Friday, July 31, 2009

bad idea/good idea

Today's my last day of work before taking 12 weeks maternity leave (well, a combo of family leave and vacation time).... Woo-hoo!
I'm working to get four stories done today. And one of them involved tagging along on a photo assignment to the county courthouse. Well, actually, the dome of the courthouse. The county is having to invest some money to fix water leaks in the dome, so I'm writing about it and decided to go and see for myself.
It seemed like a great idea until the photographer, maintenance director and I approached the super-steep stairs leading up to the dome. I climbed up and found myself facing another flight of stairs. Climbed those, too, and guess what? More stairs. Even steeper. I had to let the rest of the group walk ahead while I rested, but I made it up eventually! Coming back down was almost as scary since my balance is off and I was wearing flip-flops (hey, it's all that fits!).
But I survived the dome trip and it didn't even get labor started.

Now I'm one hour from the start of the weekend and my leave time. Brian and I have brainstormed some good ideas this week on what to do in our final pre-baby time.
After our afternoon trip to the sweet corn festival tomorrow, I think we may go to a nearby drive-in theater to see the new movie "Funny People." I could use a few laughs to relieve the building stress and nerves! And we want to get one last date night in before it will require a babysitter. As I told Brian, my only concern is being able to stay awake through a movie that doesn't start until 9:15 p.m.! (I feel so old...)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's on!

We went this afternoon to what was hopefully our last appointment with Dr. George before the baby comes. The baby's heartbeat is strong and my belly is still... big! It's measuring 38 cm, which is pretty big at this stage because the baby has already dropped down a bunch. Oh well. We've got ourselves one healthy watermelon in there!
Dr. George also checked my progress and said I'm 1 cm dilated — a little something, but not much. I'll take it, though! She said my cervix is softening already, too, which shows that my body is getting ready to deliver this little guy/gal.
If nothing happens by Sunday night, we're going in to the hospital to start the induction process. Dr. George warned us that it could take a while to deliver on Monday. So even though I'm sure I'll be going out of my mind with excitement, we're both going to try to get some good sleep (in hospital beds — or possibly a recliner for Brian) on Sunday night. I was happy to hear from Dr. George that she'll stay until I deliver, even if it happens past midnight and into Tuesday morning. We really like Dr. George and want her to be the one to deliver!
I can't believe how close we're getting. 4 days!!!!!

p.s. Rivaling in excitement to the "baby is coming" news at today's appointment — I lost 2 lbs. since last week's appointment. I haven't documented a weight loss in a very long time now!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Famous August 3rd-ers

During one of my hyper-excited periods about the birth, I started doing some research on famous people that our baby could share its birthday with.
While I'd like to deliver on Monday, Aug. 3 because my doctor will definitely be working, I was briefly excited when I saw the possibility of baby Wallheimer sharing an Aug. 4 birthday with President Obama! But after a little searching, I found that Aug. 3 would give our baby the same birthday as another one of my favorite presidents — Josiah Bartlet (better known as Martin Sheen) of the West Wing :)
Also born Aug. 3 — Tony Bennett, Martha Stewart and Tom Brady. A bit of a mixed bag... but clearly it means our baby could be a major crooner, an excellent homemaker/white-collar criminal or an all-star athlete.
I would insist that our little football star play in Green Bay, though.

38 weeks

It's crazy that this is probably my last full week of pregnancy... but, boy am I ready!
Here's the brief update from on the baby at week 38:
The baby may be gaining an ounce a day now. His/her intestines are accumulating lots of meconium (baby's first bowel movement). The circumference of the head and the baby's abdomen are about the same size.

