Nursery on a Budget

Oh, the ways we change from being a first time parent to a second time parent.  When we were pregnant with Little Guy, we went all out.  All of his nursery furniture was from Babies R Us, and his bedding and decor was all matchy-matchy Amy Coe stuff.  
It was adorable. 
It was expensive.  
It was needless.

When we found out we were pregnant with this baby, I vowed not to get ridiculous and spend a fortune on baby stuff, and you know what?  
It was much easier than I ever thought!
I didn't even have a baby shower because I didn't need or want anyone to spend money on baby stuff that we didn't need.

How did I do it?

By utilizing Craigslist and a local SwipSwap facebook group for babies.


  • I found Baby Boy's crib on Craigslist (and it has the attached changing table with drawers and shelves).
  • Instead of a mobile, which can run from $30+, we found this adorable circus tent from IKEA.
  • I made a circle bunting with scrapbook paper from Michaels, and it happens to be one of Baby Boy's favorite things to look at in his room.

Nursery on a budget

  • I was given a TON of baby clothes.  Mostly hand-me-downs from my nephews, and some new outfits from family members.  We've really only bought a few items ourselves.
  • I scored a Moby Wrap from the local swipswap for only $5!  This was probably one of my favorite deals yet.

I bought the changing table for $10. It was a dirty, ugly, pepto-pink, so I cleaned, sanded, and spray painted it this fun orange color, and use it to hold these bins from Babies R Us.

I bought these seriously economical Cloth Diapers ($5-$8 each!!).





We also bought a pack n' play (which, alternating with our bed, is where Baby Boy currently sleeps) for $30, and a Fisher-Price Cradle 'N Swing, My Little Snugabunny, (which is AWESOME!!) for $50.

All together, Baby Boy's gear has cost us less than $350!!  How amazing is that?!

Next time someone tells you babies are expensive, I'll be here to tell you that certainly don't have to be.

Priceless, yes.
Expensive, no.


**Did you have anything for your first baby that you found to be a huge waste?






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Pumpkin Pickin'

It just isn't Fall without a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  Much to our dismay, many of the places in town that usually have pumpkin patches either didn't this year, or were waiting until much closer to Halloween to open. We were thrilled one Sunday, as we were headed home from a walk around downtown St. Augustine, we passed a pumpkin patch!
As soon as we arrived, a family that was leaving offered to take our picture!  How nice was that! 

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Why Cloth Diapers are AWESOME!

cloth diapers

Most people fall into 2 categories when they hear the words "Cloth Diapers."

Category 1:  "Awesome!  Better for the environment, and so much more economical!"

Category 2: "Ain't nobody got time for that! Too much laundry, and I don't have a huge lump sum of money to buy my supply with!"

 My sister-in-law cloth diapers our nephew and they love it.  She also loves her Bum Genius diapers, but at around $20 a diaper, I felt a little uneasy about forking out that kind of money for 20 diapers when I wasn't sure cloth diapering would even work out for our little family.  

But then I started reading, and researching, and facebook page stalking.  I discovered that there are cloth diapers out there that are affordable (and they actually work)! 

After reading tons of reviews, I decided to go with Alva Baby diapers.  They are only $5-$8 PER DIAPER!  Pretty awesome when compared with $20 for Bum Genius or Charlie Banana.  The Alva Baby website is a little confusing, and the diapers do come from China, so to avoid a potential duty fee, I went through Super Stash and ordered 20 Alva Baby cloth diapers.  They ended up coming to a little over $100 since I had a promo code to enter.  

I ordered some minkys (because they are so, so soft and have the cutest patterns, some regular AIOs, and some of the new double gussets with the colored snaps.
The diapers came with a sample pack of cloth diaper safe detergent, and small CJ's butter, and a thank you note!  Super sweet!
I prepped them by washing with the sample of cloth diaper detergent they came with, giving them an extra rinse, and hang drying.
alva baby cloth diapers
cloth diapers
I didn't start using them right away, because I felt like they were just going to be too big on our Baby Boy (who was born 7lbs15oz), and I didn't know if I'd have the energy to be doing all that laundry when I was exhausted from breastfeeding.  
We started out with Huggies (which were my favorite with Little Guy), but kept having blow outs.  
My Aunt came over to visit the first weekend and brought us a pack of Luvs, which seemed to be better in the blow out department while he was in newborn size, but Baby Boy is such a big eater, he got to almost 9 pounds before 2 weeks was up, and the newborn size started digging into his thighs and making them red.  

We switched to size 1 in the Luvs and went right back to blow outs.  
I mean, have to change his onesie every time, blow outs.  

I figured that if I was going to be washing 10 onesies a day, I might as well be washing the cloth diapers and saving some money.  So, I snapped down all the diapers to the smallest setting, tried one on him, and snapped it closed all the way to the middle snaps, and you know what?  They fit perfectly!  

