Monday, November 26, 2007


I received the results from my quad screen today. The quad screen measures the levels of four substances in my blood: alpha-fetoprotein, a protein that is produced by the fetus; human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced within the placenta; Estriol, an estrogen produced by both the fetus and the placenta; and Inhibin-A, a protein produced by the placenta and ovaries. The quad screen detects about 75-85% of neural tube defects and 75-80% of Down Syndrome cases; when the blood test is combined with an ultrasound like one we just had, most birth defects can be detected.

The levels of those four proteins are compared to "normal" levels. The "normal" level is really a range based on maternal age and the gestational age of the fetus.

All four markers were well within the normal range. This means our baby is significantly less likely to have Down Syndrome and neural tube defects like spina bifida.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

21st Century Digital Girl!

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Melissa and I went to get the big-deal ultrasound yesterday, and this is the result. Everything looks fine, except that she's inherited my freakishly long arms (she's 18 weeks + 2 days, except her arms, which are 19w1d). Welcome to lots of short sleeved shirts, kid.

Oh, and she has had the poor taste to NOT be a frog. Despite my encouragements.

We're currently wavering between "Ruth Lysistrata" and "Ruth Zachary." Both make pretty good nicknames - "RuthLys" works pretty well when you sound it out, and "R.Z." has a certain amount of zing as well.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Keeping the Baby Safe

If anyone is thinking of buying toys for the baby, we'd respectfully ask that you not buy anything made in China or out of plastic.

The more I read about toy recalls, the more I want to keep plastics away from our kid-to-be. Besides lead paint, at least two children have been injured after ingesting plastic toys. The toy, when ingested, produced a toxic chemical, causing seizures and coma. Besides, as a policy wonk, I can tell you that the Consumer Product Safety Commission - the agency charged with recalls - is not operating well either. They've been without a permanent commissioner for some time and are woefully underfunded.

If you're interested in toys, there are some wonderful and safe toys available from the U.S. and abroad. Cool Mom Picks has compiled a list of toys by category (teething, riding, building, etc.). Many of the manufacturers highlighted are offering discounts (scroll down for the coupon codes). Besides the toys highlighted on that website, Etsy, a website designed to let independent merchants sell their goods more easily, has an extensive list of toys by category.

If you're thinking of a toy, we'd love you to consider a book instead. Daniel and I saved some of our most well-loved children's books (I have a shelf of Roald Dahl).