Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Past the 28 week mark...

We are kinda out of the woods at this point. I don't want to count our chicken before its hatched, but according to the high risk Perinatal specialist we saw a year ago, if we make it to 28 weeks we can deliver a healthy baby! WHEW!!!! I am so relieved we made it this far.

I keep getting the same question...'You must be so excited?'

Yes, very, very excited, but scared and worried and overwhelmed all at the same time too.

Do we have everything ready? Will our baby be healthy? Will KT have an uneventful delivery? Will we be there in time for the birth? Will we be able to make all the legal stuff fall into place when we get to India? How long will we have to be in India? How much time will I take off of work/can afford to take off of work? What are we going to do about childcare? A full time live-in Nanny? A part-time day caretaker in our home during the weekdays? What will it be like to function on NO sleep? How amazing will it be to stare into my baby's eyes while I hold them in my arms? How wonderful it will feel to walk into our ready, but empty nursery and see our little angel lying in the crib? How drastically our life will change literally over night!

So many thoughts and so little time to sort it all out. I am sure it will all fall into place, but until then, a million unanswered questions run through my mind. Let's hope that baby just stays put until it is good and ready to make it's grand entrance into the world.

Your Baby at 29 weeks:

Having a baby prematurely is frightening, no doubt. But here's a reason to relax: Due to the impressive advancements of medical technology, if your baby is born this week, she'd have a 9 out of 10 chance of survival, which is seriously great news.

Other awesome developments:


Baby's brain can now control her breathing and body temperature. She can also cough, and her sucking abilities have been perfected.
Your Mini's skin is looking less wrinkled as she packs on the pounds. She's starting to look more like a Pampers model and less like a Depends model. She's now beefing up on the energizing and insulating white fat she'll be born with (unfortunately, white fat is not energizing and insulating for adults!). And speaking of energy, your little Energizer Bunny is on fire these days. KT is sure to feel your share of kicks, punches and elbows, especially when she's lying down. This week your baby is a little over 15 inches long—about the length of a loaf of bread—and weighs about 3 pounds, as much as a Macbook Air laptop.

What our baby might look like at 29 weeks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why surrogacy in India??? Our story...

This is a question we get asked quite frequently. So, for those of you who are interested, I thought I would share a bit of what brought us to this leg of our journey in our attempt to have a family.

First I must say, like most woman who are not born with any reproductive issues of any kind, I never thought for one minute I would not get pregnant, carry my baby and ultimately be a mother someday.

Once Gerry and I both decided it was time to start trying for a family, everything happened quite quickly.

I was almost 35 (the age that Docs feel you are starting to get 'over the hill' in the reproductive world) and so when things weren't progressing as we planned (AKA no pregnancy) we decided it was time to visit my OBGYN for answers. Because of my advancing age (35-so OLD!) he was able to get me in for testing right away and not have to go through that 'try for a year and if no results, come back and see me' phase. We were both thankful for that.

I wasn't really freaked out, or worried, but just anxious to get a move on all this baby making stuff.

Gerry had already done his part (long story) so we knew his swimmers were working just fine. So I went for a 'routine' HSG and the results were ambiguous. Word to the wise, go to an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) to have the test done as most Radiologists are not experts in where to and how to find things in order to get accurate results. Sorry to my Radiologist friends...

We had our first RE consultation in Florida and we loved the Doc, he was very informative and really included us both in every aspect so much so that when he did my exam, he had Gerry down there stating, 'Oh look what I found!' You are about to get a little TMI, so feel free to skip this part if you choose too...Okay, so picture me on the table flat on my back the with my legs in the stirups and both Gerry, the nurse and the Doc all down there knowing what is going on and I am in the dark and saying, 'hello, can you share a little with the lady you are both staring and poking at's private parts?' What he was showing Gerry, much to my amazement after 20 years of Pap Smears and no sign of this...my 2, (yes that is right) 2 vaginal canals each with its own cervix. Without any trouble this amazingly skilled RE found something odd. What he said was that it would be very hard for any Doc to find, unless they were actually looking for it and when he started looking, the thin flap of skin that he found stuck to the left side of my canal with the q-tip had a life of its own. Who knew??? Certainly not me! He began to ask me a lot of simple questions about years past and menstrual cycles, etc and it all fell into place. For those of you wondering, I have normal healthy cycles (only once a month like every one else...thank goodness!) BUT its kinda like a crap shoot to know what ovary I am ovulating from each month. This is one of our problems. My right side (my dominate side that we 'knew' about) is fine, normal and A-okay. My left side, is much smaller and pretty much a virgin in all sense of the word when it comes to the word. So...if I am ovulating from the left side chances are when we try the old fashion way, that we would unlikely have success in the little swimmers finding their way to my egg that was coming down from the left.

