Thursday, January 31, 2013

Playing the Gender Game

Finding out baby's gender I really always thought that when I had children, I would want to be surprised when the doctor held up my child for the first time and announced "It's a boy!" Or "It's a girl!" My sister and her husband waited with both of their girls, and I always thought I would, too.Until the day I saw "Pregnant" on the screen of my digital pregnancy test.

Since then, not only have I been counting the days until we can go for the 20-week ultrasound, but I have also been taking every quiz I can lay my hands on, trying to get an indication of whether our little bundle is male or female.

So far, everything points to a girl, even the Chinese gender prediction calendar, which claims to be 90% accurate. (I know the calendar must be correct because it was wrong on so many other people that mine has to be correct in order to maintain that 90% rating.) My belly is riding high, my face has turned into an acne nightmare, and the baby's heartbeat has consistently been high (175 at the first ultrasound and now right around 150.)

On top of all this, my family tends not to make boy children. My brother-in-law likes to tell my sister, "It's the man who determines the gender," but she always replies with, "Not in this family."

My aging grandparents have 8 grandchildren. 7 are women. They also have 7 great-grandchildren, of which 3 are boys, and 2 great-great-grandchildren, both girls. So out of 17 descendants, just four are boys, and they all came from one branch of the family tree, my Aunt Jo and Uncle Walt.

Still, it's kind of like playing roulette. If it came up red and even the last six times, it makes you want to play black odds.

In truth, I don't care either way if our little one is a boy or girl. But it's the waiting to know that is driving me crazy. Three more weeks!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deciding to Cloth Diaper

Reasons to use cloth diapers As much as I relish the idea of a return to simpler times, I never thought that I would consider cloth diapers as a realistic method for containing my little darling's waste. I think a friend of mine best summed it up with the statement, "Ewwww."

But then I got to thinking about it, and I started running some numbers, and then I started picturing Jesse coming to me wondering who spent $150 at the NFL Shop and me answering, "Sorry, dear. I didn't hear you. I'm just washing poo out of these diapers."

I got on Facebook and asked for opinions on cloth diapers. The overwhelming response was, "Don't do it." But after reviewing the comments, I realized that the only people telling me not to use cloth were those who had never used them. Everyone who said she had used cloth told me to go for it.

And so I started doing some research. The first thing I learned was that cloth diapers are actually quite expensive themselves. I almost abandoned the idea right then and there. Being a working mother means NOT being a slave to laundry. I knew the only way I could make it work was by getting a lot of diapers so I would not have to be washing every day, but I did not want to drop six or seven hundred dollars on diapers.

Then I turned to my old friend, Craigslist. I found a woman who was selling 50 prefold diapers, 4 wraps, and 2 rolls of flushable liners for $100. And the best part - the diapers had never been used. They were a gift from her hopeful mother, but they had been sitting around for over a year, just waiting for me.

I snatched them up right away, then added 12 more prefolds to my collection for just $15. The second set had been used on two children but were still a brilliant white. Amazing!

I discovered that over the course of three years, I can expect to save about $1500 by using cloth diapers. This factors in my upfront costs to buy the diapers, and the fact that I tend to change more often than is probably necessary. Since the diapers can be reused, my cost savings for additional children will be around $1800.

After I brought the diapers home, I diapered up a stuffed penguin, just for practice. I think I can get used to this, and even if it turns out to be too much, I can sell the diapers to some other sucker. But at least I can say I tried.

Spare Time Super Mom

Being a super mom in my spare time The title of this blog - and its inspiration - comes from my desire to be one of those moms. You know the ones. They have everything together, their houses are spotless, their children are clean and well-kempt, and they always have something just coming out of the oven.

But they also are not full-time attorneys with a truckload of law school debt. Now I know that being a stay-at-home mom is not an easy or relaxing job by any means. In fact, it can be as demanding as any other job, sometimes even more so. But there are certain advantages to it that allow more time to be Bree Van de Camp.

So it's not surprising to hear from women who have all kinds of home tips and tricks for saving money and the planet. They can sit down while their children are napping and mix up a batch of homemade wipes and then get started on dinner

I want so badly to be one of those moms, and I decided that being a working mother doesn't mean I have to give it all up. It just means that I have to come up with my own ways to do all of the things that probably seem mundane to some people but that I would love to spend my days doing.

I'm sure there are other women out there who would love to be Supermom in the evening and weekend hours, so my hope is that this blog will help them find ways to do just that without taking up valuable family time.

I hope to hear from people with questions and their own tips to share on the blog!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And the hunt is on!

Looking for a job while pregnant I graduated from law school in 2011, and I have spent the last year and a half searching for a job. Most of the time, I have not heard anything from the places I have applied. I have managed to make a little money by working as a contract attorney. I don't mind the work as much as others, but the pay is terrible. So my search continues.

Now that we are about to add a member to the family, I have become even more desperate to find a job. I wish very much that I could stay home with the baby, and it breaks my heart that I can't, but it just isn't feasible. What I need to do is ensure that if something were to happen to Jesse, I would be able to provide for our child.

So, I have been applying for even more jobs than before, and I have expanded my search to include non-legal jobs.

Yesterday, I finally got a response from my application for a real estate attorney position. I applied for three different real estate attorney positions via Craigslist, so I am not sure which one it is, but I am so excited to finally at least have an interview!

