Today wraps up the last day of my first trimester (I think… it’s not always clear when one ends and the next begins, but I’m counting it.) The theme this week has been the breakneck pace at which life moves.
I’ve already mentioned how much quicker it feels like this pregnancy is going. In some ways I’m much, much busier, but in other ways I have fewer distractions because I’m alone with my thoughts so much more than I used to be when I was surrounded by colleagues and projects all day. Or maybe it feels like it’s going quicker because I already have someone on the outside reminding me daily just how fleeting babyhood is.
I woke whimpering from a dream one night this week. I know it’s usually boring to hear about other people’s dreams, but I think this one pretty perfectly sums up how I’m feeling right now:
In the dream, I was standing and holding The Toddler in my arms, telling him how big he was getting.
I whispered in his ear, “Someday, you’re going to be so tall you’ll be able to hug me like this with your feet on the ground.” He giggled with the delight, that heart-shatteringly sweet giggle that toddlers have.
With this, I released him to put him down, only to find that in that moment he had grown tall enough to hug me with his feet on the ground. In an instant he had become a full grown man, and I looked down at my hands, wrinkled and older, and up into his face. I had somehow missed all the moments in between.
He was beautiful and smiling but I began to cry in confusion and sadness and woke up gasping for breath.
Blame it on pregnancy hormones, but this dream has stuck with me all week, feeling like a lump in my throat. It’s been a trying week in many ways (I’ll spare you the detailed complaints about sleep for the thousandth time, but it’s making me wonder 18-month sleep regression? and Google “Dealing with breastfeeding aversion in pregnancy” and throw silent tantrums), but that dream has been reminding me to take a breath and try to, if not remember forever, at least be fully present for the sweet moments we have.
The Toddler is picking up new words every day and wearing them around like a new pair of shoes: Mama, Dada, Lou (our dog), big, bye, hello, nest, car, truck, bubbles, bottle, cheese. (Along with a slew of animal- and vehicle-related onomatopoeia.)
He is climbing into our rocking chair and looking at books by himself, helping put kitchen towels and clean spoons away. Choosing (and lifting!) big bags of cat food and putting them in our basket at the pet store. Watching frogs in the pond and offering clover to the chickens. Listening for distant planes and seeking them out in the sky. Turning everything into a train and lining it up on invisible tracks. Watching the pair of house finches outside our kitchen door feed their babies and pointing, “A nest!” He is curious and exuberant and nurturing and wild and so, so big.
I know I will love our second baby with my whole heart just like I love him, and I cannot wait for them to meet each other, but I also feel like I need to hold onto every second I have in the next six months while it’s just us. I don’t want to lose focus and find when I step back that I’ve somehow missed out on this short, precious time.
Today is also my seventh wedding anniversary. I won’t get too mushy here (I think I’ve probably used up my weekly allotment above), but I must say I feel pretty damned lucky to have found the person who wraps me in his arms when I wake up from a nightmare, jumps into every new adventure with both feet, is absolutely worthy of his son’s hero worship, and lets me talk him into scrapping our semi-fancy anniversary dinner plans to get burritos in our old neighborhood because it’s all I can think about eating.
We’re halfway through Week 10 of pregnancy with Baby No. 2. I have no exciting updates to tell you about my symptoms. I’m still exhausted, still nauseous. Maybe more than the weeks before, so it’s my hope I’m at peak yuck and will be feeling better soon. The food aversions I had during my pregnancy with The Toddler hadn’t cropped up much this time around, but lately they have returned. I managed to put a frozen pizza in the oven for the family before retreating to my bed as soon as The Husband came home, and then ended up eating feta cheese on Flipside crackers. In bed. For dinner. Because pizza, and basically anything except Flipside crackers and feta, sounded absolutely repulsive.
Enough about my appetite, though. I went to a baby shower for my college roommate over the weekend, and it got me thinking about what I’d register for if I did it all over again. So instead of directly inundating my roommate (and several other friends) with unsolicited advice about what they should get, I thought I’d make a shortlist of things I’d get if I were a first-timer, and they can choose to read or ignore as they wish.
*My blog is too smalltime to make any money. I’m not getting anything out of recommending these.
**For real, fam & friends: This is a list of suggestions/cool things that have come out just in the last two years to help out other expectant parents. Some of this is stuff I already have, and some is just a better version of something I already have. Don’t take this as an unsubtle request!
Forget your tricky, cumbersome travel cribs of yore. This is super easy to set up, with a cushy mattress, a backpack-style carry case, and a zippered side panel so you don’t have to figure out how to lower a sleeping or nearly sleeping baby all the way to the floor through the top. I used this a few times at a friend’s house for naps and have wanted one ever since. My only wish is that it had a silent zipper. I think we’re going to get one (our hand-me-down Pack ‘N Play tore) along with the bassinet attachments for the new kid.
