What an incredible experience it is to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time!

Yesterday I got that chance.  After all the regular questions and catching-up with the midwives, we went in to the little room to hear the baby.  As with my last check-up, I decided we’d try the fetalscope first, just to see if anything could be heard.  Rachel, the midwife’s assistant, tried first without any luck.  She said she thought she heard something a time or two, but wasn’t sure.  This is the exact same thing Lisa (the senior midwife) said last time.  Lisa was excited to try again this time, but Rachel thought she’d get a crack with the doppler first before giving Lisa a turn with the fetalscope. 

I got some cold goo smeared on my belly and the sound of the doppler then focused my attention.  She moved the doppler around, adding more goo to it when it became difficult to move or hear anything.  A few times we heard a loud swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, but she assured me that was only my own hearbeat.  There were some loud disturbances every now and then, and I was surprised to find the look of relief and worry cross both their faces at the same time, each time.  They mentioned that the disturbances were movement, and that it was likely moving around too much for them to hear the heartbeat.  Rachel gave up searching and Lisa took over the doppler

Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.  Disturbance.  Silence.   Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.  Where was this baby?  There’s only so much room in a womb at 15 weeks!  

“Fifteen weeks is too far along for us not to hear the baby’s heartbeat,” Lisa said distractedly as she kept searching.  They turned the sound on the doppler up.  Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. 

“This baby really doesn’t want to be heard, it seems.” I said this a little too calmly, as my mind raced with possibilities.  Maybe I wasn’t really pregnant.  Maybe I had been, and then my baby stopped beating.  Maybe that’s why no one could find it!  No, it was still alive if they heard movement.  Maybe it was scared of the doppler…

“If you don’t mind, I’d like to keep trying.” Lisa murmured as she kept moving the doppler up, down and around my womb. 

“Please do,” I said, “now I’m a little worried and I really want to hear it.”   Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.  “That’s just you.”  “I know.”  She was starting to get really low.  Then, as I was thinking and trying not to think at the same time, Lisa stopped moving.  “There it is.” 

I shot her a confused look.  What?  She adjusted the doppler a little bit.  Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga.  “That’s the heartbeat?”  “Yes.”  They both said it at the same time.  Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga.  I was speechless.  It was beautiful.  Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga.  They both looked at me expectantly.  I was supposed to say something now, wasn’t I?  But all I wanted to do was listen.  “It sounds like a little train.”  I managed to say after a while, a smile creeping up to my lips.  It sounded dorky to say, even to my own ears, but it was actually quite true.  Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga (toot toot!).  My little kick-boxing, choo-choo train baby.  And it was alive.

The midwives agreed it was a nice, strong heartbeat and were finally satisfied enough to remove the doppler.  Everyone forgot altogether about the fetalscope. 

Later, I got my blood drawn for some routine tests and planned the next appointment, but all I could think about was that little choo-choo train baby.  I was so excited!  I will never forget that sound as long as I live. 

Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga (toot-toot)!