How to Easily use Cloth Diapers

diaper

I have heard several of the issues with cloth diapers & I think people have valid concerns. It is definitely either something you’re interested in or something you know just isn’t for you. For those of you who think you may be interested, but are trying to figure out exactly how it works, I’ve decided to share our set-up! I’ve found them to be easier than I expected & even more user-friendly than I had originally thought! I thought about splitting this post into separate posts so it’d be shorter, but I’ve just left it all as one thing.

baby

First of all, we use GroBaby, although they are now re-launched as GroVia. I will refer to them from now on as GroVia since that is their new official name. We just don’t have any of the new kind yet, but after this video I shared the other day, we are absolutely going to buy a couple! One of the things I really liked about GroVia is that they can be used when the babies are really small. We started Isis on cloth once her umbilical cord stump fell off, so at about 2 weeks. She was about 7 lbs at this point.

baby

(Didn’t like these fitted ones – the WHOLE thing got wet – including the part that goes around her thighs & everything)

I tried several different kinds of cloth diapers (fitted w/ covers, pocket diapers, folded with covers, etc) and I found that I’m not a cloth diaper girl in general, I’m a one-size kind of girl – specifically GroVia. So my first piece of advice is study, study, study & figure out which kind is going to work for you. I’ll also say, you probably won’t know for sure until you put one on your baby & see what it does. I thought the fitted ones with covers were so cute until I used them. You also may find you like one kind for daytime & a different kind for night. I’ve liked GroVia for both, so you just have to find what works for you.

diaper pail open

We use a 30 gallon white trash can from Wal-Mart with PlanetWise diaper pail liner. The thing I like about the PlanetWise diaper pail liner is that it has elastic around the top, so it holds great in the can. I have another brand that has a drawstring at the top & I hated it. It also has a much more flimsy feel than the PlanetWise. When I looked around in reviews, PlanetWise was raved about & I have found myself to have similar reviews.

small planetwise

If we are out all day, we use the larger (can’t remember if it’s medium or large) PlanetWise wet bag, which holds anywhere from 5+ diapers – depending on if you do shells & soakers or just soakers.

cloth wipes

We use regular Huggies wipes usually, but I have found that a plain, dry cloth wipe does much better with the poop. I’ll get everything cleared off & then I’ll use one regular Huggies wipe to actually clean everything before putting on a new diaper. Some use cloth wipes with a wipes warmer & some solution, but I found buying the wipes was just easier. The cloth wipes we have were actually made by my mom. She bought a couple of flannel receiving blankets & cut them into squares & just sewed around the sides.

diaper sprayer

I cannot say enough about my diaper sprayer. The idea of dunking the poop diapers really grossed me out. (See, I can do cloth, but only a specific way – that’s why this is the easy version of cloth diapers!) We got a BumGenius diaper sprayer which attaches to the water line going into your toilet. You just spray off the poo into the toilet & throw the diaper into the diaper pail. No mess, no touching poop. It does take a couple of times to get used to spraying it the right way so that it doesn’t shoot poop all over the place, but once you get it, you’re golden.
cloth diaper
I read a million different ways to wash cloth, but I ended up just washing on Hot with an extra rinse. I use 1 scoop of Tiny Bubbles detergent. Make sure that no matter how many you are washing, you set the water level to the highest setting. This will help prevent detergent buildup. I didn’t do this at first & Isis got a lot of diaper rash. As soon as I started washing with the highest setting of water (& after I stripped the detergent buildup off the diapers) she hasn’t gotten diaper rash at all. I wash every 2-3 days. It was more like every other day when she was smaller & pooping around the clock, but as the poo has slowed down, so has the washing. But I never go longer than every 3rd day.
IMG_1989
I dry the soakers in the dryer on medium heat. It takes about 1.5 cycles because they absorb so much moisture. I hang the shells to dry. They normally end up just being draped over the chairs in the kitchen overnight, but we also try to go to Lew’s parent’s house occasionally & hang everything in the sun. This bleached all the stains out in 1 day!!! So if you have your own house, I highly recommend just drying everything on a clothes line if you can. It bleaches stains & dries them naturally! The shells only take about 2 hours to try if they’re hanging.
cloth diaper 1
Our babysitter is wonderful & hasn’t had any complaints about our cloth diapers. I don’t expect anyone but me & Lewis to wash our diapers or use our diaper sprayer. If the sitter is at our house, I tell her to just put the dirty diaper on a rug in the bathroom & when I get home, I spray it off if it’s poo & throw it in the diaper pail. If she’s out, I give her the large PlanetWise bag & tell her to just throw everything in there & I take care of it all when I get home. As far as she is concerned, she doesn’t do much more than she would with a disposable. Rather than throwing the diaper in the trash, she throws it either in the wet bag or in the floor of the bathroom.
Anything you’d add to this list?
What works for you with cloth diapers?
Any other cloth diaper questions I can answer?
Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

Dear Baby: Analyzed! … 31DBBB Day 4

dear baby logo

Today’s task for the Problogger 31DBBB challenge is to analyze a top blog in your niche. I am pretty much in love with the Dear Baby blog. She writes about her new baby, Everly & all of their experiences as first time parents! She started this blog as a separate place from her personal blog where she could chronicle her pregnancy. She loves all things vintage, her hubby Brent & she is clearly enamored with being a new mom. I think it would be impossible to not get excited about having kids after reading her blog! It just puts a smile on your face.
She doesn’t talk about anything controversial really – nothing political related to babies. She shares her experience & her perspective, but she is clear to be respectful & kind when it comes to the fact that others could have different perspectives on babies & parenting. I believe her most powerful asset is her writing style. It’s so natural & poetic & it just flows perfectly. Even longer posts are incredibly easy to read. You can tell she is in love with life & I find that inspiring. I can tell that people love reading about her vintage finds & I’m sure everyone loves her Letters to Everly.
Her design is really simple. She has everything down to the bare essentials & it works perfectly. She only offers Twitter & RSS as subscription options, although she is a Tumblr blog, so you can easily follow if you use Tumblr. I don’t see any advertisements on her blog, so I’m not sure if she even does any monetization. She does reviews & giveaways & is getting things for free to review. According to Alexa, her blog is rising in users & pageviews. She usually posts at least once per day.
Things I think I can learn from Dear Baby:
Post great pictures: Her pictures are so beautiful & edited really well, but they have a unique feel to them.
Use my unique voice: It is never a good idea to copy anyone’s voice from their blog, but I think one of the things that draws people to Dear Baby is that they can tell who she is from her writing. You can identify with her & you can tell that she is being authentic.
Be genuine: Another thing I think people really love about her blog is that you don’t feel like she’s faking anything. You feel like she is who she is & she’s just sharing it with the world.
Find joy in life: There is nothing more attractive in a blogger or a person in general than someone who finds the beauty & joy in their life. Each life is unique, so we can all find the things that make our lives wonderful.
Be simple: I don’t have to use a lot of words or a lot of pictures or a lot of stuff to share something great with my readers. Sometimes less is more.
I’m really looking forward to seeing who you all chose to analyze! 
I love finding new great blogs to read!!
Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

Top 10 Pregnancy Tips…31DBBB

pregnancy

1. Drink tons of water.
This helps with so many things when you’re pregnant. It’s great for the baby, it helps alleviate a lot of the side effects of pregnancy. It keeps you from being dehydrated (which, during pregnancy, leads to headaches, nausea, cramps & dizziness). It can relieve some morning sickness, heartburn & indigestion. It helps prevent UTIs, which are common during pregnancy. It also helps ease constipation, hemorrhoids & swelling.
2. Have your man (or someone) rub your legs every night.
I swear by this one. Leg cramps are so common during pregnancy, possibly because of lactic acid buildup among other things. If you get your legs rubbed each night, it releases the lactic acid buildup & can help keep you from having leg cramps. Plus it feels great & helps to relax you! I only got 2 leg cramps through my entire pregnancy & they both happened in the middle of the night on nights when my husband didn’t rub my legs.
3. Don’t eat just to eat.
So many women say, “Oh I’m just gonna eat when I’m pregnant! It’s the only time I can eat whatever I want & not worry about it!” And that’s definitely true if you don’t care if you gain 60 pounds. While eating a lot is not the only reason women gain a lot of weight during pregnancy – every woman’s body is going to do something different – eating healthy & balanced meals will definitely give you a better chance of keeping things under control. It also provides the best nutrients for your baby. And you are eating for 2, but the second person in there doesn’t weigh very much & only needs an extra 300 calories once you are 4 months pregnant. That’s like a bag of chips (although chips wouldn’t be very healthy).
4. Stay active.
This may look different for each woman. The more active you were before pregnancy, the more active you can be during pregnancy. If you weren’t used to running a mile a day before, no need to start now. Just stay as active as you can & obviously talk to your doctor. They’ll tell you what’s best for your body & baby.
5. Buy cute maternity clothes.
With stores like Forever 21 offering maternity clothes now, it’s easy to buy them cheap & cute. Don’t care about cheap, check out A Pea in the Pod! In my opinion, you’re going to feel huge at some point during this thing – better to have some cute clothes to make you feel a little better!
6. Know who you can talk to.
Who is going to give you great advice or listen to you whine about feeling awful or huge or answer your ridiculous questions about whether or not your baby will come out with 2 heads? Just know who you can trust & who will make you feel calm & confident & not make you more stressed. Also, make sure you choose a doctor who makes you comfortable. Choosing someone who isn’t going to make you feel comfortable during the labor & delivery experience will automatically put you at a disadvantage.
7. Wash your hands.
Keep away the germs – try not to get sick! I was 6 months pregnant & doing a practicum during flu season in a Kindergarten classroom. I washed my hands all the time & I didn’t get sick! There’s not much you can take if you do get sick, so I recommend avoiding it. I got bad allergies & it was annoyingly awful because I couldn’t take much at all.
8. Study up on labor techniques.
No matter how you plan on doing things during labor & delivery, you never know what will happen. Even if you want an epidural ASAP, your version of ASAP & the anesthesiologist’s version of ASAP may be 2 different things. I also have 2 friends for whom the epidural only worked on one side of their body & 1 friend who had to wait for the anesthesiologist to get done with 2 other women before coming to them. So no matter what, it’s good to have some labor techniques in mind just in case & to get you through until you get the medication! Or in my case, to get you through the whole labor & delivery.
9. Take naps if you can.
This isn’t possible for everyone because of work or already having kids around the house or any multitude of other reasons, but if possible for yourself, take naps. They rejuvenate you & give you much needed rest! If there’s any time in your life when your body is working overtime & you’re going to need some sleep, it’s during pregnancy!
10. Eat breakfast.
I found that the days I didn’t eat breakfast, I got really light-headed really early. This was true at any time of day. I had to go from 3 regular meals a day to about 5 small meals. If I got too hungry, I got really dizzy & light-headed. Your body is working so hard, it needs that energy! So if you aren’t a breakfast eater – which I wasn’t before pregnancy – become one now.
What are your pregnancy tips?
Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

