Monday, March 17, 2014

So many Firsts with a new baby

When you have your first baby, there are all of the important Firsts he or she will experience.  Baby's First Christmas, Baby's First Halloween, Baby's First time rolling over, Baby's First time sitting up, First solid food, and the list of important milestones goes on and on.
The other firsts are the things you will experience as a first time parent.  Some are amazing and make you love everything about being a parent.  The first time you feel that little baby fall asleep in your arms.  The first real bath time, which is scary and fun at the same time.  The first time you put him to sleep in his crib in his own room instead of in the bassinet next to your bed AND you don't check on him every 2 minutes to make sure he's okay.
Then there are the things that happen for the first time that are so surprising and no one has ever warned you about like the first time baby poops all over the place while you are trying to change his diaper.  
There are also so many firsts that are not spoken about, but still so important, like the first time you go out again after having the baby.  The first time YOU sleep through the night.  Leaving him with a babysitter and not someone in your family.
Of course, the most important first for you and the baby is his First Birthday Party.
You only get one and you want to make sure it's awesome and perfect and better than any other party you've ever thrown.  Most importantly you want to create the best memories of this day for you and the baby.  The problem is, he's not going to remember it at all.  So first of all, stop trying to make it seem like it's all for the baby, because it's truly a party for you.  And that's perfectly okay!  Almost everyone at the party will be adults and you want to be sure you have just as much entertainment for them as you do for any of the kids that will be there, but if they are close in age to your one year old, you can give them just about anything to play with and they will be happy.
Hudson's first birthday party was super important to me for many reasons, but a big one was because I missed my baby shower.  So this was my chance to make up for that and have the party be exactly what I wanted it to be.  I wanted it to be a cool original theme and lots of fun for everyone.  We don't have a lot of friends with babies yet, so I new it would mostly be adults and wanted to be sure everyone would have a great time.
I chose a fun mustache and bow tie  theme because my husband and I love to dress up and we enjoy a little bit of the old-fashioned.  I also chose blue and green colors to make it more modern.  I worked on this party for over three months.  I wanted everything to be perfect and I needed it to be affordable, so I made a lot of the decorations myself.  This was also a way for me to be creative, which is something I haven't been able to do in a long time.  I love event planning and I felt this would be a good addition to my portfolio.
Almost every night for those three months I worked a little on the party.  I surfed the internet for some cool ideas that I could try to incorporate into my decorations.  I also bought some ready made items from multiple party supply stores.  I made banners and streamers and cut out probably a thousand different mustaches and bow ties on card stock.  I don't think my scissors ever saw so much use before.
It was a lot of work and so  much fun.  It was also a bit of a stress reliever after long days at work and taking care of the baby in the evening it was nice to have a fun project to work on.
We were having the party at home and I knew it would take time to get everything right so I started putting decorations up a couple of weeks before the party.  This helped me take my time with it and not stress out with last minute decorating, although there was still some of that the day of the party anyway.

The party went great!

We hired our friend who is a photographer to come take pictures for us.  I figured it would be nice for us not to have to worry about capturing every moment ourselves.  Having a photographer really freed me up to take care of party stuff and my husband and I were able to be in all of the important photos  and not miss anything.
I had a few different outfits lined up for Hudson for the big day.  I wanted to get lots of pictures and I also knew that he would get dirty at some point so having back ups is always a good idea.
Everyone loved the decorations and couldn't believe I made so much of it by myself.  We had fun things for everyone to wear if they wanted like stick on mustaches and bow ties that my sister hand knitted.  I also had fun props for taking silly pictures.
I wanted the day to be fun for Hudson, so I made sure he was a part of everything and was able to touch and play with lots of things without worrying about him breaking or messing anything up.  I wanted to try get through the day without him crying or being sad about something.  I think we were pretty successful with that.  I did put him down for a nap before we were ready to open presents, it had already been a long day with all the photos and people coming in and playing that he was tired.  having a short nap time for the babies was important an helped avoid meltdowns.  It also gave the adults some time to mingle and have fun without the babies.
Present time was super fun.  Watching him come to the understanding that something awesome is underneath the paper was great.

