Gearapalooza Boston

event Gearapalooza Boston

Baby gear can be ridiculous to figure out. Recently a friend of mine was expecting her first and I went to walk with her through the baby store to talk about what to get for her registry. It took us THREE HOURS, y’all. 

Bump Club and Beyond’s big event, Gearapalooza, is making a stop in Boston this year. (They also have upcoming stops in California.) Unlike a regular expo, Gearapalooza is bringing in The Baby Guy (aka Jamie) to give his expert advice on the art of registry-building. And it is truly an art. 

I admit, I kind of felt like a psycho when I spent a few months researching strollers. But the first year with a baby is rough and you need the best tools you can to make it through. 

The Boston Gearapalooza is taking place at the Wellesley Magic Beans store (if you’re new to the baby world, yo

u’ll get to know Boston’s favorite toy store quite well in the years to come…) on Tuesday September 17th at 6 pm. 

Tickets are $50. (I know you’re thinking that sounds crazy. BUT it includes a gift bag with $150 worth of stuff.) Or you can go for the platinum ticket for $100, which is actually less crazy and more awesome because it includes the $150 gift bag AND a $130-value Beco Baby Carrier. Significant other tickets (no gift bag) are $25. 

Plus there will be loads of giveaways (over $10,000 worth of stuff!) AND there will be food AND I will be there so we can totally hang out and I’ll tell you all about my Cybex Callisto Stroller and how much I love it. 

And if you’re not the pre-natal yoga type and don’t have other pregnant friends this would be a great place to meet some!

Bringing Sexy Back with Dear Kates

Remember when you used to buy cute underwear?

You had a whole bunch of pairs, maybe you did lots of colors or maybe you stuck to black or those scratchy lacy things. Maybe you liked boyshorts. Maybe you liked thongs. But remember how cute and sexy you always felt in those? Good times.

Have you looked in your underwear drawer lately?

I won’t lie, the last time I bought cute underwear was for my honeymoon. 5 years ago.

Then we were trying to live cheaply and I started buying the bargain packs at Target. And then I started having kids and I bought a size or two up. These days my underwear drawer is not anything too impressive. It is kind of sad. Full of cheap underwear that’s worn down to practically nothing in colors and patterns that aren’t exactly screaming young and fun and sexy.

But there’s a predicament. I don’t want to buy cute underwear because, well, because…

Ahem.

YOU KNOW WHY.

Babies, y’all. Babies mess with you.

Let’s just get all these words out of the way right now. Incontinence, discharge, periods, all kinds of other delightful things.

Phew. Feels good to get that out there.

Seriously, though, if you’re like me you don’t have much of a reason to invest in the cute underwear because you don’t want to ruin it. And because sometimes, well, you have to change your underwear unexpectedly during the day. Or you’re walking around with a pantyliner.

This baby thing. It’s rough on you.

I am going somewhere with this, of course. I got a cute new pair of undies in the mail from Dear Kate. Undies for ladies who need cute undies that can handle our, well, our stuff. As Dear Kates founder Julie Sygiel is quoted as saying in New York Magazine, “People say ‘I laughed so hard, I peed my pants,’ but I never knew it was real.”

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At first I was kinda hesitant. Because who wants to be the one wearing moisture-wicking panties? Who wants to be in that category? But I am stuck in that category so I gave it a go.

I even asked for a pair of bikinis because it’s been so long since lately I’ve tended for the granny-style high-rise kind and I could really use a little esteem boost.

They were comfy. Definitely a step above the cotton, which are soft and all, but these were a nice stretchy and silky fabric. And as for the “leak protection,” I give them a thumbs up. On the inside they have extra layers of special absorbing material that can hold up to 3 teaspoons of liquid. (I am tempted to be like the tampon commercials and pour blue liquid on them but I will spare you all that. Also: I promise not to talk about feeling “not so fresh.”)

This is good timing for me because (okay, let’s just stop with the hemming and hawing, I’m gonna just be straight) not only has my period just come back after 18 months of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I’m still going with the breastfeeding so I have all the hormonal weirdness to go along with it, too. I could use these every single day because I never know what’s going on down there.

