Nikki's Baby Blog Header - No Sponsor Nikki's Baby Blog

  • Cleaning Stuffed Animals

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    Teddy BearWhen I was a kid I had so many stuffed animals and I loved them. I slept with them, I took them with me places I probably shouldn't and I had them all over my room! My 4 year old nephew is the same way. He has a bunch of his mom's old stuffed animals that he calls his "friends." My other nephew has no interest in stuffed animals. I'm not sure which way my baby girl will lean, but I'll be ready.

    I pulled a bunch of my old stuffed animals out for the baby, but they should probably be cleaned. I just have no idea how to clean stuffed animals. There has to be a trick right? Can I just throw them in the washing machine?

    Were your kids stuffed animal lovers? How do you get them to part with them when it's time?

  • Common Aches and Pains of Pregnancy straight from the Doc

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    Answers to questions regarding common aches and pains of 2nd and 3rd trimester proviced by: Dr. Andrew Weiss, OB/GYN, Ministry Medical Group, Stevens Point. 

    Answers to questions provided by Ministry Medical Group clinicians are general in nature and should not take the place of a physician visit. If you have specific questions regarding your pregnancy please see your physician.

    Aches and Pains (2nd and 3rd trimester):
    Aches and pains are common, but should not be considered “normal” or inevitable. Some specifically relate to the growing uterus, like the well- known “round ligament strain” of the second trimester, most common between 14 and 20 weeks. The round ligaments are normally lax, and connect the right and left upper portions of the uterus to the inguinal ligaments in the groin. A woman may first become aware that she has these when she sneezes or turns quickly and feels a knifelike pain, often on one side or the other. (Jump shots in basketball should be avoided at this stage.) Round ligament strain is harmless, and typically improves when the uterus is large enough that it doesn’t wobble from side to side, but fills the space in the upper pelvis. Placing a hand over the lower abdomen before sneezing, sitting down, and taking care to avoid quick twisting movements (exiting a vehicle for example), may reduce or eliminate this.

    Low back pain
    Low back pain is also common, and is often attributed to the changes in body shape and tissue changes including softening of collagen and cartilage in tendons and joints. The fused bones of the pelvis form a bowl shape attached to the spine, and this point of connection, the sacroiliac (S I) joint often becomes more mobile, instead of firmly fused. This may produce discomfort, and even a sense of motion, like grinding or popping.

    More often, significant low back pain is a result of exaggerated lumbar lordosis, the forward curve of the small of the back. This MUST be corrected by using abdominal and hip muscles to correct posture

    Stretching of the abdominal wall also causes discomfort, and often we provide a wide elastic belt, or “abdominal binder” to provide counter pressure and support.

    Ankles and knees bear extra weight during pregnancy, and tissue swelling (edema) causes soreness. Periodic elevation and stretching, plus good footwear help.

    With regard to stretching, which also relates to exercise in pregnancy, the goal is not to experience pain while stretching, but to improve flexibility and relieve tightness from overuse of muscles, often related to unaccustomed weight and changes in posture. Stretching involves safe techniques, holding the desired degree of stretch for at least 30 seconds without increasing the stretch or changing position. After 30 seconds of holding the position and breathing, the muscle should relax, and it should actually feel better, not worse, near the end of the stretching. Bouncing or stretching too hard (all too common in some sports training situations) can actually injure and strain the tendons. It is well worth learning to stretch safely and effectively, and it’s good to get advice and feedback.

    Mention to your doctor/ provider if something hurts. Pains of these kinds are common, but can be avoided or improved with the right do’s and don’ts. Most causes of pain are not a sign of anything threatening to the baby, but all deserve careful evaluation. Kidney stones, bladder infections and intestinal causes also feel like uterine cramps or contractions, and need to be differentiated from the “musculoskeletal” categories discussed above.

  • Needing help

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    shoesOh boy, I'm getting to the point people warned me about. The bigger I get the harder it is to do simple things. I'm starting to weigh whether or not it's really necessary for me to get up once I've sat down. It takes a little more work to get my butt off the couch these days. I don't need help tying my shoes yet, but I can tell I'm getting there too. This morning I was folding the bottom of my pants up and I had to stand just right to reach my ankles. I fear that the day I ask Josh to tie my shoes and shave my legs is right around the corner. 

    I read that the most belly growth occurs between weeks 20 and 28. I'm 24 weeks now and I can tell you that over the last 4 weeks WOW I've gotten huge! I hope that after the next 4 things slow down or I fear I won't be able to move! 

