From the category archives:

Week 08

Sunlight and shyness

by Milton on Fri, Sep 25th, 2009

in Books,Studies and rumors,Week 08

I’m reading a fascinating book called What’s Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life.  It’s satisfying all of my obsessive need to know as much as possible about what’s happening, how we can make the baby healthier, happier, etc.

On page 82, I just ran across mention of a very strange study indeed:

One recent study, for instance, suggests that a child’s shyness is determined, in part, by maternal hormone fluctuations during gestation.  Researchers who interviewed several thousand preschoolers in both the United States and New Zealand noted a significant relationship between the incidence of extreme shyness or inhibition (children who seem particularly fearful, anxious, or withdrawn in the presence of a stranger) and the amount of daylight their mothers were exposed to at midpregnancy. Thus, in the United States, only 12% of children born in October-November-December were rated as highly inhibited, compared to nearly 18% of those born in April-May-June. In New Zealand, where daylight hours are reversed, children showed the opposite pattern, with more shy children born in October-November-December than in April-May-June. Because the production of certain hormones, like melatonin, is known to fluctuate with the amount of daylight in each season, the researchers propose that such substances may subtly alter brain development during a critical period at midgestation, when massive numbers of neurons are migrating to form the basic architecture of the cerebral cortex. (It is also possible that other seasonal differences, like changes in women’s diets, physical activity, or exposure to colds and flu, mediate this relationship.)

Is this when science starts telling us that astrology is true?  That would be pretty funny.


Fear and relief

by Milton on Fri, Sep 25th, 2009

in Managing risk,Week 08

Yesterday, Esther woke up and let me know, casually, that she didn’t feel sick or any of the other symptoms of pregnancy.  Her boobs didn’t hurt.  She didn’t want to puke.  Our sense of right and wrong has recently been inverted… the worse she feels, the better we assume things are going.  It’s a little twisted, I guess, but I hear many of the same sentiments on the baby boards.

Later in the day I got a text informing me that she was going to go to the doctor.  I was at work, and immediately had a sinking feeling.  Perhaps because I had this sinking feeling last time, I was already well trained in the full mental exercise of fearing a miscarriage.  It was the saddest, sinkingest, feeling.  Of remaining hopeful while also gravely afraid of what might happen.

For about an hour and a half, I stirred.  Esther was finishing her client and I had very little information, so I decided to go for a walk, and head up the hill to the doctor’s office. The sun felt good. I wanted to soak up the sun and make it replace the sinking feeling. I distinctly remember feeling that desire for emotional replacement.

I also had this strange new reaction that I never had before. I saw people with kids on the street and had the smallest twinge of resentment for them. The ease that they went about their days. Of course, it’s all an illusion, and I was merely projecting a crazy scenario on an unwilling demographic, and I caught myself and tried to correct the impulse almost as soon as it occurred, but it occurred anyway.  Weird, right?

We arrived at the doctor’s office and after tracking down our new insurance info (we don’t have cards yet, for some reason) I hustled into the ultrasound room where I was immediately informed that the nurse had found a heartbeat and our little embryo was doing just fine.


Despite my hope, I was actually expecting the worst, and only upon realizing that things were good did I let myself actually consider the thought that this was going to turn out okay. They say that after you can find the heartbeat that chances of miscarriage are 3-5%.  Much better than the 6-week estimate of 10% (or 13% in the case of those who have had miscarriages before). And, our first ultrasound wasn’t scheduled for another 3 weeks… so, in a way, I was really glad that we got to come in sooner and experience the heartbeat and have our most risky statistics reduced just a bit.

Statistics roulette.

I’m so glad there’s a little heart beating in there.  Somewhere in the 131-139 range (both Esther and I heard different numbers from the nurse).  Estimated to be at about 6 weeks, 5 days by length, though that’s about 1 week younger than we had originally estimated from her last menstrual cycle. Totally okay though, cause there’s a heartbeat.



by Milton on Wed, Sep 23rd, 2009

in Week 08

We enlisted a photographer friend of ours to sort of document Esther’s pregnancy.  Rather than do it in the traditional belly-shot kind of way (we’ll do those too, but separately) we thought it would be fun to capture more of the spirit of that point in the pregnancy, and to allow us both to be in the picture.  Here’s what we did for the Week 8 picture:



Solidly in week 8…

by Milton on Sun, Sep 20th, 2009

in Week 08

We’re at day 2 of week 8, and according to some books and statistics and rumors and elevator chat the likelihood of having a miscarriage gets lower and lower with each week.  It’s now somewhere between 5-10%, I believe.  If we went to the doctor and were able to confirm a heartbeat, then we’d be at 5% for sure, but our first doctor’s visit isn’t until October 14th, more than 3 weeks away.  The reason for this is that we’re going to be going to New York City for 9 days starting next week, and, well, we’re suckers for suspense I guess.