It is no secret that pregnancy and I are not BFFs.
This is my third one, and I’ve never minced words over it — pregnancy is just not my jam. It is nine long months (10 really) of having your body highjacked by a tiny (albeit sweet) freeloader. Your hair changes, your body changes, your hormones change.
But, it’s OK. I’ve always reasoned that I didn’t have to love pregnancy in order to love my baby. At the end of the journey, I always knew that I would have a baby to show for all this hard work, so I could just start bonding with them then. A few weeks ago though, something happened that shifted my perspective.
I had been going along in my pregnancy in much the same manner as my others for these past 8+ months — mostly loathing all the discomforts of nausea, heartburn, and pants-peeing — but one Sunday morning it all felt different.
The night before had been spent with friends, celebrating our baby with a shower. Throughout the day, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling much movement from my usually rambunctious girl. I didn’t worry about it though, since I knew that slowed movements are normal during this stage as babies start to run out of room, and having had two other babies before with widely varying levels of movement, I knew that sometimes babies just like to change things up.
By the following morning though, things felt notably different.
I was awake around 6:30 AM. With my kids staying with their grandparent’s, I decided to lay in bed for a bit longer. I figured that she would eventually start moving around in an attempt to let me know that she was ready for breakfast (her usual shtick) and I would get up at that point. But after an hour, I still hadn’t felt anything.
I continued to lay there for another half hour, rubbing my belly and prodding my little one to give a kick or a roll or something. Still nothing. So, I got up and had a banana and a large glass of ice water, figuring that one of these things might wake her up. I tried all the tricks my midwives use at appointments to solicit baby movements, but a half hour later, everything was still.
I was starting to panic, so I texted my midwife and woke up my husband. “Why isn’t she moving? Wake up, baby! Please move!” I pleaded as tears streamed down my cheeks and I continued to poke and prod at my belly. All I could think about was, What is it? What if she’s gone? Did she know I hated this pregnancy? Could she feel that? Did I waste the precious time I had with my baby complaining about this whole experience? My mind was a blur.
My midwife had me come in for a non-stress test to monitor my baby girl and told me to drink a glass of orange juice on my way out. Thankfully, after hours of feeling nothing, I began to once again feel ever-so-faint, little baby flutters on my way to the birthing center. I still received some monitoring and everything sounded great, thankfully, but the entire experience left me shaken, to say the least.
Even though I knew it was a possibility, no one ever really believes that their own baby could be stillborn. But for a few agonizingly long hours that Sunday morning, I thought that I could be one of those mamas. And it broke my heart.
That quiet Sunday morning was the moment I stopped hating pregnancy. My perspective shifted and made me determined to appreciate this time a little bit more. As uncomfortable as it is and as much as I believe it’s OK to not “cherish every moment” of pregnancy, I was reminded by this scare that I am growing a human being in there — one that I really care about and am looking forward to meeting.
And that? Well, it is definitely a gift.More On