So. It’s time to talk about the first trimester and how different/similar it is with a second baby.
First of all, it’s definitely been true for me that everything happens far faster the second time around. I started showing faster, started feeling pregnancy symptoms faster, lost food aversions faster and started craving weird foods faster…
Weeks ten and 11 during my first pregnancy. Ignore that goofy first pose. As you can see, nada. I mean, my pants were feeling a little tighter by then and Ryan and I could tell that my belly was changing, but the second I threw a shirt on that wasn’t at all evident.
Weeks ten and 11 during this pregnancy. Week ten, slight rounding. Looks pregnant to us, looks like I eat too many carbs to the average observer. Week eleven: BOOM. WAY MORE BELLY THAN BABY REALISTICALLY NEEDS RIGHT NOW.
I was disappointed with my belly during my first pregnancy. When I look back at pictures now, I think it was cute… but I wasn’t happy with it then. I wanted a big, pronounced watermelon belly with a poked-out belly button. Instead I had a round belly with a Grand Canyon belly button. And I grew up 45 minutes from said canyon so I think I would know.
When I was pregnant the first time, all I could think about was pregnancy and the baby growing inside me. Was it a son or a daughter? What should we name him or her? Would we keep up our travel-filled lives, or should we maybe settle down? How would I grocery shop with a baby? Would my husband still find me attractive if I wound up covered in stretch marks? Was this or that symptom normal? How do you keep a house clean when you have a baby? When do babies start crawling… three months? six? How many pregnancy/parenthood books can I read in one month without looking crazy and obsessive? Is lunchmeat okay if it’s cooked or just not at all?!?!
This time around has been far more subdued. I already have a baby so my thoughts are usually still filled with that little guy. Why is he being so cranky today… is he teething? Has he had enough water today? Where did he hide his other shoe? I’m nauseous. Should I take him outside to play before or after lunch? Maybe before. What should I make him for lunch? I hope I don’t have to mess up his lunchtime too much when the new baby comes. I hope he is excited about the new baby and doesn’t feel any resentment. “DON’T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH! PUT THAT DOWN!” Ow, my round ligaments!
The biggest difference after my frame of mind has been the fatigue. It feels like it’s worse this time around. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Either way, I used to be able to sit down with my feet up and watch TV or read or nap if I was feeling particularly exhausted. This time around I have to make breakfast/lunch/snacks for someone else, have to change diapers and wipe noses and kiss owies, have to and want to crawl around saying “I’m gonna get you!” and play catch and go for walks outside. Nights during my first pregnancy started around 7:30pm, after Ryan was home from work and dinner was eaten. We’d go mud romping, drive around RV lots pipe-dreaming, see movies at the $3 theater, play video games, binge-watch TV shows until midnight. This time around, my night ends when the boy is asleep. By 8:30 or 9pm I can be found in bed, in hideous pajamas, reading a book or loom knitting while we watch a movie/TV show. It’s not a bad kind of tired, just a different kind.
I think that’s what parenting is though, you know? My brother and I talked on the phone when Baby Bell I was about two months old. My brother said “Is he sleeping through the night already? You don’t even sound tired anymore!” “No,” I told him. “He’s still waking up every three or four hours most nights. I think it’s just that you get so used to being tired that you forget what it felt like to get a lot of sleep.” His response was silence and then “Huh” which I took to mean “Heaven above, I am never having children.” (I think my brother would probably want me to tell you that he never uses phrases like “Heaven above.”)
The second trimester has started a very different new chapter of its own and I’ll talk all about it once it’s over… but for now, I’ll just say that the second pregnancy, at least so far, is somehow the same (it’s still pregnancy) and very different (a little harder).