First Trimester, The Second Time

Yesterday’s post was actually supposed to be about this, but then I derailed myself about other things. I’ve been starting this post in my mind for the last few weeks now. How is this time different than last time? What is it like to be pregnant with a child to care for?

I was really anxious that this pregnancy would be super different. I felt like, ok… the only upper hand I could possibly have is being able to anticipate what crazy shit was going to happen to me. But what if I couldn’t?! I guess the truth is, you never can fully, but sometimes you catch a lucky break.

The biggest difference between last pregnancy and this pregnancy is this: Last pregnancy I hated it and the internal dialogue running through my brain was, “God, this SUCKS. I can’t believe I have to do this again.” Because I knew without a doubt I’d be having more than 1 kid. And once Gabe popped out that was even more solidified. This time around the internal dialogue is, “God, I HATE THIS and I am NEVER doing this again.”

I think there is a huge difference between understanding what pregnancy is and understanding what it feels like to recover from it completely. I know what it is to have my body back, to regain my core, to feel on top of my shit, to be ultra productive mom-kickassery! All that gets put on hold when you’re pregnant. And seeing that life slip away is rough. I really don’t want to see this cycle repeat anymore. The problem is, I really desperately want this kid and I know that my family is not complete yet, and I absolutely adore giving birth. I love it. It is magical, I wish I could do it once a week. I would gladly do it once a week for a year if I never had to be pregnant ever again.

Other differences/things I am doing differently:

  • A nightly Unisom+B6 to fight morning sickness has made a huge difference for me. Still sick, still flu-y but way more high functioning.
  • NO Zofran. No matter what. That was so constipating it made my life miserable.
  • More driving to combat motion sickness.
  • No saltines/other constipating foods. Eating whole grains, sucking on jolly ranchers, eating apples, etc to help with constant nausea as really been a game changer.
  • I am showing earlier. At 9 weeks I am already in maternity pants and LOVING IT. So comfortable and yet no one can tell at work! I have 0 need to live in my “real” pants for longer than necessary. Maternity pants are so awesome and comfortable and I got them at the Gap during the black friday sale, so YES. YES TO MAGIC SPANDEX WAISTBANDS!

Overall, it is really hard being pregnant with a toddler. The first few weeks I really mourned the fact that I couldn’t be the best mom ever to him. I had to let things slide, I had to bow out, I had to let Kamel take over for a bit. And I felt like I was betraying Gabriel. I felt like Kamel and I had made this choice that would be affecting him so much, and he didn’t even get a say. I had guilt about that.

And how do you physically DO this while caring for another? I rely HEAVILY on Kamel. And I mean HEAVILY. I don’t change diapers (vom), I don’t do bed time, I don’t do wake ups, I don’t do breakfast, I don’t get him dressed for school. I have to advocate and care for ME in order to simply make it through my work day and Kamel does the rest. He gets up before me, he makes me toast, he gets the baby up and dressed and fed all while I am willing myself to get up and take a shower and put on clothes. Even when I can do those normal morning routines I have to take lots of sit down breaks and Kamel is holding it DOWN. That is truly the only way this functions. I still come home and cook dinner, and eat dinner like a normal human, but then I am on the couch until bed time. Couch parenting… I am a master at it. This whole set up is not pretty. My house is hanging on by a thin thin thread. But it is real and it is temporary. Things are already starting to get a little better.

Someone asked me about the exhaustion that comes with the first trimester. That is FOR REAL. I just don’t remember it being as bad as this last time!! I have fallen asleep on the couch MANY times at 7:30pm while Gabe and Kamel play. I am freaking tired. So tired. But you push through. When Kamel had a work dinner, I had my best friend come over to help me with Gabe in the evening. You pull in reinforcements. I had to cancel a really awesome birthday dinner for my mom. And we had to sell 2nd row Brandi Carlisle tickets on Craigslist because they were for a Sunday night and there was just no way I could have done it. I’m recognizing my limits and planning accordingly. I say no to things, I rearrange my schedule, Kamel picks up the slack, I sleep. This is a finite period of time, and even though there have been moments of despair, I know that it is not forever. And honestly, while Kamel wrangles our first kid, I’m handling our second. So, division of labor? I’d say pretty equal.

