Off and on for the past few weeks, I've noticed a strange feeling in my abdomen that's very difficult to describe. It mostly happens at night during my most animated moments at the office — eating dinner and rushing to make deadline.
At first, I convinced myself it was gas. One of the less glamorous side-effects of pregnancy is the increasing inefficiency of the digestive tract, which often results in constipation and its partner-in-crime, flatulence.
But it didn't quite feel like gas. After all, I have almost three decades of experience in that arena, and this was different somehow.
While trying to explain it to Jerry and my mother, I likened the feeling to period cramps, but not quite that offensive. It wasn't debilitating and didn't make me want to curl up in a ball on the floor and curse my lady parts.
Of course it also had me worried. If there's anything that can crush my eternal optimism, it's concern about this baby. It's so easy to assume something is wrong when you can't summon X-ray vision and peek into your uterus. It takes every ounce of willpower not to call my obstetrician every 27 seconds of every day, but somehow concentrating on the date of my next appointment helps get me through.
Yesterday, thankfully, my mom clued me in.
"I was thinking more and more about it, Kelly, and that's the baby," she said. "You're just feeling the baby move."
All of my books say that many women start to feel fetal movements around week 15, but only those who have had children before will be able to recognize it. Most of the literature I've read describes it as "tiny flutters," but I'm not sure I would use the same term. "Flutters" reminds me of the feeling I had when I was waiting for my prom date. Or getting dropped off at college. Or the first day at a new job.
No, this isn't fluttery. It's more, well, squirmy. Maybe a little whooshy even.
After the brief conversation with my mother, I concentrated on taking in the feeling when it happened later that night. Without a doubt, that weird worrisome abdominal movement I've been noticing for the past few weeks is the baby.
Because I've been brainwashed by Jerry, the most fervent "Rocky" lover of all time, I envision our fetus re-enacting the scene where Rocky punches at slabs of cow ribs.
Only instead, it's my uterus.
And maybe if it had been described like that in even ONE of my books, I would've recognized the feeling sooner.