Archive for the 'Baby' Category

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Pregnant Tina Fey Is Ready to Pop!!

The 40 year old comedian, Tina Fey, and husband, Jeff Richmond, are expecting their second child any day now. It seems we just can’t get enough of Tina Fey with her Palin impersonations to her award winning show, 30 Rock. However, we will now have to wait till January for the new season to begin. Fey will be playing “mom” to her newborn baby and 5 yr old daughter, Alice.

And the sex of the baby? Fey predicted “It’s going to be a werewolf” to the host, Craig Fergusen, on the Late Show.

Fey also has a new book out, Bossypants, which she began promoting back in April on an Oprah Winfrey appearance. This is when we first learned of the pregnancy and she was already 5 months pregnant. In her memoir, Tina openly agonized about her decision to have a second child in the midst of a demanding career and as she neared the big 4-0. It seemed her overwhelming desire to be a mom once again won out over all the other demands in her life. However Fey has fended off rumors that 30 Rock is coming to an end. So we can hope and expect to see Fey as a busy pregnant and working mom in the months ahead.

Fey certainly knows how to ROCK maternity wear. She has been spotted wearing anything from a tailored, Ann Taylor nautical outfit to a black dress showing off her burgeoning baby bump. One thing for certain, Fey has had fun keeping herself in fashion.

Any day now, the little werewolf should be making an entrance. I know we all can’t wait!!

Baby Carseat Recommendations

Parents are constantly given advice on how to care for their children, but the recent recommendations for car seats should not be overlooked. This is because forward-facing kids are far more likely to die (1). The long standing belief that children should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are 1 has been extended to 2 years, or longer, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These new policy statements were issued on March 21st, 2011 and are based primarily on a 2007 University of Virginia study. The study found children under 2 are 75% less likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash if they are facing the rear (4). Toddlers have relatively large heads and small necks, in which the bones are structurally immature. If a child is forward facing, his or her neck can fly forward during a crash which can cause spinal cord injuries (3).

Parents should be aware that with each transition they make, from rear-facing to forward-facing, to booster seats, they are making the ride less safe for their child. It is better not to risk it and delay the switch as long as possible. Parents are often reluctant to keep their child rear facing, as they believe the child’s legs will be bent during the ride, they will have nothing stimulating to look at, or just be unhappy facing backwards (2). But if the child doesn’t know any differently, they will think it’s just the way it is. In this position, 2 year- olds are not more likely to break their legs in a crash and they are not necessarily any less comfortable.

Luckily, adhering to the recommendations is becoming easier for parents, as “most car seat makers have increased the amount of weight the seats can hold” (3). Ten years ago rear facing car seats only accommodated children up to 22 pounds. Today, nearly half or rear- facing seats hold 30 pounds.

Sources:
1. Chicago Tribune
2. Examiner
3. MSNBC
4. NY Times

Babies just over a year old are able to understand words just like adults, find researchers.

Babies just over a year old are able to understand words just like adults, find researchers.

In a new study, specialized MRI and MEG imaging tests that look at the brain were used to see how babies respond to spoken words. Scientists from University of California, San Diego found they process words and not just sounds, much like adults, and in the same area of the brain as grown-ups.

Scientists used non-invasive MEG and MRI tests to view brain activity in 12 to 18 months old. MEG (magnetoencephalography) is a type of test that measures weak magnetic fields generated by electrical activity in the neurons of the brain. .

Co-leader of the study, Katherine E. Travis, of the Department of Neurosciences and the Multimodal Imaging Laboratory, all at UC San Diego explains, “Babies are using the same brain mechanisms as adults to access the meaning of words from what is thought to be a mental ‘database’ of meanings, a database which is continually being updated right into adulthood.” .

There have been several theories about how babies process language, one being that the brain evolves from infancy to adulthood, but begins with a primitive form of learning. Adults with frontotemporal lesions in the brain have difficulty processing language leading to speculation about language processing, but for infants, that part of the brain doesn’t seem critical. .

One theory is that the difference between adults and babies is that a different area of the brain engages in infancy for language development – specifically, the right hemisphere and inferior frontal regions that become less dominant as babies mature, but the theory lacks evidence. .

