I was perusing the interwebs and found a crapload of blogs that touted their lists as the “best” list of items you need for a new baby. They said “Oh, there’s too much stuff and it’s all conflicting, I’ve narrowed it down to only what you actually need!” Then I scrolled down to their list, and guess what? The list had about 3000 things on it.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, those sites are horseshit.
As we approached our due date, people would ask if we were prepared for baby. My response every time was “No.”
I’d get this stunned look in response like, “What? How could you not be ready?”
Well, everyone says you can never be fully prepared, so why bother getting stressed out trying?
What you actually need for a new baby:
A car seat.
A spot for them to sleep. (Literally a laundry basket can do the trick, I have also seen a dresser drawer play the part)
A handful of bodysuits and onesies.
A couple blankets and maybe a sleepsack.
That’s it. 4 things.
Things you can get for free- usually 1 bottle and some formula samples; which is all you need in the bottle/formula category if you intend on breastfeeding.
As for diapers and wipes you can get some from the hospital before you leave (for free) if you don’t have any at home. When we went to the hospital we literally had 2 newborn sized diapers at home. That was it.
So don’t stress out, you can buy things as you need them rather than stockpiling the nursery with shit (you may never use) for months and months before the baby arrives. No matter how much stuff you buy, or how much reading you do, you will never be “ready” so don’t get stressed out trying.
If you want kids, you’ve probably thought about how many you want to have. Maybe you’re of the mindset that you’ll stop having babies when your family feels complete. Or maybe, you have a predetermined number in your head that you will not waiver on, no matter what. Either way, at some point you have to decide if you want to start trying for number two…. unless you’re chill with one.
We had sort of decided more or less, that we would have 2 kids (hopefully). And then we’d call it. We weren’t going to keep trying for a girl or a boy, we don’t want to have to buy a bigger house or a (much) bigger vehicle. It was one for each hand, or one for each parent. On our drive home from the hospital with Callahan; me crying in the front seat because I was too far away from him, I looked at Tyler and said “so you’re good with 2 right?”. He agreed.
The next thing you have to figure out is when. When is the right time to have a second one? Is there a right time? No, there isn’t. Is there a wrong time? Probably. I certainly didn’t want Irish twins. Nothing about that seems appealing. Thankfully (not so thankfully) I had very little desire to make any more babies. It was the furthest thing from my mind.
We debated with trying to get pregnant before I even got back to work. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted a chance to get back into the swing of things at work (it was like riding a rusty tricycle with no seat). I wanted to lose more weight. (HAHAHAHAHAHA) I wanted to enjoy the summer, and the weddings that we were attending.
We agreed we’d start trying again in September- roughly translating to a June(ish) baby if things went hunky dory the first time around. When we didn’t get pregnant, neither of us was really disappointed. It was a weird feeling, almost like relief. Like okay, we can keep on doing what we’re doing. I mean, were we really ready to toss a hand-grenade into our lives? Everyone was finally sleeping…. What if we don’t like the next kid as much as we like Callahan? How can you love 2 kids the same as you love one? I honestly sometimes think my heart is going to explode with only one kid. I’m not sure I could handle the emotional stress (good stress, but still) of loving 2 kids. OMG!!!
I made a proposition to Tyler; I was turning 30 in November, how about we don’t try to get pregnant in October so that I can play a bit more basketball and soccer, and so that I can enjoy my 30th birthday. He was 100% down for this arrangement. Of course, we attended a friend’s wedding downtown in October, overnight, hotel, no kid… and peak ovulation day. We basically said, “Fuck it…Fuck you? I mean, Fuck me…?” 😉
It would have been Murphy’s Law for me to get knocked up that night. But it did not happen. Which was A-okay in our books. On-wards and Upwards, or Upwards and Inwards? ( ha I’m hilarious)
So far I think deciding when to start trying has been more stressful than the first time around; for a myriad of reasons. The first time around you’re fucking clueless and blind with excitement. Now, I can’t imagine loving another child as much as I love Callahan, but from what I understand, it does happen. Its also in fairly recent memory the unpleasant pregnancy and postpartum symptoms. What if the next pregnancy isn’t as smooth as the last? What if there are complications? Say the world just keeps getting worse, do we want to subject another child to that? Plus we have Callahan to remind us every day of what the next kid could be like… or the exact opposite of. There’s no way to tell! You’re just fucking flipping a coin and hoping for the best!
In the end, it came down to the fact that we cannot expect any cousins for Callahan any time soon (which is totally fine, our siblings are all younger than us and there is no rush), but it means Callahan needs a sibling so he doesn’t become too spoiled. But also, so that he has a sibling he can be friends with. I also just wanted the unpleasant physical parts of pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum to be over. I didn’t want to drag it out and wait years, allowing me to forget things about the process, or adding complicating factors that sometimes come with age. Plus, you don’t know what life holds for you, so we figured, let’s get at it.
