37 Weeks: Pay It Forward

Newborns don’t really need that much stuff. A car seat, a place to sleep, clothing, diapers, blankets. But there are lots of things that are very handy to have, and it’s easy to get carried away with all the options for baby gear out there. When you get what you need AND what you want, it can get really expensive, especially with all of the beautiful designer brands, handmade items on Etsy and fancy designs.

I haven’t kept a strict tally of how much we’ve spent on baby stuff, but the bulk of it went to the crib, mattress and IKEA furniture for his room. A bit more into smaller items here and there. We have been blessed with generous friends and family who showered us with much of what we need, and I recently filled in the rest with the last of the purchases.

And then we have gotten some great hand-me-downs from friends and Craigslist. There were a few things that I really wanted new, but then most baby stuff I am happy to inherit from other babies. Most of them I was able to wash and/or clean and they are…not good as new…but pretty darn close!

I found our My Brest Friend pillow on Craigslist for $10. I ordered a new black and white cover for it – still in the mail!

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A local blog reader had a bunch of baby gear he was looking to pass on that he brought over for us to sort through. Included were some great items that I needed – a bouncy seat and a baby bath. (I cut the ears out of the bunny seat – they creep me out!)

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And a boppy, which I outfitted with a smashing new cover from Etsy : )

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I bought our swing from my friend Holly for half price since Finn had outgrown it after just a few months of use.

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Of course I can’t thank Stephanie enough for paying forward her cloth diaper collection!

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My friend Alex gave us some of her little boys’ old clothes – and a swaddle blanket!

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And my friend Katherine gave me a bag of her newborn and 0-3 clothes on loan because she might need them back someday. Cuteness inside : )

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I borrowed many of our nursery items from myself – the lamp from the guest room, the curtains from our Charlotte house that were stored in the attic, my grandmother’s painting from the kitchen. Matt is also making us a canvas for the nursery!

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And perhaps the most exciting is a recent hand-me-down from a friend of a friend: a stroller! My friend Lara emailed me to ask if we needed a stroller because her friend was looking to get rid of hers. It is 6 years old and well loved, but it’s also in surprisingly good condition for its age.

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The stroller frame is Bugaboo (a pretty pricy brand) and it came with both a seat and a bassinet –

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I bought the car seat adaptor so this can be our infant stroller and put the car seat in for these photos.

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We are still planning to eventually getting a BOB because I know we’ll want a really smooth jogging stroller with all the walking we do. But the Bugaboo will be perfect as an infant stroller and smaller car option when the BOB is too big to transport.

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My BOB console fits on the handlebars – although a bit awkwardly. But it will serve its purpose here until we grow into the BOB.

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When we are through with these items, I hope to pay it forward and give them to another family who can share the same excitement and savings during the expensive nesting phase : )

 

PREVIOUS 37 WEEK POSTS

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The Hospital Bag

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Full Term + Full Of Baby

Expecting The Unexpected–Pregnancy

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37 Weeks: Expecting The Unexpected–Pregnancy

With just a few weeks to go, I can hardly believe my pregnancy is almost over. In some ways, it has been nothing like I thought it would be. While thinking about the baby and what’s to come has taken up a huge amount of my brain space, I’m still surprised at how normal I feel. I really don’t even feel pregnant a lot of the time (unless I’m going from lying down to sitting up!) and I have no problem seeing my toes or shaving my legs.

Most of my knowledge of pregnancy before I went through it myself stemmed from the media, which we all know tends to exaggerate things! I figured at this point in the game I would be huuuge, waddling, crying, eating ice cream by the gallon, saying “get this baby out of me!”

So what has surprised me about pregnancy?

 

* That I’d Get Terrible Morning Sickness. Starting early on, I was shocked that I got morning sickness. You’d think the media would have prepared me well for this one! My mom didn’t get morning sickness and I have a pretty strong stomach. I learned that those two things don’t mean a thing. Even from pregnancy to pregnancy, women have totally different reactions. Luckily I was able to get it under control, but the whole first trimester was much, much worse than I was prepared for! I am hoping if I have a second pregnancy some day that I luck out and don’t get much. Hoping.

* That I’d Take So Long To Show. I’ve written about this a number of times, so it’s not news to anyone, but I really had no idea that it would take so long for the baby to get big in there! I figured I’d look about as pregnant as I do now at about 25 weeks, and I don’t think I really started to show-show until 30+ weeks. I figured all along that my small torso would lead to a huge bump, but I couldn’t have guessed more wrong.

