The Fashion Magpie Baby Two Registry

More Notes on This Pregnancy + My Registry for Baby 2.

I had been happily plodding along throughout this pregnancy, blissful and grateful and willfully ignorant of the imminent realities of childbirth and change — until I attended a prenatal yoga class last week. The instructor was fantastic. The women attending the program were wise and supportive and zen-like. And yet I left in emotional disarray.

It started with the opening commentary: “There are a lot of second-time moms here today. Take a minute to place your hand on your belly and think about this pregnancy, this baby, this journey. What’s new and different about it? Even though it might feel like well-worn territory, it is also a new beginning. A new start.”

I lay there with my heart in my throat. I felt emotionally ambushed. I felt at once guilty for not giving this pregnancy my full attention (something I’d previously considered a blessing), ill-prepared, and awash with the tenderest of emotions I’d not felt in full force since I was anticipating mini’s birth. I felt tears prick my eyes and focused, momentarily, on the din outside the window: the very Manhattan sounds of street-work, honking horns, errant yells.

I knew I was going to be a loose cannon for the remainder of the hour and a half session. Yes, an hour and a half. I had not read the fine print and was forced to politely disguise my horror when I overheard the instructor relay this information to a fellow attendant, regretting having positioned myself so far from the door in the event that a discreet and early exit was in order. An hour and a half of anything is tough-going, but an hour and a half of emotional turmoil is agonizing, and I could tell I was in for it. I gritted my teeth.

We went around the room, stated our names and our due dates, and were invited to share updates on our physical well-being. You may be surprised given that I write this blog, but I am private about certain things — my health in front of a group of strangers being one of them — and I panicked about what to share, groping around for something not-too-intimate. But something surprising happened to me as I listened to the other pregnant women introduce themselves: I softened. I started to feel connected to this tribe of women. I felt, as I did that day I attended the bris of a friend’s son, overwhelmed by the massive march of humanity, by the poignancy of our shared experience. I began to feel pregnant in a far more profound sense than I have this entire pregnancy.

And then we were invited to chant. And I shut down again. I have always struggled to embrace the more spiritual side of yoga, and I mean no disrespect to the many women who appreciate that element of the practice. But it has always felt forced and bizarre to me, as if I were being asked to make the sign of the cross while on the elliptical. And this day was no different: I felt myself withdraw, again distracting myself by tuning into the street noise and foot traffic outside.

And so my emotions were already running amok when the instructor proceeded to use a decent portion of the class to talk us through coping mechanisms for labor. Suddenly, the weepy guilt and connectedness and love I had felt were tinged with anxiety and panic. Coping mechanisms? Mindful labor? What? As we held warrior II pose for an ungodly amount of time, the instructor urged us to attend to our reactions to the burn of our muscles: how were we managing the pain? Were we counting? Repeating a mantra? Leaning into, accepting, opening up to the experience? Breathing deeply? In other words, when met with discomfort, what techniques did we use to make it to the other side? I almost always found myself doing nothing productive but thinking, vapidly, “This is temporary. This will pass. Just make it to when she tells us to stop.” I was surprised to hear another mother share the same instinct as we reflected together towards the end of the session. The instructor nodded sagely: “That’s a coping mechanism in and of itself. Just know that each contraction lasts a minute. Focus on getting through that minute versus the entire arc of labor.” And I remembered, in a flash, the incessant praying of Hail Marys to pass the time while I was having my c-section. “Just focus on getting to the end of this decade,” I had been telling myself. Then: “Just focus on getting to the end of this Hail Mary.” Then: “Just focus on getting to the midway point of this prayer.” Then: “Don’t think about anything else but the words in front of you.”

I left a complete mess. I was sore, emotionally exhausted, terrified and embarrassed by my lack of thoughtfulness about impending labor, bolstered by the presence of so many other pregnant women, distraught about the unknowns of delivering my son, haunted by the memory of my first c-section, encouraged by the discovery that my “just make it to the other side of this minute” was a passable coping mechanism. Mainly, I felt as though I was in a kind of shock. I’m delivering a baby?  In, like, a few months?  This little body?  Me?

