I’m just coming up to 19 weeks pregnant and one of the things that I’ve been waiting and feeling, not so patiently, for over the last couple of weeks, is signs of movement from our baby. There seems to be a bunch of opinions out there on how soon along it’s possible to feel them wriggling away in their watery nest. Some of the women on parenting forums I’ve been frequenting have been describing movements at 15 or 16 weeks, but a lot of people acknowledge that it’s often possible to feel earlier movement in second and subsequent pregnancies. There is also the question of how the placenta is positioned, and whether this may be masking movements, because they’re being absorbed by the placenta rather than my belly. Many of the books I’ve read suggest movement won’t be reliably felt until at least 18-20 weeks. They also point out that if you’re moving a lot yourself you’re less likely to notice any slight baby movements, and because the motion of walking tends to rock babies to sleep, quiet times are when movement is most likely to be initially felt.
With that in mind, each evening whilst we were in Paris, I’d lie on the bed with my hands on my belly, talking to our baby. With my bump definitely popping out, lying that way makes me feel very connected to him or her. A part of me wanted to will them to move, just so I’d know they felt me there. And of course that they’re OK in there. But there wasn’t really anything I could label as a baby movement. And the trouble with concentrating so hard on something you want to feel is that you begin to imagine things which aren’t really there.
On the Friday evening though, whilst distracted and wandering around the Modern Art Museum in the Pompidou Centre, I did feel something. Something odd. It didn’t really feel like anything I’d ever felt before, and that is what made me think it might be the baby. It was a fluttering sensation like the books describe. A bit like a quick palpitation, but way down below my stomach, rather than up in my chest. I only felt it for a few moments, and then nothing more.
The same thing happened randomly over the following few days, but I honestly still couldn’t be sure if this was the baby I was feeling. Or just trapped wind!
But then, this week, it happened. I finally felt something which could only have been the baby stretching out in there and giving me a good thump in the process.
It made my breath catch in my throat for a moment, and my heart swell just a little bit. Thinking of this little person in there, growing and moving, still blows my mind. This movement is the best sign yet that everything is going as it should, and that they’re happy enough cooking away inside there.
Now, I can’t wait to feel it again. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever wanted to be kicked. And kicked hard.