I am a Christian woman, and I recently was reminded of Derek Prince's teaching on the Power of Proclamation. To try to summarize his message would be a disservice, but the basic tenet of that teaching series is that we, as Christians, have the power to activate the promises of the Bible by proclaiming them. So after more than a year of not getting so much as an email in response to my applications, I started proclaiming the promise of Jeremiah 29:11. I put it into my own words and said, over and over, "The Lord has plans to prosper me."

Jesse thinks I am crazy, but I kept going with it, and a week after starting to proclaim this promise, I have an interview.

The next step, of course, is getting then to actually hire me. And that should be no problem with my swollen belly, I'm sure. Who wouldn't want to hire someone who is going to work a few months and then take a 3 month vacation. I am an employer's dream.

Honestly, I sympathize with employers who don't want to hire pregnant women or those who plan to be pregnant soon. Three months is a long time to have to pick up the slack for another employee, and from a business perspective, it just seems unfair. Of course, these are sympathies that I plan to keep to myself during the interview process.

Ideally, I would love to get called for one of the federal jobs for which I applied. Great hours, great benefits, and reasonable compensation. Plus, they take so long to hire someone and conduct their background checks that I could probably delay starting until after my maternity leave time was over. That would mean I wouldn't have to keep working until my water breaks.

For now, I plan to keep the faith that has brought me this far and keep on proclaiming that "The Lord had plans to prosper me!"

Telling the Hubs

Telling your husband you're pregnant Telling your husband you are pregnant can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if that conversation just so happens to take place on the heels of a conversation about waiting to have children. I had approached Jesse with the idea that I might be pregnant, but he flat out dismissed it. He felt that since it had not happened yet, it could not have happened now. And the more I insisted that I really thought I might be pregnant, the more he reassured me, in a voice one would us to talk to a hurt animal, that he was most certain I was not.

So, when I took the test and confirmed what I already knew, I was a little hesitant to tell him. Of course, I was busting at the seams with joy and excitement - albeit mixed with a bit of apprehension - so I had to tell SOMEONE. But Jesse would be hurt if I confided in someone else first.

And that's how it came to be that my very first confidant when I found out I was pregnant was our sweet, lovable, and enthusiastic dog Oliver.

Oliver is a German Shepherd and Chow Chow mix who somehow managed to get nearly all the good qualities of each of these breeds and none of the bad. The only thing he lacks is intelligence, but he more than makes up for it in heart. (Our other dog, Stella the Beagle, is another story altogether, one we will save for another day.)

While I was squirreled away in the bathroom, surreptitiously peeing on a stick, Oliver was waiting faithfully outside the door for me to emerge. When I opened the door, he greeted me as though it had been hours since he last saw me. I leaned down and whispered to him, "Mama's going to have a baby!" (Yes, I am one of those people who treats her dogs like children, and yes, I agree that it is annoying.)

Oliver went wild. My own excitement could hardly compare to his as his tail beat against the wall and he flung his entire body back and forth in one of the full-body wags for which he is known.

Having told Oliver, I was able to keep the secret to myself a little longer. I went about the next two days without telling Jesse about the test. Instead, I spent a lot of time trying to prepare him. I listed my symptoms - bigger boobs, cramping, nausea, peeing all the time - and told him I really thought I was pregnant.

Jesse remained steadfast in his declaration that there was just no way, which really was silly given that we were not very careful to begin with. At one point, he actually told me, "A man knows these things."

Finally, I made him a bet. If I was indeed pregnant, he had to make me dinner the following day. If not, I would cook for him.

Then I went upstairs and took a second test and returned with soiled stick in hand. "You owe me dinner," I reported. Jesse was stunned, but pleasantly so.

We spent the rest of the evening marveling over the fact that we were going to be parents. Unfortunately, however, Jesse thought I should double check the test, just to be sure, so I told him that it was the second test. Realizing he had been duped, he refused to make dinner. If I remember correctly, I think we had pizza delivered, so I guess it was a wash.

Who's that in the mirror?

Finding out you're pregnant It was kind of like in the movies. My husband Jesse and I had just returned from a trip to Turkey, where we spent two weeks eating, drinking, and drinking some more. It may be a Muslim country, but Turkey has some fabulous wine. (Emir, anyone?). We were the quintessential newly married, reasonably successful couple, just enjoying our lives and occasionally discussing how we might someday have ourselves a bundle of children. Someday. But not until we had seen -and conquered - the world.

And so we flew back to the states on November 4. Exhausted after a long but sleepless flight, I crawled into bed, ready to sleep for at least a good ten hours.

Instead, however, I found myself waking up every hour or two, desperate for the bathroom. Which was strange because I never had to wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I thought nothing of it because I was just days away from getting my period, and I had already had some cramping, my usual signal that Aunt Flo's arrival is imminent.

A few days passed, and the cramping continued, but with no other indications of PMS, not even a nice little mood swing. I did experience some hot flashes, and I got motion sickness every day riding the Metro to and from work, but these things were not firsts for me.

And then it happened, totally by accident. I stepped out of the shower one morning and just happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It was my face, but it was definitely not my chest. And so I knew immediately there was a baby in my belly.

On Wednesday, November 14, after several days of increasing nausea, I bought a twin pack of pregnancy tests at CVS. When I got home, I went upstairs to confirm what my swollen breasts had already told me. I was pregnant.

If I really wanted to, I'm sure I could have come up with quite a list of reasons why this was not the right time. But in that moment, I knew that there could not possibly be a better time.

That little life inside me, unplanned and announced only by a sudden aversion to peanuts and poultry and by me finally, after 28 years, achieving a B-cup, meant the world to me. And it only took a second.