GREGOR'S BIRTH STORY

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The night before Gregor arrived I sat in my bed with a young adult fiction book ("Looking for Alaska" by John Green, if you must know), and my laptop open, with facebook pulled up. I smiled and "wrote" on my facebook:

"Sometimes I feel like I am going to be pregnant forever, and then I go to bed."

I couldn't help but to laugh at it, because I did feel like I was going to be pregnant, forever... or like I had already been pregnant forever. I didn't remember what my body felt or looked like, not pregnant. I had become really comfortable with my belly - maybe too comfortable. I frequently walked around my home in nothing more than underwear and tee-shirts.



In some ways, I loved being pregnant, and while this pregnancy had not been as easy as my first, I was still very happy. Even if I didn't always let on that I was, or seem overtly enthusiastic about it all. I had aches, and swelling, and I kept finding tiny stretch marks hiding where they thought I would never look (I shouldn't have!). But, I loved how this baby felt different than Chloe had felt inside me. I loved nesting. I loved seeing my belly grow and I loved how ridiculous it looked and felt to me. So while I was tired, and growing more uncomfortable each day, I was trying my hardest to be patient and trying to savor my last days of pregnancy. 

But, yeah, there was part of me that just wanted this baby to be out.

That night though, I felt pretty okay about being pregnant for a few more days. Maybe even a week or two more. I had passed the thirty-eight week mark, and while I thought I was ready, I knew that I had it in me to wait a bit longer, if I needed to. I had come this far, and I could make it. I was in a good mood.

I read that book until I reached the back cover, turned the light off, and went to bed. I slept the entire night without waking up even once to pee. When I did wake up, it was still early. I remembered that it was trash day and threw on some pants so that I could drag the trash-can and recycle bins to the curb. It was beautiful outside. August had been pretty hot and muggy, but on this morning it was the perfect combination of cool and sunny. I thought about taking Chloe to pick peaches. She had been asking to, and because of the weather, and how uncomfortable I had become, with contractions coming and going each day, I hadn't been able to take her. I stood on the front porch and decided when she got up I would take her to the orchard and pick peaches.

I thought about the name "Peach" as a middle name for a girl, if we had a girl. We had two girl names picked out, but coming up with a middle name for either one was a struggle. If I were to go into labor on the full moon (which had already passed by that time), and we had a girl, her name would have been "Audrey Moon". I really liked the name "Holland" though, and I let the name "Holland Peach" roll around my mind for a bit.

I went back up to bed and called Christian, who had worked overnight and would be coming home shortly. I let him know that I took out the trash, and mentioned the name "Holland Peach", and asked him if he could bring me home something for breakfast - a bagel or something. He said he would be home shortly and we hung up. I laid in bed for a bit longer, until I heard Chloe call me from her room, announcing that she was up. I sat up in bed and my body began to leak.

The water trickled out of me slowly. I froze for a second, still trying to figure out what was going on, and then I waddled as quickly as I could to the closet to get a towel, and then to the bathroom. I cleaned up quickly, as Chloe was still calling for me from her room, threw a hand-towel in my underwear and waddled in to get her. We both went to my room to call Christian and let him know my water had broke. Then I started to strip the bed and clean up. Chloe asked me if I peed the bed. I told her I hadn't, but that my water broke. She replied "Oh, you got to fix it!". I laughed, and more fluid trickled out.

It was about eight in the morning, and my water had broke around seven. But there were no real good contractions happening, and nothing good enough or frequent enough to get me counting them.  So I walked around the house cleaning up, then grabbed some pads I had bought from out of the car, and replaced the hand-towel. By the time Christian came home, I had called my midwife, Pat. I decided I wanted to hang out at home since my contractions weren't very regular or painful. Pat told me to let her know when I felt the need to head to the hospital, and that she would call them now and let them know to expect me at some point that day.

I continued to clean up around the house and watch a bit of television with Chlo. We took turns bounding on my birthing ball. Christian tried to nap in the basement, since he had worked all night and was most likely going to be up most of the day and evening. My contractions continued to be pretty far apart and be completely unimpressive to me. Pat called me around noon to ask how I was doing. I told her that nothing had changed, and we decided that I would continue to hang out at home. While I was very content to be laboring at home, if you could call it that, I knew that my clock had started at seven that morning. I knew that if my labor didn't pick up on it's own that I would need pitocin to make it happen... and I wasn't too keen on going that route.

