HALO SleepSack Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a HALO SleepSack Swaddle in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

I was very excited when HALO approached me about reviewing one of their SleepSacks.  We swaddled E for months after she was born and I knew that we were likely to do the same with our second baby.  Since we were coming into cooler weather and we would be using the SleepSack right from the beginning, I choose the newborn microfleece swaddle in their gender neutral Bee Buddies print.  The SleepSack Swaddle also comes in cotton and plushy dot velboa.

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T wearing the SleepSack Swaddle with arms swaddled in.

I am very happy with our SleepSack choice.  The mircofleece is very soft and cozy feeling and is a very nice medium weight fleece, which is great for this time of year.  I think the cotton muslin SleepSack would be an excellent choice for summertime.  The newborn size is specified for babies 19 to 23 inches in length and 6 to 12 pounds.  T is already 9 lb. 6 oz. and 22.1/2 long and we’re still going strong with the newborn swaddle fit-wise.  I’m sure he will continue to grow like a weed but I think that we’ll be able to use this size swaddle for a couple more weeks at least.

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We’ve been using our SleepSack Swaddle every night since we brought T home from the hospital.  We have other swaddles that are similar to the HALO SleepSack that we used with E but we have been so pleased with the SleepSack Swaddle that we haven’t even pulled any of them out of the dresser!  Some things we love about the SleepSack Swaddle: it’s super easy to use, because of the zipper you can change a diaper without undoing the swaddle (though it can be a bit tricky), it keeps T warm and cozy, and you can swaddle baby with arms in or arms out.  Papa Bear has even said that he wants more in larger sizes.  One minor drawback (and this could be true with many swaddles, I just haven’t used any of the others in so long that I don’t really remember) is that if T is squirmy the upper edges of the swaddle can sometimes creep up and touch his cheeks and chin.  This isn’t a super huge deal except that it sometimes causes him to wake and start rooting because something is touching his cheek when he might have otherwise drifted back off to sleep.

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T wearing the SleepSack Swaddle with arms out.

Overall we really like the HALO SleepSack Swaddle and given how well it has worked for us we would likely like the other SleepSack products as well.

Recently HALO recently released a new product – the HALO Bassinet Swivel Sleeper.  The Swivel Sleeper Bassinet allows baby to sleep right next to mom (and dad), which keeps baby close for bonding and easier breastfeeding, but also gives baby his own separate sleeping space.

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The bassinet makes the frequent nighttime stirrings of a newborn more convenient for a new mom, particularly if she is breastfeeding.  The bassinet has two swivel points, which allow it to be pulled into the bed next to mom and to swing open like a door to allow mom in and out of bed.  The baby is so close at hand that it is very easy to reach over and sooth her if she is fussy or pick her up and place her to the breast if she is hungry.  Mom doesn’t even have to leave her bed!  The bassinet’s other features include a nightlight, nature and womb sounds, music, and gentle vibration.  It can be adjusted to fit beds 24-24 inches high and is designed for babies from birth to 20 pounds or five months of age.

Check out this video of the Swivel Sleeper Bassinet in action!

You can follow HALO on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube.

 

And now onto the exciting stuff – Enter to win your own HALO SleepSack using the Rafflecopter widget below!  Giveaway will be open until Sunday, December 21 and I will announce the winner on Monday, December 22.(Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some current sleep recommendations for infants are:

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

The Bubs

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Our little bubs was a week old on Saturday.  Hard to believe, honestly.  His birth happened so quickly starting shortly after midnight on November 29th but then by that evening he ended up in the NICU and the next 2 1/2 days passed in a blur as we shuffled back and forth from mother/baby to the NICU every three hours, snatching sleep and food when possible.  Finally we were able to bring him home on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday was his first doctor’s visit and Friday was my birthday.  What a whirlwind!  I’m still not always sure what day it is!

