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Week #2 of Pregnancy

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Your Pregnancy: Week 2

By Erin Horner, edHelperBaby

Your Baby
           From the moment of conception your baby's miraculous genetic map will outline the foundation for his or her sweet life.  Your egg, which contains 23 chromosomes, and your partner's sperm, which contain another 23 chromosomes, will combine to create the unique, one-of-a-kind, baby that will soon be growing deep within you.  From the moment the two meet, your baby's height, hair, eye color, gender, and many other genetic factors will be determined, though they will remain a mystery to you for several more months.  Your egg contains an "x" chromosome.  Your partner's sperm will contain either an "x" or a "y" chromosome.  If his "x" swimmer makes its way to your egg first, nine (or ten) months from now you will welcome a beautiful baby girl into this world.  If, on the other hand, your partner's "y" sperm wins the amazing race, your family will soon be blessed with a busy, baby boy.  Your little miracle will soon divide into two cells, then four.  It will continue to re-divide as it makes its way down your fallopian tube, eventually arriving in your uterus as a ball of thirty cells.  Then, after implanting and settling into his or her forty week home, all of those mysterious genetic codes can continue to be unraveled and your sweet one can get busy becoming the little miracle that you will look forward to holding.


Your Body
           This is the week in your menstrual cycle that you will have the greatest chance of conceiving.  Typically, most women ovulate two weeks after their last cycle and two weeks before their next one is due.  If you typically have a 28 day cycle, you will probably be most fertile between days 11-14 of your current cycle.  If you are trying to pinpoint when in your cycle you ovulate, pay close attention to or consider using the following:
  • Cervical Mucus:  Your cervical mucus, or vaginal discharge, tends to change around the time of ovulation in order to allow the sperm to more easily travel up towards your egg.  Many women notice that their mucus becomes more clear and "stretchy," resembling the consistency of a raw egg white.  If you were to place some mucus between your thumb and pointer finger, you should be able to stretch it into a thin line approximately 2 or more inches long.
  • Increase in basal body temperature:  If you have been charting your basal body temperature every day, you may notice a very slight dip in your morning temperature on the day immediately preceding ovulation.  You will probably see an increase of approximately two-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit after you have ovulated.
  • Cramping:  Approximately one in five women experience mittelsschmertz, or mid-cycle ovulation pain.  The extent to which this pain is felt varies from woman to woman.  Some women feel a slight twinge on one side of their lower abdomen or the other; others feel an uncomfortable pressure or overall cramping.
  • Ovulation predictor kits:  These easy to use kits are a great way to help you predict and track the time during your cycle when you are most likely to ovulate.   Similar in design to a home pregnancy test, an ovulation predictor test is usually a stick that is designed to be urinated on.  The test then analyzes the urine and identifies the level of luteinizing hormone (LH) found within it.  There is typically a surge in the LH approximately 36 hours prior to ovulation.  By identifying the window in which you are most likely to conceive, you and your partner will have the best chance of becoming pregnant.  While these kits are convenient and fairly accurate, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of.  First, the test will only be able to identify the surge of LH in your body, which should indicate pending ovulation.  It will not be able to tell you if in deed you did ovulate.  Secondly, the tests can be a bit pricey.  They can cost anywhere from $15.00 to $50.00 per cycle to use.

       Once you ovulate, and you and your partner are able to enjoy some good old-fashioned alone time, millions of sperm will valiantly make their way towards the egg that is patiently waiting in your fallopian tube for the winner of this most amazing race.  A few hundred will make it all the way to the egg, but only one will break through the egg's protective barrier.  Once inside, a chemical is released that prevents any other sperm from making their way into the egg.  The body of the sperm then dissolves, and the nucleus and its all-important 23 chromosomes begin merging with the egg and creating your miraculous baby.


  You're Wondering. . .
           My family is full of busy boys!  Is there anything that my partner and I can do to increase our chances of having a little girl?

       There are several urban myths and folklore tales that insist they can help you and your partner "choose" the gender of your child.  While some women may swear to their validity, others have tried them and have found themselves still conceiving a little one of the opposite gender.  I can make you one promise; you have a 50/50 chance of conceiving either a boy or a girl!  You will DEFINETLY have one or the other...unless of course you are carrying twins, then maybe you'll get one of each!  If you are still looking to increase your odds, here are some of the urban myths and timing ideas that may help you "choose" the sex of your little one.

       Going for a girl?
  • Future mom and dad should eat lots of fish and vegetables.
  • Mom-to-be should indulge her sweet tooth, especially by eating chocolate (girls are made of sugar and spice, aren't they?).
  • The woman should initiate intimacy in the afternoon on even days of the month, with her partner on the top.

       Want to bring home a boy?
  • Future mommy should eat more red meat and salty snacks.
  • Dad-to-be should drink more soda, specifically cola beverages.
  • Future fathers should initiate intimacy, standing up, in the evenings, on odd days of the month.

       While these "methods" may seem like fun, remember that eating too much red meat, or indulging in oodles of salty snacks or drinking lots of soda may not be what is best for you or your little one.  It is important to treat your body as if you were already pregnant, and that means making sure that each bite counts!

