Week 19: Can you hear me in there?
I’ve been talking to my belly since around eight weeks, […]
I’ve been talking to my belly since around eight weeks, when I first saw the little embryo during an ultrasound. At first, it wasn’t more than a random thought here or there or occasionally some words of encouragement. After that first ultrasound, I was told to “take it easy” for a few weeks because the sonogram had shown some blood pooled behind the placenta. I remember placing both hands on my stomach and asking the tiny baby inside to hold on tight. I know the baby couldn’t hear me yet, but perhaps she could feel my positive vibes.
I had read somewhere that you should start talking to your baby early on, even before the ability to hear has developed, to begin forming a bond. It still took a little while for my husband and I to sit down and really have a conversation with the baby. In the beginning it still felt foreign to us—and even kind of silly when the baby was no bigger than a strawberry. That feeling of uncertainty changed after our first trimester screening. Gone was the tiny gummy bear from our first ultrasound, and in its place was a wiggling, squirming baby. Since then, talking to the belly only seemed natural.
Still, talking to our baby didn’t become a habit just yet. We’d tell her we love her and give her goodnight wishes before bed, but otherwise there wasn’t a whole lot of conversing going on during the last month or so. Now that we’re almost halfway through this pregnancy, things are rapidly beginning to feel more real, and it’s time to step up our baby-talking game. To help the words flow, I decided it would be a good idea to read to our future bookworm.
On the hunt for the perfect reading material, we put frozen yogurt and Barnes & Noble was on the agenda for date night this past Saturday. Blake and I headed straight back to the children’s section and got to work. We took our time pulling books off the shelf, flipping through them to determine if our baby would enjoy the story they told. I took this task so seriously that I was very careful to browse the text in my head only. I didn’t want the baby to hear fragments of a bunch of random stories. Instead, I wanted her to hear the stories we picked especially for her in their entirety. In the end, we walked out with five books of various themes, and I could hardly wait to start reading when we got home.
That night, we settled into bed and choose the book about a farm animal who shares our baby’s name. Blake read the first half, and I finished the book off. When I flipped through the last page, I laid the cool hardcover on my bare belly and within seconds I felt a strong kick. I laughed and told my husband, remembering that our doctor told us that cold objects on the belly can sometimes encourage a kick. I flipped the book over to see if we’d get the same response, and to our excitement we did! Our very first storytime was a success.
Blake and I agreed that our little bedtime reading was actually a lot of fun. Not only do I secretly hope it could give my baby a higher IQ, but there is something really special about choosing stories to read to your child from the very beginning. I fell asleep that night thinking about how one day I will be reading these exact same stories aloud while she sits on my lap and points enthusiastically at the colorful pages. Until then, her father and I will continue to read to her while she rests comfortably in my belly.