20 Weeks

Dear Baby G,

We have made it to the halfway point! I am so excited and surprised at how fast and uneventful it has been! Our next "big" milestone is 25 weeks. At that point, if for some reason my health took a turn for the worse, you would have a chance at surviving. It's good to know that, but I definitely don't expect that to happen! We are monitored very closely, more so than normal, and that has only worked to our benefit!

This week, your daddy and I were watching a show on the Discovery Health Network called Special Deliveries. This episode just happened to be filmed at OU Medical Center, and my doctor was the one delivering most of the babies throughout the episode. He has treated women with severe risks and complications. It was interesting to see him on TV when we see him every month! I feel re-assured knowing that he is the best at what he does and does it so well that they featured him on a national television show!

Also, last weekend, we experienced our first tornado warning! The storm was so loud with the hail and the wind that I did not hear the tornado siren go off. Our neighbor called our house and told me it had blown, so I put the dogs in the closet in the middle of the house, grabbed a skillet, and took off running to the neighbor's house to get in the basement. The hail was fairly large and was coming down fast, and I paid for it! I had welts immediately and then bruises all over the next day. The most important thing was being safe from a tornado, though, and I managed to make that happen! I'm sure there will be many more experiences. We are considering putting in a tornado shelter at our house. We also had lots of damage to our house -- the windows were broken, and the gutters, roof, and garage doors are all completely ruined. So, we get to go through the wonderful process of getting everything fixed!

You are growing quickly now, and we can't wait to see you at the doctor again. You have been kicking a lot this week, and it makes me smile each time it happens. Hopefully we will soon be able to feel it on the outside, too!


How your baby's growing:
Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)

He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).


19 Weeks

Dear Baby G,

This is about 2 1/2 hours early, but I missed last week, so it all evens out. We have had a very exciting two weeks! First and foremost, you are healthy which is exactly what we had prayed for. Your heartbeat was in the 150's, and you are measuring 5 days ahead. That is perfectly fine and you are doing so well in there! We got to see all of your major organs and even the blood flow in and out of your heart. It was amazing! In the beginning of my pregnancy, we declined the screenings that they offer. We will love you and accept you no matter what, so we figured that there was no reason to undergo those tests. There is not a day we regret that.

We will keep monitoring your heart closely. Babies born to women with lupus are at a slight risk to have neonatal lupus. The chances of that are very slim. Also, a very small percentage of those babies born with neonatal lupus have a heart block. So far everything looks great with you heart! We have faith it is going to stay that way!

We also found out last week that you are a boy! Your daddy and I had made a bet right before we went into the ultrasound room from our exam room. I had a feeling since day one that you were a boy, but I figured it was just wishful thinking. So... I said girl, and he said boy. Luckily for me, we didn't wager anything! There really was never a doubt in my mind that you were a boy. Your daddy was so excited and he still is. The good news is that your daddy will no longer be the only one left to carry on the Gottsch name! I couldn't be happier about that.

This last week we visited some of your family on your daddy's dad's side. We were in Enid and stopped by to visit them and we ended up staying for close to five hours! They are great people and we can't wait for them to meet you! We also went to our family's house in Medford for Easter. You should see all of your things there! I couldn't believe all of the things you have already and we still have 4 1/2 months to go! I had been shopping one night and found a blue onsie that had pictures of tools and said "Daddy's Little Helper" on it. I bought it because I thought it fit perfectly! Well, Sunday while we were at my parent's house, I saw that my mom had bought the same onsie, except in the next size up! It definitely shows that I wasn't the only one thinking that way!

We bought your travel system last week also. We had been looking for a while, and we really liked this one. We had decided to wait and see if you were a boy or girl before purchasing it. That same day, we went after we were at the doctor and bought it! Your daddy put it together last weekend while Matt and Lindsey were at our house. They were also there when we put the crib together! They seem to be around at the wrong times! :) We are closer to choosing your name! We have one that will be used no matter what, but whether it is the first or middle is still up in the air! Your daddy has come up with some pretty silly names, but I'm fairly certain he was just kidding! We have decided on your bedding for your room, and we are ready to start painting as well!

This has gotten pretty long, but since I skipped a week, I suppose I am making up for it! I can't tell you enough how anxious we are to meet you. You are our little blessing that we tried and waited so long for! The fact that I have not had any problems other than the occassional cold (which I have right now) is amazing in itself. We have been so blessed and fortunate! You will be surrounded by unconditional love the minute you enter this world -- something everyone should experience. We love you and thank God for you each and every day!


How your baby's growing:
Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.

Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.


17 Weeks

Dear Baby G,

I am a little late writing this because your daddy and I were gone on Thursday and Friday. Today we have been busy doing things around the house, and most importantly, putting your crib together! We bought your crib and mattress yesterday before we came home. I was just going to look, but your daddy wanted to get it yesterday, so we did! He pokes on my stomach all the time and asks if you're moving around in there and all sorts of other stuff. I think he is excited! :) He doesn't show excitement a lot, so you've made quite an impact already! Anyway, your crib is ready for you, and Wednesday we can get your bedding! I can't believe in only 3 days we will know if you are a boy or girl! I'm ready, but our appointment isn't until 2:30, so I will be anxious all day. Of course, we are anxious to see all your organs and see that you are perfectly healthy. We have faith that you are!

I still can't believe we are almost half-way there. Time is going by so fast! Summer will be here soon, and then at the end of summer, you will grace us with you presence!

How your baby's growing:
Your baby's skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and the umbilical cord — her lifeline to the placenta — is growing stronger and thicker. Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and she's around 5 inches long from head to bottom. She can move her joints, and her sweat glands are starting to develop.