Introducing…the BFF

Continuing with the Blog Bash over at Not Your Average Teen, Brittany has asked us to write a post with the theme of “rekindle” to bring back some memories of our high school years. I thought for a while about what I would want to share. I have some really wonderful & some really horrible memories from high school. Don’t we all? But I decided that the most important thing I could share about high school (aside from meeting my husband senior year) is to share with you about my best friend Diana.
(By the way – these pictures are not placed to match the specific events I’m talking about necessarily. I just picked out best pics! They are in chronological order, though.) 

junior year

Me on the far left & Diana on the far right – Junior Year of HS

It was Freshman year of high school & she had been a homeschooler up until this grade. She was new to this type of school environment to begin with. We went to a private Christian school that I had attended already for 3 years before this. Diana was growing out her bangs & decided to wear a headband every day. She was super cute, but for some reason this larger man-shaped girl decided she was going to break Diana’s headband & proceeded to tell everyone in our English class that she was going to do it. Diana hadn’t gotten to class yet, but I overheard all this gloating. So when Diana entered the room & sat down, I picked up my stuff & sat beside her & decided right there that we were going to be friends. Nobody was going to be breaking her headband on my watch!

senior year

Me in the middle & Diana on the right – Senior year of HS

Well, continue through the next couple of years & Diana was there through good & bad. I remember spending the night at her house countless times, chatting about boys & life & the future as we fell asleep. I remember shopping & laughing & talking & eating. We loved McDonald’s fries. I went to cheer/dance competitions with Diana & her family. I rode my bike to her house when things at my house got crazy.

florida

Me & Diana in Florida after graduation

Everything got really fun when she got her Purple Toyota Tacoma for her 16th birthday! It was ON then! We had a “Junior Year Mix” that included fabulous rap songs like “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. Oh we were cool. We dyed my hair on a regular basis – I was very adventurous with hair color. We were pretty adventurous in general – for a couple of private school girls. I remember getting in her truck after school, taking off our solid color school uniform polos to reveal our super cute tees underneath & then rolling down the windows & jamming our mix.

nashville

We got closer as time went on. We were there for each other through a varying degree of rough situations. I fed her chocolate pudding when she had her wisdom teeth removed & she held my hand when my world fell apart. I’ve held her hand several times when her world did the same. I’ve always known I could count on her & I’ve always tried to be a friend she can depend on.

After high school, we took a trip to Florida to stay in my grandfather’s condo & we bid farewell to our high school years. That December, we moved in together in my grandmother’s old house. We were perfect roommates. We went different directions in a lot of ways in college, but the bond between us never faltered. We lived together, but we didn’t hang out in the same circles, but whenever we were together, things picked up right where they left off.

shower

The year we turned 20, we both got married & she had her first baby girl. She was 8 months pregnant in my wedding, but she still served as my matron of honor. We started weekly dinners at this point to make sure that we could maintain our friendship through the craziness of marriage, kids, jobs, etc. After she had her second baby girl when we were 22, our weekly dinners turned to Saturday lunches & shopping trips. Those continue even now.

