Being pregnant for a 2nd time
I have been pondering lately how different or similar it is to be pregnant for a 2nd time.
- Belly explosion right from the start
My body must have recognised the situation right away. "ha, we know this, that again, let's make room" was clearly the thought of my belly right after the conception. The first hint that I could have been pregnant were tight uncomfortable pants this summer even before my period was due. At work the first speculations had started before I had even used a pregnancy test. Plop, that belly simply popped out right from the start. There simply wasn't much hiding possible.
Clearly it isn't the case for everyone since a colleague at work is now 4,5 months from her 2nd child and only now you'd get the slight suspicion that she might have had a big meal. That's also very impressive to notice.
- Relax preparation: baby needs almost nothing but love.
While Kabouter's room was painted and baby bed and commode constructed a month before the expected due date, I had read checklists over and over again to make up to do lists and a baby gift list that would complete all the things we'd need and hadn't been covered by our family and friends who promised lots of practical things to borrow/give. I was very worried to have missed out something in the preparation.
In the end Kabouter never slept in his room for the first 9 months as we took the visiting lactation expert's advice and started off using a co-sleeper bed for the baby. The best advice we've ever had and in my opinion right now, it's the only furniture you need when arriving home with a baby from the hospital.
There's multiple things we had on the purchase list for Kabouter that we've never used and other things that we went to buy afterwards...you end up organising your life with a baby differently than you imagine beforehand.
I remember that an Austrian colleague claimed a baby didn't need anything when you'd come home...you slept in the same bed, breastfed, etc... I couldn't belief him then but now I claim the same thing. So right now I have the assumption that we have all the must haves anyway. We'll get the co-sleeper again in a few weeks (hmm ok, maybe I should make a call for that, just to make sure, good that I think of it) and if we miss something, we can go and purchase it.
That being said, I did start to feel some stress at the end of last year to start getting organised for a baby announcement card...which should include the names or the godfather and godmother (so maybe we should try to meet up with them and ask them whether they want to be our baby's godfather and godmother) and which should include the invitation for the baby shower/party which meant we had to book a location, a caterer, ... And with the preparations of the baby announcement card, we'd also have to think about the doopsuiker we'd choose this time. Knowing that a baby can come a month early, time started to tick louder and louder. It's quite loud right now! And the pressure to get a suitcase arranged and to plan some scenario's to take care of Kabouter when I go into labour become due as well.
In general I recognise the late start that Lilith described here.
- Pregnancy complaints:
I tend to think that my first pregnancy was fairly smooth, although I suffered severely from stomac acids that kept me pacing for multiple hours at night as of month 5 already. So in the last months I was really tired and I took regularly a day off in an attempt to catch up some sleep. The last months were also quite heavy with regularly tense bellies and a sore back, but I assume(d) that's normal and part of the process.
This pregnancy I was shocked by the unexpected diagnosis with pregnancy diabetes. Since end of November I'm on a strict diet that took quite some adjustment. At first it seemed that all "normal" food (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, biscuits, fruits, sugar, some vegetables,...) were forbidden and I got paranoia from my fridge while I was hungry. Measuring my blood sugar level 7 times a day was disruptive to my entire day rhythm and absorbed so much attention and energy. I tried so hard to have good results in order to avoid insuline injections...all in vain.
But guess what. I got used to it. I know what to buy in the supermarket now and have the habit of preparing my lunch each day (even when we visit people in the weekend). My insuline dosis steadily increases as the doctors predicted right from the start but once you have to give yourself shots it doesn't matter anymore if the doses is 3 , 5 or 9?
And my conscious attempts to walk regularly small distances as part of my treatment, I noticed that my fitness level increased. All is relative: I'm still in bad shape and as my belly grows my distances grow shorter. Nevertheless my average speed that I can track in my phone apps has increased and I feel better when walking regularly.
Additionally pregnancy diabetes, which is a serious condition that needs to be treated properly, doesn't hurt and I still sleep normal (apart from the x toilet stops at night when you're pregnant). This time one anti-stomac acid pill is sufficient to get me through the night since a month and I've not been pacing at night yet ...so I'm generally more rested.
While I seem to have a more medically problematic pregnancy now, I also seem to be more fit with less complaints. That being said, I do feel the last month has started. At this very moment my belly is uncomfortably tight and doesn't allow me to stand up very long.
- 2nd delivery : comparable to the first time or not?
Well I haven't delivered baby number 2 yet so I cannot answer this yet. I do notice that my image of what's to come is 100% influenced by the first time. For some reason I keep assuming that it'll be very similar. I assume it'll start slowly and bearable again, hopefully at home after which I can decide when to go to the hospital. I cannot imagine it differently but a process that will many hours to complete once again.
I find it less stressful to have a point of reference than to approach a big unknown event. It doesn't make me more scared for giving birth now that I've experienced it once. I do remember there's been very very painful moments. When the nurse checked my opening, I wanted to kill her. I remember that I've moaned sincerely in despair at one point that I could't do it, that I couldn't push the baby out, that I was out of energy and that it'd never work (after which the nurses dutifully claimed that 2 more pushes would be sufficient to push out the baby's head...it probably took another 10 pushes but I was almost there) but I also remember the amazing effect beforehand of the epidural medication. I know the pain medication is there if I need it and that it has a 100% pain neutralizing effect if it kicks in properly.
Yet they say no 2 births are similar, so it might be completely irrational to compare and expect something similar to Kabouter's birth? You often hear that a 2nd one goes so much faster. (so fast that a colleague of mine gave birth last year at a parking lot) ...is it then also so much more painful? I don't know. Still a bit scary!
Fact is that - due to my pregnancy diabetes- there is a high probability that doctor's will launch my labour process with medication before my due date. I really hate that thought as I fear it'll be more painful, forcing my body when it's not ready yet and deprive me the option to seek comfort at home at the start. But...anything for the baby I suppose, what needs to happen needs to happen.
- When baby is born: how to manage 2 children ?
While you cannot image at all how motherhood will truly throw your life upside down the first time, I now really wonder what the change from 1 to 2 children will do. It does scare me in all honesty for the first 2 years, how to manage 2 little ones needing attention at the same time , especially when Jan is travelling and I need to parent on my own. With Kabouter, the first 6 weeks I was soooooo tired (still from pregnancy time and the very long delivery) so every spare moment was dedicated to trying to get some sleep. How will that work this time??
Since Kabouter is born, I have experienced a whole new dimension of love. I am looking forward to experience this time how that love can expand once again.