Sunday, May 31, 2009

My ugly side

Truth be told, I've had a rough couple days.
Everything is fine with the baby, but I had a mini-breakdown or two over the weekend.
I think the weight (both literally and figuratively) of the pregnancy has been catching up with me. And when I look at what I've become these days it's hard to reconcile it with my normal self.

I'm complaining — a lot — and mostly to Brian. I hope this isn't the normal me. But these days I'm constantly updating him on my feet hurting, my back hurting, my belly stretching, my lack of sleep and my umpteenth trip to the bathroom. The icing on the cake was when I developed a rash around my ankles a couple weeks ago. I thought it was poison ivy initially, but now I'm wondering if it's some sort of heat rash or allergic reaction. It flares up a couple times each day and I get bumps that look like hives up one of my calves or on the tops of my feet. Don't know what it is, but there's not enough hydrocortisone in the world. My doc said to take Benadryl when it flares up, but I can't be in a coma for work. Anyhow, it's not fun.... and so Brian gets to hear all about it.
And while I feel bad about hurling all my negativity toward Brian, he's my best outlet for talking about how I really feel. People ask me every day how I'm feeling and I usually paint a rosy picture. I don't think they want the real answer :)

The other main problem I'm having is dealing with my new limitations. I feel like there are so many things I can't do right now.
I can't help with things the way I want to in the bathroom remodeling project. I can't help mow the lawn. I have a hard time carrying the full laundry basket upstairs. I can't go running (at least not far). I can't pack as much into a day as I used to. I can't even sit comfortably to watch a whole movie. Arrggghh!
What do I do? Complain about it to Brian, of course.
I guess I'm a bit of a control freak. And I'm also used to being proactive. When I want something done, I generally just do it. But these days if I want something done I usually have to ask Brian to do it. He's trying, but his to-do list isn't getting any shorter.

Sometimes I just feel like I've lost so much of myself as I've become a baby incubator. I know it will be worth it in the end, but the "getting there" feels really hard.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shower pictures

Here's a few shots from the weekend baby shower in Rockford. (Thanks, Sarah!) The group shots are with my high school gal pals: Britt Lundgren, Meghan Hoff and Sarah Lizer.

And below are pictures of Brian and I opening our gifts. We got so much great stuff!

A biggun'

We seem to have determined what variety of squash I'm carrying. It's a big one.
I went in for my regular check-up with the doctor yesterday. Got weighed-in, peed on a stick and had my blood pressure checked.
Before listening to the heart beat, the doctor measured my belly and made the comment: "All of the sudden, you look really pregnant. You've really popped out."
I mentioned that I could be carrying a large baby — because of the baby history in my family — and she agreed immediately. In fact, when I told her about my mom's litter of nearly 10-pound babies, she said we'll need to monitor the baby's size as we approach 36 weeks and discuss options. If the baby is getting too big, she said, we may need to discuss scheduling a C-section before my due date.
Yikes. That was a lot to take in. And Brian wasn't even at this appointment to help me digest!

My first instinct is that I don't want a C-section. Or at least I don't want to rush into getting one. I'd like to try labor... not that it sounds like a total blast, but it's just the way I'd always imagined things going. Then again, my mom had five C-sections and my sister-in-law Jen had one with her son. Their experiences were fine. So I guess it's not something I should be so nervous about.
The doctor certainly isn't making any decisions yet. So I'm not going to worry about it (too much) at this point.
It was nice to hear from the doctor that my growing size is linked to the fast-growing baby. I've started getting surprised looks from people when they ask about my due date and I say it's not until August.

On another bright note, we get to go in for another ultrasound in two weeks! Yay for more early baby pics!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's a squash

I was going to put "squash baby" in the subject line, but then I thought that might sound like a suggestion rather than a descriptor :)

But the baby is in fact the size of a squash this week — and all the way through week 32. I'm not thrilled with generic veggie choice, though, because there are tons of different squashes in many sizes and shapes. Are we talking a yellow, crook-necked squash? An acorn? Butternut, perhaps?
To the left is the picture from I'm hoping our baby isn't quite so round.