I've been swinging back and forth between insane excitement about what's coming and total exhaustion — which translates into cranky. I wouldn't call myself "level-headed" these days. But I'm trying to follow the advice given to me about resting as much as possible. It is cruel that at this time when I probably need my sleep the most, it's so hard to get it. Even bedding on the recliner downstairs is only helping so much. It's definitely more comfortable for laying down, but getting up to make my nighttime treks to the bathroom takes some serious work (especially since Muzzy likes to sleep somewhere on top of me)...
The other issue I've been facing the past few days is some serious wrist/carpal tunnel pain. From what I've read, this is not an uncommon problem late in pregnancy. But it really hurts! And it's not great in my line of work. I've been wrapping my right wrist at night to help stabilize it — and ensure I can hold a pen the next day for work.
OK, now that I've complained enough for one day I'll remind myself that the countdown is at 5 DAYS!!!! And only 3 days of work left!
I think I'm on the upswing to excitement again...

Monday, July 27, 2009

My first night on the couch

In almost four years of marriage, last night was the first in which I had to sleep on the couch. (This is Brian, just so you know)
Yes, there I found myself trying to find a way to position a comforter so that it doesn't bunch up and take any last shred of space I had after one of the dogs positioned himself in my foot space. I was cast off to the couch to sleep alone and slightly cold.
Of course, Dorothy was over on the recliner next to me, probably doing much of the same.
For the last several weeks, maybe months, Dorothy has had difficulty sleeping. She tosses and turns and jams pillows under her belly, between her legs, behind her back and God knows where else, all to no avail. Last night, she finally decided to try the cuddler (our oversized recliner), which left me the couch.
In actuality, I had more space than I've had in months. With all her pillows, I usually get about 18 to 20 inches of bed. The couch was like stretching out on a king-size.
Dorothy said she slept well, or as well as can be expected for a woman who could explode at any moment. I was glad to hear it. She needs the rest, especially since in one week, we won't be getting any.
So, here's to the couch, some real sleep and to convincing the dog to sleep on the floor around 3:30 a.m. These are the stories we'll tell our grandchildren.

In today's paper

I'm part of a rotating column at the Journal & Courier and write once every couple months. My latest column is in today's paper.
You can check it out at:

Oh, and ... 7 days till baby!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baby safety

I know I'm a little behind on this — since it's 10 days till baby!!! — but I just recently did the research on safety concerns over the use of crib bumper pads.
From what I've found on Consumer Reports and other recommendations from places such as the American Association of Pediatrics, it sounds like the extra cute bumper pads we have in place have to come out. The reason pads have been used traditionally is to keep babies from putting their heads through the slats of the crib. But since cribs are now made with narrow enough slats to prevent that, it's no longer a safety concern.
What is a concern is that the baby will suffocate from coming to close to the bumper pads or getting wedged between the pad and another object. Very scary stuff.
So I guess we will just enjoy the way the whole bedding set looks for the next week or so and then take the bumper pads out. Anyone have suggestions on other decorative uses of the bumper pads?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweet corn and the baby's arrival

We had a check-up today and confirmed the plans for being induced on Aug. 3.
11 days until baby!!!
Dr. George is actually going to have me check into the hospital on Sunday night, Aug. 2, to begin the induction medicine, if needed. Right now I'm not dilated at all. That's not unusual for 37 weeks. But if I'm still not showing any progress on my own by next week's appointment, she'll want to start me on some medicine that Sunday night that will soften my cervix (sorry, male readers) and make it easier to get labor going on Monday.
I'm excited about this plan because I think it will help ensure the baby's arrival on Monday — when Dr. George will be working.
Brian and I asked a few questions about the procedure. Not surprisingly, she couldn't give us any estimate on how long the induction will take (because it's different for everyone).
I was happy to hear that I can — and should — eat something before going in that night. Brian took my question one step further and asked Dr. George how much sweet corn I could eat beforehand. A strange question, yes, but the doctor gave me the green light to eat as much of it as I want. What a relief...?
Brian just found out that the annual Sweet Corn Festival in Wingate (a small town southwest of Lafayette) is on Aug. 1 this year. Yes, two days before the baby comes out Brian's top priority will be packing away as many ears of corn as possible at this all-you-can-eat festival.
In his defense, it is a pretty cool small-town event. Last year it was $2.50 per person for all the corn you could eat. There was a long line of people leading up to the grills where mass quantities of corn were being roasted and then dipped in coffee cans full of butter. Delicious. I've agreed to go with him this year as long as we can bring some lawn chairs and it's not 95 degrees.
Last year Brian put away 8 ears before I suggested that he call it a day... and take a bath to get all of the butter and corn kernels cleaned off. He's sure that this year he can outdo his last performance. I've told him to go for it as long as he doesn't end up needing surgery from some sort of corn blockage while I'm in labor. That would make a great story for the kids someday... but I doubt I would see the humor in it at the time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I know. The baby will pee on me

