Thursday, May 16, 2019

Can We Be Too Cautious Over Our Baby?

This post is in collaboration.





As if it's not saying the obvious, being a parent comes with its fair share of anxieties. But what does this really mean for us as parents? Does it mean that we won't ever get a good night's sleep ever again, either due to problems with our kids' sleep, or the fact that we just lay awake worrying all the time? Or is it something that calms down over time? When we have our baby, naturally, we can be protective, (after all, it is our mother instinct) but at what point are we being too cautious? And is this the downfall of our parental skills? After all, we're doing our best to look after our children, at what point does it become overkill? And are there any suitable examples during the life of a baby that highlights just how overly cautious we can be?
Knowing The Difference Between A Real Emergency And What Is Not
In the beginning, everything can seem like an emergency, like it is life or death. And while there's nothing wrong with the fact that we are worried, but we've got to weigh it up. There can be issues within the first few months that need to be brought up with a pediatrician, but on the other hand, if the baby is gassy, or spits up a lot, these aren't a cause for concern. But what we need to do is differentiate between what is a real emergency, and what can be solved with baby paracetamol. There are plenty of resources out there for us so we know what we're in for, and it's our responsibility to know the difference. It can be very concerning at the beginning because we don't know the signs, and naturally, we'd rather be overly cautious than under cautious, but we need to find that fine line. You can learn from other parents that have been through this, but they will all tell you that your baby is different. And after all, if you feel that something isn't right, then it's better to get it checked out. But there are common issues that can happen within the first 6 to 12 months that aren’t a cause for concern, but there are as many that are.
We Need To Not Overreact
Yes, it is easier said than done. But our emotions can most definitely get the better of us when in a stressful situation. When we lack in sleep, and our emotions are haywire, it's very easy for us to overreact. After all, every little thing can spark concern, and this can keep us awake at night with that worry. And unfortunately, that worry is something that doesn't really go away during the first year. But what we can do for the sake of our sanity is to learn some coping strategies. It can take a long time for your baby to get into a sleeping routine, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to practice coping strategies. While it's not easy to sit cross-legged and meditate when you've got a screaming baby, you can certainly learn how to calm yourself down in these overly stressful situations.
Think about it with a sense of perspective. If your baby is upset, but you're feeling stressed out, you may need to step away from the situation just for 5 minutes. But you're feeling particularly frazzled, just step away just so you can breathe, only as long as you know that the baby is okay. Having a coping strategy is vital. Even before the baby comes along, you will have learned how to cope with pain, and live with numerous ailments, but now the baby has come along, this sense of protection, coupled with anxiety, and the feeling that it doesn't seem to let up can be very overwhelming. It's easy to say "don't overreact" because your emotions still do a good job of obstructing your logical thoughts, but it's a very useful piece of information, especially when our babies are so delicate.
Learning What Our Over Parenting Does To Our Child
In the grand scheme of things, being overcautious can lead to over parenting. And this can have various negative effects. It's easy for us to protect our children because it's built into us, but there is a limit. There is going to be a time when your baby will want to start walking, and you will encourage this, but when they start to get more confident and start to climb over anything and everything, where their safety is compromised, this is when overly protective parent springs into action. All the parenting is something we don't feel that we're doing because it's coming from a good place. We're doing it for our children, not ourselves.
But we can run the risk of wrapping our children in cotton wool so much that they won't ever develop their own sense of resilience. As such, they will rely on us for everything, and we shouldn't be surprised when they have confidence issues, or even depression and anxiety. What has this got to do with your baby? Well, it's to do with you. This is the very perfect opportunity to practice not over parenting. What you can do with your baby is nurture, and spend quality time with them, but when they're looking to explore something, be there ready should something happen, but at least give them that opportunity to explore in the first place. It's far easier for us to say "no" or "don't" and we've got to be aware when these become the first words out of our mouths because this becomes a habit that's very difficult to break. By all means, be protective, but understand when you are getting in the way.
Give It Time (It Becomes Easier!)
Because this very delicate thing has come into the world, we feel that we have got to protect it with all our might. As such, we worry, and overly so. But there's a difference between worrying, and letting it consume us. It does become easier over time because as a new parent, you're finding your feet. And it’s natural to feel that you want to do everything right. But we all make mistakes, and what's important is that we don't beat ourselves up over this. As we learn what our baby needs from us down the line, all we can do, especially during those early couple of months, is muddle through. A pattern can take time to form, even in terms of their sleeping or eating, and as such this erratic sense of survival can feel very stressful.