Other updates this week include: the baby is developing more fat and it's becoming more sensitive to light, sound, taste and smell. I wonder if he/she is enjoying the cocoa butter lotion that I'm using on my belly. It smells exactly like a chocolate bar. I'm probably bringing another candy-a-holic into the world!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another bat!

I should add that the baby shower was the high point of the weekend... but late Sunday night was the low point, when I discovered a bat at my mom's house! Not something I wanted to encounter for a second time in one week!
After it flew past us in the upstairs hallway, my mom and I both ran into our rooms screaming. Brian got back out of bed and got dressed. He went out into the hall to bat hunt while I alternately yelled to him "be careful" and "just get it out!!"
With the aid of a fishing net and a couple blankets, Brian caught the bat about 5-10 minutes later. He dutifully carried it out of the house and down the block before letting it go.

The next morning Brian and I my mom did a thorough search of the attic to see if they could find any more lurking. None were located, so I'm hoping for my mom's sake that it was the lone bat in the house. And I hope Brian doesn't have to perform any more bat captures for a long time!

I wonder what the baby is making of these huge adrenaline surges in my body?...


We had our first baby shower this past weekend, hosted by my Aunt Pat in Rockford, Ill.
It was such a great day! I got to visit with some of my closest high school friends and their moms, my rugby friend Nutter, my sister and sister-in-law, cousins, aunts and, of course, my own mom. It was a relaxing afternoon spent on Pat's deck, where we were able to pick up some advice about this coming bundle.
And Brian and I are so grateful for the gifts we received!!

Everything was great, but here are the highlights as I remember them (which doesn't mean much these days as my brain seems to be working only half the time):
Books — We got some classics and a collection of Winnie the Pooh stories.
Toys — Our baby will be grooving with the shake, rattle and roll kit and others.
Bumbo seat — We've heard only good things about this baby chair from parents we know. Hope our little one gets the hours of contentment that others have raved about.
Diaper bag — We got a neutral (silver) Eddie Bauer bag that can double as a man-purse when Brian needs to carry it :)
Diapers — Got some pampers cruisers and some cloth diapers to try out. I'm excited to give the reusable ones a go and see how we do with them.
Bedding — We got our adorable Classic Pooh crib bedding set! Can't wait to see how it looks in the crib... if we ever get it set up.
Baby 411 and must-haves — Cousins Genny and Jason gave us the baby Bible for all our dumb first-time parenting questions. They also gave an assortment of goodies that they use almost daily with their daughters.
Bottle sterilizer — A must-have for us, especially in our dishwasher-less kitchen.
Clothes — Got some onesies, hooded towels and hand-knitted booties.
Blankets — Sandy sent us a beautiful newborn blanket that she made herself. We also got a Pooh blanket, which may have to double as a bat catching blanket if my luck with the flying rodents continues.
Jogging stroller (!!!) — My mom and siblings went in on a top-of-the-line jogging stroller for us. It was one of the big items that we wanted most, so we're very excited about it! I can't wait to take the baby for a spin in it and get back into shape at the end of these 9 months.

I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting to mention from our pile of presents. Thank you to everyone who was so generous!! And we're looking forward to our "St. Louis shower" in a few weeks!

Friday, May 22, 2009


My friend Hallermann raised a good question about whether Brian and I have zeroed in on any baby names yet.
The short answer is: yes, sort of.
But a longer explanation is required about why I'm hesitant to share them on the blog. Brian and I discovered early on that there's a lot of criticism that comes up during the baby-naming process.
One of the first things we did after finding out about the baby was start pouring through a names book. Heck, even before the baby became a reality we'd spend time on long car rides batting around name ideas.
We're lucky to have a girl's name that we both like: Eleanor, which is Brian's grandma's name. We'll likely call her Ellie or Ella, maybe even shorten it to Nora... if we end up with a baby girl, that is.
And we started to narrow the field of boys names that we like — though there wasn't a whole lot of common ground on names that we both connected with.
We put a lot of time and energy into our names discussion, so it was really hard when we started sharing those with family and friends only to get our ideas shot down. Now some people were polite and would respond with, "Oh, what a great name," or something similar. But others would come right out with criticism.
I'd been warned by siblings and friends not to share our name picks because of this very reason. But Brian and I are so excited about everything with this baby, it's hard to hold back.
In the past few months we've learned to hold back. Or, if we do share our name choices (which aren't even finalized yet) we always preface the conversation with this type of background... so people know that we don't really want to hear negative feedback.
It's still funny to me that some people need to be reminded that this is our decision, not theirs.

