Saturday, January 7, 2017

My First Giveaway! | Baby carriers and why you [might] need one. *CLOSED*

Baby wearing is not new, but it has certainly become more popular in the States these past few years. From woven wraps to slings to soft-structured carriers, it can be overwhelming to navigate all the options and chose the best fit for you and your family. In this post I'll cover what I know about the different types of carriers and share my opinions and experiences.
The most exciting part is that I'm also offering you the chance to win a $50 gift card! To enter the drawing for this prize you must comment on this post and let me know which carrier you are most interested in, that think would work best for you, or is your favorite (if you already baby wear). The contest will close and a winner chosen in 7 days. If you want to put this toward a baby carrier of your own, check them out!

Boba Wrap

The Boba was my first wrap. It's very similar to a Moby or a Solly, but I have a Boba so that's what I'll talk about today. 
This wrap is made from a high-quality French terry material , 95% cotton and 5% spandex. 
The Boba is recommended to be used from birth to 18 months/up to 35 pounds, but I personally would only use it for the first few months. Due to the stretchy nature of this wrap it has a lot of give and slip so when your baby gets heavy they tend to slide down after awhile, and the straps can dig into your shoulders.
 The important thing to remember about baby carriers is that different carriers will work better at different times and stages. I consider the Boba to be the perfect beginner wrap and fantastic for newborns. It can be tied on before you insert your baby which is very convenient when going out. I like to tie it on before I leave the house so that I'm not wrapping in a dirty parking lot or store with the tails dragging on the ground. You cannot do back carries with any stretchy wrap. This is very dangerous because your child can slip out of it.

Mommy's kitchen helper!

Ring Sling

Ring slings are by far the best (that I've found anyway) for quick ups and trips.
When I have to run in to the store for a minute or carry Calvin in to church, situations where I need to be hands free but only for a moment, I find my sling is what I reach for.
There's no tying it on and it takes literally two minutes to get him in and ready to go.
The cons of the ring sling are that I can't bend over at all or he will slide out the top. He's not nearly as secure as he would be in a stretchy wrap.
Obviously you cannot do a back carry with a ring sling.
I like ring slings for a quick wear but not long term.

Sleepy squish! Four days old in the ring sling. 

Woven Wrap

Woven wraps are by far my favorite (of the carriers I have used) way to wear my baby. 
They are so supportive, versatile, and you can carry your child in them for...well...pretty much as long as you want. Your little one may become heavy enough that they pull uncomfortably on your back and shoulders, but your wrap will hold strong. I've even seen people wear other adults!

When you begin looking into the world of woven wraps you will hear it said that once you start you can't stop.
That you'll get addicted.
This is [usually] true.
There are so many beautiful woven wraps.
From different weaves, patterns, and colors, to numerous fabrics and combinations thereof. There are also several different sizes (or lengths) that all have different wraps and purposes as well.
I happen to own two woven wraps, a size 6, which is my base size, and a 3. They are Didymos brand, which is a well known and reliable brand of wrap, though they can be expensive when you buy new. There are several more affordable options, such as Girasol and Lenny Lamb, that you can find used for well under $100 in a BST group.
I always suggest buying a used wrap, as breaking wraps in can be quite a chore; one that I have never attempted myself and was advised never to try. It involves a lot of braiding, beating, ironing, washing, and use before it gets soft and easy to use. In the mean time they are difficult to wrap and tighten and can get really frustrating, therefore not ideal to learn on and not good for beginners.
There is a learning curve to using them but once you figure it out it there's a good chance that it will become you preferred carrier over the slings and stretchy wraps.
I suggest joining some of the BST (buy/sell/trade) groups on Facebook to learn more about woven wraps.
You can do back, hip, and front carries with a woven wrap.
Check out Wrap You In Love for tutorials.