In one respect, you can look at it very simply. If they are hungry, feed them; if they've had an accident, you change them. But even at the very beginning, this can feel like a mammoth task. But we have to remember that our baby’s needs are simple at the beginning, it's only when they get older that it becomes more complex. The first couple of months are difficult, but they are also incredibly exciting. This little thing that you hold in your arms, despite the fact you've barely slept, makes life feel worthwhile. And this precious little baby becomes something we would give everything for. At the very beginning, it makes sense to focus on the simple things, because they won't get any simpler.
And in this respect, why should we be too anxious? We can be overly cautious, but if we do enough background reading, but also trust our instincts, this provides a very strong combination. This is something that we can all greatly underestimate, trusting our instincts. After all, it is your child. If something feels wrong, do something about it.












Friday, May 03, 2019

The Scoop on Sleep






Prefacing this by saying this is MY experience and what worked for US.  Sometimes it didn't work which is why I'm writing this post to begin with.  My choices for sleep may not be something that everyone agrees with and that is fine, please keep any judgement to yourself if you have any.  I have turned off commenting to this post (not because of judgment but because of an influx of spammy comments) so if you have any questions or comments please email them directly to me at babyridleybump@gmail.com

Babies and sleep...it's a mystery, it's one of those topics that is always highly discussed, one that people wish there was a magic solution to, one that gets criticized quite a bit, and one that can be a major struggle.

I'll give you a little background.  I was one of those people who swore they'd never cosleep or bedshare.  I bought a Halo bassinet which I loved and was so excited to use.  I assembled it well before Georgia's arrival and had it set up in our bedroom just waiting for her to come.  In the hospital she slept well in the little bassinet that they left her in by my bedside as we slept.  When we got home it was a totally different story.  She HATED the bassinet, screamed those curdling newborn screams so loud there was no way anyone was getting sleep if we forced her to be in that thing.  So for the first few nights home she slept right on my chest and I didn't sleep much at all because I was a nervous wreck having her sleep on me.  I was nursing and she was eating every 2 hours so she was up quite a bit.  I was having these jolts when I would fall asleep from the residual meds that were lingering around in my body after the csection and I was so fearful that I was going to throw her across the room accidentally or roll over on her so I slept very little those first few days.




I ordered a Dockatot within just a couple days of being home and within a week of her being home she was sleeping soundly swaddled in her new little space.  We all felt safe and comfortable about how she slept and we were all getting really good sleep.  After about 8 weeks or so in her DAT between us in bed we moved her into the Halo finally.  She slept there pretty well from about 2 months to about 5 months when she got too big for it.  It was at that point she began bed sharing with us permanently.  We have a king size bed and she would sleep at the top between us, we'd spread our pillows apart and make sure that she had no blankets around her.  It worked out great for us especially since I was nursing it was so easy to feed her & get us both right back to sleep without having to leave our bed.


she was so tiny and hated this thing so much at first

Eventually it was time for her to move to her crib.  She was about 15 months and I knew that we'd be doing our next embryo transfer for baby #2 so I wanted her to be transitioned fully into her crib by the time a second baby would come.  Transitioning her to her crib was somewhat challenging.  She never seemed to sleep soundly in it and would always end up back in our bed.  I would rock her to sleep every night from when she was newborn all the way til she was close to two so once she was rocked to sleep I'd lay her down in her crib where she'd sleep for a couple hours before waking and then coming into our room.  I was always too tired to put the effort into trying to get her back down in her crib so I'd take her into our bed where it was just easier to get us both back to sleep.