Whenever it happens, if it happens, we’ll be excited, we’ll be calmer, we’ll be more aware of what lies ahead, and yet totally unprepared for handling a toddler and a child. At least the next time, the baby won’t have to sleep in the kitchen!
Excuse me while I try and get as much sashimi and booze in me while I still can.
This is my final installment in the “Things No One Tells You” series (you can read the others here and here). This time its about babies, and if you’re thinking “oh man here’s another long rant/list” you can relax, thankfully, people never fail to tell you endless amounts of information about babies (even when you don’t want it). So here I go, throwing more information at you, unsolicited.
Things No One Tells You:
Soft Indicators on your Ultrasound. I’m not a doctor, but I’m going to try my best to give you the simplest explanation I can. At our 20 week ultrasound, they identified a “soft indicator” or a spot on the heart. This is likely a hole in the heart (which is very common at this stage, and will likely close up). The doctor asked us to come in and explained this to us. The first thing she said was “I am legally required to tell you this, otherwise I would not. In my experience this is usually not an issue, so don’t stress out about it”.
What they are looking for are indicators of a genetic disorder (most commonly, Down Syndrome). This particular indicator was considered a “soft” indicator; basically there needs to be other indicators for this one to be taken seriously. I had initially said no to some blood tests at the beginning of my pregnancy, because the doctor explained there are a lot of false positives and it wasn’t worth the stress unless I was willing to put a giant needle into my belly for the 2nd set of tests (which I was not).
This day was the last day we could do the test. We opted to do it, not so we could terminate the pregnancy based on the results, but so we could prepare ourselves better for the future. (If you did terminate a pregnancy based on these tests, no judgement, everyone is different and every situation is different). The doctor scheduled us for another ultrasound a few weeks later and the test results came back fine.
That day was stressful, and it took mentioning it to a few friends before we realized how common this is. You probably know someone who has experienced this exact scenario, and all turned out well. This would have been a nice thing to know about ultrasounds prior to having one. Rather than the usual pseudoscience of gender guessing based on the location of the placenta.
As it turns out, many doctors are pushing to be able to withold this information unless there are more than one indicator, citing that the stress is harmful and the extra testing is a burden on the system, given the low rates of actual diagnoses compared to the high number of ultrasounds with “soft indicators”. So don’t panic and definitely don’t google this when you get home from the doctor’s office.
Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclonus. This is the fancy term for this absolutely terrifying thing your baby might do. But guess what? It’s common and its not an issue. If you do a search of this, there are THOUSANDS of posts of panicked mothers looking for direction.
Here’s what it is, in simpleton: While nursing Callahan, he was falling asleep and he started shaking. Initially it looked like a seizure. And I freaked out. I started yelling his name (which he still didn’t know, so, not helpful) and then I noticed a few things that helped me calm down… 1) Only his upper body was shaking. 2) He wasn’t clamping onto my breast, but still nursing. 4) He wasn’t flailing, it was fairly mild, but still alarming. 3) It stopped after about 7-10 seconds. I immediately googled this and saw all these responses and calmed down.
You know when you’re falling asleep and sometimes you twitch/feel like you’re falling? Essentially this is what’s happening with the baby. Their Neurological systems are still developing and are just firing at random. This happened a few more times and then it happened one day as he was waking up, poor Tyler, I had forgot to mention it had happened at all, so he rightfully panicked. I decided to mention it to my doctor, as the waking up shaking wasn’t mentioned in any of the posts, just the falling asleep. I wasn’t worried, but as one of my sisters had been diagnosed with epilepsy a few years prior, thought it best to be sure.
Given the family history, my doctor agreed it was likely nothing, to try and catch it on video (which I never managed since it was always done before I could grab my phone), and referred us to the pediatrician for peace of mind. All was well, the pediatrician said its very common and not a concern. My sister having epilepsy (and her type of epilepsy) was not a factor, unless I or Tyler had epilepsy, and unless it gets worse or he doesn’t outgrow it in the next year or so, there is no need to be concerned.
Having mentioned this to a few co-workers and friends, yet again we learned it was common and no big deal. He rarely does this now, but he also doesn’t nurse to sleep anymore, and when it does happen, its always when he’s being woken up in his car seat or stroller. Even then, its usually just one of his hands twitching, not a full body spasm anymore.
So there you have it, things no one tells you about your baby. Now you won’t panic if it happens, you’re welcome. I also think the advice my friend told me about pregnancy can be applied to babies: