Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week 15 update: The invisible man

This week the fetus is around 4 ½”. Its skin is translucent so you see its ribs, retinas, and blood vessels. Its body is covered in hair that grows in a pattern like fingerprints, and hair is growing on its head. The mechanisms that will eventually allow it to hear are starting to develop. In a couple of weeks the little monkey will be able to hear us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pregnancy watchers

Many of our coupled friends share stories of the amount of pressure their family puts upon them to begin reproducing. The levels vary from simply and politely asking if they are planning on having children soon to what I am sure is legal harassment. With many of the couples, the pressure continued or increased when they expressed their desire to never have children. Neither Amanda’s nor my family ever brought up the topic of us having or not having children. Though I was grateful that was the case 99% of the time, I would sometimes wonder why. Two of my hypotheses (written in a faulty logic format) include: 1. Stefanie, my sister, has always been vocal about not wanting children. Garry and Stefanie are alike. Garry must not want children. 2. Garry and Amanda have been together more than a decade. Most couples have children within the first 5 years. They must not want children. Though I doubt either of those is true, it does seem that nobody ever felt comfortable asking us directly if we wanted children.

As more family members find out that Amanda is pregnant I have discovered that their not asking was not from lack of interest. It has been revealed that rather than asking us of our reproductive plans they preferred to carefully observe our behavior. For example, Amanda’s drinking habits have been closely monitored at family functions. Several family members, including my mom, have since revealed that they were disappointed to see Amanda drinking beer at my sister’s November birthday party. I found this quiet observation rather disturbing, but took some comfort (or maybe less?) when I realized this behavior was not reserved for us alone.

Spotting newly pregnant women seems to be a sport for many people. Nothing illustrates this more than the tabloids never ending search for new celebrity “baby bumps”. Other people just seem to intuitively know when a woman is with child. I am sure if our friend Briana still lived in Bloomington she would have known Amanda was pregnant by the 5th week. She’s great at spotting pregnancy. Though I have not seen her demonstrate this sixth sense, another friend claims she can tell when a woman is pregnant just by looking at her face. I do not have this gift. I am terrible at telling if a woman is pregnant or just overweight. So I assume nothing until told otherwise. I have noticed that since I have been thinking more about pregnancy I now tend to guess the stomach girth is a baby more often than too many cheeseburgers.

A: Me too – I think I’m just fat!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Week 14 update: A new trimester begins.

The fetus has grown to 3 ¼ - 4 inches. Growth continues as the internal organ mature. The placenta is now its support system. The fetus can now move more fluidly as its joints are now beginning to function.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Who said what?

Below is a list of the first 10 people we told. Try and guess their first response.

1. Catherine
2. Wanda, Amanda’s mom
3. Norm, Amanda’s dad
4. Kristal & Stacy
5. Stefanie, Garry’s sister
6. Josh, Stefanie's husband
7. Jessie, Amanda’s sister
8. Sandy, Garry’s mom
9. Sara
10. Steve, Sandy's boyfriend

a. “Are you going to have it in the church [we live in a renovated church]?”
b. “Have you seen a doctor yet? “ After thinking a few minutes began to fantasize about this snowballing into many more family pregnancies.
c. “When can I tell people?”
d. “I thought maybe you were. Do you want to know the sex?”
e. “ I hope it’s a boy”
f. “We were wondering when or if you were going to”
g. A shocked look followed by enthusiastic hugs. “Was it planned or an accident?”
h. “Have you considered the name Harold?”
i. “You are going to be great parents.” “Have you thought about your birth plan?”
j. “Is this a good thing? . . . Yay!”

1. d 2.g 3. b 4. a 5. f 6. e 7. j 8.c 9. i 10. h (his first name is Harold)

Both our sisters also mentioned they were excited to spoil the child. This will be the first grandchild/niece/nephew in both our families. We are a family of slow breeders.

Cat out of the bag

We attended a family wedding this Saturday. (Congratulations to Amanda’s uncle Terry and his new wife Janna). The wedding was a rare chance to see Amanda’s extended family: her uncles, aunts, and grandma. For several reasons, we have not rushed to share the news of our contribution to the overpopulation crisis. So prior to this weekend, the only wedding guests that knew were Jessica (Amanda’s sister) and Wanda (her mom) and they were both sworn to secrecy.

We were really excited to finally see Amanda’s brother David, his wife Kim, and Amanda’s grandma Emma. One of the [as I previously said] many, reasons we have told so few people is that telling people in person is much more fun. Why not wait a few extra weeks rather than tell someone on the phone? So, following our plan we told David, Kim, and Emma in person. What we did not plan was Amanda’s grandma immediately telling everyone else.

Amanda and I are still surprised at our family’s level of excitement and enthusiasm about this pregnancy. It sometimes seems as though it surpasses our own. Not that I expected them to lack interest, but their thrill is so much more than that of our close friends. When we tell friends they are all happy for us. When we tell our family they are happy for us – and themselves. I have to remind myself that this child will not only make us parents, but our family members grandmas, grandpas, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles. All roles allowing one to share the joy of welcoming this new person into the world who will be an important part of your life and you their life - minus the anxiety of having to raise it.

The wedding also pointed out that our time of keeping this secret is reaching its expiration date. Emma informed us her neighbor had earlier pointed to Amanda and stated, “Wanda’s daughter is pregnant.” Emma replied, “I don’t know. Nobody ever tells me anything.”

A: It’s biological fitness. They are just happy their genes will be around for at least one more generation.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

1st trimester recap (weeks 1-13)*

January 11– Amanda has her period

Week 1, January 18 - We are unsure why they start the pregnancy count two weeks prior to fertilization. Should most women consider themselves pregnant for half of each month?

Week 2, January 25 – Less interesting than week 1.

Week 3, February 1 – We have sex; fertilization occurs. The fertilized ovum implants in the uterus lining and continues to multiply.

Week 4, February 8 – It is now a blastocyst and divides into an inner and outer half. The outer half will develop into the placenta, and the inner half will eventually become a baby.

Week 5, February 15- A head and tail are now identifiable. The central nervous system, brain, and spinal cord begin to form.

Week 6, February 22 – The tadpole stage – it looks like a tadpole. Amanda and I referred to the embryo as the tadpole for a few weeks. The heart begins to beat on it own and organs continue to develop.

Week 7, March 1 – Our book states, “Your baby is beginning to look more human now” and has a photograph to illustrate this. Whoever wrote that needs to meet more humans.

The embryo’s face begins to take shape. Loosely. More like black dots and holes than an actual face.

Week 8, March 8 – The baby is now around ½”. The embryo now has a tongue, nostril, and nose tip. The eyes and ears continue to develop. Bone cells replace cartilage. Joints start to form as the limbs lengthen. Most organs are present and the intestines begin to develop in the umbilical cord.

Week 9, March 15 – The 1” embryo is developing toes, fingers, and eyelids. The diaphragm develops, and the intestines begin to move from the umbilical cord into the abdomen which seems really weird.

Week 10, March 22 – The embryo has become a fetus and genitals begin to form. Big week.

Week 11, March 29 – The fetus is between 1 ¾- 2 ¼ inches. Its body nearly doubles in length this week trying to catch up in size to its previously oversized head. The irises start to develop. Most of the vital organs are fully formed and beginning to operate.

Week 12, April 5 – Organs continue to develop. Fingers and toes have separated as bones begin to harden. The fetus can now smile, frown, and suck its thumb. The fetus is still unable to fall in with the wrong crowd (unless it has an evil twin?).

Week 13, April 12 – Now 2 2/3 – 3 inches the fetus may be able to sense sounds through vibration receptors in the skin.

And that ends the first trimester.
*these summaries are based upon information from "The Pregnancy Bible"

Friday, April 10, 2009


We are feeling a little nervous about having a name selected by the time the baby is born. Nothing seems to be clicking. The two most common questions people seem to ask are if we want to find out the sex (or the awkwardly phrased “do you know what it is yet?” – we hope a baby) and if we have picked a name. The answer to both is still no. Though while browsing a website of baby names we did find a name for one of our cat’s second (and more evil) personality.

Grace and The Graca

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The long wait. . .

Thursday was our first appointment with our obstetrician who will provide back-up care if we are unable to have the birth at home. The appointment was interesting primarily in its contrast to the midwife appointment three days earlier. The same procedures were performed but this time in an office (rather than our cozy home), with more paperwork, and less conversation. The doctor was nice and incredibly supportive of our birth plan, but I think since he isn’t our primary care person we all had an unspoken agreement that the visit was a formality. We heard the heartbeat again, he asked a few questions, we declined a few tests, we set-up our appointment schedules (2 more visits and an ultrasound).

The biggest difference was that going to the doctor’s office also includes going to the doctor’s waiting room (where we spent 4/5 of our time). The waiting room was a great place for people watching. Who would have thought it was acceptable to bring a bottle of Mountain Dew or a Big Gulp to your OB appointment? Why did that woman get so mad at her baby’s father for speaking to a man in the parking lot she didn’t recognize? Why did that woman think it was necessary to repeat she didn’t care if the doctor “welded, burnt, sewed up, or ripped out her tubes. [She wasn’t] getting pregnant again” 3 times in one conversation?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Heartbeat

We had our first official, working appointment with MH, our midwife. We are very, very happy with her. She meets us at home. We talk. She answers questions. She hugs us. She let’s the dog investigate her stuff. MH mentioned that Piper seemed both fascinated and wary of the same instruments and procedures as the toddlers that attend her appointments. No one seems to like the blood-pressure cuff.

At this appointment (12 weeks and 1 day) we heard the heartbeat for the first time. It was a little surreal to have evidence that Amanda now has a second heart inside her. I was relieved to hear it and have MH confirm it sounded strong. I just read a blog where a couple did not know they miscarried until they couldn’t find the heartbeat, and I have been a little nervous since then. We also found and listened to the uterine artery. The baby’s heartbeat was so fast, but the uterine artery had a strong and slow beat. It sounded quite relaxing and soothing like a white noise machine for the fetus.