I decided to take a shower and see if that would help get things going. I knew the whole rationale behind the shower is that it helps you to relax. Maybe watching Chloe was keeping my body from relaxing and progressing like it should. I woke up Christian and asked him to watch Chlo while I took a warm shower. Chloe is used to taking showers with me, and so she was kind of ticked that I was locking the door and kicking her out, but I knew I needed time alone. Christian handled her tantrum, and I stood under the hot water. Hot showers during pregnancy are just pretty great, even when you are not in labor. They are just really, really, great.

And it did the trick. Once I got out of the shower I felt my contractions start to pick up and become time-able. I got myself dressed. I was still able to move during my contractions, but they had undoubtedly picked up and were coming about every four to five minutes apart. I called Pat to let her know and she told me if I wanted to head over to the hospital that she would meet me there. So Christian and I got ourselves together, and my mother-in-law headed over to watch Chlo. While my mother-in-law and I talked before we left for the hospital I started to feel my contractions become stronger. They were demanding me to stop doing whatever I was doing at the minute, and when they did I took the time to sway my hips a bit and breathe. I said goodbye to Chloe and started to cry. I have never been away from her overnight, and knew that this was the end of something good... and the end is rough, even if it means that something else, a whole different something good, is going to begin.

Chris and I drove to the hospital together. Since we had Chloe we rarely went out without her... we joked about how it felt like a date. We got to the hospital around five and made our way up to labor and delivery. I had started to feel more and more fluid leaking out with each contraction, and when I changed into the gown in my delivery room I noticed some bloody show. One nurse hooked me up to a monitor, while another asked if she could start an IV, and a third asked me a bunch of intake questions.  As a nurse it felt awkward to be on the other end of everything... as if I could better relate to the tasks of the nurses surrounding me, than the role of the patient.

They got me all set up with wires and tubes; my contractions were about three to five minutes apart. Pat arrived very shortly after and checked me. I was three centimeters and 100% effaced. Pat reminded me that getting to five centimeters is the toughest part, and told me and the nurses that I could drink plenty of fluids, have my IV caped off, and walk around, being monitored only intermittently. I was thrilled about this. Chloe's labor had kept me confined to bed, unable to move from a side-lying position, and I had needed pitocin to keep things moving along. I knew that walking and moving would only help everything progress.

Christian and I walked the hallways. I drank water and chewed ice chips, and I knew he was exhausted. Just one week before he had been in a hospital with a close friend who he lost the following day to cancer. He was a very brilliant and sweet person, and Christian often refereed to him as being "lovable". We talked about baby names and Christian mentioned naming our baby after him... but while I thought the world of his friend, if our baby were a boy, he was Gregor, just like Christian had named him before we knew for certain I was even pregnant with Chloe. Our boy name had been chosen almost four year before our baby would arrive. We spent time talking about his friend, and I thought about how people leave and enter this world so quickly... they are here, and then they are not, and then they weren't here and suddenly they are. I asked him what his friend's middle name had been, but Christian said he never heard him use it, and in all the years of knowing him, never found out. We talked about how his friend's birthday would have been the following day, and how odd it was that our baby would possibly share the birthday.

We were able to walk around for forty-five minutes at a time, and then needed to go back to the room so I could be monitored for fifteen. Each time we came back it seemed that my contractions had grown more forceful, and would last longer than before. It must have been around seven-thirty or so that I felt my labor has started to get rough. We had been walking the hallways and watching Jeopardy on the television in the small lobby outside the elevators. Christian told me it was about time to go back and be monitored. I went back to the room and decided to try to use the bathroom. Once I was on the toilet I felt like I had to push, and every time a contraction came I felt my body pushing without me ever intending to. I had the hardest time getting up and out of the bathroom because the contractions came so quickly and frequently while I was there. Part of me wished I could just stay there... damn hospital birth.

