hear! It all clicked. This is my baby girl! I can raise her the way I want to! Then, of course, I started crying tears of excitement (and a little guilt that I had been so disappointed at first). So I have no idea what kind of woman Marlow Marie will become or if she’ll like pink, frilly dresses, want to wear all Nike, or a combination of both. However, I realize none of that matters. My focus will be on the type of person she becomes. While there are certain traits I hope she has, if she doesn’t, that’s ok too. She’s my baby girl, I’ll love her no matter what, and I’ll do everything I can to help guide her into the person she’s meant to be.

When I realized it wasn’t about the clothes, it was about the pressure I felt to raise a strong woman, I had lots of fun shopping for “girly” things! ;-P

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Nursing Friendly Clothing

I learned the hard way, after having Maddox, that most of my clothing is not “nursing friendly.” I also realized I didn’t fit back into my normal clothes (duh) for months but my maternity clothes didn’t fit right either. I had to waste money on all these “in between” outfits. So when I got pregnant with Marlow I knew I only wanted to get nursing friendly clothing that I could wear during and after I was pregnant! Luckily I found Pink Blush Maternity! They have a whole section of nursing friendly outfits! Most of their clothes are also able to be worn during and after your pregnancy (they even have pictures of both pregnant and non pregnant woman in each outfit so you can see what it looks like). Extra bonus-their clothes are really comfortable and affordable.

Here’s the dress I wore to my baby shower. It’s insanely soft, but most importantly it’s SUPER stretchy! At this point I’ve outgrown most of my maternity clothes (which is so annoying). I’ll be spending the rest of my pregnancy in stretchy dresses! You can find this dress in other colors here!

P.S. I can’t wait to share pictures of the adorable delivery/nursing robe I got from Pink Blush too! I’ll be wearing it soon in the hospital with Marlow Marie!

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10 Things My Child Will NEVER Do

10 Things my child will NEVER do…

1. Screen time at dinner

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2. Eat junk food and candy

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3. Get random things he “wants” at the store

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(He wanted a new backpack and cookie monster…)            (He wanted a new pink bat…)


 

4. Be naked all the time

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5. Leave the house in pjs

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6. Misbehave/Act crazy in pubic

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(playing baseball and racing with dad in Target-click photo to see video)


 

7. Watch/play video games

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8. Stay up too late

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9. Hit, bite, etc

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10. Be spoiled with gifts

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Will never do

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Overwhelmed with Fear

I first knew something in me had changed the day after Maddox was born. We were in the hospital and Maddox was lying down and started to cough (it sounded like maybe a small gag/choke). I jumped up screaming for Josh and ran to Maddox. I burst into tears and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Maddox was completely fine. It was honestly maybe 3 coughs, but I was so completely overwhelmed with worry that something was wrong or he was hurt. I grabbed Josh after and said (while sobbing) “I thought something was wrong.” That was when I knew something had changed.

I’m normally very laid back. From the beginning I didn’t fret over Maddox falling down. I let him climb and explore and figure things out on his own. I let him get hurt and waited for him to decide if he needed comfort (versus instantly running to check if he was ok). However, despite my worry-free attitude, when Maddox was born I suddenly had this overwhelming -at times crippling- fear of us dying. I wasn’t worried about everyday things. I was suddenly worried about freak accidents that were completely out of my control. Car accidents, fires, cancer, you name it. If I’m being completely honest my chest is tightening and my eyes are tearing up right now just thinking about it. Having Maddox made me realize that if anything ever happened to me or Josh, Maddox would be losing a parent. Worse than that, if anything ever happened to Maddox. And that was a crippling feeling. Dying had never even really occurred to me before. I never thought about how old I would be when I died or even what would happen if Josh died. It just didn’t cross my mind. But suddenly I was consumed with worry about not only keeping Maddox alive, but making sure Josh and I were alive long enough to see Maddox grow old.

In the beginning I had these thoughts and worries constantly throughout the day, everyday. As time has gone on I get them less often, and when I do start to worry I’m able to push those thoughts aside so they don’t become all consuming. I can usually brush it off, tell myself I’m being ridiculous and get distracted by something else until the feeling has passed. When I do start to get the truly overwhelming, worrying feeling, I find it’s best (for me) to just go with it. Be worried, get it all out, and talk to either Josh, my mom or my grandmother. Luckily, they are all great about listening to me talk about how worried I am about things I can’t control, and they hardly make fun of me at all (kidding, of course). By the way, if I need someone to just listen or talk rationally, I call Josh. If I need someone to understand, relate to how I’m feeling, and commiserate/cry with me, I call my mom. And If I need someone to patiently listen, tell me they understand and then gently tell me to pull it together, I call my grandmother. They each have their own way and all serve key purposes! I should probably mention I have an amazing family. I know I’m extremely lucky. Even with all that love and support, and my normally laid back, worry-free attitude, I still have times of overwhelming fear. And I totally blame Maddox! He’s lucky he’s so cute 😉

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My Nursing Favorites

Planning to breastfeed? If so, these are my favorite nursing must haves!

