My Baby Is Camera-Shy

I’m 35 weeks pregnant today, which means that if my baby’s born now she probably won’t be considered premature enough to need time in an incubator. It’s very strange because recently my symptoms have gotten milder, and I’m actually in better form than I was a month ago.  The acid reflux has calmed down enough that I can drink orange juice again (pressed juice though, not from concentrate), I have more energy, my belly doesn’t feel all stretched out any more (and I still have no stretch marks, woohoo!), the constipation’s gone, I’ve no round ligament pain, my sciatic nerve hasn’t played up in weeks, and even my emotions seem to have stabilised.

In fact, the most annoying thing about being pregnant right now is the sheer size of my belly, which seems to get in the way of everything. It bumps into furniture and people, knocks objects off tables, seems to attract food (specifically food of the opposite colour to whatever t-shirt I happen to be wearing that day), and I’ve come close to setting it on fire several times while cooking. It gets in the way of cuddles, and putting on pants and socks, and I’ve managed to somehow hit Future Papa in the family jewels with it at least twice (not intentional I swear, I know I swore off further pregnancies during my first trimester but that’s an unpleasant blur now and I’ve had time to change my mind).

And yet, my belly isn’t as big as I thought it would be at this stage. While people have definitively stopped staying “you don’t look that pregnant”, they are still commenting on how I look much less pregnant than they’d expect of someone who’s supposed to be giving birth in five weeks. I’ve been joking that it’s because I have amazing abdominal muscles, and was delighted when my haptonomy therapist told me this was probably true, and that it’d help me during childbirth. I guess I have anxiety to thank for that – it certainly wasn’t my vigourous weekly exercise regime.

One person in particular seems to feel that my belly is too small, and that’s Resident Baby herself. Over the past few days in particular, I’ve noticed that her movements are more frequent, more restless. She digs her knees and feet into my sides, pushing her bottom against my ribs when I’m sitting down as though trying to stretch out, and I’m getting that unpleasant nails-on-chalkboard friction on my cervix again, although it’s far less violent now her head is down there, as opposed to her feet. I wonder if the friction means she has lots of hair? She’s also descended enough to be pressing against my bladder, and I’ll often get a sudden urge to go to the loo, which may disappear if she’s just shifting her position.

Not that I mind the odd reminder that she’s healthy in there, but sometimes it gets quite uncomfortable, and the prodding and guiding that used to work now sometimes has her thrashing about like a tiny trapped crocodile, hitting various organs and nerves and causing more pain than she was initially. Her dad’s hands on my belly sometimes manage to calm her, but not always. In fact, only one thing has consistently worked to get her to stop moving as suddenly as she started, and I have no idea how:

The camera.

Remember when I said she refused to have her 3D photo taken, putting her hand in front of her face as soon as it was turned on? Remember the video we took of the 12-week scan where she was turning her back to us, as though to say “leave me alone!”? Like I said, I have no idea how she knows, but I only have to turn on the camera – to take a photo or a video of my belly – for her to calm down immediately. I found this out while trying to film her moving, obviously, and after many, many attempts, I began to suspect that it wasn’t just my bad timing. Maybe my breathing changes, or maybe my movements – or lack of them – alert her that I’m paying particular attention. Maybe there’s some weird kind of intra-uterine telepathy thing going on, I dunno. All I know is that it works every time. It’s become my strategy for getting enough peace and quiet to rest a while, or digest the meal I just had. And it’s by far the weirdest pregnancy phenomenon I’ve encountered so far. Unborn babies don’t know what cameras are, but mine has already decided she hates them anyway.

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