Fortuitously, a girlfriend of mine texted me just as I was walking, adrift, down Broadway, aching for distraction. She was asking something innocuous but I cannot overstate my relief as I unloaded my experience onto her, a two-time mom who has given birth vaginally and via c-section and has lived to tell the tale with humor and wisdom and practicality that I have leaned on more heavily than she will ever know.

I issued an ineloquent brain dump on the class and my attending emotions that culminated in this: “It dawned on me that I know zero things about labor except for the maybe two hours of it I experienced prior to having an emergency c-section last time.  It sucks that I feel like a tenured mom but am going into this delivery and facing the same unknowns and anxieties I had the first go around, assuming all goes to plan (HAHAHA) and I am able to have a VBAC. It’s put me in a weird, slightly anxious mood. Maybe good in the long haul to have confronted some of these thoughts now.”

She wrote: “Second pregnancies are sneaky like that. You’re so distracted with your first that you don’t have the time/energy/mental space to obsess over everything!…I will say that my experience overall with the vaginal birth was just better (and it was my first kid so I had no idea!) — more relaxed, more intuitive, more pleasant (Team Epidural forever), immensely easier recovery. Maybe that will give you some peace of mind?”

Then: “I made a point of not taking any birth classes or reading too much and it felt like my body was doing what it was created to do, you know? All I needed was a little support from my husband, good doctors and nurses, and an epidural. You’ll do great. “Worst” case, you’ll have another c-section, which I know is probably not your preference but it’s a known experience. The devil you know and all.”

I needed to hear every single word she said. I soaked it up like a sponge. I carried it around all afternoon, hanging on with particular intensity to her use of the word “intuitive” when it came to vaginal childbirth. I clung to her example, having determinedly not read much about giving birth prior to her own deliveries, and having turned out just fine.

I was reminded of my observation that there are two types of mothers: those who need to read and learn everything they can in order to feel empowered (“knowledge is power,” a friend of mine once said, fierily, as she explained why she was reading so much prior to the birth of her son) and those who are overwhelmed and even incapacitated by too much information. I am in the latter camp. I have learned this about myself time and time again over the past many years. I don’t want to read ten articles and books on potty-training. I want to poll the handful of moms I trust and follow my instincts and be done with it. Anything more is debilitating for me.

And that’s OK, my friend reminded me.

My body was doing what it was created to do, you know? It echoed through me. It reminded me of something important: that across the entire range of coping mechanisms we’d discussed in the yoga class, we’d not talked about faith. And I understand why, too — too political, too touchy, too dicey. But as I scrambled to figure out what my “coping mechanisms” were in class, I’d entirely overlooked the chief ones I lean on every single day, in matters meaty and minute: faith in my religion, faith in my doctors, faith in the love and advice of my loved ones, and a gritting kind of determination to just make it through the next minute.

So here we are. I don’t think that I’ll be going back to that particular yoga class again, but I’m grateful for the provocations it presented. It left me more mindful of and grateful for the support system I’ve built for myself, and, I think, better prepared for labor in a couple of months, provided I don’t need a second c-section, and I’m pretty sure that since I’ve made my preference known, I’ll definitely need a c-section, because that tends to be the way the cookie crumbles. But, ya know. The devil you know…

Post-Scripts: A Registry for Baby Two.

I’ve had lots of requests for my registry for baby boy. We truly do not need much, as we miraculously hung on to EVERYTHING from mini except for clothes and bottles, which I donated. But below, the new items on my list:

+Kickstand for mini (plus adapters — ugh, Bugaboo must laugh all the way to the bank with their overpriced attachments) to ride on the back of our Bugaboo. I’ve written about this previously, but we’re trying to avoid buying a double stroller — unless we discover we need one once micro arrives. We do have a Yoyo that we can use if we ever need both in strollers simultaneously (and are out and about together). We had a long debate over whether we should also buy the newborn attachment to the Yoyo, knowing that we have the bassinet attachment for the Bugaboo and (see below) will be investing in additional carriers. We thought probably not — under what circumstance would we need the newborn attachment to the Yoyo when we have a bassinet for the Bugaboo? Pls discuss if you’ve been down this rabbit hole before.