In the end I was really happy with the way things turned out.  Putting that party together reminded me how much I truly love event planning and now I know I can do it for any type of event.  It can be a wedding or a kid's birthday party and they make me equally excited and happy.  It sparked my drive to start my business up again.  I am currently working on my website and can't wait to launch it in the near future.  I am trying to get some events lined up so I can continue to add to my portfolio.  I submitted the photos from my party to Project Nursery and was chosen as finalist for the month! It was a really great validation that my talent is real.  I can't wait for birthday number two so I can do it all over again!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Almost Perfect Pregnancy

Have you seen that pregnant woman who walk around in their heels, have a cute little belly and still wearing skinny jeans?
Well, that was me!
I had a really amazing pregnancy. I didn't have any morning sickness at all. The only problem I had was feeling a little over tired during my first trimester, but who wouldn't after a long day at work while growing a human being inside of your body? 
I didn't really start showing until almost five months, and I was able to wear most of my own clothes throughout my pregnancy. (Soft cotton, empire waist dresses are the best thing ever for a summer pregnancy) I love fashion and I wasn't going to give it up just because I had a baby bump. I think more and more women feel that way, which is why there are so many new maternity lines coming out all the time. 
I had one food aversion throughout my pregnancy. Asparagus. It was very strange, especially since I really like the stuff. Of course it was the day we were traveling to London, I already wasn't feeling my best, had a bit of a headache, and we went to a restaurant at JFK. I ordered the breaded asparagus. I'd had it before and it was good, and one of the few vegetarian options on the menu. When the waiter put the plate in front of me I almost lost it. The smell hit me and I got so nauseous. I didn't understand why at first, then I tried taking a bite. I almost threw up, it was such a crazy feeling, but my body did not want me to eat that asparagus!  I tried eating asparagus once more later on in my pregnancy, and while the reaction wasn't as severe, I still could not eat it. 
So with that one thing that happened during my pregnancy I felt, overall, things were going quite smoothly. It was really nice. 
Then I had a regular pregnancy check up around the 30 week mark and the doctor said my blood pressure was a little. It was the first time I'd had a slightly high reading, so he wasn't concerned but wanted to see me again in two weeks. 
Two weeks later, back at the doctor, and my blood pressure is still high, higher than the last time. My doctor decides to send me to the hospital for monitoring. It's procedure, a few hours, check on me and the baby, be sure everything is okay and then see from there. At that point I believe my blood pressure was around 145/85, I might be a little off, but close. 
I was alone, as I had just run to the doctor from work and had expected to go back to the office, so there was no reason for my husband to be with me. Of course I call him to let him know, nothing serious, just heading up in a cab to the hospital. He can meet me there as soon as he can. 
By the time I get to the hospital and get all checked in my blood pressure was up another 10 points. My husband arrives and I get put in a temporary room. I get hooked up to a bunch of machines that are monitoring me and the baby and a bunch of nurses and doctors are buzzing around me.  Asking me lots of questions, Do you feel dizzy? Do you feel nauseous? Headaches? Numbness? 
The doctor at the hospital finally comes to talk to me. She explains that I have developed something called Preeclampsia. It's a pregnancy illness that causes high blood pressure and can become very dangerous to both the mother and child. 
The only cure? 
Delivering the baby. 
But I was way too early to deliver!
Everything had been going so well up until then, what could have caused this?
Apparently, no one knows. It's one of those random medical mysteries that doctors can't seem to explain. They know how to treat it, but not how to prevent it. It's also something that usually shows signs earlier in the pregnancy and can be treated until the baby comes to full term. In my case, it came on suddenly and fiercely. A couple of hours after I was being monitored, and now medicated, my blood pressure was still rising.  At one point I'm pretty sure I heard a reading of 190 over 120 which I think is kind of ridiculous, especially since I wasn't exhibiting any symptoms that would be connected with that kind of blood pressure.  The good thing was that the baby seemed to be fine and unaffected by what was going on around him with my body.
All of this craziness and the only thing I could think of was that my baby shower was that Saturday and I simply could not miss it!
You can't miss your own baby shower!  It's the best thing about being pregnant.  You get showered with gifts!
I was thinking I had a couple of days, they can get this under control and I should be home with plenty of time before Saturday.
The doctors finally get my blood pressure to come down to acceptable levels, which are still high, but not life threatening.  They fully admit me and get me into a real hospital room.
They let us know that they won't have to deliver the baby immediately, but they will be monitoring us both and preparing for a delivery soon.  I have to get two days of steroid shots to help the baby's lungs develop before delivery.
I don't think I have experienced anything as painful as those steroid shots.  They gave the shot in the thigh and it was like being punch and burned at the same time.  The burn stayed for hours throughout my thigh and hurt for days after.  I hope to never go through those kind of shots ever again.
I won't go through all of the details, but the next couple of days were difficult and scary and very uncomfortable.  I was swollen all over from the high blood pressure, I couldn't move from the bed, I was constantly being given shots and medication and tests.  It felt like forever, but it was only three days.
Finally my OB-Gyn comes to see us to let us know he will be handling the surgery and delivering the baby.  We were very happy about that since we were comfortable with him and trusted him to help us get through this.  He is an amazing doctor and I was worried a stranger was going to deliver my baby.
Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4:00 I was taken in for a cesarean.  At 4:56pm, little Hudson Shea Walsh was born.
He was so tiny! And perfect! And beautiful!
4 pounds, 17 inches
He came out screaming and healthy and as amazing as it sounds, he was not sent to the NICU.
Even my doctor was surprised when the pediatrician said he could go to well baby after he did his checks.
I was completely out of it at that point from the all of the meds, but I was so relieved that he was healthy and okay.
We were in the hospital for another four days after that.  My blood pressure came down slightly, but not much.  I was given lots of prescriptions and had to learn how to give myself injections which is the least fun thing to have to do to yourself, ever.
Eventually my blood pressure went back to normal and I no longer need any medications to keep it in line.
Hudson came home with us and he was amazing.  The tiniest little thing.  I was terrified of messing things up, but I knew I would be fine.  Holding him felt wonderful.
Apparently my baby shower was a huge success.  Everyone told me how much fun it was and that I missed one of the best baby showers ever.  I was Skype'd in during the shower, but I was on so much medication I barely remember it.  Will made the announcement that Hudson was now in the world and everyone thought he was playing a prank on them until he showed them pictures.
It was nice that he didn't open the presents.  He left that for us to do together at home, so I didn't get to miss out on that which I really appreciated.
So, it wasn't the perfect pregnancy all the way through, but I had a really great  pregnancy that ended with a lot of drama and perfect little boy.  So it all worked out.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Registries are awesome, until they're not

