Thursday, February 18, 2016

Week 38: Valentine's Day, A New First Month Nanny, and Dilation

Valentine's Day

We celebrated our last Valentine's Day as a couple of two at Fleming's Steakhouse (and ran into some friends there, who are also expecting!). I keep getting told that we need to savor our last days by eating at nice restaurants and watching movies in theaters so we were more than happy to indulge in that advice from our more seasoned parent friends. Jeff enjoyed a tasty rib eye steak while I had a delightful Chilean sea bass. I am always the weirdo that gets seafood at a steakhouse. Of course, I never say no to a chocolate lava cake. :)

A New First Month Nanny

We found a new nanny for the first month! She was fully willing to share all her medical records with us and get vaccinated, so I'm feeling much better about her. This whole situation has made me feel so vulnerable and makes me wonder how anyone is ever able to find reliable care that they can trust. At least with this first month nanny, she will never be completely alone with our baby so I feel okay that I can supervise and make sure things are getting done the right way.


I found out during my checkup this week that I'm 3 cm dilated! My doctor says that she would be very surprised if I went past my due date at this point. I'm excited that I managed to get to 3 cm without having to suffer through any contractions and I'm only 2 cm away from justifying the need for an epidural. We're this much closer to meeting Lucas face to face! :)

Feeling "Ready" to be Parents

Everyone always says that you'll never feel 100% ready to be a parent, which makes a lot of sense. Nothing can truly prepare you for the highs, lows, sleep deprivation, and more. No parenting book or babysitting job is going to simulate the real experience that your own child is going to give you. Heck, even having a kid already doesn't guarantee that you'll be prepared for another one, since every kid can be really different. So on this front, all I can think is...bring it on! The sooner baby Lucas comes, the sooner we'll learn how to take care of him.

Jeff and I definitely feel like we'll never be more emotionally ready than we are now. We no longer think of kids and wistfully reminisce about all the freedom we'll be giving up. While there are certainly places we'd still love to travel to and nice restaurants we'd love to eat at, we don't feel like we're missing out. In fact, we're now thinking of the new and fun experiences we can explore and discover with our kids. I really hope they are into Harry Potter - I can't wait to check out the Harry Potter Amusement Park with them one day! I'm sure there will be countless Disney trips as well.

We used to feel like we'd be missing out because most of our friends don't have kids. That balance is slowly starting to shift so that now there are more parents than non-parents among our friends. Pretty soon, we're actually going to feel left out for not being parents. Not that FOMO should be the reason for having kids - but at least now we know that we're not going to lose all our friendships because we can't relate to being parents. We can even try and schedule play dates so that hopefully we'll still see our friends once in awhile! I love how in these early years, it's much easier to dictate who your kids are friends with and who they can see.

Of course, I may eat all my words once baby Lucas is really here! It'll be funny to re-read this after birth and see how much of this still rings true. The fun part of having it down here in writing is the accountability I'd held to. :)

Cherry blossoms in the Bay, February 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Week 37: Monkey Baby, Group B Strep, Platelet Count, and MLOA

Monkey Baby

We made it through week 37, which means that baby Lucas will be born in the Year of the Monkey. Good thing because we bought some monkey themed items so it would feel a little silly if he ended up being a sheep baby instead of a monkey baby! Jeff and I are not particularly traditional when it comes to New Year's customs - mostly because a lot of the traditions are superstitions rooted in religious beliefs that conflict with our Christian beliefs. But when we can, we try to incorporate our Chinese heritage in a way that doesn't conflict with what we believe.

Here are some of the monkey items we bought for Lucas:

Group B Strep and Platelet Count

While everything has gone relatively well in my pregnancy, there have been a few hiccups. Unfortunately I tested positive for Group B strep - my doctor says it's no big deal, I just need to be on antibiotics when I get to the hospital for delivery. My platelet count is also on the low side of normal, although not low enough to need to see the hematologist to make sure I can get an epidural (which I definitely anticipate needing!) or a c-section (which I hope I don't need, but would like to have the option of in case of a medical emergency!). These are all supposed to be common conditions for pregnant women so I'm trying to stay relaxed about it. The most important thing is for Lucas and I to stay as healthy as possible.


My leave is finally coming up! Since I've completed most of my baby prep, I don't have too much planned. I do have a box of hand-me-down baby clothes from our generous friend Joy to launder but most of those are 6+ months so there's no urgency to wash those. Assuming I don't go into labor early, I'm hoping that means I have a little bit of time to relax, attend prenatal yoga, catch up with friends, and potentially blog more about my last few pre-mom days. But I won't count on having that time because obviously, time doesn't belong to me now. Ready or not, he's coming whenever he's ready!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Diaper Stockpiling: Pros, Cons, and How-To's

Why I've Been Stockpiling

One of the first things I bought for baby Lucas was a pack of size 3 overnight diapers while I was still early on in my second trimester. Yes, definitely overkill but Donna sent me a link to a 50% off diaper promotion and that was one of the few sizes left by the time I got to it! But that got me thinking about stockpiling diapers since I'm such a planner. Just like I'm never short of toilet paper or feminine products in the house, I don't intend to be out of diapers. Imagine being with a newborn and no diapers in the house - trying to wrangle the newborn to the store with me to pick up some diapers definitely does not sound like a  good time!

