Prenatal education -Week 2

Since we have another couple weeks to go before the next sonogram, things have been kind of boring and uneventful. The baby is increasing its kicks lately but its still quite intermittant. There are even days when the baby doesn’t seem to kick at all. Or it could be my wife just not feeling it or asleep when its happening.

Today is the begining of the second week for the BabyPlus thing. Basically it sounds the same as it did yesterday but just a tad quicker in tempo. As far as the timely kicking 45 minutes into the lesson goes, it seemed to have stopped a few days ago. Perhaps the baby has gotten use to the racket and sleeps through the whole lesson now. Its still quite interesting and I am still curious to see if any good comes out of this.

So, does Baby Plus REALLY work?

It’s been 5 days since we started using Baby Plus. My wife has been using it pretty religiously since Saturday, although there were a couple of times when I had to remind her. I’ve asked my wife to let me know everytime time the baby kicks, and I have noticed that it has been becoming more and more frequent. I think this is naturally the right time for the kicking to happen, as opposed to an influence from Baby Plus. Sorry no credit given here…

While Baby Plus is turned on, the baby remains relatively quite and inactive through the lesson. However, we’ve both noticed that the baby kicks at about the 45 to 50 minute mark almost everytime. Could this mean something? Maybe the baby has developed a sense of when the lesson is about to end and gives us a little tap to tell us? Or it could be just coincindence? I guess that’s one of the reasons why this thing is so successful. There is really no way to prove or disprove that it’s working or not working, so when something a bit out of the ordinary happens, one tends to think (believe) that perhaps its an influence from BabyPlus.

Baby Plus and Its Effect on Adults

As mentioned previously, the audio patterns that Baby Plus is emitting is rather cyclic and boring. One can even say that its quite annoying at times. If the lessons where shorter, say about 30 to 35 minutes instead of an hour, it may be somewhat bearable. But to sit through an hour of it twice a day, everyday for the next 18 or more weeks can drive anyone nuts. Luckily for me, I can simply leave the room if it gets to be too much. But since its strapped on to her belly, my wife has to sit through the whole thing. She’s even admitted that she is getting tired of the same cyclic sounds over and over again. But lately at nights, she’s been falling asleep in the middle of it. I just try to tune it out by watching TV or doing other things. Kind of makes one wonder if the baby is going nuts as well.

Thumping and pinging

Last Saturday marked the 18th week. At 18 weeks, the bones inside of the ear have hardened, and the part of the brain that is able process audio singles in now online. In short, the baby now can hear what’s going on the inside and outside of the womb. Although there hasn’t been any huge changes, the baby’s activity has been increasing quite a bit. My wife has been reporting an intermittent kick here and there, so this may be a response to audio stimulation.

With that it mind, it seemed like a good opportunity to whip out the BabyPlus. I am still highly skeptical about this thing, but it doesn’t seem to hurt the baby. And although it is expensive for what it is, its not something we have to take out a loan to buy, an it could be easily resold when we are done.

My initial impressions:

We switched the gadget on when it first arrived in the mail to hear what it sounded like. And after hearing the first few “lessons” which are adjusted by a little button on the top of the device, it only raised more skeptisism on my part. All it really seems to do is make rhythmic thumping and pinging sounds. Changing the lessons, which there are 18 in total, didn’t seem to do much other than increase the tempo of the thumping and pinging. Hmm, is this thing for real or is it just another internet gimmick?

With neither of us expecting too much from this thing, my wife began lesson one last Saturday, which started as a real slow rhythmic pattern of 4 sounds. The pattern is in a “thump!, ping!, thump!, thump!”, which lasts approximately one hour. It’s pretty loud; when my wife was downstairs in the living room, I could hear it from the upstairs bedroom. I can’t imagine anyone using this thing outside of their home.

So what’s the verdict? Giving this this thing the benefit of the doubt, I’d say its still too early to tell. However, my wife said that she can feel more activity when she is using Baby Plus. Is this good or bad? Does this mean that the product is working or is it just coincidence? Well so far I can’t answer any of these questions, but we will continue to use it and see if there are any changes. Of course, there is no actual way of proving this thing actually worked even ater the baby is born. If the baby turns out to be a very well-mannered and intelligent child, one can always argue that Baby Plus had nothing to do with the outcome and that the child is naturally well-mannered and intelligent. However, I guess if the child turns out to have poor behavior, or doesn’t do all the things that the product claims it can do, we can argue that the product doesn’t work and that its all a hoax. Time will tell.

Mummifying mommy

For the last few days, my wife has been using the belly support she received at the Suitengu shrine a weeks ago. It looks very similar to an obi used on Japanese Kimono’s, but its really nothing more than a very long cotton bandage that is wrapped around the mothers belly to add extra support to the back.

At first, it looked as if wouldn’t do much, but the wife swears by it. She says that every since she started wearing it, her back has been hurting a lot less. So for that last few nights, I have been wrapping my wife like a mummy to make her feel more confortable.

