Today is a good day: I’m at the 24 week stage – or, as I call it in my head, the ‘our babies are now viable’ stage. Hooray!
You might recall that I was told by one of the obstetricians that I’d be looking like somebody at full term with a singleton pregnancy when I reached 24 weeks. Judge for yourselves…
Every evening, when I’m brushing my teeth in the bathroom and wearing nothing but my Aah Bra and knickers, Tristan and I marvel at the size of my bump. It’s like a turtle’s shell on my front. And until recently I didn’t really look any different from behind, but now my bump has become completely round, giving me a bit of a ‘love handle’ effect at the size. NICE!
Something else, while I remember: you might recall me posting about the girl in our antenatal class who had one twin’s waters break at 22 weeks. I have been staying in touch with her via email; she had her two girls by c-section at 25 weeks. They’re in NICU and will be for quite some time, but they’re doing reasonably well, which is excellent news. Hopefully they won’t have long term problems. Can you imagine if I had these babies next week? What a terrifying thought.
This week’s update comes from Huggies. Here’s what is going on with the babies:
Your little baby weighs around 680 grams this week and from the top of its head to its heels is about 30 cms long. It is forming footprints and fingerprints, unique markers which will reflect its own DNA as different from anyone else’s.
Your baby is gaining around 170grams/week now, around the same amount it will gain in the first few months after birth. Fat, muscle and growing bones account for most of their weight gain.
Your baby has eyelashes and eyebrows growing this week but they still need to compete for space on that hairy little face. Don’t fret. All that excess hair will be reabsorbed by the time you reach your due date, just leaving hair where it should be. There is an unwritten rule that it is always boys who have the longest eyelashes never the girls. No, it’s not fair.
Your baby has some control now over its senses. Its sight, taste, touch, hearing and taste are all maturing so that by birth, it will be able to respond to feeding stimulus.
Babies who are born at 24 weeks need specialist care and support in order to survive. However, improved neonatal care has meant the long term health effects on premature babies are much less than they once were.
I’m glad to hear that the excess facial hair will be reabsorbed – nobody wants to give birth two two monkey babies (aside from monkey mothers, obviously).
One thing I know for sure: our babies have been doing some weight training recently. I’m now feeling quite a lot of movement from both of them, which is both strange and awesome. I’ll feel a flutter, put my hand on the appropriate place, and be rewarded with an almighty kick. Our boy’s movements are still in the lower bump region (and he still likes to tap-dance on my bladder), whereas our girl’s movements have been mostly around the right hand rib region.
Many of these kicks are hefty enough to feel from the outside, but so far Tristan hasn’t managed to feel any – as soon as he puts his hand on my bump, both babies seem to doze off. Of course, I’m hoping that his magical ‘make the babies go to sleep’ abilities will continue after the sprogs are born…
Here’s a babycenter picture of fraternal twins at 24 weeks:
My two were lying transverse at the last scan, which might explain why my bump is expanding both outwards and sideways.
And here’s what’s going on with me (a lot, apparently):
You could be finding yourself experiencing dry and irritated eyes this week. It may be worse if you wear glasses or contact lenses. Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears will help. Remember to wear your sunglasses when you’re out in the sun. Any with an EPF (Eye Protection Factor) of 10 are fine.
I haven’t noticed this so far, but this might also be because I’m only wearing my contact lenses a couple of times each week.
Stretch marks could start forming on your tummy, thighs, breasts or hips around this time. They occur when the collagen fibres in the middle layer of skin (the dermis) stretch and tear to accommodate an enlarging shape and body size. Unfortunately, there are no creams which actually seep through the external layer of skin to the underlying dermis, no matter what’s printed on the label. If you want to, massage your tummy with some emollient cream or one with Vitamin E included. The best time to do this is after showering, when your skin is still warm, damp and the pores more open.
Boo! Yes, I’m starting to see the beginning of stretch marks around my tummy button. I am a beauty product sceptic from way back and already knew that there is no product on the planet powerful enough to influence this – whether you develop stretch marks is largely hereditary, and I already knew that I’d end up with them (my mother and both sisters did as well). It’s a bit of a bummer, but oh well: my bikini-wearing days were largely behind me already! I will, however, be happy if they can be limited to my tummy, and not end up on my boobs, thighs, hips or anywhere else…
You may be noticing small pimple like spots on your areolas. These are called Montgomery’s Tubercles and they will secrete an oily lubricant which will help to nourish your nipples and keep them supple. Try not to be too vigorous with the soap when you shower and don’t think you need to use pimple cream to help them clear up.
Nope, haven’t noticed this at all.
