11w6d baby miracle

Since seeing Baby Z on the ultrasound yesterday, I can’t stop marveling at the miracle of baby-making.  No, not that kind of baby-making, but the entire process of growing a baby.  In the past few weeks, Baby Z has grown from a tiny single-celled organism to a person with hands, feet, heart, brain, head, eyes, mouth, nose, knees, liver, lungs, and even fingerprints.

If I had to remember to do all of that in a month, I’d probably end up as an exhibit at a museum for human mutants.  Just this morning I had to write myself a note to buy eggs, milk, razor, and…sh*t, I can’t remember the last item.  I can’t imagine reminding myself to “grow kidneys, gallbladder and oh, an immune system while you’re at it!  Thanks!”

It’s both humbling and amazing to think that our baby just instinctively knows what, how, and where to grow.  All J and I did to contribute to this miracle of life was to provide the sperm and the egg.

On a related note, here are some fun, interesting facts that I compiled about babies from various sources:

  • Baby Tuesdays!  The most popular day for babies to make their entrance is Tuesday, followed by Monday. Sunday is the slowest day, with 35.1 fewer births than average.
  • “First” babies are smaller: The first child born to parents is usually smaller in size than babies born later.
  • Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adult we have only 206 in our bodies. Bones fuse together during growth to come up with the new number.
  • No Kneecaps : On birth, babies do not have kneecaps. They usually don’t develop them fully until after six months.
  • Newborn babies may cry a lot but they don’t produce any tears. There is moisture to lubricate and clean the eyes but proper tears don’t start to appear until the baby is between three and twelve weeks of age.
  • Most babies are born with blue eyes: Eventual eye color develops later, most babies are indeed born with blue eyes.
  • Mama is number one: Babies begin to recognize their mother’s voice when inside the womb, and they usually recognize their mother’s face earlier than other people.  (YAY FOR ME!)
  • Peak crying times: You may feel like babies cry nonstop, but in fact, late afternoon and early evening are the most common times for babies to cry.
  • Newborns don’t have the bridge of the nose: This may make it easier for them to be delivered naturally. The bridge develops later.
  • The average size of a full-term baby in the U.S. is 8 pounds. This is an increase from an average size of 6 pounds 30 years ago.
  • Fewer than 10% of babies are born on their exact due date, 50% are born within one week of the due date, and 90% are born within two weeks of the date.
  • Babies have very “poor” eyesight because their brains aren’t able to process information as well.  Their eyes are focused on a spot about eight inches away – so you need to get really close if your baby is to see you clearly. Babies prefer looking at curved lines rather than straight lines.
  • Any hair that is on your newborn baby’s head will soon fall out – to be replaced by permanent hair (which may be of an entirely different colour) at about six months.
  • Contrary to the old wives’ tale, babies are not colour blind. They prefer strong primary colours – particularly red and blue.

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11w5d 2nd prenatal visit

J and I just returned from our second prenatal visit with our doctor, and to our immense relief, we received lots of great news!

First, all my blood work from our last visit came back normal and I tested negative for infections and diseases.  I also found out that I have an O+ positive blood type!  (Who knew?)  O+ is the most common blood type, and people who are part of the O blood group are also universal donors, which means I can donate blood to anyone but can only receive blood from people also in the O group.  That doesn’t sound very fair.

More importantly, we saw Baby Z again!  This time, we didn’t have to do a transvaginal ultrasound because Baby Z is now big enough to picked up by an ultrasound directly on my belly.  The first thing J said when our doctor put the transducer on my belly was, “Holy crap, that’s a head!”

It was incredible.  The last time we saw Baby Z he was barely a speck in my womb, but now Baby Z has a clearly defined head and body!  We even saw Baby Z’s hands flutter and his legs kick when the doctor pushed the sensor a little harder.  I guess Baby Z is already ticklish, just like his Mom and Dad.  Our doctor also told us that Baby Z’s heartbeat is measuring at somewhere between 140-150 bpm, which is a little faster than his heart was beating four weeks ago!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to take any pictures of the ultrasound because the screens at our OB’s office aren’t very clear or very large.  But we’ll definitely get photos of Baby Z next Monday when we head back to the state-of-the-art imaging center again so that we can screen Baby Z for Down syndrome by looking at his nuchal translucency (the skin at the back of the fetus’ neck).

