Bubbles and butterflies

At the 20-week scan, the only question the sonographer asked me was whether I’d felt any movement yet. I sadly shook my head. She didn’t comment any further: no “don’t worry, you will do soon”, or even a reassuring “that’s normal!” No, she had nothing more to say to me. Sigh.

Typical, then, that I first felt movement just TWO days after that! How different our conversation might have been if the scan had been just a few days later.

We’re on the sofa after dinner, having just eaten an enormous Chinese takeaway. Naturally, I’d finished off Mr Cath’s leftover lemon chicken as well as most of the bowl of prawn crackers. So when I feel some unusual flutterings down below, I initially dismiss them as my overworked digestive system attempting to process its latest challenge.

But the next morning it happens again! It is a weekend so we don’t have to get up straight away. Propped up on pillows with a cup of tea, I suddenly experience the same fluttering feeling. It’s located surprisingly low, right down in my lower abdomen which isn’t really where the bump is. It’s difficult to describe but I will have a go. At different times, it feels like some or all of the following:

  1. A tiny muscle flexing inside
  2. A light tapping on my tummy
  3. Bubbles popping

It is wonderful to finally have some real evidence there is a baby growing inside! I know we’ve had scans… and heard the heartbeat… but those were special one-off events and although I can stare at the photos as much as I want, it’s not the same. I can now truly imagine the miniature person down there, wriggling, kicking and punching away. I don’t know how anyone gets stuff done after first experiencing the baby’s movement. I can sit or lie for ages, waiting for the next little tap. So far, I don’t feel anything while I’m moving about myself; apparently this might be because the baby is being rocked to sleep.

The next step is Mr Cath being able to feel the baby too. When I put my hand on my tummy I don’t feel anything yet, so I doubt he would be able to either – the movement seems to be mostly internal at the moment. The timings of when someone external can feel the baby move seem to vary widely and depend on several different factors such as where your placenta is and whether you’re overweight. But now that I can feel it, hopefully it’s only a matter of time before other people can too!

My experience of “quickening” has been a bit different.  Since very early on in this pregnancy, I have been aware of it – from about five weeks I started to feel tiny bubbles in my belly unlike anything I had felt before – likely due to increased wind brought about by the hormones relaxin (the clue was in the name I guess!) and progesterone.  Then came the pulsations, with my belly beating strongly along to my heartbeat – at times you could actually feel my belly beating from the outside! I guess this was due to the blood supply to the placenta, but have never actually asked.

So when a couple of weeks ago I started to feel what felt like bubbles popping, I didn’t know what to think… was this quickening? Apparently bubbles popping is a common sign – I should have asked Cath!

Sometimes the pops would be in the expected place, but sometimes they would be where there was no womb so couldn’t be no baby!  They certainly didn’t feel like a butterfly flapping its wings.  So I just wasn’t sure if they were kicks or gas.  I’m still not entirely sure.  But just recently, in the last couple of days, the pops have become stronger and I’m increasingly thinking this is it, these weird pops and bubbles are the baby moving about.

And although I am very relieved to start feeling it and very glad to know it’s in there kicking away, it’s also a bit weird and I don’t know if I like it.  It feels like I have a big worm inside me, wriggling about. And it’s really strange feeling something “other” than yourself inside you – I almost jumped a bit last night when a particularly large bubbling sensation took me by surprise.

It’s kinda freaky.

But, hey, I guess I have another 20 weeks to get used to it!

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