On labor and delivery

We are so blessed. Wally V is 4 days old, and is our fabulous little ball of love, just as we’d hoped for. We’ve been extremely busy these past few days learning more about each other and how to take care of him (docs forgot to include the instruction manual when they sent us packing, just like everyone warned us they might).

Yesterday Wally V’s Poop-Poop (a name were considering for Wally V to call Walter III) asked what the next blog post might be, and I had no idea how to answer. Our lives have changed so much in just a few short days that possible topics are endless! Since I can’t possibly explain the biggest change, which is the impossibly overwhelming love that both Wally IV and I feel— it makes me cry just to think about trying to put it into words—I decided the next best thing would be to describe the first moment I felt that feeling. I’ll start by saying it was love at first sight.

So let’s go back to that moment. Wally IV and I had had a long day. From noon on in the delivery room we had been going back and forth from the possibility of a C-section and holding out to see if natural delivery was a possiblity. (Wally V’s heart rate would drop with every contraction, so they feared a cord around the neck and didn’t want to stress him out by speeding up contractions. Because of that, they weren’t sure if he would take too long to deliver naturally and had the C-section cart ready to go.) It was worrisome for Wally and I, but we knew we had tons of prayers behind us. Around 6 they said we would do a C section if the next check showed he wasn’t ready. We prayed while we waited, and God answered by giving Wally V the push he needed! He would be ready within a few hours to meet us!

I had watched my fair share of “The Baby Story” on TLC while pregnant, and so I knew the process. If the baby is born naturally, and everything is fine with him, the doctor sets him on the mommy’s belly while the rest of the process is taken care of. If something is wrong with the baby, they take him across the room to check him out and fix him up. My biggest fear was that something would be wrong with him, especially with the possibility of his cord around his neck.

The fear was not realized. As soon as he was out, the doctor tossed him up my way. Really. Tossed. Like he kind of flailed through the air toward me. Wally V does an excellent impression of Wally IV flopping through the air, so funny that when he did it yesterday for the first time I peed my pants. (Give me a break, please—you lose all control of things down there. Plus, it was really funny! Poor Wally IV has to deal with two people in need of diapers in the house.)

Anyhow, I screamed as he was tossed up my way. I remember this mainly because the doctor laughed at my reaction. It was a scream of relief,  joy, and startle at a little floppy baby heading up my way. And then I checked him out.

It was so odd to see my little man the first time. It was like meeting a stranger that you’ve known forever. He was so different from what I’d pictured—or perhaps I realized in that moment I never had pictured him because I felt who he was so clearly that I’d never even given his features a thought. And even though he looked so different from what I expected, everything in me screamed with recognition, “There you are.”

Wally V told me I just kept repeating, “I love him so much,” the whole time I was holding him. And I do. I really do. There was nothing else worth saying.


This post is also at MeetTheOtts.com, our new blog, where we will continue to chronicle this adventure!


This is the end of before

This is it. The end. The end of the ability to up and go whenever we want. The end of days planned around everything we want to do. The end of sleeping in on weekends. The end of eating meals uninterrupted. This is the end of before.

But it’s the beginning. The beginning of a family of 3. The beginning of seeing the cute little face that we’ve been waiting so long to see. The beginning of watching life experienced for the first time. The beginning of a great love. The beginning of Wally V’s life.

We’re ready. We’ve been getting ready for our entire lives. Everything we’ve done to this day has taught us everything we’ll know when we start this amazing journey. Wally V, bring it on!

I’d like to thank everyone for reading the blog during this whole pregnancy. It has been incredible to read your comments and feel the support coming through. Wally and I will be continuing a blog for this new beginning at MeetTheOtts.com. It isn’t set up as a blog yet, but sometime within the next few weeks we’ll be launching to share stories about all the things Small Wal has to teach us.

And as a grand finale, we have a video to share of my growing belly. It grows, then shrinks, then pops back out again. Wally put it together with pictures he took every week for the past 40!

The end!

