Saturday, October 30, 2010

26 weeks!

It's a big week for Collin as he has passed the 2 pound mark! I've been feeling him move almost constantly, which can be explained by the fact that his living quarters are getting pretty snug. :)

Perhaps most exciting about this week is that Collin's eyelids are no longer fused shut so he's practicing looking and blinking. Apparently if I shine a light on my belly, he will turn to look at it, which means his optic nerve is working! Along with blinking, Collin is learning to recognize voices, so he should know Dad's voice and Mom's voice when he is born. :)

Brain tissue and neurons are developing rapidly, and did you know the brain continues to function at an accelerated level for the first seven to eight years of life? Collin's spine is also getting stronger and more flexible to support his growing body. It is only the length of an adult hand, but contains 150 joints, 33 rings, and about 1,000 ligaments!

Along with all these important developments, Collin is becoming more and more handsome by the day. :) His eyelashes and eyebrows are filling in, his retinas are developing (do you think his eyes will be green or brown?), and his hair is getting longer and thicker. Much to Ryan's dismay, if Collin has a cowlick it will be forming right now. Ryan's fingers are definitely crossed that Collin is cowlick-free. :)

I worked a bit in Collin's room this week, sewing his crib skirt and hanging all the clothes we got from our friends Jim and Machala. Check it out:

Plus, here's the bump progression for months 1-6:

Collin is moving like crazy and I feel good, so we believe everything is going well. We'll see our OB in about a week, and we'll see the perinatologist for another ultrasound in two and a half weeks. Our prayer is that things will have leveled out a bit so there is less cause for concern. It's in our mighty God's hands anyways, so we're leaving it to him. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lay 'Em Down...

When I got into the Jeep after our appointment today, the first thing the radio announcer said was, "Whatever burdens you're carrying with you today, just lay 'em down," which she followed with the song Lay 'Em Down by needtobreathe:

The message was perfectly-timed! :)

We saw a perinatologist (Dr. Betoni) today for a genetic ultrasound designed to measure more, with an eye for making sure everything measures within the normal range. Collin looked great overall and was VERY active, but his kidneys are enlarged and so is the third ventricle in his brain. I also have too much amniotic fluid.

Independently, these three things are not cause for concern. Enlarged kidneys and an enlarged third ventricle are common enough in boys, and polyhydramnios generally just causes discomfort for the mama. However, together they're markers for potential chromosomal disorders - specifically, Down's syndrome, Trisomy 13, and Trisomy 18.

We turned down the option of doing an amniocentesis today. It would identify the presence of a chromosomal disorder, but it could also put me into labor. Knowing that we wouldn't do anything differently (termination is the only "treatment" in the case of a chromosomal disorder), we decided not to do the test.

We'll be seen by Dr. Betoni again in four weeks, and our prayer is that the issues will have resolved themselves in some way so the measurements are closer to the normal range. Even he said, "We'll proceed as though he's developing perfectly, but we'll just monitor him more closely." In four weeks, we'll compare the measurements to determine whether the problems have gotten worse, gotten better, or stayed the same. At that point, we'll make a decision for our next step.

Our God is great, and we have faith that Collin is developing exactly according to plan. :)

For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple pictures of our handsome little man.

Here's his sweet face:

Here's a shot of his perfect-for-playing-soccer foot:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

24 weeks!

At 24 weeks, Collin is over a foot long and starting to pack on some fat! In the next 3 weeks he is supposed to double in weight, to more than 2 pounds. His skin is becoming thicker, more opaque, and taking on a healthy pink glow. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree," plus cells that produce surfactant which will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world.

Collin's inner ears are fully formed, which means he has now developed his sense of balance and he can tell which way is up inside my belly. He still has enough room to flip around, tethered only by the umbilical cord. Speaking of the cord, it contains two arteries, one large vein, and will be about four feet long when Collin is born! Nutrients and oxygen-rich blood travel from the placenta to the fetus through the single large vein, and then the blood returns to the placenta through the two arteries. It's the perfect system to be sure Collin gets what he needs while still keeping my blood separate from his.

Though still very early, Collin is officially considered viable at this point! With our advanced medical technology, Collin would have a good chance of survival if born today. Of course we want him to wait 16 more weeks, but it's still a comforting thought...

Collin's current home is about the size of a soccer ball, which means my baby bump is undeniable (not to mention rock-hard!). My mom and I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy my first maternity clothes, which was a fun time. The pants will take some adjustment, but I'll be happy to have the extra length provided by maternity shirts. :)

We had another ultrasound today and got to see our boy. He was holding both hands up beside his face, looking pretty sweet and cozy. :) Sorry, but we didn't get any printed pictures.

His kidneys are still measuring large, as is the amount of amniotic fluid, so we'll have a more in-depth ultrasound this week. The two things may be related (as in, he's not swallowing enough amniotic fluid), or they may be within the realm of normal but outside what our OB typically sees. Potentially there's nothing to worry about, but it is the specialist's job to make that determination. We're lifting Collin to our God and know that everything will happen as it should. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

23 weeks!

About the size of a loaf of bread, Collin now weighs over a pound and is at least a foot long! As the bones in his inner ear harden, Collin now hears what's happening outside the womb. He's getting used to the routine sounds in his world, and the loud noises that are common now (like Shelby and Kacy barking) shouldn't faze him after he's born. I don't feel kicks too often, but he kicked pretty hard the other night while I was crawling on the floor playing with the girls. I'm pretty sure he was having fun too! :)

Collin's face is now fully formed and his body is basically all in proportion. However, he's still skinny and wrinkly because he has excess skin just ready and waiting to be filled in with baby fat. :) His eyes, eyelids, and eyebrows are fully formed, but the irises still lack pigmentation. Do you think he'll get Ryan's brown eyes or my green eyes?

I continue to feel great! My belly is pretty prominent at this point, but my students still haven't said anything. Do you think it's time I tell them, so they can stop wondering? :) We're headed to South Dakota tomorrow, and we're so excited to have the opportunity to see ALL of our parents and siblings this coming week. I'll be honest -- I'm also so excited to get a little extra sleep!

We have our next appointment with Dr. Russell next Saturday, which will include an ultrasound to re-measure Collin's kidneys. They measured a little big during the last ultrasound (as did everything else!), so they're going to double check that everything is developing normally. We're looking forward to seeing our little man again!!! :)