This is Brian hacking into the blog again today.
One of the funny things I've noticed as the baby's due date gets closer is the different stages other people go through when they talk to you about it. Especially noticeable is how backward their comments have been over time.
When we started talking about trying to get pregnant, people were so excited. We heard all the stories about how wonderful children are, and how our lives will be so fulfilling.
After you tell people you are pregnant, they're excited again, telling you great little stories about their, or their spouse's pregnancy, and what a magical time it is.
As the baby gets closer, within a couple months, people start getting anxious, asking you if you're "ready." Well, we're about as ready as we can get, I guess. How do you answer that? Can you truly be ready for such a life-altering thing?
But the stage that has truly surprised me is the last week or two, the point at which you can count down the days to the due date. That's when people start telling the truth. Out come the scary stories about children who scream all night. They laugh when they see diapers. You can't count the number of people who tell me what a pain it is to change diapers. And, yes, I'm aware that if it's a boy, he's going to pee in my face. If I have to live it then, I don't want to hear about it now.
This is all wrong. Here's how it should go, and how I'm going to tell it when I'm in the other position:
1: Thinking about getting pregnant? Let me tell you about the diapers, pee in the face and long nights now. Still thinking about getting pregnant? Great. Despite all that, it's a wonderful thing.
2. You're pregnant? That's wonderful. Enjoy the last months alone with your significant other. Do a lot of fun stuff and enjoy your time together. Your life will change in numerous ways. They're all good, but it's worth savoring what you have right now until it's gone.
3. Almost there? I have nothing to say. Everyone else is asking you a million questions. You're surely tired of them by now.
4. Just around the corner? Let me tell you positive things. This is going to be the most significant and memorable thing in your life. Enjoy that baby and don't sweat the small stuff. You'll never regret it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We've reached the last fruit of the pregnancy.
As of today, the start of week 37, the baby is the size of a watermelon. Hopefully seedless?
Judging from how low the baby's head was at last week's ultrasound and the fact that my ribs aren't being crushed these days, I believe the baby/watermelon has already dropped. From what I've read, this can happen any time in the last few weeks or days of pregnancy.
While I'm glad to have the extra breathing room, my frequent bathroom trips have become even more constant. Brian and I ran some errands during the weekend and I had to find the public bathroom in almost every store we visited. I was thinking I should put my experiences of the past few months to good use and create a ratings chart of the restrooms in stores around town. I'd definitely rate the grocery store's bathroom higher than the one at Sam's Club. And the one at Home Depot is superior to Lowes. I can't tell you how glad I am that I've accumulated this valuable knowledge.

But getting back to the watermelon, I was so glad to read at that the baby is considered full-term at this point. Even if it were born today, the lungs and other vital systems are developed enough (in most cases) to ensure a healthy baby. August 3 is only 13 days away now, but if the baby wants to come sooner we'd be OK with that, too!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Livin' it up

Brian and I are trying to make the most of these last couple weekends before the baby comes. We met our friends Rob and Mary/Nutter at Kickapoo State Park on Saturday afternoon for a picnic lunch and slow hike. (Nutter is also pregnant — due at the beginning of January!) We did travel very slowly on the trail but still went several miles! I slept very well Saturday night. Here's a couple pics from the trip.

On Sunday, Brian and I did some stuff around the house and then went to the movies. We saw "Up" and I cried several times. It wasn't just the hormones. It's such a sweet movie. (Plus, one of the main characters was named Ellie, which is our girl name choice.) I recommend this movie to anyone who hasn't seen it — especially if you're a dog person! Brian and I were cracking up.

