Monday, June 30, 2008

30TH JUNE - You are a GIRL!

Hello Emily-Ann!!
Yes, we now know that you are a girl and we are over the moon!!
I had a feeling all along that you were a girl and even thought of you as Emily.
You are the first girl in our family for many years. I have two sons, Patty had Shawn, and Jeff and Gail have got three sons, Richard, Craig and Brian.
How WONDERFUL it will be to have a little girl in our family. When Mark phoned to tell me, I got
quite emotional and could hardly say the words when Finn asked me what was wrong - I was grinning from ear to ear but also tearful! (He hasn't seen me with tears for at least 10 years!)
I collected Patty and we went straight to the baby shop and I bought you all sorts of pink things - little vests, dresses, jackets, baby-grows, leggings, little caps and so on. Patty bought you 100 new born disposable nappies and two lovely baby blankets.
Your mom and dad came to have dinner with us
and showed us the video of the scan. Emily, it was amazing to see you moving about, touching your face with a little hand, to see and hear your heartbeat. The video lasts almost 10 minutes. The radiographer measured your skull and estimated that you are 22 weeks (23 weeks into the pregnancy) and weigh about 470g. She also highlighted a femur and measured it. It was a perfect femur - straight and strong looking. So far there is no sign of OI and we are all so thrilled about that. And then she drew a line and wrote ITS A GIRL and we all laughed and hugged each other.
Photos: Jeff and Gail with Patty, me and Finn.
Below are Richard, Craig and Brian.
Richard, Brian and Craig are your father's cousins so will be your 2nd cousin. They love Mark and I know will love you too. We are really looking forward to welcoming you into the world!
Your Mom still has a cold and is blowing her nose and coughing. You must wonder what all the barking and tummy jerks are all about!
You stay safe and warm where you are and in about 4 months time we will be here waiting for you!
Stay safe little one.
Love you already.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

JUNE 24 - engagement

Hello my darling grand-child,
Yes - this is a picture of your mother and father's hands, with an engagement ring on Tammy's ring finger - they got engaged in Cape Town! They couldn't get to the top of Table Mountain because of the wind and the weather but Mark proposed to Tammy that evening and she accepted and we are so thrilled! I'm sure you are too because it must make you feel more secure knowing that your mother and your father are planning on staying together to care for you.
They are very much in love and are so excited about having you.
I have been thinking of you today because your mother isn't well. She has a sore throat and a cold and was put off work for a few days. She can't take anything stronger than Panado and that is because whatever she takes will filter through to you. I read today that you could be developing a sense of taste and I don't think you would like the taste of Panado anyway!

Today when I was in the Davenport Centre doing some shopping, I looked at baby clothes for the first time. I can't believe how small things are! Tiny little socks and booties, minuscule vests and jackets, 12cm long leggings and little caps like boiled egg cosies. Are you really going to be that small? How big are you now?
22 weeks: According to Baby Centre your mother is now 22 weeks pregnant (or in her 23rd week). The baby now weighs almost 430 grams, measures just over 27 centimetres long from crown to heel, and is proportioned like a new born, albeit a thinner version since her baby fat hasn't yet developed. Although she's getting heavier every day, her skin still appears wrinkled because she needs to gain more weight. The lips are distinct and the eyes are formed, though the iris (the coloured part of the eye) still lacks pigment. The pancreas, essential in the production of hormones, is developing steadily. Even this early, the first signs of teeth appear in the form of tooth buds beneath the gum line. Before you know it, your baby will be born, and soon after, her first teeth will come through. Her hearing is well established and she can make out a distorted version of your voice, the beating of your heart and your stomach rumblings. Loud noises often heard in utero, such as the barking of a dog next door or the roar of a vacuum cleaner, probably won't bother your child when she hears them outside the womb. Some studies seem to indicate that the unborn prefer classical music. In a couple of weeks she will be viable if born prematurely.
You just stay safe and warm where you are little one, and keep growing and developing. You could be delivered in about 4 months time. We are all dying to meet you but we are happy to wait until you are ready. Tammy is going for a scan this week and we might find out if you are an "Emily" or an "Aiden".
Bless you little one,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

