Recap for Blog 36 – Already eight weeks in: When Zani learns that our eyes and ears fire up our thinking brain, while touch, smell and taste spur us on to action, she remembers how she fell for Jake. Of course, Jake doesn’t mind being reminded of the matter!
Jake, the foetus and I go for our second appointment with midwife Miriam. She checks my weight, wee (to determine how my body is adapting to pregnancy) and blood pressure. Fortunately, all is well. She feels around my abdomen to establish the top of my uterus and announces that it shows that Baby’s growth is on par. She uses a heartbeat device and Jake and I are ecstatic to hear Baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It’s alive! And I swear there is a tear in Jake’s eye.
Behind that rugged exterior I love so much, he’s such a softie!
Miriam reminds us, though, that despite all the check-ups and medical exams and ticking off of progress charts and that kind of thing, it is important for us to remember that I am not ill, and that pregnancy is not a medical condition. Pregnancy is a perfectly natural process and a very emotional and personal experience for a couple, she says. She encourages us to enjoy every opportunity that it offers us to get to know each other even more intimately and to make good choices for the baby’s sake.
To celebrate this important milestone in our pregnancy and Baby’s development, we decide to treat ourselves to lunch at the Two Tarts. It has been a little more than two months since I last saw or even spoke to Vee, but she gives me just one glance and…
“How far?” she asks, with a knowing smile.
“Gosh! How d’you know?”
“You’re glowing, sweetie! Just glowing.”
Then I get all teary and Vee gets all teary and we both go scrambling among the tables for serviettes.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” grins Jake. “Let’s order lunch, because if the two of you get started it will be dinner before I get something to eat, or a word in edgewise.”
We laugh and settle at what has become ‘our’ table under a tree, and Vee wastes no time taking our order and zipping back to the kitchen.
It is great to be back, great to be sharing this special place with Jake again. And, in fact, sharing Vee with him too. He realises what Vee has come to mean to me, and is happy that I have waited till we are together to share our exciting news with her.
It isn’t long before Vee comes scurrying back, and while we tuck in Vee sneaks into one of the empty seats at our table.
“So! How are you?”
“I’m great,” says Jake before I can respond, “but Zani takes a bit of strain every now and again. Pressure at work’s intense and, try as she may, she can’t seem to reduce the workload.”
“And that puts some strain on you too, right? When she gets home she probably just drops off the planet, leaving you to your own devices?”
Jake laughs, putting his hand to his mouth lest he spits his lunch across the table.
“Yup! That’s pretty much the way it is. How did you know?”
Vee reaches over and touches his arm with a knowing giggle.
“But it’s fine,” he continues. “It really is. We’ve done our homework and I know it comes with the territory. Zani does wake up after a while and then really makes an effort with dinner – path to a man’s heart and all that, you know!”
“I feel like such a wimp at times, but it seems to be getting a little better now. I’m already eight weeks in, Vee.”
“Then you must have been pregnant the last time you were here!”
“You’re right – I probably was! Only I didn’t have a clue.”
“Aw, that’s just wonderful! Congratulations, you two! What do the future grandparents say?”
“Just to be safe,” says Jake, “we’ve decided not to tell them till we’ve passed the 12-week line.”
Vee nods. “That’s wise. What’s happening with your little one at the moment?”
Jake takes the lead. “Baby has just passed the dividing line between being an embryo and a foetus and is about 40 millimetres long, I think. Baby also has an upper lip and nostrils. The inner ear is developing and with it the ability to move and because that part of the ear is right next to the hearing apparatus, a part of the hearing apparatus is developing too. The outer ear is also developing and has started to move to the side of the head, but for the moment the ear is still just a flap. The outer ear is only fully formed at 20 weeks.”
Vee’s eyes are as big as saucers. “My word, Jake! I’m impressed. I wasn’t expecting a biology lesson. You guys really have been doing your homework. That’s amazing.”
“Oh, Vee. It’s so interesting – we seem to be spending all our free time reading up about Baby. I can’t believe all of this is happening. And the eyes, Vee. The eyes. The little eyes are still set far apart, but they’ve started to move closer to the centre of the face and have even become pigmented. The little shoulders are the shape of an adult’s, and the arms and fingers, legs and toes are becoming more defined. Even the muscles in the teeny-weenie neck and body have begun to contract and relax!”
“Oh, come on! You two are like medical students! I don’t know what to say.”
Jake takes his serviette and wipes his mouth. “Can you believe, Vee, that in only 50 days our baby has developed from one cell to millions of cells – how, is a mystery!”
“God works in mysterious ways, Jake. Don’t we know it? Right, Zani?”
And I know exactly what she means. I lean over and take her hand in mine. “We know all too well, Vee. We know.”
Vee dabs at her eye with a serviette. “Do you know if it is a girl or a boy yet?” she asks to change the subject.
“No,” says Jake. “At the moment the external sex organs are similar, but internally very different. At this stage it’s nearly impossible to tell if it’s a boy or a girl.”
“You know what saddens me,” I add. “It is only about now – at around eight weeks – that most pregnancies are confirmed, and by now all the vital organs have already been formed and if Mom and Dad have been unaware that there’s a baby on the way until now, they could just party on. Think of the ill effects!”
“And that, Vee,” smiles Jake, “is why I’m so darn proud of my clever wife. She’s the one who made me aware of preconceptual care – without it, who knows what could have happened!”
“I agree! You’ve married well, Jake!” And she gives his hand a squeeze.
By now, I can see Jake has had enough of baby talk. He is anxious to get going: a braai at one of his cycling buddies’ place. Luckily for me some of them are parents themselves, so the wives will probably understand if I just drop off during the conversation. What amazes me is how much easier I find it to be with other people these days. Is it due to the lost baggage, the hormones, the fact that we have more in common now that I am pregnant? I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I enjoy the new me.