How is it that I always post about your development the day before I graduate to another week? Must be better about this in the future. But I kind of wanted to wait this time around because I had another doctor’s appointment this morning. I wanted to make sure things were still progressing as they should. <cheat sheet…they are!>
First the appointment… I met with a nurse midwife this morning. She was very nice and I liked her a lot. But what exactly is a midwife? So glad you asked.
According to Wikipedia: In the United States, a Certified Nurse-Midwife (“CNM”) is an Advanced Practice Nurse who has specialized education and training in both Nursing and Midwifery. CNM’s function as primary healthcare providers for women and most often provide medical care for relatively healthy women, whose birth is considered uncomplicated and not “high risk,” as well as their neonate. Certified Nurse-Midwives, in most states, are required to possess a minimum of a graduate degree such as the Master of Science in Nursing, or Post-Master’s Certificate. By 2010, all Certified Nurse Midwives will be required to hold a graduate (Masters) degree.
As much as I love my regular OBGYN (and I do love her lots) this new midwife was equally as awesome. She was incredibly thorough and super sweet and actually talked to me like I had a brain and was capable of understanding what she had to tell me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate when medical professionals treat me as an equal and not as a “patient.” We talked about breast exams, breastfeeding (she told me I had excellent nipples for breastfeeding which made me super happy), my concerns, my health…just lots of really great stuff. She even did a pelvic exam and told me that even though I’m so petite, I have plenty of room in my pelvis to carry a full term baby and give birth vaginally. I haven’t really thought about not being able to give birth vaginally….but she assured me my pelvic opening was plenty big enough. I asked…are you sure? My husband has a HUGE head! She laughed and said, yes! Yay!
She told me, as did my primary OBGYN, that I need to gain weight, of course. But it’s looking good! I’m up a whole pound now so I’m only down 4 pounds total. Progress! And she did the fetal doppler on my tummy and found your heartbeat pretty easily. You were at a healthy 156 today! She also showed me my heartbeat in the placenta with the doppler. It’s so cool to hear two totally distinct beats. Even though we are connected right now, you are your own person my little monkey! You have your very own heart (that Daddy and I gave you of course haha)! How cool is that?
The chances of my regular OBGYN delivering you is very, very slim so I’m hoping I get this nurse midwife. She seems really great. I also think I’m going to go to a “meet the midwives” meeting with your Daddy so we can meet all 11 of them that work for Kaiser. It should be fun and really informational. I’ll keep you posted.
Okay, so now onto your development! This week has really been about size my love. All your major organs are in place and now they all just need to grow and mature. You have been doing some incredible growing and lengthening. I know, because I can feel my uterus stretching. It’s not super painful, but just these sharp little twinges in my lower belly. I actually kind of like them. Again, reassures me that you’re making yourself at home in there!
Here’s what you look like in my belly:
And here is an amazing parasagittal cross section of what you look like at 10 weeks (This is just right of midline):
You can see all the major systems and organs are in place. Of note, look at your brain and the lateral and fourth ventricles. You can even see your choroid plexus from which your cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is made. Mommy studied the choroid plexus a lot in school and I love that I can see yours now at 10 weeks!
You are also now constantly kicking and moving and waving your little arms. This is important! It stimulates muscle and skeletal growth. It’s like your very own little fetal workout routine haha. Ooh and also your intestines (while there wasn’t enough room in your abdomen for them, they set up shop in your umbilical chord) are now slowly migrating into your lower abdomen! You brain is producing neurons at an astonishing rate and continuing to make neural connections (hence movements…yay motor neurons!) Your brainstem including your medulla and pons are functioning. And your medulla and pons are practically fully myelenated already. Of course these are the primitive parts of the brain in charge of many of your reflexive actions, movements and behaviors. Given its exceedingly long and ancient evolutionary history, it’s actually not that surprising that many brainstem functions are present before birth and happen without the aid of thinking, reasoning, or even forebrain/neocortical participation. Basically, the motor programs which subserve many basic and vital functions, such as the regulation of heart rate, the sleep cycle, and respiration, are essentially genetically hardwired, reflexively initiated, and produced in accordance with the brainstem’s synaptic organization and internally generated rhythms which have been acquired and molded over the course of evolution. Amazing, no??? Because so many brainstem functions occur in a rhythmic, diurnal, and/or reflexive fashion, they do not require the assistance of the forebrain!
Happy growing my little one!