The Long-Awaited Nursery Reveal

It’s official: the nursery is now mostly complete. I say “mostly” because we are still waiting on the crib skirt to arrive and, because we recently ordered it as a part of our massive Amazon nursery completion order, it likely won’t be here until after our Little arrives. K is trying to convince me that Falco won’t mind.

The nursery is yellow and grey with chevron details. We opted to paint the nursery a cheery but not juvenile looking yellow (Sherwin-Williams Harmony low-VOC Acrylic Latex paint in Lantern Light Eg-Shel). We did this for several reasons:

  • Grey paint is notoriously difficult, as it typically reads as either blue or mauve, depending on the undertones and light in the room.
  • We wanted the paint to be able to easily transition as Falco gets older.
  • We wanted the paint to read as neutral, since we’re renting and didn’t bother to ask our rental agency if we could paint the room (yep, we’re total rebels).

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Crib: babyletto Hudson 3 in 1 in grey, purchased via Zulily for a $60 reduced price. Woot!
Rug: Mohawk Yellow Ziggidy, again purchased via Zulily.
Baby quilt: Designed and constructed by an amazing friend.

mobile, crib and picture

Fitted crib skirt: Sewn by me using a free online pattern with Keepsake Calico Gray & Yellow fabric.
Mobile: Designed and constructed by me
, using various fat quarters, polyfill, ribbon and a yellow yarn-wrapped embroidery hoop. It was inspired by my favorite song I sang as a child (and can’t wait to sing to Falco), “You Are My Sunshine.”
Print: Purchased and framed by K’s Aunt K (the one who hosted our family shower), designed by Ellen Crimi-Trent. K’s Aunt saw that I had posted a similar print to Facebook with the intent of creating a craft that was inspired by it, tracked down the artist, and placed the order via her Etsy store.

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Shelves: IKEA EKBY TONY/EKBY BJÄRNUM (previously purchased, used at my former job and repurposed).
Piggy banks: The Sponge Bob one was gifted to us by my mother at our family shower. It belonged to my late grandmother, who used it for her Bingo winnings, which are also enclosed. The other one was hand painted by me during a holiday outing with my coworkers. One side says, “[Falco’s] 1st Car Fund.”
Sign: Designed and framed by a friend. It says, “E is for… [Falco’s intended name, masked for privacy/anonymity.]”
Bunny lovey: Gifted to us by K’s cousin at our family shower. It matches an adorable stroller blanket.

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Dresser: IKEA HEMNES 8-drawer dresser, purchased by K’s parents as a Christmas gift.
Changing pad cover: Aden + Anais 100% Cotton Muslin in Safari Friends Giraffe.
Afghan: Handcrafted by my mom and gifted to us at our family shower.
Garbage can turned diaper pail: iTouchless Deodorizer 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Touchless Trash Can with Carbon Filter. There’s also a yellow wetbag inside.

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Vintage diaper pin decor: Ballard Designs, gifted to us by my parents as a nod to our intention to cloth diaper.

new cat bed slash changing pad

Kis thinks this changing pad is a kitty bed. Can’t say I blame him.

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Floor lamp: Nickel-plated IKEA ALÄNG. We also purchased a matching table lamp for later use when Falco is in a big kid bed and has nightstand that we also purchased.

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Rocking chair and matching ottoman (previously shown): IKEA POÄNG, birch veneer with Lockarp gray cover, purchased for as a Christmas gift from my parents.
Bookshelf turned “diaper tower”: IKEA HEMNES in white. Shown is only a small portion of our cloth diaper stash, just enough for Falco’s smaller sizes.
Throw blanket: Frost chevron gray by THRO, purchased via Zulily.
Diaper bag: JJ Cole Mode in Mixed Leaf, purchased by a family friend.
Toy bin: Purchased by K’s mom and filled with an assortment of toys we purchased and acquired as gifts.
Philly LOVE ornament: Purchased for us by a dear friend.
Vintage rolling curtain: Came with our glamorous home rental.

elephants from Grandmas

Elephant plushies: Purchased, separately and independently, by each Grandma-to-be.
Baby book: Purchased by K at a local boutique.

prints

Prints: Designed by a dear friend (the same one who designed, “E is for…”).

