Week 36 Update

9.jpgHe’s almost 6 pounds and nearly full-term, and boy is he feeling big!  We’re four weeks from the due date!

Week 36 Update from the Babycenter.com

How your baby’s growing: Your baby is still putting on the pounds — about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds and is a little less than 19 inches long. She’s shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the creamy substance that covered and protected her skin during its submersion in amniotic fluid. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, which will stay in her bowels until birth. This blackish mixture, called meconium, will become her first bowel movement.

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Babies between 37 and 42 weeks are considered full-term; a baby born before 37 weeks is pre-term and after 42 is post-term.) Most likely she’s in a head-down position by now [HE IS], which is optimal for a smooth delivery, but if she isn’t in the next week, your provider may suggest scheduling an “external cephalic version,” which is a fancy way of saying she’ll try to coax your baby into a head-down position manually, by manipulating her from the outside of your belly.

How your life’s changing: While your baby continues to grow and crowd your internal organs, you may find that you’re not as hungry as you were a few weeks ago. Smaller, more frequent meals are often easier to handle at this point. On the other hand, you may have less heartburn and have an easier time
breathing when your baby starts to drop down lower in your pelvis [THIS HASN’T HAPPENED YET, BUT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!]. This dropping — called lightening or engagement — is more likely to happen before labor if this is your first baby. When it does, though, you may feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen, making walking increasingly uncomfortable. Some women say it feels as though they’re carrying a bowling ball between their legs, or as if the baby is going to fall out. (Don’t worry, she won’t!)

You might also notice that your Braxton Hicks contractions are a little more frequent now [THEY ARE, ESPECIALLY WHEN I WALK UP/DOWN STAIRS]. Be sure to review with your practitioner exactly when and where to call her when you think your labor has started. As a general rule, you should call when you start having regular contractions coming every five minutes for about an hour.

Moving forward from a rough weekend

The past three days were tough ones.  Mom had a couple more
procedures done, and at this point we’re all learning as much about pancreatic cancer as we can.

On May 29, Dr. Baker did a procedure called a percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage (PTCD) with biopsy. He was able to insert a tube in the center of Mom’s abdomen that goes through her liver, down the bile duct toward the pancreas.  He then inserted a drain so the bile that has been backing up the from the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas can drain to a bag outside her body.  He also took a biopsy of the tumor that sits at the head of the pancreas.

Later that afternoon,  Dr. Allen explained that the tumor is about 3×4 cm (medium-sized as he described it) and is located right at the head of the pancreas.  The biopsy showed a mucin Adenocarcinoma tumor which means that it probably started in the pancreas.

This isn’t the news that any of us wanted to hear.  It’s hard to treat pancreatic tumors. The tumor is encroaching on a major blood vessel (the superior mesenteric vein) making surgery very difficult.

Dr. Diggs, the oncologist talked to our whole family on Monday morning.  He said that there are two doctors at the UW Hospital who may be able to do surgery to remove the tumor at this point.  He and Dr. Gibson, the surgeon, are going to send Mom’s films to them this week to see what they think.  If surgery is not possible immediately, the primary treatment will probably be radiation and chemotherapy with the hopes of shrinking the tumor  to the point that it can be removed.

They may also need to do additional endoscopic surgery to implant an internal stent so the bile can drain internally into the intestine.  They’ll also want to do laparoscopic surgery to look for other tumors in the abdomen.

Dr. Gibson kept Mom in the hospital on Monday in case the UW doctors would be able to transfer her directly to the UW on Tuesday. However, this morning they said that they wouldn’t be able to see her until later in the week, so after a mind-bending weekend, she’s back at home as of mid-day on Tuesday.  She has an appointment scheduled on Friday morning with Dr. Webber at the UW.  Hopefully, we’ll know more after that, but who knows, it could be until next week before they run the next set of tests (MRI, catscans, ultrasounds) that need to be done.

It’s been a completely surreal set of days and I know we’re all still trying to absorb information.  The doctors have been very helpful and informative, and I’m glad that Mom gets a chance to be home for a while until we take next steps.

I have lots more details on treatment options, and I’m looking into support systems for families struggling with cancer.  I’m also learning how to talk about this and internalize it to my life.  I know we all are. So this isn’t a fun note to write, but I know that there’s an amazing group of people out there who love Mom and who will be interested in following her condition.  If you have questions, please give me a call.

At this point, we’re glad that there are a variety of treatment options available, and we’re moving forward with a hopeful attitude.
~ Althea

