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My birth story: We didn't find out our baby's gender until birth

I remember looking at my husband and I instantly started crying, and so did he.

gender reveal at birth

We waited nine long months to find out the sex of our baby. Yes, we actually did wait! We did not have a gender reveal party or do a big gender reveal on social media. We wanted to do something different—and for us, it was the best thing we could have done.

When I was 39 weeks and three days along, my cervical exam at my prenatal appointment revealed that I was 1 1/2 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. My doctor did a membrane sweep to try to help get me into labor. I went home after my appointment and started walking and rocking on my yoga ball to help encourage labor, all while our dog Dixie was right by my side. I even took her by the paws and did squats with her for a few minutes—my silly dog.

Then labor started

My husband returned from work and we ate dinner. I was still not having contractions, so I went back on my yoga ball until bedtime. As we were making the bed to crawl into it, I started getting cramps and small contractions, which were 20 to 25 minutes apart at first. I went on my yoga ball for what felt like the one-hundredth time that day.

I called the OB nurse who instructed me to come into the hospital once my contractions were a couple minutes apart. But my mom had fast labors, and I was nervous, so I decided not to wait that long.

I spent a little more time on my yoga ball and then felt the urge to urinate. I went to the bathroom and saw that I had bloody show. I was so anxious; I walked right into our room, turned on the light, woke up my husband and told him that we had to go to the hospital.

I have never seen my husband get up so fast in my life. He started the car and we were on our way to the hospital.

When we arrived, my contractions were roughly five to eight minutes apart. The OB nurse did a cervical exam, and I was 4 1/2 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced! This was really happening.

I decided to get an epidural, but had to wait an hour to get it—that was a tough hour. We called the family members we needed to and waited. At 8 am, and my doctor checked my cervix— I was 9 centimeters dilated, and she could easily feel the baby's head. But my water was still intact, so she broke my water.

I remember looking at my husband and I instantly started crying, and so did he. I was anxious, excited, nervous and overwhelmed.

My baby was born

My doctor came back into the room shortly after breaking my water—it was time to push. I pushed for two hours and nine minutes, as my husband watched the whole birth of our beautiful baby. My husband kept saying, "Oh my gosh,"—he was just as overwhelmed as I was.

Our child's head was out, and after one more push, they guided the baby out and right onto my chest. Everyone kept saying, "What is the baby?" Finally, my husband looked at our child and announced to the room, "It's a boy!"

We had a healthy baby boy.

We instantly started bawling, and I couldn't talk or move or anything. I was so excited, over the moon, and so in love with our son.

Colt Lee Pedersen was born at 12:49 May 16th, 2019. He weighed 6 pounds and 13.7 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Waiting to find out the gender of our baby was an emotional, overwhelming and excellent bonding experience for me, and my husband and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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