The baby is scheduled to come in two weeks. We are sooo excited!... have I mentioned that?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brian 1, Baby Book 0

This is Brian hacking in for a post, just to let you know.
Dorothy and I were shopping the other day at Babies R Us (thanks for the gift cards, folks) and came across baby books. We've heard the stories about how people start filling them out and stop, only to leave their children with a little information about the first month or so of their lives.
But we decided we'd get one and do our best to fill in all the "important" information that will be fun to share with the baby one day when s/he is older.
Most of these books are the same in terms of information, though Dorothy and I agreed they were a bit excessive. Some information, such as baby's first steps, words, when they crawled and started eating solid food are interesting milestones to note.
However, I really don't think I'll be poking around in the baby's mouth to mark the occasion of the second incisor breaking through the gums. How about if we just record the date when the baby stops screaming about the teeth coming in?
I did, however, score a small victory over the baby book, and I didn't even know I was doing it.
One of the pages asks for information about parents at the time of birth. Whoever wrote this book thought they could take a little jab at dads by asking not just for mom's weight gain during pregnancy, but dad's as well.
Of course the mom is going to gain weight. And we've heard from people that the dad does the same because his eating habits change, there are sympathy pounds, etc. But that won't be the case here.
Since we found out Dorothy has been pregnant, I've been running more, eating better and eating less. I do an official weigh-in each month, and for the year, I'm down 21 pounds. My goal for the day the baby comes is to be near a 30-pound loss.
So take that, baby book.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Calm down

That's what I need to do — but it's not working. Ever since the doctor gave me the August 3 news this morning, my head is swimming.
I'm very excited to have a plan for the delivery, even though I recognize things could still change. The doctor has to make sure the date will work for scheduling, the baby could decide to come earlier than that or something else could come up. But for now I'm counting on "the plan" to help calm my nerves and keep me revved up in these uncomfortable, final few weeks.
Here are some of the chaotic thoughts making it almost impossible for me to focus today!

On the induction...
Pros: I'm excited that it will give me a chance at a natural delivery, rather than jumping into a C-section. However, from what I've researched, there's a decent chance that I'll need a C-section if the inducing doesn't take or drags on too long. I'm sure I'll regret saying this in a few weeks, but I'd like to at least see what labor feels like.
Cons: I've also read that an induced labor can be more painful than natural labor. I guess the medication they give you can make the contractions very strong, very quickly... which doesn't sound like a blast. But there are several induction methods and I don't know yet which one Dr. George will use.

On family coming for the birth...
I've heard several stories now from friends who've be induced and it sounds like labor could take anywhere from half a day to 24+ hours. So when do we have our moms come to town? Brian and I want them here to meet the baby shortly after birth, but don't want them to have to stake out in the hospital waiting room for hours. We're still figuring this one out, but it's great that both of the grandmothers-to-be have said they're willing to come whenever we want them here.

On getting things ready for baby...
OK, so we have a lot of stuff done. But now I know there are definitely only three more weekends for us to finish off that checklist! First priority is getting the car seat installed in the car. Other tasks are still TBD, but I'm sure there are baby priorities I'm forgetting....

On my family leave...
Dr. George also told us today that she'll clear me for medical leave from work for as long as I need/want. (Best doctor EVER!) I was so glad to hear her echo my sentiment that I should take as much time as I can with the baby at the start because I'll never get this opportunity again. I get 6 weeks paid leave from my job plus they offer additional weeks of 60 percent pay. So... my current plan is to take three weeks at reduced pay and then tack on my three weeks of vacation to round out 12 weeks at home with the baby.
Brian is a little nervous about extending my time at home because of the day care waiting list we're on. We've gotten assurance from the place that we like that there will be a spot open for our child in early October, but he's worried that spot won't still be there by the end of the month. We'll be checking into it, but I'm hoping it will still work out with my new family leave schedule.

Sorry this post is so long. Here's the payoff: a pic from our ultrasound today. It really isn't great -- a little scary, in fact -- because the baby was moving and the head was also down too far in my pelvis for the tech to get many good shots. But here's our sweet, fat-cheeked melon!

