One of the benefits of having had two perfectly boring (although nauseating!) pregnancies is nothing much fazes you. Had most of the little niggling symptoms and know what it means, know the little tricks and tips for just about everything.
Like if you can't remember when you last felt your baby move, you sit down with a can of lemonade or something for 10 mintues and wait for the kicks and rolls to move in.
Except when they don't.
Oh well, you figure to yourself. Maybe he's just sleeping. Will try again later.
Lemonade, couple of sweet biscuits... Sit still and prepare to count the kicks...
No kicks. No tumbles. No half hearted butterflies. No "probably actually methane in my bowel but feels like a baby"
That is OK, I know I felt him before, what time was that? Well not when I had breakfast this morning but that's OK, must have been when I had a shower. No, there was nothing when I had a shower. What about when I had that weird panicky wake up early this morning? No, there was nothing then, I remember because I wanted him to kick to calm me down and put a smile on my face.
Oh shit, it's been over 12 hours.
It's ok though, heaps of women have this surely. I mean I never have but this is common as muck isn't it? I'll just call my obstetrician and have him reassure me that it's all normal and fine.
Come right in now.
Oh. OK. Shit.
Bite lip hard enough to draw blood. Finish filling out the pathology collection form in front of me. Order a chest xray. Call one of my consultants and let him know I need to go to a doctor's appointment. Go see the other consultant and tell him the same. Everything is fine up until this point, until he asks if everything is OK.
I haven't felt my baby move I manage to get out before my eyes fill with tears. Go, go he motions to me, and tell me how it goes when you know.
I make it to the carpark lifts before I completely lose it and am swiping unattractive snot/tear mix from my face with my sleeve. I sit in the car and sob and will Harry to move, to prove that this running away from work/tearful display is ridiculously over the top.
I get to my OBs city office and wonder of wonders find a park right outside. And somehow execute a perfect reverse parallel park first go. I am amazed that I didn't drive straight into the Merc in front of me.
I catch a look in the mirror and start hunting for my giant Jackie-O sunglasses to try and hide some of the scary blotchy mess as more tears leak from underneath. I am whisked in quickly to see my obstetrician. I still haven't felt him move.
My obstetrician is usually jovial and pisstaking, but one look at the mess that is my face and he is concern personified. He helps me up on the bed as I sniffle some more and swiftly lubes up the doppler so we can find a heartbeat.
He finds mine, racing at 90+ beats a minute. Just breathe Jenn, just breathe he soothes as he moves the probe. And there it is, 150bpm, a heartbeat that is clearly not mine. I burst into tears. He's alive, we know that much.
We discuss my weightloss recently, how sick I was yesterday, Harry's usual movement patterns, my usual dry sense of humour and laissez faire attitude to everything. And the juxtaposition of this tearful irrational woman in front of him. And he organises a tertiary level scan at my nearby scan place. The place associated with us smiling as we try and guess boy/girl and ooh and ahh at 4D pictures of our offspring on giant screens.
I get there and they have a cancellation so can fit me in within the hour. But the "quiet room" has someone in it, so I'm in the waiting room, alone with my tiny belly that doesn't even look pregnant with tears still coursing down my cheeks and saturating scratchy tissues. Other women discreetly look away from me, caressing their bellies and I just hold mine hoping desperately for a reassuring kick. A tumble. A wave. Fuck it, a fart would give me a flicker of some sort of reassurance at this point. But still nothing.
I sit in the room for too long before Bingley arrives and tries to cheer me up by telling me it's all fine and that I stress too much. The other women in the room give me a wide berth as if my sadness might be catching.
Eventually we have the scan and it takes a long time. Harry moves a little bit but I still don't feel it. We can't see his heart and this scares the fuck out of me, like a bad omen or something. He refuses to move. I go to the toilet. I lie on my side, I jump around a bit. He stays in the same spot, occasionally we see an arm or a leg move. But nothing vigorous.
Then he moves, turns his back to the probe, with his arms crossed across his face grumpily like me on a Sunday morning. And I bite down on my lip again until the salty iron taste floods my mouth.
Everything is OK, they don't know why he isn't moving but there is nothing identifiable wrong. I just need to maybe slow down to 150% instead of my usual 200%. As wrong as that feels for me. I have to give Harry some of me too. So I will slow down my running, and I will take the lifts at work occasionally and I will get enough sleep every night.
Because at $400 and a bucket of tears a pop, I can't afford to do this too many times.
*There are large chunks left out of this, because recounting what it felt like to be convinced that your baby has died is not something I want to put into words.