Eventually we realized that she might be better off in a full size bed because she'd sleep great when she was in our bed but terribly in the crib.  We had already had a baby gate at her door and her room is right across from ours so we decided one weekend to make the switch.  She was 22 months at the time.  It was a very rough adjustment, a couple of weeks it took for her to really transition and not think that she just had a giant trampoline in her room to jump on and roll around on.  It was a very hard 3/4 weeks and none of us were sleeping.  Joe and I basically tag teamed it on sleep until she finally got through it and began sleeping soundly in her new floor bed.  You can read all the details here

Over the last few months since transitioning and even when she was in a crib it's become very clear that I am Georgia's crutch for sleep and have been all along.  I have to be in the room with her in order for her to fall asleep.  If I leave her when she's awake she calls for me, cries, gets out of bed, etc. until I come in and lay down with her.  Once she's asleep I sneak out and wait for her to wake up in the middle of the night calling for me or coming into our room and getting in our bed.  She has no idea how to self soothe and bed time is very stressful and frustrating most nights.  Her room is darkened with blackout curtains, we use white noise all the way turned up, and I diffuse oils in her room to help calm her (Gentle Baby is our favorite) but none of those things matter if I am not there with her.  

It's been very frustrating most nights.  Of course there are nights when she goes down just fine without any issues, but some nights we fight because she doesn't want to go to sleep, some nights it takes her over an hour to fall asleep and I can't get anything done.  I have just gotten to the point where I feel as though something needs to change before I lose my sanity.  I am constantly going to bed angry and frustrated & those are the last two things I want to be feeling right before bed.  

One day on the good ol' 'gram I noticed I had a like on one of my photos from an account called Slumberland Solutions.  I instantly checked out her page and gave her a follow when I saw in her bio that she was a pediatric sleep consultant.  Within a week or two I was messaging her and had a consultation set up.  We had our first call which lasted about 15 minutes.  She gave me a few tips like moving bed time earlier and taking away screen time before bed.  We tried both of those things right off the bat and they seemed to help so I got back with her that week and we set up our next consultation.  I gave her a bunch of information about Georgia's sleep habits including wake time, nap time, and bed time along with her routine for the rest of the day such as meals.  Carla told me that over the next few days she'd come up with a plan for us to follow. 
 

A few days later we followed up with a facetime phone call.  She sent me 17 pages of a plan to put into place with Georgia.  Our ultimate goal being that Georgia puts herself to sleep and soothes herself back to sleep if/when she wakes in the middle of the night.  The biggest challenge for me is not putting her into our bed when she comes in the middle of the night.  The biggest challenge for her is laying down without me right next to her.  The basics of the very detailed plan are getting out of her bed, being consistent, only letting her cry for very short periods of time (2 minutes to start), and not putting her into our bed.  Some of the challenges for us are that she is already on a floor bed so she isn't contained and that it's very light in her room even with black out curtains.

Some of Carla's suggestions were a toddler sleep sack, a weighted blanket, a toddler alarm clock, and a bed rail.  I also want to get these black out blinds for her room to go behind the black out curtains so that it's much darker in her room.  She has a west facing window and her curtain although are "black out" are actually white so they don't offer much darkness and I think that makes it a lot harder for her to associate the time of night with bed time.  For now we put tin foil over the window (suggested by another mama) and it worked perfect!

Another thing that Carla pointed out is the importance of her nap.  We're lucky that at daycare she goes down on her own and always has.  At my parents however, they have always been like me and rocked or held her to sleep.  They have even been putting her in the car and driving her around to get her to sleep so they are having to change their routine with her as well.  At their house she has a twin mattress on the floor and they have blackout curtains for her as well.  They successfully got her down with our new plan on Saturday without any issues so we are hopeful that will continue.  It's a big adjustment for all of us.  Routine and consistency are the biggest keys to success with this.


A few other tips Carla suggested is that binky is only for sleep time (which is good because we are ready for her to get rid of it), no clutter in her bed (we do a fitted sheet, pillow, and a small blanket for her), bath and a full belly before sleep times, and to remember that the first few days are the hardest!  So far she is totally right!  We have had success but it hasn't come easy and without challenges but I am 100% committed to doing this as hard as it has been.  On top of this Joe was sick and Georgia was also slightly sick so the timing wasn't ideal but I know it's something that we ultimately all need to make our lives a little easier and less stressful.  Night one and two were very challenging and lots of tears were shed by both her and I, night three was a totally different story.  Within about 7 minutes she was asleep with no tears or fights at all.  I couldn't believe it!