       Perhaps the most "reliable" method of helping to select your little one's gender (if there is a "method" to all of this madness) is known as the Shettles Method.  This philosophy believes that in timing intercourse a certain way, a couple may be able to increase their odds of conceiving a boy or a girl.  The Shettles method states that "boy" sperm are faster swimmers, and therefore have a tendency to reach the egg first.  If you are trying to conceive a son, have intercourse the day that you ovulate.  That way, a fast swimming boy sperm will be able to quickly make its way to your waiting egg and a little "champ" can be conceived.  If you are hoping for a pink nursery, the Shettles Method states that you should have intercourse two to three days before you ovulate.  Their reasoning for this is the belief that those sperm containing the "x" or girl making chromosome are slower swimmers, but live longer once inside your body.  By having intercourse before you ovulate, the idea is that a "girl" sperm will be waiting for your egg to arrive and for the real party to begin.  If this belief is true, it's probably the first and last time that a "girl" is ever ready and waiting for her counterpart to arrive.  For the rest of your sweet one's life, she will probably have boys (and parents) waiting on her to get ready!

       Remember, no matter where, when or how you conceive your child, you are guaranteed either a boy or a girl...and a lifetime of joy!


  Your "To-Do" List
           This may be the easiest task on your to-do list for the next 40 weeks.  If you are trying to conceive a baby, this week just do "it"!  Medical experts recommend that when trying to conceive, couples should engage in sexual intercourse every other day during a woman's most fertile time of the month.  So, this week it's time to get busy...literally!


Your Homework: Preparing For Parenthood
           Over the next several years you and your partner will have many opportunities to make wonderful memories with your child (or children!).  You will, hopefully, spend many Saturday mornings coloring together, many weeknights curled up on the couch reading stories, and several afternoons doing puzzles.  Not only are puzzles a great way for your child to work on their problem solving skills, but they are also a lot of fun!  I love the fact that a puzzle can so often symbolize our lives.  We take a bunch of different pieces; family background, childhood memories, educational experiences, and relationships and put them all together to create a beautiful and unique picture that represents the whole of who we are.  Your homework assignment this week, as you begin to prepare yourself for parenthood, is to create a puzzle with your partner.  Gather two 8 1/2 x 11 (or larger) pieces of cardstock, some crayons or markers, and a pair of scissors.  Then, get ready to get crafty!
  1. Think about the many different facets of your life that have made you who you are today.   Then draw an image that represents that aspect of your life.  If you grew up playing Bobby Sox softball, you may want to include a picture of a bat, ball, and baseball glove.  If you love your job as a teacher, you could draw an apple and a chalkboard.  Remember, the sky is the limit, and you will not be graded on your artistic ability!
  2. Continue adding images that help to tell the story of who you are. As you draw, share with one another the memories that these images represent.   Fill up the page with as many colors and images as you can, but leave one spot on the paper completely blank.
  3. Once you have covered your paper with several drawings (with the exception of the all important blank space) begin to cut your puzzle into ten pieces.  The goal is not to make your puzzle extremely difficult to put back together, so there is no need to be overly adventurous and turn a small sheet of paper into a 500 piece logistical nightmare!
  4. Next, trade puzzles with your partner.  Pull out the piece that contains the one area that was left blank and set it aside.
  5. Begin putting the pieces of each other's puzzles together.  Once you each have the entire puzzle put back together (except for that missing blank piece!) look at what you have created.  In front of you, you have put together a small representation of who your partner has become up until this point of his life.  You'll notice, though, that the puzzle is still incomplete.  The blank piece represents the baby that will soon become a part of your family, the missing piece of your family's puzzle.  As you place the missing piece into the nearly complete image, take advantage of the opportunity to talk about how your life will change once your little one makes its way into your home and into your heart, and how your individual life stories will help to make up the uniquely gifted individual that your child will be.


  My Experience
           Before we had children, my husband and I would try to turn off the TV one night each week and spend that time playing board games or doing a puzzle together.  I was often amazed at the great conversations that we were able to have, simply by turning off the television and spending some quality time interacting with one another.  Back then, we were convinced that our family was complete...until our daughter was born!  One TV free night we decided to make these puzzles together and loved getting to look back at the different pieces of our lives that had brought us to where we were, and yet at the same time, look ahead to the many yet-unknown pieces that would soon help to complete our life stories.  Now, ten years of marriage and two children later, we still try and turn off the TV one night each week (depending on which sports season it is) and spend some time talking, playing games or doing a puzzle.  With two active kiddos running around the house all day, however, a few of our puzzle pieces have a tendency to disappear.   So even when our puzzle is "done" it is often still incomplete.  I guess life is the same way; even when we think that we have everything in our life to fulfill us, life has a mysterious way of blessing us with something that we didn't even know we were missing, until its missing piece makes its way into our life story.  I wish you and your partner all the best as you prepare to welcome the magical missing piece that your child will be in your family's future!


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