How to make one:

1. You will need a long sheet of cotton material approximately 4 to 6 inches wide and 12 to 14 feet long. (polyester or any other synthestic material is fine as long as it strong, and has very little or no elasticity). It should be thicker than a bandage, but thinner than canvas -similar the texture of a thick hankerchief.

2. As illustrated below, start the wrap by placing the cloth just below the belly button. The end of the cloth should be pointed in a slight downward angle.

3. Wrap the cloth around the back of the waste. Try to keep the cloth comfortably firm and tight, and free from slack. Keyword being: “comfortably”

4. Cross with the starting end so that you have formed an “X” mark below the belly button. Again this should feel comfortably firm so that the back is firmly supported.

5. Here is the important part: before wrapping the cloth around the back again, fold it once upwards in a complimenting angle, so that the cloth is straight when going around the back. The key is to keep everything firm and tight. Repeat this, and move up about a quarter to a half an inch each with each passing so that you have a nice even layers, until you run out of cloth.

6. When done, you can hold the support in place with either a safety pin, or by simply firmly tucking the end of cloth in with the bottom layers. The support should be just below the belly button, but don’t worry if it covers it.


So, is it a Boy or a Girl?

Yesterday, we went to the ladies clinic to have our regular scheduled ultrasound exam. I was hoping that by this week, either the doctor or the technician would be able to tell us whether the baby will be a girl or a boy.

During the exam, the baby was very active (which is a good thing). It shows that the baby’s growth is coming along smoothly. We were even able to verify that the baby has five fingers on each hand. We were also able to see the baby’s face for the first time. But since the baby is still only at 17 weeks, the baby’s face and body were still very skeletal and thin. By week 20 (which is our next scheduled exam) the baby should look more closer to the way it will look at the time of birth, and more its facial features will be defined.

As for the sex of the baby, it still remains a mystery. The technician did try to see what the baby may be by using the 2D untrasound shot to focus in on the baby’s bottom, but it was still too difficult to tell. Probably by week 20, it will be a bit easier to tell (hopefully).

Being the impatient person that I am, I did some of my own research using the the photo stills I received from yesterday’s exam to try to determine the sex of the baby. There are some sites on the web that tell how you you can determine the sex of the baby and what to look for.

Here are some pics of what an ultrasound of a girl would look like (as seen from the bottom):

Picture of the labia as seen from underneath the baby. This is not our baby by the way, but a picture of what a baby girl looks like on an ultrasound still shot. This is a picture of the labia.

Another picture Here is another shot of what a girl would look like on an ultrasound. The two little dots are the baby’s labia.

This is a boy. In contrast, this is what a boy would look like on a ultrasound. The little dot on the right is the baby’s penis.

Another boy shotHere is another shot of a boy. You can clearly see that the little object between his legs is a penis.

With this is mind, I studied our baby’s pictures for hours trying to determine whether its a boy or a girl. According to many sources, the testicles of a male fetus do not descend and become visible until at least the 32nd week or later. So with that in mind, I know that its too soon to see testicles. Here is what our baby’s ultrasound still looks like:

So, is it a boy or a girl?What your looking at is a picture of the baby as seen from the bottom (almost in a sitting position). The baby’s genitles have been circled. This shot can be seen between 2:04 and 2:07 in the video.

Just based on this one photo, I suspect that our baby will be a girl. But of course this could just be wishful thinking on my part. Often times, in this ultrasounds, the baby’s penis could be hidden, and an absence of a penis doesn’t always mean that the baby will be a girl. So it’s still a big unknown so far. The ultrasound technician told us that they will more likely be able to tell after the 20th week.

So for know, it will still have to be left to speculation, but I do welcome any comments and opinions (expert or amatuer) as to what the sex might be.

Lastly, here is the video of the ultrasound taken last night.

16 weeks down, 24 more to go.

Yesterday, we went to the hospital to get the results of the triple screen test we did last week. According to the doctor, a person of my wife’s age has a 1 in 189 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome. That in itself sounds like a pretty small number. But according to a lot of medical journals, 1 in189 is still significantly high and a triple screen test is recommended.

What a triple screen test does is, it not only factors the age of the mother, but it also factors in the the level of pregancy hormones that are present in the mother’s blood. Although its not a hundred percent accurate, it does give a good idea of the probability of having a child with some birth defect.

With all of the factors in place, or results were really good. We went from having a 1 in 189 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome to a 1 in 1779 chance, which is significantly small. Although there are no guarantees, it does take a lot of worries away. We also got a negative probability for Spina Bifida, so we are pretty happy with the results.

When we got home, we found the Baby Plus prenatal education device in the mailbox. We put batteries in it to see what this thing is all about, and as expected, it’s a noise maker that makes a sounds that sound like a rhythmic heartbeat. Oh well, no harm in tryin it …I guess.

The pregnancy is in its 16th week this week and we are scheduled for an sonogram at the end of the week. If things are good, we might be able to find out the sex of the baby this week. I certainly hope to know, because the wait is killing me.

Starting to show at 16 weeks
A picture of the wife’s belly at 16 weeks and 1 day.