I’ve been trying to sit and get this post written for weeks now, but it was always pushed aside because other things felt more important. You know, bills, emails, taxes, birth prep, etc. I know I’ll regret it if I don’t write about my pregnancy before I write about the birth though, especially if this baby I’m carrying is a girl because I think someday she will want to know what it was like for me to carry her around in my womb and birth her.
I only have about 15 minutes to write this post, and then I need to go pick up T1 from school (I decided to finish it up later in the evening because it wasn’t possible to say all I wanted in 15 minutes). That is what life is like after the first child comes, never enough time for anything. I couldn’t possibly have imagined how much more difficult and trying pregnancy would be with a toddler/preschooler in the house. But I’m getting ahead of myself and I want to start at the beginning.
We knew we wanted T1 to have a sibling, but weren’t sure what we wanted the timing to be. Our plans were for me to go back to school, bust my bum getting in shape for our trip to Thailand where I would frolic on the beach in skimpy swimwear and delight in my accomplishments over the year, and then start working toward expanding our family. Instead I found myself showing a pregnancy test to my friend Paige in May of 2012 and asking her how this was all going to work. Her response was exactly what I needed to hear: “The decision is made for you Jenna. Now all you have to do is move forward.” My graduation gift to That Husband was an etch-a-sketch with the words “T2 February 2013” scrawled across the board. (And yes, I really did write T2 on it!)
With T1 I seem to have been sick for about a weekend, with a bit of nausea off and on throughout the first trimester. This pregnancy was much different, with all-day all-night sickness from about 6 1/2 weeks to around the 17 week mark. I wouldn’t describe it as morning sickness, not in the traditional sense, as I never felt like I wanted to throw up. A better description would be 24/7 hypoglycemia, which made me feel like I had to eat all day and every night (which is difficult when you feel so awful that even heating up a cup-of-noodles feels overwhelming (yes, I ate that cheap ramen stuff, that’s how bad things were)). Running a half-marathon at the 10-week mark while barely able to get out of bed each day will forever remain one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I was bed-ridden for the entire weekend after the race was over. During this time I lived away from TH and T1 and it was lonely and miserable. I could barely feed myself, I had to take extra classes to meet my graduation deadline, and there was no one to turn to at the end of the day to help me feel like it was all going to be okay. There were a lot of nights where I cried myself to sleep. At the 12 week mark I was sure that the sickness would reside, little did I know I still had several weeks to go.
When I was reunited with TH and T1 after our 6-week separation I immediately burst into tears, scaring T1 so badly that he wouldn’t even let me hold him. We recovered pretty quickly and somehow over a 5 day period I survived packing up my Utah apartment, graduation, a 12-hour road trip (driving by myself since we had two cars) from Utah to California, and a flight to Poland all while dealing with this strange hypoglycemia-like state. I was in my second trimester by that time and hoping that I’d be able to enjoy Poland, but every morning I was wiped out by the time breakfast was over. Once the sickness started to retreat, I started to enjoy my pregnancy a little bit more. I convinced TH that another homebirth was a good idea, and we found a wonderful CNM to watch over the delivery. I’ve been disappointed with the amount of weight I gained throughout (I thought I could avoid gaining copious amounts through sheer willpower, but I guess the amount necessary exceeds my abilities) but overall I seem to be pretty good at being pregnant. I haven’t had any complications, and now that I’ve reached full-term there is nothing other than high blood pressure holding me back from my dream of another water birth in our birth tub.
The thing I will remember most after this experience is that being pregnant with a young child in the house is incredibly difficult, much harder than I anticipated it would be. We should all be really nice to all of the pregnant women we know who have other children they are taking care of simultaneously because there are times when you would pay $200 to take a nap at 2:00 in the afternoon, but no matter how much you beg the 2-year-old to sleep (please oh please, just go to sleep!) it’s not going to happen. There are so few breaks, so little time to rest and relax and put your feet up. Somehow you make it through, even if there are times when that very thing feels absolutely impossible (I don’t even want to think about that miserable week where T1 and I were both sick at the same time and I had no one to ask for help).
Now that I’m reaching the end the nursery is prepped, we have agreed on a short-list of names, and our freezer is filled with homemade meals for all of us to eat after the baby comes. I’m only a few weeks away from delivering and I’m just shy of 50 lbs gained, but swelling has been minimal (compared to the insane elephant feet I had last time) and my weekly appointments have shown that baby is growing properly and everything else looks great. We chose not to find out the sex again, and I admit it is one of my favorite parts of being pregnant. That and the kicking/movements (as long as it isn’t the sustained pushes that go up into my ribs). I love to poke and prod and try to feel little baby feet, and I spend most of the night (in between trips to the bathroom) wondering if it’s going to be a little brother or little sister for T1. People ask if I want a boy or a girl this time, and my answer is always that I want a girl for me, and a brother for T1. So either way we win. I don’t worry about disappointed because I wanted T1 to be a girl, but now that he’s here with us I can’t imagine wanting him to be anything other than who he is.
During my first pregnancy I railed against the way American culture indulges “pregnancy cravings”. Now I’m eating my words, because I’ve had a few stages throughout this pregnancy where I wanted to eat very specific things. The first was during my first trimester, where for a short period I wanted to eat nothing but baked potatoes. One night I ate something like 6 in a row? During the third trimester I developed an affinity for oranges, sometimes eating three each day. The weirdest craving has been cough drops. Something about the menthol and the crunch and the way they stick in your teeth. I put one in my mouth and the urge to bite down is almost involuntary. Candy canes are an okay substitute, but they’re overly sweet. CVS honey lemon cough drops are the best.
So that’s me, and what pregnancy has been like the second time around. I’ve spent a lot less time thinking about birth, and a lot more time thinking about how things are going to work when we’re a family of four, particularly how people survive meeting the needs of a toddler/preschooler while simultaneously navigating the breastfeeding issues and sleepless nights that come with a newborn. I know it will all work out though and soon we will wonder how T2 hasn’t always been with us. There are so many ways that I know s/he is going to make our life better.
I can reach down right now and feel your little bum. Sometimes you reach your hand over and punch me so hard it makes me gasp. Don’t worry, I can’t possibly forget about you at this point! I’ve checked almost everything off of my to-do list, and now I just want you to be here. Even though I know I’m going to be so tired, and so sore, and that it’s going to be really difficult. I’m ready to meet you and find out if you’re a boy or a girl. Do you have hair? What color are your eyes? Will you love to go-go-go like your brother? Will we successfully breastfeed? Will you strip off your clothes and run full-speed toward the ocean, or approach the waves cautiously and carefully? What will be your favorite color, animal, book, and song? Will you love to cuddle up with me at night and drift off to sleep in my arms? It won’t be long before we find out the answers to these questions and so many more.
We all love you so much already. See you soon.
I haven’t done weekly/monthly pictures this pregnancy, but you can see how my belly/body have changed over the past year in the collection of photos below.
This one is from my “DIY maternity session” in our bedroom. I might do one more before baby comes, but I admit I’m so unhappy with how big and swollen my body is that I’m not sure it will actually happen.