A (Really Long) Baby Story

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Pictures by Rachel Tesch Photography

Annemarie Jo Keller was born February 9th at 04:14 am and weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz and 22 inches long. My water broke Thursday February 8th around 5 pm at 37 weeks and 3 days and ramped up pretty quickly. I’d been feeling sort of off all week-still swollen, and just sort of irritable and not very hungry but I was so surprised when the gush happened.

I’d just fed our two dogs and all of sudden, there it was. P was outside talking on the phone to a friend so I opened the door to tell him either my water had broken, or I had massively peed myself and either way we were going to the hospital.

We tried going to Steak N Shake for dinner but they took forever so I ended up getting it to go and drank my shake and took a bite of the burger, all of which I threw back up a little while later. Funnily, when trying to get them to hurry our now to-go order my husband told the cashier that we were on our way to the hospital. Her eyes got big and she asked if I was having contractions and her eyes got even bigger when I said yes.

Food didn’t come any faster, though. >. <

I was 3 cm and I think 70% dilated when I was finally admitted. I had planned on going without an epidural as long as possible but I’d also planned on a slow, gradual labor. So I asked for the epi and it took about 2 hours go get it. By the time I did, I was 6 cm and 90% effaced. It really helped take the edge off so I could try to nap throughout transition. Even then, we didn’t really understand how the epidural button worked so a couple of times it got pushed and nothing happened. It was wearing off so we had the anesthesiologist come in and give another dose and then he showed us how the button worked and it worked out for me because by the time my epidural meds ran dry, it was time to push.

Eventually my labor changed and I started feeling a lot of pressure. I had another cervical check (NOT FUN) and she was about 0 so they had me do some practice pushes to get the hang of it.

Pushing was HARD. SO HARD. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything and was getting pretty tired and the docs were worried that I was going to exhaust myself and so they pulled out the vacuum. Well, Annemarie has big shoulders and got stuck for about three minutes and all of a sudden there were a ton of people in the room all screaming at me to breathe and push. They were yelling, I was screaming, there were 3 doctors with their hands in my vagina all trying to pull her out.

Our hospital does skin to skin but when she finally got freed, they had to take her over to the Panda and start working on her.

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I’ve only recently been able to look at this picture without crying. 

I could tell my husband was really worried and also didn’t hear any noises coming from her. Also, my doula was next to me and she was straight up praying which probably worried me even more than anything else though also made me not worry either. I didn’t really understand it then but I was sure it was all going to be okay. My husband just kept saying how great I did and then when she finally started making little noises he kept saying how we could hear her and telling me he could see her kicking and how she had so much hair.

They did great and she perked right up but they took her over to the NICU because she was still having some respiratory distress. She was on the CPAP for about 70 minutes and my husband went along with her while I stayed with our doula and the nurses massaged my uterus. I had a small second degree tear inside the vagina from the vacuum and having that stitched up super sucked, especially since I had no fresh baby on my chest to distract me. The stitches were the second worst part of the whole ordeal, second to the part of having three men trying to maneuver a baby out. I cried and whimpered and was just generally awful while getting stitched up.

Once that finally done I was feeling 100% better since I’d first come in so once they got me cleaned up they wheeled me down to the NICU to see how she was doing. They were just finishing up their evaluation of her (her Apgar scores were 2,7, and 8) and we got to wheel her back down to our room. I’m not a very emotional person but I couldn’t stop crying when I saw her and my husband was crying, too. Shoot, I’m crying now while remembering how I was crying.

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One of the nurses helped me work on getting her to latch and we’ve been working on getting a good latch for her and me. It’s getting there.

I was ready to be discharged but my blood pressure was still elevated and so they ran some labs and sure enough, I have a variation of preeclampsia called HELLP. Some more background- my legs and feet and hands started swelling like crazy a month ago but my BP and everything else was fine. I’m military so I see a group of doctors and one ordered labs. They came back showing elevated liver and lowered platelets, basically possible HELLP, and ordered more labs. But the labs isn’t get ordered and the doctor I had at my next appointment wasn’t concerned. My doula was surprised he didn’t want to at least check my urine for protein given how swollen I was and I was going to mention it at my next appointment.

HELLP is pretty serious if untreated but is easily treatable. Most women have symptoms that help diagnose it but I had nothing other than swelling and then high blood pressure.

They put me on a magnesium sulfide drip for 24 hours and confined me to bed. I could still breastfeed, which was good. I also got the option of a bed pan or a catheter. I opted for the bed pan because I like independence, though I guess having to call to have someone help you pee in bed isn’t very independent.