The Doc scheduled me for further tests and of all those months hoping and praying that my period wouldn't come, this was the one month that I was really wanting my cycle to start so I could get on with things. Low and behold it didn't start and shortly after we found out we were PREGNANT! So yes, sometimes, relaxation and NOT trying too hard does work. We found out our little one was tucked in on my right uterus on the outer side wall and looked good. I had a very uneventful pregnancy, no bleeding no cramping...nothing. We went in for our routine 7.5 week ultrasound only to find out there was no heartbeat. We were both devastated! What had gone wrong? Had I done something I wasn't supposed to? Did I take something I shouldn't have before I knew I was pregnant? No answers, just 'one of those things.' Both my Mom and my sister helped us through having suffered from a miscarriage themselves. We tried to remain positive as the Doc said the good news is that we now know you CAN get pregnant which for some woman never happens and there are no answers and no tests to confirm why.

So we healed and moved forward. Moving to Arizona and starting a new path in our lives. Trying and waiting and hoping and praying that we would find ourselves pregnant once again.

After a year of that and no such luck, we went back to the drawing board with my new OBGYN(Dr. Lindstrom) and now an RE, Dr. Johnson to do my HSG. Results were good, 2 definite sides, no septum to separate the uterus's, a true DIDELPHUS UTERUS (it had a name). All tubes patent and good. We were pleased, except for one comment...'I would recommend you try surrogacy in your case.' HUH? But we were pregnant before and why now this?

My funky uterus's

So, off to the High-Risk Perinatal Specialist Dr. Elliott. He looked at our tests and said, 'I have delivered healthy babies with women with a 'Didelphus uterus' but chances are you will be on bed rest early on in your pregnancy and likely will deliver pre-term.' Of course the best layman's term of all asked by Gerry which I am thankful for to this day, 'So, if one woman's uterus is a size 10, what would Rhonda's 2 uterus's each size be?' The answer, well about a 6 and a 6. Okay, well not the greatest news, but... we were prepared and could handle that. If some women have 2, 3 or more babies in a size 10, surely I could have one in a size 6?!? However wonderful this Doc was, he could only help us once we were pregnant and that unfortunately, we were not at that stage right now.

So, back to the OBGYN for his thoughts. He sadly had to agree with the RE...'I think adoption or surrogacy is your best option.' We left the office that day feeling beaten up and worn out. Not the news we had expected....

We looked into Adoption, both domestic and International. Holy Moly, the red tape! The home study which requires medical testing, physical (a certain BMI, no heart disease, etc.) emotional and mental testing(no psychiatric medications including antidepressants for at least 2 years), your financial history (all assets, credit cards, bank statements and W2's and bankruptcies), animals (Dog's tag numbers), pool safety, 5 reference letters, some Social Worker to come into your home and determine if you will make a 'fit parent', etc. etc. etc. The cost of $30,000 plus. Not to mention the big kicker...the wait! 2-3 years (now longer) for international and the same, if not longer, for domestic (waiting for birth parents to 'choose' you, only to be able to change their minds at the time of the birth) for an infant. More disappointment!

So fast forward to surrogacy... NOT Gerry's first option in fact he was completely opposed to it. But, he was accepting to look into all our options for a family. So, I set up a meeting with one of my nurse's from work, who just happened to be a retired surrogate (thanks Angie). Amazingly, Gerry was very open-minded about it and realized this may be one of our only options if we wanted a family now. We talked for hours about the process here in the U.S and the cost and all that it entailed. We left feeling better, but sunk...how could we afford $50,000 - $80,000 dollars or more, just the IVF alone (that our insurance didn't cover) would be $20-$25,000!!! UGH... what to do, what to do...

What about this thing I saw on the internet about surrogacy in India??? So, I began my search and Googled and looked and tried to find support groups and any bit of information I could find. There was very little information to be found (hence one of the very reasons for our blog).