But I guess now that I've put in this disclaimer, I may as well share our top choices for boys names. Leading the pack right now is Charles (we'd call him Charlie) or Samuel (we'd call him Sam). There's still others in the running and we may change our minds completely over the next few months.

For now, one of my co-workers has decided "Slappy" is the perfect name for the baby. I can't quite remember where this joke originated from. I think it stemmed from the suggestion that I create a baby naming pool at work and just let the winner decide on the name. We probably won't be doing that based on the suggestions thrown out.
But most of my phone messages at work these days are left for "Slappy's mom."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My hero

With as often as I've blamed Brian over the past six months for "getting me into this," I'd be remiss if I didn't take the time to praise his heroics at our house last night.
We were fast-forwarding through the Tivo-ed American Idol finale around 10 p.m. with several lights on and both dogs sleeping peacefully. Suddenly a bat flies into the room and starts doing laps around the ceiling.
I tried to actually sink inside my chair as I watched in horror. Even writing about it now I can feel my heart rate climbing. I am NOT a fan of bats after being terrorized by them on many nights at my mom's house in Rockford.
Brian could tell I was losing it and told me to get outside while he took care of it. I ran to the front door and fumbled with the locks, sure that the bat was bearing down on me from behind. I finally flung open the screen door and threw my body onto the front porch — not sure if this was intentional or if I tripped, but I have the scraped up foot to prove it.
Once I was safely on the other side of the screen, I tried to yell encouragement to Brian. I told him to get a blanket to throw over the bat. He got one and chased the bat upstairs into our bedroom (ugh!!) where he was able to capture it within a couple minutes. He came downstairs holding the blanket bundle and walked down the street to release the bat.
I suggested burning the blanket, but Brian seems to think washing it will do the trick.
My screams and the bang of our front door flying open attracted the neighbors' attention. They were glad to hear we were dealing with a bat and not being savagely attacked.
I know I should probably be embarrassed by my total meltdown in the face of this small, flying rodent... but I've never claimed to have any bravery when it comes to bats.
Brian was truly my hero in getting the bat out quickly, and then going along with my request that we scour every window and other potential opening in the house before we went to bed. I still had a very freaked out night of sleep — not much sleep was had, actually. But I know it would have been much worse if Brian hadn't been there talking me off the ledge.
The baby and I owe him big time... I may even try to curse him less when delivery time comes :)

Third trimester!

I'm officially in my third trimester now!
I can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going. It's very encouraging to think that the three-month span I have left is the same amount of time that just flew by during this last trimester. Brian and I are going to be holding and loving this baby in no time! (And THAT is a scary reality I'll return to in a later post...)
I'm really am trying to focus on the excitement of being in the home stretch .... and ignore all of the warnings about the discomfort that comes during these next three months. But it's hard when everything I read and hear from others is about how I've got a rough road ahead of me.
I feel pretty lucky about how good I've felt over the past few months. My energy level has been high, my mood swings haven't been too frequent and I've felt good most days.
The nights have already been getting hard to deal with. I'm up for the bathroom several times each night and in between those trips I wake up for various reasons — hip pain, back pain, sweaty-hotness or freezing. I can't say I've gotten up well-rested any time in the past few weeks. I'm guessing it will get worse as the weather heats up and my stomach continues to balloon. But at least Brian and I got the air conditioning fixed in our house over the winter!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Area formerly known as my waist

