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It’s A Great Nursery, Charlie Brown

Amanda Estep Photography

One of the rooms, I was excited to decorate was my son’s nursery. I loved the idea of having a cute little space just for him. What I quickly realized is that the space is for my husband and I too. We do a lot of diaper changes, feeding, reading, and rocking him to sleep in that room.

After much debate, we chose the Charlie Brown/Snoopy/Peanuts Gang theme because both of us love the characters and we thought it was refreshingly baby-appropriate. One of our favorite holiday activities includes watching Charlie Brown holiday movies. We can’t wait until our son is big enough to recognize the characters on TV.

When we embarked on this project, to our surprise, Charlie Brown stuff is hard to find! I’m guessing it would’ve been easier around the time The Peanuts Movie was in theaters. Right now, procuring decor for the nursery has become somewhat of a game to us and whenever we DO find something, we buy it because we feel it’s a rare occurrence.

Between things we’ve found and gifts others have purchased for us, I think we’ve got almost everything we need for the nursery.

Check it out!   Continue reading “It’s A Great Nursery, Charlie Brown”

How To Make Mom Friends

Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

As a new mom, it can seem tough to make friends with other moms. This is especially true if none of your friends have kids or if you’ve recently moved to a new city. You may go to story times or to the park or to other places where moms gather and and feel like everyone knows everyone except you. (If you’re not going to these places, and you desire to have friends, these are good places to start!)

Continue reading “How To Make Mom Friends”

Our Squats and Tots Experience

Recently, I finished a six-week “Squats and Tots” class and, frankly, the concept is genius and I’m floored there aren’t a million other classes just like it.

Squats and Tots is a 30-minute group, play-based fitness class for parents/caregivers AND their kids. It’s the brainchild of FindWhereYouFit.com founder Lindsay Goodman.

The class takes place at Picadilly playcafe in Bexley or Jewish Community Center.

What makes it so great is that I’m able to get in a good workout *with* my kid as opposed to *in spite of* my kid.

Continue reading “Our Squats and Tots Experience”

Five Creative Must-Have Products for Babies

IMG_2254The other day, one of my friends posted on facebook asking for product recommendations for new moms. I posted several items there and it gave me a great idea for this blogpost.

Motherhood is a funny thing in that when you’re pregnant and go to the store to check out baby stuff (R.I.P. Babies R Us), you feel overwhelmed and feel like you don’t know WHAT to get. Then, as time goes on, after you buy too much of one thing and not enough of another thing, one day, you realize that it wasn’t as hard as you thought.

Of course there are the essentials: diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers and a Boppy pillow. But there are also the non-essentials that in hindsight, I couldn’t live without! Continue reading “Five Creative Must-Have Products for Babies”

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Does Running Late Count As Exercise?

Running

I used to workout ALL. THE. TIME. Recently, I was reading some of my old blog posts about running and I can hardly believe it was me! If I did it then, I can certainly do it again.

Unfortunately, if I thought finding time to workout was hard before having a baby, well, finding that time (and desire) has reached a new level of difficulty that I didn’t even realize existed. It’s even more important for me to workout now because a) I need the energy and b) I want to be in great shape to be able to keep up with my toddler (who is now officially toddling).

When I left my full-time job, I thought I would morph into that mom who works out all the time, is “super in-shape” and just generally has it together. (I have no idea why I thought this considering I haven’t consistently worked out in years and my plans to be that “super in-shape” pregnant lady then to be that “super in-shape” working mom both crashed and burned spectacularly.) Still, I know that the first step to reaching that goal is to actually put in some effort.

Continue reading “Does Running Late Count As Exercise?”

AHA! A Hands On Adventure Children’s Museum

When I was a feature reporter for a local news station, I used to spend hours perusing websites and newspapers and magazines for people, places and events to feature. On one of my regular “story idea hunts” I came across news of AHA! A Hands On Adventure Children’s Museum grand re-opening.
The museum, geared toward kids under 8 years old, had just relocated from one location in Lancaster, OH to another.

I’d never been to the first museum, but their new one – located near River Valley Mall – is fantastic.

Continue reading “AHA! A Hands On Adventure Children’s Museum”

How I Find Time To Read

51648200-FDA3-447D-A7DC-156896472B8AEvery year, I say I’m going to “read more books”….and this year I’M DOING IT!

