Baby O - 2.0


One day something amazing happened. It started with Dinah asking when “Baby O” would be born. She knew “B-day” was close. When I replied, “Soon,” tears welled in her eyes. Although she was excited, she did not want to say good-bye to “Baby O” or Speak LIFE. In that moment, I realized Speak LIFE had taken on a life of its own—in my daughter’s heart. I am humbled to be the Momma who lived Dinah’s journey and grateful I was able to write about it! Next week “Baby O” begins a new journey: one as a big sister. Come along with us!



I am six. Six weeks old. You might not have noticed me yet— Hey, what about me? Ahhh!! Who is that? Me. Is that you, Mom? No, silly. It’s me. I’m right next to you. You scared me! That’s what siblings are for. Do you think Mom knows? Knows what? That there are two of us? I don’t know. You didn’t. How big are we this week, anyway? Um, as big as grains of rice. So probably not. Boy, is she going to be surprised. What else is happening this week? Well, our hearts have regular rhythms and next week we’ll be 10,000 times bigger than when we were conceived. Shhh! Why? I need more naps!



We are seven. We are seven. Seven weeks old. Do you feel 10,000 times bigger than when we were conceived? I don’t know, do you? Something feels different. Maybe because your hands and legs are starting to grow. What? I know things­­ too. Oh really? Like that our optic cups and nasal pits are forming? Or that our brains are dividing into five separate vesicles. Into what? Wait, have you been reading a dictionary? Of course not, I don’t have eyes yet, silly. Okay, okay—just get to the point and tell them how big we are. We’re as big as cucumber seeds. Was that so hard?



We are eight. Eight weeks old. Why do you always do that? What? Start talking before me? Fine, you say it then. But now they already know how old we are. Wait. Who’s “they?” I don’t know. You’re the one who started it. Well, I felt like someone was listening… and they needed to know. Yeah. I know what you mean. Can I tell them? Tell them what? How big we are? Okay. Yay! We are as big as something small, oval and dark… can you guess what? Spit it out, will you? Ha! That’s funny. Did you just tell your first joke? Will you tell them already? Oh, alright. Watermelon seeds!



I am three. Three years old. I am an expert at laundry. I can rearrange a basket of folded, clean clothes in less than thirty seconds. I love to look for bunnies in the yard with Dad when he gets home from work. After a thunderstorm, Momma takes me outside so I can jump in ALL the mud puddles. I like to hum all day long. Anytime I hear music: I dance. I have so many things to occupy me but what I could really use is a playmate! Yoo-hoo! Mom! Dad! I want to be a big sister!



We are nine. Nine weeks old. Will you stop playing the drums so loud? How can I play the drums? My elbows aren’t even formed yet! Well—it isn’t me! Shh. There, hear that? Um—yeah. If it isn’t you then who is it? Both of us, silly. What do you mean? Oh, wait. You mean that drumming is our heartbeats? Yep. Wow. Nice rhythm, huh? Uh-huh. Hey, how big are we this week? As big as almonds. Are you calling me a nut? Well, if I am then we’re both nuts. I guess that’s okay then.

​ -a.m.opdahl


We are ten. Ten weeks old. See? Now stop saying I didn’t give you a turn. Well, it’s about time you let me go first. Hey, is your forehead bulging like mine? You’re changing the subject. How about your ears and chin? Are they fully developed? You’re still changing the subject. What about your arms and legs? Can you rotate them? You’re still not talking about how you don’t let me talk first. Did you know we’re as big as grapes this week? Wait—now you want to talk about snacks? Yes. Well, now you’re talking! ​



We are eleven. Eleven weeks old. I can open and close my hands. Oh, yeah? Well, I can kick my arms and legs.  I know. What you can do I can do too. Oh yeah. How about this? Can you do this? Do what? This. Did you forget our eyelids are still fused? Oh, right. I guess I’ll show you later. What else is going on this week? Our major structures are present and developing. Blah, blah, blah… boring… and we’re as big as…? Fine. Strawberries. Yum! Think about strawberries. It worked last week when we got Mom to eat grapes.



I am three. I am three. Three years old. The thunderstorm scared me but afterward the sun came out. Then you put my rainboots on me, Momma. I. Am. Soooo muddy and happy. How many puddles did I find? Oh, Momma! Look at all the robins. They’re hopping everywhere. They like it when the thunderstorm is over too. Oh, here Momma. I have things in my hand for you. Do you want a sunny, yellow dandelion or a soft, wiggly stick? The robins seem to like the wiggly sticks. I have to go! I see another puddle! Psst. I want to be a big sister!



We are twelve. Twelve weeks old. What was that? What? A slurping sound. What are you doing? I’m practicing nursing. Uh—maybe you should focus on growing your cartilage instead. That would be quieter. Yeah, but not as interesting. Hey, what should we get Mom to crave today? How about an avocado? Nah, that’s boring. We need something crazy. What do you suggest? I don’t know. I guess an avocado does sound good. You think any food sounds good. Yeah, so? How about guacamole? Yum! Perfect! Because we’re about as big as avocado pits this week!