Gift Registries are so amazing!  You actually get to make a list of all the things you want and then give it to people and watch as they buy your wish list for you!
Whoever thought of the Gift Registry was a genius!
So, when I got pregnant I knew there was a registry to look forward to down the road. I thought about how fun it was to register for my bridal shower. I walked the stores and picked out all of the things I loved and wanted as well as needed. It wasn't as fun for my future husband because he didn't care about all of the little things, but he perked up at some things like the super soft towels and sheets we put on our list. 
I started reading baby magazines and researching products online so I could be prepared when it came time to make the trip to the store to register. I had no idea what I was in for. 
Registering for baby gear is HARD!
You're not picking things for yourself, your picking things for this tiny little baby who is going to need them. It's not about the cutest stuff. It's about the safest products. 
We decided to register at BuyBuyBaby. If you've ever been to Bed Bath & Beyond and been overwhelmed by their floor to ceiling displays of kitchen gadgets and cooking tool then you can imagine how I felt walking into Buy Buy Baby. Except it wasn't kitchen tools, it was bottles and bibs, teethers, first aid. Floor to ceiling onesies and swaddlers. 
There were rows of car seats, strollers, cribs and pack & plays. My husband and I didn't know where to start. We got our scan gun and were left to our own devices. We spent almost an hour staring at strollers, trying to figure out how to open and close them. We were finally saved by a salesperson who noticed how helpless we looked. He took us around the major baby gear sections, strollers, car seats, playpens, and showed us the differences and gave us great info and suggestions based on what we were looking for. 
We didn't get very far with our registry that day. When we returned the scan gun the lady was very shocked. I think we had maybe 10 things on our list and we had been there for over 2 hours. She suggested we make an appointment with a registry consultant, which we did for the following week. 
Our second visit was a very different story from the first. We met with the registry consultant immediately upon entering. We were given a scan gun and she accompanied us to the floor. She asked questions about what types of things we were interested in and used our input to make very informed suggestions as she took us from section to section. This was a much more pleasurable experience. It was like having a guide to the world of unknown baby gear. We were much more efficient this time and wrapped up our registry in around 2 hours. We had everything from bedding to bath products, bottles to toys. It was fantastic. I was happy with all of the things we picked and it felt like we would be very prepared once we had everything. 
As time went on, I did go to the website a couple of times and add things that I read about in a magazine or got a suggestion for from a friend, but for the most part our registry went forward with all of our choices from that second trip. 
Lesson learned!
Don't attempt to navigate thousands of products that you know little to nothing about on your own. There are very knowledgable, experienced people in those stores who are willing to help you through the registry process. And the services are free!  Trust me, you don't want to waste time wandering a store for hours when you're five or six months pregnant. It's just not fun. Get help the first time you go and it will be a much more enjoyable experience. Then you just have to sit back and wait for those wonderful presents to come to you :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Avoid Information Overload

I read two pregnancy books while I was pregnant.
Yep, that's right, just two.
Because, how many books do you need to read that tell you the same things, or give you lists of really scary stuff that COULD happen but probably never will.

