Tuesday, April 28, 2009

22 weeks

Allan started flying this week in the Huey2. It's an updated version of the original, with digital instruments and more comfy seats! It also means that he's that much closer to graduation!! Only two more classes graduate before it's his turn!

On a sadder note, our new friends (and neighbors) left Monday to move to Alaska. We're all really bummed about it. The guys got along great and would get together to play video baseball and go golfing. I would hang out and go shopping with his wife. She was a great pregnancy resource for me as well. They have a now 7 month old daughter who is just adorable and also showed Allan that having a little girl is fun!! Ashlyn would watch sports with all of us. They will truly be missed. We're already trying to figure out how to meet up with them again, especially if we end up assigned to the pacific northwest.

Now on to the "important" stuff!!

Guess what? At 22 weeks pregnant, your baby has finally broken the one-pound mark. How heavy is that? Hold a one-pound box of sugar in your hand the next time you're in the grocery story (and expect people to ask you why you're grinning from ear to ear). Is the box eight inches long? That's about the length your baby is too! This week, your sweetie is making more sense of the world as he or she develops the sense of touch. In fact, your little one's grip is quite developed by now — and since there's nothing else to grab in utero, he or she may sometimes hold on tight to that umbilical cord (don't worry — it's tough enough to handle it). The sense of sight is also getting more developed. Your fetus can now perceive light and dark much better than before (even with those fused eyelids). But remember — unless you're shining a flashlight over your belly (which you can do, by the way), it'll be mostly dark for your baby inside that cozy womb of yours.

Moving up from the eyes, the eyelashes and eyebrows are well formed now — and even more hair is sprouting atop that cute little head. You'd be quite surprised, though, if you could see your little one up close and in color. Hair at this stage of fetal development has no pigment, so it's bright white.

As if an ever-expanding belly wasn't enough — now your feet are getting in on the act! That's because the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which loosens your pelvic ligaments when you're expecting, loosens every other ligament too — including the ones in your tootsies. In turn, the bones beneath those ligaments spread slightly, which results, for many women, in a half or whole shoe-size increase. So if you haven't already stashed away your stilettos, now's the time to bid farewell — at least for a while. Besides, you need sensible shoes to help you balance that big belly and your changing center of gravity. This week, your baby weighs in at a whopping pound and measures nearly eight inches, about the size of a small doll. But your doll is a living one who can now perceive light and dark. She can also hear your voice, your heartbeat, your gurgling stomach, and the whoosh-whoosh of blood circulating through your body.

By now you may have been the target of at least one well-wishing tummy-toucher — you know, those people (and they could be anyone — friends, co-workers, the guy you buy your morning paper from, a perfect stranger on the deli line) who just can't resist reaching out and rubbing your belly. And who can blame them? After all, pregnant bellies — so round, so cute, and housing something even cuter — practically beg to be touched. Now you may not mind being treated like an exhibit at a children's museum (and, if you're a touchy-feely person yourself, you may even welcome the public display of affection for your belly), but if you do mind, there are a couple of approaches you can take. One, use your words ("I know it's tempting, but I really would rather you didn't touch my belly"). Two, back off — literally, dodging their advances. And three, turn the tables by giving their belly a rub to see how they like it (especially effective with middle-aged men sporting paunches). Remember, you're sharing your body on the inside — you don't need to share on the outside too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

21 weeks

Time for our weekly update!

At about seven inches in length and almost 11 ounces in weight, your baby is about the size of a large banana. By 21 weeks pregnant, your baby swallows at least several ounces of amniotic fluid each day — not only for hydration and nutrition, but also to practice swallowing and digesting — skills your baby will need as soon as he or she arrives in your arms. And keep this in mind: The taste of the amniotic fluid differs from day to day depending on what you've eaten (spicy enchilada one day, sweet carrots another). And that smorgasbord of tastes won't be lost on your baby. That's because your little one has very developed taste buds already. In fact, researchers have noted that babies who were exposed to certain tastes in utero via the amniotic fluid were more eager to eat foods with that same taste after birth. Want your baby to eat his or her broccoli later? Eat yours now! Your developing baby still has a great deal of room in your womb — though like anyone who lives in one space for a long time, this tenant will soon begin to feel cramped. Until those uterine walls start closing in, however, there's plenty of space for twisting, turning, and even an occasional somersault (so that's what you were feeling last night!).

