It started around the sixteenth week - a little flutter that could easily pass for butterflies in the stomach, a case of nerves.
Unless one had experienced it before, and knew better.
Movement. Life. A small collection of cells slowly but steadily growing into something that less and less resembles a gummi bear or alien and more and more looks like a human being. Waving tiny arm and leg nubs, uncontrolled, reflexive motions that were barely perceptible but with huge impact.
The first time you feel the baby move within...it's surreal. Indescribable. Suddenly, you are aware of that living thing in a way you were not before.
While I can honestly say that hearing the heartbeat is the concrete moment...the instant it is driven home that there's a baby...the first motion is special in its own way.
From that point on, about sixteen weeks in, I have been aware of her in there. Long before she was showing herself by stretching my midsection out and up, I was aware. Her friendly little wriggles and flutters would come at odd moments, giving me pause. These little reminders of her presence were for me alone - no one else could possibly have felt them, yet.
Now, with less than five weeks to go, she's much more pronounced. Mum could see her moving from across the room! It has only been a few weeks since Someone could put his hand on my distended abdomen and feel his daughter rolling, stretching, kicking, or boxing in there. His smile was magic...sweet, full of wonder and delight. Now he likes to rest his hand or head there, talk to her, feel her elbow me (and, by extension, him).
Her motion is more purposeful, now - she pushes back when she's pushed upon, stretches out her arms and legs, rolls to one side or another, all in preparation for the day when she is no longer cushioned safely (if somewhat claustrophobically) within her mother but is out here in the light and air.
Sometimes she moves so emphatically, I wonder if she's taken up Irish dance! She is especially fond of the wee hours, rearranging her furniture at two or three in the morning. Her head is resting near my bladder, and from time to time she'll head-butt me, make me jump a little. Zing!
Although I often feel stretched beyond popping of late, I love to feel her rolling around in there. When the specialist was worried about size, about growth and maybe having a very early baby if things didn't improve...it was reassuring to feel the Sprout dancing about. Like she was telling me "I'm fine, Mama, don't you worry 'bout me!"
There are many aspects of pregnancy that are less than delightful...more than a few I dodged in both pregnancies, like morning sickness, high blood pressure, food aversions or cravings, constipation, anemia...there's the heartburn that wakes me nightly, side effect of having my insides rearranged and squashed mercilessly by the current interior decorator; there's the difficulty sleeping - between butt cramps (yes, butt cramps), hands going numb at odd times, and the feeling that I need a hoist or sky hook or huge spatula to turn over, sleep is not easy or terribly restful; there's the feeling that someone has seriously turned up the gravity around me, making any movement difficult and a few motions downright uncomfortable (I can sit on the floor, but getting up again ain't pretty, and stairs are NOT my friend at the moment); there are a variety of odd little aches and pains that can't be stretched or rested away and that twinge throughout the day as a reminder that I have added the weight of bearing a child to my frame.
The glow, the joy, doesn't last forever, and I am well into the stage when it has faded into extreme awareness of every cell in my body and what it's doing. I have never been much of one for looking into mirrors - I don't like what I see, why look? - and right now it's all the more difficult. All the weight I lost before I became pregnant has returned...and while more than one person has asked if I've lost weight, I feel...ponderous. I can't have lost weight, unless I'm having a forty-pound baby...which would be impressive but, erm...no thanks.
Still...I get to feel her. I can get her to move by pushing in certain places or playing certain music. I swear, she wriggles in response to certain foods, as well! While Someone can see her growing, can feel her on my surface...it's not the same. I often feel quite sorry that the other person who helped make this life only gets to experience a small part of her first months, the ones spent in the womb. That is mine, and mine alone...and it hardly seems fair.
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.