I am currently in my third pregnancy and my experience of fetal movements, and my feelings surrounding them, has been very different with each. My first pregnancy was in 2014. Whilst I was aware of the ‘Count the Kicks’ movement which was active at the time, I didn’t actually count the kicks. I made a mental note of when she was usually still and when she would usually move and found that she would wriggle if I drank something cold which I did semi-regularly but without much thought to checking she was ok. Nine days after my due date on Christmas Eve I contacted my Midwife worrying that I’d not felt her move for a while. I drank a cold drink but she didn’t move enough for me to be happy that things were normal. I’d mentioned it to friends who had recently had a baby who told me that if we went up to the hospital we’d be there for hours on the monitor, so rather than doing that I went to see my Community Midwife who confirmed there was a heartbeat and that baby was fine. I then went home, drank a pint of cold water and enjoyed watching my belly dance around as she wriggled. On Christmas morning I remember my partner cuddling me and feeling her move and I remember lots of wriggling after Christmas dinner around 6pm. I woke up on 26th with mild cramping pains which progressed throughout the day so I was having full contractions by 10pm. Thinking back now, I don’t distinctly remember any movements on this day, but I was so focused on managing the pain and timing the contractions that I just didn’t think about it. By 6am on 27th December, I insisted on being seen by a Midwife to see how far gone my labour was. By 8am on that day I was being blue lighted from the birthing centre to the hospital as they couldn’t find a heartbeat. Beatrice was stillborn at 4.30pm that day.
In my second pregnancy, over 4 years later, fetal movements were obviously something I was very keen on monitoring closely. As with many second pregnancy’s, I noticed the fluttering much earlier on than with my first and it was something I was very conscious of. As soon as I passed 24 weeks, I was making notes on my phone of when Rupert made any significant movements. I tried to figure out a pattern and I couldn’t find a regular one but I found that if I thought “I haven’t felt him kick in a while” he would suddenly start moving; I’m sure this was coincidence but it reassured me. With this said, I made at least four trips to the hospital during my pregnancy to be monitored and countless trips to my Community Midwife to get confirmation that he was ok. Due to my previous ‘loss’, I had scans every 2-4 weeks throughout the entire pregnancy and was induced early at 38 weeks and, therefore, monitored from the very start of my labour.
I am now in my third trimester of my third pregnancy, this time with another little girl. I haven’t been to hospital or the Community Midwife to get checked at all yet, but I am very conscious of her movements. In earlier months she was extremely active so constantly keeping me reassured. Due to lockdown, this was a time when I was able to spend a lot of time relaxing and being still, which I have found is the best time to notice movements. Now life is a little busier I have found it more difficult to notice her movements so have had to make more of a conscious effort to feel her. Drinking something cold or eating something sweet tends to wake her up so I do that as often as I can. At this time, I feel more anxious that I remember feeling in my second pregnancy, but with current circumstances being what they are with Covid-19, there could be a number of reasons for this. All I know is that I am eager for her to be here safely with me.