I will continue to keep you guys updated.  If you have any sleep struggles yourself I urge you to give Carla a follow or check out her website.  She has been wonderful and I love her methods.  She does not typically include any CIO in her plan unless requested by her clients so if that is a route you're considering be sure to let her know.  As always, please email me with any questions or comments I'd love to know if you've done any sleep training with your kids!




Sunday, April 28, 2019

Natural Deodorant & Making the Switch


So this post is not at all sponsored, I just wanted to give you all some of the information that I collected over the last several months of using a more natural deodorant.  I tried several and I've had varying experiences with all of them.  I'll be honest too, I'm a pretty sweaty person so I need a deodorant that works well.  I knew that I really wanted to switch out my deodorant for something cleaner because of how harmful aluminum is to us.  Traditional antiperspirants are made with aluminum which clogs our pores which traps sweat (and the aluminum) inside.  Not only does our body need to rid itself of toxins, aluminum has been linked to things like breast cancer and Alzheimer's so those are some pretty big reasons to consider switching. 

The first natural deodorant I tried was Tom's of Maine right after Georgia was born.  I was going to yoga in the mornings with my mom for about 3 weeks before I returned to work and between that and the uptick in hormones I definitely did not choose a great time to try and switch to a more natural product.  Overall I liked it, however it literally lasted for about 10 minutes into yoga and then I just smelled.  I really knew nothing about natural deodorants at that time except for the fact that this one wasn't working so I gave up on it and went back to Secret.

Fast forward another year, I knew I wanted to try again.  Deodorant just seemed like one of the easiest products to switch out.  All that aluminum in our traditional deodorants such as Secret and Dove are just plain BAD for us and there are sooo many natural options out there I knew that something would have to work for me.  

My first choice was Schmidt's although once again I was off to a rocky start because I bought it in July and it literally melted in my car so it turned into a paste that I had to apply with my fingers, however I liked it and it worked well, I figured I had ruined it so I moved on to something else pretty quickly.

My second choice was Native.  I liked the Coconut Vanilla scent and I used it for months.  I thought I had found my replacement.  I wasn't having any issues with it and it worked really well at keeping me dry and not smelling.  I went through two sticks of it before I noticed I was getting a really bad rash under my armpit.  I didn't think too much about it being caused by the deodorant because I had been using it for months with zero issues and I was also having some skin irritation on my legs so I again, I wasn't thinking the deodorant was the issue.  I kept using the Native despite my arm pits and how painful they had become.  

both of my pits were like this for months!

Eventually it got so bad I made an appointment with my dermatologist.  They gave me a prednisone prescription and some steroid cream & sent me on my way but never mentioned anything about my deodorant.  Two weeks later after the prednisone and steroid cream most of it had cleared on both my armpits and my legs but there were still some spots.  I saw a different doctor this time who mentioned the possibility of my deodorant.  He said I either had eczema (which I've never had) or contact dermatitis which is basically reaction to a product on the skin.  He also recommended I start Cetaphil lotion and wash so I went straight to CVS and picked those two things up along with a stick of Dove.  I didn't care how bad it was for me, I had never in my life had a reaction like that from it or Secret which were the two I had always used. 

Still, I really wanted to make better choices so I gave some other natural options a shot.  I realized that baking soda was the culprit in my rashes so I refused to use anything that had any baking soda in it.  I started with Crystal.  I loved the concept of it--made of salt minerals that don't clog the pores like most other deodorants, however it just didn't cut it for me.  It's a liquid that rolls on which was a very hard adjustment for me in itself, then I'd feel by the time I got to work I already needed to reapply and it didn't hold up to my smell at all.  

My next choice was Piper Wai which is an activated charcoal deodorant.  You can but it in either a jar or a stick.  I actually was given a jar of it from a friend who tried it and didn't have any luck with it.  Although it worked better than the Crystal, I hated the application and the smell.  It's a paste that you apply about a pea sized amount on your finger tip and let melt under your arm.  The stick might've been a better option, but I was pretty much over spending money on these natural deodorants that were not working and that were not cheap,  I tried Piper Wai for a couple weeks but I was starting to feel a slight irritation again with it and did not want to take the chance although it is baking soda free.

