Tuesday, August 19, 2008

16 weeks and all's well

I saw our baby again yesterday.

I had another appointment with the obstetrician and he did a very brief scan and all seemed to be well. The baby was still alive, which is good, and his heart could be seen beating but he was very quiet compared to last time. I thought perhaps he was sleeping but the doctor pointed out that an arm was moving around so perhaps he's just getting a bit better at controlling his movements. They do all sorts of things at this stage (about 16 weeks) such as sucking their thumbs; the baby was facing in towards me so I couldn't see its face.

It was such a relief (again) to know that everything was looking okay and I was in such a good mood after the scan, having expected only to have my abdomen prodded a bit and perhaps some other technology used to detect a heartbeat.

I'm starting to get a bit more into the spiritual side of being pregnant, partly thanks to yoga but also because it's an amazing experience to have another life, with its own soul, its own personality and thoughts, growing inside of you. It's part of you, but it's separate. Not being religious, I view spirituality as a connection between the mind, the body, nature and the universe. I can think of few things that exemplify this better than pregnancy.

It all started in yoga on Saturday when we were doing supported uttanasana (forward bend); in this posture you bend at the hips, legs engaged and working but upper body relaxed, arms and head resting on the back of a chair. Sherry told us to soften our bellies and imagine them as a hammock which the baby is lying in. I thought that was a lovely visualisation. I'd never really visualised my baby in the womb before; every other time I'd thought of it had been more in the context of an ultrasound picture.

I remembered a pregnancy yoga book that Sherry had recommended to me a couple of months ago. She'd said I could borrow it after another lady but I went online and tried to buy it. I have a pregnancy yoga book, which isn't bad, but this one looked much better and had lots of nice essays, breathing exercises and visualisations. I'm sure all of this stuff is great for helping to switch off and work through the pain of labour. Anyway, the book turned out to be out of print and I forgot about it for a while but after Saturday's session I decided to check the local libraries. I found a copy and placed a reserve on it but another book caught my eye. It's called Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives by Deepak Chopra. I've never read any of his stuff, although I know some people think he's great. It sounded interesting but a bit airy fairy. Nevertheless one of the local libraries, which just happens to be next to my obstetrician's surgery, had a copy so I popped in and got it before my appointment yesterday. I also grabbed a pregnancy yoga book and a book called Birthing From Within, which I think is about the de-medicalisation of pregnancy and labour, connecting with your body and trusting your instincts. Or something.

The Chopra book is pretty good. It is a bit "trees and flowers" in places but it has some nice exercises that really help you to connect with your baby. Many of them involve the partner too. He encourages drawing and writing about your baby, keeping a pregnancy journal (well, would you look at that!), talking and singing to it and there are lots of visualisations. It's much easier to imagine Clucklette now, having seen it looking a bit more human, and also being able to see my body changing.

It appears I have put on weight. I thought this was a good thing but the nurse said to be careful because I've put on almost 5kg (slight exaggeration on her part there) and should be aiming for only 10kg throughout the whole pregnancy. Personally, I think 10kg is a bit stingy but I'm also aware that my weight can fluctuate on a daily basis so I'm not too concerned just yet. And I'm only a few weeks off halfway. I didn't put on any weight at all during the first trimester and somehow I've managed to gain about 3kgs in 3 or 4 weeks. How come I was snacking like mad for two months and didn't put on any weight? I think it's because I still snack (although not quite as much) but I'm eating bigger meals now). I could also be building my muscle mass back up now that I'm exercising a bit more again but I doubt it's made that much difference. Anyway, I shall endeavour to eat only when hungry and have sensible portions. Not sure I can give up the cakes though. It's the baby that likes them; I was never bothered about eating them before I was pregnant.

I have to get some blood tests done before my next appointment in a month's time. They test for spina bifida and down syndrome. I guess if something is detected then an amniocentesis is offered so fingers crossed that won't be necessary.

I still haven't felt my baby move. Or at least I don't think I have. It's pretty hard to tell. I thought I felt it a couple of weeks ago but convinced myself it was too early and I haven't felt anything like it since. Its legs are now quite long, longer than its arms and it kicks to move itself into more comfortable positions (a bit like me in bed, much to Toby's annoyance). They call the fluttery feeling you get when the baby does this "quickening". When I'm sure I have felt my baby move for the first time I shall run around the house, pretendy sword aloft shouting "there can be only one!" - bloody hope there's only one anyway - and then I'll sing along to Queen's entire A Kind Of Magic album.

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