Getting my Kicks

21 weeks + 1 day pregnant 

It began as a relatively calm week in my pregnancy, which was such a welcome relief after a turbulent few weeks. Baby Sprocket (as Matthew has fondly named him) has been making his presence known over the past couple of weeks and I’m now experiencing regular kicks and turns which has been reassuring. I’ve found he responds particularly well when I have hot drinks and sweet foods (which is a bonus since I’m partial to all things sweet in this pregnancy!) 

His movements are my latest obsession and I’m already beginning to track them in order to look for patterns. So far he doesn’t appear to have any pattern at all but I’ve been reassured by his pretty consistent movements throughout the day…Until yesterday. 

I started with regular movements yesterday morning but by the afternoon Sprocket grew quiet, with several hours passing since I’d felt him move. I tried a sweet drink…Nothing. An hour passed. I had dinner. Still nothing…. another hour. I tried an iced water, a hot drink, jumping jacks. I tried sitting quietly, I tried lying down. Still no movement. My worry began to escalate and the experience mirrored the way I had tried (and failed) to get Nieve moving back on that fateful day. Panic set in and I decided to go into hospital to get checked over. 

The midwife at the hospital was fantastic. I was struck by her sense of calm. I hadn’t felt baby move for at least four hours. I had a history of stillbirth. Why didn’t she look panicked? Was she used to delivering bad news? Or did she fully expect that baby was fine? 

She placed the doppler on my abdomen…Nothing. She shifted it to the right…Still nothing. The midwife began chatting idly to me and I found her relaxed manner difficult to comprehend. Didn’t she share my concern that my baby had died? Wasn’t that the most likely outcome now? I fought back the tears as she shifted the doppler again and finally located the heartbeat. I felt overwhelmed with relief. 

It struck me that even though his heart was clearly beating, that it didn’t really give me any definite assurance that Sprocket was safe and well. The midwife explained that they never offer scans or CTG tests at this gestation, because even if they revealed an issue, the hospital would not intervene at this stage in pregnancy. That realisation made me feel very scared and vulnerable. It was totally up to my body to keep him alive and my body had failed me once before.

24 weeks seems to be the magic number. This is when baby is considered ‘viable’; able to survive out of the womb and the point at which the hospital will intervene if a problem is found with baby. This is my new target for us. Two weeks and six days to go…

The midwife was very reassuring about reduced baby movements. She explained that it’s the most common reason they see women during their pregnancy and encouraged me to return at any point I feel worried. 

When I arrived home yesterday evening baby very much woke up from his long slumber. I’m hoping that his movements will become stronger and more frequent over the next few weeks although I anticipate that there will be much more worry to come yet. 

I suppose all I can do at this point is to try to stay positive and enjoy the moments of reassurance. I’ve felt Sprocket move several times this afternoon and while he moves I can breathe. Right now he is ok. 

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