Baby Dotzour Weekly Updates – second and third trimester

Letters to family and friends from February 14 – May 10

February 14
Week 21 Baby update
Hi All!
According to my June 27 due date, I’m now over half way there. Something tells me, though, that the second half of pregnancy is when things get really interesting. Maybe that comes from seeing how huge Vicki’s belly is. She even said that when he flips around in her belly that it makes the bed jiggle!
Happy Valentine’s Day:) Bryan made me a delicious dinner including cake tonight, so my taste buds and belly are very happy right now. We painted the nursery (actually, now we’re going to re-paint the ceiling since it came out way too strong with the colors and color washing technique we used). My mom also recently gave in to grandmothering urges, and we got our little guy some really cute outfits last weekend. I should take photos of the clothes to share! We found a cute little polar bear printed sleeper that will look great with the bear hat and mittens Aunt Melanie sent:)
The last week has been a good one pregnancy-wise. Besides feeling my belly skin stretch and often falling asleep before 9 pm, I can’t say I’ve felt much different. I still munch on food all the time. Big meals are hard to do when one’s stomach is being impeded by a big sweet-potato sized baby:) I’m feeling light popping feelings or soft fluttering feelings, and they’ve become stronger where I’m sure I’ve felt something. I can’t say that I’ve really felt a strong nudge yet. Many of my regular shirts still fit around the girth, but they’re getting too short! It’s pretty amazing to see all these changes happening in a relatively short number of weeks. I’ve only told a few people at the gym that I’m pregnant, and I get some secret enjoyment out of working out with people who don’t know. It’s not going to be too long, though, before my belly reveals my secret.
Well, I’ve got to finish packing my bags…I head out tomorrow to the Milwaukee area for a Gathering Waters-run land trust retreat. I’ll be back home on Friday. Hope you had a fun Valentine’s Day doing sweet things for the people who make you smile. Love, Althea

Baby Center week 21 update
Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long. Her eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed. You may soon feel like she’s practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. Some babies are restless in the evening, for example, just as you’re trying to fall asleep. Others get busy during the day.
From http://www.babiesonline.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week21.asp Your baby is still pretty active and continues to move all over in the amniotic fluid. However, towards the end of this trimester the baby will begin to settle, usually in a head down position. Your baby is beginning to show evidence of eyebrows and eyelashes and the hair on his scalp is much more visible. He wakes and sleeps in regular intervals, similar to what a newborn would do. This may be apparent to you in his movement patterns. He regularly ingests and absorbs large quantities of the amniotic fluid and excretes urine. Your baby is approximately 27-30 cm (10-10.5 inches) and weighs about three quarters of a pound.

February 23
Week 22…and moving around!
Hi All,
It’s been a good couple of weeks. First of all, the sun is heading back, which makes me so very happy. This week I haven’t had to turn on the porch light to see the back steps when I leave the house in the morning, and when I left work yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the sun before it set. When I got home, natural light was still coming in the windows…a phenomenon I thought only took place on the weekends. It feels good to see that the sun is returning to us!
Then there’s the fun part about really being able to feel more distinct baby movements. I wouldn’t say the “kicks” are strong yet, but they’re noticeably not just stomach rumbles, and he’s often pretty active as I lie down to go to sleep. I haven’t been sore or uncomfortable, and even though I’ve gained about five pounds and my belly is sticking out a bit more, I don’t feel cumbersome or restricted in movement. So it’s a great month.
One of the girls at the gym asked me today if I was pregnant, and that marks the first time someone has asked. It’s getting to be obvious, but I think it’s a pretty cute belly, so I’m OK with the change:) It’ll be easier when the news spreads more and it doesn’t have to be explained to everyone!
I’ve got a pot of three Hyacinth bulbs on my desk, and they’re starting to sprout. A nice shot of green with promises of sweet smells in a few weeks.
This weekend Bryan is going to Ann Arbor to see some friends before one of them moves back to Australia. We’re planning to make another trip out this spring so I can go too. I’m going to Seattle for a meeting of a Carleton alumni committee that I serve on. I’m really looking forward to seeing a bit of Aunt Kate and Uncle Greg! Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Joey for watching April while we’re gone:)
That’s my news for now. I’m really looking forward to seeing Mom and Dad Dotzour in Chicago in a couple weeks. Here are links to a couple Ofoto albums I’ve uploaded: Photos of our short-lived snowman…Tippy
Photos of the painting and re-painting of our nursery
Have a great week! Love, Althea

Babycenter update – Week 22
Your baby now looks like a miniature newborn, checking in at 10.9 inches and almost 1 pound. Her skin will continue to appear wrinkled until she gains enough weight to fill it out, and the fine hair (lanugo) that covers her head and body is now visible. Her lips are becoming more distinct, and the first signs of teeth are appearing as buds beneath her gum line. Her eyes are developed, though the iris (the colored part of the eye) still lacks pigment. Eyelids and eyebrows are in place, and her pancreas, essential for hormone production, is developing steadily. Your stomach may become a hand magnet — people will touch it without asking permission. It’s okay to say no. And if people are telling you that you look smaller or bigger than you should at this point, remember that all women grow — and show — at different rates. What’s important is that you see your practitioner for regular visits so she can make sure your baby’s development is on track.

