Monday, January 6, 2014

32 weeks!

Wow, 32 weeks! Grayson is now (according to babycenter) 3.75 pounds and 16.7 inches long... according to my last ultrasound he is actually closer to 5 pounds and 18 inches, in the 64th percentile if I remember right. He is going to be a BIG boy!

 I am happy he is growing well and is healthy but I am terrified. My labor plan is to have a similar labor and delivery as I did with Zander. I labored at home for 3-4 hours, went to the hospital and labored for 2-3 hours and then pushed for about 10 minutes. It was a completely natural birth and I loved it, though it was not what I went in wanting. It was what I want now though and I am afraid his size will put that in jeopardy. 

Another thing I have been thinking a lot about is his induction. Due to the gestational diabetes my midwife wants to induce at 39 weeks. That automatically throws my plans for a loop without even going into the fact that most inductions lead to the need for pain control and failed inductions are a huge cause of c-sections. 

Anyways, at 32 weeks I have lost 6 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight and still fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes, the tops are tight around the belly but the pants are mostly to big and require a belt. My blood sugars have been stable but when they go up they go way up. I am feeling pretty good. Some days I feel like a zombie and just want to sleep but for the most part I have the energy to do what needs to be done and am not overly uncomfortable. Sleep is still fine knock on wood, at this stage with Zander I was in so much pain I could not sleep and rarely got more then 2-3 hours of sleep a night. I took a break from my pills during weeks 30-32 and am now back on them. Frankly I was burnt out on taking to much every day.

 We are still looking for a rent house which is a double edged sword.. yes I want to move into a place of our own, especially before Grayson is born but no.. I do not want to be physically moving anything or unpacking at 33+ weeks. It is what it is though and it will be great to have our own space again. I think that is it for 33 weeks. Fingers crossed that the internet will be working well enough to post the weekly updates and more random posts so there is not another huge gap in posting!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I took the plunge! What breastpump did I choose?



I found this Spectra S2 on eBay for $69 plus shipping and took the plunge! The seller claims it was never used and comes without the box because she expected to use it and threw away the packaging but never did. It also comes without bottles, she did not give a reason.. I would guess they where handy and she used them and with the rep that Spectra bottles have they where probably in no shape to sell. I really hope she is an honest seller, as an IGT mom I need this pump to be mint.. if anything has happened to it that would impact suction I can kiss my breastfeeding chances goodbye. 

I am trying to be positive though, I needed a hospital grade pump and did not have $500-$1,600 to spend on one, I would have been lucky to come up with $300 for a new Medela single user pump. I am hopeful that Spectra will live up to their claims and the reviews and this pump will be everything I need. 

Wish me luck, my new pump will be here before the end of the month! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

29 weeks!

General Stats: Grayson should be around 2.5 pounds and around 15 inches from head to heel. I had an apointent on the 16th and things are still going good. I had to have a NST (non stress test) since on the 14th and 15th I did not really feel Grayson move as much as normal. I know I am supposed to call if I don't feel him move but after drinking OJ and laying down I did feel a few little swishes, it just was nothing close to what I had been feeling. The NST showed everything was fine though so that is great. I had lost 2 more pounds since the last appointment putting me at -6 for the pregnancy. This is fine since I was overweight to begin with and am now on a diabetes diet. When Zander was born I was actually 36 pounds bellow pre pregnancy weight, it is honestly pretty awesome to end a pregnancy weighing less then when you started. I was 28 weeks and 5 days on the date of the appointment and ended up measuring 32 weeks 3 days. I pray that I just have a lot of fluid and the diabetes is not turning this kid into a 12 pound baby. I have an ultrasound scheduled this week so hopefully we can get some idea of how big he is. We have reached the point where my appointments are 2-3 weeks apart instead of every 4-5 weeks. I can not believe how fast it has flown by. My meds are still the same (though my midwife is not the one who deals with this, meds could be changed at the ultrasound appointment). I am going to ask once more about oral progesterone and metformin then give up, I hate to say it but I am really fed up with doctors who don't know about IGT and I am just done trying. Maybe if/when we have number 3 I can find a midwife or doctor who knows about IGT or will give me what I want just because I want it lol.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, which pump is best of all?

So, I am in the market for a new pump but have a very specific list of needs and wants and a tight budget. Under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) insurance companies are required to pay for a pump but this does not extend to Medicare, SoonerCare in Oklahoma. The state assumes WIC will provide a pump yet WIC does not have the funding to provide a pump to every mom in need. 

When I asked for one with Zander I was given a Medela Manual. 

This pump is perfectly fine for a full supply stay at home mom that only needs to pump a couple of times a month for a single bottle so she can go out. If that is not the situation then this pump is not for you. 

Anyways, what I am getting at is I am on my own as far as getting a pump.. no insurance and no WIC.

So, what are the options for a low supply/IGT mom?

The top choice is of course the Medela Symphony. 

This pump retails for around $1,300 new though you can find them on eBay for $500+ used. Used is fine because they are hopistal grade meaning there is no way for milk to contaminate the pump and the motor is built for the long haul. These can also (generally) be rented for around $70 a month.