For a couple weeks I went back to Dove again.  I didn't care at this point, it was the only thing that went on comfortably, kept me smelling clean, wasn't irritating my skin, and actually worked all day.  But I did some further looking via the Think Dirty app and was able to find a deodorant called Honestly pHresh.  I went with Tropical Blossom scent and not only does it smell soo good, it hasn't given my any issues at all.  It keeps me 90% dry all day, it's baking soda free, and I feel like the price point is best at just $10.  I asked them for a discount code and they gave me FREE shipping with code phree2019!

I'm continuing to keep comments turned off due to high volume of spam so if you have any questions or comments regarding this post please email me at babyridleybump@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Postponing our Next Transfer



Well, the title kind of sums up our plans, but I get messages regularly asking about our next transfer so I thought I'd just put all the details here for anyone who wants to know.  A few weeks back I mentioned a possible May transfer in my Instagram stories, which was really where I thought we'd be headed come next month, however my intuition was telling me something different so we have shifted gears a bit.  

Post D&C I just really didn't know what the future was going to be.  I knew I wanted to do another transfer (we have 3 embryos left) however I was also fearful of going down the path of miscarriage again.  We experienced 2 pregnancy losses last year, one in July and one in November of 2018.  Our first loss is what is referred to as a chemical pregnancy basically meaning very early loss.  We didn't even go in for an ultrasound, we knew based on our betas that the pregnancy wasn't viable.  Our second transfer the betas came back amazing.  Very high and more than doubling so we were very certain that we had a thriving baby only to find out at our first ultrasound that the embryo had split and I had a blighted ovum (empty sac) and a baby who had stopped growing around 6 weeks with no heartbeat.  It was devastating and it was the hardest part of our journey to hear those words.  

I had a D&C 11 days later and I knew that I would need time to recover.  I bled for 3 weeks, then at 4 weeks I had my first period post D&C.  At first I thought that we would go back for our next transfer in March but the holidays flew by and before we knew it we were already into February when I realized that it wasn't going to happen in March.  Not only did we go through a pregnancy loss in early November but at the same time Joe decided to quit his job and start a business so we had a lot on our plates at that time.  Starting a business has been a challenge but in a good way.  A lot of our finances have gone towards making sure our business is successful right off the bat and now that our transfer is 100% out of pocket it was going to put us in a pretty tight spot financially if we were going to transfer this spring.

There was a lot to consider but my mind was made up that we'd do a transfer come May.  That would give us some time to get ourselves into a better spot financially and it was sooner rather than later.  Something was telling me though that maybe we should wait.  We really wanted to finish our back patio which was going to be a few thousand dollars and I wanted to invest in a nice swing set for Georgia to give her a space to play this summer now that she's older.  I also had been really struggling with Georgia going through some of the typical "terrible twos" stuff and I couldn't fathom being pregnant with a toddler at the time.  Mama's going to need her alcohol this summer!  I knew that deep down the right thing to do was to wait.  And I don't mean wait like a month, I mean wait several months, like until summer is over.  

I realized that I want to give Georgia as much attention as possible and provide her with as many experiences as we possibly can and I don't want anything to be in the way of that so I knew that waiting really was for the best.  It's going to be hard but with how quickly time is going I know the summer will fly by and I want to make the most of it with my family.  Most of us know this all too well when it comes to infertility, if there isn't a set back or an intermission in our plans at some point can we even say we've experienced infertility to the fullest?! 


It's hard because I wanted our kids to be close in age, but I've again learned the lesson about relinquishing control of things that I really have no control over.  A transfer this fall would put our babies over 3 years apart, but I know that that is OK and that there is nothing more I can do about it at this point.  Making the decision to wait does give me a little sense of control over the situation too, even though it's not exactly what I wanted, it is for the best at this point. 


Commenting is still turned off due to so many spammy comments, but if you have any questions or comments you can send them directly to me via email {babyridleybump@gmail.com}

Monday, April 15, 2019

3 Big Decisions You Should Make Before Baby


One of the unexpected things about having a baby is the sheer number of decisions you're suddenly faced with. Not just what colour to paint the nursery walls, or which brand of stroller to buy, but serious decisions with far-reaching consequences that can go way beyond the cosy newborn days. A lot of them will need to be agreed with your partner, and it's far better to discuss them in advance, without the crazy postpartum hormones and tiredness that can cloud your judgement during baby's first few weeks. Don't wait until the last minute to make decisions when you may be left with limited options. Get ahead of things by considering the below issues well before your due date…

Childcare Provider?