August 3!

I'll post more later and put up some of the new ultrasound pics we got this morning... but our big news today is that the doctor wants to induce me on August 3! 18 days until baby!!!!!!
I'm very excited (in case you couldn't tell!!!), and also a little freaked out at how real this all is now. You'd think I would have caught on to that from carrying around this almost-watermelon-sized baby... but having a date and a plan really cements everything.
The ultrasound showed the baby is almost 7 lbs already, so Dr. George is thinking he or she will be approaching 8.5 lbs by week 39. She wants to induce me then to give me a chance at natural birth. Of course, we still may end up with a C-section, but I really don't care as long as the baby gets out all right. I can't wait to hold this baby in my arms.
OK, have to try and concentrate on work a little now. I'll add more later!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sausage hands

Just typing in the title of this blog entry made me want some sausage. Mmmm.... I've definitely noticed my appetite revving up again the past week or so. Baby must be growing again!
But my posting today is not about food. It's about the size of my fingers and hands these days. I'm definitely sporting some sausage fingers and generally swollen hands. Holding a pen and writing aren't the easiest things for me to do these days, but luckily I do most of my work typing on the computer.
The puffiness got pretty bad overnight, I guess because of the humidity and warmer temps, so I started my day by soaking both hands in an ice bath. Not the most fun activity, but I think it helped a little. Honestly, I could barely make a tight fist with either hand when I woke up this morning. And the swelling is causing my finger joints to ache constantly. Ugh. Glad I stopped wearing my rings a couple weeks ago or we'd have to look into some surgical removal at this point.
I expected swollen feet/ankles with pregnancy, but wasn't prepared for the same symptoms to develop in my wrists and hands. When I feel it getting really bad, usually by the end of the day, I'll sit and hold my arms up in the air. So most nights in our living room it looks like I'm raising my hand to ask Brian for permission to speak or, if both arms/hands hurt, I'm signaling a field goal or touchdown. Too bad it's not football season yet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our first "kids"

I think the dogs, Radar (above) and Muzzy, are starting to realize that our family is growing. There's already less space in my lap for Muzzy to sit in.
Brian and I keep speculating about what they will think when we bring home baby Wallheimer. Radar and Muzzy won't be our only "kids" anymore... which is probably going to be an adjustment. But I think they'll be great with the baby, certainly giving it lots of kisses (especially Muzzy, who is a major face-licker!)

Family/baby craziness

We had some friends over for a BBQ Saturday night and got some insight into what our life will soon become.
We had two babies — one 10-month-old and one 6-month-old — among the crew of guests. And it was so much fun seeing what's in store for us. Issac, our neighbor's son, was crawling around and exploring our dining room most of the night. I never knew the room was so interesting — or that the glass on our china cabinet was so tasty... but Isaac sure enjoyed it!
And Layla, another friend's daughter, was a little more unsure of her new surroundings but seemed to have some fun with the crowd.
With the babies around, there wasn't a dull moment the entire night. And it might sound crazy, but I felt like I was back in the house I grew up in. And it felt good to have that big-family-bustle feeling for an evening. I was transported back to Schneider dinners of past, especially when our friend Casey spilled her entire glass of pink lemonade right as we all sat down. There was rarely a night in the Schneider house growing up where someone didn't spill milk or drop a plate full of food just as all seven of us had finally assembled at the table.
I never realized how comforting — not quite the right word, maybe comfortable — it can make me feel to help respond to the chaos of cleaning up a sudden mess or keeping tabs on the little ones as they look for trouble to get into.
Don't get me wrong. Part of me totally misses the BBQs of recent years where my biggest concern was whether we had enough beer to make it through the night. But I'm starting to get excited and feel *almost* ready for the other responsibilities heading my way.
Maybe this is just the hormones talking, but I think Brian and I are even going to enjoy some of the hard stuff that comes along with parenthood. Feel free to remind me of this bold statement in a couple months when I'm hundreds of diapers in and even more sleep-deprived...

