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Baby Preparation + Nesting is in Full Swing

If we've never met before: hello, I'm Amanda, and I'm a preparation junkie.

It makes me feel calm.

It helps to focus my excited energy on something tangible (yes, I'm a list checker-offer).

It helps me to visualize getting to an end goal.

So it should be no surprise that preparing and nesting for our first little one is in full swing in our household.

I Feel Like Our Due Date is Right Around the Corner

Three months ago we made the announcement. Now, BOOM. I'm in my third trimester (photo below is 30 weeks). How did that happen?!?

30 weeks_frugalconfessions

(Note to Lovebug: you can stay in longer than the 40 weeks if you'd like. Love, Mom + Dad).

I know this is such a temporary and precious time in our lives, so I'm soaking it up as much as I can. That doesn't mean it's been free from frustrations, health issues, and the like.

But it does mean that I take lovely moments each day to be present in my pregnancy — when I'm not thinking about missed deadlines, what's for dinner, and how I'll handle working + mothering — and instead am taking in all the kicks and movements, sitting in the up-and-coming nursery just to smile and ponder at life to come, and going outside without any electronics to breathe in the grandiosity of it all.

Insurance + Health Cost Updates

I'm a money-minded person, and the first thing I wanted to know when we thought about having a baby was what the heck it was going to cost.

So I'm sure some of you might want to know as well (especially if you're thinking about your own Lovebug in the future).

  • OB/GYN Global Bill: We've completed the payments for our global OB/GYN bill (this includes all visits, ultrasounds, lab work for the duration of the pregnancy + the doctor fees for the actual delivery) of $1,321.13. Hurrah!
  • Health Insurance Costs to Add the Little Guy: We also figured out that once Lovebug comes, it will cost $85.99/month to add him to our health insurance. Not bad! Once he's born, we have 30 days to add him to our plan.
  • An Unexpected Hospital Visit + Tests: We had an unexpected scare (I hear this happens to lots of first-time parents). This led us to go to our OB/GYN, who, after some testing, sent us to the hospital for further tests. Our total bill — after insurance paid their portion of the $4,300 — came to $818. However, we disputed part of this bill because it was incorrect (an upcoming post will go into more detail). Also, our portion includes our $600 deductible for the year, which we'd definitely have had to pay when we deliver anyway. So it's actually nice to be able to break up the upcoming hospital delivery bill a bit (hint: as soon as your baby is born, you also have to meet a deductible for them as well. That will be $600 for us. Geesh)!
  • An Unexpected Health Complication: Unfortunately, I have developed gestational diabetes. The great news is that they were able to test me and see that I don’t have regular diabetes, and so it should clear up afterwards; however, in the meantime, I have to prick my fingers four times a day to test my sugars with a glucose meter (re: a great way to make a pregnant lady cranky).  Fortunately, all the lab work (honestly, did they really need all those blood withdrawals???) and diabetes/nutritional counseling were included as part of my global billing. So that was cool. The only added costs are a co-pay of $28.99 per month for testing supplies. And thankfully there wasn't much to change in my diet, as my body has steered me towards healthy eating this entire pregnancy anyway. For example, even though I used to have a voracious sweet tooth, as soon as I got pregnant, I wanted nothing to do with chocolate/pastries/even ice-cream! I still don't really want sweets, but I do crave fruit a good bit. I also have never been into juices (which are very sugary) or soda, and have opted for water naturally throughout. So my sugars have naturally been under good control.
  • Estimate on our Hospital Delivery Bill: This one has been frustrating to track down. On our hospital's website it says we can get an estimate after providing our insurance information for a “normal” delivery without “any unforeseen complications, additional tests or procedures, and non-hospital related charges, any of which may increase the ultimate cost of the services provided.” However, I asked for that two months ago and have still not heard back. I did call our insurance company, and it turns out that the maximum out of pocket we have left to pay for the year would be $3,469.02. So at least we know it can't come to more than that (eek!).

Baby Room Prep + Costs

I want our baby's room to be completely set up by the time the little guy comes.

Yes, I realize we are co-sleeping in our bedroom for a few months, and that we'll likely need to rearrange some things in accordance with what works at the time when the baby actually arrives.

But having everything mise en place before all that occurs is really important to this mama-to-be's sanity.

Here's what we've been working on + still have to do:

  • Cleaning Out the Closet/Room Itself: Our baby's room used to be Paul's office area, but he never actually used it. Still, it morphed into an electronic graveyard of sorts. We went through and discarded/sold/gave away what was no longer needed, then consolidated everything else into a hall closet that I also cleaned out for the new use.
  • Fixing the Attic Door: There's a door in our baby's closet that leads to the water heater and attic area. It was taken off when we had a new water heater installed last year, and they didn't replace it. Paul has now fixed this (shoot, I should've taken a before photo…just envision a big hole and unfinished/uneven spackling/exposed wood/random nail heads sticking out where this new beauty is). He also added a lock high up to ensure little hands can't get into the attic.

