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

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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!

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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. 😉

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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!).

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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.

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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.”

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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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A Cookie Full of Cinnamon + Sugar For You…

…since I can’t have them, ha! #gestationaldiabetessux

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Moseby’s favorite sweet treat I make is brownies. Lawson’s is chocolate chip cookies. (Okay, okay, I lie. He’s his mother’s son–he likes ALL the sweet things!)

MM’s favorite? Snickerdoodles.

And she’s been asking for them so I decided to bake up some on Saturday afternoon. They take about 15-30 minutes longer than traditional drop cookies because the dough needs to be chilled AND you have to roll them in cinnamon-sugar, but they’re not labor intensive at all.

The recipe I used can be found here. It made exactly 40 cookies and I used up every bit of cinnamon-sugar (so if you like them extra sweet you may want to double that part of the recipe) and I used my favorite $6 cookie dough scoop–they were the perfect size.

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Before baking

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And after!

But I’m warning you: they don’t last long–especially if you have a sweet lover like Lala here. Nope, he’ll just pull of his “cool” (stool) and eat four before you can blink your eyes, ha!

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