Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife

Baby

A Blonde Baker’s Baby Dozen 2.0

After I finished my last list and shared it with a newly pregnant friend, I starting thinking of a few more baby items that we love. ¬†Since I already had 14 (15 if you count how many product links I have) items on my list, I decided I’d just make another list. ūüôā ¬†Most of these aren’t really NEEDED items, but they sure are nice to have if you are gifted them or can find a good deal. ¬†Also, the pictures are also links, for your convenience. ¬†Here we go!

1) Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair It can be used with just about any table.  I love it.  It allows baby to sit at the table with us & folds up flat, so we can take it anywhere with us.  I happened to find ours at a secondhand baby store.

 

 

 

 

2) Bumbo Seat¬† I have always loved using these – both when I babysat and now with our daughter. ¬†Lightweight, portable (I love portable things), easy to clean, and with the little tray table it’s the perfect little picnic chair for baby. ¬†I would put baby in this, on our bed, against the wall (so she can’t fall off the bed – although, Bumbo specifically states this is a ground seat and shouldn’t be used on raised surfaces) while I got ready or was cleaning the room, etc. ¬†She could watch what I was doing and we could interact but it also kept her from lying on her back or tummy all the time. ¬†Plus, I didn’t have to worry about her rolling off the bed.

 

 

 

3)¬†Swing¬†There are lots of options – some more space saving or portable than others. ¬†We were given a swing by a friend. ¬†It is similar to the one pictured (same brand and similar design). ¬†One thing I must tell you about our swing & this brand – they are durable! ¬†Swings may only be useful from birth to around 6 months (depending on the size of your baby) but they can be used over and over for subsequent babies. ¬†That’s bang for your buck. ¬†Movement helps soothe babies and some great early naps happened in our swing. ¬†We love that thing. ¬†We just recently stopped using it because our baby started arching her back trying the baby in the mirror – this lead to minor safety issue of her hanging off the side of the swing (thank God she was buckled in, so she would just hang & not totally fall out) – didn’t seem to bother her.

 

 

 

 

4)First Years Bathtub¬†This comes with a sling to use with newborns and then the tub has a reclined side for newborns/babies who can’t hold their head up or sit up and an upright side for babies/toddlers. ¬†We don’t use this at home. ¬†Generally, one of us just gets in the bath with our daughter and the other helps. ¬†However, my mother bought this tub for her house. ¬†Our daughter loves being able to sit up, on her own, in the water and play. ¬†I will put her in this with toys & a little water in the shower with me. ¬†That way she can play while I shower & then I can bathe her. ¬†Win – win!!

 

 

 

5) Steam Sterilizer Bags  I love using these when we travel and for quick things at home (like the paci that rolled under the fridge).  Each bag can be used 20 times before tossing.

A Blonde Baker’s Baby Dozen

Here are 14 things that I’ve come to love in the past 7 months with baby. ¬†They’ve either been extremely useful for us or are just too adorable to pass up. ¬†All of the pictures in the list are links, for your informational and purchasing convenience. ¬†At the bottom of the list, I’ve included pictures of us using some of our favorite things. ¬†This is my Blonde Baker’s Baby Dozen. ūüėČ

1)¬†Bean Bag¬†I don’t have a picture (link) for this because you can probably find one cheaper at your local big box store than online. ¬†Seriously, a plain bean bag (kid’s size, I guess) has been FANTASTIC. ¬†She loved napping in it when she was smaller. ¬†It gave the feeling of snugness and security without actually needing to swaddle her. ¬†Now that she’s older and more mobile, she still naps in it on occasion but she also loves to sit in it and play with her toys. ¬†We’ve used it as a prop in pictures, too. ¬†Multipurpose indeed!!

 

2) The BRICA Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet¬† More portable than a pack n’ play & less expensive than a portable crib. ¬†We used this on our long road trips this summer and at home, in our bed. ¬†It gave our baby her own space & allowed us to co-sleep with her without fear of rolling over on her.

