I'm not sure when in my pregnancy I first became aware that my baby had hiccups but it was probably around 25 weeks. And once I realised what they were, there was no mistaking it. At first I thought it was kicking but I soon started to distinguish between the random kicks and the rhythmic pulse of hiccups. It was funny to start with and then, by the time they're full term, the hiccups are enough to make your tummy jump visibly and keep you awake!
It turns out that those fetal hiccups taught me a valuable first lesson of parenthood. Once baby Josh was born and the hiccups were just as frequent (about once a day, poor baby), I realised that the hiccups were no less distressing to me now than when he was in the womb. Everyone told me that being a parent means you never stop worrying about them. You get over one worry only to be presented with the next challenge. For me, the hiccups brought home the very real and primal need to protect my son. With my heart and soul I wanted to keep him safe and warm and happy. That feeling, above all else, gets me through the night wakings and the crying and the continuous feeding. Every day that I feel like crying, I think about the hiccups and remember why I'm doing all this. And once the hiccups stage has passed? Well, I'm sure I'll find plenty of other things to worry about.