I'm beat. Literally and figuratively. Ian Rhys (née The Squatter) has begun a very rigorous training regimen for what I can only believe will be his intended global takeover following birth. It's either that or he's somehow gotten a hold of a Richard Simmons VHS and is happily sweatin' to the oldies. Whatevs. Regardless of what he's actually up to in there, one thing's for sure-- he's kicking my ass all the while he does.
Yet another thing that I'm quickly learning isn't what all those Clear Blue Easy commercials make it out to be, is the magic of feeling baby kick. Having never been host to a squirming fetus before, I can't tell you how anxiously I awaited feeling those first "flutters"-- that's what all the baby books call them. At thirteen weeks when I was supposed to start feeling the "gentle sensation of butterfly wings", I'd sit for ages with my hands on my stomach, willing the baby to make his presence known. Sure, I wanted to experience the overwhelming, breathtaking surge of maternal warmth that I was sure would overtake me... but mostly I was just thinking, "Don't be dead, don't be dead, don't be dead..." See, one of the hardest parts of the first few months of pregnancy is the fact that you're at your highest risk for miscarriage and unless you were neurotic (and extravagant) enough to buy your own doppler heart monitor, you really have no way of telling what's going on with the wee one floating round in your uterus. So when fifteen weeks rolled by and I still hadn't felt the telltale "quickening" (pregnancy books are full of euphemisms), I started to get a little worried. Little did I know that deep within my womb, Young Master Anglim was alive and well, gathering his strength and waiting patiently for the right moment to unleash the power of the Fetal Ninja. Quickening came, for me, with not a flutter but with a fight. Apparently of the belief that all that gentle butterfly wing shit is for pansies, Ian's first movements were a combination of kicks to the bladder and elbows to the kidney. With a strength, speed, and natural ability that would make Mr. Miyagi weep tears of joy, Ian has declared war on my internal organs. What was the rogue uncomfortable jab a couple of months ago has become an hourly onslaught of tiny limbs jostling for space in my womb.
Some of his favorite moves? The Flying Squirrel, a slow stretching of (what feels like) all his limbs at once, ending with me whimpering, back arched and cursing all those stupid ribs of mine. The Short Man Shuffle, a fast, swishy feeling back and forth across my midsection that may or may not include a three minute pause at one side of my uterus leaving me with a wackily misshapen belly. The Made You Look, a sudden extension of one leg (usually a few inches above my belly button) that's so sharp and intense that I inevitably yank up my shirt, convinced that there will be a tiny foot shape poking out of my stomach. The Low Blow, a sneaky move that involves throwing all of his weight back onto my bladder (totally undetectable to anyone on the outside) , sending me running to the bathroom while onlookers point and laugh at the little woman waddling to the restroom with her hands holding onto her crotch for dear life. And this isn't even counting the Braxton Hicks contractions baby hiccups, and squirmy convulsive fits that have me convinced we're actually having triplets. Basically, I've become home to the one man mosh pit.
But like many things baby related, just when you start to think, "Good God this has got to stop before I lose my mind," something happens that reminds you in a flash just how lucky you are to have every one of those insanity inducing moments. Like a few weeks ago when I noticed a little après-rapport sexuel spotting and I had one of my increasingly frequent mini panic attacks (complete with guilt-laden sobs) out of terror that we'd somehow hurt the wee man. Let me tell you, I've never been so happy to feel one of his little fists of fury to my liver. Even if this one seemed to say, "Eff y'all bitches, always bothering my ass when I'm napping!" So, when my ribs are getting pummeled and I can't get to sleep because someone's practicing his capoeira on my side, I just remember that it's his only way of letting me know that he's alive and kicking (literally) and I can't help but smile. Well, it's really more of a grimace... but I love it just the same.
With love and a right hook to the gallbladder,