I'm a little gun-shy about writing about my weight and belly size these days. It seems like every time I do make note of my growing "bump," it just gets bigger!
OK, maybe that's at least partially due to the progressing pregnancy. But it is amazing to me how much this belly is growing.
I don't think I look too different from head-on. But put me in the right shirt, turn me sideways and WHOA! I've heard women talk about carrying the baby high or low, and how that can be a predictor of the sex, etc. I think I'm carrying the baby all over! The curve basically starts at my rib cage and runs all the way down to the area formerly known as my waist. Not sure what that means about the sex, but I'm expecting it means I have a big baby in there.
My siblings and I all weighed-in at over 9 pounds at birth. Brian was in the 7-8 pound range. Plus, I have a hard time picturing this Wallheimer baby inheriting a small bone structure from its parents!
The doctor says I'm still in the normal range for size and weight gain. I've put on more than 20 pounds already... but as long as the doctor says I'm fine, I'm trying to keep from thinking about what the scale says.
I know I drive Brian nuts sometimes worrying about my size and weight, but I've carried extra pounds almost my entire life. I don't want to come out of this pregnancy with weight gain that's going to take years to undo.
And it's hard not to worry about that when the doctor and everyone else keeps reminding me that my body is "never going to be the same again" after having a baby. Well, what does that mean? I wish there was some way to get a mock-up of what my body will look like on the other side of this so I could know and stop imagining the worst.
In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep lubing up my itchy, growing belly with lotion and try to avoid looking at my backside in the mirror!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kid mode

During this pregnancy, I've gained a new respect for the time spent hanging out with my nephews Mason and Jay, and my niece, Alora.
I feel like I've been on high-alert for any and all teaching moments in the kid department over the past seven months. I did a little babysitting when I was a teenager, but really I haven't spent a lot of time with babies and toddlers. I'm trying to learn a few things before my own little one arrives, but I also understand that I'll have to learn along the way (as I have with so many things about pregnancy).
Here are a couple mental notes I've made during visits with "the kids"...
• Fruit is a winner (as evidenced in Mason downing most of a cantaloupe in a single sitting)
• Chores can be fun (i.e. Mason having a blast helping me plant flowers)
• Kids, like dogs, still fight over a toy even if there's another one exactly the same sitting untouched
• Tears are usually fleeting ... try not to gasp when Jay or another kid bites the dust
• Kids — like me with pregnancy hormones — are devastated one minute, laughing the next
• Many wonderful crafts can be made with cardboard boxes from the recycling bin. So what if they say "Sam Adams Variety Pack"...

Luckily, I have several family members and friends with young kids who are generously showering me with advice. I'm happy to get tips on everything from breastfeeding to diapering to discipline from those who are living it right now :) Obviously Brian and I will have to develop our own style in many regards, but I'm happy to hear what's worked well (and what hasn't) for others.

Here's a few pics from my trip out to visit Jim, Sandy, Alora and Jay in Nebraska.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home stretch... before the home stretch

I just hit the mark for my 27th week, which is the final one in my second trimester.
I've obviously been watching this baby grow as each day ticks away, but when I think about being almost two-thirds of the way done with the pregnancy it's hard to figure out where the time has gone!
Many people warned me at the beginning that the nine months would fly by, but I didn't believe it back in December and January when I had this huge timeline stretched out in front of me.
The baby weighs over two pounds this week, roughly equal (in weight) to a head of cauliflower. It's size is still measured as an eggplant — a very healthy one! We don't get a new fruit/veggie reference until next week.
And I'm having no trouble believing that the baby is growing more each day. The kicks are starting to get a little uncomfortable at times. I put Brian's hand on my belly the other morning during a particularly frenzied spell from the baby and he said, "bad baby" every time it launched another limb (or its head?) into my side.
But I do love all the movement! And I'm getting excited about meeting this squirmy, little baby — in a few more months, of course.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The baby's arrival is still three months away, but our house is already bursting with equipment for the little guy (or gal).
My brother and sister-in-law, Dan and Jen, recently decided to pass down ALL their baby supplies to us. We've gotten two car loads and there still might be more!
They've passed on a pack-n-play, swing, bouncy seat, stroller travel system, baby gates, bottles, bath tub, play mat, toys and even a Classic Pooh crib mobile :) Apparently we have the same nursery taste! We are so grateful for everything.
This early baby shower from the Dan and Jen comes after we got a crib and changing table from one of Brian's co-workers. Both pieces are in great shape and look awesome in the nursery. I feel so blessed by the generosity we've been shown during this pregnancy. I plan to pay it forward as much as I can as others I know start their families.
While filling out our baby registry might take some imagination now, it's great to know that we've already got most of what we need for the baby. I'm a big planner and there's nothing I like more than crossing things off that "baby needs" list.
If anyone has any suggestions for must-have items that Brian and I probably aren't thinking of, do tell!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Braxton Hicks and breathless

