Word on the street is that women don’t feel their first babies until about 20 weeks. Women who have been pregnant before may feel movement much sooner, partly because they know for what they’re feeling. These ladies of experience frequently say that we noobs will mistake the early movements for gas.
Very early in pregnancy I was a little sad about this seeming certainty, thinking I had so long to wait before the excitement of movement kicked in (HEY-O). That is, until I realized that I was actually essentially getting excellent advice: simply tune in for a sensation that feels a lot like gas but that isn’t.
Around 13 weeks I did just that, and started to notice light tickling and bubble-popping sensations in my lower abdomen, especially while lying on my back. Sure enough, the sensations felt much like gas but didn’t result in any pressure or the release of any pressure (guys, I’m trying to subtly talk about farting here). I knew what I was feeling was unique, but I guarded my excitement and only told myself it was probably fetal movement.
As the weeks went by, the tickling and bubble popping became stronger and I was feeling it more frequently, without even needing to tune into it first in order to notice it. Occasionally I was feeling a more insistent bubble pop that felt much more like a bump. I also started to feel a distinct squirming that I couldn’t mistake for gas.
Last night, as my husband and I were lying in bed before going to sleep, I felt a thump towards the bottom corner of my uterus. Suddenly it occurred to me that it might be possible to feel it from the outside, and I placed my hand over the spot on my belly where I had just felt the distinct thump. Moments later, I felt the thump against my hand! I told my husband I just felt the baby kick from the outside and grabbed his hand, placing it where my hand had just been, and turned to watch him.
Then, a third thump, and my husband gasped, his eyes lighting up. “I just got poked!” he said, almost laughing from the surprise and joy, kissing me. We drifted off to sleep smiling.