Renovation Update #3: August 20 – October 20

Let’s see. Where were we?

The old addition from the 1910s (bathroom & sleeping porch) had been removed. The land had been graded. The foundation was poured. The walls and roof were framed. Windows (but no doors) were installed.

I think this is the last photo I showed you.

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That week we picked out countertops for the kitchen (quartz) & master bathroom (Jerusalem stone).

I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not, but when they were framing the addition in July they hit a wire (that we thought was dead) and half the lights went out in our house. Turns out even though we paid to have the house rewired in 2007, the only rewired half (maybe even 1/3) of the house which meant some of the dead wires were actually live. Soooooo we got the super fun news that we would have to pay to have it rewired a second time (by different electricians of course, HA!). WHAT.A.MESS.

Not only did we have all the dust from the addition, but now we had dust all in our house because they were having to cut through our ceilings (wood) and floors. Fun times. BUUUUUT after 6 weeks with only a little bit of power (no lights in our closet or bathroom, for instance) we finally could see again!

The last week of August they demoed my current kitchen. (For those keeping track: we lost our laundry room and downstairs bath in mid-May and then our kitchen in August. There’s six of us sharing one bathroom right now. There’s no kitchen. And I have to take laundry to my parents’ house every day. …and there’s no end in sight to this madness.)

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Our current kitchen and dining room and storage room and Lego building room and homework room all rolled into one. (Our refrigerator is in the middle of our hallway.)

Mary Margaret’s bathroom (in what was the old kitchenette in the boarding house) also got demoed and she was on cloud nine.

In early September we had wiring, plumbing, and HVAC vents ran. They also blew in the insulation and started on the metal roof. That took a few weeks.

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We met with Gina Sims Designs about this time. I’ve been struggling all along about what color to paint the kitchen cabinets. I knew I wanted a greige on the walls, but the cabinets were a struggle (we’re having brick floors and a green backsplash and a grey tile surround on the fireplace–so lots going on!) and it was so nice talking to her and my high school friend, Meredith, about what we should do. We settled on Smokey Taupe (Benjamin Moore) for the cabinets, Wind’s Breath for the walls (Benjamin Moore), and Fort Pierce Green (Benjamin Moore) for the mantle. She also talked me into staining the island which we hadn’t planned on doing, but now I’m really excited about that.

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That week we also finalized appliance choices. I went with a brand called Dacor. We spent HOURS at a showroom one morning and I looked at every brand you can imagine. In the end I liked the Dacor cooktop the best so that’s what I went with (it’s 48″, but I’m adamant about NOT wanting a builtin griddle/grill with it–just gimme allllll the burners!).

At the end of September they started the dry wall process. My kids were fascinated with the men on stilts and spent A LOT of time staring at them through the door!

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This is the hallway looking towards the back door.

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This is MM’s bathroom.

The first week of October they started adding the tongue and groove ceiling to the addition to match the rest of our house.

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This is the from the back of the kitchen looking towards the old kitchen/new butler’s pantry

In mid-October they framed in our two sets of doors in the addition–our old back door was re-installed, as well as a set of French doors we found at Scott’s.

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Last week they started putting the Durock down to get ready for the tile to be laid.

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This is the back door looking towards the laundry room on the right and towards the front door.

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Kitchen windows

We also got some of the trim and wainscoting installed in the hallway of the addition (to match the original hallway). It’s tongue and groove so it takes longer to install than the large sheets you can buy.

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And that’s where we are.

In some ways so much has happened and in some ways it’s crawling slower than a snail’s pace. Our contract says it’ll be ready by Halloween, but well, that’s in ten days and I don’t even think we could make that date if they worked around the clock 24/7 til then.

And it’s disheartening because we’re living in two rooms (the living room and dining room) downstairs and three rooms upstairs (one bathroom and two bedrooms for six of us). The kids sleep on the floor, half of our lives are in boxes, and the other half? It’s scattered around the house, piled on top of each other and everything we own is covered in dust. We have no kitchen sink (or drain) so I pour out old drinks off our porch and then wash them in the bathroom sink.

