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An interview with the grandparents

Wally V is blessed with a Fab 4 of grandparents, and both Wally and I are so glad for the support we know we’ll have from them. I asked them a few questions for the record, and below you’ll see their responses! Below I’ll be referring to my parents as Mom and Dad, and Wally’s parents as MomOtt and Coach, as that’s what I call them. Without further ado:

It’s weird to me that at some point you all had your first baby on the way and didn’t know what to expect. What do you remember most as your biggest fears and hopes of that time?

MomOtt: Because Wally was not a planned pregnancy, one of my biggest fears was that I would not be a good or ready mother. I think that is why God gave me a baby that followed all the rules down to sleeping through the night at 1 month, to nursing exactly as the books said he should. I hoped he would “feel the love” of his big family  around him and pass that on to others. I prayed he would know how much Jesus loved him.

Mom: When we found out I was pregnant with Joe, we had just moved into our new house and taken on a huge mortgage payment ($482.78).  We were so worried about our finances since I was going to stay at home.  We were excited about the baby, but worried about money!

Coach: I was afraid I’d have a little boy that would pee on the side of the house with the neighbor girl watching his antics and I was afraid I’d have a little girl that would cry for 6 months straight. I hoped (and prayed) they would be filled with God’s spirit and bloom like two of God’s perfect flowers. (Still blooming but they are beautiful.)

Continue reading ‘An interview with the grandparents’


Childbirth Express Class: 1-day 101 on one crazy day

My iCal reminder came a few days before the class: “Childbirth Express, Sherman Hospital, Saturday, 9a-4:30p. Let’s figure out how to get this baby outta there in a sneeze!” That’s what I wanted to learn. I hadn’t allowed myself to think much about the process of labor, as Saturday was my deadline to hear from the experts and then form an opinion on how I felt about it.

Wally and I showed up for class and took our seats. We had our own table, and it was full of baby swag. I’ve noticed that when you’re pregnant, you get an avalanche of sponsored information overload wherever you go. Magazines about every baby topic, from SIDS to carseats to feeding. My favorite are the brochures that come with free bottles, formula, and pacifiers. And on Saturday we got cute little Children’s Memorial socks. Can’t you picture these little cuties on Wally V’s footies? (I’m already migrating toward itty bitty baby wabie talk-a-doobie-loobie-boobie. I guess this is something I have to practice, since ending with words like “boobie” and “tootie” and “weenie” is a regular occurance so far with my baby talk, and I’m certain it is quite unacceptable.)


In the class, we went around the room and said our names and when we were due. I’ve noticed since about a month ago, I’ve felt like the further I’ve gotten into pregnancy, the better I am than other pregnant women who aren’t as far along. Okay, I know this is wrong. I’m just being honest though. I have no idea what about a closer due date makes me better than them, but I just am! If my due date is before someone else’s, I’ve won! In our class, with around 15 other couples, I got 3rd place. Not bad! And the two in front of me only beat me by a week or so.

After that exercise, we got down to business. I pictured lots of breathing all day, but the class was more geared toward education, and only about 15% learning a few breathing techniques. We learned about the pre-labor experience, the stages of labor, signs to go to the hospital, drugs, and what happens post labor. A few major takeaways I have from the class: Continue reading ‘Childbirth Express Class: 1-day 101 on one crazy day’

Am I nervous?

Now that we’re only 7 weeks away, people have been asking me over and over the same question: Are you nervous?

If they’re talking about labor and delivery, the honest answer as of now is that I feel nothing. (Let’s hope that continues through the entire labor and delivery process…with the right drugs, it just might!) I haven’t spent any time thinking about the experience because honestly, I have no idea what to even think could happen. I know of too many people who have had different labor experiences to think I have any way of anticipating how mine will be.

I’ve read about women creating a “birthing plan.” Who are these women? And how clean are their houses? How many lists do they need to get through the day? Seriously, I like to describe myself as “detail-oriented” and “organized,” but let’s face it: I’m a bit of a control freak. However, I could never write out a plan for how I want my labor to go. That would be like asking a 5 year old to plan out which college they’d like to go to when they graduate high school.

