The term rainbow baby refers to a baby born after a previous pregnancy or infant loss. The tears you cry when you lose your baby are the rain, and the new baby is the sun rising to offer new warmth and joy . . . and where sun meets rain, you have a rainbow. Miran is definitely our rainbow baby, and it's no accident that his tickers (top and bottom of blog) are both rainbow themed. Goodness knows we have had so much sadness and sorrow since losing our little John back in January, but Miran has brought us such joy already, and the sun is peeping through the clouds now . . .
Another week down, only 11 more to go until Miran is full term . . . here’s what his development looks like this week:
• Sometime this week, his eyes will open for the first time. • Alveoli (air sacks) are rapidly developing in his lungs. By the end of the week, he may even be able to breathe on his own. (He would already be able to breathe with medical intervention.) • Brainwaves are detectable, which means his mind is actually processing his experiences now. • He can recognize familiar voices and sounds. • His sense of touch is now well developed. • He weighs around 2 lbs. (probably a bit more, based on his weight at 24.5 weeks). • He measures about 9.5 inches from head to rump, or about 15 inches total from head to toe. • He is putting on more body fat, and his skin is becoming less red and transparent. • If born this week, he would have around an 85% chance of survival.
Meanwhile, I am going to try to enjoy my final week of bed rest before returning to work on January 5th.
This is your first Christmas (sort of). I hope you come to look forward to and treasure this holiday as much as I always have and that it dots your childhood with magical, memorable experiences. More importantly, I hope that what people often call the "true meaning" of Christmas is something you will come to feel deeply, not just on Christmas, but throughout your life. May you always know a sense of internal peace and know that you are loved, by your family and by God.
This is a bittersweet day for me. You see, at this time last year, I still had your big brother with me. I had lots of dreams for him, and I spent a lot of time imagining what this day would be like with him here, as a baby. I miss him very much.
But Miran, I no longer wish to undo the past. I am at peace with the fact that he was meant to be our baby in heaven, and you were meant to be our baby on earth, keeping us up at night! I would not go back now or change what happened, because I wouldn't trade you for anything.
Miran, someday you'll read this, and I want you to know that your daddy and I love you so much and have from the very minute we knew you were on your way. We wish you a Merry Christmas, and we look forward to many more very happy Christmases with you. I hope it becomes your favorite time of year.
It looks like Miran had his first bout of hiccups today. I felt this gentle rhythmic tapping on the left side for about 5 minutes, and from everything I've heard/read, that means he has the hiccups. Fetal hiccups occur when the baby is practicing breathing/swallowing, so it's a sign that he's maturing and preparing for life outside the womb. Keep up the good work, Miran!
On a separate note, my glucose tolerance test (to check for gestational diabetes) results came back normal, so the nurse joked on the phone that I can have that extra piece of cake at Christmas. Also, she reconfirmed that my thyroid levels are all normal, which was comforting. So I have the comfort of knowing that I am not currently diabetic or hypothyroid, two conditions that commonly occur in pregnancy (even if the woman doesn't normally have them). Great news.
So I went in for an appointment today to check everything and make sure it's okay for me to travel tomorrow. I was looking good, Miran was looking good (heart-rate 155), and my thyroid blood test came back normal. I also took the 1-hour glucose tolerance test and will get the results tomorrow. Best of all, I got a great 3D shot of Miran's face! So tomorrow we head down to Maryland for Christmas . . .
Miran is now 25 weeks! Here is a run-down on his development at this stage:
• He is fully formed. All internal organs and systems are in place and just need to continue maturing. By the end of the week, he will probably weigh over 2 lbs.
• He looks just as he will look at birth, only smaller. His head and body are in proportion, and his facial features are developed. He can make facial expressions, such as squinting and frowning. Sometime this week, his eyes will open.
• He has eyebrows, eyelashes, and fingernails/toenails.
• The brain cells that involve conscious thought are rapidly developing. He is beginning to be able to remember things and to learn from experience.
• He can hear sounds and recognize familiar voices. He may be startled by loud noises or intrigued by someone talking to him through my belly. (No matter how much he has been kicking, he is always still whenever Kieryn is talking to him.)
• He can distinguish light and dark.
• He has voluntary control of his movement and can suck his thumb, etc. (At his 20 week ultrasound, we saw him sucking his forefinger.) He will have already developed preferred sleeping positions and may even already be right or left-handed.
• He has now developed a sleeping/waking pattern similar to the one he will have as a newborn.
• If born this week, he would have about a 67% chance of survival.
• In just 12 weeks, he will be considered full-term!
I've been feeling Miran kick since 15 weeks, and from about 18/19 weeks it's been very consistent. He is a very active baby! Right now he's head down, so I feel little fists and hands down low and big, strong kicks up high. At night, when I sleep on my side, it sometimes feels like he's moved into a sideways position, head-butting me on one side and kicking the other. Some of the kicks are so strong they're startling, and almost (but not quite) painful. I love feeling him move and knowing he's in there, safe and strong.
I am starting this blog as a way to share my thoughts and experiences in pregnancy with friends and family, and for Miran to read someday and learn about his beginnings! In a few months, it will become a place to view pictures of Miran and to track his growth and development through babyhood and beyond.
It is only now, at 24 weeks and 4 days pregnant, that I feel emotionally comfortable doing this. Miran's big brother, John, was born prematurely (21.5 weeks) and died on January 12, 2008. This pregnancy has been frought with anxiety, but I am now feeling more optimistic and positive going forward. I just feel in my heart that little Miran will come home safely!