+Pacifiers. Mini only accepted a pacifier for a month or two, which, I understand, is probably a blessing in the long run (one last habit to break, one fewer orthodontic challenges), but man was it nice to be able to mollify the babe in a pinch. We used, and will re-purchase, Wubbanubs (smart because the stuffed animal holds the pacifier in place — and they look cute!), but I’ve heard good things about this brand, too. Will probably buy one of each.

+Kissy Kissy onesies. Gerbers are good backups, but the quality of a Kissy Kissy is second to — well, only second to 1212 onesies, which I will also buy several of. Both Kissy Kissy and 1212 have the absolute softest, silkiest cotton and it holds up so well over time. I think they’re absolutely worth the investment for sizes NB-6 months, when all you want to do is swaddle the little one in the softest of fabrics.

+Jefferies Socks in itty bitty sizes. I prefer to buy all socks in white (I still only buy white socks for mini, except for when it comes to knee socks, which I buy in all colors). You’re never without a mate, they go with everything, and I think the colored/patterned ones can be dicey style-wise. I don’t know why I’m so ascetic on this front…

+Philips Avent 4 oz bottles. I had bought an assortment of bottles and nipples for mini, and these were her favorite from day one. Personally, I like them because the lids actually stay in place (not so with Comotomos) and, with time, can be removed with one hand (not at first, though — it takes practice and loosening), the bottles NEVER LEAK EVER (!!! not so with many other brands), and they’re easy to hold.

+Baby Bjorn Mini Carrier. OK, call me a nut, but I have two carriers at home (the Baby K’Tan and the Lillebaby) and I’m buying two new ones for this baby. I didn’t like either of the first two — the K’Tan always felt unsecure to me, though I know other people LOVE them, and the Lille Baby was just a general pain in the ass to put on and adjust. I am sold on the Baby Bjorn Mini because it’s designed SPECIFICALLY for newborns up to 12 months, which is basically the only time I’ll be carrying this child anyway (any older is too heavy and long for my frame). I like that this isn’t trying to be a Swiss Army Knife: “use this from when your child is first born until she’s 22!” It doesn’t have 498 positions. It doesn’t have 39489 straps. It’s just meant to easily transport a newborn. I’ve heard it takes a minute to get used to it, but once you do, it’s easy as pie to maneuver, and I like the feature that you can completely unsnap the front in order to deposit a sleeping baby. My plan is to use the Bjorn and let Mr. Magpie use the Lille so we don’t need to constantly be adjusting and readjusting the straps depending on who’s wearing the baby. The carrier is SUPER important to us this go around because we’re trying to get by without a double stroller and I imagine I will be wearing this baby ALL THE TIME.

+Second carrier: Solly Baby. Isn’t the gingham print adorable?! I had a lot of readers and friends recommend this and I’m running with it. It’s apparently a learning curve at first but then people live with it. We shall see…I’m encouraged by reviews.

+Second camera for our Infant Optics DXR-8 video monitor. Mr. Magpie gave me grief about this one given that we live in like 1000 square feet. (Do we even need a monitor at all??? And — isn’t mini outgrowing hers?) Hear me out. First, I had debated whether I wanted a video monitor before mini was born — wouldn’t sound be enough to let me know whether I should run in and check on her? Well, possibly, but the convenience of being able to see whether she is standing in her crib while crying or laying on her stomach with her eyes closed while crying cannot be overstated. I have probably pre-empted about 394898 dozen sleep interruptions on her behalf by being able to quickly check the screen vs. slide back the pocket door to her nursery and rouse her. Further, sometimes I hear something and quickly glance at the monitor — was that her moving in her crib, or did something just fall off the wall? This gives me such peace of mind. I also like that it has a thermometer built into it because we live in an old, pre-war building and the radiators turn on or off at the pleasure of some operator in the building (who knows where he/she is), so it’s either boiling hot or freezing in the winter time. We have to crack the window ever so slightly if the radiator’s going full blast or layer her under blankets if it’s not. The temperature gauge gives me peace of mind as I go to sleep — “OK, she doesn’t need me to run in and bury her beneath blankets.” BUT ANYWAY. I think it will be ultra nice to have a monitor focused on micro, who will sleep in our bedroom (naptimes and nighttimes alike) and on mini, too, while both are sleeping (ha). And even if they’re not both sleeping at the same time, it’s so much more convenient to have a separate camera in place, permanently, versus moving one camera in and out of rooms. And while I don’t think the DXR-8 is without problem (for one thing, the power cord does not lay snugly enough in the socket of the camera, which means it is often “off line” unless we very carefully jam in the power cord and prop it up just so; for another, the battery life of the monitor is pathetic and I finally had to figure out a way to keep it plugged in all the time on my bedside table), it is DEFINITELY the best on the market, having read SO many reviews of competitors. Nest cameras are the only ones that came close to deterring me from the DXR-8, but they run over WiFi and our old house would occasionally run into spottiness with signal coverage; the DXR-8 seemed more infallible.