We are—thirteen. Thirteen weeks old! It’s not a race. How else am I going to get a word in edgewise? Ok. Fine. Tell them all about us. Umm…Well? Something about fingerprints and swallowing? You fell asleep when I was telling you, didn’t you? Maybe. You and your naps. We’re practicing breathing and nursing on our thumbs and… And weeing! Yes. That. Don’t think about it too hard or you’ll never swallow again. What? Where do you think it goes? Awww, c’mon! Bleh! Time to tell them how big we are. Oh, fine. A couple of limes. Hey, that rhymes! Ugh.



We are fourteen. Fourteen weeks old! Stop it. Stop what? Making faces at me. Hey, your eyelids aren’t even open yet. You can’t tell if I’m making faces or not. I can too. Stop imagining things. But you were, weren’t you? What— making faces? Maybe. See! I was right. Hey, do you feel fuzzy this week? That’s your lanugo. My what? Your lanugo, the little hairs growing all over your body. Who thinks of these names? Are you going to tell them or am I? What? That now we’re as big as lemons? I guess you are.



I am three. Still three years old. Today I want to remind you how helpful I am. For instance, I am an interior decorator. No room looks the same when I am done. When I help—I am very thorough. Remember how I take every single sandwich bag out of their cardboard box? So now that you know how helpful I can be—Mom and Dad—maybe you can help me? You see, even though I like hanging out with you, I would really enjoy having someone little around like me. I want to be a big sister—and I can help!



We are fifteen. Fifteen weeks old. Hey, wait a minute. You’re quiet? Shh, I’m thinking. Oh, boy. Just listen. Can you hear it? Hear what? I think there’s another drummer in here. What? Where? Just listen. See? It’s a steady beat. Yeah, slower than yours and mine. What do you think? What do I think? Yes. I think I’m hungry. Surprise, surprise. Well, I am. Hungry for what? Something delicious. Like an apple? Sounds good. That’s a clue, isn’t it? Yes. But it’s for them not you. I don’t care as long as I get food.



We are sixteen. We are sixteen. Sixteen weeks old! Hey! I found my hand! What? It’s attached to you! I mean I found my hand with my other hand. That’s probably because we’ve been developing more muscles and some of them can move independently now. How do you learn this stuff? I pay attention. You’re saying I don’t pay attention? You do spend all of your time napping, eating or flexing your muscles. Speaking of flexing muscles, let’s stretch. It feels good not to be curled up all the time. Hey, I almost forgot—how big are we this week? As big as avocados.



We are seventeen. Seventeen weeks old! I win! I win! Win what? The contest. Contest? For who says how old we are first! I didn’t know there was one. Now you do. I won! Okay. Let’s keep score: it’s eight to three. Hey! Now who’s winning? You’re tricky. Anyway, I’ve been thinking. Surprise, surprise. The other drummer is getting louder because we hear better now, right? Yeah. What if it’s Mom’s heartbeat? Hey, I think you’re right. What? Say that again. Just tell them how big we are. Why don’t you? Fine. We’re as big as baking potatoes! Now I’m hungry. Surprise, surprise.





I am three. Three years old. One. Two. Three. Can you count to three? I can count to three. You, you and me. Now count to four. You, you, me and baby makes four! Yay! I’m going to be a big sister! Um, wait a minute. Where is baby going to sleep? What is baby going to eat? Am I going to have to share my toys? How long is this going to take? Uh-oh. I see that look on your face. The one that says I’m going to have to learn patience. One-two-three-four. Can you count to four?




We are eighteen. Eighteen weeks old. Are you going to tell her? Tell who, what? What do you mean, who? Our big sister of course. All you had to do was say so. Tell her what? That she needs to count to five. Well, we better share the other secret too. Yeah. It’s obvious now. What is? That I’m a boy and you’re not. I think most of them have figured that out by now. Don’t roll your eyes just because you can. How big are we? Achoo! Ha-ha. A hint, right? Let me guess, a bell pepper. Ring-a ling!






We are nineteen. Nineteen weeks old. There you go again. You were napping. Again. Yeah, so? I was bored. I wanted something to do. So you decided to talk? Orange you glad I did? Now you can tell them how big we are. That’s a “Dad” joke for sure. Wait, have you been listening to our family when I’m asleep? What else is there to do? You could practice a few jabs and kicks, like me. Stop! That’s your side. This is mine. Stay on your side. Boy, I have to find a way to get out of here first so I only have one big sister.






We are twenty. Twenty weeks old. Yuck! What is this stuff? What stuff? This icky, sticky, white stuff. It’s vernix, silly. What? Another weird name. Agh! It’s everywhere! Just be glad you have it. You’re going to need it. What do you mean I’m going to need it? It makes us slippery. Why would we want to be slippery? So we can slide out when it’s time to be born. Wait a minute, will it make me slide faster? What else is slippery? I know what you’re trying to get me to say. What? A banana peel because that’s how big we are. You got it!






