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18 Weeks (Catching Up)

30 April 2007

I meant to at least get around to posting my 16 week belly pic and progress entry before we left on our trip, but there just wasn’t enough time! When you see the latest belly pic (I’ll post one every two weeks now) you’ll know that Blueberry has been up to some serious growing!

This week, Blueberry is the size of a Gerber daisy (hey, I don’t18 Weeks come up with these examples, I just relay them).

Your baby is up to 5.5 ounces and 5.5 inches long! Now that all of the organs have developed the baby’s body will focus on gaining weight and size. That means Blueberry has tripled in weight and not quite doubled in length in just three weeks. Wow.

Your baby’s brain is growing rapidly. By this stage, all of the major areas have been differentiated. The cortical layers, which govern specific brain functions, are beginning to form. The fetus may exhibit signs of a primitive body language in utero, such as recoiling when the needle for the amniocentesis comes too close for comfort.

Baby’s limbs are lengthening, and at last, body length is catching up to head size. Bones are still malleable but are beginning to ossify. Tiny air sacs called alveoli begin to form in lungs and the vocal chords are fully formed. The baby goes through the motions of crying but without air, doesn’t yet make a sound.

Your baby’s digestive system is starting to produce meconium, its first fecal matter (gross but true!). Vernix (a white-ish protective material) forms on baby’s skin with the lanugo (soft, lightly pigmented hair covering the body and limbs); both serving to protect your baby’s skin during the months in water. A little girl will have all the eggs inside her ovaries that she will need for her entire life. Little boys begin to develop the prostate gland.

Because the baby’s inner ear has formed its bones and nerve endings from the brain have formed, hearing has become very acute. Your baby can hear your heartbeat and the blood moving through the umbilical cord as well as your voice. They will even try to cover their ears if they hear a loud sound! Baby becomes sensitive to light now — if I were to bask my belly in the sun, the baby would now see a bright red glow through the uterine walls.

On my end of things… my uterus is now about the size of a cantaloupe. I officially “popped” a couple of days in to our trip (more on the trip later!) and now there is no mistaking I’m pregnant. Not that I was ever that graceful to begin with, but as my uterus shifts and grows I apparently get to enjoy the adjustment of my center of gravity, which will make me even more clumsy.

“Baby brain” (if you don’t know what that is, ask me), which had gone away for a little while at the start of the second trimester, has crept back over the past week. Today was a particularly good episode… Tim was driving the Insight (a stick shift) and we stopped near his dad’s car to put a parking pass in it before leaving the church parking lot. Tim put the car in neutral while he got out. As soon as he got back in, I looked down and noticed that the parking brake was on and wondered why… “Did you know that you were driving with the emergency brake on?” I asked, as I reached down and released the lever. Once we started rolling backwards, I realized that I forgot he had put the brake on to get out of the car and had I noticed the “problem” before he got back in the car, I probably would have rolled us backwards in to another car. Baby brain, and napping, are the best reasons for me to just not drive as much as possible right now!

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