Baby O's
SEGMENTS

 
WEEK 1

I am six. Six weeks old. You might not have noticed me yet because I am only as big as a grain of rice. When you discover me; my presence may fill you with joy or paralyze you with fear. I have arrived because of you and I am grateful. I am packed with potential; I can feel it whizzing around and doing oh, so many things. When you realize I am here, what will you do? I am just wondering because my life depends upon it.

​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 2

I am seven. Seven weeks old. I have been busy. I am now 10,000 times bigger than when I was conceived. My legs are finding their legs; stretching out from my body which is now about as big as a cucumber seed. My brain is forming five separate vesicles—(what are those, Mom and Dad?)—and my kidneys are starting to filter toxins. The hollows where my eyes and nose will grow are forming. Who will my eyes remind you of? Mommy? Daddy? Will I get to see you soon?

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 3

I am eight. Eight weeks old. Even though I don’t have to breathe on my own—(thanks Mommy!)—I am getting ready for the moment when I can. My lungs are forming as my brain continues to grow. This week, my arms and legs are showing signs of fingers and toes. My body is now about as big as a watermelon seed. Also—somewhere inside—my body is working on a surprise. It will tell you if I am a boy or a girl. Which do you think I will be?

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 4

Our life stories begin in our mother’s womb. Some lives unfold idyllically, others are fraught with trauma. Regardless, life is a gift. While some choices are out of our control, other choices we make depend on whether we comprehend that matchless gift. There will never be another “you.” You are irreplaceable. As am I. We are here because someone, somewhere valued our lives. God knew us before we were in the womb. He designed us to bless others. We can honor our gifts of life in our actions. Together, we can Speak LIFE.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 5

I am nine. Nine weeks old. Guess what? Now you can hear my heartbeat with a special instrument: a gentle pitter-patter pumping blood to my developing organs. My eyes have transparent lids and my body is starting to move. Did you know arms and legs can flap? And my arms are growing this funny little bend in them. Have you felt me trying to flutter, Mom? Maybe not. After all, I am only the size of an almond. I wonder what I will be able to do next week?

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 6

I am ten. Ten weeks old. I made it to double digits! This week I have a real chin and the curly shells of my ears are fully developed. I can twist my arms and legs all around now because I have these amazing things called joints. My heart has really picked up the beat and is nearly done forming. It is beating three times as fast as yours, Mom and Dad! The next time you eat grapes hold one in your hand and study it: that’s how big I am!

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 7

I am eleven. Eleven weeks old. My many body systems are developing at the same time. My finer details like veins and arteries are forming—like a beautiful picture coming into focus—making me look more like “me.” And since my fingers have separated from each other, I can open and close my hands. Can you see me waving? Hey, Dad can you tell Mom I do NOT like red onions. But I do like strawberries. And guess what? This week, I am as big as a strawberry!

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 8

What about when life takes unexpected turns? Change can be exciting or terrifying. Life is full of challenges. What defines our lives is how we step into opportunities or stand and face our fears. Uncertainty—no matter the reason—can trigger anxiety. At times, we can feel desperately alone. Yet the One who formed us knew we would experience these seasons. He desires relationship with us. He can provide exactly what we need. If we ask. The prophet Joel said, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 9

I am twelve. Twelve weeks old. Things are on the move in here; my eyes are getting closer to each other and I am practicing nursing with my mouth. Please tell me milk tastes better than red onions! My first bones are forming in my skeleton. And did you know my bones will keep growing through my childhood? Oh, and sometimes it gets bumpy in here—especially if Mommy’s belly gets poked—so I am making big expansion plans. Next week I will be bigger than an avocado pit!

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 10

I am thirteen.  Thirteen weeks old. My fingerprint is developing lines and creases unique to me. I can swallow now. This is helping my body practice breathing. What is my trick this week? Well, if you check my ultrasound you might see my thumb in my mouth. Oh—and if I am a girl—my ovaries are already carrying the eggs of your future grandchildren. Wow! Right? So far, my head is taking up most of the room in here and I have now grown to the size of a lime.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 11

I am fourteen. Fourteen weeks old. My daily workouts are finally showing results. I can synchronize my arm and leg movements better now. Can you see my limbs? They are getting a little longer. And now my body is growing to catch up with my head. And guess what? I can make faces. But I have not decided which one I like best, so I am practicing them all. If you see me puckering, that will help you remember that this week, I am as big as a lemon!