Attic Door

  • Dresser/Changing Table: I've saved up $200 to buy a new dresser/changing table by setting aside $20 here and there over the last 8 months from my weekly budget. I want to get a children's or adult's dresser and have it last and grow with our baby. Can't wait to shop for this and get it set up!
  • Gliding Chair: I'm in contact with a woman on a Facebook Group who will sell me her used glider chair for less than half what a new one costs: $60. Hopefully this purchase will go through in September when she said she's finished with it (you never know until the sale is final).
  • Odds and Ends: We're still wanting a bookshelf, probably a lamp or two, and a few more whale decorations (we chose a vintage whale theme, even before knowing the gender!).
  • Steam Cleaning the Carpets: We want to steam clean the carpet, as well as all the carpets in our home. Estimates for this have been $170-$229 (from non-chemical companies). My friend Helen actually just purchased a steam cleaner that uses water, and she said we can borrow it. Score (thank you, Helen)!

As you can see, we've got a ways to go on the mise en place baby's room. But I'm hopeful!

Free Baby Reading + Classes

Interlibrary Loan at our local library has been my friend. Books I've read for free, and that have provided a wealth of awesome information, are: Eat, Sleep, Poop, Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, Birth: The Surprising History of How We are Born, Bringing up Bebe (I loved how the author says that American moms approach pregnancy and parenting like a research project; guilty as charged!), and  Hypnobirthing. Since you can renew checkouts, Paul's been able to read two of these as well to prep for parenthood.

On top of diving into lots of books, Paul and I have taken several really excellent classes offered by the hospital where we'll be delivering. Since our doctor is associated to them, we get them all for free (they even validate the egregious $8 parking)!

We've taken the following $264 worth of classes that we can't recommend highly enough:

  • Infant CPR & Safety
  • Life with Baby
  • Childbirth Class
  • Breastfeeding

Lessons Learned in Our Pregnancy

This pregnancy has changed me so much already…and the baby's not even here!

For one, because of various health issues here or there, I'm truly learning the art of fierce prioritization. This is serving me well in my business already, and I'm sure will continue to do so. The fact is, we've all got a limited amount of energy and time on our hands, and so I'm learning to just let some things go. Tweet This!

Going along with that, I'm learning to give myself grace and patience in what I can and can no longer do. Even simple things like bending down to pick something up can be very uncomfortable for me, which leads into my next lesson: getting better at asking for what I need.

I've got an amazing partner in my husband, Paul. We were super close before we got pregnant; now our relationship and marriage have catapulted to an entirely new level as we open up and become even more vulnerable with one another while sharing in this experience. Fears, hopes, weaknesses…it's all out there, and we're learning how to support each other through it all. It makes this mama's ooey-gooey hormones kick into high gear just thinking about the love going around in our household!

And finally, I've learned how quickly plans can change. This has led me to lean more towards “going with the flow.” But also, it's meant understanding that there are still reasons to have a plan, and just to open myself up more to the many possibilities of whatever is going to come (knowing that some of it I have no control over). And that's okay.

Well, there you have it folks: my long overdue baby update. I hope you found this helpful; it was quite fun for me to get it out on paper and share. I'm looking forward to (and to be honest, am a little nervous) about the changes to come this Fall. Wish us luck!

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Joy Beer

Sunday 30th of August 2015

You are a world class nester! This will be SO helpful to others launching on this journey, with its significant financial impact. :) You are doing great!!!

Amanda L Grossman

Monday 31st of August 2015

Aww, thanks Joy. It's so great to hear from you!


Thursday 27th of August 2015

Congratulations on this exciting journey in this amazing new chapter of life! We had our daughter after 6 years of infertility, so I always enjoy hearing pregnancy stories. It's wonderful to read about you and your husband embracing a calm, flexible, and grateful attitude since so many moms can be caught off guard when birth plans, breastfeeding, nursery prep, etc don't go their way. No one tells you that you're so hormonal and full of emotion after birth that it's hard to not question every little decision. A peaceful, joyful mindset now will help you have peaceful, joyful moments with your little one instead of white-knuckle terror.

We also went a simple route with nursery prep, and online garage sale groups have been a lifesaver. There are many Beg, Buy, Barter and online garage sales groups on Facebook, and I've gotten hundreds of new/gently used baby clothes and even a Moby wrap through Freecycle. I also learned the value of resale shops for clothing since they burn through them so.stinkin.fast! Once Upon a Child is a great resource for everything you don't want to buy full price, from clothes, pack and plays, toys, strollers and shoes.

Blessings to you and your husband as you get ready to meet your little one soon!

Amanda L Grossman

Friday 28th of August 2015

Thanks so much, Nickie!

Great ideas on how to get used items -- and I agree, babies, toddlers, and little kids grow through items SO fast that it almost doesn't make sense to buy new.

I've heard about the post-birth hormonal period...let's hope I can go with the flow of it and enjoy our little one as much as possible:).

And BIG congratulations on conceiving after having infertility issues. That is such a blessing!


Monday 24th of August 2015

Wow, time flies! Sorry to hear about your hospital bills. Hopefully, you won't have much health issue after the birth. I would hold off on purchasing as much as you can. You'll find that you don't need many of the things that people say you do. We didn't get a changing table and just changed the baby on a blanket. It worked well for us. We got a nice co-sleeper crib, though. That was worth it for safety reason alone. Enjoy the next few months. You look great!

Amanda L Grossman

Tuesday 25th of August 2015

Thanks, Joe! Yes, we're not buying much. The dresser will be for him to use as he grows, so that's an investment (plus we're going to change him on top of it/on the floor/probably all over the place, so won't be purchasing a separate changing table). Our friend, Helen, gave us her beautiful crib, and a glider chair seems to be key from other mamas I've talked to. So we're doing pretty well with not binge-shopping!