Monday, October 7, 2013

Pregnancy 2.0

So, by what seems like some surreal miracle, but in reality is something that happens to thousands of women every day, it turns out that I am in fact pregnant with our second baby (a boy!), due this January. If you're keeping track, you've probably figured out that this means I am fairly far along at this point, and it's something I've not really written about until now because: 1) I don't have time, 2) I don't have nearly as much to say about it as I did for round 1, and 3) I don't want to jinx it. In an effort, though, to not give the second kid the short end of the stick (though sorry, buddy, I know it's somewhat inevitable, and I say this as a second child), I figured I should document at least some of this journey.

A reason I have felt this urge not to jinx this pregnancy is that it has all felt too easy. Although my story pales in comparison to those of many people who have faced legitimate fertility struggles, my PCOS diagnosis back in 2010 meant that the road to pregnancy #1 was a lot more challenging and drawn out than I'd originally anticipated. I went into this second attempt at pregnancy with my eyes very wide open, expecting similar or worse struggles. It turns out I'm that lucky jerk for whom pregnancy #1 cleared up PCOS symptoms to make for a really easy time getting pregnant with #2. And when I say cleared up PCOS symptoms, I mean, for example, there are no more cysts on my ovaries. I didn't do anything special this time; I just had a baby about 20 months ago, and that was my treatment. This is a fate I wish all my friends and acquaintances and all the strangers out there, too, because it should be easy for us all at one point or another. I never thought I'd struggle with fertility, and then after struggling I never thought I would not struggle, so I've been a bit shocked now twice.

This pregnancy has been really similar to pregnancy #1 with a couple exceptions. Overall, I'd say this pregnancy has been easier, which is (again) not what I would expect based on other people's pregnancy #2 stories. So, here's a quick break down:

Here's what many people told me, and what I've experienced thus far:

It goes by way faster: True. I just don't have time to sit and think, which is good in the sense that I hardly feel like I've been pregnant and I'm already moving toward the finish line. It's bad, though, for being mentally focused on the monumental life change that is about to occur. I'm trying to be more conscious of this and send happy thoughts to my son as often as I can, just as I did while pregnant with Natalie. 

You won't have time or need for as many projects and preparations: True. So far we have done basically nothing to prepare for baby boy's arrival. This will change as we have to convert our guest bedroom to Natalie's future bedroom. This involves another closet shift, another dresser makeover, some more wall decorating (maybe a decal?), some new curtains (this project could get exported to a professional this time, though), some more bookcase assembling and decorating, and the purchase of a few more basic items, such as a clothes hamper and some other closet organizing items. But besides that we don't have much in the way of home projects (though we have had some work done on the house in the last six months or so before we even thought I would be pregnant -- I will have to share those details soon!). I didn't even have to buy maternity clothes this time around since I'm pregnant during all the same seasons as I was the first time around. We definitely don't need to do much more before the baby arrives than take some gear out of our crawl space and make sure we have enough tiny diapers on hand. Oh, and we will need to get a double stroller. And a name. We should figure out a name.
 
You will be more tired: False. This is probably something more unique to my current lifestyle, but because my work does not involve me getting up at 5:30 a.m. any longer, I get this luxury of sleeping until about 7:30 a.m. and it is amazing. So, I am insanely well rested. Everyone says chasing after a toddler makes you more tired with pregnancy #2, but getting up at the crack of dawn, teaching on your feet all day, and then coming home to grade a pile of essays is more tiring in my opinion.

Here are a few ways this pregnancy has been better than pregnancy #1:

