Today marks the mid point of pregnancy Week 34. So for me somewhere between 4-5 weeks before we meet our little one (I'm having a planned C-Section due to Major Placenta Previa, but that story is for another day). When I was 5 weeks pregnant I didn't even know about our little Pickett's existence... which is when I realise just how few days are separating our lives from totally transforming into something very new. Five weeks is not very long at all...
As I've been getting bigger, I've had the odd person put their hand on my bump. I know some ladies really hate it but, for me at least, it's not something that has happened regularly, or particularly intrusively - it's just one of those things. And Pickett tends to be quite contrary - if they get a sniff that someone might want them to move, they freeze.
I've also had a number of people ask me what it feels like to have a little one growing inside you, and what a good-old-baby-kick feels like. I feel proud to be part of the club of women who have experienced this, but I'm sure that it other ladies will know what I mean when I say that it's hard to explain... particularly to someone who has no sense of comparison. How would you explain what a cough feels like? Or a sneeze? It's just one of those things that as you grow up you start to associate with the action. Baby movements are similar - as your bump grows you start to realise all those little flutters were something a whole lot more important than trapped wind...
But, where as an itch is an itch, and generally feels the same wherever on the body it appears, what I've come to realise is that 'baby kicking' does not mean just one thing. There are a variety of different sensations that I experience, and that I have learnt to associate with the little life in my tummy:
- What: A good solid thwack to the middle of my abdomen.
I was a very active teenager, with an impressive social life of clubs and activities. Monday was Guides, Thursday was Drama, and Wednesdays was Marching Band (I've heard all the 'Band Camp' jokes... you can stop right there! ;) ). To be honest my spell in the Marching Band wasn't my finest - I tried my hand at colourguard (that's pompoms and flags to the uninitiated), discovered I wasn't naturally a brass player eventually saving everyone's eardrums by getting braces and moving on the Glockenspiel... but the team I always secretly wanted to join were the drummers. With their big bass drums I loved the sound that these boys (I can't recall any girls in the drumming section) made as we marched. And now, in a strange way I feel part of that club... sometimes Pickett's movements seem to make the whole of my tummy vibrate - like when a drummer hits a kick drum, and you can almost feel the vibration across the taught skin. I tend to experience these as solid isolated movements - so for someone wanting to feel the baby kick they need to strike it lucky and really be in the right place at the right time if you want to feel Pickett's Drumming. Maybe they will take up my secret desire to be a drummer one day...
The Snowflake Kiss
- What: Small little movements that can be anywhere over my tummy
Some people would probably call these nudges. These always make me smile. They aren't necessarily shocking, and to me much more like a little greeting, a little hand reaching out for attentions: "Hi Mum, don't forget about me!" It reminds me just how lucky I am to have been able to experience this closeness, and what a gift pregnancy is - in our case, it's long fought for, and very much wanted. In a strange way, these little bumps remind me of the feeling of when the first snowflakes fall, and gently melt away on your cheek. Yes, I do realise how smushy and romanticised that sounds, but there is something about that feeling that is both a reminder and a promise.
The Humpback Bridge
- What: A full on flip of the tummy
When I was a little girl I used to visit my grandparents every Sunday. They lived in a village a few minutes drive from my parent's house, so every weekend I'd sit in the back of the car and my Mum and Dad would drive us the very familiar route to their home. On the outskirts of that village was a little humpback bridge that I remember vividly - not only did it signify that we were close to Nanny and Grumps' House, but I learned to love the tummy-flipping feeling that cresting that bridge would cause. My grandparents sadly passed away, and as a result I've not been on that road for years, but our little Pickett has been making me think of those Sunday journeys often... Every once in a while our little one seems to summersault, clearly practicing some form of gymnastics or synchronised swimming, for a split second I'm transported back to the feeling I got on that bridge - like I've somehow continued to move forward but have managed to leave my tummy behind on the other bank.
- What: A growing sense of pressure pushing outwards
When you're pregnant you get used to the idea that nothing really fits. Or if you do manage to wriggle in to something it will feel very different than you expected. Leggings, and maternity jeans become your new best friend. You look forward to warmer weather and the excuse to dig out the old maxi-dresses, because those bad boys have so much material that they cover even the biggest of swelling bumps. With this movement I'm forced to reflect on bad wardrobe choices. For me it only happens occasionally, but when it does it's quite uncomfortable. Not painful, just 'bulky.' I would presume that Pickett is probably having a good old stretch and pushes the bottom of a belly outwards. I feel a constant regular pressure outwards (not downwards, which I'm lead to believe is much more common for labour!), just like when you're wearing your skinniest of jeans and go and eat too much lunch. Only this time you haven't got access to the instant relief of popping open a button!
- What: When baby wiggles past
Pickett isn't much of a mover really. Quite happy floating around in their watery armchair. But every-so-often they go on a bit of an explore (or at least that's how I like to imagine it). A little adventurer sidling off to the other side of my womb just to see what the view is like from over there... and the result is this amazing sense of sideways movement. Sometimes my whole stomach ungulates as Pickett checks out the most comfortable position. When you're sat their quietly with you hand on your tummy, there is something very bizarre about feeling movement sideways - I can't think of anything that naturally internally moves left to right or right to left. If any of the baby-moves reminded me of a little alien, then it's got to be this one.
There is something magical about feeling your baby move inside you. Whether you're at home, in the bath, delivering a presentation, at the supermarket, for that microsecond that you feel that movement your brain snaps back to your little one. That's special - and a constant reminder that I'm truly very lucky to have had this experience.
What are your experiences? What would you compare baby movements to? How would you explain it to someone?