At one point I wanted to change my mind. I had to pee so badly and was trying to breastfeed without much success, I mean, it was only Day 2 so neither of us (me or Annemarie) was very good at it. I buzzed the nurse and asked for a catheter but when she came in and began the prep work to thread it, I realized how much more sore and tender that area was and apologized but changed my mind back.

By the next day, my blood pressure was significantly lower and my labs were also significantly better. I had a follow up check and my platelets in particular, were so much better. A normal count, the doctor said, is between 150 and 400 and when they checked me at the hospital, I was down to just 107. Not great when you’ve just delivered and are bleeding afterbirth.

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Photo by Rachel Tesch Photography. I love it because it’s hard for me to imagine how she managed to fit inside there, she’s all arms and legs now.

All in all, I knew labor was going to be hard, but I’ve always been so healthy that I never had any reason to think I was anything but until I obviously wasn’t. The doctors told me that the shoulder dystocia Annemarie had has a reasonably high chance of a repeat in subsequent pregnancies, especially since she was near-term and already pretty big, and that I’d be a good candidate for an elective C-section as a result. Also, the HELLP makes me a high risk patient for any subsequent pregnancies and I’d need to be seen by a specialist in obstetrics; there’s one in the Army as far as he knows, and he is currently deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (because that’s a good place to put an obstetrician).

Another thing that is still surprising to me – I’ve always believed I was blood type O Negative. Except, I’m not. I asked the nurse how Annemarie could be O Positive when I and her dad are O Neg and she looked surprised and told me I was O Pos and where I’d heard that I was O Neg. Um…the Army? It’s on my dog tags? I don’t know, but maybe this is kind of a thing that you want to know, especially with a low platelet count?

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Photo credit Rachel Tesch Photography

Any way, after 24 hours my labs and blood pressure improved enough for them to release us both. It was so nice to sleep in my own bed, well, when I’m allowed to sleep anyway. It’s been a week since Annemarie joined us and she’s already just two ounces away from her birth weight and getting chunkier by the day. I was absolutely set that I never wanted kids and now here I am on the other side and I can’t imagine not.

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Photo credit Rachel Tesch Photography

 

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Keeping It Tight

I fully expected some swelling later in pregnancy, but I never imagined my feet would swell to proportions better suited to a Cabbage Patch Doll. I tried soaking them, putting them up, but nothing made a dent or still does so at the recommendation of a friend, I turned to compression socks.

My legs and feet are still swollen, but the compression socks help to minimize the swelling. Or they just push the fluid elsewhere. I’m not really sure anymore.

Putting them on is a huge challenge every morning and once they’re on, that’s it. I’m sometimes tempted to leave them on overnight but that goes against my firm beliefs in airing out of feet so usually I have P help me strip them off in the evening. Since I’m wearing them in uniform, I went for conservative colors so that way when they show it’s not embarrassing trying to explain why my socks are patterned or hot pink or something like that. Though I already feel pretty ridiculous-looking in my maternity uniform as it is, I’d like to at least pretend I have some control over my appearance.

Compression sock tip: Measure your calves! Either use a piece of string or a soft measuring tape. I gained at least an inch in each calf with pregnancy and it makes a difference when buying socks.

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  1. CEP Women’s Performance Recovery+ Socks// $50// I bought these and the 2XU socks at my local Fleet Feet because I was desperate for something to help my feet fit into shoes again. My biggest complaint with them is that because my calves are swollen and huge, the foot size doesn’t quite fit me and they have extra room in the foot and toe, which invariably my body fills with fluid and tissue. I couldn’t find the exact model I bought, but mine aren’t solid black and have a hot pink section that runs around the heel. It wouldn’t be a problem with normal shoes, but I was wearing Converse sneakers last week and sometimes the pink would peek out.
  2. 2XU Women’s Compression Performance Run Sock// $49.95// I also bought these at Fleet Feet. They’re not bad at all and very comfortable and not that difficult to put on. I also like that they’re solid black so I don’t have to worry about showing any funny colors.
  3. Zoot Women’s Ultra 2.0 CRX Socks// $12.95// The price isn’t a joke, they’re really that affordable, though I did have to go up a size because of my monster calves. They’re more expensive at other sizes so it really depends on how big your calves are. These are probably my favorite socks of the bunch, and not just because of the price. They are super comfortable and tight, but also a complete bear to put on. I timed myself last week and it took me six and a half minutes to put on both socks, including breaks because putting on compression socks when you’re over eight months pregnant is no joke. It’s more like a workout.

Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant

And probably because if they did, you’d think a little harder about whether you wanted to do this. I probably still would have, but more of a warning would have been nice. You read all sorts of things about other sports, hitting the wall in the marathon, open water swim panic, but there is no one there to tell you about the things your body will do while pregnant.

I definitely am not a pro. I’m a first time mom (FTM lingo for all the baby boards I’m now subbed to), but STILL.

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  • It might just be my doctor, but every time there’s a new complaint the answer is not ibuprofen, drink water, and change your socks as I’ve been conditioned to expect by the Army, but instead “let’s do some labs” which means I get to go down and wait in the lab for them to draw more blood and sometimes provide a urine sample. I’m in the third trimester, I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen my “undercarriage” except in a mirror. The other day I had to provide a urine sample, no big because I pee every 10 minutes anyway, but since I couldn’t see what I was doing, I also peed all over my hand. PREGNANCY.

 

  •  Speaking of pee, I’ve been religiously doing my kegels and anything remotely rumored to help. It didn’t stop me from peeing a little when I sneezed a couple months ago.

 

  • Do you know what GBS is? I sure didn’t. Apparently it’s Group B strep. Why this matters is because something like 25% of all women have it. It’s no big except it can kill your baby, and also the way they test for this is to swab your vagina and/or rectum. Since this is the Army, you can guess what they swab.

 

  • I really think there’s a crew of vampires employed by the hospital with all the blood tests they require. Right off the bat I think I provided something like five vials of blood, for what, I have no idea but they didn’t tell me the baby’s sex which would have made it all worth it. And then I still had to get more labs done for a HIV test even though I have an updated one from two years ago and the only person I’m making babies with is my husband who you know, also has an updated HIV test. But you know what? I did it again because in the State of Georgia there is apparently a HIV threat and if your baby comes out with any sort of possible illness, they will immediately start that baby on antiretrovirals. Of course, it’s entirely possible I could somehow get HIV between that test and my baby’s birth, but we won’t talk about that.

 

  • How about no one warns you about the lack of sleep WHILE pregnant? I love sleep. I miss sleep. I expected this after the baby but not while she’s still cooking. This would be fine except I can’t chug coffee like I used to.

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  • Pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome is a thing and it sucks. I work with computers for a living but also you sort of need hands to do every day things like pull covers up, do your hair, wipe yourself after using the toilet.

 

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  • On the plus side, I feel like universally everyone is just nicer to pregnant ladies. I like the parking spaces up front at stores and how people are just generally kinder to pregnant women. I was craving a tall juice from Panera one day at breakfast after drinking all my hot cocoa and the cashier just let me have it for free. Day. Made. At this point, I am also appreciative of people letting me have a seat when space is limited and moving out of my way in narrow spaces because I don’t have much proprioception anymore, judging by the bruises on my thighs and also all the food that gets dropped on my shirt on a daily basis.

 

  • It’s hard to tell but I could also swear that my pets love me more. I say it’s hard to tell because due to my shift work, I’m able to spend more time with them than I used to and they seem to be slightly preferring me over my husband (with the exception of my cat who can’t help that he’s a jerk because he’s a cat). Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming but mostly I love having extra-cuddly dogs.

All in all, it’s not the worst thing ever but I really don’t think I fully understood what I was signing up for along the way. I don’t think it would have stopped me from wanting to have kids, but I think I could have been better informed.

Spinning Babies?

I wrote a couple of entries ago about some of the more labor-focused exercises my doula was having me do. She also referred me to a site called Spinning Babies, which is not at all like the Exorcist scene I pictured of babies with their heads spinning around. Instead, it’s a compendium of exercises designed to position babies optimally for labor as well as help strengthen the pelvic floor for birth.

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For me, I’m interested in it because it claims that it can help ease back labor, avoid c-sections, and decrease the labor time even for first time moms. Possibly best of all hardly any of the exercises require any equipment and mostly use bodyweight to achieve its goals. I also really like workouts with point to them – one of the reasons I have a hard time with free form cardio workouts as opposed to lifting.

The site goes over all the exercises with clear pictures, but they also offer videos for a fee if workout videos are more of your thing. I feel pretty comfortable with my current range of exercises, but it’s fun to read about others and what else I can do even in late pregnancy to help my baby get into an optimal birthing position and also reduce fatigue for myself in labor.