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 12

What can we do when life hands us a lemon? The saying goes, “make lemonade.” But what if the solution isn’t that straightforward? While it may seem easier to let other people solve our problems, that is a slippery slope. Our attitude because of a “lemon” will either find us overcoming our circumstances or succumbing to them. Our life decisions impact other lives. Our lives are gifts to us. And, in turn, we are gifts to others. Being who we are is speaking a message about LIFE. We choose if our message is bitter or sweet.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 13

I am fifteen. Fifteen weeks old. This is an exciting week! My eyelids cannot open yet, but I can see it’s getting brighter in here. And boy, oh boy is there a lot to listen to now. Of course, I can hear our heartbeats and your voice, Mom. But sometimes I hear other voices too, is one of them Dad’s? Once in a while, I jump—have you noticed? Because I hear strange noises. How big is it out there? But I feel safe hanging out in here, Mom, a little apple growing on your family tree.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 14

I am sixteen. I am sixteen. Sixteen weeks old. We have reached the second trimester. Yeah, Mom! You and me. I know, let’s celebrate with snacks! Can you keep eating the foods I am craving? Especially pears and buffalo sauce—but not together please—because I have a new goal. I am going to double my size in three weeks. Yep! Go find your stretchy pants. Oh, and I have a little indent forming on my upper lip and I can uncurl and stretch in here now. I won’t be the size of an avocado for long!

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 15

I am seventeen. Seventeen weeks old. You know the phrase, “There’s a ‘bun’ in the oven?” Well, there’s a potato in your oven, Mom. That’s right! I’m as big as a regular baking potato. And I can react to even more sounds and light because my central nervous system is sending all kinds of messages to me. My skeleton is turning from cartilage to bone and my limbs are even longer. Hey, you know what goes good with a baked potato? Cheese and sour cream. Remember, I am trying to double my size!

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 16
 

A heartbeat. The world can change in a heartbeat. Life can change in a heartbeat. Life can end in a heartbeat. With every beat of my heart another heart stops beating. The crushing reality? That heartbeat belongs to a baby. It has been purposefully silenced—somewhere in this world—forever. While my heartbeat signifies life, it has also become the death knell by which I count the loss of babies all over the world. One for every beat of my heart. My heart can’t take it. I have to speak LIFE.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 17
 

I am eighteen. Eighteen weeks old. My eyes can move all around now and my eyebrows have grown in. Do you remember the surprise I started working on in week eight? You can definitely see if I am a “Christopher” or a “Christine” now—if you take a peek. And since we’re talking about names, we need to discuss your “name” ideas. Remember—my ears are fully formed! You’re not the one who will have to spell it the rest of your life! Ring-a-ling, Mom—I am the size of a bell pepper this week.

​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 18
 

I am nineteen. Nineteen weeks old. If you haven’t felt me moving around before—you will now! My arms and legs are almost as big as they will be when I am born. And guess what? I’m not bald anymore! My scalp is growing hair… I might have more than Dad. Oh—and this is a good time to make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin C, Mom. Do you want to guess how big I am now? Go ahead, try. Here’s a hint: what is round and orange and packed with Vitamin C?

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 19
-Momma O

 

Baby “O” is twenty weeks old now: a milestone for more than one reason. This week the story takes a narrative twist. One that is inexorably real for babies and parents the world over—for a plethora of reasons. Out of respect for those who have experienced this—and I am one of them—Baby O’s next installment unfolds only on our website. I will not veer from speaking the truth. But I will not trigger unnecessary pain to make my point. Exercise your discretion and prayerfully consider listening to week #19 at speaklife139.com.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 19
-Baby O

 

I am twenty. Twenty weeks old. We made it halfway, Mom! I have a creamy film forming on my skin. It’s like a sticky lotion. It’s called vernix and sort of slick like the inside of a banana peel. It protects me from my amniotic fluid. Isn’t this a clever way to tell you that I’m as big as a banana now? So the next time you peel a banana will can remember that I’m… Mom? What was that? It felt very strange and uncomfortable… Mom! What’s going on? Something doesn’t feel right! Oh no—Mom!

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 20
 

What if you only had 20 weeks to live? How hard would you fight for 30 or 40? Today—we are in the fight of our lives: the fight for life. The loss of a baby should never be marginalized. Twenty weeks in the womb has become a line in the sand that delineates one kind of abortion from another. I’ll ask it again. What if you only had 20 weeks to live? How hard would you fight for 40? The unborn deserve nothing less than the fight of our lives fighting for their lives.

-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 21
 

I am twenty-one. Twenty weeks old. We made it halfway, Mom! I have a creamy film forming on my skin. It’s like a sticky lotion. It’s called vernix and sort of slick like the inside of a banana peel. It protects me from my amniotic fluid. Isn’t this a clever way to tell you that I’m as big as a banana now? So the next time you peel a banana will can remember that I’m… Mom? What was that? It felt very strange and uncomfortable… Mom! What’s going on? Something doesn’t feel right! Oh no—Mom!

