The Evolution of Pregnancies
May 13, 2015
Everything is different with each subsequent pregnancy. And I mean everything.
Energy, womb elasticity, TUMS consumption…all of it.
When you’re pregnant with your first, it consumes you. (And you kind of assume everyone else is consumed by it, too.) You think, eat, talk, sleep, and breathe “like a pregnant person”. Gone is normal life. It’s all replaced by pregnant life. (Like, I didn’t even vacuum when I was pregnant the first time because I thought it might be too strenuous. WHAT.)
By your second, you realize “pregnant life” isn’t actually a thing. Yes, life during those 9 months is unique, but it’s not your whole identity like it once was. Your existing child now takes up your time and energy. And, honestly, much of the second pregnancy still revolves around the 1st kid. “What will he think? How should we spend our last days together?”
By your third, you’re too busy wiping bums, answering endless preschooler questions, running over your children, and unwedging toddler thighs from cribs to even think about being pregnant.
The changes are obvious from the first moment you find out.
First: Nervous excitement.
Third: Hysterical laughter (that briefly and unexpectedly turns into tears).
…and continue when you share the news.
First: THE UNIVERSE WAITS WITH BATED BREATH TO HEAR THIS EARTH-SHATTERING INFORMATION.
Second: Aw, wonderful! Siblings are sweet!
Third: “Again? Already? Do you not know how this happens?” (Legitimate question asked to me recently.)
The changes are evident even as you field questions from strangers.
First: “I’m 14 weeks, 3.5 days. His name will be _____ (first, middle, last) and I’ve already completed my birth plan. Natural birth, yay!”
Second: “I’m about 5 months pregnant. Not sure on the name, but we do have a nursery theme.”
Third: “I’m in the…third trimester? I think? No idea what we’ll call him or where he’ll sleep, but I have already spoken with the hospital – my epidural is ready and waiting for my check-in in 2 months.”
When it comes to naming each kid? Oh, geez.
First: Purchase all the baby name books, study every name and origin on your ancestry.com family tree, make sure no one within a five-state radius has a name anywhere similar to the one you have chosen.
Second: Search nameberry.com for “common sibling names for _____ (insert first child’s name)”.
Third: “Do kids really need names? Ok, fine. How about _____? Yes, we know 8 kids with that name and no we don’t care. It’s the only name we remotely agree on.”
As far as the pregnancy itself goes…well…a woman’s body is like an elephant. I’m not referencing just how gigantic you get by 40 weeks (!!!) or the consequence of leathery skin when you can’t reach half the places on your body to moisturize, but rather that a woman’s body has an impeccable memory. It never forgets how to be pregnant.
Like, for instance, your womb doesn’t forget that you’re supposed to start showing earlier and earlier each time.
First: *starts showing at 12 weeks*
Second: *starts showing at 8 weeks*
Third: *takes pregnancy tests because she is showing*
(…last one also known as “ute betrayal” because PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, WOMB. You lost your crap WAY TOO FAST on the last one.)
And your innards don’t forget that a baby emerges from them at a certain point.
First: (at 39.5 weeks) “I’m .02345 cm dilated? Oh, how wonderful!”
Second: (at 30 weeks) “I’m definitely dilated. It’s breezy up there.”
Third: (at 16 weeks) “DEAR HEAVENS I THINK I JUST GAVE BIRTH TRYING TO PICK UP A LEGO.”
By the third, it’s honestly like someone snuck some WD-40 in there or something.
Between the stabby pains, loose muscles, and womb elasticity (or lack thereof), I asked my doctor recently if my baby could accidentally fall out while I exercise. Or wrestle with my boys. Or go to the bathroom.
She laughed at me.
I googled anyway.
That’s one of only a few Google searches I’ve done in the past 24 weeks of pregnancy. I wish I would have kept track from the first and second time around, because I have a feeling it would be nothing short of hysterical.
First: how to know when you’re in labor / how to prevent birth defects / is getting a manicure safe while pregnant / will my shampoo hurt my unborn baby’s development / how much weight should i gain in second trimester / how long should deli meat steam before safe for pregnant women to eat
Second: activities to entertain toddler while pregnant mom sleeps / research on wine consumption while pregnant
Third: (see above. searches mainly centered around “how to avoid accidental birth”.)
Even my pregnancy goals are different.
First: Gain exactly 25 pounds. Buy high-end prenatal vitamins. Have car seat properly installed at the local fire station by 30 weeks. Wash all baby clothes in organic, non-GMO, cage-free detergent.
Second: Don’t take “you’re eating for 2!” so seriously. For real gain only 25 pounds. Buy cheap prenatals. Sort old baby clothes around 35 weeks.
Third: Don’t pee your pants. Keep audible, accidental farts to a minimum in public. Give birth at some point.
Like I said…everything is different. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad.
I miss the newness of a first pregnancy – the first kick, the first sonogram, the first teensy tiny stretch mark (that you think will go away, not reproduce by the hundreds).
I miss the excitement of adding a sibling with the second pregnancy – how will it go? Will we all survive?
Each pregnancy is an adjustment in its own way.
But you know what my favorite thing about round 3 is?
I cannot wait to meet this baby.
Like, squeal-when-I-think-about-it excitement. Way, way more than with my other pregnancies.
The first time I was too concerned with avoiding paint fumes and worrying about what momhood would entail. The second time I was too skeptical I wouldn’t actually love my second kid as much as I did my first.
But now? Now I know that my heart doesn’t run out of space. I know that this kid will be awesome in his own way and that I really, truly will love him as much as I love my other two.
Now I have a hard time relishing womb-him because I just need real-him in my arms.
You may be the third of 3 boys, little one, but you are already loved beyond measure. I cannot (CANNOT) wait to meet you.
Here’s to hoping our first meeting takes place at a hospital, not in the middle of a jogging path.