Maternity leave can seem endless when you're at the top end of it, but those weeks soon race by, and you'll be much better off if you've thought about your childcare arrangements long before they have to become a reality. Most decent nurseries and childminders have a waiting list, and you will want time to visit and meet them before making a commitment. If you are relying on any family help, make sure everyone involved is absolutely clear about what they're doing. Don't make the mistake of assuming grandparents will be willing to step in without having an honest, unpressured conversation and clarifying exactly what you both expect. You may not fully know in the early days whether you're planning to go back to work full or part time, do shared parental leave with a partner or even stay off unpaid for a bit, so it's worth doing a bit of scenario planning and working out what your childcare options and costs will be for each case.

Eco Friendly?

If there's one thing babies come with, it's a lot of accessories, so it's worth taking a moment to consider your values and how environmentally conscious you want to be in your product choices. It's a personal decision, but you may decide to opt for cloth diapers rather than disposables, and you can also source reusable wipes. These all mean extra laundry to do, so make sure you're aware of the implications. You may also decide that you only want to use natural and organic products for your baby's skin as well, or on yourself while you may be breastfeeding. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can to make sure the choice fits your lifestyle.

Bottle Or Breast?

The choice of whether or not to breastfeed your baby can be highly emotive, and many new mothers feel incredible pressure to go in one direction or the other. Put some thought into the benefits, difficulties and requirements for each. Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable to begin with, difficult to establish and you will not be sure how much milk the baby is taking. On the other hand, once you get going you don't need any equipment and can feed anywhere. If you choose to bottle feed, selecting the right formula for your baby is a big consideration, and you will also need a sterilisers, bottles and other things, but it does mean a little more freedom as others can feed your child. Look at the benefits of both and don't be afraid to hedge your bets - even if you choose to try breastfeeding, just knowing that you have a small stock of readymade baby milk stashed in the cupboard can take the pressure off if it's tough at first.

This post is contributed.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Our First Zoo Trip


The weather finally decided to play nice for a couple of days so Joe and I took off work on Monday and decided to take Georgia to the zoo for her first time.  It was such a blast!  I think I was probably more excited than she was.  We don't have any zoos in our hometown so we had to basically just decide what town we wanted to drive to.  The one zoo we haven't been to that I wanted to try was still closed for the season so we decided to head to Brookfield which is a northwest suburb of Chicago.  They have a large zoo that has been around forever and one that I have been to dozens of times.  My parents took us there often when I was a kid and it felt great to go back for the first time in at least a decade. 

Georgia is now to the point that she is getting heavy to carry but still wants to be carried often.  I didn't expect her to walk too much but she certainly loves to run around and be free, however we put in a lot of steps that day and never would've been able to carry her the entire time.  We finally got to try out our new stroller from Colugo and it did not disappoint!  Colugo sent me this stroller back in February, but Illinois winter was brutal and we didn't go really anywhere that a stroller was needed so I had been dying to try it out.  My original thought with this stroller was for traveling to Georgia (amongst other places) for our next embryo transfer.  What really drew me to this particular stroller was not only its adorable design but it's ability to fit into an overhead compartment on a plane.  





Unfortunately we have decided to postpone our transfer a few months (more to come on this soon) so my hopes of using it on a plane are also postponed.  Luckily though the zoo became a great place to try it out for the first time!  So during the week at the zoo, 90% of the people there are moms with their kids so there are lots and lots of strollers all over the place.  I was really paying attention to all of them and was overall really happy that we brought this smaller "umbrella" style stroller with us vs. a larger stroller like our City Mini.  