 

 

 

 

3) The Moby Wrap  I LOVE MY MOBY!!  We used this wrap in the hospital and throughout the beginning.  Our baby loved to be worn in the wrap, too.  One of the best things about it Рnobody tries to grab your baby when you are wearing her.  There are multiple colors and patterns to choose from, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Bow Swaddle4) The Beaufort Bonnet Company  I seriously love so many of the items TBBC offers.  I took my sweet bow swaddle to the hospital and had our little girl swaddled before she was 10 hours old.  Pure sweetness.  Check out everything they have to offer.  Great baby gifts!!  Bonus РTBBC is located in the heart of Central Kentucky and all of their (very high quality) items are made in the USA!!  They are carried in boutiques in several states Рyou can check their website to see if a store near you carries TBBC or you can order directly on their website.  Seriously, some of the sweetest ladies and best customer service!!

 

 

 

 

5)¬†The Woombie¬†¬†BEST. NIGHT. SWADDLE. EVER. ¬†Our daughter LOVED to be swaddled at night but it was hard (especially for my husband) to get the blankets wrapped so that they’d stay wrapped. ¬†It was especially difficult at 3am when we were bleary eyed and exhausted. ¬†This makes it so simple! ¬†You just zip them in!! ¬†Oh the peaceful slumber and easy diaper changes we enjoyed when using this. ¬†They have winter and summer fabric options, as well as multiple sizes and convertible swaddles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Evenflo Classic Glass Bottles ¬†Economical, easy to clean, & sturdy. ¬†Since they are glass, you don’t have to worry about them being cloudy or somehow getting stained. ¬†You can be sure they are clean. ¬†They are also amazingly sturdy. ¬†I’ve dropped them on numerous occasions (not purposefully) and haven’t broken or cracked one yet.

 

7) Britax Head & Body Support Pillow¬†Our baby was on the smaller side (at two months she was still under 7lbs). ¬†I really liked how this gave her a little extra support & it’s double sided. ¬†One side to help keep her warm in the winter and the other to help keep her cool in summer. ¬†The headpiece is also adjustable, so it’s pretty easy to get a good fit for your baby. ¬†It can be used in your car seat or stroller.

 

 

 

8)¬†Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat ¬†I liked the look, the price range, and the safety ratings of this seat. ¬†Bonus – my niece outgrew her non-Britax Infant seat by 8 or 9 months but still fit in our Britax with a room to grow. ¬†Since our daughter is on the small side (10th% for height & weight), I’m fairly confident that we’ll be able to use the Britax for another year or so. ¬†There are several colors available.

 

 

 

 

 

9)¬†Britax B-Agile Stroller ¬†Easy to open & easy to fold. ¬†It’s also lightweight (as strollers go) and fairly compact once folded. ¬†It has an over-sized canopy, so it’s easy to keep the sun out of baby’s face. ¬†The recline option is a fluid design, so you have multiple options for how far you want baby to recline. ¬†The undercarriage is also bigger & more roomy than first appearance suggests. ¬†It also came with the adapters needed for our car seat to snap right onto it. ¬†You have to purchase it separately but with the Britax Stroller Organizer,¬†it’s pretty ¬†much perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10) KidCo Go-Pod¬†An activity station for junior that folds up and is as portable as a camping chair. ¬†Genius! ¬†Bonus – It has toy latches, so you can attach your baby’s favorite friends to help entertain him. ¬†This means you can entirely forego purchasing one of those activity center things & just get this. ¬†You can rotate toys, to keep things fresh (for baby and to clean the toys), and it’s portable!! ¬†Great space saver, if you don’t have a lot of room, too, since you can fold it up and toss it in a closet.

 

 

 

11) Cloth Diaper Liners¬†¬†I use these because my baby is not exclusively breastfed, which means her solids are more similar to big kid/adult solids. ¬†I have no desire to rinse that, so I love these. ¬†You line your baby’s cloth diaper & then you can just drop the liner and solids in the toilet. ¬†It’s flushable! ūüôā ¬†I love how economical they are. ¬†I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything if my baby only wets her diaper.

 

 

 

 

12)¬†Boppy Pillow¬†This should be standard issue to all ¬†new mamas. ¬†Breast or bottle feeding – doesn’t matter. ¬†It is so useful. ¬†I used it for support while breastfeeding. ¬†We used it to prop baby up in a reclined position when she was learning to hold her own bottle but couldn’t quite manage it sitting up (because she was wobbly sitting up more than anything). ¬†Now, we use it as a little extra support for her as she is sitting up & a soft thing to help catch her if she falls over. ¬†She’s loved rolling all over it, climbing over it, gumming on it, the list goes on. ¬†Oh, we do love our Boppy and find so many uses for it!!

