Many of the pregnancy books that I have read and the articles I’ve skimmed through on the internet talk of a “pregnancy glow” around this time. As I look up from my laptop and eye my wife tentatively, I see nothing of this fabled glow. Instead, my wide-eyed gaze lingers upon the hormonal snarl that is the mother of my child as she wipes away another chocolate goatee, caused by a poor bar of Galaxy that didn’t know what hit it.
I’m being unfair: you see, we are moving house next week, and so a lot of our time has been spent endlessly packing our life belongings into flimsy boxes, and this has left Jess exhausted. On top of this, she is recovering from a urine infection, which is very common during pregnancy, on account of hormone changes affecting the urinary tract and slowing down the flow of urine – ironic, seeing as she is peeing like a horse about a million times a day. It seems to have resolved itself without antibiotics, which would normally be prescribed before the infection spread to the kidneys and caused possible pregnancy complications such as a smaller than usual child or early labour (a risk that arises later on in pregnancy).
Having skimmed through what I’ve written so far, it sounds like I’m being very mean about my wife. I would take a quick estimate that about 100% of what I’ve penned relating to her makes her out to be some kind of large-breasted, hormonal banshee. She’s not (apart from the large breasts bit). She’s an incredibly good mother to Isaac, and a cracking wife. She works very hard for the family and throws herself into everything she does, which often means she finds it difficult just to take a few moments to slob out in front of the TV. The thing is, we (as men) may find it easy to snigger when our partner cries at an episode of The Tweenies, but I think I can safely say that if I had an actual living person growing inside my abdomen I would be constantly freaking out, fearing an Alien-like scenario where one day I’ll wake up and this baby will burst out of my chest and scurry around the room, making high-pitched whiny noises.
You’re in your twelfth week, which means you’re out of the ‘danger zone’, and now the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically. If all has gone well, your baby’s limbs and organs have all formed and now it’s just a case of growth and development for the remaining months before it dives out of your partner’s birth canal in a haze of mucous and fury. You’re also at the end of your first three months, also known as a trimester, which makes it sound like you should be sitting an exam right about now.
Your baby is now about eight centimetres in length, and is growing fast. The placenta which feeds it is totally formed, but will only be working fully in another month or so. If your mrs has experienced morning sickness, this should now begin to fade away, which leaves you with a bit more free time which was previously taken up with holding back hair from the toilet pan as your better half throws 3D yawns at the porcelain. The eyelids are now formed and will not open until about seven months in order to protect the sensitive optic nerves. Reflexes are now developed, your baby moves more frequently, and may even suck it’s thumb. The digestive system is now capable of making contractions that pushes food through the bowels, and is also capable of absorbing sugar.
The good news is this: the second trimester is meant to be the best out of the three. This is because the uterus has shifted forward slightly and will not be pressing on your mrs’ bladder, so the toilet trips should become less frequent (don’t tell her that this comes back with a vengeance during the third trimester!). She may actually have the glow which is sadly lacking during our pregnancy, due to the fact that her sebaceous glands are secreting more oil, giving her skin a nice sheen. However, headaches may be more common due to the increased blood volume – as well as light headedness – so if there are any concerns just give your midwife a call and talk things through.
You’ll probably have a dating scan during this week, where for most people they will see their child for the first time. Don’t worry if you’re both nervous in the build-up to the scan; it’s perfectly normal. In times like this your mind goes a bit crazy and you start to convince yourself that your baby has five heads and three feet, that they won’t find anything at all, or that they’ll come across something random, like a lightbulb.
The sonographer we had during this scan was excellent. The worst thing about most sonographers is that for the first few seconds of the ultrasound, when the picture on the monitor is a swirling mass of black and grey, they will say nothing; during which, you’re both invariably thinking “Umm, is there a problem?” and getting yourselves even more stressed.
The good thing about our sonographer is that she told us that she was going to take a look around before she took a close look at the baby, which she did. Then, suddenly, Baby Wakeling came into view. Now, before we’d gone into the scan, I was thinking about funny things I could put into this book; but all of that went out of the window when I saw the little guy or girl on the screen. You know now as well as I do that it is one of the most surreal experiences ever. It was asleep when we had our scan, but every now and again it rubbed it’s face or gave a little kick. You see everything; arms, legs, hands, feet, right down to little fingers, thumbs and toes, and it’s one of the most amazing things ever. You basically just sit there, open-mouthed, as your tongue gets drier and drier.
The sonographer will take a few measurements and give you an exact due date, and an precise date of how far gone you are – in our case, 12 weeks and 4 days. The scan also confirmed that a cyst that showed up on our earlier visit has disappeared. If a cyst shows up on your mrs’ scan, don’t be too alarmed; they’re very common during pregnancy and often just shrivel up and die.
Moving house and having a baby, eh? Beware, though: stress can affect your baby, so try and make sure if there is something going on that’s heaping stress on you and your mrs that you take most of the burden. Tests have proved that foetuses are receptive to the mother’s stress hormones and this can adversely impact their brain and development. This may explain why I have no common sense, or why I’m so pants at football. Either that, or I’m inbred.