 

* That I Would Gain Less Weight. I’m surprised at how my weight gain has hugged the lower end of normal. I think based on my history with being overweight in college, I just assumed that I would gain a ton of weight while pregnant. I assumed that the final months I would not be very happy with my body and would have a ton of weight to lose afterwards. Now of course I don’t really know how much I will have to lose quite yet, but I am not unhappy with my body at 37 weeks pregnant. Sure areas of me are much thicker than they used to be, and I have put on a normal amount of pregnancy weight, but I can still see my arm muscles and feel physically fit. I feel like my old self – just plus a big belly. Totally not what I would have predicted.

* That I Wouldn’t Be Moody, Grumpy Or Weepy. In the movies, the women always tear up at everything and yell at their husbands. “You did this to me!” The stereotype is that the husbands go through hell. In 9 months, I haven’t had any urges to be mean to my husband (perhaps that is due to a good relationship from the start) and really haven’t felt all that tearful or hormonal at all (except when watching A Baby Story : ) ). I’ve been lucky to avoid mood swings and the grumps too.

* That I Wouldn’t Get Heartburn Or Have To Pee All The Time. While for some strange reason I figured I wouldn’t get morning sickness, I did assume I would get all the other symptoms. I didn’t realize there was so much variation in pregnancy and that symptoms come and go. For example, I had bad back pain from weeks about 20-30 but now my back feels pretty great despite having a much bigger front. Some symptoms that I have others in my yoga class haven’t had at all, and unlike many of them, I never get up to pee in the night more than once – if at all. I’m thankful that I’m still sleeping pretty well too. It’s all just luck of the draw.

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* That Sneezing Would Hurt So Much. This is due to a symptom I have – a tender muscle spot under my right ribs where little feet like to play. Still not sure what’s going on in there (but I’m almost positive – and so is my doctor – that it’s muscle and not an important organ that hurts), but gosh when I sneeze it’s the worst! I also can’t twist without making the muscle spasm and/or cramp. Backing out of a parking space when driving is quite painful!!

* That The Hardest Part Of Being Big Isn’t The Bump. I always figured the reason pregnant women were slow to move around was because the bump was soooo heavy. But now I realize the bump is pretty light – it’s everything aching on the inside – muscles, abs, ligaments, lower back, etc. – that keeps me from bounding out of bed or up from the couch. So many little ailments attributed to major structural changes all adding up at once.

* That I Wouldn’t Want To Eat Lots of [Junk] Food All Day. Although I definitely experienced some weird cravings, including a period where anything green totally turned me off, I’ve been surprised by the decrease in my appetite throughout pregnancy and the lack of change in my diet in general. Food just hasn’t tasted as good – even desserty foods – and I have been less hungry than I used to be. I figured I’d want to eat a box of cereal a day! There are two foods that I have loved this whole time: cheese and ice cream. Surprisingly though, I don’t want to go overboard on them. No cravings for fast food at midnight or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for breakfast. A little ice cream is satisfying enough. This whole experience has been a wonderful time of intuitive eating. Another shock: that I wouldn’t go nuts going 9 months without beer + wine. It really hasn’t been that bad! But I’m also really looking forward to participating in the tasting of alcohol again.

* That It Would Go By So Fast. I have been trying to stop and say “ENJOY THIS MOMENT.” But even when you remember to stop and pay attention, the moments still fly by too fast. I keep thinking that I haven’t made enough videos of me pregnant. I haven’t taken enough photos. I DO have this whole blog to remember my emotions and thoughts, but sometimes I wish I could slow down time a little and really let it sink in what it feels like to be 29 years old, 37 weeks along and expecting my first baby.

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* That Each Week Would Be Better Than The Last. I always assumed that as I approached my due date I’d get more and more uncomfortable and miserable. I’ve actually gotten happier and happier with pregnancy in general (although some physical symptoms are worse…). I didn’t really love being pregnant until the third trimester. Even in the middle of the second trimester I didn’t really have that “I love this and want to do it again” feeling that I’ve heard other women speak about. But now…now that I can feel him move, now that I have a sizable bump, now that nursery items are being purchased and delivery is getting close…now I love it. I definitely hope to do it again someday.

* That This Blog Would Be So Hard. I don’t regret writing BERF at all, and I’m thrilled that I have my pregnancy documented as an online journal. I’m also so thankful for those of you who have been supportive, positive and shared so many great tips and bits of advice. But overall, it’s been a lot of work and a lot more emotionally draining than I ever imagined. I’m very glad I created a new space to talk about pregnancy separate from KERF, but in some ways this experience has not been what I hoped it would be.

I feel now that I can’t be totally honest with my thoughts because pregnancy is such a sensitive topic and requires disclaimers in every post. There are topics I now don’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole. I wish I didn’t have to moderate comments to avoid people saying things like “You look fat” and “Stupidest post ever.” But thus is the internet. I have realized that I have no desire to be a mommy blogger when the baby is born. As much as I love reading the super helpful blog posts about sleep habits, baby gear, solid foods and cloth diapering that other bloggers have written, I don’t plan on continuing to write about topics on BERF. I just don’t want to open myself up for the kind of criticism that comes up, and I think motherhood is a part of my life that I want to keep more private.