Our first stop at the zoo was to the underwater viewing of the dolphins which of course Georgia determined were sharks.  She is OBSESSED with baby shark (just like every other child in the world) so all sea animals were "sharks".  We were able to easily transport the lightweight stroller down the set of stairs to the viewing area and then on the way back up realized there was a ramp for all of us parents with kids to easily get up and down.  I was really surprised but Georgia was very content to ride in the stroller for more than half of the day which made it easier on us not having to carry her or chase her the entire time.

doing the baby shark dance


What I love about this stroller in particular is a few things.  One, its super easy to fold, you can do it one handed,  Two, its main layer is machine washable.  Three, it has a shoulder strap on the stroller itself for easy carrying AND it comes with a book bag style carrying bag.  It also comes with a rain cover and  50 SPF sun shade, and rides super smooth with a very generous storage basket.  This small compact stroller has more storage space than my full-size Baby Jogger.  I can actually fit my Fawn Design diaper bag fully packed in the storage basket, something I can't do with my Baby Jogger.  They also make an infant kit which allows use of the stroller for brand new babies along with back packs and baby carriers.  I cannot say enough about how pleased I am with the quality of this stroller.  It is probably one of my favorite pieces of baby gear and I'm glad that Georgia still needs a stroller sometimes because I'm absolutely loving using it!



Georgia's favorite part of the zoo was the all of the sea animals (again with the love for Baby Shark) and the geese that were roaming all over.  She also really loved all the "kittys" as there are several at Brookfield and almost all of which we got to see pretty closely.  Lately her behavior has been a challenge to say the least but she did a really amazing job and was overall really happy for the entire day.  She got upset one time when we were done with lunch, there was a playground that we let her play on for a few minutes after we ate and she did not want to leave when it was time to continue on looking at the animals, but she spared us a public meltdown which was a relief!

I'm so so excited to have more adventures like we did at the zoo.  My goal for the spring and summer is to make it as memorable as we can.  I know that Georgia won't remember it but she is growing and learning so much and I want to give her as many opportunities to explore and learn and have fun as we possibly can.  I'm thankful that Colugo was able to make the trip even more enjoyable by making it easier for us to get around for the day.  I can't wait to share more with you all through this next season of our lives. 

PS. I have turned off commenting and plan on doing so on future posts because of so much spam.  I'm not sure how else to combat the 75+ comments I get per post that are spam.  If you have a question or comment please feel free to email me at babyridleybump@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Transitioning to Spring


We are finally seeing somewhat warmer temps here in Illinois and it's been amazing!  That along with the longer days (although I seriously curse daylight savings time) has really been putting me in the mood for getting my wardrobe ready for spring!  In Illinois spring can mean a lot of things and mother nature an be in all 4 moods (seasons) in one day so having a variety of versatile pieces is important.  Some days it may start out 20 degrees and by the end of the day could end up in the 60's with a mix of rain and sunshine or even snow.  The spring season is an absolutely crazy and unpredictable time of year as far as the weather is concerned in this part of the country.

I recently collaborated with Pink Blush and decided that a couple of transitional pieces would be best for me to highlight.  They have so many amazing pieces, a lot of which work as both maternity clothes and non-maternity pieces that can be staples in the closet of any woman. 




I picked this short sleeved floral print peplum top that is seriously buttery soft and stretchy and has LOTS of room for growing.  It could easily transition into a maternity top or would be perfect for any kind of outing where you might be stuffing yourself full and need something a little flowy and forgiving.  I paired it with leggings but the dark red color would look amazing with either a light or a dark wash of denim too.  And just to be safe, throw a cardigan on over it when you're not sure what mood mother nature will be in.

For my second piece I thought, "date night" or something that could easily go from day time/work attire to night out attire.  I love this lace detailed black top.  First, you can't go wrong with black.  It flatters literally everyone.  Second, the material is so soft.  The sleeves make it perfect for a little cooler of a day but you could easily pair this with black or denim shorts to make it into a fun outfit for a cooler summer night.  This is an outfit that I would wear to work and then could easily meet up with the girls for a glass of wine or head out to dinner with the hubby for a date night without having to change in between.






I absolutely love both of these pieces and soooo many others from Pink Blush.  Their selection really caters to everyones style and they have so much to choose from.   I love that so many of their pieces can work for both maternity and non-maternity and that most of them can be dressed up or down.  I am all for versatile pieces that I can create different looks with.  Thank you to Pink Blush for sponsoring this post.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Georgia's Story


 

One of the most important things to consider when choosing to use a donor to help build your family is how to go about telling your future children.  There have been studies done that prove the importance of telling them from a young age and not witholding any kind of information from them about their genetics ever.  I firmly believe in this and the importance of telling donor conceived children from a young age.  First and foremost, not telling them is simply saying that there is something to be ashamed about them and we all know that that is so far from the truth.  This concept can be really hard for donor recipients to wrap their heads around.  It takes time and there are always going to be parents who just don't see it this way and keep their children's story under lock and key.  But for us, and so many other donor recipients, we take pride in our story and I know for me, I want Georgia to understand and own her story just as much as we do.  We want her to know that every single thing that we did in our journey through infertility was for her, and was from a place of love.  