Friday, July 10, 2009

35 weeks

I've forgotten to update everyone on the baby/honeydew melon's growth this week. Here's the scoop according to

A rapidly growing brain makes your baby's head weigh more and that means more pressure on Mommy's bladder. Your baby is standing tall (so to speak) this week at about 20 inches and continues her steady weight gain to 5.5 pounds. While she won't get much longer, she will continue to pack on the pounds — including large amounts of baby fat — right up 'til delivery day. Most of your baby's growth over the next month or so before you meet will be in weight (with a gain of anywhere from one pound to several), not height (baby's pretty much reached the in utero limit in that department). Accordingly, fat continues to accumulate at a rapid pace these days (on baby, not just on your hips). Back in the middle of your pregnancy, your baby's weight was made up of only two percent fat; now at 35 weeks pregnant, that percentage has soared to closer to 15 percent (and will increase to 30 percent at term). Which means your baby's once skinny arms and legs are now quite plump…and irresistibly, squeezably soft.
Something else that's moving at a mind-boggling pace these day: fetal brain development! There's a lot going on inside that tiny head, which is, by the way, still soft to allow an easier exit through the birth canal. And now that she's head-down in preparation for delivery, chances are your bladder is feeling the squeeze, causing you to leak a little every time you sneeze (or cough or laugh).

In order to preserve some semblance of dignity, I won't comment on that last line above. Let's just say pregnancy isn't always such as beautiful time....

Pediatrician shopping

Brian and I are in the market for a pediatrician. We've met with two doctors so far and have appointments set up with two others. It's been a little weird so far.
I set up these meetings with the doctors (Brian was in charge of arranging day care tours and I took the pediatrician task...) but then realized I didn't know what we should ask them. We wanted to come across as informed and well-prepared parents-to-be, but the fact is we are going to trust what the doctor says on most medical decisions. And I don't think we'll veer from traditional medicine, and the standard pediatric recommendations, in most cases.
Luckily Brian found a site with some suggested doctor questions before we went to our first "interview." It suggested we take note of things like: friendliness of the staff, whether the office has a well and a sick waiting room for the kids, and what ongoing training the doctor receives. We also wanted to find out about getting same-day appointments, the options for after hours care and whether we would always see the same doctor.
The first doctor we met with was definitely strange. He was nice, but didn't really answer our questions. Or, in the cases where he did give us answers, it took a long time for him to get there. We met with another doctor this morning who was better. He was also a little weird — maybe it's a pediatrician thing since they're so used to dealing with kids? But we liked this guy better. He seemed to know his medicine and was willing to share life lessons with our kid. "Life isn't fair" seemed to be a favorite that he shares with children he treats. Brian likes the idea of having a doctor who can teach our kid a thing or two, or at least drive home some of the lessons that we try to teach!
We have two more pediatrician appointments in the next couple weeks. I'm hoping that we're able to click with one of the doctors and that will make up our minds. If not, I guess we'll go with the least-weird one.

P.S. I got some pretty good sleep last night, despite having to get up at 5 a.m. today to fill in on the early shift at work. I took a half-dose of Tylenol PM (just to make sure I actually heard the early alarm this morning!) and noticed a lot less pain when I had to get up and then back down during the night. It's amazing how much it helps to get some quality sleep!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Frayed nerves

Today has been a tough one. Between my pregnancy hormones, overall tiredness and the tension at work because layoffs are being announced, I am fried!
I started the day before 5:30 a.m. on my fourth overnight trip to the bathroom. When I went to get back in bed, I found I couldn't lay down because every time I tried to go horizontal I would get a searing pain in my lower abdomen. I attempted to sit and sleep, and Brian tried to rub my back and sides, but I never really got any more rest.

