EASTER BASKET IDEAS

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We’re slowly coming out of the fog of preterm labor, and finding our new normal. I don’t think of it as “back to normal,” because I honestly feel like a different person after having gone through that experience. My entire perspective has changed, along with my priorities, and what I used to think of as “important.” All the non-essentials have been filtered out from my life, and the essentials, namely, continuing to grow this baby to as full-term as I can get, have taken precedent.

It may seen trivial to share an “Easter Basket Gift Ideas” blog post in the middle of this, but in some ways, it’s helpful for me to have something else to think about for a little bit, and it’s also significant in that it means things have calmed down enough to be out of current crisis. I could not have imagined writing this post two weeks ago, but today I get to. It turned out much more “baby girl” than “toddler boy” than I planned, but those are the kinds of things I’m thinking about these days. It was really fun for me to put together. Enjoy!

Cuddle and Kind Dolls. I think I share this every year, but we can’t get enough. They are ethically made, hand knit dolls that give back 10 meals to a child in need with every purchase. They just came out with some new ones, this is Penelope the flamingo, and there are more darling, limited edition ones for Easter.

Plus-Plus, pastel edition. We got these for Christmas last year and they get tons of use. The pastel colors are perfect for an Easter basket. They also just came out with these puzzles which we love, and these tubes are great for travel.

Bannor Toys. Beautifully hand made wooden toys. The personalization option makes it extra special. They have a darling Easter matching game set that is perfect for basket filling.

Slumberkins. Started by a counselor and a teacher, this company aims to provide social/emotional support to children through plush dolls and books. The Family Change Fox is especially applicable for us as we think about welcoming a new baby.

Clamfeet. The cutest soft-soled, handmade baby shoes. In matching sizes for mama!

Smaller items:

Egg Shaped Chalk

Water Wow - great for travel

Dot Markers

GlowSticks - fun for the bath

Musical Egg Shakers

Wikki Stix

Happy basket filling!

Shared in partnership with Cuddle and Kind, Plus Plus, Bannor Toys, Slumberkins, and Clamfeet. All opinions are my own.

THE UNEXPECTED

It’s been seven days into this story, and it still doesn’t seem any easier to write.

We are home from the hospital. I am still pregnant.

Words, that last Friday night, I didn’t think I would get to write.

We entered spontaneous preterm labor last weekend, and found ourselves in the middle of a story we never imagined. It was a chaotic and traumatic few days, filled with middle of the night monitoring and vitals, strong medicines via IV, and a team of specialists, but they were able to stall labor. We were discharged with strict instructions for bed rest at home.

Now, we wait.

We don’t have many answers. No one can tell us if we will carry till term, or if we will deliver prematurely and have a lengthy NICU stay, or what this all means for our baby and our future family. We are told I could enter labor again at any point. One of the most confusing factors is that I am entering labor, daily - I continue to have contractions every evening, but they eventually fade. Only if they increase or my water breaks do we need to be admitted for true labor. We’ve already been back to the hospital in triage, for five minute apart contractions that lasted over an hour, for them to stop and for us to be discharged, earlier this week.

It is a terrifying place to be, living in the vast unknown and all the what if’s.

For the most part, we are ok. We are ok and we are not ok. Some parts of each day feel doable, and some parts feel so very hard. The contractions cause me to panic, and I enter this mildly-panicked state, daily. Imagine if your body was doing something involuntarily, that could cause you and your baby harm if it continued, and it could result in preterm labor and NICU stays, causing all kinds of aftermath and complications, the least of which you are concerned about is a giant bill. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

It’s all so painful, in every sense of the word.

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Trauma, for me, is a little like holding your breath underwater. No sensation of gravity, or time, or the things that used to govern my daily life. Weightless, soundless. A distorted picture of real life walking around on the surface. People going to work, laughing. I covet the set of “problems” I used to worry about: what crib to buy, work stress, toddler tantrums. A sense of normalcy so far removed from my daily life.

Now my worries are: Is my baby going to make it? Will I go into active labor today? How long will our NICU stay be? Will my baby have long term complications? Will I survive this, emotionally? Can I do seven more weeks of bedrest to get us to full term? And for those questions, no one has the answers.

So we just keep going. One day, one hour, at a time. We have been so well supported by our family and friends, who have truly rallied around us with all kinds of support, bringing us decaf iced lattes, dinners, flowers, and especially, giving us just their presence. No one can fix this. But someone can sit with us and remind us that no matter how this goes, it’s all going to be ok.

And that, we’re finding, is exactly what we need right now.

Thanks for being in this with us. We are so grateful.

MAGIC MATERNITY JEANS

I need to talk about these jeans for a moment. I have tried what feels like a million brands, and these are hands down my all-time favorites. They fit like a dream, have the perfect amount of stretch but retain their shape without getting stretched out, hit at that cropped length, and are perfectly dyed a medium go-with-all-seasons shade of blue. Love love. By Madewell, of course. Exact style here. (size down one from your usual Madewell size)