Our little womb baby has been very active right from the start. At 17 1/2 weeks, I was first able to feel the baby move from the outside, and at 18 1/2 weeks, Mike felt him move for the first time. From then on, he has been fairly consistent, with his movements growing stronger and more frequent. Even though the baby movements are supposed to be slowing down at this point, due to the fact that there is less room in the womb, I have not noticed this yet with my little guy, although every now and then I will notice a different sort of movement, or realize he hasn't moved in a way he used to for a while.
So I have put together a little list of common movements I can think of and what might be their meanings. Of course, I can feel a movement one day and say, "Oh, he's scared by that loud sound!" And then feel the same movement the next day and say, "Aw, he is so happy to hear your voice, Mike!" And I genuinely feel that the same movement means different things at different times.
I also have the ability to "call the baby" over to me, as Mike and I say. If I put my hand on my belly, within 30 seconds (usually much less), the baby will start moving right under me. I interpret that to mean that the baby comes to me, loves me, and wants to be close to me. Of course, it could mean that the baby wants to push me away or that I'm blocking his light! And there have been times when I feel the baby does want me to move. This usually happens when I am resting my arms on my belly somehow. The baby will sort of kick at the arm in a hard way, and I feel he's trying to tell me to move my arm. So I do, and then he calms down.
I realize that I do not actually know what any of these movements mean, but if anyone would have an idea, it would be the mother, right? Right now, the baby and I are so close--we are sharing the same body after all! I don't know why I attribute certain meanings at certain times, but I do know that I feel those explanations at the moment, and that's all I can say. Having said that, most of the time, I have no idea what the movements mean, or I believe the movements just mean that he is moving because that's what humans do!
First off, here is a short video of the baby moving. This is from a month ago, at Week 34. He moves in a similar way still, although the body parts look bigger now. Anyway, check it out if it doesn't freak you out!
And here are his main movements and some of the meanings I have placed on them:
The Womb Baby Wave: He'll start on one end of my belly and glide across it to the other end, like a little ocean wave. This is a fun one because it's very easy to see if you stare at my belly.
The Womb Baby Punch/Kick: He may jab me in the ribs, which might be slightly less than a few weeks ago. Occasionally, he has startled me so much, by being so high in my ribs that it almost takes my breath away for a second. But most of the time, his legs just flutter up there.
--He kicks or punches in other areas of my belly. I have read that kicks should be diminished at this point, and replaced with more gentle movement, since there isn't as much room to kick. He still seems pretty capable of walloping a good punch, but I do think this has diminished some.
The Womb Baby Quick Stretch: This is interesting because I will feel the same movement at the exact same time on the left side and the right side. It's as though he is stretching out his body as much as he can and jabbing me with his elbow on one side and his legs or knees on the other. This is a fast stretch, almost like a kick.
The Womb Baby Slow Stretch: This is fun because the baby will push out one body part and simply hold it there. I can see the little round ball or long rectangular shape pushing out the skin on my belly. Sometimes I hold the little body part with my fingers or gently rub it. I think he's just stretching and holding the position for a beat before bringing the body part back in the womb more.
The Womb Baby Cuddle: I can have my hand on my belly and a big part of the baby (the back or butt) will rub right into the palm of my hand. I feel like he is trying to cuddle with me, as my hand envelopes him. He'll do this for a little while, sort of pushing up into me, holding it, releasing, then pushing up into me again gently.
The Womb Baby Flutter/Swirl: The baby will make lots of little calm flutters or swirling type movements. These will be constant, sometimes for well over an hour. I can have my hand on my side, feeling him, maybe watching tv or something. And he will continue to make lots of these tiny rhythmic movements as though a little body part is swaying to music, or as though I were feeling his back rise and fall when breathing.
The Womb Baby Shake: Every now and then, the baby will feel as though he is literally shaking through my belly. Like a dog "shaking off" after he comes in from the rain. I'm not sure what this means.
The Womb Baby Jump: Occasionally, the baby will be fairly calm, then suddenly make a huge jump. It doesn't feel as though a small body part is kicking me, but rather his whole body is jumping or twitching. Two examples:
1) A little personal, but hey. A couple weeks ago, Mike slaps me on the butt and suddenly, the baby jumps on all sides of my belly. "Do it again!" I tell Mike, and he puts one hand on my belly and slaps my butt again. The baby jumps again instantly. I need to see it a third time to make it scientific, so I tell him, "Do it one more time!" He does, and again, the baby immediately jumps. Of course, then I feel bad and coddle the womb baby, gently touching where his body is and telling him sweetly that "it's okay. We were just playing." My poor baby at the whims of his curious parents! In this case, the meaning seems clear--he is startled by an outside force, so he jumps.
2) The baby will be calm, not moving at all. I think he's asleep, then suddenly, he'll make a big jump, a jolt almost, then I'll feel tiny movements for a minute or so, then it seems he settles down and is still again. I think this is the baby sleeping, then having one of those sleeping-twitches, which wakes him up. He stirs for a minute, then falls back asleep. Mike does this a lot, so I think he is taking after him. It's cute.
The Womb Baby Hiccups: He tends to get the hiccups several times a day. For the past two months (since when he probably turned), I have been feeling them originate from the same spot--very low on my left side, where his back begins from his head. It is cute because I can see the hiccups when I look at my belly, and funny to imagine he is doing that. This started around Week 28 and has been extremely consistent since then. It feels like a little irregular heartbeat. Sometimes this happens for no apparent reason, sometimes after I eat, and sometimes when he is startled (like a gun shot in a play, or people in a play or movie yelling). His hiccups usually last at least 10 minutes each time. Sometimes, I sing to him, and it will calm him down for 30 seconds or so, but then they will start up again (sometimes less frequent though).
The Womb Baby Jerks: This is very common. He will sort of jerk his body parts around in a haphazard sort of way. It's not smooth, but it's as though he keeps getting his foot caught on something and then just keeps plugging away, trying to move the body part somewhere else.
The Womb Baby Snap: I don't know how to really describe this other than, it feels like the baby is snapping something inside of me, and that maybe there is a bubble of water around the snapping feeling, or that he rolls a body part then it sort of "clicks." Mike has noticed this too and called it "snapping" first, so I think that is the closest way I can describe it.
The Womb Baby Flip: This is one the baby has not done in several months (there isn't enough room for it now). But he used to make a giant movement, all across my belly. It felt like a little sudden earthquake. I always imagined it was the baby flipping his whole body over, as it felt like someone plopping down into bed and shaking the whole bed.
The Womb Baby Rest: He is quiet and still sometimes. There are days when I feel as though he's moving nonstop for 10 hours straight, but other days, I find he rests more frequently (still more active than I feel a lot of babies are). At night, he will move a great deal once I lie down (and more so if I am on my right side). Once I fall asleep though, he seems to rest, as well. When I wake up (which is very frequent in the night), I will notice that he is still. I'll then get up to go to the bathroom or eat or whatever, trying to make as little movement as possible. When I return to bed, I must continue to lie on my left side, and 70% of the time, I will not wake the baby up, and we'll lie there again. Sometimes, I will wake him up, and then he'll squirm for a few minutes to an hour. However, if I come back to bed and switch to lying on my right side, 90% of the time, he will wake up and start squirming and moving until I move back onto my left side. I feel bad that I am the one waking him up!
People say that when the baby is born and you hold him, you can often feel the same movements that he was making in the womb, and realize what they are now. I'm not sure how this works exactly, as the baby is upside down in my womb, but I am excited to give it a try (and hold him...)!
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