 

 

 

13) WASHABLE Playard/Pack n Play Center ¬†We have this exact brand. ¬†LOVE IT. ¬†It was easy to set up, comes with so many features, and the fabrics are removable so they can be washed. ¬†I am not a big fan of pack n plays because they don’t seem very portable to me BUT we love keeping this in our home. ¬†She naps in it, plays in it, and the changing table is at the perfect height. ¬†This is her place in our living room.

 

 

 

 

14) Rugged Butts¬†Fedora¬†¬†I purchased this as a gift for a friend. ¬†Super cute & so dapper. ¬†I was so excited when I opened the package to check this hat out before wrapping it up for my friend. ¬†It felt sturdy, like it would hold up to anything a baby or toddler might do to it, and looked FANTASTIC in person. ¬†If we are ever blessed with a boy – I’m buying him one of these in every available color. ¬†ūüôā
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Travel Bassinet works wonderfully as a little "boat" for photos.  We placed the Boppy inside to help her sit up and tossed a few toys in there with her.

Travel Bassinet works wonderfully as a little “boat” for photos. We placed the Boppy inside to help her sit up and tossed a few toys in there with her.

That's a Boppy under that blanket.  :)

Bean Bag under a blanket

Road trippin' in her Britax Car Seat

Road trippin’ in her Britax Car Seat

Sweet Bow Swaddle.  Oh, my heart melts when I look at this picture.

Sweet Bow Swaddle. Oh, my heart melts when I look at this picture.

Our Woombie worm.

Our Woombie worm.

Car seat snapped into stroller.

 

Walking downtown, hanging in a Moby.

Bean bag…great place for a nap!

 

 

 

Mongolian Blue Spots, Stork Bites, & Other Birthmarks

Hemangiomas (aka strawberries) aren’t the only strange looking birthmarks your child could have. ¬†There are many others. ¬†Some are vascular birthmarks (red in color) and others are pigmented birthmarks (markings on skin that can range in colors but are not red).

During discussions about my post regarding my daughter’s hemangioma, one mother shared that her daughter had something called Mongolian Blue Spots. ¬†They are blueish in color and look like bruises. ¬†The spots are on her back, near her shoulder and just above her butt. ¬†(Most Mongolian Blue Spots appear on the lower back and buttocks. ¬†It’s rare for them to appear on scalps or faces.) ¬†They’ve had to have them documented by their pediatrician, in case someone suspects that they are bruises. ¬†In fact, they thought that they were bruises that resulted from how the doctor pulled their daughter out at birth, when they first appeared. ¬†How can you tell the difference? ¬†Bruises change colors. ¬†Blue Spots don’t. ¬†Bruises hurt. ¬†Blue Spots don’t. ¬†Bruises also fade fairly quickly, whereas blue spots don’t fade or change quickly at all. ¬†(Do a Google image search – some are huge and don’t really look like bruises, others are much more subtle & could easily be mistaken.) ¬†Mongolian Blue Spots are a pigmented birthmark.

My daughter has a stork bite on the back of her head. ¬†(Poor kid can’t get a break! lol ) ¬†It gave the story about storks dropping babies off a whole new meaning for us. ¬†It is an area of her skin, near the nape of her neck, that is colored red. ¬†It looks like it spreads when she’s upset & crying really hard, as her whole head will get red, starting from the stork bite. ¬†It’s a vascular birthmark.

Like many/most birthmarks, Mongolian Blue Spots and Stork Bites may be present at birth or may appear sometime shortly after birth and tend to fade as the child gets older. ¬†In many/most cases they disappear completely by adolescence. ¬†Sometimes birthmarks do require medical attention, but generally, they don’t. ¬†Make sure that your pediatrician is aware of any birthmarks on your child and let them know if there are any changes or any abnormalities.

I wonder how many other kinds of birthmarks there are? ¬†(Did you know moles are considered birthmarks? ¬†I didn’t.) ¬†I’m sharing links below about Blue Spots, Stork Bites, and other birthmarks. ¬†Check them out and educate yourself. ¬†That way you’ll know what that thing is on her eye, back, neck, etc. ¬†ūüôā

 

 

Thank you!  Come again!

Thank you! Come again!

What’s That On Your Eye?

“What is that on her eye?” ¬†“What’s that red thing on her face?” ¬†“What’s that?” ¬†“Oh, no! ¬†What happened to her eye?”

