How Pregnancy is Different (and the Same) the Second Time Around…
I’m giving myself credit for writing this post at all because, honestly, being pregnant the second time around means there’s just not as much time as there was with the first pregnancy! Keeping up with a toddler and freelance work keeps me on my toes pretty much every day of the week. It’s a wonder we found time to conceive a second child… TMI? Just checking to see who’s reading. 😉
It has been a very difference experience this time around: we’re no longer living in Chicago, I’m not working a full-time job and, of course, we have been through this once before. Not to say that makes me a pro (by no means!) but I do feel a lot more comfortable with the physical, emotional and mental changes that come with pregnancy. I can’t say I feel the same level of comfort about parenting two children… but we’ll get to that eventually, I guess (I hope!).
What’s Been Different…
- The Test: With my first pregnancy, I took a pregnancy test at home, early on a Saturday morning. I was pretty surprised at the results, to be honest, and had to let it sink in for an hour or so before notifying hubby of the impending addition to our family. With this second pregnancy, I was at Target with Cormac and had a sneaking suspicion… so I picked up a test and took it right away in the Target bathroom (classy, right?). The results were instant and I called DH right away. 🙂
- The Beginning: First trimester was horrible. With McBaby #1, I had mild queasiness, in the morning, that was usually gone by the time I got to the office. With McBaby #2, it was all-day, non-stop nausea. Eating didn’t help, not eating didn’t help… it was no fun at all. Not enough to make me lose my lunch, but just enough to be a constant reminder that something was up (in an encouraging “there’s-a-baby-in-there but please-make-it-stop sort of way). This was also my first clue that Baby #2 might be of a different gender…
- The Reveal: With my first pregnancy, the timing worked out so that we decided to let both families know on Mother’s Day. It happened to be the Sunday after my brother-in-law’s wedding, so we were with lots of family on one side and got to make the announcement in person. For my family in Georgia, I sent a special book about being a grandmother to my mother and waited expectantly for the call when she realized what the gift meant. It was a really happy moment. 🙂 This time around, we were able to announce to both families in person. First, during my father’s birthday dinner at our annual family reunion in Georgia. Can’t say there was the same surprise as with the first announcement, but it was still fun/amusing to see the looks on their faces. When we got back from Georgia, we bought Cormac a cute “Big Brother” t-shirt to wear at our 4th of July party in Indiana a few days later… it was funny how long it took the family to realize that this meant another little McBaby was on the way!
- Time flies! As I sit here writing this, I am 36 weeks pregnant. And can’t believe that in approximately 3-4 weeks (hopefully not more!) we’ll be welcoming this little baby into the world. The weeks and months really have flown by. With my first pregnancy, each week was agonizing, especially early on, worrying about how the baby was doing and feeling anxious over the impending life changes. Of course, I still have concern for the welfare of baby #2, but the anxieties associated with a first-time pregnancy just don’t seem to have as much impact the second time around. You know what to expect with labor & delivery (for the most part) and you can anticipate the time and energy required to care for a newborn, and so on. I have some new concerns about what it will be like to care for TWO children rather than just one… but I’m pretty sure taking it one day at a time will get us through. 🙂
- Wardrobe: The first time around, I was working full-time in a corporate office environment and my wardrobe reflected that: suit pants, blazers, dressier tops, etc. I don’t know how much I spent expanding my clothing options to accommodate my maternity size, but I was glad to be able to feel comfortable and work-appropriate in the clothes I purchased. This time around, I’m at home most of the time and, with the exception of client meetings and church, I don’t have as much occasion to “dress up”. I’ve been trying to create a more minimalist wardrobe that really suits my day-to-day activities and clean out pieces that I may have had for years but just don’t suit my lifestyle anymore. This process will definitely continue after the baby is born and I return to my pre-pregnancy clothes.
- Cravings: I wouldn’t exactly call them “cravings” in the traditional sense, but I have certainly had different eating tendencies this time around than with Cormac. My first pregnancy spanned more over the warmer months and I ate a LOT of fresh fruit. Perhaps by the pound. This time around, I have been pregnant over the holidays and that has definitely made a difference. Lots more cookies! I’ve also wanted more protein-heavy items (meat, cheese, etc.) and potatoes… french fries, anyone? Hopefully this baby doesn’t come out a total butterball!
What’s Been The Same…
- Good times! I enjoy being pregnant! Except for the first several weeks of morning sickness (which seemed to drag on and on), I have generally enjoyed this pregnancy as much as the first one. The sense of anticipation is slightly different, tempered by the busyness of every day life with a toddler and working from home, but it is still such an exciting and hopeful time. Aside from a few bouts of illness and tiredness (which is generally resolved by going to bed early), I’ve experienced a sense of energy and creativity in both of my pregnancies so far that have made it a very pleasant experience. I wish women would talk more about all the happy and positive aspects of pregnancy, rather than waxing poetic over the not-so-enjoyable parts. But, I suppose that’ s human nature. Either way, I’m here to tell you that being pregnant ain’t half bad! 🙂
- Medical Care: As with my first pregnancy, I decided to see a midwife group this time around. I am so grateful that we live within a short driving distance of a highly reputable midwife practice and birth center. Although we had a midwife with Cormac and the experience was everything I could have hoped for, I delivered in a hospital environment (Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago). This time around, we’ll be at a birth center for a more “homey” experience. But the quality and type of care I’ve had with the midwives has been on par with my previous pregnancy and I’m so grateful that this has been available to me in both pregnancies thus far!
- Carrying “small”: I don’t exactly feel small at the moment, but I continue to get comments on carrying “low”, and not looking “big enough” to be almost ready to give birth! It may have to do with that fact that I have a longer torso (and shorter legs), but it seems that the baby has plenty of room to hang out in the lower pelvic cavity, so I don’t really get as large higher up. I feel as though I’m carrying the same as I did with Cormac (plus maybe a few extra pounds), so it’s nice that there hasn’t been much variance between carrying a girl vs. boy!
- Labor/Delivery: Well, I’ll have to give you an updated on this later… but I do hope my labor/delivery experience is as good this time as it was the first time! I remember having some anxiety about what to expect the first time (who wouldn’t?!?), but I also remember feeling at peace that whatever happened was in God’s hands, and it would all work out for the best. While I do have one L/D experience under my belt this time around, there are still a million different things that could happen… the same or different. But, as before, I’m putting it in God’s hands and trust that He will keep me and baby healthy and happy before, during and after delivery.
All in all, pregnancy has been such a fun and positive experience for me and for that I am extremely grateful. It is such a short time-frame in comparison to the task of parenting, and this is what makes it such a special phase. As much as I look forward to meeting baby girl McCarthy, I’m happy to say I’ll also be enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy… just a little while longer that we’re a family of three!