I don’t know why a piece of clothing no one sees can have such an impact on how you feel, but it does. And I feel much nicer knowing I won’t have to change halfway through the day and that I’m wearing something cute and I don’t have to put on any extra protection.

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The Dear Kates Pinterest Page

Other stuff I love: not only do your undies stay dry, they’re also leak-resistant. They’re lined with a black fabric so you won’t have to sit there soaking your undies in cold water in the sink. They’re MACHINE WASHABLE. (Dry flat is no big deal for me, I’m just so thrilled they’re not hand wash.) They come in a variety of shapes, from high-rise style to hipster to bikini to thong. Yes, you can get a thong version for you crazies who like that kind of thing. They’re stretchy so they’re perfect for pregnancy (though I still recommend going a size up if your bum tends to grow the way mine does).

Oh, and if you’re one of those weird… exercising types, they’re great for the gym to keep things from getting all… swampy. (You’re welcome, Lexi.)

Anyway.

I don’t know if you noticed but I kinda love these undies. And if you want to try some, I have a discount code for you!!

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And should the opportunity strike for someone to see you in your mom-undies, they’ll be so impressed at how cute and sexy you are.

Thanks to Dear Kates for giving me a pair to review. Any time you guys want to send me more, that would be awesome. I was not obligated to blog this. They’re super fun to follow on Facebook, too.

A Pink or Blue Party

I posted last time about my big Saturday at a blog conference. It was quite the busy day, but the weekend wasn’t over. On Sunday was Charlene’s big Gender Reveal party. A great idea for a second baby. Charlene got an ultrasound and told the tech to keep the gender secret. The tech wrote the gender down and Charlene brought it to a bakery where they’d make special cupcakes with either pink or blue filling. Even Charlene didn’t know what it would be! Such a fun idea for a baby shower for baby #2.

I guessed girl, since Charlene has a boy about Graham’s age and this way our babies would match. Also because she has a torpedo belly, which means girl in my book.

Now when I’m going to an all-day blog conference with a baby in tow, I don’t spend much time on my outfit. I have exactly one pair of jeans that fit. I have some v-neck tops that make for easier feeding. End of story.

But for a party? I had to go to my closet. And what I found there was very, very sad.

Maternity dresses made me look pregnant. I already have the post-baby belly, but I don’t want it to look like a pre-baby belly. My selection of tops is limited since my nursing bras are not made to be hidden well. Nothing too tight, nothing too loose, and not much to work with. What was a girl to do?

After trying on literally everything, I settled on a cardigan (unbuttoned), a ruffly maternity tank I bought for work, and a skirt with an elastic waistband. (Thank you for the elastic, Old Navy!!!)

Since I had only limited control of my clothes, I decided that I would at least look cute from the neck up. I showered. I put on makeup. (For the conference, I only did absolute bare minimum.) And I pulled out a new hairstyle:

 

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The sock bun, passed down to me by my mother. (Or rather, my mother’s pinterest board.) (The Bug just walked by the screen while I had this picture up and said, “Mommy!” Not exactly, kid, but thanks.)

This was my first effort with the sock bun and as I am hairdo challenged I was worried, but it worked like a champ. I got it on the first try. My hair was a little curly and wet, but it still did the trick.

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Photo by Rebecca Deaton Photography

Can you tell I’m happy to be out of the house? I may not be the height of style but I felt good and that’s the most important thing, right?

In the spirit of the evening, I wore a pink cardigan and blue earrings. Charlene had pink and blue necklaces out so we could wear our votes.

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Photo by Rebecca Deaton Photography

It was great to see more of my blogging friends. And I was surprised at how much suspense was in the air as we waited for the big surprise.

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Photo by Rebecca Deaton Photography

And I was right! Girl!

It was a special night. And not just because we got to share Charlene’s good news and hang with friends. I also got to finally meet one of my blogging idols: Melanie, The Coupon Goddess. It’s thanks to Melanie that I started couponing, got a binder, etc. I’m not as good at it as she is, of course. I’ve read her blog faithfully and have always been bummed that we haven’t been to any of the same events so far.