Yes, after not losing weight, not being nicer, not being more organized, not staying on top of laundry, not blogging more (ironic), I am actually doing something I set out to do at the beginning of this year. I wanted to read 12 books in 2018. It’s August and I’ve already blown past that goal.

How did I do it? Me, with a baby, husband, job(s), pages of excuses, and an addiction to social media?

It’s simple: I made it a priority.

Continue reading “How I Find Time To Read”

The Peanuts Celebration at Kings Island

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When I heard that Kings Island was having a Peanuts Celebration, I couldn’t wait to go with my husband and 10-month-old.

The Kings Island press release about the weeks long celebration said in part:

In addition to being able to interact with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang in the award-winning Planet Snoopy kids’ area, during the PEANUTS™ Celebration you can find them all around in the park, for new character experiences, meet and greets, new whimsical shows, photo ops and deliciously themed treats.

This was perfect! Continue reading “The Peanuts Celebration at Kings Island”

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September 23rd

2017-09-23-eda87b861a7f925400311f0ce1e21c13Today is September 23rd. It’s my original due date. The one I got from the doctor when he confirmed my pregnancy.

My son was born on July 21st.

For weeks I struggled between being SO upset that my son was born early – thus subjected to six weeks in the NICU and the possibility of a lifetime of consequences – and being SO thankful that he is here and presumably doing very well.

Last night as I scooped my squirmy baby out of his bassinet and he snuggled against my chest, fast asleep, I decided to let it go.

All of it. Continue reading “September 23rd”

September 23rd

September 23rd. I wrote this date in my calendar nine months ago.

After two years of trying, we were finally pregnant. The IUI procedure worked. I should’ve known it would. The first one failed, but this one was different. It was New Years Day. A Sunday morning. We did the first part, went to Bob Evans, did the second part then went to church.  We were 45 minutes late, but we were there. And I remember laying my hands on my stomach and praying to God that I would get pregnant this time.

And I did.

I found out on January 16th. It was Martin Luther King day. A Monday morning. I wasn’t supposed to take the test until Tuesday, but I’m off on Mondays and I was home alone with no plans. The night before I felt cramps and I told my husband, “I think I’m about to start my period”.  The next morning, I was watching This Is Us on DVR or on Hulu, I can’t remember. But I do remember tearing up. That show will make anyone cry but this wasn’t a crying scene. The doctor told her she was pregnant…with triplets. Jack dealt with the news so perfectly, I cried.

When the show went off, I realized I hadn’t started my period yet. So I went to Walmart. I bought tampons and a pregnancy test. Optimism and pessimism in the same shopping cart.

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My hopes were high but I was realistic. They were sold out of the cheap tests, perhaps I had bought them all the month before. So I bought the two of the expensive ones. I went home, went straight into the guest bathroom, spread two tests on the counter, deposited my fluids in a cup and proceeded to test the first stick.  The instructions were somewhat confusing. I put the first test down in frustration after I realized I was inadvertently reading the instructions for the second test. I picked up the second test and did that one correctly. While the second test was in the cup, I glanced at the read out on the first. Pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at the second test. Pregnant.

I left the house in a daze, headed to Meijer down the street to buy a third test, a card for my husband to tell him the news, a Baby Names Book and What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. This shopping cart was ALL optimism. When I got home, I took the third test. Pregnant.

I waited all day to tell my husband. I work in news. I’m a TV reporter and I’ve told some great stories, but this was the greatest news I ever had the pleasure of sharing.

When I finally got in to see the fertility doctor, he confirmed my pregnancy and told me my due date was September 23rd. The day after my mom’s birthday.

I knew I wanted to have my baby at OSU Wexner Medical Center. And it turned out, September 23rd was an Ohio State Football home game. They were playing UNLV. My late father’s alma mater. My Buckeye baby was going to be born at OSU the same day the University was playing his late grandfather’s alma mater. That was the beginning of expectations.

Throughout the pregnancy, I had a thousand more expectations. Lots of imagination. This dream of having a baby was coming true as I was finally pregnant. I hadn’t really considered the pregnancy part in all my praying to have a child. But once I saw “pregnant” on the stick(s), my imagination went berserk. I had it all planned out. I even knew the hairstyle I wanted when I had the baby: box braids.

