Thursday, September 11, 2008

21w2d: Quickening

Quickening. I love that word. It reminds me of stories that I've read at some point through the years (although I can't recall a specific book), in which the female character feels "a quickening in her womb," and this feeling confirms that indeed, she is pregnant.

I've been thinking about the fact that I would be writing one of my blog entries with the title "Quickening" for weeks. Thus, I've had plenty of time to think about the curiosity of this particular word and some of the different meanings of quick. Fast or rapid is the obvious one. But it also has an archaic meaning: alive, and that is certainly what fetal "quickening" must refer to. On the other hand, quicksilver refers to the actual metal mercury, or the "mercurial tendency" of being impulsive. And the quick of your fingernail is that sensitive part underneath that can other words, the part that is "alive." The term quicksand, according to various online dictionaries that I just consulted, literally comes from the meaning, "living sand." It's such a rich and evocative term; I hope that "quickening" does not completely disappear from our lexicon.

As I described in a previous post, I felt the first definite movements in the middle part of week 19, and then only with intense concentration, when I was lying down flat with my hand on my belly. However, it was really this Monday (20w6d) when I felt BabyGirl flip-flop around when I was just casually sitting at work in clinic, typing at a computer, and with my hand nowhere near my belly. And since that day she has been doing it in little bursts on and off for 5 minutes here and there. It is a truly wonderful (but somewhat odd!) feeling. I fall in love a little more every time I feel it.

I've been trying to call BabyGirl by all 3 of our top names to see if one feels right and natural. Let me clarify: these are not really either of our individual absolute favorites, but ones that we both like enough to agree to put on a short list. Of these three, S likes them in the order: 1) E, 2) A, 3) N. And I like 1) N, 2) A, 3) E.

S's favorite of the bunch, E, feels the "easiest" of the three right now, but I'm still not ready to commit to that one. It is cute, but too common. This feels like such a big decision. I would even consider waiting until the birth, and deciding when we finally meet her, but S feels that it will help us bond even more if we start calling BabyGirl by her name now. I think I could get him to agree to N if I really insist, but I'm not sure if I want to do that, either. My fantasy is that we'll somehow magically find a name that we both LOVE and that becomes both of our instant favorites, pushing all others aside. I'm not sure that any of the names that we've considered so far is the right name. It would probably be most "fair" to use A, which may be both of our #2 picks from the short list, but that one doesn't work well with the middle name that I'm currently favoring.

In other news, I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday at 21w1d. Strangely, the Women's Health office had moved from the second floor to the basement of the same building on the day before my appointment, so it felt kind of odd to be in that new location. The appointment was again really quick and anticlimactic. Pee in a cup, blood pressure, doctor enters and I ask my 2 questions, listen to BabyGirl's heartbeat (well, I love that part!) and then the doctor rushes away. She wasn't very impressed with my description of occasional contractions on-and-off for several weeks. She says, "oh, that's not Braxton-Hicks, it sounds more like growing pains in your uterus." However, trust me, these were true very intense contractions that made my uterus really, really hard for about 1 minutes, and then it relaxed again. I think they were contractions no matter what she says, and Dr Google and a few books I've consulted agree with me: they could be considered early Braxton-Hicks. But it doesn't really matter what she wants to call them, because as long as they're not regular or associated with pressure down below or fluid leakage, they're perfectly benign. So that part was reassuring, at least.

I still sometimes wonder if I would prefer a midwife. I mean, everything is OK with this doctor, but it's not like anyone has ever asked me to describe what kind of birth I imagine, how much I want to be monitored, whether I will want an epidural, a tub birth, a birthing ball, to be in a homey environment or in an OR. Whether I want the baby to be put on my belly afterwards or whisked off to be cleaned and weighed. I don't even know that I will do anything "alternative" but I wish that someone would at least ask me those questions and talk about various options with me. It would at least make me feel like more of a human being, a woman, going through this wonderful experience or pregnancy and preparing for birth. Right now I kinda feel like I'm just a quick-15-minute-appointment every-4-weeks person, and they are probably just relieved that I am such an easy, non-demanding patient with no complications so far and not many questions.

I hope you all are doing well out there... :) There has been a lot of excitement on my blogroll recently, and I'm really enjoying all of your posts.


alison said...

I'm glad it took so "long" for you to feel Baby Girl move. I know that it's right in the prime time to begin to feel movement, but so many books and websites say that you can feel movement as early as 15-16 weeks. Which is probably very true, but I'll be 16 weeks tomorrow and haven't felt much of anything. So then I start to think that something is wrong or abnormal. I just need to be patient and know that Cletus is a-ok and doing excatly what he or she should be. :)

poppy.f.seed said...

I love your quickening descriptions!
I think you should research birth options, maybe ask colleagues, friends, what they've done, or even watch some silly discovery health shows. Obviously, we can't truly plan our birth(as you never know what will happen) but it is nice to have your caregiver know what you want, and care about making that happen.

sarah23 said...

Oh yes, I've been DVR'ing "A Baby Story" a few times a week lately. (It's a show that I avoided like the plague during IF). I think that watching that show is actually what is making me think more about all of the various options out there.

Lorrie said...

Are you going to leave us in suspense with the 3 name choices??? Don't you want the opinions of all of cyber-world to contend with, too? :)

Cindy Nguyen said...

oh please Sarah, I have to know the names. Let us rank them! Yay for your noneventful pregnancy!