Once I finally got out of the bathroom and into the bed to be monitored I let my new nurse know that I felt like I was pushing without trying to. She suggested that Pat check me again. My contractions were about two to three minutes apart, and I was four centimeters. I had more work to do. Once I was able to get out of bed again I decided I would walk around the room. The contractions were pretty strong and frequent, and I didn't want to be seen out in the hallways of the hospital like this. Chris was exhausted and sitting in a chair in the room watching television with me between contractions. Whenever I would have a contraction he would look at me, ask if I was okay, and do whatever he could do to help. I would often sway my hips during contractions and whisper "f-ck, f-ck, f-ck...." or just groan. Sometimes I would squat down, and when I did that I could feel the baby move lower and my body begin to push. My back began to hurt and I made Chris push on my lower back with his fist during my contractions. I stood and walked in that room until I felt like I couldn't stand much more. I could feel that my legs were starting to shake and thought they might give out of me... So then I went back into the bathroom.

In the bathroom, I felt like I could have the baby right there, and I think Christian and my nurse both feared this, because they knocked on the door what felt like every ten seconds, and attempted to coax me out. The small space of the bathroom felt oddly comforting to me. While I didn't really want to leave, I eventually came out and managed to get back into the bed to be monitored. Pat came in to check how I was doing, and talked with us for a while as a labored. She reminded me that she had written for some pain medicine for me if I wanted it. I told her I was going to ride it out. I had reached five centimeters. The contractions were ridiculous, and while I had every intention of getting back out of that bed when I had gotten in it, once it was okay for me to leave the bed again I realized that I wouldn't be able to get myself out. The contractions had become too forceful and hard, and I didn't think I would be able to get out of the bed quick enough to do it between contractions. So, I breathed, and groaned, and squirmed in the bed.

At about nine, I decided to take the pain medicine. It would be a bit of nubain and phenergan, two medications I knew about and had even read up on.. and that I knew would make me feel a bit drunk. It was the same medicine that I had been given when I was in labor with Chloe, but I knew this time that none of this was going to slow down. Labor was progressing so quickly (yet, it felt not quickly enough), that nothing would slow this down. And nothing slowed down. Right after I got the pain medicine I felt a little bit tipsy, and told Chris to go get something to eat while he could. He hadn't slept of eaten most of the day, and I knew I was going to be alright without him there for a few minutes at that point. I didn't fall asleep, but time kind of blurred during the next hour or so while I labored. I felt all the contractions, but I just felt that they all blended together into one huge contraction. I remember resting my head against the rail of the bed after each one, which seemed like the only thing that differentiated having a contraction from not having one.

Labor grew more and more intense and I felt like the time between contractions lessened and lessened even more. Pat had checked me at about ten, and I was seven centimeters. I don't remember being checked after that. I just remember that as I started to feel that I was going to start pushing, I noticed that a couple more nurses had shown up, and that Pat was getting all set to catch the baby. I  don't remember talking about pushing, or announcing that I was going to push, or even Pat saying much about it... but I knew what my body was doing, and what it was about to do. My body and mind recognized all this, and there stood Pat at the end of the bed, and my husband at my side, assuring me that I knew what was happening, and whenever I felt ready,  to go ahead. 

With the next contraction I began to push. Slowly, but forcefully. I groaned and remember feeling frustrated that the baby had not come out with that one push. (Looking back now I feel like I can just count that first one as a practice push... right?) During the next one I pushed again, and I could feel that the baby was starting to come, but had not yet. Nobody said anything as I pushed, and I only remember my nurse encouraging Christian, who was standing by my side and holding my hand silently, to give me some ice chips because I looked dry. I remember him looking around quickly for ice-chips, and then putting them up to my lips as another contraction came. Nobody was saying anything, and I could only head myself groan as I pushed. I pushed during the next contraction and on the following one I felt the head. One more push and the body came as well.




I felt the warm hefty weight of the baby on me. I heard Pat chuckle, telling me that there was no denying he is a boy! I looked at Christian, and we both looked at our Gregor. I held him on my chest and breathed. The nurses were scurrying around the room, and eventually they turned down the lights and Gregor looked at me.

