this is me at 27 weeks
Yesterday was a pretty intense baby day. Dan and I actually began a baby registry, and we spent a kind of exciting, kind of frustrating two hours in Babies 'R' Us looking at a bunch of stuff that seemed kind of plasticky and totally necessary. We figured out high chairs, play pens (excuse me, play YARDS), baby Bjorn carrier thingies, and diaper bags without incident... well, almost. There was only one front-facing carrier that fit Dan! He's not a gigantic dude by any stretch, and I can't imagine a man (or woman) with a larger chest circumference than him (he wears an XL tall) fitting into any of this gear. It was kind of discouraging, but at least we found a front carrier and a back carrier (which looks like a kid-backpack) that we liked.
Then we tried to look at carseats and strollers. I really, really despise the corporate scare tactics manufacturers use to get me to buy as many expensive (and yet totally cheaply made) devices as possible in the shortest time frame. They want to make sure my kid goes through a minimum of two strollers and carseats, and that I am too scared to use either one on another kid or, gods help us, hand them down to another set of parents. You'd think with my child's safety at stake and the word SAFETY and QUALITY splashed all over the packaging, they'd at least test their products enough so that every seat wouldn't eventually be recalled for some reason or another before they reach their 'expiration date' (which I am certain is just tacked on to make sure you need to buy another seat before your kid is big enough to go without, or that little brother/sister has to get their own seat). We were set to scan a Graco SnugRide and be done with it for the day when a woman walked up to the display, holding a totally adorable baby. She sighed dejectedly and turned to her partner, saying, "They [Graco] don't make a rear facing seat that'll fit him. He's only six months old." This kid wasn't even that big, either, and when I asked, she told me he weighed 22 pounds. I looked around with her, bewildered that this seemingly normal kid was SOL in the carseat department, and we found a front/rear convertible seat that would fit her son, which was a relief. We looked at the seat for ourselves, but the convenience of the infant carrier moving with ease from car to car still has us thinking that we need both. Or at least, we need to buy 2 convertible carseats at minimum- one for my car, one for my parent's car, and one for his car (although that'll probably be the least frequently used one). So we're STILL stuck buying eight million car seats. ARRGH.
And that doesn't even begin to touch the problem of a stroller. The "travel system" is out right off the bat- too heavy, too unwieldy, too cheap feeling, and frankly, I have never seen a person pushing a kid around in one of those who wasn't in the infant seat strapped to the top- I think parents trade them in for a smaller stroller as soon as they can. What a waste! Does anyone have a recommendation of a relatively lightweight/smallish-folding stroller we can use with a snuggly, reclined little baby and an infant who is sitting up on their own? I drive a Civic, and while the trunk is a decent size, I don't know if we can fit all of this baby crap in it if it doesn't fold up a little smaller. I really like the idea of the infant seat carrier frames, but the shelf-life of that product isn't going to be that long (we both come from a long line of high growth percentile babies).
After the registry ordeal, we went to dinner and then a seminar for the Alternative Birth Unit at Providence Hospital. If you're in the Detroit area and shopping for hospitals, go to this seminar! Their approach focuses on natural childbirth in a home-like setting (although, never fear, they have some pain meds available, and you're down the hall from the regular L&D). If we want (and we do), we can use a hot tub to relax (although they don't do waterbirths), have any visitors we want, eat/drink what we'd like, and Dan can even catch the baby. It's the kind of birth experience we're looking for. Granted, I've never had an epidural, but numbness makes me uncomfortable, and I'm the kind of person who listens intently to my body. For example, I don't take medication for cramps, in general, because I rely on them to tell me what's going on with my cycle- when the cramps start, so does my period (we're talking a five-minute window- it's pretty cool, actually). I am hoping that labor works in a similar fashion (body awareness, not speed, of course), but who knows. The unit does have some pain medication if I opt in, but they also have a number of other things available to help ease the discomfort that aren't available in the regular L&D (a jacuzzi being one such option). They also don't generally administer Pitocin or perform episiotomies (they stress preparatory massage and perineal support during birth), and their C-section rate is about 6% (same as my midwife). 6%!
Your mileage may vary, of course, and I'm not pretending to really know what I'm talking about. All I know is that hospitals scare me, the insurance will cover something in the hospital that doesn't feel like the hospital, and the rooms are totally posh (well, that last one isn't essential, but it's pretty sweet!).