|From 5 Minutes for Parenting|
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.