Unless you’ve been pregnant yourself, you truly cannot understand the extremely unique feeling of having your baby move inside you.
The best way I can describe it is something somewhat similar to the feeling of gas bubbles moving through your tummy, or maybe your tongue in your cheek (except that you aren’t controlling the movements).
Except these ‘gas bubbles’ can range from cute little flutters to I-just-kicked-your-kidneys.
Those First Movements
For me the first few times I felt my bubba move, I wasn’t really sure that’s what I was feeling. I had seemed to bypass what many women experience as their first baby-movements – a fluttering feeling like butterflies, except lower down in their tummy instead of up near their diaphragm.
For me, the first movements were definite sharp jabs and pokes at around 12 weeks. They were very low, around my underwear line, and extremely odd until I got used to them. Everyone seemed surprised when I explained that I didn’t feel flutters, and that he was already kicking. I have no idea why I felt his movements the way I did instead of the ‘usual’ way. Everyone seemed even more surprised that I was feeling them that early – it can be as late as 25 weeks before you start to feel anything. Again, I have no idea why I could feel them so early, but there you go.
Painful or Painless?
As he’s grown larger, his movements have too. At no real point have I had flutters, it’s always been jabs or pushes, with some rolls thrown in for good measure.
For the most part they are painless and quite cute. But every now and then he’ll land a good one on a nerve or tendon, and then I can be gasping in pain. This pain seems to be either in my lower tummy, or, dare I say it, straight down low. Those are the worse, where it feels like someone has jabbed me with something quite sharp in a very sensitive place. Many women have told me their own painful stories of being kicked in the ribs or diaphragm – I haven’t experienced these (yet) thankfully!
The other painful times are when he is apparently stretching out. I’ll get a distinct stretch/push feeling in two separate places of my tummy, usually on the right hand side about level with my belly button, and at the same time down by my left hip. My bubba has sat low the entire pregnancy so far – I’m at 34 weeks as I write this. The midwives also think he is still breech, which would explain why the movements are lower.
The non-painful movements are more when he’s just dancing around. I say dancing, because when he gets going it’s like he’s having his own little rave in there! Reading through some forums and talking with my midwives has assured me this is normal behaviour, but it can be very confronting and uncomfortable sometimes. These sessions can last anywhere from 30 seconds to an hour or more on and off.
It might be because I don’t have much of a fat-layer on my stomach, but his movements are very easy to see. Sometimes it’s a little out-push, but at others it really is my whole tummy rolling and jumping. A few times at staff meetings or during seated conversations with people I’ve had to casually hold something over my stomach just to hide the movements!
He is definitely more active in the evening when I’m relaxing on the couch after dinner. That’s how he’s been since I first started feeling him, so I guess I can look forward to him being awake and active around that time after he’s born. In the last week or so I’ve also noticed him jumping around while I’m standing, whereas before this he would only really ever move when I was sitting or lying down.
Lying down, that’s a fun thing to do while pregnant. You can’t lie on your back (or else you risk cutting off blood supply to your lower body, including your placenta!), so you spend a vast majority of your time lying on your side. Depending how he’s sitting at the time of my lying down, he can sometimes do some significant movement to get into a comfortable position. By that stage I’m usually uncomfortable so I swap sides, and he has to go through it all again. It’s almost like when you have a pet sleeping on your bed, and you don’t want to move for fear of disrupting them.
It also sometimes feels ridiculous to have such a big tummy just flopping onto the bed. Sorry for that mental image, but that’s the best way I can describe it. Again, it might have something to do with my body-fat content, or perhaps my abs are not supporting him the way they are meant to, but there is no nice round ball when I lie on my side – it’s like a half-deflated water balloon. No wonder he moves around to try get comfortable!
There’s an Alien in There!
These days when he’s moving around my entire tummy moves with him. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the videos on Youtube where the pregnant woman’s stomach looks like it has Alien in there – that’s what mine looks like. Yes it’s cute, but it’s also creepy. Unfortunately I can’t upload videos to this site, or I’d show you exactly what it looks like!
I think it might be because it’s my first pregnancy, but I still find it hard to comprehend that there is a baby inside doing all that movement. I haven’t had a scan since the 20 week one, so 14 weeks ago now. That’s a long time to forget what he looks like (much more like a newborn now than he did then, of course!). It becomes a bit more real when I hear the heartbeat at my check-ups, but not being able to see him is hard.
Alas, there are less than 6 weeks until my due date, and I’ll see him for real then! I’m sure I’ll miss these fun times with my moving-alien tummy when it’s over, I know many women have said they do. I’m trying to take as many videos of it happening and lock the feeling away into my memory so I’ll never forget this truly unique pregnancy experience!
What were/are your movements like? Does it feel like you have an octopus or a lumberjack in there, or is your bubba more of a casual flutterer?