Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why I Don't Use Special Baby Detergent

You read right, I don't use a special detergent for our babies! Just like everything else, when you put the word wedding or baby in front of it, it seems like the cost doubles!! When you have four babies, you have to be sure to stretch every single dollar as far as you can so I tend to question each purchase and categorize it into needs/wants/extras. Baby detergent is definitely an extra in our family. 

We are so blessed! This past weekend a group of women in our community got together and organized a laundry service for our babies. Generally speaking, I've been pretty successful at staying on top of laundry by washing loads constantly. Some days are better than others in terms of how much laundry we make. Spit-ups, accidents, bath times (which I've started doing every night in the last few weeks to add to sleep), all account for extra laundry. So when these incredible ladies offered to help out, knowing how precious every minute of my day is, I felt a huge relief to be blessed with this help. But when these same amazing women offered to purchase the expensive baby soap for us, I realized that perhaps I may be one of the few people who don't use special detergent for my babies.

When the babies were born, they weren't able to wear clothes for about the first month of their lives. Being born at 28 weeks, their skin was not fully developed so they were kept in isolettes where the humidity and temperature were regulated to mimic the womb wearing only diapers. So when the time came that babies were allowed to wear their first clothes, of course, I had a lot of questions. I had looked at the expensive baby detergents during my pregnancy and wondered if it was an additional cost that was really needed.  So like all things baby related, I poised the question to the amazing women (and one man) who had become my closest friends and most trusted advisers, the NICU nurses.  They told me that while the special detergents were good, often, they were an unnecessary cost and one that I didn't really need to incur unless one or more of the babies had an allergy. They also pointed out that unless we used the special detergent for our entire family's laundry, it probably wouldn't make that much of a difference. Because the babies come in such close contact with us and our clothes, if they truly were allergic, we'd need to launder our own clothes in special detergent as well.  So I tried it! I used the same detergent we wash our own clothes in, and fortunately, there were no adverse reactions. 

Our babies' clothes, our clothes, all our linens and everything else in our home is washed in plain old Tide (which I've used my entire life, my Mom used, and both my grandmothers used), Fragrance/Dye Free Downy, and I add a quarter cup of Borax to each load. This combination seems to do a great job of getting out spit-up stains from both the baby's laundry and our clothes. It also means that if needed, I can wash the babies laundry along with ours (unless it's Adam's really dirty work clothes) which means except for the cost of extra loads, I don't have to pay extra for babies' laundry, which works out well for us! 

As a parent, it's hard not to questions yourself with everything single decision you make. I know every family is different as is every child so what works for us, may not work for you but hopefully by sharing what works for us, someone else will benefit and maybe feel a little less guilty for not buying that expensive bottle of baby detergent and instead, putting that money towards something else, like diapers!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Parenthood - And the burn of sacrifice

Since becoming parents, and parents in a BIG way, Adam and I have definitely gotten a taste of giving up ourselves for our family. Parents are probably the least selfish people in the world and becoming one yourself, definitely makes you appreciate the things your own parents have done for you.

As I write this, I'm supposed to be in Dallas, walking into George Strait's final concert of his final tour with my husband. George Strait has been a part of Adam's life, my life, and our life together for forever. Baby Blue has always been my song and on our very first date, it was the first song Adam and I danced to ever. On our wedding night, while we didn't have a big reception, Adam and I danced to George Strait, played off his phone in his coat pocket, atop the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Houston. And on our honeymoon, we went to see George (in nosebleed seats) in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

So when the local radio station, 93Q, had a call in contest to win tickets late last year, Adam set out trying to win them for a week. It was the last day of the contest, a Sunday afternoon, and we were coming back from the beach. I was very big and pregnant and took a nap in the car but had woken up for a pit stop. We got back in the car and they said it was time to call. I didn't even feel like calling because I was tired and didn't think there was much of a chance of winning, but I slowly picked up my phone, found the number and dialed!

Imagine my shock and surprise when I was the right caller! So since that day, Adam and I have had plans that this would be our first (and probably last) getaway from the babies just the two of us for a long, long time. We looked forward to this day all through the pregnancy, I looked forward to it on the table in the OR the night the babies were born when I developed preeclampsia, we talked about it all during our 52 days in NICU, even sharing our plans with some of our nurses.  Unfortunately, part of life, means sometimes we have to give up the things we really look forward to for something greater than us.

To provide a better life for our family, Adam recently took a position in the oil and gas industry which means he will travel a lot. Duty calls and unfortunately, duty called at the wrong time this time! We know this is just the first time of many times we will have to miss out on events and family functions because of his job but the sting still hurts none the less! 

We had hotel reservations for months, plans for a dinner date, and everything lined up, but at the last minute (literally two days before), Adam was called away for work. We know that our children won't know our sacrifice (this one or the ones to come) for many years, if they ever do, and this is just the first of many disappointments in our own plans. But we know that the most important work we are doing is raising our babies and we agree that sacrifice will be a part of doing such and is worth it.

Raising quadruplets definitely takes a toll on us as individuals and on our marriage. Four babies pretty much require constant attention and care, often at the cost of having any alone adult time (and often, even time to shower alone). Adam and I have been parents to four babies for almost five months now. We are in an interesting transition period going from just the two of us, to an instant big family!  Before the babies were born, I didn’t think too much about the two of us going grocery shopping together, or jumping in the car on a whim to grab dinner or catch a quick movie. Nowadays, Adam and I spend our days working harder than we ever have in our lives to see that our four little miracles are cared for. On top of that, it seems like we have to work even harder on our marriage! So when special time we had set aside to focus on our marriage, with childcare, hotel rooms, dinner plans, and George Strait is ripped away in a matter of days, it really stings.

But such is life and it will go on! At the end of the day, we still have four beautiful babies and we have each other which is all that matters. We know that in a year, we probably won't remember the concert we didn't get to go to, but we will look at four little miracle babies as they're hopefully taking some of their first steps, and won't regret it one bit! And maybe, just maybe, around that time, we'll be able to sucker some other poor soul(s) into watching them for us so we can have our first night alone!