Didymos Lisca size 4
100% cotton
Kangaroo Carry

Didymos Prima Papaya size 6
100% cotton
Front Wrap Cross Carry

Didymos Prima Jade size 3
Tri blend 55% cotton, 25% hemp, and 20% linen
Kangaroo Carry

Soft Structured Carriers

Ergobaby 360
100% cotton
Adjustable hood
Supports 12-33 pounds
(can be used with smaller babies using the infant insert)

Lillebaby Complete Airflow
360-degree carrying: fetal, infant, outward and inward facing, back carries, and hip carries
Does not require an infant insert
Removable hood

Tula Ergonomic Carrier
100% cotton
Front and back carry
Removable hood
Supports 15-45 pounds
(can be used with smaller babies using the infant insert)

I don't own a SSC (soft structured carrier) but I know that they are beloved by those who do. They are the simplest to use. Buckle around your waist, insert your baby, pull the back panel up, buckle around your shoulders.
You're done!
Ergo, Lillebaby, and Tula are the most popular and best for baby's posture and based on friend's recommendations and my own research I would suggest any of these to someone looking to invest in a SSC.
Tula has, in my opinion, the best prints (campy is a personal favorite of mine. If I ever get a SSC, it will be Tula Campy!), but requires an infant insert for a baby under 15 pounds that is an extra cost (as does the Ergo). Lillebaby does not require any extra insert for newborns and has the most carry options, though they are a little bulkier than the Tula and more expensive than the Ergo.
Depending on your needs, any one of these carriers might be a good option for you if you're uninterested in learning how to wrap or dealing with a lot of fabric. 

Baby wearing comes with a lot of fun accessories.
My personal favorite are baby wearing coats!

  Well, that wraps up (haha, get it? Wraps up!) this post! There are so many more baby carriers out there, but these are the ones that I would personally recommend. If you aren't sure what would be the best fit for you, see if there is a local baby wearing group in your area. Most of these groups have a 'lending library' and you can try different carriers out for a few weeks to see what works best. 
Stay warm and have fun wearing your baby!

“This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal, with a prize of a gift certificate”

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Calvin Joshua | Our Work of A.R.T.

    I suppose it's probably time that I update my blog and introduce the little man that this whole journey has been about! I'm not good with time management as it is, so add some sleep deprivation and a helpless, albeit adorable, little being to the mix and things get messy. Literally. My house is a disaster. But back to the important stuff...
     My labor was long and definitely didn't go as planned or hoped (but do they ever?). I was set for induction on Thursday night, but my crazy nesting had me running around the house cleaning and I actually went into early labor on my own. I was having contractions 2 -3 minutes apart all night long, but they gave me Cervadil anyway to get things moving a little faster (if there is a next time I will not worry about moving things faster.). Friday there still wasn't much cervical change so they gave me another Cervadil that would be removed at 1am and we (Tyler and my best friends Holly and Ashton) hung out and judged people on HGTV most of the day.
    That evening it was just Tyler and I, so we waddled walked the halls to get my contractions really going. It worked! I began having contractions that I couldn't walk or talk through, so we went back to our room and I bounced on the ball and paced for awhile. I noticed I was having back labor (oh joy), but it wasn't too bad yet. Tyler got some sleep on the couch while I continued to bounce and pace. Eventually I called Ashton and asked her to come back because I was having trouble coping with the contractions on my own but wanted Tyler to get as much rest as possible (we had already been there for over 24 hours at that point and he'd hardly slept).
    After Ashton got there and the Cervadil was out I was really in labor and feeling those contractions! I labored on my own for awhile but after a couple hours we decided to start the Pitocin to, yep, you guess it, get things moving. Again, I really wish I would have just taken my time, because I was definitely in labor on my own.
    Apparently I am really sensitive to Pitocin because they only had me on a 2 (they can infuse you up to 20) and I was having overlapping contractions. I don't remember those two hours very well because I honestly think my mind was just in shock after going from normal, gradually increasing contractions, to overlapping, end-stage type labor.
    I got my epidural but I was still in the same amount of pain. After about 20 minutes they realized it wasn't going to work so they had the doctor redo it. The second one worked (Hallelujah!) and I was finally able to get some sleep.
    The next morning my water broke on it's own. I felt and heard a "POP", even Ashton heard it from across the room, and I said, "I think my water just broke!" By that time I had dilated to a 4 and things were going great. Holly came back shortly after that and they had lunch while labored on [painlessly! Hooray!].
    After a few hours I  started to get uncomfortable again. The pain got worse and eventually it felt like I didn't have the epidural any more. I was also in transition during this time and started vomiting (fun) and getting the urge to push. The nurse checked me and I was at a 10 and ready to go, but the attending doctor was delivering another baby, so she told them to turn off my Pitocin (a little ragey about that). So there I sat, for two hours, no Pitocin, ready to go, but having to wait. I pushed when the urge hit anyway, not sure if that was good or bad but it was what it was. It hurts to fight the urge to push and I had been in labor for nearly 40 hours at this point. I was pretty over the whole thing. My epidural worked on and off, I'd say I had some pain management over all but not much.
    Fast forwarding to pushing; I pushed for quite a bit, making minimal progress. After about 3 hours the doctor came in and said it was time for a C-Section. I asked her if Calvin was ok, to which she responded that he was a champ and his heart rate was perfect. I then told her that if both Calvin and I were ok, I would like to keep trying for a vaginal delivery. She gave me thirty minutes, the time it takes to prep the OR, to get him out. At this point they admitted that I wasn't going to make any progress on my back, so they brought in one of the male nurses, Jared, to help. He had been advocating for and helping women with epidurals try different positions to help deliver their babies vaginally when they had previously been told they wouldn't be able to. He and Tyler got me up on my knees and holding on to the back of the bed for support. Tyler held my oxygen mask and fed me ice chips, Jared helped support my back and monitor my progress, while Holly and Ashton cheered me on. During this time I made a ton of progress. The doctor came in planning to wheel me out for a section and instead told them to cancel the OR. "We're having a baby!" she said.
It took another hour, but he was finally born after fourty-seven hours of labor and five hours of pushing. The cord was wrapped around his neck and his fists were up by his cheeks. He had a major cone head and he was a little stunned after so long in the birth canal, but all in all he did great. They laid him on my chest and now, here we are. Introducing our sweet little guy who is going to be three months old in just a couple weeks!
   Now the fun part, photos:

While my epidural was working.



I brought his 3D ultrasound with to look
at when I was feeling discouraged.

You are NOT confined to your back
when you have an epidural.

The best partner.


He was so worth it. The needles. The pills. The tears.
He was worth every moment we spent waiting.

Our first family photo!

Photo credit Melissa Adams, LLC

Photo credit Melissa Adams, LLC

And finally:

As all my loss mamas know, October 15 is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.
As with our pregnancy announcement, we wanted Calvin's birth announcement to convey our joy, while acknowledging the grief that so many are feeling every day, and that we have felt (and feel) ourselves.
I am so proud of the announcement my husband wrote:

    After starting labor induction late Thursday night, Macy and I are so excited to introduce our new son! Calvin Joshua Rodeffer was born at 9:20 Saturday night weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and 19” long. It was a very long and tiring 47 hours, particularly the nearly 5 hours of pushing Macy had to do. She did so good! She worked so hard and refused to give up. I’m so proud of her and impressed by her. She had two amazing friends supporting us and encouraging her, as well as an amazing staff in labor and delivery to work with. We are so loved and so grateful.
    Many of you know that October 15th, forever his birthday, was also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Too many people know that. Far too many. It isn’t fair that while we had the privilege of celebrating our first few hours with our brand new son, for many, the grief of loss remains all too fresh. Hearing this announcement and seeing our baby will be hard for some. Maybe impossible. No blame or judgment here. We haven’t forgotten those emotions and I pray we never do. We have struggled through infertility for more than four years and experienced 4 miscarriages. But we haven’t had it the worst, not even close. This is only to say that we empathize with the difficulties of others and share the grief. For us, in vitro fertilization was the miracle that resulted in our son. It was far from easy, but certainly worth it. It provided no guarantee, but, medically speaking, it was our last-best chance. Our hope is that this journey has paved the path of greater appreciation for our son, greater sense of responsibility for loving and parenting him, greater fear of taking him for granted, and greater empathy for the grief of others.

I know this post was long, if you made it to the end, thank you. Thank you for walking with us, for thinking of us, for praying for us. We could not have walked this journey without the support of our friends, and we pray that we never forget the road that led us to where we are now, so that we can be there for others like they were there for us.

"Everything that is real was imagined first."
- The Velveteen Rabbit