Colette Foot

These are all questions that I have faced from public strangers (usually kids) regarding that funny, little red bump directly over my daughter’s left eye. ¬†I am questioned about it enough that I figured I’d write a post explaining just what it is. ¬†ūüôā ¬†My answer will normally depend on several factors – who’s asking, where we are, what else is going on, and how much time I have to explain. ¬†For example, if I’m rushing to the bathroom to change her, or a very small child (who likely won’t understand the full explanation) asks, then I usually don’t take the time to explain everything and just say that most people call it a strawberry or angel kiss & that it’s a birthmark. ¬†However, if I have the time and the child is older (or an adult asks), I’ll tell them that it’s called a strawberry & explain exactly what it is. ¬†Sometimes parents answer their child’s question before I have a chance to, telling their child it’s a birthmark, and I just agree with them. ¬†Keeps things simple. ¬†ūüôā ¬†After all, that’s what I always called my strawberry. ¬†It’s my birthmark.

Me tub

You can see my strawberry on my upper tummy/lower chest.

Essentially, that is exactly what it is, when it’s on the skin. ¬†A “vascular birthmark”. ¬†It is called a hemangioma and is a group of extra blood vessels. ¬†It grows throughout the first year of life and is usually gone by the time the child is ten. ¬†There are several versions of hemangiomas, including internal that can grow on your organs, bones, or muscles. ¬†Generally, hemangiomas of the skin do not require any medical treatment, unless they grow in such a way that they inhibit vision, breathing, or eating; OR if there are multiples or they are very large/fast growing. ¬†They are usually NOT visible at birth but grow over time. ¬†If your child has multiple skin hemangiomas, then your doctor will probably want to check for internal hemangiomas (which may (probably) require medical intervention). ¬†I *think* hemangiomas are genetic, as I had one, numerous cousins have had them, my daughter has one, and both of my nieces had one. ¬†(Update: According to my research, they are NOT genetic, but tell that to my family.)

No hemangioma on her birth day.

No hemangioma on her birth day.

 

It's visible at one month.

It’s visible at one month.

 

A little bigger at two months

A little bigger at two months

 

Growing with her at three months

Growing with her at three months

You get the idea. :) Here she is at six months and the hemangioma is bigger still.

You get the idea. ūüôā Here she is at six months and the hemangioma is bigger still.

 

So, now you know just what that thing is on my daughter’s eye & you’ll know what it is if you happen to notice one on anyone else. ¬†ūüôā ¬†It seems to have stopped growing and we won’t need to worry about it unless it grows large enough to hit the optical nerve directly beneath it, which would mean that she wouldn’t be able to open her eye. ¬†If you’d like more in depth information about hemangiomas, I’ve included some links below. ¬†Feel free to check them out!!

Interesting tidbit – in some cultures hemangiomas are considered a sign of royalty! ūüôā ¬†I always knew we were a couple of princesses. ūüėČ

Sexy Wife!

Princesses

An Open Letter to Strangers at Church

Dear Strangers at Church,

Thank you for taking notice of my baby and I the other day.

Baby and me.  Yeah, we know we're cute.

Baby and me. Yeah, we know we’re cute.

I’m not talking about when you interrupted my conversation with a friend so you could touch my baby uninvited. ¬†I’m not talking about when you blocked my path as I was walking to the restroom to change my baby (or relieve myself) so you could coo over how adorable my baby is and comment on how novel it is that I’m wearing my baby.

Baby wearing at the pool...even more novel than in church

Baby wearing at the pool…even more novel than in church

¬†I’m not even talking about when you pushed passed me to grab a hold of my baby’s hand while I was trying to change her diaper (and wouldn’t leave until a friend came in to take over the hand-holding job). ¬†Nope, I’m not talking about any of that – as uncomfortable and annoying as it can be. ¬†I’m talking about when you and everyone around you were kind enough to turn around in your seats and STARE at my baby and I as she cried unceasingly. ¬†You know what I’m talking about.

3/23/13

You’d make this face, too, if your diaper was all filled up with no place to change.

