Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On a second full-term pregnancy

Physically my two pregnancies have been very similar. The biggest difference has been the first trimester--with Callum, I didn't realize until 11 weeks that my lap-band was exacerbating my morning sickness, so I was miserably ill and puking for a solid month before I got the fluid removed from my band and instantly felt much better. This time around I knew what to watch for and had my band un-filled the second I started feeling ill, enabling me to skip essentially all morning sickness other than some mild and occasional nausea that never even led to vomiting. I still had the extreme exhaustion, but without the puking and constant seasick feeling, it was much more manageable.

Other than that, the pregnancies have been comparably straightforward and uncomplicated (knock on wood). I definitely feel like I'm ending this pregnancy with much less grace than I ended the last--last time I wrote a post on my due date about how much I had enjoyed being pregnant. I actively enjoyed the pregnancy, once I stopped being sick, right up until the very end, almost 41 weeks. This time I've found the end to be physically and emotionally more challenging. I'm still fine, really. I'm still happy to be pregnant. I'm still hoping to stay pregnant at least until my due date (on Sunday!). I'm still sleeping OK. I am having a lot more false labor build-up compared to the first time. With Callum I had zero labor signs until my water broke. Literally none. No Braxton Hicks, no contractions of any kind, no mucus plug, nothing. This time I've been having Braxton Hicks for months and they've become more annoying and sometimes downright painful in the last two weeks. My back has hurt more. I am out of breath more easily, even though I'm working out more this pregnancy than I did during the last one. I feel generally just sort of giant and unwieldy.

But still, physically I'm mostly fine. I think the biggest difference for me between the two is emotional. Obviously the demands on me in my day-to-day life are much greater this time around when there is a toddler to deal with on top of work and so forth. And I find myself pushing more and more of the child-wrangling off on Torsten, not so much because I'm physically incapable of doing it as because I'm just mentally wrung out and can't work up the emotional energy to do certain things. I spent a lot more time lying on the couch last time, and that was sort of peaceful and glorious.

The other thing about having all that time to focus on the first pregnancy is that I was extremely in touch with the actual pregnancy. Very focused on what was happening in there, how my body was changing, what was going on. Very interested in learning about weekly fetal development and what to expect from every moment. Very connected with all the kicks and movements. But at the same time I felt less connected to the idea of an actual baby coming. Of course I knew that there was one but it felt so theoretical, I was so lacking in a frame of reference for it, that I couldn't really conceptualize what it would be like.

This time it's the opposite. This time I get distracted and forget that I'm pregnant half the time. I had a moment a couple months ago where I caught sight of myself in the mirror and had a moment of panic where I was like, "HOW on earth did I get so BIG and ROUND? Without even NOTICING? How am I ever going to lose all this weight?" and then I realized, duh, I hadn't just suddenly gained a ton of weight inexplicably, I WAS PREGNANT. I had legitimately forgotten. And sometimes the baby will kick and I'll be like, "Wait, what was that?... oh." And sometimes I'll think that she's not very active and wonder if I should be concerned, only to start paying attention and realize that she IS being active and I'm just not noticing because I haven't really been paying attention. With the first pregnancy I really liked all the attention and compliments that I got, and this time I barely notice them, and half the time if someone says something to me about my pregnancy it takes me a second to even realize what they're talking about.

But the flip side is that while the baby still feels very theoretical, I also feel much more connected to the idea of her already. I can't imagine what she will be like and I have some trouble grasping that I really will love her as much as I love Callum, but I do know that I will--and I know now what it's like to have a baby, and that I LIKE having a baby, and that I will feel so strongly and overwhelmingly in love with the baby--so it's much easier for me to envision what that part will be like.

I chatted with a few of my friends who have two kids about this and we all agreed--the second pregnancy has much less of a focus on the actual pregnancy and much more of a focus on the fact that the pregnancy is leading toward a baby at the end. It's kind of a beautiful thing, actually. That zeroed in focus on the pregnancy the first time around was fine, but I don't miss it.

Also, something about this second pregnancy feels very final, like we've come full circle or something. Some of that is due to the fact that we know we only want two kids, so I know this is my last time. But I remember last time feeling like if we were to decide to stick with just one kid and I'd never get to be pregnant again, I'd feel sad and wistful about it. This time I don't feel that way. I'm so glad I'm pregnant. I'm so excited to be having two kids. I'm so fortunate that both of my pregnancies have been easy and uncomplicated. But I don't feel the need to ever experience another pregnancy. I feel like after this, I will be ready to be done.

Now I just hope that the feeling of being done with pregnancy extends to a feeling of being done with babies, after this one.


  1. Wishing you the most comfortable next few days as possible, and also a 2 hour pain-free labor and delivery. Oh, that's higgly unusual? Well, here's hoping anyway. ;)


  2. Eeek! The home stretch! Can't wait to meet the little one. Enjoy this next week (we'll call it) as much as you can with your one baby, but know that the future with two is awesome too!

  3. This is so true. I remember feeling this way with Cait and Hannah--life went on even though I was pregnant. Being pregnat was sort of just "Oh yeah!! Right!" as opposed to the all consuming Thing it was the first time around.

    Jess. I am going to get to hold your baby in February. !!!

    (You will let me hold her, right?)

  4. I remember my first pregnancy was A MILLION YEARS LONG. I noticed every single day of it, I think. And the second one was like what you're experiencing: I didn't focus on it anywhere NEAR as much. Weeks would sometimes fly by unnoticed. I couldn't believe how soon it was the due month. That sort of thing.

  5. Glad to hear things are going well, if not exhausting.

    And what a good point: knowing you are done being pregnant and that it may not mean done wanting babies. That is pretty huge, yes?

    Thinking of you!

  6. Glad things continue to go well! That makes me happy that you say that you are still sleeping. :-) Enjoy the last bit of your pregnancy!

  7. Oh my yes. My first pregnancy I was losing my damn MIND with impatience by the end, and I even had her almost four weeks early! But I was So.Ready. Then each one after that the impatience lessened slightly, to the point that with number three and four, even as I was IN LABOR I was feeling this panic and hesitance to actually have a whole other child to deal with- like, "Wait! Let's try to actually keep it in there another day or two!" It just seemed like I hadn't had enough time to prepare myself, even though clearly I had had just as much time as every other pregnancy!

  8. So true. My subsequent pregnancies were definitely not as fun as the first one!