Sunday, May 31, 2009

Week 20 Update: Halfway there

This week is an important week for brain development. Though the number of new nerve cells developing is starting to slow, the complex connections required for memory and thinking are forming. Little Einstein’s senses –taste, smell, hearing, seeing, and touch (and maybe a mysterious 6th sense)- are also at a crucial stage of development. Soon it will be able to taste Amanda’s insides. It should already be able to recognize our voices.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First Look

click images for larger version

Today, we saw the baby for the first time and took a quick inventory of body parts. Two brain hemispheres, check. Four chambered heart, check. Two arms and two legs each ending in five digits, check. Spinal cord, check. Everything seemed to look okay not that we could tell what very much of it was. The baby is a wiggly worm, the ultra sound is fuzzy, and we didn’t really know what we were looking at. I can identify its head and face in the above photo, but not much more.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Week 19 Update: The size error

Amanda post nap

This week the string bean’s bigger than ever. Not only has it continued growing but has always been bigger than we realized. Amanda and I had failed to notice that the measurements in our weekly update reference guide* were from crown to rump (not head to toe as we assumed). So excluding its legs, it now measures between 5 ¼” to 6” – still more jockey sized than basketball player.

The deep-sea explorer is also secreting vernix caseosa (a thick, white greasy substance) from its glands. This will coat its body and keep it from getting prune-y during the rest of its underwater adventure.

* “The Pregnancy Bible” by Stone and Eddleman

Friday, May 22, 2009

Garage Sale Shopping

Last Saturday we spent the morning with David and Kim, Amanda’s brother and his wife, garage sale shopping at their neighborhood’s annual sale. Though the large baby items (furniture, strollers, etc.) disappeared as soon as the sales opened Friday morning, we did acquire a pile of clothes, books, and a couple of toys. A pile that will remain a pile until we empty out a few of our dresser drawers to turn over to the kid.

This was our first outing to buy anything for the baby, and we felt it was a pretty successful start. See picture below. The garage sales also pointed out a few things. For example, this kid is going to grow quickly! Our due date is in October, but we are trying to stock up on clothing for the next year or two. Looking at seasonal clothes and predicting what size it is going to be next spring, the following fall, even this winter made me suddenly realize how quickly it is going to change over such a short period. If I haven’t mentioned this before I am very visual. Looking at a winter coat I realized for the first time, “wow, it is going to be that big by this winter?”

The other thing Amanda and I noticed is that girl’s clothing is a sea of pink with a few purple glittery, flower accents. One talkative garage sale proprietor asked if we were having a boy or a girl. When we replied that we were not finding out the sex before birth she declared that we must want a boy because, “we seemed to be leaning towards the boy’s clothing”. The truth is I suspect we will probably buy primarily boys’ clothes regardless of the baby’s sex. Though some are pretty manly with construction vehicle themes, in general the boys’ clothes seem more unisex than girls’ clothes. At least in my world girls can like dinosaurs and robots as much as boys (and boys can like flowers and glitter). Maybe if we have a girl she will like pink and lace, but if genetics help determine taste I would be surprised. I cannot imagine that the little girl versions of Amanda, our sisters, or our moms ever wanted to dress like a princess.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Week 18 Update: Moving right along

Now weighing in at 5 ¼” the lightweight champion enters the most active period. Favorite activities include twisting, turning, wriggling, kicking, and punching. These activities replace its original dream of a life of a crime thwarted by its recently developed fingerprints.

Piper's Semi-Annual Shower

There’s a Killer Among Us

First, we had a spy in the house. Now, we have a killer among us. I looked out the upstairs window at Sandy’s (Garry’s mom’s) house this morning to find Piper chewing on something in the backyard. Her backyard is a treeless landscape, hence Piper wasn’t chewing on a stick. However, it wasn’t clear what he had found in the yard. It appeared he was stretching and pulling on a piece of rope. Whatever it was, it was very pliable and Piper was enjoying it very much. Garry and I watched him for a couple minutes. With shock, followed by horror, we saw the purported piece of rope flutter, then fly a foot from Piper and realized he was chewing on a baby robin – one of the same three baby robins Sandy had mentioned to us the evening before.

We found two juvenile robins in the yard, one dead, the other alive, but clearly not for long. They looked old enough to have fledged in a few days. I wanted to bury the birds and we chose to bury them in their nest behind Sandy’s fence. Unfortunately, the second baby bird took a long while to die, but I couldn’t bear to kill it myself, and I cried as I dug the grave. I felt silly for crying, but I was glad to feel some compassion for these birds and I hope I can share this compassion for other living things with my child.

The third baby robin? Either it didn’t exist (i.e. there were only two) or the third is in Piper’s tummy. I don’t fault Piper. The nest was built under a picnic table close to the ground (the most stable wood structure in aforementioned treeless yard) right at nose height and what tasty morsels they must have been.

G: I hope Piper hasn’t developed a taste for babies.

Other People’s Stuff

This article is a great example of the quirkiness I am looking forward to during toddlerhood. Toddlers still lack that internal filter that later makes adults (and even more so adolescents) question how others view their behaviors and interests.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week 17 Update: There is a spy in the house

Now longer than the palm of either of our hands, the 4 ½” to 5” pup’s body is catching up to its oversized head. Fat is starting to develop under the skin to help keep it warm and provide energy as it enters its most active phase.

The most exciting development of the week is that our third wheel can now hear things outside the body. Though I’m sure the sound of bowel movements has been thrilling, us chattering like monkeys must be a welcomed change.


Congratulations. This blueberry bush is planted in your honor.

Amanda successfully defended her Master’s thesis on Tuesday officially wrapping up her graduate work in evolutionary biology. To celebrate we made a delicious brunch Sunday morning, and began new yard projects though “new yard projects” incorrectly implies we had old ones. We began by planting a blueberry bush.

At the official graduation, which she skipped, handshakes were banned because of the swine flu panic. Lucky for her Piper is fearless.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Week 16 Update: Strong bones and muscles

Though all of the offspring’s bones have not completely formed the ones that are present are getting harder and retaining calcium. The nervous system is now operating so muscles are able to respond to stimulation from the brain. This means the stowaway is able to roll over (something Piper is yet to master), kick and do flips. Which leads to the next post. . .

The Quickening*

I’m fairly sure I felt the baby move for the first time this morning. I was in a supine position and worries about my thesis defense kept me in bed. The book Garry and I are referencing for fetal development and gestation said the the first motions would feel like a “flutter.” Really? I was skeptical that a term used to describe the motions of a butterfly could accurately characterize the first fetal movements. However, indeed, I felt a flutter in my abdomen. I waited … and felt it again! I laid very still to locate the source of the movement and it was clearly not originating from my bowel or my stomach – an acrobat has taken up residence in my belly.

*Quickening is defined as the first fetal movements detected by a woman during her pregnancy.