It’s been an incredible day, mostly for two reasons– one baby-related and one not at all.
The non-baby-related events started earlier this week when a construction crew, working on what will apparently be the site of new locker rooms at the football stadium on campus, came across some very large, very old bones. They turned out to be bones from a mammoth as well as at least two other animals, and they are at minimum 10,000 years old. In case that wasn’t exciting enough, yesterday I got an email inviting me, along with the other anthropology graduate students (regardless of sub-field) to come to a Mammoth Party to help excavate the bones! That party was today. As it turned out, we weren’t actually excavating, but were doing what was described as “salvage Paleontology” (the archaeologists were in charge but technically it’s paleontology that we were practicing). In practice, this meant putting bones into tubs of water so they wouldn’t dry out and disintegrate, and then going through buckets and buckets of mud and clay to retrieve bone fragments. It was amazing. I got to hold and inspect a large piece of a mammoth femur, and found several small pieces of bone in my pile of clay. I also found lots of rocks and hard clay that I thought were pieces of bone, but was gently told were worthless. In any case, it was in no way glamorous, but was incredible nonetheless. A once in a lifetime opportunity, especially for this medical anthropologist. I never expected to be involved in anything like this, so was really excited to have the opportunity to take part.
Here’s a picture of one of the tiny bone fragments I found:
A special shout-out to Rachel for hanging out with the Bug this afternoon so that I could participate! I couldn’t have done it otherwise- pretty sure a 16 month old in a pile of 10,000 year old bones would have been a disaster.
The other big deal today is that today is 18 weeks! The current resident of my uterus is 5.6 inches long (crown to rump) and 6.7 oz, according to the app I use. Apparently it’s roughly the size of a sweet potato, which for some reason struck me as hilarious. In itself, having reached 18 weeks is not a particularly impressive milestone, as far as pregnancy is concerned. I mean, it’s amazing because pregnancy is amazing and the fact that one person can grow another person means every week or even every day is pretty impressive– but relatively, 18 weeks doesn’t signify anything in particular. However, 18 weeks for ME was the very day that I am absolutely 100% sure I felt the baby move. I have been feeling twitches for the past couple of days, but I’ve been having muscle twitches in various places around my belly anyway, so it’s been hard to be sure. Tonight though, I was lying with my feet up (I’m having a bit of swelling already) and definitively felt the baby bump twice right up front and center of my belly. I put my hand there in case it happened again and I might be able to feel it from the outside (early, I know, but a girl can dream), but it didn’t happen again.
Despite the brief and isolated event, it was enough to bring a huge smile to my face. It was exciting to feel it at all, and exciting but also reassuring to be certain of what I was feeling. It makes it all feel real in a whole new way, similar to but also different from how hearing the heartbeat made it real. Each little piece that happens just brings it home that much more. I expect the next piece will be feeling it from the outside, and better yet, Rachel being able to feel it. I am so looking forward to being able to share that with her (and even little Darwin!). And, in two weeks from today, we will get the ultrasound! I was thrilled to be able to get the appointment for the very day I turn 20 weeks, and it’s the day that was going to be easiest for both Rachel and I to work it into our schedules. I’ll miss a seminar I was supposed to attend, but honestly no big loss there.
We have decided we are going to go ahead and find out the sex (assuming baby is cooperative and wants to show us), so that’ll be exciting and different in its own way. We didn’t find out with Darwin, and we were both pretty sure we wanted to this time. We didn’t realize each was going through the same thought process at the time, but later when comparing stories we discovered that as Darwin was crowning– like literally as she was coming out into the world– we were both having the realization that she could be a boy! We had been so convinced that she was a girl that it barely crossed our minds that it might turn out any other way until the very end. This time, I have no real feeling one way or the other, but I still want to find out. Two more weeks! Squee!
Besides feeling the little Bumblebee moving around in there, things have been pretty low-key. As you may have read about on Rachel’s blog, I got a hemoglobin A1C result that was pretty high, but have been watching my diet and increasing my activity to pull my blood sugar back down. I started tracking my blood sugar throughout the day yesterday, and my levels have been so good, both fasting and after meals, that I am feeling much better about my risk of gestational diabetes. I realized that the A1C was basically telling me about my blood sugars during my first trimester (it’s a test that tells you about your sugar trends over the past 90 days, and due to the timing that essentially meant my first tri), which was the absolute worst period of eating that I can remember in probably the past 5 years– with the possible exception of the first term or two of my master’s program. But seriously, I was sick so much and had so little appetite so much of the time that all I wanted to eat was simple carbs. So that’s what I ate. No wonder my blood sugar was off! So I’m hopeful that this new trend is long lasting, and that at 28 weeks I won’t be diagnosed with GD. If I am, I’m confident I can do what I need to in order to take care of me and my baby, but it would be so great to not have to worry about it.
I think that’s all for me tonight– it’s later than I meant to be up and I have to get up and do lab homework for stats (we’re learning to code in R, which is getting to the point of being a little fun but has also been difficult and stressful) and then transcribe an interview for my methods class tomorrow. What an exciting weekend I have planned! Ah, the glamorous life of a grad student. Here’s my 18 week picture– I’m starting to see an actual bump! As Rachel said, it’s the first time my belly has stuck out further than my boobs! Ha!
…Just ignore the mess in the background!