baby shower (and a plea for malarial mommy advice)

Last weekend I jetted off to Grand Rapids, MI for a whirlwind final farewell to my family and a classy little baby shower. My sister and sister-in-law had organized the get-together from afar, sis flying in from Denver, Colorado and SIL (along with MIL and niece) from Bethlehem, PA. It was a perfect little gathering with around 30 people in all.

The shower was held at a little tapas restaurant in downtown GR, San Chez Bistro. We had an upper banquet area, sectioned off with a curtain to keep it private from the rest of the bustling afternoon crowd.  The food was delicious and abundant and seemed to take up most of everyone’s time and attention, which by my estimation was a very good thing. I much prefer chatting and sampling little marinated and skewered treats over a dizzying game of pin the sperm on the egg. And since I’m not showing much yet, it wouldn’t have been too much of a hoot to have everyone guess the square footage of my belly. And to be honest, even with the little curve I have, I think pi would be involved and who wants to bust out HS trig (or geometry?) when there are much better things to do like drag a crust of bread through some garlicky melted butter.

My favorite little detail were these party favor chocolates from Jacques Torres.  Four little truffles in the following flavors: hearts of passion (dark chocolate with passion fruit filling), the lovebugs (white chocolate with key lime filling), paperdolls (dark chocolate with chipotle spiked ganache) and missing from this line up, the “got milk” chocolate truffle (milk chocolate with a dab of cognac.) So sweet! And how perfect for a baby shower, right?

Thankfully most guests brought gift cards and books (since I was flying back to DC the next day). One incredibly crafty and talented friend made me this little blanket and block set. Check out the embroidery detail! Plus all of the plushy little blocks have jingly bells inside. Ridiculous! Handmade gifts rock the house.  I was absolutely blown away with everyone’s thoughtfulness and generosity, from the leopard print gift bag to the clever book selections. What an amazing send off for me and a welcoming for the little one.

Since arriving home, I’ve had about a week to go about scouring craigslist for the remaining necessities. I rented a ZIP car and traversed the suburban NoVA area picking up a crib, stroller and car seat earlier in the week. Monday I make another circuitous route around the greater metro area to nab a high chair, a mattress, and a bouncy seat. Baby gear central over here and I was so determined to keep it extra simple.  Ha! The movers come on Wednesday to take it all away and put it on a barge bound for Africa. A couple of last minute questions for the FS mommies out there…..

1. Did you take malaria meds when you were pregnant? Did you crush them up and give them to your infant? I am so torn on this one! Please help!!!! I know the doctors say it’s perfectly safe for both pregnant women and newborns but it just seems so severe to introduce to their little systems. (I know- a much better option than malaria itself…)

2. Cloth vs. disposables…. in a 3rd world country where there is spotty trash removal and little hope of domestic help. Thoughts? I posted this on the FB group and got some excellent feedback. Anyone else out there care to offer a little wisdom or guidance?

Thank you ALL so much. Everyone. It is such a blessing to be linked to this community and to know that I am able to keep in touch with friends and family through this blog.


10 thoughts on “baby shower (and a plea for malarial mommy advice)

  1. Hey–I give mefloquin to my baby. She started at 8 weeks. She spits up a lot on mefloquin days, and hates and hates and hates when I give it to her. I hate it too. But I keep doing it because I’m not a very conscientious mother and forget the bug spray a lot. I think I do it for peace of mind. Good luck deciding. Everyone will tell you different things. I just figure she’s so little that if she did get malaria it would attack fast and babies seem to get fevers every other week, so how do I know when it’s a scary fever? Anyway, good luck

  2. I have absolutely NO idea if this malaria med experience is valid for pregnant folks, so hopefully someone with a medical background can chime in [or you can just ask your doctor]:

    I take hydroxychloroquine for rheumatoid arthritis. As a malaria medication, you take one a week, as an RA drug you take two a day.

    One of the reasons I’m on it is because we want to try for little ones in the next few years, and unlike the stronger meds, you can apparently take hydroxychloroquine throughout pregnancy. Usually they try to wean you off of it, just in case, but if that realistically doesn’t work, it is considered to be generally not detrimental to little ones.

    Given the infinitesimal amount of of active medication in a one/week dose versus a two/day dose, I’d advise asking your doctor whether hydroxycholorquine might be a reasonable option for you. It might not be based on the type of malaria in Angola.

    On the plus side- with this many malaria meds in my system at this point, I am practically an Antimalarial SUPERWOMAN!

  3. So fun! Thinking of you with all the fun baby stuff going on. What I wouldn’t give to get on Craigslist! Hoping to do some of that on medevac this summer. Looking forward to our shower in April; the embassy ladies wanted a party excuse and felt I didn’t get a lot of the fun tiny things when Ceiba was born, since she came home at 5 mos.

    Not sure if you have room and time, but don’t forget the swing and bumbo seat, both were invaluable to us for naps and hands free time. Sounds like you are doing GREAT! Will be thinking of you as you get packed up 🙂

  4. Hi Eve: So sorry to not have been able to attend your shower. Sounds absolutely lovely………plus yummy eats (food is my life ha-ha). Love, Lana
    Good luck to you in the start of phase two of your life!

  5. I was really hoping there would be all sorts of helpful advice about the malarial meds….the only thing I have heard so far is “Well, I would do that Africa tour again with my kids so young and on the malarial meds.” Just one person’s opinion though, and I’ll be doing more research on this (though sorry it is obviously too late to help with the prego-lady question).

    1. After MUCH agonizing thought and deliberation- I’m not taking them. And I am not planning on crushing them up into my breast milk either. It seems to be about a 50/50 split on the necessity of a malarial prophylaxis in this particular region of Luanda. I recognize that I am taking a risk, but I will be stringent with all else (mosquito netting around crib, clothing to cover chubby appendages, etc.)

      1. I love your blog, your style (just amazing how you transformed the appartment) and all what you share with us! Thanks so much for being so open, your blog “inspired” me the most while considering moving to Angola (currently based in Switzerland). Nothing has been decided, yet – but in case we are moving this summer, I will definitely let you know. Anyway, I have been reading your entries one night untill two in the morning, now it’s already 1am and I know kids won’t give me break tomorrow… God bless, Daniela

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