Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ten fingers and ten toes; one miracle

Did you know that with today's sonogram technology, they can check pretty much EVERY part of a baby's anatomy?  I had no idea just how advanced sonograms had gotten until we went for our 20-week appointment.

They checked our munchkin's four heart chambers to make sure each was working property.  I'm not talking about just looking at a beating heart, I'm talking about measuring and examining ALL FOUR chambers of that heart and seeing each doing its job.  Other notable things we got to see were the baby's eyes and nose bridge, his/her stomach filled with fluid (which means he/she is swallowing fluid and practicing for eating on his/her own in another 18 weeks or so), cranium measurements, both kidneys, the length of the itty bitty leg and arm bones, perfect little footprints with ten toes, the baby's spine and ribs and perfectly formed tailbone... there were other things they looked for but I just can't remember them all.  He/she was very active that day so the ultrasound tech had to kind of work around all the movement -- we've got a feisty one.  At one point the baby had his/her fists up in front of his/her face like a boxer, then he/she stretched.  It was so cute.

The most amazing thing to me was when we got to see our baby's face.  At one point we were looking straight at the face of our child, and the mouth was opening and closing, like a puppet almost.  I really felt like I could see what my baby looks like and that he/she was looking right back at me saying mamamamamama.

I just did a little research and found that baby Griffin right now in his/her development TODAY (I'm 21 weeks and 6 days) is the same age as the most premature baby to ever survive.  Amilia Taylor's mother had to lie to doctors about how far along she was (she told them 23 weeks) so that they wouldn't refuse her care when she was born 21 weeks and 6 days after her conception.  She went home four months after she was born.  Amilia is now two and a half years old and doing great.  Google her for more info and pictures.  I found this story kind of neat and inspiring, especially since today when I looked it up out of pure curiosity, turns out she was born at the exact same point that I am in my pregnancy -- to the day -- coincidence for sure, but still pretty neat.  Another article from 2006 talks about how in the UK, premature babies born before 22 weeks are refused care and that the birth is considered a miscarriage even if the baby is born alive and kicking.  I'm not sure if this is still the case but at the time that was the National Standard in their socialized healthcare system.  I didn't have the emotional energy to look into it further, but it really bummed be out.

The more blogs and articles I read about mommyhood and birth and fetal development the more I am in awe at the MIRACLE of conceiving a child and carrying him/her in the womb until he/she is ready to greet the world.  I feel so lucky that I get to do this.  Every time our little munchkin gives me a swift kick to the belly button or wakes me up in the middle of the night I am reminded that I am not just me right now.

This video is a pretty awesome visualization.  If you've never watched it on TED Talks, it's worth the ten minutes!

Oh and some of you might have noticed my superfluous use of "him/her" and "he/she" throughout this blog -- I want to be grammatically correct and avoid saying "it".  The sex of our little baby will be a surprise to the world when he/she is ready to come out and meet everyone.  (But yes, Dan and I know if it's a boy or a girl... we're trying not to rub it in!)

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