Until then, check out this cool image of a real baby at 12 weeks.  Baby Z, is this what you look like inside Mommy’s belly right now?

11w4d old wives tales and baby z’s gender

We don’t find out Baby Z’s gender for a few more weeks, but J and I are taking bets on whether Baby Z is a boy or a girl.

For the record:
I think I’m having a boy.
J thinks I’m having a girl.

We would be excited whether we have a son or a daughter, but it’s still fun to speculate.  I’ve been looking up old wives tales on gender prediction, and here’s how I score:

Old Wives Tale #1:  Heart Rate
If the baby’s heart rate is above 140 bpm, it is said that the baby will be a girl.  If it is under 140 bpm, then it will be a boy.

Score:  +0:  At our last appointment, our baby’s heart rate was exactly 140 bpm, so I don’t know where that leaves us…

Old Wives Tale #2:  Shape of Belly
If you are carrying high with a big, round belly, you are having a girl.  If you are carrying low with a smaller belly that sticks straight out, it’s a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  It’s a little too early too tell whether I’m carrying high or low, but I think I’m starting to get a low bump, so maybe…boy?

Old Wives Tale #3:  Ring Test
Using a string, hang your wedding ring over your pregnant belly.  You are having a girl if the ring swings back and forth  and it’s a boy if it swings in a circle.

Score: +1 Girl.  Believe it or not, I just tested this one out.  Um, what kind of string wouldn’t swing back and forth versus in a circle??  C’mon!  But I’ll play along.  Girl it is.


Old Wives Tale #4:  Shape of Mom’s Face
When your face gets fuller and rounder when pregnant, it means you’re going to have a girl.  If your face is long and narrow, it’s a boy.

Score: + 1 Girl.  Sadly, my face, like the rest of my body, has definitely gained some chub.

Old Wives Tale #5:  Key Test
This test involves a key.  If you pick up a key at the top (the roundest part), you are going to have a boy.  If you pick up the key at the bottom (smallest part), you are going to have a girl.  If you happen to grab the key in the middle, congrats, it’s twins!

Score: +1 Boy.  I always pick up my keys by the roundest part (mainly because I’m always digging for them in my purse, and the roundest part is the easiest to feel for).

Old Wives Tale #6:  Mayan Tale
The Mayan tale adds the mothers age at conception and the year of conception.  If the result is a even number then mom is having a girl.  If the result is an odd number then a boy is on the way!

Score: +1 Girl.  I was 30 when Baby Z was conceived and this is the year of 2012. 30+2012=2042.  Even.  Girl.

Old Wives Tale #7:  Drano Test
The drano test combines a tablespoon of Drano and urine together.  If the mixture turns green, it’s a girl.  If it turns blue, it’s a boy.

Score: +0.  Sorry, I just can’t do this one.  Too grossed out!

Old Wives Tale #8:  Acne
If you have acne while pregnant, it’s a girl.  It’s thought that acne during pregnancy is caused by the extra hormones.

Score: +1 Boy.  My skin is surprisingly clear these days!  In fact, I’m probably having better skin now than I’ve had my entire adult life.

Old Wives Tale #9:  Cravings
People believe that if you are craving salty foods while pregnant, you can count on having a boy.  If you crave sweets, fruit, and orange juice, you are having a little girl.

Score: +1 Boy.  Oh hello, Cheez-Its.  I’m always craving salty foods, even before pregnancy.  Oh…boy.

Old Wives Tale #10:  Smell of Garlic
If a pregnant woman eats a clove of garlic and the smell does not come out of her pores, it’s a girl.  If the smell seeps out of her pores, it’s a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  This one made me laugh.  I love garlic in everything except maybe ice cream (although I wouldn’t rule that out either since I’ve never tried garlic ice cream before…), but I need at least half a bottle of Listerine afterwards to help get rid of my dragon breath.  Again, this one happened even before pregnancy.  Boy!

old-wives-tales-pregnancy

Old Wives Tale #11:  Skin under Left Eye
The eye test is when a “V” or “branches” appear when you pull down the skin under your left eye.  If you see a “V” or “branches” in the white part, you’re having a girl.