During my search I found 2 clinics. Dr.Patel from Anand, India who had been shown on the Oprah show and was now very popular. The second clinic was Surrogacy India. I liked their web site which was very informative, but knew nothing about them. We contacted both clinics via email. Ultimately deciding on Surrogacy India (SI) for a number of reasons.

This is/was why...

Dr. Sudhir the administrator and co-founder, answered every one of our numerous (almost daily) questions promptly and detailed. We called and spoke with him and Dr. Yashodhara both on the phone and found them to be kind, patient and honest. We liked the way the contract read. There was a minimal fee required to get the process started. So we jumped in with both feet.

After arriving in Mumbai we met both Dr. Sudhir (an MD specializing in Administration and management) and Dr. Yashodara (a Fertility Specialist) the next day for lunch. We both felt an immediate connection to them. To this day we say we would be friends with them even if they weren't our Doctors they are 'just that kind of people.' There was no talk of money or cost, we just talked about the process and what was in store for us. We felt totally at ease and 100% confident in our decision to go with this clinic.

Just part of the SI team: Dr. Sudhir and Dr. Yashodhara

They are located in Mumbai a major city, for ease of travel and accommodations as well as access to major medical facilities.

They are a 'one stop shop' assisting with accommodations, travel, providing us a surrogate and egg donor, the doctors and medical facilities we would be using, the legal contract and lawyers to assist with that, etc. etc.

We were given a cell phone for our use while in Mumbai to use locally and contact both the Doctors day or night with any questions.

We were provided with drivers to pick us up at the airport and help us to navigate to appointments and around Mumbai during our off time.

We were assisted in making a personal vacation get-away while staying in Mumbai (accommodations, travel and activities).

We had our choice of many surrogates prior to arriving and then having the pleasure to meet her and her family and spend time getting to know her through an interpretator.

We had a back up surrogate prepared and on hand in case of emergencies or unforeseen issues, (which in our case came in handy).

We were assisted by SI staff with hospital check in and discharge during my stay for embryo pick up (and even had the pleasure of Dr. Yash being right there beside me the entire time).

We had the choice of using other Doctors or hospitals if we wanted, but not knowing India we trusted in both our Doctors to determine what was best for us.

We met with all of our extremely talented and skilled physicians while there, having personal consultations and learning about their credentials. Each and everyone of them walked us through the entire procedures and steps along the way.

Meet our Doctors and medical team (click on photo to see more)


Medical Pics Rounds #1 and #2 (click on photos to see more)

We requested and were granted a personal tour of Hiranandani Hospital where our baby will be born with the OBGYN (Dr. Anita Soni), who is caring for and will be delivering our baby.

We were consulted at every moment while in India and since returning home about fertilization, medication dose changes, embryo quality, transfer of embryo's, tests and procedures, etc. a long the way.

We were both also able to go in with our surrogate during her embryo transfer.

We visited the clinic in which our surrogate would stay while waiting during the 2 weeks for the pregnancy results. We learned that once pregnant, she had the choice of moving into a new place arranged by SI or receiving the funds to pay where they are currently staying as long as it met certain standards (separate bathroom, running water, electricity and close distance to the delivering Hospital and clinic).

We learned that our surrogate will have a caretaker to assist with cooking and cleaning while at home and assistance from SI staff in coordinating and attending each and every MD appointment she has.

That any time her spouse has to miss work to accompany her to appointments, he will be compensated.

That she received emotional counseling throughout the process.

That I am able to go in for the delivery of our child (and with her permission, Gerry can as well) pending certain circumstances.

We receive a personal itinerary of all the events that will take place from the moment we start the program up to and including our birth. Appointments, scans, lab work, etc. and can access it any time via the internet and see all our uploaded reports.

That we had a list of detailed costs presented to us from day one and when each payment was due along the way. Any changes due to unforeseen circumstances with the surrogate and her pregnancy were communicated to us prior to payment.

That we can contact her OBGYN at any time and talk with her via phone for any updates.

I am sure I am forgetting a lot of stuff, as it has been a year and a half now that we have been on this part of our journey.

Although it took us 3 attempts (first 2 with our embryo's and 3rd with an egg donor) we have never once regretted our decision to pursue Surrogacy in India with Surrogacy India (SI).

We get this question all the time and often, 'why you chose Surrogacy India (SI)?' So I hope this lengthy post has answered some of those questions and possibly helps others along in their own personal journeys.