One way to observe how language is processed with the imaging techniques used by the scientists in the current study, which allowed the researchers to observe areas of the brain activated when a baby hears words. The scientists found out that babies understand the meaning of words, before they speak. .

The researchers exposed the babies to sounds, pictures and words in the study. Some of the words were paired with acoustic sounds with no associative meaning. In the second part of the study, words were spoken and either matched or mismatched to pictures to see if babies really do understand the meaning of words. .

Brain activity on the scans showed that babies knew the difference between words that did not match the pictures. The same brain response occurred in the babies as in adults, in the same left frontotemporal areas. The researchers confirmed the response was the same in adults shown pictures that did not match words. .

When the scientists showed pictures of a ball for instance, and spoke the word, the same area of the brain used by adults was activated, showing babies do understand language and that they can process words. .

Eric Halgren, PhD, professor of radiology in the School of Medicine says, “Our study shows that the neural machinery used by adults to understand words is already functional when words are first being learned. This basic process seems to embody the process whereby words are understood, as well as the context for learning new words.”

The findings show babies do understand words and process language just like adults. The scientists say their research results mean infants could be screened for language disabilities and autism at an early age. .

Home For The Holidays

MASSILLON, OH — There’s nothing like being home for the holidays.

Just ask Vince and Amie Spicocchi.

The Massillon couple will spend their first holiday with all of their children – including quintuplets Amie gave birth to by Cesarean in August – under one roof.

“It’s going to be fun,” Vince said.

“The only difference is we are not going to be leaving the house,” Amie added. “We normally visit Vince’s family on Christmas Eve and then my family on Christmas Day.”

Instead, a small gathering of family will join the Spicocchis at their home on Christmas Day to celebrate the babies’ first Christmas.

“This is the first time we are under the same roof for a holiday,” Vince said. “For Thanksgiving, Paige and Enzo were still in the hospital.”

Born nearly four months early at 24 weeks and three days, the quintuplets – Ilah, Paige, Enzo, Ellie and Gia – remained at Akron Children’s Hospital for the first few months of their life. Amie’s due date was Nov. 20.

In singles and pairs, the babies began coming home: Gia was the first on Nov. 10. Her sisters Ilah and Ellie followed on Nov. 12, Paige on Nov. 26, and finally Enzo on Nov. 29.

“I think they are growing very well,” said Amie, now a mother of seven, including the quints and 14-year-old Taylor and 5-year-old Grady. “(Doctors) are very happy with how they have gained (weight).”

Ellie weighs in at 10.1 pounds, followed by Enzo at 9.13 pounds, and the three girls each weigh 9.3 pounds.

“Their weight has been increasing since the time they were discharged,” Vince said. “They are doing what they are suppose to be doing.”

Considering they are multiples and were born premature, the Spicocchis say their babies are doing remarkably well, but they know they are not out of the woods.

“People don’t realize they were only given a 10 percent chance of making it when we found out (we were pregnant with quints),” Vince said. “Here we are now eight or nine months later, not only are they all here but they are doing well. You are humbled by that.”

“People talk about miracles,” Amie said. “The fact that all five of them were delivered is truly a miracle and we don’t take that for granted.”

Vince said the day the babies were born, doctors gave them a 50 percent survival rate.

“We’ve already beaten the odds,” Vince said.

“You are thankful for that each day,” Amie added.

A healthy, happy home

Keeping the babies healthy is of utmost importance.

To that end, house rules have been posted at the front door – the most important keeping hands washed and clean, and not allowing visitors who are sick or who live with someone who is sick.

Other rules: Don’t knock on the door – five babies are sleeping. No unannounced visitors. And no perfume around the babies.

Ellie, her parents say, appears to be coming down with what could be a cold.

“Something like that could knock them down,” Vince said. “You don’t want to introduce any unnecessary germs.”

A helping hand

Juggling five babies is no easy task, and the Spicocchis rely on family and friends to help keep the babies fed and happy.

The babies are fed seven times a day – that’s 35 bottles and about 50 diapers each day.

“The dietitian recently said we could skip one feeding, so we are skipping the 4:30 a.m. feeding,” Amie said.