As time has gone on, our relationship has grown & changed & I feel closer to her now than I’ve ever felt to a friend in my life. To have someone you can count on – who sees your darkest secrets & is willing to stand next to you anyway – is a gift I don’t even know I’ll ever fully comprehend. No one besides Lewis has ever shown the degree of loyalty & companionship that she has shown me. I see her as family. Her girls are practically cousins to Isis & Diana is the same as an aunt. She was there when I delivered Isis & she will be there when I delivery any future children.

eclipse

She is an important part of my life & that relationship started in high school. I know so many people lose touch with their high school friends or their high school boyfriends, and although I have definitely moved past the high school stage, my best friend has grown up with me & my boyfriend became my husband. I am now going on 6 years of marriage with Lewis & more than 12 years of friendship with Diana.

Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

Welcome to the Blog Bash!!

I follow Brittany at Not Your Average Teen & the title says it all – if I were doing what she is at 18, I would be good to go! She is so organized in terms of blogging & so dedicated to her readers & her community & I am just amazed at what she can do at 18! If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do!
She is hosting a Blog Bash!! If you’re interested in joining, go to her site! You can link up an intro post just like this one & then check out some other great blogs!!
cam baby
So here’s a little about me: I’m a 25 year old wife & first-time mother of Isis Ruby! She is 6 months old & an absolute delight! I grew up in an average sized city & attended public elementary school & private middle & high school. I graduated high school in 2002.
cam high school
I was not an average teen in some ways, I guess, considering I got my first tattoo at 17 & attended my Senior Prom with pink hair. Pretty fabulous…or not.
wedding
I met my husband in the second half of my senior year of high school & the second half of his senior year of college & although we had a rocky start – I seriously knew from our first conversation that I would marry him & at 17, I was NOT ready – we started dating 6 months later & were married 2 years after that in October 2004.
last supper
He was in a Christian metal-core band called The 95 Theses (long story behind it, maybe I’ll share it one day). His band grew fairly large for a local band & they ended up going on tour in the summer of 2006. We both quit our jobs & spent several months traveling around the country.
tour
I basically lived in a van with 5 boys. It was actually pretty awesome! I am still incredibly happy that we did this & I wish it could’ve lasted longer, but with money & the desire for some sort of family & a future, we came back home & both went back to school. My husband already had a BS in Chemistry & now also has his MBA. I will graduate in December with a BA in Elementary Education.
pregnant
We started trying for a baby in August 2008. After 8 months of trying, we finally found out we were pregnant in April 2009. Isis was born January 2, 2010 through a completely natural birth. I didn’t even have an IV, which I mention only because that’s what everyone seems to think is so crazy. Believe me, that was not the craziest part of that experience for me!
isis is here
Either way, she was a beautiful, healthy girl & I’m enjoying staying at home for right now, but also looking forward to teaching in the future. I start my student teaching in August 2010.
mom & isis
I’m a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, make my own baby food kind of mom, but I also have had great success with scheduling, particularly Babywise. While some moms have issues or questions about the benefits of scheduling, I am for allowing moms to do what works for their family & considering my daughter is 6 months & weighs about 19 lbs, sleeps 12 hours at night & about 4 hours each day in naps, I would say that what we are doing is working. But I love learning from other moms & hearing about their experiences. I have friends who have completely different viewpoints than mine who also have healthy, well-fed & well-rested babies! Being a mom is a hard job, but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I am so blessed by the experience!
I’m also supposed to answer these 5 questions to share a little about me as a blogger:
1. Why do you blog?
I blog to build community with other moms. We all learn through our experiences & I love hearing from other  moms. I have specific strategies that have worked for me, but every baby is different & I may find that I have to switch up some of my strategies with my next baby. I will greatly value the advice from many of the moms with similar of different views from mine as I continue on this journey of motherhood. I also blog to have an outlet & to keep track of my Isis’ (& any future children’s) life – like a digital baby book! I also would love for this to be a source of a little extra income if I was ever blessed enough for that to happen. Right now I do make a little money from my blog – enough to pay for my & my husband’s date nights!
2. What do you blog about?
I blog a lot about being a mom & things I’ve learned through this experience. I also blog about blogging & tips or tricks I’ve picked up through my experience with this as well. I also blog about tv, movies, books, other forms of media or entertainment. As being a mom is not the only aspect of me or my personality, I find myself diving into different topics that come up for me in general.
3. What do you find to be the biggest reward you get from blogging?
The community. Definitely. There are several bloggers I know by name now who comment & visit my blog as well as send me emails with advice or tips they’ve learned. I find this so rewarding because it expands my circle of experts & people to go to for advice on a number of things.
4. How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging on my mom blog since May 2009, but I’ve been blogging in general since January 2007 & for the first time ever I’m going to share the link on here to my other blog. But please don’t judge it too harshly. I don’t keep up with it now as often as I should & I didn’t make as much of an effort to be really professional on that one. It was more of a fun, post whatever I want kind of blog. I didn’t make an effort to socialize or meet people or get comments or followers. It was really just for me. Either way – here it is: Ingenue Perspective
5. Let’s hear the story behind your blog title
Well, that comes from how I got my title for my first blog – Ingenue Perspective. I always loved the idea of the ingenue – the young, naive girl becoming a woman. I also loved the 1920’s ingenue actresses. I just always loved the word ingenue really. I had a friend who worked with me in January 2007 who was helping me come up with a cool title for my blog. I knew I wanted ingenue in there because I always identified with this description of a woman. He actually just randomly threw out “Ingenue Perspective” so that it could be all about my thoughts & the world as I saw it. I LOVED that! Then when I found out I was pregnant, I just expanded that to be Ingenue Mom because it was still me, but it was specifically my “mom” thoughts.
Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