3-day Countdown

Well, the baby’s birthday is all picked out. How odd. We will be going to the hospital on Wednesday, October 28, and the next time we return home we will have a baby in the car with us. Today marks the 3-day countdown, and the last of our weekends pre-baby.

When the doctor let me know that we’d be scheduling induction for this Wednesday, my first and most overwhelming feeling was relief. An end-date. No more waiting. The due date always seemed like the fake dream date the doctor gave that wasn’t truly likely. This date is solid. An actual date when I will wake up pregnant, and end the day un-pregnant. I will wake up as a family of 2, and end the day a family of 3. I will wake up a DINK (double-income, no kids) and end the day a mommy on maternity leave. Talk about a productive, life-changing day!

And now it feels like the time for a list. So here goes, things I will miss about being pregnant:

  • This overwhelming hopeful optimism that is always hovering, like the rainclouds that follow cartoon characters, but in this case it’s the opposite, like I’m always walking on the sunny side of the street (everybody with me now, “I used to walk, in the shade. With those blues, on parade. Now I’m not afraid. Red rover, cross over…”). The past 9 months, if something stressful happened, all I had to do was think about the new little ball of love that was headed our way, and nothing else mattered. Even when rolling over at night, in those brief waking moments, the baby would cross my mind (especially if I was huffing and puffing to roll over because of him), and I’d feel a little more peaceful.
  • Never feeling bad about fries on the side, or seconds, or icecream. I take that back. At one point, in the beginning of pregnancy, I did feel guilty when I read an older version of What to Expect and it had a VERY strict diet listed in order to have  a healthy baby. It made pregnant women across the world feel guilty, I’m sure, for every extra glass of juice, even, if it had too much sugar. Then I read a hilarious book, A Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy shortly after. And the author called the What to Expect authors evil, and even said not to worry about exercise because I’d get fat anyway. Needless to say, I sided with the Girlfriends and have enjoyed the remainder of my pregnancy immensely!
  • I will miss the kicking. I already kind of do miss the kicking. For the past several weeks he’s been so crammed in there that I can feel him shifting around, and his little foot sticks out the left side of my belly on occassion, but he doesn’t have room to move, spin, and surprise me with where an appendage would stick out next.
  • I will miss guessing with Wally on occassion what he was going to be like, who he would look like, and how our lives are going to change. The anticipation and wonder of it all.
  • I will miss how easy Small Wal  is to take places now. If we want to leave, we up and go. He’s very polite during meetings, in restaurants, and at the movies. He doesn’t cry, he doesn’t require feedings besides what I’m having, and his clothes never need to be changed. He’s such a good baby!
  • This last one is strange. Since he’s going to be born on the 28th, I’m afraid people won’t associate the date with Halloween as much as they did his due date, October 30. Every time I told people my due date for the entire 9 months, they would inevitably react with the same two words: “Halloween baby!” And they all said it the same way, “Halloween” would rise in pitch, and “Baby” would fall, so it sounded like one of those neon tube pitch whistles you’d get as prizes at fairs when you were a kid. I loved those two words and that reaction. I will, weirdly, miss that.

Pregnancy has been a great adventure, and one I recommend to all women to experience, if you are able and understand that it can often lead to an infant (thanks Juno). And now, time to celebrate. Everyone raise your bowls of icecream. Three days to Wally V!

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

At my weekly doctor appointment, my blood pressure was high. So they took it again. High again. Apparantly, it has been creeping up slowly the past few weeks. I don’t have swelling, no protein in the urine, or anything else that sets off alarms. Just this stupid slightly high BP. So the doc casually announced to me during the question portion of my appointment that she’d be writing me a doctor’s note that I was to stay home. Really! A doctor’s note! Like, to hand in to the principal!

I asked her the purpose, since at work I sit behind a desk all day. She said it was all the getting up and down she didn’t want. I could work from home, if possible, but I should really take it easy. Slightly appalled at the thought of sitting on the couch all day, I asked about walking the dogs. That’s healthy, right? Good for the heart? “No,” she replied, “You really just need to take it easy.” “Vacuuming?” I asked, picturing the layer of doghair that I was scheduled to get rid of this week (yes, I have a regular cleaning schedule in my head that makes some, namely my husband, call me slightly anal). “No vacuuming,” she replied.