Vince’s father and stepmother help with the 1:30 a.m. feeding.

“Sometimes it is just us and sometimes there is a person for each baby,” Vince said. “If we have two people show up, it makes it pretty easy.”

Even with extra sets of hands, it takes about an hour to feed all five babies.

“It’s kind of like the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’” Vince said noting once you finish changing, feeding and putting the babies to sleep, it is time to start all over.

The couple is sleeping in shifts, Vince said, joking he sometimes gets out of the 1:30 a.m. feeding if he has to work the next day. Vince is a Massillon firefighter and works a 24-hour shift.

“I try to get a good night sleep (before a shift),” he said.

To give their volunteers a break, they have enlisted the services of PINK – Postpartum Infant Nurturing Kare.

The Jackson Township-based group, Amie said, is not well-known in the area but travels out of state to provide their services.

PINK offers infant assistance for a seven-hour period one to two times a week.

“It gives us a chance to hang out with the other kids or to get some sleep,” Vince said. “They specialize in premature babies and multiples. It gives everyone a break so we don’t overtax our volunteers.”

‘Actual age’

While the quintuplets were born nearly five months ago – on Aug. 3 – doctors still consider them only four weeks old – their adjusted age based on Amie’s due date.

“Their age right now is four and half months but they don’t go by their actual age,” Vince explained. “They look at their level (based on their adjusted age) of around four weeks.

“They are preemie babies and they are still within in the normal range (for size) and are doing normal things. They act just like newborns.”

Adjusting to nine

All the preparation for bringing the babies home paid off, Vince said.

But one thing the couple wasn’t prepared for is the planning it takes just to make doctor visits.

“We’ve only had to take all five (at the same time) once,” he said. “But we really had to plan it out. You need one person inside (the doctor’s office), one person in the car and one person to carry them (into the office).”

After a little trial and error, Vince was able to fit all five of the babies’ car seats in their vehicle, but that only leaves room for two passengers – it doesn’t fit the entire family of nine.

Starting to smile

The couple said people visiting their home are surprised by how calm the environment is with five babies.

“They expect it to be a zoo and it can be,” Vince said.

“There are times when it is pretty crazy,” Amie said.

“It’s amazing how normal they are,” Vince said. “They are starting to smile.”

“It’s reassuring,” Amie said.

Amie and Vince continue to be thankful for the generosity of their family and friends and complete strangers.

“We want to thank everybody who has helped us,” Vince said. “The support from people we don’t know who send us cards and well wishes and donations. It’s overwhelming the support.”

 

Teen Birthrate Hits Record Low

By Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer

The rate at which U.S. women are having babies continued to fall between 2008 and 2009, federal officials reported Tuesday, pushing the teen birthrate to a record low and prompting a debate about whether the drop was caused by the recession, an increased focus on encouraging abstinence, more adolescents using birth control or a combination of those factors.

The birthrate among U.S. girls ages 15 to 19 fell from 41.5 to 39.1 births per 1,000 teens – a 6 percent drop to the lowest rate in the nearly 70 years the federal government has been collecting reliable data, according to a preliminary analysis of the latest statistics.

“The decline in teen births is really quite amazing,” said Brady E. Hamilton of the National Center for Health Statistics, who helped perform the analysis.

The decrease marked the second year in a row that the birthrate among teens fell, meaning it has dropped for 16 out of the past 18 years. The 8 percent two-year decline strengthens hopes that an alarming 5 percent increase over the preceding two years was an aberration.

“Just in time for the holidays, a steep decline in teen birth has been announced,” said Sarah Brown of the Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies. “We now are, thankfully, back on track.”

The reason for the record low remains unclear, but some experts attributed it to the recession, noting that the overall fertility rate as well as the total number of births in the United States fell a second straight year in 2009 as well.

“I would not have guessed that teenagers would be most responsive to the economic downturn, but maybe we need to revise our stereotypes,” said Samuel Preston, a professor of demography at the University of Pennsylvania.

