Thursday, April 30, 2009

10 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing:  Though the baby's barely the size of a kumquat - a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom - and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, the baby has now completed the most critical portion of the development.  This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in the body rapidly grow and mature.  

The baby is swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm.  Vital organs - including the kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) - are in place and starting to function, though they'll continue to develop throughout the pregnancy.

If you could take a peek inside my womb, you'd spot minute details, like tiny nails forming on fingers and toes (no more webbing) and peach-fuzz hair beginning to grow on tender skin.

In other developments:  My baby's limbs can bend now.  The hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over the heart, and the feet may be long enough to meet in front of the body.  The outline of the spine is clearly visible through translucent skin, and spinal nerves are beginning to stretch out from the spinal cord.  My baby's forehead temporarily bulges with the developing brain and sits very high on the head, which measures half the length of the body.  From crown to rump, the baby is about 1 1/4 inches long.  In the coming weeks, my baby will again double in size - to nearly 3 inches.

How my life's changing:  Before I got pregnant, my uterus was the size of a small pear.  By this week, it's as big as a grapefruit.  However, I still don't have much to show for.  I have a small "baby bump" but considering I was a bit over my normal weight to begin with it doesn't look like much has changed.  Clothes still fit but some are beginning to be more uncomfortable than others.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

9 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing: The new resident in nearly an inch long - about the size of a grape - and weights just a fraction of an ounce.  The baby is definitely starting to look more and more like a human.  The essential body parts are accounted for, though they'll go though plenty of fine-tuning in the coming months.  Other changes abound:  The baby's heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form - as do the tiny teeth.  The embryonic "tail" is completely gone.  Our baby's organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear.  The external sex organs are there but won't be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks.  The eyes are fulling formed, but the eyelids are fused shut and won't open until 27 weeks.  The tiny earlobes, mouth, nose and nostrils are more distinct.  The placenta is developed enough now to take over most of the critical job of producing hormones.  Now that the baby's basic physiology is in place, it's poised for rapid weight gain.

How my life's changing:  Although I haven't gained any weight I definitely feel pregnant, especially as clothes are beginning to feel a bit snug.

Today we had our first prenatal visit... amongst the routine blood and lab work, we got to hear the baby's heartbeat!  There's something about that steady little drumbeat (more like a locomotive) that makes you realize that you really, truly are going to have a baby soon.  Not only is this an audible manifestation of our child's existence, but a confirmation that he or she is developing on track.  I love Psalm 139:13 "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb."  Today was an audible confirmation that our child is indeed being knit together in my womb.  I can't express how exciting this truly is, there is life!

Monday, April 20, 2009

8 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing:  Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from my baby's hands and feet, the eyelids practically cover the eyes, breathing tubes extend from the throat into the branches of the developing lungs, and the "tail" is just about gone.  In the brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways.  As I'm dreaming about what gender my baby will be, the external genitals still haven't developed enough to reveal whether we are having a boy or girl.  Either way, our baby is about the size of a kidney bean and is constantly moving and shifting, though I still can't feel it.  

How my life's changing:  Feeling fatigued?  Absolutely! A rise in progesterone is definitely contributing to my sluggishness, not to mention the frequent visits to the bathroom through the night.  The midwife just contributes this to God's way of preparing us for the sleepless nights when the baby arrives.  A week from today and we'll have our first prenatal visit!

Monday, April 13, 2009

7 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing:  The big news this week: Hands and feet are emerging from developing arms and legs - although they look more like paddles at this point than the tiny, pudgy extremities I'm daydreaming about holding and tickling.  Technically, my baby is still considered an embryo and has something of a small tail, which is an extension of the tailbone.  The tail will disappear within a few weeks, but that's the only thing getting smaller.  My baby has doubled in size since last week and now measures an inch long, about the size of a blueberry.

If you could see inside my womb, you'd spot eyelid folds partially covering the peepers, which already have some color, as well as the tip of the nose and tiny veins beneath parchment-thin skin.  Both hemispheres of my baby's brain are growing, and the liver is churning out red blood cells until the bone marrow forms and takes over this role.  The baby also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion.  A loop in my baby's growing intestines is bulging into the umbilical cord, which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from it's tiny body.

