The weeks are flying by, people! Very soon we’ll have finished the first trimester and I’ll be able to go public about the buns in my oven. Actually, we’re going to tell many of our friends next Saturday (the 14th), which will be just before the 12 week mark: we’re having dinner with some friends and it seems like a good chance to tell them, and if we’re telling them then there are a few other good friends that we’ll also want to tell at the same time. So I think we’ll engage in a bit of Skyping that weekend. And then we’ll sing it from the roof tops (via Facebook) in the following week! So exciting – it’s been very difficult to keep such a massive secret, and whenever I’m in touch with any friends and they’re asking how I am and what I’m up to, it’s so weird to neglect to mention the main thing that is on my mind.
Anyway, this week’s baby update comes from the Huggies website:
- Time for the usual size comparison with fruit; this week your baby is the size of a prune or a cumquat.
- Your baby’s fingers and toes are clearly formed by week 10 and they are developing finger and toe nails. Your baby can bend its limbs this week, at its elbows and is able to flex its wrists.
- All of your baby’s vital organs are where they should be by now. For the remainder of the pregnancy, they will continue to mature and develop in preparation for extra-uterine life.
- Your baby’s kidneys are filtering their blood and producing urine this week. They are also secreting digestive juices in their stomach, getting ready for dealing with the amniotic fluid they’ll be swallowing soon.
- If your baby is a boy, his testicles are already doing their thing and producing testosterone, the all important male sex hormone.
- Your baby’s head is still large in proportion to the rest of its body, but from 10 weeks is has a neck and all of the bones in its face are formed. This means that you would be able to see their features much more clearly with an ultrasound at this stage.
- A layer of fine hair known as lanugo is now covering your baby’s body. Their inner and outer ear, tooth buds and eyes are all fully developed.
The website goes on to recommend that I increase my milk consumption to support all that tooth bud development. My milk consumption already rivals that of a greedy calf, so I should be OK.
On Friday I’ve got my antenatal screening blood test – my scan will be in another couple of weeks. Interestingly, there was news coverage about this very issue on TV yesterday: a charity called Saving Down’s has appealed to the International Criminal Court about the screening, on the grounds that it represents discrimination against people with Down Syndrome. The charity’s argument is that the screening is done to enable/encourage people to abort babies with Down Syndrome, and that this amounts to eugenics. The International Criminal Court has responded by agreeing to launch a formal preliminary investigation into the screening programme.
Now, this is obviously a hugely difficult and emotive issue. I can’t imagine choosing to abort a child because of an increased likelihood that they might be born disabled, but then again I can’t imagine choosing to abort a child for any reason – it just isn’t something that I could do. I’m having the screening tests because they are not invasive and because, if there is a chance that one of my children might be disabled, I’d prefer to have the intervening months to prepare myself for the possibility. If my screening results indicate a potential issue I do not intend to take up the option of having further tests – amniocentesis is invasive and can sometimes cause miscarriage, and I am not willing to take that risk, particularly when it won’t influence my decision to continue with my pregnancy.
Supporters of the current screening programme have argued that nobody is forced to participate. This is true, but I have to say that I know that only because I sat down to read the literature I’d been given on the subject: both the midwife and my obstetrician assumed that I would, of course, want to take part, and wrote the referrals for the blood test and the scan without telling me that it was an optional process. My obstetrician brought it up when I saw him last week and went on to say that I’d be referred to amnicentesis if there were any problems with the screening test results. I didn’t bother explaining to him that this won’t happen – I figure that I’ll cross that bridge with him when I come to it!