Brown and others agreed:

“When money is very tight, all of us think harder about taking risks, expanding our families, taking on new responsibilities,” Brown said. “Now, I know that teens may not be as savvy about money as those in their 20s and 30s – they probably don’t stress over 401 (k)s like the rest of us – but many teens live with financially stressed adults, and they see neighbors and older friends losing jobs and even losing houses. So they, too, feel the squeeze and may be reacting to it by being more prudent. . . . Maybe part of tightening our belts includes keeping our zippers closed, too!”

That fits with research released in the spring by the Pew Research Center, which found that states hit hardest by the recession experienced the biggest drops in births.

“Our evidence definitely suggested there was a link between the economic circumstances and what was going on with fertility,” said Gretchen Livingston, a Pew senior researcher. “I suspect that’s what we’re seeing with these lower numbers. This fits with the historical picture as well.”

Others suggested that the intense concern about the 2005 to 2007 increases and the attention it generated–including Bristol Palin’s campaign against teen pregnancy, MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” series and Washington’s birth control-vs-abstinence debate – may have gotten through to teens. Some data, for example, indicate that use of birth-control pills and other forms of contraception among teen girls is increasing.

“Although the data are preliminary, it looks like improved contraceptive use is again driving the decline in teen birthrates,” said John Santelli of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The general fertility rate fell from 68.6 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 44 to 66.7 in 2009, and the total number of births fell from 4,247,694 to 4,131,019, That direction appears to be continuing into 2010, according to early statistics collected between January and June. The overall drop pushed the fertility rate to about 2.01, a 4 percent decrease from 2008.

That is the largest decline since 1973, and it put the total fertility rate below the level needed to sustain the size of the population for the second year after being above the replacement rate in 2006 and 2007 for the first time in 35 years.

The birthrate for women in their early 20s fell 7 percent, which is the largest decline for this age group since 1973, according to the report. The rates also fell for women in their late 20s and 30s, although it continued to increase for women in their early 40s.

The rise in teen pregnancies had triggered an intense debate about whether increased funding for sex-education programs that focus on encouraging abstinence may be playing a role. As a result, proponents of abstinence education welcomed the new data, saying they exonerated their approach.

“These trends show that the risk-avoidance message of abstinence has ‘sticking power’ for young people,” said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association. “This latest evidence shows that teen behaviors increasingly mirror the skills they are taught in a successful abstinence education program.”

Huber and others noted that the Obama administration has significantly reduced funding for abstinence-focused programs.

“With a change in policy away from abstinence education, we may expect to see a reversal of the teen pregnancy birthrate in the years to come,” said Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council.

But critics of abstinence programs, who argue that the approach does not work, attributed the drop to the recession.

“We certainly don’t want recession to be the most effective form of birth control in the U.S.,” said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth. “We still need structural reforms in sex education, contraceptive access and pragmatic public policies to ensure a long-term decline in the teen birthrate – during good economic times as well as bad.”

The Obama administration has launched a $110 million teen pregnancy prevention effort that will support a range of programs, including those that teach about the risks of specific sexual activities and the benefits of contraception and others that focus primarily on encouraging teens to delay sex.

Sophia and Aiden lead Top 100 Baby Names of 2010

.. Please step down, Isabella. Sophia is taking your place as the most popular girl’s name of 2010.

Congratulations, Aiden. You’ve held onto the number-one boy’s spot for the sixth year in a row.

Welcome to the pack, Liam and Abigail. You’re now officially a part of the coveted top 10.

BabyCenter released its list of the Top 100 Baby Names of 2010 today. The online parenting and pregnancy destination compiled some 350,000 baby names and combined those that sound the same but have different spellings (such as Sophia and Sofia) to create a true measure of popularity.

Top 10 Girls’ Names of 2010

1.Sophia
2.Isabella
3.Olivia
4.Emma
5.Chloe
6.Ava
7.Lily
8.Madison
9.Addison
10.Abigail

Top 10 Boys’ Names of 2010

1.Aiden
2.Jacob
3.Jackson
4.Ethan
5.Jayden
6.Noah
7.Logan
8.Caden
9.Lucas
10.Liam

What’s influencing baby-naming parents? Parents turned to pop culture, politics, a bygone era, and the ever-popular Old Testament for inspiration. Here’s a look at the Hottest Baby Name Trends of 2010:

•Glee’s cheerleader queen Quinn may be mean, but her name is certainly popular, jumping up in the ratings a whopping 60 percent. Finn, Jenna, and Lea are also singing a happy tune.

