Today I reached 34 weeks. That leaves me 6 weeks until my estimated due date and 3 weeks until I am considered "full term". Today I want to talk a little about my youngest niece Raegan. She was born on January 29, 2008 at 34 weeks gestation (right where I am now). My sisters water broke 6 weeks early and she had to be airlifted to Honolulu, Oahu from Maui due to the need for a NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) where pre-mature babies are taken after birth. My niece was born weighing 5 pounds 3.2oz and was 18.5 inches long. She stayed in the NICU for a total of 5 days (which is awesome) before they all flew home to Maui. When she was little we all called her "Pip" for pipsqueak because she was so little. Now she is a thriving two year old with the cutest curly blonde hair. Looking at pictures of Raegan when she was born really puts into perspective just how big Courtney is right now. For an "outside" baby she is still little, but when you think about her being somewhere around 18 inches long I wonder how she has any space.
And with that, here is a picture of Raegan a few days old. You can see her size by comparing her to my brother-in-laws hand:
And here she is at two years old:
So as for Courtney:
Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.