Top baby items we’ve loved and where to find them

As first-time parents, we were obviously open to advice and hand-me-downs from friends and family. What we have learned since (in the 8 months of our daughter’s life), is that every baby and their needs are different, and you have to be flexible. For the planner in me, that has been difficult! I’d like to think I’m learning to let go and be more adaptable 😉

Along the way, we have found some items that we’ve loved, that have definitely made life easier. So I wanted to share links, and some pictures, with you in case it may help you in the future! Awwww, look at us…on the way home from the hospital with our baby girl… we had no idea what we were doing! Thankfully friends and family have helped along the way 😉

Ikea changetable/dresser – $150
We bought the 3-drawer Hemnes dresser (white), that is actually no longer available! I couldn’t find it on their site, which is unfortunate because it’s the perfect height and fits a change pad and wipes on it.

Love to Dream, Swaddle – $38
When Elizabeth was about 7 weeks old, I was tired of fighting to keep her swaddled at night. From day one, she liked to flail her arms in bed. After a nighttime feeding, I would wrap her in the muslin cloth as tight as I could, and by the time I got back to bed, her arms were out. I would nudge Troy and ask him to go wrap her up. Which he would, and usually she would stay in it. She loved her arms up close to her face, so when a friend told us about this one, we thought it didn’t hurt to try! She stayed in the small, then the medium, until almost five months old! The zipper saved my butt from having to try and swaddle her up!

DIY Mobile – $21 and $6 on some ribbon
Ok, so mobiles are expensive. Like, $60-100. And they all seemed rather tacky for the baby girl’s room I had put together. When Elizabeth was about three months old, I ordered this Victsing Mobile Music Box Baby Crib Mobile Bed Bell Toy Holder Arm Bracket + Wind-up off of Amazon, and then had some twine and ribbon that I fashioned through the loops. I liked this one because the song is “You are my sunshine” and that was the first song I ever sang to Elizabeth on our car ride home from the hospital when she was crying uncontrollably! And it worked. I am happy with how it turned out. She is now trying to reach for it lots so we shall see how long it lasts!

Mamaroo – $350 – borrowed
A friend was kind enough to lend us their mamaroo, and hands-down, it was a lifesaver! We had it in our dining room or living room. I remember one night, in the first couple of weeks, we tried for HOURS to get her to sleep in her crib and it just wasn’t working. Finally, around 1am, we brought her into our room in the mamaroo and she slept 5 hours straight! Mommy, on the other hand, was waking constantly to check on her, but, baby slept! She eventually grew out of it and became bored with it, and I reluctantly gave it back, knowing it was a phase of her little life that was now done!

Backseat mirror – $18
Okay, seriously, how did people cope without these a few years ago? I LOVE being able to see what she’s doing or if she’s sleeping. A must have, for sure. We got ours at Babies ‘R Us, but on Amazon they are about the same price.

Bath tub – $50
I love this tub from Babies ‘R Us, as it props her up just right, and is a 3pc. So as she grows, the tub grows with her. We can have it on the counter, like we did in the beginning, or now it sits in the tub just nicely. She’s almost outgrown the seat in it ! 😦

Pacifier teething/soother clip – $12
Elizabeth has never been a big fan of soothers, but I was ready, just in case 😉 I have this one, from Etsy, in her carseat. She likes to chew on it or play with it now and again. I loved the color options!

Headbands$7
I love me some headbands! I finally found these recently on Etsy, and I love them because they are made of ladies’ nylons, so they don’t make a harsh mark on her head! I also got this one in black and white. They match with almost anything!

Britax stroller/carseat travel system – $600
The stroller/carseat was the one place we splurged a bit more. Troy was great at picking this out, ensuring it would be something easy enough for me to lift in and out of the trunk. The only thing I would change about this is to have a bigger bottom basket and a plastic tray with it. I bought a canvas cup holder (cheaper) and had a Starbucks spill on our maiden voyage out! Otherwise, this Britax system is easy to fold and we love it!

Breast pump – $150-300
This was another hand-me-down necessity from a friend. We have the Lanolin brand, which I’m not sure they make anymore, but it has worked great for me! I bought a breast pump kit with new attachments from Amazon and it’s been great! So if you think borrowing someone’s pump is gross, then just get this kit and you’re fine! These Medela steam bags have also been great to sterilize and quickly clean soothers, bottles, etc.

Boba baby wrap – $60
This was also a gift, quite literally! I loved wearing Elizabeth around the house, though learning to tie this thing was a YouTube journey! She had many naps in there while I had two free hands to do things around the house. Love love.

We also went simple with our crib (Ikea), rocking chair for nursery (free, hand me down), and most of the nursery decor I made or thrifted aside from a few printables I bought off Etsy! I don’t consider myself crafty, but I do like to challenge myself to make something beautiful on a budget 🙂

We didn’t get a conventional diaper bag, as neither of us really like them! We wanted to find something we could use for our next baby as well, so wanted something fairly neutral. We ended up getting a navy blue/leather Fossil bag on clearance that seems rather large, but does the job! I bought a diaper bag insert that has 7 spots for stuff, so it makes the bag seem more suitable as a diaper bag.