•The critically acclaimed drama Mad Men has struck a nerve with the American public. Dishy Don (as in Draper) inched up the charts, and his ex-wife is bringing the cool back to Betty. The silver-haired fox Roger rose 21 percent, while his wife, Jane, also gained popularity.

•The names of the moms on MTV’s reality show 16 and Pregnant are also popular: Maci, Farrah, and Katelynn are up by 60, 51, and 7 percent, respectively.

•Sarah Palin’s daughters’ names – Bristol, Willow, and Piper – are climbing the ladder, but the name Sarah is actually in decline.

•The golden age of film (think 1930 to 1959) played a starring role in this year’s list. Audrey, Ava, Scarlett, Evelyn, Vivien, and Greta all got rave reviews.

•Parents are reaching back for names…way, way back to the Old Testament. Jacob has made the BabyCenter top ten for the past ten years, while Levi, Caleb, Elijah, and Jeremiah are rising in the charts. For more about the hottest trends see BabyCenter’s Baby Names Special Report of 2010.

What about names below the top ten? Some are flying up the list, while others are spiraling downward.

•Newcomers who broke into the top 100 include Annabelle (69), Stella (72), Nora (83), Jeremiah (90), Hudson (96), and Ryder (97).

•Ellie, who leapfrogged 26 spots to come in at number 61, is a rising star.

•So is Charlotte, who was bumped up 20 to number 38.

•And then there’s Grayson, who enjoyed a 25-spot jump to land at number 66.

•Some names lost a lot of ground. Brooke shot down 23 spots to number 82, while Hayden tumbled 20 spots to number 91.

•Ashley and Brendan exited the top 100 entirely.

What’s up for next year? BabyCenter uses a top-secret algorithm to unearth the names that are likely to become even more popular in 2011.

•Of the top 100 girls’ names from 2010, it looks like Layla, Lila, Evelyn, Charlotte, Lucy, Ellie, Aaliyah, Bella, Claire, and Aubrey will continue to rise in 2011.

•Of the top 100 boys’ names from 2010, BabyCenter predicts that Eli, Colton, Grayson, Wyatt, Henry, Mason, Landon, Charlie, Max, and Chase will gain momentum in 2011.

And what about names that haven’t even broken into the top 100? Who will be next year’s newcomers?

•Among the less popular names now moving up the girls’ list are Isla, Adalyn, Giuliana, Olive, Kinsley, Evangeline, Paisley, Vivienne, Maci, and Kinley.

•And although Bentley, Kellan, Kingston, Aarav, Ryker, Beckett, Colt, Paxton, Jax, and Lincoln are well below the top 100 on the boys’ list, they’re all fast climbers.

BREASTFEEDING exposes babies to a variety of flavours

This article from Australia.

BREASTFEEDING exposes babies to a variety of flavours, making them more accepting of different foods as they grow

CSIRO research psychologist Dr Nadia Corsini said studies showed breastfeeding provided infants with a greater variety of tastes compared with formula, which was beneficial when weaning them on to solid foods.

“Exposure to flavours takes place in utero and via breastfeeding, where the baby is exposed to flavours in mother’s diet,” she said.

“A lot of people might not realise this is one of benefits of breastfeeding, the exposure to different flavours.

“Research suggests children with exposure to different flavours are more accepting of different foods as they grow older to those who didn’t have exposure.”

According to a European study of 147 mothers and their infants, both breastfeeding and daily changes in vegetables offered early in weaning increased the child’s acceptance of new foods for at least up to two months.

Dr Corsini said breastfeeding versus formula was a sensitive issue, but mothers shouldn’t feel they are disadvantaging their child if they do not breastfeed.

“Even though these processes exist it doesn’t mean you can’t change or influence your children’s acceptance of different foods after that stage,” she said.

“That’s why it’s important to offer children a wide variety of healthy foods early in life. It is such an important influence on the variety in their diet later.”