Our lighting takes up the entire parlor, there’s an extra mantle in the downstairs bedroom, the faucets are in the living room, the (oh so beautiful black walnut) laundry room island top is propped up in the dining room. Thankfully the cabinet guy and the countertop guy and the appliance guy are all keeping our stuff at their warehouses/shops or we seriously wouldn’t be able to move.

I keep telling myself I’ll be okay if it can get done by Thanksgiving, but anything longer than that and I’ll be 100% over it (we’ve been living in this state for 5.5 months now) because there’s no way I can decorate for Christmas with the amount of boxes in this house–there’s just physically no room. I’m kind of having a pity party about it all right now. Okay, who am I kidding? I AM having a pity party. We have such a long way to go and I’ve kind of getting to the point where I don’t think we’ll ever actually finish it. HA!

1


Renovation Update #2 as of August 19th

This is an update that I was going to publish on August 19, 2019…but never hit the finish button. Oops! So read this all real quick and I’ll give you a new update on October 19th–lots has happened since August!

Hi, hope you are all doing well! I thought I would pop in and give an update on what’s been going on for the last month at Brogdon House.

Let’s see, where were we? Ahhhh yes, they had finished the demoing of the old addition and just started excavating.

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After that got all smoothed out they got ready for the foundation.

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(Before the roof we on these kiddos spent A LOT of time looking out of the second floor kitchenette/MM’s future bathroom window at the workers.)

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The kids loved playing on the floor joists.

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(Another place to watch all the action–our back door. I feel sorry for anyone working on our house because there’s ALWAYS at least one pair of eyes watching them.)

At the beginning of August we got walls!

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This is just temporary waterproofing for now. Every time I look out of our bathroom window I think it’s snowed, ha!

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On Friday we met with the cabinet maker and we laid out all the cabinets (+ plumbing). It still is hard to believe that I’m going to actually have a counter top on both sides of my cooktop. And around my sink. Blows.my.mind.

And that’s where we are now! Up next is the plumbing and electrical–eek!

0


Old Southern House is Getting Some New Parts!

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Dusting off the old blog because we’ve started on the renovation/rehabilitation we’ve been planning for going on TWELVE YEARS now and I know I will regret it down the road if I don’t record all the details now.

SO…here you go!

We started working with an architect last spring and then a structural engineer in the fall. We had all the plans finalized in February of what we wanted (1,800 square foot addition plus redoing the current kitchen into a butler’s pantry and making the current kitchenette into MM’s bathroom).

We met with a couple of contractors at the end of March and signed a contract by the end of April.

Mid-May we had some trees removed (including a giant Black Walnut which we’re going to make the countertops with in the butler’s pantry and mudroom).

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The last week of May into the first week of June we had all the siding removed.

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A couple weeks in June we had the current electrical lines and gas lines moved (they both ran through the backyard…so random!).

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Which leads us up to the last two weeks–demoing the sleeping porch/laundry room/downstairs bathroom addition that was added on in the 1910s-1920s.

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And today they started excavating so we can pour the footings/foundation/whatever you want to call it next, ha!

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(Moseby loved this pile of dirt; sorry, we just got back from the water park, can you tell?)

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And that’s where we are now! So exciting and just a wee bit stressful (we haven’t had a washer & dryer in a month and all six of us are sharing one bathroom. At least we have a kitchen…for now at least, HA!!).

{You can see our everyday crazy life by following me on instagram .}

2


The Story of Her {yes, HER!}

Oh my, y’all, this month has FLOWN by! I’m sure it’s because she’s a newborn, the holidays, the three others I have at home, and the sleep deprivation…but still, it feels like just yesterday I was still miserably pregnant and itching to get her out and now she is here, smiling (yes! first intentional smile yesterday!) and cooing and completely oblivious to all the craziness around her.

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If you’ll indulge me I would like to share her birth story. I make a picture book for each child detailing their entrance into the world and putting it on the blog gives me the push to actually get on with it and not wait around until she’s six months old like I did with Lawson.

On Halloween my OB told me he would take her at 39 weeks and gave me the date of Monday, November 6th. (What’s random is that MM’s birthday is 1/8/9 (1 + 8 = 9) and Bonnie’s birthday is 11/6/17 (11 + 6 = 17)…how crazy is that?!)

