Our Pud is growing the unique whorls and swirls on his/her fingertips right now, proving God’s making him/her completely unique. Size-wise, think turnip- 5 inches- or open one hand and look at your palm- that is about how big he/she is now.  I can defintely feel the flutters when Pud decides to wake up and move around.  In case you’re curious, li’l Pud is practicing sucking and swallowing now, in addition to the usual acrobatics.  She/he is also developing some body fat, though most of it will pile on in the last trimester.

My Callie girl is ever more aware of her baby and is increasingly choosing to stay close to her/him.  Interestingly, for the first time last weekend, we observed Bandit quietly placing himself in front of me to sit and observe in an unfamiliar area while we were taking a walk.  He typically sticks like glue to B, so it’s clear to us that he is now taking on the role of protecting his baby and me, alongside Callie.  They both are draping themselves across my belly during snuggle times and are both listening to Pud, as well as smelling him/her, at different random times throughout the day.

One time this week, I was really feeling my skin stretching, so I was scratching and rubbing my belly gently.  Callie came over and put her paws on my belly, sniffed a couple of places and then gave my belly a lick or two before going on her way.  It’s really very sweet to see the bond growing between the dogs and their baby.  They will welcome Pud with open arms, but hell will have no fury like these two if someone tries to mess with their baby.  I can clearly see that now.  I have to prepare family and friends to be asking them for permission to see the baby, so that they can learn to trust them to be careful with their treasure.  I can see them hovering even more than I will.  We are ready to include them in talking to Pud; the last thing we or they will be happy with is having them pushed away.  Aunt A, we’ll let them know that you’ll be careful, but because of your allergies, they can’t visit with you for long.

There was some worry expressed among my family because I mentioned that we will be getting the 3D ultrasound.  Dr. S. mentioned sending us for one fairly early on. I understand more about spina bifida more now- it occurs in the early development, particularly if Mom hasn’t been taking folic acid.  Because we were nearly 2 months preggers before we knew, she might’ve decided to do the cautious doc thing.  The thing is, I started taking a daily vitamin that contains 400 mcg of folic acid (the recommended dose) in November, so I’m definitely not worried about any neural tube defects.  I know that this baby is healthy and I’m positive the 3D ultrasound will prove it with clearer pictures than the normal ultrasound can.  That is probably the point.

I’m still on 400 mg of folic acid and a prenatal vitamin.  Pud’s got me drowning in milk and yogurt, so I know those bones are growing quickly and are healthy.  Pud greatly prefers fresh fruits, tomatoes, eggs, chicken, and milk to just about anything else, so s/he is getting plenty of good vitamins and minerals.

The challenge I have been having this week is remembering that I have half as much cartilage as I should in my knees, so I’ve had some pain and swelling from them this week, particularly my bothersome left knee.  I’m working through it with ice packs throughout the day, propping up my legs, and a dose of Tylenol now and again, because while I’d love to take the Advil and reduce the swelling more, I can’t take it and risk harming Pud.

I also discovered the amazing power of menthol Breathe Right strips this week.  I’m more congested all the time now because my nasal passages are swelling, yay pregnancy hormones and normal allergies, but these are the best thing for reducing early- morning wake-up headaches. Still a fan of the neti pot and, for really bad days, Mucinex D, but this is something that seems to really be helping me to sleep SO much better, without the restless legs side effects or sleeplessness of Sudafed.  Highly recommend.