Content warning: This post will be incredibly obnoxious in an “excited about cutesy pregnancy stuff as if I’m a normal / fertile person” kind of way. If you’re not in a great place, this one might best be skipped.
Let me start by saying this is in NO WAY a solicitation for gifts from any of my readers. We’ve all been through enough wringers! Let the casually fertile subsidize our parenthood, since they skipped out on the tens of thousands of dollars we spent just to get here… 😛
This is just to share the fun I’ve been having researching baby stuff, being offered used stuff (yeah!), and picking out a few humble luxuries in the Amazon universe in case anyone feels like celebrating with us.
Feel free to take a look at my registry for inspiration, or to offer any advice or thoughts. If it’s not on there, it’s probably on its way to us used.
We already have a used crib, Bumbo, swing, bouncer, movement monitor, Medela bottles, play mat, baby bathtub, and approximately seven truck loads of clothes and burp cloths with our names on them. I bought 20 used cloth diapers and at least 40 inserts (and 18 prefolds) for a grand total of about $60. I also got an adorable gently used bunny lovey for $3 that retails for $30.
Yes, the lovey (a word I very recently learned from Jane the Virgin) is pink, like about 1/3 of the stuff I’m getting — I’d get tired of all blue. (We also have some pastel green and grey stuff.) And who knows? Maybe our boy will love pink. It was considered a “boy” color 100 years ago and might make a comeback at any time. When he’s old enough to let me know what he thinks, I’ll be sure to take that into account.
I’ll probably stick to disposable diapers until the meconium clears out and I feel like I’ve got things a little under control (at least relatively speaking). Then I’ll give it a “go” with cloth diapers and elimination communication. I love the idea of potty training by 18 months and not putting hundreds of disposable diapers in landfills. It may remain just a lovely idea, but I won’t know unless I try 😉
And then I have all the blankets and stuffed animals I saved since I was a little kid. I’m SO GLAD they’ll finally get their second life. (They’ve just been sitting there in storage bags under my bed at my parents’ house mocking me for the past four years…) I never liked garishly colorful plastic stuff when I was a kid, so I’m going to try to keep that to a minimum. (With the exception of Legos, of course.) Hoping I can find wooden Lincoln Logs like the ones I played with as a kid.
Seriously, though, babies take up, like, one cubic foot of space. How can they need so much stuff? I’m trying to keep things as simple as possible, and I still have almost 70 things on my registry worth a combined $1500. Plus all the used stuff! Granted, most of it is tiny (most of it is pieces of cloth designed to clean up after babies), but it adds up. I’m not sure how we’re all going to fit in our one-bedroom apartment. It’d be easy to say we should buy some tall shelves, but then that’s a baby hazard. (I guess we can bolt them to the wall.)
And so many of the things have to be researched to figure out what might work best for us. Hours and hours of research and reading reviews and going to stores to test out strollers, etc. (We landed on a Graco LiteRider travel system, which is pretty cheap but seems functional. I hope it’ll do OK on our paved river trail. I initially wanted to get a jogger with bicycle-style wheels, but those suckers are heavy. My friend Holly said she’d pick us out a good umbrella stroller for quick jaunts. I’ll probably be mostly wearing the baby for some time, but I’m sure there will be times when rolling him around is a nice break.)
And then you’ve got nursing bras and bottles (we’ll do our best to breastfeed, but Ahmed may want to feed sometimes) and carriers and back-up disposable diapers and wipes and milk savers and changing pads and changing pad cover and changing pad liners… Every time I say to an experienced mother, “Oh, I don’t think I’ll need that,” she kind of rolls her eyes and says, “Just wait.” It’s a long list of “conveniences.”
Honestly I probably wouldn’t spend our own money on a lot of it. I’d just make do, like my mom did before me. But Amazon and our culture allow me to make a wish list and spread it around, so why not? As the time draws near, we can prioritize among the things a friend or family member hasn’t kindly secured for us, or scour Craig’s list for them. And you can bet we’ll find someone to pass it all on to as our second child outgrows it. (Inshallah — we are hoping for one more after this little guy, somehow some way.)