If you are expecting, hopefully that little list helps you narrow down the multitude of options there are for baby things!!

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Elizabeth Grace: her birth story

I had written this out shortly after our daughter was born, and wanted to share with you how the day our sweet Elizabeth was born unfolded.  This is our story, read at your leisure, and if you’re pregnant for the first time, just keep in mind that EVERYONE’s story is different and your body was created BEAUTIFULLY by our amazing Father to give life. You’ve got this 😉

***

It was a Wednesday morning, three days after our due date. I went to bed the night before thinking, “I should make sure I have labour and delivery’s number!” I’d hardly dilated the day before at my doctor’s appointment, and didn’t feel anything, so I really thought we potentially had another few days or even a week!

But this is how our precious daughter came in to our world…All labour photos were taken by a student nurse who had my iPhone during delivery 🙂

At about 5:30am I woke up, feeling menstrual cramp-like pain. There was a bit of pinkish blood when I went to the washroom, so to me that signaled something was starting! For the next almost two hours, I was in and out of bed every half hour, feeling like I was getting my period. By 7:30, I stirred Troy and said, “I think we’re having our baby!” We googled early labour signs, and what I was feeling was definitely on the list.

Troy got up and made breakfast while I showered; the pain increasingly feeling like a strong period. By 9:00am I was trying to get ahold of my doctor’s office, to see what they thought I should do. They said to labour at home until contractions were 5-7 minutes apart. She said, “It’s much more enjoyable at home.”

Not long after eating breakfast, I threw up, and another three times after that. I couldn’t keep anything down. Which was disappointing, as I knew I needed energy for the hours ahead! Pain was consistently getting stronger, and mostly in my lower back and abdomen. When it would intensify, I’d grab our stair railing and lean over it, as Troy rubbed my back. The pain felt so constant to me that it was hard to time contractions! I honestly couldn’t of done it without Troy to lean on or rub my back. I needed his touch throughout the day! (Babe, you were amazing this day!)

We got our hospital bags to the door (which were packed, other than last-minute toiletries). I couldn’t sit or lay down with all the back pain, so I just kept pacing. And pacing. And pacing. Our dog, Pippa, seemed very concerned the whole morning. Sitting at my feet and following me all around.

My sister and I had the joy of sharing this baby journey, her second, my first. She wasn’t due for a few more days, but as we talked on the phone that morning, in between my contractions, she said they were going to the hospital and maybe getting induced! As I breathed heavily on the phone, bearing the weight of a contraction, she said, “Ah Lani, I wish I was with you!” It was a nice sister moment, knowing we were about to meet our daughters (Ok, typing that made me tear up!)

Finally around 11:30am, six hours after I woke up to the start of labour, we got ahold of the hospital and they said to come in. We live a half hour away, so I was nervous about the drive, since I couldn’t sit down at home. Troy drove very fast 😉 It’s a crazy feeling when you walk out the door and know that when you come home you will be parents and have a baby to take care of!

They admitted us right away, and we got to our sunny west-facing room by about 1:30pm. I loved that I got to labour in such a bright room! My doctor was there and he checked me right away, and said I was only about 2-3cm dilated and the baby’s head was sideways. They suggested I get in the shower for comfort and to go on my hands and knees to try and help get her in a better position. And that’s where I stayed for two hours! The hot water helped, as did Troy’s constant voice and hands of comfort.

When people would ask me what my birth plan was, all I’d respond was, “Push and pray!” I had no idea what position or comforts I’d prefer. We had a whole playlist of worship and music ready that we barely used. I had my eyes closed and felt in a daze a lot of the time in the shower. Trying to breathe the best I could.

Around 2:30 my sister (or her husband) texted Troy, “We’re done!” and a photo of their baby girl, Ellie Rae. She had two hours of hard labour and delivered her baby girl in another city, about 1.5 hours away. My first feeling was relief that my sister and her baby were all okay, and then I was like, “What the heck! I’m hardly dilated over here!”

Up and down I went in the shower from standing to all fours. The nurses kept checking one me intermittently. I’m pretty sure by the time the day was done I had about 15 nurses in my room, what with shift changes, student nurses, and NICU! I felt very taken care of though, and in good hands.

At 3:30 I wanted to know if I was at all dilated and if her head had straightened up at all. As soon as I got out of the shower, the pain intensified and I realized how great the hot water felt. As I crawled up on the bed, I near started to panic. Feeling fuzzy, I was grabbing for Troy’s hands, wanting to crawl out of my own skin! Baby’s heart started to decelerate and before we knew it, five more nurses were in the room and they were turning me on my side and giving me an oxygen mask. That position helped get her heart rate back to normal. And then I asked for drugs. Enough of this! I was only half way dilated and I wanted some relief.

The anesthesiologist arrived around 4:30 and by the time the epidural set in I was still only 4-5cm dilated but had found some peace. As I laid on the hospital bed with Troy and my mother-in-law in our bright room, I said, “Oh my goodness! Why would you NOT get an epidural!?” For me, it helped and was amazing, though to each their own! I just finally felt coherent and like I could put thoughts and words together again. Thank You Lord for modern medicine!