How big is your baby? About the size of a large banana — and speaking of bananas, if you eat one this week, there's a good chance your baby will get a taste, too. That's because he swallows a bit of amniotic fluid each day (for nutrition, hydration, and to practice digesting), so he eats whatever's on your menu. In other (not so welcome) news, you may start to notice some stretch marks as your body expands and your belly and breasts just keep on growing. These pink, red, or purple streaks appear when the supporting tissue under your skin gets torn as skin stretches (and stretches and stretches) during pregnancy. Not every woman gets them, though you're a likely candidate if your mom had stretch marks during her pregnancy or if you've gained weight rapidly. Most pregnant women fear them. Many won't even talk about them. Some particularly enlightened ones wear them proudly as a badge of pregnancy. No, not maternity clothes. Stretch marks. Your baby's not even born yet and, at 21 weeks pregnant, is already leaving a mark — all over your belly, butt, thighs, hips, and breasts. More than half of all pregnant women will get these pink or red (sometimes purplish) streaks that are caused by tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin as it becomes stretched to its limit.

Unfortunately, there's no proven way to prevent stretch marks from zigzagging their way across your skin (though there's no harm in applying moisturizers, such as cocoa butter, to your skin; if nothing else, it will prevent the dryness and itching associated with pregnancy-stretched skin). Susceptibility has lots to do with genetics: Chances are, if your mother got them, you probably will too. If your mother sailed through her pregnancies with smooth skin intact, you'll probably stay as smooth as your baby's butt. Rapid weight gain can also predispose you to getting stretch marks — another good reason to add your pounds slowly and steadily (at an average of about a pound a week these days). Darker-skinned women are less likely to get stretch marks (plus, they're not as visible on dark skin) — but fair-skinned gals are usually less lucky. Is there any good news about stretch marks? Here's something: They won't stay so vividly hued forever. After delivery, they usually fade to a less noticeable (and more easily concealable) silvery gray color. Meanwhile, try to wear them with pride.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

20 weeks

Well....as most everyone knows, we're having a girl! Yay!!! We're very excited about it. Everything looked perfect and as it should be during the ultrasound. We're halfway through this amazing journey!

On to the "official" update:

Congratulations, at 20 weeks pregnant, you're at the midpoint of your pregnancy. Keeping pace, your fast-ballooning uterus has also reached the midway point, just about even with your belly button now. So go ahead — take a feel. That's one of the perks of being pregnant — you get to rub your belly anytime you want (in fact, it's expected when you're expecting). Happily, there are other good side effects of pregnancy too. Can't think of any? Well, here's one: Have you checked out your nails lately? They're likely growing faster than usual, and faster than you can manicure them. What about your hair? Does it feel thicker and look more healthy than usual? It's probably growing faster, too (not to mention growing in unexpected places, which may not be such a good thing). You can credit (or blame) those pregnancy hormones again for these changes. The increased blood circulation that's bringing more nutrients to your hair and nails also deserves some thanks.

Curious about whether that melon-sized belly contains a boy or a girl? Now's your chance to take a peek! Your second trimester ultrasound, scheduled for anywhere between 18 and 22 weeks, gives your practitioner a chance to see how things are going in there. And, wow, are they going! If you're having a girl, her uterus is now fully formed and her ovaries are holding about seven million primitive eggs. If you're having a boy, his testicles have begun their descent from the abdomen to their ultimate destination: the scrotum. And while your baby is definitely getting bigger (he's about ten ounces, six and a half inches), there's still plenty of growing room in there, which allows him to twist and turn (and allows you to feel his acrobatics!). You might be noticing your nails are stronger and your hair (all over your body) is thicker and fuller than usual — all thanks to pregnancy hormones and increased circulation, which furnish extra nutrients to hair and nail cells. But while the hair on your head may be lovelier than ever, you might not be digging those sprouts on your chin. This situation is indeed temporary, but feel free to tweeze!

You've got a heavyweight in your belly at 20 weeks pregnant (well, in baby terms, anyway). Your little champ weighs about ten ounces and has a height, crown to rump, of about six and a half inches. Think small cantaloupe (and probably as sweet too).
Is it a boy cantaloupe or a girl cantaloupe? You'll be able to find out your baby's gender via the ultrasound by this point. If you're carrying a girl fetus, her uterus is fully formed this week and her vaginal canal is starting its development (which means that in about twenty-five or thirty-some-odd years, she could be just where you're at, Grandma!). She also has primitive eggs in her tiny little ovaries now, seven million of them — though by the time she's born, that number will be down to two million (still more than she could ever hope to use). And interestingly, your baby girl will be born with all the eggs she'll ever have.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's a GIRL!!!!

Today's the Day!!