That weekend it was a mad dash getting the house 90% ready for Christmas, packing the other three kiddos’ bags, and making sure to do one last thing as a family of five (corn maze…lordy!).

On Monday at 5:30 we arrived at the hospital to meet our delivery surprise. I’m not sure if you can see our stickers but his says “Team Pink” (he said it was a girl from the beginning) and mine said “Team Blue” (I’ve thought all four were boys!).

They took us right back and I got ready. What’s so strange and surreal about a planned c-section is that you don’t feel like you should be having a baby–your body (and baby) are just having another day and then boom! baby is out and the whole postpartum thing starts (I started producing colostrum within six hours of a planned c-csection–that’s pretty cool for my body if I don’t say so myself to go from growing a baby to nourishing a baby so quickly!).

We watched the news for a bit (a record breaking temperature day) and then it was time to be wheeled back and get my spinal block. You know how they make you sit down and lean forward to get a spinal block or epidural? Well, my yoga has made me so flexible that when they told me to lean forward I put my head all the way down between my ankles they told me I bent over too far–something they’ve never told a pregnant woman, HA! (Another random bit: I taught the anesthesiologist’s two daughters years ago and now they are both grown women. #iamold)

I had messaged one of my high school friends earlier in the week asking if she was working the morning of my c-section since she is a L&D supervisor at the hospital. She said that, no, she was getting off right as I was getting there, but that she would stay with me and take pictures for me in the OR. That was the sweetest gesture to stay a couple of hours after her shift ended just to give me some photos of my baby coming out since photographers aren’t allowed in the OR and I really can’t thank her enough (but I’ll try one more time: thank you, Katie!).

Now, of course nothing with me goes as planned. My blood sugar was very low (55, oops) and my blood pressure would dip dangerously low the whole time (90s/50s) so I was having to get lots of meds to bring it up or I felt like I was going to puke/pass out (with MM I had the opposite problem, my BP got up to 240/170!). And then there’s the whole having a c-section-after-a-tummy-tuck which took almost three times as long as my other two c-sections and was a bit more, uhm, intense.

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And then we hear the words we’d be anxiously waiting to hear, “It’s a…” followed by

GIRL!

Now, I’m going to be honest, even though I was “Team Boy” I kinda knew it was a girl. You see, from the very beginning Mary Margaret was 100% positive she was getting a sister. She even said, “I was the only one praying for a baby. Every day I’ve been praying for a sister and God won’t let me down.” And y’all, when someone says that…well, you believe them. So when they told us it was a girl we both just smiled and said, ‘Good!’ (I’m sure we were the most unsurprised delivery surprise parents they’ve ever encountered!)

She was born at 8:28am and weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 20.5″ long (so NOT the 99th percentile baby (in weight) they kept saying I was going to have, but she was quite long considering how squished she was in there with my muscle repair).

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Within five minutes or so we knew something was a little off even though her APGAR scores were 9 at one minute and five minutes because she was grunting–just like her big brother did. All babies have fluid in their lungs (since they’re living in it) but it gets pushed out in a vaginal delivery so when you have a planned c-sections and no contractions and no pushing/baby in birth canal, many babies have fluid in their lungs and grunt. So they put her on oxygen and told us they were going to take her to the NICU for observation. Thankfully her daddy got to hold her hand for a second and I got to catch a glimpse of her.

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I went to recovery for a few hours {stayed two hours longer than planned because of blood pressure issues} while C. took our family to visit her in the NICU…but not our kids. Because it’s RSV season children under 12 aren’t allowed in the NICU  and to say MM was crushed was an understatement. She had waited nine long months (her whole life even?) for a sister and to be kept from her, oh my, she cried and cried.

After a few hours I was wheeled into the NICU on the way to my room so I could look at my baby for a few minutes. It felt so surreal, but familiar in a way, to finally see the baby that had been growing inside of me.

After twelve hours they removed my catheter and C. wheeled me down to the NICU. We weren’t allowed to hold her just yet so we just sat & stared at her (and couldn’t get over how much she looked like MM!).