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about it and can’t wait for our Little to join us!

Note: the following post, Our Birth Plan, is password protected as some of our future posts might be. We would love to continue sharing details with our treasured followers, so please request a password by emailing us at thefalcoproject (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

Hot Date: Packing our Bags

We had our weekly OB appointment this afternoon and, despite my continued insistence that the end is coming soon, it took the frank delivery of information at today’s appointment to really shake K out of denial. The doctor confirmed that Falco has descended and informed us that K is 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. Sources on the internet are unsurprisingly conflicted about the value of this information, saying that a pregnant person could be dilated and significantly effaced for weeks, or conversely, that this could indicate quickly impending labor. Our doctor seems to fall on the side of the latter, lecturing us because we still hadn’t packed our bags (“Hey, we made a list!”), and saying that it was highly unlikely that we will make it to our due date of April 26th and could even be unlikely that we’ll make it to next week’s scheduled appointment with her.

We’re feeling quite the range of emotions. K had a massive hot flash after we left the office and also felt pretty teary. I felt slight panic but also felt vindicated. I’ve been trying to convince K that, at the end of this week, Falco will be considered full term, and that labor and delivery could really occur at any time. Two things are certain: this baby will come when this baby is ready and, within the next few weeks, we’ll be parents.

Needless to say, our hot Friday night date consists of packing our bags (and, of course, updating this blog). Fingers crossed for an April Fool’s baby, y’all!

Allergy update

When I referenced a potential horrible allergy to an ingredient in baby formula, so many of you have reached out to me with support, great ideas, and lots of love. I can’t even begin to express how much that means to me.

I figure I owed you all an update after my self-inflicted patch test. I am thrilled to report that none of the formula patches reacted in a notable way. Similac and Enfamil Newborn left a minor and temporary red mark, but nothing that lasted or itched in the way that tocopherol typically causes. Similac Sensitive and Gerber Good Start had no effect whatsoever. Ironically, because I am also allergic to adhesives, the only itchy reaction of note was the round outline of the bandages covering the patches.

My allergist was hopeful that this would be the outcome of my patch test because levels of tocopherol in food products are so much lower than that in beauty products. I’m still planning on being cautious and limiting my exposure as best I can, but I’m not going to freak out about it or go hog-wild in my paranoia.

In other news, so that this blog doesn’t turn into C’s Allergy Tracker 5000, I had a really nutty nesting urge over the weekend that translated into me hauling ass, organizing a bunch of stuff, doing chores, and getting much closer to the completion of our nursery. (I truly think that this world would be a much happier place if it was biologically possible for the more Type A person in a relationship to be the non-gestational partner. It’s so wonderfully practical!) As of today, the two finishing touches yet to complete are the purchase of a crib skirt and the construction of my “You Are My Sunshine” inspired mobile. I can’t wait to post photos! I’ll be really happy to have everything ready for our little one, especially since our estimated due date is officially one month from today.

It’s getting real, y’all!

Being a new mom makes me feel old

Until now, I hadn’t considered my age (34) as particularly old or young. More neutral, I guess. Going through the process of preparing for our little one has made me feel so incredibly old. K and I are typically among the oldest parents-to-be at any baby-related class or event, and it baffles me. I can’t imagine having our kid any younger than our current age and I feel like this has been a well-planned and appropriately timed decision for us.

I just got another reminder about the rarity of our age as first-time parents-to-be when Everyday Family sent our weekly pregnancy update. This week’s email contained a poll about the age we are or will be at the birth of our first child. Woo! I’m squarely in the 9% category. Thanks for reminding me of my new mom-to-be unicorn status, Everyday Family.

old?

*shrug* I wouldn’t change a thing.