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Getting to know T has been pretty darn awesome.  He has already grown out of newborn sleep suits/footie outfits because he’s so tall.  (E was the same way, outgrowing clothes in length way before they were ever too small in width.)  He still fits in newborn onesies and separates but probably not for long!  His nighttime sleep is a bit wacky.  He’ll sleep a decent chunk until around 4 a.m. and then tends to be up every 1 1/2-2 hours, which is a little exhausting but, hey, that’s newborn sleep.  We’re hoping that that gets better soon!  He also naps a lot during the day.  Pretty typical stuff.  Things we know about T so far: when he is awake he wants to be held, he gets the hiccups a lot, he already picks his head up during tummy time or when he is held up to your shoulder, and he loves to eat.  He doesn’t cry often, has started making little cooing noises, and is generally a sweet little guy.  PB loves how cuddly he is.  The last few days T has been much more alert when awake.  He wants to eat all the time and is a breastfeeding champ.  He’s doing really well and I can’t wait to see what his weight is at his two week appointment on Friday.  He looks so much like E!

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I was a bit worried about the adjustment from one kid to two and we’re still trying to figure out a new routine but I am loving watching E as a big sister.  She met T on the day he was born.  She was adorable, saying that she loved her baby brother and that he was “so strong.”  She also sniffed him and declared that he smelled like cupcakes.  I’m really not sure it gets any cuter than that.  She was also very concerned about where his teeth were.  Too funny!

E wants to hold him all the time and has given him loads of kisses.  We sometimes have to remind her to be gentle because she is a bit enthusiastic with her affection but in general she is very loving with him.  Over the weekend she tried to console him as we were on our way to the store and he was crying in his car seat and if he fusses while in the pack-n-play she’ll call out, “What’s the matter, Tobs? I’ll get you in a second, bubs.”  It seems like she has really taken to her role as big sister.   I’m really happy with how well E has adjusted.  She is greatly interested in T nursing and says a few times a day that she wants to nurse but usually I’m able to distract her and she doesn’t get upset.  There have been a few times where she has wanted me to carry or lift her (which I’m not supposed to do right now) and she’s started crying when someone stepped in – which breaks my heart a little bit – but over all things have been pretty good.  Grandma was here for the first week, so that probably helped!  She was able to give E lots of attention as we transitioned to a family of four.  I know there will be growing pains yet to come but we’ve managed to handle them all fairly well thus far.

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It’s a Boy!

Tobias Edmund was born at 4:50 a.m. on November 29, 2014!

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After a brief stay in the NICU, we were both able to come home on December 2.  I will write all about his birth and our NICU experience soon but right now I am focusing on navigating life with a toddler and a newborn and marveling in each sweet moment as it happens.

We are so excited to welcome this little man into our family!

41 Week Bump Date

Yep, still pregnant.  Everyone keeps asking how I am feeling, when the baby is going to get here, and if I have had any signs of labor.  Trust me, we’re not going to keep it a secret when baby is on its way!

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What’s happening with baby:  I have no idea at this point!  It continues to move around in there and apparently is content with that.  Baby should be all ready to meet the world, he or she just doesn’t seem to want to!  There are a lot of people anxious to meet you, baby!

What’s happening with mama:  I’m actually rather grateful that baby did not come on its due date – namely because that morning I woke up sick and I felt terrible for the next 2-3 days!  I can’t imagine trying to give birth in that state.  I told Papa Bear that I simply couldn’t do it.  I honestly don’t know how I would have done it.  PB and E were also sick, so I’m glad that we didn’t have to deal with that.  It would have been a little nuts!  Thankfully we are all feeling much better now, we’re just waiting on baby.

Sadly, in the midst of us all being sick, PB’s paternal grandma passed away suddenly.  We were incredibly shocked and sadden when we heard of her passing last Friday.  Losing her any time would have been heartbreaking but it’s particularly hard right now.  We were really hoping baby would arrive over the weekend so that PB could attend her funeral but since baby hasn’t budged it looks unlikely that he will be able to make it, which just makes me incredibly sad for him.  Poor PB.  :(  Please keep him and his family in your thoughts.

So, yeah it has been a rough week.  Add on top of that, I’ve been getting more and more physically uncomfortable.  In general I just feel a lot more achy and have a lot more pressure down low.  Plus, my sides are very sore from the heparin shots.  And I’m feeling just huge!  At least being sick overshadowed all of that until now?