 

Playing it by Ear

Around this time each year is when I start planning my race season for the following year. Mainly because it’s fun but also because it keeps me motivated through the winter (which was really important living in Alaska’s Golden Heart of Darkness). I started doing the same thing again recently when I got a shot of reality from a fitness and pregnancy group I follow.

Namely, I may not be able to bounce right back like I naively think I can. What if I have a c-section? That’s six weeks at least just to be able to heal not to mention the lack of sleep and if I’m able to breastfeed, having to feed her frequently.

And if there’s other factors as well, I have to take that time off to let my body heal without straining it or injuring it further by trying to push it too soon. I’ve recovered from marathons but this is something totally different. I’ve never recovered from birth before, plus I have no idea how different my life is going to be. It’s sort of like traveling – even though I can read all the guidebooks, it’s still going to be different experiencing something for the first time.

It’s hard to hold back from registering for a bunch of races, but even if I lose out on early bird discounts, it’s still better than having to choose to not start and feeling like a failure for it. I registered for a lot of races this fall and winter because I didn’t really think I would get pregnant and now even though it’s dumb, I feel like I’m failing myself by not doing the races.

So instead, I’m going to focus my efforts on keeping myself active and healthy through pregnancy, taking the time and put in the work to recover safely, and stay involved in sports through volunteering. That way I can still be a part of the race and honestly, races and events rely so much on volunteer support.

Holiday Gift Guide – Active Pregnant Ladies

I thought it’d be fun to do sort of a different take on holiday gift guides than most of what I’ve seen. Now that I’m in the third trimester (holy cow, already?) I’m looking forward to our baby getting here, getting to know her, getting used to our new life, and also getting back into shape and racing next summer. I work full-time and I like being active so I thought it’d be good to share some of the things I’ve found that really work for me.

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  1. BaoBei Belly Support Band// $64 // The one pictured is mesh but mine is solid all the way around. The best way I can describe it is like a sports bra (but a comfortable one) for your bump. It doesn’t relieve back pain but it does help keep me feeling like I’m more put together and not just hanging out. Plus it keeps you from showing more skin that you’d like if your shirt rides up.
  2. Oiselle Lux Track Pants// $84 // These are currently on sale for 20% off with the code BOOMBOOM. These are a pre-pregnancy favorite that I now love even more, which I didn’t think possible. They are warm, soft and the coziest thing you can wear. I love Oiselle’s lux line and am thankful that these have been able to transition through pregnancy with me with their wonderful waistband.
  3. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan// $116 // These were on Oprah’s list of favorites last year and I have to say Oprah has really good taste (or at least her shoppers do). Hoodies and most sweaters don’t fit anymore and the weather down here is chilly in the mornings but warm in the afternoons, so an open cardigan is perfect for the weather. This one, although pricey, is so flexible with so many different styles that it’s become a staple.
  4. Blanqi Tights // $64 // So these are currently sold out but the postpartum ones are still available at the same price. They were selling them at 50% off the week of Thanksgiving so I bought a pair, they came, and I bought a second pair. I likely would have bought more but two pairs of black leggings seems like enough. They fit like a firm, warm hug and I like that they come up over the bump and amazingly, do not slip down unlike every other pair of maternity bottoms out there. The way the fabric is knit reminds me a little of Spanx, but these are definitely nicer-looking and you can wear them alone (I am one of those people who wears leggings as pants; I don’t care).
  5. GlowBodyPT 12-week Post Pregnancy Plan // $99 // I got into GlowBodyPT during my month of yoga because I started getting a little bored of the prenatal yoga plans out there and saw she had a prenatal yoga designed to strengthen the muscles used for labor. She offers a completely free prenatal routine as well. Although I’ve still got a few months left being pregnant, I’m already looking forward to being able to get back into work. I liked that the prenatal program really only requires a set of dumbbells, which I have at home, and that there’s videos for every workout in case you need to see the movement performed.
  6. SOAS Racing Biggie Tanks // $45 // I admit I liked their Kona design this year because of the pineapples because pineapples are a thing here in the South, but I’m a big fan of their biggie tank because not only is it cute and comfortable to wear, it’s loose enough that I’m still wearing it. I also like that the front doesn’t go super low and that it covers all the important pieces.
  7. Ashley Horner Losing The Bump // $50 // I’ve been a huge fan of Ashley Horner’s programs since I discovered them while deployed. Not only did I get stronger and faster, but I was able to do my very first pull ups ever. Also, I met Ashley last fall and she is super nice and warm in person which just makes me admire her even more. Her programs are challenging and tough, but get results. Most of them need a training facility to complete the workouts, though, so I may hold off on getting into this until we have our baby in childcare and she’s a little older so I can workout more easily.