The stroller was our one big-ticket item, and my aunt in Texas took care of that (thanks, Aunt Barbara!). That and a LilleBaby All Seasons 6-in-1 carrier, which we found on sale and got for ourselves and removed it from the registry. Now all but eight things cost less than $40, and most cost less than $20. Nothing costs more than $80.
We do still need to figure out storage for baby stuff, but I imagine we’ll throw it all in one big bin for a while (and maybe get a cheap plastic dresser as well) until we have a better idea of what we’ll actually need. And we’ll change diapers either on top of our (wooden) dresser with the changing pad (if we can figure out how to do it safely) or on the bed/floor. The child will sleep in our room — the only bedroom we have — in a Pack ‘n Play until that’s no longer feasible. (No clear idea when that’ll be, but we’ll play it by ear.)
Thanksgiving was fun this year. I’m showing pretty obviously if I wear form-fitting maternity stuff. (I can still pass for not-pregnant if I wear a bulky sweater.) My cousin Andrea gifted me her maternity things — three pairs of jeans with that big black belly band, one pair of black pants, and one black skirt, plus three light, long-sleeved, scoop-neck shirts with shirred sides that hang low enough, even the biggest belly will never get under the hem. I’ll be able to wear that stuff through the whole pregnancy any time I need to look nice.
I also couldn’t resist Old Navy’s “everything’s half off” Black Friday sale, and we found some awesome values there. I got several seriously versatile pieces for less than $10 each! So I’m pretty much set as far as that goes. (I’m probably most excited about the $9.98 maternity yoga pants. My regular yoga pants are too tight now, and my second-hand extra-large leggings are just wrong for yoga and hit my waist at an awkward spot. They’re also quite unflattering.)
Anyway, at the two Thanksgiving shindigs I went to (one at my friend Holly’s house, one with my step-dad’s relatives — we do Christmas with my mom’s side of the family), I wore my cousin’s maternity jeans with some cute maternity tops and (finally!) got to talk shop with some of the moms and be congratulated and generally feel like I’m no longer this sad, perpetually left-behind person. As I’ve mentioned on other posts, my instinct is to shout to the world my son’s unorthodox origins, because I think it’s awesome and I’d like it all to be normalized. But by the same token, this precious boy deserves to be known as just himself before being identified as a medical marvel. For now, the fact that we’re pregnant and have a son on the way is the main thing. The rest can follow naturally.
Meanwhile a few of our Amazon gifts have started to arrive, and how exciting was it to finally get a stroller in the mail? Such a simple thing that we’ve dreamed about for so long. We also got two cool parenting books, two gift cards, the best travel mug of all time (a Zojirushi to keep this mama hydrated — I’ve heretofore been schlepping around repurposed juice or tea bottles when I need liquids on the go), and an adorable jumbo-sized thick Turkish cotton hooded towel that our little man can probably use until he’s six. (Ahmed doesn’t do towels himself; he just wraps himself in his Turkish cotton robe. Now his son can be his “mini-me,” hehe.) It’s like Christmas every time we check the mail.
We also got this cute giraffe thing as a free gift from Amazon.
So we’ll have options in the hooded towel department.
My main complaint — if I may be so bold as to offer one amid so much bounty — is that I have a hard time sleeping soundly and wake up with my back aching every day. It’s not so terrible, and once I get moving around it goes away. But I kind of dread going to bed at night and waking up in the morning. I bought a HiccaPop pregnancy wedge pillow (why do baby things always have the most absurd brand names?), but it doesn’t seem to help. My uterus isn’t even that big yet, relative to how big it’s gonna get, so…
Also, I tried doing lunges for some silly reason, and since then my symphysis pubis joint has been a bit twingey. I scaled everything back and did some exercises that the internet says are supposed to help (squeezing a cantaloupe-shaped inflatable rubber ball between my knees, pelvic tilts, etc), and it’s been feeling better. But it was jarring to come up so hard against a limitation that wasn’t there before.
