Thursday, January 27, 2011

Doctor Visit Update

We had an early appointment this morning, and over a foot of snow last night! We were prepared and got up extra early. It was a good thing because it took quite some time to get there.

I am enjoying the new hospital quite a bit. Some reasons are simple, some are more complex, but overall they just make me feel much more comfortable. One of the simplest things is that all of the doctors, nurses, etc. always point out all of the restrooms to me, even if they know I've just used one 20 minutes prior! I always need to go, and it's such a nice touch. They probably snicker as I go in at every single opportunity, but I truly appreciate it.

Today was the first nonstress/biophysical profile test. They had two ace bandages that they wrapped around my belly, and two sensors that tuck underneath. One sensor measures the baby's heartbeat and the other measures for any contractions I may have. Her heartbeat went anywhere from the 120s to the 160s, and every time I felt her move is when it went high. The doctors left us alone and after 20 minutes, they came in and said that everything looked and sounded perfect.

Totally unflattering picture of me with the belts on, which look far more uncomfortable than they really are.

Next, I had my ultrasound. They are continually monitoring the velamentous cord insertion, and said that it showed no signs of change today. I don't think they were necessarily expecting any change, but they want to keep a close eye on it regardless. The succenturiate placenta also looks the same.

They also wanted to do an estimated fetal weight today, since a VCI baby oftentimes shows signs of growth restriction. They simply take a few measurements (they actually took a couple of measurements of her head) and say that she is weighing in at roughly 4 lbs. already, which is spot on for where she should be. I was glad to hear that she wasn't too small OR too big, and it obviously means that the placenta and cord are doing what they're supposed to be doing!

Baby weighs as much as this tub of Red Vines. mmm, licorice.

Since things looked so spot on, they were a bit more relaxed about having me come in for the rest of the nonstress tests/biophysical profiles. Initially they wanted me to come in twice a week, but now I just have to come in once a week, and they were able to set them up so they generally go along with my other appointments.

A couple of random things about our visit: they were able to see a little bit of hair on the baby's head! I won't be surprised if they are someday able to have colorized ultrasound machines and will be able to tell you the color of their hair. Seems strange that they can even see as much as they do already. Also, the doctors called her a 'wild child' and were in awe of how much she was moving around! This can only mean one thing - Justin and I better enjoy our sleep while we can. It's really a shame that you can't stock up on it before birth. And last - she was head down, just as I thought! She's beginning to prepare to make her way into the world!

Overall, a perfect visit, and 32 weeks tomorrow! Time is flying now.



Justin here, just wanting to add some quick notes about the boat in the cold weather recently. It has been like a real winter here! Jenny and I are both from Michigan and we are used to weather much colder and snowier than what Boston has had since we've lived here. This year Boston has finally pulled out all the stops to give us an honest to goodness winter. :) We love it!

This weather certainly adds some interesting aspects to living on the boat. We've never had more than maybe 2 inches of ice in the marina, and even that was only in around a-dock where there is least water movement. Well last week we got a foot of snow, then it got to sub zero temperatures for the first time since we've lived here. The ice was a good 4 inches thick and the marina wasn't able to get their ice breaking tender in because it was too small and light. The movement of Madrigal swaying on the dock lines had kept he ice a couple inches from the hull and created sort of a safety pocket so that the ice didn't try to squeeze or crush. --then the wind kicked up as last night's nor-easter blew in.... We started rocking and suddenly our 2 inches of wiggle room between the ice wasn't enough. We would SLAM into the ice and everything would shake and rattle. It was really creepy, but our lines were just tight enough that it wasn't really doing any damage. Just making an awful racket and being a little scary. Our paint at the waterline might be a little worse for wear, but I doubt it.

And then there was the bilge pump hose issue... During those two days of sub zero temps the hose leading out of our main bilge pump froze over. It runs in a convoluted path from amidships to the transom and overboard above the waterline. Well, in the course of that run there are some ups and downs. The valleys created by the downs always have a bit of water in them. In the worst spot possible--of course-- the hose froze where it has to dip down to go under a bulkhead below the cockpit between two lazarettes. ugh. It took Jenny and I over 3 hours with pans of hot water, a hair dryer, space heaters, a steel wire snake, and a lot of contortions to get the dang thing warmed up and moving again. Now we know: if it gets down to zero, we have to let some of our cabin heat back there!

And through it all, we stay so toasty warm in our comfy little boat.

That's all. Otherwise it's just been fun in the snow!


Thursday, January 20, 2011


Sometimes you get into the swing of things taking a little bit longer due to the fact you live on a boat, and don't realize quite how much time is being spent with those chores until you spend a few days in a house with all the amenities.

Friends graciously offered Justin and I to stay at their cabin in the woods of New Hampshire, anytime we want. We have been wanting to get away this winter before the baby arrives, and Justin was able to finagle his schedule at work so that we had a long weekend to do so.

We had a fantastic time, and it's just such a beautiful spot. We went up with no plans whatsoever, but did bring our laundry, a few games, and of course, Willie!