Recent appointments:  We had a second ultrasound last Friday to check on my fluid levels and, thankfully, everything looked very good.  That was a relief after our appointment on Tuesday when there was concern that fluid levels were low.

On Monday I had an appointment with the midwives.  They ran a non-stress test – the results of which were good despite baby not wanting to be very active.  The midwife also did a cervical check at my request.  I’m still 1-2 cm dilated and 60% effaced, no change from last week, but baby has dropped down to nearly 0 station.  We discussed having my membranes swept and induction.  The midwives like to get an induction on the books around 42 weeks.  In the end we decided not to do a stretch and sweep because I am GBS positive.  The midwife thought she could easily get me to 4 cm with a stretch and sweep but was then concerned about whether or not I would have time to get the antibiotics for GBS when I went into labor.  I’m still wondering whether or not I should have done it but… ah well.  If baby doesn’t come before then, we have an induction scheduled for Monday.  Going into labor naturally is obviously preferred but baby has to come out sometime and with my medical concerns there are some benefits to induction.  Monday is December.  I can’t even believe that.  I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that we might be looking at a December baby instead of November.  If that happens, the baby and I will have birthdays only a couple of days apart.

We had another ultrasound on Tuesday for a biophysical and everything looked good, particularly for 41 weeks.  I have another ultrasound scheduled for Friday if baby is still hanging out on the inside.

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40 Week Bump Date!

My due date was yesterday!  We’re still waiting on baby (if that wasn’t already obvious).

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What’s happening with baby:  Baby is full term and should be all ready to meet the world.  Now we’re just waiting on him or her to choose a birthday!

What’s happening with mama:  Mama is not feeling so hot.  Which is pretty much an understatement – I feel terrible.  Not because I is massively pregnant (though I am) but because I woke up sick yesterday morning!  Runny nose, sinus pressure, post-nasal drip, sore throat.  That is so supremely unfair.  E has a runny nose and cough as well and PB has started to not feel well.  Don’t we have the most awesome timing?  Maybe baby will stay put for a few more days to allow us to get to feeling better?  I hope so because I feel like poo.

Pregnancy-wise I’m feeling pretty good still.  Kind of odd but I’m sleeping okay (even though it takes me a while to fall asleep) and fairly comfortable for the most part.  I am starting to have serious trouble getting up from low couches and rolling over in bed.  Otherwise, every little thing gives me Braxton-Hicks contractions and I had BH Tuesday night back to back for quite a while.  They’re a little crazy.  The baby still moves a lot and is big enough at this point that it sometimes feels pretty uncomfortable or makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Appointments this week:  We had an appointment with the midwives and an ultrasound on Tuesday.  Since I was 40 weeks the midwife decided to do a cervical check.  Normally I don’t get cervical checks but since I am full term the midwife thought it could be a good idea to get an idea of where I’m at.  More to inform them on how quickly they would like me to come in when I do go into labor rather than as a sign of impending labor since you can walk around dilated for weeks.  I was 1 1/2 cm and 60% effaced.  Everything looked good.

At the ultrasound we got a tech we’ve never met before and she was totally not personable, which was kind of a bummer.  She quickly did the biophysical and announced that she thought my fluid was low.  A doctor came in to recheck and see what she thought.  The doctor disagreed with the tech’s measurements and thought my fluid levels were on the low end of normal.  The doctor talked about induction a lot – basically saying that it would be fine at this point and I could choose to be induced, though it wasn’t necessary at this point.  I’m not interested in being induced unless there is a reason.  The doctor asked that I come in for another ultrasound on Friday to recheck levels before the weekend.  I called the midwives after my ultrasound because they had asked about my fluid levels at my appointment that morning.  The midwife on call was not concerned but was glad they scheduled another ultrasound Friday and recommended that I hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  My next appointment with the midwives is on Monday, at which point they will do a non-stress test.

Weight gained:  24 pounds.

