Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A place

"Are you ready for the baby?"
That's the number one question that Brian and I have been getting asked recently by everyone we meet. I'm not really sure how to answer, since there are so many different areas of "preparedness" to consider. Are we mentally prepared? Financially ready? Am I physically ready to give birth? And, do we have the house prepared for a baby?
I don't know the answers to some of those questions. But I'm happy to report that the baby's crib is now fully assembled and decked out in new, washed baby bedding. Look at how cute it turned out!!

Our current plan is to have the baby start out in the crib. We talked about using a cradle in our room at the beginning, but there's not much room to fit it next to our bed and we're not sure it makes sense with the nursery being only an extra 5 steps from our bedroom door.
When I've told some people about this plan, I've been told (in so many words) that we should reconsider because it's nice having the baby by the side of the bed, especially for breastfeeding purposes. And maybe our plans will change once we get our little one home and see how things are working. But for now I'm very excited to see this beautiful nursery taking shape.
We may not have all the money we need or have total confidence in what we're going to do as parents, but at least our baby's place in the home is ready!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good news, bad news

OK, well it's not really bad news. But I had a somewhat depressing visit to the doctor yesterday where I weighed-in 36 pounds higher than my pre-pregnancy starting weight. The doctor isn't concerned. She thinks it's because of the big baby and the extra water I'm retaining — who knew my ankles could hold so much? But it's still tough to think that I'd have to lose a pound over the remainder of the pregnancy to stay within the 25-35 pound "recommended weight gain." That doesn't seem likely as the baby's growth shows no signs of slowing — and, of course, I want this baby to be as big and healthy as it can be.
I'm sure some people are thinking I must go home and eat butter with a side of Crisco every night, but I've been eating relatively healthy and getting some exercise almost every day. I swear! Oh well. My doctor isn't worried, so I'm going to try not to be either.

On a positive note, the baby's heart rate was healthy and in the 140s. My belly is still measuring big for where I'm at in the pregnancy — surprise, surprise — but we're getting another ultrasound in about 3 weeks to check in again on the baby's size. After our next doctor's appointment, we start going in every week for the final countdown of the pregnancy!

Brian and I listened to some Michael Jackson last night (after hearing the sad news of his death) and I think our baby is an early fan. I definitely felt the butt and a foot sticking out in what I'm assuming was some sort of awkward baby dance move :) And, really, who can help dancing when Billie Jean is playing?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You know you're hugely pregnant when...

I'm sure this list could grow and grow, but I started thinking about it last night when I had to do some personal grooming. So here goes...

• You have to schedule a block of time to shave your legs. It's not easy reaching those ankles anymore! And it doesn't help that we've only got a stall shower in commission right now, so I had to balance on the edge of the bathroom sink last night. All in all, a very attractive and time-consuming process.
• Can go to the bathroom in the lobby on the way into the doctor's office and then still be able to pee in a cup a few minutes later in the doctor's office. Thanks for the bladder dance, baby.
• Can set things on the belly. Or, conversely, can't avoid getting stains on the belly. I love it when I don't even see all the crap I've gotten on the belly of my shirts until I take them off at the end of the day.
• Grunt every time I have to lower myself into the car, into bed, onto the toilet, etc...
• Crossing my legs while sitting is no longer an option because my huge belly gets in the way of my huge thigh. Have I mentioned how attractive I'm feeling these days?
• Feel my wedding rings getting tighter by the day. I remember last summer I thought about getting them sized-down and now I'm afraid of losing circulation in my ring finger.
• Can't tell when my belly is hanging out of my shirt or above my pants. It certainly doesn't feel drafty in this heat! And I would describe looking down these days as looking over the edge of a very steep black diamond ski run. When you can't even see the bottom, you know it's bad.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It's officially week 33 and the baby is now the size of a honeydew melon!
Here's the other size and development news from thebump.com for the next four week period:
Baby’s senses are continuing to improve -- when light peeks in through your (extremely) stretched belly, those tiny eyelids and irises blink and dilate. And, baby can now recognize and react to simple songs… time to start practicing your lullabies! Growth (at least inside your womb) is starting to slow, and you may notice baby descend into your pelvis at the end of this month.
I also read that the amount of amniotic fluid I'm carrying is supposed to top out this week. Maybe that will help my weigh-ins at the doctor's office level out over the rest of the pregnancy. I have noticed my appetite shrinking in recent weeks, which I'm guessing is due to my stomach running out of space. I don't get nauseous anymore if I don't eat often enough and I've been craving more fruits and proteins, rather than carbs, carbs, carbs.