Much of the laundry that we brought up was the new cloth diapers that we have. I was told to prewash them - some of them need it so that the cotton absorbs better, and some of them needed it for the fabric (PUL) to seal. Really, this was my first lesson in living aboard that laundry takes a hell of a long time to do when you live on a boat!

There are three ways of doing laundry if you live aboard. 1) You hand wash. 2) You use the marina's laundry facilities. 3) You go to a laundromat/friend's house/family's house. Over the years, we have used a combination of the three.

When I hand wash, I have to go into the lazarette, pull out life jackets, extra dock lines, and fenders, and pull the 5 gallon bucket out. I then have to empty the bucket, which usually has more lines in it, then I generally put everything back where it came from. I fill the bucket full of water, add soap, swish it around, and then add the clothes. I have a plunger that is used solely for laundering purposes, and I generally bring the bucket inside and set it under the table, where I plunge our clothes for a couple of minutes. Throughout the day, I will continue to plunge them as I walk by the bucket. Once I've decided that I've squished them enough, I dump the water, rinse the clothes, and hang them on the lifelines to dry. (Note: This must be done on a sunny day, otherwise the bucket gets thrown in the head and the rinsing/drying happens the next day).

When I wash clothes at the marina, I have to load up an Ikea bag or two (those things are enormous) and, depending on how much laundry I have, I may or may not have to scope out a dock cart. In the winter, this is an easy task because we are docked right next to the drop off point. In the summer, it's a whole other story. At Constitution Marina, dock carts can be hard to come by in the summer, and sometimes you have to walk the entirety of the marina just to beg one off of someone. Once you get the cart, you check your pockets twenty times to ensure that you have enough quarters and lug up all of your laundry to the washers and dryers, hoping like mad that someone else isn't using them. After the 15 minute walk to get to the washers, you almost always find that at least two of the three of them are full. As long as there's one, you're ok, but you have to be diligent to promptly switch your laundry over so that it doesn't get stolen by someone else....otherwise you'll only get one load of laundry in that day. Then there's always the issue - do I walk the 15 minutes back to the boat, only to turn around again to switch my laundry over? I usually bring everything I need to also take a shower, so that I can wait for it. Anyway, you get my point. Laundry takes forever when you have to do it at the marina, and you had better not expect to get much else done that morning/afternoon/evening.

The laundromat isn't too terrible, actually. You just have to fill those ikea bags, find that dock cart, and bring the laundry up to the car, then reverse the process when you get home.

So, when we got to our friend's place and the washer and dryer were in the very same living space, it was absolutely amazing and it suddenly dawned on me that we (boat people) are a little bit crazy for doing any laundry at all!

This has also made me realize that cloth diapering on a boat is going to be a little bit insane, so after much researching, we will be going with diaper covers and flat fold diapers for the majority of our cloth diapering. The flats are a square piece of fabric that you fold in various ways to cover the baby's bum. The great thing about them is they're way easy to hand wash, and they dry really, really quickly. I really think it's the only way that I will sanely cloth diaper the baby on this boat. We also have about a dozen of what are called pocket diapers and those have microfiber inserts, but both the cover and inserts must be washed each time, and they don't hand wash as easily, nor do they dry nearly as fast.

Hanging the flats to dry after their first, second and third prewash.

Newborn size diaper covers, thanks to Serena and Tig!

Pocket diapers and microfiber inserts. Notice that the snaps make them a one-size-fits-all diaper.

I realize that this is an insanely long post to discuss the ''simple'' topic of laundry, but I think fellow liveaboards will totally understand it, and dirt dwellers might get a small understanding of just how simple their lives really are! (And for the record - I am totally NOT complaining...I just found it interesting enough to write about).

Friday, January 14, 2011


As you might already know. It snowed like mad here a couple days ago (about 14 inches). Jenny and I both love having some real snow around. I think it reminds us both of Michigan and it is just fun to play in. Most of Boston, myself included, got the day off of work. Both boats, and their shrinkwrap covers, faired just fine. All in all, it was a good storm. The snow was very sticky and icy, and if you look close in the pictures of the rigging you can see that the snow grabbed onto the wires and built up into big spirals a couple inches thick.... like a giant candy cane for a backstay, with no red parts of course! So fun!

And we had fun playing in the snow. We ran around with Willie for a while and threw snowballs at fellow boaters on the docks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Preparing the Boat for a Baby

I am nearing the 30 week mark of my pregnancy, and that means one thing. We have to get this boat ready for a baby. I will be considered full-term in 7 weeks, so at the very latest we should have the boat entirely prepared for her arrival by then!

Slowly, we have been cleaning up the boat in preparation (and I mean really slowly...we really have to do a major overhaul sooner than later!) The quarterberth went from being our storage bin to being a storage bin in the back and a sort of ''nursery'' in the front. I use the term nursery very lightly. Basically, we bought a couple of plastic drawers and filled them with her clothes and cloth diapers, blocking off the rest of the quaterberth from view. (As you can see from the pictures, I am in the process of painting the ugly white plastic, and covering the front of the drawers with pretty fabrics).

