Week 24 - The Unsung Hero of the Fetal Support System

Dear Kaylee,

The pregnancy website that I check each week to get an idea of what’s going on in your world calls the umbilical cord the, “unsung hero of the fetal support system”. It’s a statement that I find rather amusing and since all they talked about in regards to your growth this week was this “unsung hero”, I do feel compelled to comment on my reaction this statement. Reading it, I wondered what the heck these people were smoking. Unsung? The umbilical cord? Honestly, I didn’t even know there was anything else involved in the “fetal support system”, except for the placenta. How can the umbilical cord be “unsung” when it’s one of only two parts of this “system” that any of us laymen ever talk about?

It made me laugh, it really did.

So, with little to go on, I can’t really tell you what you were doing this week, except for growing and getting stronger. Your mother was feeling your kicks more and more and I was asking her about them more and more, because I still hadn’t felt them at all. There was also, she suspected, some hiccupping, or maybe just some somersaults, or maybe a little of both, because she felt a great deal of movement that wasn’t kicking. Whatever was going on in there, you certainly had a lot of energy.

Your mom was also convinced that when she went in for her checkup this week she would be told again that she’d been gaining too much weight. As an outsider, I can say that I did notice her belly swelling a little bit more, but that I didn’t really think anything of it. In the end, it turned out that what she was thinking was a lot of extra weight gain was actually just her uterus growing and moving further upwards in her abdomen. Or something like that. I guess the point is that she hadn’t gained too much weight, after all. Your heartbeat was steady at around 150 beats per minute and everything else was measuring within normal limits. There was, despite my fears to the contrary, nothing to be worried about.

The dark thoughts that had been plaguing me last week continued to follow me around like a little raincloud during the early portion of this week, but with every report of kicking and movement your mother gave me I began to feel a little more comfortable. I got back to thinking about all the fun we were all going to have together—you playing in the leaves outside, or arguing the merits of the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap remake versus the Haley Mills original (the Lohan version was on TV on Saturday and I smirked at your mother, saying, “This is the kind of movie I’m going to have to watch all of the time now, isn’t it?)—and I stopped thinking about all of the bad stuff. You and your mom were waiting for me at the end of each hard day, still there and still healthy. And, well, that made each day a little less hard.

Love, Dad

LettersE. Christopher Clark