Pregnancy Journal: Move Baby Move

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

My OB laughs at me when I tell her this, but I’m pretty confident I’m gestating a baby octopus.

It’s true that the ultrasound technician back in December saw only the normal two arms and two legs of a growing human. But I see no other explanation for all the thrashing, crazy movement inside of me except he has grown an extra appendage or three.

Since this is my fourth pregnancy, I have indentified at least five distinct movements of the babe-in-utero.

The Jab: This is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a fast, hard poke of a foot or a hand or elbow or knee. If directed outward towards my abdomen, it’s possible that other people will see the quick jump of my skin. If directed inwards toward my vital organs, other people will see me react as if someone just punched me in the gut – which they just did, essentially. This is especially fun when the jab scores a direct hit on my bladder.

The Hiccup: This rhythmic movement is usually attributed to actual hiccups, and just like it’s namesake, it is a small tic-tic-tic that is more annoying than painful. But they happen so often that I wonder if some babies don’t just make repetitive small movements that feel like the spasms of hiccups. Hence, the title covers all small movements that are recur regularly.

The Twinkle-Toes: This is a sweet, gentle stretching that feels like tiny bubbles popping against my abdominal wall. I suspect it could be nothing more than the baby curling his toes next to my skin or maybe opening and closing a tiny fist. It’s unnoticeable to the outsider, and it makes me giggle.

The Roll: The most entertaining of movements, this is when the baby performs a bit from Cirque de Soileil in my uterus. It’s a turn, a twist, an acrobatic move. Unlike the jab, the roll is a drawn-out motion, which makes my abdomen heave and swell like the ocean’s surf after a storm. Also great for bouncing off the crumbs that accumlate on the shelf of my belly during a meal.

The Jumping Jack: This is the strangest and most violent of all moves. I have no idea what the baby is actually doing in there, but it feels like Neo is battling Mr. Smith in my uterus. (Or maybe I’ve just watched “The Matrix” too many times.) The movement begins with a sudden jab of all four (eight?) limbs and then builds to a ferocious punch-kick-roll routine that easily makes my stomach look like something from “Aliens” is about to emerge. As you might expect, I feel this everywhere at once – internally, externally, up and down, side to side. It can literally take my breath away.

I know from experience that these movements will grow less distinct as time passes, simply because the baby octopus will run out of room. But right now, at 30 weeks, he still has lots of space in there. And he’s using it to get grow bigger and stronger and get ready for life with three older siblings. (Good luck, buddy.)

Of course, there are times when gestating an octopus is annoying. It never fails that the baby is most active at night, right when I lay down to go to sleep. (“Must someone ALWAYS be touching Mom?!?” I sigh under my breath.)

But since this is my last baby, I’m trying to store up the visceral memory of each kick, jab and roll. It seems almost impossible now, but having walked this road before, I know — I will miss this.

Kelly is journaling her fourth and final pregnancy here at 5 Minutes for Parenting. She blogs about her daily life at Love Well.

8 Responses to Pregnancy Journal: Move Baby Move
  1. gretchen from lifenut
    March 10, 2010 | 1:48 pm

    Enjoy every jab, rib assault, and cervix pummeling you get. It’s all awesome. It’s the only time in life when we welcome being a punching bag.

    I regularly caught myself putting my hand on my belly to feel movement for a few weeks after my babies were born, waiting for kicks. Oops.

  2. Kristen
    March 10, 2010 | 2:22 pm

    A friend who gave me lots of valuable mom advice told me once to treasure all the movements while I was pregnant. She said that after the baby was born you would feel empty. And I was amazed that even as I held my precious son weeks and months down the road, I did miss it. I did feel the emptyness of my womb.
    Men miss out so much on this awesome creation that we get to take part in.
    I just entered the third trimester with #2 and I am just cherishing every sensation, because this will be my last. And I am going to be empty all over again. 🙁 Boo!

  3. nicole
    March 10, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    i know I will miss it too, but man does it hurt. It seems like I am feeling this one way more too. Maybe because I was in the best shape of my life when I got pregnant, and things were firmer, I feel things more. The movement is the one thing I wish Husband could experience too, just once. Such a treasure.

  4. Hannah
    March 10, 2010 | 3:53 pm

    So do you think this baby is actually more active than your others? Or does it seem that way because time dulls memory?

    It’s been over four years since I was last pregnant, but I remember how those movements felt, and how, inconvenient though they were when I was trying to sleep, it made me realize how much of a PERSON was growing in there.

  5. Louise
    March 11, 2010 | 8:29 am

    My older daughter hated anything resting on my womb. I had many a cracker box go flying across the living room when I would think I could temporarily lean it up against my belly, only to find—wham! she would kick or hit or be Neo, and off it would go.

    She’s still pretty fussy about having things touching her, come to think of it … especially her baby sister …

  6. edj
    March 11, 2010 | 8:39 am

    That was actually prob my fav part of being pregnant. I loved those moves! When Elliot was a baby, I used to tickle him under his ribs while telling him, ‘You kicked me and now I’ll show you what it’s like!’ 🙂
    But I did have an octopus–or at least 8 limbs with the twins. They weren’t any more active than a singleton, because there just wasn’t room. Abel has a stress birthmark on the back of his neck, and I’m pretty sure it was caused by Ilsa kicking him non stop for 9 months 🙂

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