Gordana Hopping, 33, is breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter Filipa and mindful of eating well.

“I’m staying away from soft drinks and sugary foods,” she said. “I have a healthy diet so Filipa is too.”

The Advertiser and Sunday Mail Healthy Eating project continues this week, encouraging children to learn more about balanced diets and cooking nutritious meals.

Students can collect daily panels featuring the different food groups as well as recipes courtesy of the CSIRO.

Alaska Airlines Agrees to Reimburse Couple in Diaper Dispute

by Fran Golden at AOL Travel News

Alaska Airlines has agreed to reimburse a Canadian couple after they were bumped from a flight in an incident that started with a smelly diaper, and that the carrier calls “rare.”

Colleen Roberge and Dan Blais had just gotten married in Las Vegas and were on their way home to Edmonton, Alberta. But when they were about to board the plane their baby son had an explosive dirty diaper.

Roberge tells CTV Edmonton she left the gate to change the baby’s diaper, leaving her husband behind to explain the situation. But when she returned she was told her ticket had been given to another passenger on standby.

The couple was not allowed to board the flight, and Roberge says a customer service agent even told her she should have boarded the plane before changing the soiled diaper.

After being bumped, the couple was left with the option of spending up to two days on standby for another Alaska Airlines flight or paying about $1,000 for tickets home that day on another airline. The couple chose the latter, and got home on WestJet.

The upset couple blogged about the incident, and Alaska Airlines left a comment explaining its stance. “Reservations are subject to cancellation if customers aren’t ready at the gate within specified times,” the carrier says. “If we accommodate people who arrive late, we risk arriving at the destination late.”

But the carrier now says it will pay for the couple’s flight home.

“It goes to show that one employee’s actions doesn’t always represent the whole company and it seems Alaska Airlines didn’t thoroughly understand exactly what happened at the gate that day,” Roberge and Blais say on their blog.

The Lucky One

By Jenny Feldon, blog post at Pregnancy.com

35 weeks. It seems almost impossible that this much time has gone by since I first saw that pink plus sign on a white plastic stick. Holiday decorations are already in store windows; by Christmas I could have a weeks-old infant cradled in my arms. Sometimes I look back and think “How did I get here? And how did it happen so fast?”

Along with my rapidly approaching due date, there’s another date permanently engraved on my mind. A day on the calendar that was supposed to mark the same kind of joy for one of my dearest friends that my own due date promises for me. But that date is empty now, a blank spot where there used to be a big red exclamation point. Because I am the lucky one, the one who gets to keep her miracle. And my friend—an amazing woman, a phenomenal mother—is grieving not one, but two pregnancies she’s lost in the same 35 weeks I’ve been happily, uneventfully pregnant.

It’s at her recommendation—and with her blessing—that I write this very difficult post. Miscarriage is a very common, very real part of many women’s journeys toward motherhood. I’m particularly inspired by Project Pregnancy blogger Lexi Walters Wright, whose beautifully written, brave posts remind me how incredibly fortunate I am—how fortunate every mom is—to have a healthy child growing up before my eyes, and even luckier to have rolled the dice and conceived a second time. But remembering how lucky I am is not enough to provide support to my friend, to help her through her grief without being a living, breathing reminder of her pain. What do you say when you desperately want to ease a friend’s pain—but can only make things worse?

We met when our babies were just a few months old, and it was instant friend karma. Our daughters are less than two weeks apart, and we’ve tackled every challenge of new motherhood together, from breastfeeding to pureeing broccoli to those first trips down the big kid slide. We made stay-at-home mommyhood into an adventure, with coffee playdates, music classes and field trips to the aquarium. She has parented my daughter almost as much as I have; she is one of the reasons my long months with J out of town have been bearable.

Around the same time, we decided it was time for #2. My friend had lost a pregnancy before her daughter C was born, and was considerably more cautious—and anxious—about the conception process than I was. Still, we bought ovulation sticks together, peed on pregnancy tests together, and looked at each other wide-eyed with shock and joy when we realized we’d both hit the jackpot—and were expecting our #2s just two days apart.