And as far as why we chose to do this now – I want them close in age, I want to have the baby years and then be done with the baby years, I don’t want to have a 4 year old and a newborn. I definitely see those perks, it’s just not for me. And ultimately, I want to get this over with. I want my baby having years to come and go and then I can move on to other awesome parts of my life. But pregnancy? It has not been an experience I enjoy (Although I do really enjoy babies), so having it as an always possibility looming in my future, no thanks. Let’s get to it and get it done. And then I can stop having to reboot my wardrobe constantly. I can stop having to rebuild my body. I can stop having the constant (and jarring) transitions and changes of pregnancy + new human. Am I saying 100% I am never having another kid? Ehhh… More like 95%? Let’s get this one healthy and out of me, and then we’ll have that real talk discussion.

23 thoughts on “First Trimester, The Second Time”

  1. Am I the only person on the planet who loved being pregnant? I loved it. I loved giving birth too. I didn’t love tiny babyhood, but I hope that next time it will be better because I will be better prepared and less terrified that I am going to kill my baby. And if the next baby has the same congenital urinary tract problem as the first (32% likelihood; chronic, but manageable, and temporary) I will know what is happening instead of watching my baby lose weight for no discernable reason while the fucktard pediatrician blames my breast milk.

    I think we will do it, probably next year, but I am still so fat. I’m worried about that. I wanted to be not fat first. I just haven’t found the time to take care of me between crazy baby, grad school and 120 mile a day commute. I’ll put my tiny violin away now.

    Are you scared at all of having two little ones at once? Can you even see that right now or are you stuck in the now of being pregnant?

    1. I think if I loved being pregnant I would literally have 10 kids. And no one needs that. I really enjoyed the newborn stage, I mean I was tired and stuff but I was lucky to not have any issues with the hormones etc and I didn’t feel overwhelmed, though I GET IT.

      I am not worried about managing two kids. I was just talking to a mom friend about this yesterday. I am only a little concerned with the physical logistics of it. Like how do you get both in the car without a buddy? And stuff like that. But the actual time management part I am not. When I am not sick I am incredibly efficient and very good at juggling a lot of things. I think it will be a fun challenge.

    2. I absolutely loved being pregnant. It was a magical time. I also got very lucky in that I barely felt sick, pretty much no morning sicknes. Only slight dizziness in the evenings when I got hungry and that would go away with an apple or bread with peanut butter.
      I was amazed at looking and feeling my body change, at every ultrasound, at finally feeling our baby kick and move and grow and react.
      Giving birth was so fast, intense and painful, that I did not love it. Though the happiness high that you feel as soon as you are done with it and the baby is in your arms is so great, that it is impossible to possibly describe well in words.
      If only the getting pregnant part wasn’t so hard for us. But we hope and pray.

      1. Amanda, oh the dizziness from the hunger! I forgot about that. I’d make lunch plans with people at work and they’d just want to wait half an hour or stop by the bank first and I’d be like, GET OFF YOUR ASS NOW, I NEED TO EAT!!!!

    3. I mostly liked pregnancy (except for the middle of the night calf cramps that had me screaming in agony). And I loved giving birth. I’d do that every week for a year to not do the tiny newborn thing – I’m with you there, Melissa. Only difference is, it was so awful for us I probably won’t do it again, even though I think it might be better next time around. Lauren mentions the physical rebuilding, but for me it’s taken a lot more mental and emotional rebuilding to recover from the first three months.

  2. Hiii. Enjoyed reading your take. I actually really enjoyed pregnancy last time, just not these first weeks. I was sick with Z until 16/18wk mark and this feels even more miserable than that and I am on drugs for it. (though thanks for the tip about Zofran – will try to remember that in case they offer it).

    I completely am with you on everything. More opting for driving (though fatigue hinders that sometimes). I already have a belly but I think it is mostly you’ve-eaten-crap-for-six-weeks not actual baby.

    And thank goddd for having a partner through this. I feel really badly for M though, his work is nutty at the same time and he literally does not have a second of downtime until Z bedtime, and weekends feel like they are all him. I have to remember it is a temporary moment in time and it is a team effort. And I am pulling my weight, just not in physical acts with Z.

    I have started feeling really guilty about Z. I haven’t put him to bed myself (I miss those snuggles) in weeks. I wish I had pre-warned myself about stuff I wouldn’t be able to do and front-loaded pre-positive-test with a lot of it, like fun toddler play things on weekends and Mom does bedtime and bathtime a lot, etc. I think some of the guilt is wondering if it will feel like this again for 2-3 months when baby arrives. I hate feeling like I *miss* my own child when he is right there. Never mind that he will bring me his Monkey while I am laying on the couch to make me “feel better.” Gah.