I delivered the placenta, and Pat apologized for not needing to give me any stitches this time around (yay!) While Pat and I talked and laughed and hugged, Christian did a little texting to our families to let them know that Gregor was here and well, and found the middle name of his friend who had passed was "Ian". We named our baby boy Gregor Ian.













MOM x 2



It's been almost two weeks since I gave birth to Gregor (which explains my lack of attention to this poor little blog). These first days of being a mom-of-two have pretty much been the stuff that motherhood dreams are made of. My husband has been able to be home, and life has been kept calm and quiet for all of us. There have been some naps, decent homemade meals, and lots of cuddling between all members of the family. Now, there have been some moments where things have gotten a little hairy. Moments that I knew would happen, and that I was dreading, like when I desperately needed to use the bathroom, but the baby was screaming, and the toddler was acting up, and the husband had ran out to the grocery store, and I just didn't want to leave the baby and the toddler unattended in order to use the bathroom - but we have survived those moments, and it's all been okay. Funny how that happens, right? Somehow living through those little moments allows you to breathe a tiny bit easier when they are over. 

Sigh, a deep breath, and Yes, we made it through that. You got this. We got this.

Today is my first day at home with two, by myself. My husband went back to work this morning. Last night I had told him to wake me up when he woke up for work, a little after six, if I wasn't already awake. My plan was to get myself together before the kids woke up: make a cup of coffee, wash my face, put on deodorant, and maybe some clean clothes. I wanted to get a head-start and be ready to do this. I was half-awake when he kissed me goodbye and told me to go back to sleep. I rolled over and slept until the babes were both calling for me: a sing-song "MAAAAAH-MEEEEEEE!", and a breathy "AGGGHHH-AHH-AHHH-AGGHHHH!". 

Now I have fed them, and fed myself, and so I thought I would maybe start to write Gregor's birth story. It is a good story, and I am looking forward to sharing it, but it might take me longer to write than I had supposed. 

I used to be a bartender while I was in nursing school. I worked at a smallish bar that served a good selection of micro-brews, along with bottles of miller, bud, and coors.  The location of the pub, the beer selection, and the more-than-decent pub food were all factors that played well with one another in ensuring that there was a very diverse and interesting client mix. Despite the diversity, one of the strangest constants I found among the male patrons was their ability to talk about child-birth. Yes. Sports, the weather, work, and child-birth. And the stories that I heard were often told with such fervor, you would have thought these men had given birth themselves.

"She was in labor for just about ten hours - and not just panting - No! she was working hard the whole time! Most incredible thing I ever saw".

"Oh there was so much blood! I thought I was going to pass out!"

"That baby came out in one push! Just all of the sudden, like in those TV shows where the baby flies across the room!"

Birth is very amazing. No-matter how you do it, or where you do it. If you are the one giving birth, or you are the partner of the one giving birth, if you are adopting the one being birthed, or if you are assisting in the birth. The act of bringing a new life into this world is one of life's wonders. I plan to take time in writing my birth story. I want to tell it well. It was a good story - too good to sell-short due to time constraints. It is worth spending an entire night, and then some, writing. It is the story of me becoming a mom, all over again. Of learning from the past, of trusting my body and my instincts, of knowing that it is going to be okay.

Much like today. Although I haven't physically given birth to any children today, I continue to do the same as I did when I gave birth: learn from my past, trust myself, and know it is going to be okay. 

Sigh. Deep breath. Yes, we are going to make it through this. We got this. You got this.





29/52

"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

 
sometimes i watch her and feel that juvenile kind of infatuation... where she can eat her fries in the weirdest, or grossest of ways, and it's just going to make me like her more.



joining in with jodi this week.



....and by the way - where is the time going this summer?!?!?

28/52

" a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

this week i set up the bassinet in our room, where the new babe will sleep until her or she is ready to share a bedroom with his or her big sister. chloe helped me put together the "baby's bed" (she loves handling tools and screws), and then spent a good amount of time exploring the "new" fixture in our bedroom. 



a few of my favorites from this past week:





joining in with jodi this week.


