One of the things I was most excited about was feeling the baby move.
In movies and TV shows, it always looks like such a joyful moment. The mom’s eyes widen, and she reaches for her partner’s hand. As their hands touch on her bulging belly, his face registers shock and awe, while hers is lit up by a smile.
So many pregnant friends talked about how it felt when the baby moved. They talked about what triggered the movements, when the kicks hurt or distracted them, when they actually saw the movements on the surface of their bellies.
I remember reading about the first kicks, and how they would feel. Like gas, or a light pop. You would just know, my pregnancy app said.
It was in July when I finally felt it. We were at the premiere of Star Trek: Beyond, watching the movie with a ton of friends. During an exciting action sequence, there it was: a little pop in the middle of my bump, like someone had flicked a finger against my stomach, from the inside. I told Oneal, “I think the baby moved!”
Oneal suggested I count the kicks, and I found apps for that. Soon we noticed what triggered his movements. Loud noises in action sequences, and music with strong beats made him kick. Cold drinks and sweets too, like most moms said.
We wondered how he would react to Mad Max: Fury Road.
In the early days, the movements just felt like light pops around the belly. I told Oneal whenever the baby moved, and he put his hand on my belly. Then kicks got stronger, sometimes startling me. But Oneal still couldn’t feel them, and he started pouting whenever I told him the baby was moving. “I can’t feel it,” he said sadly. “Soon, sweetie,” I promised.
As my bump got bigger, the kicks got stronger. Sometimes they even hurt. I also felt Lil Ass-Kicker kick in specific spots, and I wondered, was that a foot or a hand? Was he moving his head? Though Oneal still couldn’t feel it, I put his hand on my belly every time the Child moved.
It finally happened, one early morning in August. We were still mostly asleep, wishing we could spend the day in bed. Lil Ass-Kicker was often active in the early morning, and whatever position we were lying in, I made sure to put Oneal’s hand on my bump, just in case. The Child kicked, hard, and Oneal’s eyes widened. “Was that baby?” he asked, surprised.
From then on, I put Oneal’s hand on my bump when the baby started moving. “Bump,” Oneal said, every time he felt it. Sometimes we’d be lying in bed, my bump against Oneal’s arm or side, and he would feel the Child move. Even if he were sleepy, his eyes would suddenly open, and he’d say, “Hi baby!”
Sometimes, Child started moving, and as soon as Oneal’s hand was on my belly, he stopped! I said, “He’s like the operatic frog from Looney Tunes.”
Whenever that happens, we call it a Michigan. Apparently the frog is named Michigan J. Frog! Sometimes I’m tempted to name him Michigan. Then other times he decides, okay, Daddy can feel me kick.
Lately though, Child doesn’t just let Oneal feel his kicks. He’s started kicking so hard and moving so much that we can see the movement on the surface!
I’m growing a xenomorph, I tell you.
And he’ll still be Michigan.