I like music, but I have never been one to always be listening to music at home or on the go.
Since around week 20, I think I’ve been listening to a lot more music. I’ve really been trying to mix it up and listen to a variety of things and albums I haven’t heard in years. Some favorites have been Michael Jackson (especially the Thriller album), the Wicked soundtrack, Rent soundtrack, Mamma Mia! Soundtrack (broadway cast), Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Beatles, 80’s music and 90’s alternative. Fred listens to the White Stripes a lot too so that’s been on a lot.
I really think this started because I wanted to expose Embers to as much music as possible. Embers is hearing everything around me.
Midwife note: The fetus can hear around weeks 16-18. By week 24, fetuses have been shown to turn their heads in response to sound.
Embers’ favorite song is “P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson. It’s by far the song that has gotten the most response. Embers likes a lot of the Thriller album (mostly the upbeat songs), but P.Y.T seems to be the favorite.
I also feel like we get a good reaction from “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Fred plays this song pretty regularly and I like to tell Embers that it’s Daddy’s song.
Our new bedtime routine is to read a book or two to Embers and playing “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight” by the Spaniels. This song was from Three Men and a Baby. I sometimes sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” too.
In the mornings, I often play “Good Morning” from Singing in the Rain. I also sing a Frelaine original song (yes, we make up songs and have many of them) that says good morning.
We think it’s really important to read to Embers, sing and play music and talk to Embers. I never thought I’d be so into these things and I’ve really surprised myself with it.
Midwife note: There is some evidence that a fetus can be positively stimulated by reading, talking and singing while in utero. It is believed by some that it can enhance intellectual development, but this is hard to prove. Some studies have shown that babies can recognize sounds, songs and voices when they are born. One study showed that fetuses could recognize their mothers’ favorite soap opera theme song when born (I can’t find this actual study but it’s cited a lot...Hepper PG (1998) 'Foetal 'soap' addiction' Lancet (June 11) 1347-1348).
Many people play music with speakers or special headphones on their bellies. I think this is not recommended, as water (amniotic fluid in this case) conducts sound and doing it this way is probably very loud for your baby. Playing music that you would hear is probably sufficient enough and I do not recommend the special speakers/headphones or playing anything too close.
There was also a study that showed that infants who were read “The Cat in the Hat” by their mothers during pregnancy sucked more after birth to hear their mother’s reading the book. Source
Some good summaries and articles I found:
Although some research is pretty inconclusive, there certainly seems no downside to exposing your unborn baby to reading, talking, music and singing. So we’ll continue to do all of those things until baby is born!
This morning when I woke up, Embers also woke up. I noticed the movements were getting strong so I started watching my belly. After a few movements, I noticed it move! I was able to see Embers’ movements from the outside. I took a video to send to Fred. It was hard to see, but it was there!
Later in the evening, we tried to watch as Embers moved again after dinner. Penny, one of our cats, was also lying near me. Fred spoke to Embers and Embers reacted and I saw it, but Fred missed it because Penny kind of attacked him at the same moment. He was so disappointed. I couldn’t help but laugh, and knew we could try again later.
Within the next hour, we did try again and finally we could see it again. He was so happy again!
Another funny thing happened today. Fred was at work and talking to a coworker. He told him that I was flying alone and he was all worried about me. “You’re sending your pregnant wife on a plane?” he said. Fred’s awesome response was "She's pregnant; she doesn't have terminal cancer, nor does she have a flesh eating bacterium". Amazing!
Tonight as we were going to bed, Embers started moving strongly. I told Fred to put his hand on my belly and he felt the movement! I’ll never forget the look on his face when he felt it - he was so happy! Embers gave him a few movements. It was such an exciting moment.
Today was the first day I felt fetal movement...finally! Did you know that fetal movement is called quickening? Most women feel the first movements more around 16-20 weeks. For me it was a bit later because of my anterior placenta.
I woke up feeling it. Little flutters or something. I find it really hard to describe what it feels like. I actually woke Fred up to tell him. He couldn’t feel it, but I knew he would want to know and he was happy.
When he came downstairs and I was working out, he actually said he felt like I was showing more than ever as well. I guess it all kind of happened at once - the showing and movement!
Today was also the first day I wore my baby on board button on the subway. Needless to say, it doesn’t seem to work all that well. I stood the whole way to Manhattan. On the way home from work, one very nice young guy actually noticed the button and got up for me (saying it was because he saw the button). But most people definitely don’t seem to notice. It will be interesting to keep track of this throughout the pregnancy.
Overall, a very eventful day for Embers and me! I feel so happy to be feeling the movement. All day in the office I noticed it and kept wondering, is this really it? But I know that it is movement since I am writing this entry late and I have felt the same thing every day since. It feels so funny, almost surreal!
Today was a sad day. I mourned the loss of most of my jeans.
Over the past week, I started to pop and show more. It was a crazy transition. Of course this also coincided with me being back on sugar (Lent was over) and so now I can’t help but think that it is partially due to my eating habits...
I definitely haven’t been eating super well and snacking a lot at night. I’m trying to get lots of healthier things, but at night, I’m not so great. Going out/ordering delivery doesn’t help either. The one good thing is that I’m craving fruit a lot. I’m still liking the oranges, but also now I’m really into canned fruit - especially pineapple and peaches. I’m getting the kind in juice, not syrup. It’s such a weird craving.
And despite the new bump, I am not yet feeling movement! I understand my placenta is in the way, but I’m still sad. I was really hoping to feel something by now. I try every night and no such luck. Last week, I even had a dream I felt something. I woke up and felt it, smiled and went back to sleep. But I really think now that it was just a dream.
On another note, we finally decided today to remove my belly button ring. I haven’t touched it in years to change it. I had no idea how it would go. I bought some plastic ones that are supposedly more flexible so that as I grow, it moves.
Fred and I got everything prepared. I soaked the new ones in alcohol. I had bought antibacterial soap to wash the area.
It was a little dramatic, but mostly funny. Both of us kind of got grossed out at times. The old one was really stuck, until we got some soapy water to move it.
We managed to get a flexible plastic one in there for now. We’ll see how it goes. Worst case, I can take it out all together and just periodically push one through so the hole doesn’t close.
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City