And we haven't had one blowout!  Score! 

When I change Baby Boy's diaper, I just unsnap it, lay it flat, slide out the insert and lay it back on the top, fold the diaper in half and put it in our Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag - Owl  
Then I just dump the contents and the bag itself into the washing machine in the evening, so that the diapers will be ready to stuff again in the morning.

It's so awesome, I'm really glad we decided to do cloth diapering - and I'm really glad that the Alva Baby diapers were so economical and working perfectly for us.

*Do you use cloth diapers or disposables?




2

He's Here! (A Natural Birth Story)

I was 40 weeks and 5 days, and had just written this post.  I was feeling tired, emotional, and just so ready for baby to come.
On the way to pick Little Guy up from school, the receptionist from our birth center called so that I could set up some testing at the hospital on Friday (41+1) to make sure baby was doing ok. 

Little Guy had received some Halloween cards in the mail, and we opened and read them together when we got home. 
I went to use the bathroom, and as soon as I headed back to the living room, I thought, "Uh, oh! I'm peeing my pants!"  
I couldn't have been though, because I just went!
That's when it dawned on me that my water had broken.  
Little Guy and I were both so excited to know that the baby would be coming within the next day!
I'm so, so glad that my water broke while he was with me.  We had decided that he wouldn't accompany us to the birth center, but I really wanted him to feel a part of the experience.  The excitement on his face was priceless, and he felt so special to be the first one to know that the baby was coming.

I called Hubby at work and told him to come home, and then called the birth center.  They asked us to come in so that they could make sure it was amniotic fluid.  I knew it would be, because it was not stopping! Every time I leaned a certain way, more would leak. 

After Hubby got home, he and I dropped Little Guy off at my parents' house on the way to the birth center and once there, the midwife's assistant confirmed that indeed, my water was broken.

I was really happy because the assistant that was there that day was the first assistant we'd met when we toured the center and fell in love with it. We'd spent so many visits with her, but we hadn't seen her in about a month.
I had such a good giggle as I stood there talking to her and the receptionist about my water breaking, I felt like I was peeing my pants. The assistant confirmed that I was 4-5 cm dilated and sent us to dinner.  She told us to take a walk after dinner and come back at 8 so she could check my progress.  During our dinner/walking time I was instructed to alternate 2 types of homeopathic tablets that you dissolve under your tongue to help get labor going.

Around 7 my contractions finally started and I told Hubby that we better start heading back to the birth center (about 30 minutes away).  On the way to the center, the contractions started to become pretty timetable at 5 minutes apart, lasting for a minute.  The strangest part, was that they weren't just in my abdomen (there were there too, trust me), but they were radiating up my bum!  It was weird and uncomfortable and not at all what I expected.

By the time we reached the birth center, the midwife had arrived, and I felt pretty sure I was in active labor. The midwife checked me and said I was 5-6 cm and we'd be staying.  

Whoo-hoo!  Though I was kind of wishing I'd taken a nap that day... 

I got in the tub, which was nice and relaxing, but in all honesty, didn't in any way lessen the feeling of my contractions.  
It's pretty funny how it works though, I really was completely normal in between contractions.  We were all just hanging out and talking and then when a contraction would come, I'd just go into it mentally, breathe through it, and then bring my awareness right back into the room. At least that was during the first part of active labor.  

After a while, I got out of the tub and onto the birth ball, which felt safe to me, since my contractions seemed to be coming from the front and from below at the same time.  I used the softness of the birth ball to ease the intensity of the feeling from my bum.
The best way I can describe the feeling of my contractions is this:  imagine someone has a daggar pointed at your lower abdomen and there is a sharp spike pointed up your bum - now, at the same time, the dagger is inserted and twisted as you are lowered onto the spike.  That was a contraction for me. 
(I found out that Baby Boy's head was pretty much sitting on my tailbone, and since I had no bag of water to cushion him at all, that could have been why my contractions were feeling that way.)

As I grew nearer to transition, my contractions became much more intense.  I could no longer remain quiet through them and each one was accompanied by a deep moan and the shakes.  

The midwife checked my progress and let us know I was at 8 cm.
The beginning of transition.  

My uncontrollable shaking was becoming stronger, so it was suggested I get back into the warm water.  I did, but still continued to shake.  Where before, I was my normal self between contractions, now, I was completely exhausted between them.  In that brief space I was given before the next one would come, I felt as if I could fall immediately asleep. 

The midwife asked if I felt pressure yet, but it was hard to determine because the intensity of the contractions was so strong, and since I was feeling the contractions in my bum, I had no idea how I'd be able to differentiate between the pressure to push and the pressure from the contractions.