The nav desk is right there, so Justin has rigged it so that the top of the desk is completely flat. We covered that up with a pad, and that is the changing table. Above that, I took some netting and hung it up with a few books in it.

One thing that I have heard fantastic things about was the tummy tub, and I really wanted to give it a try with our little one. If you do a search on youtube, you will find some fantastic videos of babies LOVING these. Some people find them a little creepy (you have to hold their head up at all times, at least until they are able to on their own), but they're quite amazing to me in that the babies really seem to absolutely love being in them. A lot of people ask why we didn't just buy a bucket, but we have been assured that the tub is not just any ol' bucket, so we trusted what we heard and purchased one. Thankfully, it was a tiny bit smaller than I had anticipated, but that still didn't mean we had a place to put it! For now, the best place we've come up with is above the nav desk/changing table. I attached a couple of small ropes and a clip to make it easy to hang, so we'll see what we think of it up there! So far it hasn't been in the way, but we may find that it gets in the way of the changing table. Hard to say, but for now it works.

Every baby needs a fire extinguisher hanging in their nursery...

On the starboard side, we moved what had once been our olive oil/balsamic vinegar/spaghetti noodle/wine storage back to the galley, and have replaced that with frequently used baby items (or what we assume will be frequently used). We have the Ergo and slings (thanks Jon and Kelli!), some baby washcloths, a few toys, a bottle, and a couple of soothie pacifiers.

One of my favorite stuffed animals (a puppet, actually) from when I was a little girl.

Also, we will be hanging the Happy Hangup (thanks again, Jon and Kelli!) on the starboard side, over a cushion (just in case *something* would happen, she would only fall a couple of inches, instead of a couple of feet!) We are hoping that she likes it, and expect that it will become a fairly permanent fixture over there, at least for awhile.

The awesome owl picture is from Auntie Angie, and the 'welcome baby' sign (to the left of the owls) is from Grandma Caron. Grandma also made her the cute teddy bear that is in the Happy Hangup!

For the times where we'd like her in bed with us, we purchased a bassinet (super cheap on craigslist!) which will probably go on my side of the bed, or we can move it into the main salon during the day if she seems to prefer sleeping in that instead of the happy hangup. I'm sure she'll want to change things up!

Justin's favorite stuffed animal from when he was a boy.

It's a work in progress, but we are pretty happy with the way the boat is looking. A few things will have to be tied down if we want to go out for a sail, but the great thing is that we should still be able to go out just fine. We expect that we'll get out on the water far less in the next year than we would like, but at least we'll still have the option. We won't be filling our boat with random baby crap that we'll never use, because we just can't afford to, spatially.

I expect that many of my posts in the upcoming months (years?) will be far more baby related, but I will work my hardest at relating those posts to living on a boat. I have been following many boat family blogs that are very entertaining to read, and I hope that some of our ideas will be inspirations to others that living on a boat with a baby isn't a terribly strange or scary thing to do.

I expect many of Justin's posts in the upcoming months will be of the new boat and our adventures with that. We haven't been down to work on it much lately, as we just haven't had the time/money (especially money) to do much to it. It's slightly frustrating, but sometimes, that's just the way it goes.

And since I haven't posted one in awhile - here's a picture of the growing belly!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a Girl!

We have known for 2 1/2 months now, but wanted to keep it a secret. Turns out, secret keeping isn't really that fun for me, and it's definitely not fun for Justin.

But, after hiding this secret for so long, we decided that we needed a good time to tell everyone, so Christmas it was! We told our families first, then announced it to our friends.

We've had two ultrasounds now, and they're pretty positive that we are having a little girl!

Also - the 3D ultrasounds are fairly creepy, but they did one for us at the last appointment. It's fun to have a small idea of what our little girl looks like...but it won't be long now before we know for sure. Mind you, there are strange shadows that show up in these pictures, but you can still make out the facial features pretty well!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas 2010

Every so often, Boston gets hit with a doozy of a snowstorm. Of course, this year it happened the day that Justin was supposed to fly out to his parents in Michigan...and of course, it cancelled his flight. Long story short - he never did make it home for Christmas this year and we were both pretty bummed about it. I was able to see my family for about 5 days and Justin's for about a day, and then flew back to Boston with a suitcase full of presents.

It was an odd Christmas - our very first (and hopefully only) apart since we started dating. Ah well, 5 out of 6 Christmases together is not so bad, and with baby on the way, I highly doubt that we will miss any more of them together, for baby's sake!

A few pictures of the festivities:

Our Nephew, Eli and his mama (my sister in law)

Eli and his daddy (my brother)

Me and my mom

Eli with his grandpa (my dad)

My family was so kind as to throw us a baby shower while I was home!!

Justin's sister

Me with Justin's mom

me with Justin's dad

I bring Justin gifts from family!

And I promptly pass out from exhaustion. Pregnant traveling is hard work.