In the end, our dreams will have come true and our countless prayers will have been answered ...our little angel is due this Sept 2009. We are eternally grateful to SI and the entire team who has gotten us to this stage in our journey. It has been worth every hurdle that we have had to negotiate and all of the tears and pain that we have experienced along the way.


All of the very best in your own personal journey's...Rhonda and Gerry.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

THIRD TRIMESTER... YA BABY!!!!!!

We are over the moon, thrilled, ecstatic, blessed, happy, and all those wonderful words that describe our excitement!

We are down to double digits on our counter now. Less than 90 days already?!? WOW...time sure flies! Everyone asks, 'Are you ready?' Is anyone ever REALLY ready to be a new parent? We have all the stuff and the nursery is prepared, but once that little one is in your arms...I think all the preparation in the world is thrown out the window and its you and only you to face the world with your little one. I couldn't imagine going at this alone. I am so lucky to have such a special guy to share in this new and amazing experience.

We received our most recent ultrasound pics and report and all is well on the Indian home front. Our baby is in breech position, so if he/she doesn't turn themselves around soon, we will be looking at that scheduled c-section after all. We talked to Dr. Sudhir tonight and he told us we need to start preparing everything. Frankie's care, packing, and all that stuff to be able to leave at a moments notice... Oh, shit!!!! Sorry for the profanity, but that was the immediate thought that came to our minds...this is happening and it might be any day now. At first we thought he was just kidding, but he was totally serious! WHOA!!!

I renewed my CPR certification at work today and made sure the instructor went over infant CPR, not that in an emergency with my own little angel, I wouldn't completely panic!! but it is good to know that its fresh in my mind. As a nurse, handling emergencies as they arise almost becomes second nature, but when it's your own...

These early mornings, up at 5am and to work by 6am are taking some getting used too. My body is ready for bed by 8:30pm. I am a big fan of lots of rest and love my bed, so I am totally out of my realm. I suppose its just more preparation for the months to come with sleepless days and nights.

Hopefully in the next week or so, I will get a little more accustomed to all of this, so I can get back to my routine with time to blog, answer emails and catch up on some of my favorite shows.

Oh, yah...I almost forgot, guess that happens when you get old! I turned 39 yesterday. I woke up to a decorated kitchen of balloons and banners and cards and gifts from both my special guy and girl (Frankie).


Your Baby at 28 weeks:

As the Big Day nears, your baby is getting ready to go towards the light at the end of the tunnel (the tunnel being the birth canal, the light being the one the doctor is shining directly into it so she can see what the heck she's doing).

Other highlights this week:


Your baby's eyes are partially open now and can blink. Truly superior babies can actually wink. (OK, there is no way to prove that, but it's fun to imagine, no?) Your baby can also now become a shiny, happy person as she has begun having rapid eye movement (Get it? REM? Shiny, happy person?? We'll be here all week.)

Her eyes have color now, too. It may not be the color she ultimately ends up with, especially if they're light gray or blue. The eyes typically don't settle on a final hue until nine months after baby is born. So when your mother-in-law says that the baby has her eyes, you can politely inform her that they'll most likely change soon. Sorry.

Your babe is downright chubby compared to a few weeks ago. She is about 15 inches long, about the length of an amusement park cinnamon-sugar-coated churro (yum!), and weighs 2 to 3 pounds.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Passing the time...

We had a jam packed week with work and adjusting to new hours and new schedules for both of us. This weekend, we just hung out and spent time together.

We purchase the Chicco Poly Discovery high chair that we had picked out at Toys R' US over the weekend. We found it at a significantly reduced price since it was a floor model so we couldn't resist the deal. (Yes Frankie has to give each and every item her 'sniff' of approval.)



And of course we did some more window shopping, which meant visiting every baby store and yes...more onesies. I told you I was addicted!!! Gerry has officially determined that this child already has more clothes then he has had in his lifetime.

Together we assembled our Precious Planet take-along baby swing that we received as a shower gift and then tried to find a place for it.



Gerry surprised me the other day when I got home from work with a huge stuffed Bengal tiger that goes great with our Rain Forest theme. It is as big as Frankie and she had to meet it by sniffing its butt. We both had a good laugh at that one.
.





