12 January 2012

Round two

Once we got pregnant, I was eager to see how this pregnancy would compare to the last. I know that each pregnancy is unique, but it's still my same old body, so I imagined that I might respond similarly to all of these lovely hormones (even as I worried that I'd get crazy morning sickness, or something).

So far, I'm right: things have been very very similar. But it's still fascinating to me what *has* been different. Mostly different in good ways, thankfully!

The first trimester with Gabriel I did experience some morning sickness, early on, while my body adjusted to being pregnant. Even when that ended, I continued being quite uncomfortable with stomach digestion issues, and was often dizzy/faintly nauseous, but food didn't appeal to me normally: my rational brain would tell me "I like that food!" but my stomach said "ICK." Of course, the surefire way to cure the dizzy/nausea/I'm dying feeling was to eat, but I didn't want to eat. Good thing my mom was around most of those weeks to say: just EAT. Usually did the trick. 

This time, I only had a few scattered days of nausea, not really at the beginning (and not intense at all, just mild discomfort). I had the same familiar grumpy, gassy stomach, although to a lesser degree, and would get dizzy REALLY easily if I didn't eat all the time. Like, pushing Gabriel's stroller to daycare would nearly wipe me out--the shakes, actually about to faint--if I didn't carry crackers in my purse, even though I'd eaten breakfast an hour before. The lightheadedness this time around was probably exacerbated by the presence of a demanding toddler and lots of picking up and picking up after said toddler. Fortunately--and this is the BIG difference this time--I still loved all food! Yay food! So it was mostly no problem just to make sure I ate often enough. 

Rounding the bend into the second trimester meant, as before, returning to feeling entirely like myself again, with one notable exception: this time I've got a big belly. Last time, I could have almost fooled myself into thinking I wasn't pregnant, since there was very little belly poking out and I felt so darn normal. I barely showed until about 20 weeks. But this time, there's a basketball-sized reminder that, hoo boy, am I ever pregnant. I started showing (at least in my eyes) almost immediately and we've grown from there. Guess those muscles just let go, having been through this before!

Another big difference--this is a fun one--is feeling the baby kick. Last time, I didn't feel the baby at ALL until maybe 18 or 19 weeks (not sure, memory is fuzzy), and I was so impatient to feel him, especially when the books say you might start noticing movement at 15 or 16 weeks. My midwife told me the placenta was lying in front of the uterus, acting as a cushion against feeling those sensations. 

This time, at 14 weeks, on my flight to Indiana, I thought I felt something...and over the course of the following week I was sure of it. Baby! We have a kicker! I expected that feeling the baby earlier would result in those "fluttering" or "quickening" sensations the books talk about, but from the start it's been distinctly "thump"-like to me, albeit the tiniest tenderest thump there could be. By now, at 19 weeks, the thumps aren't quite so tender any more, as they are getting pretty insistent and distinctly elbow- and knee-like. Still, I've just loved feeling the baby move around--there's nothing like it in the world--and it's been a real reassurance during the time I was in the US and not having any checkups. Recently we've been trying to get the Mister to catch one of these earlier movements, but it's still hard; I've felt him/her from the outside myself only once or twice, although it seems so amazingly strong from the inside. In fact, our little Junebug is at this moment poking my lower abdomen quite confidently, as if to corroborate my writing of it. Thanks, buddy!

Aside from those details, the minor side effects of being pregnant seem to have remained pretty consistent. My usually-managed eczema is worse, and I'm getting overall itchy during the night. That happened last time too. For a while there while I was in Boston, I suffered from daily pressure headaches (did not happen last time, that I recall), which were mostly cured by drinking gallons of water. Which, of course, exacerbated that classic pregnancy symptom, the constant need to pee, making an appearance since about day one. But all in all these are minor things and I've felt great (both with Gabriel and now). I'm only just starting to feel the downward pressure that causes the pregnancy waddles, and I wonder if those big-belly third trimester symptoms will show up earlier this time around. With Gabriel I wrote that the ninth month was really when all the classic "oof"-iness of pregnancy came to a peak, and again, that may happen earlier for baby number 2. We shall see! If things seemed to fly by last time, I'm sure it will go even faster now, seeing as I have an external kid to distract me from the internal one. 

I know that, even though I suspected that the pregnancy itself might be similar, the whole scenario of labor and birth is still a complete wild card. They are the big question marks of having a baby: the when?! and the how!? Those experiences can differ radically from child to child, so I'm eager to see what will happen and praying that things will go as beautifully as they did with Gabriel. I never did post his birth story, did I? I wrote it down, but wasn't sure about sharing such an intimate thing--maybe I just wanted to keep it to savor. Now, I think, I could post it, although edited down. Plus, I have a lot to say about the experience of having a baby in Belgium (what I know so far), so that will come up one of these days, I'm sure. So, more to come, that's what I'm saying! It's so fun to be free to post again, and looking over the posts I wrote when pregnant with Gabriel has reinforced how precious it is to have that record of what I was feeling and thinking during that time. Pregnancy really is like nothing else, so crazy and normal and blissful and uncomfortable all at once. 
[PS: Not sure what's up with the spacing when I hit publish. I don't like the way the text gets all tight but I can't figure out how to fix it...]

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