"Kick Counts" are something I can't quite wrap my brain around.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, kick counts are what you're supposed to do during pregnancy to make sure that your baby is moving enough. You lie down for a while, and count how many times your baby kicks in an hour. I used the internets to look it up, and apparently you want to feel 10 movements every two hours (once you're far enough along, like I am).
That seems pretty straight-forward, right? But my babies are not like that.
My children don't kick me with a little jab, and then wait a few minutes and kick again.
My babies move.
I want to remember these little things about pregnancy, so this is what it's like being pregnant with Boy:
He very rarely kicks me, but he never stops moving. Instead of kicks and jabs (which was Grey's specialty during my first pregnancy), this boy is a wiggler, roller, re-adjuster.
The body parts that I can feel most are elbows and knees, and he doesn't jab me with them- he just moves them. I can always feel him at the top of my uterus (the part of my belly that makes a shelf to set things on), almost like someone's knuckle tracing out shapes against the inside of my belly. It looks like a marble moving slowly under my skin.
He rolls over, pulling his knobby knees across me- flapping out his boney elbows like chicken wings as he readjusts.
I can almost always tell just how he's positioned.
He has a hard head, a solid back, and a pointy little butt- and I love to feel him press them up against my hand. That's what other people always seem most impressed with, too. When I can place their hand on my stomach and say, "Feel how hard it is here, that's him jamming out his little head. Feel across, this is his back and here is his butt sticking out."
I love that I am such a small pregnant-person, but I mostly love it because I get all these little insights into Boy's movement. There's not a lot separating my boy's body from my hand.
Boy gets the hiccups several times a day. It's a funny sensation for me. Almost like a muscle-twitching, but not painful. A bit like tiny, constant bubbles popping.
Sometimes he gets them just 4 or 5 times, and they stop. Sometimes he gets them for an hour at a time. When he has the hiccups for a long time, I can feel him become increasingly more active. He bears the hiccups stoically for a while. Then he starts to wiggle, readjust, turn over, and poke me with his elbows. After a while, it becomes clear that he is frustrated with the hiccups, and he starts taking it out on me. He thrashes, he kicks. My belly distorts itself into strange, lopsided shapes as he pushes and pulls and strains.
They say that babies already have sleep-patterns in the womb. That when I'm walking and moving, the womb is a big warm cradle and swing, and the baby is rocked to sleep. When I hold still (or sleep) and my belly isn't so tight with muscles moving, the boy has some room to stretch and move.
It makes it easy to feel the baby, since he always moves the most when I'm trying to go to bed. (Stinker!)
But besides that, I think I can tell when he is sleeping and when he's awake based on his movements. Because, like my other sons (who roll, kick, and punch in their sleep) Boy doesn't just curl up into a peaceful ball for a nap. He keeps on moving. When he's awake, as I said, I can feel his little elbows and knees writing on me from inside. I can feel occasional kicks and jabs. I can feel him stretch and his head pokes out on one side of my belly, and his feet poke out on the other.
But when he's asleep, his movements are still constant, but slow. Slowly, he turns and rolls this way. Slowly, he stretches and leans that way.
It feels a bit like everything inside of my body has been replaced by a lumpy, revolving bowling ball. Turning, always turning under my skin.
So I can't do kick counts. Maybe a unceasing rolling, interrupted only by the occasional elbow or hiccup bubble doesn't even count as a kick.
But I've decided I'm not too worried. If I don't feel "10 distinct movements" in a couple of hours, surely "1 constant and unending movement" that lasts all day is just as reassuring. My baby is moving.
And yes. He's moving quite enough.