So it’s you, your partner and new baby makes three. Ah!
Then it’s time for number two. How does that work?
The lovely Jill who writes the brilliant blog Properfud and is a mum of one little toddler, is on the cusp of welcoming her second baby into the world. She generously shares her experience of pregnancy second-time around…
When we told him, we figured he was just old enough to get it in an abstract sense at least. There’s a baby in mammy’s tummy. Hmm. Right. He wasn’t quite old enough to wonder aloud when the baby was coming or equate all our talk with another actual physical human sharing his environment. So all was good for at least 6 months.
Then his mammy got all big and rubbish at playing. Mind you I did find myself crouched behind the sofa hiding from dinosaurs at 715am on my due date, so I’m not that bad. When the mood takes him, my roundy tummy is nice for snuggling against for some tv or storytime once ‘liddle brudder’ isn’t on a kicking jag. But when toddler decides he doesn’t want to go into his car seat, or his bed, or sit on the naughty step and does want to throw things he just knows I’m not physically able for him. He doesn’t challenge his daddy in the first place, but this tired, anything for a quiet life, not as mobile as usual mammy – well he can work with that! Or against that, more to the point. Why I won’t just let him have a good bounce on that tempting tummy is another bone of contention.
It’s getting intense now as I draw towards the inevitable end. It’s all baby baby baby, and at 2.5 years old it’s no wonder he’s confused. I imagine for as long as he can remember, mammy’s been pregnant, and now, everyone’s banging on about it more than ever and still! No sign of this cursed creature. It has definitely helped that due to my full time worker bee life, he is a creche-kid and some of his little playmates have acquired themselves some of these baby things lately. He has met some – small and pink and transported in black maxi cosis during the collection of their elder siblings. Just a couple of weeks ago we asked who was in our family and got “mammy….daddy…Dominic” “And, who else is going to be in our family soon?” “oh…baby Milo!” he said confidently, as if all baby boys roll off a production line and seeing as his friend in creche got a Milo a few weeks ago, he’s getting a Milo too, like they’re coveted Christmas toys.
So you get it. Pregnancy on number 2 is a different ball game altogether. Not better, not worse, but different. No measuring cots, curtains, car seats – just getting through those 40 weeks (and beyond) without collapsing. The journey not so much one of discovery, the destination the same.
In fairness my first pregnancy was charmed. I didn’t have a day’s sickness, did a fair amount of glowing and attended a wedding in Scotland at 36 weeks without a care in the world. (I did look up Glasgow maternity hospitals before I went, I’m not stupid either). The worst I suffered was a few physio sessions for a gammy hip in the 3rd trimester, and some bad heartburn. This time round I haven’t done so bad either – I was just as lucky with actual pukey-sickness – after initial 1st trimester nausea, it never got any worse. I had heartburn at the start, and have it now too. My hips and pelvis were worse this time from about 22 weeks, but they’ve improved considerably. The only issue is that I just haven’t had the time up til now to relax and to think only of me. During this pregnancy I have come in the middle of the list of 3 people to think of. Dominic, then me, then hubbie.
First I thought I wasn’t as organised this time, til I realised I’d little to organise really as I have everything and me and my husband already know the difference between a vest/babygro/sleepsuit. After congratulating myself on having basically everything I need (namely, boobs and babygros), and topping up on super strength Arnica and the dreaded Big Green Pads, I finally packed the hospital bag at 39 weeks. It’s a worse case scenario bag pack really – I’m doing the Domino scheme this time round so hopefully won’t spend more than 1 night, if any, in hospital. Last time I found hospital uncomfortable, hot, noisy – but was so unsure of myself and lacked confidence to leave before my allotted 3 nights were up. This time wild horses can’t stop me getting back to my little house to be a family of 4 as soon as is medically possible!
So now I’ve come to a stage where I’m reflecting on the little things that have been different during my pregnancies, and what kind of road lies ahead of me!
- Lie-ins & naps. These can happen but only at the whim of a toddler. One of us gets up with him each weekend day. The person getting the lie in sleeps til sometime between 9 & 10am. Dom still naps sometimes during the day, but whether I take that time aswell depends on not just how much I need it, but how much havoc has been wreaked over the house in the preceding morning. Even now, during pre-baby maternity leave, my day begins by 7am.