There was a huge line of people standing in the aisle, going down for Holy Communion and in the absolute opposite direction of where I needed to go to be able to care for my baby. ¬†There was no room or way for me to squeeze past them. ¬†All I could do was cuddle, shhh, and rock my baby – trying to comfort her – and wait. ¬†Wait for the chance to get out of Dodge and go care for my baby. ¬†Your staring didn’t help things. ¬†My family was already a little too overly concerned with what was going on and kept asking what I needed. ¬†What I needed? ¬†I needed to be able to take care of my baby and wasn’t immediately able to. ¬†I needed them to quit asking what I needed because there was nothing any of them could do to help get me what I needed. ¬†I needed all the strangers around us to quit staring at me…some with abject pity and some with some kind of look that screamed “I can’t believe she’s just letting her baby cry like that.” (at least that’s what the look communicated to me). ¬†My personal favorite were the people who were looking around like they were just curious and looking for someone. ¬†You weren’t looking for someone, you wanted to see the crying baby. ¬†At least the other busybodies owned their nosiness. ¬†You should know that I would not have sat there for what seemed like eternity while my baby cried and her diaper leaked pee all over both of us. ¬†If I had the room to push through that line of people, I would have. ¬†I didn’t. ¬†If I had the room to change my daughter right there, I would have. ¬†I didn’t. ¬†I had no choice but to sit there and wait. ¬†Your staring – no matter what your motives or feelings were – didn’t help. ¬†My baby was crying and she needed a diaper change but she was safe. ¬†She was okay. ¬†She didn’t need you to stare at her mama. ¬†If I looked upset or frustrated when you were staring at me, you should know that I was. ¬†I was not upset and frustrated with my baby. ¬†She was simply communicating, in the only way she has, that she needed something. ¬†I was upset and frustrated that you didn’t have the simple decency to ignore us and just keep praying, or day dreaming, or whatever it is that you usually do in church.

You may not have been judging me. ¬†You may have been feeling very sympathetic for me but how would I know that? ¬†All you did was stare. ¬†Open, blank, questioning, even seeming a little put out…staring. ¬†So, what is the point of this letter? ¬†Other than to allow me to vent? ¬†I’m hoping that it may serve as a reminder that it isn’t polite to stare or to insert yourself where you are not invited. ¬†God gave my husband and I our baby and He gave us the ability to care for her. ¬†We got this and He’s got our back. ¬†If we need your help, we’ll ask. ¬†Until then, PLEASE nose out. ¬†By the way, if you feel so compelled – if you happen to hear a baby/toddler/kid crying – I’m sure the parents and family would appreciate your prayers. ¬†Prayers in & nose out. ¬†That’s a good rule to live by until the family invites otherwise.

Sincerely,

A Baby Mama

Caught ya lookin'.

I saw that.

There Are Worse Things

{Lately, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about miscarriages on a couple internet groups/boards I’m a member of. ¬†Ladies asking about healing after miscarriage or discussing their fears of miscarriage or asking about symptoms of miscarriage. ¬†I keep thinking that I should share more about what happened to our family and how that’s changed my point of view. ¬†Bear in mind, my point of view is very firmly grounded in my faith. ¬†If we had suffered this without our faith, I’m fairly certain that I would not have made it through.}

My husband and I were married in April of 2010 and lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage in September 2010. ¬†We hadn’t even been married six months and our relationship was being tested like nothing else. ¬†Losing a child, whether they are pre-born, still born, juvenile, or an adult can tear a marriage and a family apart. ¬†You tend to go into yourself and mourn. ¬†The world around you goes on but yours stops and you can’t always understand why and how the rest of the world keeps spinning.

Our miscarriage was probably different than others in that we were expecting it. ¬†My endocrinologist sent us to the high risk OB (not my regular OB) for an ultrasound maybe 5 days or so after we’d confirmed (via doctor’s office blood test) we were pregnant. ¬†This was about 2 weeks after we’d had a positive home pregnancy test. ¬†She wanted to get a good idea on just how far along we were. ¬†According to the dating of my last cycle, we could be nearly 12 weeks but the HCG levels in my blood showed that I may be closer to 7 weeks. ¬†I am diabetic and she’d had me admitted to the hospital to figure out my insulin doses (I’d never used insulin before and this was the safest way to figure out my doses and teach me.) ¬†It was a Tuesday morning & we were excited to see our baby for the first time. ¬†We had no idea what we were about to be hit with.

