40 Weeks

A mother's seventh (and final) journey through the wonders of pregnancy.

Friday, November 18, 2005

13 Weeks, 2 Days

Baby at 13 weeks.

Baby is growing, but still tiny at about 3 inches long crown to rump — roughly the size of a jumbo shrimp — and weighs just about an ounce. Despite the small proportions, it's a fully formed baby now. Much more proportional than it was a few weeks ago, the head is now only about a third the size of the body. The tiny, unique fingerprints are already in place. The kidneys and urinary tract are functional, and baby's starting to urinate out the amniotic fluid it's been swallowing. By the end of next week, when I start the second trimester, most of the baby's critical development will be completed, and the odds of miscarriage will drop considerably (always a relief.)

I saw Dr Powers on Monday, and K and I were able to hear the baby's heartbeat, which was strong and fast. Dr Powers said that based on the faster heartrate, it's a girl, but that the heartrate method was only about 50% accurate. I pointed out that so was a random guess. He said he wasn't going to point that out. I have girl feelings, myself, so I agreed with the heartrate method. Just a reminder, we won't find out for sure until the first of the new year, and then only if the baby is cooperative. I had all the routine tests and bloodwork done. I'm almost sure the lab person used the biggest needle they had for a better chance of finding one of my difficult veins. It worked, but OW! Because of my "advanced" age, I'm being sent to a maternal-fetal-medicine (MFM) specialist later today for various tests, measurements, and observations via sonogram. As I understand it, this is mostly to determine the likelihood of Down's Syndrome. There's not a chance in the world that we'd terminate the pregnancy, but we figure it will either put our minds at ease or give us 6 months to prepare ourselves. If they give me a good picture to bring home, I'll post it. K is anxious to get me back to his own office for a 3-D scan (like the posted photos for 12 and 13 weeks.)

Friday, November 11, 2005

12 Weeks, 2 Days

Baby at 12 weeks.

Baby has hit the 2-inch mark (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce. The face is beginning to look more human. The eyes, which started out on the sides of the head, have moved closer together on the face, and the ears are near their final positions on the sides of the head. The baby's intestines, which have grown so rapidly that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into the abdominal cavity about now. The kidneys are secreting urine into the bladder. The nerve cells have been multiplying rapidly, and synapses (neurological pathways in the brain) are forming. The baby may have acquired more reflexes by now, including sucking, and will even squirm if prodded, though I still won't be able to feel the movement for several weeks.

The sinus congestion is apparently here to stay for the term of the pregnancy, as it did with Maya, and brushing my teeth is trickier because it tends to make me nauseous. Readers will no doubt be relieved to know that I do still brush them, and Crest's cinnamon toothpaste makes it a bit easier. Other than that, all is well. I'm sometimes surprised to realize I'm pregnant, since Layth and Maya keep me so busy that I actually forget from time to time. Since I can't feel the baby yet, it feels a little bit like a wishful story I'm telling people, but it's true, honest!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

11 Weeks

My fig-sized baby is now fully formed — measuring about 1 1/2 inches long and weighing in at a quarter of an ounce. The skin is still transparent, allowing many of the blood vessels to show through. Some of the bones are beginning to harden, and tiny toothbuds are starting to appear under the gums. The fingers and toes have separated, and the baby may soon be able to open and close its fists. Hands and feet will develop the quickest this week. Baby is already busy kicking and stretching, and the tiny movements are so fluid they look like water ballet. These movements will increase as the body grows and becomes more developed and functional. The mouth will open for the first time this week. As the diaphragm develops, baby may also start to get the hiccups. Salivary glands and vocal cords also begin to develop. The eyes are completely formed, but the membrane that will be the lids keeps them covered still. The heart is beating around 150 beats per minute now.

Dr Powers said that a five day discrepancy isn't much of a discrepancy at all, and since we're likely to induce like we did last time, whether to avoid a mad dash to the hospital or to urge the baby along during a brief head-down period between transverse somersaults, we'll probably be picking our own due date anyway. He felt comfortable going with my original dates, since he figures that by my sixth child, I probably know my body pretty well. K still disagrees, but for the purposes of this blog and the inevitable due date questions, we'll go with May 24.