Archive for June, 2009

Halfway update: My kicking basketball belly

I’m at 22 weeks, so I’m now more than halfway through the pregnancy. Before I was pregnant, I was certain I would love every moment of it, and that it would be one of the best times of my life. The first few months, with the strange get-that-tuna-away-from-me, mmm-cantaloupe-ew-gross-cantaloupe mental stomach monster proved that theory wrong. But we were so excited, so full of hope, so ready to share our joy with people that it was worth it. Although thank you for not asking me if it was worth it in the moment I was gagging at the sight of thai chicken leftovers that had tasted so good the day before, as I may have had a more selfish answer.

And I have to say now, since food aversion is a distant memory, I have really been loving being pregnant. I love hearing the heartbeat at the doctor. I loved waiting for the baby to kick. I loved the anticipation of whether we were having a boy or girl. And I currently love feeling him kick every day, and sharing it with other people now that he’s kicking hard enough on occassion for them to feel, too. In fact, if you want to feel the baby kick, just let me know. If you’re an arms-length away and he starts up, I’m more than happy to introduce the two of you!

I’m finally at the point of pregnancy where people know that I’m pregnant. In the last month people who didn’t know went from glancing at my belly casually during conversation and ignoring what might be a baby but what might also be a very unfortunate centralized weight-gaining experience, to congratulating me and asking when I’m due. I’ve switched to almost all maternity clothes. And I’ve caught my reflection accidentally in a window here and there and stopped myself in my tracks. Man, that girl’s really pregnant!

Also, I’m slightly fascinated and slightly appalled at some of the things that are happening to my body:

  • I’m steadily gaining an average of a pound a week. One week I went down a pound, and the following week went up 3. Yowsa! (But Small Wall loves icecream and really really really wanted it, and how could I say no? He is just so cute.)
  • My belly button is slowly disappearing. I’ve got a shallow indent about now…enough to hold only a raindrop or two.
  • Just today I noticed the beginnings of that faint black line that runs in a straight line down through some pregnant ladies’ belly buttons. (It’s called “linea negra” and it’s from hormones. As a side note, I just looked that up in Google, and other moms amuse me. “I got black line on my belly” and “Does every pregnant woman get black lines on ‘there’ belly?” were two forum questions that came up. Grammar much, future moms? Did you ask your unborn baby what to type? My favorite was, “I have a black line, don’t tell me it’s linea negra because that’s just black line in Spanish.” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, lady. Sorry, that’s just what it’s called.)

As a side note, Wally V is kicking so hard at the moment that I can see my whole belly moving. I think he’s telling me to wrap it up! Here’s a current comparison, since we’re halfway, of 1 week pregnant vs. halfway.



Happy First Father’s Day, Dad!

This morning was a very special day, and time to celebrate: Wally IV’s first Father’s Day! In honor, I decided to let Wally V write this post, as a letter to his dad.

Dear Dad,

What should I call you, Dad? Daddy? Pops? IV? Q? Waaaaaa? (The last one probably will work for now. Whenever I make that noise, you can come running to feed me or hold me and make me feel better. Then when I’m calm and sweet and cute again, Mom can take me!)

Anyway, I’m very excited you’re my dad. I can tell already you must be pretty funny, since mom always laughs the hardest when you’re around. Especially when you do funny things, like 3 second disco routines, or run into mom while you guys are riding scooters and call it “bumper scooter”, or say things in your Kermit the Frog voice. I am going to love when you’re around. Mommy is going to teach me how to say, “Again, again!” just so that she and I can laugh a little more.

I’m also excited because you’re pretty good with a baby. You were holding my new cousin, Grady, last weekend, and he looked so comfy. He had a nice nap right in your arms. I know you will just love to hold me and bounce me and make me feel so safe. I know you’ll love to hold me so much, that you’ll jump out of bed at 3AM every morning to feed me. We’ll have great late night man-to-man bonding time. I just know it!

You do need to do a few things before I come, though:

  1. Learn the words to a few songs. I heard mom ask you to sing something the other day, and you just went blank. Nothing! I know you know a lot of great songs, but too much pressure to be asked on the spot. So build a little repertoire of songs you know I will love, because like the kids mom babysat the other weekend, I will ask you to sing to me. And you have to be ready! (By the way, when those kids asked Mom, she also went blank. Then she sang a song they requested, and felt very weird standing and singing to a seated, captive audience of 2. But then she realized, they’re kids, they don’t feel weird about listening, so she just belted it out. You’ll get used to being my own, personal American Idol, I know it.)
  2. Know that you are my top choice for a dad. Of all the potential possible dads in the world, I pick you. And not because of what mom calls your handsome good looks, but because you are so smart and calm. You will be the best teacher of life that I could ask for. You will take me to church. You will be my coach. (Mom should not be allowed to teach me to throw.) You’ll be my friend. My confidante. My example. My guide. I will always be excited to tell people, “That’s my dad.”
  3. Please learn how to change a diaper. And then teach mom. I don’t want to be “that kid” who seems to need to spackle up that butt crack all the time. Please.

