How to Prepare for a C-Section Delivery

Both my biological children were born vaginally.  I had anticipated that would probably be the case when I carried a baby for another couple, too, but I was wrong.  Baby A was breech and we elected for a planned cesarean, even though there are instances where breech babies can and are born safely without a c-section.
However, even though I felt it was the best and correct choice, I was so nervous!  The unknown is a scary place.  I took to Google searches and my favorite mom and surrogate support groups for help.  I was mostly overthinking the whole ordeal, I think, but I did learn a few things about preparing for a c-section that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Take a Stool Softener

The most common advice that I received was to take a stool softener and to take it sooner rather than later.  Now, by “sooner” we’re talking a day or two before your scheduled c-section.  You should also receive something in the hospital post-op—I was given Miralax—but, if not, then go ahead and request something.
Now, I want to emphasize a stool softener not a laxative.
The stool softener is to help assist in an easy post partum poop, which can be unpleasant regardless of your delivery type.  However, the meds used during a c-section and the recovery overall can leave you more prone to constipation.  Being proactive helps a ton!

Get Some Fiber Rich Snacks

I opted to load up on fiber rich snacks and even bought some fiber gummy vitamins to take.  Fiber is great for pooping and having yummy snacks is great for your soul when you’re at the hospital with a less-than-stellar food selection.  See previous point (above) about pooping.  Look for snacks with 4 grams or more of fiber.

Shave or Be Shaved

You’ll want to shave your lower abdomen area, above your vulva, unless you don’t mind the medical staff doing it for you pre-op.  I know you probably can’t see that area at this point in your pregnancy, so feel free to enlist a friend to help.  Or just do it blind.  That’s what I did.  This is where your incision will be, so it needs to be hair free.

Have a Belly Binder Available

Ask your midwife or OB and wherever you’ll be delivering if a belly binder (also called an abdominal binder) will be available to you.  I called my OB's office and they told me that belly binders weren’t provided by the hospital where I’d be delivering, but they actually were provided.  Most hospitals do provide them, but you can also buy your own, if you prefer.  Trust me.  You want one.

Pack Comfy & Appropriate Clothing

Really think about the clothes you’re packing.  Your incision is going to be very low on your abdomen, just above your vulva.  I ended up buying some silk, high rise underwear and didn’t pack any bottoms that would sit right on my incision site.  Some mid to high waist leggings are perfect. 

After my c-section is when I fell in love with wearing a robe, which I still do all the time.  Get a robe.  They’re amazing, wearable blankets.

Was this post helpful to you?  If so, you might also benefit from my C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist for Moms

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prep for a csection

4 Things You Need to Know Before Painting

Painting Tips
I was so excited to finally get the ball rolling on making our house truly ours. We'd lived in our home for about 18 months and the people who lived in the house before us picked some treacherous (and very dark) paint colors. The living room was the first room we ever painted in our home and I definitely learned a lot of lessons from that experience, which I’m sharing with you!

Remove the Trim

Any seasoned painter (or anyone who listens when their husband says we need to take off the trim) knows that you need to remove all the trim in the room before painting. Even if that trim is going to be painted the same color as either the base/primer color or the other color.

It's easier to paint it separately. Trust me! It can't be any more difficult than the way we did it. Plus, the wall under the trim will get painted properly this way, too.

So, if in the future, you want to update your trim (which I do) you won't have to worry about the possibility have needing to paint again. I'm still not sure why my husband listened to me when I told him we didn't need to take off the trim. I secretly think he was waiting to soak up that "I told you so" moment.
4 Things You Need to Know Before You Paint

Use the Wider Painter's Tape

We used the Duck Brand 1" Clean Release Painter's Tape. I actually bought a three pack from Wal Mart. The tape worked great! However, I should have known better than to think that the smaller tape would be enough to wholly protect everything.

Based on my experiences, you’re better off buying the wider tape! I'll definitely be using the 1" tape in the boys room for some detailing work I'll need to do. As far as protecting the ceiling and any trim/molding I can't remove, I'll be using the wider tape. I also plan on taping down a plastic sheet on the floor with the wide tape, which brings me to my next tip.

Protect the Floor and Do It Well

We had a tarp in our garage that was left by the previous inhabitants of this house. I was sure it'd be a great way to protect our wood floors during painting. However, I didn't tape it down or anything and it was really no help at all since it didn't cover the whole floor.

If there was only one person painting, that would be okay. However, typically there was my husband and me or my husband and a helper. So, paint drips happened. Oh, and my cat decided to jump onto a freshly painted window sill and then prance across the living room floor. Probably some new age way of marking his territory, I guess.

Anyway, next time I want to buy plastic sheeting or a drop cloth and secure it to the floor. However, eHow has some other suggestions, so I might look into those too.

Buy Extra Paint

Unless you've painted a particular room a time or two before, chances are that you're guesstimating how much paint it will take. Well, this guesstimating left me having to do two extra trips to buy paint for our living room.

My advice is to think about how much paint you'll need and buy at least one extra can. You don't want to get down to the last wall you need to paint and be fully motivated to do so, only to realize you're out of paint.

Some stores will let you return or exchange unopened paint, so you can check on that if you're worried. Personally, I don't think it's a terrible idea to have extra paint lying around.

Before & After

Before and After Painting the Living Room
The lighting is horrible in the before picture, but you should be able to see what an ugly pea-green the room was! I know it looks very minimalistic right now, but I was trying to avoid shoving crap back into the room that I don't want in there long term.

Of course, much of that crap has now accumulated in the extra space in the dining room. Anyway, I'm super happy with how it turned out. It's so much brighter. I can't wait to get new curtains (and furniture and other stuff, but I'm getting ahead of myself there). So, it's not designer living, but it’s definitely an improvement!
That collage is  from The Coffee Shop Blog!