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Photo by Rebecca Deaton Photography

It was a good deal for both of us. I got to meet Melanie and Melanie got to meet Tessa. (Tessa seemed pretty happy about the deal, too.)

I also FINALLY got a chance to see Cindy, the woman behind the scenes at Isis Parenting, who I’ve worked with for months via email and Twitter. Technically this was not the first time we met. 5415850888 ce8664f1ff A Pink or Blue Party

That was February, 2011, at my very first blogger event with the Boston Parent Bloggers. So many of them are now my friends even though I was super shy and barely spoke to anyone that first night. Cindy and I are RIGHT BY EACH OTHER in the picture (she’s on the far left in the back row, I am in the pink sweater just in front of her) so clearly our relationship was meant to be, right?

I look at this picture and smile. A year ago my life was so different. Graham was just diagnosed. I was out of work. I didn’t know anyone in Boston. Now Graham is doing amazing, I am happily home with two (!!) kids and I have friends. And the friends part is basically all thanks to this blog. Oh, blog, I do love you.

Thanks to Rebecca Deaton Photography for the beautiful pictures. A big thanks to the great sponsors of Charlene’s party: Magic Beans, Punchbowl, Tiny Love, Spa Week, Sage Spoonfuls, Happy Baby, Goldenview Ultrasound, GUND, MAM, Peapod, and Treat Cupcake Bar. You can get all the info on them from Charlene’s post. 

 

Recovering from Childbirth

I’ve been planning to write about recovery from childbirth for a while. I started a draft before Tessa was born. But I’ve had to start over several times now because I don’t exactly know how to approach it.

My two recoveries were vastly different. After Graham my body was completely outside my control. I was miserable and in pain for weeks. I worried I’d never get back to normal. This time, after Tessa, I felt pretty normal after just a week and things continue to go well.

I don’t want to scare people too much by talking about my recovery from Graham. I don’t want to paint too pretty a picture by focusing on my second experience. So I’m kind of flummoxed about how to go about it.

But I’m going to do it anyway. Pregnancy has its fair share of unpleasant surprises, and postpartum recovery is more intense and even less talked about. (Although if you really want to know, get your mom girlfriends a few drinks and they’ll probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Motherhood WTF and Honest Mom know what I’m talking about, don’t you ladies?)

Ideally, when they take you up to your recovery room, a nurse should tell you all this stuff. But they don’t. At least they never have for me. So I’ll do it for you. I’m nice like that.

When I went in for my 6-week postpartum checkup after Graham was born, they gave me a form to fill out with a list of problems on it so I could circle what I was experiencing. I wish someone had given me that form 6 weeks earlier, so that’s what I’m going to try and pass on to you.

Since my experience is limited (in particular to vaginal deliveries) I’d love to get feedback and comments from those of you who are willing to share. Let’s make it a little easier for the newbies.

The First 24 Hours

I won’t lie, they’re the worst. After the meds wear off the pain starts to kick in. Somehow the fact that you’ve just pushed a baby out of your body doesn’t entitle you to the hardcore pain meds. When your nurse comes with Motrin you’ll probably want to throttle her until she gives you the good stuff. (I had to convince a nurse I was in enough pain to merit an oxycodone.)

To help you out there’s the mesh underwear, followed by a giant maxi pad, which is them topped off with a big old ice pack. The ice pack feels great for the first couple minutes. Until you have to move or sit.

You will have to move. You’ll want to just lay there, but you have to move. Your butt will eventually go numb, no matter how you adjust your hospital bed. And then your nurses will make you pee. I still don’t understand exactly why they make you pee, but they do. And no one will rest until you pee.

This is worse than it sounds. Because you may not be ABLE to pee. Your body may not actually remember how to do it. With Recovery #1 I sat in that bathroom with two nurses for what seemed like eternity while I tried to get my brain to reconnect to my bladder. (Trick: have someone turn on the bathroom faucet. I know it’s a lame cliche, but it’s very effective.)

