We have reached what many people around the hospital have referred to as the ‘Golden Week’ – 28 WEEKS! I have made it to the third trimester. Although I had great faith that I would not deliver right away when I was admitted, I only hoped that I could make it this far! I thought I would give you a little information on what the difference ‘theoretically’ between the babies’ development when I first arrived opposed to now (it is a little long winded, so feel free to skip right over it). It is based on information that I have read on reputable websites and from the NICU, and is based on the development of a single baby.
Babies at 23/24 Weeks: Babies at this stage are about 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango). The skin is being produced at a faster pace than the fat, so the skin tends to hang loose, and is thin and translucent. The brain is also growing quickly now. The main lungs are developing branches as well as special cells that produce surfactant needed to inflate the air sacs. Babies who are born prematurely have difficulty breathing as these cells have not had sufficient time to develop or produce enough surfactant. Babies born in this period might have disabilities and would require long-term intensive care as they have difficulty regulating body temperature, possible bleeding in the brain, as well as coping with their breathing due to immature development of the lungs.
Babies at 28 Weeks: By this week, a baby weighs about two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of the head to the heels. The skin is wrinkled but is developing layers of fat under the skin making the baby look a little rounder. Fine downy hair, a protective cover, is enveloping the baby’s body. The baby has opened its eyes by now and the eyebrows and eyelids are well formed. The lungs approach maturity and the respiratory movements are now coordinated and regular. The brain develops further into a more complex organ with grooves and indentations on its surface. The number of brain tissue also increase in this week. The baby’s organs and systems are well developed by now and if born prematurely at this stage the baby can survive if provided intensive, specialized care. Babies born this week, though premature, have an excellent prognosis for survival. Of course, it's still best if a baby doesn't check out of that uterine hotel just yet — there's still a lot of growing and maturing to do over the next 12 weeks. The final two months of gestation are vital for the maturation of the body systems and organs which helps to prepare the baby for a smooth and healthy adjustment outside the womb.
As you can tell, we are not out of the woods yet – but in a much better place/time than we were four and a half weeks ago. I do recognize that this information is general and we won’t know specifically about the triplets until they are born. I do know that we will spend time in the NICU, but the babies will hopefully endure less ‘problems’ because of the additional time that I was able to carry them.
Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers! We couldn’t have gotten this far without you.
I have a routine ultra sound scheduled for late Monday morning. I will post what we find out as soon as we are back in the room. Have a wonderful weekend! Joelee