Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pregnancy Update: 20 Weeks and Counting!

This post is a couple of weeks late because I started writing it and thought I already posted it, but just realized it was still in my drafts! As I post this, we're really 23 weeks, but I have nothing new to report, so here is my 20-wk update that I forgot to post!

We’ve made it half-way! Yes, we’re 20-weeks pregnant and all is well so far! We had our 20-week doctor appointment and it appears that everything is on track. At the 20-week appt, you typically have an ultrasound. During this ultrasound, they’re looking at several things – some measurements and checkpoints, if you will. Most often, you as the patient don’t even realize all that they’re checking! Some of what they look at is: cervical length, placenta, amnionic fluid levels, measurements of the baby's head, abdomen and femur to get an estimated fetal age and weight, fetal organ survey (urinary bladder, 2 kidneys, stomach bubble, fetal cord insertion, 4 chambered heart, outflow tracts of the heart, diaphragm, aorta and aortic arch), nasal bone, both eye lenses, structures of the brain, the spine, the extremities (both arms/legs), fetal heart rate, and 3 vessel umbilical cord.

Of course the fun part is seeing your baby! Our ultrasound was 3-D and it’s really pretty amazing how much you can see! The baby still looks a little alien-like and the images aren’t the clearest, but it is incredible to see the shape of the baby, to see him or her moving around in there. Our baby was mostly peeking out from behind the placenta, with one arm up over his or her head much of the time. It was so fun to little waving hands and arms and legs!

At 20 weeks, the average baby measures 6.46 inches crown to rump or 10.8 inches crown to heel and weighs about 10.58 ounces. (note - before 20 weeks, the baby's length is measured crown to rump and after 20 weeks, it's measured crown to heel, so at the 20-week mark, we have both measurements)

This ultrasound is when some people choose to find out and share the gender of their baby, but we didn’t find out with Gavin and we really love the extra surprise on the day the baby is born! It’s so fun to make those phone calls exclaiming “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”

We have a short list of both girl and boy names that we like. There are two or three of each, but Cliff has already crossed out two of my favorites. Although we aren’t going to publish our list of names yet, I’ll give you some insight. We like two syllable names and we’re drawn to names that sound good with Gavin and end in “n”, but don’t necessarily rhyme. I don’t love any of our family names (that haven’t already been used) so much that I want to use them for first names, but I do love some of them for middle names and there are some that are really meaningful to me. I also don’t think that we would use the girl name that we had picked out when we were expecting Gavin – partly because it has become incredibly popular in the last four years and partly because in some odd way, it feels like we already used it, even though it was only a possibility that we didn’t end up needing since we had a boy. As it turns out, the name “Gavin” has also become really popular. When we named Gavin, I knew of the name only from the singer Gavin DeGraw, but there are three-year-old Gavins everywhere! When we were at the zoo last week, there were two other kids about his size and age named Gavin that were making their way through the zoo right along with us, so it caught our attention every time we heard another mom call her own boy.

With Gavin we were nearly 100% sure of his name if he was going to be a boy and just as sure of our girl name if he turned out to be a girl. With this baby, we’re not sure… we kind of need to meet the baby before we can decide for sure.

As far as preparing for baby, I honestly don’t feel like we have done much of any prep yet. I went through Gavin’s baby clothes once and pared down quite a bit. He had (and still has) a LOT of clothes! I love to find great deals on adorable clothes and still find some of my favorites at garage sales and thrift stores like Goodwill. I'm actually usually overwhelmed by the amount of clothes in Gavin's dresser and closet and feel like I go through and pare down his clothes all the time and there are still a ton!

So, I did weed out the baby clothes that I didn't absolutely love, but I still feel like there are a LOT of baby clothes down in my basement in bins. When my sister had her little boy just a year after Gavin was born, we started sending all of his clothes her way, but of course when she gave them back, there were even more because she had added the clothes that they bought or were given for their little boy Collin.

We had also sent all of our gear that we were finished with like car seats, bath tubs, toys, feeding tools, baby swings, etc. and a lot of the gear was then passed on to my other sister when her little girl was born nine months after Collin. My sister and I recently went through all of the gear and divided it up so that she brought back to us what we had bought for Gavin and would need again for this baby or what she knew she didn't need. We both need a few things still, but not too much. Her baby is due a month before ours, so we'll have a better idea then if there is anything remaining that we missed when talking through our lists of baby gear!

As for decorating a baby's room, etc., we don't really have any spare rooms right now, so the baby will be in our room for the first few months and then I think the baby may have to share Gavin's room with him until we have a chance to do some work in the basement. We do plan to add two bedrooms and a bathroom in the basement and finish the whole thing off someday, but we will most likely end up doing it in pieces. The bedrooms and bathroom probably need to come first so the kids can be moved downstairs. Then the room upstairs that is now Gavin's room will eventually become a guest bedroom again and will probably also house some toys / games, etc.
That's about it for prep for this baby so far! I've washed and folded a few tiny onesies and sleepers that are gender-neutral so that I know I have something for the baby to wear when we need it, and I have sorted through most of the gear and feel we have most of what we need. We have some rearranging to do in our bedroom in order to get the pack 'n' play and changing table in there, which will include mounting our TV on the wall instead of having it sit on the dresser where it is now. We also need to build or buy a shelving system for Gavin's closet because many of his toys and games are currently stored on the changing table in his closet. We also need to accommodate for another person's clothing in that closet, so we'll need to be really thoughtful about how we plan out the shelving. I think I pretty much have it figured out, but just need to get going on it.

We still have some time, as we're only half-way through this pregnancy, but it is starting to feel like it's coming up quickly!

Here is the weekly update from BabyCenter for more information on a typical baby's fetal development at 20 weeks:

Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)

He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).

Congratulations! You've hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy. The top of your uterus is about level with your belly button, and you've likely gained around 10 pounds. Expect to gain another pound or so each week from now on. (If you started your pregnancy underweight, you may need to gain a bit more; if you were overweight, perhaps a bit less.) Make sure you're getting enough iron, a mineral that's used primarily to make hemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen).

During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to keep up with your expanding blood volume, as well as for your growing baby and the placenta. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron for pregnant women. Poultry (especially the dark meat) also contains iron. Some common non-meat sources of iron include legumes, soy-based products, spinach, prune juice, raisins, and iron-fortified cereals.

If you haven't already signed up for a childbirth education class, you may want to look into one, especially if you're a first-timer. A structured class will help prepare you and your partner for the rigors of labor and delivery. Most hospitals and birth centers offer classes, either as weekly meetings or as a single intensive, one-day session. Many communities have independent instructors as well. Ask your friends, family members, or caregiver for recommendations.

You can find a chart with all of the weekly average fetal heights and weights at:

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