We finally got together with S & J. They recently returned home after picking up their precious bundle of joy from Mumbai. Their beautiful little girl Savannah is already 3 months old and even more precious in person then her pictures. I held her almost the entire night and told S & J we would be seeing them again soon, as I know I will need another Savannah fix very, very soon. She is such a good baby and both Gerry and I enjoyed every minute of her.

I received a beautiful email from some dear friends back in Canada and just had to share it as I know all my fellow animal/pet lovers will enjoy it as much as I did. It was about a military K9 dog name Brutus who won the K9 Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq. Brutus rescued his handler and 4 other soldiers who had been captured and were being held hostage by the Iraqis.

The later part of the email talks about a Pet's 10 Commandments and they read as such (for those of you that are animal lovers like Gerry and I , you may need a tissue):

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2.
Give me time to understand what you want of me.


3.
Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.


4.
Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work,
your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7.
Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose
not to bite you.

8.
Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be
bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9.
Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.


10.
On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch.
Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them.
Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!

We love you Frankie girl!

We just received two surprise phone calls from both of the Docs. They are both totally exhausted from taking care of 8 clients in the last 2 weeks, and now have a short break until the next round of IP's arrive in July.

They told us that KT is doing great! She is on complete bed rest at home and her hubby is required to check in frequently with Dr. Yash to ensure that she is following strict Dr.'s orders. J (hubby) in fact, has temporarily stopped working to take care of KT and their 2 boys at home so she can continue to rest and take every percaution to ensure our baby stays put. It appears that the fold-up mattress we purchased on our last trip to Mumbai is certainly coming in more handy then we ever anticipated.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just Doing My Part

Well it's my turn this week to give you a quick update as to what has been going on with us since Rhonda is in getting ready for bed. As most of you know, she started a new position on Monday, and so far she is really enjoying it. She has had to get used to the early mornings this week though, since she has been starting work at 6 am after a 30-45 minute commute, so it's understandable that she is a bit tired. The new position is considerably a lot less stressful and the hours are set, which are big pluses. She comes in, makes sure all of the patients are doing well and having all of their needs met and that the nurses are getting everything they need to do their jobs, and then goes home after her 8 hours. That translates into more time for our little angel when he or she finally arrives.

It was exciting for her to start her first day on Monday, so like most excited parents do on their child's first day of school, I wanted to take my girls picture to capture the moment. I haven't seen her in scrubs for quite some time, and if I must say, she looks good!!! I'm proud of her .

The girls at her prior job sent her a picture this week of her buddy, who apparently really, really misses her. Or does he miss all of the treats that she used to bring him? Check out his picture, does he look sad or what?

I also had some great news this week. I had recently applied, tested and interviewed for a position at a new fire department. The competition as always, was tough, but in the end I ranked number one, and yesterday I was officially offered a full-time position, which of course I accepted!!! The new position allows me to work 2 days on and 4 days off. And, as with Rhonda's job, that translates into more time to spend with our little angel.

We continue to receive updates from our wonderful doctors at SI on our lovely surrogate KT's condition as the days pass and we get closer and closer to the day that our little one makes their entry into the world. She has been resting at the clinic ever since our little scare with a brief episode of spotting, that was caused by the placenta moving lower in the cervix due to the babies large size. We are so thankful for all of the incredible care that the doctors are giving our surrogate and baby.

A neat milestone for us this week was that our blog surpassed 20000 hits, WOW!!! When Rhonda started this blog last year, she did so to have an avenue to tell others of our journey to have a child, and as well, to possibly help others in the world who also are suffering from infertility and are longing for a child of their own. Looking back, we feel that we have been able to help so many people and at the same time, we have been helped by so many people as we share all of our experiences. A special thanks to all of you that have taken the time to visit our blog, please continue to check in as our amazing journey continues.


First day of work


Napoleon misses Rhonda...


Your Baby at 27 weeks:

Baby's lungs and immune system are maturing this week as baby prepares for his grand entrance. If he were born today he would have an 85 percent chance of surviving as his lungs are capable of breathing air (with medical assistance, of course).

Other exciting developments:


Baby's done a lot of growing over the past few months. His length has more than doubled in the past 15 weeks! And that's not the only thing growing—baby's brain tissue and neurons are all developing at a rapid pace. His brain waves are now firing away just like those of a newborn baby. If baby is a he, his testes will have completely descended at this point.
Your baby now weighs in at approximately 14½ inches and just over 2 pounds, or about the size of that roast you made last time your in-laws were in town. (OK, the baby is the size of that roast you meant to cook before you decided that ordering Chinese was a much better idea.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baby Shower/Good Bye Party...

