crazy legs: the blog

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Mom Update

Heidi at 33 weeks, looking happy and healthy.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Week 34...and there's no turning back now

A little over a month left! Wow. Can't believe the CL's almost here. It's going to be a bit weird calling the baby by his/her actual name, instead of Crazy Legs. And yet, we've been practicing it all along. I put my face right up against Heidi's tummy and start talking and making goofy noises, just so the baby will recognize my voice and demeanor upon arrival into our big, frightening world.

Heidi's feeling a little sickly lately, not because of CL, but perhaps a slight cold. She's hoping to feel better soon, since this weekend we'll be getting out of town in order to celebrate our 3rd anniversary (actually it's 9/29, this coming Wednesday). We'll be in Milwaukee (ja der hey) staying in a sister hotel of the quaint 52 Stafford in Plymouth, Wis. where we spent our wedding night.

In the meantime, she's trying to get lots of R&R in to nurse her cold, as well as to prepare herself for... well, you know.

Your body is really getting ready and you may notice that you have more and more contractions that seem less and less like practice! This is a great sign that your body is getting ready!

Let's go over some of the labor basics.
Labor is broken down into three major stages:

First Stage

This begins when you start to have regular contractions that increase in frequency and intensity. Make sure you know how to time contractions. Usually you will start off slowly, nearly always questioning if this is really labor. Bear in mind that a lot of women have wandered around for a bit feeling like they had the flu or were just really sleepy. The contractions will then pick up and you will be in the active phase of the first stage of labor. Contractions are more intense and come more frequently, usually requiring more of your attention. Somewhere between this active phase and the next phase, transition, you will change to your place of birth. Transition is the short but hard part of labor. Transition has contractions coming very close together, but they never actually feel any stronger than the contractions of the active phase. At the end of transition you will be completely dilated!

Second Stage

This is the fun part! You begin this stage completely dilated! You will begin pushing your baby into this world. Most women really enjoy the pushing stage, they say that they feel more actively involved. Your contractions will get further apart and feel differently. If you have been unmedicated you will feel the urge to push. If you have been medicated you may or may not feel the urge to push and will be directed at how to proceed. If there is an episiotomy done, it will be done at the end of this stage. There is quite a debate about the need and use of episiotomies on a routine basis. The end of the second stage will be marked by the birth of your baby!

Third Stage

This is the anticlimax! You are holding your lovely baby and anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour later they will want you to give a few small pushes to get the placenta out. Most women are so wrapped up in their babies that they always say, "I forgot about the placenta!" Nursing your baby right away will help speed up a third stage or control any bleeding that you are having.


Baby is continuing to get bigger! Four pounds seven ounces (2 kilograms) and a length of 42.5 cms or 16.8 inches. The hormones from the placenta are starting to activate the milk in your breasts. Did you know that the baby urinates almost a pint a day! Watch out diapers here you come!

A pint a day! Good lord!

Okay, the first stage of labor sounds pretty neat, if a bit nerve-racking.
I had no idea Heidi was able to "practice" contracting. The body is pretty amazing, housing fetuses until they're ready, and then allowing the mother rehearsal time. How cool is that? But that's only the beginning.

How I Envision the Labor Stages

First Stage

Heidi will be calling me or waking me up and telling me she thinks she's in labor. If I don't pass out then, we'll grab our bags and hit the road for the hospital. And I swear, I'll try to remember where it is.

Second Stage

After 2 hours of rush hour traffic and wrong turns, we'll arrive at the hospital. Heidi will be sweating, swearing and genuinely uncomfortable. The nurses will send me running for ice chips because I'll be constantly in their way. I'll make phone calls all over the country until my cell phone battery dies. Heidi will suddenly relax after being given a hearty epidural. Crazy Legs will come surfing out in about 20 or 22 hours.

Third Stage

Heidi will be crying. CL will be crying. I'll be crying, and trying to avoid cutting that umbilical cord. At some point, passing out will occur. Then the Cubs will win the World Series, Bush will be ousted from the White House, we'll begin our new family and all will temporarily be right with the world.

Fourth Stage (The Great Unknown)

Then we'll get the bill. Oh yes, and the nursery will finally get finished.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Nursery Update

True to form, we still do not have the baby's room ready for little Crazy Legs just yet. BUT, we are making progress. There has been a dramatic color scheme change in our second bedroom / office as evidenced by the following before and after photos. It was only after much spackle, two coats of primer, three coats of Capri Cream and a little bit of swearing that we went from this...

to this...

We've also got the bassinet all ready to go in our room so that Crazy Legs will be within arm's reach for the first few weeks after we bring him/her home from the hosptial. Frankie has only tried to jump into it once. That's not bad considering his tendency to continually stick his nose into everything.

Otherwise, we have a few "Safety Stop" issues to address (securing the cords on the blinds, replacing the death-trap halogen floor lamp, etc.) and some further cutesy decorating that we want to do (crown molding, wall hangings, etc.) before we bring CL home. I mean, we have 6 weeks, right? That's plenty of time.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

We've set up a tiny Wish List, primarily so that we can be prepared should Crazy Legs demand upon arrival: "Me want Wiggles NOW!!!"

