When I got pregnant, I thought I’d learned everything I needed. Only when I cracked open “What You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff did I learn some surprising facts.
An Embryo Looks Like a Tadpole
As I read the first chapter, I was surprised to learned that, at six weeks, my future baby was just a clump of cells. He’d progress from raspberry to walnut-sized lumps, then to a pollywog-looking entity. Only near the end of the first trimester would he begin to look like a baby.
Pregnancy Discomfort Extends Beyond Indigestion
Long before I experienced such side effects as gas and food aversions, I read about them. Not only would my body decide that peanut butter was repulsive, but it also “treated” me to back pain, fatigue, and insomnia. Before the book, I’d only expected morning sickness.
Many Things Can Go Wrong… But Usually Don’t
Each section presented facts that were both scary and comforting. Among the scary facts were possible complications, along with details on the tests used to diagnose them. Murkoff, however, reassured readers that, despite all the testing, most babies are born healthy. This information helped me understand the tests recommended to me, as an older mom of 38.
Gender-Testing Leaves Room for Surprises
Few things are definite in pregnancy, including gender predictions. As I learned from Murkoff, the 20-week ultrasound, used to determine gender, isn’t definite. Why? Because it’s a visual assessment. While technicians are skilled at reading ultrasounds, it’s possible for the key gender indicator (ahem) to be hidden or misinterpreted. In my case, there was no doubt we would welcome a boy. I’d undergone a test to rule out chromosomal abnormalities, learning he had a “Y” chromosome. Since I’d expected a girl, this meant going back to the baby name books.
Feeling Contractions Doesn’t Mean the Baby is Coming
I wrongly expected that feeling a contraction meant it was time to head for the maternity ward. But according to Murkoff, in the third trimester, women often experience Braxton Hicks contractions. As she explained, they are the body’s way of practicing for the final show. In my case, I never felt any identifiable contractions until I came to the hospital to be induced. After 41 weeks, my son was happy to hang out longer in Chez Mama.
Days later, all uncertainty ceased, when I finally held my beautiful boy and told him how eager I’d been to meet him.