By Cara Joyner
When I was pregnant with my oldest, I noticed everything. Each ache, twinge, kick – all of them crossed my radar at full volume. To say that I was hypersensitive would be a kind way of describing my general neuroticism during those 41.5 weeks. But now, everything about our life is so fast and so loud that I can barely separate from the noise long enough to listen and connect with the one growing within. I guess that’s why it’s in the evenings, after the older two are sleeping, that he becomes the most active. It’s his turn to be the center of attention.
It’s become our nightly routine to admire his tumbling around while we watch TV or manage bills (being a grown-up is so glamorous). Last night, in the distraction of completing work while watching reruns, I failed to notice how quiet he was. A couple hours later though, in that moment I stretched my legs into bed, the thought hit me – I haven’t felt him move tonight. I propped myself up one side and rubbed my belly. Nothing. I rolled over and tried again. Still nothing.
After several minutes of strong encouragement, he woke up enough to give me a gentle nudge in return. It was something, and I was grateful, but my mama heart needed more. Fifteen minutes in the dark feeling only small, occasional wiggles and I was ready to talk to my midwife.
We discussed the options, she advised me to trust my gut, and I ultimately decided to get back out of bed to see if I could help him perk up a bit more. In the end, he woke up enough for me to feel comfortable returning to sleep and today he’s been back to his regular activity level.
As much as it put me on high alert, waiting for him to move…and as alarming as that feeling was…it gave me the opportunity to glimpse how connected we already are. In many ways, fighting to connect has been the most difficult piece of this pregnancy. Waiting in my bed last night, wide-awake in the dark, I discovered how intimately I already know this baby. I know his movements and his routines. I know where to place my hand if I want to feel his back, his foot or his bottom. I know how to massage my belly when trying to wake him up. I know his name and the dreams we’ve been dreaming over him. I know the prayers we’ve prayed and the highs and lows of the last 35 weeks.
The phrase “to give birth” in Italian is “dare alla luce”. Translated, this means “to give to the light.” Caught up in the unknowns last night, my heart was so certain of the ways I know this child who has not yet come into the light.
I have felt no urgency to be on the other side of pregnancy, because you know, I have two tiny ones and a new house. I’m not rushing anything! But after last night, I sense an eagerness to bring this one into the light…soon. I had no idea how much I could look forward to labor.
Cara Joyner is a mother of two who writes regularly at carajoyner.com and in various publications. She is also a Professional Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator (trained by Lamaze International).