Don’t be alarmed if you feel like you need to swallow all the time. Excess saliva is a common condition at 24 weeks of pregnancy and although it can be messy and irritating, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Try chewing gum, sucking on mints and carrying around a bunch of tissues to absorb the excess if you need to.
I’m not walking around and drooling like a cocker spaniel, but I’m definitely noticing excessive drool when I sleep – in fact, I’ve woken up a couple of times with a wet pillow (and a real “ewww!” look on my face).
More headaches hanging around this week which could be impacting on your work or general concentration. Look for triggers which bring them on. For many women this is chocolate, caffeine, being out in the bright light, not drinking enough water or having a low blood sugar level from not eating frequently enough. If lying down and resting doesn’t help, check with your doctor or pharmacist about what medications are safe for you to take.
Nope, haven’t noticed this either. I am continuing to avoid chocolate and caffeine, and the lights in our living room (where I spend most of my indoors time) are not bright. And when I’m outside I wear sunglasses. I have been trying to drink a lot, largely because I am always thirsty.
Feeling connected with your baby yet? You may find yourself rubbing your tummy subconsciously, dreaming of how your baby will look and even smiling silently to yourself when you think about it.
I’ve felt a great deal more connected with the babies after we found out what they were. I rub my tummy a lot, and I chat away to them (which cracks Tristan up). And I can’t wait to see what they look like!
Many pregnant couples make up a nickname for their baby while it is still in the uterus. Be careful though! Names started in all innocence, can stick for years and you could find yourself having to explain yourself in time to come.
We’ve just been calling them ‘the babies’, BUT (and this is exciting): we think we’ve finally chosen their names. Hurrah! We didn’t have too much difficulty with our girl’s name, as we had lots of nice names to choose from, but our boy’s name was a lot more challenging (and thank goodness we aren’t having two boys – we really didn’t have many suitable options).
However, we’re not telling anybody our name choices until the babies arrive. This is driving my poor mother mad.
God, Huggies has a lot to say this week! Also:
You could find yourself feeling more emotional than you usually are, with situations or stories really affecting you. Watching the news can bring on a fresh outbreak of tears, not to mention walking past a new baby in its pram. Started staring at other pregnant women yet? Comparing your shape and size, wondering if this is her first baby or not or just pondering on her story. Pregnancy is like an exclusive club. All this interest in others could strike you as being very strange, particularly if you normally just focus on your own life and experiences.
I have definitely been quite easily upset by various things in the past few months, but I don’t think it’s been too different to how I am usually – I cry pretty easily if sad things happen to people I know, or if I read or watch something sad. In fact, does anybody know if there’s a correlation between having bad PMT and having big pregnancy mood swings? I have never had PMT, and I also haven’t had mood swings during the past few months (really, I haven’t – ask Tristan, he’ll vouch for it).
My only staring at other pregnant women is usually out of envy – women with bumps as big as mine tend to be nearing the end of the road, whereas I know that I’ve got 13 or 14 more weeks of expansion ahead of me.
I cracked up at the last sentence in that Huggies quote – doesn’t it read like “this might be weird if you’re usually a bit of a selfish cow who doesn’t care about anybody but yourself”?
If you’ve always prided yourself on being very disciplined about your eating and exercise habits, being 24 weeks pregnant may come as a rude shock. You’re hungry, tired and feeling as if you really couldn’t be bothered keeping up your usual routines. Guess what? You don’t have to. Give yourself a break and ease into what should be a reasonably relaxing time. Pregnancy is not a performance based state, nor can it be graded into high, average or low achievement. Trying to intellectualise your symptoms or why you are feeling as you do will just sap valuable energy from what should be an easy time. So keep a supply of treats in the pantry and reach for them if you’re feeling low. Look for other ways to boost yourself too. Lovely shower products, new underwear – which fits! Some jewellery or a new book can all lift a flagging spirit.
Having a cute little dog is an excellent way to stick to an exercise routine, regardless of how you’re feeling – Tui and I were dropped off at the beach at 7.15 this morning, played some fetch (her, not me), and then took a leisurely 30 minute uphill stroll home. I’m not always feeling energetic enough to do that much exercise, but I’m trying to get out and about when I do feel like it, and when it’s not raining (this is Auckland in the springtime, after all).
I’m also not too hung up on what I eat, although I still don’t feel like a lot of stuff. My big on-going obsession is milk – I’m having litres of it a day and have become particularly fond of hot milky Milo. And we have recently discovered some delicious cookies in the bakery section of our local supermarket…
I could probably benefit from spending a little more time off my feet, but I’m conscious of the fact that, in a few weeks’ time, I really won’t have much choice but to stay sofa-bound a lot, so I really don’t want to give in to it too early.
I’m all in favour of buying lovely treats (of course), but most of my shopping seems to be baby-related…