Editor’s note: Jake Sherlock and his wife Jenny are expecting their first child in March, and they’ve chosen to share their challenges and experiences in this new column. Look for it periodically here at ColumbiaMissourian.com.
I have a new favorite word: normal.
Why is this my favorite word? Because it’s the one our doctor used the most during our big checkup this week.
“Spine … normal.”
“Feet … normal.”
“Hands … normal.”
On Tuesday, we reached the halfway point of Jenny’s pregnancy — 20 weeks. It was also the day we were scheduled for the ultrasound that would likely reveal any major birth defects or other problems with the pregnancy. As an added bonus, it was the day we found out the baby’s sex (more on that later).
For me, learning the baby’s sex (more on that later) was like Christmas as an 8-year-old; I didn’t know if I was getting G.I. Joe or He-Man, but either way I was going to be happy.
For Jenny, the checkup was more about calming fears. She is the type of person who worries about her loved ones more than is really necessary. For instance, last week she heard a siren in the distance about 10 minutes after I had left for work. She called me to make sure the ambulance wasn’t for me. Fortunately, the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Providence that morning precluded me from getting into an accident.
Jenny was excited to learn the sex (more on that later), but more important to her was the baby’s health. Two weeks before Tuesday’s appointment, she had a checkup that included giving blood for a battery of tests. Between the blood work and the ultrasound, if there was a problem with the baby, this was when we were likely to find out.
So for the next two weeks, Jenny would go through periods of worry. I did all I could to reassure her that the baby would be fine and tried to get her to focus on the baby’s sex (but more on that later).
The fact that Jenny hasn’t been able to feel the baby move much was another source of worry for her. Most of her baby books say that she should be able to feel the baby move, but Jenny wasn’t feeling much. The doctor explained that it could take longer to feel movement on her first pregnancy.
I’m happy to report that I was right.
We are indeed going to have a daughter. So far, everything looks great with the baby. The doctor even shook our hands three different times and said “congratulations” during the appointment.
From Tuesday’s ultrasound, we learned the baby’s heart rate is beating at around 160 beats per minute, which is nice and normal. She looks to have strong kidneys, good brain matter (a sure sign she’ll be elected president in about 35 years) and her limbs are forming nicely. We could see her kicking a little bit (a sure sign she’ll lead the U.S. soccer team to Olympic gold), and at one point she even looked to be trying to fit her fist in her mouth (maybe she’ll go into comedy).
But we’re not totally out of the woods yet.
Because Jenny’s uterus is bicornuate, we will be going in for more frequent ultrasounds during the rest of the pregnancy. The doctor wants to keep a close eye on Jenny’s cervix as well as how fast the baby is growing.
But that’s just a precaution. This week, we have a healthy daughter on the way — a daughter who may even make a big mark on the world, be it through politics, athletics or entertainment.
But more on that later.
Click here to see photos from the ultrasound at Jake’s personal blog.
Jake Sherlock is a news editor at the Columbia Missourian. E-mail him at SherlockJ@missouri.edu