Monday, May 6, 2013

Springtime dreams part 2

Ok, so now that the cat is out of the bag and I've said that I'm pregnant I can mention some of the changes that it's causing in my world.
For one thing, having babies is rather expensive. I don't mean in terms of stuff they need (although there is that--cloth diapers are expensive, and even knowing that I can later re-sell them doesn't make the initial cost less expensive!) especially since I'm sure we'll receive lots of donations and gifts from family and friends. (I already called dibs on a baby/toddler sweater my mom knitted when one of my older brothers was tiny--probably will be good for the second winter Baby is around.) No, I mean in terms of things like healthcare costs (insurance doesn't cover everything) and in terms of lost income. Shane and I haven't fully figured out yet what our work lives will be like after Baby comes, but I know that it will involve 3 months of maternity leave without pay for me. After I do go back to work (if I do) it will almost certainly be scaled back. I don't know about you, but when I have a three-month-old I'm not really going to want to have it in daycare for a majority of the day!
In addition to the potential cost of daycare, one of us would also need to drive Baby to daycare, at least in the colder months. I did a little bit of research online and I can't find any baby daycare centers within walking distance of us. Blech. However, there are a few close enough that during biking weather we could transport Baby that way.
There are also additional costs that simply come with being pregnant. I just bought new bras at the beginning of the year (my old one that I had finally died) and here I am needing new bras again to cover my rapidly expanding chest. (Holy shit! I already had enormous boobs, not happy by the extra size/weight of them now!) I'll need maternity clothes at some point. We have a friend's wedding to go to this summer and I realized that I'll even need a new dress, since by then I'll almost certainly be getting huge. (Hopefully for that I can use a gift certificate to an online clothing shop that someone wonderful gave to me as a birthday present--but of course I'll wait until the date is closer to order anything.)
As soon as I found out that I'm pregnant I bought prenatal vitamins. Those things are expensive. (And, just a warning, some of them will turn your pee electric yellow. I had to Google that to make sure there wasn't a problem, as I've had kidney and urinary tract problems in the past.) I've mostly been against taking vitamins in the past, since they're pricey and it's questionable how well they work. However, when it comes to giving Baby the best start possible I'm willing to do this. (I was taking a regular multivitamin, when I remembered, while we were trying to get pregnant too since folate is incredibly important during the first couple of weeks, before you even know you're pregnant.) I did my research, however, and went with one which had good reviews and is supposed to be both food-based and more bioavailable than other brands. This is important as some multivitamins/prenatals won't even break down in the stomach the way they should. (I got the Rainbow Light Prenatal One, if you're interested.)
But, as I said, they're expensive. I thought it was important at first to start taking them as quickly as I could so I bought them locally, even knowing that I could most likely get them much cheaper online. And I can. So I'll order them that way next time. (Even with shipping they'll be cheaper, and we'll probably bundle with other things to get free shipping.)
There are ways to mitigate the costs of being pregnant. My friend L wears the same size I do and has saved most of her maternity clothes for next time she needs them. Since she won't be needing them at the same time I do, I'll be able to borrow some from her.
[Edit--it turns out that L does need them at the same time as me! She's about a week ahead of me in her pregnancy!]
We'll see what other newborn baby/maternity things we can borrow/buy from other people. Perhaps a breast pump? (If you're grossed out by that, get over it. I would clean it very thoroughly.) Or a Moby Wrap? If anyone knows people who are looking to get rid of newborn items and maternity clothes, let me know.
There are always online venues for second-hand items, as well, and some local places which we can check out. Anything I can't get from friends and family can almost certainly be found through those resources.
I understand that there are some things which shouldn't be bought second hand, or at least need to be looked at for recalls. We'll do our due diligence before making any purchases which affect the health and safety of Baby.
We haven't totally decided yet what we'll need/want in terms of gear. Also, what will fit into our small apartment/bedroom. We have the pets to consider so we'll probably start buying things early in the third trimester to get them used to the new stuff and training them not to jump in/all over it. (I'm imagining our cat in a bassinet/crib. He'd love that, but it absolutely will not fly when there's a baby to put in there.)
Along with the costs, though, there are some cost savings to be found. At least for me. Since pregnant women are encouraged to reduce caffeine consumption I dramatically cut back on the amount of tea I drink each day. I'm holding myself to 2-3 cups. This means less buying of tea. Why not switch to herbal? Well, actually after doing research I was surprised to find that a lot of herbal teas may not be safe for pregnant women. There is so much conflicting research that I finally threw in the towel. Other than my carefully hoarded cups of black tea I'm sticking with water and milk. I might add raspberry leaf tea later on (it's safe, and in some studies has been shown to help through the second and third trimesters/labor) but for now I'm not.
I'm also, of course, completely abstaining from alcohol. Not that I was ever a big drinker anyway, but it became normal for me to have a few drinks every third or fourth month. (I know, right? Such a lush.)
Shane even said that he's almost expecting that we won't have to pay for groceries for a while after having the baby. We're going to be talking with both sets of soon-to-be-grandparents about visiting after Baby is born to both help out and bond with their first grandbaby. When they do visit, they'll most likely insist on paying for things like groceries because that's the way they are. Super generous with us, always.
There are cost savings, mostly things which I can't/shouldn't have, but it's something to think about when people say that babies are so expensive.
In addition to cost savings, I've mentioned before that Shane and I were spending a lot of time in March getting our shit together and figuring out what some of our goals will be. Well, finding out that you're having a baby sorta does that. At least for us. This is going to be a huge change, one so big I can't even comprehend it right now, and that requires planning and preparation. We want to have enough saved up that unexpected expenses aren't stressful. If something awful happens, like Baby needing to be in the NICU, the last thing we're going to want to worry about is the cost.

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