I would like to say I prayed more through it all, but I didn’t. Not that I remember anyway! Beforehand I kept telling myself that millions of women before have done this, and that God has created my body beautifully to handle this.

By 5pm, the intern doctor came and checked me and I was still only 5cm dilated, and my water hadn’t even broke yet! When he broke it, meconium came out, so that meant the baby had pooped in the womb.

Baby’s head was still sideways, so they had me, with help, get on my hands and knees on the bed. And that’s where I stayed for another 1.5 hours or so!

Troy got to sit down and have a snack, and then we called his sister and brother-in-law in the States. My brother-in-law said, “I can’t believe you’re in labour right now!” I said, “I know, epidural is amazing!”

After that time, the gravity of my position started to make the epidural wear off, and my butt began to feel the pain of the contractions. They had me lay down and checked me and that finally got her head straightened out!

Somewhere in the time after that (now after 7:30pm), I had fully dilated so they began to prep the room for pushing. I’ve lost two hours in there, because that didn’t actually happen until 9:30pm. It’s all a bit of a blur of people coming and going checking on me and baby.

When 9:30pm rolled around, my doctor, his intern and about four nurses were in the room, as we geared down to start to push. Honestly it was such a peaceful time leading into pushing. They had topped up the epidural before pushing and then reduced it near the end, so I could feel the sensation to push better.

She crowned quite quickly, and the doctor said, “She has brown hair!” I was so excited. I wanted my baby to have hair 🙂 To me, pushing with an epidural was easier than contractions without it, by FAR! They said I was doing great, was a great pusher. Hearing their affirming words as I did my only job, push, was so encouraging.

Even though she crowned, it took a lot of pushing to get her through. Near the end, one of the nurses said, “Get mad!” So I pictured the devil and how he has stolen from me in life (no joke), and got mad! I suddenly had a second wind to get this baby out! Knowing I was minutes away from meeting our baby was such a surreal feeling.

And at 10:50pm, our baby girl was born. She had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, but even though that and the meconium was a potential issue, she cried right away and they laid her on my chest.

She was perfect. Round cheeks. Great lungs. Brown hair and dark intense eyes. I just kept whispering to her, “You’re safe now honey, you’re safe.” Troy and I cried and kissed, in awe of how perfectly formed she was. I don’t think there’s any such relief like that as when your baby is born healthy and strong! She was 8lb 3oz and 20.5in.

They asked her name, and Troy proudly shouted, “Elizabeth Grace”. They stitched me up, and weighed her. They showed me the placenta and I was in awe of it. This blob of tissue that had sustained her inside of me all those months!

I will end our birth story there. It was a long night that followed, but we had amazing staff and felt so peaceful. LIFE is a miracle! Wow. God, You are amazing in how You have created us to enter this world. I said afterwards, “If I can do that, I can do anything!” It seriously is the most amazing experience ever.

Now, Elizabeth almost five months old! I finally understand all the mamma emotions – guilt, love, hormones, and all. Troy said the other day, “She brings us so much joy.” And she does. She’s still as bright-eyed and alert as she was the day she was born.

I feel honoured to be her mommy and can’t wait to discover who she is and nurture that!

 

Our sweet little girl has arrived: Elizabeth Grace

Just a short post to say … we are parents!

Elizabeth (“pledged to God) Grace Lupul
March 23, 2016
10:50pm | 8lb 3oz

Troy and I are just over two weeks into parenthood, and loving our little girl to bits. With all the friends we’ve had go before us as parents, there really is nothing you can do to prepare for what delivery is like emotionally and how you’ll feel when you see your very own child for the first time. Troy and I both cried, of course, but I think it was the afternoon we brought her home when it hit us – we’re parents! As we entered the elevator, a giddy excitement filled my heart. We stopped for smoothies on the way home, and Lizzie started to fuss and wail in the back seat. Knowing she was likely just hungry, I tried to buy some time by singing You are my sunshine… and it worked! New mom for the win! As we had our first evening at home, we felt such peace and thankfulness that delivery was over, she was healthy, I was fine (well, healing 😉 ), and we were now at that ‘next stage’. Troy is the proudest Daddy ever, he could pop a button every time he looks at her. It’s pretty adorable I must say 😉 Love you babe, and am so excited to do this journey of parenting with you!

When we get our newborn photos back I will share, but here is a look back at my pregnancy with Elizabeth Grace, and a few first sneak peeks at our little girl and new life together…

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We love you Elizabeth Grace and thank God for the gift that you are to us! xo

~ Mommy & Daddy

 

Baby bump at home

As the weeks disappear quickly, we are getting closer and closer to meeting our baby girl! Last week Troy captured a few pictures of me and baby belly, just around our home. I think he did pretty great! We have booked a photographer for her newborn photos, but since I’m not a fan of cheesy maternity pics, I just wanted some simple ones to remember this season by. Now we just need to sneak Troy into some! 😉 Here’s me at 32 weeks pregnant with our little girl…

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