Tuesday I went in for (what should have been) a normal appointment. I got a flu shot, hoisted myself up on the table, and had goo rubbed on my stomach so the Doppler could pick up the baby's heartbeat. The nurse had trouble locating it for the first time in ages. Despite the sugary breakfast cereal I'd eaten that morning, the baby was still sleepy and would not be prodded into a better position. But we did finally record a heartbeat of 140 or so.
I mentioned to the nurse that I had some intense pelvic pain on Wednesday night (the 12th) and believe that the baby dropped sometime later that night or early Thursday morning. I said that his movements haven't been nearly as frequent since then. She notified the doctor, who set me up with an ultrasound and a non stress test to be done right after my appointment.
Mark and I hadn't seen the baby since my scan at 25 weeks, and he looks so much more like a baby now. Chubby feet, chubby cheeks, and the sonographer even highlighted an area at the top of his head where little hairs had sprouted.
And then I finally connected with him. He isn't this weird alien thing that was being projected on the wall. He is a human, a human that is part me, and part Mark. He is a tiny little being that needs me and depends on me. I'd been a little scared because I hadn't made that connection yet. Yeah, I loved him and I was going to take care of him, but it wasn't that agape love that parents develop for their children. That unconditional love, that sacrificial love. Some moms develop that love the first time they see the little bean-shaped fetus at their first ultrasound. I worried that something was wrong with me because I didn't. But really, just because you don't doesn't mean that you won't.
He squirmed a bit on the screen, but wasn't really interested in punching or kicking like the sonographer wanted, so she used a little vibrating tool that would elicit a stronger reaction. I think he elbowed me so hard that my entire stomach moved! After that, I went to another part of the clinic for a non stress test. The nurse over there was the first nurse that I've had who wasn't very nice. She was very snippy and didn't explain what the monitors and the button were for - I was glad I had already done some reading on them so that I wouldn't just be sitting there, helpless. She almost made me feel like it was my fault that the monitor wasn't able to pick up the heartbeat, like I was moving around too much. She came in to check on me after I had recorded three kicks and stomped off again, as if it was my fault that I was having decreased movement and was wasting her time. I was glad when a different nurse came in a little later and said that I was good to go after looking over the readout that the machine I was hooked up to had printed.
The doctor wanted to see me again but was falling behind with her appointments, so her nurse came back in to tell me that the doctor was satisfied with my ultrasound and non stress test. I still have been having less movement than before, but I think this is my new normal. I can accept that. I start my weekly appointments now, so I'll see her again on Tuesday the 25th. Since I'll be 36 weeks (9 months) then she'll be checking me regularly to see how close I am to delivery. I can't believe it's almost here! At last! The light at the end of the tunnel!