March 4
Week 23 update on Baby Dotzour
Hi All,
I’m running behind this week…I haven’t even had a chance to check my hotmail account to see what the babycenter said about the growth of Junior this week. Yesterday I had another monthly doctor’s appointment. Just a quick hello, how’s it going, but it’s always fun to hear the little guy’s heart beating. I met with the nurse practitioner this time, and she seemed to have a lot more time to answer questions. She let me listen to him move around and to the heart beating for quite a long time. The heart beat sounds more like a strong, regular beat (at the beginning it was a soft swishing sound). She said it was in the 150s. He’s kicking inside me right now! As my belly as expanded the last couple weeks, he’s moved north, and I’ve been feeling lots of movement right below my sternum and on either side just below (and out!) from my rib cage. Bryan felt him move for the first time a couple days ago. Sometimes when I sit in meetings, I’ve started to get where I can see my shirt tapping slightly. When he’s really active, which isn’t super often, it feels like there’s a pingpong ball in me:) I think in the last week or so, he’s gotten stronger and the soft nudges have turned into strong nudges and soft kicks. As my belly has grown out this month, I’ve started gaining weight. Not surprising given how hungry I’ve been! This week my appetite has lessened a bit (I just have to remember to assess when I’m hungry rather than sticking on the munching-all-the-time that I was doing last week!). Feeling great otherwise. I missed nearly a week at the gym between my trip to Seattle last weekend, my conference on Monday, and laziness on Tuesday and Wednesday. But now I’m back in the swing of things. We are REALLY looking forward to warm weather. My doctor gave me a thumbs-up about doing the Settynde Mai walk on May 15 again this year, so I’m looking forward to beginning to train for that. So is April. She can’t wait for us to resume walking her:)
I took some photos of the baby clothes that are hanging in our sweet nursery right now.
Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend! Love, Althea

Baby center update Week 23
Your baby is more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound. His skin is red and wrinkled. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare him for breathing. He can swallow, but he normally won’t pass his first stool (called meconium) until after birth. Loud noises heard often in utero — such as your dog barking or the roar of a vacuum cleaner — probably won’t faze your baby when he hears them outside the womb. Feeling pretty good? Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed now, your baby can feel you dance. Those dainty fetal movements have progressed to karate kicks. You may even be able to see your baby squirm underneath your clothing.

March 9
Week 24 update on Baby D.
Hi All,
Hope your week is going well. I don’t feel like I have much to report this week… I’ve been super hungry these days. And I get sleepy if my blood sugar gets too low. But I still haven’t been that tired (until about 8 pm:) or experiencing many other symptoms. I took my first Yogamom’s prenatal yoga class last night and really enjoyed it. I haven’t regularly gone to a yoga class in about a year, and it felt great to find a good instructor and a nice space. It was also kind of neat to join a bunch of other pregnant people for the evening. I felt like I’d found a little club I didn’t know I belonged to:) Some of the women were at 39 weeks…I’m not quite ready for that yet! They were huge and seemed pretty uncomfortable. I imagine that if I follow a similar pattern to others that in a month or two sleeping well is going to get much more difficult. Last night I slept with a little pillow under my belly, and that seemed to be pretty comfortable. Bowser’s still sleeping under the covers with me (he’ll probably stop when the weather warms up), and he was a bit confused about why there was a pillow down at his spot by my belly. Sometimes when I wake up in the night and am just awake (I’m hoping this is a pregnancy phenomenon that goes away soon!), I hold a kitty in each arm and think sleeping cat thoughts to try to get myself back to sleep. Last weekend we helped Terry move on Saturday, and on Sunday I hung out a bit with my family, took the dog for a walk, and didn’t do much else! Bryan’s still getting over his respiratory cold, but he seems to be getting better this week. That’s my news for the week! Love, Althea

Babycenter Update – week 24
Your baby’s growing steadily, gaining about a quarter of a pound since last week, when she was just over a pound. Since she’s almost a foot long, that makes a pretty lean figure, but her body is filling out proportionally and she’ll soon put on more baby fat. Your baby’s skin is thin, translucent, and wrinkled, her brain is growing rapidly, and her taste buds are developing. Her lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” and cells that produce surfactant, a substance that helps the air sacs inflate easily.
How your life’s changing: The top of your uterus is now an inch or so above your belly button, which means it’s about the size of a soccer ball. With the skin on your abdomen and breasts stretching, you may feel a little itchy now and then. If your skin is dry, keeping it well moisturized may help. Also, your eyes may be sensitive to light and feel gritty and dry. This is a perfectly normal pregnancy symptom known as dry-eye. To ease your discomfort, use an artificial tears solution to add moisture.
Most women will have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between 24 and 28 weeks. This test checks for gestational diabetes, a high-blood-sugar condition during pregnancy. Untreated, high blood sugar increases your risk for having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow overly fat, especially in his upper body. It also increases your baby’s risk for complications like low blood sugar at birth. A positive result on your GCT test doesn’t mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you should have the more involved glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out.

Week 25, and kicking!
March 15
I just wrote this note, but then I accidentally opened a new link in this window, and my message was lost. Argh! So what I just said was something like:
Our little guy has been moving around a lot in the past week or so. His movements have become stronger and more regular, and it’s become more possible to have people feel him when he’s moving. A couple weeks ago, he’d kick, but when I put Bryan’s hand there, he wouldn’t move again for minutes or more. Now when he’s active, he moves for quite a while. In fact, this morning, Bryan could feel him bopping around before I was even fully awake. He said, “Wow, he’s moving,” and I had to think about it before I noticed that indeed he was!
Bryan and I had a great weekend in Chicago with Mom and Dad Dotzour. The sun was shining, the Chicago River was dyed Kelly Green, and we were in great company. We went shopping for some fun maternity (and paternity) clothes, and I’m feeling very stylish. What fun!! The girls at work are throwing a join baby shower for Vicki and me on Saturday, so that should be fun! It’s my first baby shower…as a guest or as a baby-bearing person.
Have a great week! Love, Althea and the Great Expansion
PS. We’ve been having fun looking at baby names. Here’s a neat website that graphs how common names have been over the last 100 years. A fun site to spend some time surfing: http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html