JUNE 15TH - 20 weeks

WOW! You are 20 weeks old and your mom says that she can feel you turning and stretching all the time. I drove you and your Mom and Dad to the airport today.
I was so conscious of having a precious cargo that I drove extra slowly. You are flying to Cape Town for a holiday - and guess what?? This is a secret, but I'm sure I can tell you. Mark is going to propose to Tammy - on top of Table Mountain if they can get up there today!! Isn't that wonderful news? I wonder if you can feel the love of those around you? I wonder if you can feel your mother's love when she holds her tummy and your father's love when he lays his hand on her tummy and tries to feel you move? It's quite strange to look at Tammy and realise that she is carrying our grandchild inside her! Isn't that a miracle!?
So, what do you look like now? What development has taken place in the last two weeks?
20 weeks - Foetus may suck on thumb. Extremely rapid brain growth; eyebrows and scalp hair become more visible and foetus blinks more often.
So, are you viable yet? Not quite. Wiki says:
"Viability is defined as the ability of foetuses to survive in the extra uterine environment... There is no sharp limit of development, age, or weight at which a foetus automatically becomes viable or beyond which survival is assured, but experience has shown that it is rare for a baby to survive whose weight is less than 500 gm or whose fertilization age is less than 22 weeks. Even fetuses born between 26 and 28 weeks have difficulty surviving, mainly because the respiratory system and the central nervous system are not completely differentiated... If given expert postnatal care, some fetuses weighing less than 500 gm may survive; they are referred to as extremely low birth weight or immature infants.... Prematurity is one of the most common causes of morbidity and prenatal death.[24]During the past several decades, expert postnatal care has improved with advances in medical science, and therefore the point of viability has moved earlier. As of 2006, the youngest child to survive a premature birth was a girl born at the Baptist Hospital of Miami at 21 weeks and 6 days' gestational age. "
So, little baby, you just stay where you are. Keep safe, keep growing, don't be in a hurry to be born. When the time is right we will be waiting to welcome you.
Lots of love,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

JUNE 4TH 2008 - Squashy!

Dear Grandchild,

Your mother told me today that they don't like to call you 'it' so they call you Squashy!
Isn't it funny how we call our babies by different names - Junior, Squirt, Dude, Squashy - all because we don't yet know whether you are a girl or a boy. Perhaps they will be able to tell your gender when your Mom has her next ultrasound.

You don't have to be concerned with that - an ultrasound examination shows a picture of the inside of the mother's womb - without the use of X-Rays - which could be harmful. It involves high frequency sound waves that are transmitted through the skin and reflected by the internal organs and structures. These "echoes " form a picture of you on a screen which can be examined for any abnormalities. Most pregnancies are now monitored by ultrasound examination to assess the age, health and position of the unborn baby.
These are good things to have because if you have a moderate to severe form of OI and sustain fractures in the womb, the scans might be able to detect them. If detected, they will take extra care when delivering you from the womb. The doctors will also measure your growth, spine, length of femurs and skull.
If you have a mild form of OI with no evident abnormalities, normal development, no fractures, it will be almost impossible to diagnose OI until you are born. Just to be safe, the doctors will be still very gentle with you when you are delivered.
What they might look for once you are born are what is known as 'wormian' bones in the skull. These are squiggly bones found in the sutures between cranial bones and are present in people with OI.
Your father was born normally, he didn't have any of the usual features of OI - besides blue sclera (whites of the eyes, which is a clinical feature of OI) and he was a beautiful baby.
I know that you are going to be a beautiful baby too. You are the first grandchild in your Mom's family and the first Grandchild in your Dad's family and we are all overawed by the prospect of welcoming you.
Between 17 and 20 weeks your hearing develops and you can hear internal-organ and outside-world sounds. Your Mom said that you were leaping about at the concert they went to last night - perhaps you were dancing in time to the music!!
Just take it easy in there, little one. Keep safe.
Lots of love,

Sunday, June 1, 2008

JUNE 2008 - getting ready

Dear Grandchild,
A baby is such a precious thing. We humans must have a protective, nurturing gene that switches on when we know that a new baby is going to come into our lives. We are wired in such a way that even the thought of a baby switches on an emotional response.
I've never really thought about having grandchildren. There didn't seem to be any prospect of having a grandchild in the near future and I didn't even think I wanted one. But, now that we know that you are on the way, I find myself thinking of your arrival as a momentous event! A brand new, never seen before, absolutely unique human being is going to come into this world in a few months time - and it will carry the genes of two parents, two sets of grandparents, great-grandparents, etc etc....... Its awesome!! Scary!! Exciting!!

For the first few months of a baby's life it is completely helpless, defenceless and dependent on others. So, how come I feel so nervous about meeting you or looking after you? Its crazy!! I'm afraid of you and all you want is to be loved and cared for!
I know that the chance that you may have brittle bones makes it even more scary. Even though I raised your father and learned how to care for a child with brittle bones, it has been a long time since I held a baby with brittle bones that I feel quite anxious about it.

I feel as though we should be preparing for your arrival and have already started to imagine having you in our home. Yesterday I was talking to Finn - your grandfather - about child-proofing the house again. I know that we won't have to do anything for a few months but I walk around the house and look at things with new eyes - are they dangerous or harmful? Can that fall and hurt the baby? Is there something harmful here that the baby can open and drink, eat, play with? Toilet Duck on the bathroom floor: a heavy carving in the fireplace: dish wash and Handy Andy under the sink. All of these things are dangerous for you and will have to moved out of harm's way. When our children were little we moved all the heavy objects off side tables, placed all the chemicals, cleaning stuff, insecticides etc in the kitchen into upper cupboards.
I look at the swimming pool and realise that we must put a fence around it with a secure gate - like it used to have. We will need baby gates so that you don't go tumbling down the stairs. Should we have a play-pen here to use when we baby-sit or when your Mom and Dad visit?
We've never been grand-parents and haven't baby-sat many babies, so this is going to be a new and exciting experience for us.
I am looking forward to your arrival but at the same time I am quite nervous about the prospect.
Sleep tight little one,