    I keep thinking about all the fun things I've got coming up over the next 4 weeks. Next week Tuesday the 26th, I'll be at the Woodchucks game hanging out outside before the game and maybe throwing out the first pitch. The following week is Wisconsin Valley Fair week so I'll be at Marathon Park all day every day of the fair. The week after that is Fuddfest so I'll be there working outside everyday. The week after Fuddfest is slow until Sunday when I will be hanging out at the new 400 Block for the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure. I hope I can still move by then. 

    When did you notice your belly growing the fastest? What were some of the things you had to ask for help on because your big belly was in the way?

  • Dealing with the heat and swelling

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    motocrossIt's been unusually hot on certain days this summer and being pregnant makes that just so much more unbearable. I spent 11 hours yesterday (the hottest day of the year so far) outside. I was announcing for the motorcross race at Dyracuse park in Rome. It was a good time, but the heat made it a little harder to enjoy. The Rapid Angels the motorcycle club that puts the event on usually schedules this race for April, but due to scheduling issues they were forced to hold it in July. They were in desperate need of volunteers so my dad who is a member of the club offered up my announcing services. I had never announced at a race before so I was excited about that part, but when I found out we were expecting a heat index of 115 I was instantly concerned.

    I was in the announcer booth which is in a shady spot of the park, Dad made sure I had a fan, Josh made sure I had a chair, Mom made sure I had towels that I could wet down in the cold water from the ice melting my cooler and I made sure I had plenty of water and Powerade. Everyone was looking out for me because when you're pregnant you're already warmer than normal so I'm in the most at risk for heat exhaustion category. This event was a family affair and we have many family friends who are involved in the club as well so I had lots of people checking in on me to make sure I was doing alright throughout the day.

    Though so many people were worried about me I was most worried about the racers. They are all geared up in long sleeves, pants, boots, a helmet and exerting a ton of energy during the races. I was constantly reminding people over the mic that they needed to be drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks to sit in their airconditioned cars, though I meant that for the spectators too I was really saying it for the riders. Sometimes they think they're too tough to be cautious.

    The first part of the day announcing was the worst because I had the sun beating in on me, but during the hottest part of the day I was covered in shade. I sure was glad (even though my feet were extremely dirty) that I was wearing flip flops instead of tennis shoes though because my feet swelled up so much!

    Everyone's hands and feet swell in hot weather, but being pregnant I think it's twice as bad! Swelling during pregnancy is normal too, it's called edema. It's common for pregnant women to experience edema late in their second and through their 3rd trimester no matter what time of year it is. It is usually a discomfort and most women can't wear their wedding rings, but most of the time it's nothing to worry about. When you should be concerned is when the swelling occurs in your face or if you have excessive swelling of the feet, ankles and hands. This could be a sign of a much worse problem preeclampsia which is dangerous to mother and baby (it's also called toxemia).

    If your swelling is normal (which mine is) try to put your feet up as often as possible, don't cross your legs or ankles while sitting (this is tough for me), stretch your legs often, wear comfortable shoes that stretch, drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat well.

    By the end of the race day the swelling wasn't the only discomfort I was experiencing, I was suffering with some of the symptoms that I was warning people about, a throbbing headache, warm red skin, and dizziness. I was very glad to get back to my mom's and hop in the shower to cool down. I drank water like crazy all day, but I guess not enough. 

    Did you experience a lot of swelling with your pregnancy?

  • Prepping for baby

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    The prepping for baby continues. We went car shopping. We have a habit of driving our cars until they are pretty much dead. I was raised to believe that this is the only way to get your money's worth out of a car because they're not a good investment, but a necessary evil. I drove my first car for 6 years. My second, a compact car, I've owned for 10 years, but Josh has been driving it for the last 5. This is the car we are going to retire.  It has 200,000 miles on it and it has some cosmetic problems, but these are not the reasons for retirement. There is a shake at 60 miles per hour that we haven't been able to diagnose at low cost and there's a leak in the exhaust that is just not worth it to us to try to fix. We decided for baby's sake we need a larger vehicle that's a little more reliable.

    I guess this can be considered an expense associated with baby. I am just not a van person. I decided many years ago that I would never drive a minivan. My mom had one when I was in high school and it was the vehicle she had the shortest amount of time. She quickly switched to an SUV and that's what she drove until all of us kids moved out and she went back to a car. So I decided that I would be an SUV mom. Our goal was to find a small SUV that gets decent gas mileage and is comfortable. Lee swears if we want gas mileage and comfort we have to go with a minivan, but I'm not buying it.

    Are you an SUV or a minivan person?

  • Cost of Baby's First Year

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    moneyToday I found a Baby Cost Calculator and found out that baby's first year will cost us about $10,000! Good thing we've been planning ahead. And it's a good thing we're having a baby shower to help with the cost too.