NESTING: PACKING THE BAG

the start of my hospital bag

okay, so packing the bag is a big deal when you are pregnant.... i guess. i mean, everyone asks you if you have it packed, if you have signed up for any kind of pregnancy website newsletter you start receiving reminders, instructions, and guidelines of what to pack in the bag. about half-way through your pregnancy. the first time around i obsessed way too much about this bag, and thought too little about some bits of what i might need. i was packed by week 30, waaay over-packed, and forgot my toothbrush. i guess everyone is different, and depending on your past experiences, where you plan to deliver, and what you feel is necessary to live for however long you will be away from home (if you will be!) is what will determine how you pack.

this time around i am attempting to pack a lot lighter. as you may have heard, i am trying to simplify around here, and so i will be taking a lot less with me this time. i am also almost thirty-four weeks along, and still don't have my bag really "packed". i have a few more things to buy, and will have last minute stuff to throw in before heading out the door. my aim is just the essentials to keep me and the babe comfortable for a couple days... and i know that we really don't need a whole lot. so, without any further ranting and rambling, here is my simple list of suggested things to bring to the hospital or birthing center.

1 / a nightgown/night-shirt (and robe if that is your thing). do yourself right and buy something nice and new, comfortable, and nursing friendly if you plan on nursing. friends and family will want to come see you and your babe in the hospital, and they will be toting cameras. at the time you probably won't care what you are wearing after the whole delivery process, but a couple weeks later when you look on instagram or facebook at those photos, you will be happy you were wearing something that you felt good in. my advice is to pick out something dark colored and knee-ish legnth that has a low enough neck to allow you to nurse, if you plan to. you don't want to worry about spills, stains, or needing to hike up a long gown to allow your nurse to "check you".

2 / nursing or sports bra and dark granny-panties. you are going to be wearing pads after you deliver, big massive pads, for a few weeks... in the hospital they give you big icey pads that feel amazing, and you will need a decent surface to stick them. a couple pairs of soft, well fitting, dark underwear will make it easier to hold those pads in place. i have heard it recommended by some to bring bike shorts - for some extra comfort/holding power. but i probably won't worry about anything like that until i am back home and on my feet a bit more. if you plan on nursing, bring along a nursing bra, if you do not plan on nursing, bring along a good supportive sports bra.

3 / socks/slippers - which brings us to socks or slippers. bring something to throw on your feet - preferably slip-proof, that you don't care about all too much. i grabbed a package of socks from target to do the job. 

4 / toiletries/make-up/hairbrush/pads/whatever. my suggestion is to pack a small back of whatever you are going to want to bring along, and then sit it in the bathroom. most likely these are items that you use everyday, and so packing them away isn't really convenient. i bought new toothbrushes - one for me and one for my husband (he will probably spend a bit of time at the hospital with me and might want to brush his teeth too). i plan on bringing my brush, a couple hair ties and bobby pins, and some dry shampoo, because i am very down with the dry shampoo these days and don't think i am going to care about washing my hair in the hospital... is that really gross? eh, i don't care. i am sure there are going to be other things going on with my body to deter my attention away from my hair - oh yeah, and there's going to be the new babe too! i totally am not going to care about how gross my hair is, as long as it looks okay in photos. as far as makeup goes: bring some foundation/coverup - once i finally looked at a mirror, hours after giving birth, i realized i had little red spots on my forehead.  i had ruptured little blood vessels from pushing during birth! a little tinted moisturizer did the trick. i'm also packing some waterproof mascara, tinted lip-balm, and some eyeliner. i want to look nice in pictures that people will be snapping and posting on instagram or facebook... but i don't want to spend a ton of time on doing my makeup. the hospital usually has soap and towels, and a ton of pads, and all that stuff, so you can leave yours at home. if you are using a birthing center be sure to check with them on what you should bring. okay, enough about primping...

5 / something to wear home. do not pack your pre-pregnancy jeans (like i did). they most likely will not fit, and you might still be a bit sore down-there, and not quite jeans ready. i suggest leggings or a pair of soft harem pants, a loose tee or tank, a light cardigan to throw over it all if you want, some cute flat shoes, and a little jewelry to make yourself feel put together. something to think about is this: you will probably be wearing one of those monster pads home - and therefore your granny-panties as well. so if you are going to wear some leggings you are going to run into panty-lines. be sure to pack something long enough to cover your tush if this kind of thing troubles you.