I know that our story is somewhat unique and having a known donor has many benefits, one being that we are able to keep in contact with each other, have an open relationship, and really become an extended family to each other.  Despite all of this, I have always found it very important to begin telling Georgia her story from a young age.  Looking at pictures of our donor and her family, teach her their names, and eventually beginning to explain how she came to be have all been part of the plan and from the beginning I knew that I wanted to make a photo book for her so she would have pictures to look at before she could understand words.  



This year I decided that it was time to create her book and gift it t0 her for her second birthday.  I was so lucky to be able to work with Artifact Uprising to create the perfect book that would help us tell Georgia her story.  The process of creating the book was insanely easy and it basically turned out more amazing than I ever could've imagined.  I chose a blush hardcover 10x10 book that ended up being about 50 pages.  I chose the layout for each page and really loved how I could customize it and change it up as much as I saw fit.  I wanted to add my own personal touch to the book by hand writing the story myself so I didn't add any text through their customization, I ended up leaving enough space on the pages to be able to write everything myself. 

I started with one of our wedding photos.  I wasn't sure how far back I wanted to go with our relationship so I figured a nice wedding photo to open the book up to would work perfect.  I wrote it in the words close to what she uses today, referring to myself as mama just as she does, and daddy just as she calls Joe.  I told her that after we were married we wanted a baby right away and we tried and tried but we couldn't get pregnant.  I told her that we had doctors help us and shared some photos of piles of needles, me having surgery, and negative pregnancy tests.  I know so much of that she won't understand until she is much older, but I want her to be able to visually see what we went through.  





I then went on to explain how I our donor came into our lives and shared some pictures from our first trip to Georgia when we met Amy and her family, and our second trip when we did our transfer.  The bulk of the book is actually a documentation of my pregnancy  If you've been around for awhile you remember I did the chalkboard updates similar to Jessica Garvin so I put a lot of those photos into the book and talked a lot about my pregnancy and how I felt during our gender reveal, shower, and all of the aspects about pregnancy I didn't know if I'd ever get to experience.  



I shared our maternity photos and the details about how I went into labor and her birth along with some photos of her in her first few months of life and then I ended it and wrote about a full page on the very last page about how much she was wanted and how important she is to us and the rest of her family.  I never ever want her to think that she wasn't wanted or was a "second choice" - I truly believe that the universe placed us on this journey specifically to become parents to her and I hope that she can believe that too.  

One day I hope that Georgia can really understand and appreciate all that we went through for her.  I know it will take her into her adult years before she really really gets it, when she desires herself to become a mother, that is when she will really understand.  But I know that this book will help her to start learning all about who she is and where she came from.  It will teach her about the selfless gift and sacrifice made to us by a total stranger (at the time) who felt a calling to help us it will teach her about the love between her parents and how determined and driven they were to overcome one of the hardest obstacles they would ever face, and it will teach her that she was wanted by so so many people besides just her mom and dad.  





I hope that this can help someone who may be struggling with this part of their journey or someone who is unfamiliar with this kind of journey and maybe is curious as to if and how we go about telling our donor conceived children.  To me there is really no better way to tell them their story than by giving them something like this that can help them visually see it at a young age, and really grasp it as they get older.  You don't need a known donor or any photos of them to tell your children their story.  If you're looking for a high quality, beautifully crafted place to make something like this for your own child (or a wedding, or a baby book, or any kind of photo book I'd definitely check out Artifact Uprising.  I wanted a book that would stand the test of time and be something that Georgia will be able to keep forever and maybe read to her own children one day and I am certain that with what I was able to create for her she will be able to do that one day.

If you ever have any questions about any part of the donor process including life with a donor conceived child, please feel free to reach out to me.  I am always happy to answer any questions that I can based on what I have learned from my experiences as a donor recipient and parent to a donor conceived child.
 
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