Score: +1 Boy (?)  I just pulled down my left eye, and I have no idea if I see a “V” or “branches”.  What does that even mean??  Also I see are…the whites of my eyes.  So…I guess boy?

Old Wives Tale #12:  Previous Kids
This tale only applies if you have had previous kids.  If you have and that child’s first word was momma, you will have a girl.  If your first child’s first word was dadda, you’ll have a boy.

Score: +0.  I have no previous kiddos so I don’t know.

Old Wives Tale #13:  Time of Conception
The person that is most aggressive in bed at the time of conception is the opposite of what the baby will be.

Score: + 1 Boy.  In this case, we’ll be having a boy.  Look, I’m not usually such a tiger in the bedroom, but it was late, and I was ovulating, and J had an early meeting the next day.  Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get it done.


Old Wives Tale #14:  Legs

If your legs get really big, you’re having a boy.  If your legs stay in shape and lean, it’s a girl.

Score: +1 Girl.  I think it’s too early for me to tell on this one, but wishful thinking tells me that my legs will stay nice and lean…please?  

Old Wives Tale #15:  Moodiness and a Little Pecker
If you are really moody, you are having a girl since you have another extra girl hormones in you.  Your pregnancy will make you smile and be more happy if you are having a boy because there’s a little penis inside you.  

Score: +1 Girl.  This one made me snort water all over my computer monitor.

Old Wives Tale #16:  Bread
If you eat the ends of bread, it’s a boy.  If you eat the middle of the load, it’s a girl.  

Score: +1 Girl.  Who likes the ends of bread versus the middle?  Not to mention there are only two ends and, like, 50 middle slices.  Another point for a little girl.

Old Wives Tale #17:  Chinese Gender Chart
The Chinese Gender Chart claims to have an accuracy rate of over 90%.  It is based on the mother’s Chinese age at the time of conception and the lunar month that she conceived in.

Score +1 Girl.  This one definitely tells me that I’m having a girl.  In fact, it looks like EVERYONE ages 30-32 will be having a girl in 2012.  Hmm, I have my doubts on this over 90% accuracy thing.

Old Wives Tale #18:  Mom’s Beauty
It is said that a baby girl “steals” the mother’s beauty.  If you think that pregnancy has never made you look more beautiful, you might just be having a little boy.

Score: +1 Girl.  Uhh, other than my skin is looking a wee bit better than before, I just feel fat and tired.  Scratch that, I am fat and tired.  All the effing time.  So no, I don’t think pregnancy is making me look more beautiful.

Old Wives Tale #19:  Dream of Sex of Baby
If you have dreams that you are having a boy, you will have a girl.  If you dream about having a girl, it will be a boy.  Dreams show the opposite sex of what you are having.

Score: +0.  Um, this may be TMI, but I just dream of sex lately.  Is that normal?

Old Wives Tale #20:  Clumsy vs. Graceful
If the pregnant woman is graceful throughout her pregnancy, she’s having a girl.  If she becomes clumsy, she’s having a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  I don’t see how anyone can possibly be graceful while carrying around a bowling ball in her stomach.

Old Wives Tale #21:  Toddlers
If a toddler boy expresses interest in a pregnant woman, she is having a girl.  If he doesn’t show interest, she’s having a boy.

Score: +0 TBD.   I need to find myself a toddler boy.  (That didn’t come out right)

Old Wives Tale #22:  Side You Most Rest On
If a pregnant woman prefers to lay on her left side, she’s having a boy.  If she prefers resting on her right side, she’s having a girl.

Score: +1 Boy.  I usually sleep on my back, but I’ve been preferring my left side lately.  Hmm.

Old Wives Tale #23:  Hands
When the pregnant woman is asked to show her hands, it’s a boy if she keeps her palms down and a girl if she shows her palms up.