As I near the end of my second trimester, I've been experiencing a couple freaky (though normal) pregnancy symptoms.

I started noticing last week that every so often I can feel the entire lower half of my belly tighten up. It's as if the baby is grabbing at things from the inside and pulling it all together. I realized it may be Braxton Hicks contractions and asked the doctor about it. She said it's normal at this point to feel the uterus tighten up and release every so often. I guess it's considered "practice contractions" and as long as they don't come too close together, I'm fine. It's kind of cool now that I know what it is and why it's OK.

The less-fun side effect I've had recently is getting out of breath really quickly. This often happens around this time because the baby is crowding the rib cage and preventing my lungs from fully expanding. I notice it the most when I climb stairs — so I'm extra glad that Brian got the upstairs toilet installed temporarily and I'm saved from 2-3 extra trips downstairs during the night. The doctor still wants me to be getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, so I can't use the breathing thing as my excuse. But I'm making sure to move even slower!

Today's column

Sorry about the posting delays. I was out of town — visiting Jim, Sandy, Alora and Jay in Nebraska — from Thursday until yesterday.
I'll write more later, but here's a link to a column I wrote for today's Journal & Courier.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Brian's first post

Not to throw anyone off, but this is Brian, not Dorothy. She's asked me to sometimes drop in a line or two on the blog, so this is my first post.

I guess I should start by saying I'm pretty excited about the baby coming in just a few months. It don't feel real yet, though I'm sure it will after the first night at home. Goodbye, sleep.

One of the things I'm really excited about is all the things I get to teach my son or daughter. I'm worried about kids these days (wow, that sounded old) and their lack of energy. My kids aren't sitting in front of computers, video games or televisions all day. I want them outside playing, enjoying nature, their friends and all the dumb games kids make up.

So, on that note, I've started creating a list of all the things I think kids in 10, 15 or 20 years won't know how to do anymore. And I want my kids to know how to do all of them. Some early entries for you to peruse:

- Build a fire without pouring gas or lighter fluid on the wood.
- Do their own minor car repairs (change oil, check fluids, tires, etc.)
- Clean walnuts, dry them and crack them to get the nuts (it's possible I believe our baby is a squirrel) like I did with my grandpa
- Plant and take care of a garden

More to come.

Best of both

Brian and I skated into some dangerous territory the other day when I brought up the subject of which traits (of ours) we hoped the baby would get. That conversation basically turned into each of us insulting the other's features, none of which will be good enough for our offspring. We quickly moved on to safer discussion topics :)

I've included a new picture below that our friend Melissa took last weekend. I was impressed by how skinny Brian looks in the picture — where he stands in the shadow of my ever-growing belly. I know he's been losing weight, but it's very noticeable here. Go Brian!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sent to the store

On his recent visits in town, Dan (my brother) has been helping Brian on our bathroom reconstruction project. It's awesome having the extra hands, since my help in the whole process is limited.
The boys have decided my best role is to run to the store and get them beer. I'm happy to help, but buying beer once you're visibly pregnant is definitely awkward. The first time I did it, I stupidly said to the cashier, "This isn't for me." That statement raised the question of who I was buying the case of Miller Lite for... I told him it was not for some teenager in the parking lot.
On my most recent beer run for the boys, I got up to the counter with my purchase before I realized what I had on. Not only was I the only pregnant woman in the store buying a case of beer, but I was wearing a T-shirt of Brian's that says "Budweiser is good!"
Very classy. Definitely some mom-of-the-year material.