That’s not to say that I won’t post 1,000 baby photos or pose questions for feedback as they come up, but I’m not going to turn BERF into a full-time mommy blog, which makes me a bit sad. I just know it’s the best decision for us. For the short term it will be a baby photo central (for me, my family and those who are interested) and in the long term, a memory of this journey. KERF is my passion and what gives me the most work-related joy at the end of the day.

PREVIOUS 37 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

The Hospital Bag

Belly Dancer

Full Term + Full Of Baby

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37 Weeks: Full Term, And Full Of Baby!

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“Welcome to Term!” is what I heard in yoga last night! Even though normal gestation is 40 weeks (or longer), babies born after 37 weeks are not considered premature. Very thankful we have made it this far!

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I’ve definitely been feeling things happening down there. Things that if I were 40 weeks I would be like ‘This is it’ no ‘THIS is it’ all day long. But although I know there is a chance he could come any day now, these twinges, cramps and what I can only describe as “cervical awareness” are likely just my body getting ready. For example, when I woke up on Saturday feeling kind of off I did wonder if perhaps it was the “sick before the storm,” but alas, I think I was just tired! I’ve never needed naps like this before. My mom recently said “We’re getting a kick out of this because you’ve never been tired in your life!” Sometimes in the afternoons I don’t even feel that sleepy – I just can’t keep my eyes open if I go horizontal! The difference in 36 and 37 weeks has been pretty drastic energy wise.

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I’ve been sitting on the exercise ball a ton, avoiding our cushy couches (not ideal for engagement), and doing squats and walking. They aren’t quite sure what starts labor, but my personal [totally uneducated, aside from reading on birth] opinion is that BOTH mom and baby have to be ready. In that sense, I think if a mom has fears about childbirth or just needs a few more days to mentally prepare, it might delay labor a bit. Just my personal opinion, but our childbirth class nurse said there is some truth to this and if you look at animals who go into hiding when they feel ready, it’s likely not all that different for humans. The Queen of Midwives also swears by the mind-body connection. So I’m trying to get my brain calm and mentally prepared. The nesting is pretty much done, so I’m focusing on the mental part now. It certainly can’t do any harm!

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I am sure that he is dropped some because this week my bladder is finally seeing the effects much more pressure. When we went hiking on Sunday, I was in such discomfort when we were on mile 4 and over an hour into our hike – I don’t think I can go more than 45 minutes without a visit to the bathroom these days! And not to be too specific, but when it feels like I have a gallon in there, it’s not much at all. Talk about compression! I’m getting up almost every night once to go to the bathroom, which is usual for me. When I’m not pregnant, I never get up in the night to go, and I haven’t really all that much during pregnancy until now either.

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Sleeping has actually gotten easier than it’s been in a while, and I have no idea why. Somehow I’m able to get more comfortable? Maybe I’m just more experienced with the pillows now : ) I have a standard head pillow on one side and a little pillow I wedge into my back on the other. I’ve also been able to reduce my glute fatigue by nearly sleeping on my stomach – I put the pressure slightly forward on my hip bone instead of stacking my hips totally on my side. It doesn’t work every night, but it’s better than it was. Ribs are on and off depending on babe’s position. If he’s up there with his legs, worse. When he’s super dropped after a walk, better. I have a numb spot on my stomach from all the nerve trauma his little body has caused! Lastly, I’ve noticed my hands and toes are a little swollen for the first time. More after a walk, so I need to increase the hydration, which is hard with all the peeing! Doctor says 99.9% of women experience swelling in the end and since my blood pressure is still very low, it’s not a concern.

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At my appointment this week, I was 1 cm dilated!! Also “softening.” No effacement yet though.

I also found out I’m group B strep positive, which is just a common bacteria that some women have in their bodies. The bad news is that it means antibiotics by IV during delivery, which is not something I wanted to have to deal with at ALL. But it’s a serious health risk in the worst case scenario of passing it on to the baby, so also not something I’d refuse. I’m just pretending it’s standard part of the routine of birth and that the little guy requested it for his protection.

I still can’t wait to see what real contractions are like. I think I have Braxton Hicks regularly, but it’s so hard to tell! I notice them most in the night when I roll over and things. I am still feeling very patient – not in a hurry to get him out. I would like him to stay in until 39 weeks, 6 days : ) But I’m also getting really excited, and it’s a really fun change to feel things and not worry that he is coming too soon. I never thought I’d welcome cramps so much!

PREVIOUS 37 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

The Hospital Bag

Belly Dancer

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37 Weeks: Belly Dancer

A little more video fun with the babe! He starts off with some hip hop and then moves into a series of Riverdance!