My birthing plan is as follows: Enter hospital with baby in belly. Leave hospital with baby in arms. My labor will happen as it happens. If the doctor suggests this or that, my answer is, sure, go ahead. My guess is that they know more about what’s best for the baby, as they’ve done this a few more times than me. (Although, I suppose I should modify my “birthing plan” a bit: I did think that I’d really like to remember to bring a headband. I want my hair pulled away from my face. Yes, this is what I think of. So, enter hospital with baby in belly. Put on a headband. Leave hospital with baby in arms.) Continue reading ‘Am I nervous?’

Lessons from breastfeeding class

I just finished watching a breastfeeding DVD, as that’s one of the aspects of baby care I know the least about but have an interest in doing. I’ve heard it’s so good for the baby as far as nutrients go, and also that it saves mucho on the cost of a baby. I’ve also heard that for some moms it just doesn’t work.

Breastfeeding is sort of a weird topic. It’s very comfortable for new moms to talk about, but other than that most people are a bit uncomfortable. People try to pretend it’s a topic they’re okay with, but feel just a little strange—after all, it’s boobs we’re talking about here. Boobs and sucking. (If you weren’t uncomfortable with the topic before, I bet you are now!) Seriously, though. Not the next thing I want to talk to my dad about.

New moms, though, they’ll go to town with the topic. Some of the best new mom stories I’ve heard begin with “I leaked once when…” or “I was so full of milk I had to…” These stories, although not funny at all at the time, I’m sure, are always great for a new mom laugh months later. In fact, if the whole breastfeeding thing works out for me, I hope to have some embarrassing boob milk stories for the blog in the future.

Anyhow, I learned a few things from this breastfeeding DVD I watched that I thought were interesting:

  • You can wake a sleeping baby! If you’re trying to keep the baby on an every 2-3 hours schedule like the DVD recommends, especially in the first few weeks, you’ll have to wake the baby up to make that happen. It sounds like it’s a “good luck” thing with some babies, though, as they are really tired and love their sleep the first week or so. Good luck waking them!
  • You may have noticed babies all have the same nose. Now you can know a reason, according to the DVD: babies noses all are pug noses so they can’t be smothered by mom’s boobs when breastfeeding. The nose tilts up so they can breathe!
  • A lesson I gathered on my own from the DVD: Like on Seinfeld, there’s good naked and bad naked. Breastfeeding is bad naked. Really! The instructor on this DVD was fully clothed using a doll to demonstrate positions to hold the baby in. I got what she meant, but for some reason the DVD editors felt the need to cut to Boobs McGee or Booby McBooberson to demonstrate as well. Trust me on this formula: boobie closeup + attached baby = bad naked.
  • Last, breastfeeding is hard work! I still hope to make it happen, but I know a little more about how much of a commitment it’s going to take. Wish me good boobie milk luck (or not, as that is an awkward phrase even as I type it)!

One last baby-free getaway

Call it what you will–a babymoon, staycation, foodcation (something Wally and I invented where you eat whatever you want from wherever you want)–last weekend, Wally and I took one last baby-free weekend away from home in Chicago. It was a blast, and in many ways not unlike other trips we’ve taken there. We saw the sites, ate a ton of good food, and did some shopping.
But a lot was different also. We took the bus a few places to keep the dogs from barking. Wally shopped for himself and I couldn’t do the same, considering I’ve outgrown even maternity clothes (seriously, Small Wal keeps trying to peek out at the world by pushing my shirt out), so I shopped for Small Wal. I bought him an unbelievably cute “I love Daddy” onesie. Random passers by congratulated us (that’s the thing about this baby–he makes his own good news announcement).
Like Wally and I have found ourselves doing often, we kept thinking of how different this trip would be next year. Either we’d have a sitter, or we’d have a lot more gear and a schedule run by a crawling, babbling, diaper-wearing little dude. Oh, man, our lives are really about to change.
It was a great weekend. It reminded me of our most recent Chicago weekend, where we did one of those photo booth mashups. The booth took a picture of Wally and then of me, and then it mashed our faces together to show us what our future son would look like. Usually they turn out ugly, with buggy eyes or bushy eyebrows. But our little 8 year old Wally V is a stud! (Okay, the jean jacket’s a little nerdy, but he’s a doll!) Then again, this is coming from his mom, so I may be biased. Here’s our little dude, 8 years from now, according to the great Dave and Busters:

2.5 month countdown! Wally V is getting big.

