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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november 7. bonnie nicu_0007_edited-1

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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0


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

2


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.)

2009 and 2015

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!)

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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. 😉

1


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!

0


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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Apple Pie Friday

This week Moseby’s kindergarten class has been doing an apple unit. Yesterday they had an apple tasting party and each child was assigned an item to bring in.

apple pie

Moseby was asked to bring in an apple pie (I think his teacher knows his mama bakes just a little, haha!) so I made this one last night.

apple pie 2

I used Honey Crisp apples sliced very thinly that my parents picked up for me at the Atlanta Farmers’ Market and store-bought pie crust (because, come on, they’re kindergarteners!).  Hint: make sure to cover the crust edges with foil halfway through baking so it doesn’t brown too much.

apple pie 3

And it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

…I mean, just look at this little guy enjoying his apple pie that his mama made. RIGHT. Don’t let that smile fool you–he only drank the apple juice. #pickiesteateralive

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A Honeycomb Quilt for My Baby Bee

september 25. baby b's quilt_0001_edited-1

I picked it up last Thursday from the quilter and couldn’t wait to get the binding sewn on over the weekend.

september 25. baby b's quilt_0002_edited-1

For some reason I never feel ready for a baby until I have its quilt completed. Yes, I know how strange that is (especially considering I have not packed a single hospital bag or finished the nursery), but it’s how I nest (I’m also working on a little cross stitch project for the nursery wall and I’m feeling antsy that it’s not finished yet either!).

september 25. baby b's quilt_0004_edited-1

With this baby (that we call “Baby Bee” since it’s either going to be Baby Bonnie or Baby Benji and we have a bee-themed nursery) it made complete sense to do a honeycomb quilt (also known as a hexagon quilt). This quilt was made using “half hexies” (using this Hex ‘n More ruler) that I sewed together. This blog post was my inspiration and I used this blog post for the hexagon quilt tutorial. The most time consuming part was cutting the hexagons (or should I say, the half hexagons) out because I used a lot of different fabrics. After I pieced it together and made a back I took it to my local quilter who quilted it with butterflies (the closest they had to bumble bees) in a variegated gold thread.

september 25. baby b's quilt_0006_edited-1

I love the way it came together, but I hope it’s gender neutral enough (C. likes to joke that I make everything girly–the entire time I did Moseby’s nursery (we didn’t know if we would be adopting a boy or girl at the time) he would have to reign in my feminine touches, haha).

And like always, I had to add a note to the baby on the back of the quilt and while it’s always very short I think about it for months before I embroider it.

Mary Margaret’s quilt says, “You are our sunshine.”

Moseby’s quilt says, “We loved you before we met you.”

Lawson’s quilt says, “You are our silver lining.”

Benji/Bonnie’s quilt says, “God knew we needed you.”

september 25. baby b's quilt_0003_edited-1

And as much as a shock that this pregnancy was I am now beginning to clearly see that this statement is so true…even though I was 100% finished with having babies (especially from my body!) our family needed this baby. I can’t wait to see its face for the first time–to make eye contact and catch a little glimpse of its soul like I have with my other three–to see just who this amazing person is that God knew we needed to have even though we didn’t realize it.

It’s pretty incredible when you think about it like that.

I want you to keep cooking for at least four more weeks, Baby B., but then I’m dying to meet you. xoxo

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A Pregnancy Update: The One Where I Moan and Groan

You have been warned.

I am currently 32 weeks, 4 days (guesstimate of course–we call this the “Jesus Baby” because in actuality we have NO IDEA when he/she was conceived & joked at the beginning that God must’ve just put it in there, all divine-like).

Yesterday at my appointment I measured 32 weeks, 3 days (fundal height–a little measuring tape the doctor uses to measure the outside of my belly).

That sounds awesome, right? Baby is perfectly average.

Wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. WRONG.

Baby is really more like 34.5-35 week size (17.5″ long and over five pounds). Baby is 99th percentile in length, head circumference, and belly size.

I think just its cheeks weigh over five pounds!

So where is this giant baby hiding if on the outside I’m average?

That would be in my lungs. And back. And stomach. And kidneys. And intestines. And poking his dadgum head out of my shredded left oblique muscle half the day (baby is either transverse or breech at all times).

I get that pregnancy is not fun in the third trimester, believe me. Been there, done that (twice) before. But this one is the worst. Blame it on the muscle repair from my tummy tuck–my ab muscles are literally sewn shut and are pushing this gigantic baby back inside my body. I can’t even really describe it because it’s nothing like my other two pregnancies. I can’t breathe and my stomach is so sore–like I’ve done 1000 sit ups or slept on a cement floor.

(So if you’re reading this and thinking you may, just may, want to have a baby after a muscle repair I’ve got news for you–DON’T. It’s torture 24/7 that doesn’t stop. It only gets worse–I can’t imagine how this will feel in 5-6 more weeks honestly.)

And then there’s the whole gigantic baby thing and the guilt I have over it.

See, when you have gestational diabetes you’re told over and over that if you don’t control your blood sugar you will have a giant baby and that is very bad. Therefore big baby is a sad and sick baby = mama who didn’t follow the rules/didn’t eat right/horrible piggy of a person.

Now, the doctors have never called me a horrible piggy of a person, but it’s how I feel each time when I’m told my baby is big. I remember always being so proud that Lawson was on the small side (20-30th percentile) because I knew it was because *I* was doing something right. So to hear this one is in the 99th percentile (it’s been 95th percentile since 11 weeks) it makes me feel like *I’m* doing something very wrong.

I record every bite that I eat. (I eat 1,200-1,400 calories a day and less than 50g total carbs). I record my blood sugar religiously. I workout every single day. I take a minimum of 15,000 steps a day. My blood sugar numbers are perfect (other than my fasting 2-3 days a week, but you honestly can’t control those). I’ve been told by both my high risk OB and regular OB that I’m the most active patient in their practice right now. We did another A1C last week to see how controlled my blood sugar has been the last three months and it is 4.5 (which is unheard of perfect, if I do say so myself). I’ve gained 18.5 pounds at 32.5 weeks which is completely average.

Yet.

My baby is huge (predicted size if I made it to 40 weeks…which I won’t, thank the lord…TEN POUNDS).

And the guilt I feel is unreal.

My OB got frustrated with me yesterday after I listed everything I was doing to try to keep this baby small/average size and said, “Look. Some babies are just genetically big. You have a genetically big baby. There is absolutely nothing else you can do about it. Let it grow and stop worrying. No one is blaming you for its size.”

And yet I still feel guilty.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

 

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