We registered for glass bottles the first time around, and ended up with plastic. Which is fine, but while Dr. Bronner’s may be touted for being anti-colic or whatever, having FIVE pieces of a bottle to wash and reassemble every time is less. than. ideal. I saw an ad for this on Instagram, which converts your basic 4 oz. or 8 oz. mason jar into a bottle, and WANT! We use mason jars for food storage, drinking glasses, etc. so this is a natural next step in our collection. I like the silicone sleeves to help prevent breakage, too.
Breastfeeding was the mystery of mysteries before The Baby arrived. It was the apex of the unknown that surrounds new parenthood. I didn’t know how to do it, or how it would feel, or what I’d need, so I didn’t get much before The Baby arrived. (And what I did get was gifted to me by friends who knew better.) One thing that would have really come in handy, especially those first weeks when my supply was out of control and we were still working out the latch, was a way to catch any extra. These handy little nursing covers collect that leaked milk so it doesn’t go to waste.
Babywearing was clutch for me from the very beginning. Intimidated at first by the complicated baby wraps, I got a Baby K’Tan for both me and The Husband (two of them, because they’re sized to the wearer.) They were pretty easy to use, but I ended up finding my stretchy wrap to be more comfortable as The Baby got bigger, and the K’Tan ended up being a short-lived, though very helpful, piece of baby gear. If I did it again, I’d get us a set of these, instead. I’m definitely not spending the money when what we have now will suit us fine, but if you’re building your registry and don’t already have a newborn babywearing solution, I think this is pretty sweet!
I might have already included these on a long-ago registry recommendation, but they’re so good. It’s really hard to keep things on baby feet. This is the exception. They snap snugly around the ankle, are super warm and super cute. I bought a size big so they’d last a little longer (and because The Baby has giant feet.)
That’s all I can think of right now, and I gotta shower before The Toddler wakes up from his nap. One more quick recommendation for soon-to-be moms: The Birth Hour podcast. I’ve started listening to it to reacquaint myself with the thought of childbirth, and more than I could have imagined it has taught me some really helpful things about preparing for labor and childbirth. I’m focusing on the low-intervention/unmedicated stories, because that’s what I’m aiming for, but this features everything from scheduled C-Sections and epidurals to some more unusual circumstances. (Obvious caveat: Only listen to what you’re prepared to hear. There are stories about loss and emergencies and such.)
I’m a little turned off by the fact that a lot of the storytellers are also “sponsors” of the episodes (people with Etsy shops for baby headbands, birth centers themselves, etc.) and the host isn’t the most compelling interviewer, but the moms themselves are usually really good storytellers, and so far this is the best I’ve come across in terms of pregnancy/childbirth-related podcasting content. It definitely has value for anyone with a due date in the future, and I’m glad I found it despite these minor complaints.
May your (baby) shower be as relaxing and invigorating as the shower I’m about to take.
Edited to add: Backpack-style diaper bag, because it’s really fun when your shoulder bag swings around and bashes your kid while you’re getting him out of his carseat.
Guess what, Internet! Choose your favorite euphemism. I’m once again with child, expecting, knocked up, got a bun in the oven, in the family way, eating for two, etc.
I am pregnant with Baby No. 2!!!
I am beginning this post right around the 7 weeks mark, though I won’t publish it for a few more weeks unless I get an itchy trigger finger. But I thought it might be helpful for any early-pregnancy readers who are Googling their brains out to consume real life accounts of other women’s early pregnancies.
Before I proceed, let me revive the caveat that pregnancy is something that happens to a human body, so if you don’t feel like learning the details of mine, steer clear. I’m not going to post pictures of my bathroom trips or anything like that, but I also won’t mince words much about the joy and agony of the next nine months.
Here’s a quick highlights reel of the weeks that have transpired since that second line turned pink.
Four weeks: A six pack and a two pack
I was on my way to a meeting of the Ladies Craft Beer Society (which it seems I’ll forever allude to and never actually explain), stopping off at a grocery store to pick up some beer. I had felt a little funny for the past week–a weird dizzy spell, some very strange cramping, and light spotting nowhere near when my period was due that quickly ended. My cycles had been irregular leaning toward long (like 35 days) since they returned in December, and I was hesitant to test at just 28 days (as I had recently enjoyed the one-two punch of a chemical pregnancy, boo), but it had been a long week and I wanted to knock back a couple of beers without hesitation.
So I impulsively threw a two-pack of early detection pregnancy tests in my basket next to the beer and then dared the woman at the checkout to say something. I detected a small eyebrow raise but was impressed with her professionalism.
When I got to my friend’s house, I asked to use her bathroom and took the test, fully expecting it to be negative so I could carry on and have a good time. Practically before I could get the cap back on the test, the test line turned a dark, dark pink and I shoved it in my purse with shaking hands.
The walk back to the deck to join my friends was a frenzied and disorganized attempt to develop a strategy. “Just pretend to drink a beer and don’t tell anyone!” I said to myself. But to my horror, I found my eyes welling up with tears I could not suppress. This didn’t go unnoticed. A silence fell across the table.
“I…I just took a pregnancy test… and…it’s positive.” I stammered. The reaction was a lot of, “What?!” and laughing at the absurdity of my impulse-testing, followed by cheers and congrats.
