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First Thwacks and Fetal Scans

18w1d – This week, the baby has sucker-punched the happy right back into me. Literally.

It’s hard to tell precisely when over the few days I started to feel those dull pinball bumps and pokes, as Thanksgiving leftovers are no help when you’re trying to distinguish between baby motion and, uh, intestinal movement. (Damn you, yams.) But as I was driving over the weekend, I felt a swish-pop! in my lower belly that was unlike any digestive anger I’d ever experienced. In fact, it wasn’t unpleasant at all—which ultimately confirmed that there was no cause for potty panic.

I’d read that first fetal movements felt like the “flutter of a butterfly’s wings.” Frankly, this terrified me: I couldn’t stop thinking of that childhood myth that promised if you indeed had a tapeworm—which some supremely nervous young girls did expend an unnecessarily significant amount of energy worrying about, thanksverymuch—all you needed to do was slowly dissolve a sugar cube under your tongue and the worm would crawl from your stomach through your esophagus and out of your mouth.


(Also, I had a college roommate one summer who returned from a semester in Africa with a parasitic lump on his leg. I can’t tell you whether it was a throng of baby spiders or eentsy worms that eventually crawled from the oozing sore because I was busy hiding in the backyard, barfing in the bushes.)

So while any sort of fetus-as-swallowed-insect analogy made me squeam, hearing that the baby’s movements might mimic the flit of a goldfish did resonate. (I have no proper explanation as to why this doesn’t also skeeve me out. Fish are cute? They are not bugs?) In the last two days I have spent an inordinate amount of time looking like I am deep in reflection about Very Important Things, when in actuality I’m mentally scanning my uterus for quivers and kicks. 

And as one of my genius midwives warned, feeling these initial kicks has cracked the sugar crust on my brulee’d heart. I feel gushy, grounded, elated. I daydream about teeny fingers clutching blades of late-spring grass as the baby and I lie on the lawn together five months from now. I let each thud serve as a reminder that we’re moving forward, us; we’re making progress. I giddily relay sling and stroller specs to The Mister, who says, I hope you stay this happy forever. It looks good on you.

I feel like I’m having someone else’s experience: For over a year, the story I knew was that I am not the kind of person who gets to feel her baby move, because I’m not a gal who can “sustain a viable pregnancy.” But today, this gal and her guy get to watch a sonographer examine every inch of their baby’s body. I’ll lay there for an hour as the tech scans Tersh’s “anatomy,” while The Mister and I will (ok, beg) the universe into sparing us more trepidation.

We will look at each other and know that no matter what results from this exam, we have been graced this week with a happiness we couldn’t have ever envisioned before.

 We are grateful. We have hope.