I mentally planned the entire Summer leading up to September 23rd.

My baby was born July 21st. I was 30 weeks and 6 days pregnant (or 30+6 as I heard it repeated over and over while he was in the NICU).

I hadn’t planned it this way at all. I never considered I would have my baby early. I asked God why He would let this happen.

I struggled between being so upset that I didn’t carry my baby to term and being so thankful that he is okay.

My Birth Story

September 23rd. I wrote this date in my calendar nine months ago.

After two years of trying, we were finally pregnant. The IUI procedure worked. I should’ve known it would. The first one failed, but this one was different. It was New Years Day. A Sunday morning. We did the first part, went to Bob Evans, did the second part then went to church.  We were 45 minutes late, but we were there. And I remember laying my hands on my stomach and praying to God that I would get pregnant this time.

And I did.

I found out on January 16th. It was Martin Luther King day. A Monday morning. I wasn’t supposed to take the test until Tuesday, but I’m off on Mondays and I was home alone with no plans. The night before I felt cramps and I told my husband, “I think I’m about to start my period”.  The next morning, I was watching This Is Us on DVR or on Hulu, I can’t remember. But I do remember tearing up. That show will make anyone cry but this wasn’t a crying scene. The doctor told her she was pregnant…with triplets. And I cried. When the show went off I realized I hadn’t started my period yet. So I went to Walmart. I bought tampons and a pregnancy test. Optimism and pessimism in the same shopping cart. My hopes were high but I was realistic. They were sold out of the cheap tests, perhaps I had bought them all the month before. So I bought the two of the expensive ones. I went home, went straight into the guest bathroom, spread two tests on the counter, deposited my fluids in a cup and proceeded to test the first stick.  The instructions were somewhat confusing. I put the first test down in frustration after I realized I was inadvertently reading the instructions for the second test. I picked up the second test and did that one correctly. While the second test was in the cup, I glanced at the read out on the first. Pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at the second test. Pregnant. I left the house in a daze, headed to Meijer down the street to buy a third test, a card for my husband to tell him the news, a Baby Names Book and What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. This shopping cart was ALL optimism. When I got home, I took the third test. Pregnant.

I waited all day to tell my husband. I work in news. I’m a TV reporter and I’ve told some great stories, but this was the greatest news I ever had the pleasure of sharing.

When I finally got in to see the fertility doctor, he confirmed my pregnancy and told me my due date was September 23rd. The day after my mom’s birthday.

I knew I wanted to have my baby at OSU Wexner Medical Center. And it turned out, September 23rd was an Ohio State Football home game. They were playing UNLV. My late father’s alma mater. My Buckeye baby was going to be born at OSU the same day the University was playing his late grandfather’s alma mater. That was the beginning of expectations.

Throughout the pregnancy, I had a thousand more expectations. Lots of imagination. This dream of having a baby was coming true as I was finally pregnant. I hadn’t really considered the pregnancy part in all my praying to have a child. But once I saw “pregnant” on the stick(s), my imagination went berserk. I had it all planned out. I even knew the hairstyle I wanted when I had the baby: box braids.

I mentally planned the entire Summer leading up to September 23rd. I planned to work until the last possible day and I wondered if my water would break at work.

Looking back, the first inkling I had that something was wrong came around 20 weeks. My anatomy scan showed a fibroid blocking where the baby was supposed to come out. The doctor told me a c-section was likely. “We’ll monitor it,” she told me. “We’ll do another scan at 28 weeks.” I could barely keep the tears in until I got to the elevator. When I got home, I cried and cried. I didn’t even know I didn’t want a c-section until that moment. C-section felt too “planned” – even for a planner like me.  I don’t want to pick a day/time to have my baby, I thought to myself.

Eight weeks later, back for another scan. Good news. Bad news. Good news: the fibroid was no longer blocking the birth canal. Bad news: I was 1 centimeter dilated. I didn’t know what that meant, but it didn’t sound like a good thing. The doctor sent me to labor and delivery for an overnight stay and a steroid shot. Overkill, I thought. Overkill, my husband agreed.

I’ll never forget the doctor at the hospital saying, “We just want to get you to 32 weeks.” 32 weeks? I’m going to 40. “I’m not due until September 23rd.” I kept telling everyone who would listen.

