Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Quickening

The first time I heard the term “The Quickening”, I immediately thought of a gritty western movie. The kind with Clint Eastwood squinting into the dusty wind and spitting out witty lines past the toothpick clenched between his teeth. The kind with bad guys in black hats and good guys in white hats. The kind with a main street running through a ghost town and nothing but tumbleweeds blowing past. Fortunately, in baby-making terms, “quickening” is a much more exciting word. It actually means the first time the mother feels the baby move.

Naturally, this is one of the most exciting landmarks for any pregnancy, whether it’s a woman’s first or her tenth. It’s one of those sensations that gives you a thrill every time you experience it, like riding on a roller coaster. It doesn’t get old or less exciting. And it feels different every time, I suspect. With my first pregnancy, I was convinced that I’d never feel him moving. I had, of course, done all kinds of research on the internet (the font of all knowledge) and learned that quickening often happens around 17 weeks. So starting at 17 weeks, I spent hours concentrating on my belly, willing myself to feel that fluttery, bubbly sensation that all the article described. Nothing. It wasn’t until I was 21 week, I think, that I finally felt something that I was SURE wasn’t just a gas bubble or my insides rearranging themselves. It was definitely, undeniably, another human being moving around inside my body.

With this pregnancy, even though most second-time moms recognize movement earlier, I was fully prepared to not feel anything until closer to 20 or 21 weeks. When I had my first ultrasound and the technician mentioned that my placenta was anterior, I immediately flashed back to my internet research and recalled that an anterior placenta can delay quickening for some time, since the placenta “blocks” the baby’s movement. So a few days ago, at only 18 weeks, I was delighted to feel those first little flutters.

“Flutters” is probably not the right word, though. With my first pregnancy, the first sensations I felt were definitely similar to having butterflies in your stomach or feeling a gas bubble shifting. It was light and delicate (in great contrast to the giant baby who later emerged). The sensation from this second baby already felt more like a kick, or a pushing against my abdomen wall. I could picture the tiny being inside me stretching out like we had seen on the ultrasounds, exploring the extent of this dark cavern that s/he is confined in.

It reminds me once again, that every pregnancy, and every child, is different. This baby could be a chunky blond like my son, or a delicate, petite, dark-haired peanut. S/he might be as nervous and tightly-wound as he is laid-back, or they might share that trait. This baby might be talking in full sentences at 10 months, or s/he could be another point-and-grunter, like big brother. But it doesn’t matter in the least. I just can’t wait to meet my little Rutabaga!

Bookmark and Share