Pregnancy #1 vs. Pregnancy #2

Pregnancy.  What's struck me about being pregnant for the second time is how different the experience has been.  It's felt almost completely different.  In every way.  The first time I was pregnant I was elated. Sure I had my complaints and my sickness but everything was so new and exciting.  I came up with a fun way to announce to the family...

This time, upon seeing the positive pregnancy test I just sent around the picture via text to my family.

That didn't go over well.  I suppose I felt that having another baby would just feel like "old news" to people.  I never acted really excited when I announced. I thought, "How excited will people really be?"  So I downplayed it.  To a point that a coworker said, "Uh oh, was this an accident?"  I felt bad instantly.  No, it wasn't an accident. I guess I just didn't want people to expect me to see the same amount of excitement as they had with Millie.  And really, people aren't.  And that's ok.  In fact one of the most common expressions I have heard this pregnancy is, "Oh! I keep forgetting you are pregnant!"  Case in point. 

Last time, I chronicled the growing baby bump each and every month....

In fact, I relished in that growing bump. I loved it. I loved my big round belly.  This time, I challenge you to find a picture of me with my big belly. I couldn't avoid it during the holidays of course but overall, the baby bump has been well off the social media realm.  No thank you.  I am certainly bigger than I was before.  Bigger everywhere else.  My body frankly scares me right now.  So no, I'm not doing monthly baby bump pictures.  I'm doing all I can to avoid pictures at all costs right now.  Plus, I have had so many comments lately of "Wow, you are BIG!" or "Are there twins in there?!" that I want to punch the world in the face and wear a muumuu the rest of the pregnancy.  I'm not cute. I'm really big and pregnant.  

Last time, I was constantly fascinated with feeling the baby move.  I remember taking videos of my rolling belly. I remember having everyone touch my stomach to feel the baby. I would lie in bed with Seth and night and he would spoon me, feeling Millie move.  This time I think Seth has touched my stomach 2 times? And I find myself getting frustrated when I'm trying to sleep and the baby is doing backflips in my tummy.  It's not as charming this time around. 

I was a much more healthy pregnant woman the first time. I watched what I ate more carefully.  I microwaved any sandwich meat, I only drank a minimal amount of caffeine and barely touched alcohol.  This time, I have a fairly normal amount of caffeine.  Coffee in the morning - every day.  Coffee in the afternoon - at least once a week.  I think I can chalk this up to having a toddler and feeling exhausted most days of my life.  The first pregnancy I was able to come home from work, lie down and rest as much as I wanted to.  This time, oh man, 8:00pm rolls around and I am 100% exhausted. I'm done.  Don't ask me to do anything else please. I have survived the last 14 hours and the thought of doing one more thing is just unimaginable.  So I have been more relaxed as a whole. I have the occasional 1/2 glass of wine. I eat soft cheeses if I go out to a fancy dinner. And I just eat more in general.  I was so sick my first trimester that once I finally felt like eating again - well lets just say that train came barreling out of the station and hasn't stopped.

Working out has been different. It's so much easier before you have kids to find time to work out.  With Seth's 12 hour days it's even harder.  So my working out has been less.  However, I did keep up with my hot yoga until 2 weeks ago.  Those classes are 10xs harder than any prenatal yoga classes I have been to.  I'm proud of myself for that.  I must have looked amazing being 7 months pregnant and doing a headstand.  Ha!  Sadly I have reached the point where I can't keep up. I can't do many of the poses, not only because I'm big but because it's dangerous.  I have put my membership on hold until June.  I'm hoping keeping that up will have helped me in the long run this pregnancy.

With my first pregnancy I was up nights just stressed and worried about the birth. I was terrified of labor and delivery.  Seth and I took a 6-week birth class. I listened to meditations before bed.  If you were to ask me what I was most nervous about having Millie, I would have said the birth without a doubt.  This time -I have barely given birth a second thought.  Labor and delivery for me was the best part. I loved it.  I can't wait to do it again.

I'm going to shoot for a natural labor.  However, if it doesn't go that way - oh well.  Give me the epidural. I'm really casual about it because I'm just not worried. I don't want to be induced.  That's really the only thing I am going to be a stickler about. I want her to come on her own time.  And hopefully that time will be "on time" instead of a week late.

This pregnancy I am absolutely more terrified in general. Crazy right?  I know how to do this. I know how to birth a baby. I know how to breastfeed. I know what to expect.