Even if your bladder is still in working order (yay Recovery #2) it’s still not the most comfortable thing. Everything is swollen and sore. You’ll get a handy dandy squirt bottle to wash yourself with and you can only use toilet paper for the softest of pats.

Another tip: have your partner fill the squirt bottle for you. Cuz once you start the water running… you know. You may feel like you’ve exposed all of yourself to your partner before, but this is definitely something of a game changer. Asking your husband to help you get ready to pee is probably not what you envisioned when you took your wedding vows. But it’s way better if they’re there to do it.

And While We’re Talking About Pee….

Yeah, you should probably be prepared for this one. And it’s not like it’s totally out of the blue. We’ve all heard of women who have “issues” with sneezing or laughing after they have kids.

What I wasn’t ready for was how long it took in Recovery #1 for my bladder to start working again. It was ROUGH. I wasn’t prepared to lose control on a daily basis. And then I’d break down in sobs every time it happened.

This was the biggest thing I worried about. It took a long time to get better. But you know what? I was back to 100% within a couple months. Despite those weeks of thinking I’d be stuck in adult diapers for the rest of my life, it all healed. I can even sneeze and laugh pee-free. (If you are in the no-feeling-in-your-bladder situation, I recommend hourly bathroom trips. It helps.)

And All the Weeping

I didn’t just cry about peeing myself. I cried about everything.

When everyone was sitting around watching Planet Earth I had to leave the room when a baby elephant wandered away from its herd. Because THE BABY ELEPHANT! HE WILL DIE ALONE!!

I came into Recovery #2 expecting similar hormonal awesomeness but I’ve been strangely disappointed to have pretty much the full use of my normal emotions. There have been a few hiccups here and there, and I’m more prone to tears than usual, but it’s not so bad.

I have no idea why my hormones were so much less active this time. Tessa’s delivery was much less traumatic so I get that my physical healing has been easier, but I have no idea why the hormones have laid off. But let me just say, Thank you, Hormones, I did not miss you.

Revenge of the Period

So your period’s been gone for 9 months. But now you will get plenty to make up for it.

First, there’s the uterine cramps. They’re bad enough on their own, and they’re plenty worse when the nurses start kneading your belly. They also kick in when you breastfeed. They fade after a while, but that first week they’re pretty intense.

Second, there’s the blood, or to use the medical term “lochia.” You’ll want to take some of those giant maxi pads home with you until you’ve stocked up on a box at the store. You’ll need them for a few weeks.

And Finally… The Poodge

Don’t be surprised if you leave the hospital looking 6 months pregnant.

And don’t be surprised if you haven’t lost much weight. (I’d only lost 10 pounds when I came home from the hospital. I looked at my scale and cried, “SERIOUSLY??”)

You may hear that breastfeeding will help you lose weight. So far it’s helping me, but I’ve heard from plenty of women who found it no help whatsoever.

I’m 3 weeks out and I look about 4 months pregnant still. And I’m okay with it. I expected it. I comfort myself by knowing that at least I get to wear a shirt over it as it isn’t cute and tight like a baby belly. Instead it is lumpy and saggy and covered with creepy stretch marks.

With Graham it took me 18 months to lose my baby weight. (I gained about 32 pounds during his pregnancy.) So far I’m on a better track with Tessa, but I still don’t expect to lose the remaining 15 pounds to get back down to my pre-baby weight until 2013.

Don’t put stress on yourself about losing the baby weight. It’ll happen when it happens.

For now, find pants you’re comfortable with. Get a belt, even if you’ve never worn one before. The jelly belly isn’t nearly so good at holding up your pants as your old one.

 

Okay, moms, now it’s time for you to chime in with your experiences. What am I leaving out? What are your experience with recovery from a c-section? Tell us about your postpartum recovery.

 

This post is part of my New Moms Series. See all posts here.

Live-Tweeting My Labor

People tend to think it’s a little crazy that I live-tweeted my labor, but honestly I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to pass the time and get a good cheering section going.

My labor with Tessa was 18 hours long. That’s an awful lot of live-tweeting. If you missed it, here’s the whole story courtesy of Storify.

Tessa’s birth live on the web!