Shake, Rattle, and Roll
April 3, 2009

Clearly this baby's going to take after me in the night owl department, because only when I have snuggled down to Aresenic and Old Lace or with a book does he start flipping around. The rest of the day he's quiet, but put me under the duvet with five inches of comfort foam cradling my back and suddenly he's Donald O'Conner doing the latter half of "Make 'Em Laugh."

I'm no pregnant earth mother, who regards every new feeling, twinge, or emotion as reverent, harmonious passage of life. In fact, the baby's movements are really quite the most bizarre things I've ever experienced in my own body. So bizarre, in fact, that I can't really deal with them silently. I half-whimper, half-protest, "Ahauuhaa" when he launches into his evening routine.

They sort of feel like muscle spasms, but not as regular. Sometimes I'm not even just feeling it from the inside, either. If my hand happens to be on my belly at the time, I'll actually feel a brief push out, and that really freaks me out. Because the movements are coming from inside the house!

Also, just when I sort of get used to the completely Alien wriggles and squirms, he throws me a curve and gets stronger. One night I think I felt a full-body roll because all of a sudden, there was this slow, gradual movement across the bump, which put me in mind of a big ship heaving over to its side.

Sometimes Dr. Mathra feels the pokes and blips and sometimes he doesn't. Really early on, he was having a little talk with the Plumbug and his mouth was right on my stomach. The Plumbug reacted with a quick jab that hit Dr. Mathra square on the upper lip. Golden Gloves, here he comes!

One night, Dr. Mathra set up a watch on my belly. He wasn't doing any laying on of hands, he was just observing. Like a scientist. Sure enough, Plumbug delivered a few good ones that sent shivers of movement rippling across my tight skin. Dr. Mathra reared up and demanded, "WHAT WAS THAT?!" "That," I announced, "Is what I'm FEELING!"

I'm now at the point where my doctors tell me I can start counting the movements. They want me to feel ten movements in a two-hour period. As I said, I can generally set my clock by the Plumbug and know when he's going to be taking his evening constitutional in my uterus, but if he's late or lazy, my doctor had some suggestions: Eat sugar or poke him.

The sugar thing makes sense. The morning I had my very first ultrasound, I also had coffee ice cream for breakfast, and wow. Because he was way too small, I couldn't feel it at the time, but on the ultrasound, he was swishing and diving and flipping around. "Nice one. All that caffeine turned him hyperactive," was Dr. Mathra's reaction. Also, yesterday I was chowing down on a handful of macadamia nut Hershey Kisses sent straight to me from the Islands by Wing and Glark (don't bother looking, people, apparently Mauna Loa doesn't let them out of Hawaii), and damned if that rush of chocolate didn't get the Plumbug a-squirming.

I tried the poking thing this afternoon. I was out on the deck, being veddy, veddy British -- having my elevenses of tea and bickies and watching Judi Dench in As Time Goes By -- and I tried a few experimental pokes right around where the doctor said his rump supposedly is. No reaction. I poked harder, more of a jab this time. Still nothing. So, taking a page from my older sister's "Guide to a Really Long Car Trip with Your Little Sister," I poked poked poked poked poked poked poked.

I got a slight squirm, so I'm thinking either he's going to be a really good sleeper or he's just not going to let anything bother him.

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