Nursing Pillow: I used Maddox’s boppy pillow. It doubles as a nursing pillow and positioning pillow for babies to lay on. Here’s the boppy pillow I used.  Extra bonus- They come with tons of super cute covers!

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Nipple Cream: Buy LOTS of nipple cream! I applied the cream immediately after nursing Maddox and reapplied throughout the day. Here’s the one I used: Nipple Cream

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Nipple Gel Pads: If I wasn’t nursing or pumping I was wearing these gel pads. I also used these  hot-cold therapy pads for extra comfort.

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Nursing tops: I literally lived in these nursing tank tops. They were super comfy, convenient for nursing and cute! It also has a soft, built-in bra. (I also lived in nursing maxi dresses and I have a follow-up post about my other favorite nursing friendly clothing company coming soon!)

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Nursing Bras: I wasted a ton of money on nursing bras before Maddox was born. I thought I wanted cute bras with underwire. I was wrong! I wore these comfy nursing bras almost exclusively for the first few months.

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Breast Pump/Accessories: If you’re planning to go back to work, or pump so your partner can join in feeding time, or just trying to increase your milk supply you need a pump. I got mine for free through my insurance at www.yummymummy.com. Check it out before you go buy one! I got the exact one I had planned on purchasing at the store and it was completed free! I got the Medela Pump in Style and loved it. I also got accessories like Medela bottles, milk storage bags (to freeze milk), and the Medela Calma Breastfeeding Nipples.

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WATER: Always keep it close by! The second I would start nursing Maddox I would be overwhelmed with how thirsty I instantly became! It sounds ridiculous but it’s true! (I always kept snacks handy too!)

I’m obsessed with Amazon so most of my links for products are from there but you can buy all these at most other baby stores or online.

 

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Breastfeeding: So simple, right?!

Just a warning-this post is about BOOBS! (And not in a fun way) But more specifically about breastfeeding.

First I have to admit, I honestly thought breastfeeding would be easy. I naively assumed I just whip it out, Maddox would begin nursing and we’d have this kumbaya bonding moment. There’d be no struggles, no real learning how, and especially no pain. Wow was I wrong! While Maddox naturally knew exactly what to do, I on the other hand was the idiot. Even though my mom had nursed all 3 of us for years, I clearly had not asked her enough questions. Josh and I even took a couples’ breastfeeding class while I was pregnant but even then no one came out and said “BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARD and IT MAY HURT!”

There are many reasons that some women aren’t able to breastfeed. Luckily, I had no medical issues or concerns that conflicted with breastfeeding. My main issue was how simple I really assumed it was going to be. When Maddox was born I immediately attempted nursing within the first hour (like all my books, classes, and experienced moms had told me to). Right away Maddox knew exactly what to do! However, his technique (specifically his latch) needed a little work. I kept attempting to nurse him every few hours but something just didn’t feel right. Honestly- It hurt like HELL!! I later learned this was partially due to the way I was errr…built…that made latching harder for him. Luckily my mom (and experienced breastfeeding champion herself) was there and recommended I talk to the lactation specialist at the hospital. The first one that came in was slightly helpful (but mom wasn’t impressed) so we asked for another one and let me tell you- She knew her stuff! She was an expert! She was beyond helpful and even talked to Josh about ways to help and comfort me while we all got the hang of it as well.

By the time we left the hospital Maddox and I still didn’t have this whole thing figured out but the nurses were happy with how he was doing and we were happy with the knowledge we had gained to feel comfortable continuing to work on it at home. The biggest thing I did wrong was to let Maddox continue to constantly nurse without properly latching. Both josh and my mom noticed how tense my entire body was getting every time I would feed Maddox so they would do everything they could to help me relax- i.e. shoulder massages, turning on the tv to distract me, talking to me, having me try Maddox in different positions, and having me stop feeding him so he could relatch until it didn’t hurt. I was so worried about him getting enough to eat that I ignored how uncomfortable it was for me. Boy was that a bad idea. Nursing him “the wrong way” for just a few days had caused cracking, bleeding, bruising, and blistering…. Talk about painful!! At that point there really wasn’t anything I could do. He had to eat, so I had to nurse. Now supplementing with formula, even temporarily, is definitely an option. However, I had decided and was very determined to breastfeed exclusively. There’s absolutely nothing right or wrong about either option. That’s just what I decided was best for us.

So in the beginning it was hard but for me it was totally worth the pain! I soon learned that nursing fixes everything! Hunger, sadness, tiredness, frustration, pain, you name it! I never had to worry about packing bottles or buying formula. I also feel like it really helped Maddox and me to bond, not to say people who don’t breastfeed are missing that bond, but for us, it created a closeness that I can’t explain. It was a lifesaver for us, in so many ways and I’m so glad Maddox and I were able to experience it! Fingers crossed things go smoothly with Marlow, but we’ll see.

After a few months of proper feedings, lots of patiences, terrific support from Josh, and a boatload of nipple cream and gel pads we were home free! Well…until teething-but that’s a whole other post. I don’t want to make these posts too long so I plan to do another post about how long Maddox nursed, when he nursed, when certain feedings started to tapper off, and how I dealt with the occasional feelings of “NO ONE TOUCH ME or I’ll scream.”

 

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