And the winner is…

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… a girl!  I suppose there’s a slight chance that the verdict may change at my next ultrasound at 19 weeks, but that looks an awful lot like labia.

At my ultrasound at 15 weeks, 4 days, my cervix measured a robust 4.2 cm long, and baby Sparkler measured 68 percentile.  The sonographer wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as she was at my last ultrasound (i.e., she didn’t tell me that she wanted to take my baby home with her), but she still outdid herself, taking all the anatomy scan measurements even though my obstetrician only asked for a cervical length measurement.  Baby Sparkler’s heart was beating at 150 bpm, and let me tell you, it’s pretty amazing to watch the four chambers of a heart beating in a person who isn’t even 5 inches long, head-to-tailbone.  Sparkler’s stomach and bladder were both full, so she must be enjoying her amniotic fluid:

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Two kidneys were visible, so hopefully that also means that she doesn’t have any wonky Mullerian anomalies.  I’m not very good at interpreting cranial ultrasounds, but the sonographer assured me that all the brain structures had formed properly.  Sparker’s palate looks good, too:

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The sonographer promised to take all the anatomy scan measurements again at my next ultrasound, but the obstetrician said that we will only need a cervical length at the next ultrasound because all the anatomy scan measurements looked good this time.  I don’t doubt that the sonographer will go ahead and take all the measurements again.  The obstetrician doesn’t have to look at them if she’s not interested.

As for me, I managed to put on some weight over the past month, too.

12, 14, and 16 weeks:

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I’ve certainly been feeling bigger, but that 16-week picture still took me by surprise.  There really is a baby in there!  Bye bye, waistline!  I guess people may start noticing my bump in a month or so.   Not sure how I feel about that, given that I have several interviews coming up and given that I’m hoping to interview for fellowship positions at the beginning of December.  I can hide my baby bump better than most second-timers, but my stealth pregnancy days are coming to an end, thanks to this little invader:

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What else is new?

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Peter had a blast at the UMass NICU’s 40th birthday party, and his photo even made it into the T&G online (photo credit goes to Paul Kapteyn).  Obviously, he loved the ball pit, but he also enjoyed his tour of a LifeFlight helicopter, the birthday cake, and the carnival games they had for kids his age.  Peter’s t-shirt received a lot of compliments from parents and NICU staff members.

As promised, we also took Peter to the Big E that weekend.  He enjoyed the fair, but honestly, it didn’t hold a candle to the Minnesota State Fair.  Not enough freebies, not enough kids’ activities, and not enough family-friendly or educational displays.  They have a building for each New England state on the fairgrounds, and I was expecting to find educational displays in those buildings – or at least unique vendors, but they were mostly filled with food vendors.  Great if you want a smorgasbord of over-priced regional delicacies; not-so-great if you brought your own bag lunch.  I could take Peter back to the Minnesota State Fair every year, but the  Big E… maybe not.

We visited Hopkinton State Park on an unseasonably warm day at the end of September.  We waded in the reservoir and went hiking in the woods.  Last weekend, Peter had a blast at Maddox’ birthday party at Playtown Express, but he wasn’t a fan of the West Boylston Fall Festival.  (It was “too noisy” for him.)  We did have fun at Breezy Gardens’ Pumpkin Festival on Sunday.  We bought some vegetables, Peter played with toy excavators in a giant tub of feed corn, we took a hay ride to their pumpkin patch, Peter picked out the biggest pumpkin he could carry (it weighed 10 pounds), and we navigated a corn maze with Peter’s help.  With that much cheap entertainment, I think we’ll be back next year.

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On the 4th anniversary of Peter’s NICU discharge, I felt inspired to start working on new versions of my baby book for premature babies.  I made new 5.5″x8.5″, 8.5″x11″, and 7″x8.5″ versions of the book and opened an Etsy shop.  The 8.5″x11″ version is available for instant download.  I hope to offer the 7″x8.5″ version in bound form later this month.  (The 5.5″x8.5″ version is for donation to the UMass NICU.)  I’m also working on a version for full-term babies and plan to make a third version for preemies with shorter NICU stays and full-term babies with NICU stays.  Feel free to “favorite” our Etsy shop here!  I need some initial customers, so if you know any pregnant women who would like a baby book, let me know.  (My initial “customers” will most likely be gifted their baby books… I need some positive customer reviews if I want to get this business off the ground.)

So that’s most of what we have been up to: book binding, baby-making, job hunting, and fall festivities.  Sixteen weeks down; hopefully, we have at least twenty more to go!

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