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 22
 

I am twenty-two. Twenty-two weeks old. There is so much going on! I should make a list. Oh, wait—I can’t write yet. Let’s see; my fingernails have grown all the way to my fingertips, my irises are all formed but God hasn’t filled them with color yet. Oh yeah, and my digestive system is making a sticky surprise for you Mom and Dad—it’s really the only thing I know how to make right now. I suggest stocking up on diapers. I weigh nearly a pound and I am about as big as a papaya.

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 23
 

I am twenty-three. Twenty-three weeks old. My heart is growing strong and I have another goal! In the next four weeks I will double my weight. Make sure you have snacks in every room and in your purse, Mom. And tell Dad, I don’t mind the cracker crumbs in bed. The sounds I hear are more distinct. I hear the differences between your voice—Mom—and music. My eyelashes have grown in and my lungs are forming alveoli. Try saying that five times fast! I’m almost a foot long from head to toe and about as big as a mango.

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 24
 

What compels us to procreate? An irrational desire to spend sleepless nights for the next year or two? The craving to juggle five times the laundry, trip over baby paraphernalia and learn how to eat standing up? Parenting is a craziness all its own. And yet the connection with our children is profound. We feel it when they curl into us with trust, in the moment they utter their first words. We may lose our minds some days, and our patience—but children are a delight like no other: our lasting legacies. Speak LIFE to one today.

​​-a.m.opdahl

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WEEK 25
 

I am twenty-four. Twenty-four weeks old. I am experimenting with every single facial muscle. It’s a game  I play to pass the time. My mouth can stretch wide in an “O” or curve up in a smile or droop down in a frown. My eyebrows can wriggle like furry little caterpillars. My lungs could let me breathe on my own if I needed to, but Momma—just so you know—I like hanging out in here.     I probably weigh over a pound now and I have hair on my head, soft as cornsilk. And guess what? I’m as big as an ear of corn this week!

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 26
 

I am twenty-five. Twenty-five weeks old. I can sense colors in bright conditions. My nose is sending smells from my amniotic fluid to my brain. I’m collecting baby fat under my skin. It will help me regulate my own body temperature after I leave your cozy womb. My hair color is showing but I don’t have a mirror—so that will be a surprise for both of us. And I have grown almost two inches since last week. Remember when I was seven weeks old and as big as a cucumber seed? Well now—I am as big as a whole cucumber!

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 27
 

I am twenty-six. I am twenty-six. Twenty-six weeks old. I have more blood vessels developing in my lungs; little lacey tendrils fanning out. They will help me gather all the oxygen I need for my first cry. Also, my ears and brain are helping me recognize voices. Momma, yours sounds like a muted hum. Speaking of humming; I really like it when you sing. My favorite is Kumbyah, My Lord. And has Dad been talking to your belly? Sometimes I hear a deep voice rumble right by my ear. I am almost 14 inches long from my head to my toes and nearly as big as a—rutabaga!

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 28
 

Nephesh. That ephemeral combination of body and soul driving us toward wholeness or destruction. There is no middle ground when it comes to our consciences. They steer us in one direction or the other. Experiences shape our moral compasses and yet, the self-appointed moralities of man are flawed. For instance: to abort or not abort? This endless debate cannot negate this truth: we are not the givers of life. The irrefutable morality of the value of life resides in the very fact that women have wombs. But at the worldwide rate of an abortion for every one of my heartbeats, how will mankind thrive? Or even survive?

 

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 29
 

I am twenty-seven. Twenty-seven weeks old. I can open and close my eyes. Have you noticed me mimicking your sleeping and waking patterns? Sometimes I dream about what it’s like out there. Oh, and I’m practicing breathing more. That makes a tickly feeling in my chest—and boy, do I get the hiccups when you eat spicy food, Mom. How can you eat all of that Mexican food? It’s spicy! Couldn’t you get protein from eggs instead of refried beans? Eggs, Mom. It’s a clue for how big I am now. I weigh about two pounds and I am nearly as big as an eggplant.

 

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 30
 

I am twenty-eight. Twenty-eight weeks old.  Here we go—the third trimester! Yipee! Are you excited? We should all be excited! Let’s dance! Whoops, um—was that your rib? I’m a little squashed in here. Sorry, Mom. Okay, okay. I’ll settle down. My heartbeat has been settling down too, averaging 140 beats a minute. But—it’s still almost twice as fast as yours, Dad. Oh, and Mom? Thanks for the eggs. My annoying hiccups are gone. Yay! This week I weigh over two pounds and I’m about as big as—psst! Did you hear my clue at the beginning? I’m about as big as a butternut squash.