- Long indulgent baths. By the time he’s asleep and the house has been readied for relaxing again, I’m couldn’t be bothered with all the hoo-haa a bath entails. I’ve had lots since my due date alright, but have spend quite a bit of time wondering if clary sage oil affects toddlers in any way as y’know, he decided to join me for a splash about. “I get in the bath with mama”. Besides, the good work of the bath is undone by subsequent wrestling of a toddler into his pj’s. When he then implores me to “lie down wiv me mama” in a fit of clinginess, I just sigh and plonk down on his bed. (Incidentally a pregnant woman of 5’4” in height can comfortably sleep on an Ikea junior bed with or without its intended occupant)
- Exercise classes: There is no way I was missing out on my pregnancy aqua aerobics and pilates. No way. Each week I can happily miss one little guy’s bedtime and one morning of trains and dinosaurs for these life savers. My classes were one of my favourite things to do in pregnancy #1, and remain my best me-time activities in pregnancy #2. In fact, I’ll quite miss them now they’re over.
- Exercising at home: I’m a big fan of fitness dvds – They’re handy if your partner is out because you can’t just leave a sleeping child and go pound the pavement for a few kilometers. I probably didn’t need to point that out… I can recommend Davina McCall and the 10 minute Pre Natal Pilates solution. Even if, worst case scenario, you only use it 3 or 4 times, the dvd probably still cost less than 1 class. But have you ever tried to do squats or grapevines with a toddler trying to weave through your legs? Or core work with added toddler weight? So these gathered a bit more dust than last time, but hey, a 2 year old gives you a pretty good workout just by his very existence. Also, there’s channels high up on Sky like Fitness TV that you can record pregnancy classes from.
- Shopping opportunities: Serious attack of the guilts every time I eye up something cute for newbie, both because I’ve plenty of everything already, and on the other hand because this child will have so many hand me downs. For a completely non religious person, that catholic guilt still wields a strong hand. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The things I have bought have been mostly related to the elder – a buggy board (trying to avoid getting a double buggy), presents to baby from toddler and from baby to toddler, and a bed for him so we could reclaim the cot. (the transition to which thankfully went very smoothly). Still, far more of my own disposable income goes on cute small peoples clothes that they wear for 3-6 months than on clothes for me, who in the normal course of things doesn’t grow out of her clothes ever.
- Maternity leave: I worked as late into my pregnancy as is legally allowed this time. Baby number 1 made his leisurely way into the world 11 days after my EDD, 28 days after I began my maternity leave. So using him as a likely precedent, I worked up to 39 weeks, and here I am 14 days later, typing up a storm. And much as my little guy is my ‘best big boy in the world’, I would like some one-on-one bonding time (and plenty of free time to get breastfeeding established) with the newbie so he will be staying in full time creche for a couple more weeks after baby arrives. And I cannot afford to pay for that lark indefinitely while also not in paid employment.
- Dinner: Every single day. Really? Why oh why oh why? I’d have been perfectly happy with cereal for dinner for a good 2 months there in the middle. But oh no, having children means being responsible for bringing them up nice and healthy. I am very glad to have a husband that shares the cooking. And after baby arrives, when we should be rewarding our selves with take aways and ready meals when we feel like it for a couple of weeks, there’ll be my conscience, shouting at me to cook a brown rice based stir fry like a good mother.
- The nesting instinct: The force is strong with this one. Last time all my energies went into creating a lovely nursery for the baby. This time I have acquired a steam mop in the last 2 weeks. Sit still long enough and you will be steam cleaned.
- The fear: that I won’t get to have a spontaneous natural labour. I am of the read and research to the nth degree brigade. I make no apologies for this, and feel it made me as informed as I could be going into my first labour. Things went well and we barely deviated from my birth preferences. And although this time I’ve been more likely to have time for reading Cornelius P. Mud Are you Ready for Baby and The New Baby than listening to my gentle birth tracks, I still have the same hopes for an intervention free labour. I should be more confident of achieving the same this time, but right now, I’m more nervous that I won’t.
- My intention to breastfeed: I have a happy healthy thriving boy that I breastfed sucessfully for a year of his life. I hope I can offer his sibling the same, and that I don’t come across any unfamiliar challenges on that journey this time. I just realised that reads like a prayer, maybe I should make it a mantra!
- The excitement: Don’t get me wrong, I have all those “how can I have enough love for another one” feelings and I’m so utterly besotted with the boy I have that I wonder if I maxed out my good luck when he came along. But truly, I cannot wait to get this labour part over and done with, and get home to get on with the business of being a family.
Read more writing from Jill on her blog, Properfud.