For the past month, when people have asked how much longer I’ve got left, I’ve been saying 3 months. Because 3 months sounds a heck of a lot better than less than three months. 2.5 months sounds just around the corner. 2.5 months sounds like Danny and Sandy’s summer fling. A So You Think You Can Dance season (love that show!). The amount of time you have to wait to bring a puppy home. 2.5 months are here and gone in a flash. 3 months is long. A quarter of a year. Less than 3 months is, well, not.

Wally V, though, has been constantly reminding me how soon he’s coming. A few weeks ago, he started to do more than kick. He suddenly got big enough that he can push on my sides. He stretches, presses on my stomach, and runs his hand or foot up, down and around. At night, I lay on my side, and you can see this little alien-looking bump moving around.

He likes to play. I’ll feel a part of him poking out, and I’ll press on it. He’ll press back. Just a minute ago, I had my hand on my stomach, and he must have felt it, because suddenly an appendage pressed up on my hand. Then he pushed up at my hand 4 times in rhythm.

With his new big size, the only discomfort I’m feeling so far is that he likes to hang out on my right side, and he’s gotten so big that he’ll press up on my ribs. He has all this room on my left side, but for some reason chooses to lean right and stretch up. It makes something pinch against my ribs! I try to gently suggest that he move down, but he fights me! And here I thought I had until the teen years to deal with talking back. Move over Wally V!

Until last week, I felt very unprepared for a baby to join our household. That’s why I was sticking with “3 months” as my answer. But I’m now ready to say 2.5, because Wally IV put together our baby’s crib and bookshelf (the dresser is on backorder). So the room is looking more like a room! No more 3 months for me. 10 more weeks it is! Check it out:


Lessons from a 2-month-old

Wally and I were just lucky enough to spend a week with the cutest little 2-month-old I know, our nephew Grady (aka GradyBird). For at least a few hours every day in Silver Lake, Michigan with Wally’s extended family, we spent time with the little cutie, who had a lot to teach me. Here’s the wisdom of GradyBird, boiled down to a few points from the many I learned:

  • At 2 months, babies aren’t so much lumps of things anymore. Evidenced by one main fact: 2-month-olds can smile! You’d bop his nose; he’d smile. You’d poke his belly; he’d smile. You’d talk to him in a goofy voice; he’d smile. He’d toot; he’d smile. You’d toot; he wouldn’t so much notice. But when he’s older he might get that joke.
  • No one holds a baby quite as well as mommy. There were quite a few experienced baby people present, and many who could keep Grady comfortable for a while. But when Jane, my sista [in law] would pick up Grady, he fit perfectly in the crook of her arm. When she’d burp him, he’d look comfortable, even through his unhappiness and cries about spit up. And when she’d say, “Hey man,” to her little guy, you just knew that they had the strongest bond two people can have.
  • Babies make the best little sounds imaginable. Grady hums when he sleeps. Like it doesn’t show enough peacefulness to have his eyes closed and be taking deep breaths—he’s got to sing about it to tell you how great it is. He also closed his eyes, drank, and mmm-mmmed his way through every bottle. And the best was when you’d talk to him, and he’d stick his tongue out, open his mouth, and coo, like he had something to say, but couldn’t quite put it into words.

Grady was magic. The first chance I had to bond with him was when he let me change his diaper for my first time. I was very diaper-focused at the time, and not so much Grady-focused. I wanted to be sure I got it right, so no one was leaked on later. At the end, I was double checking that all was well, when I remembered there was a baby attached to that diaper. I looked at him, and he was concentrating on my face, just checking me out. And I saw that he had decided, sometime during that experience, that he liked me. He looked at my face, and my hair, and he just smiled and smiled.

All week, the fam noticed he particularly liked my voice. When I’d talk, I’d get a lot of talking back. I attributed it to my cartoon-sounding, childlike voice, but it could have been something else. It could have been that GradyBird, in his two-month-old wisdom, knew that I was going to be a mom in 3 months, and that I was scared to death. And so he decided to show me that I might not know much about babies, but that I can figure it out. My baby will love me—I actually can make him happy. It won’t even take a lot of trying or effort, and certainly not perfection, to get that happiness and love. And so because of baby Grady, my handsome little nephew, more than ever I can’t wait to meet my little guy.

July 2018
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