At the twenty-four mark I was allowed to shower (I’d already been walking up a storm since my catheter was removed–I can heal from a c-section like no one’s business! And let me just tell you, I felt better (so much better!) 24 hours after my c-section than I did the last four months of pregnancy. The pain and pressure of a pregnancy after a tummy tuck is awful) and then I headed back to the NICU in hopes of being able to hold her. I was thrilled when the doctor allowed me to hold her for about an hour (but just once that day).

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It was so hard to put her down when my hour was up. We would go back down every couple of hours and sit by her side and just stare at her. She did great while in the NICU–blood sugar was perfect {always a concern when a mom has gestational diabetes no matter how well controlled} and she was on (forced) room air and tolerating that too. I brought 132mL of frozen colostrum with me to the hospital and started pumping and getting more at six hours. She “ate” through a feeding tube for the first two days and every feed was my milk (I think she took only 3 or 4 ounces of formula the whole time we were at the hospital which is great for a mom who has had a breast reduction) and left the hospital only 1/2 an ounce under birth weight (another huge deal).

This is one of my first pumps after delivery. Considering it took 36 hours for even a drop to come out for Lawson I was on cloud nine.

At the 48 hour mark we were allowed to hold her whenever we wanted (C.’s first time!) and I was allowed to breastfeed.

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That evening (so 60 hours old) they moved her to the step down NICU and took her off her IV and breathing tubes. MM still couldn’t hold her but we were allowed to walk her to the door of the little step down room and she got to glimpse inside while the nurse held up her sister. MM just cried. Which of course made me cry.

The next afternoon (she had to be in the step down NICU for 24 hours without oxygen or feeding tube; she was now 3.5 days old by this point) she was moved into our room which felt so surreal (I feel like this whole post I keep saying it, but it’s true) to finally be able to take care of my baby on my own and put little clothes on her.

I don’t think we put her down!

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…well, except to take a picture or two! 😉

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That evening we had Mom bring MM by. We didn’t tell her that her sister had been released from the NICU a few hours earlier and had her laying in her bassinet as MM walked in. I think you can tell how MM felt about it. (Their matching shirts say “Besties for the restie”)

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The following afternoon, four-and-a-half long days after checking in, we were discharged. We walked our girl out to our car on a beautiful fall afternoon. It felt perfect.

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We made it home just in time for the oldest two to get off the bus (Moseby ran down the street towards us with the biggest smile on his face and screaming, ‘My baby sister is home! My baby sister is home!’) and Lawson came home shortly after. Her brothers were head over heels in love with her and there’s been much arguing over who gets to hold her first.

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And even though her birth didn’t go as planned and we had to stay in the hospital an extra day or two, I wouldn’t change a thing. She fits in perfectly and now that she’s here it feels like we were missing something before she arrived and now we are complete.

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So what’s her name?

Bonnie because it means “beautiful baby”. Grace after my grandmother, Mama Grace Harris, who made this world a beautiful place to live with her flowers and her loving heart for everyone she met. Who made me her granddaughter even though we weren’t related by our blood, or some legal papers, or even our skin color—it was our hearts that were intertwined—and my, how I miss her every day! Nuel is after my great aunt, Nuel Brown Melton, who passed away the week before Bonnie was born. She made this world a beautiful place to live with her sharp wit and love of family. I know our Bonnie will make this world a beautiful, and better, place to live as well and that is why we chose to give this little baby such a long (but beautiful) name as well.

And sweet Bonnie, you have our hearts and we are all wrapped around your little finger.

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1


A Third Trimester Recap…and an Announcement

Gonna need to cram my third trimester health/fitness/purchase recap in one post because I’ve got an announcement to make…but you’ll have to wait for that at the end. 😉

First up, I just gotta share our Halloween photo. Every year the kids (mainly MM) want to do a family theme.

One year it was a beekeeper + bee.

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One year we were the Wizard of Oz.

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One year it was a circus.

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Last year we were Peter Pan.

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And this year we were a pet store.

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I was the employee (I got my PetsMart shirt + name tag off eBay and felt very official, HA!) and the pets I had for sale were a goldfish, a lizard, a parrot, and a (giant) mouse.

Okay…on to my third trimester recap.

Health. 