Now that the countdown is at 7 weeks, I'll admit I'm getting pretty nervous. But it really helps that the house and baby stuff is getting more put together. I was able to assemble our crib last weekend and Brian put our new jogging stroller together yesterday. I have a bunch of the baby clothes in the dresser — and even though I have to take them all back out to wash them, it was very soothing to see the piles of clothes in their proper place for a couple days :)
I don't think I've reached the frantic "nesting" phase that I've heard can accompany the last part of pregnancy, but I really like getting organized. This baby is going to be here before we know it!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Workin' through the weekend

The baby and I had a long and productive work weekend. My mom came down and helped Brian and I get to the final stretch of our bathroom remodeling project. It was great to have her here to give us advice about the detailing in the bathroom, such as the caulking, caps and baseboards for the wainscoting, and frames for the door and window. Plus, she may be 60 but she was doing better than either Brian or I after a 12 hour stretch of work on Saturday. She kept us motivated through the weekend and we are so close to being done with the bathroom now! Pictures to come (as soon as I can find the camera... lost in the construction mayhem somewhere...)

It was also fun to have my mom around for a few days to ask baby questions as they came to me. She's got a bit of experience, having had 5 kids, breastfeeding all of us and trying to keep up with everything. Though she told me that different things came up with each child, so it's hard to know what to expect in a lot of ways.
As I was missing my dad on Sunday, Father's Day, it was also nice to talk to my mom a little about what he was like as they prepared for their first baby. Brian has been so calm, but I think a lot of dads hold it together like that so that the moms-to-be can freely express all their worries. My mom doesn't remember my dad having a lot of nerves as they waited for the arrival of Jim, my oldest brother. My dad was always such a strong figure when I was growing up that that doesn't surprise me. Though I would fully expect to see my dad melt if he were here to hold his latest grandchild when he or she arrives. I know he'll be watching, though. And our baby won't have any shortage of love from those with us and from those who are not.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Breastfeeding class*

*I'm trying to give fair warning of the subject matter to any of the guys reading my blog... truth in advertising.

I went to a class last night on breastfeeding. A friend had advised that I not drag Brian along to this one, but afterward I wished he had been there. I know the subject matter is more geared toward me and my parts, but with all the information coming at me these days I like having Brian as my back-up memory. I know I'm going to forget a lot of stuff in the coming months!

But here are few things I did learn. Some have me excited about the prospect of breastfeeding, while others made me a bit nervous.
The instructor, a lactation consultant at the hospital, started class by espousing the benefits of breastfeeding. She said studies have shown breastfed babies' IQs are, on average, 10 points higher. Plus, the mothers who breastfeed have less chance of getting breast or ovarian cancers later in life.

And while I appreciated the instructor's honesty, she must have mentioned 100 times that the biggest complaint she hears from new mothers is having sore (and/or dry, cracked) nipples. She also explained that the new babies need to be fed every 2.5-3 hours. With each feeding expected to last about 30-45 minutes, it doesn't sound like I'll be spending much time NOT breastfeeding... at least at the beginning. Maybe I should have known this already?
I was also glad to learn some positioning techniques and about how important it is that the baby latches on correctly. Sorry guys, I warned you.

So, I know that breast v. bottle feeding can be a touchy subject for people. For me, I'm planning to breastfeed for as long as it makes sense for our family. I don't know if that will be until I go back to work or beyond. In fact, I don't know for sure that breastfeeding will work for me even at the start. (**Another disclaimer that this may be too much info...) I had breast reduction surgery nine years ago. And while I don't regret the decision, the only long-term side effect my doctor noted then was that it might make breastfeeding impossible (because the cuts made may have damaged the milk ducts). This wasn't a huge concern to me at age 19, but now I'm obviously wondering about my body's limitations. From what I've researched, most women who've had this surgery can breastfeed but may need to supplement. I won't know what my body can do until after the baby comes and I see if milk comes in. So, I'm trying to keep a Zen attitude about the whole process and just do what I can when the time comes.

