Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another Monster Friend

CONGRATULATIONS to Heather and Steve on the birth of their baby boy, Jace Owen!!! He took a long time coming, but it was totally worth it! More info and photos here.

Monster Update: Week 14

Head to bottom, the Monster is about 3 1/2 inches long — about the length of a lemon (pictured) — and weighs about 1 1/2 ounces. Its body is growing faster than its proportionally giant head, which now sits upon a more well-defined neck. By the end of this week, the arms will have lengthened and will be in proportion to the rest of the body. (The Monster's legs still have some growing to do, though.) It's starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair all over its body (called lanugo). The Monster's liver starts secreting bile this week (not gross at all), a sign that it's already functioning properly, and the spleen starts contributing to the production of red blood cells. The Monster is also producing and discharging urine into the amniotic fluid, a normal process that it'll keep up until birth. Stef still can't feel the Monster's movements, but we're told the hands and feet (which are now half an inch long) are more flexible and active. Thanks to brain impulses, little facial muscles are getting a workout as the Monster squints, frowns, and grimaces. It can grasp now, too, and it may be able to suck its thumb.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Monster Friend

CONGRATULATIONS to Randy and Bethany (and big sister/photographer Kylie) on the birth of their baby girl, Sophie Sutton!!! More info and pictures here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Monster Update: Week 13

The Monster is only about 3 inches long crown to rump — roughly the size of a jumbo shrimp (pictured) — and weighs just about an ounce. Despite the small proportions, there's a fully formed baby inside Stef's womb now. Much more proportional than it was a few weeks ago, its head is now only about a third the size of its body. Tiny, unique fingerprints are already in place. Kidneys and urinary tract are functional, and it's starting to urinate out the amniotic fluid it's been swallowing. That's not gross at all!

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another Monster Friend

CONGRATULATIONS to Sabrina (Stef's cousin) and Ed on the birth of their baby girl, Ariel Lynn!!!

Whew! It's been quite a day so far.

Monster's First Friend

CONGRATULATIONS to Lance and Cheryl on the birth of their baby boy, Reed Jeremy! More info and photos here.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Monster Update: Week 12

The Monster has hit the 2-inch mark (about the size of a lime (pictured)) and weighs half an ounce. Its face is beginning to look more human. The eyes, which started out on the sides of its head, have moved closer together on its face, and its ears are near their final positions on the sides of the head. The Tummy Monster's intestines, which have grown so rapidly that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into the abdominal cavity about now. Its kidneys are secreting urine into its bladder. Nerve cells have been multiplying rapidly, and synapses (neurological pathways in the brain) are forming. The Monster may have acquired more reflexes by now, including sucking, and it'll even squirm if we prod Stef's abdomen, though she still won't be able to feel the Monster's movement for several weeks.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Doctor VIsit: 02 (The Beat Goes On!)

There are absolutely no words that I could use to describe the pride and joy I felt this afternoon hearing the Monster's heartbeat. Sure, it was really weird being at someone else's doctor's appointment, and, yes, I was a little freaked out watching another person look at my wife's naked parts. But all that sort of melted away at the very first wet-sounding thump coming out of Stef's tummy. Seriously, though, if I'm this messed up about an internal, automatic, uncontrollable bodily function, how emotional am I gonna' be when the kid poops for the first time?

Oh, and and big, fat "Hello!" to everyone who has decided to drop by our unborn child's blog. We're very glad we can finally discuss everything out in the open-like with y'all. Of course, the Monster will now probably be all we talk about for the next few years, but at least it's better than law stuff, right?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

License To Ill

Stef was feeling pretty lousy this past week or so, as in: nausea. This was the onset of the dreaded "morning sickness", a reaction to the increased hormones in the body that more than half of all pregnant women get (typically between the 6th and 12th weeks of pregnancy). Of course, when Stef would get sick to her stomach, it would happen all-of-a-sudden and almost never in the morning (misnomer!). Actually, we found that it happened most right when we got home from work. This was particularly bad timing, though, because it was messing with her dinner time and her already-screwy appetite (which is very small but very frequent right now), so we took the advice of one of the books I had read and Stef started driving home each day. This seemed to do the trick; although she still had an upset stomach, she was able to keep her food down and even eat dinner. Score one for book-learnin'!

Despite this temporary victory, the being nauseous was really frustrating Stef, and my reassuring her that "[m]any health care providers think morning sickness is a good sign because it means the placenta is developing well" (or, as the saying goes: "the sicker the mom, the healthier the baby") wasn't really helping. What did end up really helping was talking to Fran, and hearing from her that everything Stef was experiencing was normal. More importantly, it was important for Stef to know that the sick part would go away soon and that she'd start being hungry again soon. Voracious, even. So we've got that to look forward to.

Monster Update: Week 11

Our fig-sized (pictured) Monster is now fully formed — measuring 1 1/2 inches long and weighing in at a quarter of an ounce. Its skin is still transparent, allowing many of its blood vessels to show through. Some of the Monster's bones are beginning to harden, and tiny toothbuds are starting to appear under its gums. The Monster's fingers and toes have separated, and it may soon be able to open and close its fists. The Monster is already busy kicking and stretching, and its tiny movements are so fluid they look like water ballet. These movements will increase as its body grows and becomes more developed and functional. As its diaphragm develops, the Monster may also start to get the hiccups. Because it's still so small, though, Stef won't be able to feel any of these workouts or intrauterine gulps until sometime between weeks 16 and 20.

Text adapted from Baby Center.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Monster Update: Week 10

The Monster is no longer an embryo! Though it's barely the size of a kumquat (pictured) — just an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, the Monster now has completed the most critical portion of its development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in its body rapidly grow and mature. The Monster's vital organs — the liver, kidney, intestines, brain, and lungs — are now in place and starting to function (although they'll continue to develop throughout the pregnancy). The Monster's liver continues to make blood cells, and the yolk sac, which previously supplied these cells, is no longer needed and begins to disappear.

During the next three weeks, the Monster's length will more than double to nearly 3 inches. Its head is proportionately smaller now than it was a few weeks ago, but the head is still almost half the length of the Monster's entire body. Its forehead temporarily bulges with its developing brain (!) and sits high on its head; it will later recede to give the Monster a more human appearance. Each day, more minute details — including tiny fingernails, toenails, and peach-fuzz hair — start to appear on the Monster's body. Its fingers are now completely separated; its arms bend at the elbow and curve slightly; its hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over its heart; its legs are lengthening; and its feet may be long enough to meet in front of its body. The Monster is busily swallowing amniotic fluid and kicking its legs.

Text adapted from Baby Center.