Thankfully, nothing new came up this trimester. Yeah, I still had pregnancy-induced hypertension, BUT I didn’t have to increase my medicine at all this pregnancy once I started it at 20 weeks AND every preeclampsia test I took (PIH panels and 24-hour urine collections) were negative. This is my first pregnancy where I haven’t had Pre-E…in fact, I never once “spilled” protein (in my urine). This is huge for me.  And yeah, I still had gestational diabetes (and I’ve had to increase my NPH bedtime insulin from 10 units at 25 weeks to 20 units at 37 weeks, but that’s completely normal to increase insulin as your placenta makes you more insulin resistant as pregnancy progresses), BUT I’m only on one insulin shot a day and my blood sugar numbers are awesome. #tootingmyownhorn

So I’m really happy with how things are going. Well, other than the throwing up. Every week or so I wake up and throw up…a lot. It’s only been during the third trimester (I only threw up once in the first trimester) and the only connection I see with each incident is eating dinner later at night/AFTER I work out. I think my muscle repair keeps my stomach so “smooshed” because of the giant baby it can’t digest meals very fast and if I eat too late…well, it’s not a good thing at all the next morning.

Again I’ll say it: do NOT get a muscle repair/tummy tuck if you plan on getting pregnant one day. I’m always sore (like I’ve done 1,000 pushups) and uncomfortable–more so than normal pregnancy.  That’s just my two cents. 😉

I finally peeked at the scale yesterday at my regular OB appointment (I close my eyes every other time) and I’ve gained 32 pounds. And I’m okay with it (but not really, HA!).

Fitness.

I am so proud (again #tootingmyownhorn) that I did not miss a single workout this trimester. Nothing about my routine has changed. I do cardio machines (usually elliptical) five days a week (at lunch), Zumba three days a week, and yoga two days a week. Plus I walk a ton.

Taken at 34 weeks by my dear friend, Amy Paulsen. 

Sure, it ain’t as pretty as it used to be, but I get it done.

An Instagram post at 35.5 weeks after a normal Zumba workout. 

And considering I was on bedrest with MM at 26 weeks, 6 days and was limited to five minute showers a day–to think I take an average of 15,000 steps/day (some days as many as 22,000!) and workout six days/week (and do four days where I do two-a-days) at 38.5 weeks pregnant? I am so proud. Go me!

Purchases.

Lordy, y’all, the purchases! That’s really all I can say, HA!!

As far as necessities I got Rock ‘n Play (I gave our old one away and it’s my #1 newborn necessity), and the Boppy, the My Breast Friend pillow (#1 breastfeeding necessity), Dr. Brown bottles, and the Boppy Lounger I loaned were all given back.

Lala trying out the new baby’s car seat. Gotta get that thing installed.

So basically I’ve just been buying fun stuff. HA!!

Here’s a little sneak peek of the bee-theme nursery. It’s not all done yet because I do want to add some personalized girl/boy stuff once baby arrives. I’ll take a ton of pictures when it is finished and post on here, promise.

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The print/picture came from here. The bedding (bumper + crib skirt) were custom made by this Etsy shop (I provided my own fabrics because I wanted a specific look). The crib sheet came from here.

I have a few newborn boy items leftover from Lawson (most were given away or sold), but I literally had only one newborn girl sleeper from MM so I have bought a couple of girl sleepers (and kept the receipt) and even this adorable headband. This is getting exciting!

I bought some muslin on Etsy in grey and light yellow/beige and have sewn a couple of swaddle blankets that I trimmed with vintage lace I had on hand.

The other purchases I’ve made can be found on my post about what to pack in your hospital bag if you’re a repeat c-section and/or low supply mama.

Now for the surprise.

Okay…you ready?

Guess who has an official birthday?!

BENJI or BONNIE!!

And it’s Monday!!

Sorry for all!the!explanation!marks! but I’m just a wee bit excited.

This Monday (November 6th) at 7:30am the newest Baby Cooper will be making their entrance into the world and I’m over the moon excited/anxious. Excited to met him/her, but anxious with all the things I have to do this weekend (get a spray tan, decorate the entire house (minus trees) for Christmas, clean and put up every piece of laundry, buy groceries, get my oil change/car inspected/cleaned, play musical car seats in the van as we add another car seat, pack the other three kids for some time at my parents’ house, etc. You know, just the necessities. 😉 Oh lord, the to-do list is a mile-long). And then I’m already anxious/apprehensive about the whole sleep deprivation thing (yours truly love some sleep), but I’m so excited to meet this sweet baby…and get my body back (and sleep on my stomach, just keeping it real, y’all).

Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see photos of the bambino–I’ll be posting on there before this blog. And if you’re the praying kind, I’d really appreciate them Monday morning. <3

3


The Longest I’ve Ever Been Pregnant

As of Saturday I’m more pregnant than I’ve ever been.

(I had my two bios at 37 weeks, 5 days and as of today I’m 38 weeks.)

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And lord knows, it ain’t all sunshine and roses over here. I’m sore, my core literally aches 24/7, my heartburn is constant, my skin itches, my face is puffy, my fuse is short, and I’m D-O-N-E.

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That being said, I know that the Natalie of almost a decade ago that was trying so desperately for another child would have been plain ticked off to hear someone complain about pregnancy when it was all that Old Natalie wanted. You know that saying: “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now”? Well, it hits home for me.

(Buuuuut, I am human, haha! And I am over being pregnant.)

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I can tell #4 is happy as can be in there too and doesn’t have any plans on coming out of his/her own (I am “not dilated at all; not even one little bit” as my OB told me last Tuesday) so until the doctor decides *I* am healthier with it on the outside (meaning it’s doing more harm than I can handle), it’s staying put.

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Which means it may be in there until November 14th at 7:30am. (Please please please don’t let me go to 40 weeks, 1 day is what I pray ’round-the-clock.)

So, there’s my update: my baby is still cooking with no plans of coming out anytime soon!

All pictures in this post were taken at 37 weeks, 5 days…too bad the most recent ones {taken by MM!} were not in a hospital gown!

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Halloween Party Down on the Farm

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Last Friday we had our annual Halloween party for the kiddos. If I’m guessing correctly this is our 6th year doing it, but with this pregnancy brain, who knows!

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I can put this party together pretty quickly since I don’t change anything. Story time, feeding the goats + cows, pumpkin hunt, hayride, and dinner. It takes somewhere between 2-2.5 hours for the 150-ish (YES, 150+!) guests to do all those things. We’ve got it down to a science.

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I even serve the same menu every year: mummy dogs (hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls), a pumpkin throwing up guacamole, a Jack ‘o lantern veggie tray, oranges colored in to look like Jack ‘o lanterns, and s’mores. We also have chips, regular hot dogs, chex mix, and chicken nuggets.

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And I made prep even easier this year by using both the Walmart Clicklist (use this link and get $10 off your first order) and the Sam’s Club Club Pickup. It took me about twenty minutes to order everything online and another five to pick it up. #gamechanger

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This year I debated on whether to do it or not since we’re getting so close to D-Day, but I’m glad I did it since this baby seems to be as happy as can be cooking on the inside (I wish I could say the same…ahem…).

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And this year was special because it was the first time Lawson got to invite his friends since he started preschool this year. It was funny to see his face when he recognized the kids in his class with the whole “I know you from somewhere” look.

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It’s crazy to think how long we’ve been doing it–I found this picture from (I think) our first party back in 2012. Look at my wittle bitty babies! My, how time flies!

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…and just think I have at least ten more years of doing these shindig since Baby B. isn’t even here yet, HA!

1


A Hairbow Tutorial and the Last Day to Get Your Guesses In!

This past Friday was our town’s homecoming game (we won 56-0) and to celebrate there’s a pep rally at all the schools, early release for a parade, an elementary school tailgate, and then the game.

Yeah, homecoming is a BIG deal ’round these parts.

I’m the co-room mom for Moseby’s kindergarten class and I made paw print pins with ribbons, noise makers (water bottles with popcorn), and hair bows for the girls in his class.

I made the pins and the noise makers when MM was in kindergarten, but hair bows? I’ve NEVER made a single one. Lord knows I’ve bought ’em, but I never made one!

So one night I just sat down, found a YouTube video (here’s the link to it–it’s super easy!) and got to work.

And this is what I made!

Not bad, huh? I followed the tutorial and the bows are on the smallish side–like 3″, I guess–which is perfect for girls 6 and under. I made a bigger one for MM that was probably more like 5″ across.