+Hipp Dutch baby formula. I did a ton of research on this after mini was born. I had heard it was smart to have baby formula on hand in the event that breastfeeding did not go as planned (and it did not for me), but I’d just assumed that the free stuff I’d gotten in the mail would suffice. I found that Hipp was much gentler for the baby to digest, smelled far less offensive, and did not stain as easily. It also has far less artificial ingredients. I like ordering from A New York Baby because it’s a small business and they ship REALLY FAST. I’ll be buying a canister of this FOR SURE.

+Aden + Anais burp cloths and swaddles. We still have a bunch of these, but they’re all in pale pink girly prints. I really like those burpy bibs because they fit around the crook of your neck, are SUPER thick, and can also be used as a bib for baby (the snap in the back enables you to clip it around baby’s neck). I honestly still use these burp cloths all the time for wiping up small spills, cleaning noses and hands, wiping mini’s face, etc. I’m rarely without one. We also always preferred cloth swaddles to any of the “swaddle contraptions” with velcros, zippers, etc. Mr. Magpie and I were both very good at swaddling after the nurses showed us how in the hospital, and mini stayed in a cloth swaddle until maybe five months of age. The Aden & Anais ones are the right size and shape — you’ll find a lot of “swaddles” that are too small or in an oblong shape that does not work for swaddling the traditional way.

+Babyzen Nuna Pipa adapters. I was pretty jazzed to find that you can now clip the Nuna Pipa right into the Babyzen. This will make traveling by car a breeze.

+Little Giraffe baby blanket. We have one of these for mini in pink and she sleeps with it every nap and bed time. Super soft. Also, I’m pretty sure all of my siblings and I had similar-looking baby blankets with the wide satin trim and they make me feel nostalgic.

+Changing pad covers. Also this one. Most of mini’s are in pink…

+Sleep Sheep. Mini still sleeps with hers on. I love this travel model because it can be velcroed onto anything — a crib, a bassinet, a stroller, a carseat, etc. I’m debating whether or not to just move mini’s sleep sheep out of her nursery and affix it to micro’s crib and buy this Hatch baby sound machine for her room now that she’s older and it can double as an “OK to wake” clock, as we are planning to transition mini out of her crib in the next six months.

+Nose bulbs. I could never get behind the Nose Frieda. Call me squeamish and old-school, but so it is. I was actually pretty adept at using these bulbs (it takes practice and a flick of the wrist) with mini so I’ll stick with what I know…

+Changing pad liners. These are clutch early on for an extra layer of protection while changing diapers. Also, much easier to toss this into the hamper versus changing the entire pad cover.

+Munchkin Diaper Bag dispenser. Trust me, never go anywhere without one of these.

+Mrs. Meyers Baby Detergent. We now wash mini’s clothes with our own (and have for some time). I’m excited to wash and fold all of micro’s layette with baby detergent!

P.S. You can find all of my favorite baby gear — all of the stuff we already have and own! — here.

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16 Comments

  1. We actually used disposable puppy pads on top of our changing pad – I know it’s worse for the environment, but so much more convenient (especially in the early stages when I swear the baby would pee right when I took her diaper off).

