When Chris and I started down the path of Having Children (capital ‘H’, capital ‘C’) we agreed we both wanted “more than one.” How many more was generally left up to “let’s just see where we are after two and go from there.” The question of sibling spacing in our family was pretty firm, especially after I did a long, fully-researched, self-serving article for a publication on that exact subject. We knew we wanted our kids to be no closer than 2.5 years together. We would rather have them be further apart than what we considered “desirable” than too close. We knew we wouldn’t start “trying” (“trying” meaning “taking the goalie down”) until the kiddos would be at least 2.5 years apart.
So I guess this all is really my roundabout way of saying YOU GUYS I’M PREGNANT AGAIN AND I AM ENTIRELY BAFFLED BY THIS FACT.
People have always said every pregnancy is different, but I don’t know if I actually understood that every pregnancy is not only physically different but oh so mentally different as well. Now, I certainly have never had a Pinterest-perfect life, pregnancy, or motherhood because who has time for that, but there are still some very astute differences. Allow me to explain a few of them from early pregnancy.
Announcing you’re pregnant to your family and friends
You have a countdown (even if it’s just in your head) until after that 12-week ultrasound when you can tell your friends and family you haven’t shared in hushed, secret tones already about the little nugget you have in your belly. (Or: you craft a touching blog post about it and announce on Facebook that you’re having a baby after a series of unfortunate pregnancy-related events prior to this one.) Everyone you know is so excited, loving, supportive, and other wonderful adjectives you’re overwhelmed. The pregnancy seems super real.
Nobody is even surprised. This pregnancy turns out to be pretty much the world’s worst-kept secret. Also, you sort of forget to announce the pregnancy on Facebook. You say things like, “Is that still a thing people do?” and, “If I just don’t say anything, will people figure it out once I appear with a second newborn child in pictures that I don’t appear to be giving back to its rightful owner?” and, “Owner isn’t the right word for a child’s parents, is it?”
The 12-week ultrasound
When/if everything turns out okay on the ultrasound you weep with joy. You cannot believe that little peanut-thing is actually growing. You already have the size of fruit/vegetable it is in your head because you have updates on your phone pushing to you weekly with its size updates. You take pictures of the nugget on the screen, along with literally every picture the ultrasound tech gives you.
You are too busy hoping your toddler doesn’t get into the biohazard disposal can in the room while your belly-bound future child refuses to get in the right position for the tech to measure it for you to notice what is actually on the screen for more than two seconds. While happy and elated all is going okay, you’re still not quite realizing this is actually happening.
Also, this ultrasound–and all appointments for that matter–seem to sneak up on you and your husband. True story: my ultrasound was scheduled for a Monday. I didn’t realize it was happening until the prior Thursday evening when I was looking at my schedule on my phone. I asked Chris if he was going to come, and he said no, he’d wait until the 12-week one to come to the appointment. When I informed him that this was the 12-week ultrasound he actually spit his drink out and said, “wait, what?! I thought you were like, 9 weeks pregnant right now?”
Gaining pregnancy weight
“Oh, I’m exactly on track! This is so adorable! I wonder when my baby bump will arrive! I can’t wait to wear pregnancy clothes for real!”
*Spends 5 hours shopping online for pregnancy clothes. Uses Pinterest.*
“Why do I look pregnant at 10 weeks?!? Why is this baby growing in my ass?!? I GAINED MORE WEIGHT ALREADY?! Wait, where’s that box of maternity clothes? Oh my god, please just don’t let the doctor have to have a heart-to-heart conversation about ‘healthy weight gain during pregnancy’ and how I’m ‘not doing any of the things.’ Ohhh, is that leftover cake?”
Pregnancy weight is now thine own worst enemy. You know the more you gain the more you’ll have to lose after, but can’t seem to stop. Supposedly there’s some sort of “science-y” explanation that because your body has gone through this before it has some sort of weird muscle memory which goes, “Wait! Baby growing! I know what to do! EXPAND!” and expand it does. However, that does not make you feel better, and it does not help in the whole, “We’re going to wait to tell everyone I’m pregnant” thing. Also, it probably has something to do with the leftover cake. Maybe. I’m going to stick with “science” as the explanation, though.
