Saturday night, Reilly emails me a final paper for one of his classes for me to proofread. The subtitle is “Implications of the Freudian Double in Coraline,” which sounds so intriguing and intellectual. He analyzes the movie through a Freudian lens. I can’t wait to read it.
We both sit on the couch. The Jazz game plays in the background on the television. I check my email and open the document. I turn on Track Changes and start reading.
I feel a little bit of movement in my tummy. There are little flutters but also some strong jabs and pokes. This activity continues as I type comments in the margins of Reilly’s paper.
I have been feeling distinct movement for the past few weeks, and with each passing day the pokes and kicks and rolls have been gaining strength. It’s a lot of fun.
Early Saturday morning, I still lay in bed, mustering the mental and physical strength to get up, because getting out of bed is not just a psychological challenge anymore. I turned on my Kindle and started checking headlines and Facebook.
It seemed that Baby had an easier time getting up than I did. She kicked and rolled around for a little bit. Then she calmed down and I felt gentler “ghost” movements deeper in the hollows of my tummy. I grabbed Reilly’s hand and placed it on the part of my tummy where I last felt movement. We were probably talking about a federal court’s finding Utah’s polygamy laws unconstitutional when I felt movement again. Just the slightest flutter. I was in the middle of a sentence when I asked Reilly, “Are you feeling that?” He said, “Uh, yes …?” without much confidence.
I finished my thought, then we got up and got ready to see the Hobbit.
As I read Reilly’s very interesting paper, Baby seems pretty active and wants to play. It’s like she tries to punch through a balloon, except with more resistance, not as much stretch. In a chamber that could be described as my stomach area. She shifts around and makes her presence known.
I scoot over on the couch. With the laptop still on my lap, I reach for Reilly’s hand and place it to the right of my belly button. I continue reading; he’s being patient.
About a minute passes. All of a sudden, I feel a strongish push right under Reilly’s hand, and at the same time, I see Reilly’s hand raise.
Reilly says, “I felt that!” And I laugh. I ask if he said he felt movement in the morning because he wanted to feel it and not necessarily because he actually did. Reilly keeps his hand on my tummy and says that was true.
And maybe Baby feels and hears me laughing and her dad reacting and responds for a few minutes with several more pokes of varying strength. Reilly feels them all. He enjoys it immensely.
About three and a half months left. It’s surreal going from talking about a baby in the abstract to talking about a baby who can actually hear me and eat and move and suck her thumb. IN MY WOMB. And then my husband wants to feel the baby all the time. At least when he’s not sleeping or writing papers or eating. His hand finds my tummy and he waits for that connection, the instant but lasting affection. Of course I don’t mind. He’s spending time with our daughter, with whom he’s obviously already in love. And I love seeing his big baby blue eyes light up during that contact.
I enjoy his joy.