In a Heartbeat

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lately, it has been my Saturday morning ritual to check in on our babe the only way that I can--with our home fetal doppler.

I like to listen in for a few minutes, lying there in awe of its heartbeat, chug-chug-chugging along, growing louder with each passing week. This is baby's heartbeat from this morning, at 16 weeks:

Prior to getting pregnant, and even early on, I didn't think I would ever be one to buy a fetal doppler. But late in first trimester, the worry and suspense of wondering if everything would be OK started to build up, and I mentioned the doppler to Michael. We figured what the hell, it's $60, we'll be able to use it throughout this pregnancy and for any subsequent ones in the future. (For those who are curious, I ordered the Sonotrax B off of Amazon. Through my Google searching, I found it was highly recommended by expectant mothers all over the internet.)

When the doppler first arrived (I was about 10 weeks pregnant), I admit to being a little obsessed with trying to find the heartbeat. But once I did, it was like instant relief. I used it quite often over the following two weeks, because it made me feel better that things were going as they should. Then we had our ultrasound at 12 weeks and my fear pretty much left me completely. Now, I don't feel the need to check in all the time, but since I can't feel any movement and haven't seen much growth in the belly region, it is nice to have the doppler to use to "connect" to the baby in some way. I have started the routine of checking in with baby once a week, on Saturday mornings. It's been fun.

This morning, I woke up from sleeping on my right side. It was so beautiful in our bedroom with the sun coming in, the fresh air, the breeze... I just relaxed in bed for a few minutes, taking my time waking up. After a little bit, I got up to go get the doppler, and came back to bed to lie down and listen. When I lifted my shirt up, I was shocked to see that my belly was completely lop-sided!

First of all, I really don't have much of a belly to speak of (yet), so I didn't think my bump was really the baby at this point--but clearly, it is. Baby must've shifted completely over to my right side, because my stomach on the left was pretty flat, while there was this round, firm mass settled over on my right. Hilarious! But I do have to admit I was a bit alarmed at first, because I just didn't think this could happen this early in pregnancy. However, my mom assures me it is perfectly normal. Plus, after getting up and eating breakfast, I was happy to see that baby had settled back into a normal position. Phew!

With the doppler, I have always found the heartbeat on the left side, pretty much in the same spot every time. But this morning, with the lump on the right, I knew there was no need to look on the left. Sure enough, I found him/her on the right. Too funny. Baby's playing games with mom already! :)


Vanessa April 4, 2010 at 6:17 AM  

Oh that's so amazing, I've never even heard of a doppler but what a cool tool. And it amazes me that your tummy was lopsided - I've never heard of that either! It must feel amazing to physically see your baby in that way! You must be so excited to meet him/her, is the 9 months sheer suspense, or are you finding that with all the changes you can wait? I'm sure that whatever you're feeling will change throughout your pregnancy but I was just wondering!

Anna April 4, 2010 at 6:55 AM  

That's so lovely, thanks for sharing. :)

I really like hearing about your pregnancy!

Anonymous,  April 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

Too funny about your 'lopsided' belly...our baby definitely prefers the right side as well, and we noticed one evening that she had completed shifted to that side!

Glad your pregnancy continues to be healthy and happy!

~Kristen M.

Creative Minds April 6, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

That is so amazing! That's my favorite part of being pregnant! love hearing baby's heartbeat. The first time I heard my first born's heartbeat and my second baby, I cry!
Babies are such miracles

Wishing on stars April 8, 2010 at 1:37 AM  

This made me laugh! It's so funny that she, or he, was laying on the right side. How adorable!
Oh, and I never knew you could buy that!

Catherine June 7, 2010 at 6:05 PM  

Hi Heather. I have been following along and remembered this post. I am 15 weeks, so that in between phase where I panic because I don't look or feel pregnant. So, I decided to buy a doppler and went with the one you recommended. Did you find the heartbeat easily? I am nervous I won't find it and panic something is wrong! Thanks.

Heather June 15, 2010 at 7:23 PM  

Hi Catherine--

Sorry it took me a few days to respond.

I got my doppler at 10 weeks, so it was a bit challenging to find the heartbeat at that point, especially since I have a retroverted uterus. However, I was able to find it a few times. Also, it can take some time to "train" yourself to know the difference between your own heartbeat/pulse and the baby's. Sometimes I would find what I would swear to be the baby's heartbeat but it would turn out that I was over one of my own arteries and was just listening to my own pulse. Oops!

I'd suggest listening to YouTube videos of babies' heartbeats, or even just my video, and learning to tell the difference. The baby's heartbeat has a distinct "galloping" sound--it'll literally sound like horses' hooves--where as yours will be more of a whoosh-whoosh. It's hard to describe, but once you know the difference, it's easy to tell. Also, the baby's heartrate will show up on the display screen, usually between 130-170 beats, whereas yours will hover around 120 and below.

Good luck!

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