Comparatively speaking, things have been very different this time. I thought I’d just give a little run-down on pregnancy symptoms and then talk about my state of mind at the end.
24 weeks the first time around vs. this time
ACNE- I’ve had about the same amount of acne this time around. Both times I’ve had drier face skin and a little line of breakouts running from my hairline all the way down just the left side of my face and onto my chin.
CONTRACTIONS- I had an awful lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes fairly painful, starting around 20 weeks. This made me really nervous since I felt like I didn’t have any until the last few weeks the first time around, but Ryan feels like they started around the same time and hurt a little back then too.
I also had an early labor scare with both pregnancies. During the first one, I counted ten painful contractions during the Easter church service so we left halfway through to head up to the hospital. They kept me there for observation for several hours, but since the contractions died down and then stopped on their own I didn’t have to be admitted or given any drugs, just had to “take it easy.” This time around I walked up to a café to meet a friend for lunch and had a lot of cramping, contractions and sharp pains on the walk home. I rested with my feet up on the couch but when they hadn’t stopped an hour later, I knew it was time for the midwife. The contractions had started some changes that made everybody a little nervous so this time around I narrowly escaped any drugs again but I did get put on modified bed rest.
DREAMS- Ugh, pregnancy dreams! I know I had a lot of weird ones the first time but they seem so much more intense this time around. I’ve had a few funny/weird ones, but mostly awful dreams! There was a weird one about being forced to open gifts on a stage with thousands of people watching me, one where I accidentally ran over a pedestrian’s head (still haunting me!), one where Ryan cheated on me, one where I was kidnapped and tortured to death while our poor little guy cried alone at home for HOURS until Ryan got home from work, and more recently, one where I got pregnant during this pregnancy. In the dream, I had to work REALLY HARD during the birth to make sure only the first baby came out since the other would just be far too premature. Also, the hospital staff was mean to me because they thought I was stupid for not realizing you can get pregnant while you’re already pregnant.
EMOTIONS- I am a pretty emotional person as it is, but I was SO emotional during my first pregnancy! I’ve still had a few moments I’d love to forget about from this pregnancy but in general we both agree that my emotions were far more ALLOVERTHEPLACE last time.
FACE- I cried a few times during my first pregnancy because my face didn’t “look like my face.” Ryan would always comfort me and assure me that I looked just fine but now that he looks at photos he does agree that I don’t look like myself. My nose got a lot wider, for starters, but even my eye shape seems different to me. This time around I don’t really think my face has changed much at all.
FATIGUE- I think this is about the same but sometimes feels worse since I’m taking care of a toddler now. I’ve always liked going for walks so I spent my first pregnancy walking around downtown or walking up to the library. This pregnancy has of course been a little different thanks to hypotension and now modified bed rest, but when I’m up for it and allowed, I still go for lots of walks and spend big parts of our day just hanging out on a walk. I’m more tired at bedtime now, but I think part of that is also that I’ve spent the last 18 months resting in the evenings and going to sleep by 10:30.
HAIR- Last time, my hair got so thick I hated it. I always wanted thick hair but once I got it I had no idea what to do with it and felt like it required twice as much maintenance. This time around it is definitely thicker, just not quite AS thick… but I’ve noticed that with the end of nursing, this hair is getting thicker and thicker. Also, both times I have felt like my hair looks a little bit darker. It seemed to be its normal shade within a month or two of giving birth the first time though, so I’m curious to see if does the same thing this time.
HEARTBURN- Seems way worse this time, but I suppose I don’t really remember! I ate a lot more chili during my first pregnancy and I ended most nights with ice cream because it was the only thing that helped heartburn. This time around I’m still eating a lot of spicy foods but I’ve gotten better about limiting myself to lunchtime spiciness!
HYPOTENSION- I did have SOME dizziness the first time around, though mostly in the first trimester. Hypotension seems to come and go this time. Salty foods do seem to help, though not to any kind of extreme. But in general it just seems to depend on the day. I’ll go for several days in a row feeling just fine and then all of the sudden I’m seeing stars and plopping down on the couch before I fall over.
NAUSEA- I had nausea all the way through the first time around. This time I definitely had some nausea but only threw up twice during the first trimester and it all subsided before the first trimester was even over… but now it’s back! Almost every morning starts with an odd wave of nausea and I get it again every few afternoons. I actually threw up one of the days and it shocked me.
27 weeks the first time, 27 weeks the second time… same dress, very different belly!
This time around, I’m so incredibly excited about it! I have been through it, for starters, so I know what worked and what didn’t the first time and have a pretty good idea of how to apply those ideas this time around even if things are very different. I’ve been reading up on lots of pain management techniques and I have lots of ideas for keeping myself calm. I’m excited to test it all out and see how I do, but I’m also so incredibly excited to experience it all over again. It feels almost wrong in some ways, like I’m stealing or something. I keep feeling like I’m going to get caught and someone’s going to say “Hey, wait a minute! You already got a turn!” I can’t wait to feel that intense bond with Ryan again, and I especially can’t wait to once again feel that insane rush of emotions as someone places my baby in my arms.
I am still having a lot of anxiety over the fact that I’ll have to leave my sweet baby boy to go up to the hospital and I don’t even know how many days we’ll be apart. I HATE that! I feel sick every time I think about it. My fear is that I’ll get home and he’ll do that thing toddlers do, where he turns his head away and refuses to acknowledge me. And then, instead of gently bringing him back around, I’ll have to focus on a 45-minute nursing session and let him wallow all by himself.
My biggest fear in life is waking up one morning and realizing I haven’t been a good wife and mom. Most days, I feel like I have a decent handle on it. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know when I rolled my eyes at Ryan or when I spent an afternoon snapping at my little guy and I know how to apologize to them and ask for forgiveness. This is all new territory though, and I can’t stop worrying that I’m about to mess everything up!
I can’t stop thinking I’m not cut out for it and that I’ve just gotten lucky this far. What happens when I stop being a good wife because I’m trying so hard to be a good mom? Or when I’m not spending enough time with my toddler because I’m nursing so much and changing so many diapers, but I’m not really bonding with my newborn outside of those things because I’m trying to make up for lost time with my toddler?
I don’t want to start living for naptime and bedtime, you know? I want those to be pleasant breaks in my life, times when I recharge and focus on Ryan and/or my own projects and activities, but I want to make sure that I’m actually enjoying this precious life and these precious loved ones in it. I guess I’m just scared some days that I only know how to do it with two people but not with three. I know it's silly and I'll look back someday and laugh at myself... but for now, it's how I feel and it's impossible to tell myself to do otherwise!