Welcome Little One!

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On September 27 we welcomed little James into the world.  He arrived at 10:31 AM at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.  This is the story of his birth.

We headed to the doctor’s office on Monday, September 26 for a regular morning appointment.  Nick decided to come along for this one, since it was getting close…thank goodness!  My doctor told us the disappointing news that I had made no evident progress toward going into labor.  I was two days away from 41 weeks, when they normally induce, but the doctor said she could do an ultrasound to see if baby could hang out in there a little longer.  The ultrasound showed that he was running out of fluid and I would need to be induced that day!  This was a bit of a shock but I was so excited!  I had been waiting for this day for so long and couldn’t believe we were going to meet him so soon!

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We went upstairs to the hospital and were told we were in for a long day of waiting around.  Since I was hardly dilated at all, they were giving me a drug called Cervidil to try to move things along.  I would have to be on that for 12 hours before starting Pitocin, the main induction drug that prompts contractions.  It sounded like a long day of waiting around, so Nick headed home to get the iPad so we could watch Longmire, our Netflix obsession of the moment.  By the time he got back an hour or so later, I was in so much pain!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had had an extremely strong reaction to the drug and was having intense contractions about a minute apart.  I didn’t even know they were contractions because I could not feel any break between them.  This was unusual as this drug does not even usually cause contractions.  I stayed on this drug from 10:45 AM to around 5:30 PM, at which time the baby’s heart rate dropped, a million people rushed into the room, and we went through one of the scariest moments of our lives.  A nurse pulled the drug, put an oxygen mask on me and someone gave me a shot to slow down the contractions.  They were too frequent and intense, and it was cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply.  This was terrifying as no one told us what was going on, since they were rightly focused on making sure the baby was okay.  I searched the room for Nick, but all I could see was medical staff and equipment.  I was so scared for the rest of the night and prayed that he would make it out safely.  My contractions continued steadily, so I did not need the Pitocin for another twelve hours.

My parents arrived soon after the scare – it was so nice to have them there!  They hung out with us for a few hours and then were back first thing in the morning to await the baby’s arrival.

My water broke at around 2:30 in the morning, making me throw up and shiver all over even though I was not cold.  It was a very strange feeling.  This made the contractions even more intense and I asked for an epidural, which they agreed to even though I was discouragingly only two centimeters dilated.  I had been having strong, frequent contractions for about sixteen hours at this point.  Fortunately, I had my favorite of all of the wonderful nurses during this part of the night and she made me feel one thousand times better.

The epidural brought immediate relief.  I still couldn’t sleep, but I rested and thought about all of the excitement to come.  At this point, I was thinking I might have to have a C-section as I didn’t seem to be making any progress and the baby’s heart rate would periodically drop, though never so dramatically as before.  My doctor arrived to check on me at eight in the morning and let me know I was nine centimeters dilated and it was almost time to start pushing!  After virtually no progress the entire night, this was exciting news!  Things moved quickly from there and once I started pushing, he was born in about 40 minutes.  I was so determined to get him out before his heart rate dropped again.  I could not believe how perfect he was when he was placed on my chest.  I have never been so excited and happy in my life.  Things have only gotten better since then, as we adjust and welcome the newest member of our little family.

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The Nursery – AKA, My Favorite Room in the House

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When I found out I was pregnant, we were living in a one bedroom apartment and knew we would move before the baby was born.  We decided to buy a house and the process took months.  While the search was sometimes exhausting and frustrating, it did give me plenty of time to research the type of nursery I wanted to have.  Since I couldn’t do any real nesting to speak of, I poured all of that pent up energy into researching Montessori infant rooms.  When we finally moved into our house when I was just over 30 weeks pregnant, setting up the nursery was fairly simple.

Right now, the room has four basic areas: sleeping, playing, diaper changing, and nursing.