6 / your camera and your phone, and chargers for these items. i brought my computer the first time around and never took it out of the bag - so i am not bringing it this time around. i also brought magazines, a book, some knitting... and yeah, never touched any of it. all of my time without visitors was either spent cuddling my new babe and trying to get a little rest. you are not going to be bored - but you will want your camera to take a few photos, and your phone (but don't feel bad for turning it off or on silent when you need some quiet!). you might also want to bring a small mp3 player or ipod to listen to music during labor, but i never felt like i wanted music and was happy to have a quiet and slightly darkened room. i'll be leaving mine at home.

7 / your I.D., wallet with a few bucks, and maybe a pen and small notepad. just throw it in your purse and have it ready to walk out the door with. 

8 / things for the baby!!! now here is the fun stuff.. and depending on where you deliver you won't need a whole heck of a lot. if you are in the hospital you don't need to bring onesies, diapers, or wipes, or even a binky/pacifier/dummy. they will provide you with plenty and even send you home with some. if you are planning on delivering in a birthing center, be sure to check on what to bring along. i am delivering in a hospital, and bringing a soft footsie pajama to bring our little one home in, a hat or two, and a light swaddle blanket. that's it! oh yeah, and make sure to have your car-seat in the car and strapped in correctly before you head to the hospital, hospital staff need to be sure you have a car-seat in the car, but usually are not able to help you install the car seat. to be safe, read the manual and put it in the car beforehand.

9 / this is totally optional, and not necessary, but i am bringing along a small gift for the baby from chloe, and a small gift for her from the baby. i was lucky enough to have scored a beautiful polka-dot club bear during an instagram sample sale, and then recently ordered one for chloe. i plan on taking these out when she comes to visit the hospital and meets her new sibling. i think it'll make the perfect special gift. preparing an older sibling for a new baby is a blog-post unto it's own that i am currently working on, and plan to share soon.

10 / also optional is your pillow - they will provide you with one... but if you definitely cannot sleep without your own then bring it along.  some snacks  - because it's nice to have something to munch on and to share with visitors. however, you can always have someone bring you something. or make your husband run to get something like i did. i also had him pick up something for the nursing staff who took care of me and chloe. you really don't need to pack this stuff ahead of time.


and that's probably about all you will need. am i missing anything??? of course, if you can think of anything that you found super-helpful or necessary, leave it in the comments!





27/52


"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."





She has been interested in "bugs" for the past couple years, and this year more-so than ever before. She has started carrying ants around the back yard, allowing them to climb onto her fingers and up her arms. She brought over one to show me, and told me his (or her) name was "c-h-l-o-e". She names all her favorites that.


joining in with jodi.



NESTING: MONEY

a thirty-two week baby-bump photo, from a couple weeks ago


So, honestly... I am a bit leary about bringing up the topic of money. I was raised being told that it's not very polite to talk about it, and it can be one of those topics that we like to avoid with most people. However, when it comes to preparing for a new baby, I feel it is one of the practical things that must be thought about at some point. 

Chloe was a surprise pregnancy. I know some people scratch their heads when you call a pregnancy a surprise - like, "you know what happens when you... you know...". Yes, yes. However, one doesn't always think that, that ONE time, when you mess up your birth control, that has worked for you for the past however-many years, that you are going to get pregnant. When we found out we were having Chloe, our first reaction was laughter. We were excited, scared, surprised... so many things. And then eventually we began to talk about money...

We are lucky enough to both be employed with pretty solid careers. We had already bought a house when we found out we were expecting. I would have a twelve week, paid, maternity leave. We both worked a bit of overtime to set aside a little extra money - just in case. We were given so so much by our families and friends. In short, financially, we were really lucky.