Cons of Stockpiling

Unfortunately, now that I have nearly 1,000 diapers in Lucas' closet, I have read some arguments against stockpiling diapers:
  • You can never be sure which brand will work best for your baby until you actually try them on him.
  • Stockpiling often involves buying the jumbo box to get the best unit price - but if it's a brand you've never used before, you may only use one pack and find out the brand doesn't work for your baby and now you can't return the half used jumbo box.
  • Amazon makes it pretty easy to get relatively cheap diapers within a day or two so you don't really have to obsess that much beforehand.
How to Mitigate Against Stockpiling Risks

So...973 diapers later, I've given my stockpiling a rest. I still don't think it's a bad idea to stockpile diapers (assuming these diapers work for Lucas!). I doubt new moms have the time to be exploring brands, clipping coupons, and calculating unit cost the way I have been. I just think there are a few key ideas to keep in mind while stockpiling diapers:
  • Buy a variety of brands, sizes, and types of diapers. 
  • Buy smaller packs versus jumbo boxes to prevent waste (this one is hard to do though - the best deal tends to involve the largest boxes!).
  • Keep receipts taped to boxes so that you can exchange for a different brand or size if needed.
How Many Diapers Do I Need?

This one is really tough, since the answers vary so widely across the internet. This is expected since every baby is so different. All my real-life mommy friends told me to avoid premie and newborn sizes so I focused most of my buying efforts on buying sizes 1-3. I do have one pack of newborn diapers thanks to a free sample but otherwise, I didn't go out of my way to buy newborn diapers. I was pretty deliberate about trying to buy less than the recommended amounts, just in case. 

Here are some of the guidelines I found across the interwebz versus what I've currently bought:

SizeToys R Us GuideThrifty Frugal Mom 1Thrifty Frugal Mom 2Moola Savings QuantitySouthern Savers QuanityMy Current StockpileSouthern Savers Price/Unit
NB16021625210003613 - 16 cents
1160160280120084031111 - 14 cents
287064056060056040214 - 16 cents
387068413681200151222416 - 19 cents

I've been using the price/unit from Southern Savers blog as a guide but that was posted a few years ago and prices tend to be higher in the Bay Area so I don't beat myself up if I can't meet it. For example, I have found newborn diapers to be the most expensive size to purchase. But otherwise, it helps me understand if I'm getting a relatively good deal or totally ripped off - I'm looking at you, Jessica Alba! Your diapers may be honest but they're very expensive, even with 50% off coupons.

Stockpiling on Wipes

On the other hand, Jeff has let me go nuts with stockpiling on wipes, since there is no dependency on size and they are so much more versatile in usage. I don't think I'll be obsessing as much about what kind of materials are cleaning Lucas' hands or tables before eating. So far, I have almost 3,000 wipes of different brands. I find that a unit cost of $0.01 - $0.03 is relatively reasonable (although I'd expect wipes on the higher end of that range be specially formulated to be gentle, sensitive, etc.).

I don't think I'll be able to be as diligent about documenting my diaper purchase prices and usage going forward but hopefully this has saved me some time and money so that I won't be as frantic and desperate to buy diapers at any price for as quickly as possible once I have a crying, stinky baby. That has been my ultimate goal of stockpiling diapers (versus thinking that I'll never have to buy another diaper again). Although I did see an ad for infant potty training lessons yesterday...I had to force myself to walk away from that! I am definitely way too much of a planner sometimes. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week 36: Maternity Belts & Looking for a First Month Nanny (Again)

Maternity Belt

My hip pain got so bad that I finally caved in and got a maternity belt, which both my yoga instructor and doctor recommended. I wanted to try it on to make sure I got the right size so I ended up paying significantly more by purchasing it in a brick and mortar maternity store versus online (it pains me to see how much cheaper it is on Amazon!). After a few days of wearing it, along with taking warm baths and yoga stretches, I wasn't really feeling much better. If anything, I was feeling worse because the pain had spread to my lower back! Strangely enough, after a hellish day with way too much walking and standing around at Super Bowl City, I started feeling better. So I'm not sure if it's the belt or the forced strain and activity but I'm glad to be feeling more like myself. If that's the extent of what I have to suffer through while pregnant, I'll consider myself lucky!

Looking for a First Month Nanny Again

Unfortunately, the original first month nanny we hired isn't going to work out because she won't get the flu and TDAP vaccines. I know that some may think it's unnecessary to be such a stickler about vaccines - it's unlikely anything will happen. But I don't wish to take chances with my baby! Being sick is hard enough - being sick as a newborn is infinitely worse. Plus, whooping cough is potentially fatal for a baby.

I just wish we'd known this earlier but I'm glad we found out before I let her near our baby and put him in danger. Now we're scrambling to figure out what our options are. If we can't find another nanny who's already vaccinated (or willing to be vaccinated), we may just opt for a meal delivery service that specializes in making the traditional Chinese post-partum meals for new moms in the first month so that at least I won't have to worry about food. There's only two of these in the Bay Area and I've heard I-San House is the better of the two. Jeff might also try to rearrange his work assignments to take part of his paternity leave during my first month so I won't be all alone. The good thing is that after taking all those classes, we feel more confident about taking care of a baby so we feel like we could manage if we didn't have a first month nanny. We would be extremely exhausted though!

Super Bowl City, San Francisco, February 2016