Hospital staff wheeled me down to the OB’s office & we joked about how silly it was because my legs weren’t broken, I was just pregnant. ¬†I got prepped for the ultrasound & the doctor came into the room. ¬†He introduced himself to us, reviewed my chart, lectured me for allowing myself to get pregnant without having my diabetes under perfect control, and then started the ultrasound. ¬†He was very businesslike. ¬†He said, “Here’s the sac, and there’s the baby, and we have a problem. ¬†You’re baby is measuring 9wks 3 days and we should see movement of a heart beating. ¬†There is no heart beat. ¬†This is a missed miscarriage.” ¬†Excuse me? ¬†A what? ¬†How can I be having a missed miscarriage? ¬†I have no symptoms of losing the pregnancy. ¬†I’ve had no cramping or bleeding or spotting. ¬†He must be wrong. ¬†He told us that we could schedule a DNC for that afternoon, if we wanted. ¬†They would dilate my cervix and remove all tissue from my uterus. ¬†Tissue? ¬†TISSUE? ¬†This isn’t tissue. ¬†THIS IS OUR BABY. ¬†I’m sure the look of shock and horror was easy to read on my face & he went on to say that it would be fine for us to just let things progress naturally. ¬†He said that my body would likely take care of everything on its own. ¬†Just over a week and a half later, that is exactly what happened. ¬†I started bleeding, similar to a light – medium flow period, just before noon on a Friday. ¬†I still had no cramping but seeing as we’d had another ultrasound that still showed no heart beat and no growth in baby’s size, I knew what this was. ¬†I went home from work, not knowing exactly how long this process would take. ¬†I bled for 24 hours. ¬†I passed clots larger than anything I’d ever passed before but no baby (I was a little paranoid about my baby’s body being concealed by a large clot and was careful to make sure that I didn’t flush my baby’s body down the toilet). ¬†About 24 hours after the bleeding started I got my first real cramp and with it a rush. ¬†I ran to the bathroom and screamed for my husband. ¬†You’ve seen a woman’s water breaking in the movies? ¬†That sudden gush of liquid just pouring out of them? ¬†That is exactly what this felt like. ¬†I was in the bathtub with (what looked like) a river of blood rushing out of me. ¬†The body of our son, Victor, passed within the first ten minutes. ¬†His body was tiny and perfect. ¬†I remember counting his fingers and toes. ¬†He had ten each. ¬†And his eyes, oh his eyes were the bluest blue I’ve ever seen. ¬†We held our son and we mourned and I bled. ¬†I don’t recall the pain being that bad in the first few minutes. ¬†However, as the miscarriage continued, the contractions increased, plain tissue that was meant to provide nourishment for our son was expelled, and the pain intensified. ¬†I was still bleeding and by this time screaming in massive amounts of pain nearly two and a half hours after Victor’s passing. ¬†I was scared. ¬†I was tired. ¬†I was heart broken. ¬†My husband helped me clean up & dress and then drove me to the emergency room. ¬†By the time a doctor was able to examine me, the pain and the bleeding had stopped. ¬†My body was exhausted, my womb was empty, and my yoga pants were ruined. ¬†I was given a clean bill of health, a Rh shot (I have a neg blood type) and sent home to rest. ¬†We buried our son the following Wednesday.

The emotional pain of waiting for a miscarriage to happen, knowing it will but unsure of when, is debilitating. ¬†The physical pain of the miscarriage itself is excruciating. ¬†The psychological pain is torture. ¬†I felt like I was floating in nothingness. ¬†I was broken, speechless, and couldn’t understand how the sun kept rising day after day while everything seemed so dark. ¬†Some days were okay and others I felt like I was being held under water, the pain stealing every last little breath, every last little bit of life I had left in me. ¬†I knew that our son was in Heaven and took solace in that. ¬†I made jokes about how having a saint for a son made me a relic. ¬†Knowing our son was alive in Heaven, cradled in the arms of our Blessed Mother, gave me comfort but it also made me angry and sad. ¬†She got to hold my son. ¬†She got to know this precious soul and I did not…at least not yet. ¬†This may sound crazy but there are ups and downs to this whole thing. ¬†I felt honored to know that my son was a little saint. ¬†We didn’t have to do anything, other than bearing a miscarriage, for our son to go to Heaven. ¬†What was so wrong with me that my body couldn’t support him, couldn’t keep him alive on earth? ¬†What was so wrong with me that I couldn’t be a “full” mother? ¬†(I really struggled with viewing myself as a mother and nothing in our society supports the idea that a mother who loses a pregnancy is still a mother. ¬†In fact, there are some who would say “it doesn’t count” because our baby didn’t experience life outside of the womb.) ¬†These were all questions and thoughts that plagued me as time went by. ¬†I tried to remind myself to behave in a manner befitting the mother of a saint. ¬†I wanted to be worthy of such an honor. ¬†My husband and I were drawn closer together. ¬†Nobody quite understood what we’d been through, except us and God. ¬†Even when you meet people who’ve walked this path, it’s different for each of us and while we can empathize with each other – none of us exactly KNOW what the others are suffering with. ¬†We leaned on each other and Him. ¬†We prayed more. ¬†We learned how to communicate about things that most people would shudder to think about, let alone say out loud. ¬†We faced burying a child & we survived.