 

 

I went to a baby shower

I typically maintain low expectations for most things Army, that way I’m seldom disappointed and can be pleasantly surprised when things are better than expected. As I mentioned before, I’m also pretty laid back which couples well with the first. So far, though, I have been beyond pleased with all my experiences with the New Parent Support Program and also the Cradle Club classes offered at my local hospital.

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The NPSP hosted an educational baby shower for us recently for a few hours on a Saturday morning. We had speakers and demonstrations on baby wearing, breastfeeding, and an informational session on WIC. We also played games and won prizes and were treated to a healthy cooking session (plus lunch!) by a chef who works on post for the Child and Youth Services.

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Finally, they gave us all a gift bag to take home filled with useful things for a new parents, plus tons of information to read through.

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It was a really good experience and I got even more information on groups and resources in the area that I’m looking forward to putting to good use.

Doe, a deer, a FEMALE, dear

I was so disappointed with my last ultrasound that I thought I’d see about going to one of the boutique places. The ones near Augusta were all booked up but there was plenty of availability for appointments in and around Atlanta. Since I was heading up for the Atlanta 10-miler, it was easy enough to stop off in Covington and go to Stork Vision.

The front office was really pretty and cozy. I did filled out the same paperwork as I had done online and a family came out of the room and after briefly dickering with the front desk over how much a disc of images was, they left and took a bazillion pics in front of the store.

The ultrasound room was darker and reminded me of a spa. The tech at the first ultrasound had a hard time getting pictures but she was very cooperative this time. Well, mainly. She was lying with her feet by her face and wasn’t interested in changing that position for anything. The first tech told me she couldn’t tell me the gender because it could be a lawsuit, which is ridiculous. I actually can’t sue my medical care-she could punch me in the face and I couldn’t sue her for anything. Anyway, second tech had no problems confirming that Zoya is indeed a Zoya and not a Vladimir the Destroyer.

I always thought it odd when people would post their baby’s bits online and now here I am

Also she got some nice pictures in 3D which was really cool. I didn’t think she’d look like much since she’s only half-naked but she definitely has some obvious facial features already. To me, she looks more like P.


I’m leaning towards going back in a few weeks for a more full 3D session once she’s put on some more weight and developed some more to see what she looks like then.

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Halfway-ish there

I actually wrote this last week but since my 20-week ultrasound wasn’t until the end of the 20-week period and they have a firm no electronics policy followed by a procedure of waiting three days before I get the CD of pictures, which you also can’t print from but can take pictures of from the computer monitor…it’s actually easier to buy a gun than it is to look at my own medical information. All that waiting and the pictures are not even interesting enough to post.. How disappointing.

On the plus side, we got our welcome box from Amazon for having  registry on there. I do like free stuff and cute doggies.

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Anyway, some reflections on making it to the halfway point.

Working out

Working out is still comfortable for me, mostly. Little Zoya the Destroyer (I binged all of Glow early in pregnancy) is pretty pointed as far as an actual baby bump and it’s only been the past couple of weeks where I can’t wear tights or capris anymore because of where they hit on the bump. Strangely enough, all my shorts from SOAS and Oiselle are fine and fortunately it’s still 90 degree here (in October, absolutely ridiculous) so I’m not missing too much but I did order a couple of pairs of maternity leggings anyway.

Other clothes

All my pants and most of my shorts are now boxed up in my closet to make room in my drawers for maternity pants and shorts. I also switched to the maternity uniform for work and to say that I’m unimpressed would be an enormous understatement.

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The things I hate the most: the sleeves are slightly too short, it has buttons on the front (everything else is zippered now except this thing), the button tabs on the side are fixed so you can’t button further back for a tailored look because they’re basically a decoration, and the worst part of it is the pockets are tiny and mainly useless. I went from having four pockets on my top and six on my pants to four total and they’re all the same size and have velcro closures. I can’t fit my phone or wallet in them. Also on the pants the belly band is just a panel with a tight ring of elastic at the top that I swear is giving me heartburn. I am going to modify it, I’m just not sure yet how or when.