I had complications early in this pregnancy I hadn’t experienced with E. Bleeding started around 6 weeks, and I would sit in the bathroom, terrified and alone, wondering what was happening. She was my sounding board, my reassuring voice. When she also started first trimester bleeding, I blithely assured her everything would be fine. Wasn’t she just being overly neurotic because she’d had a miscarriage before C? If she was allowed to reassure me, I was allowed to poo-poo her fears too. Or so I thought.

Just before our 12-week milestones, my friend’s ultrasound showed no heartbeat. In an email more concerned with my feelings than her own, she broke the news, letting me know she and her husband were drowning their tears in sake and sushi, and were focused on being grateful for the gorgeous, smart toddler they had at home. They were optimistic about trying again. Typically brave, typically cheerful. Heartbreakingly honest.

I cried for hours. Why her? Why not me? Suddenly, irrevocably, my joy and her pain were inextricably woven. And there was nothing I could say, no help or soothing words I could offer her, that could excuse the fact that I was still pregnant and she was not. I desperately wanted to trade places. At least if it were my pain, I could deal with it, be in control of it. But to watch someone so close to me suffer and not be able to a single thing to help—it was intolerable.

Selfishly, I was grieving a little bit for me, too. I wanted to take this journey with one of my dearest friends. Everything was supposed to work out perfectly. I’d envisioned joint baby showers and shuffling down the hospital hallway with my IV pole to have the world’s first post-partum slumber party—just her, me, and our newborns. Our #2s should have had birthday parties together, gone to the DMV together to get their driver’s licenses. All those silly, selfish dreams were shattered. I wanted to be unequivocally elated and excited about the new life inside me. Instead I felt sad, lost, and so, so guilty.

My friend is one of the strongest and bravest people I know. But no amount of bravery can take away her pain, and I hate that my own healthy pregnancy is a constant reminder of what she should have had—twice, now, since I conceived #2. Our conversations have become an elaborate dance, with her asking me about the pregnancy to prove she’s OK with it, and me trying everything to avoid the topic entirely so as not to cause her any more sorrow. If I could make my growing belly disappear in her presence, I would. I do my best to pretend there’s nothing more important going on in my life than preschool and potty training, because those subjects are things we can still share. But despite our best efforts, the chasm between us grows ever wider. It‘s the exact distance between the baby that is, and the baby that is no longer.

Is there ever a right thing to say to a friend or loved one that has suffered this kind of loss? Can women who haven’t had fertility problems ever say the right thing to a woman who has? Even with the best of intentions, every word out of my mouth is potentially the most wrong thing I could say. I can’t understand what it feels like. I can’t make any of it better. And what I am doing—growing bigger and more pregnant by the minute—is, in some ways, the worst thing of all.

I know how genuinely happy my friend is for me, and how much she hates that I feel guilty when I should be celebrating this upcoming new life. I believe with my whole heart that she will have another child, one as healthy and precocious and absolutely perfect as her sweet daughter C. She is an incredible friend, a loving wife, an amazing mother. She doesn’t deserve the sorrow she’s been dealt (who does?) but she’ll triumph anyway, because that’s who she is. She inspires me every day.

And so do all the other women who have struggled with the pain and loss of infertility and miscarriage. To all of you out there who have suffered like my sweet friend: Is there anything us “lucky ones” can do, or say, to support you the way we so desperately want to? Or at the very least, minimize the damage our happily pregnant selves can inflict on still-raw wounds? Nothing can take away the pain of loss, and in many ways that chasm will always exist. But I’d love to hear advice on what to do, what not to say, and how to bridge the gap that inevitably grows between women whose paths have turned away from each other.

Jumbo Ultrasound Shows Zoo’s Baby Elephant

George the elephant now weighs 640 lbs. Pic: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

George the elephant now weighs 640 lbs. Pic: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

An incredible ultrasound image of a baby elephant in utero has been released by ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Incredibly his trunk is already visible.

The Zoo used 3D ultrasound scanners to monitor the health and well-being of mum and baby.

Now six months old, George weighs around 840 lbs and is part of the herd of Asian elephants at the Zoo in Dunstable.

His keepers say he loves to play in the seven-acre paddock with his big sister Donna.