Like sands through the hourglass…

I can’t believe we’re nearing the finish line here. At yesterday’s appointment, our OB gave us the “it’s important to have your bags packed” and “if X happens, you should come to the hospital” speeches. I think it made the whole thing very real for K, who has been hearing from me these past couple of days, “No, really. We have to finish up these preparations soon because Falco could arrive whenever!” We’re on the weekly OB schedule now, for Pete’s sake!

We also heard that our 35+ week fetus already weighs approximately 7.5 lbs. You read that correctly. When the ultrasonographer referenced that estimate, I quite literally screamed an obscenity loudly enough for patients in the lobby to hear. BabyCenter’s weekly email says that our 35 weeker weighs approximately 5.25 lbs, whereas Everyday Family’s weekly email states that the baby is about 6 lbs. Even if the ultrasound is off, which is apt to happen, our kiddle is clearly bigger than average.

K’s blood pressure was also higher than normal (which I’m sure would never occur when one finds out their baby is already that large with ~5 weeks to go). Between the bp and his swollen ankles, the doc was really concerned about the possibility of pre-eclampsia. The OB ran some bloodwork and promised to call us with the results last night. We never heard from her, so we’re working on the hope that no news is good news. My thought is that K’s bp is elevated from being so miserably sick and taking a ton of cold meds, which have the tendency to raise one’s blood pressure.

I’m so glad the OB prescribed K some antibiotics, which he clearly needs right now, and I’m hopeful that they’ll start to kick in very soon. I think that it should be a biological impossibility for someone in their third trimester to get sick. It’s just cruel! It’s hard for K to breathe as it is, with Falco taking up some much real estate, and the congestion is making it so much worse! K keeps pitifully coughing and, every single time he does, he ends up having Braxton Hicks contractions.

I sure hope this little one stays put for a little while longer, but I’m starting to feel skeptical. I sure wouldn’t mind an Aries baby instead of a Taurus. We could use another fire sign in this family.

Snappis and prefolds and wet bags, oh my!

Well, this is pretty embarrassing. It’s been 10 days since our last post. To be fair, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind and K and I are both doing our best to hang in there.

K is sick and it came on really quickly. I think he has a sinus infection turned bronchitis. His poor cough sounds pitiful and none of the pregnancy-approved medications seem to be much help. We’re headed to see the OB today and I’m hopeful she’ll have some suggestions.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to steadily check tasks off of our to-do list. I’ve made a deal with myself, as a hopeful barrier to exhaustion, that I will only do one home management task (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) and one baby-related task (hanging artwork in the nursery, assembling the laundry bin, setting up the new touch-free garbage bin with wet bag for dirty dipes, etc.) each week day. It’s worked out quite well, though I am pooped and am very much looking forward to the weekend.

As a follow-up to my allergy freak out post, I visited my allergist this week to try to strategize about the recent realization that my major allergen is an ingredient in every formula on the market. My doctor didn’t do a very great job at listening to my concern before immediately chiming in to try to solve a concern that I didn’t even have. It took one of the medical students who crammed into the room with me to relay my concerns to him. He admitted that he’d never considered my concern as a possibility for his patients, so once again, I’ve left him scratching his head (he’s never found anyone with my allergy before, either).

The truly horrible news is that my only option is avoidance of the allergen, as there are no medical interventions that can treat or prevent this allergic reaction. His suggestion was to mix up a small batch of each of the formula brand samples I have at home and give myself a makeshift patch test. He said that I might not have as strong of a reaction to one type as I do to another, and that different formulations of tocopherol might impact me differently. I mixed up four different formulas and applied them to my arm with labeled bandages. One of them immediately made me start itching, but I’m telling myself that it’s a psychosomatic response, as my allergy usually flares about 24 hours after I encounter it. This isn’t the most scientific of tests, as I know which brands are located where and I inherently have my own biases against each (this one’s cheapest, this one’s website doesn’t list nutritional information, this one’s company gives out TONS of coupons!), but it’ll have to do. Here’s my lovely test:

arm patch test

The patch test needs to stay on for two days and cannot get wet, which led to a hysterical contraption I created to try to keep my arm dry in the shower: a wet bag with prefold on top, both wrapped tightly around my arm and held together with three Snappis. I figured Falco wouldn’t mind me borrowing these items.