How I’m feeling

Fine, mostly. Apparently I’m having Braxton-Hicks contractions and Zoya is kicking up a storm, but I really don’t feel it. Baby movement is supposed to feel like fluttering and some other women also due in February are seeing and feeling visible kicks, but the closest I’ve come is feeling like period cramping occasionally, which could be the Braxton-Hicks I guess, or that feeling you get when a part of your body is pulsing. I am also really good at ignoring my body’s signs and feelings so that is probably another reason why I haven’t noticed anything – I’m generally too focused on whatever else it is that I’m doing.

The things that people say

I saved the best for last. A coworker told me that I really shouldn’t be lifting or doing anything other than walking because one of his kids was injured in utero. I love anecdotal advice the most. Also, I broke my policy of not discussing names and immediately regretted it when the woman I was talking to told me my names were “too old,” especially annoying after I’d already told her they were names that had belonged to deceased relatives. I’m back to not talking about names aside from the ones we aren’t using and even then only the really out-there ones, like Falcor.

 

I went to a baby show this weekend

I feel like I have a good handle on what things I still need for the baby but I also feel like I’m not qualified to feel like I have a handle on things yet. Because of that, I thought it would be worthwhile to go to a baby show in Atlanta over the weekend.

I had some trouble finding the location. It was in a ballroom on the sixth floor of a building, but the building with the address had legal offices on the bottom floor and they wouldn’t let you go through them (also they probably didn’t have access). Instead you were supposed to go down around the corner and take the elevator inside a separate parking garage to the sky bridge to the ballroom. I did two laps around the block before I asked for more specific directions.

Once inside the parking garage’s elevator, there was a sign unhelpfully telling you to 1) navigate to that location and then 2) take it to the sixth floor. Well, yeah, but some signage outside would have been more helpful than watching men and women in various stages of pregnancy wander around looking lost and confused. I like to think I look more pregnant than fat at this point but I had a couple of other women blatantly staring at my stomach area so possibly not.

Once inside, I checked in and got two big reusable shopping bags full of different samples. Also, because I show up to things early, I got a third big bag full of MeadJohnson samples. If you’re not familiar with MeadJohnson, welcome to the club I vacated just a day ago – they’re the folks who manufacture Enfamil, a well-known infant formula. I also stopped by the La Croix booth to try a new flavor. I really want to like La Croix and I just really don’t. I’ve tried pamplemousse and lime so far and yesterday I tried cranberry-apple (can we just call it cranapple already?) and had a similar reaction. I just don’t like La Croix…but I do like free drinks and it was hot and humid so I wanted to drink something.

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They had different levels of admission with different add-ons for each. Silver and Gold got baby carriers, and mine (Bronze) I got to enter 30 minutes early and an extra gift bag.

The expo part wasn’t bad as far as quality of the vendors, it was just disappointing how few there were. I was also disappointed in the lack of informational sessions they offered, there were only a couple, one on cloth diapering and one on baby wearing. I would have liked to have seen more sessions, even just on the products themselves or on other topics.

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They raffled off one of these babies. It was pretty sweet, but I can’t justify $250 for a temporary bed, even if it does play music and vibrate.

I was done looking at all the vendors in about 45 minutes and they didn’t do the raffle for prizes until 3:30 pm so I had a ton of time to kill. I took my gift bags back to my car and went to a Microsoft store in a mall nearby to ask some questions about discounts on their OS (spoiler: they didn’t know and it’s cheaper elsewhere). I had some lunch and then took the Atlanta MARTA back to the convention.

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The crowd wasn’t big so I thought my odds were pretty good

I was pretty impressed with the prizes they raffled off. It was everything from pacifier sets to bottle sample packs to a Stokke high chair and even a Halo bassinet. Sadly, I was not a winner of any raffle prizes, though I did get an entire case of Enfagrow from the MeadJohnson rep as he was packing to leave. I don’t have any plans on keeping a toddler milk drink in my pantry for 18ish months so I’m going to take it over to the local food bank later this week.

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Not shown: case of Enfagrow

In summary, was it worth it? Maybe. I *did* like the free samples I got, but I thought overall the show could have been a lot better. There is a bigger show that happens every year in April, which I didn’t go to (obviously) because I wasn’t pregnant then and I’m unsure whether I’ll go to it next year since Mini-K will be 2 months old and I’m not sure I want to try to do that with an infant. I think I’d be willing to go to another baby show, but I would likely do some more research to see the number and quality of vendors and classes they’re offering before I committed.