Taking Action, Getting Results… and a LOT of diapers!

Wow. The numbers are in from The Great Diaper Drive, a month long September 2013 partnership between WHNT News 19 and RocketCityMom.com to collect diapers and wipes for local babies.

They… are… awesome.

Are you ready for this? Due to the amazing support of local businesses and partners and most of all you our viewers, together we have raised more than 40,000 diapers for Manna House!

Manna House is a Huntsville non-profit providing food and other necessities to families. The need is often hard to fill and administrators there told me some really heartbreaking stories of need… right in our own community. Everything from a mom who just lost a job and never expected to be in a position to need “charity” to women facing long-term struggles with poverty.

A recent study suggested many American mothers struggle to afford the cost of diapering even one child – sometimes having to space out or skip diaper changes all together. That story was a big touch-point for taking action and Manna House administrators admit they’ve seen moms face the same struggles in the Tennessee Valley.

So let’s take a quick look at how we got to 40,000+. First of all, there’s the turnout at the Kidventure “Diaper Shower” event in Madison. Here’s what your donations piled up looked like…

Diapers piled high outside Kidventure in Madison.
More than 7,500 here!
Michelle Stark and a young supporter of the cause at the Kidventure "Diaper Shower."
Me and a young supporter of the cause.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11th WHNT News 19 also put together a “Blitz Drive” to benefit the cause. I was live outside The Rock Church in Huntsville with some of my co-workers… braving the heat and making frequent trips to Wendy’s for snacks. Ha! Our total haul? 8,600!

My favorite stories from that day include a guy who showed up on his motorcycle with packs of diapers rigged-up to the seat! Ha! What a sight that must have been on the highway. So manly and yet, so feminine. lol.

One of the more creative drop-offs we saw.

One of the more creative drop-offs we saw.

I also heard from a lot of moms who said, “I’ve been there. Desperate and frazzled and worried about the bills.” It was really moving to see so many people take time out of the day to help strangers and their sweet little babies. One woman even made some stunning handmade blankets to keep Manna babies warm. Seriously…. they were so beautiful.

Back to the math. Manna House also received direct donations of at least 2,300 diapers and donations online were steady. Another 15,000 diapers will be purchased at Costco with money donated directly to the non-profit as part of the drive.

THANK YOU so much to everyone who helped us with this effort. I know a lot of you followed me through my pregnancy and birth and also helped to support this cause. If you have suggestions for a future event (to increase drop-off convenience for example) please leave them below!

Also, if you’d like to donate to to Manna House (and they do still need the donations) please click here.


What To Read For Pregnancy And Baby

I am now just two weeks away from my due date and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my baby girl. Most of the “prep work” has been done. Nursery is mostly ready. Central areas are baby-proofed. My husband and I have been working with our doula to prepare for delivery.

Really, there’s not much left for me to do now but wait, try to relax despite an enormous tummy… and read.

If you’ve been following my journey through pregnancy, you know already that I’ve spent a LOT of time with books and various web resources in the last nine months. Not just to educate myself for WHNT News 19’s special Birth Options series of reports but also for my own knowledge.

To save you and your lovedones the trouble of trying to suss out the best books on pregnancy and baby, I’d like to take some time to recommend a couple of my favorites. Some I found on my own, others were recommended to me. So, without further ado, here are the texts I found most valuable:

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic Guide To Healthy Pregnancy

Mayo Clinic Guide To Healthy Pregnancy

A great book walking you through all the aspects of pregnancy from the well-respected Mayo Clinic. There are week-by-week breakdowns of what’s happening to your body and baby, as well as tips for preparing your home and work-life for a child. You’ll also find monthly exercise tips. Written from a medical perspective, from doctors who are also parents, I found this book very helpful in explaining some of the terms I encountered in talking with my OBGYN and understanding routine procedures like induction, c-section, etc.

Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth

A wonderful book written by one of the world’s most respected midwives, Ina May Gaskin. You’ll read stories of women who chose to birth without drugs and interventions and learn about a more holistic approach to the labor and delivery process. You’ll also learn what defines the midwifery model of care and how it differs from a modern hospital experience, which typically involves various medical interventions. I found this book a nice, more spiritually focused contrast to the medical texts I encountered.

