Moms who endured pregnancy back before ultrasounds and fetal Dopplers are heroes, in my opinion. Not because these tools make the physical side effects any less severe, but for those of us who don’t like surprises, the information they provide can be ridiculously important. Likewise, and for many of us, the first time you hear the baby's heart beat is the first time you hear, well, the baby.
Of course, and especially before the sounds are clear, there are some intense moments during that first doctor's visit, where we go back and forth between trying to understand the weird ocean noises that the Doppler makes, and trying to understand our doctor's facial expression as they search for it. It's exciting and scary and reassuring and terrifying. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s not that different from the rest of pregnancy. Still, when there's medical equipment and fluorescent lights, you anxiety can feel heightened and more intense. I even contemplated getting a fetal Doppler for home use, but I never made the leap and actually purchased one. Perhaps if I ever find myself pregnant again, I'll reconsider.
In the meantime, I have the beautiful memories of my first pregnancy to reflect upon, and I'm guessing that I'm not alone when I think back on the moment I heard my baby's heartbeat for the first time, and consider it one of the best moments of my pregnancy (and even my life). Here's a sample of the kind of things that go through the mind of a new mom hearing her baby's heartbeat, because nostalgia and emotions and all the feels, you guys.
"This Is Awesome"
Those moments leading up to those first few beats were pretty stinking exciting. As if more reminders than the frequent doctor's appointments, raging appetite, and rolling nausea were needed, hearing the heartbeat is the icing on the "Now I'm Definitely Pregnant" cake.
"This Is Terrifying"
However, once reality sets in and it becomes clear that more information about your pregnancy and your baby will soon be revealed, it can be ever-so-slightly nerve-wracking.
"This Is Not Like The Movies"
No, neither my partner nor I teared up, but it was still pretty great. All of a sudden, we had legit proof that there was a baby growing in there. Of course, everyone reacts in their own, unique way, so if you don't end up overcome with emotion and a human puddle of tears, don't worry. You're normal.
"Wait, What Is *That* Sound?"
I'd spent weeks memorizing the variety of differently-sized fruits that were a comparable size to my baby. No where in those messages did it say that there were other things in my stomach prone to making noise on the Doppler.
"The Doctor Just Coughed. OMG, Is There Bad News?"
Maybe she could just give me a nod or something? Can she use the word "healthy" in a sentence, like a code? OK, maybe that's too obvious how about "fine"? Or even "kumquat." Please say "kumquat".
"This Is The Most Exciting Thing Ever And I Still Feel Tired Enough To Sleep"
I mean, I'm just laying here. Would it really be that bad if I closed my eyes?
"The Doctor Just Blinked Twice. Is There Bad News?"
I need to learn morse code, and quickly. This is not a drill.
"How Am I Supposed To Handle All These Feelings?
That's why pregnant bellies are so big, you guys. They're full of feelings.
"There It Is! There It Is! There It Is!"
What a time to be alive, right? Who knew that life could be this amazing? Everything is awesome and nothing is wrong, ever.
"This Is The Best Day Ever"
The morning sickness and fatigue is totally worth it now, guys. Totally.
"Can I Just Stay Here All Day, Please?"
Do you have other patients who need this room? Can they wait? Surely they will understand that I now live on this exam table.