5 – Bumping along beautifully

There are so many exciting things happening with Ducky that enough has materialised for the next blog already.

Her kicks and punches are strong enough to be felt by others!!! This is such an exciting development. A little over 7 weeks ago I felt the first gentle movements that were more like gas bubbles. I have been thoroughly enjoying feeling the movements grow stronger and stronger and a few weeks ago was even able to differentiate between kicks / punches and rolls / somersaults. And the next step is here….Prasanna had come to my parent’s house for one day last week, when I woke him up from his sleep and got him to feel the kicking. Very sleepily he felt it, grinned, turned over and went back to sleep. Since then my mother and grandmother have both felt little Ducky’s movements and it’s been such a joy sharing it with all of them. The connections are starting to feel stronger every day too.

Just a few days ago, I saw my abdomen gently move when I felt a kick / punch . I was tickled pink with this development. It was such fun to see the little hills that were created for those few seconds. This of course generally happens in the night and I have tried recording it to show the rest of the family. But Ducky seems to be camera shy already. Though I have tried times when my mobile is just near my hand, and therefore I don’t move, she seems to have sensed that her performance is being recorded and all activity comes to a standstill. Well, with her movements becoming stronger, there is no doubt that I will catch it on video at some time. Until then I keep describing the sensation and my excitement to everyone.

I’ve been very curious about the fact that Ducky’s movements are strongest in the night and I hardly feel them during the day. My mother explained that all the running around I do in the day time may feel like rocking movements to the foetus, thereby putting her to sleep. Also the external stimuli surrounding me is so much that my focus is always only partially on the baby. When things are settled in the night, I am in a horizontal position and my mind is quiet, the environment is just right for Ducky to start her work and she remains busy through the night somersaulting, kicking and punching.

Ducky and I have also developed a nightly ritual where I tell her to enjoy moving around in the space she has as soon her quarters will become very cramped. I imagine her floating around from one side to the other (the gentle rolls I feel across my abdomen, the basis for this). My mind conjures up images of Ducky doing a lazy backstroke around my uterus, until I feel a flurry of kicks and punches and suddenly the swim stroke has shifted to butterfly and freestyle.

Everyone is talking to Ducky too and it’s such fun to hear the different stories that she is being told. My grand-aunt (whom we live with) regales Ducky and me with tit-bits of interesting news, giving her a more rounded education. My father has decided to name the baby ‘Mr. Ducky’ to balance out the feminine form of address and has a gala time cracking jokes, keeping his fingers crossed with the hope that this latest member to the family will understand his PJs (considering that my mother and I generally need him to explain his jokes).

As various connections are being formed with the baby I am carrying, dearest Ducky continues to focus on her growth and development. She’s got several names now and the latest is ‘Chaplu papa’. Chaplu in my native language describes a tongue that loves food and craves for tasty buffets; and papa is a term of endearment for baby. There have been a few days when I have planned to make some yummy stuff but just don’t have the energy to do it. As soon as Chaplu papa realises that the yummy food plan is on the way to being scrapped, she becomes like the Duracell bunny and energises me. Voila – in a little while, the dish is made and taste buds are all satisfied.

Persistent kicking in one spot while I am sleeping sends me into dreams of knocks being heard on various doors. At some point the knocking feels very realistic and wakes me up suddenly, only for me to realize that it’s Chaplu papa asking for some food. A biscuit or two has her bouncing around for sometime (as the glucose energises her), after which she settles down.

A few days ago hunger pangs hit me quite suddenly about 15 minutes before lunch was ready. I was sitting quietly next to my grandmother at that point, when Chaplu papa started kicking vigorously.  I got my grandmother to put her hand on my abdomen, but all movements stopped immediately. This moment is going down into my book of priceless memories,  as my grandmother (who is usually very silent) spoke to the baby, assured her that food was coming and that it was going to be yummy and therefore worth the wait. An indescribable feeling to be bonded to Ducky through my grandmother. 

Since the beginning of the pregnancy, one of my forms of exercise has been a 45 minute walk every morning. Recently I’ve had to ensure that I finish by 7:30am as Chaplu papa is all ready with her utensils to eat breakfast and if by chance she notes that there is no sign of breakfast being made as yet, she sends signals for massive hunger growls to start….

