Well, I can't think of a pithy way to begin this post, so I will just dive right in. But first, I will say: Everything is okay. Now you can read without stressing. Don't you love knowing the ending first?
Last night just before falling asleep, I felt a movement from the baby that was different from anything I'd ever felt before. It was big, and strange, and long: the only way I can think to describe it is that while most movements are a *poke* or sometimes a *swish* this one was more like a *walamphamawhooooosh*. (I should be a writer, that is so descriptive.)
Anyway, I fell asleep, and when I woke up this morning I didn't feel anything. Usually in the 10-15 minutes that I lie in bed after the alarm, the baby wakes up too and starts moving around, which I think of as his/her way of saying "Good morning" to me. This morning - nothing. I lay there for a while and got a little freaked out, remembering the strange movement of the night before and getting good and paranoid that the baby had turned in some bizarre way to get the cord wrapped around itself and was in serious trouble. I told Chris about the strange movement and then about the current lack of movement, and he put his face up to my belly and spoke loudly to the baby, asking it to please move so we could be reassured. After a very tense couple of minutes, I felt a small kick. Somewhat reassured, we got out of bed and started the day.
As I walked to work, I was still feeling pretty anxious. I hadn't felt any further movements, and this was normally a busy time of day for fetal movement. I resolved to call my midwife when I got to work.
At first I called Lillian, my primary midwife, but I got a message that she was out of town. So I called the backup midwife, Jenn, and opened the conversation with, "I'm feeling really anxious and paranoid." She responded with, "Well, it's good that you called then." That felt really good because I had had to battle with myself to call and "bother" her: the only thing that made me do it was the nagging feeling that something might be wrong but not yet irreversibly so, and if I didn't do something I would really regret it later.
Jenn told me to meet her at the hospital about 45 minutes later. Getting through the hospital red tape was a gong show, as I was sent to half-a-dozen places before I could finally get "processed", but in any case it finally happened and I went up to the (new) peri-natal wing to meet Jenn. She had me do a urine test (everything negative) and then lay down on the bed to try and find the baby's heartrate. It was very hard to find because the baby was moving around a lot - but although we could hear the movements on the monitor, I couldn't feel them. Jenn said she suspected the baby had flipped to a new position, one in which the movements were much harder to feel (for example, maybe s/he's lying with his/her back towards my belly, and all the limbs are pointing towards my back, so I can't feel the kicks and jabs).
The baby finally held still long enough to zero in on the heartbeat, which was strong and steady and the most perfectly blissful sound I'd ever heard. She "ran a strip" on the heartbeat for about a half an hour and I just lay there listening to it and smiling in relief. She later showed me where the variabilities in the heartbeat were (apparently variabilities are a good thing) and also showed me where the other monitor was showing absolutely no uterine activity (ie contractions, which would be bad). So like I said, everything is absolutely fine. I'm still glad I called and am no longer stuck wondering about it, though.
My first moment as a paranoid new mommy. I'm sure there will be many, many more.