first heartbeat

today i am at eleven weeks and, yesterday, i heard the heartbeat for the first time.

the ob nurse laid me back on the table and tucked a medical cloth around the waistband of my pants, squirted a bit of jelly onto the end of the doppler and started moving it around on my low lower abdomen (this lady was getting fresh).  suddenly, i heard it.  loud.  fast.  steady and strong.  whub, whub, whub, whub, whub.  nothing registered on her face.  i’m sure she listens to a thousand per day, but i was shocked.  in early pregnancy, there is little to reassure you that there is still someone there, growing and thriving.  just your morning sickness and mood swings, but no kicks and movement like later.  just faith.  in life knowing what it’s doing, in it being tenacious and steadfast and sticky and stubborn.  we have seen the heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor at seven weeks, and that was pretty cool.  but there is something so striking about that first heartbeat on the doppler.  it is the first sound they make in life, i suppose.  it’s like hearing a voice.

the doppler
“whub, whub, whub.”
translation: “one small heartbeat for a fetus. one giant milestone for baby kind.”

“160 beats per minute” she said and started wiping off the goo, then turned to jot the number down.  she could have been recording my blood pressure or temperature for all she cared, but i was recalling the sound of it, like remembering something someone told you, an echo in my head.  the doctor then came in and we went through the usual hoopla about dates in the computer, any questions i have and yadda, yadda, then i was set free, for another month.  “pregnant lady on the run” (to the tune of paul mccartney’s  “band on the run”)  no?  not workin’ for ya?

on my way home, i was still thinking about the heartbeat.  what i was thinking was, “who are you?  whose heart is that that i heard?”  i remember hearing ruth’s heartbeat for the first time, and i feel like it is as individual as a fingerprint, a rhythmic signature.  even now, i think that ruth’s personality rings true to the sound of her original heartbeat.  soft but persistent, she’ll never quit and she has a lot of business to take care of in this life.  but what about this new sound?  who is that?  it’s so primal and so urgent, that hammering heart, such a young heart.  only a few  ten or hundred thousand beats into its lifetime of billions of heartbeats.  it’s a new heart, free of blemishes, aches and heaviness, completely light and efficient.  “young hearts, run free..”  still no?  killjoy.

ok, so i’m really bad at committing to things.  you wouldn’t think this is the case, as i am a married woman, but, really, truth be told, it would take a lot more work and initiative to divorce greg than to just stay married to him.  not that i want to divorce greg.  most days.  bless his heart.  it’s been three weeks, i’m not denying that.  and i have no excuses or back photos and outfits to share.  god, i’m a terrible person.

as usual: the shirts were both 3.99 and the pants 4.99.  shoes 4.99, i think?  the pants are not maternity but they are loose enough that i should be able to wear them still for a while.

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Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 4, and 7 living in the Lansing area of Michigan writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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