My nights have become increasingly more restless over the past two weeks. There's just no comfortable way for me to sleep more than an hour or two at a time. And every time I roll over, the pressure on my bladder forces me out of bed. So I'm very tired these days.
Coming into work on a sour note and hasn't helped me absorb hours of tension here as people await layoff news. Gannett handled this latest round of cuts in the usual crappy way. They sent a note out last week telling people there were layoffs coming and we'd all know who by today. I'm sure it really helped people enjoy the holiday weekend knowing they might not have a job by the end of this week. The day isn't over yet, but I feel fairly safe about my position. But it's hard no matter what seeing others lose their jobs.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when my doctor asked me how I was doing at the appointment this morning and I started crying. She took it in stride and told me it's fine to have a "weepy day" now and again. I also got the green light from her to try taking Tylenol PM at night — thanks for the suggestion, Genny! I bought a bottle already and will be trying it tonight.
On a positive note, we got to hear that beautiful baby heartbeat. It was strong, in the 140s. And another plus, I found out I've only gained a pound since my last appointment two weeks ago. (To celebrate I bought a bag of peanut butter M&Ms to get me through the afternoon... I'll skip dessert tonight — probably.)

I'm trying to take some deep breaths and just make it through the day. With four-plus weeks left to go in the pregnancy, I'm sure I'll have some more tough days. So I'm just trying to remind myself of all the positive things going on in our lives right now. And speaking of which, Dr. George ordered an ultrasound for next Thursday so we can get a handle on the baby's size and growth. I can't wait to see that gorgeous face again!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bathroom bonanza

Brian and I are officially done with our bathroom project! Above is a before (obviously) and below are the awesome after shots!

This is our new, deep tub that I took the inaugural soak in this past weekend. It was glorious.

We mooched this old vanity and sink top from my mom.

I love this shower curtain we found! And these white shelves/tower we found at Target and Brian spent the better part of an afternoon assembling.

And this shows off the shower tiles that Brian slaved over. It turned out so great! Brian did so much work on this room over the past couple months. He deserves all the credit. I'm so impressed at what he accomplished and learned along the way. AND, we're both so glad that the bathroom is done!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Childbirth class

Brian and I attended our first of two childbirth preparation classes last night.
Despite the title of the class, I didn't walk away from the first session feeling very prepared for what's coming five weeks from now. In fact, I was pretty freaked out. And not just because of the very graphic videos that had us watch!
Over the last month or so, I've stayed pretty calm about the prospect of childbirth because I knew this class was coming up. I figured it would answer all my questions and make me an "expert" in birthing.
Well, the session did answer a lot of questions about the process of labor, what happens physically during the birth and what happens to the baby after he or she comes out. But it also left me with a lot of unanswered or new questions. I know it's ridiculous, but I was hoping to get some idea of how I would feel during labor, how long it will take and what I can do to prepare. Instead, we were told it feels different for everyone, labor could last anywhere from 6-18+ hours and beyond packing a bag and practicing breathing... there's not much training to do in advance of this particular job.
I guess it's ridiculous to think that the nurse instructor would be able to predict what my birthing experience will be like, but I still wanted it to happen!
And did I mention the videos?!
We watched two different birth scenarios, one with a vaginal delivery and another with a C-section. The totally-90s videos were like something we would have watched during high school health class, except WAY more graphic. I think these are what they should be showing in high schools if they want to cut down on teen pregnancy! (Granted, I have a low tolerance for medical/surgical shows — and even have to look away from the TV sometimes during Grey's Anatomy.) But this was a lot to take in.
I'll admit the birthing scenes, which included the delivery of a placenta (sorry about the TMI — but at least you're not viewing it!), were informative. And I actually teared up each time the new baby in the video was placed into the arms of the mother. I'm excited about that part, but not sure about everything that's going to come before it!
We go to class #2 next Friday, so stay tuned.
Oh, and Happy 4th of July! I'm working today and dragging this baby around to some rainy festivals. At least the holiday pay will help buy some more diapers... or counseling sessions for me depending on what comes during next week's class!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Getting some zzzs