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The Hospital Bag

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37 Weeks: Packing The Hospital Bag

Packing the hospital bag was perhaps one of the most surreal things I’ve done! It’s a rare occasion that you know you’re going to be staying in a hospital for a few days. I have been IN the hospital for the day, but I haven’t stayed overnight before, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect – especially since I don’t know what my labor, delivery and recovery will be like.

After reading a handful of blog posts and websites about what to pack, I feel that we have a good base of things covered for different scenarios. I tend to overpack in general, so don’t be surprised if you see more than you might take. If I don’t use any of this, I don’t really care, but I’ll have a piece of mind that I brought it.

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    1. Pretty burp cloth – unnecessary but fun
    2. 2 receiving blankets – also to add some pizzazz to the bland hospital
    3. A diaper – also probably not necessary, but I put it in for fun in case we need it on the way home or something random.
    4. Nursing cover – if we have guests visit and I need to nurse
    5. Baby mittens, socks and a paci (also in case of emergency)
    6. Spare newborn outfit
    7. Going home outfit!
    8. Big outfit in case he is 10 pounds : )

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For me:

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    1. Slippers and 2 pairs of fuzzy socks with grippers on the bottom
    2. Extra PJ bottoms – large size!
    3. Throw-away Hanes underwear from Target
    4. My new robe and bottoms!
    5. 3 nursing bras – the sleep kind
    6. Nursing bra – the sportier, more supportive kind – for going home outfit
    7. 4 nursing camis (in case I am there for more days than 2 or need costume changes – you never know)
    8. Going home outfit – a stretchy Five Bamboo skirt in a dark color and a nursing shirt from Motherhood
    9. Extra nursing shirt/tank

[I imagine I will labor in the hospital gown and/or naked and/or whatever I put on before we leave the house.]

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        1. Make-up bag (empty) – to be packed before we leave for the hospital if possible
        2. Extra hair ties, clips and inexpensive jewelry, if needed
        3. Hair brush and headband
        4. Tooth care
        5. Nail file – for the baby’s nails if needed!
        6. Facial cleanser towels and shower cap
        7. Razor (more for underarms than legs : ) ), deodorant, my favorite facial lotion
        8. FANCY ROSE #31 set I’ve been saving!!!
        9. Lanolin (although I hear my hospital has this)
        10. Prenatal vitamins
        11. Lavender essential oil and lip balm
        12. Disposable nursing pads (3)
        13. Jumbo overnight ultra pads (although the thin style because I cannot stand the maxi kind)

Remember when I was obsessed with these Le Labo products I got at the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle? They sell for $65 a bottle! I knew I had to save them for the hospital – to create as spa like of an experience as possible : ) I can’t wait to use them!

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For Matt:

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    1. Change of clothes (that he won’t miss in the next month)
    2. Toiletries (also spare ones that he won’t miss) – I packed a new deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, a new toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and a mini cologne : )
    3. PJs and clean shirt to sleep in
    4. Swim suit, although I seriously doubt he will be getting in the tub

Sigh, men are so easy. I also suspect that he will pop back home at the end of the first full day for a few items, maybe a better shower, to deliver the placenta, etc.

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    1. Reading material + reference book in case I have time during the day when baby naps
    2. Labor motivation stories to be read by my support team, if necessary
    3. Birth wishes plan and placenta encapsulation info
    4. Spare cell phone charger
    5. External speaker for computer/phone
    6. Snacks – bars, dates, a peanut butter (for hospital oatmeal breakfast!?)
    7. Tablet (by Samsung – I LOVE it for books and quick internet!!)
    8. Last-minute packing list
    9. Laptop

Don’t forget last minute items we can’t pack until it’s time:

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I welcome your suggestions on anything I might have forgotten that you found especially helpful! I probably won’t be taking anything out though – just FYI!

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37 Weeks: Snapshots

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My mom keeps telling me “Sweetie you need a pretty nightgown for the hospital to wear as your first moments as a mother!” And I keep telling her that I don’t wear nightgowns! I wear tanks and PJ bottoms at home, and would probably just wear the hospital gown until I could put on a tank and PJs/yoga pants at the hospital too.

But on a recent visit to the mall, I stopped in to look at nightgowns anyways at Belk. They were all so expensive!! And many were frumpy or just not the right kind of support on top for a hospital room with visitors. I didn’t want to pay $50 for a shirtdress. The ones at Motherhood were nice, but a little too skimpy as well for my comfort.

And then I found the above robe by Nautica! Modern and pretty – and something I will definitely use again. A little expensive, but also 30% off! I like that it has two ties to keep it secure, and I think with a nursing cami underneath and either just underwear or the matching super big, dark colored, loose bottoms it will be a comfortable, warm and stylish nightgown alternative. I can see myself wearing this around the house in the first few weeks as well!

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