Baby is the size of a:  small pumpkin.

Mini Nursery Reveal

The task of turning our walk-in closet into a mini nursery is finally complete!  I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

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Now it probably sounds kind of strange (putting our baby in the closet) it sounded rather odd to us as well but consider this – infants really need very little space and we planned to keep baby in our room for at least the first few months regardless.  By transforming our closet in a mini nursery, baby is directly off our room and yet has it’s own space should it be required.

We started out with this craziness.

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We moved all of our stuff from the closet to our new faux built-in wardrobe and then set about turning the space into a nursery.  While it is indeed small, it has all that we will need for baby.

A place to sleep – the bassinet I used when I was a baby and that we used with E after she was born.

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A place for clothes and linen storage – my childhood dresser that we revamped with a little paint.

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A changing station.

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And a couple special touches.

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We also have a new-to-us glider that will be going in our room (and possibly be getting new cushion covers made for it).  Baby’s mini nursery is all ready to welcome the little one when it arrives!

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39 Week Bump Date

This post could also be titled My Due Date is Next Wednesday!  Aaahh!

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What’s happening with baby:  Baby is officially considered full-term and should be completely ready to greet the world!  Now we’re just waiting for baby to decide on its birth date.  Baby continues to be active and move around but its activity level has decreased a little bit.  It may be running out of room to move in there!  (Don’t worry though, it’s still moving plenty!)

What’s happening with mama:  I’m still doing well.  I feel like there isn’t much to write about this week as very little has changed.  My sides are still sore from the heparin injections and I still have some pretty nice bruising but otherwise I am feeling good, though exceedingly bulky.  At this point we’re just playing the waiting game.  Every Braxton-Hicks contraction and little twinge has me stopping and questioning whether something significant is happening.  Thus far the answer is: no, nothing significant is happening and I have no real signs of impending labor.  Not surprising, I guess, since I went to 41 weeks with E.  But I’ve definitely been on the alert…  it’s making me a bit anxious.  My water broke before contractions started with E, so we easily knew it was go time.  For some reason I am worried that I won’t be able to tell when I am in labor this time.  That seems kind of silly because you’d think that, at least eventually, it would be obvious but I guess I am just concerned about timing and getting E to my friend’s house in the midst of everything.  I would probably be much less anxious if I wasn’t worried about making sure everything goes smoothly with E.  It’s tough.  And then there is the whole feeling uncertain about labor and trying to have a natural birth…  It seems a little crazy but I swear I am more nervous this time around than I was the first time.

Everything has gone well at our weekly doctor appointments.  Baby looks and sounds good and everything is looking good with mama as well!

Preparedness:  All our little projects seem to be coming along nicely!  My main goal right now is to get and keep the house clean because I don’t want to walk into a mess whenever we’re coming home with baby.  So far the kitchen, E’s room and the nursery are clean…  so I’ve got a few more rooms to get done!  I don’t think things are too bad, just a little cluttered, and I am hoping it won’t take me long to get the majority of the house in order.  Otherwise we got the car seat installed, the nursery is ready to go (a post on the mini nursery coming soon!), we received a new monitor that can cover two kiddos, the freezer is stocked, and E’s overnight bag and my hospital bag are mostly packed.  I think we’re doing pretty well!  We have everything we need to bring baby home, I think, but I am okay with it giving us a little more time.

Baby is the size of a:  mini watermelon.

DIY Ombre Baby Dresser Revamp

As I mentioned in my last bump date, I am super excited about one of our mini nursery DIY projects that we recently completed – an ombre dresser!  Now, this dresser wasn’t marketed as for a baby or a child.  Actually, I have no idea how it was marketed as I have been using this dresser since I was a kid!  Unfortunately after all these years of hard use, it was a little worse for the wear.  There are some water marks and scratches on the body of the dresser but it was the drawers that were in the roughest shape.  The veneer on the drawers was very chipped and the top drawer was missing a pull.  (Unfortunately I neglected to take any good “before” pictures of the dresser, so you’ll have to use this sneak peak of the mini nursery “before” to get an idea of what the dresser looked like before the revamping and even that’s a little iffy because you can’t really see the bottom drawers well and they were the ones with the most chips – you’ll have to take my word for it!)

