Want to cause anxiety in a pregnant infertile? Two words: Kick Counts.
Being the overachieving/ paranoid finally-pregnant-after-three-rounds-of-IVF-and-2 losses, I read the pregnancy handbook from my clinic cover to cover, resolving to follow every instruction and heed every warning.
In one section, a helpful chart provided space to track baby’s kicks. I couldn’t wait for the day to count baby’s kicks. Then I would finally relax. And I did. From weeks 19 through 28, baby gave me lots of reassuring kicks- moving all around, seemingly in constant motion.
And then at 29.5 weeks, baby all at once became quiet. There were a few little movements, but they felt so faint and week. I decided to give it a day. I wanted to pretend I wasn’t that overly nervous, neurotic woman. And so I gave it another day. Finally, on the third day which I spent with my hands on my tummy, anxious and desperately counting the few weak kicks, I called my midwife.
I expected her to say it was nothing, that baby will have slow days. Instead she told me to go straight to labor and delivery so they could check baby.
I decided not to tell T and just go alone. As you all know from my other posts, for every minute I spend worrying about baby, Mr. T spends two minutes worrying about me and baby.
At the hospital I checked in at labor and delivery, telling everyone along the way- the receptionist, nurse and doctor- that I hoped I was just being neurotic. They kindly made me feel as though I wasn’t crazy at all- telling me it was good I came in.
They strapped pink and blue bands around my belly, positioning two dopplers over baby. Holding my breath for a moment, I finally exhaled when the sound of baby’s heartbeat came through. On the monitor, the heartbeat was captured in a graph, rising and falling within the right range.
“Looks like a healthy heartbeat,” Doc assured me. “Did you feel a kick just now?”
No… I don’t think so.
“Well, the spike in heartbeat shows movement- sometimes you just can’t feel it because baby has moved into a different position. We’ll just monitor for an hour and make sure.”
Fighting back tears of relief, I explained why I was so nervous, that it had been so hard to get to this point, that I couldn’t take any chances with this baby.
“Have you had losses?” she asked kindly.
“Yes… two…..and 3 rounds of IVF,” I managed to say, tears now overflowing as I saw the look of sympathy in her eyes.
“Well, this looks like a very healthy baby. We’ll just monitor for an hour to track the heartbeat to make sure. It was good you came in,” she assured me again.
She left me alone, strapped to the monitor. I sat back and listened to baby’s heartbeat filling the room, still the most beautiful sound in the world.
I texted Mr. T, telling him I was getting baby checked out and that all was well.
He texted me back: “Baby says I got this, mama- don’t worry.”
“Mama says I’m not taking any chances.” I responded.
So I still worry. But there are so many happy events and milestones to celebrate. A few weeks ago, my sister hosted a shower at my parent’s cabin on the lake. Knowing I’m not a fan of traditional showers focused on opening gifts, she asked everyone to sign a book for baby’s library and bring an outfit for “baby’s cloths line.” There were so many sweet books and tiny little cloths- all for this little one who seemed so impossible for so long.
When I got home, Mr. T and I unpacked them together and marveled over the idea that soon this little person would be here, wearing these tiny cloths and reading these favorite bedtime stories.
It’s still hard to believe that this all started in a dish. Every single day I’m grateful and thankful for each day that brings us closer to December 30th.