Mouse’s new favorite piece of furniture

(If you can’t quite tell, the bump in the foreground is my breast. Mouse’s head is on the top of my belly. Her tail end is on my lap.)

— Beth

The underwater purr

At least once per day, Mouse wants to lay on my belly. And purr. Loudly. She’s always liked laying on my belly because it’s soft and warm, but she seems even more drawn to it now that someone’s in there. Maybe it’s warmer.

This morning, she got under the blankets and laid against one side of my belly for warmth. A couple of minutes into this, I felt a definite kick — on the other side of my belly. This means, among other things, that Mouse was likely directly on top of the baby’s head.

At any rate, I can’t help but imagine what all that purring sounds like, from deep within the amniotic sac. I told Devin the other day, “There’s a good chance that this baby won’t be able to get to sleep unless Mouse is laying on it and purring.”

— Beth

It’s what’s important

Sometime within the last week or two, the Seed allegedly acquired some degree of hearing. I say some degree, because this is just the approximate point when babies start reacting to noises in ways that can be detected. Maybe they had awareness without response previously, it’s hard(er) to tell. However, the ear structures won’t be entirely developed for another couple of months, so it’s somewhat questionable how ready the Seed is to hear my fatherly pronouncements. As you can imagine, I’m eager to extend as much as possible the duration of the period between when my offspring can first hear my voice and the moment when they decide everything I say is bullshit. But the uncertainty over to what extent I’m audible, much less intelligible, leaves me with a modicum of trepidation over the affair. Granted, I’ve spent a significant chunk of my professional life talking to people whose ear structures evidently hadn’t entirely developed either, but at least I knew that going in, so I knew where I stood.

So apart from the occasional moment of passing a bit of clever rhetoric at Beth’s midsection, I’m currently sticking a bit more towards communicating via patting her belly. That’s probably a better medium anyway for communicating the urgent survival skills it will need for its future, namely: factorization, divisibility, and prime numbers. It goes a bit like this:

Devin’s hand: patpat
Devin’s hand: patpatpat
Devin’s hand: patpatpatpatpat
Devin’s hand: patpatpatpatpatpatpat
Devin’s hand: patpatpatpatpatpatpatpatpatpatpat

or:

Devin’s hand: patpatpatpatpatpatpatpat
Devin’s hand: patpatpatpat (pause) patpat

or:

Devin’s hand: patpat (pause) patpatpatpatpatpatpatpat
Devin’s hand: patpatpatpatpatatpatpatpatpatpat-
Beth: Ow, stop that.

We’ve also had the Baby Starts Moving week (moving in a way Beth can feel, I mean). There was a bit last week, but it’s been the big deal of this one. After dinner this evening Beth was reporting that if she poked herself in the proper spot, the baby would wiggle. It was difficult to reproduce, though. I tried poking out prime numbers, of course:

Devin: pokepoke
Devin: pokepoke-
Beth: Ow. Not like that, like this (demonstrating)
Devin (like that): poke-
Beth: Ow.
Devin (differently): pokepokepoke
Beth: Ow, stop that.

The sequence was blown by that point, and even if the Seed had been inclined to wiggle out its answer I don’t know how I could have done the grading. The conceptual range is limited, too; I’m not sure how I’m going to communicate the concept of zero through a uterine wall.

– Devin

Can you hear me now?

I keep watching the week-by-week development descriptions to figure out when the baby might begin to be able to hear (and process that it’s hearing, since the detailed bits in the ears allegedly form a few weeks earlier than the auditory nerves and the brain centers responsible for understanding sound). It seems to be sometime in the 15-20 week range, but nobody agrees on exactly when it is, and probably for good reason; it just varies.

That said, this week would’ve been a good time for the Seed’s hearing to kick in, since election season is heating up and we had an 8:30 Monday morning meeting to learn about all 22 measures on the San Francisco ballot this November. At least the little one will know whether to vote for or against municipal electricity, the Historic Landmark Commission or merging the Transportation Authority with Muni. A couple of weeks ago, one of my co-workers said that by the time the baby is born, it will have sat through enough news meetings to know how to pitch a story idea. Ha.

I’ve also started occasionally listening to my belly with a stethoscope, which I didn’t expect to yield any real results in terms of being able to hear the baby. It hasn’t, but now I have a much more intimate understanding of all the gurgling noises the baby is probably hearing day in and day out. Our midwife said she would be surprised if my success was any different — and that she has trouble hearing babies with stethoscopes at any time in pregnancy. Oh well.

And, lastly, I’m almost definitely feeling the little one move now and then throughout the day — it’s still mostly a mild fluttering feeling, or “wiggling” as I’ve been calling it, though yesterday during deadlines I felt a very rhythmic thump, thump, thump that I thought sure was proof the baby has inherited my sense of rhythm. Turns out it was probably just hiccups. And yet — hiccups! Awww. Hic.

— Beth