A True, Authentic Mom

pregnancyI’ve been following Heather over at Theta Mom for a while now. I love her willingness to share the ups & downs of motherhood & her sincere desire to build a community of moms who are sharing & learning from each other. Her blog is turning One this week & to share in that celebration, she asked her readers to draft a post about their experience as a mom – their reasoning behind why they are what she calls a “Theta” – the true, authentic mom.
As I started diving back into my memories over the past year or so that I’ve known I was going to be & then became a mom, I found several reasons why I think I’m a true, authentic mom. For one, anyone who knows me in real life knows that I tend to make my own way. I’m not like anybody I know & it took  me years to realize that & be okay with it. I used to spend a lot of time trying to fit in with the crowd. In high school, I was lucky to finally find a group of friends who were very authentic & who accepted me for who I was & were okay with the fact that I would geek out over Buffy orNewsies or a smorgasbord of other fabulously nerdy obsessions. As the years passed, I had to be okay with the fact that I talk a lot & I get really excited about stupid things & I cry at great movies & I have a strange, sarcastic sense of humor. I’m not the girl that laughs hysterically at slapstick comedy. I’m the girl who can’t get enough of Michael Cera’s awkward nerdy humor. And that’s ok. I can’t get tan even if I try, so I’ve had to accept my practically see-through pale skin. I hate when I have blonde hair. I just don’t fit into anybody’s category of traditional or classic anything. I speak my mind when I have something to say & I sometimes say the wrong thing. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I can count. I constantly find myself leaving some gathering of friends thinking, “should I have said that?” or “should I have talked about that?” But as I get older, I’ve just started to realize, that was me being myself & if I can’t be authentic around those people, then I don’t need to waste my time.
It’s been a liberating experience for me as I’ve grown into an adult. It’s been an even more liberating one as I’ve become a mom. Never before have I had such a strong need to buck up & be a real woman, a real wife, a real mother. I want my daughter to see strength & integrity in her mother. I may not be perfect, but I’m the same person in all circumstances. I am willing to admit my flaws & lay bare my insecurities because I know that I’m constantly on a path toward becoming the woman I know I need to be & the woman God wants me to be. That path is hard & full of potholes sometimes, but it’s the right path & I’m proud to be walking it. And I want my daughter to see that. I want her to know that it’s okay to not fit in the “popular” crowd. I want her to know that some of my favorite people & some of the most sincere & genuine people I know are also some of the strangest, most intense, out-of-the-box people in my life. They are also the people who have made mistakes, picked their head up & kept walking. They are people with strengthbecause it takes real strength to be authentic in this world.
I find it interesting that Theta mom uses the word authentic in particular. I think this is probably why I was drawn to her blog in the first place. I am constantly telling people that one of the traits I value above others is authenticity. I talk about this a lot when it comes to Christianity. I don’t trust Christians who act like they have something to hide – Christians who act one way at church & a different way at home. It severely contradicts everything I have studied about Christ & makes me very uncomfortable. I value authenticity. If this means you admit your flaws & own up to your mistakes, then that’s what it means. Really, that’s what it should mean, because we all have those flaws & we all make those mistakes. In friends, I always look for authenticity; people who are true to themselves & true to me. I have friends who have nothing to hide, who admit their shortcomings & accept me with mine.
So as a mother, being authentic has meant searching out the things that fit my family & the things that I believe are best for my daughter & then sticking with these things no matter what others may say. It means figuring out who I am & living that way so that my daughter sees a mother with character. It means making a commitment to her dad which is even stronger than the one we made when we got married – I will raise a child with him & accept the difficulties that brings in addition to the normal difficulties of marriage. It means being honest with her in the future & exhibiting authority, but also grace. It means constantly striving toward that goal of the woman, wife, mother that God wants me to be. It means holding myself to a high standard. It means evaluating every decision with integrity, conviction & love. It means being willing to say “this is me; take it or leave it” & then being okay if they leave it, because I cannot conform to someone else’s definition of a good mother or friend or Christian or wife or person. God made me a mother & I believe that by looking to Him & by partnering with my husband, we will be true, authentic parents. And I believe by doing this, we have a better chance of raising a true, authentic child.

Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

Having a Baby Without Maternity Insurance

4 - room number

This is not a post that I looked forward to writing, but after my experience, I thought it would be important to share. I have found through conversation & just searching around online that I am definitely not the only one with this problem. I also want to say that my blog is not a place where I feel the need to discuss or debate political issues. This is not a post endorsing or contesting the new health care plan, but, I do believe there is a problem with some (many?) aspects of our health care system. I do not offer a solution to that problem, but I will offer some tips as to how we were able to lower our prenatal & delivery costs during pregnancy with no maternity coverage. 
I do have health insurance through a popular company and have held it on my own – not through an employer – for almost 5 years. When I applied for the plan, I requested the plan with maternity coverage & received an approval letter. I never received any letter stating that the plan I was approved for was different than the plan I applied for. I was never notified that I did not have maternity coverage. Therefore, we started trying to get pregnant, got pregnant, & found out when we received the bill for our first prenatal appointment & ultrasound that I had no maternity coverage. I later found out that in my state, a woman on a plan alone without a spouse or a child is not eligible for maternity coverage until after she has a baby. (Um, what?!?!?)
Anyway, that is all background info, basically, we had to find a way to pay for prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab work, labor & delivery, hospital costs, etc. without maternity coverage. Here’s how we did it:
1 – We used a nurse-midwife rather than an OB-gyn
My nurse-midwife works in a practice with 3 other nurse-midwives & 2 OB’s. If there was an emergency or a problem during labor or delivery, an OB was always available to help. This is a personal preference for a woman & definitely depends upon your specific circumstances. High risk pregnancies or women who already know they will want scheduled c-sections would definitely want an OB from the get-go. But either way, a nurse-midwife is cheaper. This is not why I chose a nurse-midwife, but it was an added bonus when I found out that I had no maternity coverage.
2 – Everyone offers HUGE discounts
From the doctor delivering your baby to the labs to the hospitals, everyone offers at least 40% off if you have no maternity coverage. Our hospital gave us 50% off & some of our labs ended up being 60% off. There are also options based on your income that you can apply for. I have a friend whose hospital bills were free because of her income status.
3 – Repayment plans charge no interest
I’m not sure if this is true everywhere or just in my area, but all the repayment options for all our bills were offered with no added interest. We could have paid them off over the coming year if we wanted. We ended up paying most things off within 3 months of her birth, but that was because I got a little help from family when we finally told them what we were dealing with.
4 – Everything costs extra money
This was one thing I wasn’t completely aware of. I mean, obviously you would expect everything costs extra money, but we didn’t realize how MUCH until we received our bills. I did not use an IV or an epidural or any medication at all during my labor, so that was all an added bonus. An epidural at my local hospital has a starting price of $800. I had to get a shot after my daughter was born that cost $450. Sending your baby to the nursery during the night while you are sleeping costs $700 PER NIGHT. (Again, these are all our charges. Check with your hospital for amounts where you are.) Anything that you don’t want to pay for, you can opt out of (if medically safe & healthy). Keep the baby in the room with you at night, try to go unmedicated during labor. All of these are ways you can save money, but obviously you need to weigh your cost-benefit analysis and decide what is worth it to you. For a lot of women, the $800+ for an epidural is a small price to pay for the comfort & benefit of a more painless delivery. I would just check in advance about any costs you are questioning.
5 – Additional insurance
This is something that I didn’t actually have, but I know others who did and it can help. Additional insurance providers like Aflac will many times have short-term care sort of plans where 2 days in a hospital for any reason can qualify you for a specific payout. Check with these insurance providers if you have that insurance.
6 – Medical Card
This is another thing we did not qualify for due to income, but I have several friends who have had the benefit of using a medical card during their care. If you are a lower-income or no-income family & qualify for this, you & your baby can have coverage throughout pregnancy & for a certain amount of time post-partum. Check with your local Health Department or Community Action to find out how to apply for a medical card.

Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Calm Those Baby Fears!

