Being pregnant again is, for me, a flurry of contradictions:
So familiar, yet so different.
Easier mentally; harder phyically.
Less mysterious yet more out of my control.
I own so many maternity clothes, yet seem to need all new ones (winter vs. summer baby)
To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” See? My summary quote doesn’t even make sense.
I realize I have a ton to be thankful for with this pregnancy. Nausea, stay in the dugout for now – we’ll get to you later.
When Aaron and I decided to “try” for Baby #2 – it went something like this:
- Obsessively re-read my highlighted sections of “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” (my super retro, yet incomparable conception bible).
- Plan, chart, pray and calendar accordingly (Can you tell I’m Type A?).
- Immediately get pregnant on the first try, as we did with Anderson, though I of course lost sleep worrying over every possible reason why it might not be that easy, could take months, or years, etc etc… We were lucky twice, and I am very grateful. God has gracefully withheld some lessons on patience that I probably deserve to learn… maybe that’s what the 9 months are for?
The best part of being a repeat pregnant woman is that I am so much more confident this time around. I don’t worry nearly as much about what foods I eat and the word “pasteurized” is once again an annoyingly regular part of my vocabulary. I am better educated on what my body is going through, what is within the range of normal, and what might be cause for concern. I understand the highs and lows of the different trimesters and so far, have had pretty similar pregnancies.
The hardest part of being pregnant again – I’m already a mom! So long “sick days” that involved just me spending all day on the couch (and I thought THAT was rough!). Yes, I am fortunate to have some help from family and sitters, but the majority of the time it is still just me on duty with a very energetic 2-year-old – whether I feel up to the challenge or not. He is hungry and hyper and talkative whether I’m nauseous or not. I’ve struggled with guilt over not “keeping up with him” as my energy and health haven’t been consistently up to par for the last 2 ½ months. I have a “menu board” in our kitchen that has been used about twice since February. Easy dinner, takeout, cereal, or husband cooking have been my go-to meal plans on the many days I’ve felt like I’m just getting by and counting down to bedtime.
Just as I was getting past two months of almost daily nausea, I came down with a three-week (and counting…) head cold, and an excruciating ear infection that landed me in the ER at 1am, by myself (when you already have a kid at home sleeping, your husband can’t drive you…). That was one of the worst nights of my life. Truly an Easter weekend to remember.
So. Those are probably the main lowlights for me. It hasn’t been easy, but it also hasn’t been terrible… just moderately annoying/nauseating/tiring/uncomfortable symptoms that have lasted for weeks on end. Mild enough that I can still function in most of my normal day-to-day activities, but significant enough that I just really miss feeling like my true, best self. That’s as best I can explain it.
Writing, for example, is a part of who I am, and I haven’t written on this blog for OVER THREE MONTHS!! I can’t believe it.. I miss it. And I feel rusty, and like this isn’t good or unique or interesting at all. But you have to start somewhere when you get back on the horse.
What keeps me going is those glimpses – however short or long-lived – that remind me it is all so, so worth it. The nausea makes me appreciate good health SO much more. Fatigue makes me so thankful for a comfortable bed and the nights I do get good sleep. And already having a child is a constant reminder of the reward to come.
I think we (Women! Moms! Humans!) often make two mistakes in how we see ourselves: Taking ourselves too seriously, or not taking ourselves seriously enough. As it applies to pregnancy – it is a journey, a rollercoaster, a marathon – not a sprint! And such is life.
For me, this means I fluctuate between remembering to validate my feelings, and to keep them in perspective. My feelings are mine, and they’re real, and they deserve my attention and care. BUT – it also helps when I remember things could be so much worse, and to be grateful for all the things I can do, and still have (even when I really miss a killer glass of red wine…).
Aaron and I had the great fortune of getting away last weekend (thanks, Grandma Sue!), and spent two blissful days relaxing in a secluded mountain cabin, reading by the fire, playing board games while watching deer out the window…it was really great. One of the innkeepers at our lodge, Kathy, ended up sharing with me some health struggles she’d had. In short, she is on her third heart, and has “died” (and been resuscitated) four times.
Suddenly my pregnancy problems and endless cold seemed pretty trivial compared to someone who DIED four times, spent six months in a hospital with an artificial heart, and can’t eat undercooked food FOREVER.
Perspective. Balance. Gratitude. And once Baby #2 comes…. Chaos! I kid… kind of… not really.
Bring it on. I’ve made it this far. I know I can handle it, as others before me have handled it, and so much more.