Babycenter Update: Week 25
How your baby’s growing: Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. His weight — a pound and a half — doesn’t sound like much, but he’s beginning to exchange his long, lean look for some baby fat. As he does, his wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and he’ll start to look more and more like a newborn. His hair is probably recognizable now (in color and texture), although both may change after he’s born.
How your life’s changing: Your baby’s not the only one with more hair — your locks may look more full and lustrous than ever. It’s not that you’re growing more hair, but the hair you’d normally shed is sticking around longer than usual. You’re getting bigger by the minute, but that’s no reason to stop exercising — just modify your routine as your body changes.
When you have your glucose-screening test at 24 to 28 weeks, your practitioner may take a second tube of blood at the same time to check for anemia. Although your blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy, the total amount of your red blood cells becomes diluted — a problem sometimes called physiologic anemia that’s common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. If your blood tests show that you have anemia, your caregiver will likely recommend that you take a supplement.
Have you started thinking about baby names yet? Choosing a name is an important decision, but it should be a fun one, too. Look to family history (Great Grandpa Zeb), favorite locations (Venice, where you honeymooned), or cherished literary or film characters (Greta, Meg, or Rhett, for example). Check out a couple of baby-name books to help you brainstorm, too.

April 4
It’s catch-up week…Baby Dotzour week 26, 27, and 28 update
Good morning!
I got pretty far behind on sending weekly updates. I think I’ve just been really focused at work, and when I get home, I don’t like the idea of spending more time in front of a computer! Bryan and I had a wonderful weekend. The weather was just incredible…the ice on Lake Monona melted on Friday or Saturday, and all weekend the sky was blue and the sun was shining, and the air was warm. Ah, it was delightful. We had fun being home owners and spent quite a bit of Saturday cleaning out the garage, cleaning up the yard, and washing the house and windows. All our neighbors were out too, and we enjoyed revisiting with people…winter just isn’t the most social of times! The dogs were all very happy to see each other again too. April has been a three-legged dog the past few days. We had a thunderstorm last week, and she dug at the basement floor until she wore her toenails down to the quick. After bleeding all over, it seems like her nails are starting to heal, but they clearly hurt a lot, and our poor girl is in quite a bit of pain. That doesn’t stop her from rolling around on her back and cuddling, though. Hopefully she’ll heal up soon. Bryan and I went for a walk down to Olbrich Gardens last night and walked around for a while. There’s hints of little tips of green coming out here and there, and we’re looking forward to seeing the progression over the next few weeks.
So what’s been going on baby-wise? Well, let’s see, since the last time I wrote, I’ve continued growing. I think my belly is about 38 inches around. Sometimes I feel pretty huge:) My co-workers threw a baby shower for Vicki and me on March 19, and that was a lot of fun. It was the first baby shower I’ve been to, and I enjoyed learning the games and talking with lots of other people about babies. We got some fun books and CDs and bath stuff and some of the essentials like nail clippers and brushes and thermometers. I’ve been given so much. Our next step is to find a dresser so we have a place to keep it! Bryan and I have been visiting day care options, and while we haven’t settled on our solution yet, we’ll need to decide soon as all the spaces to start in October are filling up (and most are already gone!). It’s amazing how far ahead you have to plan! And it’s really hard to know how to make the right decision. I haven’t even met the baby yet! I took my glucose test during week 26, and the results from that came back normal, so I don’t have to worry about gestational diabetes at this point. Good thing, because I don’t want to have to limit my ice cream and cookie intake! The blood tests showed that my iron levels were a little low, so I’m taking an extra supplement and trying to eat more meat. Vicki is at 38 weeks this week (she’s due on April 16), and she’s now taking many more supplements. Apparently as the baby gets bigger, it starts pulling more of what it needs to grow from the mother’s body, so it becomes harder to keep your own levels of certain elements high when Junior keeps using them to grow! I’ve sure been eating enough, though. I’m hungry all the time, or at least every couple-few hours, and there’s just no dissuading me when I’m ready to eat. mmm foooooddd. That said, the scale still says that I’ve only gained 12 pounds, but given the size of my belly I’m not sure how that’s possible. My last doctor’s appointment was last week, and the heart sounded good. She said it was at 149 beats/min. He was pretty quiet for a week in mid-March, but action has steadily picked up again, and this weekend, he startled me several times and learned how to insert a foot up into my ribcage. Fun trick.
That’s a catch-up of the last few weeks. My next doctor’s appointment is on the 18th (then go down to every two weeks). Bryan and I start a child birthing class on Wednesday night and continue that until mid-May. We’re also signed up for a couple infant care classes a breastfeeding class, and probably other classes that I’ve forgotten about.
Have a great week! Love, Althea and Baby D