It took me like 1.5 hours to make these ten bows which I really don’t think is that bad for a first timer!


In other news today is the LAST DAY to vote for what you think Baby B. will be! The winner will get a Starbucks gift card–eek!

(You can vote here, on my Facebook page, or on my Instagram! All you gotta do is put your answers in a comment–no need to fill out the form!)

hbp_0087_babyforecast_Natalie Cooper_final

Just to give you some hints: my due date is technically November 13-21, but baby will arrive no later than November 14. As of last Friday it was already 18″ long and 6 pounds, 4 ounces…and has hair & eyelashes! Hopefully that will help you out a bit. 😉

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My Hospital Bag with Bio #3 {Low Supply & Planned C-Section}

Over the years I’ve read countless lists for what you should include in your hospital bag, but never one that really pertained to my situation–one of both a planned c-section and one with low supply (meaning I don’t make enough breast milk).

I thought maybe I would share my packing list and it would help some mama somewhere out if they were in the same boat as me.

First up: the basics.

What do you need for your baby? Well, technically I guess nothing. The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, onesies, blankets, hats, formula, and bottles. But that’s no fun! Here’s what I bring:

  • Two blankets (sometimes three)
  • Two hats/headbands
  • At least two sleepers–I find this more important if I have a winter baby and socks if the sleepers don’t have feet
  • Going home outfit
  • Specific paci if I have a preference (only MM has loved pacis)

What do you need for you? I guess nothing. The hospital provides gowns, disposable underwear, and pads. Here’s what I bring (my hospital stays have been three nights in the past; I’m allowed to shower 12 hours after a c-section when my catheter is removed and I change out of my hospital gown then, for what it’s worth):

  • Three pairs of pajamas. I have brought gowns before but I like PJs (that are very big in the waist as to not hurt my swollen, tender tummy). I try to bring at least one pair that buttons down the front for easier feeding/pumping, I just bought these (shirt.pants) and really like them.
  • SOCKS. I always forget to bring them.
  • Slippers for walking the halls (super important to do if you have had a c-section) because, ewww, the germs.
  • Going home clothes that are maternity-size ’cause duh.
  • The biggest granny panties you own.
  • This time around I’m also bringing a robe. Just because I’m getting old and mature like that.
  • Toiletries/flat iron/anything that makes you feel feminine/vitamins.

What do you need if you know you are having a c-section?

  • Like I said above, either gowns or PJ pants that are very loose.
  • A pillow so you can hold it to your abdomen when you laugh, cry, get up, or walk around those first few days. (I’ve had five major abdominal surgeries. Trust me.)
  • Stool softener. The hospital will give you one a day. No, girlfriend, no. You’ll need a lot more than that. I could give you gory details but trust me when I say you do NOT want to be constipated after an abdominal surgery.

What do you need if you know you’re going to have low supply or need to pump or want to supplement at breast? This is one I think most people don’t tell you about so women go in blind. We think that breastfeeding is so “natural” (and I guess it is to some, you lucky women know who you are), but for many it’s painful and confusing and disappointing. Here’s what I learned from breastfeeding Lala. (I am considered a low supply mama because I only made half of what he needed. I had a breast reduction (J-cup to a C-cup in 2000) so I am just amazed my body can produce even half of what a baby needs considering over five pounds of breast tissue (and milk ducts) were removed from each breast! I also have PCOS which makes your hormones wacky and doesn’t do me any favors in the breastfeeding department!)

I highly RECOMMEND talking to a lactation consultant *before* you give birth if you think you might have low supply. You can never be too prepared!

This is what I’m bringing this time.