Score: +1 Boy.   I read somewhere that women in general how their hands palms down, while men show their hands palms up, but whatever…boy it is!

Old Wives Tale #24:  Dad’s Weight Gain
If the dad-to-be gains weight while you are pregnant, it’s a girl.  If he doesn’t gain weight, you’re having a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  Even though J’s current (beer) belly is bigger than mine, unfortunately, the belly is nothing new.

Old Wives Tale #25:  Breast Test
If a pregnant woman’s left breast is larger than the right breast, she’s having a girl.  If the right breast is larger, it’s a boy.

Score: +1 Girl.  Whoa!  I just told J the other day that my left boob is much bigger than the right one.  (For the record, he agreed with me, in case y’all think I’m making this up).

Old Wives Tale #26:  Necklace Over Hand
Have someone hold a necklace over your hand.  If the necklace swings back and forth, it’s a boy.  If it moves in a circle, it’s a girl.

Score: +1 Girl.  I just made my coworker do this for me, and we think the necklace moved in a circle…before not moving at all.  Should I be worried?

Old Wives Tale #27:  What Do You Think?
71% of the time, the mom-to-be knows what she is having.

Score: +1 Boy.   I think I’m having a boy.  I don’t know why, I just do!

Old Wives Tale #28:  Morning Sickness
If you had a smooth pregnancy with no morning sickness, it’s a boy.  If you were sick or felt really nauseous during your pregnancy, count on a girl.

Score: +1 Boy.  As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have been pretty blessed in the nausea department.  Other than a couple of mishaps here and there, I haven’t been spending much time over the toilet.  On it is a different story…

Old Wives Tale #29:  Areolae
If your areolae (the part around your nips) have darkened, it’s a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.   ‘Nuff said.

Old Wives Tale #30:  Protein
When a pregnant woman craves meat and cheese, count on a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  I’m mainly craving the medium rare steak and unpasteurized brie that I can’t have.

Old Wives Tale #31:  Feet
Are your feet colder now that you are pregnant?  If so, you just might be having a boy.  If your feet have stayed the same before pregnancy and during, you’re having a little girl.

Score: +1 Girl.  I’ve always had pretty toasty feet.  But then again, it’s been at least 90 degrees out every day so it’d be pretty difficult to get cold feet, unless you mean the metaphorical kind.

Old Wives Tale #32:  Hair on Legs
If the hair on your legs has been growing at record speeds, you might be having a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  They are growing thicker, longer, and not just on my legs.

Old Wives Tale #33:  Hands are Dry
If your hands are constantly dry, it’s a boy.

Score: +1 Boy.  Dry, leathery, flaky.  Yup, check.

Old Wives Tale #34  Urine
What color is your pee?  If it is bright yellow, you will have a little boy.  If your urine is a dull yellow, plan on a girl.

Score: + 0.  Um, what about neon green?  My urine has taken on the color of my prenatal vitamins…

Old Wives Tale #35:  Nose
Do you feel like your nose is growing and getting wider?  If so, you might be having a boy.

Score: +1 Girl.  My nose is as big and wide as it has always been.  Curse the Asian genes!  Please don’t let it get any bigger…

Old Wives Tale #36:  Headaches
If you are having headaches, you might be carrying a boy.

Score: + 1 Boy.  I’ve definitely experienced some dull throbbing in my head lately, but that can always be from J’s nagging…

Old Wives Tale #37:  Baby Names
It is said that when you can only think of specific names for a boy or a girl, you will have that particularly baby.

Score: + 1 Girl.  Although I think I’m having a boy, J and I can only agree on a name for a girl.  Because I refuse to name our son Johnny Danger.

_____________________________________________________________________________

And the GRAND TOTAL is:

I’M HAVING A BOY: 18 POINTS
I’M HAVING A GIRL: 13 POINTS
I HAVE NO CLUE: 6 POINTS

Looks like I’m having a boy!  I can’t wait to find out for sure in a few weeks (and prove to J that I am, once again, always right)!

In other news, our second prenatal exam is tomorrow morning.  I’m counting down the minutes.