  • Though I said it before, this is the big one: I did not have to "try" to get pregnant. I hate this idea of "trying," but I understand why we all use the expression. It can be all-consuming. Though I am pregnant much sooner than I anticipated I would be, I would take that a thousand times over having to "try" again.
  • Because there were no concerns this time around regarding my PCOS symptoms, I did not have to take the disgusting progesterone supplements in first trimester that I did with pregnancy #1. That certainly made the first trimester more enjoyable.
  • Speaking of making the first trimester easy, this time around I only had about three days of food aversions instead of nearly two months of eating nothing but bagels and fruit. I was convinced from the beginning that we were having a boy because I just felt different about food. Turns out I was right!
  • I am just not as hungry. This could be a case of mind over matter, but I remember feeling like I was starving throughout the entire second trimester last time, and it has not been the case this time. Also, I have less time to snack, so that actually helps. Out of sight/hands' reach = out of mind.
  • So far my blood pressure has stayed lower than before. This could likely be a result of the fact that I am not teaching full time. It might also be that I am just more calm about having a baby than I was the first time around. Or maybe it's none of the above. I'm just happy that at this moment it remains low since I had heart-attack level blood pressure while in the hospital and for the week or so after leaving the hospital (though some crazy crap was going on in those early weeks that probably just exacerbated my blood pressure levels).
  • I'm getting more sound sleep, though I still have challenges getting comfortable in bed. Sure, I'm getting up to pee constantly, and my body pillow can only be twisted in so many contortions until it fails me, but I did not go through my first trimester pregnancy insomnia like I did last time around, when I would wake up at 2 a.m. incapable of falling back asleep. Again, this is probably a result of me at least thinking (however naively) that I know what I'm getting into this time around.
The most noteworthy way in which this pregnancy has been the same is in regard to my weird upper thigh/vein discomfort. I only have this on my right side, not my left, exactly as before. "Pain" is too strong a word to use here, as it doesn't really affect me on a persistent basis, but it is annoying. As my belly expands the annoyance factor increases. My hope is that as with pregnancy #1 this symptom will heal up soon after I deliver.

There are a couple small ways in which this pregnancy has been worse than pregnancy #1, and maybe I'll share some more down the road, but for now here are some of the unknowns that come up in those free moments where I get to sit and think about (or more likely dream about) the future months:

How will I deliver this baby? I have the option of going for a VBAC or having a planned c-section. I'm weighing all the pros and cons and wishing someone could give me a crystal ball that contains the answer for the best outcome.

How will my recovery be this time around? This of course will be related to how I end up delivering, but I also wonder about how the added stress of caring for two children rather than one will relate to my ability to give my body a chance to heal.

Will this baby be a good sleeper like Natalie was? OK, let's be real -- this is my biggest concern. Natalie has given us almost 21 months of amazing baby/toddler sleep habits. The way she sleeps has majorly contributed to our overall happiness. I know baby #2 will be awake every three hours for several weeks, if not months, but it's what happens after that initial newborn hazing period that has me more concerned. I'm trying not to say "worried" because I'm trying not to fret over things outside my control, but I know this is something we'll have to figure out as we go.

How will Natalie respond once the baby actually shows up? I am feeling pretty good about this for now, actually. Since we've gotten over our horrible 15-month hump with Natalie she has been this little ray of sunshine. She is being so cute and positive right now. I don't know what she'll be like in a few months, but I'm crossing my fingers.

What if Natalie's ready to potty train soon? I used to think (and say out loud a few times) that I would never consider having baby #2 until baby #1 was potty trained. Well, doesn't look like that's going to happen. In some ways, I feel like life would be more difficult if Natalie decided she was ready to potty train in the next few months, just because we'd always have to be on bathroom patrol at a moment's notice. Diapers seem weirdly more convenient for the time being.

I'll try to share a few more pregnancy #2 related posts before I fully gestate another human.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Stephanie! First of all congrats on your pregnancy! I've been reading your blog for a while and also wanted to share that I'm also expecting a boy, my first child due in February. It enjoyed reading about your pregnancy so far and comparing it to how mine has been so far. Go team blue!
    Megan

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    1. Hi Megan! Thanks for reading, and congrats on your little boy! It's all very exciting and a little overwhelming, right? Hope it's going well.

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  2. Congratulations! Totally random, but I think I saw you out with your daughter this morning. I had lost touch with your blog, but for some reason I thought you looked familiar. A few minutes later I realized who you were! That's the second time since last summer I've come across a "local" blogger! :)

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    1. Too funny! Yes, you likely did see us out that morning. More likely, you saw my daughter wanting to stay when we had a busy day ahead, so she was a little annoyed with me. Great place -- I'll be blogging about our experiences there one day down the (long blogging) road. Thanks!

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