  3. It definitely got easier for me being pregnant… Until about 28 weeks. But I had other stuff happening then too which didn’t help.
    Having 2 kids is definitely a fun challenge, as you say… It’s also lots of hard work. My husband out it really succinctly: we have all the baby wrangling tools, so that’s not the tricky part (and my daughter was a much fussier, much more demanding newborn). The trickiness/newness is in the juggle. And that surely isn’t as hard as doing it all for the first time!!

    For me the thing I’ve had to remember is I have 2 babies (22 mths apart), both fully reliant on me, neither whom are rational or logical beings! Although it helps that the older one is talking… Anyway you’ll be fine!!

  4. “It has not been an experience I enjoy (Although I do really enjoy babies), so having it as an always possibility looming in my future, no thanks. Let’s get to it and get it done.”

    It’s so interesting to hear someone say this! We too have been thinking about how we want a kid (or two) and so a huge part of me is like “OK, let’s go right now then.” Because the “looming possibility in the future” is probably worse for me than the actual pregnancy will be… well, or just different, as I don’t know what the pregnancy part will be like yet but I really empathize. Very interesting thoughts! Thanks for sharing your stories!

    1. Thank you!

      And yes, even when I was pregnant the first time I could see 5 years down the road and how I’d work work work to get back into shape, then toss it out the window again with a second pregnancy, have to redo all of my clothes AGAIN, then work work work to get back into some kind of shape again! And knowing all of that work… ugh I just didn’t want to get reallllllllly cozy with a big wardrobe that fit 1 body type and then toss it all away because the reality is, I may not be the same size I am now even once this is over. You never know. And it is such a looooooong cycle. Trying, then getting pregnant, then breastfeeding. It took me until gabe was a year and a half to feel like I was getting my core strength back. And that of course is different for everyone. But it definitely takes a toll.

  5. Great post. I agree completely I’m pregnant with number 2 as well and although I’m managing I’m not as good as I could be. My kids will be 20 months apart and I am so worried about how I will kid wrangle without my husband most specifically to daycare bc I do all drop offs and pickups but I know from day to day it’ll be fine.

    Also I’m done too, I really despise pregnancy and the lack of control with my own body and I love this kid im carrying and ds to death im so so glad this is it.

  6. Oh, I loved being pregnant. I, luckily, didn’t have any morning sickness. Sorry about that. I did have to give myself 4-5 shots a day to get pregnant and 2-3 shots a day while pregnant (and for six weeks after!), so maybe it evens out? If we had the money for IVF, I would have billions of kids. We’re hoping for another try, so I’m so excited to follow along with your journey. I’d love to have my kiddos close together and then work on hot-mom status. It is hard when I’m still 10 pounds heavier than pre-Elliott and I’m scared of how to handle toddler and newborn. I felt cheated during Elliott’s newborn days because the husband was traveling for 5-15 days at a time and my dad was hospitalized/dying for three months immediately following Elliott’s birth. I love babies (and toddlers) and I would love to experience it all over again. You’re very blessed, Lauren. Hang in there and know that you have a world of support and well-wishes for a healthy pregnancy for you and baby.

  7. I am so enjoying hearing about the process of your pregnancy #2 Lauren!! I know it’s selfish, but it also makes me a little sad. Many of the moms who had babies when I did, have gone on to have another, or are currently pregnant again. I vacillate between being happy with my son and our life as it is, and wanting another baby. Then of course there’s the slippery slope of wanting a real marriage, and a real partner…but I digress:)

  8. It’s interesting to hear about the logic behind having kid no 2 after hating pregnancy no 1. Still disagree when people say how pregnancy is so worth it – every day of it was torture to me. But at that, I want more. I love the newborn stage even with the hard parts, and while I wouldn’t say I adore giving birth I want to experience it again. But oh god pregnancy is awful. Doing it with a baby already seems extra hard.

    1. It is extra hard. The alternative is just so permanent. I guess this is permanent too, but still so fluid in the “who is this next person? who will they be?” I mean, either I SUCK IT UP and grit my teeth every single day or I just stick with my 1. No wrong choices. I’m an only, onlies are awesome! But my family was not complete and it was nagging at me.

  9. But we’re supposed to make an ARMY of babies Lauren! Gosh!!

    Let’s just adopt 47 babies from different countries. Skip the pregnancies.

  10. Hey Lauren and Lovely Commenters,
    Any advice on the before pregnancy bit aka the “we’re trying super hard but nothing’s happening but oh wait I do feel kind of sick but never mind that’s just normal nausea” bit. I feel like it is so crazy making to not know when or even if it’s going to happen. I look at every pregnant lady I meet with awe and jealousy. I think part of it is having polycystic ovarian syndrome and knowing that it may be harder for us than the average couple. Any advice on the waiting game?