Oh yeah, and I think I forgot to mention that some jackass hit our car on Halloween night — when we were out trying to celebrate our healthy 19-week scan, using a coupon to save money — and zoomed off, leaving us to pay a $1,000 deductible. (We were also trying to save money by getting cheaper insurance with a larger deductible. Oops.) And that’s if we’re lucky and the car’s not totaled.
We were stopped at a red light at 45th Pl and Peoria. The lane to the left of us was clear, and just as the light turned green, this person clipped our left rear fender as he tried to get around us to zoom through the light. We barely felt it since our Toyota Corolla is genius at deflecting impacts, but we heard the crunch of it and looked behind us. We were looking in the wrong direction. By the time we looked forward again, he was gone.
We’ll take the car into the shop on Monday and hope they don’t find enough damage to total it out. The other driver was probably drunk and/or didn’t have insurance. The police were entirely useless. They were too busy to come meet with us and make a report at the scene, then they were all out for training for a week (literally every traffic cop in Tulsa), then the best response we could get, after a cursory investigation (which wasn’t as thorough as the investigate we had already done), was, “Unfortunately hit and runs are very common in Tulsa.”
Sigh. We had a beater car for our first two years in Tulsa and didn’t get a scratch on it. Then we get our first new car, and bam! Hit a deer last year and got hit ourselves this year. Ouch.
But everyone’s fine and it’s just money. And my brother was kind enough to lend us his truck (his family’s third vehicle) while the car’s in the shop. Onward and upward.
I’m doing my best to take it one day at a time, stay as healthy as I can, and let it all happen how it happens. In general I’m just grateful for every single bit of it (other than drunk jackasses on Halloween), and overall I feel great. Very few of the usual pregnancy complaints at all. Trying to abide in the joy and not wonder how and when it’ll all go wrong. Sometimes things are just going good, and it really behooves us to appreciate those times.
As for little Ali himself (still his nickname — we still haven’t been able to come up with another single boy name for our list!), he seems to be kicking stronger by degrees, though some days he’s quite chill. My fundus is a bit beyond my belly button by now, as it should be, and Ali’s heart rate, which used to hover around 140, now averages closer to 130, though I caught him at 150 the other day — he must have been doing baby power yoga at that time.
The little sucker’s roughly a foot long and a full pound in weight! It won’t be long until there’s a chance he could actually survive and become a full-fledged human outside of the womb. He’s very close to being considered not a fetus but a baby (albeit one that can still use a lot more cooking). It’s still really hard to imagine him being a foot long. That’s like a whole Subway sandwich! I know he’s curled up in there, but it just seems incredible. I can’t quite wrap my head around it.
(EDIT: I think he’s actually more like 8 inches from crown to rump, which is the usual measure at this stage. Might be 12 inches from head to toe?)
I still tend to think of him as being maybe five inches long and bouncing off the walls in there. It’s a hard image to shake. But his head is almost the size of a tennis ball! I wish I was better at feeling around and telling what’s what, but I’m terrified I’ll squish his head if I do anything more than lightly rest my hand on my stomach. Maybe my midwife will give me some pointers next time I go in.
Still super happy with my midwife and doula, and we also started our childbirth education class with another doula in town, who’s awesome and used to live in New York City. My prenatal yoga has turned into a Kundalini yoga class (same instructor) that welcomes pregnant people (and gives them alternative poses when needed), and it’s still a nice workout but adds a somewhat spiritual element that’s lovely. It’s good to be surrounded by so many supportive souls.
Oh, and Ahmed’s citizenship oath ceremony went off without a hitch, and my parents came all the way to Oklahoma City to be a part of it. It was a sweet day, and we just kind of glossed over the fact that the president on the “presidential welcome video” was a racist orange turd. Even he couldn’t ruin it. It was a moving ceremony, with 46 people from 21 countries gaining citizenship, even here in flyover country. A giant refutation of that ugly streak of nativism that the orange turd rode into Washington.
Life is really good. In a year that’s been tough for so many, after four years that have been so tough for us, I have so much to be thankful for, and I try not to take that for granted for a moment.
My husband is the handsome guy on the left.