I'll link it on the side of the page too. We're really not looking for handouts -- it's just a way to organize stuff that Heidi or I might want to buy for the baby.

I just put in an order for The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, and I'm really excited about getting it, probably more than a grown man should be. It features this famous doctor (well, he was on Dr. Phil...) and his techniques for getting a fussy/crying/screaming baby to settle down. According to the purchaser comments on Amazon, these techniques can be a lifesaver.

However, I will not be purchasing the Happiest Baby on the Block CD. I've come to this conclusion based on the following review from a trusted online source, Daddy Types:
Some people on Amazon swear by it, sure, but apparently it's so annoying, it's like the last refuge of the colic- and reflux-damned. The CD consists of three tracks, a rapid "attention-getting" beat, a moderating second act, and a whopping 40-minute meditative womb track, any of which "can be played individually or repeated for hours to keep your baby settled into a deep level of relaxation." Never mind that one customer compares the CD to the background music from the Psycho shower scene.

Violins screeching: Eeee! Eeee! Eeee! Eeee!

Uh....I know we won't be sleeping much, but I certainly don't want to be reminded of Anthony Perkins stabbing people (in drag, no less) in the wee hours of the night.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Week 33... and the elusive Mother/Baby Unit

T-minus 50 days and counting!

I think we're slowly getting ready for the baby to come, but the notion of labor is still freaking out Heidi a bit. Central DuPage Hospital has also thrown an extra wrench into the works. The hospital has been building a brand-spanking-new Mother/Baby unit with PRIVATE ROOMS (trust me, this is a big bonus!). However, depending on how construction progresses and how quickly Crazy Legs decides to come out and see us, we may or may not be able to take advantage of the new unit with PRIVATE ROOMS. Instead, we may have to use the "old unit", which is perfectly fine, if a bit cramped. Also, the old unit doesn't have a waiting area for family and friends, and Dad (that's me, although it's strange to say) won't be able to stay if Heidi and CL have a roommate.

More fluffy towels, please!

The grand opening of the new M/B Unit is officially October 19th. I'd like to believe this is true, but we've already heard the offical date as October 5th, October 15th, November 1st.... So, really we're pretty clueless and at the mercy of the hospital administrators and construction workers. Cross your fingers for us, if you could. I'd really like to have the people who are trekking out to us (here's a map, or you can search for directions as well) to be able to visit Heidi and CL in her own room as opposed to congregating in the hospital lobby.

Anywho, week 33:


You can now probably distinguish the baby's knee from his/her elbow, even though the movements are smaller. You may also notice small bumps that appear to be rhythmic in your uterus. This is probably caused by the baby having hiccoughs and isn't cause for alarm. Continue learning all you can about labor, birth, postpartum, and newborns!


Your baby has surfactant, which helps baby breathe after birth, coating the alveoli in the lungs. After this week, if your baby is born, you have less of a chance of apnea of prematurity. S/he weighs about four pounds (1.8 kilograms).

There are almost 2 pints of amniotic fluid in your uterus. You may have been told that you have polyhyrdamnios, or too much amniotic fluid. The opposite of which would be oligohydramnios, often associated with Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR). However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone has varying amounts of amniotic fluid and that simply having too much or too little doesn't not generally indicate a problem.

Wow, the mom sure knows a lot, like telling the knee from the elbow! I'll probably have to wait until after the birth to tell the difference.

We're doing our part in learning all we can about the birth and baby care. Taking classes and reading, I believe, has started to relieve some of the trepidation of the birthing process. And if we just continue to ask questions of the right people, as well as communicate between ourselves, I truly believe that everything will go off without a hitch.

Wow, this baby may make me an optimist yet.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Uhhhh.... Week 32

Oops, in all the craziness that was Labor Day, we completely missed Week 31. Well, not really, but I forgot to update here. The biggest news of that week was the heartburn that hit Heidi like a Mack truck, right on schedule. We have since discovered the 8th wonder of the world, Gaviscon! Safe for CL and works better than Tums.

Also on the health front, Heidi's gotten short of breath on longer walks, or from climbing stairs, and the pain in her back and legs have increased. She's trying to rest often and load up on calcium.

Anyway, as far as Week 32 is concerned...


As you begin to have more and more Braxton-Hicks contractions you may begin to wonder more about labor and what it will entail for you, your family and your baby. You aren't alone in having these thoughts.

Most women have questions about labor and birth, for example:

Is this really labor?
When should I go to the birth place?
How do I time contractions?
Who should come with me? (Partner, doula, parents, siblings, etc.)
What should I pack?
Will labor be really painful?

I want to address the last question specifically. About 10% of women will tell you that labor is extremely painful, while 10% of the women will tell you that they experienced no pain. The rest, 80%, will fall someplace in the middle of the two extremes. You really need to look at the sources of pain in labor and birth. We do know that women who have taken childbirth classes tend to report less painful experiences and have fewer complications than women who have not taken classes.


