Every week, I sneak a peak at my week-by-week pregnancy calendar to see how my little fetus is developing. At the end of week 16, it can now blink. Awww, how cute. It can swallow amniotic fluid. That's precious. It is emptying it's bladder every 45 minutes...A very pregnant pause, and then "Eeeew! It's doing what?!" My sluggish, D.I.P.S.-afflicted mind races: Where does all that pee go? I mean every 45 minutes -- that's a lot of urine! It's not like the uterus is a fish tank with a good filter where someone can change the water when it gets cloudy!
I get a momentary grip on myself and re-read the part about the fetus swallowing amniotic fluid and realize that it's basically drinking its own urine. I decide to retreat into a darkened room and lie down with a cool compress on my forehead for a the rest of the afternoon.
My husband Teddy is bemused and amused that this oogies me out so
much. "I don't see what the big deal is," he snickers. I snap at
him peevishly, "It's easy for you say, standing there all smug.
You're not the human commode!" This shuts him up and Teddy simply
slinks off. He knows better than to try and reason with me these
days. But he's right, what is the big deal?
I can only describe it as "The Frankenstein Moment." That singular moment of awe, wonder, horror and epiphany that yes, "It's alive!" This creation, this new life inside me is a separate, living entity with a heart, a brain and... complete lack of bladder control.
We've already had several Frankenstein Moments. At the six week ultrasound, the little embryo was nothing but a yolk sack and a pulsing heartbeat. At 10 weeks, it was a squirming little trout that kicked and flailed before our eyes. At 14 weeks, I heard the baby's heartbeat as fast and steady as a hummingbird's. And at 16 weeks, the baby is lifting its leg and relieving itself against my uterine wall. Motherhood just doesn't get any better than this!
I don't think I'm the only one in the world who doesn't find the thought of being an incubator, a host for another living being completely devoid of creepiness. Just rent "Aliens" while you're pregnant and it becomes obvious that it's an allegory for the horror of childbirth. There is something parasitical about this little fetus inside. Slowly but surely, this little stranger takes over your body, then your mind, your heart, your life, your checking account, your house... You get the picture. Mingled with anticipation and excitement, there's anxiety about the prospect of a tiny person who depends on you for everything.
But my favorite Frankenstein Moment so far has been feeling the
baby move for the first time. Just a couple of days ago, I
finally felt that mysterious "quickening" all the pregnancy books
describe. Doesn't The Quickening just sound like the title of a
bad horror movie? However, there's nothing remotely horrific
about this sensation. I was lying in bed when I felt a steady
twitch by my hip bone. It was almost like a muscle spasm but not
quite. Teddy and I put our hands over the spot and silently felt
our little one bump up against our fingertips. We wondered what
body part we were feeling. Was it kicking? Playing jump rope with
the umbilical cord? Sucking its tiny thumb? Nah, it was probably