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We started by taking the drawers out and removing the hardware.  Then we filled all the chips and such with putty and sanded them down.  Super easy!  The final step in prepping the drawers for their ombre makeover was a coat of primer and then they were ready to go!

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Since we don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl, we decided that we’d like to do the drawers in shades of orange.  (Orange also happens to be Papa Bear’s favorite color.)  I went to Lowe’s and bought three little 8 ounce pots of Olympic paint to use for this project.  They were less than $3 a piece.  I picked up a darker orange shade (Delta Clay), a yellow (Yukon Gold) and an off white (actually called Off White) because the shades of orange we wanted weren’t available since the little pots of paint have limited color choices.  I brought the paint home and experimented with mixing the colors  until I got the oranges I was looking for.  I used a small trim roller to do the painting and ta-da!

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We spray painted the pulls a glossy black and bought new matching black pulls for the top drawer.  Once the drawers were dry, I attached the pulls, put drawer liners in, and the dresser was once again ready for use!

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And, if I do say so myself, I think it’s looking fantastic with its new makeover!  Now all we need is a changing pad for the top of the dresser and it is all set for baby!

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Do you like the current ombre trend?

Have you completed any DIY projects recently?

38 Week Bump Date

Only 2 weeks left!

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What’s happening with baby:  Baby’s organs have matured, s/he has plumped up, and s/he should be ready for life outside the womb.  Baby is still very active and moves around a lot.  We can definitely tell that baby has grown because you can feel random body parts more and more (though I’m not real great at identifying exactly what body part it is) – it’s kind of crazy!

What’s happening with mama:  Let’s see…  I have about four shirts that are long enough to cover my belly these days and I still hate maternity pants.  Yoga pants are currently my savior!  In other words, my wardrobe is pretty limited.  I still get a lot of Braxton-Hicks but sharp cervical pan has also joined the party.  The sharp (and very uncomfortable) pain in my cervix doesn’t happen in conjunction with the BH but has been occurring more and more frequently.  It seems to happen most when I am on my feet and walking around.  I can’t say as I am a huge fan but I can handle it.

I am continuing to have issues with my blood thinner.  I switched from lovenox to heparin at 36 weeks and it has been nothing but a pain.  In those two weeks I have had to have my doctor call in a new prescription to my pharmacy four or five times – once because the wrong thing was ordered/dispensed and once because my dosage was increased after my hematologist appointment last Thursday.  Every other issue was the result of the pharmacy.  The pharmacy made a mistake on every single prescription called in and/or their system failed and they claimed to never have received the prescription.  It has been, in a word, frustrating.  Not what I need to be dealing with right now.  Not at all.  Suffice it to say, we’re switching pharmacies.  (We’ve had issues with this pharmacy before, so we’re just done now.)

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Belly shot featuring heparin bruising.  Nice, right?

Because of everything that I’ve had to do to ensure I was getting the proper dose of heparin (doubling up on injections for a few doses…  so not awesome), my sides/the sides of my belly are pretty sore and bruised.  This happened when I was on heparin during my last pregnancy too but we were really hoping that it would be better this time around.  Not so much but at least we were prepared this time?  Otherwise I am feel pretty good physically!  I’m in no rush to get this baby born aside from the fact that I can’t wait to be done with heparin.

Preparedness:  Still chipping away at all our projects and it seems like now we’re cooking with gas and really getting stuff done.  Our to-do list is still rather long (mostly because we keep adding to it) but we’re getting things checked off every day.  We emptied out our walk-in closet this past weekend (meaning our faux built-in wardrobe is in use – yay!), cleaned it up, and got it set up for baby.  Baby actually has a place to sleep now!  The bassinet was the first thing I set up to get the mini nursery going.  I moved all of the baby things into the mini nursery and started to get them organized.  I’m very excited about that.  I really enjoy organizing things.  Is that odd?  Rather than get a new dresser for the baby, we decided to rehab my old dresser and I cannot wait to share that project with you in a post in the coming week.  I am super happy with how it turned out!  I’ll be putting drawer liners in today in between doctor appointments and then I can really get things organized.  I ordered some decals for the nursery walls and then I think it will be done completely.  Yay!  I also got the preregistration for the hospital done, so that’s checked off the to-do list.  I’m hoping that we can completely finish the wardrobe by the end of the weekend and then we’ll really be getting somewhere.