And even though Brian missed all the fun in class, I shared my notes with him when I got home. So now he's as much of a breastfeeding "expert" as I am! Feel free to quiz him :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Future Packers fan

I was working with my boss today to plan my maternity leave and came across an exciting "sign" of our baby's future sports team fandom.
In my office planner for the year there are weekly inspirational quotes and this is the one for the week of August 11, my due date:
"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." —Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi!! Clearly I have a Packers fan on board :) And, given the content of the quote, we may have a future rugby player on our hands, too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guessing the gender

We hit the 32 week mark today! This is the last week the baby is the size of an indeterminate squash. According the Web sites I follow, the baby could weigh up to 4 lbs this week — oh wait, we've already achieved that. But by now all five of the baby's senses have developed and steady growth is continuing. The baby's developing more fat, too. Goodie.

Not that I want to fuel endless gender predictions, but I found this blurb interesting from the 32 week section at storknet.com:
If you've chosen not to find out which gender your baby is, you may be trying to guess based on Old Wives Tales. Or, your friends and relatives may be telling you what they think your baby is. Some of these theories can be really fun. For example, if Dad is more nervous, a daughter is on the way. If he's more relaxed, it's a boy. If Dad is getting lots of household projects done, a boy is coming. If Dad isn't doing more projects, it's a girl. If Dad gains weight with Mom, it's a boy. If he stays the same weight-wise, it's a girl. So Dad? What's it gonna be?

Most of you know that Brian has been shamelessly pulling for a boy in this whole process. (Though I'm sure he'll be a complete softie if we end up having a girl this time around!)
The theories below provide conflicting results because Brian isn't too nervous (boy=1, girl=0) and he's certainly getting household projects done (boy=2, girl=0).... but he's not gained weight or stayed the same size. In fact, he's lost 24 lbs so far during my pregnancy. I would think that trend lends more to the girl prediction. But who knows! I guess we'll find out in August.

P.S. Does anyone else think that those gender theories above were totally invented by a woman? (Given that most of the men I've talked to have admitted they wanted a son from their wife's first pregnancy... and the productive behaviors listed, minus the weight gain, seem to be tied to the male prediction.)
What wife out there doesn't nag her husband to do more projects around the house? And while I would totally understand if Brian were a nervous wreck right now, it's nice that he's been a calming influence during this process. If I'd known about these baby gender predictors earlier, I definitely would have shared them with Brian when he first started saying things like "be a boy" into my belly. Maybe he could have gotten a second bathroom remodeled during these nine months!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wonderful weekend

We had a great shower in Troy this weekend!
Linda and Bob threw us a big bash at a park near their house on Saturday. We had 50+ people in attendance, great weather and so much good food.
And all of the guests were so generous in their gifts. We got a couple diaper cakes, lots of wipes, clothes, books, a changing pad, a play mat and so much more. I can't even attempt to list everything we got here, but we got a lot of the essentials and some very cute baby extras.
A couple of our favorites were a small suitcase that says "Ready or not, Grandma. Here I come" and a t-shirt that says "Party at my crib. B.Y.O.B."
In addition to the gifts and great food, it was nice to spend a couple hours visiting with friends and getting some advice about what we have ahead of us. Many of Brian's friends already have kids, so they've been able to share some insight. I asked several of the girls about labor and delivery concerns I'm having, and I got some really helpful feedback. Plus, a lot of the kids came to the shower, so we got to play with them and watch the parents in action :)

All in all, it was an awesome weekend and one that got us even more excited for the baby's upcoming arrival. Thanks to everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby blow-out

Brian and I are headed to Troy (IL) this evening for a fun weekend with family.
Brian's mom is throwing us a huge baby shower tomorrow. We're very excited to see so many friends and family members, and enjoy an afternoon BBQ at the park! I think there may be a few people there we've never met (friends of Brian's mom and grandparents), but it's great so many people — more than 60, I think —want to come out and help us celebrate. Who knew Baby Wallheimer would be so popular already?!