It’s a good thing that writing this post killed about 4 hours (of work time).  Oops!

11w3d baby animal costumes

I’m obsessed with these baby animal costumes by Tom Arma.  Aren’t they adorable?!!?

There’s a very good chance that Baby Z is going to come straight out of my womb and into a monkey costume.  When we got Henry, one of deals I made with J was that I would never put our dog in a costume.  Well, I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m making no such deal with Baby Z!   I may put our baby in an animal costume every day of the year except Halloween, when Baby Z can dress up as a “normal baby”.

*rub hands with glee*

11w2d when the cat is away…

Dear Baby Z,

Your Dad went to Atlanta this weekend to visit your grandmother, which can only mean one thing…FREEDOM!  No one to nag me to take my prenatal vitamins, no one to monitor that I’m eating enough fruit, no one shoving broccoli down my throat.  We can do whatever we want!

So your Mom did laundry, cleaned out her closet (because sadly, you’re growing too big for Mommy to fit comfortably in her clothes anymore), watched Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (a movie your Dad would never be caught dead watching with us), took Henry to get groomed, vacuumed the whole apartment, ate a box of Cheez-Its, and played Angry Birds until 1 in the morning.

Okay – so we didn’t exactly walk on the wild side, but we sure had fun!

Except this morning, Daddy sent us an email that simply said, “I miss you and baby and Henry.”

That’s the thing about your Dad – sometimes when you think you can enjoy your life more without him, he says something that reminds you how much you like having him around – nagging and all.

Your Dad and I met almost five years ago at Central Park Zoo, where his former law firm was throwing a fancy summer party for all the lawyers (this was before the economy took a dive in 2008), and Mom was crashing the party with her friend Sarah, who had just joined your Dad’s law firm.  Dad and Mom were introduced to each other near the penguin exhibit, and your Dad made a series of jokes in poor taste (something you’ll learn that he does quite often – you get used to it), and Mommy wasn’t too impressed by what she heard and saw.  So we didn’t see each other again until a few weeks later, when surprisingly, I ran into your Dad again at my 26th birthday party.  Your Dad, not one to take a hint, decided to crash Mom’s party with at least 8 of his friends (some of whom are your honorary uncles today).  Mom wasn’t too pleased.

Another six months passed, and because Mom was recently single at the time, Mom’s friend Sarah decided to play matchmaker.  She set Mom up with a guy from her law firm, and it was none other than your old man Dad.  I will never forget our first date – because it was a total disaster.  Your Dad took me to a pretty cheesy bar near NYU – let’s put it this way, there were university students in this bar writing papers on the their laptops.  Not exactly an ideal place for a first date.  Afterwards, instead of going to dinner, your Dad took me to a yet another bar where the floors were sticky and there were paper confetti sticking to, I mean adorning, the ceiling.

Maybe it was all the wine and beer I drank that night (without dinner), but sometime during the course of the night, I started to have a pretty good time.  For one, I found out that your Dad is incredibly smart.  He was valedictorian of his high school (and got a perfect 1600 on his SATs,  your Dad’s mom often likes to remind me), went to Harvard College, got his degree in Computer Science (this should explain why all we have so many computers and assorted random gadgets in our home), worked as a management consultant for a while before deciding to go to law school (your Grandma told me he studied for his LSATs during a five hour flight from San Francisco to New York – and aced the test), and joined one of the top law firms in the entire world as a corporate lawyer by age 25.  Not too shabby, right?  Your Mom was/is a sucker for smart men.

But more importantly, I found out on our first date that your Dad is also humble, honest, sweet, funny (don’t tell him I said this or the tasteless penguin jokes might make a reappearance), and…more-than-slightly awkward around women.  He was so nervous on our first date that he kept talking and talking and talking…only some of which made any sense.  He also let me win at darts – if you know about your Dad’s competitive streak, this was possibly the grandest romantic gesture that he’s ever made (and the one and only time your Dad has ever let me win at anything on purpose).

