We're fully into the 'lumping and bumping' stage, it seems. HOORAY! I'm getting movement all the time now, though it is still much milder than I remember with either Gabe or Bren at this stage.
Gabe's movement was very pronounced: BIG kicks, pokes, deliberate walking around, playing with the tendency to slide into one position (he'd walk out of it, and then slllllliiiiiiiide back), and so forth. He was in constant motion, taking mere 20 minute breaks between his rounds of exploration of his world. He was hearty, definite, and exuberant. By the time he was born, I was eagerly looking forward to NOT being touched all the time. It was almost constant, and it was pretty overwhelming.
Brendan, while not quite so definite (in part due to having excess fluid around him), was very . well, opinionated. It seemed he was always making a point of some sort. He was either kicking the Doppler (HARD), or giving me fierce jabs when I got too hungry (meaning he was hungry, too). Otherwise, he was rather quiet, and most of my sensation was from his fingers, gently scrabbling along over the inside of my womb now and then. Rather a lot like the feeling of having a gerbil walking on you, where you can kind of tell there are multiple little pokey parts on their toes, but you can't really differentiate individual toes/fingers. He did that after he was born, too, so I could see what exactly was causing that little scrambly-scrabbly feeling.
This one is (as expected) different from either. It is more gentle, more rumbly and turning than bumping or insistent. I get a lot of general movement feelings, like it is turning itself around in different ways. A few jabs, and yes, it pokes me when I need to eat. But more of the sense of something turning over than anything else, and not a lot of pushing or stretching yet. I've got another month before I get the really loud motions coming out, another month of getting bigger and being able to make itself felt. Yet even now, I get that tickle of a sense of how it will be.
It is interesting how much those pre-birth experiences of my other kids reflected who they were after they were born. Gabe was always in motion, mind scanning for new things to learn, and body following. Only after he matured a bit did he take time to slow down and rest, using his mind without his body needing to be moving along, too. Brendan was always (and is still) opinionated and willing to fight (!) for what he wants when he wants it, but is joyful, merry, and mild in between those bouts of intensity. He also has retained a tendency to using his hands and fingers a great deal - the kid has amazing fine motor skills (though big brother Gabe is no slouch!).
I'm beginning to get the vaguest tickly sense of who this child is. More quiet, but still in motion. Almost thoughtful in feel. A little pause, then a motion, then a pause, then a motion. As if thinking, then acting. or acting, then pondering. Either one would apply, I guess.
The fascination with wondering who this being will be makes me wonder how anyone would ever want to stop having kids. The kaleidoscope of characteristics is endless, and endlessly fascinating. How could one not wonder what the next will be like, and the next after that? Yet at the same time, reality isn't far away, either. There are other considerations than just curiosity, as charming as the pondering is. Finances, is one - but not the only - curbing factor. Just being 'done', feeling that the family is complete, is a good reason to stop. I still think we'll be done this time, though I'm not one for saying 'Never'.
Along with the increased movement has come the anticipated lessening of worry. Embracing my worries helped a great deal in the recent past, but they are also fading a bit as I get the reassurance continuing. I still try to embrace my worries when they come - and there are more to come, as I well know. But they are not so constant as they were.
I'm also talking to the baby more, out loud, a hand patting it in reaction to the movements within. I'm sure my cube-mates at work chuckle at it a bit, when I say 'Okay, baby, I'll go eat now!' or 'Well, hello, baby! How are you today?' Sometimes my voice is surprised, as when a movement stirs me out of focus on whatever I was doing. Sometimes it is more humor-rich, when the baby seems to be making a point of some sort. Sometimes I am just bemused.
At the same time, the boys are getting more involved with the idea of the baby, too. Gabe is mellow about it - he knows what is involved, and while he knows some parts he won't like much, he also knows some parts he WILL enjoy. He's started patting my tummy and giving me hugs that seem largely for the baby, rather than for me. Brendan has taken a more assertive positive approach (at last!). He has been telling me nearly every day how cute the baby is, how much he wants to hold it, and how much the baby likes him. It doesn't hurt that he gets extra hugs and smiles when he says these things. I know it won't be easy for him, but I'm hopeful that he'll adjust at least as well as Gabe has done. He's still nursing, too, and has said that the baby can have 'the other side' (whichever side he's not using). He'll share, but he won't swap! Given how much oversupply I had last time, this may well be a very good thing.
I've also used Gabe and Bren's new-developing baby awareness to my advantage. I've taken to using 'the baby wants' or 'the baby needs' as my levers with the boys - if I need to leave them for a bit to eat, it is easy to get willing help and cooperation (and fewer grumbles about losing my time) by saying 'the baby is hungry!' If I just say that MOMMY is hungry, well, that doesn't fly quite as well. Mommy can wait just a little, Mommy is flexible and willing to negotiate or compromise, and they know it (at least, that's the way it is the REST of the time!). But BABY? Baby needs to eat NOW. Hurry, Mommy, go feed the baby! I'm trying to be careful not to blame negative things on the baby, as well - not wanting to set them up to be annoyed at it before it is even born. But a few here and there don't seem to be hurting, and such things will at least prep Brendan for the fact that there will be things I cannot do 'right now' because the baby requires first attention.
BUMP! Rumble. (pause) Rumble. there it goes again. Turning over, pausing, turning again.
It strikes me more each day - there's somebody in there! A real somebody, with real characteristics, personality, preferences, and needs. Someone that I cannot just imagine any way I choose, but who exists already in early form. Wow.
Shocking. We made a PERSON. As much as it can seem that they 'become real people' when they learn to talk, I know better. There's a person in there. That person is someone I'm starting to get to know already.
Will is still wrapping his head around the same concept. It boggles the mind. Mine, included.
I know I'll get used to the idea soon enough. Alarming, fascinating, humbling, magical, and just plain cool.
And now, the baby is quiet again.
I pat my tummy, and ask in a whisper: Who are you, in there?
It will be great to meet you.