That's the real kicker. I know what to expect.  I know how horrible the recovery is. I know how hard those first few months are. I know that my hormones will be out of whack. I know I'll feel like a zombie for days on end. I know adjusting to being home will be hard. I know adjusting to being back at work will be hard too.  I just know what to expect.  Add a Millie to that and it scares me to death.

Yet, I know what to expect so I know that all of those things work themselves out. With Millie I had a feeling of dread that I would never feel rested again.  But I do.  I may not rest the way I used to, but I do feel rested.  I won't have that overwhelming sense of responsibility that comes with the first baby.  My life has already changed drastically.  Sure, add one more to it.  I remember when I was on maternity leave with Millie I wasn't sure what to do with her.  I felt like I had to be holding her all the time. Or talking to her, or interacting with her.

This baby, this baby will be in her crib sleeping as much as possible. She'll hopefully enjoy her swing and vibrating chair.  I'll have Millie to keep me busy. I have responsibilities with her you know. I have to "talk like the scarecrow" for a good chunk of my day. I have stuff to do!

What is making me sad about this is how negative I feel in general. I'm irritable and tired. I'm uncomfortable. I feel incredibly unattractive.  I just feel really over it.  And this is likely my last pregnancy.  Shouldn't I be savoring these last 2 months? I feel like I need to shift my thinking. I need to embrace the belly.  I need to let go of my insecurities and just say, "To hell with it! It's just a couple more months. Enjoy that bagel and stop feeling guilty about it. You'll get your body back!"  I know I will.  I know that in 2 months it will be possible to bend over again without grunting. I'll be able to walk without getting out of breath.  I'll be able to go into a bathroom stall and shut the door without whacking my stomach in the process.  I'll be able to run and do yoga. I'll be able to see see all necessary parts of my body again.  I will be able to shave my legs easily and paint my toenails. I'll have clothing that fits comfortably (and clothing that isn't solely stripes). I will be able to go to dinner and have a glass of wine again.  My boobs will return to a sad and normal size again.  My feet will fit in shoes and my back will stop hurting.  I'll be able to sleep on my stomach and back again. I'll feel normal again. All of these things are temporary.

What I won't experience again is the real miracle of pregnancy.  The feeling of a baby moving inside of me.  I won't experience that sense of bonding with my unborn child.  I'll never experience that again.  That's what I need to focus on.  That's what I need to get me through the next 2 months.  A better perspective.  Because it truly is an amazing experience. In all of it's pain and discomfort it's pretty damn amazing.  The human body is something else and I am lucky to have the opportunity to have another beautiful baby girl.  

My Dear Matilda

My sweet little Matilda,

You are set to arrive in less than two months now.  It's hard to believe that we will have another little girl in our lives in such a short amount of time.  We are so excited to meet you!  I know I haven't been the best mom to date. I know I wasn't 100% ready to get pregnant again. I know I was scared to watch my body and world transform again. I know I have largely not enjoyed being pregnant this time around. I have eaten cold cuts, had a good amount of coffee, the occasional 1/2 glass of wine and eaten my eggs sunny-side up.  I know I have way more anxiety facing your arrival than I ever did with Millie. I am nervous about the sleepless nights, how Millie will react to no longer being the center of attention, and how I will possibly manage another child. But, sweet Matilda, you are just as loved and just as wanted as your sister.  Momma loves you and can't wait to meet you.  Millie is ready to help you learn and show you the ropes as a Youkstetter.  Your daddy is elated to add another girl to his world.  We all are.  You are going to make our family complete and whole.

I have some pretty concrete ideas on what you are going to be like.  I anticipate a even-tempered, shy and mellow little girl. I expect you to be a momma's girl.  A cuddler.  Probably a little more clingy than I will be ready for. I expect you to temper your strong-willed older sister and to relax your high-strung mother.  And just like Millie you will have daddy wrapped around your little finger in no time. I think you will be a brunette and look more like a Youkstetter than an Avery. You will be just as beautiful as your sister, but in an entirely different way.

Whatever you are, whoever you will be, and no matter what you look like, you will be loved.  I can't wait to see how my heart grows when I meet you.  I can't wait to see you interact with your daddy and play with your sister. I can't wait to sing to you, kiss your feet and smell you.  I can't wait to rock and nurse you in those quiet hours of the night. I can't wait to see your first smile and hear your first laugh.  I can't wait to teach you and I can't wait to have you teach me.  Because that's really what this life is about.  Allowing those around us to mold us into better versions of ourselves.  You will be remarkable.  I love you.  We love you.  We can't wait to have you here as part of our family.

Love, Mommy