    1. ovulation testing strips? 🙂

      I don’t have your medical issue to contend with, but we were just not not trying for months and nothing happened. Then, we were trying when we thought was the right time and nothing, and then I got the strips and bam pregnant immediately. I was ovulating like a 3-4 days earlier than I thought. It just really helped me to know when it “counted.” Anyway, idiot advice from the peanut gallery.

      Also, I think we really jammed a lot of adult only fun (easy travel, staying out late, etc.) into the very last days of being kid-free. After a negative pregnancy test, a couple fingers of bourbon and a couple puffs of a cigar were a tolerable short-term consolation. I know a lot of people give up all of that before getting pregnant, but clearly not me.

    2. I have PCOS and had a really hard time getting pregnant with my first kiddo (23 months and a lovely variety of treatments). Do you know if you’re ovulating? Do you have regular cycles? If you are cycling on your own, then trying on your own might yield results by itself. One thing you can look into is getting a test of your progesterone level about 7 days after you think you ovulated. In my case, I was cycling, but it was uncertain whether or not I was ovulating based on my progesterone levels. If you are not cycling/ovulating then you might want to look into seeing a reproductive endocrinologist even if you haven’t been trying very long. No amount of sex is going to get you knocked up if you’re not releasing eggs. Beyond that, the good news is that most women who have PCOS are able to conceive — either on their own or with a little help from doctors. Like I said, it took almost 2 years and thousands of dollars for baby #1. And then I got pregnant on accident about 7 months after my son was born. Oops?

    3. I also had PCOS. Are you on metformin? Talking to your doctor? Because it takes a little longer I was glad to be in communication with my doctor from the outset, especially since it meant that we wouldn’t have had to wait a whole year before being considered for fertility interventions. It took us a while (about 6 months just to get us to the point of having an actual period, and then 4 cycles to actually get pregnant), and it was hard. For me, I like to feel in control and informed so we went full tilt with tracking temperatures for ovulation and checking cervical mucous, etc. I read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” cover to cover. But I know for other people that’s a bit of an overload, and maybe it’s better for their sanity to stay chill.
      In general, we just kept reminding ourselves that once it actually worked, our lives would change forever, so we tried to focus on enjoying what we had in the moment. But that only goes so far. It’s not an easy time.

    4. The waiting game is hard!! I have played it the last six months and I didn’t think I would have any waiting. I was arrogant I guess and just thought it would be “birth control out, baby in”. I also did the whole “I’m nauseous!! Oh wait, I think I’m just willing myself to be nauseous… drats”. I will second the ovulation strips, I got the wondfo ones from amazon mainly because you get a bazillion for 20 bucks.

      Luck and good fortune your way!!!

  11. Lauren, you are living my life. Couch parenting – check. House hanging on by a thread – check. Relying on my husband – check. The only thing that makes me feel less nauseous is eating so I’ll probably gain 20lbs this month. Awesome. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’m older. 38. So, I can say with certainty that this will be the last time. Still, I so feel you on the getting your core back just to give it up again. It’s the knowing. Last time I didn’t know how long I would be giving my body to my son because he was my first. Now I know and it’s the knowing that makes it worse. It’s also the fact that general social commentary says that I’m supposed to be enjoying this. Relishing in it. I would like to give general society the finger and then demand they go into work for me so I can stay in my pyjamas all day. Just saying….

  12. I feel like you might be the only person to whom I can say: “I HATE pregnancy” and get a nod back in return and I love you for this. So so many people (and so many of your readers, hah) were all like, I loved pregnancy! And I wonder what the hell ticket to which ride I bought because it’s sure not to the same park they went to. *kind of jealous*

    Like, I *am* grateful that it didn’t take us forever and ever to conceive and I am grateful that I have PiC to lean on and I have on occasion been nicely surprised by other people, and feeling the baby move has been kind of hilarious except for when I’m yelling at LB to get OUT of my RIBS DAMMIT but by and large, the physical, actual doing of the pregnancy has been just absolute hell.

    And of course it got even worse this month with the freaking PUPPPs thing.

    Docs are like, well, usually this only happens for the first pregnancy and asking me about birth control and I’m like dude, are you kidding me with trying again? Are you KIDDING ME? I’m a damn wreck here, barely keeping it together if I even am, and there’s no way I can contemplated doing this again. PiC has already started commenting on how LB is making sure that we’re one and done even though I know he used to want three.

    We’ll see how I feel about actually giving birth and coming out the other side …. 🙂

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