Also, I'm not sure if I'd given a post-pneumonia update, but I am feeling a million times better than I did last week. I have some energy back and am happier overall. I'm feeling so much better, in fact, that there are times when I don't feel completely overwhelmed by the person growing inside of me!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The skinny

Thought that post title would be ironic... but here's what we found out from our visit to Dr. George this afternoon:

Yes, it's a big baby. She wants to take another look at its size when we do an ultrasound around week 36. If it's nearing the 9-10 pound mark, doc says we're not even going to talk about doing a vaginal delivery. She said there are too many complications that could come up from trying to deliver a baby that size the regular way and I could end up needing a C-section even after trying.

If the baby keeps growing like a weed, she'll want to schedule a C-section. But she didn't move up my due date and said even with a C-section she wouldn't want to take the baby before week 39. I asked about whether I could be induced early if the baby is big and it's a possibility, but we'll have to see if my body starts preparing for delivery when that time comes.

So we're still in wait-and-see mode. I guess we'll know more in five weeks. I'm getting pretty anxious to meet our little one — and to be done with carrying around these extra pounds! But considering how much we still have left to get ready around the house, I guess it's good we're not too far ahead of schedule.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hungry for exercise?

I actually had a dream last night about working out. And I've had a couple other ones like that in the past month. I couldn't help laughing about it when I woke up this morning because I was thinking back to all of the pre-pregnancy mornings that I got up cursing the training for whatever race I was signed up for next. Who knew I'd miss those days?
My "workouts" the past couple months have been limited to mostly walking. And with the pneumonia I was dealing with recently, the doctor told me to rest completely. I'm back to doing a little walking but am finding that my energy levels are dropping quickly. Just working with Brian in the bathroom for a couple hours after work has me completely exhausted before 9 p.m. I miss having energy!
I'd like to think I'll be happy and cheerful when I finally do get back into a running routine post-pregnancy... but I'm sure I'll find stuff to complain about then, too :)

Here's a picture Brian took of me yesterday at the start of week 31. More updates coming later after our visit to the doctor!

Our beautiful babe

Here are some pictures from the latest ultrasound. Unlike Brian, I don't think it's clearly a boy from the shots... and he couldn't sweet-talk the tech into spilling the beans. But who cares about the sex when the baby has such an angel face :)

Nervousness with the tech

Just to let people know, this is Brian again, hacking into the blog.
Dorothy and I get excited about the ultrasound days because we get to actually see the baby. But each time we've done this, I've left the doctor's office with a pit in my stomach.
The tech is about as friendly as a rock. She hardly talks, and her comments are made in a monotone voice that I just can't figure out.
Tech: I'm going to make sure the baby's heart walls are looking good.
Me: (after a few seconds) How do they look?
Tech: OK.
What the hell does that mean? Are they actually OK, or does she just not want to tell me that my child's heart might explode at any moment. Are intonation and inflection too much to ask?
Like Dorothy said in an earlier post, we go to the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully we'll get some answers to those questions.
On an unrelated note, as soon as Dorothy posts the pics, you'll have to agree that the baby looks like a boy. I'm just saying.


I've been wondering (worrying) for weeks now about my belly size. We got some answers today at our ultrasound.

Even though I'm just now hitting the 31 week mark, the ultrasound pics show that Baby Wallheimer is measuring in at 32 weeks, 5 days already! The baby already weighs more than 4 lbs — not ready to come out yet, but bigger than the 2.5-3.8 lbs estimated for this month.

Going by the baby's size, my due date would move up to July 30 from the doctor's recently revised estimate of Aug. 11. Our ultrasound tech didn't have too many answers for us today on what this all means, but we're seeing Dr. George tomorrow and hopefully she will explain more.

But we know for sure now that I've got a big baby on board! Got to love those Schneider baby genes...

