The Gill Family Webpage

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Two down, one to go

Depending on which book/website you read, week 28 is either the last week of the 2nd trimester or the first week of the 3rd trimester. Either way, we're in week 28 with at least 12 weeks to go!!

Baby Zuzu is getting some brain power this week. What once was a smooth surface is now getting all the bumps and grooves that are the hallmark of human brains. The folds in the brain create increased brain area that allow for all the many brain cells that lead to human's superior intelligence above all animals. Not even the chimpanzee, our closest ancestor phylogenetically speaking, has as much brain real estate as we do. Go Zuzu!

Good news - I passed an important test at our doctor appointment yesterday. I do not have gestational diabetes! This condition affects about 4% of pregnant women, making it the most common health problem during pregnancy. I was one of the few patients that passed that test yesterday - some other mommies-to-be weren't so lucky. To prepare I had to drink this orange glucose drink. The taste has been described, and quite aptly so, as tasting like flat orange soda. I didn't think it'd be too bad as I like orange soda, but after drinking half of the bottle, I started to feel a little sick. I think it was due to the sugar rushing straight to my brain! Zuzu became quite active after I drank the stuff too - guess that's why you're not supposed to give kids sugar!

Last night we attended our first childbirth education class. There were about 8 other couples there so it's a small class. It's taught by a lady who has been doing this for years. She's very easy to listen to and seems to know quite a bit. It was mostly an introductory class - we covered anatomy, healthy eating during pregnancy (boy am I sick of hearing/reading about this!), how to time contractions, and what to bring to the hospital when you go into labor. The class is held right next to the nursery so now we know where to go when it's time! We also peaked into the nursery after class. I think Everett's biggest impression was how pink/red newborns are!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It will be the best of times

We're at the point now where counting down the weeks until birth (13 weeks, give or take) seems more logical than counting up from conception (27 weeks, 3 days). Thinking about this whole pregnancy adventure in these terms is weird. It's a short 13 weeks, give or take, until the most beautiful and terrifying moment in our lives happens.

Up until now, we've busied ourselves with getting the nursery ready, researching and registering for some stuff the baby will need, and taking care of myself - and by extension, the fetus who lives inside me - by eating healthy, taking prenatal vitamins, and always keeping our doctor appointments. We've looked into how our health insurance coverage will change, what my work will cover as far as maternity leave, and have looked into and budgeted for childcare after I return to work.

That's a lot to do and I'm proud that we've come so far in 27 weeks and 3 days. But what happens in about 13 weeks, give or take?

The baby won't notice if the nursery looks all cute and painted with stars and UFOs. The baby won't care about his/her health care coverage. The baby is clueless about who will watch him/her after I return to work. In fact, the baby doesn't even understand the concept of work or any of the other things we've done to prepare for his/her imminent arrival. All baby Zuzu will care about is being loved, feeling protected, whether or not his/her diaper is wet, and when is dinner. To be honest, those are the things that scare me most.

Babies are wonderful and sometimes frustrating (and frustrated) little people. They cry because they don't know how else to express their needs. It's not their fault. Their little language apparatuses and skills are not formed until some time well after birth. This is why some parents teach their children sign language. But that isn't a magical panacea that will allow you to know exactly what your baby is needing at all times. How will I know what Zuzu needs? And more importantly, how will I know what to give him/her to satisfy those needs?

I guess I'm just afraid of the unknown. But what I do know is this:

I know I'll be a good Mom. I know Everett will be a good Dad. I know we'll get through the hurdles as they arise one at a time. Feeding times, bed times, bath times, sad times, and happy times. We'll have good days and bad days and all sorts of days in between. But no matter what kind of day we'll have, we'll still have each other at the end of each and every long day. And that's comforting.

We'll see you in 13 weeks, give or take, Zuzu. Take care little one, get fat and strong, and get ready to use those crying muscles. We're here for you.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I've got you, Zuzu, under my skin

Week 26 brings so much for the little munchkin, including the ability to open his/her eyes, if only for a brief moment. The retinas (thin layers of cells on the back of each eye which detect light and allow us to see) are being formed as I type this. Zuzu's ears and hearing have developed as well. And clearly, Zuzu's motor skills are coming along. The baby is kicking more often than not these days - and with more than one appendage at a time. Sometimes it feels as though someone's fingers are touching my stomach from the inside, one finger at a time, pinky to thumb. Other times, it feels as though there are 16 babies in there, all punching away!

We've decided to have some fun with the little one. Everett has been teaching the baby to count. He says "one" loudly into my belly region and then pokes my belly once; then he says "two" loudly and pokes my belly twice. He read in a book that if you do this enough, eventually Zuzu will respond with the appropriate number of kicks through the belly when you say "one" or "two". As an experimental psychologist, I wonder about what the reinforcement could be in order to get this type of behavior from the fetus. As an expectant Mom, I'm looking forward to seeing whether or not it will work! If it does, will we have one heck of a party trick!

Lately, I've been singing to Zuzu every chance I get. The songs I sing are chosen for the simple reason that I know the words. I'm horrible at remembering lyrics. So far my repertoire includes the ABCs, an Italian lullaby that was sung to my sisters and me when we were young (the simple lyrics translated into English are "sleep, sleep, sleep, soon your father will be home"), "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid.

From what I read, babies are pretty good at distinguishing their Mom's voice from other voices and they are able to recognize music or sounds that were heard in utero soon after they are born. Further, these sounds heard in utero serve to calm the baby when they first enter this (comparatively) dark and cold world because they are so familiar. The way I see it, my singing now is good insurance for later. Because you know, when I sing about blue birds flying over the rainbow to Zuzu later, s/he will magically become calm and will start to give me little gas smiles.

Yup, that's the way it's going to work...right?

Monday, February 05, 2007

I see you!

On Friday night Everett and I did what any cool couple of cats would do on a Friday night in a city with a crazy nightlife scene: we watched my belly.

When we got home after dinner with friends, Zuzu was very active. Everett glanced down at my belly, and there s/he was - poking out of my belly! At first I couldn't see the movement as it was underneath my big belly, but I adjusted positions and then I saw it: a little body part going from my belly button to the left side of my stomach! My belly is alive!

Some may ask, "Is it weird to see something crawling underneath your skin?" A legitimate question for sure, just ask Sigourney Weaver. And you know what? No, it's not weird. It's kinda cool. Truth be told, I was a little creeped out at week 10 when we saw the beginnings of Zuzu on the ultrasound. That was odd seeing that a little tadpole/alien looking thing inside me. And it was growing, living off of my resources, and making me sick. I think that's when I came up with calling Zuzu a parasite. But as I read along with my baby's progress and started imaging a little person inside of me instead of some amorphous thing, it became less odd. And at week 21, the ultrasound revealed a little baby profile. I had a baby in me. And it was then I truly realized the enormity of the situation: I was going to be a Mommy and Everett was going to be a Daddy. We were forever going to be parents.