This morning, as sleep was walking that precarious line of hanging on and sloughing off of my shrouded mind, I realized I had hands on my belly. I was laying on my back and must have been for some time because, as I was slowly waking up, I realized that my back was hurting me and I needed to move. I didn't want to though. While I was sleeping, my husband was laying there, hands on my tummy, feeling our baby move under my skin. I didn't want to disturb the moment.
Realizing after a few minutes that there seemed to be no movement in utero to disturb, I rolled onto my side. Dustin's hands remained on my belly waiting for more fetal acrobatics. I continued drifting in and out of sleep and, after an unknown quantity of time, Dustin got up to get ready for work. After he showered, he came back in our room and found me a little more coherent.
"I was playing with the baby while you were asleep," he informed me.
I responded, "I noticed your hands on my belly as I was waking up, but I didn't feel the baby moving at all. Was it actually moving?"
"Oh yeah! Totally!" he replied enthusiastically. "It would kick and I'd give a little push back. I'd feel a little limb and bounce it off my hand. It moved a lot and for a long time. The baby and I were having fun!"
Weird how I could be so asleep to not even notice any of that going on. But as I lay there thinking after he walked away, I was very grateful that I stayed asleep through it all. He got his own time "with the baby" as I was lost to the waking world.
A few minutes later, Ella walked in the room. She had a bad dream for the second morning in a row. Comforting words were said and she climbed in bed next to me filling Dustin's vacated spot. We lay there a few minutes and suddenly the baby got very tiny hiccups. I took Ella's hands and, placing them over the rhythmic hiccup-zone, told her of the baby's condition.
She got very excited as she felt the little repetitive jolts. "I can FEEL it, Mom!" she whispered enthusiastically. Suddenly, the baby decided it was awake and ready to roll around. The big sister thrilled at the various kicks and motions she felt. Swells of miniature body parts protruded and she informed me of every action. She laughed out loud several times. She asked what she was feeling... "Was that it's head? Is that it's leg? How does it make that bump stick out? What was that little bump?"
"I don't know Ella," I replied. "I wonder the same things all the time and I can never quite imagine the little person that can make all that movement simultaneously!"
As we lay there, I told her that her daddy was "playing" with the baby this morning while I was sleeping. She laughed. I suddenly realized that she, being my only daughter thus far, (March will tell if she is my only daughter ever) would one day, in all probability, get to experience this very thing, but from her own body, not just feeling it through her mother. I told her this, that one day she could feel this too but feel it all the time, every day as a new life develops into a whole, and very tiny human being.
I marveled, as I have time and time before, at the wonder of being a woman. This is a precious time, a wonderful gift that my body can give. I love feeling those jolts of a new life inside of me. Dustin can feel it from the outside as he lays there in dark, but OH!, the joy I experience with each little tap or roll from within! It is a wonder, a marvel and a miracle.
And with that thought, I say again... I love being a woman.