But what truly convinced me that your Dad was a keeper on that first date five years ago was when, at the end of the evening, after your Dad put me in a cab home (with an awkward hug goodnight), I realized that I had left my ear muffs at one of the bars we were at – except I had no idea which one.  I sent a text to your Dad asking him if he had my ear muffs, but unfortunately, he didn’t and he was also already on his way home in a cab.

I put the ear muffs out of my mind until two days later, when your Dad called to ask me out again – this time, for dinner (finally).

When I showed up at the restaurant, your Dad had my ear muffs with him. He had gone back to each bar that night and searched until he found it.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Or for another letter.

Your Dad and I don’t always get along.  Sometimes we quibble over the most ridiculous things – such as who is the better Scrabble player (me, clearly).  We don’t always enjoy the same movies, or read the same books, or enjoy doing the same things.  But your Mom likes to think that we agree on the things that matter.  We both love sleeping in on weekends, eating spicy food until we sweat, and bickering over board games.  We love taking long hikes and traveling around the world.  We love snuggling on the couch.  We love holding hands and aimlessly walking around foreign cities.  We love playing with our dog Henry.

But most of all, we love you.

Baby Z, you have one pretty awesome Dad.  If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years with him, it’s that your Dad is the most patient and kind man that I’ve ever met (because believe it or not, Mom can be pretty difficult at times).  And I know that if you ever lose your favorite toy or your favorite ear muffs, your Dad would hunt to the end of the world to find it for you.

Because that’s just the kind of guy he is.

Just try to remember that when he makes you eat your vegetables or tells you its time for a bath.  Or forces you to attend his alma mater.

We can’t wait for him to come home.

Love,
Mom

11w0d to test or not to test?

Baby’s now the size of a plum!

The end of the first trimester marks an important step for your baby-to-be. All of her major body systems are in place. In her digestive system, her small intestine is no longer entwined with the umbilical cord, but instead is tucked neatly within the abdomen. Her nervous system continues to develop, and her brain’s structure is fully formed. Many of her organs are starting to work on their own, too. For instance, her thyroid begins to secrete hormones. In your 13th week of pregnancy, she’s no longer considered an embryo, but instead graduates into a fetus.  She’s already looking more and more like the baby you’re probably imagining—she even has tiny fingernails.

(Source: The Bump and BabyZone)

I can’t believe that I am almost at the end of my first trimester.  One more week and Baby Z will officially graduate from an embryo to a fetus!  J and I have been waiting for this coveted 12th week mark to start telling people about my pregnancy, since at 12th weeks, the risk for miscarriage drops significantly.  For now though, we’re still holding off until our end of first trimester appointment next Wednesday, when we can see our baby’s heartbeat again.  We can’t wait!

One of the things J and I have been discussing lately is whether we want to do a CVS test at 12 weeks.  CVS, or chorionic villus sampling, is a prenatal test that is used to detect birth defects, genetic diseases, and other problems during pregnancy. During the test, a small sample of cells (called chorionic villi) is taken from the placenta where it attaches to the wall of the uterus.   According to WebMD, CVS can help identify such chromosomal problems as Down syndrome or other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell anemia.

The benefit of CVS is that it’s considered to be 98% accurate in the diagnosis of chromosomal defects. The procedure also identifies the sex of the baby (we’ll be able to find out already if we’re having a boy or a girl!), so it can identify disorders that are linked to one sex.  The downside to CVS is that it has a higher risk for miscarriage and a rare risk of defects in the baby’s limbs…both of which are very, very scary to us.

We’ve been talking to our friends who have had children recently, and there seems to be a 50/50 among our crew of pals who have had the procedure.   Those who did do a CVS all live in New York City and went to the same OB who specializes in CVS testing and is considered the BEST in the country in safely conducting these tests.  If we were to do a CVS, we would definitely go to her too.

Still, J and I aren’t sure if we want to take this risk with Baby Z, or whether we want to wait until 16 weeks to do an amniocentesis (amnio), which tests for the same things as CVS and has a lower risk for miscarriage.

Definitely lots to consider.  We’re planning to discuss it with our doctor next Wednesday – which can’t come soon enough!