Quickening

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It was a week ago today. I was sitting at the computer, much as I am now—except, being naptime, there was less noise and no distraction at all. I was deeply focused on my novel, on arranging and rearranging words, thinking through subplots and character motivations and character voices.

 

And then: blip. A tiny soul announced its presence for the first time, right beside my left ovary.

 

I stopped midstroke. Was that what I thought it was?

 

Abandoning the novel, I went searching online for a week-by-week pregnancy calendar. There it was—“in the fifteenth week, you might feel the baby move.”

 

A butterfly kick, a phantom twitch, a first communication from the world inside my womb. Wednesday it came again, up by my right rib—twice more over the weekend—and then once again this morning, on the drive to St. Louis.

 

Two hours later, I heard my baby’s heart beating for the first time. The pulse tapped in my brain the rest of the day, 132 beats per minute. Slow and steady…for an unborn child, anyway.

 

From this point on, those movements will increasingly define my relationship with my child. The kicks and stretches, the rolls and somersaults, will become the new events by which I mark my days. Not that they will replace therapies, books read, bedtimes and mealtime battles—but nonetheless they are a new North Star pointing toward the day when we meet face to face.

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