The kicker of it all is, I feel fine! That kills me! So I sit, and look for excuses to get up if it’s been too many hours. Wally’s not leaving me many chances, though, since he’s cooking, grocery shopping, vacuuming (my hero!), letting the dogs out, entertaining them, and basically taking care of, well, everything. The doctor’s note, instead of being written to my work, was written to “to whom it may concern,” with the instructions, “no work,” so I handed it in to Wally as a “get out of cooking free” card. I guess he took it seriously. So I get to sit here and wait.

It hasn’t been terribly bad. Luckily I can work from home, so my mind is kept active wrapping things up at work, and I don’t have to start my leave and use any of my precious time off pre-SmallWal. And the weekend has been rather relaxing. It was hard to sit while Wally cleaned the house (the guilt!), but at the same time, it’s nice to be taken care of. And I know, believe me, I know, this is the last chance for us to sit and do nothing for the next 18 years or so. I worked on craft projects. I watched mind-candy TV (Top Model! Say Yes to the Dress!). And this is embarassing, but I’m going to admit it…while crafting, I “instant watch”ed 13 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Over half a season! In one weekend! (Until this weekend, I didn’t know what they meant when they would say every patient’s BP. Because of my new condition, I had that aha moment in about the 7th episode.)

I called in my BPs to the doc office, and they’ve been good enough that we’re not talking about inducing yet. Just more of this “modified bedrest,” as the doc calls it, since she’s okay with me working from home. So if Wally V waits until his due date (Oct. 30) to make his appearance, we’re talking 2 more weeks of this fun. And I swear, this bedrest thing makes that looming sense of waiting that comes with the last month of pregnancy extremely torturous. I think about Wally V all the time.

I go daily from being afraid and not quite ready to go into labor (yesterday…ultra-relief when we were told we weren’t inducing yet!) to extremely ready to have him (today! I practiced receiving blanket wraps on a stuffed animal monkey!). Here’s to hoping the day he comes is one of my ready days. And if not, I’ll buck up out of necessity. Until then, we’re just waiting, waiting, waiting…

A prayer for Wally V

Lord, thank you so much for the miracle that is this little guy. I can’t believe that the little sick-mama-making chicken nugget we saw in our first ultrasound has now become a 5+ pound squirming, hiccuping, playful little cutie that is crammed inside my belly. Honestly! 10 months ago, he was just an idea. 8.5 months ago he wasn’t even an inch long, and he had a little beating heart. And a little at a time he grew arms, legs, a face formed, internal organs grew and started functioning. The past few months I’ve forgotten about how far he’s come, since he’s been moving around, making himself known as a little being, and even playing with us when we give him a little nudge. And now he’s hanging out, putting on fat, and ready to be born (full-term!). Really, Lord, thank you for this miracle.

Please make Wally V healthy, handsome, smart, silly, strong, brave, and fun. But if you can only make him one of these things, make him healthy, because we will still love his ugly, dim, boring, wimpy little self, and we just want him to be okay, and have a good chance at life.

Lord, help Small Wal to know always how much he is loved. Already he has family and friends around him, showering him with gifts to give him a great start on life. I look at his room, which is nearly together, and I can’t wait to have this crying, squirming, pooping little ball of love in that room that was put together by all the people in his life that he has yet to meet. I can’t wait to try out all of his clothes galore that were picked out by loved ones to make him cute and cuddly or look like a stylish mini version of his dad.

He is so blessed to have five great-grandparents who can’t wait to meet him, four grandparents who can’t wait to hold him, 6 aunts or uncles to snuggle him and make him laugh, 1 cousin to get into trouble with, and 2 dogs to slobber him with kisses. Help him always to feel the love that is so strong for him before he’s even entered the world.

