Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Eleven weeks and counting...

I'm about to embark on the twelfth week of my pregnancy. Apparently there's a lot of growing going on this week so I can expect to be tired. That'll make a change then.

The bean pretty much has all its bits now. I think its fingers and toes might still be slightly webbed (should be fine by the time it's born though) and its eyes remain shut for now as they're still developing, but it's all there and in the right place. One hopes. Not sure about the intestine though. Apparently that begins life outside of the body and gradually moves in. Spooky. Oh and the head is about twice the size of the body which conjures up images of the younger brother in So I Married An Axe Murderer ("That's a huge noggin.... Heed! Shift!... He'll cry himself to sleep tonight on his huge pillow") so I'm hoping that rectifies itself in the coming weeks.

The bean should by now be able to swallow and suck (very useful skills, I'm sure) and move around although apparently it's too small to feel so it must just be gas I'm experiencing. It has ears but can't yet hear so much as sense sounds via vibrations through the skin. I'll hold off on the chit-chat and musical education for now then; or perhaps we'll try a bit of drum 'n' bass. Lesson no. 2: What Not To Like Or At Least What To Play Quietly So You Don't Give Mother a Headache And Make Her Grumpy.

Apparently my uterus might be palpable now so I'll have a go at palping it later on and see. (That just means I should be able to feel it.) I've felt it stretching from time to time over the last couple of weeks. It's a very strange sensation and I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It's not a pain but it's slightly uncomfortable and it's sort of like the feeling you get in your skin when you stretch your tummy whilst doing a back bend, only it's on the inside and you can't make it stop by not doing the back bend anymore. My tummy is getting a bit round. I think that's because I haven't been exercising much but I haven't stopped eating cake or chocolate either (naughty me! I'll probably regret that later). My boobs are round and firm too and pretty huge compared to what they used to be, although you can't tell when I'm wearing my sexy maternity bra, which is probably a good thing. They're not as tender as they were, which is good, but they do sometimes get in the way when I'm in bed.

I have been attempting to do pelvic floor exercises but they're really hard. I find it difficult to isolate the correct muscle and end up pulling my tummy in or clenching my buttocks, which is apparently not how to do it properly. When I finally do manage to find it I can only hold for a second before it spontaneously releases itself and after a few repetitions I have to go to the toilet. I'm really bad at remembering to do them too.

I have my next appointment with the obstetrician on Monday and I've been wondering whether to ask about a nuchal fold translucency scan, which assesses the risk of Down Syndrome. I'm not sure how accurate it is and I think all it can do is say whether or not you have an increased risk of DS. If it turns out there is an increased risk then we'd have the dilemma of deciding whether to go for a more sophisticated, yet invasive test, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, both of which have a risk of miscarriage. In fact, the risk of miscarriage is higher than the risk of Down Syndrome.

My friend who is about the same age as me and expecting a baby this week had the scan but I think the new government may have brought in changes since then which mean you're only automatically offered the scan if you're over 35. Would having one just add extra complications? Do I want to make the decision to have an amniocentesis? I'm pretty sure we would go ahead and have the baby even if it had the syndrome but it would be nice to be forewarned. One of us would probably have to give up work and I can't imagine how it would feel to be handed your baby after the birth and be told it has complications. I'm inclined to think it would be nicer to know beforehand so there's time to get used to the idea and the birth can still be a joyous occasion. Plus, we can warn family and friends rather than giving them good and bad news at the same time. But then, aside from the risks there's the chance that'll it'll take any remaining sense of fun and wonder out of the pregnancy. Toby says he doesn't feel the need to know so it's really just up to me. I'm still young and the chances are fairly low. But still, they're there.

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