Friday, September 19, 2008

The Great Cloth Diaper Experiment

Cloth Diapers

I am trying to find a way to save money. One thing way we keep throwing money in the trash, literally, is with our daily diaper use. We use 6 diapers per day, per child. With four children, that diaper use adds up and it all gets thrown in the garbage.

So…Okay, maybe I am nuts but I am changing the four little ones all over to cloth diapers. Yes, I will have four children in cloth diapers. Why am I doing this insane act? Do I want to live with the smell of wet diapers in a pail? Four sets of diapers? Well, that is something I am going to find out.

Katja needs training panties. She knows how to use the potty, but she is in a lazy mode and does not always make it to the potty. With everything that is going on here, I have not been able to focus time and remind her every so often. She needs to have training panties on, instead of a diaper, which will be uncomfortable and alert her that she is wet. So, the cloth diapers here look like training panties with Velcro. I will be using the largest size on Katja, which should speed up her toilet training.

The plan is for us to find used diapers and start the kids out next week. Cloth diapers are very expensive now. There are so many varieties here.

Here is our plan.

1. Not buy the diapers new. They are really expensive.
2. Bid on used diapers on ebay.
3. Ask the neighbors and the midwife if they have any or know of anyone who has old cloth diapers they do not use anymore.
4. Put diapers on all of the children during the day. I might put them on the older ones at night. They are very absorbent.
5. Use a paper lining product that you can get cheap, to catch the BM or poop so it is easier to dispose of. I swished them out in the potty when I had my first daughter in diapers and that was gross. I do not want to have to do that now, with four little bottoms at once.
6. Put the used diapers in a pail to soak with detergent in the water.
7. Wash the diapers every other day on 60°. This is a European temperature. They have a temperature that is 95°, which is close to boiling. It would get them cleaner but it would cost us more money. I plan to use the 60° first and then if that is not enough, I will move on to the higher temperature. The German washing machine I am using is awesome and will probably get everything out on 60°.
8. Hang the diapers up to dry. I would use our dryer, but again I am trying to save the family money. These diapers are thick so they will take longer to dry if I hang them up. We have a room in our basement where I do the laundry. The cellar does not get warm ever, so it takes longer to hang dry clothes. We also have a room in the cellar where the heating unit is located. This room is warm in the winter. I will be hanging the diapers up in this room. I will be timing how long it takes to dry them in this room. I am washing a pair today and want to see how long it takes to dry. On sunny days, which are rare in the winter here, I will hang them up outside.
9. If the children get wet and have trouble sleeping through the night, God forbid, I will put one disposable diaper on them at night.

This sounds like a bunch of work, and it will be. The idea is that I am hopefully going to save 200 Euros a month by cutting back on our diaper bill.

I will keep everyone updated.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Family is in Danger of Losing Everything

Dear Friends,

This is an emergency posting asking for help. This past year, while I was pregnant with baby Sarah, several things occurred that have now put us in a real state of jeopardy.
These things were:
1. I became pregnant with Sarah in August
2. I began to bleed after lifting Kelly and taking her to a doctor appointment
3. I was put on bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy
4. I was told not to pick up my children, do housework, or I would lose the baby

So, because Katja was not even 2 and the twins not even a year old, we had to have in-house care. The doctor reassured us this was something that the insurance had to pay. Kelly, who was the sickest of the twins, was not developing and becoming mobile and needed nursing care and I needed in-home assistance while Michael was at work.

Then in September of last year, Kelly was diagnosed with West Syndrome and I stayed with her in the hospital for a week while they tried to get her seizures under control. The nursing staff then took on more hours. Again, we had a prescription at this point from my Gynaecologist and the Pediatrician stating we were a family in need and that we required care for the 3 children under 2 years of age. Michael and I were sure things would work out.

The insurance DID NOT PAY. They simply told us that it was the responsibility of the city. The city then pointed their fingers back at the insurance…and this dance went on for 7 months. During this time we had to keep someone working in the house and caring for Kelly so the nursing company we hired kept billing us.

In January we got the first diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy for Kelly and then we started to battle the insurance for therapy, and medical equipment. Do not get me wrong, they do cover the bare basics for that. What shocks me about this the most is that they knew from this diagnosis that we needed help in the house with the children but no one helped.

We contacted the local churches and they had no program to help people in need. The nurses were even calling people because they knew we were getting further in debt and that the insurance was not paying.

To make the point even worse, I also have a back problem and will need to find someone to help carry the children until it is repaired or grows stronger. On advice from the doctor, we found an AuPair to help us. Again, the insurance does not cover this cost either. Even though Kelly is non-mobile and requires more care than the other children.

Now, we have to pay off this debt, or we lose everything. I am an American but I live in Germany and therefore I have to abide by the German laws. There are laws in Germany regarding debt. My husband works for the German government in the IRS and he is not allowed by law to be in debt. If we do not pay off this debt, Michael will lose his job.

So, you find us at a precarious point in our lives. We have a brand new baby and face the possibility of losing first our car, then our house and on top of everything, Michaels job.

We have tried to pursue this matter and force the insurance or the city to pay but it has been to no avail. Now we have to try to save everything before we are sitting on the street with five children.

As I write this I am afraid of stating the truth that it has really come to this point. I am in a country far away from family and friends. I am doing the only thing I can do at this point and that is to ask for your help. We are asking for donations to pay off this debt. We owe over $8,000 backwards for this period. Michael told me yesterday that we have to have $4000 by next week. He has been keeping this from me while I was pregnant and now while the baby is small, hoping that he would find a way. Now we have to ask for help.

My father’s address in Texas is listed on the side of this post. We are taking checks payable to Janette Meyer. We are checking with the bank at the moment to see if we can get an account started in the name of Kelly. I will also be setting up a Paypal button that you can donate with a credit card. I am speaking with someone today about how to make this a tax-deductible contribution for you. We will find out soon how to write you a receipt for your tax records.

I cannot explain how afraid I am at the moment. I am trying to act positive and upbeat around my children so that they do not know what is going on. They feel something is not right.

Even a small donation would help us. Please share this post with your friends, co-workers and any you know. We really need help.

Thank you,

Mommy to Five Girls

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Blog for Kelly

I have started a new blog just for Kelly and her CP. It is titled CP Can't beat me. You can find a link to it on the left of this page.
I did this because many people want to read about all of my daughters on here and I thought Kelly and her condition, stuggles and triumphs needed their very own page.
I just posted a post about the financial dilema we find ourselves in now because of several bills the insurance would not pay. I apologize in advance that it is a bit depressing but it is 4 in the morning here and I cannot sleep because of the stress.
Anyway, check out Kelly's brand new blog!