Baby 411

Baby 411

Baby 411

My good friend got me this book shortly after I learned I was pregnant and I’m just now getting around to reading it. I can sum it up in one word: practical. It’s packed with cut-through-the-jargon advice on feeding, sleeping, sickness, playtime – you name it. Written by a pediatrician, the book has a sort of “reference” feel too it, so you can look up answers to any questions you have once baby arrives, in a snap. There’s also an Expecting 411 book for the pregnant mom.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is an easy way to search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across disciplines and sources. I used this web resource occasionally to see if I could find evidence-based studies on various medical interventions and complications in childbirth (i.e. how induction can impact the rate of c-sections in first time mothers.)

Momtastic’s Baby and Bump

A great online forum where you can connect with other moms and parents on all aspects of pregnancy – trying to conceive, laboring and of course delivery. If you’re looking for specific advice you can browse the many existing discussion threads or start your own. I found this to be a really nice way to get anecdotal perspective from other mommies on a whole range of issues. Sometimes the best advice is from those who’ve been there!

What were your favorite resources to prepare for pregnancy and baby? Did you have favorite books? Did your husband or partner read any? Share your insights below!


Baby’s Nursery: Go Cheap Or Whole Hog?

Hubby and I have reached that point in the pregnancy when it’s time to start putting together the nursery. You’d think that would be easy. Pick out furniture, paint the walls, add some cute blankets and voila! The perfect little place for baby and family.

Except, for some reason it’s been really difficult to decide how to approach the nursery and it all stems from one question – should we go cheap or “whole hog” as they say?

The benefits of going cheap are obvious. Babies are messy. They destroy things when they get to toddler stage. Furniture gets banged up and doesn’t last anyway. As many of you readers mentioned in our previous discussion on cloth diapering – babies often end up getting changed whenever (and wherever) you have time. That really undercuts the argument for something like a changing table and other “fancies” as my husband might call them.

Then you have those giant “nursery bedding” sets. The adorable ones with matchy-matchy animal designs and a crib skirt with bumpers like this…

Little Bedding by NoJo Dreamland Teddy 10pc Nursery in a Bag

Little Bedding by NoJo Dreamland Teddy 10pc Nursery in a Bag

I’ve seen some run as high as $300.00 including wall decorations. Really, does baby care about a few decals on the wall? I’ve also read those solid fabric bumpers can be unsafe – since baby can roll up against them while sleeping.

On the other hand…

I love, love, love all those cute little bedding sets! Maybe it’s the new mommy in me but when I see pictures like this…

or like this…

Tiffany Theissen's Lavender Celebrity Baby Nursery (Designed by Lonni Paul)

Tiffany Theissen’s Lavender Celebrity Baby Nursery (Designed by Lonni Paul)

I DO desperately want to create that “perfect” little space for momma and baby. Comments from some friends have really reinforced this idea as well. A girlfriend who just gave birth to her little one a few months ago said having a glider/rocker was such a comfort when nursing to her AND the baby. So now I’m thinking we should get one…

I also really like the idea of spending a little more on a convertible crib and some furniture pieces that will grow with our little girl and hopefully last. Then I see some of the prices – $650 for just a crib alone and a cringe.

There’s no way we’ll ever be able to spend $5,000 – $10,000 on our nursery… Maybe $750 if we really economize and I put my Google ninja skills to use to find online deals. (Contrary to popular belief, we TV people don’t all make a Katie Couric salary. lol.)

I did find this combo furniture set at Walmart…

Summer Infant - Fairfield Crib Set

…with good reviews for an almost-seems-too-good-to-be-true price. I’m wondering if I should splurge a little more though. How much we should really invest in baby’s nursery given the time we’ll spend there?

So that’s where you all come in. How much did you spend on baby’s nursery? Did you find ways to decorate for less? How much did creating that “perfect” little nest matter to you?

Post below ladies! Can’t wait to hear from you all…


Hello WHNT News 19 friends and fans!

Welcome to my baby blog!

If you haven’t heard the news yet (or noticed my expanding middle) my husband and I are expecting our first baby! Being the techy-type I am, I created this blog as a way to share my experiences with our friends and viewers in the Tennessee Valley. Over the coming months, I hope to document what I’m learning about pregnancy and birth with all of you here and get your advice and feedback about parenting in return!

Check back often. I plan to post as much as possible, in addition to my anchoring weekday mornings from 4:30-7:00 a.m. and providing technology reports for several newscasts here at WHNT News 19. I’ll be a busy momma-to-be!

We’ve also been having some great conversations over at my Facebook page. You can follow me here to join in the fun.

Again, welcome!