Week 26
http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/126.html
How your baby’s growing: Your baby now weighs a little under 2 pounds and measures about 14 inches, from head to heel. The nerve pathways in her ears are developing, which means her response to sounds is growing more consistent. Her lungs are developing now, too, as she continues to take small breaths of amniotic fluid — good practice for when she’s born and takes that first breath of air. If you’re having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in the womb. This developmental information is designed to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing.
How your life’s changing: Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly as it returns to its normal pre-pregnancy range. (It was at a low from 22 to 24 weeks.) Though preeclampsia most often occurs in the last trimester, this is a good time to be aware of the warning signs of this dangerous condition that occurs in about 3 to 7 percent of all pregnancies. Signs you should be alert for include swelling of the hands and face, sudden weight gain (due to water retention), blurry vision, seeing spots before your eyes, sudden severe or persistent headaches, or upper abdominal pain. By checking for high blood pressure and protein in your urine, your caregiver will monitor you for preeclampsia at your routine prenatal visits, but call her immediately if you have any of these symptoms before your next appointment. Early identification of preeclampsia is essential for the health of you and your baby.
If your back seems a little achy lately, you can thank pregnancy hormones (which are loosening up your joints and ligaments) and your shifting center of gravity. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath — or cool compress — might bring relief. Or you may want to schedule a prenatal massage by a trained therapist. Use a pregnancy wedge when sleeping, to support your back and abdomen. Try to maintain good posture, which will help reduce the strain on your back, and always take care when bending and lifting. If you experience severe pain or numbness in any area of your body, call your practitioner.

Week 27
http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/127.html
How your baby’s growing: Your baby is really starting to fill up your uterus. This week he weighs almost 2 pounds and is about 14.4 inches long with his legs extended. He can now open and close his eyes, and he sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. He may suck his fingers, and although his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with assistance — if he were to be born prematurely. Chalk up any rhythmic movement you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and isn’t bothersome to him, so enjoy the tickle. With more brain tissue developing, your baby’s brain is very active now. Wonder what he’s thinking?• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in the womb. This developmental information is designed to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing.
How your life’s changing: Your body is gearing up for the final lap, so you may start noticing some new symptoms. Along with an aching back, for example, you may find that your leg muscles cramp up now and then. They’re carrying extra weight, after all, and your uterus is putting extra demands on your circulation. (As your uterus expands, it puts pressure on the blood vessels that return blood from your legs to your heart and on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs.) Unfortunately, the cramps are likely to get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Leg cramps are more common at night but can also happen during the day. Flexing your foot (by pointing your toes forward and then flexing them back toward your shins) stretches the calf and should give you some relief. Walking for a few minutes or massaging your calf sometimes helps, too.

Week 28
How your baby’s growing: By this week, your baby weighs a little over 2 pounds and measures about 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can open her eyes — which now sport lashes — and she’ll turn her head toward a continuous, bright light from the outside. Her fat layers are beginning to form, too, as she gets ready for life outside the womb.
How your life’s changing: If the blood work done at your first prenatal visit showed that you’re Rh negative, you’ll receive an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent your body from developing antibodies that could attack your baby’s blood. (You’ll receive another shot of Rh immunoglobulin after you give birth if your baby is Rh positive.)

April 11
Week 29 Baby D update
Good morning!
Looks like it’s going to be another lovely spring day. I wish this weekend could have had several more days in it! April came to work with me this morning, so she’s pretty excited about that. Much more interesting than being at home. I got a note from Grace and Tim yesterday: “john patrick ernst was born at 10:03pm on wednesday, april 6, 2005. he weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and is 20 inches long. everyone is doing great and grace’s mom is here for the rest of the month to help out. love, grace and tim” He looks like a really sweet guy…it’s amazing to see photos of Grace as a mom! Joey came over yesterday, and he and Bryan went to the driving range and then I took him grocery shopping. I am a FUN older sister. Bryan has been starting to work on getting a website going so we’ll be ready to post images when Junior comes along. Our little guy isn’t moving all the time, but when I eat or lie down, he can make some pretty strong movements. Vicki’s friend gave her a couple tubs of summer maternity clothes, and now that the warm weather is here, I can wear them. Today I found a pretty purple dress that still had the tags on it. I’m lucking out in the maternity clothes department! Tonight I have another prenatal yoga class, on Wednesday we go to our second childbirth class… Starting to learn about all the things we need to know before our little guy comes:) Have a great week. Love, Althea

Week 29 Update:
How your baby’s growing Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to accommodate his brain — which is busy developing billions of neurons. With this rapid growth, it’s no surprise that your baby’s nutritional needs reach their peak during this trimester. To keep yourself and him well nourished, you’ll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, and calcium. (About 200 milligrams of calcium is deposited in your baby’s skeleton — which is now hardening — every day.)

April 18
Week 30!
Happy Sunny April Day!
This month has been just beautiful, and the word is that the temperature today could get up to 80! I’m going to have a hard time staying at work this afternoon. I just had my 30 week doctor’s appointment this morning. It takes all of 3 minutes…they weigh me (up two pounds in the last few weeks), take my blood pressure (steady at 95/60), listen to the heart beat (147 beats/min), measure my belly (30 cm from bottom to top), and ask if I have any questions. My doctor is due in about a month, but she still wants to see me one more time. I’ve got the names of a couple of her co-workers, though, so in a couple visits I’ll be going to someone else. Bryan and I are in our third week of our childbirth class. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to going again on Wednesday. This week is kind of busy…I’ve got yoga tonight, our class on Wed., Joey’s play on Thursday, and then on Friday I’m going over to Jack’s house for the Wildflower weekend. We’ll walk around and look at wildflowers. I’m looking forward to it! On Saturday night, we got the fun call that Vicki had delivered her baby. They named him Alexander Elkin Ivey, and he was 6 lbs, 15 oz; 20 inches long. Her labor was fast. She went to the hospital at 5 and was 8 cm dilated and delivered at about 9:30 – no drugs! She called Sara, my co-worker, at 10:30 to share the news, and Sara said she sounded great and very happy. I’m really looking forward to meeting the little guy! Hope you all have a great week. Love, Althea