baby

I have found myself so full of fear at times since knowing Isis was even a possibility. While trying to get pregnant, I was scared that I wouldn’t be fertile. During early pregnancy, I was scared of a miscarriage. During later pregnancy, I was scared of something being wrong. During labor, I was scared of a c-section. When she was a newborn, I was scared of SIDS. Now that she’s 5 months old, I’m scared of her choking on something or of me falling down the stairs while I’m carrying her or any multitude of things that could hurt her! When a little life is your responsibility, I feel like the fears can just be overwhelming at times! I was reading on Mixed Mama Project & Erin was talking about her fears during pregnancy & they sounded so similar to mine! Melissa at Dear Baby also talked about some of her fears2010/06/5-ways-to-calm-those-baby-fears during the early days with Everly & it hit home to me as well.
Last night, I found myself lying in bed, unable to fall asleep because I was scared of the possibility of her choking on food at some point & me not knowing what to do! I mean, we just started her on rice cereal 5 days ago!! We aren’t even close to the foods she could choke on. Just always looking ahead to the possibility of problems in the future, I guess. Cameron – time to get a grip. I decided to come up with my suggestions to myself for how to calm these baby fears!
1 – Give it to God
This one is so much harder than it sounds. If you don’t believe in God, you’ve got to just let it go & tell yourself that you can only control so much. I find myself repeating this verse: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) I also find myself reading Psalm 139:16 (NLT) “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God has been preparing for Isis’ life even before I was.
2 – Talk to a Friend
I’ve found so much comfort from talking to other friends who are moms who have been through the exact same thing. Getting advice about how they got control of their fears or just hearing that I’m not alone in being afraid has been really helpful. Although the overwhelming consensus is that the fears never really go away. I think it’s only natural to always be aware of the bad things that could happen, but you have to learn to prepare & move on – just doing what you can & letting go of the rest.
3 – Prepare!
You can only do so much & then it’s out of your hands. When I was pregnant, I tried to just eat right & stay active & be as relaxed as possible. I took all the proper vitamins & drank lots of water. In the newborn stage, her bed had tight, fitted sheets & she was placed on her back to sleep. Now that she’s older, I’m just aware of what’s going on around her & I plan on finding a baby CPR class for the choking fear. I can only do what I can do.
4 – Identify & Face the Fear
Maybe this is the morbid one & my friend Diana said this is the trick she’s had to use a lot. Say you are afraid that your child could choke. Well, okay, let’s walk through it. Say they choke & you can’t see the food in their throat: then you need to perform the Baby Heimlich maneuver. Haven’t been trained? YouTube is a great source for some videos. Say they choke & you can see the food in their throat: swipe your finger from one side to another to move the blockage – don’t push it back further down the throat. Say you can’t get the food: immediately seek help, calling 911 if possible. Okay, I’ve identified the fear & worked through my possible options if something were to happen. You can do this with any fear. You work through exactly what you would plan on doing before it happened. This way you are not dominated by the fear – you are able to take control of it & know your plan of action if something were to occur.
5 – RELAX
Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I went through all the above things (except talking to a friend of course because it was late). Once I’d done everything I could do, I just took a few deep breaths & told myself to relax. She is perfectly safe in her crib right now, sleeping soundly. Nothing she can choke on, nothing that can hurt her. Time for me to sleep. Take a bubble bath, read a book, watch a movie, just relax & remember to enjoy your life as a parent!!
What fears are you facing right now?
How do you calm your fears?
Any other advice besides what I listed above?

Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

It’s All About Perspective

Mothers day 012

Lewis & I were talking yesterday about how fast everything is going with Isis. We were actually talking about changing diapers specifically and somehow it turned into a conversation about how fast things were going and about our perspectives. For example, with the diapers, Lewis and I had both read about some studies that were done that showed that children bonded and felt more connected to the people who changed their diapers because it’s such an intimate and also very necessary part of their day. You can tell in the way they look at the person changing their diapers. There is another study that we read that showed that specifically dads who got involved with the details, like changing diapers, from birth impacted the child’s academic achievement throughout life. It just set a tone for involvement and attention throughout the child’s life. How does this relate to anything, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
Lewis said he had been thinking about all these milestones he was excited for Isis to reach, like rolling over and sitting up and reaching for things, putting things in her mouth, etc. He said he gets excited about the next milestone each time. (Right now we are excited about when she starts holding her arms up for you to pick her up or for a hug – when does that happen?) But he said that he’ll actually be sad when she’s potty trained and he doesn’t have to change her diaper anymore. I said that was a strange thing to be sad about, but he said you can just tell when you’re changing her diaper that she knows that what you’re doing is important and that it makes her feel better to have a clean, dry diaper. Isis in particular LOVES having her diaper changed and is always really smiley and giggly while you are doing it.
But this led into a conversation about changing diapers and poop and how lots of people (dads?) are just grossed out by their kid’s poop and won’t change a diaper. Lewis thinks it is really awful if a dad does that. Nobody likes dealing with someone else’s feces, but when it’s your baby – who can’t control it – to say you won’t change it is like saying you’ll marry your wife, but if she throws up or something, she’s on her own. We decided it’s all about perspective. For us, every poopy (or pee) diaper has meant that she is eating well and digesting and that her body is working properly. We have actually let out a frequent “yay!” at the sight of poop in her diaper, because it means she’s healthy!! And when that poop changes and gets stinky or more solid or whatever due to changes in her diet, we won’t “yay!” over the stinkiness, but we will definitely “yay!” over the fact that she can eat solid foods and can digest them and is growing up!!
When I was in labor, each contraction wasn’t just horrible pain in my opinion, it was my body moving Isis one step closer to my arms. It was her moving one more millimeter closer to me, closer to her daddy, closer to our life together. I really had to go there in my head because if I allowed myself to focus on the pain, I wouldn’t have gotten through it. It was all about perspective.
When Isis wakes up now in the middle of the night, it’s very rare. Last night she woke up at 4am for the first time in over 2 weeks. And sure, I could’ve gotten frustrated because she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night really anymore, but instead I chose to enjoy one more middle of the night feeding. She doesn’t need them anymore usually unless she’s having a growth spurt or something is weird with her schedule, so those special moments I used to have with her where it felt like just me and her awake while the world was asleep are gone for the most part. So it was nice to just have that time with her. It’s all about perspective.
As she grows up, I hope to always keep things in perspective. Not that I won’t miss some things that she will grow out of – like her naps in my arms. She WON’T sleep if I hold her now.
Remember when I had a hard time with holding her for her naps everyday? Such a short period. But I want to always remember that every milestone she reaches, every inch she grows, every step closer to being a “big girl” means that we’ve done something right. It means that we’ve parented, we’ve loved, we’ve sacrificed, we’ve taught and as a result, she’s grown, she’s developed, she’s learned, she’s understood and she’s been loved. How wonderful to be privileged to watch these transitions in her life! How blessed to be a part of it! Poopy diapers & all!
Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment

Let’s Hear it for the Parents Who FEED Their Babies!!

mothers day 4

On other blogs I read or on Twitter or just in general searches on BabyCenter message boards or other online forums, I’m constantly seeing arguments related to different decisions or styles of parenting. I find it so frustrating. Even I have received criticism on my different decisions. When do we just let it all go and encourage moms & dads to take care of their kids & make decisions based on what is best for their families?
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding? I’m in favor of FEEDING your babies.
There are many proven benefits to breastfeeding, but there are many reasons why breastfeeding may not work for someone.
Stay at home vs. Working moms? I’m in favor of WORKING HARD to provide the best possible life for your children – at home or in a workplace.
Both stay-at-home moms & moms who work outside the home are working moms. It is tough staying home with your kids & it is tough keeping a job during the day & coming home to a house with kids. In both situations, they are doing the best they can to provide for their children and should be encouraged in either situation.
Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers (vs. Elimination Communication)? I’m in favor of doing what works for YOUR FAMILY
Disposable diapers are convenient, easy to use & widely accepted by babysitters! They are also expensive & one of the most frequently seen items in landfills. Cloth diapers are cheaper, environmentally friendly & super cute (in my opinion). They are also messier, stinkier & have to be washed. Pros & cons to both. Really worth an argument? Who can say (other than you) which pros are better or which cons are worse in terms of your child and your family?
Natural birth vs. Medicated birth? I’m in favor of MOM’S COMFORT
No matter which way you break it down, labor & delivery are hard! For some women, like me, the experience and the benefits on the side of natural labor make labor without medication a much more favorable option. For other women, the benefits of an epidural far outweigh any part of an unmedicated birth. In that situation, with hormones & pain & the overwhelming knowledge that you are about to bring a person into the world – it’s important that women feel comfortable, confident and empowered, no matter what specific method that means they use. To argue with them about it means that you are saying that you know better what is best for them & their body. I vehemently disagree with doing this to a pregnant woman. Let her decide what is best for her.
Scheduling vs. Demand Feeding? Again, FEEDING & monitoring GROWTH should trump all
Some women find scheduling to be too controlled, too hard on their milk supply and too difficult for them to do. Other women find scheduling to give them a peace of mind, a predictable pattern for their day and, in my case, the method that keeps their milk supply up and their baby blues down. Some women find demand feeding to be comforting to both them and baby and the best method for them when it comes to breastfeeding. In the end, I believe all women (and men) are focusing on feeding their babies and making sure they grow at a healthy rate. There’s no argument if this is occurring. Why would someone need to create one?
Crib vs. Family Bed? Everyone getting enough SLEEP is the important part.
Some babies sleep better in their own bed, in their own space, in their own room. Other babies sleep better with mom right next to them to cuddle or comfort as needed. Some moms sleep better (and in my case have less instances of baby blues) when baby is in their own room, in their own bed, in their own space. Other moms sleep better knowing baby is right next to them, in the same room, in the same bed. As long as everyone is being safe about their decisions, the only important thing is creating an environment where babies can sleep.
So, really, why the arguments? I believe moms should encourage each other, help each other, defend each other. I believe that a mom has just as much of a right and responsibility to choose a method different than mine if she believes that is what is best for her baby and her family. Who am I to say that my methods are “the best” for them?
Posted in Best of Me | Leave a comment