Well...today is THE day. You know, the one where *hopefully* our little one cooperates with us and we find out if we should buy BLUE or PINK!! I can't wait!! I'm ready to shop! Our appointment is at 3:30. I'm just praying that s/he decides to play along....I know our nephew Caleb didn't the first time! But...I've gotten plenty of advice on how to "encourage" some cooperation. (Thanks Jen!)

Wish us luck!!! We'll update everyone tonight!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

19 weeks

So, I'm a day late....again. Oh, well. Not much new here. Allan has finished the second phase of training, and is moving into the "new" Huey's next week. It's basically the same aircraft, just with nicer seats, better paint job, and a digital cockpit. It's what they fly in the "real world".

On the baby front......we have our appointment on Monday at 3:30 for our next ultrasound. This is the "big" one. We're hoping that peanut will cooperate and show us what we want to see! I can't wait, and I think some of my friends are more anxious than I am (if that's possible).

Onto our update:

Six inches long this week and about eight ounces in weight, your baby is the size of a large mango. Your little action figure is able to choreograph Matrix-like moves at 19 weeks pregnant. Arms and legs are finally in proportion, neurons are now connected between the brain and muscles, and cartilage throughout the body is turning to bone. All these upgrades combine to give your baby more control over limb movements. Which explains all that kicking, stretching, and bodysurfing (or rather bellysurfing) you've possibly started feeling by now.

Something else going on this week: Your baby is getting a cheesy varnish. Say what? Yup — a protective substance called vernix caseosa (vernix is the Latin word for varnish; caseosa is cheese) now covers your baby's skin. It's greasy and white and is made up of lanugo (that downy hair), oil from your baby's glands, and dead skin cells. This waxy "cheese" may not sound too appetizing or attractive, but it's there for good reason: Vernix protects your baby's sensitive skin from the surrounding amniotic fluid. Without it, your baby would look very wrinkled at birth (sort of what you'd look like if you soaked in a bath for nine months). Some babies — especially those born early — will still be covered with vernix at the delivery, so you might get a look at your baby's first anti-wrinkle cream.

One minute you're lying peacefully in bed and the next your calf muscle feels like it's about to explode. Leg cramps during pregnancy are pretty common (though no one knows exactly what causes them) and tend to strike at night. You might also be wondering about tingling and numbness in your fingers and toes about now. It's a weird sensation but totally normal, probably a result of your body's swelling tissues pressing on nerves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

18 weeks

We've had an exciting week around here.....mostly due to weather. We had the tornado sirens go off 3 times in 3 days. Once at 6 am (what a GREAT way to wake up!). Allan got to fly over our house, but I didn't find out until later that afternoon when he got home. He's supposed to be flying that route more, so I'll try to get pics/ video when he does.

Here's a picture from "Mustache March" (tradition in the Air Force)...

Now...on to the update.....
You might start to feel your baby moving around anytime now, which is a great way to take your mind off your bothersome back.
Oh, my aching back! If you've uttered those words more than once this week, here's why: Your uterus, now about the size of a cantaloupe, is causing your body's center of gravity to shift, pulling the lower back forward and pushing the abdomen out. On top of all that, joint-loosening pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc on your muscles and ligaments, adding up to one big ouch! But while your pregnancy back pain has got you tied up in knots, your baby's getting ready to bust a move. At five and a half inches long and five ounces in weight, he now may be large enough for you to feel him twisting, rolling, kicking, and punching his way around the womb. Plus, he's developing yawning and hiccupping skills (you may feel those soon, too!) and his very own unique set of toe and fingerprints.
At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is hitting the height chart at five and a half inches long (remember, that's crown to rump) and weighs about five ounces (the weight of that boneless chicken breast you're making for dinner). And now for the skill of the week (drum roll please…): The art of the yawn has been mastered by your baby (someone's sleepy!). In fact, you might catch a glimpse of that adorable yawn if you're getting an ultrasound this month. You'll also catch a glimpse of all the fetal movement your baby's doing — twists, rolls, kicks, and punches. And would you believe your baby is finally big enough for you to start feeling those movements now (or anytime in the next few weeks). So get ready!

Something you won't see on the ultrasound, but you'll know is in working order, is your baby's nervous system, which is maturing rapidly at this time. Nerves, now covered with a substance called myelin (which speeds messages from nerve cell to nerve cell), are forming more complex connections. And those in the brain are further specializing into the ones that serve the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Talking about hearing, your baby's is growing more acute, making your little one more conscious of sounds that come from inside your body (which means you could both be listening to each other hiccup — a skill that your baby has by now).