BabyCenter week 30 update
http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/130.html
How your baby’s growing: Your baby’s a bit more than 15 1/2 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds. A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and fills out your uterus. Her eyes open and close, she’s able to distinguish between light and dark, and she can even follow a light source back and forth. Once she’s born, she’ll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she’ll respond to changes in light but will have a visual acuity of only 20/400 — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (“Normal” vision in adults is 20/20.)
How your life’s changing: You may be feeling a little tired these days, especially if you’re having any trouble sleeping. You might also feel clumsy, which is perfectly understandable. Not only are you heavier, your balance is off and your joints are loosened, thanks to pregnancy hormones. Those loose joints can actually cause your feet to grow a shoe size –permanently.

April 25
Week 31 and going on a trip
Happy Monday! I’m getting ready to leave the office for the week, and I just thought I’d send you this update quickly before I fly away. The last week has been good. Pretty uneventful. Our little guy is really making some strong movements. He’s doing less kicking and more pushing. In fact, when Bryan and I went to the UW band concert last week, we couldn’t believe how much we could feel him. I think we was trying to get out through the front:) I was out at Jack’s last weekend for the annual wildflower walk. The weather was a bit chilly, but not too bad once we were walking. I didn’t camp, though. Too cold for me! And early in the morning instead of going bird watching, I looked at the sun rise from out the window. Then I went bird watching when the sun was warming everything up.
Bryan and I had a nice day at home yesterday, and we went through about six tubs of baby clothes/toys/gear a friend brought over. We ended up returning nearly all of it. I can’t imagine that a person needs so much STUFF to raise a baby. I think we’ll get things as we need them, but I’d rather not feel over-run with equipment that I don’t even know that we’ll need. It sure is fun to look through things, though. And now we have some baby spoons, new outfits, and a mat for the baby to lie on and play with dangling toys.
I’m leaving for Washington DC this afternoon. I’ll be lobbying and at meetings Tuesday through Thursday. On Friday, I plan to visit museums and play until Bryan flies in. We’re looking forward to seeing Grace and Tim and Baby John on Saturday and Sunday. This is my last scheduled flight before Junior comes, and I’m looking forward to the trip. I’ve got a couple last things to finish up before I leave today, so I’ll bid you a warm goodbye. Love, Althea

Week 31 Update from Babycenter.com
http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/131.html
How your baby’s growing: This week, your baby measures about 16 inches long. He weighs a little over 3 pounds and is headed for a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and he’s beginning to accumulate a layer of fat underneath his skin in preparation for life as a newborn. As a result, his arms, legs, and body are filling out.• Note: Experts say every baby develops differently — even in the womb. This developmental information is designed to give you a general idea of how your baby is growing.
How your life’s changing: Have you noticed the muscles in your uterus tightening now and then? [I HAVEN’T YET] Some women feel these random contractions — called Braxton Hicks contractions — in the second half of pregnancy. Lasting from 30 to 60 seconds, they’re nonrhythmic and irregular and, at this point in your pregnancy, they should be infrequent and not painful. (When you’re within a few weeks of your due date, it’s normal for Braxton Hicks contractions to become more frequent and even somewhat painful; in fact, they’re often called “false labor” because sometimes it can be hard to tell them from the real thing.)

May 2
Week 32…two months to go:)
Happy May!
Bryan and I just got back from a great trip to Washington DC. I spent the first part of the week staying with my friend Kacy and going to meetings for the national Land Trust Alliance. Then on Friday evening, Bryan flew in and we had a great time visiting some museums, eating at fun restaurants, and staying with Grace and Tim and their new baby John Patrick. In DC, the flowers were blooming and the air was warm, and there was so much going on that we would have needed to stay for a year to see it all! We visited the Air and Space Museum and the new American Indian museum on Saturday morning. The International Spy Museum was too crowded and expensive. We had a great time holding and looking at baby John, and it was a lot of fun to get a sneak peak of what life is like a few weeks after a baby comes. Grace’s mom had been staying with them until Saturday, so we were there at a time of transition. My friends from SNRE, Jennifer and Lara also came by, so it was great to see them too.
Our little baby keeps growing bigger. He’s making lots of big movements and can really push hard sometimes. Today my ribs feel a bit like they’re being pulled apart, and I can’t say that the sensation is altogether comfortable. Our baby’s doing quite a bit of traveling in utero. He’s already been to Oregon, Washington, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, DC, and probably next weekend Indiana (briefly) and Michigan. I wanted to make a trip up to St. Paul to see Maretta at school, but I don’t think that’s going to happen! We’re running out of time:)
I haven’t been as ravenous the past couple weeks, and I’ve actually been less tired in the evenings (I can stay up until 10 sometimes!), so that has been nice. Bryan and I have an infant care class tonight at St. Mary’s (our hospital), so that should be a good opportunity to check out the facilities and to practice washing and diapering a baby.
That’s my news for this week. Hope all is well with you, and I’m going to be watching the skies and looking for some springtime weather. It IS May! Love, Althea