For a couple months now, sleeping has been a chore. I'm usually exhausted at the end of the day, but the nights in bed haven't been restoring me because of some pretty severe hip pain I was having. I've dealt with various hip pains for a few years now, which doesn't make me feel too young! But running usually helps stretch out the muscles and provides some relief. Since I'm not doing that these days, I figured I'd have some pain. Walking helps me work out the kinks in the morning, but this pain during the night had been waking me up a ton and seemed to be getting worse.
I tried stretching and doing some leg exercises before bed. I also tried switching positions and adding/subtracting pillows. And I even got a prenatal massage — an awesome treat!! — last week, but still had the pain return that night. Nothing helped.
Finally my doctor sent me in for physical therapy. I went in yesterday and the physical therapist found that my hip joints were somewhat locked in place. She could actually see the problem just by watching me walk/waddle down the hallway. As my pelvic bones have been expanding and shifting to make room for the baby, apparently my hips haven't been moving accordingly. She was able to adjust the bones and gave me some great stretches to do at home.
She also suggested I use some additional pillows in bed to help support me. As recommended for pregnant women, I've been sleeping on my side. But it's gotten to be more of feat as my belly weight causes me to tip. Brian was not excited to hear about the pillow prescription, because he's already almost crowded out of our bed. But instead of adding pillows, I was able to replace my crappy body pillow with a bigger version and still get the extra support I need.
I was so excited to go to bed last night with some hope that I would be able to sleep for an extended period of time! And while my night wasn't completely pain-free, it was sooo much better. I'm hoping the hip pain will continue to subside as I do more of my physical therapy "homework." From what I've read, it sounds like I need to get as much rest as I can now to save up energy for labor and everything else coming after.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

34 weeks

I'm a couple days into week 34 now. It's so great having the countdown measured in weeks now instead of months!
Here's the updates for the baby — still a honeydew melon — this week:

Her (or his) fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about
preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.
The baby responds as a newborn with its eyes open while awake and closed while sleeping. S/he is developing immunities to fight mild infection. Those sharp little fingernails are at the ends of the fingertips already, and you might need to clip them during the first few days after birth.

With those baby fingernails growing already, I guess it's good Brian is getting practice as my makeshift pedicurist :)
As mentioned above, I have been a bit nervous about preterm labor. It's hard not to be when there are so many symptoms for it! Some of the pregnancy books and Web sites offer a little TOO much information on worst-case scenarios. It can be like researching a symptom on WebMD where the results are usually — It sounds like you may have a minor cold... or it's cancer.
I haven't felt too many of the Braxton Hicks contractions (or maybe I have and didn't know it). But I'm getting a lot of cramping and other signals that the baby wants to come out. I actually called the doctor's office earlier this week after dealing with a couple days of sharp, shooting pains whenever I walked around. The doctor said it's just part of the process. It sounds like the baby's head may be moving into the birth canal (yikes!) and the pains are caused by his/her movements and general stretching in the area.
I'm guessing I'll *know* when the baby is really getting ready to come out. But I'm still planning to pack my hospital bag this weekend. Better to be prepared, right? :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Practice (in case it's a girl)

As usual, I'll start off by letting you know this is Brian breaking into the blog for the day.
I've joked a lot about how much I want a boy, but if we do have a girl, I got a little practice the other night.
One of Dorothy's frustrations over the last few months is not being able to do some tasks that were simple before she was pregnant. Carrying the laundry upstairs, lifting anything heavy and even watching a 30-minute television show (bladder constraints) can be difficult or impossible.
But just the other day, she came out of the bathroom with tears welled up in her eyes. She pointed down to her toes, which looked as though a 3-year-old had tried to paint them.
"I can't reach them," she said, in the saddest voice I've ever heard.
I took her back into the bathroom and cleaned up her toes. For the most part, she covered the nails, but there was a LOT of polish on the skin.
I'm not trying to embarrass Dorothy. I'm sure just about every woman who has ever been pregnant has been through this.
This baby is the biggest thing we'll ever do together, and it takes a team. That goes for big stuff like teaching right from wrong and keeping the baby safe from all the dangerous things in the world, all the way down to Dorothy's toes.

p.s. Here's the final product (photo provided by Dorothy)... now my feet are sandal-ready again, which is good since those are the only shoes I can fit into these days.