I’m really hopeful that I can find a solution with these commercially available formulas. I’ve decided that I’m too nervous about creating my own formula and milk banks (very rightfully) prioritize incredibly sick babies due to limited supply. I’m also hopeful that some of my fears were perhaps premature. One of my largest fears about becoming a parent was that I would be emotionally distant and cold like my parents were, and I’m petrified that a medical barrier like this sort of allergy will leave me both emotionally and physically distant from Falco, or worse, that I will resent Falco for an approximate year’s worth of itchy, burning misery. Envision this, which is an actual photo of my neck when I was having a pre-diagnosis reaction to tocopherol:

terribly itchy neck

Please keep your fingers crossed!

An open letter to my baby at 33.5 weeks

Dear Falco,

Lately, you’ve been doing the weirdest things and have caused us a lot of laughter, head-scratching and slight concern. I’m writing to ask that you please stop torturing your Papa.

We’ve discovered lately that the consumption of sugar – and we’ve been consuming a LOT of it with the baby shower bonanza – really makes you hyper. When Daddy has a piece of cake or a delectable brownie, you pretend that you’re Michael Flatley a la Riverdance. I sure hope you don’t expect this trend to continue when you’re out of Papa’s belly, because we’re going to be “those parents” who make sure you’re consuming very balanced meals.

You hate when your Dad places things on your belly, and I understand your need for space, but it’s not very nice to kick the TV remote or laptop off of your Daddy’s tummy. We need to watch as much crappy reality television as we can before you make an appearance, when we’ll be too sleep deprived to do much beyond feeding you and changing and washing your diapers.

You’re getting SO BIG and the exertion from carrying you around in his belly is exhausting your poor Papa. A few nights ago, because space has been so cramped in your Dad’s belly with you taking up so much real estate, Daddy went directly from a loud snore, into a Homer Simpsonesque belch, and back into a snore. It was equal parts gross and hilarious. I’m not sure about the exact physiological reasons for this phenomenon, but I am certain that it’s somehow your fault.

Since you’ve been head down for weeks, your Dad and I had assumed you’d likely stay that way for the next few weeks until you’ve made your debut. Always one to keep your parents on their toes, you decided to make the most epic flip of all last night and are now wedged horizontally in your Papa’s abdomen. We know that there’s still plenty of time for you to get back into the appropriate position, but you must realize that your parents have the tendency to be anxious, especially as it relates to your wellbeing. As such, we’ve spent a lot of time researching ways to get you back into position. Please make it easy on us and put your big melon back down where it was before. You’re making your Dad’s bump a little lumpy, and that’s never a good look.

Even though you’ve caused a lot anxiety and comical moments lately, I sure can’t wait to meet you, snuggle you and sing you lullabies. You are already my favorite tiny human, even though you’re still a stranger.

Love,
Mommy

P.S. Cut it out.

We are so incredibly spoiled

Sunday was our friends shower and K and I are still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our chosen family. As K told our friends, we truly could not have gone down this rather unconventional path toward parenthood without their fellowship. I’m not typically a sappy person, but I keep getting teary-eyed when I think about how lucky we are for our chosen family.

Not only did they spoil us with their affection, but our friends really went above and beyond to help us secure items we need for wee Falco. We received so many practical gifts like adorable clothes, all of our feeding supplies, wet bags, and a diaper/wipes pod, as well as treasured, handmade items like a custom baby quilt, a crocheted hat and wool diaper soaker, and perfect decor items like a framed print that says, “You are loved.”

the stash

clothes

crib

toys

I think this is K's favorite gift: a box of Thin Mints we'd previously purchased from a friend's daughter.

I think this is K’s favorite gift: a box of Thin Mints we’d previously purchased from a friend’s daughter.

