We had our second ultrasound, a Level II ultrasound, last Thursday. This time I got to lay down with the monitor in front of me, so I could see almost the entire time. The ultrasound technician came in first and took some fetal measurements. I'm not sure what all the measurements were, but I know they measured the baby's head, the arm bones, the leg bones, and the overall size. They also estimated the baby's weight. At the ultrasound on Halloween, the baby was estimated to weigh a little over a pound, which was right at 50th percentile for that point in the pregnancy. Only three weeks later, she had grown to just over two pounds, which put her at 69th percentile for that far along. No wonder I'd gained some extra weight - she's having a major growth spurt! She had also moved into a head-down position (instead of the transverse position she was in at the last ultrasound). Of course, there's still plenty of time for her to change positions before her birth, but I was still glad to know that for now, she's in the perfect place.
When the obstetrician got there (she was over an hour late), she checked the baby for things that hadn't even really occurred to me as being possible problems. The baby's lip looks fine (no cleft palate!). Her feet are fine (no club feet!). She has two kidneys, and they're both functioning normally. Her proportions are all normal (the technician did comment that the baby has "some long leg bones!"). After the doctor finished doing the ultrasound, she told us that she didn't see any abnormalities, and that she had been able to see everything that she wanted to see. Geoff told her that the previous ultrasound technician had said that she was 98% sure the baby was a girl, and asked her for her opinion. She said, "well, that would be my guess, too. She looks very...girl-like."
So there you have it. Professional medicial opinion says the baby is girl-like! I'm guessing we won't be any more sure of the baby's gender until after she (or he?) is born. We'll have to set a limit to the purchase of pink clothing, just in case.
Apparently, people at work have started to think about the fact that I will be gone for awhile next spring. One day last week I heard the manager in the office next to mine saying to his secretary, "we'll have to pick up the slack." His secretary responded, "while she's gone having her baby." I figured they were probably talking about me, but I didn't say anything. Later on that afternoon, I walked by another co-worker at the fax machine, who looked at me and said, "gee, I wish I could get pregnant so that I could get time off work!"
I didn't really have a good response - I was a little taken aback, so I just sort of fake-laughed at him and walked away. But the more I thought about it, the more irritated I was. For one thing, the time off work that I will be getting is completely unpaid. It's not exactly the most enviable position to be in. For another thing, if his wife got pregnant again (they already have two or three kids), he would be entitled to the same amount of leave to which I'm currently entitled, even without ever having been pregnant! Wow, lucky guy! And it's easy for him to act like I'm taking advantage of the system by having children now - he already has his children, and his wife stays home to take care of them. Maybe he thinks I should be quitting to stay home with our baby, instead of inconveniencing everybody who has to "pick up the slack" while I'm temporarily gone.
Speaking of my maternity leave, yes, it's unpaid. I'm entitled to the provisions of the Family Leave Act, and that's it. I get 12 weeks off, all unpaid, except for the vacation and sick time that I have to take. At the start of my time off, the company requires that I take all vacation time and sick time that I have accrued at that point. Since I only get two weeks of vacation a year, and I used over a week of vacation back in April, my accrued vacation time will probably be about 5 days. I get one week of sick days a year, and I don't use those very often, so I will probably have about 5 days of those accrued, too. If I want to, I can take additional vacation time that I will accrue later in the year, but I'd rather not do that if we can manage without it. I'm guessing I might feel like taking a vacation later on in the year!
If I'd thought about this well in advance and asked the right questions at the right time, I would have signed up for short-term disability insurance benefits, and I would have been eligible for those after I'd been off for three weeks - that would have paid 65% of my salary for the remaining time off. But the way it works out, I didn't sign up for short-term disability when I first started here. Open enrollment for all benefits is in October each year, and becomes effective on January 1 of the following year. So if I'd realized that maternity leave is otherwise unpaid, I could have added short-term disability back in October 2002 to be effective for 2003, and in October 2003 I could have renewed my coverage for 2004. (Actually, since we got married in November 2002, that "change of status" would have allowed me to have added short-term disability up to mid-December 2002, effective 2003.) Unfortunately, I didn't find out what type of maternity leave the company offers until January of 2003, which meant that the first time to add short-term disability after that was last month, October 2003, for coverage which would have taken effect in 2004. I did apply to add it, but to get coverage I have to fill out an "evidence of insurability" form, and one of the questions on the form is "are you pregnant?" I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm pretty sure that my "yes" answer will mean that even if I get coverage for short-term disability, that coverage will specifically exclude any disability for this particular pregnancy. (Scintillating, isn't this?)
Anyway, the bottom line is that I have no paid time off other than the time I take as vacation or sick time, but that if we can afford it, I would like to take the entire 12 weeks off to which I'm entitled. We've been saving up part of Geoff's salary, and I think we'll have almost enough to cover my paychecks. I think we'll be ok. I'm just sorry I didn't plan far enough ahead to have added short term disability back in 2002!
This Friday I'll be exactly 26 weeks along in the pregnancy, which seems both amazingly far along and not nearly far enough. Lately Geoff and I have been getting really eager for the baby to get here! During certain times in each day, she goes nuts with the kicking and moving around. I don't know if she's moving a lot or a little compared to the average baby (I know every baby is different), but it seems like a lot to me. Usually I feel her moving before I get out of bed in the morning, and then again about mid-morning at work (this morning Geoff drove me to work, and she was moving up a storm in the car on the way here). She moves around a lot not to long after lunch, and then again usually later in the afternoon. Then when I get home and lie down on the couch in the evening, she almost always moves around a lot. And pretty much every night when I go to bed, we can count on her to be active. Lately when I wake up in the night to change positions (from one side to another, since those are my only two choices now), I'll feel a few movements. Luckily, the movements aren't strong enough yet that they have ever kept me awake.
I've been pretty emotional lately, much more so than usual, even. But mostly, although I am emotional, I am not specifically sad, so it's relatively easy to deal with. I cry at about every third commercial, it seems like, but that's not really too disruptive to our lives.