At 1:08 am, the contractions were so severe and I decided I might feel ready to push, so I began to push in the tub.  I found this to be really unproductive, because I really wanted to be able to brace myself against something, so I got out of the tub and used the birthing stool (which is like a little bench with a C shape cut into in and handles on either side).

Hubby stayed behind me to push against my back because I was afraid I'd topple backwards.  

At this point, the contractions became unnoticeable.  I don't know if it's because the urge to push was far stronger, or if the pain from them actually subsided to give me the ability to push.  

Pushing was, for me, the most difficult part of the entire labor.  Not so much because of pain (even though Hubby repeatedly reminded me about the "ring of fire" that was supposed to happen -thanks, babe - it actually wasn't that bad for me), but just the sheer effort it took for me to brace myself and push (and make progress pushing) and breathe, and push again without losing the progress I had made on the previous push.  It came to the point that I was just pushing, and pushing, and not wanting to take any sort of break at all in between.  Even a 2 second break felt like an eternity when I had all this work to do.  Work that had to be done now.  

There was one point when I managed to squeek out an "I can't do this," and as my midwife assured me that I could, I knew that was a mistake.  My energy was far too precious at this point to be wasted on talking, especially self defeating talk.  That was when I knew that I was going to do this, and I was going to use every ounce of my being to do it.

I scooted off the edge of the stool, put my chin to my chest, and pushed with all I had.  Pausing only a millisecond for a quick breath before pushing more.  

Once baby's head emerged, a huge amount of the pressure was gone.  One more set of pushes sent the rest of our 7 pound 15 oz baby boy earth side and into my arms at 1:56 am.  
I was completely overwhelmed.  

At the sight and touch of my sweet baby boy.

At the thought that he and I both worked together in one of the most difficult things I would ever do to bring him into this world.

At the realization that as he cried his first breath of life this little creature that I'd spent so long growing in my womb became a little soul who would travel the world with us.  

I was in love.  

Hubby and I stayed at the birth center until around 6am, when we decided we would all rest better if we headed home.

When Little Guy came home from school, seeing the love he immediately had for his baby brother was absolutely priceless.
I cannot tell you the amazing sense of accomplishment it gave me to know that I birthed my son without intervention or medication.  The experience was so different from Little Guy's birth.  Rather than being told what the Doctor's were making happen, I was experiencing what was just happening naturally through my body. The pain was not horrific or unmanageable.  There was no screaming or crying.  The whole experience was sort of surreal.  Looking back on it, none of it seemed very bad at all. Maybe it's because I knew the pain would not last forever.  The pain was a means to an end, and focusing on that one fact was tremendously helpful.

To tell the truth, this first week of breastfeeding and sleeplessness has been far more difficult than our natural birth experience! ;)


4

Pregnancy: Week 40

This Week:
Time is  up!  Come on baby!

Feeling:  So over it.  I'm tired of being pregnant and I'm ready to hold my sweet little baby!!

I've been:  A mess.  After my due date came and went, I had a day of contractions lasting hours that were approximate 6 minutes apart, and then.......fizzle......nothing.  It was such a let down! The next day  I was such an emotional wreck - crying over nothing, feeling depressed, tired, and just icky.  I guess my hormones were on a rampage.

I'm writing this at:  40 weeks and 5 days and really hoping that this will be my last pregnancy post.  If you see a week 41 picture, you may want to move to the other side of the road if you have to walk past me.

Cervical Progress:  Completely effaced (the midwife said my cervix was so soft, she could barely get a hold of it), and 5 cm.  She said there is a little inner ring that is still at 3cm though.  FINALLY!  Progress!  So I guess my day of contractions actually did do something.  I guess I'm having prodromal labor (where labor starts and stops over a long period of time, rather than starting and going hardcore for 20 hours or something).  Even though the waiting and not knowing totally stinks, I guess I'll take it that if this little one's head can put some pressure on that inner ring, I'll already be at 5 cm!

Baby's Position:  Head down, lying on his side, but on my left side (which is a great thing).  That means that when labor starts and he does his 90 degree turn, he should turn the right way make getting out the easiest. Phew!  He's also very low according to the midwife.

Really Hoping:  This baby comes before Halloween (which is when I hit week 41), but we'll see.

Ways to Help Bring on Labor:  At this week's appointment, the midwife broke out her arsenal of tricks to tell us things we can start trying to bring on labor.  I've got some homeopathic herbs to begin when I hit week 41.  I've also got evening primrose oil, ginger tea, walking, bouncing on a birthing ball, sex, and nipple stimulation all on my list of things to choose from.  It's funny, but now that I finally have a bag of tricks to choose from, I'm actually kind of nervous to try them!  I'm scared to force anything, but talk to me again when I hit week 41!  
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