Week 32 Update from the BabyCenter
http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/132.html
How your baby’s growing: By now, your baby probably weighs almost 4 pounds and is almost 17 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. She has tiny toenails now, and her fingernails have grown in, too. Some babies have a head of hair already; others have only peach fuzz. The baby’s irises can now dilate and contract in response to light. Due to the deposits of white fat underneath the skin the baby’s skin is no longer red but pink.
How your life’s changing: Your blood volume (the plasma plus red blood cells) is now about 40 to 50 percent greater than before you became pregnant to accommodate the needs of you and your baby. (This extra amount also helps make up for any blood you’ll lose when giving birth.) You’re also gaining a pound a week now, and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. With your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and adding pressure on your abdomen, you may be dealing with heartburn [NOT YET] more often or feeling a little short of breath. To help with shortness of breath, try eating smaller quantities more often (rather than three daily feasts) and sleeping propped up. Those smaller meals should help with the heartburn, too.
As your baby grows, the increasing concentration of weight in your growing belly causes a change in your posture and a shift in your center of gravity. Plus, your abdominal muscles are stretching, hormones are making your ligaments more lax, and your growing uterus may even press on some nerves. All of this can contribute to low back pain.

May 10
Week 33 Update
Good morning!
It’s a lovely May day. I got back from my trip to Ann Arbor at noon yesterday. It was a wonderful trip. I was so happy to get to visit with friends and co-workers, and it seemed like each half-day held a new reunion with a dear friend. Staying with Heather and Michael was a lot of fun. It had been too long since our last visit. And I hadn’t seen Marcia since her baby Jordyn was born in October. I’m still smiling from all the good times I had. Then it was great to come back home to my boy and my home and to know that I’ll be staying here without traveling for a long time. Bryan did some transformations to the basement bathroom while I was gone. He’s really learning some plumbing techniques! He’s also been our dandelion warrior and has been digging up the weeds with determination. Such a guy! Keeping our yard healthy and saving me from trying to bend and squat with my big belly.
I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday. My belly is 33 cm from bottom to top. Right on track. Still at 17 lbs of weight gain. On Friday, he was head down with his back toward my right side, and his heart rate was 150 beats/min. My OB gave me some suggestions for baby doctors, so we have an interview with one in a couple weeks. My doctor is due to have her baby on May 13, so this was the last appointment I have with her. She referred me to another doctor, Gary Waters, so I hope I like him! I have my first appointment with him on Wed. May 18. Since the doctors rotate who is on call at the hospital at any time, there’s only a 20% chance that I’d have “my” doctor there to deliver the baby, so in some ways, it feels like it doesn’t even matter who my actual doctor is. That’s one reason we’re planning on getting a doula (birthing assistant) to be with us at the birth. We think it will be nice to have someone experienced with natural childbirth who we know ahead of time to be there as an advocate for me and as a support for Bryan. Nurses can be great, but they switch shifts and don’t necessarily know your birth plans. So finding a doula and writing up our birth plan are two things we’re going to need to work on soon. Our child birth class has two sessions left, and we’ve had such a great time. The baby has been moving around, and when he pushes out it feels kind of like a rock. He seems to react when I rub or scratch on my belly, so we have fun doing that sometimes when I’m lying around. Hope you have a great week! Love, Althea

Week 33 BabyCenter Update
http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/133.html
How your baby’s growing: This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds and measures 17.2 inches from the top of his head to his heels. His skin is becoming less red and wrinkled, and while most of his bones are hardening, his skull is quite pliable and not completely joined. This will help him ease out of your relatively narrow birth canal.
How your life’s changing: You may be waddling a bit now, as your baby fills out even more of your belly. It may be harder to sleep comfortably, too. For relief, try sleeping in a recliner or propping yourself in a semi-upright position in bed. You may be feeling some aches and even numbness in your fingers, wrists, and hands. Like many other tissues in your body, those in your wrist can swell, which can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel, a bony canal in your wrist. Nerves that run through this “tunnel” end up pinched, creating numbness, tingling, shooting or burning pain, or a dull ache. Try wearing a brace or propping your arm up with a pillow when you sleep. If your work requires repetitive hand movements (at a keyboard or assembly line, for example), remember to stretch your hands when you take breaks.

Memorial Day weekend at the hospital

In a recent twist of events, my mom is residing at St. Mary’s hospital while they run a variety of tests to determine what is wrong with her pancreas.

Mom suggested that I post updates to this website so her family and friends can stay appraised of her condition.

On Thursday afternoon (May 26), Mom made a doctor’s appointment because she was experiencing blood in her urine.  After running some tests, they determined it was kidney stones (which she’s had at least once before).  However, when they ran the tests (doppler ultrasound) to diagnose the kidney stones, they found that there are other problems and they admitted her to St. Mary’s Hospital for further testing.
On Friday night, they ran a contrast catscan and identified a blockage in her pancreatic duct.  See here for a diagram of the pancreas.
Also, here’s one site (of many) that describes the function of the pancreas.