Technological advancements make the pregnancy feel so magical. Not only am I able to feel Ducky’s movements now, but I am also able to see her so clearly during my regular scans. I’ve got to share what we saw in the latest scan – she was yawning and we could see her mouth opening (with the tongue sticking out).  She was also showing off her flexibility to the fullest, by putting her legs above her head and scrunching her arms in a different direction. Makes the baby all the more real to see these images, doesn’t it?

I’ve also got a U shaped pregnancy pillow that is making my sleep time extremely comfortable – another advancement that I am thoroughly loving.

My 6th and  7th months have heralded a whole host of changes in my body and my mindset. It is so exciting to not be able to see parts of my lower body as my abdomen grows. I am sure that this is also the only time in my adult life that I am happy to be growing rounder. I have a few days where I felt stretched and call these my expansion days. Ducky and I have some very enlightening conversations on what parts are growing and why that spurt of development in her is important.

Waddling has also just started and I feel just like the nickname my husband has given me – a penguin. Wonder if I will feel like a whale by the end?

My nails are suddenly growing really fast – overnight it becomes like Shurpanikha’s. Combination of polycystic ovaries and genetics has gifted me generously with a hair-less head and hair in all other unwanted areas. Suddenly I am being told that my hair looks thicker, not too many bald spots are seen, etc. What a marvel!!!! Of course I remind myself that this is just the effect of my hormones being in the right balance. Post delivery it will go back to its usual state and I will no longer have a head full of hair. As they say ‘Enjoy it while the going is good’.

My olfactory based superpowers and highly sensitive skin continue to become more powerful. I can smell jackfruit all the way from the other end of the house and eucalyptus oil is instantly smelled too – not in the pleasant way. My skin starts to burn when I apply the moisturizer I have been applying for years. There are now only 2 things that my skin can tolerate – turmeric oil which I use to keep my skin moist, and a herbal mosquito repellent body spray (phew!! Thank god for this as it is most essential with monsoon setting in).

My bladder is also constantly reminding me that it is a very important part of my body’s functioning. Most times it feels like a leaky faucet – just a few drops come with every visit to the loo, but the sense of urgency is always great. My stomach is already feeling squashed and by the end of eating 2 chappatis with all the accompaniments, I feel absolutely stuffed. I have a feeling that in 2 months time, I will be pecking at my food the whole day like a bird to meet Ducky and my nutritional requirements. Reminds me of the time in my first trimester when I was eating something every hour or so, and spent most of my day chewing.

My energy levels are dropping as Ducky continues to grow and suck up everything she needs from me. This means that I am not able to help around the house much and I am practicing feeling less guilty about this. I am also learning to accept my selfishness when it comes to prioritizing some foods that I love eating and my nap time over everyone else. As my father had said previously – Ducky is multigrain and is ensuring that I am more comfortable going against my grain when something is important for the health of the pregnancy. 

Touching upon a sensitive topic – a woman’s sexual libido during pregnancy. I’ve got to say that the rumours that are spoken about in hushed tones about how some women feel an increased need for sexual intimacy, were very true for me. While it started in the first trimester itself for me, my morning sickness was so bad that having my husband simply lie down / move around on his side of the bed would send waves of nausea rolling over me. So there was no chance of any hanky panky. My stars continued to not be aligned over the next few months either. My morning sickness abated, but as minor issues in my pregnancy had cropped up and I moved to my parents house, the lockdown started and my husband and I were now 10 kms too far away. The lockdown has just ended and my husband and I can now meet face to face, however I am too far along in the pregnancy with all its corresponding aches and pains to try anything out. Thankfully my hormones are cooperating and no longer sending me intense signals that could have made me feel angsty – to add to everything else happening.

Well, as the countdown for the last few months begins, I am excited as well as terrified as this journey comes closer to its conclusion. I can’t wait for Ducky’s kicks and punches to become more powerful such that they wake me up in the night. I have started wearing maternity pants, just bought the next size in bras, am all set to continue waddling and am awaiting Ducky’s next growth spurt where she will reach my diaphragm and continue to grow until she is squashed into my belly.

As a couple who had a green wedding where all the waste was either reusable or compostable, and whose families believe in living eco-friendly lives, we are definitely looking at how Ducky can join us in our endeavours. My next write up will focus on some of these plans.

So cherio for now. Take care and stay safe as the pandemic rages on. Ducky and I will send you our next update soon.

p.s. – A reminder that I use the feminine form of address for my foetus – as he is within the word she. We won’t know the sex of our baby until it’s birth

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