I am three. Three years old. I’m a big sister! But I’m so surprised! But I think you and Daddy were more surprised. His mouth made a big round “O” and then you gasped when you saw the screen. I love my picture with two babies! Are they really in your tummy, Momma? They must like hanging out together. I wonder what they do all day? Do you think they know I am out here waiting for them? I wonder if they know how to knock down block towers. Maybe I could teach them that. I’ll go practice.






We are twenty-one. Twenty-one weeks old. I wish you would stop craving salad. I don’t like salad. Vegetables are good for you. So are blueberries. Fruit is good for you too, you know. You always want something sweet. Doesn’t everyone? Nope, not me. Tell me about it. How about a compromise? What do you have in mind? A sweet potato. Wait! Are you trying to trick me into getting Momma to crave a vegetable? If we want to keep growing faster than our placentas, we need our vegetables. And let me guess, we’re as big as sweet potatoes, right? Yep!                                                               




We are twenty-two. Twenty-two weeks old. Yeah, yeah—I know. Wait. That means we’re more than halfway. When did that happen? When you were napping. Ah, come on. You nap too. Not as much as you. Would you stop that? It’s about time our fingernails grew all the way in. Fine. You scratch. I’ll work on meconium. You and your crazy words. What is that? It’s what we will use to fill our first diapers. Oh, that sounds like fun! You make some for Momma and I’ll take Papaya. Hey, that was a good one! Thanks! Do you think they got it?




We are twenty-three. Twenty-three weeks old. Ah! Don’t do that! I thought you were sleeping. Surprise! I was pretending. That’s sneaky. Yep. That’s me. Sneaky. Brothers are sneaky. Tell me about it. I just did. What’s the update this week? Our eyebrows and lashes have grown in but our irises don’t have color yet. Uh, that’s kind of boring. Okay, well we’re going to double our weight in the next four weeks. We are? Uh-huh. That means we need to eat. Yep. Yay! Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Hurry, tell them how big we are. We’re as big as mangoes. Awesome! Let’s eat.




I am three. Three years old. Um, I have an itsy-bitsy problem. Here let me show you. I dropped my blocks in here, Momma. In that big white bowl you like to sit on. You know, the one that gets swirly inside when you jiggle the lever! You found them! One, two, three, four—five! I’ve been practicing counting to five just like you have been teaching me. Wow, Momma! You can count to ten! Do it again! Do it again! One, two, three, four—five! I’m so glad I’m alive!




We are twenty-four. Twenty-four weeks old. Why are you doing that? Doing what? Making faces at me. How do you know I’m making faces? We won’t open our eyes for another three weeks. Wait, you’re probably saying that because you’re making faces at me! Right? Wait! Shh! Did you ear that? Did I “ear” that? Yeah, did you “ear” that? Is that your idea of a joke? Maybe. Brothers are so corny. Now that’s a “Dad” joke! Do you think they got it? That we’re as big as ears of corn? I hope so.




We are twenty-five. Twenty-five weeks old. Did you see that? See what? There it is again! We can see shadows and sometimes color now. There! Right there. If I can just… Eeek! That’s my head! Well, that’s a relief. Will you keep your fingers to yourself? Stop pulling my hair. Ah, sorry. Wait, here’s my head. What color is my hair? I don’t know. You said we could distinguish color. You’ll have to wait two weeks until we open our eyes. Wait, wait, wait… well how big are we while we’re waiting? We’re as long as cucumbers.






We are twenty-six. Twenty-six weeks old. How did you wake up before me? I heard Dad talking to Mom this morning. Why didn’t I? You snooze, you lose. What you mean is you napped so much yesterday that you woke up early today. I just go with the flow, don’t you know. Why are you rhyming? Maybe I’m a poet and you don’t know it. Dad read Dr. Suess again, didn’t he? Pop’s the top! I knew it! Well, if you want to rhyme, find a word to rhyme with rutabaga. That’s a made-up word! That’s not so, silly bro.




I am three. Three years old. Oh Momma, put me down. I have things to do! Uh-oh. You’re sneaky. You know I love cuddling. Umm, your lap is getting small. Mmm, I like it here next to you. Can you sing my lullaby, Momma? The one grandpa wrote for me? Yeshua. Please give Dinah peaceful sleep because she is your little sheep. Then wake her with your loving hand because she is your little lamb. As she grows and laughs and plays, gently guide her in all your ways. When she’s grown wherever she walks, keep her in your little flock. Keep her in your little flock.

 -a.m.opdahl & dale mellgren



We are twenty-seven. Twenty-seven weeks old. Stop jiggling. I can’t. Momma ate spicy food again! Hic. Hic. It didn’t give me hiccups. Yeah. Why not? Because I was practicing breathing. I don’t think so. My diaphragm can’t spasm when it’s exercising. You like spicy food. You were thinking about it, weren’t you? That’s why she ate it! You know it gives me hiccups! Look! What? Where? I just opened my eyes! Look. Hey! There you are! I see your head. What color is my hair? It looks like eggplant. Ha, ha. Is that even a color? Well, it’s a vegetable. Not another one!