    We love the Hatch! Don’t use it as an okay-to-wake clock yet, but I do like that I can leave the light on for a little after we put her down for bed so she can read before she goes to sleep, then turn it off without going into her room. (The baby also likes to play with it – turn it on and off and cycle through the different “favorite” settings, but that’s a whole different story).

    1. I hear you — anything to reduce laundry loads and the overall feeling of “one more thing to tackle.”

      Thanks for the push on the Hatch front! I’m sold! xo

  2. I struggled with the emotion parts of pre-natal yoga at times. I loved the movement but the spiritual aspects were challenging. I sometimes felt that I was not connected to my pregnancy enough.

    I saw your note about transitioning your daughter to a bed. My two cents is to keep her there as long as is safe. Our daughter was in her crib to 3.5 years old — it was great. Everyone slept better and longer. I highly recommend it unless there is a safety concern.

    1. Hi Meg! Yes — exactly: “I sometimes felt that I was not connected to my pregnancy enough.” Ugh, that’s exactly how I felt leaving that class. But you know, as soon as I read that, I thought: “Aha. This is one ADDITIONAL way we are conditioned to expect certain things of pregnancy/motherhood.” Somehow, I’ve absorbed the same vision of being this very grounded, connected, mindful pregnant woman and that if I’m not that way, something’s off. But who says that’s how we must go through pregnancy?! And why? Right?

      Anyway, I could talk for a long time about the expectations we foist on motherhood thanks to the steady diet of images and models we absorb from contemporary culture, but I’ll stop there. (And it’s not all bad or nefarious, either — just often unattainable and therefore sets us up for disappointment.)

      Thanks also for the input on the transition-to-crib. I’m with you. Mr. Magpie and I had said we were going to try to keep mini in her crib until she was climbing out of it, and the other day I found her trying to do that. The rails are too high for her to be effective at her scaling-the-wall attempts, but I’m keeping any eye on it…

      xx

  3. I just want to give you a hug after that emotional yoga experience! I have been practicing yoga on & off for 18 years (!) and I have found myself in tears during a class on more than one occasion because I’ve found myself alone with my thoughts during a stressful/emotional time. I can’t imagine what an added layer of questioning & sharing might have done! One of my past instructors also said that certain stretches have the tendency to dredge up emotions — I totally believe this.

    All of that said, I can’t really abide the chanting, either, even though I connect with my yoga practice on what some might call a spiritual level. So I get your aversion 🙂

    I am in the same camp re: white socks — makes things so much easier! The little one in my life wears colorful socks, but at least I can guide her towards neutral-ish colors and basic patterns like stripes, polka dots, etc. This still means I spend like 20 minutes matching socks with each laundry load, though! Blargh.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I’ll take that virtual hug, especially coming from a seasoned yogi yourself. It calmed me to think that I wasn’t just being wildly hormonal OR emotionally deficient in my reaction to that class; there’s something about yoga that creates a space for emotions to FLOW. Anyway, thank you for writing in on that front 🙂 xo

  4. Though I’ve never had a baby, I am a runner and I often find myself relying on a very similar mantra in the thick of a tough race – “your body knows what to do.” I put in the training, so I don’t need to overthink it. I just go. Our bodies have the structures and the hormones and the impulses (and the muscle memory from prior births!) designed for birthing. You’re going to do great!

  5. This post was so lovely, really. I just had my second (10 weeks ago today!) and these anxieties are so fresh! You draw such a clear picture with your words.

    Onto practical matters – the newborn pack for the Yoyo is in its packaging in my attic. Sigh. We have found that it’s far more versatile to use the infant car seat adapters on the Yoyo rather than change out the seating fabric. Tip: they will tell you that you need to undo some of the toddler seating fabric to clip on the adapters – not true! You can just stick them on the stroller as-is, which means you can seamlessly switch back and forth from using the frame for your eldest and the baby. We also have the ride along board for the Yoyo and do use it, but my 2.5 year old mostly wants to walk these days.