What I have to say next will likely sound even crazier. ¬†I am not afraid of suffering another miscarriage or burying another child. ¬†Our daughter is less than a week shy of turning six months old. ¬†Our pregnancy with her was pretty awesome and while birth didn’t go as we planned (I’d love to meet someone who’s birth did go exactly as planned and find out their secret) we were blessed with a beautiful, sweet spirited, tiny, healthy girl. ¬†She was baptized at twelve days old. ¬†One of the things I realized after our miscarriage, that really hit home with this pregnancy is this – every parent will suffer for their child(ren). ¬†We suffer through pregnancies that may be very difficult, we suffer through labor & delivery that may be very painful, scary, and even life threatening. ¬†We suffer sleepless nights. ¬†We may suffer through breastfeeding or trying to breastfeed. ¬†We worry about development and proper discipline and what we feed them and how they socialize with others and raising them up in the faith, etc. ¬†As they grow and start to make their own choices, exercising their free will, we will suffer as we watch them fall to temptation and sin. ¬†This may sound callous and may be difficult to understand but there are worse things in this world than miscarriages or early loss. ¬†I used to fear losing a child. ¬†I still get sad sometimes when I think about not being able to know my son in this life. ¬†I greatly cherish the time I’ve been given with my daughter and pray daily for the strength, wisdom, and grace to raise her properly. ¬†I pray that she will make good and holy choices in her life. ¬†I pray that she will be a saint and I know that her big brother is praying for her, too. ¬†I do not fear death – not for myself or my family. ¬†Our children are alive. ¬†Any life that we are blessed to participate in the creation of will live. ¬†Giving birth is not an easy thing and whether these sweet souls are born onto this earth or straight into Heaven, they live!!

Losing the chance to know your child in this life hurts. ¬†It is gut-wrenching and can be torture at times. ¬†Don’t let that fear stop you from enjoying the gifts and blessings you have now. ¬†Don’t let the fear of what might happen tomorrow steal the joy of what you’ve been given now. ¬†Don’t let the pain of that loss prevent you from being open to love & joy. ¬†What’s worse than not getting to spend your earthly life with your babies? ¬†Not getting to spend your eternal life with them.

I’m in the process of learning to look at this world with eternal eyes. ¬†I am pray for and look forward with excited anticipation to the days when my family members are called home from this world and reunited in the next.

 

One Month

It’s been just over a month since we went to the hospital for the induction of our baby. ¬†Today marks 4 weeks since she joined us on the outside and she’ll have enjoyed one whole month of life “after womb” on Friday. ¬†So much has happened in this past month. ¬†I kept meaning to sit down and write a post but I’ve been busy. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I have had so many thoughts and conversations and feelings that I’ve wanted to share with you in the past month but right now, I just want to share our joy. ¬†Please meet our daughter, Miss Colette Marie Zestilia Nixon. ¬†‚ô•

Our daughter, just after she was delivered.

Our daughter, just after she was delivered.

Colette being weighed in.

Colette being weighed in.

Daddy brings Colette into the nursery to get her stats.

Daddy brings Colette into the nursery to get her stats.

Hello World.

Hello World.

Colette & I

Colette & I

Nap Time

Nap Time

 

 

 

 

How to pick a Baby Name 101 (A 12 Step Program)

I know you can find “How to Name Your Baby” lists all over the place…cause I’ve read many of them. ¬†I just decided I’d add my two cents, especially because as prepared as I thought I was, I was still surprised by some things we’ve encountered as we’ve discussed baby names. ¬†Below is similar to the process we went through.