    Of ourse there are ongoing costs like daycare and saving for college, diapers and wipes. Then there are the one time costs like the crib, car seat and stroller. This calculator I found online helps me not only plan for the expense, but also plan my registry.

    It's just really freaky to think that we'll spend $10,000 extra dollars in the year to come. I know that as we go we won't notice that we're spending that much more because we'll cut back on other things like eating out and movies though.

    We met with our financial planner about puchasing more life insurance and saving for college. He has a 9 month old so he was very helpful when we were talking about added expenses for baby. He's the one that convinced us that the extra spending won't be as noticable as we fear.

    Were you really distressed by expensed or was it fairly unnoticable?


  • I have a cold

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    tissuesToday I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I woke up with some sinus drainage and a bit of a sore throat. I was feeling a little better by the time we went out to the Wisconsin Farm Technology Show, but by the time I got home I was miserable!!

    I seem to be getting worse by the hour. My head is all stuffed up, my throat hurts, I'm sneezing, my eyes are all watery and puffy and my nose is red like Rudolph from all the blowing!

    I feel so yucky that I even cancelled my pedicure tonight at one of my favorite places on earth with one of my favorite people! You know I have to be sick to bail on that.

    Well, since this is my first time being pregnant and sick at the same time I didn't know what was safe to take so I called Saint Michael's Hospital and spoke to a nurse for a list of cold medicines. She told me I can take Tylenol Cold and Sinus, Robitussin, Tryaminic, cough drops, Vicks and Sudafed. I was told to increase my fluid intake too. She also said that if I develop a fever I should call the doctor right away.

    I went through our medicine cabinet and we have none of the meds she listed so my lovely husband ran out to buy me some. He's such a sweetheart. In the meantime I'm lounging on the couch as I blog. I sure hope I feel better tomorrow for the last day of Farm Technology Days.

    Did you get stuck with a cold during your pregnancy? What did you take?

  • Feeling the Pressure

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    Only 3 months left! We are really feeling the pressure. There is still so much to think about. Josh and I sat down last night and talked about our birth plan and realized this is nothing in the grand scheme of things. We didn't realize how much we had to think about and understand before this baby comes just for the delivery. After the baby comes there's even more.

    We met with our financial planner to talk about life insurance and planning for college. We're looking at buying a bigger vehicle to replace our compact car. We are even shopping around for rates to refinance so we can have our house paid off by the time our kid is ready to drive. Insurance is the next thing on our list. We're going to see if there's a way we can save a little more money on our auto insurance. All this is in addition to planning for baby.

    We have to register for gifts this month. We have very little idea of what to get. We've gotten some advice so far of things we need to make sure we get. Some brands we should look at. We have our crib, high chair and travel system picked out, but from there we're pretty lost. I don't want to register for unnecessary things. What did you get that you didn't need? What do you think are the MUST HAVE items for baby?

  • Birth Plan?

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    birthing suite 1So I've been hearing some buzz from other people about a birth plan. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I guess I'm supposed to create one. 

    I of course can't just sit here and wonder I needed to look it up on the internet to find out just exactly what a birth plan is and what I need to do. I've only got three months left I'm feeling the crunch.

    I didn't realize how much say we have in deciding how our baby's birth will go. I thought we just showed up at the hospital on the day and they went into auto baby delivery mode, but I guess that's not the case.

    A birth plan lets us have in writing who will be in the room during delivery. How I'd like the atmosphere when I deliver for example: music, lighting, photos or not. Things I'd like upon admission into the hospital like, my husband to stay with me at all times, whether or not I want people to visit, freedom to walk around if I choose, that sort of thing. In the birth plan I can also put in writing whether or not I wish to be given drugs to induce labor and how I want the fetal monitoring done. I can request birthing props like a ball, stool or tub. I can decide pain relief techniques and I can even outline how I'd like to push! I can make certain requests during vaginal delivery and c-section. I can choose to hold the baby before they take it away for procedures that aren't urgent. I can decide when to feed the baby for the first time and whether or not the baby stays with us in the room 24 hours a day.

    That's an awful lot of control for a relatively indecisive gal. Especially when this is my first time ever doing this. I have no idea what I'm in for how do I know what decisions to make?

    My doctors and nurse practitioners at St. Michael's Hospital in Stevens Point are reallybirthing suite 2 great about taking the time to answer all of our questions and help us through this as much as possible. I've found that they answer without judgement and without pressuring us to make decisions one way or another. They respect our decisions and really make us feel like this is our adventure and they are in the passenger seat navagating the whole way. When they say "today together tomorrow" I really feel like they mean it.