How my life's changing: Well my uterus has doubled in size in the past five weeks and although I haven't gained any weight, I can already feel a difference in the way my clothes are fitting. Getting ready is the biggest event of my day!  I can only imagine what the months to come will be like.  I've had to pee more than usual, thanks to the increasing blood volume and extra fluid being processed through my kidneys. (By now, I already have about 10 percent more blood than I did before I was pregnant.  And by the end of my pregnancy, I'll have 40 to 45 percent more blood running through my veins to meet the demands of my full-term baby.)  As my uterus grows, pressure on my bladder will send me to the bathroom more often. (And I thought I went to the bathroom a lot before I was pregnant!)

So far things have been good.  I have randomly felt nauseated but it usually passes after a short time, no vomiting yet - thank God!  A little more tired than normal but with my schedule it's not hard to squeeze in a quick power nap which usually does the job.

We have an orientation meeting set up tomorrow with the Holy Family Birth Center.  This will be an informational meeting to talk through everything with us, explain how it all works, meet the midwife and set up our first prenatal visit for next Monday or Tuesday.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

6 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing:  This week's major developments:  The nose, mouth, and ears that I'll spend so much time kissing in eight months are beginning to take shape.  If you could see into my uterus, you'd find an oversize head and dark spots where my baby's eyes and nostrils are starting to form.  His emerging ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and his arms and legs by protruding buds.  His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute - almost twice as fast as yours - and blood is beginning to course through his body.  His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will rise to his lungs has appeared.  His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones.  Right now, my baby is a quarter of an inch long, about the size of a lentil bean.

How my life's changing:  I have found myself developing a bit of a split personality - feeling moody one day and joyful the next.  This is a bit unsettling (especially since I pride myself on being in control), but I've been told what I'm going through is normal.  Ricocheting emotions are caused partly by fluctuating hormones.  But hormones aside, my life is about to change in a big way - and who wouldn't feel emotional about that?

We are still in the process of trying to decide on a health care provider.  One option is an ob/gyn doctor in our church.  Pre-pregnancy I was anti-male doctors to an extreme.  However, as I have gotten to know this man of God and heard reports of others experience with him, I am warming up to the idea.  However, one drawback is that we do not have insurance.  So option two (and more affordable) would be to use a midwife.  I had a friend go this route and had a wonderful experience.  A couple cons to this option is the facilities are about 35 minutes away and they don't do sonograms.  I think that is one thing all expecting mothers look forward to during the process.  To hear the heart beat for the first time, find out the gender if you so desire...

Well I have about a week and a 1/2 before I should have my first prenatal visit so by then we should have made our decision.  Please keep us in your prayers as we trust in the Lord for His guidance and provision.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

5 Weeks Pregnant

How my baby's growing: I am 5 weeks pregnant.  At this point, the baby is about the size of a sesame seed and looks more like a tadpole than a human.  The baby is now made up of three layers - the ectoderm, the mesoderm, and the endoderm - which will later form all of the organs and tissues.

The neural tube - from which the baby's brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout - is starting to develop in the top layer, called the ectoderm.  This layer will also give rise to skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel.

The heart and circulatory system begin to form in the middle layer, or mesoderm.  This week, the tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood.  The mesoderm will also form the baby's muscles, cartilage, bone and subcutaneous (under skin) tissue.

The third layer, or endoderm, will house the lungs, intestines and rudimentary urinary system, as well as the thyroid, liver and pancreas.  In the meantime, the primitive placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver nourishment and oxygen to the baby, are already on the job.

How my life's changing: Although the outside world can't see any sign of the dramatic developments taking place inside me, my life is already changing as I have noticed some pregnancy-related discomforts like fatigue, frequent urination and a bit of nausea.  This definitely is a new season of life but we are looking forward to the adventure ahead.  

It's amazing how God's timing works... As we've clung to Matthew 6:33  and truly put Him first he has given us the desires of our heart.  We are more dependent on Him than ever (almost like He planned it that way). This definitely is a new season of life but we couldn't be more excited and are looking forward to the adventure ahead.