The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Last week, at the beginning of week 11, I had my first prenatal appointment with a fantastic midwife, Penni Harmon, C.N.M., at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) Hospital in Portland. James and I had been anticipating the appointment so we could hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
Penni checked my uterus to make sure it was the appropriate size for how far along I am. Sure enough, she confirmed it was the size of a navel orange and my due date (roughly October 8, 2013) was on target. Then she said something I didn’t want to hear: She didn’t think we’d be able to hear the heartbeat that day. I could feel my face crumpling.
Penni had seen three other women before me that day in the same stage of pregnancy, and hadn’t been able to locate the heartbeat on any of them. She assured me it was nothing to worry about; it was just a little early. I asked her to try anyway, and she agreed.
At first, all I could hear was static. Then, a beat-beat-beat that turned out to be my own pulse. Finally, Penni said, “Can you hear it?” We didn’t, at first. Then, all of a sudden, there it was: the rapid, unmistakable beating of my baby’s heart. James and I both teared up instantly. It was a sweet sound, especially after thinking we wouldn’t be able to hear it that day.
Aside from the highlight of hearing the heartbeat, weeks nine through 12 have been blissfully uneventful. I’ve continued to have very minimal nausea and no vomiting (still thanking my lucky stars daily!), and my energy has been really good. I sometimes take a short nap or lay down in the afternoons, but rarely sleep more than an hour, if that. I’ve had a couple of nights of insomnia, waking around 2 or 3 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep until 5 or 6 a.m., but it is rare so far. I’m wondering if insomnia will become more frequent as the size of my belly increases and it gets more difficult to get comfortable. Right now, I’m relishing the last bit of time that I can sleep on my back.