My Baby Boy’s Moving, Reassuring Me

Before I delivered my 9-pound, 7-ounce son in February 2005, I suffered through 17 ½ hours of labor, the first 16 hours with no pain relief because my first two epidurals weren’t effective.  I was in agony.  I was dry-heaving.  One member of the second crew of anesthesiologists told me he couldn’t get the epidural needle in the right spot because I have scoliosis.  With no hope of pain relief, I believed I couldn’t deliver my son.  I knew I couldn’t tolerate a C-section without anesthesia.  So, at my lowest point, I thought, “Why didn’t I just adopt?” 

But, while I know that my labor and delivery were miserable, I have no physical memory of the experience.  I suspect this is the case with many people, otherwise women would never choose to have more than one child.

While I’d assumed that suppressing my negative birthing experience was a coping mechanism, I’ve now realized that my body doesn’t store positive physical memories either. 

I loved feeling my son tumbling around in utero, because it made me feel connected to him.  He moved so often and so dramatically that even the nurses would exclaim that I had a hyperactive little guy in there, for they couldn’t keep up with him to record his heartbeat at my appointments.  I started to wonder about his personality, if hyperactivity in utero would translate into hyperactivity after birth.  In his case, it didn’t. 

But, even though feeling my son’s fetal movement was such an amazing physical sensation, when I noticed my new baby boy shifting inside me starting a week and a half ago, at 16 ½ weeks of pregnancy, I wasn’t positive what the feeling was.  So, I didn’t tell my husband about it.  Or write about it. 

After losing my baby’s twin at eight weeks of pregnancy, with no explanation, I’ve been afraid to be confident.  After all, I was feeling confident when I was on the exam table 10 weeks ago, but then the ultrasound technician stated, “I don’t see a heartbeat here.”  Plus, I have a close friend from high school who lost her son in his 18th week in utero.  Plus, I’ve attended a Resolve: The National Infertility Association support group meeting in which a couple told the story of their baby, delivered at term, stillborn.

So, I’ve been scared to believe that my baby is moving, that I will have daily reassurance that he’s alive, rather than having to wait for ultrasounds.  But, he is busy in there, and now I do accept whatever reassurance he gives me.

Of course, now I worry if I don’t feel him for a while.  But, I know that he sleeps, that he has to sleep a lot because of all the growing going on, so I try to push the negative thoughts aside.

I did have a nightmare last night in which I went to the bathroom, then saw that I was gushing blood.  In the dream, I yelled for my husband, but he wouldn’t wake up.  Next, I was in the emergency room, sobbing, telling a nurse that I am 18 weeks’ pregnant and hemorrhaging.  I don’t remember anything else.

So, yes, after losing one of my twins 10 weeks ago, I won’t feel confident again until this baby boy is born, “safe and sound.”  But, for the first time in this high-risk pregnancy, I can spend my waking hours, every day, getting a tiny bit of reassurance.  And, every little bit helps.

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