    I’m the reader who originally told you about A New York Baby – the best! She posts a discount code every Monday on her Instagram, FYI. We have been using formula much more in the early days this time, and we invested in the Baby Brezza (basically a Keurig for formula). WOW. I was wary of spending $200 on a bulky countertop appliance but O M G it is the most magical machine and is worth every penny. Could not recommend more if you end up using formula often.

    1. Oh! And you know the trick for the stupid Infant Optics battery thing right? It nearly always resets itself and reveals that it has full battery if you fully take the battery out (including unplugging the little colored wires…you’ll feel like you are dismantling an explosive). We have to do this at least 2x a week but it does work and stops it from that awful fake low battery beeping – which is so infuriating when you KNOW it’s charged!

    2. Ooh, Kate, this is great intel on the Yoyo. Thank you so much for writing in; this makes a lot of sense to me, that you’d rather just clip in the carseat anyway. Woo!

      Thank you also for the tips on A New York Baby — both the original rec and the Instagram tip 🙂 OOF I want the Brezza and I also want a bottle/pump part sterilizer machine but we just do not have the counter space to make that happen, or we’d never get any cooking done! Well, maybe if we move we’ll have more space and I can finally snag one or either…have heard from many second-time moms that it’s worth the expense for the convenience on both fronts.

      On a separate note, I anticipate we will also be using more formula this go around. Last time, I had an undersupply and would BF and then supplement with formula at every feed, often while pumping to continue to stimulate supply, and I got into this headspace where I felt like every single drop I produced NEEDED TO GO TO THE BABY and that I needed to feed her SOME of my own milk at each feeding. This made me slightly crazy in retrospect. And I was slightly crazy having those thoughts to begin with but MAN post-birth hormones! The new mom guilt! AHHH. Anyway, this go around, I’ve already made some mental peace with the idea I may not be able to fully feed baby #2 and that I am not going to kill myself and the first six months of our lives together by forcing it. Yes, I want to BF as much as I can but I also want to be practical and afford myself a little more grace this go around if, for example, I just really want to sleep for six hours and have the nanny take care of feeding the baby with a bottle every now and then. Or if I want to go out for a drink and skip a feed/pump and dump. ETC. Anyway, that’s probably more than you bargained for in your innocuous rec of the Brezza but wanted to say I’m very much in your camp this go around.

      xoxo

  6. Congratulations on your second. My second, a girl, is almost one. Like you, I kept most of the gear I used for her brother but one thing I found immensely helpful and worth upgrading was the nursery changing pad. Instead of buying covers and dealing with constant messy loads of laundry I bought this keekaroo changing pad. Wipes clean like a dream!
    https://www.potterybarnkids.com/m/products/keekaroo-peanut-changing-pad/?searchPfm=SEO&Kenshoo=_k_EAIaIQobChMIu66whv6S4AIVAUwNCh02MQgQEAAYASAAEgLfNfD_BwE_k_&cm_ven=NonBrandSearch&cm_cat=Google&cm_pla=NonBrand_Search_DSA&cm_ite=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu66whv6S4AIVAUwNCh02MQgQEAAYASAAEgLfNfD_BwE

    1. Sarah! Hi! Congrats to you and thanks for the sweet note. I’ve had multiple mom friends recommend the Keekaroo and it’s definitely on my radar — seems super smart and simpler to keep clean. As noted in the previous comment about the baby Brezza and the bottle/pump part sterilizer, I’m noticing a theme among second time moms: go for convenience this go around. Anything with added steps is not worth the time. I can see why! Thanks for the tip 🙂 xo

  7. I had a similar realization, although much later in the game (as in, the day before I delivered). With my first my water broke but nothing happened so I had to be induced and I had already had an epidural by the time the contractions hit, so I realized I didn’t know what a non medicated contraction felt like! I was so worried and focused about what would happen if I went into labor in the middle of the night (which, of course, I did!) and who we’d call to take care of our older child (last city hold-outs over here, no family nearby). So with that, plan for what you can and know that you’ll be great! No matter how much we read or know, it’s always different and unique each time anyway.

    1. Thanks, Diana — love this: “plan what you can” [and basically don’t worry about what you can’t]. Going in with optimism!!

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