oh baby, are things sure different the second time around... What was YOUR experience?
(picture of me 8 months pregnant with my first son)
#1 - aww a baby is coming!
-Will I be a good mom?
-How will a baby change my marriage?
-What will the recovery from a C-section be like?
-What do we need for the baby at home?
-Let's design a nursery! Fun!
-I'm exhausted/feeling nauseous/have heartburn/back hurts, etc. so I'm going to lay down for a while.
-I am reading every word, soaking in every little bit of info I can get from the What to Expect When You're Expecting book and those free baby magazines at the doctor's office, trying to memorize every little new thing my baby is doing in the belly or what part it's growing now.
-I am so conscious about what I'm eating. For the entire ten months I had two caffeinated drinks and maybe two or three pieces of candy that had red or yellow dye in them, because I read (see last bullet point for the Expecting book!) not to eat those because they are bad for baby.
-I can't wait to have a bump and wear maternity clothes, said at 16 weeks pregnant.
-Planning for the hospital stay is a piece of cake - pack a hospital bag. Shut heat down to low. Leave house. All is fine. Return 5 days later no problem.
-I am going to breastfeed like a champ because it's what I'm supposed to do and it's perfect and healthy and I'll be the best mom ever for doing it. I read 5 books about it and took a breastfeeding class - with my husband - so I am all set. It's going to work great.
-I think every little decision we make about our newborn's life is going to be the end of the world, so I better make the right and perfect decisions about pacifiers, circumcisions, nursing, diaper changes, etc.
-Is that a flutter I feel? When do I feel the kicks? What is that I'm seeing on the ultrasound? Am I gaining enough weight/too much weight?
--I have no idea what to expect....
(picture of my dear friend Sarah pregnant with #2 and her son Eli)
#2 - awww a SECOND one is on its way!
-How can I be a great mom to two babies, splitting my focus and attention?
-I already know how it's going to affect my marriage... just not looking forward to that part.
-Last time I could rest to recover, never needing to lift things after my C-section... this time I can't imagine waiting 8 weeks to lift my toddler son... How will I give him a bath? put him in the high chair or car seat? get him out of the crib?
-Where on earth will we put the baby stuff - seats, swing, bottles, etc. - when we already have a zillion toys and big kid stuff around here?
-Let's re-design our entire house to make way for another person living here! Not so much fun as designing a nursery.
-I'm exhausted - and a zillion other new symptoms I never had last pregnancy - and I can't lay down until tonight when my toddler is asleep for the night. And even then I have a very messy house to clean up because toddlers have fun like that.
-I have not even opened the What to Expect When You're Expecting book this time around. I can't find it. It's some place in this house with toys and toddler things I'm sure. I'm also behind 3 chapters in the What to Expect The Toddler Years book that I'd been keeping up with prior to morning sickness starting. I grab the free magazines at the doctor's office, but barely have time to read the cover let alone get into any articles inside.
-If it's easier to drink a few sips of a caffeinated soda because I don't have an extra pair of hands to get myself some water or are too tired chasing a toddler to find another option, I'll drink the sips of soda. And I've completely forgotten my prior rule of not eating red dye several times this pregnancy, so twizzlers, sour patch kids and even Doritos have passed by my lips without me realizing until I've already had a couple of them.
-What?! I'm already showing?! I'm not even ready to tell people yet! said at 10 weeks pregnant, breaking into the boxes of maternity clothing.
-So much more to plan for this time. How is this going to affect my toddler? What preparations do I need to do for him? I need to talk about the baby all the time so he's ready and heard about it. I need to get him a present from the baby to him. I need to plan for who is going to take care of him while we are in the hospital for 5 days, how he'll get to daycare when I can't drive for weeks after the baby is born, etc. I cry just thinking about how I won't be able to physically help with my son as much as I do now for a while after a major surgery. I have to make a list of his favorite foods on the fridge for those taking care of him, and go shopping and stock up on his favorite foods because I'm the one who knows most of that and I want him to feel cared for and not forgotten while I can't do it all in the beginning with a baby here.
-Breastfeeding is tough. I already know this and will not be as naive this time around as I was last baby. I feel more prepared this time around going into the hospital with my own ideas about how the nursing-pumping-supplementing with formula-using bottles and pacifiers process is going to work. I will take on any lactation consultant who wishes to persuade me otherwise! I am a woman, hear me roar!
-I know babies survive in far less than what we will offer and that we are great parents and our baby will survive no matter what. It's not all about those "big" decisions about what or how to feed the baby that counts.
-Oh yes, the flutter sensation! So cool, I remember this! Felt much earlier than the last baby, probably because now I know it wasn't gas!
-I know what to expect this time, which makes a tiny part of me anxious yet mostly makes me feel calm and confident that we WILL get through it all and have a beautiful baby to thank for it all!
There are so many differences between the first and second time being pregnant.
It's drastic change in my experience. There is a lot more to worry about this time around. I think that's because of two things - one, I already know what to expect this time and two, I have a firstborn child to consider how this is going to affect. I think with the first baby it's all a surreal dream that you just go through and end up wondering about sometimes but can't really put your finger on how it will be. Whereas with the second, you KNOW already how tough it's going to be with those midnight and 3 a.m. feedings and being hooked to a machine or a baby's mouth and how you and your partner will argue about silly things just because you are exhausted. That causes more worry I think, just because you know how it's going to be.
I said recently to my sister that being pregnant with a toddler is the hardest thing I think I've ever done. Much harder than being pregnant the first time around. Working a full-time job out of the house, trying to keep up with house work, chasing - literally - a fast, running, active boy, and trying to maintain some relationship with my husband, friends, family - it's exhausting and overwhelming. To be blessed with two babies is the best thing in the world. I would do it all over again if I could. I'm just saying it's more difficult than I imagined.
In the end, a beautiful baby is going to come out of me and it'll be challenging yet again for at least a couple of months while this new family of 4 figures out how to navigate together. But we WILL make it. That's the best thing I learned from being pregnant already... you DO survive, no matter what. And you even look back long enough to say, "I want another one!" and it all continues! :)