That’s it! You are my favorite. Happy Father’s Day!


Small Wal

The Ultrasound: It’s a…

We plan to post a short video of the ultrasound, but since we haven’t yet, I’ll describe the experience.

We woke up June 2 extremely excited. That day we’d find out if Wee V was a he or she, and we couldn’t wait. Neither of us were sure how much it would change things to know. We just knew we wanted to know so bad!

On the drive to the appointment, we were both thrilled. Of course, we both show it in different ways. I show it by asking Wally over and over the same questions, “Do you think it’s a boy or girl?” and “Do you want a boy or girl?” and “Do you think the dogs will be better with a boy or a girl” and “What do you think the dogs think it is, boy or a girl?” Wally shows his excitement by putting up with all my questions.

In the waiting room, more questions from me. And more tolerating answers from Wally. At this point, I was nervous. I’m not sure why…I would have loved either answer. I think I saw it as an initial introduction to the baby…we’d see him for the first time (besides when he looked like a chicken nugget), and it would feel like he knew and was seeing us, too. Like he has his own ultrasound screen in there and is seeing us in black and gray fuzz and thinking, Oh, so that’s who these goofballs are that I’m starting to hear. That’s the dude who sings when he’s walking around and the chick who feeds me icecream.

Then we finally got into the ultrasound room. We had Susan, a much recommended, much talked about technician who has been doing this for 35 years and is never wrong when she tells you how the baby is doing, and if you have a boy or girl. If she can’t get a good angle of whether she’s looking at girl or boy parts, she works it until she knows, because she knows it’s important to people.

She turned down the lights in the room, squirted the warm jelly on my belly, and gave us our first view of the baby. Which looked like a blob. I had no idea what I was seeing. “That’s a crotch shot,” she said, “But the umbilical cord is blocking some of the view.”


“So do you know if it’s a girl or boy right now,” I asked. Please know, please know, please know.

“I have an idea, because I think I see something sticking out, but it’s blocked, so we’ll wait to say until there’s a better angle.”

At this point you could tell the baby was moving around, but it was still hard to see what we were looking at. Then she got a different angle, and started to type on the screen an arrow, then “penis.” Boy!!!! (Oh man, he’ll love this shot when he’s 15.)


She said then that as soon as she called him out on it, he turned and gave her a full view. Like saying, Aw, the gig is up. You got me. What a jokester.

Then Wally and I knew…little Wally Ben Ottenhoff V! And what a relief! I immediately pictured a handsome little guy running around, sporty like his dad, and sweet and fun. I also felt relief…no pressure for the next baby! We know we’ve got the next Wally. The 5th generation of totally awesome men.

The rest of the ultrasound was amazing. We then got views of the baby where we could clearly see legs, arms, belly, nose.


We saw him kicking, bouncing around, shifting positions and resting. We saw him open his mouth really wide, saying, Hey mom, hey dad. What’s up? We even saw him sucking his thumb.


Susan couldn’t get a good view of his spine, and as soon as she said that, he shifted over to show a great spine shot. What a good little boy.


Already we can tell he’s one cool little dude. He’s active, funny, and helpful. We love him. Him!

Baby Wally’s Birthday Present for Mommy

I read a few weeks ago that I’d start to feel kicks anytime, so I’ve been waiting. I felt little flutters here and there, little pops, light taps. I was never sure if I was feeling kicks, as it always felt a little familiar, like something I’ve felt before. Different moms described it to me as butterflies, popcorn, and a feeling like gas. (Sometimes, when I thought I felt it, I’d burp and it would stop. So much for feeling the first kick!)

So I was never certain. Until last weekend. Suddenly during a meeting I felt 3 sweet little taps to the belly. The best way to describe it is to say it felt like I have a little tiny human being inside me that decided to give me a nice little kick.

But seriously, it feels how you would expect it to feel. Like a muscle twitch from the inside. It feels sudden. Like maybe it even surprised the baby that he did it. And it feels nice, a little reminder (as if I need it), saying, I’m here! I’m growing so fast! I have hair and finger nails. I like to suck my thumb already! (This is true. We have an ultrasound picture to prove it.)


And since then I’ve felt him kicking every day, here and there. The doctor said on Tuesday it would be another few weeks until I felt kicking all the time, and that Wally would be able to feel it in about 4-5 weeks.

My birthday was Thursday. I joked that the baby was giving me 28 kicks for my birthday, as he was pretty kicky that day. Then at night we were watching “So You Think You Can Dance,” and the baby decided to get into it. I was laying with my hand on my stomach, and I felt a good kick—so good I felt it from the outside! I told Wally to put his hand in that spot, and the baby gave us 4 more for Wally to feel. Wal was so surprised, and insists we have another little soccer player in the making.

About 10 minutes later the baby kicked me so hard my hand flew off my stomach and it startled me! Maybe Wally’s onto something with this soccer baby thing. Or football kicker. Or ninja. Yes, I like the idea of my little ninja baby.

June 2009
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