    When we first found out we were pregnant we both thought this would be the longest 9 months of our lives, but in reality, the first three months were really long because we were trying to keep a HUGE secret from everyone we know, but since then time has really sailed by. It'll seem like a blink of an eye once we arrive at St. Michael's to start our life long adventure as parents. 

    Did you do a birth plan? Did you feel like you were more prepared by having a birth plan? 

  • Pregnancy and Exercise

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    exerciseI know a couple of people who stopped exercising completely when they found out they were pregnant for fear that it would harm the baby. From what I've learned as long as you safely adjust your workouts you can and should work out throughout your entire pregnancy.

    I will tell you this, I was so tired in my first trimester walking to the end of the block was not happening. Once I got into my second trimester and my energy came back a bit more I try to walk when I can, though I'm slower than usual and I do pregnancy specific stretches and exercises.

    If you're a person who works out really hard all the time you will need to ease off, but don't stop compeletly. If you don't work out at all you shouldn't jump right into a workout, but maybe ease your way into it with simple stretches and walking. 

    Regular exercise can help with so many pregnancy discomforts. Not only will it help keep you from gaining too much weight, but it will also help you cope with that pesky back and leg pain. It can also relieve stress and build more stamina which you will need for labor and delivery.

    When working out you want to make sure you're closely monitoring your heartbeat. You don't want your heartbeat to exceed 140 beats per minute. When I was working out before my target heartrate was 154. You need to make sure you are drinking plenty of water because the more you sweat the more you need to replace that water. You also need to make sure you're not overheating. Do not workout outside in the summer. Make sure you wear lose fitting clothing and that you're in a cool area.

    I have asthma so that's another thing I have to contend with when working out. Usually it's not a problem, but since getting pregnant I've had a little harder time breathing which is a common problem during pregnancy. Yoga and palates are great exercise for me because it forces me to concentrate on my breathing. There are certain poses that are off limits though like anything that requires me to lay on my back. I love using my exercise ball during workouts and for stretching.

    Swimming is a great exercise for pregnant women because it's so easy on your joints and a great cardio workout. Plus you get to stay cool in the water.

    Some exercises that should be avoided:

    • Holding your breath during any activity.
    • Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing and horseback riding).
    • Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball, and volleyball.
    • Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma such as activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
    • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running.
    • Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches.
    • Bouncing while stretching.
    • Waist-twisting movements while standing.
    • Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
    • Exercise in hot, humid weather.
    How did your workouts change during pregnancy?
  • Old Wives Tales

    Posted by Nikki Montgomery


    chinese calendarI think I may have mentioned this in an earlier blog, so I may be repeating myself to some of you, but one of my cousins is having a baby too. She found out right around the same time as I did and she was due the day before me until they bumped up my due date to November 12th. 

    My cousin has 2 daughters already so this time I was naturally hoping she'd have a boy. She wanted another girl. She had her ultrasound today, but before she went in for her ultrasound she did one of those old wives tales gender prediction things. She tied her wedding ring to a string and held it over her wrist, but I heard you can do it over your belly too, if the ring swings in a circular motion it's a girl and if it swings back and forth it's a boy. Her's predicted a boy. Her ultrasound today said otherwise. So it's girl number 3 for her and she's so happy.

    This got me thinking of some of the other old wives tales you hear about during pregnancy. If the baby's heart rate is fast it's a girl and if it's under 130 beats per minute it's a boy. If you carry high it's a girl if you carry low it's a boy. If you crave sweets it's a girl and if you crave spicy or salty it's a boy. If you have a lot of morning sickness it's a girl. The wildest one I heard was the draino test. Put two tablespoons of draino into a jar and then pee in the jar. A chemical reaction will take place so you may want to stand back. If after things settle down your urine turns brown it's a boy if it stays the same it's a girl.

    I didn't do the ring test or the draino test, but I can tell you most of the others don't match up with my pregnancy. Our baby's heart beat is over 130 beats per minute so that one is right. I don't think I'm carrying high. I craved italian sausage not sweets. I wasn't sick much at all so according to the old wives tales I should be having a hyperactive little boy. Unless there's a big surprise waiting for us on delivery day we are having a girl. 

    I did find that the chinese birth chart was correct. You need to know the mother's age when she will give birth and the month of conception. Match up the age and month on the chart to discover the sex of your baby. They claim it's 99% accurate, but also state it's for entertainment purposes only.

    It's fun to try to predict the baby's sex, but the best way is through the ultrasound and even that isn't 100% accurate. 

    Did you use any of these old wives tales to try to predict your baby's gender? Was it correct?