Your baby's movements will peak this week. From now on the will change in quantity and quality. Remember to do your Fetal Kick Counts. Most of the wrinkles are disappearing from your baby's face, and there may be a lot of hair on their head! The weight gain has been fairly incredible recently. Your baby has put on about 2 pounds of weight, mostly fat and muscle tissue, since last month, bringing the total to about three pounds eleven ounces (1.7 kilograms), and measurements to 40 cms or 15.8 inches!

Babies who are born at a younger gestation than this will most likely having difficulties sucking or nursing. This also applies to babies who weigh less than 1500 grams at birth. A good sucking pattern is a sign of neuromuscular maturity.

Well, regarding the questions in the Mother section, I'll definitely defer to our "Great Expectations" classes (during which Dickens hasn't been mentioned once).

On Knowing When It's Labor:
Some signs are

  • A sudden burst of energy or the "nesting instinct"

  • Lightening or Dropping of the baby

  • An upset stomach

  • Diarrhea

  • Bloody show (this may be the cervix beginning to open)

  • Loss of mucous plug

  • Weight loss

  • Slight increase in blood pressure

Other than the "nesting" and the baby dropping, none of this sounds like any fun.

One of the biggest signs of labor is the bursting of the "bag of waters", which for some reason I sense will happen in my new car. It's certain it's a pretty dramatic sign, and should be followed quickly by a phone call to the doctor, if we're not already at the hospital or simply stuck in rush hour traffic, for which I'm also mentally preparing myself -- Murphy's Law being what it is (or should I say Finagle's Law?).

Also, I was interested in the topic of Fetal Kick Counts, which is a way to determine your child's wellbeing, as well as to potentially frighten yourself to death should you not feel the amount of movement you'd like. Here's the info online:

The Fetal Kick Count is done in many ways. This is but one of the ways of counting and recording your baby's movement.

The first thing you want to do is pick your babies most active time of the day to begin. Do not set yourself for panic by waiting until the quiet times. Take a piece of paper and write down the time you start paying attention, put a check mark on the paper every time you feel movement (kick, twist, punch, turn). Do not count hiccups. When you have felt ten movements, write that time down as well.

Doing this at the same time every day will help with the accuracy of the test. If your baby is having a slow day, try walking for five minutes, eating, or drinking juice and then go lie down on your left side to see if that will perk your sleepy little one up. Keep in mind that we do not feel all the movements of the baby. We actually probably are too busy moving ourselves to notice the majority of movements. Also, a placenta that is anterior or a mother with some extra weight may provide yet another barrier to feeling all the movements.

Your baby should move ten times in four hours. If this does not happen call your practitioner for advice on what to do next.

Remember, there are different methods of kick counting. Ask your practitioner which they prefer, or use the one provided here.

Can a mom tell the difference between a hiccup and a turn?

All I know is that Crazy Legs has been pretty active lately, particularly when Heidi cranks up Franz Ferdinand on the car stereo. I'll guess I'll only really start to worry if CL has the same reaction to Barry Manilow.


Know what I'm sayin'?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Local Mom Advice

A local resource for the baby/online thing: Car Seat, as posted on the wonderful Chicago-based group blog Gapers Block.

Alejandra writes about Mom and baby-friendly topics, including baby wearing and movies for Moms.

It's updated weekly. I'm adding it to our links.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Family Baby Shower: House of Pizza Becomes Casa de los Babys

Pssst, Crazy Legs -- boy, are you living up to your name - each day brings more and more roundhouse kicks -- we had a party in your honor this weekend.

Friends and family showed up to have pizza and give your parents gifts to prepare for your arrival. Even more surprising is that they didn't harangue us too much for not sharing your real name and/or gender with them. They just gave us a few gentle inquiries and only a few bamboo shoots under the fingernails. But we didn't crack!

These people, who are amazingly generous, love you even though they've never seen you, and subsequently Mommy and I made out like bandits. Seriously. In fact, there's probably an APB out looking for a 2004 Santa Fe packed to the absolute gills with baby clothes, strollers, car seats and diapers.

Cheryl R. and Heidi

Your Mom was poked and prodded and hugged, and was told that she looked great. Which she does, and I pray every day you take after her. We ate lots of pizza and salad and brownies in your name. Hope you enjoyed it second-hand. If not, you'd better get used to it, as the House of Pizza (est. 1959) is a Fenstermaker-McBride tradition, and a regular stop when the Williamson clan invades northwest Indiana. Let's just hope that by the time you're out of diapers, Interstate 80/94 is no longer under construction. Otherwise, we might just have to double back to the House of Pizza from South Bend or perhaps the Ohio border.

Aunt Erica and Grandma McB getting to know Crazy Legs.
[Also pictured: Heidi.]

A good time was had by all, and all parties are very anxious to meet you. In the meantime, Mommy and I are going to have to buy a new house in order to fit all the gifts. Be patient, grow strong, read up on all the literature about surviving two nervous parents, and enjoy your little apartment. Free room and board is pretty hard to come by these days.

Thanks again to everyone who celebrated with us, and to those who couldn't attend, but were in our thoughts.

(P.S. If anyone has pictures, and they'd like to share, I'll try my best to accommodate them.)