Meet George

George is the name of the baby in my womb. I don’t think that’s going to be his name when he’s born. We just like to call him that.

George is about 18 inches long and probably about 4 pounds. He’s been growing inside me for eight and a half months now.

Project Peanut

I first saw an image of George on an ultrasound when we went to the hospital to see if he was growing alright. That was on March 3, 2010. He was 3 cm long and quite squirmy.

Since then, he’s gone through a whole bunch of changes, and of course I have, too. Our bodies together have made me feel at times nauseous and preternaturally tired (first trimester). Sometimes he’s been so quiet and my body’s been so happy that I wondered if I was still pregnant (16 weeks).

But George has been moving around and going through interesting phases the whole time. I couldn’t feel him “for sure” until about 22 weeks, when I woke up and felt a bit of fluttering in the middle of my belly. I left for work on my bike that morning, getting on a train at 9am. When I relaxed in my seat, the feeling started again. It had to be George because I hadn’t had anything to eat that day, and anyway, mid-belly is a strange place to feel a gurgle.

I sent a text message to George’s father when I was sure that’s what it was. Reply: “!!!”

It wasn’t long before it was evident that George responded to the warmth of hands, the sound of familiar voices, and the rocking of my body. Sometimes his daddy would try to interact with him when we felt him move around, but George seems to like to listen and he’d go quiet and stop moving when he heard the big voice.

Around 5 months, he started favoring my left side — maybe because his father sleeps on the left side of me, and he’s warm and his voice is interesting. Back then, there was much less George and much more of me, and his whole 2 pound body would sometimes be balled up and pushing my belly out in a pouch to the left when I woke up. I would have to grab his mass and gently push it back into the center of my abdominal cavity. It wasn’t painful, and the discomfort was greatly overshadowed by the bizarreness and comedy of the situation.

George starting getting the hiccups between 5 and 6 months. I thought it was a muscle spasm in my own body, but it grew more evident that this rhythmic twitch against my insides always happened right where the baby’s head should be. Hiccups are pretty normal and they help the fetal lungs develop.

At 6 and 7 months, George started to really explore the boundaries of his space and the coordination of his limbs. He’d do little kicks throughout the day, but it was when I got really relaxed and comfy that he would kick and push with every extremity at once. Sometimes I would look down and see three distinct little mounds undulating on my belly, often for ten minutes at a time.

In the 6th month George seemed to be all over the place, but by 28 weeks he’d chosen a favorite spot on my left side, upside-down, with his head facing my spine. His legs are almost always positioned — if you imagine my belly as a clock face — at 1 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

These days, George likes to take up all the space he can get. He doesn’t kick with as much frequency in one session as before; now he kicks with pressure and force, often leaving his legs extended and stretching my uterus. He’s also not so discriminating about time and place; whereas before he rarely kicked while I was out and about, now he’ll stretch and flex whenever he likes.

A few nights ago, he decided he liked the feeling of my right lung so much that he probably kicked it 30 or 40 times in the same spot over the course of 12 hours, leaving me with an internal bruise and several startled awakenings. He means well but I’m glad I was able to coax his foot out of that spot the next day.

Only 6 weeks or so before George becomes a real baby, and we both have some serious growing to do. We should probably gain at least 6 pounds together, 3 for him and 3 for me.

It’s hard to believe we still have growing to do, as even simple movements like walking more than a few blocks have become major undertakings. The basket of muscles that hold up this weighty uterus, the pelvic floor and groin muscles, have begun complaining at the end of an upright day; it feels like weight training, and the weight is steadily increasing.

George’s grandmom, mother of 5 including me, says that with children, each phase lasts just slightly longer than you think is reasonable for it to last. “Just when you think, alright, if this goes on any longer, I’m going to scream, that’s when it all changes again.” I can really feel the truth of that right now.

George is a good baby though. I’m happy to carry him inside me, even when it’s made life difficult, and I’ll be really happy when I get to see his face and carry him on the outside, no matter what.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment

Your comment