(Oh, and I'll post some of the new ultrasound pictures on here later. He or she is such a cutie pie!!)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun weekend

With all the recent stress, I'm psyched that Brian and I are getting away and having a little fun this weekend. We both have today off and are headed up to the Indiana Dunes, where I plan to nap on the beach in my new zero gravity chair. We're also swinging by an outlet mall up there. The main purpose is to find new dress shoes for Brian, but I'm hoping we can make a quick trip into one of the baby clothes stores... could be dangerous! We are getting so many great hand-me-downs, but I still want to pick out a couple cute outfits for our new addition.
After today's low-key outing, we're continuing on to Grand Rapids, Mich., tomorrow to attend cousin Kate's wedding. We'll get to see lots of family and it should be a great time.
Don't worry, I still plan to take it easy. We went in to see my OB yesterday and she said everything looks good with baby. The heart rate isn't elevated, which means even though I've been having trouble getting enough air in recent days the baby seems to be getting plenty. With the pneumonia clearing up, I should have a little easier time breathing. But the baby's sitting high and crowding my lungs, so it's going to be a bit uncomfortable for awhile.
The doc said I need to keep getting rest and really limit my physical activity to kick this illness. I guess that means sitting out the Chicken Dance at the wedding. Darn. But I'll make that sacrifice for our little one.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On the mend

Monday was definitely scary. I was into work before 6 a.m. (because I work an early shift each Monday) and felt tired — per usual — and was having pain in my throat and chest when I took a deep breath. I called my general doctor's office as soon as it opened and scheduled an appointment for the afternoon.
I went to cover a city meeting at 8:30 a.m. and still felt about the same. But on the way back from it I started feeling worse chest pain and had some numbness down my left arm. And I couldn't feel the tips of two fingers on my left hand.
Now I know it's normal to have some hand numbness during pregnancy. And I hadn't been freaking out about the shortness of breath because I asked my OB about it last week and she thought it was probably the baby in a position where it pushed against my lungs. I was worried about the symptoms I was having but didn't want to be a hysterical pregnant woman. But when I called the nurse at my OB's office, she said I needed to go to the emergency room.
I had some idea what to expect walking into the ER with the chest and arm pain symptoms. I was immediately hooked up to a heart monitor, they put in an IV to draw blood and had me laying down (much too flat for comfort). Brian got there soon after, which helped me calm down. Still, as he mentioned in yesterday's post, it was hours of waiting on answers.
Once they determined everything was fine with my heart, the main concern was that I had a blood clot in my lung. They would tell me that the chances were very remote and then turn around and remind me how life-threatening it could be if there is a clot. I was not calm.
Luckily we got the CT-scan and found out the good news... pneumonia. I'm on a Z-pac now and trying to rest as much as possible.
It's hard not to feel like a little bit of a failure getting so sick during the pregnancy. I've been proud over the past seven months that I've avoided getting even a simple cold... then I wind up in the ER. But I guess getting sick just happens sometimes. And I'm being a much better patient than usual. Most times when I'm sick I have a hard time giving in. I try to keep up most of my normal routine until I fall into bed with exhaustion. This time around I'm making rest and sleep my top priorities. I took two naps while home from work yesterday. I'm back on the job today, but am still taking it easy. I think the antibiotics have eased some of my chest pain, but I'm still pretty breathless just from going up a flight of stairs. It's hard to know how much of that is being caused by the baby's position and how much is being sick. Either way, I hope the symptoms get better soon.

And on a bright note: Today marks the start of week 30! Baby and I are officially three-quarters of the way there!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A little scare

Who would have though that finding out Dorothy has pneumonia would be a relief.
This is Brian, by the way, filling in for our sick blogger, who obviously has pneumonia.
Dorothy hadn't been feeling well over the weekend. She had been short of breath off and on and basically tired. We chalked it up to the pregnancy and the idea that the baby was pressing up against her lungs.
Then Monday she started feeling a pain in her left arm, pain in her throat or neck when she breathed deeply and some numbness in her left hand. Her OB sent her to the emergency room, the first thought being heart trouble.
Long story short (though it was six hours of waiting and listening to the guy in the next bed arguing with a doctor about whether a baby can receive the effects of his wife or girlfriend smoking crack while breast feeding) she had a CAT scan to check for blood clots and it turned out to be pneumonia.
It was quite a scare. Here we don't even have a baby yet, but we're having to make some tough decisions about whether it's OK to have an x-ray and whether Dorothy should get the contrasting dye, which does reach the baby. I guess that's what being a parent is all about.
But I look at it this way. We had to make a major decision, and we did it. And really, this is the toughest decision we'll ever have to make about our kids, and it's out of the way, right? Right? Anyone!?!?