Step 1: Have you and your spouse make a huge list of every name you like. ¬†Consider family names (either to include or automatically veto), biblical names, Saints’ names, etc. ¬†(If your spouse is like mine, then he won’t bother with a list. ¬†He’ll just add a couple names to yours and then proceed to veto nearly everything, including some of his own suggestions.)

Step 2: Play the veto game on each other’s list. (He vetoes names off your list and you veto names off of his.)

Step 3: Start trying to combine names into first and middle combos from both lists (cause that’s just nice).

Step 4: Say the names out loud, like they may be said in various situations (like your kid is in trouble, you are cheering for them, they are graduating, passing the bar, arresting a suspect, being arrested, etc).

Step 5: Think of any possible nick names, especially mean ones and decide if you like the name enough for your kid to learn to live with whatever you come up with. (Kids are genius when it comes to making up nick names, especially mean ones, so don’t stress too much over this part).

Step 6: See if your child’s web “real estate” is available for the various names you’ve picked. ¬†Try first/middle combos as well as first/last, nicknames, etc.

Step 7: Veto more names.

Step 8: Pray. ¬†A name is a powerful and important thing. ¬†It’s good to ask God what He thinks about your choices, especially if you are leaning towards naming your kid L-a (pronounced Le DASH Ah), Shi’thead, Turtle, or some other extra creative (*cough* or crazy) name.

Step 9: Prepare yourself for lots of opinions. ¬†If you choose to share the name you’ve chosen or names you are considering with people, prepare yourself for¬†unsolicited¬†“advice”. ¬†Like “What about this name (that neither of you like and vetoed before ever hitting Step 1)?”

Step 9.5: I call this 9.5 because it is also about preparing yourself…for people to express abject disappointment and to almost seem rejected by your name choices. ¬†Really, it happens. ¬†You don’t want to name your kid after great-great-great-Grandpa Dickie and someone gets their panties all in a bunch.

Step 10: Unless you KNOW the gender of your baby and are absolutely certain about baby’s name – AVOID getting anything monogrammed until after baby is born and you settle on an official name. ¬†I can’t be the only person who’s name was changed at birth. ¬†My mom didn’t KNOW if I was a boy or a girl (cause they didn’t have all that fancy technology in the dark ages) but had a gut feeling that I was a girl. ¬†She called me “Amanda” throughout the entire pregnancy. ¬†Then she met me. ¬†My name is NOT Amanda. ¬†Amanda doesn’t appear in any form, in any way, in any part of my name. ¬†She met me and KNEW that I would never be an Amanda. ¬†I had to be a Rebecca. ¬†(Good thing for me because my husband’s ex-girlfriend’s name is Amanda. ¬†My MIL disliked her¬†INTENSELY¬†and I don’t think things would have gone as well if my name brought back memories of her.)

Step 11: Name your baby and tell the rest of the world to take their opinions and shove it.  Ultimately, this baby is being entrusted by God, to you, and that includes your God-given authority to curse your baby with whatever moniker you want.

Step 12: Buy your baby’s web real estate (their website). ¬†Even if you aren’t going to “do” anything with it. ¬†This ensures that some crazy cat lady or escort or moonshiner or mercenary or amateur “film” maker or evil master-mind, etc., who just happens to share your kid’s name, won’t be able to buy it and use it for their own nefarious purposes.

I wish you all good luck with naming those babies!!

Update…4/1/2013

Occasionally, your kid still ends up nameless, even after following all 12 steps. ¬†Then you pull out Step 13 and just ask your kid. ¬†Our daughter was nameless for the first 3 days of her life on the outside. ¬†We had trouble deciding between the two names we’d narrowed it down to, so we asked her. ¬†“Are you a …?” ¬†She frowned. ¬†Ok. ¬†“Are you a …?” ¬†She almost started crying. ¬†Ok. ¬†Back to the drawing board (kinda)! ¬†She seemed to veto both names and we didn’t feel like either name seemed quite right…something was just a little off. ¬†So, we prayed some more and checked out the list of Saints names and checked out name meanings. ¬†One name kept coming back up. ¬†It was pretty and feminine and classic sounding. ¬†It was different but not so different. ¬†It was shared by a an awesome Saint and had a wonderfully deep meaning for our family. ¬†We asked our daughter “Are you a Colette?” and we saw her smile for the first time. ¬†We figured a newborn’s smile was all the confirmation we needed and our daughter was named. Funny thing…the two names we’d been trying to decide between were Violet and Coleen. ¬†How close were we?!?