What a fabulous day! Gerry and I were both overwhelmed at the outpouring of gifts and well wishes we received at our party yesterday. So many people from my management team, to my Nurses and C.N.A's and their families all came to show us their love. WOW!!! There are no other words to describe our appreciation.

We were blown away with such a fabulous shindig! Barb and her entire family truly went all out with loaning their beautiful home for the day. Jo and so many others did an awesome job preparing decorations and bringing food dishes, and we can't forget Angelica who slaved for days on our beautiful and very yummy cake.

I am definitely going to miss working with these wonderful people and seeing their smiling faces every day. But I will definitely will keep in touch and certainly I will be visiting them with our new bundle of joy very soon.

The whole gang (well minus a bunch)


Della making the hat.


What's a baby Shower without a crazy hat?


Cole wanted a picture of the gift he bought us.


Quite the spread!


Thank you Angelica!


Becky and Bea (keeping track of all the gifts)


We have already planned on having a get-together here at our home in mid July to share in our new baby, since so many of our friends and neighbors are wanting to be included. We certainly did not prepare for the outpouring of gifts that we received yesterday. I suppose everyone was right in telling us to "Stop buying!"


Now its on to the multitude of 'Thank you' cards and of course, trying to find a spot for all of our little angels goodies in its waiting nursery.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Doing my civic duty as a new American.


They found me!!! I have been a U.S citizen for less then a year and already have been called for jury duty. Of the 36 people who showed 6 were chosen to serve, and YEP, you guessed it, I got chosen. All other 6 in 36 gambles, I would never be selected. My luck normally STINKS! But this... I get picked. Go figure!?! Actually, all kidding aside, it was a very eye opening experience and I even got to serve as the Jury Foreperson and submit our verdict to the judge. It was a criminal case and thankfully only lasted one day. I truly felt really great going home with the knowledge that I had made a huge difference in someones life that day.

Gerry is away this week playing soldier in the Pan Handle of Florida. He is dealing with intense humidity, heat and bugs while fighting fires and pretending to be at war. It has made him appreciate why we left Florida in the first place. Sorry, my dear Floridian friends, but it was certainly more then just the hurricanes that convinced us to leave and never look back. We LOVE Arizona and are so happy to live here. Gerry returns Saturday afternoon, just in time for our Baby Shower/My going-away party. It may just be a doozy as Barb and Jo have invited the entire facility to join in the festivities.

Tomorrow marks my last day in my 8 year career run as a Director of Nursing. I am overjoyed about beginning this new job on Monday and can't wait to get started and just take a bit of a break from worrying about everyone and everything, everyday. So Unit Manager...here I come!

We are already at 26 weeks and thrilled. My emotions tend to go from zero to sixty in a moment, ranging from, "WOW!" to, "OMG, what have I done?" to, " I'm going to be responsible for another little life very, very soon!" to, "this is REALLY happening!" But when all is said and done, I know that deep down this is our dream come true and together we can do anything.

Your Baby at 26 weeks:

Deep breath! Air sacks are developing in your baby's lungs, which means it just might be possible for your baby to take a breath at the end of this week. The air sacks (technically called alveoli) will continue to grow for the next nine years. The membrane that keeps the alveoli separate from the blood vessels is now thin enough to allow for that oxygen–carbon dioxide exchange we call breathing.

Other highlights this week:

The retina completes the development of its normal layers this week—all the better to see you with. Well not you, per se, because her eyes are still sealed shut and it's really dark in there, but your baby's eyes are now fully developed.

Brainwaves for the auditory and visual systems are detectable in baby's noggin this week. That means baby's brain is registering things like sound and light. She can't understand what any of it means yet, but she's on track to comprehend an entire episode of
Blue's Clues in no time! As hearing continues to develop, your baby will start to recognize voices. Research has shown that newborns actually recognize familiar sounds after birth. Proof that your baby has been paying attention all along.

Break out the sparkling apple juice—baby has now completed two-thirds of her stay in Hotel Womb. Your baby is about 1 2/3 pounds and is 14 inches long head-to-heel, or about the length of a burp cloth (otherwise known as your primary wardrobe accessory for the next several months).