 

​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 31
 

I am twenty-nine. Twenty-nine weeks old. At first, when my brain was developing it looked smooth. Now its folds and grooves are like the surface of a walnut or cauliflower—hint, hint. My neurons are really firing, making connections all through my central nervous system. I feel so alive! I am feeling strong because more calcium is being added to my skeleton every day. I like wriggling around. I’ve got some moves! From head to toe—Momma—I am nearly 15 inches long. I weigh almost two and a half pounds and I’m about as big as a—you guessed it! The head of cauliflower.

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 32
 

We eat an apple and chuck the core. We skin an avocado and throw the pit. We peel an orange or break open a banana and toss the skins. What do these things share in common? Their classification. They are fruit. We identify their valuable parts and respond accordingly. What about the “fruit” in Psalm 127:3? “Behold children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Every single molecule of the fruit of the womb is valuable, irreplaceable. Not one part of it is to be thrown away.

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 33
 

I am thirty. Thirty weeks old. My eyes are fully developed and when it’s light I can focus on things really close to my face, like my fingers. I like to watch them flutter. Say, Mom—what was that yummy lunch yesterday? It tasted a little tangy but I really liked it. It reminded me of a salad but it wasn’t lettuce. Did I hear you say, “coleslaw?” Let’s have it again, today— and for the rest of the week. That’s made with carrots and cabbage right? Mom, what a coincidence! Because this week I am almost three whole pounds and around the size of a head of cabbage.

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 34
 

I am thirty-one. I am thirty-one. Thirty-one weeks old. Last week was kind of b-o-r-i-n-g. This week seems more promising. But—it’s getting more crowded in here. That’s why I’m keeping my knees bent up by my chest. I’m thinking about turning and diving headfirst to see if there is more room down there but—I haven’t decided yet. What do you think? Is that a good idea? Well, I guess I’ll just stick my thumb in my mouth while I ponder that. By the way, you might be interested to know that this week I am about as big as a coconut.

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 35
 

I am thirty-two. Thirty-two weeks old. I’m so glad my fingernails and toenails have grown to the tips of my fingers and toes. Because I keep getting a super annoying itch between my shoulder blades that really makes me twist. Good thing I’m an acrobat because I’m getting more squashed in here. Do you ever get that itch? Wow! That’s a tough one to reach. But it feels so good when I can scratch it. Um, Mom and Dad… did you catch my hint? Yep, I am as big as another kind of squash this week: an acorn squash.

 

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 36
 

Harvest. The word brings to mind late summer and fall in America’s heartland. Golden wheat fields gleam and stretch into the distance. Fruit and vegetables are picked for canning and freezing. Beets are lifted and hauled 24/7 in a flurry activity. Leaves begin to color the landscape with amber and red hues. People start raking their yards and fall décor like corn stalks, haybales, pumpkins and mums are sprinkled around. Harvest should never be about cutting out organs of babies who are still breathing… whose hearts are still beating. The medical term is in vivo abortions. That is not “harvest.” It is murder.

 

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 37
 

I am thirty-three. Thirty-three weeks old. I’m trying to collect baby fat to keep up with my growth spurts! Help! I need fat, Mom! When will you ever get to eat fatty food again to make someone else plump? The opposite of fat is thin. Your uterine wall is thinning—which means I see more light in here. So, I keep my eyes open during the day and closed at night, well except at 3 am. Do you know where it stays light and warm a lot of the time? Besides in here? Where pineapples grow! Yep, now you know about how big I am this week.

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 38
 

I am thirty-four. Thirty-four weeks old. Only six weeks to go before I get to see you! I’m floating in a sea of amniotic fluid, the largest since I was conceived. Next week it will start shrinking for the countdown: six, five, four, three, two, one week to—“B”-day! Yay! Are you getting excited? Do you want to leap for joy? Sometimes, the music I hear makes me want to leap like an antelope. But it’s hard to jump in water, know what I mean? And come to think of it, if you leap I might get seasick. By the way, what rhymes with antelope? Cantaloupe, Mom. Get it?

​​​-a.m.opdahl

WEEK 39
 

I am thirty-five. Thirty-five weeks old. Well, I decided to dive down and try a different position. My melon is really growing a lot this week. My neurons and brin gyro and sulci are continuing to develop. What is all of that? I don’t know, Mom. You’ll have to look it up because there is so much going on in my brain that it takes more than half of my energy to keep up. But I still have enough to stretch and kick, Mom. Have you noticed? Guess which melon I’m nearly as big as this week. A honeydew!

​​​-a.m.opdahl