Lord, we cannot wait to meet our little guy, and we can’t thank you enough for bringing him into our lives. You are truly awesome. You rock our faces off. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Interview with the Expectant Father

Well, the grandparent’s post will be a great memory for Wally V in the future, and so I also thought the little guy might wonder what his dad was thinking during the exciting time of waiting for him to arrive. Without further ado, an interview with Wally IV (Tall Wal?):

Baby practiceHow does it feel to know there will be a Wally V…that the name lives on?
I’ve said the whole time there was never any pressure from me about the name—I think I’m way more excited he’s a boy! It’s going to be fun.

What is one big question you still have about baby care?
How will I know when Wally V is sick. I know the obvious answer is crying, but it seems like that isn’t always going to be the case.

What are you looking forward to most about with Wally V?
Playing games and having fun with him.

What are you most afraid of or dreading?
I most want to be sure he’s a healthy little boy. And that I can still help him with his math homework.

What character and physical qualities do you expect he’ll have? What from mom and what from you?
Chubby cheeks like his mom, big calves like his dad. Blonde curly hair—the blonde from Mollie, the curly from me.

How do you think you’ll handle labor and delivery? How do you think Mollie will?
I think I’ll be good—I’m observant so I hope that will help me see exactly what Mollie will need through the labor. I think Mollie will be great!

Really poopy diaper duty/late-night feedings: what do you think the workload split should be?
Well…the political answer would be 50/50. But you know how light of a sleeper I am…so I’m thinking I may be up quite a bit. 😉

Say Mollie says tomorrow, the baby’s coming! Are you ready?
I am now after Childbirth Express. What time was your first contraction? And the next? 5 minute contractions for 2 hours, we’re ready to go!

You know you’re pregnant when…

Since we’re in the home stretch of being pregnant (due this month? Wa wa what?), it’s time to play a game called, you know you’re pregnant when…

I’m sure my experiences don’t speak for all pregnant women, but I would be surprised if I couldn’t find someone who agrees with a few of these! Here goes. You know you’re pregnant when:

  • You hear “You’re huge!” and “You’re so small!” within hours of each other. Rarely, although it happens, “You’re just right!”
  • You have answered all the basic questions so many times, you have every detail of how you tell the answer down pat. October 30! Boy! My husband is Walter Ben Ottenhoff the Fourth, so this is Walter Ben Ottenhoff the Fifth! No. Yes! Yes. Uh huh! (Just kidding, I don’t know what those last 4 questions were.)
  • Your belly becomes fodder for metaphors: basketball, bowling ball, balloon, torpedo. Actually, not just your belly…your entire ensemble for clothes you can still manage to wear. I wore a dress to work and was compared to a lampshade. All of these metaphors are okay, though, and actually extremely funny to you as well, because you have caught your reflection in a window when you weren’t expecting it and you thought, Man, that girl is so pregnant! It’s like your body is so foreign that it’s not even a part of who you are anymore.
  • You consider sometimes being pregnant forever, just because you have become so liked by strangers. As soon as your bump is obviously more than a few too many late-night gallons of ice cream and looks like a baby, everyone smiles at you, chats you up, and holds doors for you. Cashiers give you discounts you don’t have coupons for. Servers keep your drinks extra-full. And people whose parking spot you steal (it was an accident, I swear!) make mean faces at you until you get out of the car and they see your irresistible belly. Then they smile, wave, and move on.

You know you’re REALLY pregnant when:

  • You vaccuum a floor of your house and are sweating like you just completed your first marathon.
  • You are used to your belly being pushed and stretched from the inside. You look forward to it. When you are in a room full of people and it happens, you enjoy it as your secret between the baby and you. His reminder that he’s there, and your life is about to change.
  • You have to pee every time you stand up. In fact, sometimes you sneeze or laugh to hard, and a little bit just comes out. You would like to think your water just broke, but no. You and your baby have something in common: you are an excellent candidate for newborn diapers as well.
  • Rolling over at night has become a great feat. You are laying on one side and wake up because your arm is numb. You actually consider how much longer it may take before your arm is asleep so long that it falls off. If that timing is “any minute now,” you consider how valuable said arm is to you vs. having to huff, puff, and heave your big belly around so you are laying on your other side. (Note, I’ve always chosen to keep the arm, but I still have one more month of baby growth to go.)

July 2018
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