I read both books cover to cover and they were completely different kinds of books that gave me a crap load of information and sparked lots of additional online research for me to do before the baby was born.

The first book was given to me by my doctor.  And, no, it was not "What to Expect When You Are Expecting".  Actually, my doctor recommended I NOT read that book as it tends to undermine physicians.  I don't know if that's true, but I trusted my doctor and still do.  The book he gave me was "Your Pregnancy and Childbirth, Month to Month".
I thank my doctor tremendously for giving me this book.  One, it saved me money, and two it was a really fantastic book.  It covered pregnancy stages, symptoms and issues on a monthly and weekly basis.  I had this book next to my bed and every month of my pregnancy, I would read the chapter about my upcoming pregnancy month.  Was everything applicable to me?  No.  But it was pretty cool when they were spot on and sometimes it was nice to not have all of the symptoms they mentioned in the book.  I could gloat about not having a leaky bladder or morning sickness.
The book has good exercise recommendations for different stages of pregnancy which was nice.
There is also lots of information about the surprises that could possibly come with pregnancy like birth defects, gestational diabetes, and other scary stuff, but it was sectioned out in other chapters and you could read it or choose not to.
I would definitely recommend this book to women in their first pregnancy.  There's a lot of things that happen to your body and having an idea about whether it's normal or not is super helpful.

The other book I read was "Skinny Bitch Bun In the Oven".

I have the original Skinny Bitch book with awesome vegetarian/vegan recipes and as I was perusing the bookshelves I spotted this book and thought, "Yep, that's the one".
I will warn you, this book is not for everyone as it may come off a little extreme.  However, I do recommend you give it a try even if you're not vegetarian.  If you never plan to give up meat and become a vegetarian, I recommend you avoid the chapter about the meat industry and possibly the chapter about milk.  Otherwise, it is an awesome and scary book.
I thought I was pretty well informed and made good choices about products and food.  I am vegetarian, I eat lots of organic foods and I buy lots of recycled and organic/natural products.  But even so, I had no idea how truly crazy things are in this country when it comes to manufacturing and production.  Companies can basically get away with almost anything.  There seems to be no accountability for the crap they put in our products.  What's worse is they can get away with putting really harmful things in baby products! The book is very frank about what's going on with food and products that is really not good for us, especially if you are pregnant.  There are a lot of harmful chemicals in products we would not even think about, so exposure to those things could be harmful to the baby growing inside of you.
The book also goes into some products and what to consider when purchasing things for the baby, such as a crib mattress.  Many crib mattresses are made using petroleum and flame retardants that off-gas while the baby is sleeping on it.  That is simply insane and unacceptable.  I don't understand how that can even be allowed.  Babies spend a lot of time sleeping and having them on anything that could have them breathing harmful chemicals is ridiculous.  Organic, all natural mattresses are the only way to go.  And I'll tell you, they're not that much more expensive and it's totally worth it for your baby and your peace of mind.  This book changed the way I think about how I buy products and which companies I will give my business to.  These things will stay with me for the rest of my life.

So, those are the two books I read and would recommend.
With that, I also did lots of reading and research online.  That's just the way things go now.  We have the internet at our fingertips and that can super useful and also very harmful to our minds.  Try to avoid that information overload.  You can read lots of books and thousands of articles that have opposing opinions about what's best for you, your baby, your family and your home.  Try not to.  There's already a lot of stress that comes with being pregnant and then with having that new baby to take care of, you don't need to add on to that with overwhelming amounts of information.  Trust in yourself when making decisions, follow your values and common sense.  There are a lot companies out there who truly do care about you and your baby.
Some of my favorites that I've found are listed on my blog page at the bottom.  I'll also share some in my future blogs.

Number one piece of advice from me about buying food or products for your family is to read the list of ingredients and/or materials.  If there are things that sounds strange to you, don't buy it.  Try to find things that are made of items you can easily identify.  Ambiguous ingredients like Fragrance or Flavoring tends to hide a lot of things you wouldn't want on or in your baby or yourself, avoid them.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Mama, New Blog

So it has been one whole year since I had my first baby!

My little man Hudson is no longer an infant.  He is heading towards that stage called Toddler very quickly and it is scary.  But it's also really exciting.

I am starting this blog because that first year was filled with a lot of firsts!
For me, my husband and Hudson.  We all had very unique experiences over the last year and I want to share some of the geeky ways we dealt with things.  And now that I am an expert Mama Geek (yeah, right!) We are raising our son to hopefully be just as geeky as we are, he's already been to his first Comic Con, so I want to be sure to get all of our geeky adventures down for posterity.

I hope everyone who reads this finds some helpful tips, has some fun and enjoys what I have to say and share from our silly, geeky lives.