This time around, we are still very lucky, but our circumstances are a bit different: we were trying to get pregnant and I no longer work full-time at the nursing-gig (which means no paid-vacation, sick-time, or paid maternity leave!). So we did a bit of planning. Here's a few things that we have done to prepare, that might help as you prepare your family, and your wallet, for having a new little one:

1 / Set up a baby fund - How we did this was by figuring out how much our expenses are monthly, and then figuring out what half of that is (I usually am able to pay for about half of our expenses), then multiplying it for however many months you expect to be unpaid. Because I do not get a paid maternity leave this time around, and I do not plan on working as much, when I do go back the second time around, we tried to put away as much as we could. Tax returns, and any surplus cash that we have been lucky enough to come across, since we had Chloe, has been put away into this fund in order to prepare. It hasn't been easy to do this - it has meant not taking vacations and going without buying stuff that would be fun to buy, but we know that we will be happier in the long run if i can be home more without stressing about how those bills will get paid.

2 / Try to get rid of some debt - One of the things I wish I had been doing a better job of, before I had Chloe, was reducing my debt. Like many, I have some student debt... and it's a drag. I wish I had thought to reduce it before I cut back on how much I working when I had Chlo. After I had Chloe, and returned to working, I also returned to school, paying both out of my pocket and with some loans. After I got my degree and we started talking about having another baby, I knew I needed to do something about my student loan payments. So I started throwing every spare cent on my loans to get rid of as much debt as possible. Chris helped me with this as well, and we were able to get rid of more than two-thirds of my student debt. One website I found very helpful and inspirational was/is "And Then We Saved". I followed a lot of the principles of "the spending fast" and "the spending diet" and surprised myself with how much I was able to save in order to pay off debt. It wasn't always fun, but now I have a smaller amount of debt, that I feel I will be able to pay off in the not-so-distant future... and well, that feels really good.

3 / Buy Less - you might feel that you need to drop a big wad of cash on a whole bedroom set for your new little one, or that you need a swing, and a bouncer, and a carrier, and a rocker, and a whole lot of other things that shake your offspring around and end in -er, but you find out quickly that you really don't. In fact, a whole lot of the things that I had, I hardly ever used. They didn't get opened, or their clutter-factor beat out their usefullness-factor. Babies do not require a whole bunch of stuff - really a lot less than you think they do. I plan to put together a list of baby essentials to share on here shortly (for the meantime this list by Mother is pretty good - I say it is still a bit too much), but I will tell you now that I wish I hadn't acquired so much stuff before I had Chloe, and just bought things as I went along. It would have saved me a lot of money and space. 

4 / Think and plan about how your time will be spent after having the baby - They said that time is money, and quickly after I had Chloe I realized it is my most valuable resource. Although I love my career, and wasn't ready to give it up completely after I had a baby, I knew I didn't want to spend as much time as I had working... but I still had to be paid, and at the same time I wanted to be home with my baby. The husband and I are lucky enough to both be shift-workers, and I was lucky enough to be able to cut-back my work status and take on a per-diem schedule (meaning that I work on an as-needed basis... and luckily ER nurses are pretty much always needed where I work!). This was a little hairy at first. I breast-fed Chloe up until fifteen months, and going to work meant pumping, as well as my husband caring for a baby that was used to being breast-fed, and didn't find the bottle to be quite as soothing or sleep-inducing ;) I got a few frustrated phone calls in the beginning from that husband of mine who was scared that our child may never stop crying, or that he was doing something wrong, or that our daughter may hate him, already.  None of these things were true, but our little one did seem to prefer having her milk-source mama around, and we both have realized that the house runs a lot smoother when I am here. I am not saying that my husband is bad around the house - he is great with Chloe, and the man works hard, but he might not enjoy the practical aspects of homemaking as I do - and there is nothing wrong with that. This time around we thought more about who will spend more time at home with the babes, and how this will affect both of our work schedules. There will still be times where I work outside the home, but less than I used to, and less over-night shifts for sure. If staying at home is not feasible for your family - talking about how you will manage child care in your family, and the money you might need to spend on child care is important to prepare for.

These are a few of the big things we have done when preparing for another little one. Hopefully they are helpful, or at least good food for thought.  Also, if anyone has anything to add to this - please leave a comment. I am always looking for tips.






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