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I’ll start with the one that I spent the most time researching: sleeping.  I knew I was interested in a floor bed, especially after seeing them work wonderfully in the infant room at the school where I teach.  I was unsure of the actual logistics of this though, particularly making sure that it was safe.  I researched floor beds and mattresses, but honestly didn’t find a whole lot of specifics, mainly just accounts of how a floor bed worked or didn’t work for different families.  I did read somewhere that Ikea had a thin mattress lower to the ground than most, and that is what we decided to go with.  We wanted a twin mattress that would give him more room to move and that would grow with him.  The Ikea mattress (I believe it was this one: Minnesund) seemed firm and was under 4 inches high, so that when he does eventually roll off, he won’t have too far to fall.  We also placed a rug by the bed to soften the landing.  While a bed frame is totally unnecessary, I fell in love with this one from Etsy.  When we assembled it, there was a small gap between the mattress and the frame, so we decided to wait until he’s a bit older to use the frame for safety reasons.  I’m not too upset about this though since, as it’s a twin sized bed, he will still get plenty of use out of it into the toddler years.  The flag bunting hanging over his mattress came with the bed frame.  One other note, we could not find sheets that fit the low mattress tightly enough for an infant, but used sheet suspenders (I believe these) to pull the sheets nice and tight.  We plan to start him out in a bassinet in our room, but to transition him to the floor bed for naps fairly quickly so he can begin getting used to his space.

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For the “playing area”, we hung an acrylic, shatter-proof mirror on the wall (pictured above with the bed).  We purchased it from Home Depot.  They have all different sizes and it was very easy to hang.  It is very lightweight, so there is no fear of it falling and hitting the baby.  We hung the black and white mobile above the mirror so that he can watch the reflection of the movement for added interest.  We were so fortunate and a wonderful Montessorian here in Austin gave us the beautiful mobile.  My mom is also making a more traditional Munari mobile, which I’m so happy about, as I love the Montessori mobiles, but am decidedly un-crafty myself.   I can’t wait to see him interact with both the mobile and the mirror!  Along the lines of play, we also have a low shelf from Ikea with a few books, toys, and photos on it.  The black and white rattle was part of a lovely giftset of Montessori baby toys I received and the pictures are photos my husband has taken.

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For the changing station, I knew I wanted to have this on the floor for a few reasons.  Since I know it won’t be long before he is mobile and crawling around the room on his own, I wanted to minimize furniture that may not be safe later on.  I also plan to do stand-up diapering as soon as he can stand holding onto something, so did not want to invest in a piece of furniture we would use for such a short time.

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Lastly, nursing: I was not planning to purchase a glider / rocking chair for nursing, but a wonderful family at the school where I teach gifted us this one and I could not be happier about it!  It is the most comfortable chair and I already sit in it all of the time to read.  Once the baby starts to crawl, we will likely need to move it to a different room so that he doesn’t hurt his fingers under the rockers, but for now, it is a great comfortable spot in the room where I’m sure we will spend lots of time over the next few months.

I’m sure this room will go through many iterations as we observe the baby in it and as his needs change.   Right now I just can’t wait until he’s here to test it out!

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The Beginning

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Two weeks ago, I left my job (for a while, not forever) and am now sitting at home in an empty baby nursery waiting.  Waiting for my first baby to make his appearance and looking around the room wondering what else should be done.

I am a Montessori teacher, AMS certified for children 3-6.  I also attended a wonderful Montessori school from preschool through middle school.  My mom and sister are Montessori teachers as well.  Now that I’m a little over 39 weeks pregnant, I am thinking a lot about how to apply the Montessori method with our little one when he arrives.  This blog will chronicle my attempts to transfer the philosophy I love and believe in to raising our son.

In my last few weeks of teaching, a few of the parents commented that I must be so prepared after working with so many young children.  Yes and no…I feel very prepared for a three or four year old, not so much for an infant.  I know that the philosophy is the same, but in terms of specifics, I have a lot to learn.  My hope is that I can share what I learn along the way, while gaining advice from others.  I also plan to post copious amounts of baby pictures and general life updates, because I know I won’t be able to help myself.

Why the “ish”?

At the heart of Montessori is of course observation and experimentation and that is how I plan to approach this next step in my life.  I assume that this will often be in line with traditional Montessori ways…and sometimes not.  I’m definitely going into this journey with an open mind, rather than following a set formula for how to raise a child “the Montessori way”.  I will always do what I think and believe is best for our family, and will share our struggles along the way.

Thank you for joining me and welcome!

Up next…the nursery, Take 1

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