Recap for Blog 40 – At last! : Zani is starting to feel herself again, and revels in the developmental milestones involved in Week 11 and Week 12. She also understands why it feels as if she has an internal heater …
In that special moment I find myself wishing the image could be clearer, until I realise that the image is clear: It is my eyes swimming in tears of joy, awe, wonder and gratitude that blur everything I see on the screen. Even my big, strong and controlled Jake’s eyes are damp, his chest simply swelling with pride and joy!
The five skull plates have fused sufficiently to form the most beautiful little face, with a raisin-sized nose and the most adorable little lips and rounded little cheeks. The precious eyes have developed more by now and have colour, but are closed. And the neck? The tiny neck seems to move the huge head effortlessly, supported only by the amniotic fluid.
Midwife Miriam explains that the mouth has a tongue with taste buds and 20 little knobs are already lined up in the gums, ready to become teeth. Just as she is telling us this, the baby moves its hand closer to the mouth and we can’t believe what plays out right there on the screen: Baby starts sucking its thumb!
I immediately begin to tear up again, and I see Jake’s hand move up to cup his own mouth. This is not just another developmental stage highlighted by textbooks. This is a living human being who can pull faces and suck a thumb! He or she can actually do things, perform actions.
Miriam says babies love to have their hands close to their faces, because it soothes them. Babies also like to grab hold of the umbilical cord at times and love giving it a squeeze.
“What? But isn’t that dangerous?”
“No, no,” laughs Miriam, “the veins in the umbilical cord are way longer than the umbilical cord itself and twirl inside the cord to prevent the cord from tangling up and the little hand from cutting off the oxygen supply.”
Apparently, the kidneys are already fully functional and release urine into the bladder. The bladder releases sterile urine into the amniotic fluid that Baby drinks and secretes. At this point in Baby’s development, the amniotic fluid flows into and out of the lungs and the diaphragm starts moving in preparation for breathing.
“Can you see if it’s boy or a girl?” Jake is especially keen to find out.
“No, the sexual organs are well developed, but it is still impossible to tell. You’ll have to wait till round about 16 weeks.”
“But the little thing can kick!” He is already seeing Baby in a No. 10 rugby jersey, I think. “Doesn’t it hurt, Zani?”
”No,” I assure him, “I don’t feel a thing.”
Miriam goes on to explain that the baby is still too small, so the kicking would still be very weak and the volume of amniotic fluid absorbs all movement.
“You’ll probably only feel the baby move in six weeks’ time,” she says.
Our time is up, but I could happily have stayed here forever because at last, I could see my baby!
Miriam prints a few of the images for us and puts the rest on a memory stick, and armed with these, we decide to phone our parents. Jake’s parents are overjoyed at the prospect of their first grandchild. My mom says congratulations …
But, truth be told, there is one person I still desperately want to share our news with and I simply can’t put if off a minute longer.