Pregnancy and birth

24 weeks

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…

10 thoughts on “24 weeks

  1. I’m always desperate to know baby names, yet disappointed when parents reveal them prior to birth. I think that’s a nice thing to keep to yourselves while we all agitate with frustration at not knowing!

    My sister-in-law said whole milk tasted like ice cream to her in her pregnancies. It tastes amazing to me while not pregnant, so I can only imagine.

    13 or 14 more weeks…jeepers. Are you able to get into a comfortable position to sleep at night?

    1. My experience with baby name discussions is that people seem to be much more likely to share their opinions on name options, or tell you that they went to school with a girl called Esmeralda or whatever, if you have the conversations before the baby/babies arrive, whereas everybody will just say what a lovely name you’ve chosen (regardless of what they really think!) if you don’t reveal it until afterwards. And it’s nice to have one baby-related thing that is just ours. Our big challenge with the boy’s name has been our fondness for reasonably traditional names – there aren’t that many nice ones around, and so many people we know well have already used names that we might have chosen. I swear, if we’d had two boys they could have ended up Thing One and Thing Two…

      On the milk front, I’m sticking to trim for now, but I did drink whole milk when I was trying to conceive and it really was delicious!

      Sleeping is becoming a little more challenging, mainly because I have to wake up and physically haul myself from one side to the other a few times each night. But as long as I can drop off to sleep again fairly quickly, it’s not too bad. I do miss being able to sleep flat on my back, though! (it’s not good for you or the babies when you’re pregnant)

      1. My friend Kelly and her husband wanted to keep their firstborn son’s name a secret for those exact reasons. Our mutual best friend, Karri, was desperate to guess. All she knew was that it started with a B. After days of bad guesses, she said to them, “UGH, it’s not BRIGHAM, is it?” At which Kelly promptly burst into tears, as that was indeed the name they’d chosen. Karri simply had bad associations with it due to a kid we grew up with, and she loved little Brig as soon as he was born (nearly 12 years ago now!). She knew better than to try the guessing game when number two (Brooks) was on his way.

  2. I’m hanging out for 24 weeks on Saturday. There’s someting about knowing the baby is viable that will mean I can stop holding my breath quite so much. It’s kind of like passing the last pregnancy milestone before birth itself. You’re carrying so high! I am envious, I have this big round spare tire down low, a legacy of losing so much weight prior to conception and having an empty tummy I think. And oh I dream of only being as ‘big’ as you at my full term!

    We have our baby name and luckily all my family think it’s lovely. It feels extra special knowing that ‘it’ has become ‘she’ and now she is ‘…’. I did mention it to someone who isn’t family though and she made a joke about it – a lovely joke but still…definitely would only share it with people I trust with it.

    1. How lovely that you’ve got your name all sorted! Man, our boy’s name was a mission to figure out. If anybody I know inadvertently uses the same name between now and our birth I think I’m going to just have to stick with what I’ve selected – I can’t face trying to find another one! I was even having dreams about baby names!!

      And I’m carrying high, low and sideways! A couple of friends who have had/are having twins have shared their end-of-pregnancy photos with me today… I’m rapidly realising that I’m soon going to look back at my current shape and realise that I was positively waif-like!

  3. Happy Viability week!! I hit 20 weeks tomorrow and confess, I’m just waiting for an all-clear from the anomaly scan (happening a week today) and to hit 24 weeks so I can breath a few sighs of relief. I have no reason for concern, I think it’s just the mental comfort of knowing Bumper has a fighting chance should anything untoward happen from that point onwards.
    Ditto on the names front – we are keeping both options quiet to avoid the “oh no, don’t call them that!” from opinionated friends and family and it is nice having something just for the two of you to discuss.
    Really pleased to hear that lady from your NCT class gave birth to both twins ok and will keep my fingers crossed for the little ones (they must be TINY!). Does beg the question whether they came out unduly hairy though if only a week on from now?

    1. Ooh – good point! They might be little monkey babies…

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve got a couple of big milestones coming – it is such a big relief to get that analomy scan out of the way and get the all-clear. Are you still intending to not find out what you’re having?

  4. Yep, it’s still the plan to have a surprise but that doesn’t stop all and sundry pointing at my emerging bump and declaring “Boy!” or “Girl!” with total authority! Gender guessing seems to be a national pastime and people are really surprised that we don’t want to know either way.
    The bit in the Huggies week breakdown about talking to other pregnant women made me laugh – I’ve been doing that for the last 2 months! I stopped a pregnant woman in Clapham Junction station because I thought the dress she was wearing was from Mamas and Papas and I’d considered getting it and wanted an honest assessment of it’s merits. I also sat next to a 30+ weeks lady on the bus the other day and had a discussion about just buying larger sized clothes rather than specific maternity wear and we both agreed that H&M was the place to go.

    1. You are so disciplined! I’m in awe. Even if I’d started out intending not to find out, I know that I would have crumbled at the first opportunity.

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