Cindy Nguyen said...

omg, I just caught first episode of Dr. 90210. Dr. Rey's wife seriously needs to eat something. Why oh why did they do that to their kitchen? What was wrong with the original? And those pillars? What was she thinking? Also, whats up with getting implants to make your breasts look fake? horrible. The Li's bore me to tears, but can't wait to see next episode of Dr. couple having their baby. Anyway, that show is a train wreck but it seems like it will be a juicy season and I just can't stop watching.

AI said...

I don't want to be negative but I want to make sure you take the contractions you have been feeling very seriously.

I started feeling contractions with my first pregnancy around 16 weeks and figured they were just braxton hicks. At my 20 week US, my cervix measured normally. At around 23 weeks, it seemed like I was feeling the contractions a lot more frequently--although they were not regular nor painful. Everyone I mentioned it to basically told me not to worry about it and I brushed them off. At my 24 week appt, I told my doc. She started to brush it off and told me they were just braxton hicks but said she would measure my cervix just to reassure me. Well, my cervix measured 0.8 cm and she sent me to the hospital where I was admitted for 28 days--18 of which I was on mag. I was in full preterm labor! I was discharged at 28 weeks on strict bedrest and my baby stayed in until 35 weeks. I just want to let you know this because so many people brushed it off and nobody thought it was serious. Never once did these contractions feel like real labor contractions but they were obviously still doing a number on my cervix.

sarah23 said...

Ai, thanks for your info on the contractions. That is actually really scary and I am going to keep a very close eye on them. Now, I've really only felt one or two over the past 5 days or so... and one was right after sex, so I think that is OK. However, I appreciate hearing about your experience and if they become more frequent I will definitely get checked out.

By the time you were in preterm labor, how frequent were they?

AI said...

Hi Sarah,

It was interesting because it seemed like certain tasks would bring on the contractions--particularily ones that involved bending over. I remember having 6 contractions while making my bed but then none for the next couple of hours. When I was hospitalized, it wasn't unusual for me to have 8-12 contractions in an hour.

I have to mention that I work long hours--12 hr shifts in a hospital and my job is very physical--I don't think I always noticed when I was having them at work and I worked 2-12 hr shifts immediately prior to being admitted. Apparantly, jobs that involve a lot of standing and long hours are a risk factor for preterm labor.

I am sure everything will be fine as long as you are aware of them and it sounds like you are--but I agree with you that what you described definately sounded like a contraction. And, it is normal to have them with sex. It is actually good that you can feel them because some people don't even know they are having them!

I hope I didn't worry you because I am sure what happened to me is uncommon--but I wish I would have had more information about them because maybe I would have gone to the doc sooner :)

Pink-CJ said...

Yea, maybe if that's something important to you, you should see about getting a midwife or do some research on your own! I am glad baby is moving and happy! I love feeling the baby move. HOpe you are doing well.

sara said...

Thanks for following along with us lately - I really appreciate all of the kind words. Our little one is around 1 pound 14 oz - but I know that the u/s can be off from a little to a lot. So true what you said about quickening - I've read that phrase so many times in books or stories growing up - and I couldn't help think of it with my own pregnancy :-)

I think you probably are pretty darn in tune with your body and if you feel like you are having some contractions and not B Hicks - you're probably right on the money. About 1 week before I finally approached my OB about them - I had decided I was having contractions and not BH. I was. You're a physician, right? Not that everyone isn't in tune with their bodies - but of all people - you probably are even slightly more in tune with yours when it comes to subtle differences I would imagine. Hopefully you don't hear that too often or get sick of people telling you that...I only meant it in the nicest sweetest way I swear, LOL!

When you feel like sharing names - I'm all ears...can't wait to follow along with you in the weeks ahead!

sara said...

Also, not to beat a tired horse, but if you feel like you're having contractions and are persistent with your OB - hopefully they'll take you seriously as well. I feel bad for women when they come in to L & D in preterm labor and I'm doing their epidural or spinal and they say - I told my doctor weeks ago I was having contractions but they didn't do anything. Maybe because I've worked with my OB for years and known him for a long time - he takes me seriously when I tell him I feel something is not right. That's one of the things I like about him. When I told him at 18-19wks I was having a lot of cramping and what felt like maybe contractions - he stopped and listened. I think that's part of why we've hung in as long as we have with this pregnancy. He actually listens to what I say. Hopefully physician to physician yours will be a little better than a lot of the OBs seem. I'll keep my fingers crossed and sorry for the book of a post!

Jen said...

YAY for Quickening!! Fun, fun, fun. :)

I'm seeing a midwife and I absoutely love her! She remembers who we are - the little details about our lives - and is so sweet and understanding.

La La said...

Yay for the quickening!! It's it the best feeling in the world!?

GL with your birthing choices. Keep us posted as to what you decide.

Portia P said...

It's a wonderful feeling isn't it when the baby first makes contact.

I got a real "doof" to the belly in my 21st week whilst on hols in Greece and the next day, at home, Mr G felt another one with his hand on my tummy.

It feels such a miracle. I'm also in love with that wriggly person in my tummy. xx

Kenya said...

You've made a good point. You should make all of those decisions yourself for your birth plan. You have a say.

Hi I came across your name from another blog. Just wanted to say "hi", and I'm Kenya at