(*Emphatically does not use Pinterest.*)
Food aversions/cravings/morning sickness
You think these things are adorable and all just part of the “magic of pregnancy.” Okay, well, I never actually used the phrase “magic of pregnancy” because even I wasn’t that idiotic or saccharine, but that sort-of sentiment sort-of existed in some way. These sensations in your first pregnancy can almost be called “endearing.”
Dinners of Funfetti cake and orange juice are off the table now that you have a younger child to run around and worry about providing “well-rounded meals” or some such nonsense. And while last time you had tiny little twinges of morning sickness, you now have debilitating morning sickness you broke down and got medicine for, despite trying any number of hippie remedies like acupuncture, essential oils, meditation, yoga, and, of course, wishing really, really, really hard that the morning sickness will go away. There’s no heroic mystical mommy award for taking the morning sickness head on with no help. There is only you, needing to function. That is all. And the “magic of pregnancy” is certainly nowhere to be found this time around.
Taking the adorable week-by-week pictures of your growing belly
“Tee hee! I’ll love these pictures! I’ll totally make a collage! It will be GREAT!”
*Gives up after 6 pictures*
*Doesn’t even try. Laughs out loud at the thought of willingly displaying the strange shape body has decided to morph into*
Eating things and/or doing any activity
You research everything you now put into your mouth and deem it safe for baby or not. It turns out the internet-at-large would have you eat basically nothing while pregnant, but you do evaluate everything anyway. This also applies to literally every activity you do. While you fastidiously read and followed Bringing Up Bébé and tried to adhere to the more laid-back pregnancy lifestyle, all the “do-nots” are still in your head.
This is an actual conversation from a few weekends ago:
Chris: Wait, Tay, should you be doing that if you’re pregnant?
Chris: Well, it just seems like rock climbing might be on some sort of list of things you’re not supposed to do while pregnant? Maybe?
Me: Really? You think? Um, I can ask my doctor, but I totally forgot about that. Should I also cancel the base jumping I have planned for later*?
Recently it came to my attention that a lot of people don’t ride their bikes while pregnant because there is a “chance of falling off” or something like that. I literally laughed out loud. There’s also a chance I’ll get hit by a bus walking to Walgreen’s but I think I’ll still take that risk of leaving my house while growing a baby.
Perhaps the one great advantage of having other children during your pregnancy is that you have no choice but to be more laid back about the pregnancy itself. Sure, I don’t do anything overtly dangerous to the baby, but I definitely am not an über-Googler about everything I’m doing either. It’s pretty nice actually being as laissez-faire as I wanted to be the first time!
Now that we’re past the 12-week ultrasound I do feel confident talking about our impending little Coconut’s arrival (count “giving weird nicknames to a fetus” as something that doesn’t change, I guess), I am getting more and more excited. I think because of all our bad luck in the past I assumed something would go wrong, and when nothing did, it jarred me. But now that I know it’s real I’m so excited for the idea of getting to smell a newborn baby again (ew, what did I just say?). Coconut is due April 5th, which if anyone is counting, is literally 1 day before Connor turns 2.5. Guess we hit that timing nail right on its head.
Onto our next greatest parenting adventure: siblings!
Oh, and we’re taking votes on gender this time around, so if you have a feeling, let me know! I think it’s a girl since it’s growing in my ass and stealing my beauty and making me so sick I want to die. Chris also thinks it’s a girl because, and I quote, “it just looked so adorable on the ultrasound!” Lord help us all.
*Okay, that part was an exaggeration. But I literally did not have a clue that I should ask my OB if she was cool with a sport that has me dangling by a rope 40 feet in the air where there’s a possibility of me slamming into the wall belly-first. She wasn’t cool with it.