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4 Things You Need to Know Before Painting

7 Days to a Deep Cleaned House with Printable Checklist


Just before I delivered surro baby, I was agonizing over my dirty house.  After all, I was about to have my first c-section ever and was probably not going to be able to do anything at all for a while after, right?  Well, that turned out to be a little bit of an extreme assumption on my part, but nonetheless, it’s what I believed.

<< Just want to skip to the printable?  Click here! >>

So, as a push present to myself I created a deep clean list check list and paid someone—AKA my mom—to come clean my house while I was at the hospital delivering.  I’d never done this before but I remembered from delivering my own kids dreading going home to a potentially dismantled house from the days I’d spent at the hospital.

I kept this checklist for myself and am currently working through it to deep clean the house after several weeks of my kids and husband being home for Christmas break/shutdown.  The chaotic holiday break left the house dismantled and I’m always more relaxed and happy when the house is organized and clean.

Related Post: Organize Your Shower with a Shoe Organizer

To get your house deep cleaned in 7 days or less, work through at least one section of the checklist a day.

I like to start by going through the house and doing general pick up of clothes, trash, toys, dishes and clutter.  I sometimes take the time to sweep the entire downstairs—we have all wood flooring—at this point, too.

After that, I go room by room and complete the check list.  If you have other stuff to add, I’ve included some blank lines at the end.

Deep Clean Printable

If you’re exceptionally motivated, with plenty of “spare” time, and the kids will be gone basically all day…you might be able to complete this awesome checklist in one day!  If you’re super lucky, you can’t just hire someone to clean your house for you and have them use this list for reference.

You might also notice that there’s a reference to laundry in every section.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate the reminder to change over the laundry or the do laundry in every room.  Otherwise, I might just forget about the laundry while I’m cleaning the house and don’t remember until bed time that I didn’t even get one load washed, dried, and put away.

Happy house cleaning!  What tools do you use to help stay organized and get your home clean?

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deep clean printable list

5 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Surrogate

Things to Know Before Being a Surrogate

Becoming a surrogate is a huge responsibility, whether you’re a traditional or gestational surrogate.  It might be easy enough to assume you’re “informed” after researching surrogacy and understanding the basic process. 

However, there’s actually an overwhelming amount of things that could potentially be overlooked altogether or disregarded as not important if potential surrogates aren’t looking in the right places.  I’ve put together five things potential surrogates should know before committing to a journey.

1. Surrogacy can be a long process.

Sometimes surrogates are surprised at the length of time from finding the perfect intended parents to the birth of a baby.  Patience is important and you, honestly, don’t want anything in this process to be rushed. 

Every part of the surrogacy process is a process in itself and might take weeks or months or longer.  Some surrogates have reported their journey taking 2 years or more from start to finish.  Statistically speaking, the first transfer isn’t likely to take.  It can, of course, but be prepared that it might take more than one shot to get pregnant.  Be ready for the reality that this might not be quick.

Surrogacy Time

2. Surrogacy might have an upfront financial cost.

Surrogacy related expenses should all be reimbursed to you, of course, but the key word here is “reimbursed.”  Some expenses cannot or are not paid ahead of time or up front by intended parents or surrogacy agencies.  Rental cars, for example, have to be put on your credit card and then reimbursed later.

Sometimes it’s because of policies companies have—such as the case with rental cars—or because costs are often variable and intended parents should only have to reimburse you exactly what you needed.  This might not be the case with every journey, but it’s better to be prepared to cover these costs with your own cash or credit and then be reimbursed.

If you’re not in a financial place to do that, then you might not be financially secure enough to be a surrogate, anyway.  If you’re hesitant to cover costs up front and be reimbursed, you could avoid some of those issues by matching with local intended parents.

3. Surrogacy has real health risks.

Whether you realized it or not, even your pregnancies for your keeper babies had risks. Pregnancy causes major body changes, and potential surrogates shouldn’t take this lightly, even if they’ve had easy, relatively uncomplicated pregnancies in the past.

Prior pregnancy ease or success does not guarantee a smooth surrogate pregnancy!

Prospective surrogates should consider that there are risks up to and including death.  Thinking “it won’t happen to me” is a great way to be unprepared if it does, indeed, happen to you.  This is why you should have appropriate plans in place for possible bed rest, hospitalization, and even death.

Pregnancy Risks

4. This is not a way to get rich quick.

This shouldn’t have to be stated, but I’m going to put it out there anyway.  It’s not a get rich quick—or at all—deal.  If that’s what you’re after then, please, leave now.  This is a long, often difficult, process for intended parents and surrogates.  It’s an emotional and physical investment and there’s even a chance that your journey will end without you ever giving the intended parents the baby they wanted.

It could be months or longer before you ever receive any compensation.  You may need to pay for some expenses up front before being reimbursed.  Basically, you need to be financially stable.

5. You may not end up being friends with the intended parents after birth.

Many surrogates and intended parents go into the journey planning to be friends and keep in touch afterward.  However, relationships between surrogates and intended parents can change for a variety of reasons.  Be prepared for that because unfortunately not everyone finishes their journey feeling like best buds.

For whatever reason, your relationship may not be ideal and you might not see the baby after birth or after the parents and baby leave the hospital.  Even under good circumstances, you may lose touch or simply not be all that close with the baby and intended parents.

It’s irresponsible to be a surrogate without being informed.  Your team of people can only be expected to do so much.  It’s important to take responsibility and research surrogacy thoroughly before entering into any kind of legal agreement.

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5 Things You Need to Know Before