Prenatal Exercising

The first half of the second trimester was pretty boring. I was actually afraid that nothing much would happen until the baby was born--that all we had left was six long months of waiting to see this kid. At that point the pregnancy seemed to be degenerating into just a long string of visits to the doctor's office.
  Then Dawn ``popped''. That's how my mother and at least three other people described what happened and it's a perfect description. She popped. One week she was looking a little thick through the middle, maybe, really just slightly larger than she used to. The next week, she was pregnant--she popped. Just popped right out, boink. It must have happened in the middle of the night and very quietly--pop!--and in the morning she had risen like a cake. Just underneath her breasts Dawn had grown a little shelf.
  ``You popped!'' my mother said, delighted.
  ``I was just here two weeks ago,'' Dawn protested.
  ``That's all it takes--you popped!'' And sure enough, she had.
  A few days after that Dawn went in for her glucose tolerance test. This was the first time she went to the doctor without me, because the test needs to be done the morning after a night of not eating. Since I still worked for a living, I couldn't go with her. This upset me greatly because it was one topic I wouldn't be able to write about. But Dawn insisted that I write about it anyway.
  The glucose tolerance test is done to determine how well the pregnant woman is handling sugar. Judging by Dawn's diet alone, she'd been handling sugar quite well, and in large amounts, preferably cookie-shaped. What is done for this test is this: The woman fasts for twelve hours or so. A blood sample is taken. Then she is made to drink a nasty syrup, which Dawn tells me is a lot like Pepsi without the carbonated water. About an hour later another blood sample is taken. From this the doctor can figure out if the pregnant woman is suffering from what they call gestational diabetes, which is similar to regular diabetes except it goes away shortly after the baby is born. In the meantime, however, the diabetes has to be managed, either through diet or, in rare cases, medication. In general, gestational diabetes isn't common or very serious when it appears.
  Dawn's blood sugar was slightly higher than normal, so she was warned to avoid sugary foods and drinks. So much for her cookies. And her cakes, ice cream, caffeine-free Pepsi, sorbet, and who knows what all else she eats when I'm not looking. She has very admirably reduced her attack on the simple carbohydrates.
  And then not long after that, we went back to the doctor for what was to be our last routine ultrasound. The cyst had shrunk, meaning it was going away. Our doctor stopped being worried or even slightly concerned and told us we could stop getting ultrasounds all the time. Just like that.
  Then we went shopping for baby stuff and started going to Bradley classes and magically, the lull was over. The pregnancy began to be exciting again. And just a little exhausting.

By far the most exciting thing to happen, though, occurred in December. Dawn felt the baby move for the first time.
  I don't know exactly when she first felt the baby move, but it wasn't long after that when she began to notice it frequently and bring it to my attention.
  ``The baby was very active today,'' she'd say. ``He was all over the place.''
  In a couple of weeks I began to ask about the baby, too. ``How was the baby today?'' I'd ask. ``Did he move around a lot? Did he take up dancing? Playing lacrosse?''
  It took a while before I got to feel the baby move, though.
  ``He's moving!'' Dawn would nearly shout. ``Quick!'' And I would put my hand on her belly in entirely the wrong spot and she would move it to wherever the baby's movements were strongest and I would feel nothing anyway, except sometimes my own pulse.
  ``He stopped,'' Dawn would explain. ``He's afraid of you already.''
  I would sit with my hand on her belly for a minute or so and then some part of me would start to fall asleep and I'd have to move. ``You're just not patient enough,'' my wife would complain.
  This went on for some time, until finally the baby's kicking and elbowing and punching was constant enough that I was able to get to Dawn's belly in time. It was really amazing. Every time we'd feel something, I'd look up at Dawn and we'd both have the same look of surprise on our faces. It's one thing to know, intellectually, that there's an independent living creature inside of someone; it's something else entirely to experience that creature moving around and making a nuisance of itself.
  The two of us began interacting with our newly active baby almost right away. Dawn, for her part, began to yell at him. ``I hear you, I hear you!'' she shouted at her womb. For my part, I began occasionally to talk to Dawn's stomach, which was a little odd. Especially since there was so little to talk about. But then, I've never needed another side to a conversation--I just like to hear myself talk--so I managed just fine with the baby.
  ``Hello, little baby,'' I'd say, with my face pressed up against Dawn's rapidly vanishing navel. ``How are things going in there? Nice and warm? Give your mom a little kick for me, would you? She's getting really crabby out here and could use a little abuse. Just whack her a good one, okay? I'm not allowed to hit her but you can beat the crap out of her if you want. Go for it. Can't wait to see you. Love you.'' And other inane things.
  Another thing I liked to do was see if the baby would react to touching. When he'd get very active, I'd find the spot that he just pushed out and I'd push it back in. Sometimes, after a short wait, he'd push it back out again. I'd like to think the baby and I were communicating in some small way.
Index |  Next