Monday, January 25, 2010

Pregnancy, take two.

There's a reason I waited almost four years to get pregnant with my second child. Actually, there are a lot of reasons. But right up at the top of the list? Pregnancy and childbirth. For as much as I love being a mom and having Liam, getting him here was a whole different story.

For starters, I was totally freaked out when I found out I was pregnant. I had forgotten just how freaked out until a couple of nights ago when we were watching old home movies and stumbled across the one we made the day we found out about Liam. It was my sister's idea. She was in town visiting at the time and was the one who convinced me to take a pregnancy test. When the third one came back positive and Bill said "dammit" under his breath and I started to cry, she decided video documentation was in order.

It was bizarre watching ourselves struggle with something that has been such an amazing step in our lives. If only we knew then what we know now! Watching those scared and overwhelmed parents-to-be, I wanted to jump into the TV and hug them. "Don't worry - you will be wonderful parents! And you don't have to stop being who you are to raise a child. You can be parents and people. I swear! Your child will blow your mind and grow your heart and turn you into the people you are meant to be. Everything will be'll see."

(When my sister put down the camera and said, "You guys? You know you have...options," we finally got our shit together. Yes, having a baby is a big deal but it's not like we were teenagers or had gotten knocked up having casual sex or something. We were twenty eight years old and had been married for five years. Yes, it would take a little getting used to but come on.)

I was completely surprised by how much I hated being pregnant. I always thought I would feel earthy and maternal, loving my body and nurturing the miracle I was growing inside, but instead I felt like my my body had been hijacked by an evil alien who made me look like someone I didn't recognize and feel like everything was broken.

For the first trimester or so, it was mostly the way I looked that bothered me. When my regular clothes got too tight to comfortably wear (like, the second I peed on the stick), I didn't feel pregnant, I just felt fat. Buying maternity clothes so early felt like a sham so I just made do with unbuttoned jeans and baggy tops. Finally my friend Anna who was also pregnant (and is this time as well!) made me go maternity clothes shopping with her and I nearly had a panic attack in the fitting room. It was official: I was pregnant. (And damn that elastic waist felt good!)

When I was about four months along, the physical discomfort started. My feet hurt all the time and I had round ligament pain (aka - "it felt like the baby was about to fall out any time I walked or stood"). I couldn't so much as walk around the grocery store without feeling like my vagina was about to detach from my body. I compensated by not exercising at all and sitting in our big leather chair with my feet up most of the time. Nothing to make you feel even more disconnected from your body than not moving it for several months!

Then came childbirth. You know how they say women have to forget what it's like, otherwise everyone would be an only child? I finally believe that to be true. It took until about 6 months ago for the details to become fuzzy enough that I could convince myself I was ready to do this again. Before that, the memory of that day was painfully clear. Like "there's no way in hell I'm having another baby" clear. I knew I was ready for #2 when I could see super pregnant mamas at the pool and think, "Aw...she's cute," instead of, "You fool! You have no idea what you're about to go through. Do yourself a favor and schedule the c-section NOW!"

But now that I'm pregnant, that seems completely absurd. Nature is funny like that - it gives you just the right mix of amnesia and optimism during pregnancy that you wholeheartedly believe anything is possible.

Like, dare I say it?, I'm actually excited to give birth again. This obviously has a lot to do with the amnesia and optimism but the fact that I switched to the Nurse-Midwives practice at Vanderbilt doesn't hurt either. I really liked my doctor (and would definitely recommend her if you're looking for an OB/GYN) but would have a hard time expecting a better outcome without changing at least some of the circumstances. So far I LOVE the practice and am super excited to meet my primary care midwife this week.

Pretty much everything about this pregnancy has been different from my first. When I took the (one) pregnancy test and it came back positive, I simply smiled and called my husband to give him the good news. There were no tears, no mixed feelings, no anxiety at the unknown. We were more or less like, "awesome" and that was that.

I've also felt different about my changing body. Maybe it's because I already have a closet-full of maternity clothes to choose from but I am just totally not bothered by the fact that growing a baby in my body will make it get bigger. In fact, it's almost the opposite. I love my little baby bump (and my stretchy waist jeans!) and like wearing things that make me look even more pregnant than I actually am.

I feel really good, too. I know it's still early and anything could happen but I'm confident that this time around will be better. I'm stronger than I was when I got pregnant with Liam and will continue to exercise throughout this pregnancy. (I'm opting out of high impact stuff and sticking with light weights, swimming, walking and yoga. Did I forget to mention that the round ligament pain started after I got picked last for a kickball game and tried to show everyone that just because I was pregnant didn't mean I couldn't kick ass and take names? Yeah. Not sure if it's related or not but I figure I'd rather be on the safe side...).

I'm also eating well and vow to keep the "pregnancy cravings" to a minimum (I mean, did I really "crave" cupcakes from Sweet 16th Bakery twice a week when I was pregnant with Liam or just like having an excuse to request them?). I figure the more healthy my weight gain, the less undue stress I will put on my body (and I won't be kicking myself in the big fat ass 7 months from now).

The only thing that I have to believe will be the same as my first experience is the ultimate outcome: the perfect, healthy, strong, beautiful baby we will get to bring home and love on for the rest of our lives. People try to tell me that because Liam is so good we will be punished with #2 but I refuse to believe it. We make good babies - that's all there is to it! We've got nurture and nature in our corner. Not to mention an exceptional big brother to help guide the way. The way I see it, it's impossible for this kid to be anything short of extraordinary.

(I'm telling you, this pregnancy's got me on fire with the optimism! Woot!)


Clean Fresh Mommy said...

At least you know what to expect the second time around - the first time everything is new and overwhelming! Enjoy every minute of being pregnant!

grandmother fancy said...

I think it was among my most happy days realizing we were going to have a new little one. Getting larger was ok esp. when people commented on how darling you look pg. As I know you are even now. I love the family of three and can't wait for the fourth. I'll be there for you all anytime you yell.

Annie said...

So THAT's what round ligament pain feels like! Huh. The name hardly does it justice. I don't really mind it, at least I know my bun is still in the oven. The low back pain, on the other hand...grrr.

Cora White said...

I am so glad that the second pregnancy seems to be going good for you.

hezza said...

love this.

katie said...

Sniff sniff, I cried happily through this whole post. I too hate when people say "you will be screwed with the 2nd kid", we have such similar philosophies! Nature and nurture, good stuff! Enjoy the ride Maggie, new baby has chosen an amazing family to join!

Jaime Sarrio said...

Lovely, post Maggie! Lucky kid to have you two.

Ron said...

What a good news.Congratulations. I wish you and your baby a good health. To all mothers out there, if you want to be sure if your pregnant, you can use ELISA test kits.