Another great Medela contender is the Pump In Styple Advanced, aka PISA. 

This pump is probably the #1 pump in the US. Though it is not perfect for an IGT mom I am including it because it is a fine and affordable pump to use for stimulation as long as baby is able to establish supply and nurse daily. This pump retails for around $250 and can easily be found used for $150 or less though is should be noted this is not a multi-user pump and the motor can be contaminated with milk.

*Note:Another Medela pump called the Freestyle is also very popular though more expensive then the PISA. I am not including it here because I don't view it as a good choice for any mom, even a full supply mom, as many women have reported it lowering their supply due to suction issues. 

Ameda Purely Yours Ultra

This pump boasts a feature I love that Medela has yet to include on the PISA, dual controles. With the Purely Yours mom is able to controle speed (sucks per minute) and vacume (strength of suck), this allows you to mimic your babies suckling as close as possible and to follow your flow. The pump also features a barrier to keep milk out of the motor, another advantage over the PISA. Retail is around $300, I have not seen many of these used though they are out there for around $200.

Spectra Dew 350, S1 and S2

Spectra is not a well known company which makes me leery to include it. I only know of one IGT mom who uses them (she has the Dew 350) but she loves it. They boast that their pumps (the ones listed) were made to rival the Symphony, are hospital grade (powerful motor and barrier for hygiene making it suitable for multi users). The Dew only has a single knob making it impossible to adjust speed and volume independently. The S1 and S2 feature independent controls, the difference between the two is an internal battery. I have mixed feelings about their customer service, I sent two emails using the address provided on the Spectra Baby USA page and never got a response, when I sent a message to them on Facebook though I got an almost immediate and extremely helpful and nice response.  Dew retails for $200, S1 for $279 and S2 for $225. 

Hygeia EnJoye

Hygeia is another company I have not really heard much about. The local cloth diaper store carries them exclusively which is a good sign though as they do their research and I trust them to carry the best. The EnJoye features dual controls and supposedly has amazing customer service. I emailed them a couple of times with questions and always got back a very friendly a fast response. The EnJoye is priced at $339 and can be used by multiple users. 


I have read and reread all the information and reviews on each one of these pumps, everything I can get my hands on. I truely wish I could buy every single one and give you guys a first hand review but that is not very practical. I have some decisions to make and will let you know what I choose! 





Monday, December 16, 2013

Swagbucks

I have been a member of Swagbucks since 2011 and can not rave enough about it. I literally get paid to do what I would be doing anyways, searching the internet. With Swagbucks all you have to do is use their search engine instead of Google or Yahoo and you earn points that can be exchanged for merchandise or gift cards. Over the last 3 years I have earned $165 dollars in Amazon gift cards. It is not much but it has paid for all my Kindle apps and books, Zander's trains for Christmas and many random items I have found along the way. I will admit I have not used it religiously and I am sure if I was better about it I would have cleared well over $200-$300 by now but there are weeks and even months at a time that I just don't use the computer that often or I forget to use their search. My mom also uses it and saved her cards up and used them to pay a little over 50% of the KitchenAid mixer I got for Christmas in 2011. 


That screenshot is from an account I stopped using because I lost access to the email address used with it for awhile but you can see the cards generally came in fast when I was using it, one month I made $30 getting $5 cards at a time. 

If you want to join please use the link below to help me out :) I will earn 1 buck for every buck you earn up to 1,000 and will be very grateful. Once you sign up don't forget to post your link to Facebook or send it to friends and family in an email so they can start earning too and help you out in the process. 

I will be making another post soon with tips and tricks for maximizing your earning with Swagbucks. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Prezzies!

This year we had one main idea for Zander's gifts. Apps. This child is obsessed with my Kindle Fire. He has the normal toddler apps but he also plays some older games that are really educational but to him it is just fun. As a future homeschooling momma I try to learn as much as possible about early education (it really helps that my mom is a retired teacher with a masters in early childhood education lol) and these games are just amazing on so many levels. I wanted to put $20-$30 on the Kindle and then get 1 or 2 games for his Leap Pad. Last week James called me from Portland where he is doing training for the military and told me some horrible news, his job is being cut on December 31st. Crap. So much for Christmas, now we can't even move out of my parents house as we planned to in January. Anyways, Zander will now only be getting what we already have for him.

I am not to proud to admit this is our second year receiving a Christmas Box from the local community center/church. This is an amazing help for low income families and insures kids get a decent Christmas.

In his box this year Zander got underwear, socks, pajamas, 2 complete winter outfits, 1 pair of shoes, a coat, 4 books, 2 small cars and an amazing steel Tonka truck.





I will never be able to thank the men a women at the community center enough.

The only things we bought him before the layoff news was a Team UmiZoomi doll that sings and shakes and three small wooden trains for his stocking that I found on amazon for under $2 each with free shipping that have not even arrived yet.



Zander is scared to death of Santa but for some reason when anyone mentions him Zander will say "Santa is coming to bring me a choochoo". It is adorable. I really wanted to get him this....