I didn’t take the modified bed rest thing seriously. I was off for a few days then back to work, back in heels and back to my chaotic life.

Two weeks later, I started having contractions. I didn’t know they were contractions at first. I just knew I was in pain. Then I noticed the pain went away. Then I noticed it came back. Went away. Came back. Went away. Came back.

“We just want to get you to 32 weeks.” I can still SEE the doctor saying that to me. It’s just Braxton Hicks, I told myself and everyone else. I contracted through the morning at work, through a meeting at church, through taping an announcement video ofr my church. Finally, I decided, I need to go home and lay down. Earlier, I told a friend I was having Braxton Hicks and described my pain. Later, she told me she knew it wasn’t Braxton Hicks but didn’t want to alarm me. Instead she told me to count to see how far apart my contractions are and to call my doctor. “I’m off tomorrow,” I told her. “I don’t want to spend the night in the hospital again.”

By the time I got home, I was in excruciating pain. Only for a few minutes, then it would go away and then it would come back. Every five minutes. My family was visiting from Atlanta. I encouraged them to go to church without me. I called the midwives I was working with and told the nurse what was happening. A midwife called me back a few moments later and told me to go to the hospital. I texted my husband and told him. He was on his way back in town from a business trip. He walked through the door. I was pacing around the house. “I need to go to the hospital.” I told him.

“We just want to get you to 32 weeks.”

In my closet, my husband approached me pensively. “Do you want to bring your stuff to the hospital just in case?” I snapped, “No. I’m not having this baby this weekend, so I’m not bringing anything. I will wear this to the hospital, put on their gown, put this back on and go home.” I was crying. He let it go. I went to the hospital with nothing.

The presence of rain doesn’t depend upon whether or not you have an umbrella.

At the hospital, I wished I’d gotten a Brazilian wax. They checked me SO much. Wednesday, I contracted all night. Thursday, I got stronger medicine. My friend whom I’ve been close with since middle school had her baby a floor above me. Welcome to the world Naomi! Thursday night, I got another ultrasound. Baby looked great. Fluid still in place. Still dilated one centimeter. I got more pain meds and a Benadryl to help me sleep. I settled in for the night, happy to hear I could go home tomorrow. At midnight, my water broke.

“I think I peed on myself,” I tell the nurse as water pooled around my feet. “That’s amniotic fluid.” She responded.

At this point, my husband had joined me in the river of Denial. I can be somewhat of a know-it-all so who can blame him? “I googled it.” He said, sounding just like me. “You’ll probably be on bedrest.” He told me. I repeated this to the nurse. “I’ll be on bedrest for a couple of weeks.” She didn’t hesitate. “Honey, we’re taking you to Labor and Delivery. You’re having this baby now.”

That was July 21st.

Drugged up on Benadryl, yet realizing what was happening, I couldn’t even react. My husband called my mom who had went back to my house for the night and told her to come back to the hospital.

A doctor and a nurse came to talk to me. A specialist from the NICU came to talk to me. The midwife I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy came to talk to me. I got an epidural while still having contractions. I had a hot spot which meant more pain meds.

Just before 6am, I had my baby. On July 21st.

I was 30+6. More than two months away from September 23rd.

Sometimes I still can’t believe it.

After they layed the baby on my chest, Joe cut the cord, then the army of doctors and nurses (who I later learned were from the NICU) cleaned him up. I got one more look before they took him away.

After six tumultuous weeks in the NICU, my son finally came home on September 1st.

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7 Essentials For NICU Baby At Home

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When my son was born nearly ten weeks early, I had next to nothing prepared for his arrival. This is mainly because he came the DAY before my baby shower and I didn’t want to buy stuff before then, but also because I am basically a professional procrastinator.  Honestly, if it weren’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done.

For once, my procrastination ended up somewhat working out in my favor because, after spending six weeks with him in the NICU, I had a much better idea of what I needed for him when he finally got to come home.

These are essentials not only for NICU babies but for those whose babies are full term as well.
[Writer’s Note: This post is not sponsored in any way. I’m just writing a blog about stuff that I’ve liked and it’s a shame I even have to include this disclaimer but blogging for fun is not what it used to be!]

Continue reading “7 Essentials For NICU Baby At Home”