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Bassinet all ready for baby and dresser drawers mid rehab.

We’ve also been talking baby names more and more and I think we’ve actually narrowed down our girls name choices to two names!  Hallelujah!  We still need to work on our boys name list and narrow it down to a choice between two names but we’re getting closer!

Weight gained:  24 pounds.

Baby is the size of a:  leek.

37 Week Bump Date

3 weeks to go!

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What’s happening with baby:  Same old, same old with baby.  Getting fatter, growing, practicing breathing, and kicking mama in the bladder and the ribs.  Most of the really important stuff has already happened!  At our ultrasound this week (biophysical, not growth) everything looked great.  Amniotic fluid levels, blood flow through the cord, and the placenta all look good!

What’s happening with mama:  Braxton-Hicks and more Braxton-Hicks.  Seriously though.  I get BH contractions if I get dehydrated.  I get BH if my bladder is full.  (See how those two work together there?)  I get BH if the baby is moving around a lot.  I get BH if I’m moving around a lot.  In other words, I just get BH all the time.  They’re not terribly bothersome and they don’t hurt, so it’s just another thing to deal with.

I’ve felt a bit better and more physically comfortable this week (excepting some stomach issues, which I’ve continued to have throughout this pregnancy…  I tend to get a sour or crampy stomach a lot for some reason).  My hips haven’t been aching as much and I am very thankful for that.  I made the switch from lovenox to heparin this week after some miscommunication between the doctor’s office and the pharmacy.  I finally got the medication in the proper form on Friday and started the heparin that night.  So far it has gone fine but I do already notice more bruising and soreness.  I guess that’s just par for the course with heparin and I.  Also, I’m pretty sure I am getting pregnancy fat face.  Oh well…

At my midwife appointment this week we found out that I am Group B Strep positive again.  This means that I ought to get antibiotics during labor prior to delivery.  Of course, I am allergic to penicillin so I have to be given vancomycin.  I was given vancomycin during labor with E as well, which resulted in me developing Red Man Syndrome – a crazy reaction to the antibiotic.  There aren’t very many alternatives to the vancomycin for me, so we’ll do our best to avoid a reaction and just deal with it as best we can.  We did find during E’s labor that if they gave the medication much more slowly that I didn’t have a reaction.  (I was given antibiotics twice while in labor with E because me labor was so long.)

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Preparations:  Slowly but surely we’re getting there.  The wardrobe we’ve been working on for our bedroom is finally finished enough to use.  It just needs some paint and trim work done and then it will be completely finished!  Yay!  It seems unlikely that we’ll have the new headboard done before baby but you never know!  We’ve started clearing out our walk-in closet and will be turning that in our mini nursery/baby hub as quickly as we can.  We have a few things to decide (such as do we want to get rid of the dresser that is in there and get a smaller dresser for that space instead and do we want to move the changing table from E’s room to the mini nursery) but we will be able to get the bassinet set up, which is the most important thing.  We can also get the rest of baby’s things in there and organized while we decide on those few details.  I kind of can’t wait.  We’ll also be getting the pack-n-play set up downstairs, which will provide a great little baby station for that level of the house.

In other areas of preparation, I’ve filled out my birth plan, had it approved by the midwives, and filled out admission paperwork for the hospital as well.  I need to fill out the online pre-registration for the hospital and then I am all set in that regard.  And, much to Papa Bear’s delight as he has been urging me to do this for a while now, I even started packing a hospital bag!  Now I just need to finish packing that up and get an overnight bag together for E.  I feel like we’re getting down to the wire!

Baby is the size of a:  bunch of Swiss chard.

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