  • My own pump. Last time it took the hospital over 12 hours to bring me a pump (and Lawson was in the NICU for 36 hours). I personally use both the Spectra S2 and the Medela Symphony (that I rent from the hospital). I find them both very comparable to each other.
  • A pumping bra. Again, just trust me. You do NOT want to sit there all hunched over and sore and holding those flanges on your boobies. I love the Dairy Fairy ones. I used this one with Lawson and got this one to try with Baby B (it has a little bit of underwire so I can wear it out of the house; I got a size ‘3’ since I’m a 36D).
  • Supplements if you so choose. Goats rue will be in my bag. (If you have any questions about supplements–I’ve tried them all–feel free to ask)
  • Frozen colostrum. I’ve been collecting 1- and 3-mL syringes of colostrum since 35 weeks (I use these syringes to store it; make sure to get ones with caps). It’s important to get permission from your doctor first, of course (some won’t let you until you’re 37 weeks, but given that I had my last two babies at 37 weeks I was allowed to do it earlier). This is very important if you have gestational diabetes because these syringes can keep your baby’s blood sugar up after birth if it dips (your milk doesn’t come in for 24-72 hours after birth so many babies of gestational diabetic mothers need formula or sugar water to keep their blood sugar up during this time). Some hospitals won’t allow you to bring in your frozen colostrum or donor milk and none will let you store it in their refrigerators (they will if you pump it in the hospital though) so I bring my own cooler and don’t tell them what’s inside.

Baby B has two milk donors (including sweet Angelica who also donated for Lawson for an entire year!)–and this is the colostrum I have on hand already. If you’ve never breastfed you won’t understand the magnitude of this–this is like winning Super Bowl AND the Power Ball jackpot, colostrum-wise!

  • A large drinking cup. Yes, the hospital will most likely provide one, but I have my own Tervis ones that I love. When breastfeeding I try to drink 100 ounces per day.
  • Nipple cream. You can thank me later. 😉
  • My Breast Friend Pillow. With MM and Moseby I used a Boppy to hold them and I loved it, but with Lawson I realized it didn’t provide enough support for the baby when nursing (it made my arms tired!) so I found this pillow and I love it!
  • Bottles with slow flow nipples. If you need to supplement with formula (or choose to put breast milk in a bottle) you’ll want to bring your own bottles if you want to go back and forth between feeding at the breast and bottle. The bottles they provide at the hospital are “newborn” bottles and the flow is faster than that of a real nipple (especially in those first few days when the baby has to try very hard to get the colostrum out) so I suggest bringing a couple of Dr. Brown’s bottles (I like the 2 oz size the first 2-3 weeks and then I pump into that size (they fit the Symphony; Avent bottles fit the Spectra S2) with a premie nipple. With Lawson I used premie nipples until he was NINE MONTHS OLD since he went back and forth between breast (with my very slow letdown thanks to my reduction) and bottle.
  • A Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) or a Lact-Aid if you are wanting to supplement at breast. Paper tape to tape the tubing in place. A nipple shield if you think you may need it. (NOTE: some hospitals provide both of these, but with Lawson the two lactation consultants I saw hadn’t EVER used an SNS (and they were no spring chickens themselves so they should have had plenty of experience with them) so thankfully I had brought my own. They did provide me with a nipple shield but Lawson was 48 hours old at that point! I say from a breastfeeding perspective go in expecting the worst and then you’ll usually be pleasantly surprised).

Other random items you might like to have:

  • Laptop and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • An extension cord for all those chargers ’cause you never know where those outlets will be
  • Camera and USB cord to connect to computer
  • Protein shakes or other snacks you don’t think the hospital will provide
  • A sign for the door (and door hanger)–is that just a southern thing?
  • Any other signs/props/special blankets, etc. for baby for photos

I think that’s it. Of course, I’m “only” 35 weeks, 2 days so I have “plenty” of time to pack more, HA! So tell me, what did I forget that was a necessity for you? Let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

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Time to Place Your Bets!

Today I am 34 weeks. I remember crying when I reached this milestone with MM. When I went on bed rest with her at 26 weeks, 6 days our first goal was 28 weeks (for 90% viability) and our second (and final goal) was 34 weeks (for lung development).

And here I am again!

So in celebration of this milestone I’m having a little contest!

From now until October 16th you can vote (on here, or on my Facebook page, or on my Instagram–but just once) for gender, date of birth, time of birth, weight, length, hair color, and hair length. You can just enter the info in a comment or you can fill out the form below.

hbp_0087_babyforecast_Natalie Cooper_final

Now, you do have to get gender right before you’ll be able to win (so if you say girl and it’s a boy you’re automatically out).

And what does the winner get? A (not too big) Starbucks gift card!

So whatcha waiting for? Get those votes in!

 

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