 But it looks like Santa is on a budget this year so the three small ones will have to do.


I know his grandparents will be spoiling him so I don't feel as bad but there is always the mommy guilt that he wont have the "best" presents. We will still have an amazing Christmas though complete with family, cuddles and pancakes with hot chocolate for breakfast!


*All pictures are from Google, Ebay and Amazon. James took my camera to Portland with him..

Friday, December 13, 2013

Contests and Sweeps

As a stay at home mom I do what I can to contribute.. sometimes that means listing items we don't need for resale, spending a couple of hours shopping ads for sales or whatever. My favorite way (because it can be pretty fun!) is to enter contests and sweepstakes. The act of entering them is not very fun, in fact it is rather tedious, but getting an unexpected goodie in the mail or an email with the subject "Winner" is a thrill.

A few of the things I have won:

  • Cloth diapers
  • Kitchen items
  • Heroes (the TV show) t-shirt and collectable metal lunch box
  • Gift cards
  • Jewelry
  • Cash
  • Dvds 
  • Online subscriptions 
  • Magazines
  • Products like coconut water, boxes of a new type of cracker, makeup, and hair items


I know, it doesn't seem like much. We make a lot of sacrifices for me to stay at home with the kids though and honestly we live paycheck to paycheck. It would be nice to win $10,000 or a trip to some exotic location but I am very happy with these little indulgences that I would not normally waste any free cash on (besides the diapers, those are a necessity and I love my cloth lol). So, I give up a bit of free time to enter these contests and when I win I look at it as kind of a paycheck. With the dvd for example, it was new to stores and was the BlueRay bundle.. retail cost was around $20. I spent less then 5 minutes of my free time after Zander was asleep to enter that contest so in essence I was paid $20.

That brings me to a pet peeve about contests and sweeps. I can not stand when people enter for things they don't need or want with the idea that they will sell their winnings. Yes, I could have sold that dvd and actually been "paid" or I could have taken it to any store and exchanged it for whatever but I didn't because I wanted it. When I see a sweepstakes for something I could easily sell but don't want or need I skip it because someone out there probably really does need it. A great example was when Zander was 1 and I found a huge contest for nursing items... they had a $400 breast pump, covers, nursing pads, blah blah blah. It was an amazing package and could have made for a great paycheck had I entered and won. I did not need it though. I know what is wrong for one person is right for another but when you enter contests for the sake of selling the winnings please keep in mind someone out there might actually need it. *Stepping down from my soapbox now.*

So, what kind of contests and sweeps are the best to enter? Great question!
 The only ones I do not enter are the mail in entries. We pay good money to have the internet and I don't want to go out and buy stamps on top of that, there are just to many mail in contests for it to be efficient money or time wise.

My favorite types to enter are:

  • Instant win: This is usually a game of some sort and you find out right then and there if you are a winner. These are almost always daily entries.
  • One time entry: This is self exclamatory. You fill it out one time and one time only. These are great because they are no muss no fuss no remembering. 
  • Rafflecopter and other blog formatted sweeps: These are found mainly on blogs and include a lot of facebook and twitter use. These are nice because the bloggers generally give out things that are tailored to their blogs content so since I like the blog enough to read it there is a good chance I will like the prize.

Tips for entering contests! 
  1. First things first. Set up a special email, facebook and twitter for entering. If you start to enter a ton of contests you will find your social media feeds and email being taken over by companies and bloggers. 
  2. Keep a list. For one time entries I don't bother making any type of record, 9 times out of 10 a site will tell you if you have already entered so there is not a huge chance of getting yourself disqualified for multiple entries. For all other entries I have a Works document that I keep open while entering contests. After I enter the contest I copy the URL to the document and save. Every day I start with this list and just move from one link to the next getting in my daily entries and as I find new contests they are added to the bottom, no need to make it hard.
  3. Pay attention to the details. Sometimes a contest might only include certain states or occasionally you will run into one where they require you to pay shipping or write a review. Make sure you know the details before entering so you aren't left with a prize you can not receive. 
  4. Use sites like Sweepstakes Today and Lucky Girl to do the scouting for you. You can sit on google typing in contests and see what pops up but why bother when these sites have done it for you. I think both also have features to keep track of your contests for you but I still prefer my document over their list as my link is quicker to access and keep track of. 
  5. Take the time daily. If you only have 10-20 minutes a day to enter contests daily use the time wisely and make certain contests a priority. For example: There was recently a breast pump giveaway and I will be buying one in January. When I added this to my document I added it to the top and highlighted it in red and it was always the first one I entered every morning, that way if life got in the way I had at least gotten in that important entry. (I did not win, boo).
  6. Keep an eye out for small contests. Occasionally you will find a small blogger, company or YouTube channel hosting a giveaway to try and increase traffic. 
  7. Have fun. If entering contests loses its appeal for you stop for awhile. It can be very tedious and time consuming and as much as I love it there are times I am just not feeling it. Don't delete your list or close your accounts though! You might find after a couple of days off you are ready to enter again and you can pick up right where you left off. 
   May the odds be ever in your favor! ;)