Our friends really got into the group craft project: an ABC book for our little one. We created pages that say, “A is for…” and brought a ton of craft supplies for people to create depictions of what could begin with those letters. Some favorites include, “Z is for zombie,” “X is for X-Men,” “Q is for queer,” and “Y is for you,” which has a really touching message about how treasured Falco is. I set aside the letter M so, when I have a free moment, I can create my “M is for mommy” page.

K secured a delicious gluten free sheet cake (vanilla with raspberry filling – YUM) from my favorite gluten free bakery. Despite having spelled out Falco (“F is for Frank…,” etc.), the baker wrote “Salco” on the cake. Really? SALCO?! She “fixed” it for us while we waited, but her version of fixing it just made it look smudgy and worse than it already did with a misspelling. We got a really great chuckle out of it, plus it makes for a funny story. The cake was de-freaking-licious, though, which is what matters most. I consumed two large pieces at the shower and considered a third before bed.

Falcocake

We revealed the sex of the baby but swore our friends to secrecy, as we do not intend to tell our family members or anyone else before Falco’s birth. We recently had some family members start following our blog (welcome!), and there might be some incidences in the near future where we need a more private space to process or discuss some deep topics that I don’t feel comfortable sharing with everyone in my life. A few password protected posts, including one that’s a sex reveal, might be on the horizon. If you’d like to be able to read them, please email me at thefalcoproject(at)gmail(dot)com.

K and I are truly the luckiest people in the world. I know that Falco is going to love all of her/his aunts and uncles!

Something I hadn’t considered worrying about

… until now.

I have a terrible, rare allergy that causes massive, painful and itchy hives. When I was first seeking diagnosis for this allergy, I had an allergy skin patch test. The allergist was baffled by the results: a hive so large that it extended beyond the small square where the substance had been applied (I’m not even joking. Every member of the staff came into the exam room to stare in amazement at the size of my reaction). My doctor had tested patients for this substance throughout his entire career and I was the first to react to it. That substance, my literal Kryptonite, is called tocopherol.

From what my non-scientific brain now understands, tocopherol is a synthetic form of vitamin E which seems to be found in a wide array of health and beauty products, especially the ones that are more emollient in nature.

Upon diagnosis, I quite literally went through the fine print list of ingredients for every single product of our house, and trashed anything that contained tocopherol. I then had to go through the fine print list of ingredients on potential replacement products in every single aisle of my local drug store. In preparation for Falco, I had to sift through the fine print list of ingredients for every external-use baby product we were considering, including diaper creams, baby shampoo/washes, even disposable baby wipes. It has been absolute hell.

My allergy is so severe that I react to OTHER people’s use of products that contain tocopherol. A brief hug at a social gathering results in a minimum of a week’s worth of a miserable rash on my neck. Since use of this ingredient is so widespread in beauty products and my allergic reactions were becoming worse and more frequent, I recently sent an email to a group of friends with whom K and I regularly socialize, to say, “Hey, I love you and I love showing you how much I love you, but for now, I basically can’t touch you.” High fives and fist bumps would have to suffice. This level of isolation just added to my misery.

Today, a dear friend who is a new dad was giving me some advice related to lessons he recently learned. He knows of my tocopherol plight and said that he saw that this ingredient was listed on the baby formula that his little one eats. I panicked, frantically sifting through the internet for lists of ingredients on major labels of baby formula. (I’d like to send a big fuck you to Abbott, the makers of Similac, who assume that parents and caregivers wouldn’t want to access nutritional information about their products. I had to click on a separate link for medical professionals in order to uncover such information. Total. Bullshit.) Tocopherol is an ingredient in every formula brand I searched.

I only react to tocopherol when it touches my skin, but I’m sure that won’t happen very frequently when I’m mixing bottles to give every two hours, washing bottles, being spit up upon, cleaning up spit-up, washing clothes with spit-up on it, maybe even cleaning baby poop… ACK! I’m trying to stay calm and not freak out too much until I speak with my kickass allergist, with whom I now have an appointment. I can’t keep myself from worrying about the very real possibility that I will be allergic to our precious little one.