This afternoon (Saturday the 28), doctors did a cool-sounding procedure (to me, but I’m odd like that) called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) where they ran a tube down mom’s throat, through her stomach, and to the doudenem.  Here’s a nice website describing that procedure.
Unfortunately, the endoscopic tools were not able to clear the mass that was blocking the tube leading out of the pancreas.  As a result, we’re now waiting until tomorrow when doctors will try a different procedure.

At this time, Mom says she feels just fine (besides having been in the hospital for the last couple days, being on a liquid diet, and having an IV).  Her potassium levels are very low (probably as a result of her pancreas not being able to secrete its enzymes, and I think she has slight jaundice.  Her bloodwork has shown abnormalities (which is why they found all this in the first place), her gallbladder is enlarged with possible gallstones and her liver apparently has fatty deposits.  It’s quite likely that these are related symptoms, but the doctors still have some work to do to find out what is wrong.

Tomorrow, the plan is for doctors to use a needle to come at the pancreas from the side.  I’m not sure which procedure this is, but the word from the doctor was that they were hoping that using this technique that they’ll be able to clear the blockage, insert a stint into the currently blocked pancreatic duct, and get a biopsy of the offending mass.
I think it’ll probably be a few days then until we hear back about the results of that test (being Memorial Day on Monday).  Doctors have ideas about additional tests to run on Tuesday, but I don’t have any details on that yet.

That’s a rough description of the situation over the last couple
days.  Maretta came home from college last weekend, so all four of us kids are home, and between us and Dad and Terry, we’re keeping Mom well-occupied.  I plan to update this site as we know more.
All the best,
Althea

Baby Dotzour Weekly Updates – first trimester

11/19/2004

An update for the raspberry this week

Here’s the update I got today: Your baby isn’t much bigger now than last week in actual size — another quarter inch at most — but that’s almost double what he was last week. He’s now
the size of a raspberry. If you had a window into your womb, you’d notice his eyelids forming, the tip of his nose developing, and his distinct, slightly webbed fingers and toes.

Your baby still appears to have a small tail (actually, it’s an extension of his tailbone), which will disappear in the next few weeks. But that’s the only thing getting smaller. Now almost half an inch long — roughly the size of a raspberry — he
has elbow joints and distinct, slightly webbed fingers and toes. In his oversized head, both hemispheres of his brain are developing. His teeth and the inside of his mouth are forming, and his ears continue to develop. Eyelid folds partially cover his tiny peepers, which already have some color, and the tip of
that nose you’ll be tweaking someday is emerging. His skin is paper-thin and his veins are clearly visible.

Your little one also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion. His liver is busy producing red blood cells, and a loop of your baby’s growing intestines is bulging into his umbilical cord,
which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from his tiny body. You can’t feel his gyrations yet, but your baby is like a little jumping bean, moving in fits and starts around his watery home.


12/03/2004

the raspberry is a grape!

Nine Weeks!  (we think…)

Your new resident is nearly an inch long — barely the size of a grape — and weighs just a fraction of an ounce, but he’s poised for rapid weight gain now that his basic physical structure is in place. He’s also starting to look more and more human. His embryonic “tail” is now completely gone and his body parts — including organs, muscles, and nerves — are kicking into gear.

His eyelids are fused shut and won’t open until 27 weeks. He has earlobes, and by week’s end, the inner workings of his ears will be complete. His upper lip is fully formed, too, and his mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The tips of his
fingers are slightly enlarged where his touch pads are developing. All major joints — his shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles — are working, enabling your baby to move his limbs. As for his heart, it has divided into four chambers now, and the valves have started to develop. External sex organs are there, but won’t be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks.

Thought you might enjoy seeing my weekly update on the the baby.  It’s my friday morning treat:)  Well, that and a peppermint steamer and an almond scone. Have a great day! Althea


12/10/2004

It’s a kumquat!

10 weeks (estimated)…  Our ultrasound is on Dec. 21, so hopefully we’ll have a better date (and a photo!) after that.

Taken from http://www.babycenter.com/mybabycenter/110.html

Your baby’s started growing tiny fingernails and toenails and can now kick and swallow — pretty impressive for someone the size of a walnut. Within the next few weeks, your featherweight baby will more than double in size, from just over an inch to nearly 3 inches. At your next prenatal appointment, you may be able to hear her heart beating with a stethoscope-like instrument called a Doppler.

Your baby is no longer an embryo! Though she’s barely the size of a kumquat — just an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, she now has completed the most critical portion of her development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in her body rapidly grow and mature. Her vital organs — the liver, kidney, intestines, brain, and lungs — are now in place and starting to function (although they’ll continue to develop throughout your pregnancy). Her liver continues to make blood cells, and the yolk sac, which previously supplied these cells, is no longer needed and begins to disappear.

During the next three weeks, your baby’s length will more than double to nearly 3 inches. Her head is proportionately smaller now than it was a few weeks ago, but it’s still almost half the length of her entire body. Her forehead temporarily bulges with her developing brain and sits high on her head; it will later recede to give her a more human appearance. Each day, more minute details — including tiny fingernails, toenails, and peach-fuzz hair.

Yay! A website!

Sending a big thanks to Ben and Melanie for setting up our website for us.  We’re really excited to have this as a forum for sharing photos and stories of our expanding family.