Oops. Definitely should have told The Husband first. I was determined to have an hour or two to myself, though, so I sat down, made a dreamcatcher, caught up with my friends and then drove home to break the good news.
Five weeks: Take it queasy (or, so metal)
I had maybe one day of real nausea when I was pregnant with The Baby. This week, actual, full-blown nausea hit me and settled in. I also had some dizzy spells.
Maybe more intolerable than the nausea, which could be quelled by eating the right amount of buttery toast, was the constant taste of metal in my mouth. Sources vaguely suggest “hormones” cause this bad, bad taste (you don’t say, pregnancy books…) but for a couple of weeks I couldn’t shake the sensation I had been perpetually sucking on tarnished green pennies out of a mall fountain. Interestingly, the one food that seemed to overpower it temporarily was pickles. Perhaps, indeed, this is where the stereotype of pregnant women craving pickles comes from. We’re just trying to exorcise the penny-demons from our mouths.
Six weeks: Painted into a corner
My gift-giving tactic lately has been action-based instead of stuff-based (because it’s really hard to shop with a toddler, and any minor skill I used to possess at buying good gifts has long since been lost to the brain-frying of early motherhood).
So for one recent gift I told my parents I’d help paint their bedroom in addition to installing new floors. They called the painting favor in during the weekend of Week 6, forcing my hand at the probably baby announcement. So I called them over and wrote “Big Brother in Training” on The Toddler’s chalkboard and had him help with the big reveal. The Husband simultaneously texted his family so we’d all be on the same page.
As someone whose first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and who guarded the secret of her second pregnancy with a fierce and dwelling worry that it wouldn’t stick, it felt very strange, but also pretty liberating, to not care that people knew even before I’d had a confirmatory doctor’s appointment. This pregnancy feels sticky, and even if it ends, that’s what happens sometimes. It will suck, but I’ve decided at this point that I would rather have people know than carry that wound in secret again.
Seven weeks: Eating for four
Oh, boy. The nausea this time around, while not debilitating, has been pretty consistent and demands my near-constant consumption of carbs. And I’m still nursing The Toddler twice a day. This, coupled with the fact that my digestive system has come to a screeching halt, means that I’m constantly walking a tightrope between nausea, bloating and feeling wildly overfull. It reminds me of how I felt in late pregnancy when The Baby occupied my entire abdomen and I could eat neither enough or little enough to ever feel comfortable. So this week it felt like I was eating for four: myself, The nursing Toddler, Baby No. 2 (better nickname coming soon), and the myself who makes bad decisions like buying a donut at the grocery store.
I have already gained about 5 lbs, not at all a good track record, but it’s been raining incessantly and the daily walks I started a few weeks ago have been impossible to maintain. I’m hoping to pick it back up when the rain lets up, and also hoping my nausea wears off soon so I don’t have to eat every waking second.
Eight weeks: Snooze fest
Just like my pregnancy with The Baby, fatigue has hit me hard. This time around, instead of sitting at my desk at work fighting to stay awake, I’m wrestling The Toddler into his high chair for lunch and praying he’ll take a nap so I can empty the dishwasher and then fall into bed for a drooling 40 minutes of rest.
You’d think it would be easier to rest as a SAHM with a napping toddler, but there’s a sick paradox to the whole thing: The mounting laundry and dishes and unplanned dinner give me too much anxiety to sleep, but the bone-penetrating fatigue keeps me from slogging through much of this to ease the anxiety so I can sleep. Pair that with The Toddler’s threats this week to quit napping and I’m basically a whining couch potato by the time The Husband gets home from work. In addition to the unchecked anxiety, I enjoy a heaping mound of self-inflicted guilt that The Husband has worked 11 hours only to come home to deal with The Toddler, sometimes dinner, and always chores while I lay listlessly on the couch until bedtime.
In other symptoms’ news: Nausea remains a daily part of life. I told The Husband I might die of gas yesterday (Happy birthday, dear), and I simultaneously crave and hate the same foods. (Internal monologue: “You know what sounds good? A frosted cookie. Barf, no! That would be the worst!” Repeat.)
Also this week, we made the decision to visit a midwifery practice instead of my beloved (but restricted to the county hospital) OB/GYN. I want another unmedicated birth, and this gives me the opportunity to try water birth (and just as importantly, go home wayyyyyy before the agonizingly long 48 hours I spent in the postpartum ward before). The appointment went as smoothly as it can when you bring a 17-month-old along, and we got to see the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat. So this is real.
Oh, also, I’m not sure what the odds are on this (one in 365, I guess?) but Baby No. 2’s due date is the exact same day as The Toddler’s was–New Year’s Eve. So, guess we’re having another Christmas baby. Oops.
Here we are, week nine.
Today marks the first day of my ninth week. From here on out I’ll try to update weekly or so (no promises). Today we’re leaving for an overnight trip (without The Toddler, for the first time!) to a bed & breakfast for The Husband’s birthday. I’m looking forward to a nice, loooong night of sleep.